We Ladies Got Ourselves All This Liberation, But Now Some Of Us Are Thinking It's Maybe A Few Sizes Too Big
I'm not speaking personally in that headline -- but I understand that the benefits of independence also come with some costs.
Jessica Crispin has herself a wee whine about the "vulnerabilities" of being a single woman, writing at Boston Review about getting sick and having surgery before she knew anyone in Germany and having to call some guy she met at a party to come pick her up. As she put it to him on the phone:
"This is going to sound weird . . . ." But he was a war photographer, and he handled it well. "I once had to have surgery in rural Nigeria," he told me as he bundled me into his car.
I personally love experiences like that -- and had some wonderful ones in my 20s.
Crispin, on the other hand, is frownieface:
My story does not make me feel empowered. It makes me feel lucky. I was lucky that German law allows even uninsured people to obtain treatment at a price I could afford. I was lucky to have had surgery early enough to fix my problem. But with luck comes fear. What will happen if I get sick again? I'm back in the States, and I have health insurance, but even the insured face major financial hardship. And, even in the age of the Affordable Care Act, many still lack that safety net.
In these conditions, are single women powerful or imperiled? Where Traister sees independence, I see vulnerability. Where she sees political and personal strength, I see women making do with limited options and difficult circumstances.
You could also marry some nice man in the midwest, pop out some babies, and stay at home and take care of them while he brings home the bacon.
But instead, more whinies:
But we have not done enough to replace the security and safety of the family with a social equivalent. Thus we are left with individuals solely responsible for their own care--and precarity.
It's called "having friends" -- and you have to create community; it isn't handed out to us by the government.
I write in "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck" about how a group of us -- Team Cathy, we called ourselves -- took care of my late friend Cathy Seipp when she was in her final year of her struggle with lung cancer.
She was divorced -- and so, officially, single. But she was never alone -- we all saw to that. And she earned us -- we were her friends, and we cared about her and she cared about us, and we came through when she got sick.
I also write about the death of communities in "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck," and how and why we need to rebuild our own -- now that we are living in these vast and transient societies, way too big for our "Stone Age minds."
One thing that doesn't get them built is whining about not having such a thing.
Oh, and something I'm a fan of is co-housing -- living in a group of, say, five houses or lofts with a central area that you can either join others in or not. I lived that way -- in a loft complex -- when I first moved to Venice, and if I could afford to build something like this, I would.
But back to the single ladies topic, all in all, a pattern I keep seeing in women now and feminism now is this notion, "Shit, we've got all this equality, and...helllp!...it's scarier and much more demanding than it was cracked up to be."
Anonymous "Ghost Squad" Hackers Have A Point On The "Cultural Appropriation" Bullshit -- And More
At IBTimes, Mary-Ann Russon reports that Anonymous's Ghost Squad group took down the Black Lives Matter website to make the point that "All Lives Matter" -- among other things:
Twitter user @_s1ege, one of the Ghost Squad members behind the attack, told HackRead: "We targeted the Black Lives Matter Movement. We have been watching several members of their movement hold racist signs and attack innocent individuals over cultural appropriation while speaking English.
"I, s1ege, started this operation after attacking the KKK [because] I realised the individuals in the Black Lives Matter movement were acting no better - some even promote genocide of the Caucasian race. This will not be tolerated. What angered me and the other members of Ghost Squad was that the leaders also do not speak on this topic. This was not the dream of Martin Luther King Jr, and should not be supported or promoted by any movement. All Lives Matter!"
Probably the kindest, most generous professor I know -- a person whom I've seen consistently be extremely supportive of grad students and others -- has been attacked in recent days for supposed misappropriation of "AAVE" (African American Vernacular English) when speaking to someone on campus.
The "crime"? Using common American slang.
This is beyond ridiculous, but now, on most American campuses, being a victim is the quickest road to power.
And victimization is whatever a victim says it is -- whatever hurts their feelz. As I explained to my friend in an email: "Absolutely anything that they say is wrong is wrong, and they can interpret anything to be wrong."
The notion that this professor is guilty of anything -- other than not speaking in constant fear of offending people -- is absurd.
And think about the effect of accusations like this -- accusations profs may get in trouble for debating in any way. As I wrote to my friend: "You are kind and helpful to students in a way so many profs are too busy and 'important' to be, and I hope you don't change that."
