Advice Goddess Blog

Posted by aalkon at May 6, 2008 11:45 AM

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Posted by aalkon at May 6, 2008 9:39 AM

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First of all, that's just wrong. This man gives you trips to Paris. And an even bigger sacrifice, he picks you up at LAX, just to be nice, and this is how you return the courtesy? That's just wrong.

Also, I'm going to steal "strugglingest year", but you won't be given credit. (My contenders are '82 and '91, and thanks for asking.)

Posted by: Crid at May 6, 2008 12:20 AM

Don't you understand? He loves it, and I love it. I'd do anything for him, and carry multiple bags of groceries when I'm on my own, but it's fun playing these roles.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 6, 2008 12:26 AM

P.S. Consider it a gift. You deserve it, even if you did get pissy about who carries the groceries in the Alkon/Sutter dyad.

P.P.S. Gregg also wears the pants, as he'd look pretty silly in the vintage Halston evening dress I wore (as daywear) to accompany him to a screening he had to go to Monday night.

Yes, we all have our roles.

Oh yeah, and '93 really sucked. And thanks for asking.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 6, 2008 12:31 AM

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Posted by aalkon at May 5, 2008 9:57 AM

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Kierra you go girl!

That councillor was putting on such an act at the council meeting. It looked and sounded like a bad rap song.

Posted by: lizzylights at May 5, 2008 2:48 AM

Wow, that women is so full of herself! She's so ghetto I can't believe it.

Posted by: Toubrouk at May 5, 2008 4:45 AM

Ouch.

Posted by: Jeff at May 5, 2008 5:10 AM

Awesome.

Connyers exhibits new heights of arrogance. Seriously, this video is shot (presumably) days or weeks after the incident, giving her an easy outlet to apologize and she still can't acknowledge her bad behavior. In front of children!

She needs some PR help.

Posted by: snakeman99 at May 5, 2008 7:27 AM

I think, to make this right, Ms. Connyers needs to look directly at the camera and say, "I am NOT smarter than a 5th grader."

Posted by: sofar at May 5, 2008 7:32 AM

"I am NOT smarter than a 5th grader."

Is Budapest in Paris? Wait, is Paris a country?

I agree with what the young lady was trying to say - adults, in a position like Ms. Conyers's, are held to a higher standard.

Certainly we're all human and subject to acting out of sorts when we're frustrated we must rise above and not act childish. Such childish behavior creates hostility between people who should be working in unison.

Maybe the council president was acting rudely, but playing a game of "top that" isn't going to get him to stop. It's going to add fuel to his fire. I was very impressed with that young woman.

Posted by: Gretchen at May 5, 2008 8:02 AM

I agree with what the young lady was trying to say - adults, in a position like Ms. Conyers's, are held to a higher standard.

So do I - and she called Ms. Conyers right out on the "do as I say, not as I do" aspect. Keira told her "you're an adult". That does not excuse her behavior. Does anyone know if she's apoligized yet to the council president? I'm betting not.

Posted by: Flynne at May 5, 2008 8:20 AM

I read a transcript of this, but the live video does it even better. Between people like Conyers and the mayor, is anyone shocked at how poorly things are going in Detroit. Well done by the young woman.

I have to say, though, that the Detroit News reporter seems like a tool.

Posted by: justin case at May 5, 2008 9:02 AM

Gretchen, I'm not so sure that the council president was being rude. He was obviously getting peeved because he had the floor and he was trying to speak and was essentially being disregarded and talked over by someone who would not shut up. There is a reason for rules such as having the floor in such bodies because if you didn't have them, everyone would just be shouting over each other all the time. But I really couldn't hear exactly what he said so he might have said something rude.

Toubrouk used exactly the right word here, "Ghetto". That could be Detroits theme word. Detroit used to be one of the most industrious, populated, thriving cities in the midwest. I grew up there in the sixties during the heyday of Motown. It was awesome. Now, they hardly have any rush hour traffic at all, because not that many people work anymore. It has all changed because of the peoples embrace of ghettoism. They like it. Race politics rules in Detroit. Michigan itself is a petri dish expriment of what happens when one party takes over and the other party has little or no power whatsover. It is descending further and further into economic misery and higher unemployment under socialist Democrat Governor Granholm. Most of the Michigan legislature is much like the arrogant ignorant ass, Mrs Conyers who really have the intelligence of a potato but run on being the most ghetto in the ghetto and succeed in getting elected like that. I weep for Michigan.

By the way, I would bet that if you were to meet Kierra's family, you would find two very good, conciencious parents. She showed far more maturity and sense of decorum than the coucilwoman. Kids learn that kind of respect for others from great parenting, they don't get it from the ghetto.

Posted by: Bikerken at May 5, 2008 9:24 AM

She showed far more maturity and sense of decorum than the coucilwoman. Kids learn that kind of respect for others from great parenting

Agree. Behind every well-behaved kid is at least one (and usually two) parents who love 'em enough to teach them about how respect is given and earned.

Posted by: justin case at May 5, 2008 9:27 AM

That kid really called it. The council woman is an adult, and should understand the rules of behaviour in a council meeting. Just another example of people not taking any responsibility for their actions. Very sad.

Posted by: Chrissy at May 5, 2008 4:23 PM

Damn. Couldn't watch it at work and now I come home to find they've pulled the video.

Posted by: SeanH at May 5, 2008 5:01 PM

Posted by: Maggie45 at May 5, 2008 9:42 PM

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Posted by aalkon at May 5, 2008 8:41 AM

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Hmmm. Jeremiah Wright:

  • He's cozy with Quadaffi.
  • In a kind of reverse minstrel show, publicly mocked how white people talk.
  • "God damn America."
  • "Hillary 'aint no nigger."
  • "Racism is how this country was founded."
  • "In comparing African-American children and European-American children, we were comparing apples and rocks."
  • "We're the same as al-Qaeda."
  • "The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government lied."

Uh huh. Just like the Wolf Tones. Peggy Noonan is on drugs.

Posted by: Jeff at May 5, 2008 5:33 AM

Krauthammer's take on Obama's recent excision of Wright:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/01/AR2008050102900.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Guess it's time to disown Granny, if Obama's famous Philadelphia "race" speech is to be believed. Of course, the speech was not just believed. It was hailed, celebrated, canonized as the greatest pronouncement on race in America since Lincoln at Cooper Union.

...Obama has now decided that the man he simply could not banish because he had become part of Obama himself is, mirabile dictu, surgically excised.

At a news conference in North Carolina, Obama explained why he finally decided to do the deed. Apparently, Wright's latest comments -- Obama cited three in particular -- were so shockingly "divisive and destructive" that he had to renounce the man, not just the words.

What were Obama's three citations? Wright's claim that AIDS was invented by the U.S. government to commit genocide. His praise of Louis Farrakhan as a great man. And his blaming Sept. 11 on American "terrorism."

But these comments are not new. These were precisely the outrages that prompted the initial furor when the Wright tapes emerged seven weeks ago. Obama decided to cut off Wright not because Wright's words or character or views had suddenly changed. The only thing that changed was the venue in which Wright chose to display them -- live on national TV at the National Press Club. That unfortunate choice destroyed Obama's Philadelphia pretense that this "endless loop" of sermon excerpts being shown on "television sets and YouTube" had been taken out of context.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 5, 2008 8:17 AM

Krauthammer's take is pretty rough, unless you realize that Obama is a politician who needs to do things for political reasons (i.e., if you aren't a kool-aid drinker who thinks he is the second coming, these things shouldn't shock you).

I thought this recent CBS news poll was informative:

Concerning Rev. Wright's coverage in the media the new poll sites that according to registered voters polled the attention paid has been:
Too Much.....56% Too Little.......5% About Right...34%

I think Noonan is onto something here.

Posted by: justin case at May 5, 2008 8:56 AM

One thing to remember about this, and the only thing that makes wright an issue:

"Tell me who you spend your time with, and I'll tell you who you are."

Consider the nature of Wright's utterances.

These cannot have been new to Mr. Obama.

Which is not to say I think he believes every word of it...but a 20 year relationship with an egotistical, self righteous, antiAmerican, howling bigot, ought to give any sane voter pause at least.

Posted by: Robert H. Butler at May 5, 2008 9:25 AM

Does anyone know how far (if at all) Wright is connected to the Illinois power brokers behind Obama's climb?

Posted by: snakeman99 at May 5, 2008 9:52 AM

While it is true you can't judge a man by one friend, I think people are failing to look at the BIG picture with Obama. You can discount one little piece of him at a time, but when you look at everything together, you get a real clear picture of who he is.

If you read his book, he goes into great detail about the problems he has with white people. When he first moved to Chicago, the people who he sought out to associate with were radical left wing, anti-American, even marxists and terrorists. (Both he and Hillary were big fans of the marxist Saul Allinsky. She did her thesis on him but Obama was also a big fan.) He activly supported radical left wing political groups in college. His own wife can't speak five sentences without insulting this country.

Then he joined a church that preached Black Liberation Theology. Am I assuming too much to interpet the phrase "Black Liberation Theology" as an ideology that exposes the conflict with and defeat of non-black people? In my personal opinion, BLT is not a real religion, they talk about Jesus, but in their belief, Jesus was a black man who had no use for white people. There still is the same story about the gospels and all that but they see Jesus as being the saviour to black people. At the same time, they preach politics slamming Jews and white devils. And no, you're not going to find that on their website, not now. BLT allows muslims in their church. Why, because there are a lot of paralells between BLT and Islam. They bond in their hatred of Jews and europeans. Obama knew this and he knew it well. He spoke of Rev Wright as his mentor many times. NOBODY has a mentor that they don't know anything about. He sat in that church for twenty years listening to hate speech and first claimed he never heard anything like that. Then when he gets caught, he says, oh yeah, I heard him say a few things that I objected to but I wanted to stay with the church. Now he openly denounces Wright when he figures out that white people are figuring out that he is nothing but a black bigot. Obama is as phoney as they get. He is a radical left wing marxist white and Jew hating bigot and the more people figure that out, the more his numbers tank. That's why a lot of people say he is unelectable. As more and more of this comes out, he will just sink further. I think they are right.

Posted by: Bikerken at May 5, 2008 9:53 AM

> Krauthammer's take is pretty
> rough, unless you realize that
> Obama is a politician who needs
> to do things for political reasons

I keep rereading that, and don't know what you'd want to say it. Define your terms!

Whaddya mean, "rough"? Is there some judgment call that coulda gone either way, where K chose to be a meany? Is K wrong for noting that these quotations are the same rhetoric, and only the context of their reception has changed? I think K has --in this instance-- been a rocklike, non-reactive observer.

And who doesn't know (or believe) that "Obama is a politician who needs to do things for political reasons"?

I don't see what you're getting at, and fear I disagree anyway. Back when cartoonist Garry Trudeau was young and interesting, he was interviewed in the preface to one of his collections. It was noted that he (in those days) wasn't interested in hobnobbing with the powerful people in Washington, or hearing them make the case for their positions in intimate contexts. Paraphrasing: 'I'm not interested in reading their tea leaves or getting personal insight. I only do post-mortems. I respond to the things they say in public... What could be more fair than that?'

That's how I feel about Obama, and the people he's claimed as his leaders. I don't ever want to bother with triangulating what a candidate says in some intricate, chesslike paradigm of subtle pandering across cultures. Why can't I just hold him accountable for what he says?

Doing so allows me to hate Hillary in good conscience.

Posted by: Crid at May 5, 2008 1:19 PM

Why you'd want to say it

etc

Posted by: Crid at May 5, 2008 1:22 PM

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Posted by aalkon at May 5, 2008 5:50 AM

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A second plug for the Air France bus, which is both a good value and a pleasant travel experience after tumbling off a crowded red-eye transatlantic flight. When in Paris, I stay at a small hotel in the 12th, overlooking the lakes and rolling green of the Bois de Vincennes. What the neighborhood lacks in savoir faire is more than made up for in better prices and sheer "neighborhoodiness" (i.e., there are few tourists to be found). With the Air France bus, I can jump out at Gare de Lyon and limit my taxi time to a mere 5 to 10 minutes.

And yes, The Paris Blog is a great source for news on arts and events in Paris.

Susan Spano not only lacks curiosity, but also she repeatedly reveals herself to be rather lazy. That's a lousy mix of traits in someone who is assigned to write interesting, informative pieces about the vibrant city in which she lives.

Posted by: Ms. Gandhi at May 5, 2008 2:06 PM

"Lazy," was implied, but thanks for weighing in, too.

The Air France bus is just great. Around the corner from the place I sometimes rent in the 17th, and more comfy and civilized than any taxi. I've also taken it from Gare Montparnasse.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 5, 2008 2:28 PM

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Posted by aalkon at May 4, 2008 11:08 AM

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Neo Radical Feminism: The haunting fear that a married woman is giving her husband a blowjob. And worse, in the kitchen. (*)

(*) Actual Marcotte fear, though I can't find her post at the moment, she expressed in a review of a book of marriage tips, one of which suggested heaven forfend, quickies, to help satisfy a partner with raging hormones. And quite literally for Marcotte, two lesbians or gays enjoying oral sex is a radical political act against the man, and a unmarried couple having oral sex is grudgingly okay, but there is a long checklist for the couple to go through to make sure it isn't an oppressive act.

Posted by: jerry at May 4, 2008 7:36 AM

Very good post Amy! Having just turned 25, I can identify with the issue very well. That was a fair bit of personal disclosure for you, no?

Keep up the good work!

Posted by: artpunkt at May 4, 2008 7:50 AM

I get that most people in their early 20's aren't ready for a serious comittment - but lots of us are, and you should have a little more respect for our relationships.

If you find yourself with someone you love and who loves you at 20, and keep it that way for a long time, you should be considered lucky - not 'stunting your growth' because you don't have a lot of meaningless sex with strangers.

Posted by: Simon at May 4, 2008 8:36 AM

art - you're new around here, aren't you?

Posted by: brian at May 4, 2008 8:37 AM

Do come back, art, but see Brian's comment above.

And I, of course, recommend quickies:

http://www.advicegoddess.com/ag-column-archives/2007/05/a-tale-of-naked.html

Relationships are filled with little tasks that don’t exactly bring a person to screaming orgasm. A man, for example, doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night with some primal longing to bring his girlfriend flowers, rehang her back door, or clean the trap in her sink. Like sex, these things can be expressions of love, but if a guy’s going to lock himself in the bathroom, it’s not going to be with “Bob Vila's Complete Guide to Remodeling Your Home.”

So, couldn’t putting out when you aren’t in the mood be seen as just another expression of love? Joan Sewell, author of I'd Rather Eat Chocolate: Learning to Love My Low Libido, told The Atlantic Monthly, “If you have sex when you don’t desire it, physically desire it, you are going to feel used.” Well, okay, perhaps. But, if a guy rotates a woman’s tires when he doesn’t desire it, physically desire it, does he feel used?

Actually, we all do plenty of things with our bodies that we don’t really feel like; for instance, taking our bodies to work when we have a hangover instead of putting our bodies in front of some greasy hash browns, and then to bed. For women, however, sexual things are supposed to be out of the question. I think the subtext here is not doing things we really don’t feel like if it GIVES A MAN PLEASURE. And no, I’m not advocating rape or anything remotely close to it. And, of course, if you find sex with your husband or boyfriend a horrible chore, you’re in the wrong place. Otherwise, if you’re with a man, and he’s nice to you, and works hard to please you, would it kill you to throw him a quickie?


Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 4, 2008 8:56 AM

are you experienced? heh...

we'd be fine if we'd just stick by the biological playbook, but noooooo! we have to go and think about stuff...

The thing I wonder is how much our use of barrier contraception influences the rise of free and not so free love. It is my understanding that a lot of our imprint on each other has to do with the hormonal influences of copulation with each other. Of necessity we are no longer bound entirely to that... so some things change in approach, and we look at experience differently. So, when you have a fling, and protect yourself, what's the connection? Catch is, not protected, is asking for trouble in a loud and clear voice.

Society's catch up scenerio for understanding... does it have one? In countries where contraception is well known and easily practiced, birth rates are below replacement, seems like. It's a conscious decision, that certainly makes sense for an individual, how does it affect everyone else?

The other thing I have yet to see mentioned is the presence of "beer goggles". Drunk people aren't exactly discriminatin'... I wonder how much that plays into the embarassing 5am parting. "oh, what WAS I thinking?" 'don't worry, she's running away faster than you are...'

Posted by: SwissArmyD at May 4, 2008 9:38 AM

People tend to think their own personality is universal. The showiest, most outgoing (if not to say arrogant) personalities are thus perceived as normative. This applies especially to the Fucky Years concept... It gets much more and better press than it deserves. The people who were going to be out there chatting with lots of others and building many shallow relationships instead of a few deep ones (whether sexual are not) are of course going to be spreading their ideas far and wide.

As it happens, the happiest, longest marriages I know of are the ones begun pretty early in the game. And while those folks may have been sexually active before that, they weren't exactly promiscuous. They were paying attention to the people they were with and learning fast. They were looking for someone, and they knew them when they showed up.

Fucking isn't an acquired taste, certainly not on the masculine side. Puberty throws the switch and that's that. But extroversion is not some stage of life or glandular condition of maturity. Mouthy, lonely, intrusive people at cocktail parties don't understand this.

Amy, I see where you're going with this. Humans are social animals, and it's through relationships with others that we tend to grow. But our needs for growth are as individual as fingerprints. You can't design courseware or offer bootcamp for this. It's not like the marine corp, where first you run the obstacle course and then you climb the mountain and then you clean the rifle and then you're a marine (or ready to get married).

From what I understand (said the 49-year-old), a great deal of the behavior called "hook-ups" happens to people who are drinking a lot of alcohol. These people are scared as shit of each other.

The men, because it hurts to risk getting shot down; the women, because it hurts to spend these encounters with someone who won't fucking talk to them, let alone phone next week. And people in those years are horrible to each other. They think everyone else in the world is a sibling who has to forgive any transgression.

Did I just say the same thing in each of 15 sentences? Executive Summary:

1.) Yes, a mature approach to intercourse will bring smooth encounters, but...

2.) That's not the same thing as extroversion.

Posted by: Crid at May 4, 2008 10:56 AM

I suspect that the essayist is unfortunately not in a minority. There are just too many people who don't understand that the desire for monogamy is not counter the notion of free "love." Rather it is just another face of it, as is abstinence. Too many people have this inane notion that if you aren't having the casual sex, you are just repressed.

Having the Sex when you don't really want to is just as damaging as actually being repressed. The important thing is to be true to who you are and what you really want. Yes, that is a very cliche, trite sort of sentiment, but it is also very true. Of course in our early twenties, it is not always clear exactly what we really want and our hormones don't help.

Posted by: DuWayne at May 4, 2008 1:35 PM

Damn Crid. That was really well said.

Posted by: eric at May 4, 2008 2:00 PM

I like what Crid said too.

I've been one to sleep with guys as soon as I meet them, or a couple days after. I made a mistake in my first such encounter. But I pick them right nowadays, and we tend to treat each other well.

Even the guy I had sex with one hour after I met him (he moved away) taught me alot (he was a Buddhist) especially in terms of how to control my frustration with events I couldnt control and positive thinking among other things. We are very fond of each other I think.

I like to learn things from the people I sleep with.

Posted by: Purplepen at May 4, 2008 2:45 PM

If sleeping with random men after brief encounters made Marguerite Fields happy, I might say "more power to her." But she clearly is miserable about her failure to have a close relationship with a man that doesn't ONLY involve sex. If this kind of empty promiscuity is the best that the New York Times can identify as "love" in this generation, than I really fear for this generation.

Posted by: Older Than You at May 4, 2008 5:32 PM

How interesting! I think the work by Justin Garcia is dead on! Hook ups can really mean something else, like a desire for a relationship. And the idea that an increasing amount of time between when one can have kids and actually has kids makes me think of myself who doesn't want to really settle into a marriage with kids any time soon, so why wouldn't I be having hook ups. Do you have any more stuff to read on that... SO COOL!

Posted by: Maria at May 4, 2008 6:55 PM

My college years were about 10 years ago. I am not sure if things have changed or if it was paticular to that college. Many people where hooking up (or some, just trying) with lots of people for the first two years. But the last two, there was well defined couples for the most part. Most all of the people who have settled had done so by 25. I do know some in their 30s who say that they want to settle down and seem unable to. Hooking-up does not seem to have affected things much in the people I know - see no pattern in regards to hookup behaviour and later behaviour.

Posted by: Don't remember what I said last time at May 5, 2008 12:20 AM

If Garcia is correct, women maintain the simultaneous desire for long-term relationships and promiscuous sex. If one holds contradictory desires, at least one of them is guaranteed to go unfulfilled. Life will be lived in a perpetual state of frustrated desire. That's not good. It could have long-term emotional consequences.

It has also become unfashionable to note certain facts about male longings and attitudes about sex. In some rather explosive threads, I've noted the male's evolved "slut defense" that lessens the probability of long-term relationships with promiscuous females, even if that promiscuity happened in the past. This "double standard" is well studied and even has a very plausible explanation in evolutionary psychology. To some degree, men will consider a woman's sexual past before and during a relationship. The "fucking 20's" can have effects on a woman's prospects even after that phase has passed.

Posted by: Jeff at May 5, 2008 6:11 AM

"The problem was my trying to meet the standards I was "supposed" to have by telling myself I wanted a boyfriend -- because you were supposed to want a boyfriend -- when all I was really ready for was to have a lot of wet, naked fun."

I experienced precisely the same thing in my early 20's, but in the reverse order. What I thought I was "supposed" to want was a lot of wet, naked fun, and what I really wanted was a boyfriend. I kept telling myself over and over to stop being needy, insecure, clingy, to let go, etc., and sometimes what I was really telling myself to do was lower my standards. No matter how many times I kept telling myself not to care, I *did* care. I *hated* sleeping with a guy, knowing full well he wasn't going to call me again. But I was supposed to keep it light, casual, keep my feelings out of it, and somehow have an orgasm? Never worked for me, although I tried.

And I don't very often disagree with you Amy, but I disagree with this: "...lest you get into a serious relationship with somebody before you've really developed into who you're going to be...and lest you stunt your growth in becoming that person."

When do people develop into who they're going to be? I'm a different person than I was ten years ago, and I'll probably be a different person ten years from now. Wouldn't I otherwise just reach an age where I became stuck in my ways and stopped growing? Why would being in a serious relationship stunt that growth? Why must a serious relationship be assumed to act as poison instead of plant food? If you find a fellow thinker to get involved with, they sharpen your insights and expose you to new ideas.

I have seen that when some people get seriously involved with someone, they hibernate with that person and ignore their friends. But sometimes it can work in just the opposite way.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at May 5, 2008 6:23 AM

When do people develop into who they're going to be? I'm a different person than I was ten years ago, and I'll probably be a different person ten years from now.

Perhaps, PJ. But I think our core, or the essential part of us, if you will, is unchanging. We can change our thoughts, and our way of dealing with things and people, but there is that part of us deep down inside that stays the same, no matter what. Our inner strength, I guess. I know I've been through a lot of changes in my 50 years, but in my heart I'm still the same. I'm still just as fierce as ever, but I've mellowed somewhat. I'm still just as silly as ever; I still get just as indignant about perceived injustices, but I deal with things differently now than I did when I was younger. It's true what they say, old age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill! o_O
YMMV

Posted by: Flynne at May 5, 2008 8:11 AM

Flynne, you're 50? I don't know why, but I always guessed you were in your 30's - wow!

Posted by: Pirate Jo at May 5, 2008 9:39 AM

I don't remember the "fuck years" as all that great, nor do I think they are all that they are made out to be by those living them now or looking back in hindisght. Hook-ups, or whatever we called them in the 80's, were invariably followed by embarassing, awkward morning after conversations or semi-panicked prayers that I didn't get someone pregnant. And of course, people were freaking out about AIDS a lot more then than today. It kinda took most of the fun out of "hooking up."

I guess it's still normal to go through it, but I don't think there ever was any doubt that I was always on the lookout for "the one." When I found her, at age 25, I proposed six months later and we are still married 22 years later. Did I know that I was at that time the person I was going to be? Absolutely not, and the subsequent years have more than proven that point. The only undeniable correlation here is that I continued to pursue her mostly because she would NOT hook up with me right away. And if she had, I wouldn't have continued to pursue her.

If women are looking for long term relationships after giving it up so soon, they are, I'm afraid, making a mistake.

Posted by: johnmc at May 5, 2008 9:47 AM

Flynne, you're 50? I don't know why, but I always guessed you were in your 30's - wow!

Oh yeah, baby! I turned 35 the day after Daughter #1 was born, and I had #2 three weeks after I turned 38. They keep me young! o_-

What I'm saying is that even though I've put myself through the ringer (my 20s were spent being totally irresponsible!) I really haven't changed all that much from the person I started out to be. I still have a very warped sense of humour, I have always crossed my 7's and used British spelling randomly (my teachers used to freak out about it), I've always been a loyal friend until I got dissed, and people who have dissed me regret it, I hear, because I also hold a grudge a long time and it takes a lot for me to forgive, but I will give in more readily if I'm proven wrong. I am quick to apologize. I still crack up over Bugs Bunny cartoons (and quote them to this very day when the occasion calls for it). My college career was very short so I don't quite understand the "hook up" thing in that respect, but I can say I did a lot of hooking up when I was in my 20s and in the band. I've been both a member of the band and a band wife, and have seen a lot of indescretion on a lot of fronts. Also a lot of tears and mistrust. When other band wives would ask me to "keep an eye" on their men, I'd tell them if they didn't trust their man, they shouldn't be with them. And the women, for some reason, always said "oh it isn't him I don't trust, it's the groupies who throw themselves at him" or some variation. I pointed out what bullshit that was, and some would go off and pout, and others would come to all the gigs just to make sure.
Bottom line is, you have to trust yourself, follow your own gut, or instincts, and not worry about others. They're sure not worrying about you! YMMV

Posted by: Flynne at May 5, 2008 10:19 AM

The most poignant word in PJ's comment is "boyfriend." In a world of hookups, it just sounds so quaint. There was a silly but admirably stubborn book about this a few years ago. One idea in it went like this: Of course girls grow up to want boyfriends. They want an attractive, successful guy to give them special attention and be concerned with their feelings and interests.

What the book never explained is why popular thinking nowadays is so fixed on the Fuck Years model. It looks like a premature surrender to the fantasies of dim teenage guys. "Well, these boys aren't going to grow up to be the men we want them to be anyway, so we may as well just play along..."

This not meant to indict Amy's thoughts, sincerity, choices, or history in any way. Her specific advice in this comment could probably do a lotta good for a lotta young women. (The preceding ass-coverage is presented as a measure of respect for the fact that she's shared private information with us.)

But on the other hand, we shouldn't ask people to ignore their nature for no good reason. Young women who want something more than hookups aren't hurting anyone. The messages they get from pop culture (MTV, advice columnists, etc.) ought to be as encouraging as those given to girls who sincerely want to party for awhile before growing up.

If women didn't hear that boyfriends were out of the question for so much of their childhood, they might do a better job of chosing them, thus reducing the incidence of divorce, etc. I think this is really important. Nobody, no one is asking women to make good choices in mate selection, and it's getting out of hand.

This is from a short commentary by Denis Dutton about Darwin:


>> Every Pleistocene man who chose to bed, protect, and provision a woman because she struck him as, say, witty and healthy, and because her eyes lit up in the presence of children, along with every woman who chose a man because of his hunting skills, fine sense of humor, and generosity, was making a rational, intentional choice that in the end built much of the human personality as we now know it.

Posted by: Crid at May 5, 2008 10:37 AM

Flynne, I'll turn fifty at the end of October. I'm wondering, do you see your friends of your age doing the same hooking up thing like they did when they were twenty something? I do, to an extent. While they are not doing it as often, they are doing it just as easily. I didn't expect that. I know a lot of people my age who are just a little less sexually active than they were when they were in their twenties. I also have several female friends close to my age willing to be 'fuck-buddies'. Most are single but some are married. I have also seen a lot of swinging with people of my age. I'm not really into that and some of my friends have looked down on me as somewhat of a prude because I don't really like the idea of sex as an exhibition sport. It seems to me that as you get into middle age, when you're not thinking about having kids anymore, it's almost easier to fool around becuase you're not really pressured to find a life partner anymore to have kids. And hell, even if you're in decent shape and still somewhat attractive, you can sense that you're years of good sex are limited, so you may as well use them while you can! YMMV.

Posted by: Bikerken at May 5, 2008 10:44 AM

I'm 49, and I've just gone through a hook up phase. I agree with the comment that there is no pressure to get a life partner, so you can fool around quite a bit. During the phase, I just wanted to see what was on the market, so to speak, and since I was (and still am) attractive and fit, there was a lot of selection.

After a while, it got kind of boring, and I know that after about a year, I tend to develop feelings for my fuck-buddies, so I'm on a break from all that.

My female friends in their 30s and 40s are either in a relationship that they're not happy with (settling), or have given up on men entirely.

Posted by: Chrissy at May 5, 2008 10:58 AM

It looks like a premature surrender to the fantasies of dim teenage guys. "Well, these boys aren't going to grow up to be the men we want them to be anyway, so we may as well just play along..."

Yes, absolutely. And it certainly did seem to me at the time that the boys were the ones having the most fun. You didn't see them crying in their Kool-Aid when their relationships didn't last - the more people they slept with, the more fun they had. If the girls could just learn to be that smart and adopt that attitude, I thought, they would have more fun, too!

I had previously been brainwashed by religious indoctrination that women were sullied, unclean, used, or damaged goods if they weren't saving themselves for marriages. I knew how silly that was, and I was trying hard to unlearn it and replace it with something more workable. (Not to mention more fun - sheesh, I've never been married but am glad I'm not still a virgin at the age of 38.)

Wanting a "boyfriend" DID seem quaint, even to my own ears. So I tried the "fake it till you make it" approach. I thought that the reason I didn't get enjoyment out of casual hook-ups was because there was something wrong with me. (Misplaced guilt, etc.) It really wasn't that, though. I didn't feel guilt about one-night stands, I just didn't get what I wanted out of them. (And that would be because I was ashamed of what I *did* want, and was trying to want something else.) To this day, though, my biggest aphrodisiac is a guy who is crazy about me and treats me like a queen.

I think it's interesting that the essays were all submitted by college students. The college environment is like summer camp - far removed from anything that even vaguely resembles the real world. I would like to read an equal number of essays from people paying bills, working full-time, and living truly independently, and see how those essays differed.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at May 5, 2008 11:13 AM

It looks like a premature surrender to the fantasies of dim teenage guys. "Well, these boys aren't going to grow up to be the men we want them to be anyway, so we may as well just play along..."

Yes, absolutely. And it certainly did seem to me at the time that the boys were the ones having the most fun. You didn't see them crying in their Kool-Aid when their relationships didn't last - the more people they slept with, the more fun they had. If the girls could just learn to be that smart and adopt that attitude, I thought, they would have more fun, too!

I had previously been brainwashed by religious indoctrination that women were sullied, unclean, used, or damaged goods if they weren't saving themselves for marriages. I knew how silly that was, and I was trying hard to unlearn it and replace it with something more workable. (Not to mention more fun - sheesh, I've never been married but am glad I'm not still a virgin at the age of 38.)

Wanting a "boyfriend" DID seem quaint, even to my own ears. So I tried the "fake it till you make it" approach. I thought that the reason I didn't get enjoyment out of casual hook-ups was because there was something wrong with me. (Misplaced guilt, etc.) It really wasn't that, though. I didn't feel guilt about one-night stands, I just didn't get what I wanted out of them. (And that would be because I was ashamed of what I *did* want, and was trying to want something else.) To this day, though, my biggest aphrodisiac is a guy who is crazy about me and treats me like a queen.

I think it's interesting that the essays were all submitted by college students. The college environment is like summer camp - far removed from anything that even vaguely resembles the real world. I would like to read an equal number of essays from people paying bills, working full-time, and living truly independently, and see how those essays differed.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at May 5, 2008 11:13 AM

Sorry - sticky mouse button.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at May 5, 2008 11:14 AM

Y'know, Bikerken, I do see some of that, but it's less so among my women friends than my men friends. I have a couple of men friends that actually pout when they get turned down! But then, they're going after younger women. I think that if they were going after women our age, they'd have a better chance. I'm happy hanging with the man I've got, and not really willing to share, and neither is he, so we won't being doing the swinger thing. Absolutely there's less pressure now than in previous years, and I see that in a lot of my women friends, especially the ones who hook up with younger men. They've already got kids, some have grandkids, so that option is totally off the table. But I've also seen the breakups that follow with this, and while some women pretend that it doesn't bother them, you can see that it does.

My female friends in their 30s and 40s are either in a relationship that they're not happy with (settling), or have given up on men entirely.

Chrissy, this strikes me as being rather sad. When are women going to understand that they don't need a man to be fulfilled? I had quite the drought in between the ex and the man I live with now, and it was up to me to fill the gaps, not some random stranger. Fuck buddies always end up breaking your heart; they're holding out for someone better than you (in their eyes), and don't want the attachment that inevitably happens. While they're looking for Ms. Right, they're settling for Ms. Right Now. I don't know of any of my friends who can honestly say that she didn't start developing feelings for her fuck buddy. Most cut it off before it got out of control, but then they just started going out to look for another. Wash, rinse, repeat. You can be lonely even when you're in a relationship. There's a difference between being lonely and being alone. Sometimes being alone is a relief. YMMV

Posted by: Flynne at May 5, 2008 11:15 AM

Flynne, I completely second your opinion about fuck buddies.

It makes me think of a guy I know who is 45 years old. Very good-looking, smart, has his act together, and seems like a great catch. He was married once and had two kids with his wife. They divorced after a number of years and he found someone else, the ONLY woman he says he has ever loved. She had never been married or had kids, but wanted to, and he (already with two kids) didn't want to get married again or have more kids. So they split up, and she went on to marry someone else and have the family she wanted. He has only had fuck buddies ever since, for about the last 15 years. It isn't that he is holding out for someone better - he isn't even looking for anything else. He just wants a woman he can have sex and dinner with a couple times a week, and he keeps his emotions totally removed.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at May 5, 2008 11:25 AM

>>> He just wants a woman he can have sex and dinner with a couple times a week,

The most over-rated thing in the world is lousy sex.

The most under-rated thing is taking a pretty woman in her best LBD out to a very nice restaurant and getting the works. Great meal, drinks, dessert, good atmosphere, good conversation, music. I love doing that and I don't mind dropping a couple hundred bucks to do it. It's well worth it to me. Sex don't have to happen afterward, but it's usually much better when you approach it with that kind of an evening. Theres no bigger turn on that when a woman gets really dolled up for you.

Posted by: Bikerken at May 5, 2008 12:10 PM

"When are women going to understand that they don't need a man to be fulfilled? "

I figured this out at a young age, and am grateful for it.

I did the hook up thing in high school and beginning of college. I got attached to some of the guys. I had fun but felt a little unfulfilled. I thought I was a decent catch but no one wanted to DATE me (didn't happen no matter how I played my cards). Which is why I did that whole "if you can't beat 'em join 'em" bit...

Then I realized I was bored with guys. I wanted a companion and was sick of this lack of fulfillment. I didn't blame anyone, not even myself. If I didn't click with anyone then so what. I consciously decided to just hang out solo for a while (which was really easy since I moved home from college to save money/get away from crazy drug selling, underwear snatching roomies).

Then BF came along. We hit it off right away. It was immediately comfortable and we didn't waste anytime get, er uh, better acquainted. The next day I felt chipper and never doubted he'd call. He did, two or three days later per The Book of Rules. We chatted and made plans for the following weekend. He was a good guy and I knew that right away.

2 1/2 years later we're still getting acquainted and still making plans.

Meanwhile, I see my gf's and enjoy alone time. If I said "let's move in together" he'd say "sure" but I don't want to rush it. I need to do my own thing for awhile before I get into a situation where I have to constantly compromise and consider another person. I love him very much but I'm 23 and need to be selfish for a few years (he's 29 so he's had that opportunity!).

I think I'm doing alright - I'm happy and no one's in a full body cast so that's good.

P.S: everyone's shared so much great stuff on this post and I've enjoyed all of you so much!

Posted by: Gretchen at May 5, 2008 2:55 PM

I'm enjoying everyone's comments too, very much.

I just wanted to clarify that I'm not like anyone I know, in that I'm not in a relationship that I'm bored with, nor have I given up on men. I adore men, and I'm very happy with my 'not-boyfriend', who I've been seeing for around 2 years. He's adorable, and makes me very happy. He's younger than me, and he actually has emotions, which I found strangely lacking in the men of my age group, so I really like that.

I enjoy my friends and my own company, find life fascinating and fun, and accept men as they are. I live in the moment, try to be very Daoist, so I'm very content.

I was married for 4 years, been divorced for about 12 years, and had 3 relationships in that time period, but never wanted to remarry or live together again, even though the guys wanted to.

Posted by: Chrissy at May 5, 2008 4:14 PM

Fuck buddies always end up breaking your heart; they're holding out for someone better than you (in their eyes), and don't want the attachment that inevitably happens.

I have to respectfully disagree with that. I was never holding out for someone better - not once, not ever. I just didn't want the relationship, commitment or monogamy. I always did my best to find women who felt the same and wanted the sex. I was always clear and upfront about my lack of any interest in a relationship or the big M. And if I suspected that feelings might be getting out of hand, I would end it.

On a couple of occasions I actually developed feelings of my own, so I always tried to be sensitive to what might be happening with the person. OTOH, all I did at that time in my life was play music, use drugs and fuck a lot - emphasis on the drugs, I was not always the most aware of what was happening. But I daresay that none of us gets through life without hurting others or being hurt. Some of us just try harder not to than others.

I would also daresay that while it probably happens that women develop feelings more often, men are quite prone to it as well. Sickeningly, some of the very men that a women might have developed feelings for, have done the same. But they figure that it's against the established rules and never pursue it. Such is life.

Posted by: DuWayne at May 5, 2008 6:03 PM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at May 3, 2008 11:38 AM

Comments

The sad thing about this is that since no one can scan for the actual content of a .jpg, .gif, .tif, .eps - or about eighty other graphics formats, it does nothing to halt the transmission of child pornography, etc., between people who know this.

I call this "gee-whiz disease": the mental condition which causes a halt to all thinking after a first action is taken.

I'm amazed that XM/Sirius is allowed some of its content. So many cars come with those radios it's ludicrous to claim that little Johnny and Susie can't hear Howard Stern - or worse - during the day (which is somehow an evil time to be doing what Howard does).

Posted by: Radwaste at May 3, 2008 6:34 AM

I can understand why the nanny-ware would block that, my question is, why were they using nanny-ware? Were you at a hotel? a University?

Posted by: Clinky at May 3, 2008 6:43 AM

Worse.

She's in New England.

We are infested, even in that bastion of freedom New Hampshire, with a bunch of senseless Puritans who recoil in horror that someone, somewhere, might be having fun.

Posted by: brian at May 3, 2008 7:01 AM

I'm at the Hilton. And hilariously, Nando found a DVD of hardcore 80s porn on top of their TV. I guess there's no nannyware against being very tall, like Nando. Well, not yet, anyway.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 3, 2008 7:50 AM

So the word "pedophile" itself is harmful to children? What pedophile is going to try to lure children by telling them he's a pedophile?

Posted by: Jim Treacher at May 3, 2008 8:06 AM

Perhaps the Hilton caters to a population of retarded kiddie diddlers?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 3, 2008 8:24 AM

Aha! I wondered where NAMBLA went after they got kicked out of South Park! o_O

Posted by: Flynne at May 3, 2008 8:40 AM

Won't somebody PLEASE think about the children?!

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at May 3, 2008 9:10 AM

So, I'm guessing all news outlets are blocked as well?

Posted by: snakeman99 at May 3, 2008 9:24 AM

never underestimate the human need to appear to be seen doing something... This is why I often have to be less clear when I reply to things on the net. When I am using a work PC there is no telling what words they are looking for.

the bottom line is "we'll remeber it for you at wholesale"... The very computer power that allows things like the net to happen, is also the power to control it...

Posted by: SwissArmyD at May 3, 2008 9:25 AM

Flynne, what do the North American Marlon Brando Look Alikes have anything to do with it?

Seriously, Jim Treacher is right, would you really expect to find the word pedophile on any site where adults were trying to lure children or a site where people were discussing the issue? It sure seems to me that there would be a more accurate way of judging the content of a site quickly and efficiently without getting this stupid. That being said, there are always a few dropped coins that will seek out the nearest crack and fall through it.

Posted by: Bikerken at May 3, 2008 9:31 AM

No need to drag Marlon in there. FYI, humor works best when it comes from truth.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 3, 2008 10:35 AM

Is there a gideon bible?

Posted by: jerry at May 3, 2008 10:36 AM

Fucking hell. That headline cracked me up. Brilliant.

Posted by: Jeff at May 3, 2008 1:45 PM

at a glance, i thought your headline read, "Child Saver"

THE IRONY!

no wonder you're busy, you're all the way over in New Hampshire! best of luck ms. amy(:

Posted by: Lina at May 3, 2008 9:21 PM

Amy- I take it you are not a South Park affeciando. In a South Park episode a while back, the National Man / Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) held their conference at the same hotel as the National Marlon Brando Look-Alike (NAMBLA) people. Hillarity ensued!

Posted by: eric at May 3, 2008 9:25 PM

er- North American MBLA...

Posted by: eric at May 3, 2008 9:27 PM

Whoops! Thanks for the explanation. Marlon was a friend, and I'm a bad idea for an enemy, but I stand up for my friends, even after they're dead.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 3, 2008 9:31 PM

We woke up this morning, and there was old Marlon and Jack Nicholson on TV in The Missouri Breaks...

Posted by: eric at May 4, 2008 8:41 AM

My favorite was Last Tango in Paris. He was one of the great ones. Never knew him, but from what I have heard, he was a real decent man too.

Posted by: Bikerken at May 4, 2008 12:27 PM

11 kids by five women says wikipedia, but I've heard as many as fifteen, and Wiki didn't include the daughter I worked with once (she had a Gadfatherly jawline).

This was not an entirely balanced individual man.

Posted by: Crid at May 4, 2008 12:28 PM

Yes, the nerd police block alot of traffic. I actually hate it when this happens. I find my americanmeth and streetgang websites blocked from hotels often. Doesn't matter to the puritan fucks running the place that I am speaking and writing about the dangers of methamphetamine. Oh well, there is always a solution:

Amy, just use a proxy when you are stuck in some place that blocks websites with nannyware. Just google up 'blocked site access' for a list of proxy sites, and keep a list of these sites handy for when you are in some puritan-infested nannyware location. The proxy blocks the nannyware from actually knowing what site you are on. Don't tell the kids, but it's a great way to get to porn sites from locked down corp environments without leaving a trail;-0

Posted by: Sterling at May 4, 2008 1:07 PM

Oh, and if the software is filtering text, that's a little tricker. I don't see how they would do that. I mean technically it's easy but shit you couldn't even read an online newspaper.

To deal with this, setup your home or office workstation for remote control, and connect to that workstation with a secure tunnel from whereever your travels take you. Everything you send and receive is encrypted, so even the nannyware is helpless to stop it. Unless it stops you from making the secure connection, in which case, find another less nazi-like hotel.

Posted by: Sterling at May 4, 2008 1:21 PM

we gotta do something ... this is something ... let's do it!

Posted by: Norman at May 4, 2008 2:49 PM

I'm actually suprised websense doesn't filter this site out. I think it's a great site but your ability to say what you're actually thinking without putting it through a PC filter usually triggers the websense people. For instance, Volokh.com is filtered and that's not offensive. I'm just hoping this site never gets filtered from me.

Posted by: Scott at May 5, 2008 7:44 AM

Volokh.com offends many -- for standing up for the Constitution, and Enlightenment values, and questioning bad laws made in the service of political correctness, just to name a few examples.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at May 5, 2008 8:19 AM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at May 2, 2008 11:36 AM

Comments

It may not levitate, but let me tell you, you can definitely make yogurt fly.

Enjoy your conference. At the keynote, listen carefully. That sound you hear will be thousands of radical feminists crying out in pain since they hate woman-hating evo-psychos and prefer their patriarchy conspiracy theory.

Posted by: jerry at May 1, 2008 11:19 PM

If anyone doubts my power, just note that I posted my comment more than 24 hours before Amy posted the entire post. I am more powerful than General Zod!

Posted by: jerry at May 1, 2008 11:25 PM

I remember when I became an atheist. I was sound asleep in my bed, woke up suddenly and decided I didnt believe in God. I felt a sudden relief, and fell promptly back to sleep. That's my story, wouldnt a religious person label this as a spiritual experience if instead I said "I woke up and suddenly believed in God, and felt relief and happiness" and use this to prove there is a God? What about me whose story is in reverse?

Posted by: PurplePen at May 1, 2008 11:31 PM

If anyone has deets for the Hitchens D'Souza event, please tell us where and when. I can't find anything about it on the web.

Posted by: Crid at May 1, 2008 11:41 PM

Can anyone ever give an example of an athiest regime? How about any type of athiest based government?

I can understand how some people are comforted by the notion of a god, and I'll admit there might indeed be one.

But I have to say if there is a god it is cannot be anything like the gods described by any religion to day.

Islam was founded by a child rapist, anyone who thinks a god would condone that is fucked in the head.

Nearly ever single christina sect in existance either gaurentees you will go to hell, or simply ignores the very rules set for by thier god.

Lutherans belive their faith is wrong, just better than catholocism.

Catholics, in addition to violating the ten commandments by praying to idols(icons, saints, virgin mary, etc), aid and abet the catholic church in finacing the removal of child molesters from public prosecution.

The Church of England is based soley on the whim of a serial killer wanting a divorce.

Protestism was founded on the basis of protesting the catholic churchs actions of selling indulgences and tourturing people to death for heresy. Unfrotunatly the edited the bible which carries a penalty of eternal damnation.

According to the bible jesus denied being god, so any church subscribing to the doctrine of trinity holds jesus not only to be god, but a liar. Tell me how can a liar be a god of all that is good and holy?

Ten minutes of rational thought applied to any religion whould show that they are ALL false. They either ignore their very sorce material or garuntee that you will never go to heaven.

What kind of all loving all powerful deity condems everyone to hell?

And suppose you do get into heaven, what is your reward?

It is an eternity of sitting around praiseing god telling him how great he is.

How fucking narcissistic is that?

You have supreme power, and you use it to create a testing ground rigged where everyone fails, and the special few you allow in get to sit around forever and tell you how swell you are?

I'll ask again How fucking narcissistic is that?

Posted by: lujlp at May 1, 2008 11:50 PM

Great post, lujlp.

And here's all I could find about the event, from D'Souza's website:

http://www.dineshdsouza.com/events/calendar.html

MAY 01, 2008

Forum with Christopher Hitchens & Dennis Prager, Orange County, CA


Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 2, 2008 1:26 AM

Welcome to the cold and dreary Northeast...shit weather this week.

Let me know if you're passing through Boston and I'll email some restaurant recommendations!

Lujlp - ditto.

Posted by: Gretchen at May 2, 2008 4:39 AM

Thanks, Gretchen. And I'm only passing through Manchester for a few days, and apparently, we're all staying near some fish restaurant that's supposed to be the best in the state.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 2, 2008 5:00 AM

Well, heck, Amy. If I had known you were making this trip, I would have waved at you when you flew over Wisconsin.

Posted by: Axman at May 2, 2008 5:14 AM

Amy, I know you and your supporters are very sensitive to criticism, but I can't resist two small points: 1) it should read "whoever taped it" and 2) I think "you do protest too much" re your atheism. I do believe in God but I don't have to mention it every time I put pen to paper the way you seem to have to do. It makes me wonder why.

Posted by: Kerry at May 2, 2008 7:11 AM

Because the inanities of faith are warping the human enterprise.

Posted by: Crid at May 2, 2008 7:21 AM

"It makes me wonder why."

Because she makes a living off telling people what she thinks. And what she thinks has a lot to do with her atheist (non)belief system.

Just a thought. I am certainly not claiming I can speak on her behalf.

Posted by: Gretchen at May 2, 2008 7:39 AM

You're right on "whoever" -- changed that, thanks -- and that's what I get for blogging at 2 am after a long plane flight. ("Whoever" would be answered by "he" taped it.)

As for why I mention god, if people who believed in god were just off doing rain dances and didn't try to legislate their religious beliefs on others, or worse, in the case of Muslims, try to murder, convert, or tax and humiliate infidels, well, I wouldn't have a problem with believers. Well, I'd find it sad and immoral that they raise their children to believe instead of to think. But, you don't see me blogging about astrology buffs, do you? They believe, without evidence, in some silly crap. But, they don't endanger my life or freedoms. So, I just laugh at them and don't devote much wordspace to them.

Kerry, why do you believe in god when there's no evidence god exists?

Oh, and I just looked at what Crid said. Yeah, that. I was too tired to write it shorter, to borrow from somebody or other.

And now, I'm going back to bed.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 2, 2008 7:39 AM

Have you heard that they call Manchester ManchVegas? :) Enjoy!

Posted by: Mary at May 2, 2008 8:05 AM

There's a great public Gun range 5 minutes from the Manchester airport if you're bored and have an urge to shoot an Uzi or an MP5.
Not that you'd be bored in Manchester ...

Posted by: Sean at May 2, 2008 8:05 AM

Pinker and David Sloan Wilson and all sorts of interesting people will be presenting their research here. What I do need is not target practice but three hours of sleep.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at May 2, 2008 8:19 AM

Can anyone ever give an example of an athiest regime? How about any type of athiest based government? (lujlp)
Atheist regimes: Nazi Germany, Maoist China, Stalinist Russia, North Korea. D'souza's point is that if we are to hold religions responsible for the actions of governments, then also we have to hold atheism responsible for the actions of governments.

Avowedly atheist societies have not proved more benevolent or more rational than religious societies. Quite the opposite. It's paradoxical.

Atheism is, simply, requiring evidence before believing in something. (Amy)
Well that's one conception of atheism. There are strong and weak versions of atheism.
Ten minutes of rational thought applied to any religion whould show that they are ALL false. They either ignore their very sorce material or garuntee that you will never go to heaven. (lujlp)
The idea of religions being "false," seems to be a category mistake. Atheists often err by assuming all religions are fundamentalist, but most aren't. So saying a religion is "false" is like saying that moral tales, like Flaubert's Madame Bovary, are false. Most religions conceive of religious texts as the shared stories of a common culture. Indeed, culture is probably nothing more or less than shared stories.

This turns out to be the value of religion. Religious societies have proved more resilient, more cohesive, less abusive of human rights, and more economically prosperous than non-religious societies. Most of the modern liberal ideas of human rights derive from religious beliefs about human flourishing.

For very good, if inconclusive, discussion of the issues involved, I recommend Rameau's Nephew. The Enlightenment thinkers were unsure about how society would develop without religion. The terrors of the 20th century seem to confirm their concerns.

Religion has a social value. It's still here because it has been very useful.

Posted by: Jeff at May 2, 2008 9:22 AM

I agree that religion is very useful.

Being condemned to hell is a whole lot scarier than 25-life.

Posted by: Gretchen at May 2, 2008 9:33 AM

It's still here because it has been very useful.

That's the question: has it been useful. If it had been useful, then it should still be here. It does not follow that since it's still here it must have been very useful. Otherwise, we'd have to say that the common cold must have been useful too, to mention just one thing. It's a logic error. (P implies Q) does not imply (Q implies P).

I'd accept that religion is not all bad - it does offer some benefits. But how can you weigh them up against the drawbacks? And it looks as if the balance is shifting on a worldwide scale.

Posted by: Norman at May 2, 2008 9:43 AM

Atheist regimes: Nazi Germany, Maoist China, Stalinist Russia, North Korea. D'souza's point is that if we are to hold religions responsible for the actions of governments, then also we have to hold atheism responsible for the actions of governments.

Ugh...this is so ridiculous, I was hoping I wouldn't have to get into this.

Hitler was a Christian, first of all, and the others weren't "atheist" regimes, because there's no atheist playbook like there is a Bible or a Koran. Atheism is not believing in god. It doesn't tell you to go kill people who believe differently, as do the Bible AND the Koran. Luckily, Jews and Christians have moved on from that advice. Too many Muslims have not.

As for the so-called success of "religious societies," societies saw real success when they practiced and practice Enlightenment values.

Religion is useful for keeping the sheep in line. But, guess what: Humans have evolved morality, and don't kill each other or cheat each other because it isn't in their self-interest. They cooperate because it is in their self-interest. And when our group size gets above the Dunbar 150 (which he speculates is the maximum human group size that can be self-policing) we have police forces to keep us in line.

I'm on deadline now, plus I have this conference. Norman and the rest of you, can you please take over with any further cleanup?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 2, 2008 9:44 AM

It does not follow that since it's still here it must have been very useful. Otherwise, we'd have to say that the common cold must have been useful too, to mention just one thing. It's a logic error. (P implies Q) does not imply (Q implies P).
Not so. You are equivocating over two sense of 'utility.' The common cold is a (marginally) living thing. Religion is a social practice of a living thing. Thus, your counter-claim fails.

I'm arguing on the warrant that social practices survive over long, long periods of time because they are useful. You'll need to address that warrant. Analogies with viruses won't work here.

Posted by: Jeff at May 2, 2008 9:49 AM

because there's no atheist playbook like there is a Bible or a Koran. Atheism is not believing in god. It doesn't tell you to go kill people who believe differently, as do the Bible AND the Koran. (Amy)
The "playbooks" do exist. You need only read the works of Marx, Trotsky, and Mao. For example, atheism is the bedrock of Mao's totalitarian "new man" concept.

I'm not saying that atheistic societies are necessarily more abusive than religious societies. Denmark is a mostly atheist country, and it's benign. But there is no reason to believe, from the historical record, that atheistic societies will be any more rational or less abusive than Western religious societies.

As for the so-called success of "religious societies," societies saw real success when they practiced and practice Enlightenment values. (Amy)
True. But Enlightenment values were mostly theistic in one way or another. I suggest it is no accident that the Enlightenment ocurred, that science flourished, in Western religious societies.
But, guess what: Humans have evolved morality, and don't kill each other or cheat each other because it isn't in their self-interest. (Amy)
This is too gross. It ignores qualitative differences between social moralities. Western religions seemed to have developed a more successful implementation of our "evolved morality."

Posted by: Jeff at May 2, 2008 10:00 AM

The idea of religions being "false," seems to be a category mistake. Atheists often err by assuming all religions are fundamentalist, but most aren't. So saying a religion is "false" is like saying that moral tales, like Flaubert's Madame Bovary, are false. - Jeff

So Jeff what you are saying is Madame Bovery acctually happened?

That Hansel, Gretal, and Goldilocks were real people. And that what they all went thru was hostorical fact, that we need to center our lives around them and legislate innane laws to force the populas at large to 'benifit' from the wisdom their biographies teach us?

Is that what your saying Jeff?

Posted by: lujlp at May 2, 2008 10:10 AM

Do you find it convincing when Muslim apologists cite Timothy McVeigh being a Christian as evidence of "Christian Terrorism"?

Neither do I.

And it's equally unconvincing when atheists cite Hitler being a Christian for similarly sophist purposes. As an Irish standup comic whose name I can't remember put it: "I'm about as much a Catholic as a cow born in a tree is a bird."

History will show that regimes that have criminalized religion have killed more people than religious regimes, at least in the 20th century. Why this should be I can't say, and the kill ratio may indeed become reversed in the 21th century, but we'd be in a better position to face the future if we're more honest about the past.

Posted by: Naif Mabat at May 2, 2008 10:16 AM

>> I ran into Christopher Hitchens, who said he was in ...

Amy, you're the bomb. Hitch isn't one of my favorite thinkers, but it would be cool to run into him.

Posted by: eric at May 2, 2008 10:22 AM

I am not an atheist (agnostic maybe?) but I can't help but blast this:

"The "playbooks" do exist. You need only read the works of Marx, Trotsky, and Mao. For example, atheism is the bedrock of Mao's totalitarian "new man" concept."

Atheism is not a set of rules and it is NOT a singular set of ideas. Atheism simply means you don't believe in something - that is unless you are presented with some sort of proof which is reasonable to you.

Religions give you all the answers, not urge you to find them. Atheism allows you to seek your own proof. Create your own unique framework for believing in god, afterlives, karma, whatever.

I don't know what Marx did in terms of religion, but I do know he was a great thinker of economics and human behaviors. Maybe I'm missing something there. I probably am.

Not believing in god (because there isn't sufficient evidence, which I think is subjective) doesn't necessitate your allegiance to everyone else who feels the same. Atheism is just a term for people to describe themselves as not believing in god, yet there is nothing binding about their whole belief system. I'm definitely repeating myself.

Furthermore, the insinuation that morality outside of religion is ludicrous. My statement about "being condemned to hell is scarier than 25-life" = religion is a tool that states can use to create good behavior. I find this insulting as morality and ethics exist entirely outside of religious context for me. I don't follow a religion yet have no desire whatsoever to kill, rape, steal, maim, etc. Those just aren't appealing activities, in fact they are revolting to me. I'd much rather DRINK MARGARITAS AND WATCH BSG TONIGHT! Sorry, I'm exciting it's Friday...

Maybe you should beef with Nietsche, not labor activists and revolutionaries...

Posted by: Gretchen at May 2, 2008 10:37 AM

Lujlp - go easy there! :-)

Posted by: Gretchen at May 2, 2008 10:39 AM

For Jeff
False religions

Islam - founded by a child rapist to justfy his actions - Highly doubt any god condones raping children

The Church Of England - Created by Henry the 8th, a serial killer who wanted a divorce - doesnt sound devinely inspired to me

Lutheranism - Created by Martin Luther. Luther himself said his church was a false church, but that it was slightly better that catholocism - Its own founder labels it as false

Catholocism - Under a banner of peace n love ran a thousand year campgain of death and torture. Venertaes idols in violation of the ten commandments. At one point declared the christ has no soul. Subscribes to the doctrine of triny which holds jesus god and the holy spirt are one being, unfortunatly jesus himself denied being god.

As nearly every christian sect in the world today holds to the doctrine of trinity they must be false. Unless jesus was a liar, but if jesus was a liar then obviously they would still be false.

The few sect which are not followers of trinity are Christadelphians, Jehovah's Witnesses, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Unitarians.

Christadelphians - belive that the bible was the only work inspired by god. Unfortunalty when jesus assended after the pentecost he said he was off to visit other 'sheep that were not of this flock' alluding to other belivers.(This phrase has been latched onto by mormons)

But it raises the question ifgod has followers elsewhere in the globe why would he deny them a religious text. As everyone claims god is unchanging it is obvious he wouldnt therefore Christadelphians are wong.

Jehovah's Witnesses belive only 144,000 people get into heaven. Out of all the people in all of the universe. If you were to simply take the people on the planet at this moment that would be .0024%. less than one quarter of one percent of people from right now. Imagine how small that number will be if you were to factor everyone who has ever or will ever live - it flies in the face of 'belive in me and you'll go to heaven'

Unitarians are an interseting bunch - they consider themselves christians but do not belive christ was the son of god. Kinda hard to have a christian faith that denies christ was the son of god, but they manage to wrap their heads around it.

I could go on and one about mormons as well if you'd like Jeff. Let me know if youd like me to. In the mean time if you can provide me with a religion that is true I'll be happy to look into it

Posted by: lujlp at May 2, 2008 10:45 AM

History will show that regimes that have criminalized religion have killed more people than religious regimes, at least in the 20th century. - naif

Well sir the 20th century is over, why hasnt history shown it yet?

And Hilter was a christian, denying to doesnt help your argument in any way

Posted by: lujlp at May 2, 2008 10:52 AM

And Mad Russian Roman Genn argues that communism was the state religion.

(Just bopping in for a second...thanks so much, Gretchen and lujlp, for the janitorial help!)

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 2, 2008 11:25 AM

lujlp: Jehovah's Witnesses belive only 144,000 people get into heaven.

What's the appeal for the 144,001st Jehovah's Witness?

lujlp: And Hilter was a christian...

Yes and no. It's more complex than that - history often is.

Hitler viewed mainstream religion like Napoleon and Marx did, as a means of keeping people under control. Hitler viewed Christianity as a religion for the weak and instead formed his own quasi-Christian religious views - a muddled mess of Ariosophy, the occult, racism, and select those portions of Christianity he deemed sufficiently Aryan and militaristic.

He wasn't an atheist - in the sense he never publicly denied the existence of God, but his view of God did not resemble the traditional Judeo-Christian view of God. He referred to a more vague "Almighty Creator" and "Providence" rather than to "God."

While he consolidated his power, he sought a religiously neutral Germany, fearing the political power that a state church not completely under the thrall of the Nazis would have.

Hitler tried to replace traditional Christianity with what the Nazis called, "Positive Christianity," which celebrated Christ as a fighter, organizer, and opponent of established Judaism - i.e., a Nazi. The issue of Christ's divinity was left deliberately vague.

In Hitler's view, Aryans were the chosen defenders of civilization while Jews were the enemies of civilization everywhere.

Hitler once lamented to Albert Speer that Islam would have been a better religion for the German people to have embraced than Christianity. He even appointed the grand mufti of Jerusalem an honorary major in the SS.

Documents from the Nuremburg Trials show the Nazis eventually planned to completely wipe out Christianity and substitute their own religion based upon Aryan racial superiority. Whether that religion could be called "Christian" is open to debate.

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian at May 2, 2008 11:44 AM

Hitler was as much a Christian as Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Muslim. In other words, not.

Whereas Ali decided that the religion was too barbaric and could no longer remain involved with it, Hitler decided that HE was God, and that Christianity wasn't sufficiently ruthless to guide the ubermenschen to their rightful place in the world.

Humans have an innate need to believe in something bigger than themselves. When spiritual religion is replaced by secular religion (as always happened in societies with messianic leaders (mao, hitler, stalin)) you get much larger quantities of slaughter than you ever do in societies led by believers.

Communism, which had as one of its central tenets that organized spiritual religion must be suppressed so that there would be nothing above the state, has killed more people in its short history than all religions combined in all of recorded history.

You could take a shortcut and say that atheism kills, but I won't pull a Ben Stein here. But the simple fact is that non-belief is not a hedge against irrationality as Amy and others here seem to believe.

Humans are not rational beings, they are rationalizing beings. And nothing focuses the mind so well as fear. The smart ones figured out that fear of eternal divine retribution worked out better than just about any worldly punishment they could threaten.

Posted by: brian at May 2, 2008 11:53 AM

Hitler a Christian? That's a new one. Anyone can call themselves a Christian, that's not the point. It's about following Christ. Hypothetically, let's say he did call himself a follower of Christ, did he follow Christ's teachings? Did Hitler practice the principle of "loving your neighbor"? What about feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty and helping those less fortunate?

I don't think so. So it's obvious
your point about Hitler being a Christian holds no water!

Posted by: thatsagreatquestion at May 2, 2008 11:57 AM

Jeff - Analogies with viruses won't work here.

Actually they work very well. The idea is described by Dawkins.

Whether or not any god exists, religions are systems of thought and values which exist inside people's heads. As such, religions need limited resources - people - in order to survive. Once the number of people who believe in a particular religion drops to zero, that religion is extinct. It may exist in a book, and who knows, it may have been the one truthful religion, but it has joined the thousands of extinct religions whose names and rituals we no longer even know. Occasionally you see primitive cave art from some of these extinct religions.

Religions spread mostly from parents to children. This is why religions and nations are roughly coextensive. You can draw maps of religion because of this. To a lesser extent people change religions, or drop in or out.

Thus, religions are a kind of organism that inhabits human minds and replicates. Religions also compete with each other for resources - namely, people's minds. They trumpet how many believers they have, and how fast their numbers are growing. Religions like Islam mention "paying the religious tax" in just about every second breath. Clearly by the time Islam was founded, it was well able to take advantage of a society where money and tax were well established, and was well able to see how important money is to an organisation.

So we have all the requirements for a form of life that is every bit as insidious as a computer virus - and every bit as hard to get rid of.

Finally, consider the following. When biological parasites invades their host, it is common for them to de-sex the host, so that the host does not spend any of its resources reproducing itself. This means that the host has more resources to reproduce the parasite. The Catholic Church requires that its priesthood is celibate - that is, de-sexed. The reason is that when priests were able to marry and have children, they would naturally spend time and money on bringing up their children, and would bequeath their estate to their children on death. Now, de-sexed, they spend all their efforts promoting the religion, and leave everything to the Church when they die. The parallel with biological parasites is striking and horrifying.

This is why the analogy holds.

Posted by: Norman at May 2, 2008 11:58 AM

Hypothetically, let's say he did call himself a follower of Christ, did he follow Christ's teachings? Did Hitler practice the principle of "loving your neighbor"? What about feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty and helping those less fortunate?

I don't think so. So it's obvious - thatsagreatquestion

If your going to hold up that as the standdanrd of being a christian, how many christians will acctually qualify?

And brian if you truley belive that communism has killed more people in the last 70yrs than religion has in all of recorded history you have no concept of numbers, time, or history.

Also you faild to provide a direct corrlation between athism and communism

Posted by: lujlp at May 2, 2008 12:08 PM

Jeff - The "playbooks" do exist. You need only read the works of Marx, Trotsky, and Mao.

But that's exactly the point: I'm an atheist and I don't need to read these books, and I never have. Well, I think I did look into Das Kapital as a student, but found it impossibly turgid. I wouldn't recommend it (and the ideas in it have been found wanting).

By contrast, every believer is encouraged to read and even memorise their holy book, to take it as absolute truth, and to hold it sacred.

Some people do get carried away by non-religious books; the result is effectively another religion, albeit not supernatural. So I'd say that the various totalitarian governments of last century were evil to precisely the extent that they resembled religions. The Communists with Marx, the Red Chinese with Mao's Little Red Book, the Nazis with Mein Kampf. I don't think you would have been any safer desecrating a copy of Mein Kampf in Nazi Germany in the 1930s than you would the Koran in Islamic Arabia today.

I do hope you can see the difference between atheism and religion. You won't find many atheists who will physically attack you for desecrating a copy of The God Delusion - unless it's a signed first edition or something. If they do, I'll stand with you.

Posted by: Norman at May 2, 2008 12:12 PM

"And brian if you truley belive that communism has killed more people in the last 70yrs than religion has in all of recorded history you have no concept of numbers, time, or history."

Ouch. The relation between communism, atheism, state secular religion, etc. can be debated. The magnitude of the communist death toll, however, is simply a fact. If you don't have time for a trip to the library today, you can find some rough figures here:

http://distributedrepublic.net/archives/2008/05/01/the-red-plague

Note that these exclude deaths related to Nazi Germany.

Posted by: Naif Mabat at May 2, 2008 1:13 PM

Interesting link, blame communism for anywhere between 40 million and 260 million deaths in 100 yrs.

In the hunndered yrs after Columbus reache the western hemisphere estimates put the death toll between 40 and 90 million.
And that was just in the new world durring the 16th century. Doesnt even count the deaths in the old world.

And that is just one century, still 18 others need to be counted up just for the AD side of the calender.

Sumerian cuenfor dates back alost 55 centuries before christ.

So lets recap - you are saying brian is right in his assumption that communism killed more people in the last hundered yrs the religion has in the last seven or eight thousand.

Remember a couple of paragraph ago when I showed how religion in the 16th century had the same base death toll estimate in one hemisphere as communism did?

I wonder what the toll is for the other 74 centuries? ANd thats not even counting what might possibly have happened durring pre history

Posted by: lujlp at May 2, 2008 2:13 PM

sorry that should read

Sumarien cuneiform dates back almost 35 centuries before christ

Posted by: lujlp at May 2, 2008 2:17 PM

Still hoping to hear the debate tonight, if anyone knows where it is, speak up.

Posted by: Crid at May 2, 2008 2:50 PM

"The idea of religions being "false," seems to be a category mistake."

Here you go then: pick the "right" one.

A bunch of these are exclusive. Logically, only three possibilities exist: 1) one religion is "right"; 2) all religions are "wrong"; 3) all religions are irrelevent except as inducements for men to influence other men.

Take your pick.

Posted by: Radwaste at May 2, 2008 3:06 PM

lujlp - I get it. If anyone was ever killed by a Christian for any reason, they were killed bor religion.

Right.

40-90 million killed where? In the name of what religion? We're talking "convert or die" kind of killing. War, etc. I'm not talking about wars of defense (like the Reconquista).

I'm talking about the kind of killing that Stalin engaged in against the Ukrainians. Or Mao's purges.

If you're going to start calling the colonization of America the product of religious killing, then we've got nothing to talk about besides your irrational hatred.

Posted by: brian at May 2, 2008 3:06 PM

brian,

sdj uv nnsdnkwj dmfnhf g shnc dmf ns dmm dhfv mdejjjc.


Failure to respond to my messgae will result in my men attacking your town, anyone who resistes will be killed, your women and children will be sold as slaves.

Imagine a boat load of people land on your shore - babble on in a language you have never heard. And when you fail to submit to their demands that you worship their god and bow down to their government they attack.

And I am not saying any time a christan killed someone it was attributable to religion. I'm saying anytime a religous person used their religion as justification it is attributable to religion.

But I am curious, if you think an idea like religion is never resposible for an idividuals actions, then how can you blame communism for the actions of Stalin and Mao?

Posted by: lujlp at May 2, 2008 3:40 PM

As for where, I think I was clear, I said the new world in the century after Columbus landed
American Holocust by Stannard

Posted by: lujlp at May 2, 2008 3:49 PM

Actually they work very well. The idea is described by Dawkins. (Norman)
Yes, I'm quite familiar with Dawkin's specious notion of meme evolution. I'll stipulate it for now.

Here's your analogy.

It does not follow that since it's still here it must have been very useful. Otherwise, we'd have to say that the common cold must have been useful too, to mention just one thing. (Norman)

First, a ruductio. Science can be said to spread in exactly the way you describe. Advanced scientific societies have lower birth rates than less scientifically advanced societies, and then by your assumption science seeks to neuter it's "host" too. In fact, it's worse. You use the example of Catholics (you err by failing to note Roman Catholics), but Catholics have higher birth rates comapared to non-religious people. Thus, with science the "parallel with biological parasites is striking and horrifying" too. Of course, this is ridiculous.

Second, another reductio. If ideas are organisms which can, over the long term, evolve contrary to the will and benefit of the people who hold them, then what are we to make of your ideas? What makes your parasites less pernicious than mine, for example? To answer this you will have to posit some non-parasitic idea, but all ideas have the characteristics you cite. Hence, you have forever removed all of science's ability to discriminate true from false. Of course, this is ridiculous.

Third, another reductio. it appears to most of us that we can reason. It seems to be a bedrock of science, for example. But reason is precisely the deliberate alteration of one's own ideas, including religious ideas. I, and surely many others, ceased being religious by the application of reason alone. No anti-virals were necessary. This is not possible with something like say, the cold virus. Ideas seem to have properties that viruses don't have, and also the other way around. Moreover these differences are essential to both. If the virus was alterable by human cognition alone, it would in fact not be a separate organism at all, It would be part of the cognitive system of a human. So we arrive at another absurdity: if your assumption is true, then viruses and many other organisms are all human, or at least part of a human. Of course, this is ridiculous.

Norman, ideas are not like viruses because ideas can be altered by the application of reason which is an act of the human will. Physical ailments are quite different.

Posted by: Jeff at May 2, 2008 4:34 PM

Atheism is not a set of rules and it is NOT a singular set of ideas. Atheism simply means you don't believe in something - that is unless you are presented with some sort of proof which is reasonable to you. (Gretchen)
Nor is religion a singular set of rules. But this is peculiar. Science is a singular set of rules and no one complains about that. I'm not sure what the problem is here.

Taking up the weak form of atheism you've mentioned, a number of societies have attempted to build a cohesive society under using atheism as one of their bedrock principles. These societies have proved to be neither more rational, more prosperous, nor more cohesive. You aren't "missing something," but I think you may be going further than what has been claimed.

Religions give you all the answers, not urge you to find them. Atheism allows you to seek your own proof. Create your own unique framework for believing in god, afterlives, karma, whatever. (Gretchen)
I agree with the second sentence, but disagree with the first. Modern science developed out of the religious notion of natural theology. Many, many great scientists were devoutly religious. How can this square with your first sentence?

Posted by: Jeff at May 2, 2008 4:47 PM

And I am not saying any time a christan killed someone it was attributable to religion. I'm saying anytime a religous person used their religion as justification it is attributable to religion. But I am curious, if you think an idea like religion is never resposible for an idividuals actions, then how can you blame communism for the actions of Stalin and Mao? (lujlp)
Then let's blame atheism anytime someone uses "wiping out superstitious religion" as a justification for killing, too, or when someone kills in the name of scientific and technological advancement. (That's Mao and Stalin respectively, by the way.)

No one is saying religious people have never done violence. Some of us are pointing out that we must also blame atheism, yes even weak atheism, if we are to blame religion for violence. Lest you are deceived, I am prepared to blame religions for violence, and atheism too.

As for the bit about warring on American Indians, all states expand by conquest. The atheistic states of the twentieth century most especially. Also, it was religious people who most fervently argued the case for humane treatment of Native Americans. There doesn't seem to be a distinction between Stalin starving the kulaks to relieve them of their "religious superstitions" and the incidents you cite.

Such insight must be hard for an impoverished intellect that can find no truth in literature. I say: blame Dawkin's memes. You're infected!

Posted by: Jeff at May 2, 2008 5:13 PM

Science is a singular set of rules and no one complains about that. I'm not sure what the problem is here.

Science is a singular set of rules that were established by observation, experimentation, and peer review. Any rule is subject to being overturned when new knowledge is discovered.

Religion's rules are faith-based. They are only overturned in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary (the world is not, in fact, flat and the sun does not revolve around the earth) and sometimes not even then (the absurd persistence of creationism).

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian at May 2, 2008 5:24 PM

Science is a singular set of rules that were established by observation, experimentation, and peer review. Any rule is subject to being overturned when new knowledge is discovered...Religion's rules are faith-based. (Conan)
Ah. Exactly right, IMHO. The essential difference is how the rules are justified.

So, tell me. What justifies the physicist's belief in the existence of forces? I'm very sure it's not observation. Don't get me wrong. I'm not disputing the usefulness of forces for predicting phenomena. But sometimes what is useful is purely conceptual, and not an existent.

What of these forces? Ever observed one?

Posted by: Jeff at May 2, 2008 6:41 PM

Ever hear of gravity genius, how about magnitism? Ever observe that?

Posted by: lujlp at May 2, 2008 7:00 PM

I feel like I'm beating my head on a rock. There is so far to go with logic and the history of discovery - indeed, the very formation of belief. Yet people who have never even suspected what a reasoning process is presume to tell all about the Earth and everything on it.

Jeff (and others) we define things in order to discuss them with others as to what they are, what they mean and how to use them. This is awesomely difficult to explain to people who have made it a habit of assuming that what they see is what there is - and no more. This is also difficult to explain to people who do not understand that measurements mean things. We are not restricted to observing the reflection of light to "see".

Most people are inherently so egotistical they will not learn this.

There are literally hundreds of reputable sources you can visit to determine what forces are. Four fundamental ones are in use right now in front of you, in your computer. They have definitions, and are every bit as real as air, which you also cannot see. Now pardon me while I go spit.

Posted by: Radwaste at May 2, 2008 7:25 PM

Jeff - a physicist's "belief" in forces is due to the fact that HE FUCKING OBSERVED THEM IN HIGH-SCHOOL PHYSICS.

You can't see alcohol. Can you drink a fifth of Stoli and not get drunk?

You can't "see" electromagnetic force. But you can for damn sure measure it. Don't believe me? Stick a couple unbent paper clips in those little slots you see in the wall all over your house and touch your tongue to them. Is your hospital visit purely conceptual, or did you observe it?

Lujlp - you're being an asshole. The Puritans didn't wipe out indians who didn't convert. Cortez didn't kill indians for not converting. In the first case, any deaths were purely accidental (nobody had worked out the germ theory of disease in 1620). And Cortez was just there to steal.

The Crusades, in as much as they could be considered "religious" wars were simply wars of defense and retribution. The Islamic invasions of Europe, while for the expansion of Islam, were still EXPANSIONIST. Which makes them territory and ideology. Which sounds an awful lot like the Nazis and Soviets.

Mao's was purely ideological. And frankly, I think that makes him asshole of the century. Hitler killed people for land, and while he was at it he decided to throw a little hate-crime in for good measure (flame me for trivializing the Holocaust and I'll melt your screen). Stalin was a paranoid motherfucker who liked to kill people, and then steal their territory. Mao? He actually believed that he could create the perfect man, if only he killed all the imperfect ones.

That whole "True Believer" schtick makes Mao the Number 1 motherfucker of all time in my book.

Name for me any religious movement that can say they killed 40 million people at all, never mind in one go and in the space of a decade.

Not even the Muslims with all their combined attacks on Europe from 600 and change to today can hit those kinds of numbers.

Posted by: brian at May 2, 2008 7:53 PM

I probably cant name one religious movement that killed 40 million for two reasons. First there werent as many people in existance in such a concentration. Look a graph of human population growth rates.

Second I am not singleing out any ONE religious denomination or faith. I am counting them all.

From christianity, to jeudaism, to islam, to the greek and roman pantheons, to norse mythology. I am counting the religous sacrifices of the atzetcs, to the indian practice of throwing widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands.

I am counting the deaths that occured during the constrution of edifices to false gods. I am counting all who died in the afrcian slave trade after the papal decree that africans could not be freed for converting because their country of origin was not a catholic satalite state
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dum_Diversas

Am I being an asshole? Yes, but lets face it being nice to morons isnt very productive, by shoving it down your throat you are forced to acknowledge it, at least, for awhile


Posted by: lujlp at May 2, 2008 8:51 PM

Yeah, Hitler was decidedly a Christian as well as an occultist (not that Christianity doesn't have its own magic show), and his entire staff was steeped in a perverted vision of Christianity with Jesus granting them dispensation for their evils.

Religion. It's good for fleecing and herding the sheep, starting wars, and hiding crimes.

http://www.nobeliefs.com/henchmen.htm

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at May 2, 2008 10:44 PM

Actually you could argue that the old Soviet Union was an Atheist Regime. You could make a similar argument for the old Khemer Rouge of Cambodia, or the present day North Korean government.

There have been & presently are a few places you could count as Atheist Regimes in the narrow definition of a government that is hostile to religion in general. The most extreme examples attempt to replace any divinity with the ruling party.

One thing I'll say in favor of religion in general...at least the ones that don't demand that nonbelievers die or pay extra taxes...over atheist reletavism:

When morality is relative, the only morals are the convenient ones.

Posted by: Robert at May 3, 2008 1:19 AM

Morality is relative, whether you are religious or not. In terms of Xianity, was Jesus' crucifiction a good thing or a bad thing? If morality is absolute, you can't say it was good for us but bad for Jesus.

Posted by: Norman at May 3, 2008 2:32 AM

Norman - if you take the Christian mythos in its entirety, Christ HAD to die. It was part of the plan.

Lujlp, I don't care how hard you shove it down my throat, YOU'RE STILL WRONG. Being an asshole about it doesn't make you less wrong. Arguing population density doesn't make you less wrong.

The numbers have been run. The total body count in the 20th century attributed directly to Socialist pogroms is in excess of 100 million. That isn't counting casualties of war (like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, or the war dead of Hitler). Just civilians killed for the good of the state.