When "Diversity" Means "White People, Keep Out!"
A young woman who is white, Samantha Niemann, is suing the Getty Foundation, "alleging she was denied an undergraduate internship with the institution because she is white," reports LA radio station, KFI:
Due to inquiries from potential applicants as well as internal and external discussions, several months ago the Getty modified the eligibility criteria for 2016 to state that applicants must be members of an underrepresented group, including but not limited to, those of black, Asian, Latino, Native-American or Pacific-Islander descent, according to the statement.
The suit filed Friday states that in February 2015, Niemann `"was deterred from applying'' for the internship program and told that only black, Asian, Latino, Native-American and Pacific-Islander candidates were eligible.
A Getty Foundation representative confirmed to Niemann -- who is of German, Irish and Italian descent -- that she was disqualified from applying because of her race and national origin, the suit says.
Niemann was "well-qualified'' for the internship because she was a student at Southern Utah University with a 3.7 grade-point average, according to her court papers.
Of course, there's the question of whether "diversity" simply means skin color.
Maybe actual diversity means letting in a few of those evil Republicans or maybe nixing some black kid from Harvard for some kid of whatever color from some extremely unfashionable part of Kansas.
And maybe, just maybe, people should be chosen on merit and promise -- regardless of their skin color, sex, age, or anything else.
That's how I've always hired. Mainly because choosing otherwise is idiotic.
Think Of The Cost Of The TSA To American Business
Three hours of my time are incredibly valuable, and I would think those of you who aren't interns folding shirts in the wardrobe room at some magazine would say the same about yours.
But that's the amount of time the TSA thugs are taking to put all the passengers through their useless pretend security, reports Jad Mouawad in The New York Times.
And do note -- that's three hours of your time to stand in a Soviet-style line at the airport, not three hours of flying time or three hours of doing anything the slightest bit productive.
At Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, about 600 passengers missed their flights on March 25 because an inadequate number of screeners led to waits exceeding three hours, airport officials said. Brent D. Cagle, the airport's interim director of aviation, complained to the T.S.A., calling the episode a "fiasco."
"This situation could have been avoided, had the T.S.A. had the proper staffing (or overtime budget necessary) to meet customer demand," Mr. Cagle wrote in a letter to the security agency. (T.S.A. officials denied that the wait had ever been that long, telling local reporters that it had been 75 minutes for a short time.)
This is so often what the TSA does -- just deny there was ever a problem.
T.S.A. officials say the main reason for the longer lines is an increase in the number of travelers this year.
"Where it starts is actually a volume issue," said Mr. Rasicot, who was previously a senior official with the United States Coast Guard, as was the T.S.A.'s administrator, Peter V. Neffenger. "It's really a good-news story. The economy is doing well, Americans are traveling more, and this equates with record numbers at our checkpoints."
Get this -- it's not like somebody woke up on Wednesday and there was news it was raining dollar bills in Cleveland, and all of American decided to board a plane.
What business recognizes that there will be a summer rush and thinks, "Well, we'll do absolutely fuck all to meet that?"
What's stunning is how much our country is starting -- slowly but surely -- to resemble the USSR, in how papers are demanded sans probable cause and in the contempt by bureaucrats for the rest of us.
Maybe it's just me, but the line at the airport (to get groped by "security" personal who'd otherwise be working in a mall food court) is starting to remind me of a Moscow grocery store from USSR days.
And check out the photo, revealing TSA genius: Pack 'em in for screening and make 'em sitting ducks -- like in Belgium.
A commenter in the know writes at the NYT:
Let's get rid of the TSA and go back to screening the way it was on 9/10/01.
TSA claims they have only 42,000 screeners; their union claims TSA is authorized to have 48,000 but won't hire them.
Neffenger wants to send all new hires, 192 a week, to his "training academy" in Georgia for two weeks; then he wants to send all current screeners there for "retraining." How much are we paying for this most recent boondoggle?
100+ screeners leave the TSA each week. TSA claims it is hiring hundreds of new screeners. However, a quick perusal of USAJobs shows only 98 positions open, most of them at out-of-the way airports. None at any of the airports that experiencing horrible delays.
People are being suckered into PreCheck and finding they are not getting what they paid for. (BTW, @AskTSA claims that PreCheck enrollment "strengthen(s) aviation security.")