The only way you can approach that with religion is to start claiming slavery, Manifest Destiny, and defense. And you STILL wouldn't hit a tenth of a billion people.

You are welcome, however, to continue trying.

Posted by: brian at May 3, 2008 4:49 AM

Brian - [...] Christ HAD to die [...] Just say whether it was absolutely good or absolutely bad.

Posted by: Norman at May 3, 2008 6:13 AM

Is the death penalty absolutely good or absolutely bad? What Jesus was accused of carried such a penalty (as did most anything in those days) in the eyes of the Romans.

If you accept the life and death of Jesus as the will of God, then you would certainly consider it absolutely good - the Christian faith is predicated upon the death of Jesus redeeming the fallen for their sins. No dead Jesus, no path to salvation.

If you're a muslim, you consider the death of Jesus to be the final act of sedition against the Lord by the Jews, and therefore absolutely bad.

If you're a buddhist, I don't know how you'd view it. I suspect that the answer to your question in that frame of reference is 'mu'.

Posted by: brian at May 3, 2008 7:06 AM

Of course, when attempting to judge the "absolute" morality of an act, you also have to consider the actors.

At the time (and even by modern standards) the Roman Empire was hardly a bastion of morality. Government by whim. Wanton exploitation of the underclasses. Given that, it would be hard to assign a positive to anything they did. From that frame of reference (in other words, discounting the divinity of Christ) the killing of Christ was absolutely bad.

In this one specific case, the morality of the situation is not relative, but it exists in both states. If you do not accept the divinity of Christ, then it was an immoral act perpetrated by an immoral regime. If you accept the divinity of Christ, then it was the expected reaction of the Romans to having their apple-cart upset.

Posted by: brian at May 3, 2008 7:13 AM

I'm qualified to answer the question about Jehovah's Witnesses.

They believe the political forces of the world are going to unite against them. (I know, it's sort of cute that they consider themselves so relevant, but bear with me.) They believe that in the "Last Days," everyone in the world will either become a Jehovah's Witness or turn against them. And then, at that point, God will step in and kill all the bad people who are against the Jehovah's Witnesses.

If you have already died through natural causes at that point, never fear - you will be resurrected and given a chance to become a Jehovah's Witness. No one really knows whether EVERYONE who has died in the past will be resurrected, or if God just deems some of them too evil to bother with. (Like Hitler - it seems unlikely that he would be resurrected, for example. But you never know.)

Then the earth will be restored to the Garden of Eden and all the Jehovah's Witnesses will live forever in paradise. They will have eternal life, eternal youth, perfect health, and (one presumes) straight teeth with no cavities and the end of the common cold. So the alternative for #144,001 is pretty good. But they do believe that out of the entire surviving lot, 144,000 (many of whom have already lived on this earth and died) will be/have been chosen to sit at the right hand of God in heaven. I think Jesus' apostles are included in that group, and some other ones mentioned in the Bible, like the people who had the tongues of fire appear over their heads in that one story.

But, other than that group of 144,000 and the chance at resurrection, Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in any type of afterlife, or that the soul lives outside the body. They do not believe Hell exists. Heaven is only for God, Jesus, the angels, the 144,000, and for the rest of the people it's either eternal life on earth or eternal non-existence in death.

Thank you everyone, I'm here until Thursday. Try the veal.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at May 3, 2008 8:12 AM

brian, mainfest desitny was a religious justification for the wholesale slaughter of millions.

And thnks to the catholic church slavey became a point of relgiogius justifiction as well, so I do claim those.

But you still have failed to answer my question.

If you truley belive an idea like religion is not in any way responsible for the actions of individuals then how can you blame an idea like communism for the actions of Stalin and Mao?

Its been almost 24hrs and you've posted 3 times since I asked to answer the question already.

Posted by: lujlp at May 3, 2008 12:59 PM

Ever hear of gravity genius, how about magnitism? Ever observe that? (lujlp)
There are literally hundreds of reputable sources you can visit to determine what forces are. (Radwaste)
You can't "see" electromagnetic force. But you can for damn sure measure it. (brian)

Bear with me. I'm playing slow here to make a point.

On magnetism, I've observed that certain arrangements of matter cause changes in other arrangements of matter. In fact, all of my measurements of magnetism are simply measuring the degree of re-arrangement.

When we say that forces exist, aren't we really just saying: "I have a mathematical relation, called a force, which accurately predicts the re-arrangement of matter under these such-and-such conditions?" In other words, we (even the hard-core atheist scientist) posit the existence of unobservables --- just because it's useful.

It seems that pragmatic criteria lead even the most die-hard empiricists to posit the existence of things never observed. Then why can't others legitimately posit the existence of unobservables, if it's useful?

Posted by: Jeff at May 3, 2008 1:59 PM

mainfest desitny was a religious justification for the wholesale slaughter of millions. (luljp)
I'm a Texan, so I know a bit about the "manifest destiny" movement, and it was not a religious movement. It started as an argument for annexing Texas.
And thnks to the catholic church slavey became a point of relgiogius justifiction as well, so I do claim those. (luljp)
Slavery was widely practiced the world over until it was eradicated by the same Western religious tradition you so revile.

You misunderstand or are ignorant of the origins and attitudes towards slavery in the ancient world. If you were a humanitarian in the ancient world, you advocated for slavery because the only alternative was massacre. When political power was traced through bloodlines, the only way to annihilate the political power of a state was to kills it's people. Since slaves had no political rights, humanitarians urged kings and princes towards slavery instead of genocide. For example, most of the African slaves imported to the US were captives from internecine tribal wars among Africans themselves.

After the Enlightenment, when the American experiment proved that political power did not need to rest with a high-born elite, the practice of slavery declined in the West. It didn't anywhere else. Why should Western political or religious institutions apologize for being the first civilization in history to eradicate slavery in its midst?

Why does the Republican Party have so many religious fundamentalists in it? Because the Republican Party was founded to eradicate slavery by defeating the pro-slavery Democratic Party. Most opposition to slavery in the ante bellum US was from precisely the fundamentalists you so despise, and they entered the Republican Party to vote out the pro-slavery Democrats. Unfortunately, Democrats were so attached to slavery that it required a war to actually oust them from power. Hence, to this day you have lots of fundamentalist Christians in the Republican Party. Why should those fundamentalists apologize for ending slavery on the US continent?

The ironic contradictions in your views are rather funny. You have a cartoon-version of history swimming around in your Leftist brain.

Posted by: Jeff at May 3, 2008 2:17 PM

If you truley belive an idea like religion is not in any way responsible for the actions of individuals then how can you blame an idea like communism for the actions of Stalin and Mao?

Its been almost 24hrs and you've posted 3 times since I asked to answer the question already.

I haven't answered your question because I'm not in the habit of defending things I did not say.

I've spent too much time on the internet having my words twisted, or having things attributed to me that nobody in the conversation came close to saying. And I don't fight straw men.

When you can come to a zeroth approximation of what I actually said, then we can have a conversation. Until then, I see no question worthy of answer.

Posted by: brian at May 3, 2008 7:42 PM

Jeff:

When we say that forces exist, aren't we really just saying: "I have a mathematical relation, called a force, which accurately predicts the re-arrangement of matter under these such-and-such conditions?" In other words, we (even the hard-core atheist scientist) posit the existence of unobservables --- just because it's useful.

That's what we might teach in the sixth grade. But it's not the state of the art.

We may not know of the specific quantum reactions that take place in a magnetic field, no. But we can observe them, measure them, and explain them to an insane amount of precision. Consider the bit density of the 500 GB hard drive in my computer. If we were merely dealing with a postulate, there's no way it would work. But the fact of magnetic fields and electrical fields, the relations between them, and their effect on permanently magnetized materials (hint - it has to do with atomic alignment, which HAS been observed) is known, and can be controlled with microscopic precision.

I've seen how the inside of a microchip works. I understand it. The equations aren't abstract. I can give you the equations that will tell you the precise temperature you can expect a transistor to generate for waste heat based upon its geometry, the operating voltage, the bias circuit, and the switching frequency.

Electronics is a real science. It is measurable in excruciating detail (IBM is doing amazing things with atom-sized transistors). Memetics is mumbo-jumbo meant to make people money by trying to make thoughts seem like independent entities.

Posted by: brian at May 3, 2008 7:51 PM

"It seems that pragmatic criteria lead even the most die-hard empiricists to posit the existence of things never observed. Then why can't others legitimately posit the existence of unobservables, if it's useful?"

Others can, and do. I hope that you understand that the first time such a thing fails of support, it must be abandoned. Also, a very large number of people do not have the training to understand what "legitimate" means; though this can be self-taught, it usually isn't - I've had to deal with all sorts of idiocy because people like the sound of their own voice. The history of religion is the history of believing things for which there is no support other than the collection of other "could'a, should'a, would'a"s. The pinnacle of "logic" in the religious mind produces that awesome situation where one statement in the Bible is asserted to be true because another passage in the Bible refers to it.

Really want to confuse a Creationist? Ask them why they think "Creation" happened when we do not have evidence of it today. Sometimes you'll get a blank stare, or the subject will be changed immediately because it seems so obvious that only a lunatic would say that. But everything you can see was converted from something else, not "created".

Posted by: Radwaste at May 4, 2008 6:26 AM

Regards slavery and religion in the U.S.
The Republican party only reluctantly became an actual anti-slavery party. It is true that many abolitionists did reside in it, before Lincoln changed his tune that slaves ought be freed (and then only in the rebelious states). Lincoln clearly said his priority was union, not freeing people of their fetters.
And Jeff, you seemed to not bring up how so much of the Souths argument for continuing and expanding slavery was entirely through religious appeals-other fundamentalists. You mentioned what the north had. I hope you take a measured view. Both north and south were religious, and appealed with religious arguments on why they were correct. Because both major sides saw themselves as religious, I think it effectively disarms any argument that appeals to religion as being the savior of that conflict- because other practitioners of that religion were the ones enslaving.
It took a bloodbath and I think the better side won.
I also think that Reagan and his coalition of morality, freemarket and defense minded people explains more the makeup of republicans of yesteryear than because the democratic party of 1861 was proslavery. That democratic party has changed a lot, so has the republican party.

Posted by: Abersouth at May 4, 2008 8:53 PM

think it effectively disarms any argument that appeals to religion as being the savior of that conflict- because other practitioners of that religion were the ones enslaving.(Abersouth)
Who's claiming that religion was a savior in the conflict? Not me. You've written a nice post about a straw man. I'm saying that one can't monolithically blame theism for slavery, as some have done here.

The religious nature of the abolition movement is often forgotten. It results in unfair, and sometimes untruthful, characterizations of religious peoples. Religious people have political and ideological differences just like everyone else. You can find religious people on all sides of all issues. So, you can east easy when you write,

I hope you take a measured view. Both north and south were religious (Abersouth)

I do note however, that you have not urged my opponents to such a measured view, which tells us much about your own.

I also think that Reagan and his coalition of morality, freemarket and defense minded people explains more the makeup of republicans of yesteryear than because the democratic party of 1861 was proslavery. That democratic party has changed a lot, so has the republican party (Abersouth).

I do not agree. The two parties ahve been remarkably consistent in their political philosophies. Reading period Democratic arguments for extending slavery into the Western territories, I am always struck by how closely they align with arguments for affirmative action and other state transfers of wealth.

I will concede that Wilson and the two Roosevelts altered the Democratic Party towards an English version of socialism. The Progressives erected the entire, unconstitutional edifice of the administrative state. They sought to create a nanny society.

But that term, 'nanny,' is too benign. Such a state is not very different from a large plantation with government masters. What party advocated for that kind of social arrangement, in the past?

I will also concede that neo-conservatism represents a radical and unwanted change. So yes, Reagan did change things.

But still, overall, it is notable how consistent both parties have been to their founding political philosophies.

Posted by: Jeff at May 5, 2008 6:52 AM

That's what we might teach in the sixth grade. But it's not the state of the art. (brian)
Teaching model theory in the sixth grade? Very impressive, I say.
But we can observe them, measure them, and explain them to an insane amount of precision. (brian)
Careful. Measurement and explanation are very different things. Facts don't explain anything. Every thing is explained by resort to interpretations and theories.
The equations aren't abstract. (brian)
Yes, they are. The interpretation of the equations is what removes the abstractness. This is the fundamental error so often committed by engineers. Math models the real world; it isn't the real world. Who's being a rationalist now?
Memetics is mumbo-jumbo meant to make people money by trying to make thoughts seem like independent entities. (brian)
But that is your error above!

Posted by: Jeff at May 5, 2008 7:05 AM

The pinnacle of "logic" in the religious mind produces that awesome situation where one statement in the Bible is asserted to be true because another passage in the Bible refers to it. (Radwaste)

Really? That's the pinnacle? So, Grotius and Galileo aren't up near the pinnacle? I dunno, Rad.

I hope that you understand that the first time such a thing fails of support, it must be abandoned. (Radwaste)
Indeed I do. We may disagree on what counts a support, though. Anyway, it might make for an interesting conversation. I certainly reject the view that science "works" by falsification.
The history of religion is the history of believing things for which there is no support other than the collection of other "could'a, should'a, would'a"s. (Radwaste)
This is true. Papal infallibility comes immediately to mind.
But everything you can see was converted from something else, not "created". (Radwaste)
I appreciate the scientific mind's reluctance to engage in metaphysics, but doesn't this just push the question back, from what was the universe converted?

Posted by: Jeff at May 5, 2008 7:18 AM

Jeff, I'm not going to get into an extensive discussion about the physics of semiconductors here. Suffice to say that if the model was inaccurate, it wouldn't be worth the paper it was written on.

If there's some magical pixy dust that makes electrons behave in so specific and predictable a way in a doped semiconductor, then you're right, and the model doesn't "explain" anything. But if there's no reason to believe in God, then there's even less reason to believe in "magic smoke".

I can explain transistor theory to you, but even with my undergrad level of education, I'm pretty much stuck at the electron level of explanation. I have a grasp on the quantum-level explanations of what's going on in there, but I've been out of that field of study for over a decade. And even at that, your insistence on a meta-physical explanation of hole migration is going to send the whole thing into a ditch anyway.

Electrons, quantum states, valences, conductivity. These are all measurable and controllable properties. If the explanations weren't sufficiently good, then the computer you are reading this on simply could not be. Alchemy is not science. And electronics are not alchemy.

Posted by: brian at May 5, 2008 8:00 AM

Suffice to say that if the model was inaccurate, it wouldn't be worth the paper it was written on. (brian)
Who's challenging the accuracy, or validity, of the model? Not me.
If the explanations weren't sufficiently good, then the computer you are reading this on simply could not be. (brian)
Who's saying they're not sufficiently good? Not me. In fact, I've noted the extraordinary usefulness of the concept of forces.
Alchemy is not science. And electronics are not alchemy. (brian)
From where did that red herring come.

Posted by: Jeff at May 5, 2008 8:57 AM

How many people are posting here with the handle "Jeff"?

You've tried to compare a belief in invisible physical forces with a belief in God. You've implied that we take it on faith that our models are accurate, but don't explain anything.

And now you're acting like you didn't just say all those things.

In the immortal words of Lou Costello, "One of us is nuts!"

Posted by: brian at May 5, 2008 10:08 AM

Jeff,
I agree one oughtn't to monolithically blame theism for slavery. People enslaved people, and used religion as a tool.

You wrote "The religious nature of the abolition movement is often forgotten. It results in unfair, and sometimes untruthful, characterizations of religious peoples. Religious people have political and ideological differences just like everyone else. You can find religious people on all sides of all issues."
I don't get why you have at least twice now brought up the "religous nature" of the abolition movement, but failed to bring up the "religious nature" of the slave holders until I brought it up. If we find religious people on all sides of all issues, what does that tell us about the worth of religion? To me it speaks volumes to it's plasticity to justify anything.

I will concede that their have been consistencies of thought through the two major parties since their inception. But neither has been some unchanging rock over time. And I partly agree with you concerning the radical change brought on by neo-conservatism. I'm not sure how much of the blame of neo-conservatism is Reagan's. What I was talking about earlier was his coalition of limited government, defense minded and religious morality type peoples. I think after Reagan the limited government types have been effectively cast out of the republican party.

I cannot argue with a lot of what you say about the history of the democratic party. I didn't follow "the two Roosevelts" part though, because Teddy was no Democrat. He changed the Republican party a lot, and did a bit of cowboy imperialism. Not saying I'm a fan of him.

Posted by: Abersouth at May 5, 2008 10:41 AM

Jeff wrote-
"Slavery was widely practiced the world over until it was eradicated by the same Western religious tradition you so revile."

Here is where you credit the Western religious tradition for saving slaves from their enslavement.

Then I argued (basically) that the Western religious tradition was fractured, some religious minded people seeing slavery as bad, others as good. Then you accused me of using a straw man argument.

"Who's claiming that religion was a savior in the conflict? Not me. You've written a nice post about a straw man."

I hope you figure out what you mean to say on this subject, because I can't.

Posted by: Abersouth at May 5, 2008 10:53 AM

Abersouth - thank you for confirming my suspicions. I was relatively certain that I was not going mad (or at least not any madder than I already am).

Posted by: brian at May 5, 2008 12:10 PM

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Posted by aalkon at May 2, 2008 5:06 AM

Comments

Two of my daughters prefer boy stuff-they are also on the autistic spectrum. Simon Baron-Cohen has hypothesized that autism is partly an over-maleness of brain development (also that 4/5 finger length stuff-tied to hormone levels in utero).

My only non-autistic child loves pink, dolls and girly stuff. She also loves the real microscope we gave them for Christmas. Genes provide the basic tendencies, but society does play a role in how these are played out.

Posted by: Ruth at May 2, 2008 5:53 AM

Interesting! Both of my girls are kinda girly, but not fru-fru girly; #1 doesn't care for pink anything, while #2 will wear pink just as often as any other color. Neither one will wear lace anything (according to both, "it itches!"). Both played with dolls and stuffed toys pretty equally, but #2 also likes to build things with Legos, while #1 prefers reading, drawing, and listening to/playing music. #2 shows signs of being more mechanically inclined than #1. (I am more mechanically inclined than 2 of my brothers, both younger, and less so than my older brother, but we've both rebuilt car engines, and done extensive repairs on our cars, with help from another male friend, who actually is a mechanic!) All 3 of my brothers and I are excellent cooks, but I'm better in the dessert department than they are. We're also all musically inclined, although Brother #1 is the most adept at playing by ear.

Posted by: Flynne at May 2, 2008 6:23 AM

Gee, do you think that ANYTHING upon which feminism depends will turn out to be true? Still waiting ...

Posted by: Jay R at May 2, 2008 6:36 AM

I never played with dolls, they weirded me out (so did store mannekins). I only liked stuffed animal toys and real animals, lego, reading a lot, music. I never had a Barbie either. My ring finger is longer than my index finger, so I guess I've got too much testosterone!

Posted by: Chrissy at May 2, 2008 6:43 AM

The last bit made me laugh - it's exactly how I was (and still am)!

I had purses which I'd fill with Barbie lip gloss and plastic play jewelry (why I needed to put it in the bag, not wear it, I don't know). I also had a ring that would flip open to reveal solid pineapple scented perfume for kids. These days it's Cole Haan patent leather purses, Lancome lipsticks and Molinard solid perfumes. My mom didn't give those things to me to make me girl-y, I wanted them! And still do! Just writing about this is making me want to go to Sephora.com and make an impulse purchase!!

I loved Legos, though I always built houses. I'd make bedrooms, t.v. rooms, private bathrooms. It was very intense. I discovered The Sims and it rekindled my love for designing houses - I can spend an entire day sitting in my Poang chair from IKEA building houses in The Sims. But Tonka trucks? Thomas the Train? NEVAH!

Posted by: Gretchen at May 2, 2008 7:54 AM

Oldest of seven. Four brothers. The things we did to each other were only kept in check by a dad who was tougher than all five of us put together.

On another topic, looking at all my nieces and nephews, I think a lot of the disparity in boys vs girls in school is that boys develop slower. Starting most boys a year later than girls might be a good first step.

Posted by: austin at May 2, 2008 8:05 AM

I loved, loved, loved dolls. Had a ton of 'em. Also had a dollhouse back in the day. My favorite color is still pink. Of course, I hate lace - itchy! - and these days my toy preferences lean more towards AV equipment and computers. And I loved Matchbox cars and comic books. (My ring and index fingers seem to be...exactly the same length. Hmmm.)

In my observation, the boys-liking-transportation-objects thing is hardwired; EVERY little boy I know has become obsessed with them in one way or another before the age of two. That having been said, a few months ago, there was a discussion of little boys' play preferences on one of the parenting blogs that I read, and several mothers had stories about their toddler boys who loved wearing high heels and tiaras and had then grown up to be big strapping manly men.

Amy, forgive me if I've asked this before, and it might be old hat to you, but have you read Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps: How We're Different and What to Do About It? Click on my name to go to the Amazon page. (And no, it's not a men-are-underdeveloped book, I promise!)

Posted by: marion at May 2, 2008 8:21 AM

This bit about the monkeys is kind of mind-bending actually. I've known for some time that boys' and girls' preferences in toys is pretty innate. However, I still assumed that they preferred these toys because the toys were representations of things in the real world that they are attracted to -- toy trucks as representations of real trucks, and baby dolls as representatives of real babies.

However, the monkeys can't possibly know what the toys represent in the adult human world. So the preference is even more hard-wired and fundemental than that! I don't know nearly enough about psychology or neurology to come up with a cogent explanation. It's a very interesting piece of data.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at May 2, 2008 9:11 AM

My wife made an insightful comment over lunch today: "The whole nature vs. nurture debate can surely only be kept alive by people who have never had children."

Certainly our two kids came equipped with their very distinct personalities from day one. We have watched these unfold as they've grown older, and I hope we've guided them into the better paths suitable to their respective characters. But the characters themselves are very clearly original equipment.

Posted by: bradley13 at May 2, 2008 9:11 AM

I bought that book, but I was a bit disappointed by it. I don't have it with me, but I seem to remember it as ev. psych lite, and a work of parasiting off a lot of other people's work, and in some cases, not really understanding what the researchers in question were doing.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 2, 2008 9:59 AM

"The whole nature vs. nurture debate can surely only be kept alive by people who have never had children."

I fail to see how that is insightful. There are many trained research psychologists with children who are still trying to find the lines between nature and nurture. Having squeezed a child out does not make you any more or less of an expert on child psychology or the scientific basis of "nature vs nuture".

Posted by: HabsFan at May 2, 2008 11:00 AM

HabsFan -- lighten up, you're not out of it yet!

Posted by: moreta at May 2, 2008 12:14 PM

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Posted by aalkon at May 1, 2008 6:56 AM

Comments

Smoking dope fucks people up. Please, kids... Don't smoke dope.

Thanks

Posted by: Crid at May 1, 2008 3:51 AM

Sorry, Crid, too late. I smoked a whole buncha weed when I was young and foolish. Warped my emotions and my sense of personal responsibility, it did. But after I quit acting like an ass (although sometimes I still do act like an ass, but it's not due to smoking anything!), smoking and drinking my life away, I have to say, I feel so much better about myself, my life, and everything in it. It was almost like a phase I had to go through. I will admit, here and now, that sometimes I still will have a toke or 2, but nowhere near as much as I used to, when I'm at a concert, or something. But I won't buy it or carry it like I used to. It's just not worth the risks anymore.

Posted by: Flynne at May 1, 2008 5:39 AM

Never got into the the green stuff, just not my kind of fun. Tried it a few times in HS and college. I had a two roommates that smoked a hell of a lot, every night. Chronic munchies from all the hot boxing did little for my waist.

One did very little with his life and sort of just hung out, mooched all of his green from the other roommate. The other was a very successful and financially savvy engineer. He'd work his ass off then come home and bake with the most intense shit you can get. He killed off his student loans with in 4 years.

I don't think it's the pot that makes someone a burn out I think being a waste of space makes one gravitate to pot.

As far as the law, oh come on just legalize the damn thing and get it over with. Tax it make, it illegal to drive while smoking and move on.

Posted by: vlad at May 1, 2008 6:52 AM

Crid,
I am a goner, A chronic smoker as they say. I like the best stuff preferably in large quantities. The paranoia sets in when I start to see the bottom of my jar.
Vlad,
I guess I am a cross. Initially I was more like room mate number one, although I was not a mooch. Now I am like room mate number two.
Personally, our national drug laws make about as much since as our drug policies. (Or at least our marijuana policies). The stocks are made up of fibers and woody parts. The woody parts make paper that lasts five times as long as paper made form wood pulp. It requires no dioxins in its manufacture. To add insult to injury, the Federal government has concluded that one acre of pot will produce as much paper as five acres of trees.
The fiber has been spun into fine linen. Also it has been spun into durable products. The word canvas comes form the word cannabis since that was what it was made from. The original Levies were made from pot, remember the old commercial showing how two mule teams couldn’t rip the jeans? Try that with cotton jeans.
The seeds are the second highest plant protein know to man. The first highest source is the soy bean.
No one has ever overdosed. There are no known long term side effects. Folks don’t smoke it and then beat up their wife. Try to say that about a six pack.
I could go on and on. Yet our national policy is to eradicate the plant from the face of the earth. How much money do you think we have poured down this gar hole? We prosecute 60,000 folks a year for pot in this country. STUPID

Posted by: rusty wilson at May 1, 2008 7:26 AM

I know many perfectly 'successful' people who unwind with some dope every now and again. I also know people who are constantly high and don't get much accomplished. One of them has a state job, but let's not get into that. In the second category, a guy at a bar the other night practically begged me to go back to his place to smoke some pot and watch a Zeppelin DVD. Did he actually think that offer was in any way enticing?

Posted by: Mary at May 1, 2008 7:28 AM

Mary,
Hummm, Sounds pretty good to me. (as long as it is a buddy thing and we are just smokeing some pot and watch a Zeppelin DVD)
But hey at least the guy knows up front that you are not his type of female. I would never date a straight woman. Well OK I did once, but it was a pain.

Posted by: rusty wilson at May 1, 2008 7:45 AM

Marijuana is the best pain reliever available because it has few side effects and is not physically addictive. Too bad those qualities aren't attractive to pharmaceutical companies

Posted by: kg at May 1, 2008 7:53 AM

I was sitting on the commuter rail a few months back chatting with high school friends after a long day at work. We were reminiscing and laughing about the days gone by and discussing how it's surprising what you find out as you get older - like how many adults smoke up.

The suit sitting in the seat next to ours cut in "sorry to be eavesdropping but I wanted to say that *everyone* smokes. You don't even realize...All the people I know smoke on a semi-regular basis. You gotta..." he told us he was a stock broker. His clothing, shoes and briefcase were expensive looking - clearly not a bum. We laughed and said "there's hope for us yet!" even though we all signed forms agreeing to random testing and are FAR TOO SCARED to mess with that. So we remain pretty straight edge. Pussies that we are.

Posted by: Gretchen at May 1, 2008 8:19 AM

Ha Rusty, I'm pretty sure it wasn't a buddy thing, in which case, sounds good to me, too. I'm not objecting to the pot smoking, but the approach to picking up ladies. Maybe it's just me, but there's something about watching a Zeppelin DVD with a guy who can't walk straight that doesn't seem very sexy.

Posted by: Mary at May 1, 2008 8:29 AM

I know plenty of people who are pot smokers. One friend of mine, probably the most brilliant person I've ever met, uses the vaporizer. He doesn't seem to be suffering cognitively from smoking pot, nor does an old boyfriend of mine who toked every night when he came home from his day in the med-sci trenches, inventing something that has probably improved and saved a lot of people's lives.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at May 1, 2008 8:37 AM

IF her hands hurt so much, maybe Sandy should stop typing. On the other hand, maybe she'd be less boring if she were stoned.

Posted by: KateCoe at May 1, 2008 8:42 AM

"Too bad those qualities aren't attractive to pharmaceutical companies" Oh there you would be quite mistaken, look up Nabilone and Marinol medical grade TCH pills.

I'd probably try it more often but a buddy moved in with us who as a LTC and if they find pot in the house and any firearms, ammo, or even shell casings we are all going in for 20+ years. I will however en devour to try it more often outside thew house.

"Folks don’t smoke it and then beat up their wife." On the stuff my roommate had forget hitting anyone try finding your hand and not laughing your ass off at it.

Posted by: vlad at May 1, 2008 9:10 AM

Folks don't smoke it and beat up their wife? I'm glad you're that naive, Mary. Wish I was. While I think it should be as legal as booze, like booze, it can be a factor in beating a wife (take it from someone who left a pot-smoking asshole for that very reason) in the same way booze can. If an asshole does have some psychiatric problems, it does tend to worsen them. No, it doesn't cause someone to beat their wife (or husband or child) in and of itself just because they smoke but it does addle the brain and make them stop filtering stupid behavior the same as booze does. But I will say that shouldn't be a factor in legality any more than it is for booze since booze/pot, no booze/pot, the stupid/fucked up is gonna come out sooner or later.

Posted by: anon at May 1, 2008 9:25 AM

Ummm Mary didn't say that.

Posted by: Mary at May 1, 2008 9:34 AM

"Folks don't smoke it and beat up their wife? I'm glad you're that naive, Mary. Wish I was." Wrong person for starters. Second I have not met a single person or a single study that pot has been found to cause aggression, in fact just the oposite. Now this does not mean that a pot head can't also be violent just means that they will be much less violent. There is one not often noted exception to this general principle. If someone is inherently paranoid a small portion of people can have too much of it and become really paranoid. Regardless when a pot head is stoned the chances of them becoming violent are greatly reduced. In your case (anon) the person was just a violent asshole and pot was circumstantial. If he's on of those very few people that pot might make violent and they keep smoking pot then they are ok with the violence, thus they are violent.

Also if they kept getting their stuff from the same dealer it could have just been laced with Angel Dust or something else to keep you high and awake. Then yes they could easily become violent.

Posted by: vlad at May 1, 2008 9:44 AM

I have to agree with vlad here. I used to be a heavy smoker/partier. During all those years hanging out with young, testosterone laden lads -- when there was only THC to be had, there was never a single fight. Introduce any other drug or booze and there was bound to be some sort of fight.

My ex was mellow on pot. Add alochol and the natural asshole came out. Probably how I started to realize how much I disliked him the older we got and the less pot we smoked.

I'd guess in anon's case, it was an excuse or the pot was laced. Or she found the rare exception to the rule.

Posted by: moreta at May 1, 2008 10:03 AM

Forgive me for stating the ridiculously obvious, but shouldn't alchohol and tobacco be somewhere on the government's list?

I wonder if Hillary could get Crown Royal smuggled into prison...

Re Hillary, check out this funny vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOTAfGuLA-0&feature=related

Posted by: DaveG at May 1, 2008 10:33 AM

Not that I would advocate it as treatment for anyone else - but NOTHING has had a greater nor longer lasting impact on allieviating my depression than pot. Not therapy, not pharmacueticals.

Roughly every six months I start to feel like I'm going into the bad place again. A nice evening of pot smoking later and everything is right with the world and the sun will come out tomorrow - and that lasts for six whole months. I don't know how it works, I don't care, but it does.

And as for side effects: Demolished packages of oreos and a remarked rise in the output of my creative writing (no corresponding rise in quality though - oh well)

Posted by: Elle at May 1, 2008 11:21 AM

Smoking weed kicks fucking ass!

Living in Oregon and having knees that are nigh on shot and chronic back pain (thanks roofing!) I am actually eligible for getting medical marijuana. I have an appointment in three weeks to get the card. The notion that there is anything to worry about from the feds is absurd. Even assuming that they would have any interest in fucking with people who possess or even grow a little, in accordance with their state laws, they just can't afford to do it.

What really gets me about this idiot reporter, is that she actually bought some weed, presumably on her papers dime - then instead of smoking (or vaporizing) it and writing about the experience, she flushes it. Were I her editor, I would have been throwing a bloody big fit about the waste. Then to add insult to injury she fucking writes about this non-event.

Smoking weed kicks fucking ass!

Crid -

Smoking weed does not fuck people up, excepting the period right after they smoke. Being an addict does.

I seem to recall that you are rather keen on Carl Sagan (if I am mixing you up with someone else, apologies), I am too. Carl Sagan was a stoner.

Aldous Huxley, high on any reasonable list of great American authors was also a toker. Of course he was also pretty big on LSD and mescaline in the late forties, early fifties.

Back in my not so glorious days of being a marijuana "facilitator" (sounds better than dope dealer) I used to supply two MSU proffs, one of whom was the head of his department.

An old friend of the family who has built and subsequently rebuilt his rental properties empire four times (divorce is a right whore sometimes), making very good money and being a very successful business man, has smoked pot daily for longer than I have been alive. It could be argued that weed fucked him up in the wife department, but doesn't change the fact that he has been incredibly successful over the course of his career.

My old roofing boss back in Michigan built his business in the days when he smoked every day - often when he was working and/or bidding jobs. He hasn't advertised in twenty some years, depending on referrals to keep him busy enough to make a very, very comfortable living. It is only since MI's economy has sunk that business has fallen off. But he's ready to retire anyways.

I have also worked for a lot of people who are very successful (I am not all that affordable) who also regularly smoke pot.

I will end this with myself, though mine is a success story still in the making. I have smoked pot for years. Back when I was still in MI I was a daily smoker and managed to run two to three roofing crews, bid jobs, keep up on side jobs and work for my landlord. Nowadays I may not be as regular with my toking as I used to be, but I still smoke. I have managed to build a business that after seven months here, I was able to stop advertising. Since that point, I have put up ads on three occasions, taking on about six new clients who were not referrals.

As I am taking my weekend yesterday and today, I am stoned right now.

Smoking weed kicks fucking ass!

Posted by: DuWayne at May 1, 2008 11:22 AM

Not to get TOO snotty, but why didn't she do a little journalistic investigation before purchasing?

I found the California law on pot in ten seconds via Google:

"Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor under California Health and Safety Code Section 11357. Possession of one ounce (28.5 gms) or less is punishable by a maximum $100 fine. "

The cops take your eighth and give you a ticket, not a waterboarding session.

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at May 1, 2008 11:29 AM

Gog -

California law isn't even relevant, excepting that by Cali statute she was totally legal for it. I know the laws very from state to state (of those with legal medi marijuana), but here in OR, I can (or will be allowed in a couple weeks) grow up to 6 mature plants and eighteen seedlings. I will also be allowed to possess up to 24 ounces of dried, smokable weed.

Indeed, I am getting the card mainly because one of my friends with AIDS recently lost his caregiver (person growing him weed) so I am going to pick up the slack, as I actually qualify for the card. I'll be growing enough for him, myself and a couple others, in his home. Given the sharply limited amount of toking I do, this is more of a favor to a friend than necessity.

Posted by: DuWayne at May 1, 2008 1:12 PM

By and by Crid, I could also make the same argument you are, about alcohol. And there is plenty more evidence out there to support the assertion that alcohol will fuck up your life than there is that weed will.

Posted by: DuWayne at May 1, 2008 1:41 PM

Oh, and;

Smoking weed kicks fucking ass!

Posted by: DuWayne at May 1, 2008 1:44 PM

"California law isn't even relevant, excepting that by Cali statute she was totally legal for it."

She lives in California, so obviously California law is relevant.

Incidentally, if the law isn't relevant, how can you say she's been designated as "legal for it"?

Unless you're referring to her fear over Federal law, in which case she could simply have bought some pot, avoided the medical system, and simply worried about the $100 fine instead.

Personally, I quit smoking pot years ago. It was screwing with my reasoning ability. YMMV.

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at May 1, 2008 2:24 PM

Hmm. All these wonderful stories are about yourselves. That's not very comprehensive.

Yes, the law takes a twisted path to anything approaching "reasonable", and in many cases will not get there. I find that a majority of people do not know what any law actually says, and they do not know what "crime" and "tort" mean. This does not keep them from running on and on about the subject.

I must ask, as I have before: what consumer protections do you expect after legalization? What mechanism do you expect to have for establishing THC availability to the average consumer? How do these measures compare with existing market features?

If you wanna play, you gotta pay. You just won't be paying some thug, the reincarnation of Capone, and giggling about it.

Posted by: Radwaste at May 1, 2008 2:27 PM

I must ask, as I have before: what consumer protections do you expect after legalization? What mechanism do you expect to have for establishing THC availability to the average consumer? How do these measures compare with existing market features?

The cannabis clubs in California are hashing these things out right now (pun intended). As I understand it, they offer an array of different choices of strains of pot, preparations (i.e., smokable, edible) and potencies at varying price points. The market seems to be already establishing how these things work. Perhaps the coffee shops in Amsterdam might offer some pointers, too.

If you wanna play, you gotta pay. You just won't be paying some thug, the reincarnation of Capone, and giggling about it.

There is a significant demand for pot that isn't very sensitive to legal penalties; it's a hugely lucrative crop that also has a large number of practical uses. Sounds like a winning move to me to take the thuggery out of this particular commerce.

Posted by: justin case at May 1, 2008 2:38 PM

Gog -

ncidentally, if the law isn't relevant, how can you say she's been designated as "legal for it"?

I should have clarified that the statute your citing isn't relevant to her because she bought it in accordance with Cali laws regarding medical marijuana.

Posted by: DuWayne at May 1, 2008 2:44 PM

Radwaste -

I must ask, as I have before: what consumer protections do you expect after legalization? What mechanism do you expect to have for establishing THC availability to the average consumer? How do these measures compare with existing market features?

Nothing that we don't already have in place for the market sales of alcoholic beverages.

And most anything would be preferable to the current market, as the current market offers no consumer protections whatsoever.

You just won't be paying some thug, the reincarnation of Capone, and giggling about it.

First, I never giggled about where it was coming from, though that is more relevant to my very occasional use of cocaine when I was younger. But you know, I would be much happier knowing that rather than going to support terrorism or organized crime, the tax would be supporting say, substance abuse intervention, legitimate drug education, education in general or a whole host of things that would be better than giving it to criminals and thugs.

I love how you try to make it sound like legalization would come at some huge fucking cost to society. Like the status quo isn't already reaping huge social cost. Like we don't already have mechanisms in place to deal with all the concerns you seem to have. Like legalization wouldn't free up billions, upon billions of dollars that we spend directly on the war on drugs.

Please, by all means explain just where the fuck the cost comes into it. Seriously. Explain to me how instead of spending billions of our tax dollars annually, bringing in massive tax revenue off the legal sales of currently illicit drugs will somehow cost us more. Explain to me how not locking up non-violent drug users with hardened, violent criminals is going to cost society. Explain how creating a paradigm where non-violent, non-criminal drug users can buy their drugs without having to get them from hardened criminals is going to cost society.

Posted by: DuWayne at May 1, 2008 2:59 PM

"I love how you try to make it sound like legalization would come at some huge fucking cost to society."

Just so you don't have to invent my position for me, I'll be more to the point: it's not all happy time if and when pot is legalized - and you might want to think about what "legalized" means. It's not just "it's not illegal anymore, yay!". You might not have noticed this, but you don't get to sell anything for a living without being subject to regulation. Grow a plant at home, fine. Sell to your neighbors? Nope. Can't do that.

Perhaps you haven't noticed, but there is not just one, but at least four Federal agencies involved in the regulation of alcohol and tobacco, the products most often cited as a great success, on the product level alone: BATF, IRS, Interstate Commerce Commission and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. The cannabis clubs Justin mentions are probably aware of this.

Alcohol and tobacco are often fallaciously cited as a model of how marijuana should be treated, but that's not quite right: they both cost huge amounts of money to regulate and are unquestionably a factor in the loss of thousands of lives per year.

-----

I suppose you are outraged, as I am, that while a multibillion-dollar lawsuit was levied against tobacco companies for causing the premature deaths of tens of thousands of people, the states who actually subsidized tobacco production and permitted and regulated its distribution were allowed to stand clear of the suit, even as they had been told for decades by their own health departments what tobacco was really doing. The State will be interested in revenue first, not consumer protection, because the funding has to be there before they can spend money on care.

Phillip Morris says today in their ads, "There is no such thing as a safe cigarette." Who says there is such a thing as a safe joint? Who will sign the hold-harmless agreement to exempt the states from the responsibility of certifying the ingredients of your THC dosage method? Do you really think that legalization means "free"?

I hope not. Imagine for a minute that you're going to open a store selling THC, and you'll see. You'd better not make a peep about Big Tobacco or Big Pharma again. (Hmmm. Why doesn't anybody talk about Big Alcohol?)

Posted by: Radwaste at May 1, 2008 11:23 PM

"You'd better not make a peep about Big Tobacco or Big Pharma again." Well big tabacco got in hot water for HIDING the fact that cigarettes caused cancer. Modern smokers can't sue them cause it says it right on the box. Put the same warning on pot, most of the legal liability goes away. Big pharma is the same thing, they get in deep shit when they start hiding stuff. There are many drugs out there that have shit loads of warnings and they rarely get sued. Now if people start keeling over at your clinical trials and you hide it, big mistake and your in deep shit.

"Sell to your neighbors? Nope. Can't do that." Well actually yes you can. The only thing the feds care about as far as sales is safety and taxes. The only reason they publicly give two shits about safety is because saying you don't care means you won't get reelected. If you sell the occasional bag once it's legal the feds really don't care. Now if your making 6 figs on the sales they have every right to care. You make profit in a system set up by the feds you owe them their due. You pay your taxes on the stuff and there are no problems with the feds. Unless you live on a state border and the stuff you sell is legal the feds rarely get involved.

Posted by: vlad at May 2, 2008 5:29 AM

vlad, please note my earlier line about selling for a living. You've just expanded on that a bit. You may build a gun and distill your own alcohol with the right permits. What do you think you have to do to make and sell homemade aspirin? Right. To do that legally, you have to show your controls.

Hey, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers et al already have the mechanism for putting this in Walgreens. You'll get a patch so you don't ruin your lungs. (Does that idea repel anybody? Is inhaling important to you?)

Then, we'll only have to have a standard for impairment for pilots, nuclear, chemical and manufacturing plant operators, police, military and other "critical" jobs; OSHA requires that an employer produce a workplace free of unidentified risks, with legal penalties. Hmm. Another complication. Read that as "expense".

Boy, what a downer complying with established laws is!

Posted by: Radwaste at May 2, 2008 7:52 AM

(Does that idea repel anybody? Is inhaling important to you?)

I much prefer bong hits to tokes off a joint but in a pinch (or at a concert) I'll toke from a joint. I also like it in tea, and/or brownies. In fact, I used to make pot tea when I had menstrual cramps. It made me feel so much better! o_O

Posted by: Flynne at May 2, 2008 8:00 AM

"Boy, what a downer complying with established laws is!" Right I get the sarcasm but I'm not sure how it applies to pot. You don't need a urine test to see if you co-worker is drunk. I'm not sure why pot is illegal while other stuff isn't. Why not legalize it and tax it, I'm not understanding your argument against that?

Posted by: vlad at May 2, 2008 8:18 AM

Stoners, remember this:

SHARKS. They're the WOLVES of the SEA.


Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at May 2, 2008 1:29 PM

Happy Weed Day! Today the largest demonstration for the decriminalization of weed is being held in Toronto (as well as all over the world).

Anything going on down in the US?

Posted by: Chrissy at May 3, 2008 6:13 AM

Not today, Chrissy. our "national weed day" is April 20, or 4-20, which, I believe (and Duwayne or vlad, correct me if I'm wrong, please), is police code for marijuana. California, I'm thinking. Not sure.

Posted by: Flynne at May 3, 2008 8:38 AM

"Why not legalize it and tax it, I'm not understanding your argument against that?"

OK, I'll clarify some more. I've said before that "legalize" doesn't just mean you don't go to jail for having weed. Did you get that part? Also, after at least (5 - I forgot the FDA_ Federal agencies have a say-so, you're still not done in setting up marketing, with taxation and consumer protections.

Right now, any employer of a critical employee can test for THC, and if they find it, that employee is transferred or gone, depending on the situation. The employer - and OSHA, by coincidence - is fully supported also by the idea that if the employee in a critical position thinks so little of the law and the terms of employment, there is no indication that s/he will take, oh, the nuclear criticality calculations seriously when moving fissile materials (I picked something we really do at work.) You can name any other proceduralized task with serious consequences to mistake.

If legalized, testing for THC will become a matter for "special" law, in which professions are spelled out for which usage is still illegal, or an impairment standard will be necessary. This is what you have for alcohol intoxication. Got a standard for THC?

You know, it's tough to think about critical mistakes killing people, or groups of people, when you're not in the habit of doing so, but I have the background: my workplace literally makes the rest of the industrial world look like A Nightmare on Elm Street. It's clear that for every fatality, many injuries occur; for every injury, hundreds of "near misses" occur, and for every "near miss", thousands of unsafe acts occur.

Tobacco and alcohol already figure in these millions of unsafe acts. So you want to add THC. OK. Think. You want to enable the nationwide marketing of a currently controlled substance which affects the consumer immediately upon use. Again, that means a lot more actual work than a cheery, "Dude! This Rawwks!"

Yes, there are already prescription drugs available which have more serious effects. These are not only non-recreational, the mechanisms are already in place for their identification at the workplace and by EMTs, and their misuse is a felony. Please do not attempt a "two wrongs" fallacy in that manner. It's bad enough that people try to use alcohol and tobacco as supporting legalization. They're both public health disasters. Satan - if he existed - would claim them as his own idea.

Posted by: Radwaste at May 3, 2008 5:08 PM

Radwaste -

I'm sorry I haven't gotten back to this until now. I was going to the other night, but the most recent shooting in my neighborhood (last one two weeks ago, same basic place) happened less than thirty feet away from me, when I was on my way to meet my family at the light rail platform. Had it happened six minutes later, my family would have been coming across that corner. On top of that, I was the first person to actually get to and help the women who got shot (in the leg, no likely permanent damage - but the bullet severed an artery), so I was a bit of a bloody mess. To say I am a bit shaken would be a huge understatement.

Right now, any employer of a critical employee can test for THC, and if they find it, that employee is transferred or gone, depending on the situation.

And right now, any employer can also require that employees abstain from the use of alcohol, even on the employees own time. The only big problem with enforcing that is that alcohol doesn't maintain a measurable (read, testable) presence in the body.

You seem to want to pretend that THC and other drugs aren't already public health issues. The thing is that they are and there are mechanisms in place for dealing with them. In a lot of cases those mechanisms would probably be a lot more effective if the drugs were legal.

Posted by: DuWayne at May 4, 2008 10:49 AM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at May 1, 2008 4:50 AM

Comments

>> I saw the happiness on the faces of our people because so many infidels were slaughtered so easily.

I was in London on 9/11. Everyone was a zombie for days. I went that night to Pizza on the Piazza for a quick dinner, and the table next to me was an Arab family celebrating. I still have the postcard describing it to my wife.

Posted by: eric at May 1, 2008 7:38 AM

Why can Spencer be vilified this way? Because it works. Let me explain by example.

Opprobrium -- from illegitimate charges of racism, xenophobia, misogyny and the like -- are today mostly used to shut people up, not to accurately describe their positions. For example, opponents of affirmative action are often called 'racist,' even though they do not advocate the supremacy of a race and even use the fact of non-supremacy as evidence for their position. Still, the charge usually works. Affirmative action opponents get shut down.

Likewise, 'misogyny' and 'xenophobia' and 'bigot' are used to make people shut up. That's no way to get good ideas. That's no way to test marginal ideas. Precipitous charges like these have three simultaneous rhetorical effects:

  • they "poison the well" by impugning the speakers motives;
  • they make an implicit "pathetic appeal" against the speaker;
  • they present an illegitimate complex question akin to "are you still beating your wife," and the audience tends to assume you do.

One might think that among the more educated classes you'd see less of this. You'd be wrong. You see more of it.

CAIR uses the tactic of opprobium because in the US it works and works well. Most people see argument as a team sport, and any tactic -- ridicule, insult, impugning character, complex questions -- anything that helps one side win is legitimate. The long term consequences for debate are obvious. That's why I stand against bad rhetoric in the service of arguments I favor. For example, I'm often in the uncomfortable position of pointing out bad rhetoric used against Creationists and ID, even though I disagree with Creationism and ID.

Even if you don't agree with Spencer, it's important to stand against the kind of dirty tactics used against him by CAIR.

Posted by: Jeff at May 1, 2008 7:41 AM

Wow, Eric. Barbarians.

Reminds me of the reported Golda Meir quote: "Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us."

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at May 1, 2008 8:40 AM

I just discovered a book I had never heard of by a Marine Corp Major General (two Medals of Honor) entitled "War is a Racket". It was written in the period between WW1 and WW2. Here is a link to the ten page summary:

http://www.wanttoknow.info/warisaracket

I still bet most Arabs love their children as much as most Jews love their children. It's one of those riddles that gets more complicated the more you learn.

Posted by: eric at May 1, 2008 9:32 AM

Eric - they may well love their children as much as the Jews. But that was not the comparison presented.

Do they love their children more than they hate Jews?

Posted by: brian at May 1, 2008 12:58 PM

I remember the first day I heard "Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us" because it was the day before I ran across this article

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/jun/23/afghanistan.uknews4

Posted by: Elle at May 1, 2008 2:42 PM

*and the table next to me was an Arab family celebrating*

Now there's a story that would have ended differently in Houston.

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at May 2, 2008 7:06 AM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 30, 2008 9:38 AM

Comments

This is not a religion of peace (in most of it's interpretations). While fundies are the treat when I see women in a burka I get quite cautious. If your wearing a burka you are definatly a fundy, I don't give a rats ass why your wearing it.

The hijab is worn by many groups and usually can't be differentiated from what Russian gradmas wear when the get that certain kind of old. Using the Nazi example, that's like turning on someone when the swastica is facing the wrong way. To the uniformed they look identical but one is a symbol of oppression and hate and the other is a symbol for prosperity (I think not sure).

I'm all for discrimination when used in such sense but also caution against setting for definitions too broadly.

Posted by: vlad at April 30, 2008 6:48 AM

I always laugh when people try to persuade me to be "tolerant" of ALL cultures -

Oh, you mean I am to be "tolerant" of a culture that allows women to get stoned to death for adultery and doesn't allow women to show their faces or drive... I am to be tolerant of people who blow up Buddhists sculptures, beat women (as the Taliban did/possibly still does) for laughing or making too much noise; I am to be tolerant of people who strap bombs to children and remove girls' clitorises?

Sorry, guess I'm just not that tolerant.

Posted by: Michele at April 30, 2008 7:40 AM

Hey Amy, why not just say what you think straight out without sugarcoating it?

Great post! Your words are a breath of fresh air clearing away the cobwebs of deceit spun by Islamic apologists, except they're really more like a tornado.

Tolerance of evil is evil itself.

Posted by: Kirk at April 30, 2008 8:06 AM

Thanks so much, Kirk.

P.S. If anyone knows Rebecca Solnit's e-mail address, my offer still stands on training her on how to speak up when men "explain things" to her.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 30, 2008 8:20 AM

P.S. I do love when people make the assumption that polite conversation involves this mistaken idea that you'll "tolerate" the intolerable, and give all beliefs equal weight. I'm guessing the ladies approached me in that spirit. They were pretty astonished when I got on my broom. I mean, you married Arafat's spokesterrorist, and you want me to give you a book party for it? Right.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 30, 2008 8:22 AM

That "Religion of Peace" notion never seems to include the little disclaimer that their concept of peace is everyone bowing to Islam , or dying.Funny that.

Posted by: mbruce at April 30, 2008 8:39 AM

heh, such a trouble-maker you :D... I think the answer I will use when confronted with this 'but they're/we're the religion of peace.' Is to say, "are you ready to denounce the people who are hijacking your faith? I'm not railing against those who are peaceful, but against those who incite violence against everyone else. If the one dosn't distance itself from the other, they are implicitly accepting what the others are doing." I realize that this is dangerous for them, but it is better to say nothing than to defend a murderous zealot. He will target them next. 'Course a lot of the defenders aren't Muslim, and may never have even met one... They don't realize how different this is from other religions.

Posted by: SwissArmyD at April 30, 2008 9:25 AM

I was reading this article and a little idea came to me:

What if they were Vikings?

Let's think about it; suddenly, in Norway, a religious group chose to revive the old medieval Viking traditions of Odin and all their irks. Let's just say that they are using some Petro-Dollars to finance a huge movement with the goal of reversing modern culture and save the proud heritage of raiding cities living next to the atlantic coast?

If this was the case, how long we would tolerate the presence of armed psychos in the atlantic ocean? Do we will search for excuse is sociology for their pillage and rape of women? How long would it take for the people of Norway to react? Would we be afraid to invade Norway because they are the second global producer of crude oil?

Tolerance is a easy dialogue when the offending party is away.


Posted by: Toubrouk at April 30, 2008 9:37 AM

I saw the "experiment" the older woman was talking about, it was an offshoot of ABC's 20/20, something like "What Would You Do?" I believe every private establishment legally reserves the right to refuse service to anyone they want to, and me, not being an owner or employee, well, I have no say in the matter. There were plenty of people on both sides of the fence that spoke up, but as for me, I wouldn't have said anything one way or the other. None of my business. However, if someone asks me what I think about it, well, they just might regret that. I keep my broom in my back pocket, for just such emergencies. o_O

Posted by: Flynne at April 30, 2008 9:55 AM

I completely agree. Private property and free markets means nothing, if people can't decide freely with whom to trade, with whom to cooperate. There is no distinction between social and economic rights.

Posted by: Jeff at April 30, 2008 1:20 PM

Amy,

The Catholic Church pedophile scandal was horrible. But I continue as a Catholic, and I am proud of Pope Benedict. Pope Benedict has been establishing himself as one religious leader (are there any others?) who is not afraid to confront Islam. The Pope definitely "gets" the threat of Islam. Remember his famous quoting of Paleologus:
http://www.martinfrost.ws/htmlfiles/july2007/warning_islam.html

Then, more recently, there was Benedict's very public baptism of ex-Muslim Magdi Allam:

http://darwincatholic.blogspot.com/2008/03/pope-benedict-baptises-ex-muslim.html

If western civilization is going to have a "prayer" (pun intended) of surviving the Ilamic onslaught, we are going to need many more Benedicts springing up from the Judeo Christian community.

Posted by: Ken at April 30, 2008 1:25 PM

Amy, your excellent post raises an issue which I have been pondering lately: What would it take actually to win the War on Terror and how would we know when we have won?

The second part is easier to answer than the first. The War on Terror will have been won when there are no more groups in this world who are bent on destroying our culture using the weapons of terrorism -- or at least when there are no more than a handful of weak and isolated groups left.

But the first part is very difficult. I do not think it is possible for those of us in the West to eliminate all of the terrorist cells who want to kill us. They are too intimately intertwined with the rest of the "civilian" Islamic culture. So long as Islamic schools teach jihad to children, so long as mosques preach hatred against the West, so long as homicide-bombers are regarded as heroes and held in high esteem, it will be impossible for us to separate, and thus neutralize, violent Islamists from ordinary Muslims, who, though they may hate us, at least are not trying to kill us.

I do not think that we of the West can win this war. I do think that by constant vigilance and swift, determined action we can stave off defeat, but I do not think that we are the ones who can win it. By our own action alone I believe we can prevent another disaster like 9/11, but we will not be able to end the threat, and so we will not be able to quit and go home.

As you have hinted in your post, Amy, I think it is moderate Muslims who must fight and ultimately win this war. When moderate Muslims -- and I hope and believe there are many -- have the temerity to stand up and speak out against the terrorists, when they refuse to allow terrorists safe haven in their midst, when they deride rather than honor the bombers, then and only then do I think we can begin to hope for an end of the War on Terror.

I believe, then, that the best we can do is find as many moderate Muslims as we can and give them all the support and protection we can muster. I believe this to be our only hope and I think, coincidentally, that it is basically the same strategy that General Petraeus has used with such success in Iraq.

What do the rest of you think? Do any of you have any other ideas?

Posted by: Kirk at April 30, 2008 3:50 PM

And at the very least, as Amy has made clear, we have no business making friendly with terrorists, and we need to keep our eyes focused on the big issues -- not trivialities like whether a girl in a hijab can get good service in a restaurant. Sheesh!

Posted by: Kirk at April 30, 2008 4:01 PM

Kirk,

With all due respect, terror is only one facet, maybe not even the most threatening facet, of what western civilization is up against. Islam is conquering Europe, as we speak, through demographics. Muslim immigrants are rapidly out-reproducing the indigenous populations of their host European countries. Guess what happens when they become a majority? … Answer: Sharia Law.

How many mosques in the U.S. are currently preaching the Wahhabi version of Islam? I don’t know, but I have seen some vary troubling data from parties who have infiltrated a number of U.S. mosques to answer that very question. The fact that our government doesn’t even bother to ask the question is very troublesome, also.

Let me pose a question to you.

If you were in charge of immigration in this country, and a large number of people were waiting to come in, people, coming from parts of the world where, using your description, “… Islamic schools teach jihad to children, so long as mosques preach hatred against the West, so long as homicide-bombers are regarded as heroes and held in high esteem, it will be impossible for us to separate, and thus neutralize, violent Islamists from ordinary Muslims, who, though they may hate us, at least are not trying to kill us.”

Would you let them in?

With Saudi petro dollars spreading the vilest form of Islam (Wahabbi) over all the globe, I think our first priority is to self preservation and self defense, not “just” defense against terror. Prior generations in the western world were able to turn back Islam because they realized their first priority was to survive. They recognized the threat Islam posed to their very existence, and they were not burdened with political correctness and multiculturalism as we are today.

I think your idea of appealing to moderate Muslims is pie in the sky stuff. Islam has been at war with western civilization for 1400 years. That’s 1400 years that the “moderate” wing of Islam has failed to reel in the fundamentalists. After we have taken the appropriate steps towards self preservation and self defense, perhaps we can then try to appeal to moderate Muslims. Just exactly what are moderate Muslims, anyway? Are they “ordinary Muslims, who, though they may hate us, at least are not trying to kill us” as you put it? How much of the Koran does a Muslim need to refute to be deemed a moderate?

Actually I do believe there are moderate Muslims, but their religion is decidedly not moderate.

One piece of advice … Stop calling this a war on terror. Makes as much sense as declaring a war against sneak attacks after Pearl Harbor. We are at war with Jihadists.

Posted by: Ken at April 30, 2008 5:14 PM

I just heard Patt Morrison interviewing T. Boone Pickens about alternative energy sources he's developing. But for our need for oil, these people would all still be goatherds.

I thought these guys had a pretty wise take on things:

http://www.advicegoddess.com/archives/2008/04/our-failed-mult.html

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 30, 2008 5:24 PM

I'm telling you people nuke the ice caps, flood out the low lying lands of the middle east, and a bunch of other places. After a few decades of rampant illness and overcrowding society will get back on track.

Got to cull the heard occasionally to keep it from rotting from within

Posted by: lujlp at May 1, 2008 12:42 AM

I used to hate Pat the Hat. In retrospect, it was because she wore a hat, which seemed hokey. But in the last year or so she's become my favorite radio performer. She's spotlessly alert to the meaning of the things she's talking about. She never gratuitously interjects her opinions into the topics, but she never lets people get away with brazen bullshit, either. Her interviews at the Milken conference on Tuesday were just golden, money in the bank. In her three broadcasts this week, she's changed my thoughts about a lot of stuff. And it's not like Kitty Feldy didn't do a good job. In a righteous world, she'd have Terry Gross's audience.

I disagree with this from your linked piece:

> Terrorism stems from a religious
> ideological movement that seeks
> our destruction and that that
> movement is widely supported by
> Muslim peoples and states.

Religion is a problem, but it's not the problem. The strictures of Islam (and most other faith) collapse into manageable, attenuated customs once the populations feel the blessings of modernity. I'm not sure that the nations under discussion in that post (Afghanistan and Iraq) are as hip to *germ theory* as they ought to be, let alone market forces and the scientific method and all the rest or our American treats....

Kirk (above) is kinda right: Moderate muslims are the solution. But the best way to moderate religious belief is to give the faithful something better to think about than Allah. Specifically, we need to relieve their suffering and answer their fundamental human aspirations.

Nothing does that better than modernity.

Posted by: Crid at May 1, 2008 1:11 AM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 30, 2008 4:33 AM

Comments

>> a scone in a housedress.

That's gonna stick with me all day.

PS- I like jiggly women, but 50 pounds would really be pushing it. Unless she was on top.

Posted by: eric at April 30, 2008 7:38 AM

"Scone in a housedress" reminds me why I'm a fan. That has to be two thumbs up from Strunk & White !

Posted by: Radwaste at April 30, 2008 9:26 AM

Most Women are clueless on this subject. I was watching that sex therapist woman on late night cable take calls (Sue Johansen??, I think is her name) when she took a call from a woman who was complaining that her husband had lost all interest in sex.
Know-it-all Sue started interogating the caller about her Husband and their situation. Is he depressed? Is he under a lot of stress? Have you tried romantic dinners? Date nights? and several other inane questions all the while I was almost screaming at the TV: "Ask her if she gained 50 pounds!!"
None of the answers explained the no-sex situation so Sue just shrugged and apologized for not being able to help the woman while implying that her husband must have some serious problems. She then just went on to the next call.
Never asking the obvious (to me and every other Man) question.
And she's the "expert" sex therapist.
I will add one thing in defense of women. If hubby has packed on 50lbs too then he has no business being upset about her weight gain.

Posted by: sean at April 30, 2008 11:37 AM

> If you're really in love, you
> transcend the external.

1. Says who?

(I mean, as you survey world literature and culture as you see it, is there any good evidence for this belief, or are you just hoping that it's true?)

2. Is "love" only about being "really in love"?

3. Whaddya mean, "transcend"?

4. Whaddya mean, "external"?

I don't like this person.

But I agree with Eric, though. Fat women are only good for two things: Sex and conversation. During both encounters, the object of the game is to slap and shove things back into a pleasing proportion....

Amy, how can you make a living publishing a conventional personal advice column when so much of your private energy seems to go to broader topics?

Twenty years ago I used to love arguing about the attitudes of fat girls on computer fora... But, y'know, I was just a kid in my middle 30's.

When you write so much on Islam and so forth, do you risk alienating your core audience?

Posted by: Crid at April 30, 2008 11:54 AM

Unfortunately, I've never been a very good whore, sexual or otherwise. My attitude about sex is that it's least costly if I give it away for free (as opposed to those women who marry some troll for money, and then spend their lives trying to come up with reasons to avoid fucking him).

And with everything I write, my questions to myself are along the lines of: Is it true, is it defensible, is it rational, is in interesting, and is it entertaining. I try to have everything be all those things. Now, I don't do advice columns on bestiality or stuff that would get me fired from a bunch of papers. That just seems counterproductive and silly. But, I take issues I think are interesting, and which I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about, and try to lay them out there in a way I won't get my ass fired.

Sometimes, I just can't help writing stuff like this, though:

http://www.advicegoddess.com/ag-column-archives/2007/05/diddle-he-or-di.html

And now I no longer run in C-Ville Weekly, although the editor says it's not because of the complaints angry (and wrong on the research) feminists sent in about what I wrote.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 30, 2008 12:00 PM

"Is he depressed? Is he under a lot of stress? Have you tried romantic dinners? Date nights? and several other inane questions" Sean

the part that the late night people missed, is that these are questions you ask women... You can ask men too, but they don't get you to the heart of the matter... take that romantic dinner, shove it off the table, and hop up on the table? THAT will get his attention... Date night is a babysitter that stays over so you two can get a room somewhere...

seems like it is assumed that either guys are easy to fix with this problem, or you should overthink it... If he's been working 16hrs. a day for the last week, and you say: "don'cha want me anymore?" Shyeah, problem...

None of that is mentioning the issue with how all the 'interesting' clothing has been pitched, how alluring that full length flannel nightie, and toe socks is... espcially when you don't make a pass at him until 5mins before he has to go to work... although, maybe that only happened to me.

Posted by: SwissArmyD at April 30, 2008 1:39 PM

Sue the sex therapist was probably not allowed to ask 'are ya fat', so had to dance around the issue. Just a guess.

Posted by: Chrissy at April 30, 2008 4:17 PM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 30, 2008 3:49 AM

Comments

Hmm. Only if I dug up that article in MacAddict about falsifying e-mail headers would I write this guy. I'm not interested in getting his SPAM. When he said, "the majority of crime is white-on-white", it shows how little research he's done. Hey, I should expect that. He did no reading of your work from comprehension; why should I expect him to have seen anything from the Bureau of Justice about crime?

Posted by: Radwaste at April 30, 2008 8:37 AM

Actually, as you know, being stopped from speaking out isn't something I handle well, so I simply forwarded my response to him to another e-mail address I have and responded from there. (Although I'm guessing he didn't really block me; he's just a childish twat.)

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 30, 2008 9:47 AM

I can see his point, wait don't bite my head off yet. The law was created with the specific intent of allowing people to testify in court without their credibility questioned through immigration status. Since many of those involved are illegal immigrants on both sides it made sense at the time. Now we see how this is being implemented it should be removed.

"Plus, we're paying to keep these people in jail instead of dumping them over the border where they belong." Here I disagree. If you just dump them over the border they will simply cross back over. Their immigration status will be a get out of jail free card. Now if we lock them up as we would for home grown or legal immigrant criminals and then ship them out I agree.

Posted by: vlad at April 30, 2008 10:54 AM

Well, then keep them in prison here, but make them run like hamsters on a wheel to pay for their keep. All prisoners, in fact, should be made to do that. Why should I pay for them just because they tried (and maybe succeeded) to scam, hurt or kill somebody, and then got caught?

And vlad, the difference is, you post your opinion here for debate instead of taking the hit and run approach.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 30, 2008 10:59 AM

> Only if I dug up that article
> in MacAddict about falsifying
> e-mail headers would I write

I have a handsomely distinct email account for just such purposes. I wrote to him before noon Wednesday, but haven't heard back yet.

Posted by: Crid at May 1, 2008 1:14 AM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 29, 2008 1:29 PM

Comments

Think its possible that the kids nausea might have been a result of a guard snatch something out of his hand? Or wathing his dad and himself dragged down to the bowels of the stadium? Or maybe the fact that he and his father were seperated and he was worried about what the cops were dooing to his dad while he was being harrased by a steady stream of questions?

What do you want to bet they asked the kid if his father beat him?

Posted by: lujlp at April 29, 2008 2:35 AM

"What do you want to bet they asked the kid if his father beat him?"

...or touched him in his privates.

Giving your kid an alcoholic beverage in pubic (on purpose) if you intend to steer clear of jail is the most idiotic thing one could do. No one would actually do this if they knew that Mike's was booze.

Have any of you had an authoritative figure go apeshit on you? There you are, perfectly rational, calm, collected, trying to explain yourself and the person (police, principal) won't have any of it. It's like they have power induced rabies of the ego. That's when you start to get pissed, raise your voice (to match his/her level of asinine-ness) and WHAMMO detention/threatened with arrest.

Posted by: Gretchen at April 29, 2008 4:04 AM

The 'public servants' were probably very excited to be able to remove a child from educated parents in the upper income brackets.

"oooh, finally a break from the downtrod mass we usually serve."

Although I just now realized as I was typing this that perhaps they were extra 'vigilant' in order to avoid accusations of only removing poor kids.mmmmmmm.

Posted by: rsj at April 29, 2008 4:06 AM

Meanwhile, there are probably hundreds of kids in Detroit, in foster care and out, direly in need of assistance.

Yup. And a not-insignificant portion of those kids probably have some variation of FAS as a result of *significant* prenatal exposure to alcohol - i.e. far, FAR more on a regular basis than this kid consumed. But hey, I guess it's a lot easier to yank away a kid from his law-abiding parents than it is to deal with a regular foster kid who may have little chance for a good future. At least some of these morons should lose their jobs. Seriously.

Oh, and I especially liked this, from the article:

Don Duquette, a U-M law professor who directs the university's Child Advocacy Law Clinic, represented Ratte and his wife. He notes sardonically that the most remarkable thing about the couple's case may be the relative speed with which they were reunited with Leo.

He doesn't say it, but I'm betting the fact that the Rattes were able to pull in such expert legal help - and so quickly - is the only reason the kid is back with them even today. Especially given that CPS refused to release the kid to his aunts - one of whom is apparently a licensed foster parent and social worker - who came to town specifically to look after him following this incident.

Posted by: marion at April 29, 2008 4:25 AM

Solution -

Legalize alcohol.

Posted by: brian at April 29, 2008 4:26 AM

So does this mean that a kid is not allowed to have a glass of wine when out with his or her parents for dinner? When did this start? I was always allowed to have a beer (or part of one) or a glass of wine with dinner, when out with my grandparents or parents. According to Texas law at that time (I guess I can't attest to it now) waitstaff could legally serve alcohol to a minor accompanied by his or her parents or legal guardian.

So this has changed? Or is it just different state to state?

Posted by: Jessica at April 29, 2008 6:38 AM

Jessica - in most states it is illegal for a parent to give a child an alcoholic beverage in their own home.

The nanny state is already here.

Posted by: brian at April 29, 2008 6:43 AM

"Jessica - in most states it is illegal for a parent to give a child an alcoholic beverage in their own home." This shit had started happening when I was still under 21. It was really weird but I'm guessing it has gotten a hell of a lot worse.

"Have any of you had an authoritative figure go apeshit on you? " Yup, but only once as kid. We (parents) pulled the poor immigrant and the race card (Ruskies are a recognized minority, at least the school thought so). She lost her job (early retirement) and her career goal of school super intendant. Unless you actually did something illegal standing up to authority in a cool calm and collected voice usually has always worked for me. When calm and cool fails "LAWYER" and smile.

I'm not sure how easy the own home thing is to enforce but it's there.

I could see fining the old man cause being that ignorant is kind of hard to excuse. On the other hand the alcohol content of these is written in the bottom corner in fine print. Also when the vendors advertise most of the time they write "Mike's Lemonade" and leave the hard out because it's assumed. I actually had to ask at a concert was it Mike's hard or some local brand of normal lemonade.

The system way over reacted, hopefully this will be one of those points where the damn pendulum starts swinging in the other direction. I doubt it but here's hoping.

Posted by: vlad at April 29, 2008 7:03 AM

Nanny state run amok.

The trouble with regulations is that, in the end, they always replace intelligent thinking.

Posted by: Kirk at April 29, 2008 7:03 AM

" voice usually has always worked for me." sorry should have read: voice has always worked for me.

Posted by: vlad at April 29, 2008 7:05 AM

Jessica,

As far as I know, waitstaff under age 21 aren't even allowed to carry an alcholic beverage to the table. If your server is 20, he/she must take your order, deliver it to the bar, and have someone 21+ bring it to your table . . . .

*That's* how ridiculous it's gotten.

jen

Posted by: TheOtherOne at April 29, 2008 7:06 AM

"As far as I know, waitstaff under age 21 aren't even allowed to carry an alcholic beverage to the table. If your server is 20, he/she must take your order, deliver it to the bar, and have someone 21+ bring it to your table . . . ."

In the few jurisdictions I've had the pleasure of frequenting watering holes, the legal age to serve is 18. That's adding insult to injury, you're old enough to serve it to someone else, but none for you.

Posted by: Aardvark at April 29, 2008 7:51 AM

I'm posting anonymously, for obvious reasons.

My wife made a similar mistake. We had hosted a big party for the 4th, and had lots of beer, wine, and other types of beverages, alcoholic and not. A few days later, she and our son were sitting on the back deck, enjoying a couple of lemonades from the fridge. She called me up a little while later, laughing her ass off. Turns out she and our son were slightly intoxicated because they were drinking an alcoholic lemonade (probably Mike's).

She made a false assumption about the drink; didn't realize that it was alcoholic. Oops. Guess what. Nobody's the worse for the wear. I was slightly upset when I found out. For about 30 seconds. Then I started laughing too.

I really feel sorry for this family. They've been chewed up and spit out by the Nanny State. And it's only going to get worse.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 29, 2008 8:08 AM

You can join the military and die for your country, get married, have kids, vote, drive for NASCAR, be a porn star or almost do anything else you want in America before your 21, except drink alcohol legally.

Europe had it right, kids grow up with weak wine and by the time they are adults, they tend to have much less problems with alcoholism than we do in America. Hmmmm. Why do we so often reject proven successful ideas while stubbornly repeating the same old failed policies over and over and over again?

Posted by: Bikerken at April 29, 2008 8:11 AM

We've traveled down the regulation road far enough that simple mistakes are cause for outrageous coercive intrusions on the rights of parents. This is insane, the state run amok.

Posted by: Jeff at April 29, 2008 8:18 AM

Biker - I couldn't agree with you more.

I've encountered this argument before and three are pretty strong counters to your logic (which I share with you).

Obvious fact: the U.S. isn't Europe. Our cultures are vastly different, as are our general attitudes towards many things. The approach to booze in Europe works, and would probably work here, except that isn't not something that can just be implemented all of a sudden. It has to have evolved naturally.

Legalize booze for the

It would be a shitshow. This country went down the wrong path with its nannying and it's so screwed up it would be a long, hard, struggle to help create a healthy, safe, responsible relationship b/w American (youths) and alcohol.

Posted by: Gretchen at April 29, 2008 8:28 AM

Biker - I couldn't agree with you more.

I've encountered this argument before and three are pretty strong counters to your logic (which I share with you).

Obvious fact: the U.S. isn't Europe. Our cultures are vastly different, as are our general attitudes towards many things. The approach to booze in Europe works, and would probably work here, except that isn't not something that can just be implemented all of a sudden. It has to have evolved naturally.

Legalize booze for the

It would be a shitshow. This country went down the wrong path with its nannying and it's so screwed up it would be a long, hard, struggle to help create a healthy, safe, responsible relationship b/w American (youths) and alcohol.

Posted by: Gretchen at April 29, 2008 8:29 AM

Ok - sorry to post a dupe but a paragraph got eaten. This is supposed to be after "legalize booze for the - "


Legalize booze for the

I hope this post isn't deranged.

Posted by: Gretchen at April 29, 2008 8:30 AM

>> Have any of you had an authoritative figure go apeshit on you?

In Jr High I was accused of selling marijuana, and even though there was no evidence except a nerdy kid's word for it. I was exposed to the police intimidation and threatened with expulsion, at age 12.

Even though I have never been in trouble of any kind, I know my attorney's cell phone by heart, and have two of his business cards in my wallet. He gets to talk to anyone in authority for me.

I feel for this grandfather- I would need to be tied down and knocked out if anyone, legal or not, tried to take my boy away from me. The thing about kids is you can usually tell if they are loved and cared for, and when they are, they are fairly indestructible.

Posted by: eric at April 29, 2008 8:31 AM

Ahhh. Ok I give up...ciao!

Posted by: Gretchen at April 29, 2008 8:31 AM

I am 50 years old and female, and I don't watch much TV. I have NEVER heard of "Mike's Lemonade." Is this a local product or nationwide or worldwide? As an attorney, I would have to say that Mike's Lemonade should be clearly labeled as alcoholic, in order to prevent mistakes like this one. Foreigners don't go to too many baseball games, but they go to other outdoor festivals -- would a foreigner be expected to know about Mike's Lemonade?

I agree with the above poster that CPS behaved badly, as usual, by taking the kid into foster care based on a honest mistake, and that CPS compounded its error by refusing to let the boy stay with his licensed social worker and foster parent aunt while they conducted their "investigation." I also agree that the parents were very lucky to get their child back after only two days. CPS usually tries to get continuance after continuance so that they can stretch the case out for at least a year.

By the way, I can just about GUARANTEE you that the child was asked if Daddy abused him in other ways.

Posted by: Suspicious at April 29, 2008 8:57 AM

2 more libertarians born! Some people have to experience things themselves in order for big ideas to sink into their heads. Lord, we could use the votes.

Also, Vlad, can you give the guy a break for not watching TV? More power to the man. I have not had one for 10 years. Yes, I know what Mike's Hard Lemonade is, but, only because I've had it before - tastes pretty good, if I do say so myself. Oh, I'd never pay $7 for one.

Maybe that's the true tragedy of this entire incident, come to think of it. Seven bucks for a bottle of hard lemonade! It's egregious! Oh, yeah the police state we have sucks too.

Posted by: Dave Lincoln at April 29, 2008 9:02 AM

vlad wrote: " ... being that ignorant is kind of hard to excuse...."

Ignorant? What 'ignorant'? I'm 60 years old with a PhD, and I never in my life heard of 'hard lemonade' until I read this story.

Obviously, there is nothing the poor guy can do about the CPS Nazis, but can't he at least sue the vendor and the manufacturer for not labeling the product clearly? Normally, I don't approve of frivolous lawsuits, but I'd make an exception in this case.

By the way, if you go back and read the complete , original story on the WZZM-13 News website, the CPS social worker's name was "Latricia Jones." Would it be 'racist' of me to raise the spectre of Affirmative Action here?

Posted by: cato-9 at April 29, 2008 9:12 AM

I didn't mean to be reptitive - the post by "suspicious" wasn't there yet when I wrote.

Also, whether alcohol content is labeled or not, it's still not a big deal for a kid to have, what, .06 oz of alcohol - I assume 12 oz bottle, the big one is probably more like $16.50.

Posted by: Dave Lincoln at April 29, 2008 9:22 AM

Add me to the list of people who have never heard of Mike's Lemonade. If I saw the word "hard" I would know what it means (hard cider, etc.) - but the sign at the ballpark (shown in the article) said only "Mike's Lemonade". In a hurry, grab the bottle, hand it to the kid, done.

The first person to really screw up here is the cop. What the hell is he doing arresting people for something like this? He started out right "did you know that contains alcohol?". Inform the parent, maybe keep an eye on them the rest of the game, then let it go. Why did he want to to start the whole machinery grinding?

Latricia? Affirmative action hire? Happy to make life difficult for the the white college prof? Nah...what would make you think that?

Posted by: bradley13 at April 29, 2008 10:14 AM

"Obviously, there is nothing the poor guy can do about the CPS Nazis, but can't he at least sue the vendor and the manufacturer for not labeling the product clearly?" It is labeled it just doesn't say Alcohol in big bold letters on the front. If you look at the bottle it's there. Now being ignorant of the fact that it's alcoholic I can understand but if you don't know what it is why are you giving it to your kid without reading the label. As far as labeled clearly unless you don't drink next time you pick up a bottle of wine, beer, hard liquor, or exotic drink (Smirnoff Ice etc) take a look at how small the print is on alcohol content. So we sue ALL vendors that don't put the alcohol content on the bottle right up front in 28 point font? Should the vendor have asked who it's for maybe but it's not a suable offense no, not by a long shot. It's all the sue happiness that helps perpetuate the damn system when applied this way.

"I'm 60 years old with a PhD, and I never in my life heard of 'hard lemonade' until I read this story." Given this I'm assuming you'd actually check what something is before you give it to your kid or grand kid if you don't know what it is.

CPS is fubar for many reasons and affirmative action has little to do with it. The job suck the politics sucks and the pay sucks even more. The few competent people who go into it for the right reasons (care for kids) are emotionally drained, over worked and burned out.

"Also, Vlad, can you give the guy a break for not watching TV? More power to the man."
I know what Mikes is cause I see it at the liquire store with beer in the same cooler. I didn't know they were advertising the stuff on TV. I don't watch much TV either. Like I said I'm not saying the should fine him, inform him that this was a mistake and that's it. I could see them fining him for making a mistake doesn't mean I think they should fine him but it would make sense. Taking the kid away was completely ludicrous. Their action were insane as opposed to fining him which would have been heavy handed but still in the realm of normal.

Posted by: vlad at April 29, 2008 10:16 AM

The system itself needs a serious overhaul, given this person's status and connection he can and should get that ball rolling. Can't sue CPS well then use you infulnce to get the law changed.

What's will all the affirmative action crap. One of the two CPS agents that took Leo said that the system was over reacting. So now use that over reaction to reel the system in. Before anyone starts with the "It's not his responsibility" yes, yes it. He's in a position to fix a problem that directly affected him. He has an ethical (though not legal) duty to fix the problem if he can.

Posted by: vlad at April 29, 2008 10:31 AM

Now being ignorant of the fact that it's alcoholic I can understand but if you don't know what it is why are you giving it to your kid without reading the label.

If the park were selling something called "Amy's Orange Juice" I'm betting the father would have done the same thing, because orange juice - like lemonade - isn't something we reflexively assume contains alcohol. Same for soft drinks in the can/bottle. People typically put lemonade in the mental "so far from alcoholic that it's slightly boring" category. The guy probably thought this was the modern version of Country Tyme Lemonade. Hell, I know what Mike's is because I've seen it numerous times, but if I were distractedly scanning that sign - which doesn't contain the word "Hard" ANYWHERE - while talking to my kid, I might well forget about the "hard" stuff.

Posted by: marion at April 29, 2008 10:37 AM

I’ve tried Mike’s Hard Lemonade...once...and I don’t get it. It tastes like it was strained through a used gym sock as soon as it came out of the horse and there’s not enough alcohol in it to get a gerbil drunk.

Maybe that’s why Dad went up for child abuse. If he’d given the kid an honest beer....

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian at April 29, 2008 11:01 AM

This ridiculous situation reminds me of this story:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23594474/

To summarize, a woman had all of her children taken away by CPS and is facing charges for locking her sleeping daughter in the car for a few minutes while she was 10 meters away in plain view.

How have we come to this?

Posted by: liz at April 29, 2008 11:08 AM

I had a similar situation, but with a different twist.

I allowed my 14-year old alcohol in moderation (sips from coolers and hard cider my wife and I would have). Well, one morning, she was exhausted and didn't want to go to school. She didn't have a fever, and seemed to be hamming it up, so we sent her to school.

Later, she decides to "make up a story" to go home early. She thought she'd tell the guidance counselor that she had a bit of wine cooler the prior night and was a little hung over. When the counselor didn't seem interested, she "added" that maybe my wife or I put some kind of drug in it. Now THAT had the counselor's attention. She (the daughter) embellished quite a bit on the story (she tends to do that when she lies...she can't stop embellishing), not realizing what was happening.

The next day she's had an interview with CPS, and realizing how serious her "story" has made things, she is trying to retract everything - seeming more bothered by missing her lunch break than the possibility that her parents are drugging her. By the time the counselor contacted US for the required interview, she was already convinced there was nothing to substantiate the story. So in OUR case, it went as well as anyone could expect. No one got jailed or fined or accused of anything, and neither of our kids were taken away from us. It was pretty much closed as quickly as it was opened. Needless to say, our daughter was in some HOT water for a while after that stunt.

Funny thing? Her sleepiness episode prompted us have a sleep study done on her. She has pretty serious sleep apnea with occasional bouts of narcolepsy. Hence why she's so ridiculously tired some mornings - she didn't get enough restful sleep and her body is trying to FORCE her to go back to sleep to make up for it. No alcohol - let alone other drugs - involved.

CPS staff is frequently underpaid, under-trained, over burdened, and when they GET involved they almost HAVE to err on the side of caution to the point of paranoia towards the children. Things go bad frequently and cases they should be involved with - they usually never get called. Can't say they're perfect, but most of their workers get my sympathy, at least. It can't be an easy job.

Posted by: Anony-moose at April 29, 2008 11:17 AM

That's the problem with this. Normal parent finds out they're not up on popular drinks and buy their kid a mikes hard lemonade by mistake and they might get mad. But, more likely, they probably laugh say somethign like "Wow, That was dumb" and get on with their life. This practically Guarentees a lawsuit because it massively inconvenienced them and it was the Security Guard at the stadium that called the cops. If I was the ballpark he'd be fired for calling over somethign so stupid but the sad reality is they're scrwed on the liability thing from both ends and it's probably a policy that the security guy had to call.

And I can only imagine that conversation to find out he was dizzy...
cfsJohnny, are you dizzy?
J:no
CFS:Are you SURE you're not dizzy
J:Yeah, I'm sure
CFS: Cause it's ok if you are, it's not your fault
J:I guess I feel a little dizzy

And "The Comerica cop estimated that Leo had drunk about 12 ounces of the hard lemonade" It's a 12 ounce bottle, if there was anything left at all, and there probably was cause the kid was still holding it, He didn't drink "about 12 ounces"

And, that sign was misleading. Beer, Lemonade, Cranberry Juice, Peanuts. I just hope they weren't Mikes Peanuts

Posted by: Scott at April 29, 2008 11:34 AM

Vlad -

I know what Mikes is cause I see it at the liquire store with beer in the same cooler. I didn't know they were advertising the stuff on TV. I don't watch much TV either.

Here's the problem with that. I don't really drink any more, so I don't go to liquor stores, nor do I visit the wine/beer section of the grocery stores. I also don't watch commercial tee vee. I use an ad-blocker with Firefox. The only magazines I read are The Journal of Light Construction, Utne and Atlantic monthly. JLC doesn't have any non-construction related adverts and while I may have missed some (unlike JLC where part of the point in getting it is the ads, I ignore ads as much as possible in most periodicals) I don't recall ever seeing ads for Mike's in either of the other two.

Now it so happens that our drinking days are not that long gone and momma used to like Mike's, so I know what it is. But given the lack of exposure, I could totally see buying my kid a bottle at a ball game based on what he saw on the sign. And honestly, while I usually read the bottle to see what exactly is in it, I am more likely to forgo doing so with lemonade, because I already assume that it's loaded with sugar.

I would argue that it wouldn't be unreasonable to require producers of similar malt beverages to clearly label their products as alcoholic. At the least, the sign advertising it should have read "hard" lemonade.

Posted by: DuWayne at April 29, 2008 12:20 PM

"At the least, the sign advertising it should have read "hard" lemonade." In complete agreement there. The vendor screwed up by not putting "hard" in the name of the beverage on display. This should have ended with a slap on the wrist for all and hearty chuckle.

I have been thinking about this and on second thought yeah, not sure that dad is at fault or guilty of anything. He certainly not guilty of something any one of us could have easily done before reading this post. Doubt any of us will make this type of mistake for a while now.

The bottle does say Mike's Hard Lemonade. I think that when they are sold at any amusement park or family oriented establishment the product labeling should be different.

Posted by: vlad at April 29, 2008 12:52 PM

We may not agree on much most of the time, Ms. Advice Goddess, but on this we are of one mind.

First on the guards overreaction to what the father mistakenly did.

And secondly as to raising children on the proper uses of alcohol. I too was raised tasting everything and being given wine. I rarely drink.

We did the same for our three kids, and while they enjoy the occasional adult beverage, have never gone out to get stinking drunk for the hell of it and roll their eyes at people who think doing so is "fun".

Yep, take the mystery out of it and it's just not a big deal.

Posted by: Mommynator at April 29, 2008 1:06 PM

And to think this all started with the quick wit and keen observation of Barney Fife from Rent-A-Cop, Inc.

I think we can all rest easy knowing that today's GED candidates can enjoy a career with this much authority over Americans.

If Barney's as smart as I think he is, he could be a star in TSA or even Homeland Security!

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at April 29, 2008 1:23 PM

I don't think the issue here is pertinent to the marketing of Mike's Lemonade, or whether everyone should know of it's contents. It's not even about whether or not the guy was ignorant of a material fact.

The rooted problem with this story, one that has really pulled at my heartstring (yes, i do have...one), is the persistent drive of the government to come between father and son, parent and child.

More subtle, is that those who work in these capacities for the government are simple-minded persons who think they are only doing 'thier job', without contemplation of the serious consequences that can, and often does, last a lifetime.

I once worked as a legal assistant at a gov't child protective service back in the Midwest. Granted, there were some cases that were legitimately important for the agency to step in. But as time passed, I was presented with more and more cases where there was little or no evidence of harm or wrongdoing, and yet the same line was, "terminate the parental rights, just do it, i don't care how". Naturally I left there in a hurry (only to later contemplate if perhaps I could have been a roadblock to such incredulous and mechanical objectives).

My experience has told me, and I think the text of the article follows, the presumption is that the parents are ALWAYS wrong, ALWAYS guilty, and they are to bear the burden which the government holds over thier heards, one so very high and traumatic that most are not able to overcome such distances. This is government paternalism at its worst.

Posted by: j.d. at April 29, 2008 1:32 PM

strike that. This is government maternalism. Paternalism has nothing to do with this. (and i'm beginning to think the more appropriate expression is 'government maternalism'.)--> Protecting ourselves from ourselves even when we don't need it, and liberty be damned.

Posted by: j.d. at April 29, 2008 1:51 PM

"strike that. This is government maternalism." They are operating on the father knows best principle so paternalism was quite accurate.

Posted by: vlad at April 29, 2008 2:06 PM

j.d. -

This is a tough topic for me. I agree with you that there are unbelievable insanities at work in CPS/DHS agencies.

I think that the major problem is that the system has been geared and gotten legal support for dealing with the very worse case scenarios. This is not to say that the worse case scenarios aren't important, but what has happened is that the methods for dealing with the very worse abusers, are being used across the board as standard operating procedure.

Thus a decent parent who (we'll say for the sake of argument) just lost her career, is under tremendous pressure and snaps, can have her child taken because in a moment of stress she smacked her son inappropriately. Should somehting be done if it is brought to the attention of authorities? Certainly, sending her to get help with her stress and anger issues would be a good start. Talk about sending the child to stay with a relative while the pressure is on.

Unfortunately, if the authorities were called under such circumstances, the SOP is to take the kid out of the home and ask questions later.

Posted by: DuWayne at April 29, 2008 2:08 PM

I think Mike's Lemonade should be sued as well. It's a perfectly reasonable assumption, if you've not been informed otherwise, that it's a soft drink. Lemonade usually doesn't have alcohol in it. The label has a smiley lemon on it, and the alcohol warning is not very conspicuous.

I'd say it's a good cause for a tort action.

Posted by: Skyler at April 29, 2008 4:32 PM

I made the same mistake at a ball park couple years ago--but I was buying for myself. No idea it was "hard", just thought I was getting a lemonade.

Posted by: Joe at April 29, 2008 4:37 PM

Never heard of Mike's Lemonade, whether hard, soft or just right. But, I do believe this is the only justification I have ever heard of for carding anyone who buys booze.

Posted by: stu at April 29, 2008 4:43 PM

Did the server ask for ID? It would have served as notice to the father if he wasn't buying alcohol for himself at the time.

Many sellers ask all customers for ID.

If they are going to this lengths to uphold the law, you'd think that mandatory ID would be the first step.

Posted by: edh at April 29, 2008 4:51 PM

I call it "Big Sister"

Posted by: Franco 53 at April 29, 2008 4:52 PM

I saw a comment below the story that made a good point:
"The CPS employee saying they were just doing there job is akin to the German soldiers in WWII saying they were just following orders."
All people - employees, citizens, soldiers - have an obligation to use common sense and personal choices when given instructions or orders.

Posted by: _Jon at April 29, 2008 4:54 PM

I'd say it's a good cause for a tort action.

Not so sure about that; what about Jack Daniel's Lynchburg Lemonade? It's pretty much the same thing as Mike's Hard Lemonade. They'd shoot down a tort action with a "caveat emptor" and be done with it.

Posted by: Flynne at April 29, 2008 4:55 PM

But of course if the kid had become drunk, sick, a victim of alcohol poisoning (think about it: 7 years old, weighing, what, 50-60 lbs?) or worse, the outrage would be directed in what direction?

Any father (or mother, for that matter) who gives a child *anything* to eat/drink without knowing what's being ingested has some serious parenting issues to resolve.

Posted by: Denny, Alaska at April 29, 2008 5:01 PM

I have a hard time believing that anybody could be unaware of the existence of Mike's Hard Lemonade. It's not exactly a niche beverage.

That said, this:

Any father (or mother, for that matter) who gives a child *anything* to eat/drink without knowing what's being ingested has some serious parenting issues to resolve.

is idiotic. A vendor at a ballpark represents a food item as a hot dog, let's say. Are you going to conduct some kind of detailed chemical analysis to confirm that it is, in fact, a hot dog, and not Italian sausage, before feeding it to your kid?

If the vendor represented the drink as lemonade, and the father reasonably relied on that representation, then the problem here was a goodly amount of jackassery from stadium security and CPS, not the father's carelessness.

Posted by: BC at April 29, 2008 5:21 PM

The outrage will be multi-directional.

Multi-directional, without validity. Lots of finger-pointing without substantive argument. Kinda like Fox News.

Why Must there be outrage? I think the term has come to pre-suppose that it is not only necessary, but when exercised, legitimate. If there is any outrage, it should be directed at the way the municipality agencies have handled the case from the first meeting of the father and the officer down whatever sick road it has taken.

If the kid had alchohol poisoning, I think it would be more of a cautionary tale. Seriously, are you going to be outraged by the fact the father had no clue as to the contents of the bottle? (Perhaps if he had been asked for ID, as one previous commenter had pointed out, that would have served as notice). The assertion that a parent has serious issues when he or she provides a consumable to a child without knowing what it was is understandable. But the assertion that this guy has some serious parenting issues is a misdirection to what is at issue here: whether he knew there was alchohol in the bottle, and not whether he was a bad parent.

To be outraged at a person's innocent lack of knowledge is a tough argument to make. What if his son was 18 years old but, like his father, still did not know the bottle contained alcohol. Would you find outrage there?

Posted by: j.d. at April 29, 2008 5:33 PM

I never heard of Mike's and I have been drinking for 58 years. I'm 63. Do the math.

Like Amy my parents let me try anything they were drinking. My favorite (when I was young) was coffee with lots of sugar, cream, and butter.

These days I drink about 32 oz a day double strength black. It is supposed to be good for preventing something or other. I like the taste.

Posted by: M. Simon at April 29, 2008 5:49 PM

I never heard of Mike's and I have been drinking for 58 years. I'm 63. Do the math.

The stuff shares shelf space with wine coolers in supermarkets and/or liquor stores. It and similar beverages have recently been in the news because manufacturers are allegedly marketing these so-called "alcopops" to teens. Its existence is not a state secret.

Posted by: BC at April 29, 2008 6:13 PM

Note to self: Never attend Tigers Stadium, for any reason.

Posted by: Richard R. at April 29, 2008 6:22 PM

Hmmph! I'm going on 62 yrs and while I don't imbibe as much as in the younger days I thought I knew my alcoholic drinks. But I have to join the "I never heard of Mike's Hard Lemonade" crowd. Of course, I don't watch television as I consider it a waste of time.

Regardless, it just reaffirms the idiocy found in government bureaucracies.

Posted by: Gun Trash at April 29, 2008 6:29 PM

HRC spends big bucks scouring the country for a nice maudlin story about abuse in our health care system, and then has to make one up because she can't find one. Meanwhile, this story just pops up on the web as a business as usual story. That's how out of balance our country is.

Posted by: bc at April 29, 2008 6:30 PM

We had a small skirmish with the drug warriors last fall that turned out better than the professor but the general IQ level was about the same. I described it here. The key was my daughter's friend Sammie who is so innocent that, when the DEA agent (or ICE, I don't know; it was a border check point) told her that they "knew" there were narcotics in our car and Sammie had to tell her where, Sammie asked "What are narcotics ?" They finally let us go. These folks weren't as lucky.

Posted by: Mike K at April 29, 2008 6:42 PM

my god. i'm torn between amusement (at their idiocy) and rage (at the way they treated the poor family).

great catch, amy.

Posted by: timderoche at April 29, 2008 6:55 PM

Labeling of alcoholic beverages is intensely scrutinized and regulated by the FDA. It may be that the makers of Mike's is legally prohibited from more prominently displaying the alcohol content. I recall reading a few years back that the FDA is greatly displeased by the idea that alcohol content would be a factor in one's decision to buy an alcoholic beverage.

Posted by: timmah at April 29, 2008 7:11 PM

I've never had the product but it must taste pretty darn good for a child to drink it with no complaint about the taste.

Anyone who has children knows that you can't give them any macaroni and cheese, it has to be KRAFT macaroni and cheese, and it better not be a different color or a different shape or the chicken nuggets had better be Brand X and this particular shade of brown and not too soggy or too crispy or nothing is touched.

I guess what I am saying is that children have massive, super sensitve "something is different here and I'm having NO PART OF IT" detectors, and I'm surprised alcohol in a beverage wouldn't set that off.

I guess it is similar to the "hiding the vegetables in the mashed potatoes" trick, but with alcohol.

Posted by: arminius at April 29, 2008 7:32 PM

Hi, Amy,

Instapundit sent me; great site, great post.

If by Amerone you're referring to an Italian wine, then I believe it's Amarone.

And if you meant Amarone, let me assure you that Italian (or Italian-American) families never served it around the table. Too expensive. So expensive that you'd have to be relatively wealthy before you could have enough to fall into such vices.

Amarone is (or, at least, good Amarone is), as you evidently know, completely magnificent.

Posted by: Jude at April 29, 2008 8:06 PM

Anyone who has children knows that you can't give them any macaroni and cheese, it has to be KRAFT macaroni and cheese, and it better not be a different color or a different shape or the chicken nuggets had better be Brand X and this particular shade of brown and not too soggy or too crispy or nothing is touched.

That is, unless their parents actually, you know, discipline them out of such horrible behavior. I know my time of questioning food from my parents was extremely short-lived; mom and dad always said, "You don't have to eat it, but you're not getting anything else." Perhaps this just happened to be the (unfortunately) rare case of a child who, upon being handed a bottle of lemonade, simply said "Thanks, dad" and decided not to pitch a fit if it tasted a little different.

Lots of things could have happened differently here. Parents make mistakes; accidents happen and lessons are learned. This kid wasn't being abused and the length he was in for with services was "relatively" short when it shouldn't have been any time at all had someone just listened. It's the worst kind of cautionary tale out there.

Posted by: Jean Moczy at April 29, 2008 8:22 PM


"The 'public servants' were probably very excited to be able to remove a child from educated parents in the upper income brackets."

I had a run-in with DCFS once. A pyschiatrist I know told me that these people LIVE to hang some kind of violation around the neck of an upper/upper-middle class family.

Absolutely LIVE for it, since so many of the people they deal with are such low-lifes. It gives them a way to "show" that they are even-handed.

Posted by: Chester White at April 29, 2008 8:28 PM

Hi, Amy, Instapundit sent me; great site, great post. If by Amerone you're referring to an Italian wine, then I believe it's Amarone.

Thanks so much for the correction - will fix it. And I know Amarone is pricey. I had it for the first time in Mantua this past September, and haven't been able to get it out of my mind.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 29, 2008 9:48 PM

I guess you're supposed to know that "hard" means alcohol is included. If I'd not seen the ads, I'm not sure I would have made the connection.

But it sounds like the government would have more of a problem if they called it "Mike's Booze-Laced Lemonade" because that might make adults want to drink it.

Our government prefers euphemisms, but it's against the law not to see through them.

Posted by: Vail Beach at April 30, 2008 1:42 AM

I have a very clear memory of my maternal grandfather, a Welshman, giving me my first sip of beer at age 6. It was probably National Bohemian. I'm pretty sure my mother didn't approve. Other than that, no one thought anything of it.

Posted by: Barry at April 30, 2008 2:41 AM

Read a great story on this subject a few years ago: A woman was awakened in the middle of the night by a noise in the kitchen, and found her four yr old son had drunk a bottle of beer and was acting a little tipsy. She called her pediatrician, who was less than dazzled to be called about this, and asked him what she should do. He told her to just put him to bed, he'd be okay in the morning. "But should I give him anything?" she asked. "Got any pretzels?" he replied

Posted by: Billmax at April 30, 2008 4:44 AM

This debate is bringing excellent exposure to Mike's products (enjoy their Limeade personally. Their stuff isn't good for getting drunk, though, as it causes intense heartburn. Learned that when I was 16 and didn't have the palate for the good stuff yet.)

Anyone who's never heard of Mike's just a little interested to merely go look at it in the store? To make sure it's there? See what the label looks like to determine if YOU'D notice it was booze? Bet you wonder how it tastes...pretty refreshing stuff on a hot summer day...

This is a Mike's MARKETING CONSPIRACY!

Sorry, shouldn't make jokes because I know the parents involved are in a tough place.

Posted by: Gretchen at April 30, 2008 4:47 AM

OK...but what can we do about CPS???

They actually took the grandkids of an acquaintance of mine based on the testimony of an angry neighbor who said the mother's house was "dirty". It wasn't especially clean, but is that reason to take kids away?

And ironically the foster home the kids were placed in was *filthy*, (bird defecating on the table when they were eating), and they were underfed...

What do we DO?

Posted by: Mama73 at April 30, 2008 5:45 AM

zero tolerance policies like this are the direct result of affirmative action in public service. When they are no longer allowed to screen emplyees (CPS, Police, clerks, etc) for intelligence, they have to put rules into place that are "fair" and require no judgement at all.

Posted by: Smarty at April 30, 2008 9:14 AM

Under Title IV-D, taking kids from a parent makes states federal money. This goes much deeper than most suppose.

Welcome to law-by-lobby opportunism, folks, where you rights, for want of maintenance, mean zip.

Posted by: Ten at April 30, 2008 10:23 AM

"It tastes like it was strained through a used gym sock as soon as it came out of the horse..."

This comment by Conan the Grammarian about Mike's Hard Lemonade had me LMAO. When I went for a walk yesterday afternoon and saw a couple of horses, I was reminded of the comment and laughed again. In fact, I was even laughing about it last night.

I hope nobody in the other apartments thought I'd gone mad!

Tom Fullery

Posted by: Thomas Fullery at April 30, 2008 1:55 PM

The fundamental problem is unsolvable. All types of work that involves any kind of [i]power[/i] have a tendency to draw certain personality types. Government is all about [i]power[/i] when the nice language is stripped away, as George Washington himself observed.

The world is full of busybodies, and they're drawn to CPS work just as magnetically as bullies are drawn to police work. That is NOT to say that most police are bullies, or that most CPS people are busybodies (though I suspect that the police are better at screening out the bully personality than CPS is at busybodies, because the later is hard to define and spot).
But bullies sometimes seek to become police because it gives them power over others, and busybodies are often drawn to social work because it lets them tell other people how to live their lives, which they [i]ache[/i] to do.

There is no real solution, as such. Anything we do or don't do means that [i]someone[/i] will suffer who otherwise did not. My solution is to restrict public intervention to the most extreme cases of physical and specific sexual abuse, and lesser stuff is simply not the state's business.

In short, we need to set a legal standard that the parents are presumptively right, and the accuser (public or private) is presumptively lying or wrong.

Will some children suffer for doing that? Yes.

Will some children suffer for our [i]not[/i] doing that? Yes.

The notion has infected our society in recent decades that the state is supposed to make life 'fair' and 'safe', and it [b]cannot[/b] do that, but in the process of trying much harm is done.

Posted by: HC at April 30, 2008 5:02 PM

Well, the father's an academic at U of Michigan, and not in the hard sciences. The chances that he is a liberal are about 99 percent.

So I can't help but feel like he's hoist on his own petard.

Posted by: punditius at May 1, 2008 4:36 AM

You should know that a Federal agency must approve all labeling of alcoholic beverages. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is that agency. I found no sign as to the extent to which its duties have been assumed from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and public outrage seems not to have followed it from the parent organization.

Posted by: Radwaste at May 1, 2008 2:38 PM

The term "badge-heavy" can be applied to people other than cops - anyone in a position of authority who uses that power for their own personal jollies.

In today's over-regulated, nanny-state world, there are thousands of p*ss-ant government workers who can and do act like this.

You voted for 'em, folks.

Posted by: bud at May 1, 2008 5:46 PM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 29, 2008 5:10 AM

Comments

When Daughter #1 was in the 5th grade, she had a friend who was very into anime, and both girls watched a lot of anime on Cartoon Network at the time. YuYu Hakusho was one; Rurouni Kenshin was another. I wasn't paying as close attention as I should have; Kenshin turned out not to be a samuri, but a Japanese assasin "with a sunny disposition"; YuYu was some kind of competition fighter, or something. ANyway, one morning, before #1 was going off to school, she had a funky-looking little baggie in her hand, and my mom asked what it was. She said "medicine" and mom was all "what kind of medicine?" She took the little baggie, and there, inside were 3 little corners of baggies with what looked like cocaine in them! Turned out it was powder that she had wetted with water, and then let dry; she had packaged them in exact replica of the "medicine" (opium!) that she had seen in the anime! Apparently she and her little friend were going to play Rurouni Kenshin during recess. Mom took them from her and told her she shouldn't bring stuff like this to school, and when #1 asked "why?" she told her that I would explain when I got home from work. Thanks, Mom! When I got home, I took her and her little medicine bags into the kitchen, let her dump them out, and then told her that while I truly admired her "creativity", the resemblance of her medicine to little bags of street cocaine was so close as to be identical, and had she been caught with those at school, very likely I would have been arrested, and DCF would have been called, and she and her sister would have been taken away from me. I then told her that she could not watch anime anymore until she was 15 years old. There was little protest on her part; she was very repentant, and scared at the thought of DCF taking her and her sister away from me.
There but for my mom's chance sighting of that little baggie, her smarts and the grace of whatever god/dess is watching over us, I would have gone where this boy's parents did. Dodged a (BIG) bullet that time.

Posted by: Flynne at April 29, 2008 5:56 AM

...I would have gone where this boy's parents did.

Oooops! This should've been in the other thread; however, there is a real possibility the #1 could've gotten expelled, too.

Posted by: Flynne at April 29, 2008 6:05 AM

I still ask myself where that whole "No Tolerance" thing will end-up. Do the kids will be hampered in the development of their ethical sense? If the only answer for all questions is obedience in all time, how can you question autority?

Posted by: Toubrouk at April 29, 2008 6:24 AM

The problem is, Toubrouk, that the people that used to tell us to "Question Authority" are now the ones are ARE the Authority, and they will brook NO questions. It's "Do as I say, not as I do." and if anyone questions that, it's ZERO tolerance. That's another reason why all this "political correctness" is a buncha bullshit; it's not political and it's not correct. It's absolving people of taking personal responsibility and taking away their right to question authority. Am I the only one who sees this?!?

Posted by: Flynne at April 29, 2008 6:33 AM

Times do change, don't they?

In 1958, in Rogers, Arkansas, I rode a float in the high school homecoming parade dressed as a hillbilly and holding a 12 gauge double-barreled shotgun. The teacher who sponsored our club picked me because I had the most old-fashioned shotgun--one with a worn stock, faded bluing, and external hammers. But it wasn't a wallhanger; it was the gun I regularly hunted with. The teacher just told me not to bring any shells, and to carry the gun disassembled till I got onto the float, and to take it apart again after the parade.

Posted by: Axman at April 29, 2008 6:37 AM

Taking a gun or a knife to school is one thing. Buying personal SOUVIONIRS on a feild trip which were never taken out of the box they were bought in and to be sent to the students homes is something else.

Those kids should get their proprty back, get the money the spent to go on the trip refunded, and the teacher who stole their stuff should be charged.

Posted by: lujlp at April 29, 2008 6:44 AM

Flynne says, "The problem is, Toubrouk, that the people that used to tell us to 'Question Authority' are now the ones are ARE the Authority, and they will brook NO questions. It's 'Do as I say, not as I do.'"

Flynne, I admire your insight. The irony you speak of showed up even in the old "Question Authority" days. In the late '60s I made a mildly iconocastic remark to a group of dinner guests. One of them, an activist in campus uprisings going on at the time, said, "After the revolution, I'll let you say that, if you say it in just that way."

I blew up at him. I told him, "By God, if you have the authority to tell me how to say things after the revolution, the whole operation is a complete failure. Nobody can tell me how to say things now! You think your God damn revolution will improve on that?"

So I think you're right, Flynne. They didn't have to do a revolution, because they managed an infiltration.


P.S. I always enjoy your wit, too. Just thought I'd let you know, since I was already addressing you.

Posted by: Axman at April 29, 2008 7:07 AM

Flynne -- Thanks for the "Aha" moment.

Those who told us to question authority now are the authority, and they will brook no questions.

Exactly!

Posted by: Kirk at April 29, 2008 7:13 AM

Flynne, you have nailed it so right!

It is amazing what a little power can do to a human mind... :D

Posted by: Toubrouk at April 29, 2008 8:06 AM

Spanks you guys, I'm just callin' it as I see it.

Posted by: Flynne at April 29, 2008 8:23 AM

The McKinney, TX school district hired an East Coast transplant teacher.

One of her students, a 12 year old boy, wrote on his essay assignment that he wanted a ".50 caliber smooth bore rifle", aka muzzleloader - the same rifle out of the Last of the Mohicans - so he "could shoot his first deer".

The teacher freaked. The rest is predictable.

But, the school principle had a talk with the teacher.

Of course the Mom and Dad were livid and now this teacher's name is mud.

Posted by: austin at April 29, 2008 8:29 AM

Actually, the teacher, the child and his parents all should have been deported from Texas for not knowing the difference between a smooth bore and a rifle.

Posted by: Richard at April 29, 2008 9:00 AM

Extreme stupidity demands extreme wrath.

The late great actor Charlton Heston said it best in his speech "Winning the Cultural War".

"When a five year old is charged with sexual harassment and suspended from school for kissing a little girl, blockade the schoolhouse steps"

Stupid rules remain in place because there are to many LAZY smart people.

Here is how to stop these ludicrous applications of zero tolerance.

If your school suspends a student for having an inhaler, or will not allow them to have it on them, register your wrath with other parents, organize, block the schoolhouse steps, notify the media, wage peaceful war on idiocy, hit them in the pocketbook if you must, and withdraw your child from school, convince other parents to do the same.

Simply groaning about the idiocy of the system, allows the system to continue because it has no reprecussions...except for the poor unfortunates who live beneath it's aegis.

It is not enough to ASK for a good system, a good education, it is not even enough to DEMAND it. We as parents & as citizens who pay taxes to support that system must vigilantly root out officials who either cannot, or will not, put forth their best efforts to provide a quality education & a safe environment for our next generation. Schools which employ officials who refuse to use their heads, are NOT fit to TEACH.

We get the government, and the education, that we deserve, when we do nothing in the face of corruption or incompetence...or when we overcome both those things.

Posted by: Robert H. Butler at April 29, 2008 9:59 AM

After reading this and the other post I've concluded that we're fucking up this generation more than the previous (mine...you know, the ones you think are all financially retahded. Different topic.)

By making everything off limits and punishable we're doing something scary:

Creating reactionaries.

People who can't approach a subject while examining the entire topic. It's either black or white, it's either 'allowed' or 'forbidden'. We are teaching kids how to NOT approach a situation an utilize common sense and rationality. It shows kids that you have to react with full force to everything, no matter what. Great, when John Boy Smith is 16 and someone cuts him off in traffic John Boy Smith should tail gate the offender, flash his highs and throw shit at the car until the guy (who was just having a REALLY bad day) poops his pants.

There IS a difference b/w someone buying a sword for dad and someone who is deranged and bringing it to school. And we can ALL TELL THE DIFFERENCE. If there were NOT a difference no one would care and we'd all support these over-reactions. But, here we are talking about how insane it is, so guess what? It's high time the schools/cops at baseball games get a fucking grip on reality.

Posted by: Gretchen at April 29, 2008 10:21 AM

A big part of the problem here, meseems, is that ever since the wave of school shootings that more-or-less climaxed with Columbine, a lot of "educators" go absolutely bananashit at the mere mention of the word "weapon."

When I was in school, we did riflery in gym class, my senior year. I loved it because, after all those years of humiliation, I could finally shine...I was already an NRA-trained marksman. If we'd had things like that in gym more often, I'd probably not have such a bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing. (It was perfectly safe; we used .22 rifles---many of us brought our own from home---and the whole thing took place at the local National Guard armoury's range.) These days, between insane liability precedents and the ghost of Columbine, I don't think they do it any more. Pity.

And as far as buying something like this on a trip overseas, that's probably not even going near the school ever---words fail me. If it had been me, my parents would have torn the school a new arsehole.

Posted by: Technomad at April 29, 2008 11:09 AM

First of all, Robert H. thats the way things need to happen. Should one of those kids that bring a gun be under IDEA (Special Education) the most they will receive is "45 days removed to an alternative setting", while the non-IDEA kid is gone for a calendar year. As an administrator, Vice Principal, I would like to see the parents of our basic, everyday kids get riled up and start calling those that make the policy and law I HAVE to follow.

Now to address the main post.

My Stepson is going on a People to People trip http://www.studentambassadors.org/ this summer. They are told directly, that they may not purchase any weapons, including knives and swords. I could not find out if these kids were told this or not. If they were, then I can understand the punishment, but not the expulsion. Here I have a good law (sometimes) that allows me to treat a weapon as a non-statutory event. When a kid goes hunting or skating and leaves his multi-tool in the backpack, I do not have to suspend or expel, I can impose a stupid tax and be done.

Posted by: Piper at April 29, 2008 11:25 AM

"Zero Tolerance" = "Zero Thought" = Expelled for bringing a butter knife to school.
It's easier to over-react to all situations than have to judge each one-by-one. Any school I've seen where there seems to be any semblance of order and successful structure was run by administrators who DO examine each case, get personally involved, and deal with every incident individually. The bad ones just over simplify and over-react to everything in the name of "consistency." Feh.

Now I'm feeling old and cranky. When I was in High School, I was permitted to bring two swords I had made myself into the school - carried them around with me all day - in order to give a presentation on them to the Latin classes...all 4 years of high school.

Posted by: Jamie at April 29, 2008 11:31 AM

Actually, the teacher, the child and his parents all should have been deported from Texas for not knowing the difference between a smooth bore and a rifle.

Hah! Well said.

Posted by: justin case at April 29, 2008 11:50 AM


...the people that used to tell us to "Question Authority" are now the ones are ARE the Authority, and they will brook NO questions.

True.

The thing is, the people that used to worship at the altar of "Question Authority" always mis-interpreted that phrase to mean "Automatically Disagree with Authority" - so they see any questions as illegitimate revolts against their petty tyranny instead of legitimate questioning of government officials by a free people.

----------

If your school suspends a student for having an inhaler, or will not allow them to have it on them....

If your child’s school suspends a student for having an inhaler or will not allow him to have his inhaler on him, ask the school administrator if they’ll go halfsies on a coffin when your child dies of an asthma attack during the school nurse’s lunch hour.

Restricting someone's access to lifesaving medication goes way beyond the authority of any school official. That's a medical decision. Of course, any official who equates asthma inhalers and Midol with heroin and cocaine should not have been placed in a position of authority in the first place.

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian at April 29, 2008 1:03 PM

Hey, you guys are forgetting something: we asked for the current school system.

We told the principal he couldn't paddle little Johnny, or make any other decision about his conduct.

We built schools, then populate them with transients, so the school system has no choice now but to issue IDs to otherwise anonymous people.

We told the principal she couldn't discriminate between the thug and valedictorian.

We told the principal he had to keep thugs and severely handicapped students in the classroom with the ordinary kids.

We allow a union, concerned with headcount, to override concerns about obviously incompetent "teachers", and pay no attention when dollars earmarked for "the children" actually go to administrative personnel, office spaces, faddish programs - everywhere but the classroom.

We tell our kids, directly and by example, that self-esteem and sexual identity are more important than learning, and that they can be granted, rather than earned.

We mistake memorization drills for teaching.

-----

This all sounds holier-than-thou, but there really isn't much room for debate here, because it's obvious that parental involvement - not the screeching control freak second-guessing the school's every decision, but the enabler - produces a better school and a better student.

Posted by: Radwaste at April 30, 2008 2:37 AM

Don't worry, the Brits have outlawed samurai swords. Our children are safe.

/sarc

Posted by: MarkD at May 1, 2008 6:05 PM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 28, 2008 6:20 AM

Comments

The premise of creationism is that you either believe in evolution or you believe in God. I went to school in Kansas. Kansas hasn't gotten over the Scopes Trial. Fortunately, I went to a parochial school. At Catholic school, I was taught science in science class and religion in religion class. I was not taught that you could believe one and not the other. Ironic that I was taught evolution in a religious school while my friends in public school got a taste of creationsism. I also went to a Catholic college in Kansas. A professor, who was a priest, told the class that our ancestors were amoebas and we better get used to it. Evolution questions would be on the test and creationist answers would be graded as wrong. So much for the notion that evolution is an atheistic plot. Then again, Catholics aren't real christians, so either way, I am going to hell.

Posted by: bob at April 28, 2008 7:03 AM

The notion that ID somehow should be treated as science is absurd. Science is about testing and explaining; ID is about quitting without finding answers. I recently added this link to my del.icio.us after coming across in a comment thread elsewhere:

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u27/Guysmiley777/Evolution2.jpg

Posted by: justin case at April 28, 2008 7:15 AM

A PARAGON OF SCIENTIFIC ACHIEVEMENT!

The Quest for Right, a series of 7 textbooks created for the public schools, represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences. The several volumes have accomplished that which, heretofore, was deemed impossible: to level the playing field between those who desire a return to physical science in the classroom and those who embrace the theory of evolution. The Quest for Right turns the tide by providing an authoritative and enlightening scientific explanation of natural phenomena which will ultimately dethrone the unprofitable Darwinian view.

The text begins simply enough, tracing the history of Darwin from an impressionable youth influenced by atheists and agnostics on every hand to a full-fledged agnostic in his own right. The matter may be summed up by the inclusion of Darwin’s sentiment regarding the Creator. In a bitter denial of Christianity, Darwin complained that he "could hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so, the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine." Darwin charged his original belief in God to the "constant inculcation" (instruction or indoctrination) in a belief in God" during his childhood, which was as difficult to cast down as "for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake…. Darwin purposed in his heart that he would no longer retain God in his knowledge. And the scientific illiterate upstart sought to entrap the innocents in the classroom in his web of deceit.

Once past the history of the Darwinist movement, the architecture of the quantum atom is explored in great detail. This is breathtakingly new!

The atom has been compared to a miniature sun-earth system with one or more electrons darting about everywhere at once weaving an electronic shell around the nucleus. In order for this to occur, “Bohr calculated that the electron must move at a speed of no less than seven million billion rotations per second.” Ummmm, "numerous electrons darting about, dodging one another at breakneck speeds would necessarily require the supernatural. The Quest for Right will prove to your complete satisfaction that the electron is directly adhered to the perimeter of the nucleus. “How could it have been otherwise?” The exciting text is remarkably easy to follow even for a lay person. Read a review:

"I am amazed at the breadth of the investigation - scientific history, biblical studies, geology, biology, geography, astronomy, chemistry, paleontology, and so forth - and find the style of writing to be quite lucid and aimed clearly at a general, lay audience." ― Mark Roberts, former Editor of Biblical Reference Books, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The book is a virtual smorgasbord of good things to taste: a few of the entertaining subjects include: the earth was created from a watery nebula, the mechanism of gravity which was used to form the earth, the failed photoelectric effect, theory of antimatter, quantum creation (big bang theory), disappearing color, magical application of mathematics to explain certain rudimentary principles, Rayleigh scattering (sunsets), electricity, lightning, electrolyte, the browning of fruit, the mystery of fire, and the role of oxygen in the ignition of hydrocarbons. Then, there’s the desserts which are far too numerous to mention in this limited space; for example, the origin and dimise of the great dinosaurs. Moreover, you will marvel at the comprehensive law of fixed choice.

This is not your parent’s science book filled with distortions of the truth, called “quantum mysticism.” The comprehensive investigation--like none other you will read--quickly escapes into realism by underscoring the numerous experiments and errors responsible for the debasement of scientific theories based on whim. Teachers and students will rejoice in the simplicity of earthly phenomena when entertained by the new discipline.

The Quest for Right is not only an academic resource designed for the public schools, but also contains a wealth of information on pertinent subjects that seminarians, and Christians in general, need to know to be effective: geology, biology, geography, astronomy, chemistry, paleontology, and in-depth Biblical studies. The nuggets from the pages of Biblical history alone will give seminarians literally hundreds of fresh ideas for sermons and teachings. The ministry resources contained in The Quest for Right serve as invaluable aids that will enrich graduates beyond their highest expectations.

Visit the official website for additional information: http://questforright.com

Posted by: C. David Parsons at April 28, 2008 7:39 AM

all that happened to Egnor was that some people criticized him on the internet.

Apparently many modern Feminists share a lot in common with Egnor. They love banning people that critique them, and then they turn around and claim they are victims of "cyber-stalking" making sure to use a word loaded with real world overtones of violence and sexual violence.

They share other ideas too, which is that for some reason they dislike actual debate with people that disagree with them. They want to force their form of junk science into schools. They want society to believe in their conspiracy theory: mythical intelligent designer, or mythical conspiracy of men and society known as "patriarchy". They hate science, evolution on the one hand an evolutionary psychology on the other....

Sorry for the potential threadjack....

Posted by: jerry at April 28, 2008 7:41 AM

Bob - Catholics aren't real christians What?! I've been doing it wrong all these years. Seriously, aren't Catholics the only real ones? Somebody must know. I mean, they've got the omnipotent creator etc batting for them, so it should be easy to tell, right?

Are you just teasing and I fell for it?

Justin - Science is about testing and explaining; ID is about quitting without finding answers. Nicely put; must remember that.

How about requiring people to put their money where their mouths are. If you advocate faith schools, creationism etc then you should only be allowed to engage lawyers, doctors, engineers, etc who share your kooky views. Ah, if only!

Posted by: Norman at April 28, 2008 7:43 AM

The theory of evolution is a fact. The theory that all of life’s diversity formed using evolutionary processes is a theory. It may be right or it may be wrong. Right now we just don’t have enough data to say so conclusively. One thing is for sure though; religion is a philosophy, not a science.
If there are religious issues inside of the science class, then they should be handled in the following manor; What ever religion that you believe in has a creator creating the world/universe. If the world/universe was created then there must be a method of creation. Science investigates and discovers those methods that were/are used in creation.
Personally I like to think of the study of science as looking in to Gods mind.

Posted by: rusty wilson at April 28, 2008 7:57 AM

David Parsons,
Why dose religion, specifically Christian religion, need to be taught in the science room? All because you can’t understand the Atom? Or for that matter, because the modern explanation doesn’t satisfy every question that you have? So your solution is to throw up your hands and say we never will figure this out?
Why?

Posted by: rusty wilson at April 28, 2008 8:04 AM

"A PARAGON OF SCIENTIFIC ACHIEVEMENT!" Dude what ever your taking please share. There is no science here. It's all the standard crap. We don't know thus it's god. Start using the brain he/she gave you and stop bugging them for inconsequential crap your just too lazy to learn and understand.

The explanation for electron theory is wrong. That part of the Bohr's model was dis proven for that reason. Look up "Quantum Corral", the electron does not circle the nucleolus as would a planet or satellite. The electron spreads out forming a shell (hence the term valence shells) based on Schrodinger's wave equations. Which gets really ugly once you proceed past the first few rows.

Posted by: vlad at April 28, 2008 8:11 AM

Not to mention that the location of the electron at any given point in time is described as a probability of it being located there. (In the valiance shell I mean)

Posted by: rusty wilson at April 28, 2008 8:14 AM

Of course the whole of quantum mechanics reads somewhat like Aquinas Trieste on How Many Angles Can Sit On The Head Of A Pin.

Posted by: rusty wilson at April 28, 2008 8:20 AM

I'm sorry but when I hear the words rejoice in any scientific text book or the description of such I cringe. If you want to attack quantum physics at least make sure you understand the theories before we start. I have a good understanding of how you think the world was created. Do me the common courtesy of learning what science says before attacking it.

You insult me and your creator by not using the brain you believe he gave you.

Posted by: vlad at April 28, 2008 8:20 AM

Are you just teasing and I fell for it?
Bob - what I got taught in church school was that any religion in which you ever prayed to anyone other than god or Christ was a non-Christian religion. Catholicism includes intercessory prayers to Mary or various saints, therefore it isn't truly Christianity.

Of course, the loons running the asylum then went on to tell us that the Pope is the anti-Christ . . . . And for irony, they often relied on the texts of their pet prophetess to tell them what Bible passages meant (or to tell them things that flat out aren't in the bible, but which they take as the Word of God delivered through his last prophet).

But from what I've gathered since, many protestant churches that aren't exactly mainstream (but aren't *quite* as whacked-out as David Khoresh) teach that Catholics aren't truly Christians . . . .

Posted by: TheOtherOne at April 28, 2008 8:29 AM

"The Quest for Right": A Creationist Attack on Quantum Mechanics.

By Stephen L of the newsgroups.derkeiler.com

Here's a different take on creationism/ID: "The Quest for Right," a multi-volume series on science, attacks Darwinism indirectly, by attacking quantum mechanics:

"American Atheists base their reasoning on Quantum Interpretation, hand in hand with Quantum Mathematics. Summoning the dark forces of quantum mysticism, with mathematical incantations, possesses the power to bewilder, and thus con, the average persons seemingly at will, into believing the bizarre and surreal: Z Particles, Neutrinos, Leptons, Quarks, Weak Bosons, etc. Mystics attempt to pass off quantum abuses as legitimate science, by expressing the theories in symbolic fashion. These formula represent the greatest hoax ever pulled upon an unsuspecting public....The objective....is to expedite the return to classical physics, by exposing quantum dirty tricks. That is, unethical behavior or acts,...to undermine and destroy the credibility of Biblical histories. These dirty tricks include: Absolute dating systems, Big Bang Theory, Antimatter, and Oort Cloud. These...have no further station in Science."

http://www.questforright.com

A more sophisticated way to argue against Darwin is certainly to argue against modern physics. Without modern physics, you lose astrophysics too, which enables the author to make the case for YEC [young earth creationism]. The author goes on to "prove" that things like red supergiant stars and X-ray pulsars don't really exist, except in the imagination of scientists.”

Posted by: C. David Parsons at April 28, 2008 8:34 AM

C. David Parsons apparently spends his days hunched over his computer waiting for his Google Alerts to come in so he can post the same silly blather everywhere.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&client=safari&rls=en&q=%22represents+the+ultimate+marriage+between+an+in-depth+knowledge+of+biblical+phenomena%22&btnG=Search

David, all it would take for me to believe in god is evidence god exists. Got any?

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 28, 2008 8:43 AM

"The Quest for Right": A Creationist Attack on Quantum Mechanics. By Stephen L of the newsgroups.derkeiler.com Here's a different take on creationism/ID: "The Quest for Right," a multi-volume series on science, attacks Darwinism indirectly, by attacking quantum mechanics: "American Atheists base their reasoning on

David, this is a discussion, not a forum for cut-and-paste jobs. I realize that rational thought can't be a big part of your life, but please try to dip into a little and respond to comments of those here rather than simply hitting "copy" and "paste."

If I'm not making myself totally clear: No more cut and paste jobs from you in this comments section.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 28, 2008 8:47 AM

ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences

Well, I'm glad at least that it's ultimate. So when science moves on, perhaps changing its mind (no Big Bang! It was a sort of gloopy purple song) or making new discoveries (missing 90% of the universe's matter found in janitor's cupboard) then we'll be able to leave this ultimate volume along with all the previous ultimate volumes.

The sad fact is I took C. David Parsons' post for a parody.

What has "tracing the history of Darwin from an impressionable youth influenced by atheists and agnostics on every hand to a full-fledged agnostic in his own right" got to do with evolution? Darwin started off as a believer; it was his experience of life, especially the cruel death of his daughter Annie, that changed his mind. Changing your mind in the light of evidence is not easy. What would you do, C. David Parsons?

Posted by: Norman at April 28, 2008 8:47 AM

Personally I like to think of the study of science as looking in to Gods mind.

Newton felt the same, I believe.

I like this bit from the Expelled Exposed website:

Intelligent Design” fails to meet the basic definition of a scientific idea: its proponents do not present testable hypotheses and do not provide evidence for their views that can be verified or duplicated by subsequent researchers.

Posted by: justin case at April 28, 2008 8:52 AM

Just had a quick squint at http://questforright.com/. It's weird - almost as if written by a machine. The sentences don't make sense. for example,

There is a new discipline on the scene: physical science, the old science of cause and effect.

Huh? The old science is the new discipline? Cause and effect is the new black?

Physical science, the old science of cause and effect, will have a long-term sustainability, replacing irresponsible doctrines based on whim.

I have no idea what this means. It's a hodge-podge of unconnected concepts (cause-and-effect, sustainability, irresponsibility, whim). Like I said, it looks like it's been written by a bot stringing random words together.

Parsons: can you explain either of these two excerpts? Feel free to add as much context as it takes, but then you have to explain the context as well.

Posted by: Norman at April 28, 2008 9:02 AM

OMG! C David Parsons is the author of "The Quest For Right". (Perhaps everyone else already knew this?

Details at http://questforright.com/quest3.htm.

That's fantastic - if Mr Parsons can stand the heat, it would be wonderful to have a poster here who can at least speak with authority on some topic, in this case the book in question.

The wait for a textbook based on physical science, the old science of cause and effect, is over.

Actually there were already several science text books available. I suspect that yours is new only inasmuch as it is not about science.

Posted by: Norman at April 28, 2008 9:10 AM

The guy appears to believe that use of multi-syllabic words is a substitute for writing something that actually makes sense.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 28, 2008 9:18 AM

Personally, I'm waiting for the discovery of the Higgs Boson. Once that happens, maybe we can get on with the business of finding God's mobile number.

Anyone who wants to disprove quantum theory is going to get nothing but laughs from me.

Posted by: brian at April 28, 2008 9:37 AM

"Mystics attempt to pass off quantum abuses as legitimate science, by expressing the theories in symbolic fashion." Ok so not only is quantum theory bad but now Algebra is the language of the devil? That's a new one for me. The reason most theories are in mystical symbolic fashion is that moving around big numbers with exponents on paper sucks.

What Mr. Parsons fails to realize or accept is the much of quantum physics has been observed. There is still lots of crap out there about it, like quantum faith healing. However most PhD candidates (never mind the rest of us) do not get to run quantum experiments for one reason. Supper colliders are really freaking expensive to setup and run.

Posted by: vlad at April 28, 2008 9:38 AM

What has "tracing the history of Darwin from an impressionable youth influenced by atheists and agnostics on every hand to a full-fledged agnostic in his own right" got to do with evolution?

MORE ON SCIENTIFIC ILLITERATE DARWIN:

The following dissertation on Darwin is lifted from Volume 1 of The Quest for Right, a series of seven books on origins based on physical science, the old science of cause and effect.

On the outset, the reader should be aware that Darwin was a self-proclaimed agnostic; he did not deny the possibility that God exists but believed it was beyond one's mental ability to decide if there is, indeed, any divine force. Darwin, in response to an invitation to become a Patron of the Cat Show (September 18, 1872), lightheartedly referred to himself and cronies as "atheistical cats." By definition, an atheist either does not believe in, or denies the existence of God. Regardless of the profile, agnostics and atheists alike believe that all questions concerning origins, being, and the like may be explained fully by material phenomena and logic; scientists have since added a third dimension, the orderly application of mathematics, called electronic interpretation—read the matter in detail in Volume 1.

A cultural note: a marked distinction separates men who profess to be disciples (followers) of Christ and adherents of the Bible and those who profess to be outside Christianity (called unbelievers). Regarding the current definitions of agnostic and atheist, the text of the New Testament refutes the associated attributes, specifically the possibility that man (for whatever reason) either does not believe in the existence of God or else believes it is beyond one's mental ability to decide if there is a God. Countering the claim, the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned, "For the invisible things of him [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they [men who 'hold the truth in unrighteousness'] are without excuse" (Romans 1:20-22). The things God created are aptly referred to as “the glory of God.”

In deference to the biblical precept, the eternal power and Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are clearly evidenced (seen and understood) by the things that God created and made. One only has to observe his or her surroundings; for instance, a wilderness setting with stately trees reaching skyward, colorful wildflowers dotting the meadows, wood ducks by a pool, and animals scurrying about in the underbrush, to realize the knowledge of the existence of God. There are, however, men who do "not like to retain God in their knowledge" (Romans 1:28), and cast down every thought of God. Regrettably, the course of action is not without due penalty: "Because when they knew God [everyone has known God at one time in his or her life], they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:21, 22).

In light of the foregoing scriptures, the current definitions of agnostic and atheist are wholly inept: men who hold the biblical precept to be patently false, professing either not to believe or know that there is an eternal power, are neither agnostic nor atheist, but willfully disobedient—willful, "done on purpose; deliberate." The comprehensive assessment will be fully justified; please read on.

Concurring with the biblical principle, Darwin may be charged with being willfully disobedient, as observed in his criticism of the tenets of Christianity. Of one certainty the reader may be assured, Darwin did not speak objectively when it came to Christianity—objectively, "uninfluenced by personal feelings, prejudices or agendas." In a bitter denial of Christianity, Darwin complained that he "could hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so, the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine." Why was Darwin so embittered? Read Revelation 20:11-15; 21:7, 8.

In order to access an online, audible Bible, and to read the biblical verses in context, go here: http://www.audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html
You may wish to bookmark the site. RealPlayer is required to listen to the Audio Bible.

Darwin once confessed to being a theist, the belief in the existence of a god or gods, in particular the belief that God both created and rules all earthly phenomena. After the publication of the Origin, Darwin charged his original belief in God to the "constant inculcation" (instruction or indoctrination) in a belief in God" during his childhood, which was as difficult to cast down as "for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake." With self-assurance, Darwin purposed in his heart that he would no longer retain God in his knowledge, resolving instead to become an "agnostic." The reader is, therefore, cautioned that, whenever reading books and articles about Darwin, most, if not all, biographical authors are predisposed to depict him in a favorable light, oftentimes allowing pro-evolutionist sentiment to prejudice their work.

The Old Testament did not escape Darwin's inflamed rhetoric; concerning the validity of biblical histories (in particular, the Genesis account of creation), Darwin pointedly declared that "the manifestly false history of the earth....was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos (sic), or the beliefs of any barbarian." Thus, Darwin likened the creation of the first man, Adam (Genesis 2:7-25), to a mere fairy tale. As an alternative to the counterfactual history, he summarily disposed of both creationism and God by declaring in the Origin that, once the reader entertains the "volumne (sic) on the origin of species...light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history," meaning that man and apes diverged from a common ancestor through the agency of evolution without the aid or influence of God—there is no God.

Posted by: C. David Parsons at April 28, 2008 9:42 AM

I have a completely different take, and I've not encountered anyone else with my view on ID. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure I'm correct. I fully expect to be flamed, so I will number my points for easy reference.

  1. Intelligent Design is a mathematical theory. It has axioms, theorems, and conjectures. Most ID critics are unaware of this fact. Almost all of them have failed to even read the maths.
  2. Philosophical arguments do not work against a mathematical theory. We can't just say, "there can't be an imaginary number!" To counter a mathematical theory, we must demonstrate a contradiction or counter-example.
  3. To date, I can find no counter-example nor any proof of a contradiction in ID.
  4. Some ID critics think ID is false because it is Creationism. But that is an instance of using a philosophical argument against a mathematical theory. It doesn't work, as a logical matter.
  5. Other ID critics assume without proof that science is closed over the set of all possible naturalistic observations. There is no reason to believe this. Naturalistic observations may lead to non-naturalistic conclusions. To scientists, this is probably the most controversial of my views.
  6. Not all mathematical theories are useful. To be useful, a theory must exhibit a model. (I'm uing the term 'model' as it is used in mathematical logic.) Mathematical models are of two kinds, absolute and relative. An absolute model has a physical system as an interpretation of the theory. ID advocates have not demonstrated that an absolute model exists.
  7. This notion of absolute model is well-known by scientists, yet many continue to use philosophical arguments against ID. In this regard, "Expelled" is correct. Scientists are confusing the motives of the mathematicians with the mathematics itself. By that standard, we would have thrown out Newton's work. To me, that's a reductio ad absurdum on the question of motive.
  8. Since ID is a consistent mathematical theory, it is scientific. Otherwise, we'd toss out large swathes of abstract mathematics for which we have yet to find an absolute model.
  9. The failure of ID advocates to exhibit an absolute model, shows that ID is likely an incorrect interpretation of physical systems. I've encouraged ID advocates to start smaller than cosmogony. Instead, ID advocates should try to create a maths that can predict whether, say a rock formation, is natural or intelligently designed. Such a theory would be of inestimable value to archaeologists.
  10. Thus, ID is scientific but probably incorrect. ID advocates haven't found a physical model of their maths, and I don't think they ever will. ID critics frequently use illogical arguments that set a dangerous rhetorical precedent for open inquiry in science; in this regard, "Expelled" is correct.

Posted by: Jeff at April 28, 2008 9:44 AM

My big problem with YEC or any of the other faith based groups is they will jump on inconsequential evidence that may (if seen after very heavy drinking and LSD use) support their claim. Orac has a great post in his archives of the women who's leg is growing back by faith healing, which it isn't. Then they get swamped with a mountain of evidance to the contrary and dismiss it out of hand. It's either mis interpreted, which might be argued but never really is. My favorite response is that the devil himself is making it happen to disprove god and rule humanity, Illuminati etc.

Posted by: vlad at April 28, 2008 9:45 AM

My favorite response is that the devil himself is making it happen to disprove god and rule humanity, Illuminati etc.

Taking into consideration, of course, Vlad, that we are the Illuminati, the "enlighteded ones".

Posted by: Flynne at April 28, 2008 9:54 AM

vlad said "However most PhD candidates (never mind the rest of us) do not get to run quantum experiments for one reason. Supper colliders are really freaking expensive to setup and run."

Actually there are quantum experiments at almost every university. It doesn't take much to run quantum them at all. e.g. Many people work with atom traps, which are fairly contained and inexpensve.

Posted by: maria at April 28, 2008 9:59 AM

Justin -

That's a terrific summary of Evolution on the jpeg! What's the source of the text?

Posted by: DaveG at April 28, 2008 10:00 AM

"Intelligent Design is a mathematical theory. It has axioms, theorems, and conjectures." Where can these be found? I'm bored and got the new version of Matlab. I need some mathematical models to test, particularly convergence issues that have been bugging me in real time circuit behavior.

"Thus, ID is scientific but probably incorrect." I can see the argument that ID is properly stated as a theory. I don't agree but I see the argument. I still don't see it as scientific. Science as opposed to pure mathematics require observed fact on which to make deductions, assign and evaluate model parameters. While calculus allows for N dimensional space and can model interaction in N dimensional space there is no evidence of extra planner dimensions. Mathematical models can be made of almost everything but unless the physical observations match the model it should be discarded.

Posted by: vlad at April 28, 2008 10:01 AM

Sorry Jeff, but you conflate mathematics with science. All science requires mathematics, but not all mathematics are science. Until something makes testable predictions about the real world, it is simply not science regardless of its mathematical foundation. This does not mean we currently possess the means to test the predictions, it just means that the predictions could be tested. As far as I know, ID never gets there.

Posted by: justin case at April 28, 2008 10:03 AM

That's a terrific summary of Evolution on the jpeg! What's the source of the text?

I have no idea - sorry. I just found it linked on a BB comment thread, had the same reaction you did, and saved it for future reference.

Posted by: justin case at April 28, 2008 10:16 AM

Jeff,
You are clearly too reasonable, intelligent and level headed to contribute the ID vs. evolution discussion. You must take a dogmatic stance and hurl invectives at others to participate. Someone will be along shortly to unplug your Ethernet cable.

Posted by: Dale at April 28, 2008 11:46 AM

"Many people work with atom traps, which are fairly contained and inexpensve." Wasn't aware of this.

Posted by: vlad at April 28, 2008 11:47 AM

C. David Parsons - you do realize, don't you, that you pasted a long section of text that didn't *begin* to answer the question you pasted at the top?

How about a simple answer to the question "what does Darwin's religious history have to do with the accuracy of the theory of evolution?" Or did you think we'd miss the fact that you don't seem to have an answer?

By the way, do you seriously think that the claim that "the text of the New Testament refutes the associated attributes, specifically the possibility that man (for whatever reason) either does not believe in the existence of God" has ANY RELEVANCE WHATSOEVER to whether or not I believe in God? Okay, so you've got some (unattributed) author claiming that the folks who wrote/translated/copied the New Testament think that it's impossible for me to not believe in God. Well, guess what? I personally believe that it's impossible for you to not believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Have you converted to worshipping FSM yet? Hmm. I haven't started believing in your god, either . . . .

Posted by: TheOtherOne at April 28, 2008 11:55 AM

TheOtherOne...

You do realize that most likely ole' Dave "Fun to be a Fundie" Parsons is probably using a 'bot to post these messages on any forum that matches search criteria - or is manually cuting/pasting the long monologues manually based on google searches? It's unlikely he's read the article Amy posted - nor ANY of the comments that people post in repsonse. Nothing he posted was in RESPONSE to anything here.
He's just spamming his website/book. Might as well try to start a verbal conversation up with his book.

Posted by: Jamie at April 28, 2008 12:19 PM

"Might as well try to start a verbal conversation up with his book."

The posts are in response to posts on advicegoddess. Please know that it is impossible to answer every question in this forum because each question generates a new string. That is why the 7-book series was written. Continue your education by reading Volume 1 of The Quest for Right. http://questforright.com


Posted by: C. David Parsons at April 28, 2008 12:26 PM

I have a lot of respect for Ben Stein, and I've got to say that I'm disappointed at him right now. Of all the things he could have chosen to lend his considerable talents to, why this? There are a lot of conservative/libertarian film makers, Evan Coyle Maloney to name one, who are doing far more worthwhile work on the subject of academic freedom. Imagine what Maloney could do with "Indoctorinate U" with Stein's participation.

vlad, my favorite bit from the young-earthers was their explanation/excuse concerning all of the geological and anthropological evidence for the Earth being billions of years old: "Well, the dinosaurs never existed. God created the Earth with dinosaur skeletons buried in it, to fool scientists." Besides the anti-scientific overtone, and the fact that it makes the Almighty look rather ridiculous (God as some kind of cosmic practical joker?), there's the fact that their theory opens a nilhist can of worms. If God could/would create the Earth with pre-installed evidence of a past that never actually occurred, then who is to say that this occurred four thousand years ago? Why not two thousand years ago? Why not one thousand years ago (Jesus, Paul, John, etc., never existed, and God hid the Dead Sea Scrolls Himself)? Why not five hundred years ago? Heck, who is to say that the universe wasn't created...

...just now? Al Gore didn't invent the Internet; God created the Earth with the Internet pre-existing. Jon Postel never actually lived; God created all of the Internet standards that Postel supposedly authored, and He implanted memories of Postel in the minds of the thousands of people who think they met or knew Jon in the non-existent past. I was created hunched over the keyboard writing this paragraph; the previous paragraph was pre-written and stored by God when He zapped my computer into existence. It's a game that anyone can play, indefinitely. It's also a neat bit of non-falsifiable propaganda disguised as science. When I turn it on its head and do what I just did, the YEC'ers go nuts!

Posted by: Cousin Dave at April 28, 2008 12:36 PM

For what it's worth, I guess my take is more or less like Rusty Wilson's above. I'm a Christian, but I don't read the Bible as a science book any more than I'd read a physics book for religious guidance. They cover two very different topics!

That said, I haven't seen anything come out of the scientific world that disturbs my belief in the Almighty. On the contrary, discoveries such as the decoding of the human genome or research into the breadth of the universe only increase my wonder at the vastness of the Lord's creation. Recently I saw a picture, taken with a very powerful electron microscope, of individual atoms in a metallic crystal of some kind. And we've all read about astronomers discovering planets outside our solar system. All I can say is, "How Great Thou Art!" I could go on and on, but I'll spare you my further rambling.

Posted by: old rpm daddy at April 28, 2008 12:42 PM

I'll retract my statement that you're not reading the comments, but this seemed to be the first time you've addressed a SPECIFIC comment. The rest of the time you reply with what appears to be a copy/pasted canned response. Especially the first one - which was a blatant spam which is only marginally related to the blog topic.

The post was NOT about the validity of ID vs. Evolution, but about whether or not the "persecution" that "Expelled" is claiming is occurring is at all accurate. Not that we're collectively known to EVER get off-topic, but blatant spam is rare.

I really don't see any reason why I should "continue my education" with anything written by someone whose comments are so poorly written - especially when they're likely written well in advance. Sorry.

Posted by: Jamie at April 28, 2008 12:42 PM

Opps I realized my post was a little mixed. My second sentence should be "it doesn't take much to run quantum experiments at all".

Vlad- most people are not aware of how much quantum mechanics permeates physics research.

Posted by: maria at April 28, 2008 12:45 PM

old rpm daddy wrote:

For what it's worth, I guess my take is more or less like Rusty Wilson's above. I'm a Christian, but I don't read the Bible as a science book any more than I'd read a physics book for religious guidance. They cover two very different topics!

I agree, but the flip side is part of the problem. Scientists like Dawkins and Gould thought that science could disprove God. And, I do not have a problem with Darwinism; actually, in the Origin of Species, I recall that Darwin complimented God for creating evolution.

But, the new scientists will have none of that. While ID can be consistent with evolution and with creationism, scientists say: No! Evolution has to be random and undirected. They take this stance so as to rule out the possibility of God, even though some evolutionary theories are consistent with ID.

But, does anyone find it ironic that the Bible begins with God creating the world out of nothing, and now the scientists insist that nothing existed before the Big Bang, so they can deny God? Basically, they have asserted an effect without a cause. Not very scientific.

Posted by: Tim at April 28, 2008 1:11 PM

"I have a lot of respect for Ben Stein"
Ever read Felix Salmon?
http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/market-movers?topicChoice=ben+stein+watch

Posted by: smurfy at April 28, 2008 1:20 PM

Also, Dawkins has a parody that's pretty good.
Sexpelled:No Intercourse Allowed

Posted by: smurfy at April 28, 2008 1:25 PM

"most people are not aware of how much quantum mechanics permeates physics research." I was thinking about the more esoteric portions of quantum forgot that spin states were part of quantum theory and not general chemistry. The Bosons and quarks need a collider which is what Mr. Parsons was attacking as mythical.

Posted by: vlad at April 28, 2008 1:30 PM

David - (I'm guessing that is the appropriate form of address here) - your reply to what has Darwin's personal history got to do with evolution goes on at length about Darwin's personal history, but it doesn't answer the question.

Let me try to give an example to illustrate what I mean. Euclid, bless his cotton socks, codified ideas of geometry into his book Elements. I haven't read it, but I know that it introduced abstractions such as points, lines triangles, straightedge-and-compass constructions, and mathematical proof.

Now, what would his personal life have to do with any of these things? Nothing at all. The ideas of the book are what is important, and what has survived. Everyone who has been to school knows these ideas; nobody except specialists know anything about Euclid as a person. In the same way, Darwin's private life has no bearing on natural selection as a mechanism for evolution. Evolution stands or falls on its own merits: it wouldn't matter if Darwin was a Hottentot or an Eskimo or an English vicar.

If you think otherwise, explain why. Try to limit yourself to, say, 200 words. (This post has less than 200 words.)

Posted by: Norman at April 28, 2008 1:40 PM

"Basically, they have asserted an effect without a cause. Not very scientific." True enough there is no known cause for the start of the explosions that birthed the universe. Most scientists will admit that it's all theory and most of it is tenuous at best. Why is it that just cause scientists say we don't know yet is it always proof of divine influence and remains so till a scientific explanation is reached?

ID is a conceptual shield for religion. Now it works for all religions with a creator myth, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, many Pagan beliefs, and others. If ID were proven then it would by default prove that there is a creator and thus by our human standards a god.

BTW if god created the universe what created that being. Did that entity spend eternity in a black nothing of nothing before we were created?

"No! Evolution has to be random and undirected." No that's just plain wrong. Evolution is directed by the environment. This is in addition to random mutation and genetic diversity. Without random mutation and inherent genetic diversity there would be no mechanism for evolution. If there were no environmental stimulus there would be no driving force to stear evolution .

Posted by: vlad at April 28, 2008 1:46 PM

But, does anyone find it ironic that the Bible begins with God creating the world out of nothing, and now the scientists insist that nothing existed before the Big Bang, so they can deny God? Basically, they have asserted an effect without a cause. Not very scientific.

Tim, whether it's intentional or not, you're misrepresenting what scientists say about what came before the big bang to create some kind of conflict with religion that doesn't exist. What scientists actually say is that time is a property of the universe that began with the big bang, so asking what came before it is a nonsensical question. There was no "before" before the big bang.

It's like asking what's north of the North Pole. There's no answer because the question doesn't make any sense. About 1,600 years ago St. Augustine gave the same answer for the question of what God did before creation: Time is a part of God's creation and did not exist until God created it along with everything else, so the concept of "before creation" is a nonsense idea.

Posted by: SeanH at April 28, 2008 2:05 PM

Criminy. Those of you who want to see dedicated Web sites about origins and evolution, try Talkorigins, or Darwiniana.org. The latter has huge amounts of information, the bulk of which religious zealots are totally unaware.

But no mention of this would be complete without mentioning The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Ask yourself. WWFSMD?

Posted by: Radwaste at April 28, 2008 2:15 PM

I have to throw a big rock in the water now: The universe is not random. It has laws of physics. Your inability to predict the outcome of a complicated process does not mean it is "random".

Please take a few minutes to think about definitions before you address ideas like "origin", "creation", "random" and the like, because what you have habitually thought about these terms doesn't cut it when you try to understand complex events.

Another big rock: You have no evidence of "creation". No, things in front of you are not that evidence. When we make a "new" car out of ore and petroleum, we violate no law of nature; no material appears from nowhere; the rule of thumb called "the conservation of matter and energy" is not even closely approached. This is a problem with egocentricity in definition. Only to you can a thing be "new". What you see (imperfectly) before you is conversion.

Think some more about definitions. I suspect you can find a dozen or more words people use frequently without knowing what they mean.

Posted by: Radwaste at April 28, 2008 2:30 PM

Sorry Jeff, but you conflate mathematics with science (Justin).
No I don't. I just read the history of science. There are three divisions of the sciences at present: the formal sciences, the empirical sciences, and the social sciences. Math is a formal science.

Much of this is equivocation over the existential verb. I'm not saying math is science in the sense of identity. I'm saying math is in the category of human activities called 'science.' Therefore, if anyone is conflating concepts, it's you by equating 'natural science' with the category 'science.'

Until something makes testable predictions about the real world, it is simply not science regardless of its mathematical foundation (Justin).
Sure it is. It's formal science. Formal sciences, make claims by formal languages. If the axioms are true (under a suitable interpretation of the undefined terms), then the theorems are true. This is a prediction about the "real world." If an absolute model exists of a formal system, then the sytem is consistent and the theorems are guaranteed to be true of the model --- in this case the "real world."

But "real world" models are not the only useful models. Relative models are also very useful. Are we really to discard the Lieontief model just because there is no physical R^n space --- even though it gives us the right answers in "the real world?" Are we really to discard error correcting codes because there is no physically existing, finite, hyperbolic geometry? The users of the Internet might disagree with you.

It's maddening that engineers and physicists will opine about the philosophy of math, having never studied even one whit of mathematical logic. Quite literally, they don't know what they are talking about.

This does not mean we currently possess the means to test the predictions, it just means that the predictions could be tested.
This is precisely why mathematical structures without absolute models must not be "discarded."

Consider that no absolute model of hyperbolic geometry was found for a hundred years after its discovery --- until the notion of space-time arrived. If we are to discard maths lacking absolute models, we're going to lose most of higher order calculus, topology, and even lots of theoretical physics. Indeed, by your view theoretical physicists aren't doing science at all, since much of what they publish has no absolute model --- yet.

If you had your way, we would have discarded imaginary numbers, perspective geometry, limits (!), and many other useful mathematical structures with no demonstrated absolute model. Limits are particularly interesting because as infinite processes they cannot in principle be physically completed, ever. Out they go! Indeed, the whole notion of continuity would probably go out the window too. The physicists notion of "vanishing quantities" goes; there's no physical model for that.

Your's is a Luddite view of science that would stunt it into uselessness. The Intuitionist logicians didn't have much luck with it. Indeed, they produced no progress whatsoever, and lost half of mathematics. May you have better luck. I doubt you will.

As far as I know, ID never gets there (Justin).
Yes, that's the pint of my original comment. ID proponents have not exhibited an absolute model of their theory. I can't even find a relative model of it. ID remains a consistent mathematical system, although there have been some pretty good critiques of the maths, with no application whatsoever. It should be criticized this way, not by resorting to questioning motives or misrepresenting it's mathematical status.

Irrational zeal in the service of science is not a virtue. In the long term, it will do more harm than good. This is my main concern.

Posted by: Jeff at April 28, 2008 2:34 PM

@Jeff:
Are you a mathmatician? I am not, I barely qualifiy as an arithmatician however I have seen several examples of math types who would gladly explain why the ID types are abusing, misusing or misunderstanding the math they claim supports their beliefs. See http://pandasthumb.org/archives/evolution/evomath/
as a place to start.

Posted by: Jim at April 28, 2008 6:05 PM

I propose that anyone who proposes ID as a rational theory must abide by it in his healthcare. Right alongside the Scientologists.

Posted by: Gretz at April 28, 2008 6:46 PM

Ben Stein? As in "Bueller? Bueller?"

Holy crap, I genuinely thought it had been narrated by Ben *Stiller*.

Wow. I think I'll have a drink and mourn a bit. I feel highly betrayed.

Posted by: Gretz at April 28, 2008 7:03 PM

"Irrational zeal in the service of science is not a virtue. In the long term, it will do more harm than good. This is my main concern."

Wouldn't it be feasible to say that "irrational zeal in the service of religion" is FAR more harmful, since it places no value on rational thought, but faith and charismatic leadership?

I'd say that a "scientific zealot" is exceedingly rare, and even THEN would still be willing to have their stance cross-examined by an associate that comes forward with reproduce-able findings. Even the most hard-core pro-science/anti-religious person certainly would be far less willing to be a martyr for those beliefs, or kill for it. Can you say the same for a religious zealot?

Posted by: Jamie at April 28, 2008 8:34 PM

After reading all of these well crafted arguments both for and against ID, I have only one question;

was it the chicken or the egg that was created first?

Posted by: Ari at April 28, 2008 9:05 PM

Obviously it was the T-Rex.

Posted by: Purplepen at April 28, 2008 10:26 PM

There is one good reason to support intelligent design, and one very good reason not to do more than gloss over it in scientific discussion.

The best reason to support it is the lack of evidence on just how a force such as evolution might actually work.

That being said though, the biggest problem with Intelligent Design as a theory, is that like evolution it is NOT a testable theory. Both are theories (or better, hypotheses) based on deductive logic and reaching two different solutions dependent upon the bias of the deducing individual.

But the best reason not to spend much time on Intelligent Design is much much simpler.

There is nothing to be gained from it.

ID may bolster faith, but science is not about bolstering faith. Science is not the search for truth, try philosophy for that one.

Science is a field of study of the physical realm, its application is the betterment of the human condition. Even if ID were proved tomorrow, it would never provide any benefit for humanity as a whole nor even in part.

Evolution, even if it is not true, does provide a useful scientific framework. The last thing we need to hear in a lab is "this works because God wills it to", evolution sidesteps faith, and we need that in a field that requires rigerous testing and concrete results.

Posted by: Robert H. Butler at April 29, 2008 12:54 AM

I'm too tired to make good arguments but two things struck me Robert:

"evolution it is NOT a testable theory"

"Science is not the search for truth"

I guess all that bird/dinosaur links I've been reading, you know where scientists do all those tests....is baloney!

Science is the ultimate search for truth. Anyone can come up with their own view of the world via whatever billions of types of philosophy they'd like to adopt. But you know what? Water will always = H2O.


Posted by: PurplePen at April 29, 2008 1:15 AM

Robert H. Butler - How can you say evolution is not testable? Try googling for "evolution testable" and report back.

Posted by: Norman at April 29, 2008 2:05 AM

Jamie - "scientific zealot[s]" rare??? Read anything on AGW lately? The wikipedia kerfuffle over AGW isn't zealotry? (I'll grant that it's political in nature, but scientists have shown little reluctance to whore themselves out and lie for grant money)

PP, Norman - evolution still hasn't got even the slightest guess how we got both reptiles and mammals out of single-celled organisms. What evolution has "proven" is a very limited set of things.

And as far as our book-spammer goes, I'll take Stephen Hawkings' word for it over yours. Quantum phenomena have been reproduced in laboratories.

Posted by: brian at April 29, 2008 4:37 AM

Brian - The question was whether evolution was testable, not whether it had mapped out the detailed evolutionary pathway of every species on the planet beyond any doubt. I don't expect it will, any more than a geologist could give you the precise history of every piece of rock you throw at him, or a doctor could explain exactly why Joe Bloggs gets that peculiar metallic itchy sensation in his mouth whenever he thinks of walrusses. Perhaps you are setting the bar exceptionally high for one topic?

What's the special difficulty about getting both reptiles and mammals from single-celled organisms? Are you implying that you're happy with the evolution of fungi, flowering plants, worms, molluscs, fish, insects, amphibians, birds, etc, but just not reptiles and mammals?

Posted by: Norman at April 29, 2008 6:11 AM

It's beginning to look as if the cat has got C. David Parsons' tongue. I'm a bit disappointed. I'd have thought that someone who has had enough drive to write a 7-volume book would be able to defend it in an argument.

Posted by: Norman at April 29, 2008 6:15 AM

Was it Schrodinger's?

Heh heh...sorry, just couldn't resist.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 29, 2008 6:19 AM

In case that's cryptic for anyone:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger's_cat

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 29, 2008 6:20 AM

Norman, I've got a fundamental problem with any organism of higher complexity self-deriving from a simpler one.

Give what we know of the reproductive arts, the same exact mutation would have to occur in several offspring of the same generation, and they would have to mate, being unable to mate with the offspring that were like their parents.

And given the biodiversity of Earth, the possibility of that happening that many times is just beyond what I am willing to imagine.

simpler: an oak tree cannot pollenate a maple, nor vice-versa. Which would imply that if they had common ancestry, that at least one male and one female tree with the same genetic diversions from said ancestor had to come in to being at or near the same time, so that they could produce new oak/maple trees.

I find it no less an act of faith to believe that every major mutation that led to a new species that is observable today happened in such a way as to produce sufficient reproduction-capable mutated offspring to support the new species, and did it in the space of one generation.

With the lifespan of trees, it's a little more believable (200-300 years). Mammals? I'm just not buying it.

Posted by: brian at April 29, 2008 6:28 AM

Brian- I'll guess that by "higher complexity" you mean something like "longer genotype", ie having more genetic information. If that's all you're worried about, it's quite easy to see how one organism can get more DNA. All you need is a mutation that duplicates a chunk of DNA. Initially the duplicate section will express itself in just the same way as the original, so there may not be any observable effect on the organism. But the duplicate genes can be inherited, and this will enable mutations to occur in the duplicated section that do have an effect (maybe good, maybe bad) while the original bit of DNA continues to provide the original function.

Your oak/maple cross is putting two very different creatures together, not surprising they can't mate. No-one suggests otherwise. Certainly the odds of simultaneous mutations occurring to create a new breeding population overnight are impossibly small. No-one suggests that happened either.

It is possible to cross different species to some extent even today. Sometimes this gives sterile offspring like mules. Sometimes they are fertile - lions and tigers can mate for example. So it's not unreasonable to expect that a creature with a mutation can sometimes mate with other creatures that don't have that mutation.