This whole mess is being orchestrated by TSA that wants more money out of Congress.
Our chain is being pulled yet again by the TSA, dear readers.
This guy also gets it:
ScottW, Chapel Hill, NC
This is all political theater. I have never been arrested, but even though the airlines knows my name and checks my ID, I have to be screened because I might be a potential terrorist? No probable cause to suspect I have done anything criminal, not even a reasonable suspicion, or even an inkling. I don't even own a gun. I am searched because I am human.
The solution--when you buy a ticket you are allowed to bypass any screening unless there is a reasonable suspicion you are involved in criminal activity. With all of the billions spent on endless surveillance this should not be a problem--unless the surveillance system is all a hoax.
For those comforted by security lines and screening. TSA has a bad track record of finding contraband. Relying on them as a last line of defense in stopping criminal activity is foolhardy.
Focus airport screening on legitimate criminal targets and leave the rest of us alone!
If you fly on your own private jet , you are excempt from the TSA altogether. Period.
If the sprit should move you so, you could take off in a fueled up 757 and fly it straight into the new World Trade Center - with no checks No TSA .
How's that about a security hole?
Maybe, just maybe, we could revisit this insane "security." Surely I can't be the only one who would be quite happy to go back to flying circa 2000?
9/11 won't happen again - you can't take over a plane with box cutters anymore - people are thankfully smart enough to be willing to risk a little injury to prevent a hijacking. Let's go back to when a metal detector was sufficient. If someone wants to smuggle something onto a plane, they will succeed - the only purpose the tsa stupidity serves is to raise the bar so that only the dedicated will succeed.
Who here thinks we're the least bit safer from terrorist attacks?
Any person who has the chops to stay afloat in this comments section is smart enough to outsmart what passes for airport "security."
Luckily, the fact that you're commenting here suggests that you are unlikely to be a candidate for terrorism.
Thug Cop Drives Dangerously And Tickets A Motorist For It
Cop gives the guy three tickets -- no front plate, tinted windows, and tailgating -- when the cop nearly caused an accident several times: by stopping short in the middle of a road and by then making traffic go around them as he bullied the guy under cover of his cop badge.
The cop is Officer Juan Velez -- and thank you Omar B. (the guy in the car) for bringing this out.
Clearly, the cop's interest is in anything but public safety. Officer Juan Velez is a power-hungry bully using his badge to get his power kicks.
An update on YouTube, on the video, from Omar B:
Update 1: (4/30/16)
First of all, I'd like to thank everyone supporting me. I didn't know this video would get as much attention as it's getting. Because of that, I feel like I should bring up what happened after the 'traffic stop.'
On March 31st, I was eating with a friend at a local Zinburger. Afterwards, we were walking to my car and I was explaining to him what happened when the cop slammed on his brakes. A cop car happened to drive by us in the parking lot, and apparently, they overheard the conversation. The cop stopped the car, and confronted me. I don't know how coincidental it is, but the cop was Velez, and a partner.
The first thing he said was "what did you say?" At this point, I was thinking "This guy's a hot head," and tried to diffuse the situation.
We kept going back and forth, but the officer said, "if you were a man, you would say something to my face." The officer also said ,"you are a coward." At that point, he started backing up and I said "sir, you have a badge and uniform and represent the state of NJ, and you act like that?"
At that point, he reapproached me again, shoulders square within 2 feet of me. Safe to say it was uncomfortable. Again, he said I was a coward. I am confident he was trying to provoke me into saying or doing something thst would warrant an arrest, so I just repeated "I will see you in court," at which point I offered to shake his hand, but he just walked away.
I did not put this in the video because I didn't have proof of it, but I have initiated a case with internal affairs about a week after it happened. I also have a witness in my friend who will be involved in the investigation. The partner can also be asked if this happened, but I doubt he would be willing to speak about it.
Regardless, the investigator that I spoke to will be checking if Velez was on duty on the day and time in question, which I was accurately able to provide, along with the my friend's contact into.
If You Want To Eat Unpasteurized Cheese, It Should Be None Of The Govt's Business
If you and some buyer want to transact for it, why should the government be involved?
You know that the cheese you're buying from the farmer didn't have an FDA official standing over it or stamping it (which, of course, doesn't mean food that is so stamped is actually safe to eat).