When two individuals mate, they don't have identical DNA, so already it is evident that two strands of different DNA can combine to make a chromosome. Just how different can they be? And how different do they need to be for evolution by natural selection to kick in? And that's before you consider prokaryotes, eukaryotes, retroviruses, plasmids and god-knows-what. The general impression I get of the DNA world is that it is far more jumbled up than you might think. And once it gets into the right place, DNA gets replicated and starts affecting the life chances of its host organism. It's very powerful stuff.

I'm willing to consider that there may be many more avenues for it to be moved around and replicated than we currently know; I don't share your certainties about what can and cannot happen in the natural world. We continually learn of new possibilities. We never seem to close them off. The more we learn, the more opportunities we discover for DNA to do its thing.

Posted by: Norman at April 29, 2008 7:01 AM

So what your saying then brian is you belive that one day long ago multi billion celled orgaisms just popped up out of nowhere at the behest of god, excuse me intellegent deigner

is that what your saying?

And anyone who belives in a god is an idiot

Posted by: luljlp at April 29, 2008 7:01 AM

I am saying that at some point, an intelligent being created the basis for life, and interfered with its development until it got to the point it is at today.

If that makes me an idiot, then I'm one of the smartest idiots in the world.

Anyone who believes that spontaneous order can arise in systems where there is no inherent intellect or interest is an idiot.

Darwin said nothing about biogenesis or trans-speciation. Yet all the ID crowd (which is really a cover for teaching Jesus in public schools) are convinced that evolution describes precisely that. They aren't idiots, but they think everyone else is.

There are all kinds of hypotheses out there that claim to describe how homo sapiens and orangutans derived from a common ancestor. None of them can be proven.

Intra-species adaptation and selection is obvious to the untrained observer. There's no point in debating it.

But there is absolutely no evidence that single-celled organisms that reproduced by mitosis "evolved" into billion-celled organisms with hundreds of specialized cell types, organs, regenerative facilities, and sexual reproduction.

The bacteria is probably the perfect life form. Durable, resistant, adaptive. Why would nature produce highly complex organisms with few, if any, redundant parts? Why would nature take an organism that reproduces rapidly, and make highly complex ones that take months to produce a single offspring?

I'm sorry, but outside of nuclear fusion, you just don't see the universe INCREASING the complexity or order of things.

Until someone has proven otherwise, it seems to me rational that we are naught but an experiment in a perfectly prepared petri dish.

If that makes me an idiot, so be it. I'll stay here with my happy little life and die stupid in about 50 years.

And if I'm right or wrong, it won't matter either way. Especially when you consider that I'm not interested in killing other people for not sharing my view of the universe.

Posted by: brian at April 29, 2008 7:28 AM

Brian,

Dawkin's book "Climbing Mount Improbable" addresses this exact question. The answer is that mutations are undirected, yet by differential retentiion of favorable ones are cumulatively adaptive.

His opponents having kindly provided him with "how can something as specific as an eye possibly have evolved?" as a straw man, he knocks it down with chapter and verse om the dozens of independant evolutionary inventions of different eyes. Not only _can_ a complex eye evolve from humble beginnings, it seems to be all but inevitable!

I can't do justice to the book. If you're actually interested, read it. It's available used from Amazon for $5 or so.

--
phunctor

Posted by: phunctor at April 29, 2008 7:31 AM

"the same exact mutation would have to occur in several offspring of the same generation," That depends on the dominance of said mutation. As far as I know all Pigeon Blood Discus come from one funny looking fish that one breeder found just prior to a cull. The color variation was a spontaneous mutation and a dominant one.

I don't know what research has been done on mammals. Mammalian evolution is harder to study for both practical and ethical reasons. Fish evolution I'm a bit more acquainted with for lab experiments. There are at least a few know pygmy angels that can do cross species breeding. Also there are certain species that have a wide distribution with isolated packets around atols. Some atols have fish that do well in captivity while the same fish species from a different atol using the same capture methods have really shit survival rate. They have been isolated for 100's of generations at least and visually they are almost identical.

However I haven't really heard of a good reason how the same species got spread over atolls hundreds of miles apart. So while I'm not ready to discount higher power there appear to be less and less places for it to hide.

Posted by: vlad at April 29, 2008 7:37 AM

"Jamie - "scientific zealot[s]" rare??? Read anything on AGW lately? The wikipedia kerfuffle over AGW isn't zealotry? (I'll grant that it's political in nature, but scientists have shown little reluctance to whore themselves out and lie for grant money)"

That's zealotry? That's not even "dedication to the cause of 'science'." You said it yourself, it's willingness to "whore themselves out" for money. That's just simple greed. Where's the blind dedication to science?

Posted by: Jamie at April 29, 2008 7:39 AM

"Anyone who believes that spontaneous order can arise in systems where there is no inherent intellect or interest is an idiot." Using vibrations or flow to sort particle size of sand. The order of a system can increases and it does not require intelligences just energy.

Posted by: vlad at April 29, 2008 7:43 AM

brian - Anyone who believes that spontaneous order can arise in systems where there is no inherent intellect or interest is an idiot.

A snowflake is more ordered than liquid water. Does it take an intelligent designer to produce them all?

Posted by: Norman at April 29, 2008 8:17 AM

Vlad- I might be being a pain, but bosons are studied outside colliders. They are just particles with integer spin.
Please don't think I'm attacking you, you are obviously well informed, so I just assume that you would want to know.

Posted by: maria at April 29, 2008 8:26 AM

But the best reason not to spend much time on Intelligent Design is much much simpler. There is nothing to be gained from it (Mr. Butler).
You've erred in your comment several times, but this one is the worst. A theory that could distinguish random from designed structures would be fantastically useful. I gave an example from archeology.

There's plenty of reasons to be skeptical of ID. The utility of a working theory isn't one of them.

Posted by: Jeff at April 29, 2008 8:51 AM

Are you a mathmatician? I am not, I barely qualifiy as an arithmatician however I have seen several examples of math types who would gladly explain why the ID types are abusing, misusing or misunderstanding the math they claim supports their beliefs (Jim).
Math graduate student. I read the Panda's Thumb article some time ago, and I've read Chaim's criticism. I'd really like them to submit their work for peer review. It could end the controversy once and for all. They criticize the applicability of the definitions to the ID mathematical structures. This amounts to a philosophical argument again, not a mathematical one. If the definitions are being used improperly, then they need to exhibit a contradiction or counter-example. As far as I can tell, none has been found.

Posted by: Jeff at April 29, 2008 9:02 AM

Your's is a Luddite view of science that would stunt it into uselessness.

Fuck off. I have a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psych from a top university, am a former NRSA fellow, an author over several publications in peer reviewed empircal journals, and author of an undergraduate thesis on Cartesian dualism and the mind-body problem as it relates to our understanding of the word. Mine is not luddite's view.

As a math graduate student, you have a particular perspective on the term "science", but you are a fool if you think that people (outside of the ivory tower) use the term "science" to mean other than the empirical sciences (i.e., stuff that can potentially be observed and tested). I stunt nothing by using the term science in a way that everybody (except a bunch of wankers with nothing better to do than argue over the parsing of a commonly understood term) accepts as its definition.

Posted by: justin case at April 29, 2008 9:49 AM

Here's a post that you may find interesting at http://forums.hannity.com/showthread.php?t=642831 It has to do with the Bible being a science book.

THE POLITE ADVERSARY.

While science and religion are compatible, religion and evolution are not. The Bible is, in fact, a science book. For the discerning, there are three creation accounts in the Bible: the familiar one in Genesis, a lesser known one in Job, and an even lesser known one in Proverbs. When the three separate, but distinct accounts, are correlated, a complete history of the earth may be realized. For example, the scientific account details the earth's accreation from a watery nebulae, explains what the light was that was created on the second day (the sun was created on the fourth day), and numerous other events.

Please know that the King James scholars translated the creation accounts in a scientific void; this is why the polite adversary failed to realize that the Bible is science book. For example, take a look at one missed translation in the following verse:

“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also."--Genesis 1:15

But first a short history of sunspots.

The first modern discovery of sunspots occurred during the years 1610-11 by the famous Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). Soon after Galileo had constructed his first telescope, he devised a procedure whereby the plane of the sun could be safely studied by projecting an image on a sheet of paper. The measure was to prevent exposure of the eyes to ultraviolet rays which may result in inflammation and photophobia, “painful sensitiveness to strong light,” and even blindness. The simple procedure consisted of drawing the eyepiece of the telescope outwards past the position of normal focus which allowed a real and enlarged image to be focused on a white screen.

Galileo utilized the procedure in an in-depth study of sunspot phenomena. Aided by the enlarged image, he discovered that sunspot groups did not remain in stationary or fixed positions but rotated from left to right across the face of the sun, disappearing behind the horizon. Records of the study revealed that a sunspot completes a circuit around the sun in about 27 days. Galileo had discovered the first modern evidence of the rotation of the sun. Galileo, however, may not be accredited with the find: the famous Italian merely verified yet another biblical revelation; for the phenomenon is recorded in the oldest science book on record, the Bible:

“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also."--Genesis 1:15

The word great in Hebrew is gadowl, gaw-dole’, “great in any sense.” Gadowl is from the prime root gadal, gaw-dal, meaning “to twist.” The greater sense, “to twist,” to turn or revolve, was overlooked due to the fact that the King James interpreters were translating terms in a scientific void. Of more than passing interest, the word “great” applies not only to the sun but also to the Moon; “two great lights” were created, not one. Corrected, 1 Genesis 1:15 reads:

“And God made two great rotating lights; the greater rotating light [the Sun] to rule the day, and the lesser rotating light [the Moon] to rule the night: he made the stars also.”

Hence, the historian of “Genesis” is accredited with the discovery of the rotation of the sun. -- Ref. Volume 1 of The Quest for Right http://questforright.com

The polite adversary need not align himself/herself with evolutionists, atheists, and agnostics. The Bible is an in-depth science book if one is willing to delve into its many mysteries.

Posted by: C. David Parsons at April 29, 2008 9:58 AM

THE POLITE ADVERSARY.

While science and religion are compatible, religion and evolution are not. The Bible is, in fact, a science book. For the discerning, there are three creation accounts in the Bible: the familiar one in Genesis, a lesser known one in Job, and an even lesser known one in Proverbs. When the three separate, but distinct accounts, are correlated, a complete history of the earth may be realized. For example, the scientific account details the earth's accreation from a watery nebulae, explains what the light was that was created on the second day (the sun was created on the fourth day), and numerous other events.

Please know that the King James scholars translated the creation accounts in a scientific void; this is why the polite adversary failed to realize that the Bible is science book. For example, take a look at one missed translation in the following verse:

“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also."--Genesis 1:15

But first a short history of sunspots.

The first modern discovery of sunspots occurred during the years 1610-11 by the famous Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). Soon after Galileo had constructed his first telescope, he devised a procedure whereby the plane of the sun could be safely studied by projecting an image on a sheet of paper. The measure was to prevent exposure of the eyes to ultraviolet rays which may result in inflammation and photophobia, “painful sensitiveness to strong light,” and even blindness. The simple procedure consisted of drawing the eyepiece of the telescope outwards past the position of normal focus which allowed a real and enlarged image to be focused on a white screen.

Galileo utilized the procedure in an in-depth study of sunspot phenomena. Aided by the enlarged image, he discovered that sunspot groups did not remain in stationary or fixed positions but rotated from left to right across the face of the sun, disappearing behind the horizon. Records of the study revealed that a sunspot completes a circuit around the sun in about 27 days. Galileo had discovered the first modern evidence of the rotation of the sun. Galileo, however, may not be accredited with the find: the famous Italian merely verified yet another biblical revelation; for the phenomenon is recorded in the oldest science book on record, the Bible:

“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also."--Genesis 1:15

The word great in Hebrew is gadowl, gaw-dole’, “great in any sense.” Gadowl is from the prime root gadal, gaw-dal, meaning “to twist.” The greater sense, “to twist,” to turn or revolve, was overlooked due to the fact that the King James interpreters were translating terms in a scientific void. Of more than passing interest, the word “great” applies not only to the sun but also to the Moon; “two great lights” were created, not one. Corrected, 1 Genesis 1:15 reads:

“And God made two great rotating lights; the greater rotating light [the Sun] to rule the day, and the lesser rotating light [the Moon] to rule the night: he made the stars also.”

Hence, the historian of “Genesis” is accredited with the discovery of the rotation of the sun. -- Ref. Volume 1 of The Quest for Right http://questforright.com

The polite adversary need not align himself/herself with evolutionists, atheists, and agnostics. The Bible is an in-depth science book if one is willing to delve into its many mysteries.

Posted by: C. David Parsons at April 29, 2008 9:59 AM

The Bible is, in fact, a science book.

I'm on deadline, and just dropped by to check for spam trapped comments, but please, somebody who has a moment, have at this one!

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 29, 2008 10:07 AM

"Vlad- I might be being a pain, but bosons are studied outside colliders. They are just particles with integer spin.
Please don't think I'm attacking you, you are obviously well informed, so I just assume that you would want to know." I'm just trying to figure out why Parsons is treating quantum theory as mysticism.

I'm not completely aware of what quantum theory research goes on in academia currently though I'm curious now and will be looking into it. I do like to know thank you.

Posted by: vlad at April 29, 2008 10:47 AM

brian -

Out of the numerous idiotic statements you're making, this one is actually pretty accurate;

Anyone who believes that spontaneous order can arise in systems where there is no inherent intellect or interest is an idiot.

Unfortunately for your argument, the only people that actually believe that are as ignorant about the topic of evolution as you obviously are. I would suggest following the links that Radwaste so kindly posted. Even if it doesn't change your beliefs, it will allow you to argue against evolution, rather than this complete misunderstanding you have of it now.

A helpful tip though. Evolution is not random, spontaneous or short term. Evolution does not measurably occur in the space of one generation.

Posted by: DuWayne at April 29, 2008 10:48 AM

I've seen this claim that the Bible - or Koran - is a science book. But this claim always rests on careful and subtle reinterpretation of the sacred text to fit in with whatever the latest science says. It's always retrospective, playing catch up.

So let's see what happens when we ask for a prediction. Currently, cosmologists find that they are unable to account for 90% of the universe's mass. There are ideas about this but so far nobody knows. Perhaps there is another force, like gravity; perhaps there is a repulsive force; perhaps the estimates of mass are wrong by a factor of 10; perhaps the shape of space-time is the answer.

Please tell me what the bible says about this. Don't wait until the scientists find an answer, and then "discover" the same answer in the bible. If the bible is a science book, it should have something to say, no? Even if it isn't, surely you could ask the creator for a clue? The slightest prediction would be impressive.

While we're waiting, perhaps you could explain why the bible doesn't say anything about the germ theory of disease. That would have been most helpful during the last few millennia. Certainly better than the "divine retribution" theory of disease.

I notice your silence on the subject of Darwin's private life, and its relevance to the theory of evolution by natural selection. So I predict silence on the "bible as a science book" and a long post on another topic. Or perhaps just silence.

PS given that the moon always presents the same face toward the earth, why is it described as rotating? And why is the earth not described as rotating?

Posted by: Norman at April 29, 2008 10:54 AM

Mr Cut and Paste Parsons -

No sir, the Christian bible is most certainly not a science book. It is a religious text, one that makes the dubious claim of being the divine word of a hateful, genocidal and evil god. It is the foundation for the dogma of one of the most destructive death cults in human history. It was a strong influence on the foundation of the most destructive death cult in human history.

While science and religion are compatible, religion and evolution are not.

Tell that to the Vatican. Tell that to Francis Collins. Tell that to the myriad people who find little trouble reconciling an acceptance of evolution with their religious faith.

A accurate version of your statement would read; "While my belief in what science is and my religion compatible, my religion and evolution are not."

Posted by: DuWayne at April 29, 2008 11:06 AM

"The bible is, in fact a science book" Oh I'll take this one.

“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also."--Genesis 1:15" Yes yes but here's the big rub. The moon is not a light. The moon is a reflective surface. So there are not two lights but one. Had it said God created a mirror and a light I'd give it two thumbs up.

"And God made two great rotating lights" No as per the translation you are suggesting he either made two great lights or two rotating lights, unless gadowl is used twice.

"A theory that could distinguish random from designed structures would be fantastically useful." Yes but only if that theory has some shred of supporting evidence. The earth being flat was also a theory, and a mathematical one at that with well defined axioms. The fact that a theory may be well defined does not make it valid, or useful. Theories with no (key word here is NO) are just flights of fancy. This is different from theories that have limited evidence. We don't know everything but from what we know there is XYZ and this theory explains it. Now as more evidence appears that counters that theory then the theory is modified or abandoned. There is no reason to assign intelligence when simple cause and effect go a long way to explaining it.

Posted by: vlad at April 29, 2008 11:18 AM

"Theories with no (key word here is NO) are just flights of fancy." Sorry agian typing problems.

"Theories with no (key word here is NO) evidence are just flights of fancy."

Posted by: vlad at April 29, 2008 11:22 AM

There isn't time, Amy. Life's too short. Let's just ridicule them and try to hurt their feelings...

> The Bible is an in-depth
> science book if one is willing
> to delve into its many mysteries.

No science books I've ever read challenged the reader's "willingness" with a veil of "mystery." Scientists are all about doing the exact opposite of that: Being as clear as possible to people who want knowledge. Scientists want everyone in the world to be able to duplicate their experience. (See Justin's comment above: "Peer-reviewed".) As a scientist describes his findings, he tries to include enough detail that no one who reproduces his experiment can say "Dude, it doesn't work."

On the other hand, science throughout time and history has been an enterprise on a budget. So as you describe your research, you're not going to waste anyone's time with unnecessary words or flourishes... No hymnals in the laboratory.

Y'know, it seems like people who've never been to college but think of themselves as smart believe that if you have a big enough personality, you get to set the ground rules for intellect, and kinda set up your own field of play. This is not so.

A book about a medical student noted that all doctors are required to do some teaching along the way, even if they had no instructional aspirations at all... An ability to teach is a big component of intelligence. For many medical treatments, the rule is "See one, do one, teach one." If you can't share things with people, then you'll never be a usefully bright guy. You may be a shimmering genius in the grateful, admiring venue of your own skull. But that won't get you through medical school, where you'll be challenged by people with more juice than you have (your instructors) and with less (your students). Neither group wants you waste their time.

Religions will toss you out if you have attitude problems, but science doesn't care whether you believe in it or not... Which is nice. There are no unworthy sinners in science, but you gotta be smart enough to deliver the goods. It's nothing personal....

Posted by: Crid at April 29, 2008 11:23 AM

The funny thing about distinguishing designed structures from an undesigned background is that if god designed living things, he also designed the universe. So why is design evident in one but not the other? How can you distinguish the figure from its ground?

(Also, why did he do such a crap design job - and make it look just as if it was evolved? Perhaps he was trying to hide the evidence?)

Posted by: Norman at April 29, 2008 11:27 AM

"PS given that the moon always presents the same face toward the earth, why is it described as rotating? And why is the earth not described as rotating?"

As the Moon travels eastward, weaving in and about the Earth, it rotates in relationship to the Sun. From space it is quite obvious that the moon is rotating. See Wikipedia.

Your comment about the germ theory of disease is covered in Volume 7 of The Quest for Right. I am not at liberty to discuss this issue due to copyright matters.

Concerning Darwin's inability to understand certain earthly phenomena -- the following text is taken from Volume 2.

The investigation’s assessment of evolution is far from being new. Darwin was fully cognizant that he could not prove the "theory" and could not explain its mechanism, especially in so-called well-defined species: the connotation erroneously suggests that there are less-defined or more primitive species when all evidence is to the contrary. The scientific council uses language as a ruse in lieu of documented facts in order to promote Darwinism; hence, the phraseology is offensive. Again, stability, not variance, is the third law of procreation (read the volume to see what this means).

Darwin's studies revealed a wide variety of life forms, but what caused these varieties? Again, natural selection was thought to be the answer. In theory, those species best adapted to the environment tend to reproduce more offspring and transmit hereditary improvements (in slight variations); those less able to adapt to the environment leave fewer offspring and eventually die out. After a succession of generations, there is a tendency for the species to adapt to a greater degree, thus, improving the lineage.

Regrettably, Darwin was unable to grasp the reality of certain rudimental processes which he had observed; for instance, the runt of a litter being abandoned by its parent or a sickly creature preyed upon by a fox or wolf. Although these familiar aspects of procreation are vital to the continuance of the species, the phenomena must not be confused as evolution in the process.

Darwin, misguided by his obsession, incorrectly deemed the ritual to be natural selection, when, in truth, he was observing an inherent process of procreation which may be correctly called the guardian of the wild. The familiar process is responsible for weeding out weak and sickly members of the species (i.e., those less likely to survive), not to improve the species but rather as a measure to insure the health and strength of the species as a whole. Make no mistake; new species are not derived by the guardian of the wild.

Darwin, incognizant of the manifest workings of procreation, attacked the “benevolence” of God, disdaining the guardian of the wild as the "clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low and horribly cruel works of (Mother) nature." It revolted his understanding to suppose that God’s “benevolence was unbounded" in such instances (benevolence—”an inclination to perform kindhearted, charitable acts”). Although it may seem a curiosity, those men and women who hate God will always attack His benevolence by asking the questions: If God is so benevolent, why are there wars? Why is slavery so cruel? Why is there so much injustice in the world? And so on. Be it known that one or more transgressions of the holy commandments are the culprits in such instances, not God. A more definitive answer will be forthcoming.

The remarkable, yet troublesome, aspect of the foregoing is that Darwin spent a lifetime observing procreation but failed to realize the truth except in the simplest of matters. Then again, the failure is not too disconcerting in light of the fact that he was working in the scientific void of the 1800’s. As is the case, errors abound; hence, any work by Darwin is unacceptable reading. Let the reader beware.

Further your education by reading The Quest for Right. The proof is in the text.

Posted by: C. David Parsons at April 29, 2008 11:35 AM

Norman -

(Also, why did he do such a crap design job - and make it look just as if it was evolved? Perhaps he was trying to hide the evidence?)

That one is easy enough, he didn't. The fossil record, geology, these are actually tools designed by Satan to fool us into thinking that god didn't poof it all into existence. You just fail to grasp the intricacies of goddidit, because this of course has it's polar opposite - satandidit.

Posted by: DuWayne at April 29, 2008 11:55 AM

DuWayne - I was thinking of the recurrent laryngeal nerve in the giraffe, which exists in the here and now. This is not a rewriting of history: the design (or lack of it) is evident by dismantling a modern-day giraffe.

Posted by: Norman at April 29, 2008 12:08 PM

Justin -

I wanted to know whose wisdom I was enjoying with the 10 points. Couldn't find an author, but here are some links:

http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/11/20/florida-edging-toward-doomed/

http://www.topix.com/forum/source/south-florida-sun-sentinel/T50D82I2U4LV0LJFC

http://tinyurl.com/53byl7

Posted by: DaveG at April 29, 2008 12:29 PM

Posted by: DaveG at April 29, 2008 12:30 PM

Norman -

Actually, the satandidit was the response a pastor friend gave me, when I confronted him with the rear legs of whales, that appear only in the skeletal structure without any trace of them on the surface of the whale.

But it works just as well for your problem. It also works really well when you bring up the insane "design" of human eyes. I have been corrected on that one by another pastor, who explained that this and other human design flaws were actually put in by satan when man fell from grace in the garden.

What's really great about satandidit, is that it is really effective in explaining away the bad things that happen in our lives. Lost job - satandidit, cause I didn't have enough faith. Kid got hit by a bus, became a veggie - fucking bastard satandidit - but we'll get by because this has really cemented our faith in god and he's probably even going to heal the child - in his time and by his will, if that is god's will and we have enough faith. Hurricane wipes out a sinfilled city - goddidit, because his judgment is righteous. But if a hurricane were to wipe out Virginia Beach, VA, that would be a satandidit, because everybody knows that Pat Robertson is way up by the top of satan's shit list - but god really loves Pat, so much that he has even granted him superhuman strength when he drinks that special shake made by good Christian folk.

Posted by: DuWayne at April 29, 2008 12:31 PM

In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that the explanations by two pastors I mention above, were accepted pretty absolutely by me when they were made. My only excuse and it is a flimsy one, is that I was pretty young at the time. Flimsy because this was after I had seen Carl Sagan speak and had the opportunity to speak with him for some time after the event. It was right around the time that I first saw The Power of Myth, wherein Bill Moyers did a series of interviews with Joseph Campbell.

Posted by: DuWayne at April 29, 2008 12:43 PM

I love, ab-so-fucking-lutly LOVE the satan dit it defense.

Because if satan did it, then he is beyond gods power, and if somthing is beyond gods power then god is not a god. A god is by definition all powerful and all knowing, so if anyone is running around out there beyond gods power and creating havoc without gods knowledge then there can be no god

Posted by: lujlp at April 29, 2008 2:21 PM

lujlp -

I hate to burst your bubble, but any "competent" Christian apologetic, will have the response to that one. Pat Robertson devoted a whole chapter to this in one of his books (sorry, but it's been years - I believe it was Simple Answers to Complex Questions about Faith).

God gave satan dominance over all the earth, after Eve allowed sin to invade the garden.

Now it can be argued that this is all besides that point. That this god fellow fucked up by ever letting it get that far, but that is a different discussion and one that I don't recall Pat answering. Although it does likely tie into the idea that the freedom Americans hold dear, is actually from the Christian bible. Which in a sense is true, if you equate freedom to living under the semi-theocracy that many of them would love to see this country become.

Posted by: DuWayne at April 29, 2008 2:40 PM

I saw a claim for "A paragon of scientific discovery" and I just started laughing. Where has this man been, anyway? Under a rock?

Here are a few references that not only describe what has actually been discovered, but describe the circumstances surrounding the discovery and testing.

An Introduction to Physical Geology
Radiometric Dating - A Christian View
The Ice Core Data Gateway
The Cassini Probe Operations Center
The Oklo Natural Reactors
Magnetic Striping

Some references you can discover represent standards of measurement, which you should recognize as that set of definitions for observed and repeatable phenomena, such as
NIST and
CHEMNETbase

In short, there is already a mind-boggling amount of information out there. These represent far more work than any apologist has done - not Ham, not Hovind... not even the famous religious leaders. They didn't do squat about personal hygiene and sanitation. Unless you have a habit of mental discipline affording you some immunity to hyperbole and tending toward recognizing principles, you'll never realize just how much has been done - or how more will be.

Posted by: Radwaste at April 29, 2008 4:08 PM

David - Good to see you've come back.

As the Moon travels eastward, weaving in and about the Earth, it rotates in relationship to the Sun. From space it is quite obvious that the moon is rotating. See Wikipedia.

I wondered if you'd pick up on this. But I think you are confusing orbital motion with rotational motion. Rotation is spinning on its axis, like a spinning-top. The Moon does rotate once per orbit of the Earth, and so keeps its face towards the Earth. To say it "rotates in relationship to the Sun" is confusing - do you mean that if you were standing on the Sun you'd see the Moon to be spinning, just as you'd see the earth spin, and as Galileo saw the Sun spin?

Frankly I don't buy this "spinning" interpretation anyway. I'd be more inclined to think they were referring to the fact that the Sun and Moon move against the backdrop of fixed stars. But the Bible's (and Koran's) complete silence about the Earth's rotation is enormously significant.

[...] germ theory of disease is covered in Volume 7 of The Quest for Right. I am not at liberty to discuss this issue due to copyright matters.

As far as I can see at http://questforright.com/quest3.htm volume 7 is not in print yet.

Thanks for expanding your comments on Darwin. I would summarise your excerpt as follows:

"Darwin was mistaken in his interpretation of his observations, because he was blinded by his obsession [with atheism? The nature of the obsession is not stated - N]. Natural selection does not exist and does not create new species. Instead a process called the guardian of the wild acts to preserve existing species. Darwin's writing is so full of errors that it should not be read."

Summarising further, you say that the "Origin of Species" is the ravings of a god-hating man who was scientifically ignorant at best and mad at worst, so reading it is a waste of time. Is that a fair summary?

Posted by: Norman at April 30, 2008 4:18 AM

But the Bible's (and Koran's) complete silence about the Earth's rotation is enormously significant.

This area of expertise is covered in Volume 4. Yes, the Bible states that the earth rotates; howebeit, the information must await publication. It is not possible to answer every question in this forum.

Here's a tibit of interest that you may like:

(Job 26:7 KJV) He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

The acknowledgment is a remarkable truth in that the Earth (as are the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars) is suspended on "nothing." No other description suffices as well for what would be an otherwise inexplicable phenomenon.

Here's another from Volume 3 which is already copyrighted and will go to press in May, 2008.

The problematic promotions must yield to the many so-called coincidences inherent to regulatory phenomena; for example, the 400/400 ratio of the moon/sun apparent diameter/distance.

The moon, contrary to the “sponsored chaos” entertained in this chapter, accreted in size 400 times smaller than the sun; and by some inexplicable circumstance; that is, if supernatural intervention is rejected, its orbital distance is 400 times closer to the earth than the sun. The quite remarkable attribute—referred to as purely coincidental—leaves the impression that the moon’s apparent diameter is equal to that of the sun. Collectively, the much smaller moon and the immensely larger sun appear to be of the same size as viewed from earth. The fascinating 400/400 ratio affords the spectacular sensorial eclipses which occur when a new moon transits the sun. If the moon was somewhat farther away or the sun closer, a total eclipse would never occur. Diversely, if the moon were a bit closer or the sun farther away, eclipses would be quite the norm.

The incoherent reasoning that the miraculous 400/400 ratio of the moon/sun apparent diameter/distance occurred by a freak stroke of luck is challenged by the phenomena inherent to the so-called lunar calendar. Although the occult related adjective, "luna," was replaced by “regulatory” in a previous excision, the latter term is relinquished in favor of the true. Henceforth, the adjective libation, “the Jewish covenant ritual of pouring out a drink offering to God,” will be used when referring to the calendar provided by the moon.

You evidently like to expound on the knowledge you have. Continue your education by reading The Quest for Right.

Posted by: C. David Parsons at April 30, 2008 6:04 AM

"(Also, why did he do such a crap design job - and make it look just as if it was evolved? Perhaps he was trying to hide the evidence?)"

If you think God did a "crap design job," you need to read Volume 2 of The Quest for Right. If you are a seeker of truth, you will find it in this volume.

Have you read "On the Origin of Species?" If you think the fossil record proves evolution occurred, you may want to read Darwin's own words about the lack of evidence in the fossil record. Read the text carefully because Darwin is famous for his song and dance routines.

The following dissertation on the eye is lifted from Volume 2, Chapter 4, of The Quest for Right:

"Difficulties of the Theory. Although the eye is chosen as the category to be entertained, the investigation could have chosen any one of a hundred other theories promoted in On the Origin of Species. The relative point is that, if the eye had evolved through fine graduations or modifications, the proof must lie with numerous intermediate fossilized specimens which could be laid down in a gradual continuum so as to show the development of the eye from its first appearance as a tiny break or opening in the bones of the skull to the development of a full blown socket or orbit. Nothing else will suffice, as the fossil record is all inclusive.

Darwin penned: “LONG before having arrived at this part of my work, a crowd of difficulties will have occurred to the reader. Some of them are so grave that to this day I can never reflect on them without being staggered; but, to the best of my judgment, the greater number are only apparent, and those that are real are not, I think, fatal to my theory.” In other words, if one is to believe in evolution, he/she has to disregard the facts; specifically, the indisputable assertion that all species are well defined in the fossil record.

Darwin continued: “These difficulties and objections may be classed under the following heads [that is, distinct topics or categories]: …why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms [in the fossil record]? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined? …In looking for the gradations by which an organ in any species has been perfected [for example, the eye], we ought to look exclusively to its lineal ancestors [found only in the fossil record]; but this is scarcely ever possible, and we are forced in each case to look to species of the same group, that is to the collateral [parallel] descendants from the same original parent-form, in order to see what gradations are possible, and for the chance of some gradations having been transmitted from the earlier stages of descent, in an unaltered or little altered condition.”

Unable to find a transitional species; for instance, discovering a tiny break in the skull of any one of the several thousand species, which transitioned through minute variations to a full blown socket for the eye, Darwin looked to parallel descendents: a horse descending from a tapir, etc.

By Darwin’s own admission, geologists had not been able to uncover a transitional species: “Amongst existing Vertebrata, we find but a small amount of gradation in the structure of the eye, and from fossil species we can learn nothing on this head [the subject of the evolution of the eye]. In this great class we should probably have to descend far beneath the lowest known fossiliferous [containing fossils] stratum to discover the earlier stages, by which the eye has been perfected…

He [the reader] who will go thus far, if he find on finishing this treatise that large bodies of facts, otherwise inexplicable, can be explained by the theory of descent, ought not to hesitate to go further, and to admit that a structure even as perfect as the eye of an eagle might be formed by natural selection, although in this case he does not know any of the transitional grades [as supported by the fossil record]. His reason ought to conquer his imagination [that is, belief in a Creator]; though I have felt the difficulty far too keenly to be surprised at any degree of hesitation in extending the principle of natural selection to such startling lengths.

If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case...”

Darwin's theory has not stood the test of time and has fallen. Continue your education by reading The Quest for Right.

Posted by: C. David Parsons at April 30, 2008 6:23 AM

If the Bible states that the Earth rotates (and if you can't cite chapter and verse without breaking any copyright laws, you need a better lawyer) then why did the Church persecute anyone who claimed that the Earth moved, for about 2000 years?

"Hanging the Earth upon nothing" is quite good, but it doesn't mention rotation. I don't know what "stretching out the north" means. But in any case it's risky putting modern interpretations on ancient writings.

The equal apparent size of the Sun and Moon is nice, but how do you know it is deliberate? Is it rare, or do other moons have this property? What is it for?

Posted by: Norman at April 30, 2008 7:20 AM

David - why all the quotes from Origin of Species? I thought it was not worth reading because Darwin was not right in the head.

(I have read a bit of it - there was a copy in a holiday home I rented. It was good reading and I must read it all the way through.)

Which raises the question, if you want to challenge the theory of evolution, why concentrate on an old book which you think is rubbish? We have learned a lot since 1859 and much of the book is incomplete or superseded. Why not point out the flaws in a modern book, such as one by Richard Dawkins? Then, if you found some weakness, he would be able to present his case, and so on. You could have an argument with a real live person.

It's a bit like challenging astronomy by quoting Galielo. Or Ptolemy.

Posted by: Norman at April 30, 2008 7:32 AM

One other thing Norman, the appaent size of the sun and moon are meaningless

suoer dave failed to account for the fact the the moons orbit gets wider all the time and will one day reach a point where the earths gravity can no longer teather it in orbit

And since the moons orbit gets wider that means it was smaller at the rime the bible was written.

So if there is indeed a 400/400 correlation at this point in time then the WAS NOT one at the point the bible was written

Posted by: lujlp at April 30, 2008 8:27 AM

> If you are a seeker of
> truth, you will find it
> in this volume.

You have the tone of a Bible-thumper; A man who doesn't like reading books, has found one he likes, and doesn't want to be bothered with any more of them.

Thanks for stopping by.

Posted by: Crid at April 30, 2008 10:10 AM

You have the tone of a Bible-thumper; A man who doesn't like reading books, has found one he likes, and doesn't want to be bothered with any more of them.

I *heart* ya, Crid.

Thanks so much for cleaning that up.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 30, 2008 10:18 AM

Given how often the bible contradicts iself on various subjects I dont see how anyone can take it seriously.

Additionally the slightest ammount of critical logical thought regarding every religion invalidates the very foundation of them

Posted by: lujlp at April 30, 2008 10:53 AM

"Given how often the bible contradicts iself on various subjects I dont see how anyone can take it seriously."

Actually, I found an answer for the same question you had. I was trying to figure it out why some of my loved ones are very religious although they are very reasonable people.

While I was watching the movie "Pulp Fiction" , the answer came to me. There is a scene how the Bible preaching assassin character, Jules, became religious when all of the shots fired in point blank range by another man missed him. It is all about being touched by God and you try to find an evidence for it. Along the way, the details are not important any more but you remember the feeling of touched by someone far grater than you. I think that it is similar to mental illness. The below is the quotes from the movie.

"Did you see the size of the gun he just fired at us? It was bigger than him!"

"We should be fucking dead, my friend."

"That's right, that's exactly what it means. God came down from heaven and stopped these motherfucking bullets."

"Whether or not what we experienced was an "according to Hoyle" miracle is insignificant. What is significant is that I felt the touch of God. God got involved."

Posted by: Chang at April 30, 2008 12:44 PM

I love it when people use films as evidence: you might call it argumentum per cinema, except my Latin's not up to it. Chang's example is more by way of an illustration than evidence, though.

Posted by: Norman at May 1, 2008 12:36 AM

David -

This is relevant to claims that the Bible is a scientific work.

Posted by: Norman at May 1, 2008 8:11 AM

"...failed to account for the fact the the moons orbit gets wider all the time and will one day reach a point where the earths gravity can no longer teather it in orbit."

This statement is in error. The moon’s orbital gyrations are among the most complex in astronomy. It is a fact that not one mathematician has ever been able to account its great complexity. Yet, you state that the moon's orbit is failing.

A full account of the moon’s orbit would have to take into consideration both the earth’s and sun’s gravitational attraction, and, to a lesser extent, the tidal forces exerted by Braker. These considerations are complicated by the elliptical path of the earth which changes the earth’s distance from the sun throughout the year. Concurrently, the moon also travels in an elliptical path; from space, the moon appears to weave back and forth across the orbital path of the earth as it journeys around the sun. And, as the moon positions itself between the sun and earth, the sun’s gravitational attraction is greater than when the moon is positioned on the far side of the earth.

The irony of your stating that the moon's orbit is failing, is exampled by one of the many problems facing professional astronomers: the inability to determine the precise geographic location and time that the first sliver of light from a crescent moon will appear. On August 21, 1990, the U.S. Naval Observatory enlisted the aid of the citizenry throughout the United States of America to watch the western horizon and note the time that the crescent first appeared. The skywatchers were urged to send their findings to the observatory in hopes that astronomers may one day be able to predict with some reliability the rising of the young crescent moon. Mathematicians do not have the expertise to predict the Moon's orbit. How then can they state it is failing? They cannot.

NEWS RELEASE: May 1, 2008. The Drudge Report is currently displaying 500,000 "The torch has been lit" banners.

Be the first in your group to continue your advanced education by reading The Quest for Right.

Posted by: C. David Parsons at May 1, 2008 9:20 AM

"Chang's example is more by way of an illustration than evidence, though."

I think it is evidence, personal evidence, which you cannot prove it to others because you felt it.

Is the glass half full or half empty? Either answer is right but the answer would be different based on how thirsty you are at the time you answered the question. But the facts remain the same.

I was religious once under the different circumstances. I may become religious in the future in a desperate attempt to see my loved ones again in heaven or hell.

Is there a God or not? The answer would depend on how thirsty you are.

Posted by: Chang at May 1, 2008 9:54 AM

I followed his link: This guy's a spammer. He's a dim one, and a slow one... It's like that old joke about the assassin who inserts the bullets manually (he's inefficient, but really, really mean).

He's also kind of an asshole. His comments are too boring to actually read.

Posted by: Crid at May 1, 2008 10:02 AM

David - I think you are referring to the n-body problem which indeed is beyond analysis. Newton's laws of motion and gravity can only be solved for two bodies. Since every particle in the universe attracts every other particle, it's amazing that we can predict lunar eclipses at all. We can't solve the equations but numerical simulation works well enough (else we couldn't send all these spacecraft about the place).

What's "Braker"? I couldn't find any reference to that.

More importantly, direct measurements by laser reflection show that the moon is currently moving away from us at 3.8 cm per year. Fossil records show that it has been for the last 900 My. Predictions - despite what you say - show that it will continue to do so until the Sun goes nova in 5 Gy.

What does the bible have to say about this? It's a light that moves in the sky. Emmm, yessss ...

Posted by: Norman at May 1, 2008 10:07 AM

Sorry - forgot to give a reference to one of the many astronomy web pages that deal with this topic:

http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/astronomy/q0262.shtml

Posted by: Norman at May 1, 2008 10:08 AM

Sorry - forgot to give a reference to one of the many astronomy web pages that deal with this topic:

http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/astronomy/q0262.shtml

Posted by: Norman at May 1, 2008 10:09 AM

So Mr. Parsons, are you here to debate, or are you just spamming us with your damn book touts?

Posted by: Cousin Dave at May 1, 2008 10:40 AM

"Mathematicians do not have the expertise to predict the Moon's orbit. "

Bullshit. I can predict the Moon's orbit, quite easily, with readily available software. NASA can and has predicted it closely enough to shoot astronauts across a million miles of space and drop them out of orbit within a few hundred feet of their planned landing point -- and that was with 1960's technology.

I'm a Christian, Mr. Parsons. But you are driving me towards atheism.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at May 1, 2008 10:44 AM

Here's a line from one of his pages:

"The backbone of Darwinism is not biological evolution per se, but electronic interpretation, the tenet that all physical, chemical and biological processes result from a change in the electron structure of the atom which, in turn, may be deciphered through the orderly application of mathematics, as outlined in quantum mechanics." [emphasis in original]

Poking around on his site and others, you realize how badly it hurts some people not to have finished college. As speculated in my earlier comment, C. David Parsons is a guy who's whipped up a whole universe of imaginary principles. He's apparently fleshed out these daydreams in unsigned essays on the web. Despite my own university degree, the concept of "electron structure" he describes in this passage was new to me, and Google sent me here to learn more.

If it weren't for the pathos of the mountain holler poverty whence it came, "The Quest for Right" could be the greatest work of outsider art since Henry Darger & Vivian girls.

Parson's vitae, quoted below, will strike the careful reader as being a titch defensive. But it's worth following his link to the original, because the photo of the man with his wife will amaze and delight you. I'm tempted to phone him directly and ask how he earns his living.


---

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

BASIC INFORMATION:

1943: Born Clarence David Parsons in Appalachia, Virginia, Wise County.
Father and mother: Mr. Alonzo and Monnie Parsons -- resting in peace.
1962: Graduated Appalachia High School. See photo below.
1962-1963: Attended Richmond Professional Institute in Richmond, Virginia on the Dean's Scholarship.

Note: The Richmond Professional Institute was a division of the College of William and Mary. The division separated from William and Mary and came under state control in 1962. The Medical College of Virginia and the Richmond Professional Institute merged in 1968. It is now known as Virginia Commonwealth University.

PERTINENT INFORMATION:

Publisher/owner/editor of the popular online Vanguard Magazine (record number of visitors in one day: 26,000). Vanguard Magazine was closed in order to complete The Quest for Right.

RELATIVE TO THE QUEST FOR RIGHT:

1983-2008 ongoing: The author amassed and critically studied an incredible amount of materials on important world issues: scientific history, biblical studies, geology, biology, geography, astronomy, chemistry, paleontology, geology, physics, astrophysics, quantum mechanics, mathematical elucidation, and much, much more.

Posted by: Crid at May 1, 2008 10:53 AM

More importantly, direct measurements by laser reflection show that the moon is currently moving away from us at 3.8 cm per year. Fossil records show that it has been for the last 900 My. Predictions - despite what you say - show that it will continue to do so until the Sun goes nova in 5 Gy.

"Fossil records show that it has been for the last 900 million years." Can I just say, WOW? Man is really smart, isn't he?

Let me get this right; an astronomer stated that the moon was moving away from the earth some 1 1/2" per year? And the moon's orbit is failing? You want a biblical answer, I'll give you one.

The prophet Isaiah dispels the myth of the Moon degrading in its orbital gyrations, the sun going nova, and departed stellar bodies. The prophetic charge extols the “power” of God in that not one star “faileth”; this would include the Moon:

25. To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy one.

26. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host [the stars] by number: he Rcalleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.—Isa. 40 Ref Psa. 147:4,5

The charge is substantiated by the findings of the investigation: there is absolutely no discernible evidence of any degrading or elevating star. When a telescope is turned toward any region of the heavens, the innumerable galaxies transversing the visible cosmos reveal a remarkable sameness. Regions from one extreme edge to another appear almost identical. And the stars, like strings of multicolored lights, fill the heavens at a relative constant density; there are no significant differences in the cosmological makeup. The fact of the matter is that neither an astrophysicist nor an astronomer, peering through a powerful telescope at the distant stars, sees anything more or less than a novice would see. In short, the cosmological scenario, once devoid of quantum bodies, is one of harmony and uniformity. God is strong in power; “not one faileth.”

Please do not come back to me with, What about the HR-diagram, exploding singularities, black holes, fast-spinning neutron stars, and the like? You will have to read The Quest for Right to find out about these matters. http://questforright.com

Posted by: C. David Parsons at May 1, 2008 10:55 AM

I'm going to append that to my resume next time I need a job: "and much, much more!"

Posted by: Crid at May 1, 2008 10:55 AM

Hey Amy, didja see that? This guy's a friend of yours:

> The author amassed and critically
> studied an incredible amount of
> materials on important world issues

Critical studies! They're critical! He probably did some critical thinking!

Posted by: Crid at May 1, 2008 11:57 AM

David - You are the one who described orbits as "failing." I don't know what that means but if it upsets you please don't blame anyone else.

So you are saying that the Moon is not moving away at 1.5" per year, because the Bible says so? The fact that simple measurements can be made today that don't depend on interpreting the fossil record or solving impossible mathematical equations just means nothing, compared to Isaiah.

[...] there is absolutely no discernible evidence of any degrading or elevating star. I don't know what you mean by "degrading" or "elevating". Would a star exploding count? Because there have been quite a few documented cases of these, as I'm sure you know. A few were observed in Europe around 1500.

[...] neither an astrophysicist nor an astronomer, peering through a powerful telescope at the distant stars, sees anything more or less than a novice would see. Apart from the fact that astronomers don't peers through telescopes any more, that's almost fair ... however, astronomers (whether professional or amateur) have the benefit of years of study. That's why they can interpret what they see when novices can't. It's not novices who have found the extra-solar planetary systems. Tycho Brahe, Keppler, Copernicus, Netwon and all the rest were not novices. If you don't agree, then please list some astronomical discoveries made by novices.

Please do not come back to me with, What about the HR-diagram, exploding singularities, black holes, fast-spinning neutron stars, and the like? Just pointing out that, as requested, I didn't. I'd appreciate it if you were to come back with answers to questions.

Posted by: Norman at May 1, 2008 1:45 PM

He probably did some critical thinking!

Or his thinking has gone critical...

Mr Parsons (can't call him superDave, that's what we often call the new sprog in our house - He can fly dammit!?!) reminds me of a very good, very old friend of mine, who is a conspiracy nut. He argues in much the same fashion, only he argues about the UN/ET base on the dark side of the moon, 9/11 being the result of laser beams from orbit and how federal income taxes are unconstitutional.

Recently, when we went the rounds about vaccines and his nutty anti-vax stance, he kept responding with emails that weren't entirely devoid of substantive responses, but might as well have been. They were very similar to the claptrap Parson is trying to sell here, down to desperately trying to get me to read some site he linked. I had actually clicked over to it as a measure of good faith, but couldn't begin to read it. It was chock full of bright colored backgrounds and different colored fonts. While there was an impressive lack of CAPS LOCK being used, they made up for it by changing the size for emphasis. For really, really important statements, they made the font large and put them in cobalt blue.

I will admit that I have not clicked over to Parson's bullshit, but then he is not a dear friend and I'm not interested in "debating" him.

Posted by: DuWayne at May 1, 2008 2:08 PM

Whoops, turns out that the article I linked was a completely different whackjob than C. David. Sorry about that. (But the resume is for real!)

Posted by: Crid at May 2, 2008 12:01 AM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 28, 2008 6:13 AM

Comments

Ah the Daily Mail. Don't get me wrong I think this wasn't the smartest move the young lady could have made. But I always find it funny that the most right wing nut basket newspaper that bemoans the lack of modern morality and constantly bangs on about the pedos under the bed and infesting the internet... (deep breath) just loves to print pictures like this.

They're seriously schizo.

Posted by: Simon Proctor at April 28, 2008 7:28 AM

Gaah. She's not looking ridiculous, but she does look like she's a youngster out of her depth an an adult world. I'd say that photo borders on child abuse. It certainly makes me feel icky. Ewww.

Posted by: Norman at April 28, 2008 7:31 AM

At least The Daily Mail prints the photos. I love CNN...they report on the story, but without the actual pictures.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 28, 2008 7:36 AM

Well, the original photo spread is supposed to be in the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair; even Miley herself is supposedly not happy about it:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24245846/

Posted by: Flynne at April 28, 2008 7:43 AM

So, I can be found watching Hannah Montana (because I do have two daughters in the age range!), and yeah, I do hope she and mom and dad figure out how to navigate the world of a billion dollars and a billion paparazi. Because that would be a very good thing for her, and she honestly does seem to be very talented, as singer, comedian, and actor.

(It's not the silly lipstick, or all the bones on her back that bother me about the photo. It's those things plus the unattractive hair.... The whole photo is a mess and should've been left in the wastebin.)

Posted by: jerry at April 28, 2008 8:06 AM

Yup, it's a blunder. The pictures are dead-average but the very fact that they took place is a tad disturbing.

This remembers me the mess Vanessa Anne Hudgens got herself into a while ago. Like Miley, she's a Protégée of the Disney Corporation. She also got some nude pictures that surfaced. I have a weird feeling that somebody is sleeping on the job...

Posted by: Toubrouk at April 28, 2008 8:19 AM

How utterly unoriginal and predictable.

The semi-nude, "come-hither" pose photographed by Annie Leibovitz. Haven't we seen this before? I always thought Leibovitz was overrated, and now I'm certain of it. This counts for originality?

And how predictable. Since there are no doubt millions of Miley Cyrus pix in circulation, one more photo, even captured by Leibovitz, was likely to draw snores. So, how to create some buzz? Got it! Let's introduce an element of sexuality to a 15 year old girl who had up till now built a career on a wholesome image. That'll do it!

Pathetic.

Posted by: johnmc at April 28, 2008 8:27 AM

That's not cool. What's weird is that she comes from a showbiz family (her dad is the bemulleted Billy Ray Cyrus, of "Achy Breaky Heart" fame). You figure someone involved in her career would have the sophistication to avoid this. Let's hope this isn't the first step towards Spears-dom for her.

Posted by: justin case at April 28, 2008 8:57 AM

"the sophistication to avoid this." JustinC

well, yeah, unless the deal is that this is the exposure they actually want. Sure, everyone has to say that they oppose such things [with a wink] but it does increase ratings, and sell papers, no? Who is under the delusion that this isn't the case? Perhaps because she is laboring UNDER the whole fame machine, they are incapable of just letting her rise on talent. Seems like that is no longer enough for many.

As long as she keeps the train on the rails, unlike spears, this is a value add in the long run...

"Cause you could've sworn you thought you heard her saying...

"Good girls don't,
Good girls don't,
Good girls don't, but I do." - The Knack

Posted by: SwissArmyD at April 28, 2008 9:31 AM

A calculated scandal, in other words?

Too bad the picture is such a failure.

The attempt at childhood bedhead (the hair across the mouth) looked particularly ridiculous, too.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 28, 2008 9:44 AM

I disagree with this post generally, not specifically. Annie's getting older. If you have a chance to get a portrait from her, you should probably do it!

Posted by: Crid at April 28, 2008 9:51 AM

Agree, Crid, on getting one's portrait done by Annie.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 28, 2008 10:13 AM

Posted by: moe99 at April 28, 2008 11:03 AM

I'm not "outraged," just kind of creeped out.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 28, 2008 11:19 AM

Yep, another kid farmed out to be a pedophile's dream... all in the name of art.

Posted by: Michele at April 28, 2008 11:51 AM

just lovely. All of Miley's handlers were on set when these digital photographs were taken. They all thought they were very tasteful. Not bad for a girl pulling 7 digits despite her father being a wierd country-music star.

But in steps Disney. "Miley, it's embarassing because we tell you it is." And all of a sudden, a tasteful picture becomes indecent because the Corporate Mouse says it is. OH THE HUMANITY! How dare she show her shoulder.

Can we stop being puritans for like...a day? Sometime? Ever? Because, if this is 'scandalous' you should see how girls dress themselves in jr. high and high school.

If anyone should feel dirty, it should be because they looked at moe99's link.

Meanwhile, the real child pornographers are hoisting up thier anti-choice banners with pictures of naked fetuses.

Posted by: j.d. at April 28, 2008 12:28 PM

With props to JD --thanks for taking the first stab at Devil's Advocacy here-- I don't think glamour photography like this is really what causes pedophilia. This child made more money this year (it's only April!) than I'm going make over several lifetimes; her life is obviously not going to be that of a typically sheltered schoolgirl anyway.

(And speaking of her shelter, I have no idea whether her parents are still married. Anyone care to wager, and then look it up? My money says there's an achin', broken heart in their somewhere. And some bad haircuts besides.)

The drunken horndogs who see this magazine on the newsstand and go home to do some molestin' were not going to be giving their stepdaughters a very good experience with masculinity in any case.

Also, 15 isn't twelve. 15 is too early to get naked in national media, but it's not too early for sane young women to understand that their sexual allure has a very personal power, and that sometimes that power is dark and freaky.

Furthermore, and this is a big one, she's not a "role model" for all those tweeners, she's a scientifically packaged product that's being sold to them... Not because Mr. Iger thinks it would be good for their immortal souls, but because he wants the fuckin' money. The fact that she's a Disney® product doesn't mean anything good was going to happen to your kids when you bought them her stuff, anyway.

This is not worth getting all Taliban over.

Posted by: Crid at April 28, 2008 1:04 PM

in there somewhere.

sorry

Posted by: Crid at April 28, 2008 1:05 PM

All of Miley's handlers were on set when these digital photographs were taken.

Actually, according to the articles I've seen, her parents had left the set by the time the semi-nude photo was taken, and only her grandmother and a handler were left. And I'm guessing that when Annie Leibovitz suggests you do something, you respond, "Yes, ma'am." It's only afterwards you think, "The hell? What was I thinking.

Can we stop being puritans for like...a day?

I am happy to avoid puritanism in relation to adults. Kids are another matter.

I'm not "outraged," just kind of creeped out.

That's how I feel. I agree with Crid in general that getting one's portrait done by Annie Leibovitz is a good thing...but this particular photo is not to my taste.

Posted by: marion at April 28, 2008 1:08 PM

Here's the behind-the-scenes gallery. Judge for yourself:

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2008/06/miley_slideshow200806

Posted by: Nance at April 28, 2008 1:21 PM

On some quiet afternoon with an iced tea nearby, I'll compose a list of the 25 shittiest, most annoying words in the English language.

"Seminude" (as per Drudge today) will rank highly. No one who uses that word is going to say anything I want to hear.

Posted by: Crid at April 28, 2008 1:30 PM

JD - you should see how girls dress themselves in jr. high and high school

The point is that it is one thing for teens to display to each other in this way, it is another thing for them to be displayed to adults. This person appears to be a child. Either she is a child and is therefore being abused, or she is really quite adult and the photo is therefore pandering to people who like to fantasize over her child-like appearance. Either way, it sucks.

Posted by: Norman at April 28, 2008 1:48 PM

I like it when Crid and I disagree.

Posted by: Norman at April 28, 2008 1:51 PM

I just think it plain doesn't look good. She looks like she's sick. I don't care if she was tricked into it or knew what was going on. What matters aren't the photos, but the reaction to the reaction of those photos. She knows (or should know) that she can't be a Disney product forever, and this could have been the opportunity to say so. A shoulder isn't a big deal unless you pander to the people who make it a big deal, and that's exactly what she did.

You know what's creepy to me? "Handlers." As if she's some certified show pooch. Thinking about that, perhaps it's no wonder she's acting embarrassed about what happened.

Posted by: Jean Moczy at April 28, 2008 3:13 PM

"Here's the behind-the-scenes gallery. Judge for yourself:"

Thank goodness she's working for Disney and not being whored out to the media for filthy lucre. That would be a tragedy.

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at April 28, 2008 3:46 PM

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at April 28, 2008 3:56 PM

Well she isn't a child, and even so, I don't think the argument that this is abuse is legitimate: it is tennuous as best.

Alternatively, if she is an adult, which she is, it does not follow that she is pandering to those who fantasize over her child-like appearance. Even so, what is wrong with pandering? Or, what is wrong with fantasizing over her child-'like' apperance? On its face, I can sympathize that it sucks: However, her statements noted in the link above illustrate that it, in fact, does not. Perhaps if she was coerced into doing this against her will, this would be a viable argument, but there is no indication of such. Even teenage celebrities have some control over thier career, and I, for one, cannot fault her for wanting to take that next step. As one commenter above said: She knows that she won't be a Disney Product forever.

Gog: are your last two lines intended to be sarcasm? It got me thinking: being whored out, to whomever, is still being whored out. Perhaps it is Disney that is whoring her 'g-rated innocent' for thier own gain.

Posted by: j.d. at April 28, 2008 4:07 PM

> I like it when

Good days ahead, I promise.

Posted by: Crid at April 28, 2008 4:56 PM

J.D. She's 15. In what way does that make her an adult?

Posted by: MeMeMe at April 28, 2008 6:49 PM

King Tut ran an empire at the age of 13. Kids are often held to adult standards for civil infractions, and perhaps sometimes younger for criminal. Even contracts law has its exceptions. Eugene Volokh had an interesting discussion regarding this age bracket in a differenct context earlier this week (see volokh.com). Modern religions recognize younger ages as 'coming of age'. Judaism instantly springs to mind. ANd so forth, ad nauseum.

A person in the shoes of Miley's is, with little hesitation, an adult. She's been doing concerts for years, has racked up a half billion in profits, is responsible for, at the least, dozens of projects, not to mention an acting career plus her present tour. She's clearly encumbered with responsibility, and on that tip, has been exposed to it at a very early age. The character that so many have attributed to her, I would also argue, qualifies her as an adult (in contrast to those who I'm sure you know, as I do, and the rest of us, who are in thier 20's and 30's and yet still act like irresponsible children).

personally, I think adulthood is found on a case-by-case basis, and age is not determinative of that status. The argument that she's 'still a child' is, to re-use the word, tenuous. To your credit, there are, and must be, 15yo's that are still qualified as children. I just happen to think that Miley is not categorized as such.

Posted by: j.d. at April 28, 2008 7:35 PM

King Tut ran an empire at the age of 13

Yes - in an era when people were very lucky to make it to the age of 40 and the concept of adolescence did not exist. Today, a 15-year-old is a legal minor (and is typically several decades away from probable death instead of just a couple). There are a hell of a lot of things she cannot do without the permission of her parents and guardians. If you think the modern concept of adolescence is silly, I won't violently disagree with you, but legally and culturally she is a child. Her career is managed by her parents and various other legal adults.

Plus, I'll point out that the Olsen twins were also millionaires many times over by the time that they were 10 and were involved in multiple projects. They were a two-person empire before they were teenagers. But that didn't make them adults. It made them children who happened to be making a lot of money, just as children ranging from Shirley Temple to Haley Joel Osment have done over the years. Miley Cyrus may be turning a bigger profit that they were, but that doesn't automatically put her into a different category of maturation.

Posted by: marion at April 28, 2008 8:09 PM

Wait. Let me get this straight.

We teach them how to fuck at the age of 13. We tell ourselves that we can't stop them from fucking at that age.

And then we have the audacity to be outraged when they act like sex objects at the age of fifteen?

Please.

Posted by: brian at April 29, 2008 8:16 AM

The first thing I thought of when I saw the photo was "vampire." Not very sexy at all...

Posted by: anonymous at April 29, 2008 10:21 AM

The first thing I thought when I saw this picture was "vampire." Maybe that's what they were going for...

Posted by: confused at April 29, 2008 10:22 AM

No one expects a 15 year old kid to have enough judgment and experience to make all the decisions for herself; that's why she is under her parents' guardianship. Miley's father and mother should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to happen.

Posted by: Mitch at April 29, 2008 6:40 PM

This reminds me of the movie 'Hard Candy', which pits a 14 year old girl against a 32 year old possible pedophile. It touches on some interesting points with respect to the grey area of sex for kids of that age.

I agree that the photo shoot was a calculated move towards the next step in her career, maybe moving towards acting full time, or a more sultry persona for her singing career.

Posted by: Chrissy at April 30, 2008 4:41 PM

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Posted by aalkon at April 28, 2008 2:03 AM

Comments

I love the ""White American Brain" part. This always make me wonder about what the world would look like if the dreaded and bigoted white brain was absent.

Of course, religious zealots don't care about fancy things the white brain brought to this world like cars, penicillin and the simple radio. They rather blame us for enjoying this material world and to forget millennias of religious barbarism.

Or maybe it's not such a bad thing to die from a benign infection or to live under the Taliban. This let me to wonder: If Islam is truly a beacon of civilization and humanity, why so many people exile temselves from those blessed lands?

Posted by: Toubrouk at April 28, 2008 5:57 AM

Norman posted this on the earlier entry:

That phrase "white american brain" says a lot about john in just three words, but none of it is good. (White european brain, me, just for the record.) You missed your chance at the Festival of Books, but you can post here. Please talk some sense into us. I can't promise an easy ride, but (if you ignore the occasional rant that any open forum attracts) you'll get a fair and thorough examination.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 28, 2008 6:06 AM

Looks like john has nothing to say. Pity.

Posted by: Norman at April 28, 2008 1:50 PM

I have to agree, it is a pity.

Since I am curious by nature (Maybe due to my "White American Brain"), I would had loved to know the errors of my ways. Can anyone show me the fruits of the European colonialism or the "Religious Tolerance" of Islam?

I think I will have to wait a little....

Posted by: Toubrouk at April 28, 2008 3:05 PM

I don't care what kind of silly religious bullshit people want to believe in as long as they aren't murdering a lot of other people in the name of their particular bullshit.

totally. I was at the Quillim launch and I wish them all the best. If they can sort out extremist bullshit their end, we should have as robust an organisation to sort out the extremist bullshit our end. It has left a lot of Iraqi's lying down who shouldn't be.

Posted by: dave bones at April 29, 2008 3:24 AM

clue packet for dave bones:

First rule of war: people die.

And if you want to get into relative death, more Iraqis would have been killed by Hussein in the same time frame had we not driven him from power.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Posted by: brian at April 29, 2008 4:42 AM

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Posted by aalkon at April 27, 2008 8:16 AM

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I got interviewed a couple months back for a position in a company I was very interested in. They didnt hire me but said I was the second person in line for the job and if they could still keep in touch with me. A week ago I got an email and they asked me if I was still open for the position. I said yes and was interviewed again. The head guy there told me that the last person they hired was a single mom and they hadnt gotten a whole weeks work out of her since they hired her. They asked me indirectly about my status, but I made it very clear that I had no children and my biggest responsibility at the moment is a 12 year cat. I saw the calendar of the woman who previously held my job and it was riddled with appointments for her son. It is male dominated but all the women at my company are over 50 (no women my age). What does that say about things?

Posted by: PurplePen at April 27, 2008 2:06 AM

It says an embittering, cowardly, narcissistic version of "feminism" is causing traditional masculine responsibilities to be fulfilled by other parties in society, e.g., hapless employers, customers and taxpayers.

Just thinking out loud here... I mean, we don't know that your predecessor was a single Mom. Anyone care to wager, though?

Posted by: Crid at April 27, 2008 2:44 AM

When I got pregnant with my son last year, I was librarian at an elementary school. Within a few weeks I was told I had a high risk pregnancy, and knew I'd have 2-3 appointments a week by the time I was four months along. Because of the lack of available* neonatologists and perinatologists in my area, my appointments were to be a 4 hour round trip. I decided to quit. With notice, of course.

The school district was actually great about it, pointing out that if I got a Dr's note I could go out on disability, they'd work with what hours I could be there, etc. I didn't feel this was fair to them, however, especially since I wasn't sure I would want to continue working after my child was born, or if I'd want to take a couple of years off.

It was my decision to have a child, so I considered it my responsibility to do the right thing by my job once I knew I wouldn't be able to make half my shifts. Why should they have to bend around me?

It worked out for the school, as my coworker was thrilled to have my hours so she could quit her low-paying second job and simply work all day at the library. Which is good, because a week after I gave my notice, two weeks before my end date, I ended up on bed rest.

If more women took some responsibility for their pregnancies/families, fewer companies would feel the need to sneak in questions about children, or to hire only men or older women for available positions.

*Said specialists being unavailable due to the number of illegal immigrants who got first dibs on them in my area. I was informed of this by a nurse at local hospital and a scheduler at the far away hospital I had to go to the first seven months. That belongs on another thread, I suppose.

Posted by: Kimberly at April 27, 2008 4:22 AM

One note: I BELIEVE that the U.S. Family & Medical Leave Act does not apply to employers with fewer than 50 employees. Not that these employers don't sometimes grant maternity leaves/hold open jobs, but they are not forced to do so by law. If someone with an actual knowledge of the law wants to comment here, please do.

On a larger note, while I certainly think that feminism plays a significant role in all this, I think there's also another factor - the constant lessening of the idea that one owes anything to one's employer. I understand employers wanting to avoid hiring women who will get knocked up and quit within a year. I'd argue they have the right to do so. But the single, bright-eyed 25-year-old guy they hire in her place may well be applying to business schools and planning to leave after six months if he gets in - I've known quite a few stories like that. Or he may be intending to use the job as a stepping stone to something better. Or...you get the idea. Employers have certainly played their role in this, and the nature of the ever-shifting modern economy has too, but the fact is that a large percentage of the workforce - male and female - sees themselves as only needing to look out for their own interests where their employers are involved. I will certainly grant the nature of maternity leave makes things much more difficult where pregnant women are involved, and I think that women who deliberatly take maternity leave and any attendant benefits knowing they're going to say at the end, "Sorry, I'm not coming back," are cheating their companies. But they're not the *only* ones out there who are.

I suppose I'm biased, because I've had several female friends who went back to work after having kids and *prioritized* going back to work and being just as good of an employee. When you're working in an office with employees who take lots of 15-minute coffee breaks while you work the day through and leave an hour early *having done more than they have in terms of workload*, and all that's focused on is you leaving an hour before they did (with managerial permission), I can see why people would start thinking, "Screw it, do I really need this tsuris?" (Note: It's not just parents who do this.)

Posted by: marion at April 27, 2008 7:44 AM

the constant lessening of the idea that one owes anything to one's employer.

Well, the party that trashed that idea were the employers who decided in the 80s and 90s and 00s to just fire everyone and outsource, regardless of what that did to lives and communities.

In one famous case, IBM, who at the time was making lots of and lots of profit, decided to outsource to make EVEN more profit.

The legal setup of corporations says the ONLY people that the corporation owes anything to is the stockholders. Not their employees, not the communities that gave the company tax deals to locate their, or uses taxes to pay for roads and other improvements, or build schools, etc. for the company's employees.

Anyway, I've mentioned this before here, that women interested in working after they've had a kid, should look to very large office environments. Those companies by now have been lawyerized to the extent they can't/won't discriminate against women with kids, and they are big enough and profitable enough to be able to be family friendly in general, and have the resources to replace you temporarily when you have a kid.

And definitely get a degree and a job in engineering or software. Engineers love women co-workers we really do. And large engineering companies these days are very family friendly and often involve little travel.

To risk annoying Amy and everyone commenting here so far even further, as a father who loves to be with my kids, I am actually grateful to feminism AND to unions for bringing me: 40 hour work weeks, paid vacations, paid sick time, excellent health benefits (though I definitely think that employers should not pay for health benefits, but that's because I am pro-single payer in large part to help our companies compete.) When feminism was making companies hire equally, and getting rid of the worse sexual harassment, and trying to make companies more family friendly, that was good and before it jumped the shark.

And unions too. Unions are why the company I work for with over 100,000 employees have excellent benefits for us professional, non-unionized workers. We benefit whenever our machinists and others go on strike. And let me tell you, us salaried, exempt professionals think we are so much smarter than the high school graduates on the assembly line, but they are the ones that get paid for each and every hour while we get no overtime, they are the ones that leave work and have 16 hours of free time while we work 60 hour weeks and take laptops home.

In general, if you want to take part in your family, you can't expect to be the fast climber at work. Big engineering companies love women engineers and are usually family friendly (And engineering companies are of course about the only actual productive segment of society) Unions and old time feminism are responsible for taking us out of Dickens. And it was employers trashed employee loyalty, and they didn't do it it survive, they didn't do it at a time of weakness, they did it to make even more money for the CEO. Most employees would love to work for the same company for 20 years or more.

Posted by: jerry at April 27, 2008 8:27 AM

Many people think that women must be shielded from opportunity costs, but such protection is unnecessary, impossible and undesirable. Opportunity costs are the values of the courses of action you forgo to follow another. For example, if you decide to see a movie, you cannot at the same time be present in a live theater down the road. The theater is an opportunity cost.

It's a simple fact, when you are caring for a child you are necessarily not attending to commercial work. Much of modern feminism argues that the government (meaning everyone else who doesn't have children) should compensate women for opportunities lost due to child care. This is a consistent theme in defenses of alimony, defenses of asset allocations in divorce, and yes, even in charges of discrimination in the workplace. One even encounters justifications of lesser productivity from men who have children.

What's really happening is that people who value family life over a career want the benefits of commercial life without the costs. In other words, it's just the plain old desire for unearned rewards. Some of us call it theft.

Opportunity costs cannot be eliminated, anyway. They are merely shifted onto another party. This is undesirable, because it alters the true costs of a good, in this case labor. By distorting costs, the market incentives themselves become distorted. The more productive come to bear the costs for the less productive, until they quit. What's left is less and less productivity chasing less and less profit. Charges of discrimination inevitably follow.

Posted by: Jeff at April 27, 2008 11:21 AM

What's really happening is that people who value family life over a career want the benefits of commercial life without the costs. In other words, it's just the plain old desire for unearned rewards.

Exactly.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 27, 2008 11:34 AM

This leads us right back to a question, that is often avoided...

can you treat men and women equally when we are physically different? This isn't a small question, nor trivial. As a function of society, men and women don't really look at work/career the same way. When I got out of college, I expected to work 60+ years, or until I croaked. I did look with some curiosity at staying home with children, but there was no family or spouse support for that, so? :shrug:

My ex, and many women, on the other claw, have this thing that they do. They Physically produce children. It is time consuming, it is materiel consuming, and without it, the human race goes extinct. It is also inherently UNEQUAL. Instead of trying to treat it as such, we seem to have been long trying to find something equivalent, some way to act like it isn't unequal.

IMHO that IS the problem. We look at the genders in relation to each other, rather than internal to themselves. That is why you can't ask the questions, because it becomes discriminatory, to look at gender. The remdies that have been done legally to fix NEGATIVE discrimination, have been so broad ranging that they have foreclosed discussions that look at other gender issues.

Like the discussion over what's the downside to stopping your career to have kids. We simply tell girls they can have it all, when they can't. Instead of telling them there are tradeoffs to be weighed, and a decision to be made. I've had the conversation wherein I was told "but guys don't HAVE to make that decision." to which I said: 'which also means we don't have the option.' I doubt the person who I was talking to had EVER thought of it that way.

All that said the discussion for opportunity costs seems moot to me. As a species it is required of us that we procreate, therefore it trumps anything in commercial life de facto. If you think it doesn't look at the countries in the world whose growth is negative. In Japan they don't have a clue who is going to pay for the old age of their society, because they aren't reproducing, and they are also loth to allow immigration. On an individual level they have made that commercial work/life decision. For an individual it works, but over time, it is a losing bet for a society...

Which means the old world will eventually die off, to be consumed by the developing world, and the discussion will happen again and again. I don't think we are asking the right questions about gender... but that's just my opinion.

Posted by: SwissArmyD at April 27, 2008 6:57 PM

I have a couple of friends, married who are getting up there in years. She is about 47,(don't know for sure) he is about 55. I just heard yesterday that they had a baby. Evidently they have been trying to have a baby for several years now, (sometimes we just don't know when to take mother natures hints.) I can't imagine what it's like changing diapers when your 55. What in the hell were they thinking? I'll tell you because I have ask them. She wanted to have her career after college and decided that having children would just have to wait until she was ready to have them. So her parents are well off, they keep her in college long enought to get her a PHD in basket weaving. She is currently teaching at a small college. Now, the only reason she waited until now to have a baby is, (I'm assuming here), because she wanted to be in a position where she could shirk work for several months and still get paid before having a kid. It just so happened that by the time she decided that she had had enough of her life for herself before she sacrificed anything for her kid, she waited until she and her pretty damned old husband are not going to be in any position to be energetic, enthusiastic parents. How much tossing around the baseball do you think a ten year old boy is going to get with a SIXTY-FIVE year old father? I know this guy very well, he is not the kind of person who warms up to kids. He doesn't really warm up to anyone, and he's not in the best of health. These two had a kid so they could parade it around in front of their kids like a pedigree shitzu. They are all about appearences. As a matter of fact, most of their friends refer to them as the **** and **** show. I pity that kid.

On a somewhat off topic note: Congratulations to Ashley Force, the first woman to win an NHRA Drag racing title today in the Southern Nationals and the first woman to lead in the Funny Car points standings. And the guy who she beat who was looking for his milestone 1000th win....her daddy, John Force! Touching moment, I shed a tear. By the way, if she gets pregnant, she just doesn't race and doesn't get paid.

Women are getting close to achieving parity in auto racing!

Posted by: Bikerken at April 27, 2008 8:47 PM

Anyway, I've mentioned this before here, that women interested in working after they've had a kid, should look to very large office environments. Those companies by now have been lawyerized to the extent they can't/won't discriminate against women with kids, and they are big enough and profitable enough to be able to be family friendly in general, and have the resources to replace you temporarily when you have a kid.

Yup. At large, fluid companies, maternity leave can be a great way to "test out" up-and-comers in a given role. If they work out, great! They get transferred to a similar role OR they get to keep the new role while a similar role is assigned to the returning parent. If not, well, back comes the new mom from maternity leave to take over the role.

I think my opinion on the matter is heavily influenced by the fact that the bulk of my work experience was spent at a very large multinational at which many people didn't stay in a given role for years and years AND in which there were a lot of "equivalent" jobs in terms of pay, prestige, and responsibility at any given level. Someone's going out on maternity leave? Okay, here's someone else who's ready to move up. We'll test him/her out. If it works, we can transfer him/her to an equivalent role OR he/she can stay in the new role and the returning mom can get a similar job (allowable under FMLA). And most women *did* return from maternity leave, which didn't last years and years as it does in Europe/Canada, but also wasn't as short as 4-6 weeks, either. The benefits at that place were *great* - so few women were going to be in a situation where they were paying out more in child care costs than they were getting back, financially, by working - and maternity leave was long enough that people didn't feel they were abandoning helpless blobs. Now, obviously this wouldn't work with a smaller employer, which is why I'm glad FMLA doesn't apply to people such as Amy! But big employers *need* some fluidity lest they stagnate, have people ready to move on from one role to another at any given time, and need to retain people they've trained in order to make intensive training cost-effective.

What's really happening is that people who value family life over a career want the benefits of commercial life without the costs.

Here's the thing: I agree with you and with Amy that people who are willing and able to devote themselves 24/7 to their jobs should be rewarded for doing so. If you choose a 9-5 schedule and your coworker chooses an 8-8 schedule, I'd argue that, barring some truly superior and distinctive ability on your part, your coworker should move up faster through the ranks that you should. On the other hand...not everyone can be CEO or CFO. *Most* people, in fact, cannot, at least not at a large company. Trying to maintain a workforce of tens or hundreds of thousands of people who will all be devastated if they don't reach the top would be impossible. Workplaces over a certain size need some layers of people who work hard and well but who don't want to be CEO. Those people will probably end up working fewer hours than those who do. As long as they do what their position requires, they're an asset to the system, not a liability. If they're always fobbing work off on coworkers to leave early to attend their kids' soccer games and get unhappy when they don't get promoted, that's another matter.

I don't think we are asking the right questions about gender

That's kinda where I come down on the issue too...

Posted by: marion at April 27, 2008 8:51 PM

FWI. I read a study once, it was very long and very confusing and was definitely intended for someone with an actual background in economics (not me), but the long and short of it was that they crunched the numbers and even when allowing for the non-productive time of maternity leave and all that business women still get paid significantly less than men in the same job etc. I don't have a point to that.

As far as requiring individual business owners to bear the responsibilities for society's values, yes it sucked for that particular vet office and other businesses that small, but who exactly makes up society then and IS responsible for carrying out whatever supports its values?

That said, I totally agree with that cost-opportunity thing that was said. Although not having any children myself I think it would be nice if i got 4-6 weeks paid vacation....in addition to my PTO.....it would not, of course, be fair, but it would be nice....sort of how being allowed 47 smoke breaks during my shift would be nice, even though I don't smoke.....

Posted by: kt at April 27, 2008 10:24 PM

women interested in working after they've had a kid, should look to very large office environments

For what it's worth, my wife runs a small company that offers mainly part-time positions. She has found that some of the best employees are women whose children are entering school age. They are eager to get back into the work-force, but their family obligations prevent them from doing to full-time. By offering them the flexibility to work around their kids schedules, she wins lots of employee loyalty.

The anecdote above, about not getting a full week's work out of a mother of small kids: that's exactly right. But a part-time job works out well, as long as the mom is realisitic about how many hours she actually has available for the job.

Posted by: bradley13 at April 28, 2008 3:50 AM

Re studies that women earn less - take these with a large grain of salt. The most honest of these studies admit that women are concentrated in different fields than men, that women's careers suffer if they give their priorities to their families, etc, etc.

Find a study that compares apples to apples: career-oriented, childless women and men in the same career field. I have only ever seen one such - I believe it was for engineering - and they authors concluded that any difference in income was vanishingly small.

As soon as they added women back in who took a few years out for child-raising, the difference reappeared. What a non-surprise.

Posted by: bradley13 at April 28, 2008 3:57 AM

If you are going to be a reasonably decent parent, you will likely not also be the corporate go-getter who works too much, schemes too often, and throws others under the bus as necessary. You just won't have the time, interest or energy for all that. (Sorry, you really cannot have it all...)

I often wonder, though, why parents are thought to be economically shirking in some way relative to childless coworkers. After all, parents are raising children at enormous personal financial cost, both in direct outlays and opportunity costs. The rest of society, including childless coworkers, obtain the benefit of that expenditure by parents in the form of higher tax revenues (kids usually grow up to be productive citizens). In light of mandatory government retirement programs and the whole hire-nurses-to-wipe-your-bedridden-behind-as-you-lay-dying, the parents are providing the future wage earners and service providers who will eventually care for the childless workers in their dotage.

Truth be told, maybe we should consider the stiving, childess corporate drones the economic shirkers.

Posted by: Spartee at April 28, 2008 5:12 AM

As a striving, childless corporate drone, I think it is ridiculous to label me as an "economic shirker" just because I'm not having a kid. If I had six kids and was on welfare, perhaps; but businesses are not charities and are not policy arms of the government - they are profit-making enterprises. They don't "owe" society anything re: ensuring survival of the species. And companies already discriminate against childless singles via benefits packages - my salary is lower so that the company can subsidize the health care for YOUR kids. My taxes are higher so I can pay for the education of YOUR kids. My car insurance is higher because your stupid teenaged boys are out there killing themselves. And so on; it works both ways.

I make sure to mention my childlessness in job interviews, though in a tastefull and subtle way. I make sure the issue of business travel comes up, and I reassure the company that I am free and willing to travel, always adding, "Since I'm not married or tied down with kids, I'm always able to pick up and go on short notice." This allows me to inform them that I am there & willing to work and answerable only to myself and my corporate masters. The slight negative "tied down" is as far as I'm willing to go, in that situation, to convey my desire not to have children, but it's enough that someone ought to be able to pick up on it. I'm careful not to deploy that if I'm interviewing with a woman, though, because I had a friend who mentioned something similar to a female interviewer and got a righteous feminist lecture about selling out and undermining her "sisters" by underhanded means instead of continuing to suffer jobless while men got hired for every position she was interested in. Whoops.

Posted by: Jennifer at April 28, 2008 8:32 AM

"They don't "owe" society anything re: ensuring survival of the species."

...maybe the survival of the human race is only important to some people. I'll concede to that point.

But who the hell do you think is going to pay for roads, police, fire/rescue, your medical care, SS (this one is iffy, painfully enough), keep our grossly inflated government afloat to help pay off enormous debts from this "war" when you retire?

Sure, you might have retirement accounts but a lifetime of working to pay taxes just isn't enough b/c people can live another 15-25 years. It also isn't going to pay for your end of life needs. Guaranteed. Having kids ensures that there is a workforce so YOU can relax after helping subsidize those reckless drivers and kids' health care. Having kids isn't for everyone, but for fuckksakes, I'm glad SOME people are glad to do it! And not because I have some idealistic fantasy about the importance of procreating for the human race; it's pure economics.

Btw: kids are by far the cheapest to insure. A person's medical expenses are the highest during the last year of life. So, instead of complaining about funding someone else's kids, complain about keeping our elderly grandparents/parents/aunts/uncles whomever alive...or your coworker him/herself. Meet Bob: age 50, over in finance. He is far more likely to drive up insurance costs than Suzie Q.'s 7 year old.

X-ray and cast (or amoxacillin for an ear ache, etc.) vs. bypass surgery or insurance funded IVF (

"my salary is lower so that the company can subsidize the health care for YOUR kids." -> it just isn't a fraction of what you portray.

"My taxes are higher so I can pay for the education of YOUR kids."

Again - who is going to keep the country moving along when you're 80 and shitting in a bedpan? I'm 23, work out 3-5 times a week, watch what I eat, don't carry extra weight, get regular check ups...but I can't predict what my body will be like in 60 years. Nor can you. When shit hits the fan those money-grubbing young'uns who suck up your tax dollars NOW to attend one of America's finest sub-par schools will hopefully be intelligent enough to, at the very least, flip burgers and pay a little into the system LATER.

In the end even Nozik, libertarian to the Nth degree, admitted (during his later years) that some taxation for certain public services were necessary and "A GOOD THING," to steal Martha's phrase. I hate taxes and hate paying for moochers but you just can't bitch about public education...it helps YOU.

Did your parents send you to private school? How good for them and you...

Posted by: Gretchen at April 28, 2008 9:43 AM

Up here in my neck of the woods, we can't find enough skilled workers to fill the jobs. As such, companies seem to be going above and beyond what's required by the letter of the law to hire & retain quality employees.

Why do some companies compete to be in the top 100 employers, etc. if there is no economic value in being there? One of the categories that is always measured is that work/life balance thing.

As someone pointed out earlier, we have a whole generation who saw their hard-working, dedicated & loyal parents laid off in the 80's. It's not just women having kids that can leave a hole in your work force.

It should be fair game to ask anyone how big & long of a commitment they are willing to make to a company. I also don't believe anyone who wants to pursue things outside of work should expect to climb the ladder or earn the big bucks anytime soon. However, companies must be seeing value in hiring people like this or they wouldn't be offering extra programs to accommodate them.

Company's are there to make money, not for the benefit of society...why do we impose environmental laws on them which clearly decrease their profit?

Posted by: moreta at April 28, 2008 10:19 AM

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Posted by aalkon at April 27, 2008 1:13 AM

Comments

See this post from Reynolds for some thoughts on Sharpton's behavior. It's fun to think that Obama's election could mean "the end of the civil rights era" (in a *good* way).

Posted by: Crid at April 27, 2008 1:56 AM

I can just hear the Sharptons of the world complaining: "What choice does a black man have, but to be a rap star, a basketball star, a drug dealer, or...President of the United States of America?"

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 27, 2008 2:02 AM

Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, Sharpton gotta march. More than him even, I blame the media outlets who rush to his door whenever something like this happens. Like he's a legitimate spokesman for anything.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at April 27, 2008 5:34 AM

One nit to pick and one semi-sordid observation:

In the evaluation of a crime, one is not permitted to consider the past record as valid evidence of the act in question. We cannot convict for past crimes, only the one on the bill.

I wonder what kind of future this woman (Mr. Bell's former fianceé) envisioned when her groom-to-be cultivated such "friends", and apparently enjoyed such surroundings. I bet that Sean Bell wasn't at that club to celebrate her part in his life.

Posted by: Radwaste at April 27, 2008 6:21 AM

Radwaste,
If the people in the car were on trial, those restrictions would be in place. But if the officers on trial knew it, it would be admissible as it would go to their state of mind, in terms of assessing the risk attendent to the stop.

Posted by: XBradTC at April 27, 2008 8:06 AM

Just a little footnote coming from Sean Bell's Wikipedia entry over the incident:

Two of the five officers involved were black, one was white, one was Middle-Eastern, and one was of biracial black and Hispanic origin (Haitian/Mexican). The first officer to fire was black.

This leads me to think that Mr. Sharpton is not there to defend any cause but to do the hustler as usual.

On a different subject, I ask myself how this will influence Obama for his quest for the Presidency. If there's one riot with the race card pulled high, how many people will link this to Obama's bid on the white house?

Posted by: Toubrouk at April 27, 2008 10:07 AM

Amy said it. I only have one thing to add: Heather MacDonald is hot.

Posted by: Jeff at April 27, 2008 11:54 AM

As I just e-mailed Heather (about your comment): "Always nice to be appreciated for more than one's razor intellect"!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 27, 2008 12:28 PM

"But if the officers on trial knew it, it would be admissible as it would go to their state of mind, in terms of assessing the risk attendent to the stop."

I know this. In so doing, you have to show that the officer correctly identified, then maintained contact with the individual he knew to be a threat. My only point is that we cannot haul in just any thug to pay for the crimes of a particular one, no matter how nasty the thug chosen, and I think you know that, too. I'm just covering the bases, because several comments in mass media and elsewhere are phrased without making this distinction.

All please look up the name Massad Ayoob. He's covered disparity-of-force shootings before, and is widely accepted as an expert, as was the fellow called for the trial, Alexander Jason. As with the Diallo incident, once shooting starts, police cannot determine where any shots are coming from, and they can only rely on visual cues, then shooting to remove any visual threat.

Posted by: Radwaste at April 27, 2008 1:44 PM

A friend of mine sent me a cartoon recently. In the first frame, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are standing under a star, and Al is saying, "Oh wishing star, we wish for an end to racial strife and bigotry." And in the next frame is a little cloud under the wishing star with the word "Poof!" in it. o_O

Posted by: Flynne at April 28, 2008 5:31 AM

That's just brilliant, Flynne.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 28, 2008 6:04 AM

So, they want to "shoot the police" but then, when they are victims of crime, they march and shout "where are the police? They don't care about us!"

What excatly is it that they want? Besides lots of money for nothing........

Posted by: farrar at April 28, 2008 10:29 AM

I live next door to a guy who jokingly refers to himself as "the black Doris Kravitz," because when there's trouble in the neighborhood (drug users living in the bushes, etc.), he does something about it. Used to be just me, but now I've got help.

Anyway, as far as I know, when he's called the cops, they have NEVER asked him what color his skin is as a condition of responding to his complaint.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 28, 2008 11:02 AM

Maybe more people would start taking Al Sharpton seriously if he didn't play the Politically Correct game of only protesting against easy targets. Why is it that Al Sharpton is perfectly OK with having famous and successful black men like Chuck Berry and Jack Johnson thrown in jail for violating the Mann Act, when evidence beyond a doubt proving rich white boy like Eliot Spitzer guilty of the same crime is ignored? Is Sharpton not aware that the Spitzer family has a decades long tradition of being members of the racially biased Harmonie Club on Manhattan's Upper West Side? Why is Al Sharpton pulling his punches against Eliot Spitzer, the corrupt New York official who put more young black men in New York State prisons using Rockefeller's drug laws in the last year than have died in Iraq, Afghanistan, and gang shootings over the last decade. Hey Al, why not call for a Special Prosecutor to examine Eliot Spitzer's decades long business with the prostitution wings of a few Organized Crime families? Only a special prosecutor would be able to uncover the links between the $500 Million dollar Spitzer family fortune and the organized crime complaints which Eliot Spitzer suppressed when he was NY Attorney General.

Posted by: NoJusticeNoPeace at April 28, 2008 8:44 PM

njnp - I suspect your post is rhetorical, but I'll answer it for you very simply.

There's nobody for Al to shake down in the Spitzer case.

Posted by: brian at April 29, 2008 4:45 AM

While I haven't followed this case closely and am ignorant of many of the facts of this acquittal. But I would like to know what punishments these officers will face. Perhaps their actions weren't criminal, but at what point does riddling a man with 50 bullets not become excessive? One officer fired 31 of the bullets by himself. Perhaps the community's lust for blood could be satisfied if they felt that the punishment phase for these officers didn't end in criminal court.

Posted by: Deion at April 29, 2008 3:22 PM

Hi Brian, I see your point. But I thought the Rev. Jesse Jackson did more in the way of "settlements" with corporate America, and that Al Sharpton made noise primarily for the camera and air time. Either way, both Jackson and Sharpton seem so hypocritical when they fail to attack the elite power-brokers, such as the Spitzer clan, in the same way they attack Corporations and the Police. If I were in their shoes I couldn't help but realize that the amount of press that would be gained, and the affect on influencing society, would be greatest by being at the front of the parade demanding equal jail time for Eliot Spitzer for the same crime which put Jack Johnson and Chuck Berry behind bars. The issue is not that Spitzer put more young black men behind bars under the Rockefeller drug laws than anyone else. The issue is that the same laws used against people of color like rapper Li'l Kim,baseball player Barry Bonds, and Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick should be used against corrupt white people in law enforcement. When corrupt prosecutors are removed and incarcerated, we'll have a fairer and more honest society. If we allow racist corruption to control our Attorney General's office and our Department Of Justice, it is only a matter of time before the rage boils over in the face of all officials and citizens. Some of this is just sooo simple, I don't get how others don't see it. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". Protecting corruption by public officials only prolongs and worsens the inevitable. Sorry for the rant, and thanks for reading.

Posted by: NoJusticeNoPeace at April 30, 2008 11:13 PM

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Posted by aalkon at April 26, 2008 6:24 AM

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A distinction has to be drawn between the two different kinds of cases being conflated into one here:

1) Store labels or advertises a product at $5, but dispenser, cash register, cashier error leads to charge of $3.50. In this case the customer knows what the cost of the product is, and is not paying the full cost.

2) Store advertises or labels a product at $5 when they meant to label it $15. Tough luck, store. That is what you said it costs, so that is what it costs. Take responsibility, suck it up, and don't let it happen again.

Posted by: Lisa at April 26, 2008 7:42 AM

So...you'd also like to be treated according to the "tough luck/suck it up" principle?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 26, 2008 7:46 AM

To clarify, I generally do not complain that a business is "taking advantage" of me if the business's behavior is within the limits of our business-customer agreement. This agreement can be explicit, like a cellular provider contract, or implicit, like at a department store (I will not steal or break things and will pay the label price for each item minus coupons & discounts). It is not the business's job to look out for my best interest in the setting of terms of such agreements (except perhaps insofar as they want to please a customer), and it is not my job to look out for their best interest. If they accidentally agree (via an advertising mistake) to terms that are unprofitable to them, tough shit and not my problem or fault. I am not "taking advantage" of them by seeing that agreement as a good deal for me and signing up for it. Likewise, if I am careless and agree to something unfavorable to me, not their problem or fault.

The reason my case #1 is different, is that I violate the terms of the implicit agreement by not paying the full specified price.

Posted by: Lisa at April 26, 2008 7:52 AM

I was typing my comment as you were putting up yours so did not see your question.

Would I like for a business to treat me "according to the "tough luck/suck it up" principle"? No, I suppose I would not "like" it since I do not like unprofitable transactions, but I would not accuse them of "taking advantage" or being unfair, and I would pay up. Afterward, I might choose to switch to a business that will cut me more slack (which is my prerogative as a customer). Many businesses choose not to "enforce" collection on every customer mistake precisely because they want to keep that customer more than they want that $5 late fee or whatever. That is their prerogative as a business.

Posted by: Lisa at April 26, 2008 7:59 AM

Similar thing happened to me not too long ago. I pulled up to the pump, got out of the car and started pumping gas. (At this particular station, I could pump gas in my sleep, as I am a frequent customer here.) The sign said $3.49/gal. I was a little miffed, but okay, I needed the gas. Done pumping, looked at the pump itself where the price is, it said $3.39. So I checked my receipt (I have a credit card with this particular gas company) and sure enough, it charged me the lesser price. I went in and told the clerk. He came outside with me to look at the pump, noticed I put it on my card, and thanked me for telling him. He said something along the lines of since I put it on my card, he wouldn't charge me the 10 cents per gallon, because the company makes money off the interest they charge me for using the card. But he did appreciate that I told him about the pump.

Posted by: Flynne at April 26, 2008 8:27 AM

Last year I bought a television. Within thirty days, the store advertised a lower price. While collecting on the price-match guarantee, the store refunded more than I was supposed to get. I immediately brought it to their attention, but they refused to believe me. I explained it several times, pointing to the television in the ad, but they refused to believe me because the register produced a different price. I don't know why they wouldn't believe me. I finally stopped caring and left with my extra, undeserved refund.

Posted by: Tony at April 26, 2008 9:36 AM

Its one thing for a business to make a buck, its quite another for it to "take" a buck, i.e. with deceptive practices like not programing their sale prices into the register, or giving incorrect change.

By that same token it is well and good to save a buck buying on the cheap, it is quite another to take a buck back by not correcting an error giving back to much change.

We ought to remember that even if you THINK you're just ripping off "the corporate machine" the fact of the matter is you're not. Those costs get passed on to everyone in the form of higher prices.

Or, to the cashier making minimum wage, when the till comes up short, she may have to pull extra hours at cost to her or have the difference docked from her pay. You may think its the store that comes up short, but it may be a toy from her child's hands, or food from her mouth instead.

Its not that hard to live an honorable life most of the time, and the choice to be honest even at our own expense, is an easy one. We just have to ask which choice, if made by our children, would make US feel pride as parents, and then act accordingly.

Amazing how many answers can come from that question.

Posted by: Robert at April 26, 2008 9:42 AM

Believe it or not, the price tag does not tell you the price-it is a "solicitation of an offer to pay." Basically, the store is asking you to make them an offer to buy it; they are not making an offer to sell. This is to protect the store. So, if the store has a $500.00 suit marked for $5.00, do not expect to get it for $5.00. The store can correct its mistakes. However, the store does not have to. I was buying something at Best Buy and they left a promotional sticker up after expiration (unbeknownst to me); the regular price popped up at the register; I objected; we checked the sign; saw that the sale price was expired; and they gave it to me for that price anyway (even though they were not required to).

Americans do not really understand this principle-unless we are in Mexico, bartering for over-priced wool blankets (or buying a car, when we know we are getting hosed anyway). Usually, we just look at the price and agree to pay. Lord knows the cashier at Wal-Mart is not going to be in any position to negotiate price, much less be versed in the finer points of consumer law. (Not a dig at Wal-Mart cashiers, by the way.)

As for the gas, though, that does not fit in this scenario. With self-serve, pay at the pump, a mistake at the pump is different. If you do not notice you are paying too little, I do not believe that is stealing; these days, I usually just pick the octane, start the pump and close my eyes-because it is going to cost too much anyway. Unless there was a huge disparity (say $2.00 per gallon), I would not notice. With this convenience, the company is responsible for making sure the price on the pump is accurate.

Posted by: Tim at April 26, 2008 11:18 AM

It's funny, how situational it is. If I feel like I've been treated fairly, there's no way I'd try to cheat in any way. If I feel I've been treated unfairly, then I may feel differently.

We're in the midst of a real, live example: we are replacing the windows in our house. The builder pointed out that a number of our existing windows are cracked. They've been that way for decades - longer than we've owned the house. A little crack in a corner, or a chip from a rock. He suggested that we report these to our insurance before they are replaced - he gets paid for "fixing" them and deducts it from our bill.

Our insurance company has always treated us very well - paying valid claims promptly and with no fuss. I can't imagine cheating them in this way.

On the other hand, there is a local government program (paid by a special tax) that is supposed to help homeowners do exactly this sort of energy-saving renovation. The program is there, and the money is collecting in piles because the rules are interpreted by bloody-minded bureaucrats. We've been going back and forth with them for 18 months. Even though they admit that our renovation is exactly what they are set up for, we still haven't got official approval.

If shading the truth would get them off dead-center, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

So - even as a painfully honest type, there are situations where I see "cheating" as acceptable.

Posted by: bradley13 at April 26, 2008 11:23 AM

I see stories like this one from the pump and my heart fills with joy and song and pretty flowers and soars with the eagles at the prospect of human kindness and good will toward each other. Then I see stuff like this...

"A Kirksville man faces a felony indictment after trying to purchase a LCD television for less than $3 by allegedly replacing its UPC code with that of a water bottle."

...and I wake up from my reverie, shake off the sappy stupor of fantasy-based sociology, realize there are plenty of rat bastards in the world, go pour myself another cup of extra strong coffee and scheme of legal ways to help the stupid people happily and willingly transfer their money to my account.

Posted by: GPE at April 26, 2008 12:03 PM

I am going to have to disagree here, to a certain extent.

I pay close attention to what I am charged for things. I expect the price I am paying to reflect the advertised price. Having discovered that I payed more than was advertised for something in the past, I am careful these days. I expect the places I do business to do the same. If they put up a price that is lower than they intended, I expect to get that price for the item in question. I also habitually inform places I do business if I see prices on something that are obviously lower than they should be.

The problem I have with just sucking it in and paying the actual price rather than the advertised price, is that there are stores that purposely post a price lower than the advertised price. They depend on people not paying close enough attention. I realize that this also happens due to mistakes, but it doesn't change the fact that people make the decision to buy something based on the advertised price.

Two examples. The first happened a few months ago at our corner seven eleven. I went to get then pregnant momma some icecream, they had ben and jerry's with a tag that said $3.50, reflecting the same price advertised on the door to the cooler. I took some to the counter and when it was rung up it came to $4.29. I explained the situation and the clerk apologized but said he had to charge me the $4.29. I was a bit annoyed but momma wanted the icecream and nearly nine months pregnant momma got most everything she wanted. I did make an issue out of it though. When I went in a couple days later, I noticed that the $3.50 was still on the cooler and tagged on the shelf. So I mentioned it to the guy manning the register at that point, one of the brothers who own that particular store. He apologized and said he would take care of it. Two weeks later I went in and they still hadn't changed the tag. I finally called seven eleven's complaints hotline before it finally was addressed.

Conversely, I went to buy cat litter a few weeks ago at petsmart. I always go for the cheapest option and did so that day. The cheapest happened to be one that is normally one of the "premium" litters, I initially assumed it was a mistake. But upon reading the tag, it gave the low price and indicated it was for that litter. So I snatched up three bags, assuming that they must be clearing that particular kind of litter. When I got to the counter it rang up at the actual price for the item, so I explained that the tag had given a much lower price for it and that I had assumed they were just discontinuing it. She apologized and pulled the tag off the shelf and scanned it for me, then threw it in the trash.

The first was an example of store owners deliberately trying to rip off customers. When I talked to the women from seven eleven's hotline, she said that this was all too common of a problem. She thanked me for informing them of the problem and even sent me a ten dollar certificate for their stores. The second was likely a case of a store employee scamming petsmart. It's doubtful it was an accident, because the prices are in the computer and the tag should reflect that unless someone deliberately changes it.

Most people make their purchasing decisions based (at least partly) on the price a product is advertised at. Honestly, if a person doesn't pay enough attention, I don't hold the store responsible for noticing the mistake. Likewise, if the store makes a mistake in favor of the customer, I don't expect the customer to be responsible for noticing the mistake.

In the case of the gas price being so low, I don't expect the consumer to be responsible for correcting the station's error. If I notice, which I usually do, I would be happy to inform them of the issue. But it really isn't my problem when a store hires employees who don't notice they're ringing up gas at half price. Employee mistakes or management mistakes are a part of the cost of doing business.

When I was working for the roofing company, I occasionally made mistakes that cost my company money. On one occasion, it was a nearly six thousand dollar mistake - my bad. Boss didn't even flinch when I brought it to his attention. In his mind, even that mistake was quite minor. One of his own mistakes came at a cost of nearly seventy thousand dollars, putting the wrong shingles on a church roof, due to a purchasing/allocation mistake when he ordered the shingles for that job, as well as three others. He didn't really sweat that one too much, as he covers himself by adding funds into every bid to help defray such losses. Why? Because fuck-ups are a part of the cost of doing business.

Heres the rub. My boss hasn't had that kind of profit loss in years. He did a major reorganization with the help of a CPA and then computerized everything which just made it that much tighter. His average annual losses dropped by more than seventy percent in ten years. OTOH, his cover my ass fund has not been lowered, because while he runs a tighter ship now, the industry standard has gone up rather than down. He stayed the same, because he definitely didn't need to go up, but he didn't feel particularly compelled to lower them.

Posted by: DuWayne at April 26, 2008 1:12 PM

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Posted by aalkon at April 25, 2008 11:13 AM

Comments

"Come on, when you hear "deadbeat" in relation to parenting, what's the next word that comes to mind?" Sink hole for my tax money! Someones free ride.

But yeah I see your point, since women are usually awarded custody men usually get hit with support payments.

"The Census Bureau last month also released numbers showing fathers paid an average of $3,000 to custodial moms in 1997." Every time I see this figure my first response is: Don't you mean 3,000 per month? What the hell is 250 per month going to do with regards to child care? That will barely even cover food for the kid. I though guy's really got hosed on child support but that figure irks me. If that's all the custodial parent is getting them I'm (we are) still paying for the kid.

Posted by: vlad at April 25, 2008 7:19 AM

Vlad whines - "What the hell is 250 per month going to do with regards to child care? That will barely even cover food for the kid."

Well, Vlad, the non-custodial (child support paying) parent is only responsible for half of the costs of child rearing.

Now, $250/mo may be insufficient to cover 1/2 the costs, but, (and, you probably missed this) that data was from 1997 (why the hell is the Census Bureau releasing data that's a decade out of date?).

And, if you don't mind my asking, why do you beleive that $36,000/year would be a reasonable amount to expaect the average non-custodial parent to pay? Did you think that out at all?

Posted by: use-your-head at April 25, 2008 7:33 AM

Whenever I hear about deadbeat dads/moms, it gives me reason to say more nice things about my wife, and other women who are truly independent.

She didn't want a dime from Crystal's father, but still allowed him to see Crystal regularly and be a father to her (it never went to court, they decided it amongst themselves like rational adults). She worked hard and took care of her kid without taking any "freebies" from the government.

To me, that's what a "feminist" should be like. Someone who doesn't demonize men and scream "victim" every time there's someone scantily clad in a commercial, but is independent and is able to show she's doing quite well enough on her own thank-you-very-much.

Posted by: Jamie at April 25, 2008 7:40 AM

Heh. Try making do with $69/weekly that I get for my 2 kids! Ex is more than happy to let someone else pay for his kids; heaven forbid he should have to make an effort! Still, I'm glad I'm the one who actually has a job and not getting hand-outs from my parents - wait until I hit Ex up for all the health insurance he's supposed to have been paying for. His mommy and daddy won't be happy to have to pay it. It still won't be enough to pay for even one semester of college, but it just might get the point across to him that I'm seriously pissed off at him for abdicating his responsibilities to his daughters. He's the poster boy for Peter Pan Syndrome!

Posted by: Flynne at April 25, 2008 7:42 AM

which is all goddamn hilarious when you consider the new Fox Reality(TM) Show coming soon to your living room!

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,352502,00.html

Brilliant, dont' you think?
/sarcasm and frustration

Posted by: j.d. at April 25, 2008 7:55 AM

Swell. What a show. They should at the very least be targeting both dads and moms.

Posted by: Flynne at April 25, 2008 8:01 AM

my SO has two boys from a previous marriage, and they live with us thurs-sun every week, plus they stay with us multiple weeks a year. not only do we furnish our house with clothes, toys and food for the boys when they're with us, he must pay her almost $600/mo plus 1/2 medical bills (and he still has to pay her when they stay the week with us!). the kicker is that she (and her fiance) make more than double what we do, and she laughs about how she doesn't need the CS. the boys come to us every week in old crappy ripped clothes. its so ridiculous! we hear about deadbeat dads all the time, what about the multitudes who get screwed over by the courts?

Posted by: amber at April 25, 2008 8:02 AM

... the non-custodial (child support paying) parent is only responsible for half of the costs of child rearing.

Not necessarily true. I know that Ohio law* simply adds the income for both parents and requires support from the non-custodial parent equal to his (or her, but usually his) percentage of the combined income. If the non-custodial parent earns $67k and the custodial parent earns $33k, the former pays 67% of the child support based on estimated costs to raise the child.

I don't think that's fair because it's supposed to be a 50/50 division of responsibility. But the law is geared to focus solely on the child before any sort of equity comes into play. (Sorta like men who are not biologically the father being forced to pay after DNA tests reveal the truth.)

Nor does Ohio, at least, care about cost of living. If the non-custodial parent's $67k is earned in NYC and the custodial parent's $33k is earned in a small, rural town, too bad. The breakdown is still 67/33.

* Technically, this was the law several years ago when I tangentially encountered it. I assume it still is.

Posted by: Tony at April 25, 2008 8:04 AM

Except for the 6 months where there were lawyers involved, I haven't taken a penny of child support. It simply wasn't worth it to have my son come home from his weekends with his dad saying they couldn't go to a movie because I took all his dad's money. I'd suggest that was a bitter exageration as he made $4,000/month and we'd privately set $250/month as the number, (which I just put into our son's own bank account) ignorning the ridiculous $800/month ordered by the court. (My salary was always the main, sometimes only, one.)

We can get by on our own and our failed marriage was a two way mistake. Getting vindictive about how he owes his son just seems a waste of my energy. I haven't mentioned $$ once in 7 years of divorce which makes it easier for the ex to quietly put away money on his own for our son, have a small wardrobe so our son doesn't have to carry overnight bags to and from school, get him his own set of toys, and even take him to movies and on vacation...all without having to ADMIT he really can afford it.

Posted by: moreta at April 25, 2008 8:19 AM

Dang, moreta, at least your son's father does that much! My Ex has never even bought the girls so much as a pencil to go back to school with. They don't do overnights at his place, because it's a one-bedroom apartment that his parents bought for him, and DCF says the girls have to have their own bedroom. *sigh* He's content to live that way, because it absolves him of any real responsibility for them. Oh well. In the end, the girls will know who really provided for them.

Posted by: Flynne at April 25, 2008 8:25 AM

Yeah, its nice he came around. But it wasn't something I was counting on or demanding (either from him or in my head). As long as our son is physically safe, I don't give a thought to what the ex is or isn't doing. It's not my business anymore.

Your situation sounds tough, Flynne. Your girls will figure things out for themselves when they are older and thank you. I just hope you're not hurting yourself by continuing to villanize your ex. You may be an oscar-winning actress in front of your girls, but if it comes through in your dealings with him (how you talk to him & his parents, having the DCF involved all the time), he has little choice but to take up the defensive position and keep behaving like an ass. He'll self-justify his position to the point where he can't make any concession because it equates to admitting you're right and he's wrong. It's not something most of us are good at, and as you describe him, recognizing he may not be perfect doesn't sound like one of his virtues! I can relate to some of what you've said: my ex was given money as a teen, dropped out of school and lived off the inheritance until it ran out, then lived off me until I finally found him a job...and then he actually started to progress in his career, but was quick to quit in anger. We smoked lots of pot and he was verbally and occassionally physically abusive. But who was the dumb ass who dated, stayed with, married and pro-created with him? Not exactly a great candidate for a "good" divorce, and he still came around on his own. I think partly because he never had to admit to me (or maybe even to himself) that he might have screwed up. He could just believe his situation changed so he could now behave differently. But you're there and I'm not...just a thought from way, way, way afar!

Posted by: moreta at April 25, 2008 8:54 AM

I appreciate your comments, moreta, and I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to the Ex, but I'm afraid he'll never "come around" to the realization that he needs to step up. I try to be at least neutral in front of him, and I have never disparaged his parents within or without of earshot of the girls, but their enabling of him does nothing to instill any sense of responsibility in him. The only time DCF was involved was when the mother of his first child went to them for money, and that was when his parents stepped in and put everything in their name, so that she couldn't take it from him. She wanted to put him in jail! She gets $100/week from him for one kid, and I get less than that for 2. It's not fair, but she's a leech and I'm not, so at least I've got that going for me. And he isn't allowed to have any contact at all with the other child, which I don't think is fair to him, but I personally think they're both better off.

Posted by: Flynne at April 25, 2008 9:13 AM

I've been on both sides. I was the custodial parent of my son for 11 years. During that time, the only child support I received was when the state garnished his dads tax refund. When he took over as the primary parent he was so far behind in support I didn't have to pay for almost 2 years. Now that I actually owe support, it is paid in full by the 1st of every month, without fail. It's the first thing I pay. I have absolutely no objection to paying it and frankly feel I'm getting off easy based on Oregon's calculations and have agreed to pay almost $100 a month MORE than the state says I should. While my son's dad makes more than double what I do in a month, he's the one paying the full time electric bills, buying the day to day necessities etc. I still buy things for him on top of the support and have never objected and never will, he's my son, I'm responsible for him. I've never taken a dime in welfare, even when I wasn't receiving child support!

Posted by: Kimmers at April 25, 2008 9:21 AM

Kimmers, you are awesome, and that's so commendable for you to be doing all you do, but obviously you have the right attitude about your responsibilities.

While my son's dad makes more than double what I do in a month, he's the one paying the full time electric bills, buying the day to day necessities etc.

See, that's one of many things that I think just don't register with the ex. He just doesn't get it. Even when we were married, I was the one who paid all the bills, and earned more money. I'm really well rid of him, but I know the girls love him, so I can't justify severing their relationship just because he's a twit.

Posted by: Flynne at April 25, 2008 9:29 AM

"But men also still pay much more in child support. The Census Bureau last month also released numbers showing fathers paid an average of $3,000 to custodial moms in 1997. Women paid little over half that."

This is b/c it is based on what you earn.

In my case, my ex is self-employed. Hence he makes more than what shows up on paper. According to the state regulated calculations he would only have to pay me less than a quarter of the actual tangible costs (i.e. health insurance, child care, etc.)

Moreta - ignorning the ridiculous $800/month ordered by the court.

What part of the country do you live in (seriously) b/c that is less than what I pay in childcare for my infant in a month.

Posted by: dena at April 25, 2008 11:21 AM

dena -- I'm in Calgary, Canada. That number was from 2001 when that was rent on a two bedroom apartment in this city. I was paying about $400/month in childcare at a downtown facility that provided lunch & snacks. My ex was making about $4000/month, but you need to take off about 40% of that in income tax/CPP/EI, etc.

I say it was ridiculous because we didn't need that money to maintain a decent standard of living and my ex giving it up would mean a definite decrease in his standard of living.

While it would be easier for me to just say my ex was an ass and he deserves whatever happens to him (and after him tossing me down the stairs and then trying to run me down in his truck after we'd seperated, I coulda raked him over the coals), it was me who chose and stuck with him. We were equally to blame for being in a failed marriage with a kid so we should both suffer the same financial (and otherwise) consequences of breaking up the marriage.

Posted by: moreta at April 25, 2008 1:25 PM

Ex is more than happy to let someone else pay for his kids; heaven forbid he should have to make an effort!

What about all of the deadbeat mom's who decide to unilaterally abdicate their parental responsibilities via adoption or abandonment?

Where does everyone think that the stipend given to the adoptive parents by the government comes from? Money doesn't grow on trees people.

That's with out even taking into account all of the dead beat mothers what would rather murder their children via abortion [estimated to be roughly 35% of the population], then; be bothered to walk around pregnent for 9 months before dropping them off in front of a fire station.

"It still won't be enough to pay for even one semester of college, but it just might get the point across to him that I'm seriously pissed off at him for abdicating his responsibilities to his daughters"


You mean like the thousands of women who abdicate their responsibilities legally every year though abortion, adoption, or abandonment? Men shouldn't have to pay child support anyway. We don't have any reproductive rights so we shouldn't have any reproductive responsibilities.

The main problem with entitlement princesses is that they want to be able to demand guys 'man up' and 'take care of their responsibilities'. And then want to define exactly what their responsibilities are. Their responsibities usually includes sending the mother gobs of money, which they aren't accountable for, that get's spent on shoes and handbags.

The very fact that you admit that the amount of money you're harrassing your ex for is trivial shows that your whole goal isn't to better your childrens lives. But abusing the governments monopoly on just violence to beat up on your ex, both emotionally and financially.

Posted by: Mike Hunter at April 25, 2008 1:35 PM

Okay, Mike, I must be half asleep (it IS a Friday afternoon) because you're not making any sense to me at all.

It seems like you believe the child-bearing responsibility all belongs in the hands of the female, to avoid entrapment (the "princess" reference you're making) or whatever. Okay, so, then, why are you apparently hyper critical of the choice of abortion? If a woman has an abortion, the guy has nothing to be worried about being pushed into.

"We don't have any reproductive rights so we shouldn't have any reproductive responsibilities." You're wrong about not having reproductive rights. There have been several cases in Texas, Houston, particularly, where I'm from, where teenage guys have successfully fought to keep their teenage girlfriends from having abortions - and they've won. In this case, I think the girl should be absolved from all responsibility, since she didn't want the child. In a reversed situation, yes, I believe the same is true for the father. And if you want citations of the cases, let me know, I will look them up.

But why the hell do you have to worry about any of this if you just put on a damned condom?

For the record - I only know her from her comments in this blog, but Flynne is pretty much the last person in the world you can possibly accuse of having some sort of princess or entitlement complex. She and her ex made the decision - they collectively PLANNED - to have children, and therefore it is a JOINT responsibility.

Seriously, am I missing some satire in your response? I am completely exhausted, it's been a very long week, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if my intuition is not up to par.

Posted by: Jessica at April 25, 2008 2:02 PM

Mike...take it easy bud. You're not in feminazi country here so don't have to come in guns blazing. I believe men should have the option to opt out as soon as pregnancy occurs. If they are married and don't want kids, its divorce time. If they are single, they sign something saying, nope...don't want it, not paying and also hit the road. Then the momma gets to make the decision about where to go from there, knowing she doesn't have support (financial or otherwise -- no support=no playing daddy) from the dad or any of us. I know, I'm dreaming, but that's how I see a personal responsibility world working.

However, if the dad is part of the decision to have the kid, which is demonstrated by staying in the relationship when kids come around and acting as daddy, he should continue to be responsible for his share of support if the relationship breaks down. And I don't care who's "fault" it is. I think I've made clear that I believe it takes two to create and break a relationship.

Posted by: moreta at April 25, 2008 2:03 PM

Amy! Shsssssh! This is SUPPOSED to be feminists' little secret! Yep, the worst "dead-beat dads" are moms -- and this has been true for a while. Why doesn't this get any MSM attention? Hmmmm.

BTW, studies show that the vast majority of those men who don't pay aren't "dead-beat." They're dead-broke. Often, they never had any chance to pay what was assessed due to that lovely concept of "imputed income" combined with retroactive orders and penalties and interest. How would you like to have to pay taxes on the basis of what someone at the IRS determines you COULD have made?

Anyway, good job in pointing out this double-standard.

Posted by: Jay R at April 25, 2008 2:54 PM

yeah, Jay R. this is something to illuminate...

there is sometimes a whole lot of ground between what you can ACTUALLY pay, and what you have been ORDERED to pay. The rub, is that it is difficult to find out who is broke, and who is lying. From the standpoint of an ex, it's tough because that ex is no longer transparent. Also, it is a dmanable thing to always have to wonder: "OK, so ex just bought *fill in the blank* how can they afford that?" But it's also hard not to.

I usually enocourage my ex, to use a fweakin' calculator, because then she will know why I don't have $6K for #1son's braces. I don't live in a rundown 1960's apartment because I like the rats. I live there because I have been ordered to pay 58% of my takehome salary to her for alimony and child support. Which I will pay without fail so that I will always be able to look my kids in the eye.

For those who think that parents pay halfsies on the children, in most states it is based on percentages of salary, but the math varies state to state. The big however there, is that it is very difficult to force the custodial parent [the one the kids live with] to get a job IF they don't want to. It is also VERY difficult to get the court to make the other parent the custodian, if they DO have the ability to pay. You'd think that would make sense, right? Put the kids in the house of the parent that can pay for them? Allow the parent who needs to get on their feet the ability to do that, go to school and whatever, without having to worry about housing the kids? You'd be wrong about that. Unless you can prove the mother unfit, and sometimes even if you can, she will get the kids. My lawyer told me it wasn't worth fighting for, and I would lose, potentially damaging my kids in the court process.

Obviously we all know some people, and are people ourselves who do not game the system. We also may know people who do. IF you have an advanced engineering degree, why would you settle for a minimum wage job answering phones? People get away with that, ESPECIALLY if the other parent is too broke to take them to court and try and make them pay. However! Yeah? There are circumstaces and situations where you can't make more money than you are, and it doesn't really matter if some court thinks you can. From there it's pretty easy to become a deadbeat.

So there you have it. The laws and cultural notions primarilly affect the person who cares, the person who is conscentious, the person who tries. I have friends of both genders who have been forced to pay for their former spouses failure to step up and try, and for the abandoners, for the manipulators, and those who become deadweight to punish.

You wonder to yourself how they can look themselves in the eye, but that is QED. Because they DON'T care. Because they don't put their own children first. Because they feel so wronged they feel righteous in punishment.

feh, the whole thing is so jacked up, I just shrug in resignation. Eventually my kids will grow up, and then they will figure out who has been doing what, and why. I take a small amount of comfort that when the ex runs out of childsupoort when the youngest is 18?
She'll be 50 with no career behind her. I wonder who she will leach off then?

Posted by: SwissArmyD at April 25, 2008 4:11 PM

When my ex had the kids, she was given everything we had, everything the kids had, allowed to take a vehicle leased in my name, and then took things that belonged to me that she wasn't supposed to take. It was minimized because "she has the kids".

With the exception of $2400 in utility debt that she ran up, I was stuck with 100% responsibility for in excess of $40,000 of debt (that she ran up). All of my savings, etc. was spent on the divorce. Awwww. Too bad.

She defaulted on, and wrecked the vehicle (with no insurance), which caused the leasing company to come after me for the whole cost of the vehicle. Defaulted on utility debt she was ordered to pay. No consequence.

During this time, I was ordered to pay $800 a month in support, 100% of their health insurance (no matter what it cost), and 50% of their medical bills. Dispite not working a job, she'd never go during the week, so there was always an after hours fee, and she'd never elect a generic. Frequent trips to the emergency room for things that should have gone to an after hours care, and since she never paid the provider, I'd catch hell for HER not paying HER half in court.

When I was awarded custody, she still didn't have a job, and was given a 'temporary' order of $140 a month. No obligation for insurance. While having an arrears for a year, she sued me again. A year later, still in court, and she's still never paid it. She's ordered to pay less than what someone earning minimum wage would pay, which would be about $250 a month. This state has a table based on the number of children, and maxes out at 6k a month.

My day care expense is nearly $1200 a month. There's no way to garnish her wages, since she doesn't work a 'real' job, she lives off of sugar daddy's and church groups.

The state AG's office is useless. The guy will beat his chest on tv about going after dead beat dad's, but when it comes to women, meh. They'll send her a stern letter.

We struggle, while she's doing pretty well. She still 'wonders' why I don't like her, and won't speak to her.

Posted by: Offended_Dad at April 25, 2008 9:38 PM

Mike, just so you know, when the ex and I got divorced, we were both working, but I made more money than he did, which is why I was "awarded" only $69/weekly for 2 kids. It was also a part of the divorce agreement that he was to keep the girls on his medical insurance 100% of the time. Which he did not do. We've been divorced for 10 years now, and he STILL has not paid one dime more than $69/weekly. Never bought them ANYthing else, clothing, shoes, NOTHING, never took them on a vacation anywhere, and he does NOTHING to change that. He hasn't worked a steady job in almost 9 years; his parents bought him a car, and a condo, and give him an allowance, out of which he pays the child support. I on the other hand, have always worked, have always kept the girls insured and have always paid all of their expenses. Yeah, I'm quite the princess. Bite me, asshole.

Posted by: Flynne at April 26, 2008 8:42 AM

Thanks for stepping up for me, Jessica, I appreciate that.

The very fact that you admit that the amount of money you're harrassing your ex for is trivial shows that your whole goal isn't to better your childrens lives. But abusing the governments monopoly on just violence to beat up on your ex, both emotionally and financially.

Mike you have got to be kidding me, $8+ thousand is a trivial amount?? Must be nice to have so much money that you can say that, but 8 grand to me is a least a start on their college fund. While my goal is to better my children's lives, it is my ex's goal to get away with paying the least amount of money he can to take care of them. But yet he expects to have all the perks, and takes all the credit for how well they are doing, without mentioning anything about who really does all the work to see it through. And who would that be? Oh yeah, me.

Posted by: Flynne at April 26, 2008 8:56 AM

You know its conversations like this that make me wish I had taken a differnt path in life.

Joined the navy, the sub service, worked my way up to captin. Oh the problems I could have solved with access to my own nukes

(sigh) what might have been.

Oh well, with any luck we should have a major pandemic within a few years. Nothing like death on a massive scale to refocus everyone priorites

Posted by: lujlp at April 26, 2008 11:04 AM

It just occured to me that most children probably didnt grow up with meglomaniacal dreams of global domination.

Posted by: lujlp at April 26, 2008 11:35 AM

When my ex and I divorced, I told her she could have anything she wanted from our personal assets and furnishings, but I would bankrupt us both if she sued for full custody of our three children.

It was my only demand, and after we talked it over, she agreed to a no contest divorce that was handled not by lawyers, but by a counseling service who drew up an outline of our divorce decree and filed it in the courts.

My ex and I both have different strengths, which our children have come to recognize and lean on, but the most important thing to me is that they all realize that both parents want to be with them, and love them equally.

I'm finding that what I had assumed was becoming more and more commone (my ex's and my divorce) is actually not as common as I thought. Which is a pity.

Posted by: kstills at April 26, 2008 11:59 AM

Wonder what the opposite of a deadbeat dad is?

First marriage ended in divorce. Made every child support payment on time until first son hit 18 (his mother died the week before, and left a large life insurance policy to him).

Remarried, wound up not only the sole support of our two kids, but the sole support of her two by her previous marriage. Father never paid a dime, and she refused to pester the poor fellow. She herself is an artist, i.e., generally unemployed. So I supported his kids for ... 14 years, and still contribute toward their tuition, etc..

Posted by: Dave at April 26, 2008 12:07 PM

I'm a government lawyer working full time on child support enforcement issues and I'm up to my eyeballs in the problems discussed here. I'd like to make just one observation: there is a definite bias in favor of awarding custody to mothers. I'm not talking about a bias in the courts in contested custody hearings, which may or may not exist. I'm just saying that, for whatever reason, either by mutual agreement or default, custody normally goes to the mother. When fathers get custody it is often because something has gone horribly wrong in mom's life such that she has abandoned the children. A high percentage of support orders I see awarding support to custodial fathers are modifications of orders which originally granted custody to the mother who has later failed spectacularly to perform the parenting function. These are, indeed, some of the toughest collection problems and, if you think about it, it is hardly surprising that a mom who is so inadequate a parent as to lose custody of her children in this legal environment is also going to be financially irresponsible as well.

Posted by: That Guy at April 26, 2008 12:16 PM

Every time I read comments like these, I am hard pressed to see any reason to get married. There are enormous financial risks in exchange for a few tax breaks and somewhat cheaper insurance. A lot like skydiving without a parachute - a short thrill with a nasty end.

Posted by: mrquick at April 26, 2008 12:19 PM

There are many issues in divorce involving children, some unique to the situation, some common to all. The needs of the child are common, and at times those have special needs. Unique are the character issues, mental health, competencies, and earning capacities. In my divorce, I got the house, the children, and child support; she got the legal bills and the restraining order. She, of course, never paid a penny, burglarized the house repeatedly, and even dug plants out of the garden. A little crazy goes a long way. Still, she is my children's mother. I do not want to put a burden on them by punishing their mother with the law anymore than she has already caused herself to be punished. The children are grown now. We laugh about their mother's thefts and craziness to ease the pain of the violations. My children had to learn about relationship boundaries at an early age, and how to impose them, even on a parent. That has made it possible for them to maintain relations with their mother, though with difficulty and caution. Love is the easiest and the hardest thing to do in life; it is easily confused with other impulses and must be handled with care. America has lost many of the rituals and much of the culture that, in the past, made marriage more considered before entering and more reluctant before leaving. Still it happens, and all are punished.

Posted by: twolaneflash at April 26, 2008 12:35 PM

The mom of my BF's kids is a total deadbeat loser. She is some woo-woo new age "therapist" with a handful of "clients." But she doesn't want a real job because she doesn't like "working for someone else." She can't make a living to support herself, let alone her kids. So she lives with her bf who subsidizes her "lifestyle." Child support? Hah! They "share" custody, which means the kids are with her three days during the week and he has them four days a week including each weekend. She seems uninterested in spending actual time with them (which is just fine with my bf who is an incredibly engaged and involved parent; and a decent, responsible, loving guy in every way) so it seems this arrangement is more suited to her claiming she doesn't need to pay child support than anything else. I don't know if that's her excuse for not ponying up any cash, I try not to ask about these things. However every time I find out something new about her (latest: she stayed home while they were married - and still insisted on hiring someone to clean the house) I am simply appalled at the overwhelming evidence of her lack of personal and parental responsibility.

Posted by: RS at April 26, 2008 1:04 PM

I'm a child support collector for a western state, and have been for 16 years.
Amy, you are on the mark with this article. There are a significant minority of cases where women owe money to men. Their rates of payment are roughly equal to men, which means there are proportionatly as many "dead beat moms" as there are "dead beat dads." (a term I never use professionally; too emotionally loaded.)

Several comments to be made on several points raised here.
1. a sizeable portion of women are homemakers. How can anyone argue they have the earning potential of their working spouse? Yes, some have advanced degrees and some have proven history of earnings; I use that data when I have it. But the truth is that the c/s orders that moms pay is typically less, and for good reasons. I impute minimum wage to those moms and come up with a crappy order, but that's all I have to work with sometimes.
2. No one can fix the shattered lives of moms, dads, and children. CS is a bandaid. No agency can fix your marriage or your ex. After all, YOU couldn't accomplish that.
3. there are a hundred creative ways for people to avoid civil debts. Happens all the time. I've spent 16 years trying to pry money from people that owe it, and I fail to get ANY money on 35% of my cases in any given month. And believe me, 65% collection rate on current child support is pretty fine. take a look at Illinois or Arizona if you want to see some really frightening numbers.
4. I've seen all of the emotions expressed here every week for 16 years. I've heard it all, in a 1000 flavors. So, let me be clear. I'm not your counsellor. I'm not your friend. I don't know you. You may be the nicest person in the world, and your ex may be the devil incarnate, but I'm still going to handle your case the very same way. Personal stuff CANNOT have any place in my professional business; I have to leave work at work and go home to my own family. I do not have time to wallow in your pain. Call me when you are ready to do business and not before. BECAUSE. . .
5. I have 10 minutes a month to work on your case (presuming a 1000 case caseload). Let's call it 15 minutes with all of the multiple cases, interstate cases (that other states are working), and unworkable cases. (if your ex is in prison for 30 years for murder, your case is basically unworkable.) If you call and cry on my shoulder for just 5 minutes, you've burned 1/3 of the time alloted for your case. think about it. Call your friend and vent first, then call me.

Posted by: csworker at April 26, 2008 1:59 PM

Let's consider this: two people get married, have children, stay married.

Foreign concept, I know. But why don't we as a society and nation urge the establishment of marriages built on love, trust and respect, that produce children into families that are built with one eye on the future and that emphasize two-parent child-rearing as the single most important task a husband and wife undertake?

Yeah, I know: crazy talk. Let's spend our time and energy on child support instead.

Posted by: Denny, Alaska at April 26, 2008 2:25 PM

Jamie,

Most women who wear feminism on their sleeve really aren't. For fear of sounding ancient such women are golddiggers. They 'do it' for the money.

Posted by: joh at April 26, 2008 2:33 PM

"Every time I read comments like these, I am hard pressed to see any reason to get married. "

You and me both. Although I must say, I'm far more concerned about the number of women who view divorce as some sort of "win the lottery button" if they get bored, angry, or frustrated. I've seen far too many friends get cleaned out by women who really did not contribute anything besides taking up space and money.

These days, marriage is a formalized way of saying "I trust you not to decide you'd be happier with none of me and half my money"

Posted by: Tim at April 26, 2008 3:11 PM

"latest: she stayed home while they were married - and still insisted on hiring someone to clean the house"

My soon-to-be-ex wife stayed home to take care of our daughter for several years and during that time I took our daughter to daycare at least once a week and we had a maid come clean the house top to bottom once a month. She wasn't a stay at home because that's what she wanted to be, she just couldn't hold a job and enjoyed getting paid unemployment for doing nothing. She would go out with her friends at night and most of the day on weekends, leaving me to take care of our daughter. She played everquest or WoW all day at home while I worked 8-10 hours a day. She did essentially no housework. And I wasn't helping her out enough around the home...so she denied me sex and affection, nagged me constantly, put me down constantly in front of friends and family, and finally decided that I was "boring" so she would have an affair. I tried to just grin and bear it and put my nose to the grindstone to live up to my responsibilities.

The phrase "sense of entitlement" doesn't begin to describe it.

The only reason we had any money saved at all is because I had it put into savings (my 401k) before the check hit the bank account so she never had a chance to spend it. And now she wants half of my 401k, half of the equity in our house, and for me to pay the $9k in credit card bills that she ran up.

And she has boasted that she will get 17% of my income in child support tax free.

Posted by: JustSomeDude at April 26, 2008 3:16 PM

It really is a testement to our innate good natures that there arent more people just getting shot for pulling crap like this

Posted by: lujlp at April 26, 2008 4:22 PM

We need more women speaking up the way Amy Alkon, Helen Smith, and Racel Lucas are.

Men are partly to blame for getting taken advantage of like this, though. Much like white people have let black people get into a position where they get a pass on bad behavior. Thus, even Hispanics, who initially had no intention of race-baiting in order to get a free ride, are tempted when they see how easy/lucrative it is.

Reward bad behavior, you get more.

Women vote in greater numbers than men. Men's lack of organization has let this happen.

The one last point I want to bring up is a point that others don't see :

The existence of radical feminism in the West is a luxury we can afford simply because Islam has not yet made inroads into the West. As Islamic Law takes hold in some parts of the West, radical feminism will be the first thing to vanish, as these harpies beg the strong men of the police and military to defend them.

Thus, as long as radical feminism is still visible in the West, that means Islam is still not a potent force.

Posted by: Tood at April 26, 2008 4:52 PM

"Every time I read comments like these, I am hard pressed to see any reason to get married. "

Get a pre-nup, and you should be fine. Even if you never need it, the psychological peace of mind is valuable, as is the lack of leverage she would otherwise have over you.

Posted by: Tood at April 26, 2008 4:54 PM

The scourge of disparity in gender perspective and management by DSS and the family court system has long since been identified by observant people. The question stands however: what to do about it?
1) Make your voice known to your elected officials and representatives. Be polite, be concise but above all BE PERSISTENT. Educate yourself and be prepared to cite what you can cite: your personal experience, citeable resources (with reference to the source). Be cautious to never speak, write or post anything that cannot be sourced to your own personal experience, reliable data or authentic studies.
2) Make your voice known to your elected officials and representatives. Be polite, be concise but above all BE PERSISTENT. Insist they introduce legislation (and push for it passage) requiring equal access to tax payer funded intervention and assistance resources for all victims of Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence (henceforth referred to as DV/IPV) regardless of victim/aggressor status or gender.
3) Make your voice known to your elected officials and representatives. Be polite, be concise but above all BE PERSISTENT. Insist they introduce legislation (and push for it passage) criminalizing False Allegations/Accusations of abuse/molestation/sexual assault/etc with mandatory and harsh sentencing guidelines; including tax payer funded programs providing full compensation for victims of False Allegations Accusations including mandatory restitution of loss suffered and costs incurred.
4) Make your voice known to your elected officials and representatives. Be polite, be concise but above all BE PERSISTENT. Insist they introduce legislation (and push for it passage) mandating public exoneration of wrongfully convicted and incarcerated innocent men and women, including tax payer funded programs providing full compensation for victims of False Allegations Accusations including mandatory restitution of loss suffered and costs incurred.
5) As you listen to your family, friends, coworkers, etc parrot the standard Misandrist rhetoric; intervene and speak what you know to be true, and again cite what you can cite. Be calm, be polite, don't back up and don't back down. If you can open one mind to the reality, that mind will in turn open a mind, who will open a mind, who will open a mind, etc.
If you wish citeable US CDC, US DoJ/BJS, US DoH&HS/AFC, etc and academic/scholastic studies (compiled, analyzed, peer reviewed and often published) please email this tag (delete the space) at yahpoopie email requesting the info.
Olde Pharte

Posted by: Olde Pharte at April 26, 2008 5:09 PM

@That Guy:

Yes, that's how I became a custodial parent. I own a house, I was the only one working, had insurance, the other person was an alcoholic, among other things. My reward for being a responsible adult was to get handed the bill, and my violent and abusive ex was enabled to be a stay-at-home alcoholic. She threatened to (continue to) file false DV and child abuse claims.

Later, when I refused to accept a doubling of my support obligation, she sued me again. Played a child abuse card. I couldn't see my kids for almost 3 months. That case drug out for 18 months, and the guardian ad litem couldn't ignore her alcoholism any longer.

I propose that the system based on robbing the richer parent to subsidize the poor parent to be a single working or stay at home parent is pretty destructive.

First and formost, since we're spending BILLIONS of federal money on enforcing one small aspect of a divorce decree "In the name of the child" (Yeah, BULLSHIT), we should enforce with the same enthusiasm the visitation order and geographic restrictions.

Posted by: Offended_Dad at April 26, 2008 6:00 PM

I think people should do a better job of getting married.

Posted by: Crid at April 26, 2008 7:12 PM

Get a pre-nup, and you should be fine. Even if you never need it, the psychological peace of mind is valuable, as is the lack of leverage she would otherwise have over you.

A prenup isn't worth the paper it's printed on once there are children, because "the good of the child" trumps everything else. Since the mother almost always gets custody by default, that in essence means "the good of the mother".

I think people should do a better job of getting married.

That's like telling a woman whose husband beats that she should have chosen her mate more wisely. "Sucks to be you, but you shouldn't have married that troglodyte."

Posted by: JustSomeDude at April 26, 2008 10:00 PM

Crid says:

"I think people should do a better job of getting married."

Amen.

But that's not the reality of many people. I can't go back and change my reality of being married at 19, getting pregnant the next month and having a child at 20.

So what's the answer to the problem?

In the real world, some women don't pay what they should.

In the real world, this is the reality:

http://www.slate.com/id/2189983/pagenum/2

In the real world, I left my ex, and (beyond all comprehension) left my children with him for a number of reasons which include that I did not understand the legal system. My fucked up ex raised my kids; which, to their credit, they have semi recovered and are turning out to be credits to humanity.

I'll have to go and investigate Amy's statistics which I'm just too tired to do tonite before I make a blatant judgement about it. But I well recall my own nightmare with this topic.

My ex lied about my earnings and I could not afford an attorney to fight it. It was a finacial, legal and emotional fiasco which I lost. Ultimately, I was one of these people that the article talks about - I was put up as a "deadbeat mom." Even though I DID pay child support.

I'll never forget that slander and how it effected, not only friendships and familial relationships, but - most importantly - my children's thoughts and suppositions about me. It hurt my children far more than it did me. And that, I will NEVER forgive him for.

Look - I'm all on the bandwagon for women to live up to their responsibilities as HUMAN BEINGS. My current husband has had horrible battles with his ex regarding alimony. That woman makes me sick.

But to bundle women up as taking advantage of men with regard to child support... I dunno. Amy may have crossed a line of reason with this arguement.


Posted by: Inquiring at April 26, 2008 10:07 PM

Inquring, with all due respect you are an idiot. Where did Amy cross a line?

By commenting on governmnet data showing women fail to pay child support more often then men?

By saying that we need to stop demonising men simply for being men?

Or for saying we need to refer to deadbets as parents, not soley as men, and stop giving the women who do it excuses?

What was so damn horrible about those three statements?

Posted by: lujlp at April 26, 2008 10:17 PM

I vote for referring to women who birth-but-not-raise children as Malingering Moms.
Most of the type that it's been my displeasure to know about aren't really actively evil, they just seem to be actively avoiding doing anything.

Also, I do know of a case where a lady sued her ex for support payments, and wound up with her paycheck garnished rather than the other way around. As for the guy above with the EverCrack addicted wife, I'd suggest he print out her chat logs, unemployment history, and childcare records. At least it will make a good case for a bit later down the road that she hasn't yet been the poster child for a doting, attentive mother.

Posted by: Nony Mous at April 27, 2008 12:23 AM

> That's like telling a woman whose
> husband beats that she should have
> chosen her mate more wisely.

Excellent. You understood my meaning perfectly.

Generations of women have chosen these men as parents to their children, fucked the babies out of them, demanded consecration of the union (and financial investment in it) from the larger community... Only to squeal, some short time later, that "He's a nasty man! He lies and cheats!"

We in the larger society should stop pretending that it's our problem. If women knew these consequences were something they'd have to face on their own, their judgment would soon be much sharper, it would happen much less often, and we'd have about 90% fewer children of divorce running around with their basketcase attitudes.

Posted by: Crid at April 27, 2008 10:09 AM

One of the big problems with CS is indicated by csworker, huge fucking case loads. There is time to make a quick, formulaic assessment and that's about it. This often ignores the reality of a given situation and puts parents in an untenable position. The way the laws are written just exacerbates the situation.

Vlad mentions early on, that $3,000 a month is a very reasonable amount to pay in child support. The problem with that being, few people can come close to covering that and have anything close to enough left to live on - if they even make that much. In a lot of situations, they just take a certain percentage of the non-custodial parent's income.

Michigan's standard is a third of the income - easy for people who make a decent income if they can change their lifestyle enough. But you take that percentage from someone who was making barely enough to support a family and it can put them out on the streets or into other living arrangements that are not appropriate for children.

Oregon is a lot better about making sure that both parents can deal with the CS arrangement, but even here there are problems. When my partner and I were separated, my son went on the Oregon Health Plan and momma got foodstamps for them. I covered most of her bills and rent, also giving her cash on occasion when she needed it for this or that, She worked as much as she could, but it didn't come close to meeting her needs.

I OTOH, was barely scraping by, trying to build a business out here and teaching older teens about various aspects of the building trades, in order to get a small grant to get licensed and make initial insurance payments. I also had my son about half the time, though on legal paperwork I had him 49% of the time.

So I was providing momma with around five to six hundred dollars a month. I had absolutely no room for error, regularly eating once a day if that much, so I could get by. Then the state of Oregon demanded CS. Not that much, just seventy five dollars a week. The problem was that it would be six weeks after I paid it, for momma to start getting checks from them. It was only due to loans from friends and family that we were able to make it through that lag period. Even with that, I nearly lost my home and went days at a time without eating.

Momma was even using some of her food stamp money to put food on my plate. Her case worker had me apply for emergency food stamps, which were approved around the time we finally were getting back on track. Because I had my son as much as I did, they were willing to give me $250 a month. Thankfully it came together and I was able to have them canceled. Ridiculously, I was also told to just use the first months payment, because once it was on my card they couldn't take it back.

Posted by: DuWayne at April 27, 2008 12:46 PM

"Yeah, I know: crazy talk. Let's spend our time and energy on child support instead." Denny, Alaska

I think what you are seeing there is a self selection problem... I know that out happily married friends reading this empathise, but this isn't about them. By nature if you have been affected by this question directly, you've probably been cratered by divorce.

Posted by: SwissArmyD at April 27, 2008 7:19 PM

Let's consider this: two people get married, have children, stay married.

Foreign concept, I know. But why don't we as a society and nation urge the establishment of marriages built on love, trust and respect, that produce children into families that are built with one eye on the future and that emphasize two-parent child-rearing as the single most important task a husband and wife undertake?

Yeah, I know: crazy talk. Let's spend our time and energy on child support instead.

This takes 2 people, not just one. I took my marriage vows very seriously; seriously enough that I will probably be celibate for the rest of my life and will never have a "family" again. And yet, there is nothing I can do to change anyone's behavior but my own, which is what I tried to do. There is no way I could have known that my wife would respond the way she did to becoming a mother, no way I could have known that although she said she wanted children, she didn't understand just how much responsiblity was involved and how much it would impact her freedom and as a result resent me for "getting her pregnant". All I could do was try to give more and more to her in hopes of making her happy, but in the end all that did was cause me to have even more resentment for her as the relationship was so overwhelmingly one sided. I was willing to continue in a completely one sided relationship in which I was utterly miserable because I thought it was my duty. I provided for her, and continued to treat her with respect. She initiated a divorce with me because I became "emotionally distant".

Imagine that.

Posted by: JustSomeDude at April 28, 2008 10:34 AM

Thanks for another ,MUCH needed, article bolstering fact, and undermining fiction in the news and media. You make some very good points, I hope more people get a chance to read this!

Posted by: justme at April 29, 2008 5:18 AM

What did these men do to justify the debtor's prisons, confiscation of property, money, future earnings, micro-managing where they work, for whom they work, how many jobs they work, etc.... if the divorce were "NO-FAULT"?

Child support should first be questioned as to lawfulness of taking children from an innocent parent and second as to who is the least stable parent ending a marriage for self-aggrandizment at the great cost to the children. Child poverty, abuse, sexual molestation, major psychological problems, teen pregnancy, promiscuity, drug addictions, perversions, etc. all skyrocket when the children are taken from the father. Even 'bad dads' raise better and healthier citizens than single mothers. So we pay women to destroy our children. That is really smart.

Every time some faithless and foolish mother files for 'no-fault' divorce expecting money, power, and control over her husband enforced at the point of a gun, we are all supposed to automatically assume that he must be at fault so he must pay. We do this even when the woman claims a "NO-FAULT" DIVORCE.

If, as a businessman, the law stated that anyone I contract with can bail at anytime with "no fault" on my behalf but can still receive all the benefits of the contract from me, this is fraud. If I were fully informed of that fact I would not do business. Would you? Or would you expect that criminal fraud to go to jail for committing her fraud. Why do we reward marital fraud.

The courts and legislators claim their draconion laws and enforcement is for "the best interest of the child". Yet women are the greatest abuses of children in our country, frequently not by mere 'margins' but by 'multipliers' when compared to biological fathers. Our courts and legislators remove protective and nurturing fathers and turn them into wallets much likes the Nazis turned Jews into lampshades.

No-Fault divorce should also mean no child-support and no child custody for the person filing this statement of intent to defraud. Why should we let our most unstable and fraudulent parents have the children and all the power to abuse that entails.

A Dad Forever, even when beat-dead.

Posted by: Dad Forever at April 29, 2008 7:19 AM

Child poverty, abuse, sexual molestation, major psychological problems, teen pregnancy, promiscuity, drug addictions, perversions, etc. all skyrocket when the children are taken from the father.

????? Cite your proof, please.

Yet women are the greatest abuse(r)s of children in our country, frequently not by mere 'margins' but by 'multipliers' when compared to biological fathers.

???????? Again, cite your proof, please. I truly believe you are quite delusional.

Posted by: Flynne at April 29, 2008 10:06 AM

Thank you for the 'delusional' statement, I wish I were then there would be a more clear explanation for what is happening in our country to children and parents.

However, should you want a central source of references that documents all and more of what I wrote, then get a copy of Dr. Stephen Baskerville's book "Taken Into Custody". He pulls together peer reviewed original material and material put out by State and Federal governments as well as many professional and peer reviewed studies by others. He is a professor of Political Science at Howard University.

If I give you the information you will menatlly discard it. If you research it you will own it yourself. If I am false in my presentation you will have so much information to allow you to puff yourself up a little more. If not then you will probably change the subject and attack someone else who does not quite pick up where you are coming from and why.

Other sites for the mentally challenged to use to begin to open their eyes (should they decide knowledge is better than laziness) could be the U.S. Dept of H&HS website with their stats put into overly simplistic charts and graphs. They now refuse to put out the raw data because their 'spin' on simplistic charts and graphs was being pointed out all too often where it was not supported by their own raw data. But if you do a little digging you to can find the raw data on-line. One example of oversimplification resulting in false presentation has been the inclusion of 'father figures' such as boyfriends and stepfathers in some of the abuse scenarios and labeling all as 'fathers".

It is on this H&HS web site that one of the 'multipliers' can be found in the murder of innocent children. Mothers kill almost three times as often and kill their male children at double the rate they kill their female children. But then you probably can not find the web site for one of the Feds largest agencies.

The other multipliers are:
A multiplier of 8 equates to 80% of rapists raised by single mothers.
A multiplier of 9.4 equates to 95% of prostitutes raised by single mothers.

Can you think of any other that was in my first contribution to this thread? Hello? Was anyone home?

To do some simpleton google searches you can use such word clouds as "incidence of single mothers raising prostitutes" or "% rapists raised by single mothers". It takes a little patience to wade through all the 'stuff' that pops up but look for government or .org websites first. If you do not know how to do that ask an elementary school student. They know this stuff by third grade.

If you are capable of using books, you may wish to read "Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths", by Sanford L. Braver who utilizes over a thousand peer reviewed and government funded studies upon which he based his statements.

In 1995 I first uncovered stats from the Texas Prison system on the 95% rate for men raised by single mothers incarcerated in the State's prison system. Since then other states have contributed a consistently similar set of numbers. Maine was the first to note, online, the percent of sex offenders, by category, who were raised by single moms.

The child support enforcement people will gladly claim that single motherhood is the 'by far' greatest cause of childhood poverty.

Glenn Sacks has a great website with a lot of resources as does MensDailyNew.com. And then there is ifeminist.com and Kathleen Parker of the Orlando Sentinel and Cathy Young of the Washington Post who all write frequently documenting this very topic.

I could go on for hours. but I would bet solid money you will not read or look up a single item or resource mentioned. You will only snipe and resort to personal insult. Since that is what you understand, I threw in a few gratuitous ones to make you feel comfortable. I would much rather have a civil discussion and exchange of data with someone who actually researched before attempting a little self-aggrandizing puffery.

Best wishes and Thank You for the opportunity to present even more on this very under debated issue. I do hope that some of those who have contributed some very thought provoking ideas and views in this thread will continue their constructive discussions without being disrupted with silly insults. You may actually be intelligent and I think you are but your trashing efforts gave you away as intellectually lazy.

Again, you have done me a favor, thanks.

And if you had any curiosity you would have notice my email address is Romanji or Romanized Japanese for "clearly crazy". And you thought calling me delusional would be a barb at me. And thanks for correcting my overstrike on the r. I was in a hurry, but I have left a few errors in this missive for you to correct. Have fun. I know I just did.

Dad Forever

Posted by: Dad Forever at April 29, 2008 6:19 PM

No, thank you. I would much rather have a discussion with someone who isn't seeking to demonize the entire female population based on unqualifying "multipliers" that do not reflect the majority of women in this society. If your claims are valid why didn't you just post the links to the sources, as Amy does? I'm terribly sorry that your circumstances have been so bad that you label yourself "Forever Dad even when beat-dead". Oh and just for your information, I can't look at your email address, because I am not the owner of this blog.

Posted by: Flynne at April 30, 2008 11:52 AM

As I said, you would not take ownership and actually try to become informed. You didn't and proved me right on at least that one sadly minor point. Actually the 'multipliers' apply to divorced women (only a very small portion have valid "fault" based reasons) and a standard ploy of the most destructive of those destructive women usually degrade their former husbands. And frequently destroy their own children by degrading the absent (most often driven away) father

And, true violence only is present in a very small % of the households, but again, you can not find the U.S. Dept. of H&HS website so why bother. It is easier to sit back and snipe.

I read some of your previous posts and the most glaring issue was your personal attacks on your ex in a manner that would indicate the possibility of PAS. You really do need to start researching. You may then begin to be able to get a better grip on your own life.

As I stated in my previous post, you probably would not look up either books or websites. It was and is obvious you want to be spoon fed only what you want to hear.

Amy has very much taken ownership of her own knowledge base. The mere mention of a clue on how to find a new data source in an area of interest for her probably starts a search process that, for someone as 'un-lazy' as Amy, is like breathing or going out to get the paper. But you do not comprehend.

If you should ever decide to learn anything from anyone, you may wish to attempt to pick up on Amy's work ethic and intellectual honesty. Or, haven't you noticed no one hands her all her material. Nor, do they think for her.

Research and Think before you snipe. Maybe even check out one of the books I referenced at the library or at least read the review on Amazon.com. Oh, sorry, www.amazon.com and don't forget to hit the "Go" button. If you have the energy to make snide comments and shallow insults, you should have the energy to Google a few word clouds. And that is at www.google.com. Try the really complex key word could of "DIVORCE STATISTICS" or is that too confusing and complex? I do not know how to be of any more assistance. If you doubt what I state, the google the key words in my statements and see if there are sources that match and sources that don't match. You can find both on many. You can also learn how to see which figures are most likely to be valid. If you would do anything but snipe.

Here is one complete full, someone else did it for you, web address http://www.ifeminists.com/introduction/editorials/2001/0703.html

It is a web page from Wendy McElroy a former extreme feminist, journalist, video journalist, author, etc.... (She does her own research and thinking, too.) who will state and provide the reference for the data "The Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-3, 1996) from the Department of Health and Human Services reported that mothers perpetrate 78% of fatal child abuse." My statement of two thirds was from a different government study. I try to use the lower of a range to soften the harsh reality of what our society has allowed so many of our women to become, self-centered and without ethic or morality.

Then the government website stating women kill sons twice as often as daughters is http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/ascii/mf.txt

Do you still take pablum?

You really should treat others with more respect even if you do not respect yourself, it may actually improve how you see yourself and make the world less wearisome for the rest of us.

I just can't make anyone respect themself even if I wanted to control anyone else. That is your thing (meant to be ambiguous). You need to get a grip for the sake of your children.

The following is only a small list of what I have on hand and this post area my not have the capacity for all of it. The list provides source data origin. A guide to 'single parent' statements - it is a euphamism for single mother (women, the greatest child abusers are given custody in rates of 90% and up depending on jurisdictions).
Of course no is holding your hand so you will need to snipe some more because you are too lazy to check out if I made all this stuff up or not.

And my email name is baka.desho@____.com. You wont get the full address because I disdain cyber stalkers.


Effects of Fatherlessness (US Data)

1) BEHAVIORAL DISORDERS/ RUNAWAYS/ HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS/CHEMICAL ABUSERS/ SUICIDES

• 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (Source: Center for Disease Control)
• 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
• 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)
• 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes (Source: Rainbows for all God's Children.)
• 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)

2) JUVENILE DELINQUENCY/ CRIME/ GANGS

• 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes (Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1978)
• 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)
• 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home (Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992)
• California has the nation's highest juvenile incarceration rate and the nation's highest juvenile unemployment rate. Vincent Schiraldi, Executive Director, Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, "What Hallinan's Victory Means," San Francisco Chronicle (12/28/95).
• Juveniles have become the driving force behind the nation's alarming increases in violent crime, with juvenile arrests for murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault growing sharply in the past decade as pistols and drugs became more available, and expected to continue at the same alarming rate during the next decade. "Justice Dept. Issues Scary Report on Juvenile Crime," San Francisco Chronicle (9/8/95). "Crime Wave Forecast With Teenager Boom," San Francisco Chronicle (2/15/95).
• Criminal behavior experts and social scientists are finding intriguing evidence that the epidemic of youth violence and gangs is related to the breakdown of the two-parent family. "New Evidence That Quayle Was Right: Young Offenders Tell What Went Wrong at Home," San Francisco Chronicle (12/9/94).

3) TEENAGE PREGNANCY

• "Daughters of single parents are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a premarital birth, and 92% more likely to dissolve their own marriages. All these intergenerational consequences of single motherhood increase the likelihood of chronic welfare dependency." Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, Atlantic Monthly (April 1993).
• Daughters of single parents are 2.1 times more likely to have children during their teenage years than are daughters from intact families. The Good Family Man, David Blankenhorn.
• 71% of teenage pregnancies are to children of single parents. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

4) CHILD ABUSE

• The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that there were more than 1,000,000 documented child abuse cases in 1990. In 1983, it found that 60% of perpetrators were women with sole custody. Shared parenting can significantly reduce the stress associated with sole custody, and reduce the isolation of children in abusive situations by allowing both parents' to monitor the children's health and welfare and to protect them.

5) POVERTY

• "The National Fatherhood Institute reports that 18 million children live in single-parent homes. Nearly 75% of American children living in single-parent families will experience poverty before they turn 11. Only 20% in two-parent families will experience poverty." Melinda Sacks, "Fatherhood in the 90's: Kids of absent fathers more "at risk"," San Jose Mercury News (10/29/95).
• "The feminization of poverty is linked to the feminization of custody, as well as linked to lower earnings for women. Greater opportunity for education and jobs through shared parenting can help break the cycle." David Levy, Ed., The Best Parent is Both Parents (1993).


Dad Forever


Posted by: Dad Forever at May 1, 2008 8:50 PM

Posted: Yet women are the greatest abuse(r)s of children in our country, frequently not by mere 'margins' but by 'multipliers' when compared to biological fathers.

And challenged: "???????? Again, cite your proof, please. I truly believe you are quite delusional."

May I direct your attention to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families which annually publishes a report titled 'Annual Child Maltreatment Report' wherein you will find the following (and note I even cited the tables where you will find this data ... vice uneducated opinions and uninformed rhetoric):

Per the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families Child Maltreatment Perpetrators IAW Annual Child Maltreatment Report (not exactly supermarket tabloid journalism here, wouldn’t you say?):

1995- Table D-5 (Maltreatment)
*Male Perpetrators of maltreatment upon children: 45,583
*Female Perpetrators of Maltreatment upon children: 74,187 (over 50% more)

1996- Table 2-7 (Maltreatment)
*Male Perpetrators of maltreatment upon children: 55,006
*Female Perpetrators of Maltreatment upon children: 85,751 (over 50% more)

1997- Table 7-1 (Maltreatment)
*Male Perpetrators of maltreatment upon children: 111,473
*Female Perpetrators of Maltreatment upon children: 184,152 (over 50% more)
Table 7-3 (Fatalities)
*Male perpetrator 129
*Female perpetrator 218 (over 50% more)

1999- Table 6-3 (Maltreatment)
*Mother 44.7% (almost 300% more)
*Father 16.1%
Mother and Father 17.0%
*Mother and other 8.2% (over 700% more)
*Father and other 1.1%
Non-parental 10%
Other 3%
Table G7-2 (Fatalities)
*Male perpetrator 238
*Female Perpetrator 361 (over 50% more)

2002- Table 5-1 (Maltreatment)
*Male Perpetrators of maltreatment upon children: 330,780
*Female Perpetrators of Maltreatment upon children: 463,358 (almost 50% more)
Table 4-2 (Fatalities)
*Mother 32.6% (294) (almost twice as many)
*Father 16.6% (150)
*Mother and Father 19.2% (173)
*Mother and other 9.1% (82) (almost 600% more)
Father and other 1.4% (13)
Non-parental 15.9% (143)
Other 5.1% (46)

2003- Table 3-16 (Maltreatment)
*Male Perpetrators of maltreatment upon children: 169,430
*Female Perpetrators of Maltreatment upon children: 285,196 (over 50% more)
Table 3-5 (Fatalities)
*Mother 40.4% (over twice as many)
*Father 18.3%
Mother and Father 17.3%
*Mother and other 6.2% (almost 600% more)
*Father and other 1.1%
Non-parental 10.7%
Other 6.0%

2004- Table 5-1 (Maltreatment)
*Male Perpetrators of maltreatment upon children: 303,604
*Female Perpetrators of Maltreatment upon children: 415,344 (almost 50% more)
Table 4-2 (Fatalities)
*Mother 31.3% (307) (over 200% more)
*Father 14.4% (141)
Mother and Father 22.7% (223)
*Mother and other 9.3% (91) (almost 800% more)
*Father and other 1.2% (12)
Non-parental 10.7%
Other 10.4%

2005- Table 3-16 (Maltreatment)
*Male Perpetrators of maltreatment upon children: 169,430
*Female Perpetrators of Maltreatment upon children: 285,196 (over 50% more)
In virtually EVERY classification of maltreatment of children, the mother was far and away the > MOST LEAST

Any questions?

Gunner Retired


Posted by: Gunner Retired at May 2, 2008 9:48 AM

I read some of your previous posts and the most glaring issue was your personal attacks on your ex in a manner that would indicate the possibility of PAS. You really do need to start researching. You may then begin to be able to get a better grip on your own life.

Do you still take pablum?

That was a very mature remark to make to someone who actually said they were truly sorry for your seemingly unfair circumstances.

You really should treat others with more respect even if you do not respect yourself, it may actually improve how you see yourself and make the world less wearisome for the rest of us.

Yes, and so your misperceptions of me allow you to do exactly what you accuse me of doing. Thanks, but I have a very healthy sense of self-respect. I consider myself to be a personal responsibilitarion. Just because you are not happy with your situation, that doesn't give you the right to cast aspersions on others.

I just can't make anyone respect themself even if I wanted to control anyone else. That is your thing (meant to be ambiguous). You need to get a grip for the sake of your children.

I'm not trying to control anyone either. I've got quite a grip on myself and my situation, thank you for your concern. Working full time while my daughters are in school and then coming home to them and helping them with homework, and making dinner, doing laundry and other household chores, as well as taking time out for movies and other fun activities certainly makes me seem unhinged in your eyes, I guess. At least I do things with them. When they are with their father, he sits at the computer and leaves them to their own devices, which usually means playing with legos and/or his cats. He really doesn't do much else in the way of parenting. This isn't "sniping", I'm just stating the facts.

And my email name is baka.desho@____.com. You wont get the full address because I disdain cyber stalkers.

You're assuming I'd be bothered with cyber stalking anyone! Sorry, not my style.

Of course no is holding your hand so you will need to snipe some more because you are too lazy to check out if I made all this stuff up or not.

I'm truly sorry that your circumstances have caused you to be so bitter to the point that you have to vilify all single mothers. Some of us are truly not that bad. Not that I can convince you, I'm sure, so I won't try. I hope things get better for you in the days and years ahead. I'll light a candle for you.

Posted by: Flynne at May 2, 2008 9:49 AM

How very odd is that! Split the bottom of the post in twain!

Anyway, to correct such:

In virtually EVERY classification of maltreatment of children, the mother was far and away the > MOST LEAST

Any questions?

Gunner Retired

Posted by: Gunner Retired at May 2, 2008 9:51 AM

It's the arrows themselves!!! *catching on here!

Let's try this again shall we?

In virtually EVERY classification of maltreatment of children, the mother was far and away the * MOST * likely perpetrator of maltreatment of children, with the father being the * LEAST * likely perpetrator of maltreatment of children.

Any questions?

Gunner Retired

Posted by: Gunner retired at May 2, 2008 9:59 AM

Got it that time... hehehehehehehe.

GR

Posted by: Gunner Retired at May 2, 2008 10:00 AM

In virtually EVERY classification of maltreatment of children, the mother was far and away the > MOST LEAST

Any questions?

Gunner Retired

?? Okay, I get the stats, and I'll admit that based on the figures, you're right, but that still doesn't give anyone the right to lump the RESPONSIBLE mothers (of which I am one) into the group of IRRESPONSIBLE and ABUSIVE mothers (which I am not). I wonder, do any of those statistics include information as to whether the mothers and children were ABANDONED by the children's FATHERS?? Or when/if the children were removed from those abusive mothers? Or take into consideration other extenuating circumstances? You know what, I'll bet not, because that information was conveniently not documented, was it? I know, I know, GO LOOK IT UP YOURSELF. I'll get back to you on it, if there's anything available.

Posted by: Flynne at May 2, 2008 10:03 AM

*slaps forehead*

Duh. I just realized that I don't have to justify or defend myself or anyone else to 2 bitter old men who are determined to disrespect every woman on the planet just because some of them are not up to their standards. My bad! o_O

Posted by: Flynne at May 2, 2008 12:25 PM

And lest anyone mistake me, I am well aware of the fact that many many people of both sexes are not fit to be parents. I, however, am not one of them.

Posted by: Flynne at May 2, 2008 12:37 PM

“but that still doesn't give anyone the right to lump the RESPONSIBLE mothers (of which I am one) into the group of IRRESPONSIBLE and ABUSIVE mothers (which I am not).”

Let’s get something perfectly crystal clear here: it’s no longer about ‘rights’. There are over three thousand four hundred counties, parishes and precincts in the 50 US States and 112 US Territories. In EACH and EVERY one you will find a federally mandated (per the VAWA/VAWA II) tax payer funded office, agency and/or entity offering federally mandated services to female victims of domestic violence/intimate partner violence (henceforth referred to as DV/IPV) in the form of intervention, shelter, medical, financial, counseling and material assistance. Now work the math sparklette: that’s three thousand four hundred facilities staffed and funded by yours mine and ours tax dollars for women ‘escaping’ from DV/IPV.
I know of 9 such facilities in the country offering similar services to men escaping from DV/IPV (3 of which are privately funded). How’s your math (That’s a 377 to 1 disparity ie for every one shelter for men seeking escape from an abusive wife or girlfriend there are three hundred seventy seven shelters for women… and you’re whining about rights???)
You want to talk about ‘rights’? Talk to Gary Dotson, Bruce McLaughlin, Willie Williams, Dylan Davis, James Brumbaugh, Xavier Caro, Alvin McCuan, Scott Mckiffin, Harry Steward, Reade Seligman, Colin Finnerty, Ted Johnson, and I can really really really sit here and names thousands (quite literally I assure you) of men whose ‘rights’ were stripped from them by mere ACCUSATION in family and criminal courts.
If the moderator here will oblige me for the moment, here's some good reading for anyone interested in how the Misandry evolved to the stage it has: http://theoccidentalquarterly.com/archives/vol7no2/v7no2_Devlin.pdf
These also are a good read, better read in order to grasp the import of what's being communicated:
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=637737
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=637747
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=637741
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=637897
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=615687
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=563280
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=563224
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=570522
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=650284
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=593475
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=627343
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=635412
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=561994
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=507966
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=607937
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=563220
http://boards.msn.com/MensLifestyleboards/thread.aspx?threadid=563216
Okay so it's a chunk of reading... but bear with it. Much will be clarified (as much by the content of the threads, as by the responses?) discussing the Misandrist Paradigm that has been allowed to fester in America until it reached the putrid stage that enables and empowers the wanton rejection of male victims of DV/IPV disallowing them even recognition as a legitmate victim of crime (domestic violence) much less access to tax payer funded resources and assistance so enthusiastically offered to female victims of DV/IPV provided of course they are willing to assign culpability for their state upon some man in their lives (even if they must fabricate allegations of sordid to fulfill this requirement).

Misandry is an evil despicable scourge that has infested every aspect of life in America for men, and some of us had quite frankly had our fill of it. From the lack of adequate shelters to turn to when our wives and girlfriends beat us to the US Congress spending BILLIONS of dollars on womens gender SEPCIFIC health care and a a fraction of that on mens health care (80 billion versus 500 million- a 160 – 1 disparity) and hundreds of aspects of life in between.
Here’s an opportunity to educate yourself (as an example): It has been propagated that “Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between ages 15 and 44 in the United States - more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined”
This is untrue, so untrue that to allege it is an outright lie. For example: the leading causes of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States in 1996 (not the 'high year' nor the 'low year', just the year I pulled the data on):
Event type / Number / Per Cent
Motor Vehicle Accidents / 1,504,119 / 21.2%
Accidental Falls / 1,243,538 / 17.5%
Other and unspecified environmental and accidental causes / 1,162,272 / 16.4%
Accidents caused by cutting and piercing instruments or objects / 515,986 / 7.3%
Sports injuries / 483,223 / 6.8%
Injuries purposefully inflicted by other than spouse or intimate / 399,240 / 5.6%
Overexertion and strenuous movements / 339,014 / 4.8%
Drugs, medicinal and biological substances, in therapeutic use / 166,687 / 2.3%
Injuries purposefully inflicted by spouse or other intimate / 153,555 / 2.2%
Injuries caused by animals / 137,639 / 1.9%
Accidental poisoning by drugs / 131,928 / 1.9%
Misadventures during surgical and medical care / 124,230 / 1.7%
Suicide and self-inflicted injuries / 102,392 / 1.4%
Struck accidentally by falling object / 87,485 / 1.2%
Caught accidentally in or between objects / 74,995 / 1.1%
Foreign body accidentally entering orifice other than eye / 69,590 / 1.0%
Accidental poisoning by other solid and liquid substances, gases, and vapors / 57,846 / 0.8%
Non-transport machinery accidents / 56,455 / 0.8%
Venomous animals and plants / 50,111 / 0.7%
Accident caused by hot substance or object / 49,766 / 0.7%
Foreign body accidentally entering eye and adnexa / 47,788 / 0.7%
Other / 147,889 / 2.0%
This data is taken from the 1996 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey Data File, which can be downloaded via ftp from the National Center for Health Statistics. Domestic violence, referred to in the table as "Injury purposefully inflicted by spouse or other intimate", accounts for 2.2% of injuries to women in this age group.
Rather than being a larger cause of injury than "car accidents and other things combined", domestic violence causes only one-tenth as many injuries as motor vehicle accidents alone (and 0.1% ahead of injuries by 'Non-Transport Machinery Accidents', 'Venomous Animals and Plants' and 'Accident Caused by Hot Substance or Object'... combined!!!).
And as any thoughtful person might expect, as a source of injuries domestic violence is well behind such everyday occurrences as accidental falls and cuts.
REFERENCES EXAMINING ASSAULTS BY WOMEN ON THEIR SPOUSES OR MALE PARTNERS: AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
Martin S. Fiebert
Department of Psychology
California State University, Long Beach
Last updated: November 2007
SUMMARY: This bibliography examines 209 scholarly investigations: 161 empirical studies and 48 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 201,500.
http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_2249008,00.html
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_13_102/ai_91752307
http://www.news24.com/News24/World/News/0,,2-10-1462_2290835,00.html
http://www.ksat.com/news/15586264/detail.html
http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/story.html?id=932dda19-d1a9-469a-8e4e-004ffbd9ff8b&k=
http://www1.wsvn.com/news/articles/local/MI34241/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=497565&in_page_id=1766&ito=1490
http://www.co.washington.mn.us/client_files/documents/att/Press_Release/ATT-PR04122007.pdf
http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&94382article=61443&archive=true
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article3558637.ece
http://disenfranchisedfather.blogspot.com/2007/10/oh-didn-you-know-john-your-son-died.html
http://www.4rkidssake.org/NC3678.htm
http://www.sheriff.org/about_bso/admin/media/newsdetails.cfm?pk=940&sType=M
http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/weeping-mother-charged-with-murder-of-two-sons/2005/09/23/1126982231685.html
http://www.whiotv.com/news/10434655/detail.html
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/orange/la-me-drown28feb28,0,2380142.story
http://www.shortnews.com/start.cfm?id=68742
http://www.religionnewsblog.com/9516/texas-mother-charged-with-murdering-her-infant-daughter
http://www.parentsbehavingbadly.com/2007/06/04/mother-charged-with-attempted-murder-and-first-degree-child-abuse-after-abandoning-baby-in-plastic-bag/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/htmlContent.jhtml?html=/archive/2000/05/11/ncot11.html
http://www.wusa9.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=61286
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/mother-charged-with-sons-murder/2005/09/23/1126982222094.html
http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/258994/17/
http://da.lacounty.gov/mr/archive/2005/010505a.htm
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23831743/
http://www.wyff4.com/news/14515260/detail.html
http://www.examiner.com/a-1151327~Mother_charged_with_murder.html
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,321988,00.html
http://news14.com/content/top_stories/588651/mother-charged-with-murder-of-infant/Default.aspx
http://da.lacounty.gov/mr/archive/2004/100604a.htm
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/03/14/america/NA-GEN-US-Adoptive-Parents-Charged.php
http://www.fayobserver.com/article?id=276025
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/edmonton/story/2007/02/23/foster-mother.html
http://news14.com/content/headlines/588651/mother-charged-with-murder-of-infant/Default.aspx
http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index.jsp?stid=12&aid=65742
http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/0108/486438_video.html?ref=newsstory
http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/news-article.aspx?storyid=52101
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/10/21/2065181.htm
http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Mother-charged-with-murders-of-four-children/2005/02/24/1109180043512.html?from=moreStories
http://www.unchainyourdog.org/news/060119MotherCharged.htm
http://www.friendsofnarconon.org/drug_education/news/drugs_in_the_news/addicted_mother_charged_with_murder/
http://www.ndsn.org/sepoct97/breast.html
http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0213/noorf.html?rss
http://www.waynecounty.com/prosecutor/docs/pressReleases/2006/2006-October2-CantonFosterMotherCharged.pdf
http://www.heraldextra.com/component/option,com_contentwire/task,view/id,27555/Itemid,53/
Sad, when you stop and think how society so enthusiastically assigns culpability for such heinousness upon men in general and fathers in particular... but let's continue with the expose' shall we?
http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=3428050&page=1
http://gothamist.com/2007/01/10/mother_charged.php
http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/1965230/
http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_14332.aspx
http://www.todayslocalnews.com/?sect=tln&p=822
http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/01/10/bodies.found/
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/stories/020305/loc_20050203005.shtml
http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/jan/04/documents-give-peek-into-case-of-mother-charged/
http://www.thebulletin.us/site/news.cfm?newsid=18378240&BRD=2737&PAG=461&dept_id=619045&rfi=6
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/02/12/48hours/main271220.shtml
http://archive.seacoastonline.com/2004news/03182004/world/5901.htm
Whether it’s what you want to hear or not, there’s the data. Sadly... tragically... women can be and are every bit as violent as men (you just don't hear about it in the news is all, and of course the FemiPols don't want you to know about it either).

Questions?

Next time try educating yourself before you go running your mouth…. Because you may just find yourself running your mouth in front of someone who knows what they’re talking about.

Gunner Retired

Posted by: Gunner Retired at May 2, 2008 8:33 PM

*post pending amys approval*
GR

Posted by: Gunner Retired at May 2, 2008 8:38 PM

In the meantime, here's some 'lite' reading for you (discussing lumping all men, even the decent caring men, into one vile category) peruse: http://mensnewsdaily.com/2007/09/26/imbra-anatomy-of-a-feminist-hoax/
Gunner Retired

Posted by: Gunner Retired at May 2, 2008 9:24 PM

Same topic, this time from Wendy (a woman): http://www.ifeminists.net/introduction/editorials/2006/0111.html
Be glad all we're doing is talking... not passing US Federal Laws based on gender biased misinformation, hype and rhetoric.
K?
Gunner Retired

Posted by: Gunner Retired at May 2, 2008 9:26 PM

Post ONE link per comment. If you want to post 20 links, you need to get your own blog. This is a discussion forum, not a personal platform. Discussing stuff is great. Use your own words. Occasionally add a link for emphasis. Great. If your comment takes up more space than almost all of the text I've posted, consider whether it's polite to post so much text.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at May 2, 2008 9:32 PM

Thanks amy... do you ever contribute to Glenn Sacks or Ned Holstein's sites?
GR

Posted by: Gunner ARetired at May 2, 2008 9:37 PM

I comment on Glenn's site. We're talking about guest-posting on each other's sites occasionally.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at May 2, 2008 9:39 PM

Amy, I look forward to seeing your work on Glenn's site. I encouraged Glenn to focus on this topic range when his work first came to my awareness when he was a part time columnist with only a couple of Ca. newspapers.

When Kathleen Parker and Cathy Young first came to my awareness, much earlier than Glenn did, I wrote them, their papers' editors, and even to the newpapers who published those syndicated columns, encouraging all of them and praising the work of those three (Glenn included)very solid journalists.

Early in their careers, I told all three that their careers would skyrocket if they continued to write articles exposing the very serious abuses of men that were translating into the complete disruption of our society by enslaving one portion of our population while providing super rights and entitlements to another. All three have prospered greatly. Cathy Young has been asked to testify before Congress on these issues, if what I have received second hand is true. We could not have a better person in our corner.

Amy, I believe you can do the same. There is no need for hype, false data, or myth to promote a return to the concepts of 'equality under law', 'innocent until proven guilty', 'children need both parents' and other such inter-related issues that have arisen in this bizarre social experiment. One theory is that these forced social programs are to destroy the power of the family as it is juxtapositioned against the government as is presented by many conflict theorists. They base this on the use of welfare on Black families to break the strong family unit apart. In the 50' and 60's researchers almost unanimously agreed the demographic with the strongest family units were the Blacks. It was that strong family unit that opposed the official prejudice and discrimination by our government at that time. The Blacks successfully held together and challenged that authority successfully. Thus, female only welfare for Black women began to be promoted. It was a buyout of family structure. Now it has been made middle class by 'no fault' divorce and child support. This is an oversimplification but still rather accurate.

Another popular theory is that it is a typical totalitarian ploy to ridicule, radicalize, demonize, then criminalize an innocent target population to justify sweeping denials of individual rights.

Who knows the reasons, a grab of power away from all citizens. However, by addressing the methods of implementation (pc politicians and media propoganda) we can begin to return to sanity and rule of Constitution.

I believe that by writting as openly and honestly as you do in all your published work, not only will your career take off even more, but you will be doing one of the most important services to society and the true well being of children that few others are capable of doing.

Thank you for what you have already done by opening up your site to allow public discussion on the greatest civil rights abuses in our country since the genocide of the Native Americans. (Even greater than slavery in total numbers affected and total number of children removed from both parents). All is being done using false DV and child abuse statistics that our governments own research shows to be false.

And, yes, I too publish on these topics but under a different screen name. Not anywhere near as well read as you or the other authors I have mentioned in this and other posts on your site.

And to Gunney (Gunner Retired), Semper Fi, 1966 -1972, U.S.M.C.

Amy, my apologies for presenting too long of a list of references as well in earlier posts on this topic. I appreciate being allowed a guest presence on your site.

Thanks, again for what you do.

Gratefully,

Patriot Dad Forever

Posted by: Dad Forever at May 3, 2008 4:39 AM

Dad Forever,
US Navy
0877/79, 0812, 9502 ... 1979 to 1999 ... GMG1(SW) Ret.
Bore Clear!!!
G_R

Posted by: Gunner Retired at May 3, 2008 6:14 AM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 25, 2008 7:33 AM

Comments

Amy, that is SO EXCELLENT!!! You so ROCK!!! Good luck with it all! O_O

Posted by: Flynne at April 25, 2008 9:32 AM

Wow, that's very cool. Enjoy!

Posted by: jerry at April 25, 2008 10:01 AM

Thanks so much. I'm thrilled.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 25, 2008 10:18 AM

Errrrrr... I can only stand so much of Dr. Laura's audience (cue whiny voice): "Dr. Laura, thank you for taking my call. Here's my dilemma. I'm my kid's Mom and I don't know if my boyfriend should be taking my 14-year-old daughter on sleepovers..."

Sometimes they're just so damn stupid. I don't blame her for snapping now and then. And then some folks try to deny her points with the "two wrongs" fallacy because there's a risqué picture of her out there.

Posted by: Radwaste at April 25, 2008 11:28 AM

Ask her how Deryk is.

(Just kidding, you probably shouldn't!)

Posted by: eric at April 25, 2008 12:20 PM

Kudos, Amy. Though it seems odd that Dr. Laura finds a godless harlot appealing... I don't listen to her, but I thought she was all about religion and moralizing. Is there more than that?

Posted by: justin case at April 25, 2008 12:21 PM

"happiness at noon on Saturday afternoon" eh?
That's an AWfully limited subject. Can I get the happiness from Monday 5pm to midnight gig?
;-)

I kid because I love.

Posted by: BlogDog at April 25, 2008 12:42 PM

Those of you who knock Dr. Laura probably haven't listened to her.

I don't agree with her on some points, but how can you argue with advice to take responsibility for your kids and not to be a bitch to your husband? Just to name a couple of examples. I think she's great, and listen to her show whenever I'm driving home at noon.

I was talking to a friend about this last night, and it's something I see the right generally doing better on than the left, in my personal experience. (And for anyone who's wondering, I'm really neither: I describe myself as a fiscal conservative, largely libertarian [but not for open borders], and a "personal responsibilitarian.)

Anyway, I find the people on the right are more willing to not throw you out entirely if they disagree with some of your ideas. My late friend Cathy Seipp was an example of this. We once had a half-hour argument about gay marriage at a party at my house (she was against it; I am, of course, for it). Matt Welch walked past and said: "She's wrong, she'll never admit it, don't waste your time."

Yet, Cathy was a huge supporter of me and my writing, and stuff I thought and wrote about that she did agree with -- especially my work to cut down on the number of boors in the world.

And you see the same about Dr. Laura -- in Tammy Bruce's book, for example. Tammy Bruce was the lesbian head of NOW, and Dr. Laura stood up for her despite disagreeing with her on MANY issues. And Tammy Bruce behaved in kind with me. We sure disagree on a bunch of issues, but she had me on her radio show numerous times, and always treated me with respect.

PS And the problem with the gays/Dr. Laura issue? I don't know if she still believes what she professed to believe about gays in the 90's. But, my problem was that GLAAD and other organizations LIED about what she said, and used it as propaganda (probably to raise funds) instead of asking her to discuss/debate the issues. You can't hope to move somebody's thinking by demonizing them, but by asking them to sit down and talk with you, and maybe be persuaded through civilized discussion. Or, at the very least, you can get your opposing point of view out there through civilized discussion of the issue.

In short, as an adult, I can feel that somebody's 90 percent right on about things, as I do with Dr. Laura, and disagree with them rather vigorously on the other 10 percent, and not feel a need to dismiss all the good with what I perceive as the not-so-good or wrong.

Likewise, Dr. Laura has been over to my blog and has read my columns, and I'm sure she's seen some stuff she thinks is just plain wrong. This didn't stop her from inviting me to have a bigger role in her session than was previously planned by the LA Times. My kind of person. The more I read her, hear her, and e-mail back and forth with her, the more I think that.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 25, 2008 12:49 PM

In short, the answer to my question is yes. That's cool; I had assumed otherwise.

I also agree with you on the left's tendency to throw out people for little heresies. I think it results from a bunker mentality, really, because orthodox leftism is faring so poorly these days in America.

And yes, it's hard to argue against taking responsibility for one's children or treating one's spouse with kindness. It's somewhat remarkable that people need to be told these things, but they obviously do.

Posted by: justin case at April 25, 2008 1:22 PM

> I think it results from a
> bunker mentality

And from living in the kind of safety where the boundaries are never tested. If you've never actually experienced The Dark Side of the Force up close 'n personal, you'll find it convenient to imagine that it's much, much different than what's going on in *your* heart... But then when you encounter any difference at all, you'll be fearful that this might be The Big Distinction between you and Mr. Nasty.

> It's somewhat remarkable that
> people need to be told these
> things, but they obviously do.

Word. It's not that I like Dr. Laura all that much, but her callers are so lost. Listening to her radio show reminds me of 4th grade in the smaller city where I grew up, maybe October or sometime, sitting in a classroom where it became apparent that a lot of the surrounding classmates were just assholes, and they were going to pollute the vibe of our shared space will all their personal shit for several more years, and there was nothing to do but wait it out.

Posted by: Crid at April 25, 2008 3:47 PM

And from living in the kind of safety where the boundaries are never tested.

Living in SF, I consider it a personal mission to poke and provoke the serious lefties about their unconsidered beliefs. It's helpful with the smart ones, and annoys the dumb ones. Win-win!

Posted by: justin case at April 25, 2008 5:50 PM

"it seems odd that Dr. Laura finds a godless harlot appealing..."

Actually, if you've read a lot of Amy and listened to a lot of Dr. Laura, its pretty easy to imagine this conversation:

Laura: "Do you have a question for me?"

Amy: "Not really. I have a boyfriend that I love and treat well and we do not live together."

Laura: "You mean you don't "shack up." That's good. So are you dating to possibly get married or for companionship?"

Amy: "Companionship. Neither of us wants to have children."

Laura: "And you're how old?"

Amy: "43" (is this right?)

Laura: "Congratulations. You're an adult who knows what she wants out of life and accepts responsibility for the outcomes related to pursuing those goals. I don't cure normal. Proceed."

Posted by: snakeman99 at April 25, 2008 10:33 PM

I LOVE Dr. Laura...and you too Amy. I wasn't planning to go, but, with the two of you together I wouldn't miss it.
I'll be there with my hunky boyfriend.

Posted by: Tru at April 26, 2008 8:59 AM

Worst thing about Dr. Laura is that she calls herself Doctor when she's actually a physiologist or something. It's a little bit of puffery that's completely unnecessary. (Same with Dean Edell, he's an opthamologist or soemthing.) Better to go the Amy way, just say "I have brass balls and can show you the way, people." (Paraphrase. No offense intended) That's what Laura's callers need to hear.

Besides, just looked her up on Wikipedia and she turned her back on her religion a few years ago when no one was looking. Apparently her faith have a sort of Mother Teresa-style hollowness.

Posted by: Crid at April 26, 2008 10:20 AM

"Worst thing about Dr. Laura is that she calls herself Doctor when she's actually a physiologist or something."

"Or something?" So, you don't know, but you call her on this? What happened? Did you get spanked on her show for something? Please. It is so easy to find these things.

I find it a shame that so many people need to be told what to do on a national radio show, find the callers to be unbearable after a few minutes, and find that Dr. Laura occasionally jumps the gun in going right to instructing the caller what to do, but I'm not suggesting that she's unqualified to do that.

Hey, go figure. Some people hate Kelly Ripa. It's apparently included in the cost of fame.

Posted by: Radwaste at April 28, 2008 2:31 AM

Whatever you all think of Laura Schlessinger, the woman has - if she were so equipped - balls the size of Rush Limbaugh's massive head.

The hall she spoke at with Amy at UCLA was right along side loon row (9/11 truthers, Michael-Moore-mouth-frothers, etc.).

Posted by: Michele at April 28, 2008 11:58 AM

Actually I've been calling that sidewalk next to the hall where Amy and Laura spoke "nutcase alley" -- ever since I got accosted by a Lyndon Larouche cultist some years ago who wouldn't take no for an answer when I declined her literature handout.

But anyway, I've seem Amy's "advice goddess" column in the Ventura County Reporter, and am often quite amused by the with, as well as usually pretty much agreeing with the advice. So when I saw her listed as moderator for two events at the festival, I went more to see the personality behind the advice column than for the subject matter. And I've never been much of a fan of Dr. Laura -- I've always found her "impatience" with callers makes me rather uncomfortable and I end up switching the station within a few minutes.

I was not disappointed. I found the "personality behind the column" quite engaging. And not nearly as acerbic or sarcastic as I expected based on the column. I really found interesting and entertaining the "happiness" panel, and really enjoyed the interaction between Amy and Dr. Laura. And I came away with a different attitude about Dr. Laura, understanding better the method behind the "impatience". These two events were the highlights of the festival for me, largely by virtue of Amy's personality. Yes I guess I'm a little smitten!

By the way, I'm the guy who asked the nerdy question at the happiness panel about the validity of measuring someone's happiness by asking them to rate their happiness on a scale of 1 to 10.

Posted by: MBM at April 29, 2008 4:53 PM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 24, 2008 6:28 AM

Comments

Hi Amy, Please don't write off Britain just yet. While there are huge piles of 'well meaning' councilors who are all up for 'religious tolerance' most of the population works on a more pragmatic view.

I really don't think you are going to see Sharia law imposed here in my lifetime.

Of course this may be because I'll be one of the first up against the wall....

Posted by: Simon at April 24, 2008 4:50 AM

Paul Verhoeven, the director of "Basic Instinct" and of the abomination known as the movie version of "Starship Troopers," is writing a book on Jesus. The book will apparently posit that Jesus was conceived when a Roman soldier raped Mary and make various other wild claims that, I presume, will go directly against the beliefs that more than a million Christians hold worldwide, and probably in a deliberately offensive manner. Do you think Verhoeven will have to live under 24-hour protection in his home? Do you think he'll be bombarded with death threats - not get a few, but be bombarded? Do you think he'll be hounded out of countries? In other words, do you think he'll be treated like Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Because I don't. I really, really, really don't.

Now, please imagine for a second that Verhoeven had said that he was going to write a book claiming that one of the main Islamic tenets about Muhammed were untrue, and not in an uplifting way. He'd be under armed guard within 24 hours. Tom White isn't the only one who knows Muslims who profess themselves to be horrified by violence and terrorism - but somehow those people don't seem capable of reining in the violently lethal side of their religion.

Posted by: meg at April 24, 2008 5:55 AM

Add Irshad Manji to the list of those speaking up. You can speak up too - sign her petition.

Posted by: Norman at April 24, 2008 6:35 AM

Sorry - in my comment above, I should have said "...that more than a billion Christians hold worldwide...". Need caffeine.

Posted by: meg at April 24, 2008 6:40 AM

I love you, Amy. You are a straight up quinine tonic to this diseased world.

Posted by: liz at April 24, 2008 6:56 AM

Thanks, Liz. I hope to persuade a few of the nitwits, too.

Hi Amy, Please don't write off Britain just yet. While there are huge piles of 'well meaning' councilors who are all up for 'religious tolerance' most of the population works on a more pragmatic view.

Simon, it's a population thing. European countries have let in all these immigrants, and they're having litters of children (many of them, on the dole) and then there are those converting to Islam (Hello? Gotta especially love the dim women doing this), and in my lifetime, I suspect there are European nations which will go under to Islam. I picture the Mona Lisa's face being painted over when I think of this.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 24, 2008 7:07 AM

Amen, sister!

Posted by: Spartee at April 24, 2008 7:18 AM

Simon, it's a population thing. European countries have let in all these immigrants, and they're having litters of children

The future belongs to those that show up for it.

Posted by: brian at April 24, 2008 8:47 AM

This subject really pisses me off. I remember right after 9/11 when Bush made statements assuring us that Islam was a "religion of peace" and then we had all this "outreach" by local Muslims explaining to all of us infidels that Islam was again ... "A religion of Peace".

I remember thinking, "Why are you wasting your fucking time trying to convince me??? You need to convince your fellow Muslim mother fuckers who are planning to fly more planes into buildings"

Amercian Muslims have been largely silent on this.
As someone who is Irish, if the IRA had flown those planes into the WTC because of the way the USA has supported Britain I would have been the first to volunteer to bring the murdering bastards to justice. Even though I sympathise with their cause, I'm an American first.
You don't get that attitude from many American Muslims.

Posted by: sean at April 24, 2008 9:20 AM

Nice rant, Amy. You're correct that some of Tom's Muslim acquaintances probably don't know the finer points of the Qur'an and ahadith, and therefore, they really do believe their religion is peaceful. Certainly not all Muslims are interested in waging any sort of jihad, but Islam itself, is not peaceful.

The problem is that those Muslims who do appear on news shows DO know the finer points (CAIR & MPAC reps, for instance), and they are propaganda artists who use taqiyya to deceive. For CAIR to condemn violence on their website, means nothing when they are engaged in a soft jihad to subvert our laws and enact sharia wherever they can.

Posted by: Connie at April 24, 2008 10:02 AM

YELLOW! i feel like a stalker, but anyways.

It's awfully true that most American Muslims kept quiet over the whole 'terror' thing. It feels as if they rather not be involved and while the silence builds, the connotation of 'terrorism' has no choice but to take the turn after 9/11.

Your comments/replies were so witty and amusing. It's all too great(:

Posted by: Lina at April 24, 2008 6:30 PM

Part of the problem we face is that many Europeans & Americans feel this ludicrous sense of guilt over their nation's respective past history as conquorers & imperialists. I say ludicrous for multiple reasons, but not the least of that is because its just stupid to feel guilty about things that we of the present day were not alive to even have done.

The result of that insipid guilt is a hesitation to defend their own country or culture.

Throw in with that this PC crap trying to treat every culture & every idea as if it were perfectly ok everywhere & in every way.

And you have a recipe for spinelessness for which we can thank incompetent baby boomers.

However, all is not lost. The same thing that gives Islam an advantage also allows it to shoot itself in the foot. The U.S. is particularly attentive to the brutality of Islam in general because of its relatively recent violent impact on us personally. However, it is only a matter of time before Islamic nuts give Europe the 9/11 they've been promising to provide for years. Or they'll think they've got an advantage and try a serious uprising, or something equally self destructive that will result in being reigned in.

Perhaps a sense of pride in their culture & heritage is to much to ask, but that they'd wake up to the threat to themselves might not be to much to ask.

Posted by: Robert at April 24, 2008 9:55 PM

Hey Amy,

This paragraph:

>>>>From the 1.2 billion Muslims, less than 1% of all Muslims truly understand Islam. This means that less 120 million Muslims understand Islam and about 7.1 billion have no idea what Islam is about....

Makes NO sense methematically. Percantages and such are crazy. In fact, there are not 7.1 Billion people in the world. Might want to tune that up.

Otherwise, Love the article and comments as always. Keep up the good fight. I like what you say about the borders too. We have LOST that battle. I should know, I just retired from 23 years in the Border Patrol!

Posted by: Carl Pietrantonio at April 25, 2008 7:15 AM

That's somebody else's opinion, so I can't edit it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 25, 2008 7:32 AM

Oh I totally understand the problem with the breeding stupid lazy people systems that we have in place over here "Too dumb or lazy to get a job? Here have some money. Dropped a sprog? Here have a house."
As someone who has worked since he was 14 it annoys me somewhat.

Problem is intelligence doesn't seem to be an evolutionary plus point, sure up to a certain point but beyond that you stop breeding (I mean I'm 35 and don't have kids yet, you have repeatedly said you're not having them, as has my wife for that matter) or breed less than those less mentally gifted.

Sigh. I'll keep fighting the good fight. Or move to the moon.

Posted by: Simon at April 25, 2008 9:11 AM

First time reader, first time poster, sorry for the snark. Perhaps your views about Islam (and those of your occasional readers) might benefit from some wider reading. Putting Islam in the context of another world religions might make the world less scary for you. My worry is that your fright is interfering with your deep and "largely" (?) libertarian convictions. Try to be consistent, at least.

http://home.earthlink.net/~owl233/biblequotes.htm

You're welcome

Posted by: Nick at April 25, 2008 8:35 PM

Casual racism and selective fact finding abound. Glad to see you properly researched my life to find out all about me which apparently boils down to the fact that I hail from a country that will soon be under Sharia Law (really? You should go there sometime and take a look around) and that I know "3" muslims, which is remarkably inaccurate and a poorly used device thoughout your argument against me. The fact that you feel you know me so well that you can rather bizarrely refer to me in a condescendingly affectionate way with "Big Tom" and "sweetiepie" is oh so very cute.

Your own claim that Muslims who are against terrorism aren't likely to speak out because their religion somehow condones murder is refuted by your admission that there are Muslims speaking out - though it only seems to matter to you if it's on TV (that bastion of truth) or in P.R. (a claim I don't quite get, P.R. for who?). I'll be sure to tell all my friends that their opinions don't matter until they appear on Oprah.

Also, by your own logic, if these are Muslims speaking out against terrorism, then they cannot actually be Muslims, because Islam commands killing, so if they do not condone killing, they cannot then be true Muslims. I don't understand. Are these Muslims or not? If so, then you have to admit that Islam as a religion can be peaceful and your whole argument dissolves.

You claim you've been reading about Islam since 9-11. Under what motivation I wonder? I grew up in a city with a huge immigrant population from India and Pakistan, but I guess my 30 years of first hand experience with people could never compare with your 7 years of academic research. I never said I agreed with Islam's tenants (or any religion for that matter) but I do condone the demonisation of an entire belief system based upon the acts of a few, and yes it is a minority. If that were the criteria then no religion or government would escape your ire. I'm not even going to go into why that is because it's obvious.

Try applying the ideas of convert or kill, tax or humiliate to the actions of our supposedly civilised governments and your argument that Islam is the enemy start to look short-sighted indeed.

As for the commentator on Jihadwatch, I can't believe you're quoting his nonsense as if it were a reliable source. The guy can't even get his numbers right, how he can claim that less than 1% of Muslims actually understand Islam then base his argument on that arbitrary judgement is beyond me. As for his claims no other religions make demands on the world's populations, they are untrue in the extreme - there are fundamentalists and evangelicals in every religion and many people are virtually enslaved by their devotion to their religious leaders. Excellent research Amy, the guy who wrote that comment is obviously a worthy scholar.

Oh and as for the blog I maintain, yes I post photographs taken by other people, no I don't earn any money from it or intend to profit financially from their work. The purpose of the blog is decidedly non-commercial aside from the fact that I occasionally promote some photography that I like, which brings me no money and benefits them anyway. I can legally use these images under fair use copyright laws, which is something I believe you are against and as you correctly deduce is actually how I came across your rantings; via the blog by that other nitwit who has been stinking up your comment sections.

Please, carry on shouting over my head, I'll be getting on with the things in life I value while you go slowly hoarse.

By the way, I've read lots. Nice of you to ask. I'm currently exploring the bloody history of the United States. Plenty of Genocide, abuse of human rights, war, wholesale slaughter of peoples and populations and Intolerance. Lovely. The British Imperialists would be so proud.


Posted by: Tom White at April 26, 2008 12:48 AM

Nick, dear, try joining the 21st Century. Or the 20th, just for starters. I'm no friend of god-belief (I consider it primitive and ridiculous to believe in something without evidence), but again, the Christians and Jews might have all sorts of silly stuff in their religious books but the essential difference? Rabbi Schwartz and Father Mulligan aren't standing up before their congregations and urging them to go kill the infidels. Many imams are.

Snark is fine, but ideally, put some substance behind it.

PS Posting barbaric bible quotes is old hat here. Tired stuff. You're welcome to come back, but the second time you post, try for more thought and less moldy links.

Oh yeah, and sorry, but if I were a *true* libertarian, would I find death cults more charming? Is there a manual on how all libertarians are supposed to think? (I do have a copy of Hayek's The Road To Serfdom in my bathroom.)

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 26, 2008 12:49 AM

No, not all Muslims are violent barbarians -- just the ones who follow the Koran closely, and there are far too many of them.

As for the people you know...as they say in epidemiology, anecdote is not the plural of evidence.

Oh and as for the blog I maintain, yes I post photographs taken by other people, no I don't earn any money from it or intend to profit financially from their work. The purpose of the blog is decidedly non-commercial aside from the fact that I occasionally promote some photography that I like, which brings me no money and benefits them anyway.

Reprinting the work of photographers devalues that work in the marketplace. Read a little yourself. You do not have the right to post others' work in its entirety just because you aren't making money on it. They're benefiting from it? Right. Why don't you ask them permission and pay licensing fees for these photographers' work? See how eager they are to let their work out for free on your blog. Taking somebody's photography and publishing it without paying for is stealing.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 26, 2008 1:02 AM

Thanks for your reply, Amy. But reread your post. All that you are doing with your blog is referencing the "silly stuff." The lunatics you selectively cite again and again are the animated equivalent of those scary bible quotes. I could just as easily find a number of just as recent and just as scary sound bites of nutty Christian preachers and televangelists. Remember, we're talking about individuals here. Just as most people don't leave a synagogue or church after an angry sermon to blow something up, the same is true of Muslims, and as a libertarian you ought to respect this. The potential for terrorism exists, and some countries live under sharia, and some blow-hards espouse vile and justifiably condemnable views. The difference between us is what we extrapolate from those radical views. Terrorism is a real threat, but not a new threat, and the kinds of views you promote with this blog do nothing to productively address the real social and economic concerns that motivate terror. There are deeper, more productive and efficient ways of dealing with terrorism and oppression that you really don't seem interested in.

Posted by: Nick at April 26, 2008 10:01 AM

Taking somebody's photography and publishing it without paying for is stealing?

Nonsense. Check the law - http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

I am allowed to use work for the purpose of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

My blog is a non-profit tool for promotion and discussion. Some of the work is put up there with permission, some isn't - it depends on the source.

If it were subscription based or published in print or on line to be sold, then I would indeed ask permission and pay fees for the work. As it is not, I don't have to.

And you claim to be informed. Obviously you are not.


Posted by: Tom White at April 26, 2008 11:09 AM

Whether you are paid for the use isn't the issue. Furthermore, one of the criteria is "transformative use." You COULD link to the work and then discuss it on your blog. It's simply unethical and frankly creepy to take the work of others without permission or payment and post it on your blog. Furthermore, it devalues their work in the marketplace if it is posted for free.

You disgust me.

And you don't understand fair use.

I've been to...actually, four seminars on this, three of which were put on by lawyers (Alice Neff Lucan and some bigwig Washington lawyer who spoke at the last national features editors' conference." The other time, Gillmor spoke at the alt weeklies conference.

But, you might just read the law, you photo swiper.

Or grow some ethics, creepazoid. What in your ethical framework says it's okay to take the creative work of others -- through which they earn a living -- and seize it and use it without compunction. You're used toiletpaper in the paper aisle of life.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 26, 2008 7:52 PM

So you've attended seminars. So what? I am still within my rights, regarding the way I use other's work. I can argue my use is legit, and I do. Unethical? Creepy? Disugsting? Not at all.

Also, you seem unable refrain from the pathetic use of insulting and nonsensical schoolyard language and actually behave like an intelligent human being. It seems your strategy in dealing with those you disagree with you is to resort to insults. How very pathetic. This is the antithesis of intelligent debate and I do not have the time for it.

If the best you can do is write dull put-downs and continue to attack me on the basis of a blog I administer while completely ignoring the points I have raised in opposition to your arguments then I shall have to take my leave of you.

Good day.

Posted by: Tom White at April 27, 2008 7:44 PM

But, you aren't within your rights unless you're getting permission from the photographers' whose work you post. There are other points -- if it's "transformative," used for purposes of criticism, it can possibly be fair use. And maybe you've gotten permission and paid licensing fees to those whose work you publish. If not, the fact that you apparently find it okay to post the work of others says everything about you, starting with terms like "morally vacant."

FYI, the seminars I've attended were run by experts in the field. Where'd you study "fair use"? Same place you studied ethics, I'm guessing.

And I don't wish you a good day, because I'm not insincere like you (on top of your other failings). I wish you have a day in which you learn by example that it's wrong to take the labors of others as if it's no big deal.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 27, 2008 8:37 PM

You are in good company Amy: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Melanie Phillips (see her blog at The Spectator for the latest silliness in British political correctness over Islam), Christopher Hitchens, Martin Amis.... and, especially for Tom White, the late and great Oriana Fallaci.

There are none so blind as those who will not see the reality of Islam.

Posted by: lizzylights at April 29, 2008 11:57 PM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 24, 2008 5:18 AM

Comments

Now, sometimes Jared Diamond can be a little too lefty for my tastes, but this article (from A&LD again) describes an attitude like this in some detail.

Note particularly the passage about how people who die merely of diseases are forgotten.

Posted by: Crid at April 24, 2008 11:36 AM

Thanks for the link, Crid. Very interesting piece -- and the point about disease not being an immortality producer I think is a very relevant ones.

Muslim culture isn't a culture that fosters personal achievement or the individualism necessary for that. In fact, you could say Muslim cultures are predisposed against invention, science, and other kinds of advancement -- perhaps explaining why so many Muslims take the death cult approach to making a difference in the world. Not an excuse in the slightest - but an explanation for why, as religions go, Islam is the worst.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 24, 2008 12:16 PM

I think that's true, but Islam and the wretchedness of the cultures it lives in seem to be mutually corrupting, and it can be tough to say which is which.

Like this: Imagine the Muslim primitive of your nightmares in whatever country you find him, making his (meager) living and bringing whatever leadership to his family that you imagine he has to offer, all while devoutly praying four times a day etc. Now imagine his neighbor, who happens to be Godless and for whatever reason is able to get around without all the usual gestures of piety.

If it came down to practicalities, you'd still hate both those guys. In terms of how they treated women, how they conducted their businesses, and how they regarded the interests of other people, they'd be indistinguishably wretched.

I'd bet.

Posted by: Crid at April 24, 2008 12:38 PM

Amy,

I would suspect that many who read your blog view you as very liberal, which many would tend to associate with being "left wing". They must be quite confused then why you take such a hard line when it comes to militant Islam. The lack of comments on columns such as this one compared to your "usual" columns support this thesis.

Frankly though, I think you're the one who has morally consistent views, not those who give Islamic oppression a pass because ... well, I've never really been sure why.

Here in Vancouver, where I live, I have very left-leaning acquaintances all around me, each describing themselves as "very liberal". Yet if anyone - be it you or our Conservative Prime Minister - speak out against oppression in the Muslim world or Africa or China - then these same liberal folks are so quickly to condemn such comments as "right wing hate speech".

It's a very curious phenomenon that should be closely examined by psychologists!!

Robert Werner

P.S. Your column still rocks, after the year or so that I've been reading it. You're like the literary equivalent of Dennis Miller on the radio.

P.S.2. Speaking of which, when are we going to be seeing the Amy Alkon Show on radio or TV or even the Internet?!

Posted by: Robert Werner at April 25, 2008 12:29 AM

Thanks so much, Robert. PS I'm no longer in a paper up there in Vancouver. Feel free to request me (to the features editor at the daily or the editor and/or publisher at the alt weekly - the Westender, for example, which used to run me). That's how I earn my living, when you read me in a paper!

As far as being considered "liberal," I don't think regular readers of my blog see me that way. I'm fiscally conservative, largely libertarian (but not for open borders), and a "personal responsibilitarian."

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 25, 2008 5:29 AM

"Aww, how touching. Can you imagine a parent -- Jewish, Christian, or atheist -- who would be proud to raise a child to be a murderer?"

well, maybe 20 centuries ago...

Posted by: SwissArmyD at April 25, 2008 5:05 PM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 23, 2008 1:09 PM

Comments

Perhaps instead of just shipping them back to the US/Mexico boarder we should drop them off at the Mexico/Guatamalin boarder.


Of course the reason immigration laws are not enfored is because the government is working an a North American contintent state with a fudal economy full of cheap, poor, uneducated workers so hard up for money they will work for next to nothing.

Thats why I look forward to the next good plauge. Nothing like killing off over half the work force to jump start the economy and innovation. If the labor pool gets smaller employers are forced to rely on well trained and well paid workers rather than an endless supply of willing slaves.

And as for the article, 2 livers seems like one to many for most people let alone someone who shouldnt even be here

Posted by: lujlp at April 23, 2008 1:57 AM

"All transplants are about rationing," said Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA, which favors stricter controls on immigration. "I just don't think the public ought to be funding any kind of benefits for people who are breaking the law."

Abso-fuckin'lutely!! I'm an organ donor, or, was, until I read this. I will be cancelling my donor's permission forthwith.


Posted by: Flynne at April 23, 2008 5:40 AM

I can't recall who said it, but someone said "People get the government they deserve."

Frankly, despicable as the whole thing is, we can't blame the illegal for taking advantage of it, any more than we can be angry at a guest in our home for taking the extra glass of wine we offer to them. The illegal in question took advantage of a system that was designed to provide exactly that, free medical care.

What we SHOULD be mad at, is OUR elected officials, who chose to use taxpayer money in this way.

I empathize with any parent or grandparent's agony, none of either should have to watch their little ones perish before themselves. It is the ultimate nightmare.

However, it is NOT the responsibility nor is it within the ABILITY of our government to provide life and health for foriegn peoples. We have no business seeing to others before we see to ourselves. Outside of the military, there is no free health care, the solution to the health care problem has yet to be found, and they spend money...our money, on foriegners? If people want to help those in disadvantaged nations, fine, let them use their money to do so. If they want to donate their liver to poor immigrants & illegals, again fine. However did we really vote people into office who decided our money is best spent on people from beyond our own borders? If so, we have no one but ourselves...and our elected officials, to blame if we keep them, and their senseless laws, in place. The illegals themselves? Deport them...but its just foolish to blame them for simply taking advantage of what our elected officials provide.

Moreover:

In their dire efforts to save this one foriegn person, they may very well have killed 3 citizens, 3 of our own children perhaps, because they chose to give those livers away repeatedly to a person whose body rejected them. Now they do it a fourth time.
Do they kill a fourth person? I don't know.

Will they kill a fifth if this one fails too? I'd wager the answer is a damn sight more certain that "probably".


Posted by: Robert H. Butler at April 23, 2008 5:45 AM

This is the crux of the issue for me:

"How many of you U.S. residents commenting here get free medical care? How about a free liver? Two free livers? Three free livers? Or how about FOUR free livers"

I don't know how it works but if anyone does could they explain this? Here's a scenario: I need a liver transplant but don't have health insurance and can't afford to pay for it myself. What happens to me?

Would I be told "sorry your SOL" or will Massachusetts pick up the tab? Again, I'm unsure how it works. If I, an American paying taxes, would be left to die I don't understand how the government could allow such an inequity to occur (but it wouldn't surprise me, it's just criminal).

Anyone see John Q.? Such a situation reminds me of that movie (except he did have insurance, just "not enough").

Posted by: Gretchen at April 23, 2008 6:33 AM

I suspect those saying they will stop being organ donors are releasing steam, but what a tragedy that anyone should die from lack of an organ because of petulance.

The funding of the system is a whole seperate issue.

Lord my body,
has been a good friend,
but I won't need it,
when I reach the end.

~Cat Stevens~

Makes sense to me.

Posted by: eric at April 23, 2008 8:21 AM

Just amazed. So let me get this straight. There are people out there that are changing their organ donor status because it might go to a "foreigner". I guess I understand, better to let the damn thing rot inside me than to save someone's life I don't approve of. I continue to be awed by our ability to show our lack of compassion to people that are different than ourselves. Look don't get me wrong I know they are saying it is about the money, and I am sure that is at least part of it. And I do believe that if we were able to get rid of every illegal alein our taxes may drop a few percentage points. But the reality of the situation is this. Your taxes are never going to go down. You are never going to fix the imigration problem shortn of annexing Mexico. Even if you could the goverment would find something a lot less worthy than saving a life to spend your hard eaned money on.

Posted by: PVM at April 23, 2008 8:22 AM

What about the case a few years ago where the illegal alien child was given a new heart with the wrong blood type at Duke Univ Med Ctr? They of course had to come up with another heart with the correct blood type. This was profiled on 60 minutes, I think. With an emphasis on the mistake made by the med staff. The illegal alien status was just a footnote. Oh, and the Mexican family sued Duke for the error.
Great country we live in.

Posted by: Sean at April 23, 2008 8:28 AM

Until the once great, now late, USA declares that medical services (among one of the many things) will absolutely not be provided to illegal aliens...I won't even consider being an organ donor. Period. End of story.

Posted by: zeezil at April 23, 2008 8:45 AM

There are people out there that are changing their organ donor status because it might go to a "foreigner".

You forgot the word "illegal" - that's my beef. If I could get a guarantee that my liver or whatever else that was needed would not be put in an illegal foreigner's body, I wouldn't have a problem. But I can't. So I just won't. Maybe I'll change my living will to specify that I want my organs used to enhance the life of someone who lives in this country legally, but even that's not a guarantee, is it? My Irish/Welsh/English/German ancestors came here with nothing, but did it legally. And there weren't any signs posted in Gaelic or German to help them along, either.

Posted by: Flynne at April 23, 2008 8:55 AM

If your beautiful piano playing daughter was on the table, needing a new kidney, would you refuse an illegal alien's donation?

If someone needed my lungs, kidneys, or whatever, I wouldn't care if it was Jenna Bush or Pedro the gardener.

Again, the funding is a whole seperate issue.

Posted by: eric at April 23, 2008 9:32 AM

My Mexican/Irish ancestors also came here legally. But my grandfather was never a citizen of this great country of ours because the system was set up so that it was nearly impossible to do so. Thirty five straight one year work visas. Always gainfully employed, self taught to read and write in two languages. Three sons three daughters who are citizens who all graduated high school when he never had the chance for any schooling past the most elementary. First grade if I remember the stories right. His grandchildren have in their number Two PHD's a number of engineers and countless other proffesionals. This is the "American Dream". This is the same dream that is no more than a dream where these people are coming from. I will never fault a person for wanting to improve the qality of life for their family. The people catch the bame but the system is at fault. It is nearly impossible and priced way out of reach for the "worker" in Mexico to come into the USA and become a citizen. I will garentee you one thing if my grandfather had not come into this country in the twenties and I was over there watching my child grow up in a poverty that not many people here can even begin to imagine, No damn fence would stop me from trying to make a better life for me and mine. To withhold what is a lifesaving jesture from someone because they were here to improve the quality of their life is incredibly petty. Petty is not nearly strong enough a word to describe it but best I could do.

Posted by: PVM at April 23, 2008 9:38 AM

Eric, that's not the point. Because if my beautiful piano playing daughter was on the table, needing a new kidney, I don't really think that one would be available from an illegal alien. They're not exactly known for stepping up.

If someone needed my lungs, kidneys, or whatever, I wouldn't care if it was Jenna Bush or Pedro the gardener.

Again, not the point, as long as Pedro the gardener was here legally and as such, was entitled to medical care under the law. If Paris-Airhead-Hilton needed one of my kidneys, fine! This isn't about whether or not I like someone (believe me when I tell you that Paris isn't in my Top 100) or not, it's about are you here legally and entitled to medical care. And I don't care who you are, you are not entitled for 4 goddamn livers if you are here illegally. You're not even entitled to ONE as far as I'm concerned. Now, if some kind, private citizen wanted to pay for you, fine. But I don't think any illegal alien in this country is entitled to any medical aid at the expense of the tax payer. I'm happy for you that you are more magnanimous than I, but it's exactly that that encourages more illegal aliens to come here. Everthing for them is free, while I have to pay not only for me and my children, but for them as well! I don't like it, no sir, not one little bit.

Posted by: Flynne at April 23, 2008 9:45 AM

Legal/illegal status aside (I'm pretty much in agreement with you on this one Amy), the utter insanity of this is that you would give this person 4 new livers. We seem to have this notion that everyone has the right and ability to live long lives. Everyone dies, some at a young age and some when they are old and gray. At some point we have to say, "I'm sorry, but these organs are going to those who have a higher probablility of survival." I had the same issues when Micky Mantle was given a new liver when his doctors knew full well that his prognosis was dim at best, even with a new liver.

Doctors never want to say that there's nothing more to be done except to get your affairs in order, who can blame them. Just one of the reasons I'm not a doctor.

Posted by: Aardvark at April 23, 2008 9:45 AM

21. I am cancelling my donor permission on my drivers license. The ultimate insult to me as an American would be to have my organs used to prolong the life of someone who is in the United States illegally and has never contributed to the American economy, but has sucked the system dry. Submitted by: American 2:31 PM PDT, April 14, 2008

22. I don't care who you are...no one is deserving of 4 livers. After the first two, the doctors and hospitals should have come to the realization that the body is going to reject whatever they put inside it. There is no way an American citizen would be given the same level of treatment in Mexico, China or the Phillippines. I will no longer be an organ donor.
Submitted by: Sandra V.
2:29 PM PDT, April 14, 2008

31. Because she's here illegally from birth, we owe her her fourth liver? So far, we've 'contributed' at least $2 million for this illegal alien. And, the young man is 'mad' because we owe him for a liver just because he's here illegally? And, the idiots in our governments can't figure out why American taxpayers don't want to be dying because the health care they support is going to felons. Submitted by: ethel640 12:44 PM PDT, April 14, 2008

What is it exactly, that you don't get about this issue?
End of story. You wanna play here, you pay here. Just. Like. The. REST. Of. Us. Or take your goddamn ball and GO HOME.

Posted by: Flynne at April 23, 2008 9:55 AM

Flynne, I believe you just proved my last two statements for me.

Posted by: PVM at April 23, 2008 10:05 AM

Flynne- I was going to use Paris Hilton in my example, but went with Jenna!

The majority of organ transplants probably go to citizens and legal aliens in this country, and there is a shortage, so why possibly deprive someone you would consider eligble of a free life saving gift?

(Funny- I couldn't remember if separate was seperate or separate, so I looked it up. And then typed it wrong anyway, twice.)

Posted by: eric at April 23, 2008 10:05 AM

I will garentee you one thing if my grandfather had not come into this country in the twenties and I was over there watching my child grow up in a poverty that not many people here can even begin to imagine, No damn fence would stop me from trying to make a better life for me and mine.

But you'd still be here ILLEGALLY. That's very commendable that you would want a better life for you and yours, but getting it ILLEGALLY is still ILLEGAL. Why are you deliberately not getting this?

Posted by: Flynne at April 23, 2008 10:07 AM

PMV said “I continue to be awed by our ability to show our lack of compassion to people that are different than ourselves” I don’t think this is an issue of compassion. Yes, I feel for this little girl and her failing liver. Yes, I think she should get a liver if one is available and she is able to PAY for it. Heck I’d even be willing to subsidies the first liver but issue isn’t about subsidizing health care it’s about FREE health care for SOME. Those SOME are here illegally therefore, they aren’t paying in to the system that they are reaping the benefits of. For me it’s less about me wanting my taxes decreased its more about the reallocation of the current taxes if they weren’t being used to provide FREE health care. I’m in debt up to my eyeballs because of an essential surgery and I don’t expect anyone else to pay for it. Why then, am I expected to take care of those who aren’t contributing? Further, this has nothing to do with the issue of immigration, these people aren’t immigrating they are here illegally and expecting the tax payer to support them.

Posted by: Lindsey at April 23, 2008 10:12 AM

I am guessing you have no idea what it takes for a citizen of Mexico to become a citizen of the USA. It is impossible or nearly enough so to make it unobtainable for the average Mexican citizen. The people who can afford it are afluent enough in Mexico to not need to come here for a bearable life. So would I brake the law, do something "illegal" to save my family, in a heartbeat. Don't read more into that then is there we are talking about crossing the border here. As I said in the first post. The people are not to blame, the system makes it impossible for them to improve their life legally. So, no I do not blame them. Also, I don't care who gets my organs once I am done with them. I checked the donor box to possibly save a life. Not to withhold life because I don't agree with the way you lived yours.

Posted by: PVM at April 23, 2008 10:19 AM

> So would I brake the law,
> do something "illegal" to
> save my family, in a
> heartbeat.

What people *won't* do, apparently, is fix their own nation (or "system"). It's easier just to break into the the US and complain that things cost too much.

Posted by: Crid at April 23, 2008 10:48 AM

Crid, you beat me to it. But, I'll second that with what I was about to post when I read yours:

Your country's system's broken? Fix it -- don't break into ours.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 23, 2008 10:52 AM

Hell, we're Americans! We'll even break into other people's countries to fix their system, no matter what it costs!

Posted by: eric at April 23, 2008 10:55 AM

I know this is a wasted effort, but here I go anyway,

"What people *won't* do, apparently, is fix their own nation (or "system"). It's easier just to break into the the US and complain that things cost too much."

Lets see mile after mile of desert, no real stable economy for 50% of the population, a corrupt goverment, a class system, and to top all that off, they had possibly the best plot of land in the world stolen from them by their over agressive neighbors to the north. If your curious I am talking about California. You know, where we are now so dead set on not letting them into.

Love to see it fixed, but the people it hurts the most don't stand a chance of doing it.

Posted by: pvm at April 23, 2008 11:02 AM

"and to top all that off, they had possibly the best plot of land in the world stolen from them by their over agressive neighbors to the north"

yeah, afterall it's not like the Spanish didn't originally steal it from all these groups of Native Americans and whoever else has come and gone in the last 10,000 years.

give me a fweakin' break. The Spanish originally stole Mexico from the Aztecs as well, who conquered the previous owners of the valley of the sun... how far do we have to go back for some justice?

THIS, is what happens when your boarder is so permeable, that you can't control the movement across it. That the kid figured out how to game the system? Well, shame on us for making it so easy for her, and so hard for our own. I don't begrudge her, her life. She is only trying everything she can to stay alive.

Posted by: SwissArmyD at April 23, 2008 11:57 AM

There is one point (among others) that the calls for "compassion" are missing.

What makes an illegal immigrant more entitled to free medical care paid for by US citizens more than a law-abiding citizen of Mexico? Why is an illegal more entitled because they broke the law? Because it's no less "compassionate" for the US to provide free medical care for those in Mexico who have need of it, right?

Should US citizen organ donors send their organs to Indonesia next? There's probably people that need them, and it's unfortunate that they can't sneak into the United States so easily.

The point is that there's limited resources, and those should go FIRST to those who are here legally and are actually CONTRIBUTING to the system. It's perfectly reasonable to be upset by finding out otherwise. And unlike taxes, each person gets to choose whether or not they donate organs. It's not mandated, yet.

Posted by: Jamie at April 23, 2008 12:07 PM

Wouldn't it be cheaper to close the border, export the illegals, and equip them with lawyers, guns, and money to overthrow their corrupt Mexico?

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at April 23, 2008 12:52 PM

"Wouldn't it be cheaper to close the border, export the illegals, and equip them with lawyers, guns, and money to overthrow their corrupt Mexico?"

Hasn't this been tried many times by various governments with many other countries? Doesn't always end well.
And in this specific case, what's to stop them from turning right around and using those arms, money, and lawyers to get through the now "closed" border?

Maybe you were being facetious, maybe not, but I felt I'd take the poke regardless.

Posted by: Jamie at April 23, 2008 1:00 PM

Until the once great, now late, USA declares that medical services (among one of the many things) will absolutely not be provided to illegal aliens...I won't even consider being an organ donor. Period. End of story.

I just cannot believe that attitude. I agree with the majority here that illegals should be dead last in the queue or out of it entirely, but withholding your organ donation is throwing the baby out with the bathwater for Christ's sake.

There is an organ shortage with or without the illegals in the system. Some Americans may die because an organ that could have saved them went to an illegal. What kind of twisted goddamn logic makes people think the appropriate response is to withhold their organs and make it certain that some Americans will die because the organ they need is never available to anyone?

Posted by: SeanH at April 23, 2008 1:00 PM

PVM - Mexico gave the land to us because THEY COULDN'T CONTROL IT.

Second, what does it say about Mexico that 10% of their population (according to CIA Fact Book, Mexico has about 107 million, and we keep hearing that 10-12 million Mexican illegals are in the US) is willing to cross a desert to sneak into our country?

Don't bitch to me about how Mexico is so much desert. The Israelis managed to turn a desert into a fertile nation.

Mexico is fucked up because the majority of Mexicans would rather come to the US, flip the Gringos the bird, and engage in cultural colonization than fix their own country.

Mexico could be fixed, and it would be if other alternatives were made significantly more difficult/expensive.

Posted by: brian at April 23, 2008 1:18 PM

"My Irish/Welsh/English/German ancestors came here with nothing, but did it legally. And there weren't any signs posted in Gaelic or German to help them along, either"

That is debatable. It depends who you ask the question. I think American Indians will say they came here illegally.

The reason why some South Americans risk their lives to get here illegally is the same as your ancestors. It is money.

IRS has data bases who are legals or illegals in this country as a good number of illegals file income tax returns as it is required step before they can apply for legal status. The illegals are paying in social security taxes and income taxes hoping that that will work favorably when they apply for legal status. However, the IRS will not share their data with the INS to crack down the illegals as the IRS likes the free money so much, which the illegals may never able to claim it someday. And they are betting on that.

I am not certain if the illegals are getting a free ride or not as they are paying the taxes. But I am convinced that the system is broken.

Posted by: Chang at April 23, 2008 1:23 PM

PVM - Yes immigration laws are stringent and it is difficult to become a citizen, I'm not sure how any of this entitles them to FREE health care.

Posted by: Lindsey at April 23, 2008 1:35 PM

Lets see mile after mile of desert,

Much like the landscape in Israel. They managed to farm, build cities, and a society, and even a booming tech industry.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 23, 2008 1:43 PM

Whoops, sorry - Brian made that point.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 23, 2008 1:45 PM

"I'm not saying we should deny these children organs. I'm just saying we shouldn't be forced to pay for them."

Get real. Refusing to pay is the same as denying the organ when the recipient has no money or insurance.

Look, I'm with you right down the line on illegal immigration but I part company when it comes to people brought here as young children. I oppose any form of liability without fault. A person brought here illegally as a child had no say in the matter and cannot be held responsible for the situation.

One might reply that such person is responsible for staying once they became an adult and should leave. Don't be ridiculous. Having been brought here as young children they are culturally American and have no established lives in the former country. This is the only home they have known.

I'm for taking as a hard a line as you please with adults who come here illegally of their own volition. But I am just as strongly against penalizing people brought here as children and who have been raised here having known no other home. Throwing these people out - or denying them services - is an abomonation.

No liability without fault. This is a cornerstone concept in the Western legal tradition. Let's not part company with it.

Posted by: Dennis at April 23, 2008 1:55 PM

Oh, by the way. I must fully disclose my personal interest in this matter: Just last week, my stepfather received a kidney transplant. He is an immigrant, having come to the United States (legally) from Japan 25 years ago.

And for you Philistines who think that refusing to donate an organ is an appropriate response to the possibility that an illegal alien might get one: That is a stupid, farcically vindicative response. I mean good God - you're going to forego the 99.99999% chance that an American will get the liver because their is a 0.00001% that some illegal will get it? That's nothing more than a moral kamikazi attack on the organ donation process.

A lot of electrons get zapped on this site to explain that if Muslims don't want to be stereotyped as terrorists, then they need to marginalize their terrorist co-religionists. Well, the same can be said about the closed-borders crowd. If you don't want to be painted as a racist because you oppose illegal immigration, then get your rhetoric under control and start being reasonable. Hammering illegal immigration is one thing. Getting up in arms because someone brought here illegally as a child got, and might get again, livesaving medical treatment, is quite another.

Posted by: Dennis at April 23, 2008 2:09 PM

"That is debatable. It depends who you ask the question. I think American Indians will say they came here illegally."

Actually Chang, it is not debatable and it only matters who you ask if the person you ask is going to play fast and loose with history.

European immigration to the New World was not, in fact, illegal. Nor was the conquest of the New World. These acts occurred during a different phase in human history when sovereign rights over territory were seen to pass legitimately and legally by right of conquest.

And, as another poster pointed out, the concept of sovereignty by right of conquest is NOT just a European export to the New World, because this is exactly the same basis upon which all the indigenous peoples in this hemisphere held claim to their lands. They counquered each other, and were conquered in their turn. It is tragic and unfortunate, but it was the norm at the time.

Very happily for the world today, conquest is no longer a legal or morally acceptably means of territorial expansion. Like slaverly and other monstrous evils, it is in the dustbin of history where it belongs. But this is a modern development. While it held sway, the indiginous peoples of this hemisphere were just as beholden to the concept of conquest - particularly when they benefited - as were the Europeans. Unfortunately for the locals however, the Europeans were far better equipped socially, technologically, and politically to capitalize on the then prevalent system. That makes the natives unfortunate, but not anymore morally pure than anyone else.

Posted by: Dennis at April 23, 2008 2:27 PM

"Very happily for the world today, conquest is no longer a legal or morally acceptably means of territorial expansion."

I disagree. It is happening now and it will happen again as long as we have nations.

When Sadam invaded Iran, we cheered him on and helped him with weapons and information. Where were the other legally and morally acceptable nations when the Vietnam alone invaded the Cambodia to stop the genocide when the killing field thing is going on?

American Indians were outgunned and almost extinguished by Europeans. Yes, it was the unfortunate event for the natives, but calling the genocide "legal" seems too much to accept for the defeated. Do you think the Sioux got the same treatment from the Apaches when they lost the border war?

Posted by: Chang at April 23, 2008 3:07 PM

Those who feel organs should go to illegal aliens same as citizens, and that they should be funded by taxpayers are free to donate their kidneys, for example, to illegal aliens, and pay for their medical care. I'm not saying deny them medical care; I'm saying that organs are scarce, and transplants are very costly, and while I feel for people who are not as fortunate as I am (to be born a U.S. citizen), I do not wish to pay for them. Those who feel differently, well, step up and open your wallets.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 23, 2008 3:37 PM

Funny how everyone is silent when it comes to their money, isnt it?

Posted by: lujlp at April 23, 2008 3:42 PM

All talk, no American Express Platinum.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 23, 2008 4:29 PM

"And in this specific case, what's to stop them from turning right around and using those arms, money, and lawyers to get through the now "closed" border?"

When I suggested closing the border, I meant actually closing the border.

But I see your point. We should just send the guns and money. No lawyers.

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at April 23, 2008 5:41 PM

Dear Chang:

First, as to this comment: "Do you think the Sioux got the same treatment from the Apaches when they lost the border war?" Yes, of course I think they got the same treatment, that is the whole point of my post: Native populations in the Western Hemisphere were just as aggressive, imperialistic, and grasping toward one another as were the European powers. In point of fact, it is a matter of historical record that indigenous populations in the Western Hemisphere behaved with monstrous brutality to one another and that they were fully capable of inflicting, and did inflict, extreme brutality upon their conquered rivals, either as individuals or populations, and while I have not verified it, I am quite sure that genocide did in fact occur in the Western Hemisphere prior to the arrival of Europeans. The defeated indigenous peoples were outgunned, as you say, techologically, economically, and in terms of social and political organization, but not morally. They amonst themselves, they accepted and played by the same rules of might makes right and power politics as everyone else in their time - and by those rules, they lost.

Second, as to your comment "I disagree. It is happening now and it will happen again as long as we have nations." Sorry Chang, but this comment is just stupid. The fact that a thing continues to occur does not mean that it is acceptable by the norms of law or society. Rape, murder, theft, child abuse, and every other manner of crime continue to occur but they are hardly morally or legally acceptable. They occur in contravention of legal and social norms, not because of them. Same for the concept of right of rule by conquest. Just because state or other might try to get away with it does not mean that it is still recognized as legal or moral. Again, such efforts would occur despite, not because of, accepted norms.

Third, where exactly is it still happening? I can think of only one clear cut example and that is Tibet - and as everyone knows, China's effort to conquer and colonize Tibet are vigorously opposed by the world, as was the last similar attempt, which was Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. Your other examples (Iran/Iraq, Vietnam/Cambodia) are specious and irrelevant to this discussion because niether Iraq nor Vietnam sougth to colonize or annex Iran or Cambodia, and had they attempted to do so they would have met fierce opposition from the world community - as Saddam did when he actually did try to annex Kuwait and as the Chinese have since they annexed and began to colonize Tibet. Your examples are unsound because the circumstances are factually inconsistent with the circumstances surrounding the European colonization of North America. In both cases, Iraq and Vietnam attacked because their sovereignty was being undermined by the other country. In the case of Iraq, the new Islamic Republic was engaged in a furious clandestine effort to undermine Saddam's regime, so one could plausibly argue that Saddam's attack was defensive. The situation with Vietnam and Cambodia was similar - the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia had started making claims against parts of southern Vietnam, and the Vietnamese attacked in order to check what they viewed as a threat to their territorial integrity. Ending the genocide was a bonus, not the original impetus for the attack. As to the positions of the rest of the world vis-a-vis these wars, again, they do not support your argument and in fact are not even relevant to it. We supported Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war to check the spread of Islamic radicalism, because as soon as the Iraqi assault stalled the Iranians changed their war aims from purely defensive to the offensive aim of pushing the Islamic Revolution deep into the Middle East, even to the Mediterranean. And I think that we can all agree that checking the spread of Islamic radicalism is a prudent defensive policy - so cooperating with Saddam to thwart the Iranians was anologous to cooperating with Stalin to stop Hitler. As to Vietnam invading Cambodia, had stopping the genocide been Vietnam's primary goal, that may well have constituted sufficient justification legally and morally, even if Vietnam's other aims did not (I draw no conclusion one way or another on that).

Fourth, as to your comment about genocide. I did not introduce that topic, you did. The reason I did not introduce it is that it is irrelevent, like your other examples. Your post implicitely attacked the legitimacy of American concern for their borders and security, using historical the territorial claims and historical grievances of previous inhabitants of the land. I have demonstrated how such arguments have neither legal nor moral force or relevance. Also, European settlers did not commit genocide in the same sense that we understand the word today. They did not set out to deliberately kill all natives, which is what genocide implies. They sought to conquer and occupy their lands - the devastation of native populations was a result, but not the principle aim. Did the former occupants suffer devastation and tragedy? Of course - but that has nothing to do with the immigration debate today.

So, I restate my previous point. European colonization of the New World was legal by the standards of the day, both by European and Native American standards of conduct. Such standards of conduct are no longer acceptable today, quite happily, and thanks to Woodrow Wilson and other like-minded, forward-thinking reformers.

Posted by: Dennis at April 23, 2008 5:47 PM

"Funny how everyone is silent when it comes to their money, isnt it?"

"Those who feel organs should go to illegal aliens same as citizens, and that they should be funded by taxpayers are free to donate their kidneys, for example, to illegal aliens, and pay for their medical care."

With the two comments above, the two of you have effectively demonstrated that you cannot carry the day by the merits of your arguments. If you could, you would not resort to emotional blackmail.

Having said that, I'll tackle your emotional blackmail head on. You say that if people like me want the young lady to get treatment than I ought to be willing to open up my wallet and be willing to pay. Of course If I was a man of means I would. But I don't have to buy my right to speak out on this topic by doing so.

We live in a representative democracy where elected representatives decide how to dispense the people's money. Decisions made are done so on the basis of debate. This blog post is part of that debate. I have every right to argue that the girl ought to get the surgery, to urge that public funds be used to pay for it, and to argue such whether I choose to donate privately or not. The burden falls upon you convince our elected representatives of the country view. So go ahead, marshal your facts, employ the best reasoning you can to make your case. I'll do the same from the other side. But I won't be stepping aside just because you imply that I am a hypocrite for not picking up the tab myself. Such self-indulgence on your part is lazy and reveals a lack of confidence in your own position.

Now, let me clarify my own position once again, for the record. I support vigorous enforcement of our immigration laws. I call for effective physical barriers, punitive action against employers who knowlingly hire illegals, and vigorous action against State and local authorities who refuse to cooperate with ICE or who declare themselves sanctuary jurisdictions. I also support deportation of illegals and denial of many public services.

Having said all that, I believe that our immigration policy must be tempered with compassion and pragmatism in the following ways:

First, I absolutely oppose the deportation of adults or adolescents brought here as young children and who have grown up here effectively having known no other home but the United States. Deporting such people is not justice, it is arbitrary and capricious because it imposes a penalty upon one who has committed no wrong. Congress should immediately pass some form of the the DREAM Act to allow these people to become citizens and to normalize there status. Additionally, I do NOT support denying these people access to public services.

Second, though I support deportation and denial of services to adults who come here illegally of their own volition, I believe that both compasion and pragmatism dictate certain exceptions - these being medical care, education for children, and access to law enforcement for victims of and witnesses to crime. Humanity dictates these exceptions but also pragmatic self-interest: we all suffer if the minor children of illegal immigrants fail to receive an education as these children will impose greater social costs of society if not educated later, and if crime against and among illegal immigrants runs amok, as it will inevitably spill over into the wider community. But let me emphasize this: I believe that these exceptions are justified on the basis of humanity alone, regardless of pragmatic concerns.

Posted by: Dennis at April 23, 2008 6:16 PM

Your post implicitely attacked the legitimacy of American concern for their borders and security, using historical the territorial claims and historical grievances of previous inhabitants of the land."

You are correct. That was my opening line and I was being sarcastic. If you continue to read my original post, you will realize that the illegals are here as they are welcomed by the American employers for their cheap labors and the IRS for their tax money. The IRS even has the Form for the illegals to obtain the tax identification number, so they can pay taxes while they are working here illegally. Those are the mixed signals we are sending to the illegals.

"So, I restate my previous point. European colonization of the New World was legal by the standards of the day, both by European and Native American standards of conduct."

I disagree. Do you think the legal standard was written in English or Commanchi? I am not still convinced by your argument that what the Europeans did to the American Indians were the same thing as what the American Indians did to themselves. Although they were busy fighting each other, there were a lot of American Indians to go around before the Europeans showed up. Then, what happend? They got literally wiped out to the point of extinction. That cannot be legal in any given time period of our human history. I think you owe an apology to the Native Americans.

Posted by: Chang at April 23, 2008 7:51 PM

My question is, if there was a person who needed a new liver every day, how many days would we take to finally figure out that one person dies every day to keep this one alive. Out of scale, true. Irrelevant, NO.

>>>Anyone see John Q.? Such a situation reminds me of that movie (except he did have insurance, just "not enough"). Gretchen, the fact is that everyone who pays for insurance never has enough insurance if a catastrophic event occurs, they will lose everything they have spent their whole life to earn to pay for their healthcare. However, if you pay no taxes or insurance premiums as illegals do, you will get everything for nothing. The fact is that there are over six BILLION people in the world. We have about 320 million in the US. The vast majority of those six BILLION have little or no healthcare. Is it really possible or acceptable for the US to foot the bill for everyone else on the planet? No, It’s not possible. But trust me here folks, people like PVM would have absolutely no problem seeing this country destroy itself financially doing just that.

PVM, you are wrong when you say it is just about the money. It is about the idea of people coming into our country without our permission and taking and taking and taking and never giving a goddamn thing back. Then when they don’t get something else they wanted to take, they pretend as if they are the ones being wronged whilst they spit on our flag and talk about Reconquista! How perverse is the Mexican book of values that makes you think this way.

PVM says, “I am guessing you have no idea what it takes for a citizen of Mexico to become a citizen of the USA.” First of all buddy, I have probably spent more time in Mexico than you have and I think that this one thing needs to be screamed across the whole fucking country of Mexico, are you ready, are you listening, here goes, “YOU HAVE NO FUCKING RIGHT WHATSOVER TO BECOME AN AMERICAN CITIZEN UNLESS WE SAY SO!”

Dennis, the Menace says, “And for you Philistines who think that refusing to donate an organ is an appropriate response to the possibility that an illegal alien might get one: That is a stupid, farcically vindicative response.” Dennis, you magnificent bastard! Do you know who the Philistines were? Goliath was a Philistine. He was the greatest warrior of the Philistines. And he was felled by David, an opponent of little or no stature worthy of challenging him. How apropos thou words are, America is a country being undermined and diminished by a landfill of a country that would need forty days of Viagra rain to raise it to the status of a continental Napoleanic complex. “Picked your analogy well you did”, Yoda would say.

Then Dennis takes another dip in the pool of deep dark ignorance, “Very happily for the world today, conquest is no longer a legal or morally acceptably means of territorial expansion. Like slaverly and other monstrous evils, it is in the dustbin of history where it belongs.” Thank god, Dennis has declared that slavery is OVER. JESSUS FUCKING KEERIST, what the hell does Abraham Lincoln have on this guy???? Dennis evidently doesn’t remember the expression, “The Great War” and what that meant, and why it is not used anymore. Sidenote Dennis, I have spent most of my adult life travelling throughout the world, Asia, Africa, Middle East, Austrailia, and they would all love to hear the news that slavery doesn’t exist anymore,(especially the slaves), that conquest no longer happens,(especially the mass murdered), most importantly in places like Darfur, and I have to say, it most certainly does seem to fit within THEIR “societal acceptable norms.”

Oh and this little pearl in the asster, “The situation with Vietnam and Cambodia was similar - the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia had started making claims against parts of southern Vietnam, and the Vietnamese attacked in order to check what they viewed as a threat to their territorial integrity.”

I have to tell you Dennis, this comment just really pissed me off. In the late seventies, I was on a frigate steaming the South China sea, Yellow Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin on a regular basis. When the Cambodians (see Killing Fields), and Vietcong(Google Vietnamese boat people), decided to conduct a purge of all those who had any connection to democracy at all, those people had no choice but to take everything thing carryable of value and their immediate family and trek through hazardous mountaions or take to the sea in boats hoping that whatever befell them was better that certain death. The Vietcong and the Cambodians executed MILLIONS, in the name of conquest ironically.

I ended up seeing face to face many who took to the boats to survive. There were boats by the tens of thousands drifting in the seas that were just packed with people. Many were hit by Vietnamese and Thai or Chinese pirates. Sometimes in the dead of night, we would come up on a boat and the decks were still running with blood from a raid that probably happened less than two hours ago. All the young women were taken for the white slave trade and the boat would be stripped of anything of value. Gold ripped from teeth, jewels hidden you know where, everything was found no matter what they had to cut through to get to it. Then when the pirates had everything they could find of value, they slautered everyone else on the boat and left it to drift because they didn’t want to waste gas burning it. When we asked the people why did they just not stay home, they told us that their chances were much worse if they didn’t leave. Evidently, the counqerors did not get your email that slavery and conquering were over. They must have read slobery and cankering and thought you were talking about VD!

Dennis, where in the fucking hell do you get off telling anyone that “conquest is no longer a legal or morally acceptably means of territorial expansion. Like slaverly and other monstrous evils, it is in the dustbin of history where it belongs.” What in the hell are you talking about? What stupid fucking Berkeley Class of World history planted these MORONIC ILLUSIONS into your head?

Reality lesson buddy: The human being is an aggressive creature. Wherever we are, we fight. As populations grow and one power group vies with another, they try to expand, thus war. The world will never ever be a peaceful happy place if we all just learn to get along. It will be more peaceful and more happy if we all learn to defend ourselves at which point, war becomes a less promising venture. Things never really change, they always do stay the same in this area and always will, because we are people. And to tie it back into this topic, Mexico is one of the weakest, despotic, sewage ditches of a country on planet earth, and yet, who is the richest person in the world? For all of the wealth of natural resources and coasts on two oceans, that country can’t and doesn’t even care to feed it’s own fucking people. Yet they openly talk of Re-conquista and Aztlan. Google it. Mexico is like a greasy haired lawn mower hitting on your wife while smiling at you and acting like he’s your best amigo! Quit pissing on our leg and telling us it’s raining.

Posted by: Bikerken at April 23, 2008 9:50 PM

> We'll even break into other
> people's countries

If Americans were as horny to work in Iraq as Mexicans are to work in the States, this would have been over after six weeks.

Posted by: Crid at April 23, 2008 10:01 PM

"I disagree. Do you think the legal standard was written in English or Commanchi?"

It wasn't written in any language. It was the legal standard of customary usage, as most international law was until the 20th century, with attachment to the standard by all parties demonstrated by their conduct consistent with it.

"the illegals are here as they are welcomed by the American employers for their cheap labors"

So what? I've already stated my belief that employers who violate immigration law should do be hammered.

"... and the IRS for their tax money..." Says who, you? Prove it. One reason that illegal immigrant labor is cheap is that it is frequently paid for under the table without payroll or income tax witholding.

"The IRS even has the Form for the illegals to obtain the tax identification number, so they can pay taxes while they are working here illegally." Wrong. They have a form that immigrants can use to get a tax ID number. It was not intended for illegal immigrants. Further, who says most use it? After all, another problem associated with identity theft - using stolen SSNs to acquire employment - which would obviously obviate the use of special immigrant tax ID forms.

"That cannot be legal in any given time period of our human history". Legal restraints on state action - especially in international conduct - are a rather new innovation (one that the United States contributed much to bringing about). Legal and moral restraints during the conduct of war are older, but still a more recent development than many other hallmarks of civilization. So in fact you are wrong. During most of human history all was fair in war, so to speak. Which of course is one of the points of my previous posts. The tragedies of the past occurred under an archaic moral and legal pardigm no longer in force - making both the tragedies themselves, and any arguments that would have been made in support of them, irrelevant today. Moot. Inapposite. You get the picture.

"I think you owe an apology to the Native Americans." I really don't care who you think I owe an apology to. Nobody alive today owes anybody an apology for any injustice inflicted in past generations on people long dead. I'm not going to apologize for it and I'm not going to allow myself to be paralyzed with unearned guilt over it. And I am certainly not going to stand by and allow the interests of my country to be undermined because you feel guilty (or more likely, because you choose to indulge in a sense of smug superiority) over the actions of others long dead, actions generally consistent with human conduct across the globe at the time.

Grievance mongering only leads to more grievances. It keeps alive the cycle of strike and counterstrike that has been the author of so much human misery. I reject that tribal spirit. I say, let the dead bury the dead, while the living embrace the new paradigm (relatively such, when viewed against the broad sweep of history) of Constitutional government based upon equal standing before the law of each individual citizen regardless of group identity.

The United States of America embraces all born or naturalized citizens, including the decendents of the indiginous tribes. We have a creed based upon ideas, not clan or tribe. It is by embracing this order that one prevents future tragedies, not by fretting over the unchangeable tragedies of the past. We have long since acknowledged the tragedy that befell the original inhabitants of the hemisphere after the arrival of Europeans. Of course we should remember and celebrate who came before and commemorate the suffering they endured when the Europeans arrived. But by no means should we make a sacrifice of our own pride, confidence and national interests in some misguided attempted to atone for the past. We've acknowledged the tragedy and also erected the legal, moral and political framework that has put that kind of tragedy in the past. Now we need to concern ourselves with the present and future.

Immigrants are welcome to partake of this new order. But the first requirement of doing so is that they give their allegiance to it - which means, in part, obeying the law. Including by coming here legally.

Posted by: Dennis at April 23, 2008 10:03 PM

> I think American Indians will
> say they came here illegally.

Chang, it's been almost two years... Haven't you grown out of that whole "petulence" thing?

What happened to the natives on this continent was indisputably tragic. But these were stone-age cultures, and of course they were defeated. What were talking about now is the boundaries of inclusion for a culture that wouldn't have happened for several thousand years if the Europeans hadn't dropped an anchor. Nobody, of any color, wants to live like a north American native did in the 15th century.

Posted by: Crid at April 23, 2008 10:06 PM

To Bikirken:

"What stupid fucking Berkeley Class of World history planted these MORONIC ILLUSIONS into your head?"

Bikirken, this is a milestone for me. I really never thought I'd see the day when I'd be compared to a Berkeley liberal. I have a sense of humor about it but I bet the history profs at Berkeley wouldn't!

I'm taking fire from both the pro- and anti- immigration sides here. This is quite a lively debate!

Without belaboring the point too much, you and Chang both seem to misunderstand where I am coming from. I'll assume that I am not being clear enough.

I am quite aware of all the evils you cite in your post. I don't believe I denied their existence anywhere in any of my posts. What I said was that in the past these evils were accepted as permanent parts of the natural order of things - something to be liked or not but to be lived with in any case. Today, these things are viewed as evils to be eliminated as soon as possible, and if borne, to be borne temporarily.

Frances Fukayama wrote an interesting book that bears on the distinction I am making here. It is entitled "The End of History and the Last Man" (Free Press, 1992).

From the references at the end of your post to Re-conquista, Aztlan and the rest it appears that you're concerned about illegal immigration, which further leads me to conclude that I have failed to make my point in my debate with Chang clear. Everything I wrote was intended to bolster the proposition that the United States has every right to secure our borders and control immigration - and to resist the agenda of groups like Aztlan and Re-Conquista. Chang brought up our mistreatment of Native Americans in previous centuries in order to cast doubt upon the legitimacy of our efforts to control our borders, basically by calling us hypocrites - his construct being something along the lines of we cruel Americans illegally immigrated here, so who are we to complain about others illegally coming here now. My subsequent posts, that have so upset you, sought to neutralize the accusation of hypocrisy and to uphold our right to control immigration by enumerating reasons why Chang's analogy is invalid because the two situations are completely incomparable.

The contrast between you and Chang is interesting. Chang seems to take the position that America is irredeemably guilty and therefore has no moral right to control immigration. You seem to take the position that mankind is an irredeemably aggressive creature and that therefore America must do everything possible to control immigration.

I guess I come down in a third place. I completely reject Chang's premise of original sin and inherited guilt - which is what I was trying to explain in my previous posts that so offended you. I believe that we have every right to control our borders and to control immigration as we see fit. On the other hand, I do not see the world as pessimistically as you. While I accept that mankind is not perfectable, I certainly believe that mankind, if not perfectable, is clearly improvable. Frankly a simple comparison of our own culture now versus at various points in the past gives compelling evidence of that. My belief in human improvability is not based upon naivete and certainly not on leftist politics. I may not be as well travelled as you, but my own journeys include extended visits to such garden spots as Somalia and Baghdad - and I also have some weird family baggage. So I've seen the downside of life plenty. But I also know how good we have it in our own culture and that it was not always even close to this - so I am more optimistic about humanity than you seem in your post.

Lastly, while I've never been compared to a Berkely liberal before, I've certainly been called a few names by one or two Berkeley-type liberals. So your comment is a refreshing tonic!

And with that, it is late - time to wrap it up for the night!

Posted by: Dennis at April 23, 2008 10:49 PM

"A lot of electrons get zapped on this site to explain that if Muslims don't want to be stereotyped as terrorists, then they need to marginalize their terrorist co-religionists. Well, the same can be said about the closed-borders crowd. If you don't want to be painted as a racist because you oppose illegal immigration, then get your rhetoric under control and start being reasonable."

"Very happily for the world today, conquest is no longer a legal or morally acceptably means of territorial expansion. Like slaverly and other monstrous evils, it is in the dustbin of history where it belongs."

"Rape, murder, theft, child abuse, and every other manner of crime continue to occur but they are hardly morally or legally acceptable. They occur in contravention of legal and social norms, not because of them."

THEN YOU SAY.......

"I am quite aware of all the evils you cite in your post. I don't believe I denied their existence anywhere in any of my posts."

Dennis, please don't jerk me off. You made some real bizarre statements here and I responded to the content and spirit of exactly what you said.

Posted by: Bikerken at April 23, 2008 11:17 PM

Happy weekend all, headed to Laughlin for Bike Week. I'm hoping for no shooting at Harrahs again as I will be staying there. C'ya Sunday night.

Posted by: Bikerken at April 23, 2008 11:45 PM

Bikerken:

Sorry, but I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

There is no contradiction between the first three quotes you excerpted from my previous posts and the fourth one after "THEN YOU SAY."

In quotes two and three, I addressed modern sensibilities as to what is ACCEPTABLE behavior. In quote four (after "THEN...") I acknowledge that although certain behaviors are longer acceptable behavior according to modern sensibilities, they still occur. There is no contradiction here. In fact, I am only stating the obvious. The gap between the real and the ideal is a permanent fixture in the human condition, is it not? These comments are not inconsistent with each other and they are in no way bizarre. They're pretty mainstream actually.

As to quote number one, it has no relation to the other three, but I stand by it as well. Rhetoric that is excessively shrill or hostile is simply counterproductive. Such rhetoric antagonizes moderates, fence sitters, and reasonable people on the other side who might be willing to do something about illegal immigration, scaring them with the prospect that they might be rightly or wrongly be associated with extremist or intolerant elements. Again, nothing bizarre here - in fact, all this is pretty prosaic and obvious.

What I find most surprising is that you think I am "jerk[ing] you [off]." In fact, I wrote a reply to you that I intended to be conciliatory toward you without seeming obsequious.

Frankly, I don't know what kind of reply you expected after the F-bombs you dropped in your post on me and others (not to mention the fact that you dredged up that hackneyed old "Dennis the Menace" joke - like I never heard that one before). Don't get me wrong - I didn't take any offense. Given the strident tone I often take (and sometimes regret) in this venue and given the fact that I never conciliate (though admittedly I ought to sometimes), I hardly have a right to be offended. Nonetheless, you can hardly expect a positive reaction from your correspondent after a vulgar post.

So, I guess that's that. My post was intended to be friendly and conciliatory. I don't apologize for it but I am truly sorry if it seemed condescending.

Posted by: Dennis at April 24, 2008 12:14 AM

The concept of "Re-Conquista" does not exist among Mexican illegal immigrants. Take my word for it. Why? Because I was involved in the "Re-Conquista" movement and I never met one illegal. (It did not really register what events I was attending until a couple of meetings).

I attended the "Re-Conquista" meetings and it was one of the events that thoroughly annoyed me with Americans. The fact that it was left Americans holding the meetings and it was right Americans believing these meetings had any power annoyed me to an extent that I had to travel the world, starting in my beautiful land of Brazil.

You see in Brazil there is no concept of me being any race. I dated a blonde and the idea that I was somehow "ethnic" or that he was "white" does not exist in Brazil. Society would never put us as an inter-racial couple. And that is so nice...until you get a taste of the heat, the crime, the opportunities, the poverty.

Americans are dim at international history...but Brazil has a bigger population of Japanese and Italians than the U.S. These two groups that are so successful in the U.S. dont have the same degree of achievement in Brazil. In fact the Japanese goverment imported a bunch of Japanese-Brazilians not too long ago, and they have a terrible success rate in Japan. I think where you can go in life has alot to do with where you are born and people try to escape if they can. I dont think you can expect Mexicans to stay in Mexico when even their goverment encourages them to leave.

And a little tidbit, as soon as too many Brazilians where coming illegaly to the U.S. the Mexican goverment put a stop to that.

Everyone makes the point why cant Mexicans stay in Mexico and change the land? Well why cant Americans force their goverment to enforce the law?

Posted by: PurplePen at April 24, 2008 12:52 AM

> they have a terrible success
> rate in Japan.

Almost everyone who isn't fully Japanese does (born & bred). Japan's a wretched culture that way. They can't handle human difference.

> Well why cant Americans force
> their goverment to enforce the
> law?

That's a teenage kinda smartass that drowns in irony as it tries to mock.

Many Americans don't want the law enforced because lawless Mexican labor is fun to exploit. Are you happy about that? Meanwhile, Mexico remains essentially corrupt. The great, great majority of the United States is not. Excellence isn't like virginity; it doesn't vanish with the first violation.

The incoming Mexicans know where the more righteous nation is.

Posted by: Crid at April 24, 2008 1:29 AM

"Many Americans don't want the law enforced because lawless Mexican labor is fun to exploit. Are you happy about that?"

No. It's why I'm against illegal immigration. But the majority of people who are against illegal immigration arent against it for that reason. I think they use faulty logic (i.e. "Re-Conquista.")which annoys me.

"The incoming Mexicans know where the more righteous nation is."

Yes and I've never heard them say otherwise.

What I love about this nation is that people just want to come here to work too hard.

Posted by: Purplepen at April 24, 2008 3:25 AM

As I have said so many times -

I am not against immigration. I harbor no ill will towards Mexicans. But I am irked by line-jumpers. And that is what illegal immigration represents. And amnesty represents rewarding line-jumpers and tossing a big "Fuck You!" to everyone still waiting in line.

If we have a labor shortage in this country (and if we do, the amnesty crowd certainly isn't saying so - they claim that unemployment is at record levels), but IF we have such a shortage, and the only cure is immigration, then don't we have a duty to change our laws to make sure that as many as possible come here, get screened, get assimilated, and are protected by the labor laws that naturalized and natural-born Americans enjoy?

I'd argue that any other answer is tantamount to promoting a kind of slavery. I can't think of any other way to describe a system where one group of people are exempted from labor and safety laws for the benefit of another.

All the amnesty proposals would have done is either legalize paying certain people below minimum wage, or would have created a very large pool of unemployed non-citizens who stood by and watched more illegals come in to take the jobs that they lost. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.

Posted by: brian at April 24, 2008 5:12 AM

Amy,
I know this is a little late in the game, but it didn't hurt that the USA and other nations propped up Israel. Mexico is never going to get that kind of help.

Posted by: PVM at April 24, 2008 5:26 AM

I know this is a little late in the game, but it didn't hurt that the USA and other nations propped up Israel. Mexico is never going to get that kind of help.

Who is Mexico at war with again? Which country is practicing genocide in Mexico? Which country is it that's trying to reclaim Mexican land for itself and its peoples? Please, refresh my memory. Because if that were the case in Mexico, like it is in Israel, I'm pretty sure the USA and other countries would "prop up" Mexico, too.

Posted by: Flynne at April 24, 2008 6:39 AM

Crid Says:

"Excellence isn't like virginity; it doesn't vanish with the first violation."

I say - Amen!

Posted by: Dennis at April 24, 2008 6:54 AM

Continueing to be amazed. It is a good thing that Israel is the only country such things are happening. Otherwise we would have to prop up other countries as we have them for near half a cetury. Oh wait, it's not. We as a whole have a nasty habbit of focusing on what's happening half a world away and turning a blind eye on what's going on here. Not talking about imigration. There are so many other things happening in our own back yard to worry about. Rampant drug use leading to more crimes, robbery, murder. The failures in our goverment to concern itself with the failing school system, children dropping out in droves (there you folks go the illegals will have competition soon for the unskilled labor jobs). But the only reason I joined this spirited debate in the first place was to state that it shocked me that anyone would pull there donor status because of whom might get there organs. Not alot has been said here to change my opinion. On the imigration issue illegal or legal, I would say that my opinions are not popular in todays world where by and large everyone wants to shut the door after their own get in. Nation of imigrants, some such saying about poor, weak and hudddled masses. Happy for you folks who's ancestors got in when all you had to do was fill out a form after they got off of the boat if they had to do that much. But Mexico is not going away or changing in our lifetime. We will continue to pay taxes, the goverment will continue to send our money over seas. I can't think of a better way to use it than to save a life no matter their imigration status. But that is just me. I am a product of my enviorment. Brought up in lovely Hawaiian Gardens CA. Living now in the beautiful South East, pretty sure they rioted here when they heard they had to share their drinking fountains with people of color. Life is good.

Posted by: PVM at April 24, 2008 7:56 AM

On the imigration issue illegal or legal, I would say that my opinions are not popular in todays world where by and large everyone wants to shut the door after their own get in.

Where did anyone say that "everyone wants to shut the door after their own get in"? WE WERE ALREADY HERE. Have been, long time. You're just too dim to get it.

Posted by: Flynne at April 24, 2008 8:03 AM

Flynne,
I realy do apreciate you continueing to make my points for me. Your people weren't native to here I'm guessing. Even the Indians imigrated across from Asia. As did my own ancestors before they settled in Mexico. So yours have been here a long time but imigrated from somewhere else. My guess is that they had an easier time becoming citizens than Mexican nationals do. But you would like to put a stop to people coming over from Mexico illegaly. Thus the shutting the door comment. IE: My people are here but lets stop others from doing the same. Let us make it nearly impossible to do it leagaly, then blame them, when to escape poverty they come anyway. Let's forget they work harder than half the lazy bastards that were born here and are happy for the oppurtunity. My suggestion, tounge in cheek as it is, lets do an exchange program. Our lazy bastards for there hard workers. "Too dim" good form Flynne, I am proud of you. You folks all have a good day. Enjoyed the hell out of this.
Erik, by the way you may have become my hero.

Posted by: pvm at April 24, 2008 8:22 AM

OK, PVM - let's talk about doing it your way. Let's have unrestricted immigration from Mexico.

What do you think is going to happen to Mexico when everyone there lives here?

Do we want a "failed state" right on our southern border?

What, if anything are we doing to make Mexico become less corrupt? Nothing, that's what. By not sealing the border, we perpetuate the class system that is making Mexico inherently inhospitable to great swathes of its own population.

The answer to the problem is not to let all the Mexicans come here. The answer is FIX MOTHER FUCKING MEXICO.

Posted by: brian at April 24, 2008 8:52 AM

Damn, I thought I was done. Never suggested "unrestricted Immigration" Just make it possible for those who are seeking a better life to have away to become citizen. I don't even suggest it should be easy. Make the process hard, so that you really have to want to and are willing to do the work it would require. But don't make it so hard that taking a chance on dieing in the desert is easier. Require a test, require proof of gainful employment for a term of five years paying taxes as a visa'ed worker, require they learn the language, require proof of a clean criminal record in Mexico and in the US during their time here. Make them prove they can be a productive, beneficial part of our society. But don't make it impossible or near enough as it is now to become a citizen. We put trillians of dollars into Iraq. We prop up leaders like Noriega, Arafat, Bagan, until some of them turn on us. For that matter Osama was on the payroll at one time. But our neighbors to the South we give them NAFTA which is no more beneficial to them than it is us. "Fix Mexico" Love to here your plan on how. I'm sorry it doesn't start with secure our border. I have no idea where it starts. I would like to hear how "sealing the border perpetuates the class system" That has to be a pretty interesting leap of logic.

Posted by: PVM at April 24, 2008 9:22 AM

Sorry misspoke there. Want to know "how not sealing the border perpetuates the class system."

Posted by: PVM at April 24, 2008 9:25 AM

I find it funny that PVM (nor any other person self-righteously calling for compassion) never bothered to respond to my point above.

Can't someone explain why someone who is here illegally is more entitled to something from the US than a legal citizen of another country? (see the actual comment above for more detail on this one)

When someone is starving, and breaks into my home and steals my food - I of course, feel bad for their situation - but I'd still have them arrested...not rewarded with a steak dinner and given a rent-free room in my house. If you're born in a bad situation, that doesn't make unethical or illegal behavior okay...or does it?

Posted by: Jamie at April 24, 2008 9:27 AM

I realy do apreciate you continueing to make my points for me.

PVM, I'm doing nothing of the kind. You are deliberately deciding that breaking the law is just okay if you want it be. Here, this little story is for you, and will, I hope, better illustrate how I feel about illegal immigrants:

I was once in love with a man. This man was from Great Britain, and he had lived in the United States for almost 13 years before we met. He was kind, gentle, caring, and very protective of my young daughters and me. When we met, we dated for 6 months before we agreed that he should move in with me. He was working for a contractor that had gone to high school with one of my brothers; before that, he held positions with a couple of restaurants as a cook.

After a while, I noticed that he was very evasive when it came to talking about his family, or about anything “back home.” I also thought it odd that he rode a bike everywhere, rather than having a driver’s license and driving a truck or car (or even a motorcycle). At the time, this was not a red flag. Should’ve been, though.

He had long blonde hair, played soccer, and looked totally awesome in a kilt. He was generous to a fault, but not too generous; when my daughters would badger him for more than he had already gotten them, he would say sternly, but with a twinkle in his eye, “The Bank of England is now closed. My girls loved him, my parents loved him, hell, even my brothers (all 3 of them) loved him. Life was good for the first 15 months we were together.

Little by little, he opened up to me about his past, but there was never full disclosure. Until. He got laid off from his job. Couldn’t collect unemployment, because he had been working under the table. Depression had set in; he started drinking more, getting sullen for long periods of time. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I asked him when he was going to get another job, and he left the house. And called at 3 in the morning, drunk off his ass. He told me there was a letter in my back door, with some money in it. And I don’t know what made me say it, but I told him to hold on while I got it. In the letter, he told me his whole story, which I won’t go into here, but it wrenched my heart. Bottom line is, he was a deserter from the British Army, and had entered the USA via Mexico, from Belize. Seems he had gotten into a fight with a local, in a restricted area, and thought he killed the guy. He got scared and ran. Last time he had had any contact with his family was in 1989. Last line of his letter said “Know that I will always be watching over you and the girls.” I asked him where he was, and he told me in the same little park near the baseball field where an acquaintance of ours had committed suicide just 2 weeks prior. I told him, “Come home now!”

Thank the gods, he did. I took his handgun, hid it, and we talked some more. I finally convinced him he had to go back to the UK and take care of things. He called his sister, turns out him mom had passed away in 1995. His dad was in jail. I told him I loved him but even if we had gotten married (and we had talked about) that it wasn’t guaranteed that he still wouldn’t be deported and there was a real possibility I could have gotten arrested and thrown in jail for harboring a fugitive. And then where would my girls be?

He agreed and went home. And got it all straightened out. But if I hadn’t lit that fire under his ass, he would still be here. As it is, he can apply for another visa after he re-establishes residency. But he was here illegally. He wasn’t a drain by any means, but the law is the law. You can't break it just because you don't like it. You have to work with it, you have to abide by it, and if you don't, oh gee, sorry, but you get arrested.

Posted by: Flynne at April 24, 2008 9:28 AM

When someone is starving, and breaks into my home and steals my food - I of course, feel bad for their situation - but I'd still have them arrested...not rewarded with a steak dinner and given a rent-free room in my house.

Exactly, Jamie.

If you're born in a bad situation, that doesn't make unethical or illegal behavior okay...or does it?

Not in my book, nor in anyone else's with a brain and a sense of personal responsibility.

Posted by: Flynne at April 24, 2008 9:35 AM

Flynne,
Very touching story. I hope, that in the end it all works out for you and your freind.
But you misunderstand or I did not state it clearly, I do not believe that braking the law is right. I do know, under the circumstances these people live in I would do the same. I would take the chance on going to jail for me and mine if I felt that was our only chance. I would also serve the time required of me without apeal if I was justifieably convicted. This is the chance these people take when they come over illegaly. It is a concern I am sure, as is being taken into the desert by the people they pay to get them here and being robbed and left to die. Unless you have seen the poverty they are escaping you may not understand why it is worth it. But it is to them. I understand what makes them do it. I understand that Mexico is screwed up. I hope that some day this is not the case. I even believe that during their last presidental election they actually stood a chance to begin the process of healing but the wrong man got narrowly elected. Life is far from simple for these people, their choices are few. I understand why they make the ones they do.

Brian,
To adress your issue: I don't think any person is more entitled to my organs than anyone else. Just hope they do whomever gets them some good.

Posted by: PVM at April 24, 2008 9:48 AM

Sorry, screwed up again. That last part was to Jamie not Bryan

Posted by: pvm at April 24, 2008 9:58 AM

While I believe that existing laws should either be enforced or changed (whatever is the will of the people), I have to agree that until each of us has faced real starvation, we can't say for sure how our ethics will hold out. Some will stay put and watch their family die, but others will do whatever they can to keep them alive.

Whether that is the case with the immigrants illegally entering the US, I don't know. This site http://www.newsbatch.com/immigration.htm seems fairly non-biased in reporting facts and it suggests that half of the illegal immigrants pose as tourists. Another percentage pays someone up to $1000 to assist them across. This doesn't sound like families with bellies swollen from hunger showing up on the door step, begging for a chance.

The tools & resources exist within Mexico to build a better life for Mexicans. But people, like rivers, tend to take the path of least resistance.

Posted by: moreta at April 24, 2008 10:07 AM

PVM - that was Jamie's concern, not mine.

But perpetuating the class system? Are you deliberately not paying attention?

The majority of illegals are being paid under the table, so they are NOT paying into social security. And in an interesting aside, the ones that are, having stolen the credentials of a citizen, are legally entitled to collect, even if they are deported, but that's not what I'm on about.

No, the class system of which I speak is simply this: By allowing illegal immigration with a wink and a nod, we are allowing employers to exploit a class of people by exempting them from the safety and labor laws that cover all citizens. An illegal gets hurt? Who's he going to go to? OSHA? Hell no. He's going home, and another illegal will replace him. You're paying him below minimum wage? Who's he gonna turn to? The Department of Labor? As if.

So by allowing illegal immigration to continue unchecked, you perpetuate this. The amnesty bill that was put forth would not have helped one lick. There would either have been concessions made to continue paying "guest workers" below market (sometimes below minimum) wages, or there would be 11 million unemployed Mexicans on the streets as the mules bring new illegals in to take their place.

Illegal immigration is about exploitation. Nothing less. Corporations exploiting people who don't have a choice in the matter. Stay in a cradle of filth, or come be exploited by some asshole and hope you can get out of it.

Meanwhile, we're told that the United States is simultaneously suffering from record unemployment, requiring us to scale back H1B visas for high-paying high-skill jobs, and suffering from a labor shortage, requiring us to come up with a guest worker program to import unskilled labor from hell-holes like Mexico.

Posted by: brian at April 24, 2008 10:07 AM

Brian,
Thanks for the enlightenment. I must admit I assumed you were speaking of the class system in Mexico. Their's is a long established system of Nobles (more spanish blood) and peasants (more indian blood). I personally am proudly of the peasant stock.
But your point is well taken. I do agree these people are here being exploited by an amazingly screwed system that the big benefit will always be scued toward the corporation. Again I agree that by allowing the worker to be exploited at a lesser wage is apalling. I hope someone with a bigger brain than my own comes up with a fare equitable fix. I am just not holding my breath.

Posted by: PVM at April 24, 2008 10:22 AM

PVM:
"To adress your issue: I don't think any person is more entitled to my organs than anyone else. Just hope they do whomever gets them some good."

Then that's your choice to make. You have even less ground to criticize someone's highly personal choice of whether or not they decide to donate their organs than whether or not a woman has an abortion. I say "less" because there's not even a discussion as to whom those organs belong.

That's where this whole "argument" started, wasn't it? People were disgusted that people who are here illegally could get "to the front of the line" for organs, and made a choice - in protest - to change their decision of what they wanted to do with THEIR organs.

My father grew up in poverty...in the US. My grandfather lived in the US and was a child laborer in farms and factories.

Did that situation entitle either of them to break into a wealthy person's home and live there just because the wealthy people were better off?

Posted by: Jamie at April 24, 2008 10:22 AM

Very touching story. I hope, that in the end it all works out for you and your freind.

It wasn't meant to be "touching". It was meant to illustrate that even though I loved this man dearly, he was here illegally and should not have been. I think things have worked out for him just fine. He's running a restaurant in Cardiff, has a new girlfriend, and sees his brother, sister and other family regularly. I have a BF now whom I love dearly that I knew in high school. We are much better suited to each other than the Brit and I were, but the Brit and I remain good friends.

But you misunderstand or I did not state it clearly, I do not believe that braking the law is right. I do know, under the circumstances these people live in I would do the same. I would take the chance on going to jail for me and mine if I felt that was our only chance. I would also serve the time required of me without apeal if I was justifieably convicted.

Hmmm. Sorry, but you're a bit dimmer than I previously thought. Are you not aware of the 3rd world barrios that these people are already creating on this side of the border in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico? They leave a poverty-stricken barrio in Mexico, only to create a new one in the United States. They sure do want to make a better life for themselves, don't they?

Posted by: Flynne at April 24, 2008 10:24 AM

And, for the record, I am still an organ donor.

But that choice does not make me ANY better than someone who isn't - for whatever their reason for doing so. It's their meat, they can do with it what they like when they're done using it.

Posted by: Jamie at April 24, 2008 10:25 AM

And, for the record, I am still an organ donor.

So am I still, Jamie. I'll admit that I said my earlier comment because I was just outraged at the inanity of this illegal immigrant getting not 1 but 4 freakin' livers. But if I'm not killed in a car accident, based on the longevity of my family, my organs will be old and useless by the time I die, anyway. o_O

Posted by: Flynne at April 24, 2008 10:31 AM

Swear, after this one I am out.

"Are you not aware of the 3rd world barrios that these people are already creating on this side of the border in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico? They leave a poverty-stricken barrio in Mexico, only to create a new one in the United States. They sure do want to make a better life for themselves, don't they?"

Was raised in one of those "Barrios" in CA. Been to the ones in Mexico. No comparison. Make the trip. It might give you a better reference point. But then you wouldn't want to be "dim" like me who has actually seen both sides.

Mam, let me just add that I am opinionated, arrogant to a point, and as has been continuosly pointed out here possibly self righteous. But not dim because I disagree with your point of veiw. I tried to state earlier I am a product of my enviorment. How I have lived and what I have seen has definitely had an influence on what I believe. My opinions are different than yours wich doesn't make them wrong just different. That I don't see things exactly as you do does not make me dim just of a different social, political bent. Mam I don't see where your point a view is one that will ever be right for me and mine, but that doesn't make it wrong just different than my veiw. I don't see you as dim, but someone who grew up with a different belief system and experiences than my own. I wish you well, and hope nothing but the best for you and yours.

Now I am out.

Posted by: PVM at April 24, 2008 10:44 AM

Forgot to comment on the donor part of this.

It is a personal decision whether or not to donate organs and I see no reason why you shouldn't be able dictate where they might go (if you don't want your liver in a black, a woman, a homosexual, or a Jew, then so be it). However, to withdraw your decision to donate just because there is a chance it may end up in a criminal is a detriment to everyone who is in need of an organ, the majority of whom don't likely fall into that category. If you are witholding organs because you don't like the system that won't let you dictate a recipient's characteristics, I see the relationship. But the system hasn't changed so its not a reaction to the system.

Posted by: moreta at April 24, 2008 10:59 AM

PVM. I have said you seem to be dim because even though you repeatedly say you would break the law willingly to give your family a better life, you are not considering where your family would end up if you had to serve jail time, which you also said you would willingly do. You aren't thinking things through clearly enough to make that kind of decision, it seems to me. You're understandably passionate about this, but you're not applying a lot of common sense. If you got arrested, what would happen to your family? The "better life" you would be trying to make for them certainly would not happen if you were in jail.
Also, I wasn't talking about barrios in CA. Those at least have electricity and running water. The ones along the border in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico do not, and the sewage problems they are creating will be ripe for breeding mosquitoes that will spread disease, if they're not already. I understand the difference. However, Dengue and other types of flu are becoming prevelant in these areas, and they are starting to spread to the rest of the population. (It's a very unhealthy situation.) I'm not trying to disparage you, I'm trying to get you to think a little more clearly than you seem to be about this whole immigration thing. I wish you and yours well, too.

Posted by: Flynne at April 24, 2008 11:01 AM

> the majority of people who
> are against illegal immigration
> arent against it for that reason.

They're against it because they think it steals value from their lives, public and private. And they're right, to some degree. That some of these thoughts drift into fantasies of old-time cultural collision shouldn't surprise us. As noted in a nearby comment, identity politics is a hideous way to live... You're right to be annoyed.

> I'm pretty sure the USA and
> other countries would "prop
> up" Mexico, too.

Fascinating point.

> I say - Amen!

I stole that line from Trudeau.

> focusing on what's happening
> half a world away and turning
> a blind eye on what's
> going on here.

We're not blind, we're stumped. We look forward to hearing your ideas on fixing these problems, but saying "Life is good" may not be as helpful as you think.

> Now I am out.

No! Wait! Come back and talk some more!

Posted by: Crid at April 24, 2008 11:20 AM

Yes, absolutely! Gods forbid we show anything resembling compassion for someone who isn't One Of Us. People who are Mexican, homosexual or just plain liberal don't deserve it! Stop coddling the less fortunate and force them out of their sickbeds to earn their transplanted organs!

Posted by: SpaceGhoti at April 27, 2008 6:49 AM

SpaceGhoti, I started a program in inner city schools to demystify making it. I speak once a month, and I'm going to start bringing in other speakers in May, and I'm planning on taking a few girls from the school who e-mailed me out for coffee and cookies to talk further. I also have a homeless artist I've been helping get on his feet. I give money to other causes I believe in. And in the year when a friend of mine, Cathy Seipp, was dying of cancer, I was part of "Team Cathy," about 15 of her friends who took care of her round the clock (I was there all day Wednesday and all day Thursday doing things for her and mostly just keeping her company because she was afraid to be alone.) I'm not saying we shouldn't show compassion, I'm saying I choose the causes I support, and I choose other causes. You, however, are free to donate a kidney now to an illegal alien, and to donate all your organs after your death, and also, to put a your hard-earned income into their medical care. I choose not to.

PS Please do this on the other side of the border, as I'd like to see our immigration laws enforced.

PPS What's with adding in the "homosexual" or "liberal" for hysterical emphasis? I regularly rail against discrimination against gays and lesbians. And whatever your sexual orientation or political belief, if you're a citizen, you're entitled to the rights (and subject to the responsibilities) of the rest of us citizens. By the way, as a gay or gay and liberal citizen, or just as a liberal citizens, I don't believe you'll be getting free health care from the rest of us. But, again, if you want to offer gays and liberals health care dollars out of your hard-earned income, have at it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 27, 2008 8:27 AM

Bully for you! Your public service earns you genuine kudos.

My comment is meant to emphasize the attitude that so many conservatives and libertarians have regarding what ought to be social issues, but are instead framed as economic ones. Human suffering doesn't care if I'm a native citizen, a legal resident or an illegal alien. If I'm dying from kidney failure, it doesn't matter if I'm dying in the US, Mexico, Sweden or Thailand: I'm suffering and how I got there is the least important issue. What price do you put on human suffering? How do you morally justify segregating those who get help and those who don't? Illegal aliens didn't get here legally, but how does that justify denying them simple human compassion?

That's really what health care is about, or used to be: compassion for people and their lives. It's easy to dismiss human suffering when you don't know them; we can't save every starving baby on the planet after all! But what does it say about us that we start counting pennies to decide which babies get fed and which don't? Who benefits when health becomes a commodity?

Posted by: SpaceGhoti at April 27, 2008 1:59 PM

But what does it say about us that we start counting pennies to decide which babies get fed and which don't?

That we're realistic about economics. There are people right now, all around the world, whose lives I could be saving. I'm not doing that. My time and my income are finite.

If you favor a world without borders, then use your money to bring down the walls by bringing people in Mexico and other countries health care. I do not wish to pay for illegal aliens to get four heart transplants, or even one. While I'm for preventive care for the desperately poor citizens of this country, I'm not for socialized medicine in general. I pay for my own health care and expect you and others to do the same -- even if it means foregoing a vacation or two, or that brand new wide-screen TV. There are health care reforms that should be made, sure, but I take the personal responsibility approach, and expect everyone but the seriously mentally ill or those physically incapable to work to pick up after themselves.

But, again, if you want to pay for other people's health care, I am not stopping you. I would just like to stop you from forcing me to do it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 27, 2008 2:08 PM

Big sigh.........no one should get 4 livers. Period. Organs are in high demand with low supply, and thousands die every year waiting for one. You get your shot, and that's it. If it didn't work, sorry, you were given a chance, and now someone else should be given a chance.

Illegal aliens should get no medical care but immediate lifesaving, and they should be immediately deported from there. They should get no education, they should get no welfare, they should not get jobs, they should not get citizenship for their kids born here. Enforce that and THEN see how many cross the border!

I find the issue of 4 livers to be more irritating than her illegal status, but barely. I live in texas, and it might as well be mexico in most areas. I do NOT think I should HAVE to learn spanish to live in America.

Posted by: farrar at April 28, 2008 10:47 AM

Illegals don't get free health care in Ontario (Canada). I just checked the OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) website, and it clearly states that you have to be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant (have your proper papers, in other words) or you pay for health care yourself.

Socialism should only benefit those who contribute financially, otherwise the system will fall apart.

I'm not aware of any special fund that pays for the health care of those in Canada unlawfully, maybe someone else does?

Posted by: Chrissy at April 28, 2008 10:55 AM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 23, 2008 10:28 AM

Comments

Whatever.... No more short guy jokes, or I'll start screeching at all of you in a reedy, nasal, mosquito-like manner, and never stop.

(The Homie anecdote is funny. And who new the Huntley had a good bar?)

Posted by: Crid at April 23, 2008 12:43 AM

Very chi.

P.S. that was the short subject version of chi-chi.(You're not going to sic the Society For The Advancement Of Short People on me, are you?)

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 23, 2008 12:57 AM

WHat about short guy jokes? It seems something went over my head again.

Posted by: lujlp at April 23, 2008 1:47 AM

As an employee of a large Federal contractor, I have to attend "diversity" training - which apparently has never noticed that commonality of purpose is really the notable goal. In practice, "diversity" only means "skin color". No matter how worthless you are, if you're a different shade, that's what matters.

Unless you're Asian. That brings out the liars defending such programs.

Posted by: Radwaste at April 23, 2008 2:28 AM

I'm sorry, but the "diversity" pandering makes me ill, as it generally translates to "Avoid giving opportunities to white people," which I find not a mark of diversity but a mark of racism.

Agreed. And this line from that stupid Kid Rock song that has been the ear worm of the month for me:
"How can we see salvation
When our nation's race relations
Has got me feeling guilty
Of being white?"

And the morons who talk about "reverse racism"? It's racism. No reversing it.

Posted by: Flynne at April 23, 2008 5:48 AM

WHat about short guy jokes? It seems something went over my head again.

I believe Crid may be...undertall.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 23, 2008 6:19 AM

There are advantages to the Wite-out look Amy. The violently red hair against the wite-out skin..... Aaaaanyway....I just call it the soft Balkinization of this country with the result we will end up in a situation like the Balkans...not good.

Posted by: Richard Cook at April 23, 2008 7:02 AM

To overcome this foolishness, I recommend In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas.

Posted by: Jeff at April 23, 2008 7:31 AM

In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas. Thanks -- Dalrymple...I'll order myself a copy. The title alone is fantastic and right on.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 23, 2008 7:48 AM

so do the real Indains, wonder what all this "chiefs" stuff is about? Some people just don't realize that it does much more damage to accuse the writer of such a lede of having a "pedestrian, boring, and ultimately stupid." line, rather than making it interesting enough for everyone to go read to find out what the hubub is about...

Posted by: SwissArmyD at April 23, 2008 11:45 AM

Excuse me! But EVERYONE knows that only white guys can acceptably be the butt of a joke, or the target of a "slur." Get with it, people!

(But, that's ok! We must deserve it!)

Posted by: Jay R at April 23, 2008 2:11 PM

Didn't mean to be murky... The smartass point was that a lot of people could find something to complain about if they wanted to. Every couple of years, I'm reminded that I'm short, and it's probably cost me something good somewhere along the way. Probably. Because a demented personality, an absence of salable skills, and a featureless lack of ambition aren't enough to explain what's gone wrong with my life. So the real problem probably exists in the hearts of others: People hate me because I'm 5'7". (As tall as Tom Cruise!!!! And Bob Dylan, an Authentic Voice of the American Spirit!!!).

On the other hand, I can fly comfortably in coach seats.

Also, the I think unity is overrated... Calling yourself "UNITY" (cap letters!) doesn't automatically endear. This is from a piece on Hitchens from A&LD the other day:

>> The legacy of the '68 generation he most deplores is that of identity politics or any argument that begins "speaking as a…"—gay man, Scot, single mother, Muslim and so on. Nevertheless, while he revolts against the Kiplingesque notion of "thinking with the blood," he relishes the surprise of his ethnicity and at least a remote connection to a great tradition of critics and intellectual outsiders.

Posted by: Crid at April 24, 2008 1:42 AM

People hate me because I'm 5'7". (As tall as Tom Cruise!!!! And Bob Dylan, an Authentic Voice of the American Spirit!!!).

Crid, height doesn't make any difference when you're lying down!

PS - I'm 5'7", too. o_O

Posted by: Flynne at April 24, 2008 7:42 AM

Hold still

Posted by: Crid at April 24, 2008 12:36 PM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 22, 2008 12:58 PM

Comments

White men don't hate women and they don't hate blacks. You wanna know what they really hate? Cankles in 8" Stilettos.

Posted by: Bikerken at April 22, 2008 1:15 AM

Meeting her definition of "white man", I can say: it is impossible to be unaware of Clinton's gender or Obama's race. But it has little relevance to their qualifications to hold office.

The fact that Ms. Ephron believes that white men "hate" women and blacks reveals a great deal about her own world-view...

Posted by: bradley13 at April 22, 2008 1:37 AM

What scares me the most is that marginal thinkers like Ephron are the ones that are moving the masses with their twaddle.

People read shit in newspapers, and they BELIEVE it. So now, some otherwise functionally intelligent white guy is going to read this, knowing he doesn't have a racist bone in his body, and he's going to vote fro Obama just to SHOW that bitch she's wrong.

That seems at least as bad as voting against him because he's black.

I keep waiting for someone to ask me who I'm supporting, and when they try to hit me with the race or sex angle, I've got a reply at the ready:

I'm just not ready to vote for a communist yet.

Posted by: brian at April 22, 2008 5:09 AM

Luckily, it wasn't in the newspaper, just on the Huffington Post.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 22, 2008 6:20 AM

Amy, you and I see eye-to-eye on political issues, but apparently we are very much in the minority. Our government (for all the reasons you mentioned, and then some) keeps screwing things up, but what do people want? More government! All three candidates want more government, and the reason they ARE candidates is because most people expect the government to fix everything and solve their problems for them. Until the general mentality of Americans changes, this is all we are going to get. But I don't expect that to happen, because getting the government out of your hair means taking responsibility for yourself, and most people honestly don't want that.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 22, 2008 6:39 AM

Add me to your list, Pirate Jo! I want the government out of my private life and out of bed with the big corporations who are running everything. And you're so right about people not wanting to take any responsibility for themselves. It's so much easier to blame someone else for the mess you make of your life, right?

Posted by: Flynne at April 22, 2008 6:55 AM

And so much easier, too, if you send "someone else" the bill.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 22, 2008 7:09 AM

Ann Althouse said something like this girl is a Satire writer or something (I'd look now but Websense blocks her site). I read it originally and got slightly angry but after I read althouse I figured if Ann is correct then I'm just like the liberals who can't take a joke. Anyone else know anything more about this womens writing styles?

Posted by: Scott at April 22, 2008 7:15 AM

Swift was a satirist and suggested that the Irish eat their children. You get that that's satire, right? Easily, right? Me, too.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 22, 2008 7:30 AM

Here. Swift was absolutely hilarious. Is. Still, today:

http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html

I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.

See anything resembling satire in Ephron's piece? Me neither.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 22, 2008 7:32 AM

Ms. Ephron's latest makes me a lot more sympathetic to Carl Bernstein.

Posted by: A Berman at April 22, 2008 7:42 AM

Hilarious.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 22, 2008 7:49 AM

I wish someone could tell me HOW we (the people) could actually change our government. It seems to me it is completely in the hands of the big corporations (oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc.). They even have their leader (AKA Dick Cheney) in the White House. I see no reason to vote, other than local issues. The political machines put in who they want, powered by big business, and we are the robots who obey their commands. How can this ever change, other than outright revolution, and that won't happen unless the middle class goes broke, and decides to take charge. Then you end up with Cuba.

Posted by: Mary Jane at April 22, 2008 10:18 AM

How? Really simple.

1: STOP VOTING FOR INCUMBENTS.

The surest way to cripple the government is to provide for a high turnover rate among the representatives.

2: MINIMIZE GOVERNMENTAL INTERFERENCE IN BUSINESS

If government does not exercise so much control over business, then business will not seek to exercise so much control over government.

Posted by: brian at April 22, 2008 10:33 AM

I'm voting with Pirate Jo and Flynne. I'm not happy about the choices either party is putting up this year. I agree that none of the candidates are interested in personal responsibility, for anything! Spend too much on credit? We'll bail you out! Buy too much house? We'll bail you out! Etc., etc., ad nauseam. This disease extends to many state governments as well, and it only allows the government to dictate more and more what people can and can't do on their own. The sad part is that the people eat this up. They figure it is "their due" because they paid into it. This is because the prevailing wisdom has told us there is no shame in anything anymore, being on the dole included. McCain is the least odious of the major party candidates in these terms, but he is not great. Voting for a smaller party isn't a possibility. I have voted Libertarian in the past but have grown increasingly unhappy with their stance on national security. They also don't have a chance in hell. So as I said, I'm back to least odious. Hillary and Obama simply don't have the chops with most of the issues on the table. Does that make me a racist, woman-hating white man? I don't think so, but apparently Nora and I would disagree. That's OK, she's not my type. I'm not looking to impress her.

Posted by: Me me me me me at April 22, 2008 10:37 AM

Amen, Brian. And by the way, Mary Jane, the executive branch does not make the laws, that is up to Congress. Check there for influence by "big business". However, what Brian said was right. Government people don't know how to run a business, being a legislator does not grant those skills.

And sorry to all for the previous giant monolithic paragraph from my other post. Once I started typing, I couldn't stop.

Posted by: Me me me me me at April 22, 2008 10:41 AM

heh, so a couple of thinks...

er, I'm guessin' that in terms of actual turnout, white men are quite the minority, either in primary or general elections. The coalition of everyone else, surely trumps their vote, if we look at it that way...

But WHY look at it that way? You can vote for things, and this is much more important than voting against things. It's the difference between risking for a win and playing safe to avoid a loss. Playing safe should be plan B, if plan A doesn't work. But if you only play safe, and that doesn't work, what're you going to do?

This is a problem I often see, esp. lately in the Dems. Years ago I voted for Nader, just because I thought he would at least tell the truth. My Dem friends were insensed, because they thought Nader took away votes from Gore. So what? I said. If Gore is really the best, then he will win, because he is good enough to vote for. If he can't differentiate himself enough to be worth voting for, then he doesn't deserve it. The whining about not quite getting there, is as bad as the bull about having a mandate when you win with such a narrow margin. It gets ugly when there isn't that good of a choice, only less bad ones.

In the final analysis, THIS is why I am constantly talking at my fellow voters to think correctly about this... is something that Mary Jane Said. "I wish someone could tell me HOW we (the people) could actually change our government."

the answer is right there in what you said, but it is a slight change in thinking. Don't think of "our Government" as being a separate entity. IT'S US. We {the people}. Start by thinking about it that way, and then extrapolate forward... To have this many people, we need to find some representatives, and they will need to be able to make some decisions on our behalf, and so forth. But they are still US.

If we do not hold them accountable, they won't be. To hold them accountable is to vote them out if needs be, or to vote something better in. Large Corporations DON'T VOTE. If you don't tell your representative to listen to you, they will listen to money.

And Yes you are a tiny cog, and yes you won't affect the outcome alone, but when you look at this as being a thing that is your responsibility, you will find all those other people that do too. And you will talk amongst yourselves, and you will agree sometimes and you will disagree others, and you will be your own government. But ONLY if you believe you have this power, and only if you are willing to excercise it.

Sure, we are coming down eventually to the Old guy with the temper vs. somebody... but you have to remember, that the President is only one person. There are many others that shape what happens, and you can offset one against the other to take you where you wish to go. One of the most important messages you can send is participation at some level in the process. Even if you consciously DON'T vote for a pres, because you hate them all, you CAN vote what is important locally. Make sure that person knows that you are voting for them to represent you, therefore they have a responsibility to work for you.

Ultimately, I guess, we can just tell everyone we know, to TAKE responsibility. Figure stuff out. Make a decision. Don't listen to hype alone. I had a very long conversation with a friend who is a universal healthcare promoter. I kept coming back to "who will pay", and she kept saying but people NEED it. I finally said: "what YOU want is for ME to pay for your healthcare, is that true?" I don't think she had ever thought of it that way. The government doesn't actually pay for anything. We do. "They" don't make decisions. We do. Sometimes WE don't all agree on what decision to make, but this is normal, not a reason to disengage...

Posted by: SwissArmyD at April 22, 2008 11:34 AM

Beautifully said, SwissArmyD.

You start with the 2 million mouth-breathing dullards on the left who keep voting for the status quo, and I'll do my best with the two million sitting on the right.

Okay, actually I did agree with everything you said, and I do the same things you do. But I think it was Crid who said that most people have better things to do. It doesn't make them bad people, it makes them preoccupied with their kids, their jobs, their errands, their TV shows, etc. And how much of your life are you really willing to sink into trying to make revolutionary changes when there are too few of you to make a difference?

I'll use Social Security as an example, since it's a biggie. How popular was the idea of private accounts? How excited were people about the idea that their contributions to SSI might be backed by actual assets? How many of them really understand or care about the nature of the problem? When the money starts to dry up, how many of them will simply demand an even bigger government "solution" than the problem created by government in the first place? According to your logic, WE put this disaster in place, so it's what we want. Not what you and I as individuals want, but the people in general. I guess we just don't have much in common with the general public. And this would be why we have three socialists running for office.

Hell, I'm not having kids - what do I care? I'm tempted to just smoke a fattie, ride my bike in the sunshine, and let the world continue in whatever merry way it wishes after I am gone. Such an outlook will surely keep my hair from turning gray.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 22, 2008 12:01 PM

Why didn't the Democrats pick a half Hispanic/half black woman? They got themselves into this mess.

Posted by: Jim at April 22, 2008 12:04 PM

heh, what's wrong with gray?

"WE put this disaster in place, so it's what we want."

THIS is where I go with people. They say "nooo, it's not!" well then you have to change it... deciding to do nothing is also a valid decision, as long as you MAKE it a decision. What you and Crid mentioned about not taking the time, is very true. That's OK. That means that people actually willing to do something are the people who make change. Either of us can use that...

and still have time to take a ride.

another thing is, you may get mad-as-hell about ONE thing. Do that one thing. If they are trying to build a super wally world in the middle of a greenbelt, INSTEAD of the adjacent industrial area, say IT!

Posted by: SwissArmyD at April 22, 2008 12:20 PM

Well, you are right about local issues being easier to influence. And as far as the bigger issues go, I think making a donation to the Cato Institute makes more of a difference than who I vote for.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 22, 2008 12:28 PM

Only from my own personal interaction with "folks" on the train, at work, church, etc. is that most do not care about politics and when something like expensive gas happend their response is "make it go away". Most seem to be too busy with their lives to take an interest in politics or the bigger political issues. Most also do not have the time or familiarity with the issues to be able to deal responsibly with them. What is left? Wait to the situation (Social Security, Medicare) gets so out of hand a decision has to be made? Let the thing collapse? I really do not know. Most people I know vote their self interest, mostly being benefits for me and pain for someone else.

Posted by: Richard Cook at April 22, 2008 2:00 PM

Richard Cook, that has been my experience as well. As hideous as it sounds, and I realize this is completely anecdotal, it seems to me that a lot of people think Social Security works like a 401K. They do not realize their contributions are going straight out the door. You hear a few people talk about changing that, and I support them, but no one else seems to. The oldsters who stand to benefit from SSI outnumber us too much. Not that I'm trying to be grumpy or cynical, but isn't it just being realistic to acknowledge when you're beaten by sheer numbers?

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 22, 2008 3:22 PM

If you want to be depressed, don't listen to me - just check out this from reason.com:

http://reason.tv/video/show/394.html

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 22, 2008 4:19 PM

But having said that, this comment from SwissArmyD

" ... people actually willing to do something are the people who make change. Either of us can use that...

and still have time to take a ride."

certainly is cheerful in its optimism.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 22, 2008 4:21 PM

As a youngin, I never counted on getting a dime of social security. It's just another payroll deduction, never even see the money.

Now lets talk about what would happen if the Federal Government did not have those social security funds to siphon from. Do you think they would stop spending? Or just raise some of the other various forms of tax I pay?

I think many young people's idea of SS reform is to open a retirement account, take care of their own retirment needs and write FICA off as just another tax. Unfortunately, it's starting to look like those retirement accounts are going to evaporate as the bubbles burst.

So with pessimistic jaded youth and old folks who stand to draw benefits, where is the support going to come from?


"Buy too much house?" It doesn't matter how modest your purchasing decisions, if you bought in the last 4 years, yer screwed. But I have very little sympathy for people whining about adjustable rates when prime is at 5.x. Unless your margin is absurd, you're still getting a good deal.

Posted by: smurfy at April 22, 2008 5:11 PM

Jo-

I think the grander point is that, for many issues, a decision is made or not made when there are no other choices left.

I keep hearing about seemingly great ideas (flat tax, various social security fixes, etc.) and my reaction is the same: It's just words. Maybe great ideas even. If the electorate is so disengaged what is the likelyhood of change?

Smurfy: Just from my interactions with folk the idea of "it's the government's job to help us" is so firmly rooted only actually running out of money will force the lectorate to look at other than government options.

Posted by: Richard Cook at April 22, 2008 6:17 PM

Should have been ...electorate....

Posted by: Richard Cook at April 22, 2008 6:18 PM

Smurfy, I bitched this up on another post. I'm 38, so if current projections hold true, SSI will be going bankrupt the year I turn 60. (And that's not even figuring in the effects of Medicare.) I have a theory that if this happens as projected, it will be a non-issue much like Y2K. People my age and younger think just the way you described - none of us expect to get a dime of it. So when the money dries up and we don't get anything, no one's really going to care because this is what we've been expecting all along. We take it for granted that we're going to get an ass-reaming, so the bastards are going to get away with it! But in the meantime, being outnumbered by a bunch of old buzzards and unable to do anything about it, I pay for their 30-year retirements while expecting to work until age 75 myself.

And I agree with you about the mortgage "crisis" too. My interest rate could double and I would never be in any danger of losing my house, because I *bought well within my means.* These fools who make $38,000 a year and think they can afford a $700,000 house are living in la-la land somewhere. And don't even get me started on people who lose their jobs and then sit around unemployed forever. I'd get a job waiting tables, for chrissake - I've worked minimum wage jobs before and I'd do it again if I had to. Thank you. This rant has been brought to you by the letter T and by the number 7.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 22, 2008 7:07 PM

"I'm 38" just a punk! Heh, so I only got a few years on you. I ain't got nuttin' but funnily enough if I HAD any kind of retirement accounts, my ex- would have gotten them, so? I ain't got nuttin' however... when I was first watching this social security tax disappearing from my paycheck when I was a kid, I looked into it a bit, and realized that federal budgets are such a sliding scale, and the numbers are so nebulous, we will NEVER know if there is enough, or not enough. Prolly by that time, the retirement age will be 70+ anyway... eventually heading to the point where retirement happens about the time you croak. :shrug: What would I do retired, anyway? Learn to play golf? Be the wise old man that the community thinks they still need? Chase girls? OK... maybe that.

Anyway, on the optimistic thing, really I am quite cynical, being made so by the continued reruns of "Mama's House". Is it really better than dead air time for ad revenue? Somebody must think it's a good idea.

But, my POV of preaching to people that making a decision is a better thing than letting the decision be made for you, is more of a mindset. EVEN IF, my words fall on deaf ears, even if, people watch mama's house instead of voting, or vote a straight party line... my own course is clear, the only thing I can control is myself. I can invite other people to control themselves, too, and some small percentage will. Those that don't care will make the decision not to decide, and so my decisions will have proportionately more weight. That may not be worth much in the long run, in terms of amazing change, but it is important to me as an individual.

Posted by: SwissArmyD at April 23, 2008 12:28 PM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 22, 2008 9:51 AM

Comments

Islam is the only true religion. Reset your clocks, infidels!

Muslim scientists and clerics: It's time for Mecca Time

They want to replace Greenwich Mean Time with Mecca Time, since, after all, as everyone knows, Mecca is the center of the earth.

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/020750.php

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at April 22, 2008 7:56 AM

Fuckin' Gog took the words outta mouth.


It would be amusing if a few of the more devout Muslim nations decided to switch their clocks that way... 'Amusing' in a chaos-'n-rioting, starvation-&-bloodshed kinda way.

I was in Myanmar a few years ago and still have a picture of my wristwatch held up to a town-square clock tower in some coastal village. The clock said 7:03pm and the watch said 7:30pm. Isolated cultures are always living in the past.

Posted by: Crid at April 22, 2008 9:54 AM

Is there some other kind of terrorist? Last I checked, it was the "religion of peace" that was blowing up buses, shooting up schoolkids (Israeli or muslim, doesn't matter), and threatening all of us non-believers with death.

Posted by: Me me me me me at April 22, 2008 11:28 AM

it's all a matter of framing. If these characters came out and said, "we demand that these terroristsstop killing people in our name..." THEN they might have a leg to stand on, or they could do something REALLY creative, and ask him to issue a joint statement with them to refer to these people as "extremist islamists" or "jihadi militants". But the condemnation has to come from both...

...unless they are not condemming. For that they can become virgins in hades. You know that's what demons get, right? 72 jihadi virgins for eternity?

Posted by: SwissArmyD at April 22, 2008 12:02 PM

Seriously - have you not been paying attention?

You say "Of course, the single best way to stop people from thinking of Muslims when they think of terrorists is for Muslims to speak out against other Muslims murdering people in the name of their religion."

I am constantly hearing from Muslims who condemn killing and are horrified that terrorist groups are abusing their religion. It's just that the right wing media never reports on it. Maybe you should get out into the community and do some investigative journalism instead of following some misguided notion that all Muslims advocate murder.

Posted by: Tom White at April 23, 2008 6:07 AM

"The right-wing media"? What, Fox News? National Review? The op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal? The Washington Times? Yes, that right-wing media is real vast.

Sorry, I'm not a right winger (nor am I a left-winger), but an atheist who's largely libertarian (except not for open borders) and there's far more liberal lean in the media than anything else. Check out the "40 on 40" piece in the LA Times. Patterico and I are two of the few who aren't thrilled that the police don't ask (or, better yet, rigorously check to see) whether criminals in their "care" are deport-worthy.

If Muslims spoke up, they'd be on TV and doing P.R. The fact that you know three Muslims who are horrified by terrorism (and what civilized person isn't?) isn't the same as "speaking up."

"Maybe you should get out into the community and do some investigative journalism instead of following some misguided notion that all Muslims advocate murder."

The people speaking up, vocally, are few and far between -- Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and a handful of others. Why is this? Because any Muslim or former Muslim who speaks up against Islam to more than their friends has their life in danger.

Read much, Big Tom? I've been reading about Islam since 9-11. It not just condones violence against the infidel (that's us, sweetiepie) it commands it: to convert or kill, or at least tax and humiliate those who aren't Muslims.

You might know three nice Muslims who work at IBM, but in Canada, 12 percent of Muslims polled said it was groovy with them to blow up Parliament and murder the Prime Minister. 12 percent? That's not many, right? No, just 84,000 people.

I'm doing just what I should. Shouting out over the heads of nitwits like you in hopes of getting people to realize the danger to everything we value in our society from Islam.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 23, 2008 6:27 AM

Amy, do you happen to have a reference for that study you quoted? I'm wondering if it was administered just to Muslim's or to a wide variety of people. I'm curious how 12% compares against other "control" groups. Not arguing with the dangers from Islam (it just dawned on me that regularly arguing with Muslim taxi driver's who drive me home, might not be the smartest course of action), just want to know that studies measuring where our internal danger level is at are done scientifically.

Posted by: moreta at April 23, 2008 8:04 AM

Running out the door. Google it -- try 12 percent or % and Muslims and Canadian. You'll be able to track it down. Sorry to leave it to you.

PS Even if the study is off a little (and it is an extrapolation to the population at large, as any study is) -- wouldn't 1 percent of Canadian Muslims be too many in this case? Do you think there would be more than five Jews, Christians, or atheists who would say the same thing is justified based on their belief systems? If there are, it's probably just a handful of batshit crazy people. Rabbis and priests are not standing up before their congregations, as far too many imams around the world, announcing that their religion commands the flock to go kill their neighbors who don't think like they do, and/or force them into their particular (evidence-free) belief system.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 23, 2008 8:18 AM

For anyone else interest, I think I found it. http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/islam/muslim-survey.html A joint study by Environics and CBC. I believe the question was whether Muslim's identified more with Extremists or Moderates, so not one you can readily compare to the general population.

If the question was whether one thought attacking parliment was a good method for political change I am curious what percentage of other belief systems might agree.

I agree our tolerance, pandering and fear to speak out against this shit (that I understand isn't just about political change, but subjugating anyone who doesn't believe) is unacceptable. I also believe that a percentage of any group in a belief system are going to take it to the extreme. 1% wouldn't bother me too much...unless that trend started to increase.

My cab driver Saturday night didn't understand why it made him dangerous that he didn't care too much about this life, but was only interested in the next one. Ug.

Posted by: moreta at April 23, 2008 10:18 AM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 22, 2008 6:28 AM

Comments

I can just imagine her response:
Honey,
our problems started on our first honeymoon night. I went to the spa when you were out shopping, and there was this french girl there. She was a little goofy looking, big bulgy eyes, a bit of a swayback. Still, she was kind of sexy somehow......

Posted by: Bikerken at April 22, 2008 1:03 AM

I totally agree with the letter writer that you should indeed be "faithful" to the marriage, meaning be the same person before and after, and not treat a spouse like a project to be fixed. Marriage isn't an excuse to cut off the sex (and why do so many women?), stop cooking and cleaning, and let yourself go.

I feel no sympathy for the letter writer, though, because he himself said the only thing he wanted out of this woman was sex. He found her stupid, boring, and didn't value her opinions on any subject. Uhh, then don't marry her. Find someone who has not only a willing pussy, but is someone you do, in fact, enjoy actually talking to. Accept some responsibility for who you let into your life.

And Bikerken, you totally cracked me up.

Posted by: Kimberly at April 22, 2008 2:14 AM

"Never let your husband leave the house with a single drop of semen in his body. Trust me, if he is not dumping it at home, he is dumping it somewhere...

What a charming guy. She's well-quit of the asshole.

Posted by: Nance at April 22, 2008 5:21 AM

Accept some responsibility for who you let into your life.

Amen, sister!

I can't wait to read what Jeff and Jay R will say about this letter. /sarcasm

Posted by: Flynne at April 22, 2008 5:57 AM

"I feel no sympathy for the letter writer, though, because he himself said the only thing he wanted out of this woman was sex. He found her stupid, boring, and didn't value her opinions on any subject. Uhh, then don't marry her."

Exactly. And if he finds sex so easy to get, why did he get married in order to have it? Everything he said about his wife may be true, but he is no prize either. Do you ever hear him admit that HE made a mistake, maybe by getting married at all? He takes no responsibility for his own decisions whatsoever - it's all HER fault. She doesn't sound like the only whiny toad in that couple.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 22, 2008 6:34 AM

Whether or not you find his candor tasteful, I don't see anyone disagreeing with him.

Posted by: snakeman99 at April 22, 2008 7:14 AM

No, snakeman, I don't disagree with him. They sound like two people who should never have gotten married in the first place. I'm sure that both the wedding industry and the divorce industry are very thankful for couples like this, doing their part to keep those sectors of the economy going.

This guy is a clueless dolt who just got married because he was mindlessly following his dick around. (Which he is still doing.) He clearly does not love his wife, and maybe that is the reason she has lost interest in sex with him. But that just makes me wonder why SHE married HIM.

I'm glad my life isn't like theirs.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 22, 2008 7:41 AM

I agree with the LW that a marriage, based on many things including a sexual relationship, requires performance from both parties. Both parties must contribute to the relationship during marriage the same as promised pre-marriage.

If Husband always did the laundry before marriage it's assumed he won't stop after "I do". Ditto for her. Especially ditto for sex.

But, I will disagree that the onus of the failed marriage is on Wife in this situation. As was previously mentioned he was dumb enough to marry a woman who provided him with nothing except sexual gratification. He doesn't seem to have trouble getting it so why marry someone for it? Oh, I know. You don't need to use rubbers.

She sounds like a real turd. So does he. They probably deserve each other.

I don't think cheating is ever justified however one can define the causality to understand the cheating (she didn't put out is the reason, but it doesn't justify his behavior).

He needed to be upfront immediately - not go cheat on his (loser) wife on their honeymoon. If he was SO DISTRAUGHT he should have had the marriage annulled IMMEDIATELY. Cheating just isn't the solution to a shitty marriage (unless both parties agree to it, which clearly isn't the case in the letter). It took him three years to grow a set and get away from the cow. Again...they deserve each other.

Posted by: Gretchen at April 22, 2008 7:43 AM

"But, I will disagree that the onus of the failed marriage is on Wife in this situation." - Me

I need to rephrase: I will disagree that the onus of the failed marriage is *ONLY* on Wife in this situation.

I agree with PJo. They both contributed to this failed marriage. Maybe he changed after the "I do" as well? And maybe when he changed she changed? It's possible she was the only one who morphed into a nightmare but he was the one who married a doorknob.

Posted by: Gretchen at April 22, 2008 7:47 AM

I'm with Pirate Jo. People don't take responsibility for who they choose (or rather, get together with without too much thought, hoping it'll all turn out okay).

This guy, if he's a real person (I wondered about that -- he writes a bit too well) picked -- and even married -- a woman who's basically a fuck toy who had not a thought in her head that he respected, from the sound of it.

His bad.

A guy can get sex without getting married. Even if you have to rent it on a nightly basis, it's probably cheaper than buying.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 22, 2008 7:47 AM

Now there's a guy who truly hates women.
Is anyone surprised he ended up with a wife who went into withholding mode on their honeymoon?

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at April 22, 2008 7:51 AM

Not disagreeing with the guy...he is right about not changing the package you represent yourself to be, but its not so much his candor that is distasteful. I somehow doubt he was so candid with his wife about what (little) he saw in her before the wedding, and in fact, it doesn't sound like he was all that candid with himself. Sexual intimacy is hugely important in a relationship, but for that to be the ONLY thing? I doubt he represented himself as signing up as a "life long fuck buddy, please don't talk". If they hadn't discussed such obvious things as sex, households chores, etc. BEFORE they sealed the deal, well they both screwed up.

I think its telling that their honeymoon conversations went: But I'm tired. But it's our honeymoon. Both comments surely sounded reasonable and obviously reasonable to the speaker, but to an outsider, they both sound pretty whiny.

I don't abide by "keying" a guy's car or other vindictive act at break-up as that implies convincing yourself its all the other guys fault and they deserve to be punished. This seems to be equivalent: Failure to take responsibility for his own part in the mistake.

Posted by: moreta at April 22, 2008 7:52 AM

"reasonable"..."reasonable". Sorry -- comments in between phone calls...forgot to re-read for clarity.

Posted by: moreta at April 22, 2008 7:56 AM

...and then he threw her in the fireplace.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at April 22, 2008 8:18 AM

this is hilarious, all of you trying to shift the blame back to this guy, and making excuses for a person who, as described, didn't bring anything to the relationship, not even sex. and yet she get's a pass? This is no different to saying, "my gender, right or wrong." Good for laughs, bad for policy...

I don't share the philosophical simplicity he has chosen for picking a mate, but that aside, I think there needed to be some communication between the two. Of course, the very test of the letter implies she knew exactly what she was doing. "training him". Sounds like she's a wilfull participant in her own demise?

"A guy can get sex without getting married. Even if you have to rent it on a nightly basis, it's probably cheaper than buying."
--Agreed. So then why do men get married? Probably not because of self-will alone.

A person can either rent, lease, or own. And nobody wants to own, but they do it anyway. I think marriages should have a three year lease. Only because it gives incentive to keep the attraction on both accounts, not let it idly fester as time passess on.

Posted by: j.d. at April 22, 2008 8:47 AM

I agree its foolish to marry someone who only provides one thing. Nevertheless, in the context of LW's relationship, Wife basically defrauded LW. Buying a Ferrari may be a poor investment, but that doesn't preclude his right to complain when the Chevy Nova rolls up.

Posted by: snakeman99 at April 22, 2008 8:53 AM

J.D. who in this entire thread has shifted blame to the guy? Everyone here has said that the wife sounds like a troll. But the guy was dumb enough to MARRY the troll, when he had no respect for her from the very beginning! In fact he only valued her for sex, which makes his decision to marry her extra dumb since (by his own questionable admission) he is getting plenty of that without having to get married for it.

And this comment of yours is about the dumbest thing I've seen all year: "So then why do men get married? Probably not because of self-will alone." So if men don't get married because of self-will alone, why DO they get married? Does the Tooth Fairy make them do it? Does someone slip them a date-rape drug and poof, they wake up married? (In the bathtub, with a kidney missing?)

The comments on this thread have not shifted blame to the guy, but no one is willing to absolve him of his own responsibility for his own crappy decision-making, either, which you seem to want to do. "My gender, right or wrong" indeed.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 22, 2008 8:55 AM

Feed not the troll, PJ, for behold, it is Jeff Daniels, who was banned once before, with a new ISP!! The joy.

Posted by: Flynne at April 22, 2008 9:00 AM

Thanks, Flynne. Next think you know Chuck "The Memo Boy" Pelto will find a way back in.

I hate having to scroll past the Poo boys to get to the good stuff by Crid or Norman. I am kind of amazed that this site, of all places, seems to have attracted such an annoying tribe of Angry Little Men. We make FUN of shrill, whiny feminists around here, right before we roast them for breakfast! Amy sticks up for men over and over, on every issue from sex to child visitation agreements and alimony. She doesn't even let the fat chicks off the hook.

Where do these 'american women suck' cultists come crawling out of the woodwork from?

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 22, 2008 9:16 AM

*Where do these 'american women suck' cultists come crawling out of the woodwork from?*

Just a guess, but maybe from here?

http://www.blossoms.com/

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at April 22, 2008 9:30 AM

Pirate Jo, they come from the same place that LW came from - even if he's fake, the story itself and its underlying themes came from someone's mind.

There are relatively few people out there who view themselves as having nothing to offer in terms of conversation, intellectual stimulation, etc. Those who do are either of extremely low self-esteem and thus likely to do anything to hold onto a mate - including nonstop sex - or are possessed of a non-intellectual shrewdness allowing them to realize that they need to maximize their beauty and sex appeal - including having lots of sex - to hold onto a mate. Everyone else thinks they have a lot to offer, and when someone agrees to marry them, unless that person constantly tells them how stupid they are, they're going to assume that the offer of marriage equates a high valuation of their intellect and emotional contribution. The LW's wife is clearly one of these people.

Basically, the LW married a woman who, by his own admission, is stupid and boring, and then was shocked, SHOCKED when she turned out to be a bad mate. Does that excuse her bait and switch? No. Likewise, if I marry a man who starts beating me unprovoked, nothing would excuse that either...but if he had shown the classic signs of an abuser during the relationship and I had ignored them because I wanted to be married THAT badly, I'd need to own up to my role in the situation.

If you marry someone you consider stupid, you're going to have a bad marriage. Note: This is not the same thing as marrying someone who is not just like you intellectually. Plumbers and Ph.Ds can have perfectly happy lives together. But if you marry someone you don't find *interesting*, how do you expect to sustain a happy marriage over decades?

There are smart, kind single women out there. It may take longer to find them than it does to find dumb, outwardly super-accommodating women, just as it may take longer to find smart, kind men than it does losers, but they exist. The LW - if he exists - could have held out for a smart, kind woman. Instead, he picked a stupid, boring woman who apparently displayed her lack of empathy in all other areas besides sex before they got married. Why was he surprised at all that she didn't care about his needs after they got hitched? And he can divorce her, but as long as he keeps looking for stupid women as marriage partners, he's going to be unhappy.

No one acts EXACTLY the same after 20 years of marriage as they did before, because years and life events (having kids, parents dying, moving to new places, moving up in the corporate hierarchy, switching careers) change people. Most men I know aren't quite as inclined to send flowers et all after they get married as before. Women are more comfortable hanging their pantyhose up in the bathroom. But if you pick someone with a sterling character, you're maximizing the possibility that your partner will change in ways that you *enjoy*, and that the two of you will grow *together*. If you try to take a short-cut here, you more or less deserve what you get.

Posted by: marion at April 22, 2008 9:40 AM

I have to agree with most of the posts here that this guy was not on the right track to begin with. The one sentence he had in that letter about, "Getting married to have sex" threw up a flag for me. He kinda showed his cards a bit there. You don't marry somebody just because Mr. Happy likes cuddling up with them. Jesus Keerist, what was he thinking? From his letter, it seems he never really expresses even likeing his wife other than for sex before they got married, then, because she gets a case of the shaved icebox, he realizes how much he doesn't even like her at all. Hmmmmm. Dudes got issues. No consoling, no talking it out, giving it a little time, he went straight to the screwing around during the honeymoon. A lot of women get a little distracted on their honeymoon. That's when I got married, we went to a remote cabin in northern Michigan far far away from anything like civilation. There was NOTHING to do. Hmmmm.

Posted by: Bikerken at April 22, 2008 10:04 AM

what Marion said.

Posted by: deja pseu at April 22, 2008 10:08 AM

first, I must pre-emptively apologize to flynne for eliminating her joy: i don't know who jeff daniels is (presumably not the actor). I've been lurking here for a couple weeks now. I've used j.d. before, on here, and other blogs (ex, theagitator.com). No that's not my e-mail address, and yes, I would probably have a different ISP than jeff daniels, being that I am not he. SO, just nip that in the bud for starters. Or not, you can surely believe what you want. (I do notice your excitement of a returning banned ex-commenter, but, i cannot claim what I have not earned). So yes, sorry to disappoint.

Second, I posed the "why do men get married" question in the rhetorical sense, obviously. I think it's an open-ended question, and was hoping to generate some more discussion. So I'll elaborate on what I believe: that the reason men marry is not out of pure self-will, but from a number of other pressuring factors, not limited to family, the girlfriend herself, money, and so forth: I do point my finger at religion the most. I think it is the number one reason why men get married: because religion compells them to do so. Curiously, it is the one thing that keeps both dissatisfied men AND women from getting out of relationships. Even abusive ones. Or unsatisfying ones.

I also come from the viewpoint that, if marriage never existed, no person today would say, "I want to be with one person for the rest of my life, and I want to do so by the consent of the government". Rather, I adhere to the "say i love you and live up to it" mentality.

I say you've shifted the blame because you attack his reason to get married to this woman, which while it may be disagreeable, is hardly a basis for blaming the guy. Stupid yes (we agree on this, yes), but clearly his mind was set on what he wanted. This is no different than what a golddigger does. But when the funds dry up, are you to suggest that she and her ambitions should be chained to that one person? (I like the idea of wanting a ferrari and getting a nova -- marriage is a contract...right? Thinking Cardozo all of a sudden)

And he, like a golddigger that marries an unlucky investor, got burned. Assume, for a moment, that he was looking for a trophy wife. And that's all the guy wanted. Disagreeable? Sure. But the woman once beautiful who changes her position into a very unkempt person is an understandable disappointment to the guy. Marion makes a very reasonable point in the alternative: where one goes beyond what is expected of them to the detriment of the other (ie, spousal abuse). The door swings both ways, and here's one example, of very very few, that comes from the position of a male.

To the text of the letter, I think his point of articulating her lack of doing anything is more of a final nail in an already sealed coffin. Like he said, he wanted sex, and sex he did not get. If his motive to write the letter was based on that, I think it would have been written completely different.

Posted by: j.d. at April 22, 2008 10:57 AM

(I do notice your excitement of a returning banned ex-commenter, but, i cannot claim what I have not earned). So yes, sorry to disappoint.

You shouldn't assume what you don't know; I just forgot the /sarcasm tag. I cannot claim to be disappointed that you are not he.

On the other hand, you at least seem to be a little less troll-like, at the moment, than the previous poster with the same initials that I mentioned before. Pardon me for being rash.

Posted by: Flynne at April 22, 2008 11:21 AM

The blame is being shifted from the woman only to being shared, not to being the guy's fault. As most here suggest...they both appear to be idiots.

I can't imagine agreeing to tie myself to a man who only wanted me for sex (well, maybe in some fantasy role-playing, but I digress). If she knew her role as "seminal receptacle" before she agreed to the marriage, she could have been blamed for not holding up her end of the bargain. She clearly didn't know she was only a sex object to him. She asked to bring her family on the honeymoon...does it sound like she was planning a week of hot sex? Was she hoping that having grandma along would spice things up? Maybe she believed him when he spouted the whole love, honor, respect stuff at the wedding. I agree, she failed to do her part in that, but he didn't exactly live up to his side.

You reaps whats you sow.

As to why men marry...this sounds like BS feminist rhetoric about how men keep them down, turned on its ear. If the men aren't in charge and the women aren't, who the hell is this society that's keeping us down? It's OK though...the government can surely fix it for us.

Posted by: moreta at April 22, 2008 11:28 AM

Thank you for elaborating, J.D. I actually agree with a lot of what you said. This is interesting:

"So I'll elaborate on what I believe: that the reason men marry is not out of pure self-will, but from a number of other pressuring factors, not limited to family, the girlfriend herself, money, and so forth: I do point my finger at religion the most."

I would say that these are a lot of the same reasons why women marry. And maybe people need a little Ayn Rand injection, or something. People need to figure out that you get a life, ONE life, and it doesn't belong to your family, your girlfriend, money, or religion. It belongs to YOU, and if you screw it up, YOU are going to be the one left with the consequences. The guy writing this letter chose his girlfriend, chose his religion, chose whatever. You have pointed out that a lot of factors put pressure on people, but people have to be adults and choose what they will be pressured by. If they are just going to sit and let life "happen" to them from the passenger seat, well that itself is a choice, but they really don't have much room to complain.

I detest religion as much as anyone here. I was brought up in a relatively fundie household where all that stuff was crammed down my throat, but you know what I did? I said eff off, and I'm still single at the age of 38, financially independent, and have a lovely boyfriend. I didn't do what was expected of me, but I did what made me happy, and it didn't hurt anyone else. So why can't this guy (and maybe his wife, for that matter) just grow the hell up and take some ownership? I really can't stand to listen to people whine about lying in beds of their own making.

Bikerken's comments were spot-on, by the way.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 22, 2008 11:45 AM

Like he said, he wanted sex, and sex he did not get.

The thing is, if you marry a person for one thing and one thing alone and totally ignore the rest of that person's character, you're going to get screwed, and not in a good way. A woman who marries a man who she doesn't otherwise care for because he's handsome or rich is likely to be unhappy. A man who marries a woman who he doesn't otherwise care for because she's beautiful/sexy or rich is likely to be unhappy. (He who marries for money earns it.) This guy married a woman who, by his own estimation, is stupid, thoughtless, and undeveloped of personality. Such people will tend to do MANY things you don't want after marriage. In this case, her refusal happened to center around sex. If you want someone to behave in a certain way after marriage, then limit your search to people who you consider to be trustworthy and of at least marginal intelligence and compassion. This guy is lucky that his wife didn't drain his bank account and/or try to poison him. When you throw character out the window in your search for a spouse, bad things happen.

I'm not questioning someone prioritizing frequent, passionate sex in choosing a marriage partner over all else. Hell, I've defended a guy on this site who wanted to dump his otherwise perfectly good girlfriend because her boobs were too small. Every marriage is different. I'm criticizing the approach this guy took to doing so - i.e. marrying a woman who to him had NO redeeming value outside of bed. He married a jerk and then was surprised when she acted like a jerk *to him*. Classic mistake.

Posted by: marion at April 22, 2008 12:00 PM

Amy,

I haven't read the other comments yet, but I have to say, even though many women may criticize you for doing so, publicizing the content of this letter is the best thing you could do for any woman who has some hope of a permanent, monogamous relationship with a man.

How did you get to be such a cool chick? How did you avoid ingesting the feminist kool-aid? Is it just that you're smart?

Posted by: Jay R at April 22, 2008 12:26 PM

Well, I have to admit that this letter is very entertaining, and equally so the comments.
With this apparently being read publicly on the radio, and the recent batshit nuts lady in NYC trashing her husband via you tube, I have one thought and also once suggestion.

My thought is that while the LW is growing some balls, why doesn't he grow them big enough to just confront his wife face to face?

My suggestion is, that he hook up with the blonde golddigger you tube gal in NYC that actually claimed her older, richer husband didn't have enough sex with her?

This would be a win-win for all of us, in that two really whiny people could get together and bone each other instead of complaining to the world that they got a raw deal in their marriage.

Posted by: Sterling at April 22, 2008 12:28 PM

Flynne,

I don't post here that often, so I don't know whether to take your reference to me above as a compliment or as an insult. If it's the latter, that's ok.

BTW, the wife is a controlling bitch, but the guy is worse, IMO. He should have divorced her IMMEDIATELY. Infidelity is wrong. Her sexual non-fidelity does not justify his infidelity. The right thing to do is wait until after the divorce to start enjoying the ample supply of "low-hanging fruit" out there.

P.S., You may think you know me. I've been happily married for 28 years to my HS sweetheart, and the preservation and strengthening of married relationships is my primary concern. Feminism tends to erode relationships, demonize men, and infantilize women, and so I oppose it. Go ahead and assume I'm a He-Man Woman-Hater. That way, you won't have to do any real thinking.

Take care, now.

Posted by: Jay R at April 22, 2008 12:41 PM

so, I'll be the contrarian... I read it as a half truth joke. Potentially real, but likely an aggregate of a buncha friends experiences, all pulled together to push it to extreme. If it's real, idiotboy, will lose everything he ever had to the divorce. Obviously he didn't do his homework about gettin' hitched. They are certainly a mismatch if true, but like a lot of things, you just have to figure out who has traits you like, and traits you can deal with. They should get awayfrom each other so they can find that.

The other thing is "dude, be happy she's witholding. if she gets knocked up, she'll own you for a very long time..."

All the other things to say, yeah, I don't think it's real. How foolish would it be to only think about that 1/1000% of life in the sack? You gotta live with them all the time. There is a lot of life that is other things. On the issue of spouses and Sig others changing... that's a whole other kettle of fish.

people don't always show you everything... even worse, is when you are the type who does show everything, sometimes you forget, not everyone does. This is how the person who you hiked with, went to movies with, spent sundays reading lazily in the sun with... tells you she hates all those things AFTER you marry her.

:shrug: if you want peace, then live alone.

Posted by: SwissArmyD at April 22, 2008 12:48 PM

Nope, Jay R, just curious with a tad o' dread, based on other stuff you've written before. I do agree that some feminists carry feminism to extremes, but that the core of feminism, the one that is about equal pay for equal work, should be valid. Also treating others with the same respect that you yourself would want, but that's pretty much universal.

That said, when marion posted this: A woman who marries a man who she doesn't otherwise care for because he's handsome or rich is likely to be unhappy. A man who marries a woman who he doesn't otherwise care for because she's beautiful/sexy or rich is likely to be unhappy. , it kind of hit a nerve with me. I don't think any one person is responsible for another person's happiness. That has to come from oneself. If you're not happy with yourself, how can you expect to be happy with someone else, or to even "make" the other person happy? You're just setting your partner (and yourself) up for a big disappointment.

Posted by: Flynne at April 22, 2008 1:10 PM

Intrigued at you bringing up Ayn Rand. Only becuase I tried to avoid bringing it up on grounds that the mere mention of her name gets all sorts of wild and...ahem . . . irrational reactions.

In reflection, I think his divorce is better for both parties involved. Would it be too much to say that him sleeping with another woman right after thier wedding was an efficient breach? I noticed some discussion of infidelity, and I think it's a hard argument to make that either the woman or man cannot sleep with anyone else until a judge signs off on the last paper. Not only because it forces reliance on the government, and not only because it's a long, drawn-out process... but because it's out-of-step with individual needs. This brings me to one interesting point I have yet to understand about this guy, and probably the only one I can't seem to find an answer for: If he was already sleeping with other women, why was it necessary for him to sleep with his wife through that time period? There are lots of problems with this, and I think it's ultimately the one place he went really, really wrong. (and perhaps, the argument can be made that he did this too quickly without a stronger pattern indicating this, even though the pattern did develop nonetheless).


To the person who said that people are not the same after 20 years of marriage; i agree. but i think this is an excellent point against marriage itself. To further a previous analogy: one doesn't buy a ferrari and expect to find a chevy nova the next day. nor do they expect a ferrari to transform into one after 20 years. And would you buy the ferrari if it did?


hmmm

Posted by: j.d. at April 22, 2008 1:22 PM

The guy took the time to write a letter to Leykis. Not call while stuck in traffic on the 10, but actually get home, think about Tom again, and write him. Just saying.

Posted by: justin case at April 22, 2008 1:42 PM

The analogy is from one of my column, about a woman who gained a great deal of weight in pregnancy, and refused to try to take it off:

"A man doesn't buy a sports car expecting it to morph into a cargo van."

Naturally, I got fired from papers for that one. The truth, when it angers the feminists, really will set you free!

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 22, 2008 1:51 PM

...but did you continue: "nor should a woman purchase a pair of Seven's, only to find out later they've turned into Wranglers." --?

Posted by: j.d. at April 22, 2008 2:02 PM

Amy, I remember that one. Didn't that woman spout off something about how proud she was of herself for having "accepted her new body"?

Ugh.

Anyway - I have a question for the masses. Does this post-wedding abstinence really happen? Or is this just a badly-perpetuated myth? I suppose I could see it happen for people who marry when young or inexperienced, or for new parents, but LW's story seems just too ridiculous to believe. Nonstop sex halted by marriage? I've never been married, but have been in several long-term relationships and lack of sex has never been an issue. Am I being naive here?

Posted by: snakeman99 at April 22, 2008 2:24 PM

I really have to get up earlier.

Pirate Jo, your comment about taking responsibility for your ONE life is exactly what I would have said.

That guy has a whole lot of bitter for something that he shares equal responsibility for. Glad you finally grew some balls, dude, too bad you haven't figured out exactly how they're supposed to operate yet. What kind of guy feels the need to utterly humiliate someone, dumb bitch or no, to reclaim his manhood?

Thank whomever that these two didn't reproduce. Thinking about what kind of spawn they would have failed to raise makes me shudder.

Posted by: Christina at April 22, 2008 2:28 PM

When I was a kid growing up in Michigan, I noticed a trend in young married women there. They would usually be nice looking slim long hair willowy babes in a pair of jeans and a halter when they got married. Shortly after the wedding, usually after the first kid, the ass started to spread, boobs disappeared, and for some reason, denim gave way to polyester, and the hair got cropped up to the collar and curled like a poodle. In about five years she was a cookie cutter version of her mother. And the two of them would spend most of their time together talking about their husbands like they were pets. I used to call it the poodle cut as a matter of fact. When we would be talking about guys we knew who got married, one idication of how things were going was, "She's already got the poodle cut man." Then you know. That poor guy is going to have all the sex he wants for the rest of his life, as long as he doesn't get caught stealing in Iran. You'd seem them all at the bowling alley with that thousand mile stare on their face.

They married what I call, "The Liquid Monster". The Liquid Monster was a sci-fi horror flick that was made sometime in the 50's at the hight of the monster flick era. It was essentially some puddle that looked like syrup that would just move down the sidewalk or up a wall then move across a ceiling, then when someone was standing in it or step under it, it would drip down on them or stick to them and start absorbing all of the liquids out of their body and leave a dried up shriveled gruesome looking corpse. It was a great movie. But these days, I use the term Liquid Monster for women who marry a man and just suck the fucking life right out of him. You run into these guys on the street and they have that, "please kill me" look you saw on those people stuck to the wall in Aliens. I have a friend that married one of these monsters. We used to call him B.D. for Big Dave. Now when we say B.D. it means 'before Diane'. Cause he's just pretty much occupying a skin suit till it shrivels up.

I'm not saying the woman in the letter is like that, it just crossed my mind.

Posted by: Bikerken at April 22, 2008 2:40 PM

snakeman -- of 5 weddings I've attended in the past two years (I guess 35-40 is when the second round begins?), three of those couples are already complaining that married life is more difficult than what they expected, and they all lived together before hand. There have been "jokes" about less sex.

I don't believe anyone is intentionally withholding anything. However, from the little I've heard, the problems are two fold.

First, these couples didn't have a very good conversation about what the change in status meant to them. Hard to live up to or agree to any expectations if you don't know what they are. People get unhappy and the relationship losses its fun.

Second, some of its just timing. Assuming marriage occurs after everyone is feeling pretty secure with their partner, if you forget to keep an eye on it, the gradual "taking each other for granted" stuff builds to resentment.

Posted by: moreta at April 22, 2008 2:54 PM

Let me say: I get what the guy, in brief, is saying. If you represent yourself as one kind of person pre-marriage, continue to do so post-marriage or suffer the consequences. It's one of those, 'Duh, no shit' common sense type deals that people just plain forget about. Somehow.

Otherwise, I read that letter thinking, "Man, this is like rheum mocking snot."

snakeman99: For a short while after I got married, the sex stopped. It was a mutual thing-- There was a lot for the two of us to adjust to (moving out, changing jobs, the wedding itself, him going back to school, etcetera). Once things settled down the sex came back. It did turn out to be a little less than we'd both expected, but not to our complete dismay since when we do have sex it's damn good (I only say it because he does and I agree) and, nat'ch, we married each other for more than just it alone.

Posted by: Jean Moczy at April 22, 2008 5:34 PM

I haven't read the other comments yet, but I have to say, even though many women may criticize you for doing so, publicizing the content of this letter is the best thing you could do for any woman who has some hope of a permanent, monogamous relationship with a man. (Jay R)

He may be gone now, but this comment struck me as really odd given Jay R's later claims. The best thing a woman needs to know about the man she marries is he is only interested in her for sex? Does his wife of 28 years know that? Given that Jay R claims "preservation and strengthening of married relationships is (his) primary concern", I'm not sure this letter is a good advertisement.

Give you the benefit of the doubt Jay R and presume the good part of this letter is that it points out men need sex to continue as part of the relationship deal...but perhaps you can see why you're labelled from time to time by not rationalizing your thoughts. You want well articulated thoughts? You start.

Posted by: moreta at April 22, 2008 6:46 PM

I'm assuming the LW and at least some men know that women get pleasure from sex too, so they would be motivated to have it because of this?

The way he was talking, he was acting like his wife was some prostitute he just purchased.

With the guys I've been with, they've been the happiest when I've had my orgasms (which they didn't 'give' me, BTW, they were the result of a team effort). I guess that falls under the validation part.

I'm also not buying the LWs story of how easy it is to get laid-it sounds more like the plot of a porno than something that happens in real life to real guys. Feedback, guys?

Posted by: Chrissy at April 23, 2008 9:34 AM

On the face, it's just that easy. But for a man, it takes time, practice, and discipline to get to that point. It's not whether the women are easy: they're not. It's whether the man has the right information and application of knowledge of the code to unpick the lock. If I may use a metaphor.....

Does it sound like a plot to a porno? Sure. But that's how the world presents itself. I've number-closed on girls without ever saying a word. And then the stories get really interesting....

Posted by: j.d. at April 23, 2008 10:14 AM

I was imagining what the wife might have written, just for kicks, and it went something like this:

It all started on the honeymoon. We went to the beach and after you finished eye-fucking half the female population there, you wanted to have sex. Alright, I'll go along with this, albeit reluctantly. Not exactly my fantasy of newlywed bliss, but whatever. So, we get back to the room and you pounce. Not a second of foreplay, no kisses, no touching, just straight at it. Alright, fine. I'm not an icicle, so after a few minutes of you pounding away, I start to warm up anyway, and begin to get into it. Then, you stiffen, groan, roll over and proceed to snore. Wow, the romance is overwhelming.

What happened to all the care and attention you used to lavish on me, before we were married? You used to know where the clitoris was located, and enthusiastically used that knowledge while I was "effing you six ways from Sunday". Then, we got married, and instead of the long, passionate sex sessions, I just get a few minutes of jack-rabbit humping and you're done. And when my enthusiasm waned, you just started doing the staff. A week after we were married. Wow, that was hot. Knowing that you did that fish-eyed, swaybacked receptionist, I started eyeing the poolboy. He more than made up for this lackluster honeymoon. At least he still knows how to please a woman. Then, back home, when you proceeded to whore your way through the PTA, I was still, get this, doing the poolboy. Those PTA ladies might enjoy the attention, and pretend they're enjoying your boring, missionary humping. They can have you. And those long lunches, those shopping sprees, yeah, that was for my boytoy. Seeing him prance around in his new, expensive clothes that you paid for, that was such a turn-on.

Too bad Tom would never read something like that. Lucky for me, that's just my imagination and my life isn't nearly that depressing. From his letter, though, with his 10-minute visit to some woman, I wouldn't be surprised if that rings true for the wife.

Posted by: Christina at April 23, 2008 10:55 AM

Snakeman99,

I've always assumed the "no sex after marriage" was a joke. I've been married twice. The first marriage lasted twelve years, and though the frequency gradually decreased, we were still managing 2-3 times a week until the day he died. It would have been more, but we had crazy commutes, and were just plain tired. Weekends rocked though.

My second marriage is going on four years now. With the exception of a couple of months I was on "pelvic rest" while pregnant, and the few weeks of recovery after C-section, we're going strong. I will admit that with 2 kids under 3 years old, it's not as often as we'd like - only about twice a week right now, damn it - but it's sure not because I, or he, aren't willing.

I suppose there are couples out there for whom this is a problem, but apparently all my friends are horndogs. Only one has complained about a serious lack of sex, and she finally ditched his frigid ass.

Posted by: Kimberly at April 23, 2008 12:47 PM

This reminds me of an old joke I saw once. At a wedding the bride is standing around with all her bridesmaids, and the groom is standing around with all his men, in separate corners. The bridegroom is saying, "Can you believe it? Now I'll get all the blowjobs I want!" And the bride is saying to her gals, "Can you believe it? Now I'll never have to give him a blowjob again!"

Women DO quit doing things after the wedding that we might not have enjoyed as much when we were courting. Men do, too. They quit taking you to the mall and holding your purse while you try clothes on, you quit lipping his piece, it escalates. Maybe we should quit getting married to people for things we could provide for ourselves, and marry people where there is a true joining of hearts and souls. People we love and respect.

These two are both boneheads. He spent $10,000 on a honeymooon with a woman he didn't KNOW was a bad conversationalist? She married him for his
money, and she's sensing his disinterest, so now she wants a baby. Neither of them should be breeding.

Posted by: Becky at April 23, 2008 6:42 PM

"Maybe we should quit getting married to people for things we could provide for ourselves," If I could lip my own piece I'd not only not get married but I'd never leave the freaking house :) Sorry had to, to tempting.

Posted by: vlad at April 24, 2008 11:29 AM

As the happily married husband of a charming lady who exhibits none of the qualities this mans soon to be ex ball and chain has, I have to comment.
I have dated this woman you are married too. A couple of times (she has lots of sisters). In addition to the sexual starvation, in my case they were also the ones insisting on marriage asap because "things would be better if we were married." I was certainly a fool far too long in those cases, but I didn't buy the "Sure, I'm an ice princess now, but I'll be a nympho when I've got you stuffed and mounted."
Still, had I layed out both positions in a forum like this, I'll bet more than one commenter would have taken her part - "well yes, she wants you to marry her - she doesn't just want to be your SEX OBJECT - marry her, pig." Then, if I had, and come to the situation this man was in, how many of those same letter writers would say "you are the idiot who married her."
A person with an argument is no match for a person with an experience, and I'd hazard a guess many a man shares this mans experience. Pop culture acknowledges this is jokes about wedding cake killing a womans sex drive, cliches about men "sleeping on the couch tonight," etc.
I don't know the particulars here - maybe this guy has culpability in this situation. Maybe he has a lot. But if he does, then doesn't it stand to reason she's the idiot for marrying him? Beyond that, let this be yet another lesson most women will ignore - the sexual revolution is over, everybody lost, and nobody lost more than women. Men just don't have to work nearly as hard or put up with nearly as much as they used to for the sake of sex. If a woman is still counting on that for power, shes on mighty shaky ground.
Equality. Deal with it.

Posted by: WolfmanMac at April 26, 2008 9:56 AM

So, he cheats on the honeymoon, and thinks she doesn't know (sorry, no one is that stupid, not even a cow). Then, when she tries to tell him what she likes in bed, he gets anygry at the implication that he's not some born sex-god, and stops trying? What a prize! I'd love to marry him and do him every day. Oh, and then cook and clean! What fun!!

Open letter to husbands who aren't getting any:

If you made it fun for US, you would!! But something about slaving all day cleaning up after your lazy-ass makes me less than enthusuastic for getting slammed so that you can sleep better. And yeah, there are plenty of men (generally younger!) who are more than willing to service those "fat lazy cows" you feel so superior for cheating on. Trust me.

Posted by: farrar at May 3, 2008 11:23 AM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 21, 2008 11:22 AM

Comments

VISUAL sexual agression? So "mentally stripping good-looking person" is now a crime, unless it is invited and welcomed? Or would it still be a crime even if invited and welcomed, if your fantasy got a little rough? (Or is this thought-crime currently only addressing looking at children?)

So, if I'm sitting in a coffee shop, thinking "what the HECK is that mother thinking, allowing her child to misbehave so loudly in a public place", I have to be careful not to actually LOOK at said child, lest it be perceived as "visual sexual agression" rather than mere "visual aggression"?

Posted by: TheOtherOne at April 21, 2008 8:14 AM

FWIW, Rep. Hill is now denying that this was the intent of the law. Dr. Helen has an update from a spokesperson saying that the bill authored by Rep. Hill only intends to expand existing indecent-exposure statutes to cover both public and private places. I read the actual bill and it's still problematic, but at least it doesn't ban looking at people in public.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at April 21, 2008 8:22 AM

I'm on deadline, and didn't go read the bill itself. Can you pull the problematic language and post a quote?

Even if the intent of the law isn't to prosecute people who aren't pedophiles, could it be used that way?

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 21, 2008 8:33 AM

Posted an update above from Dr. Helen's site. Feel free to post further supporting material affirming or disputing.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 21, 2008 8:46 AM

This type of law is clearly targeted at men and their oh-so-dangerous sexuality. Better safe than sorry ... .

Soon we will be able to read men's thoughts. Then we can really get down to the business of protecting society from those bastards!

Posted by: Jay R at April 21, 2008 9:10 AM

Jay R, are you serious? Are you gay, or just a misogynist?

Posted by: Flynne at April 21, 2008 10:24 AM

I think its actually intended to be targetted at people sneaking looks at body parts that someone is trying to keep private. The issues of abuse of the law and overreaction in enforcement are still there, though. To understand your frame of reference though Jay, do you believe its OK to peer through the window of a lady's restroom? And is it OK for me to peer through the window of the men's room?

Posted by: moreta at April 21, 2008 10:25 AM

Jay is a conspiracy theorist, just like the feminists who believe everything but the fluctuations in the price of tuna is a patriarchal plot.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 21, 2008 10:41 AM

Ok read the update and if I understand correctly they are saying it is currently not a crime to watch a child change or go to the bathroom in public facilites?

How is that possible?

Posted by: lujlp at April 21, 2008 10:57 AM

I want to echo moreta.

There was a court case recently regarding keeping your body parts private. A woman was (I think) in Target. She was wearing a skirt. A guy somehow managed to use his camera/camera phone to snap a picture up the skirt. She calls the cops. I'll try to find a link to the story. I don't know what kind of charges were brought up against him.

Anyway, the judge decides that the woman had no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place. Her panty-clad vagina was IN PUBLIC therefore she didn't have say over who got to take a peek. Just chew on that for a bit.

...done chewing? Now spit it out before you get sick.

Posted by: Gretchen at April 21, 2008 11:25 AM

Done, Gretchen, and I think I'm going to be sick. When you're (generally speaking) out in public, you're wearing clothes. Usually. Which means you are covering bits that you don't wish to display. Which means that if some asshole decides he has the right to take a picture of my panty-clad vagina, he just can?? Um, NO. N-O. I'm dressed, clad, wearing clothes. If I want to show someone my bits, I will take that someone to my room, and let them see. My choice, not his! That judge is an asshole.

Posted by: Flynne at April 21, 2008 12:07 PM

"..feminists who believe everything but the fluctuations in the price of tuna is a patriarchal plot"

Nothing like a good old feminist/tuna reference to kick off the week!

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at April 21, 2008 12:36 PM

"Anyway, the judge decides that the woman had no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place. Her panty-clad vagina was IN PUBLIC therefore she didn't have say over who got to take a peek"

I could see this, maybe, if there was no panties. Or if they cannot get out of a car correctly, a la B. Spears. But to just say wearing a skirt in public isn't enough to stop people from snapping keepsake photos, is ridiculous.

Posted by: MeganNJ at April 21, 2008 1:14 PM

It is usually the case with these 'new blue' laws, that you hear some crazy shit about the specifics of it so you asked the crazy politician WTF? In more cases than not, they will LIE LIKE HELL to you and say, "Oh no, we would never pass a law like that! That's not what the law says at all!" Then you do a little more research and you find out that is exactly what the intention of the law is. They will parse the phrasing withing the bill many times to hide the intention but the wording of any law has to be looked at as if the Supreme Court were reading it. Right now, in California, they are trying to pass a law against spanking your child. I saw a lady from the California Assembly challenged on it on the tube, (I forget who was interveiwing her about it), but she was downplaying the whole thing and said the proposed law only would include hitting a child with an object like a paddle or a belt. She was lying through her goddamn teeth! The fact is the law makes swatting a chile under three years old on the behind a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail or a $1000 fine.

I am against any law that presumes to read your mind and punish you for what it finds there. I don't care if some pervert is sitting there like Chester Molester staring at little children. As long as he stays on the park bench, that's not a crime and shouldn't be.

Posted by: Bikerken at April 21, 2008 1:23 PM

I apologize for the sloppy writing lately, I can't find my reading glasses!

Posted by: Bikerken at April 21, 2008 1:25 PM

OK, I'll play Devil's Advocate on the Target Panty Photographer - partly because I enjoy arguing with Flynne and Gretchen (good-naturedly, that is), but mostly because it allows me to write about panties.

"A guy somehow managed to use his camera/camera phone to snap a picture up the skirt."

The "somehow" here is the crux of the case and should not be overlooked. If the woman was wearing a high-maintenance skirt and bent over, climbed the stairs, or otherwise spread her legs indiscriminately, then I don't think she has a cause of action if a guy snapped a photo of what appeared in plain sight. If, on the other hand, the defendant was utilizing Homeland Security technology-equipped spy satellites or some other contraption to sneak an otherwise obscured view, her case gets a lot stronger.

This reminds me of those old comic book ads for x-ray specs. Those were the stuff of 8 year old fantasies.

Posted by: snakeman99 at April 21, 2008 1:35 PM

Gog -- glad to see my brain wasn't the only one who went looking for some relationship between tuna and feminists. But I couldn't come up with such a subtle comment...mine were all far too vulgar for such a refined audience as this.

Posted by: moreta at April 21, 2008 1:37 PM

"She was wearing a skirt. A guy somehow managed to use his camera/camera phone to snap a picture up the skirt."

Pretty sick. I guess those same judges would have no problem with this guy peeping into public restrooms, or taking a flying dive under a girls skirt (since that's what he did with his camera) to get a look.

Good think that loophole got closed quickly.


Posted by: Jamie at April 21, 2008 2:28 PM

Do black patent leather shoes really reflect up? I think it's a reasonable assumption of privacy for a woman wearing a skirt to assume that nobody is taking secret pictures up her skirt. For some reason, Kilts are a bit safer.

You could be sitting in a McDonald's and have some wierdo taking pictures under the table. I think that should be illegal. I seriously don't know what thrill these bozos get out of this. You could see more in an underwear catalog, but then, some people are just weird.

Posted by: Bikerken at April 21, 2008 2:49 PM

Ladies: If you're going to the Apple Computer store, wear underwear. (Glass staircase.)

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 21, 2008 2:52 PM

I see this sort of thing is a crisis now. Gee, nobody ever did this before... You are all looking at what happens when a majority of people expect to be protected - from anything which might be offensive - by "someone else", generally a government agency. The principle of equal protection under the law goes away, sabotaged by the rule of unintended consequences.

I feel badly about beautiful women having to dress down to appear in public, but if you do not want to be a spectacle, you just have to to do that.

And of course, eroticism is not a product of clothing, or the lack of it. The funniest, most awkward thing I've ever seen done in public was an otherwise fine redhead in a string bikini climbing over a 3'6" chain-link fence at a racetrack. Awesome became clumsy, stupid and flabby in short order, as she desperately tried to avoid being cut by the twisted wires on top. She was successful, but it took no small amount of time to get her dignity back!

Posted by: Radwaste at April 21, 2008 2:54 PM

"Ladies: If you're going to the Apple Computer store, wear underwear. (Glass staircase.)"

What do I have to do now to ride an escalator? Wear a blindfold?

Posted by: Radwaste at April 21, 2008 2:57 PM

I remember when I was growing up there was a public scare about weirdos at the public libraries with mirrors on their shoes. It really was a big deal- my sister couldn't wear skirts to the library!

This week on our local news there was a segment about, I swear to God, how not to be misinterpreted as seeking illicit sex in airport bathrooms. (Larry Craig is one of our Senators.)

To quote Kurt Vonnegutt, "It's all gotten so fucking stupid."

Posted by: eric at April 21, 2008 4:21 PM

Jamie wrote: "I guess those same judges would have no problem with this guy peeping into public restrooms, or taking a flying dive under a girls skirt (since that's what he did with his camera) to get a look."

Exactly the opposite. The whole point of the case was that the statute specifically required that the victim be "in a place where there is a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy." Keep in mind that this was a CRIMINAL charge, not a civil one. I don't know about you, but attaching prison time to an innovative judicial interpretation worries me a lot more than a peeping tom.

The statute defined such a place as "any private dwelling house, apartment building, any other place of residence, or in the vicinity of any locker room, dressing room, restroom or any other place where a person has a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy." Based on that definition, the Court refused to broaden the scope of the statute's plain language, leaving that job to the legislature.

And guess what? As Jamie's link noted, that's exactly what the state assembly did. Isn't it awesome when democracy and federalism work?

Posted by: snakeman99 at April 21, 2008 5:27 PM

Amy,Am I guilty for having leered at your picture on your home page?Sorry but you are rather pretty,just my 2c
Bob
P.S. please don't report me LOL!

Posted by: BobNormal at April 21, 2008 10:18 PM

Aww, gee, thanks!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 21, 2008 11:43 PM

The physics is being ignored. Light is reflected from the object (panties, perhaps) in all directions and may end up in my eyes. But the law is described as if the act of seeing emanated from the eyes. I should be able to sue you for contaminating my eyes with the image of your panties, just like I can sue if you spray water all over the place and soak me.

If you don't want anyone to see something, don't reflect light all over the place. Wear a burka.

Posted by: Norman at April 22, 2008 12:00 AM

Thanks for the link, Jamie.

Snakeman - I can't argue with you, though I appreciate your attempts to get me going. You examined how the word "somehow" played a role in the issue. I don't know exactly how he obtained the picture though I suspect she didn't have her goods in plain view. Your arguments were totally fair.

This case forced legislature to fix the language in the bill, which is good. Maybe that was the judge's desire? But for the judge to even rule in the way s/he did in the first place bugs me.

My crotch, under the cover of panties and clothing, is private. I feel I have a reasonable expectation to keep my naughty bits private from perverted strangers whether I'm on the sidewalk (public), my office (private-public), or home (private).

Glad this worked out, though.

Posted by: Gretchen at April 22, 2008 6:21 AM

Is the law specific that the private parts need to be covered up? Or are we still going to see paparazzi shots of Britney getting out of limo's? Enquiring minds wants to know...

Posted by: moreta at April 22, 2008 8:46 AM

Gretchen I feel I must point out that while you do have an expectation of not having your bits photoed by we perverted strangers, you did yeild mental access with your public comments about having a threesome with Six and Starbuck

Posted by: lujlp at April 22, 2008 12:10 PM

Amy,

A "conspiracy theorist" am I? What conspiracy is that, now?

On the gender front, I want only equality:

-- Responsibilities for women commensurate with their existing rights, and

-- Rights for men commensurate with their existing responsibilities.

How from this Flynne is able to divine that I'm gay or a misogynist is truly a wonderful psychic gift. Her ability for articulated rebuttal -- not so much, apparently ... .

Posted by: Jay R at April 22, 2008 12:53 PM

Do I HAVE to use ad hominem name-calling here (such as "gay" "misogynist" "conspiracy theorist") to make a point? I'd really rather not, since I prefer articulated thought. But, if it's mandatory ... .

Posted by: Jay R at April 22, 2008 1:00 PM

"you did yeild mental access with your public comments about having a threesome with Six and Starbuck" - lujlp

But can you BLAME ME?? I'd be happy just to have my ass whooped by them.

What is Saul going to do when he hallucinates Ellen when Six is around him?!?! I CAN'T WAIT FOR FRIDAY!!

This whole BSG at 10 pm on Friday nights is cutting into my going-out time. But it's worth it to sit and watch the show whilst sipping wine from my "FRAK" coffee mug.

Posted by: Gretchen at April 23, 2008 7:12 AM

Soon we will be able to read men's thoughts. Then we can really get down to the business of protecting society from those bastards!

Jay R, if this was sarcasm, you forgot the /sarcasm tag. That one statement was the only reason I questioned your, er, orientation.

Sorry if I offended you.

Posted by: Flynne at April 23, 2008 8:17 AM

Hey Gretchen think its possible Ellen might have been a Six herself?

Had alot of the same personality traits

Posted by: lujlp at April 23, 2008 12:52 PM

That's what my friend and I were thinking, lujlp. A 6 gone AWOL?

We want Ellen to walk right in and say "I'm back, baby, thanks for killing me. Now let's have some hot cylon sex."

Who's a dork?

I am.

Posted by: Gretchen at April 23, 2008 1:11 PM

Flynne,

The best sarcasm is that which leaves things ambiguous, don't you think? More thought provoking that way.

No offense taken. I'm a big boy, and don't bruise easily. ;)

Posted by: Jay R at April 23, 2008 2:06 PM

You know one possibility I see for the end Gretchen. I see them reaching earth only to discover that they themselves are machines as well.

They laid the ground work last week when they reconfigured the centurions to become self aware

Posted by: lujlp at April 23, 2008 3:37 PM

"Kennedy says that the bill never punished mere staring or leering -- the defendant has to be touching or exposing himself, or doing something like looking over a bathroom stall wall."

And he's almost certainly lying. The language of the law doesn't appear to demand that the "offender" be doing anything but looking "for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire,". Unless the bill is very different from what is described it's as bad as claimed.

Posted by: Michael Price at April 24, 2008 11:34 PM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 21, 2008 8:09 AM

Comments

This was a good article. Paglia is usually surprising to me in the direction of thinking that she takes on any issue but she's always thought provoking and a master of English prose. She's a great writer.

On a somewhat off topic note: Congratulations to Danika Patrick for becoming the first woman to win an Indy Car race this Sunday in Motegi Japan! I'm sure it's not her last and I predict she will eventually win the Indy 500.

Posted by: Bikerken at April 21, 2008 12:23 AM

Paglia's last sentence is, um, striking. Allusive, and all that stuff.

Posted by: Crid at April 21, 2008 1:46 AM

I'm predicting this even:

"If Hillary-OR-Obama loses, batten the hatches against a mass resurrection of paranoid, paleo-feminist-OR-racist martyrs, counting their wounds and wailing at the blood-red moon."

sorry, I'm voting for a dead cat, and a penguin, because I can at least identify with their identity politics... or something. Bill n' Opus '08

Posted by: SwissArmyD at April 21, 2008 2:59 AM

I've been sayin' all along what a phony bitch Shrillary is. Most of the comments at the link agree with Paglia, which is a good thing. Shrillary is dillusional at best. After the primary in PA today, it'll be a done deal, hopefully.

SwissArmyD, I've been voting for Bill n' Opus since the 80s. My candidates never win. o_O

Posted by: Flynne at April 21, 2008 5:40 AM

Used with permission, Amy? Is 27% of an essay an "excerpt"? Is this 'fair use'? Or are you disregarding poor Camile's rights?

By the way, I agree HRC is no feminist. She is a conservative. And she is a political opportunist (like a chorizo eating vegan or a libertarian who just doesn't endorse free movement). Good enough reasons to vote otherwise.

Posted by: JJ at April 21, 2008 6:47 AM

Genuinely disturbing are the caricatures of Hillary (called "Hitlery" or "the Hildebeast" on the web) that rarely accrue to male candidates:
That's a great article, but I'd disagree with that bit. Caricatures rarely accrue to male candidates? I think John Edwards the Breck girl would probably disagree, not to mention President Chimpy McHitlerburton. Heck, along with Reagan Clinton's husband was probably the most caricatured politician in history.

Posted by: SeanH at April 21, 2008 6:56 AM

The piece I posted is indeed "fair use." Please, be my guest, write to Camille Paglia and see if she's distressed at the chunk I posted, intended to drive people to her original work, which I'm sure it has.

The above post is from a weenie named James Johnson, a University of Rochester poly sci professor, who posts photographs, art, and cartoons on his blog -- not thumbnails driving traffic to the original -- but photographs used in full, without permission from or payment to the photographer.

He also doesn't like that I criticized Rebecca Solnit's silly snivel complaining that men keep women down (when it's actually just that Rebecca Solnit appears to be too meek to speak up).

http://www.advicegoddess.com/archives/2008/04/rebecca-solnit.html

Instead of taking responsibility for what he's done, taking all these photos, he's coming on my site to attack me on every comments section.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 21, 2008 6:58 AM

Mr. Johnson, I buy the bandwidth here, and you may not carry out this little attempted war of yours all over my site, turning every discussion into a podium for yourself.

Johnson's site is here:

http://politicstheoryphotography.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 21, 2008 7:01 AM

Here's what the people who think those who dislike Hillary are misogynists miss: though there are some who will not vote for a woman based upon her sex alone, they are a small enough minority that even conservative places like Texas have no problem electing women to their highest offices. The reason that people aren't voting for Hillary (in enough numbers for her to win) is Hillary. She doesn't seem nice, or funny or human, and has a long track record of being that way. Instead of learning the details of Democratic machine politics, she should have been studying old Ann Richards tapes.

Posted by: justin case at April 21, 2008 7:21 AM

Poor Amy! I didn't attack you I raised a question based on your self-righteous indignation about breaches of copyright! You, after all, raised the topic in the first place - even though it was irrelevant to the theme of the initial comment thread. Any question is an attack? And your reply is off point since writing Camile is not the test of fair use. You should know that. The copyright holder is likely the newspaper. And you simply did not follow your own advice. Hypocrite.

So now you say, "I'm going to take my marbles and go home." I will spare you the trouble. Bye.

Posted by: JJ at April 21, 2008 7:22 AM

I can't decide whether to be a misogynist or a racist next November, so I suspect I'll be doing both.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at April 21, 2008 7:37 AM

It's telling that JJ's paragraph is poorly written - and he's a teacher!

You can always tell who the liberal moon-bat in the room is - they're the first to leave when a good fight begins.

Good job as always, Amy, for bringing Camille's perspective to the fore.

Posted by: Ally at April 21, 2008 7:41 AM

Hey! I'm the resident attention whore on this site, JJ! Back under your rock! Back, I say! o_O

Posted by: Flynne at April 21, 2008 9:01 AM

And your reply is off point since writing Camile is not the test of fair use. You should know that. The copyright holder is likely the newspaper.

Dude, your ignorance of IP law is showing. First, an excerpt of a piece + commentary is textbook fair use; no permission from the copyright holder is required for this. Second, it's doubtful a writer of Paglia's stature fully assigns her copyright to the paper or syndication service; she probably grants them a license. The publisher has a copyright on that particular form of the publication. So inquiring with either Camille or the paper would work if one were seeking to find out the opinion of the copyright holder on the issue of rights. Though, as noted before, that is irrelevant to the issue of fair use. My guess is that the paper is more than happy to have: 1) a machine readable inbound link from a blog with decent traffic and a respectable number of inbound and outbound links because this helps that paper in Google, and 2) some additional readers who follow that link.

Posted by: justin case at April 21, 2008 9:03 AM

And your reply is off point since writing Camile is not the test of fair use.

Justin, above, is correct. No newspaper ever owns my writing. They license it for publication (get the right to publish it first, and then I can resell it elsewhere). I retain the copyright.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 21, 2008 9:14 AM

> I will spare you the
> trouble. Bye.

No! Come back! Don't leave! We want to know what you think about stuff!

> It's telling that JJ's paragraph
> is poorly written - and he's a
> teacher!

Yeah.

Posted by: Crid at April 21, 2008 9:21 AM

No! Come back! Don't leave! We want to know what you think about stuff!

Anything but "fair use."

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 21, 2008 9:37 AM

JJ is just a drive-by asshole. He's a professor of a "soft science" because his brain isn't capable of the rigor required by either a hard science or a professional art.

Which is why he is so ill-informed as regards intellectual property law.

He couldn't hold up his end of an argument with an engine hoist.

Posted by: brian at April 21, 2008 10:31 AM

Mostly off-topic, but its a Hillary blog spot, so a tiny bit appropriate:

I've finally gotten through my pile of books to this one Amy recommended: Mistakes were Made (But Not By Me). http://www.amazon.com/Mistakes-Were-Made-But-Not/dp/0151010986/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1208799369&sr=8-1 (Please feel free to update this post with the link that would give you a %, Amy.)

When I got to the part about memory, I recalled a couple blog items about Hillary and Obama and how they had "misremembered" a few things about past experiences. If I recall, it was suggested that they outright and knowingly fabricated these errors to make themselves sound better. I wondered how that conclusion was reached given what I'm reading now about how we all adjust our memories to reduce dissonance between how we view ourselves and what really happened. Isn't it possible that Obama really thought he met his sister at the airport. And that Hillary really believes she was under fire? For the record, I'm not defending either of them, nor does my Canadian ass have any say, but it did strike me as interesting how quickly we assumed the very worst of these two when its apparently something everyone does with their memories.

Posted by: moreta at April 21, 2008 10:47 AM

I have no problems voting for a woman. I'd vote for a three legged lesbian vegan if her policy ideas made sense. Hillary is about as Marxist as you can get. She doesn't want to lead the country, she wants to nanny it to death. Have you ever watched her give a speech? She is very hitleresque in her delivery. She starts out slow and deliberate, increasing in volume ever so slightly and by the time she gets to the punchline, she is screaming at the top of her lungs and barely stops before adding on, "YOU FUCKING MEN!" She's got some serious issues with anger. The stories of her raging in the white house are legion. As far as her policies would go, I think she would disregard national defense all together. She is the kind of person who thinks that if we just don't respond to anything at all overseas and bring all our troops home from all over the world, everyone will just like us and everything will be rosy. That's not reality.

As far as the other two steamiing piles of candidate, I don't care for either one of them any better. McCain is bitter, senile, has two feet in the grave and wants to turn America into the worlds dumping ground for welfare cases. Obama is a closet black panther who can barely stomach us 'typical white people.' They all make my asshole want to chew tobacco.

Posted by: Bikerken at April 21, 2008 1:05 PM

Paglia makes some decent points - but her last line is affected tripe.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at April 21, 2008 1:46 PM

You are such a delicate little thing.

Posted by: Crid at April 21, 2008 3:27 PM

I suspect JJ is a closet Alkon fan, perhaps he even holds some deep desire for her, hence his continued return despite his apparent distaste for her advice...perhaps this hostility is passive aggressive behavior meant as a substitute for his own inability to express his true feelings, and a result of his blaming her for already having someone in her life and not realizing who the better candidate is. Then his attacks are his way of drawing attention from our lady of advice, as it is better to be hated and noticed than to be benignly ignored.


I kid of course. But wouldn't that all be amusing? ;)

Whatever the case, I suspect the professor will have more to say now and in the near future.

Posted by: Robert H. Butler at April 21, 2008 10:36 PM

JJ, Amy is hot! Leave her alone. (Re: Robert Butler's post) :-)

I guess Nora Ephron would call Camille Paglia a woman-hating racist white man. Heh.

Posted by: Me me me me me at April 22, 2008 10:50 AM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 20, 2008 10:50 AM

Comments

It seems to me the original intent of the Special Order was to prevent cops from, say, stopping two Latino-looking guys walking down the street minding their own business and demanding that the guys prove that they're here legally. Which is a good thing. (I'm also reminded of the cops from "Law & Order" saying, "We're not here from immigration; we're trying to solve a murder.") But given that it's being interpreted as forbidding the police from asking about the immigration status of and deporting illegals who are committing crimes, something needs to change. Radically. And Bratton needs to take responsibility for making that change rather than just saying, "Oh, my officers don't understand this confusing directive? Clearly they're just not trying hard enough." It's his job to make sure that people are applying the directive correctly.

As for Jamiel Shaw, I'd argue that the application of Special Order 40 created an atmosphere that led to his murder. And if I were his parents, I'd be mighty, mighty pissed that large swaths of the political system seem more concerned about protecting the "right" of people to be in the U.S. illegally than they do about protecting responsible beloved sons. Especially given that, let's face it, African-Americans get racially profiled in an unofficial way every day. You can't tell me that no one's ever locked their doors when they saw Mr. Shaw walking down the street or looked suspiciously at Jamiel and his little brother when they were shopping. If I were one of the Shaws and had had to deal with this all of my life despite being law-abiding and, oh, risking my life for my country in Iraq, I'd be wondering why illegal immigrants got some sort of special pass.

And, maybe I'm being unfair, but the fact that so many people quoted in that article seemed to view the whole thing so...bloodlessly creeps me out. If you think the intent of the order is good, then fine, say that. But leaving no room to amend or adapt it given the increasing numbers of violent crimes being committed by illegals? I'm not in favor of mass dragnets conducted to roust out illegal immigrants, but if things keep getting bad in L.A., I have a feeling that the public comfort level with such an idea will grow, and not just in the white community. And I think there's a difference between rushing through a bad law out of knee-jerk reaction to an awful crime and identifying the holes in current policy spotlighted by an awful crime (or crimes) and fixing said policy as a result.

Posted by: marion at April 20, 2008 7:18 AM

Well said, Marion.

And as for the people quoted in the article, I agree with you.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 20, 2008 8:31 AM

Please join the fight FOR OUR COUNTRY!!

NumbersUSA.com

BetterImmigration.com

Posted by: INFIDEL at April 20, 2008 8:40 AM

My favorite illegal immigrant story (favorite because no one gets killed):

A co-worker gets bumper-tapped by a tailgater on a residential street just as a cop drives by.

He pulls over, minimal damages, asks to exchange insurance info.

Que? No habla Ingles.

Cop asks for ID.

Que? No habla Ingles.

Illegals get in their car and drive away.

Co-worker: "Hey, they're leaving the scene! WTF?!"

Cop: "Yeah, they're illegals. What are you gonna do?".

Cop departs. Co-worker stuck with the repair bill.

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at April 20, 2008 9:54 AM

This, Gog, is where you get the cop's information and go to his watch commander. People don't understand, you do have redress against bad policing. You just have to ask for it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 20, 2008 10:20 AM

Amy, do you read Steve Sailer's pieces on illegal immigration? His articles are some of the most informative I've read on the topic. He doesn't just discuss the negative consequences of uncontrolled immigration but also the mindset and motivation of the elites which insist on foisting this madness on ordinary Americans.

Posted by: Cody at April 20, 2008 3:45 PM

Thanks for reminding me. I haven't read him in a while. Just out of being overwhelmed with stuff to read and forgetting about him, really.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 20, 2008 4:22 PM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 20, 2008 7:58 AM

Comments

I;m getting one too. Can't wait, its such a great car for the environment and the pocketbook:

http://ApteraForum.com

Posted by: aptera at April 20, 2008 6:00 AM

It sure is a looker, but I'm not sure if it will stay in your driveway if it's not locked down with denver boots, chains, false noses, and the like.

I also want to buy the aircraft conversion kit for it....

Posted by: jerry at April 20, 2008 9:09 AM

I;m getting one too. Can't wait, its such a great car for the environment and the pocketbook:

Hah! They've even hired a spambot!

Posted by: justin case at April 20, 2008 9:51 AM

I messaged this to Aptera, on their comments submission area on their site:

I posted something about your car on my blog, and immediately got somebody posting spam directed to your forums.

ed.bri871@gmail.com

MESSAGE: I;m getting one too. Can't wait, its such a great car for the environment and the pocketbook:

http://ApteraForum.com

The person's IP Address: 99.201.200.202

Please advise. -Amy Alkon, syndicated columnist

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 20, 2008 9:58 AM

The company I work for has a pretty high-traffic and high pagerank website; we get tons of this stuff in comments and our forums. I wouldn't be surprised if they're behind it, lots of companies either use automated spammers and proxies or hire people in places like Pakistan or the India to do this all day in sleazy SEO campaigns.

Posted by: justin case at April 20, 2008 10:41 AM

This guy's in Indiana. Awaiting a response from the company.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 20, 2008 11:00 AM

I wouldn't want to have a collision with a Ford Focus in one, let alone and Expedition.

Posted by: Crid at April 20, 2008 12:19 PM

A friend of mine bought one of the small electric cars because he got it real cheap and intended to turn it around and make a few bucks. Then he found out that every six years you have to replace the battery cells in them at a cost of over six thousand bucks! And the car was about five and a half years old. OOPS! He ended up losing his shirt to get rid of the thing.

Posted by: Bikerken at April 20, 2008 1:29 PM

This guy's in Indiana.

My lookup of that IP has it in Reston, Virginia, Sprint PCS. But that doesn't mean that's where it actually was posted from; if the poster was a real spammer a proxy was almost certainly used to hide the true I.P. All over the world compromised computers are used as open proxies to make it hard to track down the actual sources of spam.

Then he found out that every six years you have to replace the battery cells in them at a cost of over six thousand bucks!

Batteries are the biggest problem with electric vehicles; they're expensive, heavy, not exceedingly efficient, and loaded with toxic chemicals. It's going to be a real challenge to figure out how to dispose of them in a few years once the first big round of hybrids needs to have theirs replaced.

Posted by: justin case at April 20, 2008 2:35 PM

Geektools sez:

Checking server [whois.crsnic.net]

Checking server [whois.dynadot.com]
Results:
Domain Name: apteraforum.com
Registered at http://www.dynadot.com

Registrant:
BE Ads
15645 ocean walk circle #215
fort myers, fl 33908
United States

Administrative Contact:
BE Ads
15645 ocean walk circle #215
fort myers, fl 33908
United States
edb.ri871@gmail.com
+609 7038024

Note the email address.

Posted by: Lauren at April 21, 2008 10:14 AM

Thanks, Lauren. Great detective work.

What a scumbag. Well, at least he's been exposed here. I wonder whether the Aptera people care? Feel free to e-mail them with this link. I already wrote them and have heard nothing back.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 21, 2008 10:17 AM

He might just be a fan.

He declares here http://www.namepros.com/domain-name-discussion/410118-300-mpg-car-aptera-typ-1-a.html that he snagged the URL

I'm not registered there, so I can't see for sure, but he posted that about 4 months after joining the forum, and has lots of posts, so there is still some chance he's just a fan of the car. Though I suspect he's trying to drum up clicks so he can sell the domain and/or advertising on the page. Googling john645 kinda gives me that impression.

So, in my not-professional opinion, Aptera proper is not involved in this spamminess, and the spamminess is to promote his page(s), more than the car.

Still a scumbag.

Posted by: Lauren at April 21, 2008 11:14 AM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 20, 2008 5:39 AM

Comments

Agreed re: Holidays and birthdays. On Christmas, that holiest of days, the sun rises and sets and not much changes. Likewise birthdays. What's to admire about the passage of time?

Posted by: Crid at April 20, 2008 12:21 PM

I live every day like it matters, from what I eat, to who I spend time with, to what I do. My birthday wasn't an accomplishment for me. I always say my mother should get the recognition, especially since I won the award for the biggest baby born in Detroit the week of my birth. Ow.

Really, I think people should get recognized for time well spent, not mere passage of it. Gee whiz, you lived another year! Uh, if you're not passing your time shooting up and playing Russian roulette, how hard is that?

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 20, 2008 12:25 PM

Eh, I see birthdays as a time to have fun, which is good, because otherwise I'm somewhat of a stick in the mud. But anyway, congrats on the ALD link! Tres cool.

Posted by: marion at April 20, 2008 3:59 PM

Amy, Congratulations! This is really special! Denis Dutton, well known libertarian and climate change skeptic (there is a cart to hitch your horse to!) has linked to your right wing rant against a left winger. It may be the "coolest thing" but not really surprising given your self-proclaimed fame and the fact the you and DD are peas in a pod!

I know it has been a week or so since I stopped by. I just wanted to see how you are doing here in your ideological bubble. And given your concern with Rebecca's syncophants I figured you'd surely be relieved to hear from someone not among your own.


Posted by: JJ at April 20, 2008 6:29 PM

So...a "rant" that suggests that women should speak up for themselves is...right wing?

Does that mean being left wing means walking around with a gag in one's mouth?

I'm not quite getting what's wrong with telling women they should speak up.

Can you please explain it to me?

Hilariously, Jim Johnson -- http://politicstheoryphotography.blogspot.com/ -- who posted the JJ comment above, is a poly sci professor who doesn't seem to understand the meaning of right wing and left wing, since I am neither.

I have disdain for both Republicans and Democrats. I'm a fiscal conservative, pretty libertarian except for the notion of open borders, and a person who has social programs all her own (I speak at an inner city school once a month, and there's a homeless guy I help. Also, I give advice free of charge to almost everyone who writes me, although a few e-mails do sometimes fall through the cracks when I'm really busy).

So, I'm...a bleeding heart fiscal conservative?

The thing I find most amazing about Jim Johnson, who posted that above, is that he's a professor of poly sci who is under the impression that it is his legal right to post the creative work of others -- numerous photographers, painters, and cartoonists -- without compensating them, on his blog.

You are vastly disrespectful of others' rights, unable to understand that telling women to speak up for themselves is neither right nor left wing but sensible, and unable to respect that even somebody with different political beliefs from you might have a good idea or two.

You're exactly the kind of dullard that Susan Jacoby was talking about in her LA Times op-ed today:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-op-jacoby20apr20,0,5722702.story

P.S. About this comment of yours on my source for "fair use": "compared to Amy's preferred source, a cartoonist, it seems pretty reliable"

Actually, I have numerous sources on fair use. I've attended a couple of seminars given by lawyer Alice Neff Lucan, who specializes in this area, and I've also heard Dan Gillmor speak on it.

Alice kinda knows her stuff, as evidenced by this thingie here:

http://www.aan.org/news/lucan_advises_on_web_use_of_images/Aan/ViewArticle?oid=8001

PS I never SAID my source on "fair use" was a cartoonist, but I feel for Gary Larson, a cartoonist whose work you've posted on your blog, and have not felt compelled to take down, despite apparently reading his wishes, linked by me, that people not steal his work (and who would want their work stolen?) and post it on their websites.

Scary that a poly sci prof in the employ of a university thinks this is okay. Not to mention thinking it's legal.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 20, 2008 10:16 PM

"I'm a fiscal conservative, pretty libertarian except for the notion of open borders, and a person who has social programs all her own ..."

Your point is my point. Thanks.

"... unable to respect that even somebody with different political beliefs from you might have a good idea or two."

Look in the mirror, Amy. Since you do not read what I write, nor have you ever been in my classes, you are simply fantasizing here. I can line up a whole string of conservative students who will tell you how wrong you are. That, though, would be a waste of their time.

As for Gary Larson, You censored a comment stating the fair use doctrine (because of your aesthetic sensibilities) and replaced it with a human interest story about an aggrieved cartoonist.

And , by the way, the notion of a libertarian who opposes open borders (you know, freedom of movement) is a cartoon - like a chorizo eating vegan. SO that makes you a right winger. Period. (Right wingers also embrace charity and inspirational speakers as a remedy for social problems too. And they just love to brag about their magnanimous actions. Sound familiar?) Again, your point is my point.

On fair use your head is simply up your

PS: Thanks for the link to the blog. More traffic is always welcome.

PS2: Ask yourself Amy, if your view of the iron logic of copyright law is accurate, why is it that many prominent photography blogs operate just like mine does. Why are the aggrieved artists not lining up to sue us? Because the law does not work in anything like the way you say. Unlike you, though, they at least save their own breath. Try Conscientious or No Caption Needed for example. What the folks for whom you express such outraged concern are getting is free advertising and comment on their work. And, to think, it is all legal!

PS3: I presume you will intrepidly track down and publish the names of all your anonymous sycophants? You know, the ones who circle the wagons any time someone disagrees with you. I'll keep an eye out.

Posted by: JJ at April 21, 2008 6:05 AM

You dishonest asshole, I did not "censor" anything you wrote. You posted, a link and without excerpting, a big black block of text from Wikipedia on "fair use" -- in boldface. I deleted it and told you that you were welcome to post the information you wanted, but as an excerpted piece of text (you cannot post others work in its entirety here, and you cannot post huge blocks of bold text), and said you have to post a link.

This is the height of intellectual dishonesty. You are really a sleazebag.

I can tell the kind of person are by your actions. Stuff like this above. And the fact that you take the photographs and cartoons of others, that you do not own, and post them on your site without making payment or obtaining permission. And while you sometimes post stuff for critical purposes (although not as thumbnails linking back to the copyright holder's original work), you often just post stuff without comment for "fun."

I don't usually out the name of those who post here. In fact, I don't think, since 2003, I've EVER done it before. You should be outed, and I hope photographers go after you, and make you pay them for use of their work.

This is not "fair use"; it's anything but.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 21, 2008 6:50 AM

Touchy aren't we? You are being intrepid not out of copyright principle but because I disagree with you. And that is not allowed in Amy-land. I will go away and let you play with yourself. And as my questions on other posts of yours reveal you are a hypocrite to boot. Bye.

Posted by: JJ at April 21, 2008 7:27 AM

You keep promising to leave. It's not a surprise you don't live up to your promises. Please do, in this case.

You have yet to show I'm a hypocrite or anything but somebody who's caught you posting the work of photographers, artists, and cartoonists without paying them or asking their permission.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 21, 2008 7:46 AM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 19, 2008 3:36 PM

Comments

Psych Studies and Statistics: gerrymandering with numbers when your language skills alone aren't enough to win an intelligent debate. This is actually from my Statistics professor. He also pointed out that you can get statistics to say anything, especially if you use italics, underlining, sharp intakes of breath during delivery, and the like for emphasis. I tend to listen to people who are capable of honestly admitting that there are some things that they DON'T have the answers to, rather than those who make declarations of absolute truths.

Posted by: Juliana at April 19, 2008 8:04 AM

It is the frustrated that act out. War and fighting play is normal in the animal kingdom as well as the human one. But adults and the Darwin effect seem to be better at setting boundaries in nature vs. the human arena.

Posted by: Smarty at April 19, 2008 8:10 AM

I have been playing video games for thirty years. I have never once felt the need to act out anything in those games. (well, there was that one time I got that speeding ticket after a night of Gran Turismo, but I drive fast anyway).

What has always irked me about the Jack Thompsons of the world is that they use studies that they KNOW are worthless and throw them about as "proof" that video games make children into violent kill-bots.

If more people had even a basic knowledge of statistics (and believe me, mine is pretty basic), they'd see right through these "studies".

Of course, JT was on Fox bleating about how video games made Cho Seung-Hui snap while the bodies were still warm. To this day, he argues that the first report he read (which was later retracted) said the kid played Counter-Strike, and that the media were covering for the video game industry.

Face facts - video games do not make people who are well in the head snap. The people who go on these killing sprees were already fucked in the head. Whether it was playing a video game, or getting the wrong mustard on their hot dog, something was eventually going to cause them to break. I see no reason that the liberties of others ought to be restricted to protect society from the random looney.

Posted by: brian at April 19, 2008 10:23 AM

[Hey Amy- A&LD linked the Solnit piece, with a very dry blurb]

Posted by: Crid at April 19, 2008 10:57 AM

Back on topic- A favorite tech podcast says the new Grand Theft Auto release is going to make $400 million in its first week. That's two thirds of what Titanic earned in ten years.

Posted by: Crid at April 19, 2008 11:00 AM

Actually just sent them a link to my piece.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 19, 2008 11:21 AM

As an inveterate GTA and Halo fan. (My ex-gf was super skilled at Halo. It was embarrassing.) I don't think video games are a problem.

I'll be the Devil's Advocate because..well just because. Advertising is sold on the premise that videos affect human behavior. How can video game and movie and television companies use advertising, yet still claim that their products don't affect human behavior?

Talk amongst yourselves. I'm getting a little veclemt.

Posted by: Jeff at April 19, 2008 11:27 AM

Anyone who hasn't read Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence really should. Click on my name for the Amazon link.

Posted by: marion at April 19, 2008 2:52 PM

Marion, what do you do for a living?

Posted by: Crid at April 19, 2008 5:59 PM

Jeff -

It's called "Understanding the difference between fantasy and reality".

Advertising works on the premise of getting the target to envision themselves with the product.

Video games work on the premise of getting the target to do something that they understand is either unacceptable or impossible in reality and polite society.

I don't remember seeing anyone trying to roll people up in a ball after Katamari Damacy was released.

Although in other news, guitar sales are up in the wake of "Guitar Hero". Not that that's a bad thing.

Posted by: brian at April 19, 2008 6:05 PM

My wife and I do not allow our seven-year-old, who loves video games, to play violent or bloody games, despite the fact that he would very much like to play them. This has nothing to do with any silly fear that seeing animated blood and guts on a video monitor will make him a psychopathic killer, because clearly it won't. Instead, it is about having a buffer between him and some of the coarser aspects of our culture, at least for the time being.

Posted by: Dennis at April 19, 2008 8:34 PM

This kinda goes along with the idea that too much porn turns men into drooling breast obsessed knuckle dragging perverts. I think there's really no cause and effect there at all, we're born that way.

I remember them making a big deal about Klebold and Harris(Columbine killers) being DOOM addicts, but I think the relationship is actually the reverse of what most people thought. I think they were a couple of psychotic maladjusted little bastards who happen to like DOOM because it was a small way of acting out their aggression. I believe that a lot of times, we get the cause and effect relationship confused with logical actions of fucked up people. I knew a guy in the Navy who was about as much of a crazy violent son of a bitch as you could imagine. What did he want to do when he got out? He wanted to go back home to Chicago and be a prison guard at Joliet. Why the hell would anyone WANT to be a prison guard, unless you have a real sadistic streak in you.

I do believe there is a relationship between what you see and what you end up doing, otherwise there would be no such thing as advertising, but I don't think you will be changed by things like video games. But I also have to say this, what the hell kind of person can watch slasher flicks any enjoy them? If you're watching a movie and some young beautiful woman is getting out of the shower and suddenly there is guts and blood splattering all over the mirror, and they do it over and over and over again, and you think thats a great movie, I think you have issues.

Posted by: Bikerken at April 20, 2008 12:48 AM

Dennis -

Thank you. That's how it's supposed to work. You are the parent, you are supposed to tell your child what he can and cannot do.

My problem is with the millions of parents who demand that the government do their job for them by preventing people like me from playing video games so that their children won't be exposed to them.

Posted by: brian at April 20, 2008 6:04 AM

If you suspect "studies", well, good on you, you're supposed to suspect everything someone offers you as the truth, about any issue. But leave disdain for "statistics" out of your vocabulary. Not only do few people understand what statistics involves, the science of probability is literally surrounding you at this very moment, and the understanding and control of the principle of uncertainty is key to understanding most physical processes.

For instance, you might be "certain" of a few things in life. This is only because you have assigned a definition of same which is good enough for you to get on with other things. I suggest that you do not know what statistics really is, having not studied the field at all.

For instance, you might believe the same things about a connection between video games and violence that was once believed to exist between "pornography" and rape. But Ed Meese, as Attorney General, was ordered to find this "connection" and he couldn't. When a criminal had a big collection of "pornography" - in quotes here because it included everything from a collection of JC Penney underwear ads to specialized slasher films - it was incidental. There was no cause/effect relationship to be found.

And as you might guess, cause and effect is a major component of statistical evaluation. But few make the effort to understand that principle. It's easy to be offended when a lie is discovered. Why not find it out before it is attempted on you?

Posted by: Radwaste at April 20, 2008 7:22 AM

Rad, I understand the principles behind statistics fairly well. What I usually don't trust are the personal motivations behind researchers and scientists. I have a friend I go to the casinos with a lot. I was telling him that the card dealers were trying to cheat players on the payouts. He said they only made a mistake once in a while. I ask him, out of a hundred times a mistake was made, how often did it favor the player and he said maybe two. I told him that was mathematically impossible. I did have two courses of Statistics in college and got across to him that when some event with a fifty fifty chance falls one way 98% of the time, you're being lied to, something is skewing the sample. This principle was played out in court a few years ago when a major retailer was sued for not correcting the prices in its computer so they were scanning higer at the register than they showed on the shelf. I think it was Sears. In court, a statistics expert told the court that if indeed it was a simple mistake and prices went up and down, there would be just as many prices scanning too low as too high. Instead, they were scanning too high about 99% of the time and that was proof they were doing it deliberately. The retailer was found guilty of screwing it's customers with price deception.

I remember that Ed Meese thing by the way. Another who made that connection was Ted Bundy. He blamed porn for his sexual tendencies and claimed it was behind a lot of his sexual sickness. I would have liked to asked him, "Ok Ted, porn made you horny. What was it that make you crush their fucking skulls in Ted and go back repeatedly to rape the dead bodies? You don't see that in porn."

Posted by: Bikerken at April 20, 2008 11:26 AM

Video games do not cause violence in teens and adults.

Number of copies of DOOM in circulation (sold and copied): 5 million (est.)

Number of school shootings blamed on video games: 10 (est.)

Number of people who played DOOM not involved in school shootings: 4,999,990 (est.)

What we have here is a little thing called "statistically insignificant".

There is NO evidence of a causal relationship between the consumption of violent media and violent behavior in teens. In the decade since highly-realistic first-person shooters became the most popular genre of video game, violent crime among teens has dropped, even in the wake of "zero tolerance" policies that get kids reported to law enforcement for the slightest act of violence.

Q.E.D.

Posted by: brian at April 20, 2008 2:11 PM

I agree Brian. I've watched my nephew playing these shoot em up games and he really gets into them, but he's got to be one of the most passive friendliest polite kids I've ever met. That's upbringing. He likes sports and he hasn't got a violent bone in his body. No video game is going to change that.

Posted by: Bikerken at April 20, 2008 3:03 PM

You know I did a little digging and found something I'm sure you will all find amazing. More people have been attacked, beaten, maimed, and killed before the invention of violent video games then after.

It really is amazing how no one seems to have noticed this. Infact nearly every war in human history preceded vidoe games.

I wonder why reaserches havent noticed these fact yet

Posted by: lujlp at April 20, 2008 10:03 PM

Instead, it is about having a buffer between him and some of the coarser aspects of our culture, at least for the time being.

Dennis: Not that you need my approval, but good for you. I'm in favor of children being protected from the coarser aspects of culture for as long as reasonably possible. That having been said, I personally think there's a real difference between keeping children from the coarser aspects of culture and trying to keep them in an action-free/violence-free bubble, and I think the people trying to link video games with real-world violent behavior are leaning more toward the latter situation.

Marion, what do you do for a living?

Crid, I SMASH! and DESTROY! just like the Incredible Hulk, because my parents allowed me to read such things at an impressionable age. Wait, I actually didn't get into the Hulk into the Peter David era, which was more likely to inspire one into meditating on the nature of the self, psyche and love than it was to turn one into a mindless killing machine. (Don't get me wrong - the book still had a lot of action. But it also had a great story.) GI Joe, on the other hand...

Seriously, at the moment I am a student. Soon I shall re-enter the real world and make a living playing with numbers and PowerPoint for a not-insubstantial corporation. I will be The Man, or at least The Woman. I should still read voraciously, though. And you?

Posted by: marion at April 20, 2008 10:13 PM

Freelance video editing for anyone who'll pay the rate, whether they're substantial or not. I read sometimes. Two last week: Zigzag, about which Tressider was right (and I'll deny that if you quote me); and one from William F. Buckley, a collection of correspondence called Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription. It's basically a bathroom reader of his bitchslaps over the years. Even with moderate expectations I was disappointed.

He's (was) kinda like Paglia that way: All that candlepower and energy, but just not funny.

Posted by: Crid at April 21, 2008 1:37 AM

Amy, I agree with this. My kids play/played video games and remained pretty normal (I know you will question the inference, given their genetic pool).

But I am wondering, did you get permission to use the video here? Is it copyrighted? Why don't you mention any of the legal niceties that concern you so much? Just wondering.

Posted by: JJ at April 21, 2008 6:24 AM

JJ, you are truly a scumbag. JJ is University of Rochester poly sci professor James Johnson, who takes the work of numerous photographers and artists and uses it without permission on his website, and instead of taking responsibility for that use, seeks to attack me. You'll notice that there are no photographs here that were not taken by me or my boyfriend (who gives me the photos to use with his permission) or otherwise explicitly permitted for use. Likewise, as with YouTube videos, this video offers an embed code at the end. This is not because they do not want you to embed it because they do.

Like so many college kids you must "teach," clearly you didn't look at the material before posting your remark.

Also, just take responsibility for what you've done. Stop shitting all over my comments section in hopes of, most childishly, not taking responsibility for your actions, but trying to attack me. You're really a scumbag.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 21, 2008 6:40 AM

AMy. A simple "Yes I asked for and received permission" would suffice to clear up my questions. And, I did watch the video. Perhaps I missed the place where copyright and atributions and p"used by permission" appeare there. If so, I apologize. But I do not see a single of the legal niceties mentioned in your post. Hence my questions. Sorry that they upset you so.

And, I guess I don't get why you think I care if you write my name down here. You act as though asking questions is a criminal offense. Your mistake.

Posted by: JJ at April 21, 2008 7:46 AM

PS: Yes, I take responsibility for what I've done - I keep a blog using materials in a way that is totally legal under the fair use exceptions in US copyright law. How is that?

Posted by: JJ at April 21, 2008 7:49 AM

Sorry that you, as an old fogey professor, are unclear as to the way video works on the web. They provide you with an embed code because they WANT you to post it. No need for "used by permission" (that would be "used WITH permission"). I post that, on the rare occasions I post a photo not taken by my boyfriend or me, to clarify that I am not one of the many who steals others' photographs and art work and posts them on my site...and in hopes that others will question their behavior (taking others work and using it without payment or permission).

Many Flickr photos are likewise posted with the intent that they be used by others, with credit to the photographer. The photos you have posted are not licensed under a Flickr or similar Creative Commons license. They are the fruits of the labor of people who earn their living as photographers. Posting them without paying the authors is like getting your car serviced and driving out of the station without paying for it. It's forcing somebody to work for free, and it's stealing.

You keep promising to leave. Not a surprise that you don't live up to your promises. Please start.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 21, 2008 7:55 AM

This is from photographer Christopher R. Harris, a professor in the College of Mass Communication at Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, who won his copyright infringement suit against the San Jose Merc news. The original is long, and he's given me permission to quote from it, so I've excerpted parts of his e-mail.

http://digitalprof.wordpress.com/2006/01/06/david-and-goliath-in-the-media-world/

Harris writes (and again, I post these e-mail excerpts with his permission):

Dear Amy, Thanks for your question. What a jerk!!! Jim Johnson hides behind a law that does not protect him from his obligations, both legal and ethical. Like many, he does not value the very thing he claims to care about. A photograph, under the law, is copyrighted from its inception. You make it, you are the copyright holder; with some exceptions. Just giving credit to photographs "pirated" for use on his own website does not meet the law as required. Mr. Johnson is basically a thief of visual imagery for his own use. Fair Use clearly elucidates the terms under which Fair Use is granted. Mr. Johnson does not reach the necessary criteria as stated under law. Mr. Johnson hides his theft claiming that under Fair Use he has the right to use the imagery without obtaining permission of the copyright owner. As Richard Nixon used to do, Johnson does not even attempt to give the full information contained in this code. Johnson states; "In accordance with U.S. Code Title 17, Section 107, material on this site (along with credit links and attributions to original sources) is viewable for educational and intellectual purposes." The copyright office on its official website (http://www.copyright.gov) states: "Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission." As to the "educational and intellectual purposes" he claims...he still does not adhere to the law.

...When Johnson claims the use under "educational and
intellectual purposes" he does not realize that there
are restrictions to any such use. Most professors are
aware of those restrictions; they must destroy any
such images after use. By being on a blog, it does not
meet the legal requirement of being destroyed after
use.
To be blunt, by reading only the portion of law that
he wants to read does not mean that Mr. Johnson is
following the law.

...No, Mr. Johnson, you have no right to use the images
of others without obtaining permission. You can't hide
behind a partial reading of the Copyright law.
A thief is a thief.
Best regards,
Chris Harris

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at April 21, 2008 7:57 AM

Every generation needs a "boogey man" to blame the bad behavior of kids on, and to scare others into line. All in the name of feeling like they're good parents in spite of avoiding personal responsibility.

My generation's video games weren't that realistic ("Pong made me a paddle-wielding murderer!!"), so other things were the boogey man.

Dungeons & Dragons - Makes you a violent Satan worshiper.
Rock Music - Makes you a violent, drug-abusing Satan worshiper.
Comic Books - Makes you aggressive and violent, only some of them lead to Satan worship
(Marion: LOVED the Peter David-written Hulk books, thanks for mentioning that!)
Dancing - Makes you a Satan worshiper (oh, wait, that was the Puritans, not the parents of my generation, never mind)

When people fear looking at their own potential responsibility, it's easier to just blame everything outside of their control. When parents fear to be parents, they expect everyone else to take care of and protect their kids.

This existed long before the Atari 2600.

If a parent wants to prevent their kids from playing violent games or from watching trashy tv, they can simply DO just that. They don't need the government to do it FOR them.

(Other Note: This JJ thing is plain silly.)

Posted by: Jamie at April 21, 2008 11:10 AM

I'm awfully glad you read Agent Zigzag, Crid.

(Not for any chummy reason obviously. But there's huge pleasure imagining someone else's holy fuck! grin reading it for the first time!)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at April 21, 2008 3:12 PM

Dungeons & Dragons - Makes you a violent Satan worshiper.
Rock Music - Makes you a violent, drug-abusing Satan worshiper.
Comic Books - Makes you aggressive and violent, only some of them lead to Satan worship


Damn. I haven't been meeting my quotas of violence, aggression, drug abuse, and Satan worship if this is the case. Clearly I have some catching up to do. Excuse me. (Crid, freelance video editing? Kewl gig.)

Posted by: marion at April 21, 2008 10:24 PM

Hollywood been good to me. Sinatra: "The music she moves to is music that makes me a dancer..."

Posted by: Crid at April 22, 2008 6:04 PM

Leave a comment

Posted by aalkon at April 19, 2008 11:08 AM

Comments

I had a couple of beers in a Belgian pub once whose owner had named his dog "in honor of" Prince Charles. The dog looked something like this: http://www.mischiefblue.co.uk/images/4.jpg and I was dumb enough to ask why he had named it after Charles.

I'm not sure if the dog was dumb, too.

Does anyone know where I can find video of "The Tampon Prince" SNL skit online?

Sorry about the somewhat off-topic post Amy, but it's more fun to laugh at Prince Charles than it is to think about how dumb alternative medicine is.

Posted by: Shawn at April 19, 2008 4:49 AM

There seems to be two kinds of chiropractor. The ones that make the pain in your back and neck go away, and the ones that make them look like nuts (see: Bullshit episode regarding same).

My chiropractor hasn't indicated that she can do anything but alleviate my back/shoulder/neck pain.

Although she keeps giving me exercises to do that I don't, so it's my own damn fault I still hurt.

Posted by: brian at April 19, 2008 5:24 AM

Uh, just a question, but who is setting the criteria for "no reliable evidence"? And why no specifics given, such as the method of testing used, or was there any testing done at all? If someone proposes to me that such-and-such can cure so-and-so, all I have to do is not test it at all and I can pompously declare: "There's no reliable evidence for its effectiveness."

Amy, you're being suckered, to put it bluntly. The medical industry is interested in one thing and one thing only (and if you think it's your well-being, all I can say is, I'm very sorry and I thought you were much more on the ball than that): the medical industry.

Natural remedies exist for many things, including cancer. But the problem is that cancer is a multi-billion dollar industry, and the chemotherapy and radiation specialists like their fees too much. And if anyone wants to theatrically ask me, "Do you honestly think the medical industry would let millions of people die each year from cancer just so they can make a buck?"

My reply is, "Uh, yeah."

Posted by: Patrick at April 19, 2008 6:03 AM

Regarding the claim that homeopathy is "downright ridiculous," I couldn't agree more.

There's no way in hell you're going to get me to get a flu shot. (Yes, flu shots and many other vaccinations are in fact, homeopathic remedies. Homeopathy is the profound dilution of the substance that would produce the illness in a healthy person. Gee, sound familiar.)

Sorry, Amy, you generally post very sound and informative articles, but this one is so full of holes, wrapping yourself in it would get you arrested for indecent exposure.

Posted by: Patrick at April 19, 2008 6:10 AM

Patrick, I'm a big skeptic and have posted many times here about the ills of the medical profession, including the way pharmaceutical companies hide bad data. That doesn't change the fact that there is no evidence for many "natural" cures. There's something called the "naturalistic fallacy" -- the idea that because something is "natural" it's good. My idea, per Angell and Kassirer above, is that because something is tested and proven to work it's good.

Flu shots, Patrick, are not "homeopathic remedies." They actually have measurable substances in them.

If this post is "full of holes," feel free to post about how it is. You have yet to do that.

And come on, if somebody actually cured cancer with some "natural" remedy -- don't you think they'd win the Nobel prize?

And regarding liking "fees too much" -- does it occur to you that Boiron, which makes Occilloccocinum, is not in business for the love, and is, in fact, making enormous profits? People in "natural" medicines are not in it for the love.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 19, 2008 6:43 AM

Homeopathy is indeed alternative medicine -- an alternative to medicine that works.

http://www.keypoint.com.au/~skeptics/Homeopathy

'Homeopathic Dilution' - If you take a mixture and keep adding water, the mixture will get progressively weaker. Any effect the mixture has would be expected to decrease. Homeopaths, on the other hand, claim that if you shake or tap the container a certain number of times after each dilution, the healing effect of the mixture will in fact increase. Claiming the potions are getting stronger, homeopaths usually dilute them to such a degree that you'd need to drink more than an ocean's worth to be sure of getting just one molecule of the active ingredient. A bottle of pills or potion will contain only the diluting substance (usually water, alcohol or lactose), and none of the healing substance.

One homeopathic 'flu remedy, Oscillococcinum, starts with duck's liver. The liver mixture is diluted to the ratio of one part in 10400. (That's 1 followed by 400 zeros.) At that rate, one duck is easily enough to make enough anti-'flu "medicine" to satisfy the world's population many times over; in fact it's so dilute that if you were to prepare the product with only one molecule of the duck liver, it would produce more than enough 'flu potion to fill the known universe. This product reaps $20 million each year. (The unlucky duck has been dubbed "The Twenty Million Dollar Duck.")

The manufacturers don't show the quantities of ingredients on packets of homeopathic products; they show dilutions in a special code. This is because the high dilutions ensure the product will actually contain no active ingredients! The duck liver dilution in Oscillococcinum is written as 200C. This means the mixture has undergone a sequence of two hundred "C" dilutions. Each "C" dilution is a process where a mixture is diluted by 1:100 and then shaken exactly one hundred times. So a 1C mixture is one hundred times weaker than the original; a 2C dilution is ten thousand times weaker, and so on. Note that each dilution must be followed by exactly one hundred shakes performed in exactly the right way. This makes no sense.

Modern homeopaths cannot deny that their potions are too dilute to contain anything but water, and so they have made the claim that water "remembers" their initial ingredients, and behaves in the healing process as if those chemicals were still there. This claim is wishful thinking that has no basis in scientific study.

Does it matter? Firstly, there are more homeopathic remedies around than you might think. Often they are freely available on pharmacy shelves, and unless you are aware of labelling codes, you may not know that you are paying "top dollar" for seductively packaged sugar pills or water. Secondly, there is the danger that seriously ill people will use homeopathic remedies instead of effective prescription medicine. Although current laws generally allow ineffective potions and pills to be sold in chemists and health food shops around Australia, the authorities recently acted on notification from the Australian Skeptics to ban sales of homeopathic potions that claimed to be 200C vaccines against the deadly meningococcal disease and hepatitis B.


Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 19, 2008 6:45 AM

Here's a piece on standards of evidence, "Standards of Evidence for Evaluation of Safety and Claims of Natural Health Products":

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/activit/consult/archive/_evidence-preuve/soe-ndp_doc_6_e.html

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 19, 2008 6:50 AM

Here's a test on homeopathy I pulled from Orac's site's comments.

http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2007.03008.x

This is from the abstract:

The homeopathy treatment had no effect on morphine intake between 24 and 72 h or on the visual analogue pain scale, or on quality of life assessed by the SF-36 questionnaire. In addition, these parameters were not different in patients enrolled in the open-label noninterventional control arm.

ConclusionsThe complex of homeopathy tested in this study was not superior to placebo in reducing 24 h morphine consumption after knee ligament reconstruction.

If I am, in fact, being "suckered," feel free to show evidence of how I am. Don't just point out that medicine is big business. That's not enough.

Besides, it just leads me to say "So is the health products industry."

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 19, 2008 6:55 AM

There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work.

Yup. Sometimes the medicine that doesn't work is developed at great expense by a major drug company, and the medicine that does work is an herb or vitamin available over the counter. That doesn't mean that "alternative" medicine - i.e. medicine that relies on anecdotes and emotions instead of efficacy testing - is valid, though. It means that not everything that has a positive effect on our health has to be formulated in a lab. Big difference.

Uh, just a question, but who is setting the criteria for "no reliable evidence"?

Amy posted an excerpt rather than the many entire books that have been written about the topic. I'm sure you can find one of them if you choose, but basically the authors are saying that none of the claims they are discounting was shown to be statistically valid in double-blind testing. There's a pretty standard format for testing out medical claims, and things such as homeopathy have yet to display any validity using them. You know what has proven to be effective and safe using double-blind testing? Vaccines, at least the ones currently on the market. Sorry if you don't understand the difference between homeopathy and vaccination, but if you need help: One has been shown to be utter rubbish in scientific testing and in practice, the other has been shown to be effective in scientific testing and in practice (which is why no one in the developed world gets polio or smallpox any more when they used to be scourges). I know this because I keep up with my scientific and medical reading. If you need proof, try Trick or Treatment.

Posted by: marion at April 19, 2008 7:01 AM

This whole thing prompt me to ask a single question: Why are you asking to Prince what is good for your health? What kind of training he got in the matter?

Answer: None.

Asking Prince Charles what is good for you equals asking your neighbor