Bayelin Linnekin writes at Reason that food freedom legislation is slowly advancing in a few states -- and passed in Wyoming. It was "the country's first formal food freedom law":
In Maine, a bill that would have allowed voters to amend the state's constitution--and which passed out of the state legislature but died in the state senate--was mostly great:"All individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to acquire, produce, process, prepare, preserve and consume the food of their own choosing, for their own nourishment and sustenance, by hunting, gathering, foraging, farming, fishing, gardening or saving and exchanging seeds, provided that no individual commits trespassing, theft, poaching or other abuses of private property rights, public lands or natural resources in the acquisition of food; furthermore, all individuals have a right to barter, trade or purchase food from the sources of their own choosing, for their own bodily health and well-being and every individual is fully responsible for the exercise of these rights, which may not be infringed."
Colorado's bi-partisan SB 58 currently awaits the signature of John Hickenlooper (D). The bill, which passed the state senate unanimously, greatly expands permissible cottage food offerings and allows small farmers to sell their own chickens directly to consumers.
"Our goal with the Food Freedom bill was to reduce red tape on local farmers and producers, because Colorado places a high value on a thriving local economy--and healthy, farm fresh foods," said Colorado State Sen. Owen Hill (R), a bill sponsor, in an email to me this week. "SB58 makes it easier for farmers and producers to connect with consumers who are looking for local food options, and it opens the market for the first time in Colorado to allow small poultry producers to sell straight from their farms."
"Reducing barriers to help people grow their food and sell it locally is a win win for Colorado," said Colorado State Rep. KC Becker (D), another bill sponsor, also by email. "Locally grown foods and cottage foods are great for Colorado consumers, farmers, and communities. The interest in cottage and local foods is strong and growing in Colorado and I'm glad we could help that cause."
Here in California, in Venice, where I live, people joined a secret food coop -- selling raw food that farmers wanted to sell and they wanted to purchase, like unpasteurized milk and cheese. I've eaten unpasteurized cheese for eons in France, as have countless people, and I'm not dead -- and I've never gotten sick.
Well, armed government thugs came in -- like a SWAT raid on a drug den -- to raid them for the possession of...yes, raw dairy products. PJ Huffstetter writes in the LA Times from 2010:
With no warning one weekday morning, investigators entered an organic grocery with a search warrant and ordered the hemp-clad workers to put down their buckets of mashed coconut cream and to step away from the nuts.
Then, guns drawn, four officers fanned out across Rawesome Foods in Venice. Skirting past the arugula and peering under crates of zucchini, they found the raid's target inside a walk-in refrigerator: unmarked jugs of raw milk.
"I still can't believe they took our yogurt," said Rawesome volunteer Sea J. Jones, a few days after the raid. "There's a medical marijuana shop a couple miles away, and they're raiding us because we're selling raw dairy products?"
People who want to buy those should have it be their business with the seller, and none of the government's.
Robbing From Money For Schools To Give Welfare To Stadium-Building Bajillionaires
Taxes for Michigan schools are being siphoned off -- turned into welfare for the wildly wealthy, as they are used to fund the construction of a new sports arena.
As @AliceDreger tweeted:
Yup, in Michigan we use school taxes to pay for pro sports arenas.
Ryan Felton writes in Metro Times/Detroit that taxes for the schools are being siphoned off as wel:
The owners of Little Caesars, Mike and Marian Ilitch, announced they would construct a new eight-story headquarters for the pizza empire in downtown next to their Fox Theatre. The Ilitch organization said they would be only the seventh corporate headquarters to locate in Detroit since 1950.
It was an announcement meant to tie in with a new $450 million arena for the Ilitches' Detroit Red Wings to be constructed a block away. Both are expected to open around the same time in 2016-2017.
...That wasn't the only arena-related news last week.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette quietly issued an opinion that said state taxes for schools can legally be used to fund the arena's construction.
I love the terminology: that the funds can be "captured" -- kind of like limping gazelle is by a hungry hyena.
In his opinion released last week, Schuette said Michigan's DDA Act historically shows that school taxes can be captured under "certain circumstances." In the case of Detroit, school taxes are captured by the DDA before they're deposited into the School Aid Fund. So, Schuette wrote, that means "those captured school taxes were never dedicated to the School Aid Fund."
Robinson, as expected, wasn't pleased. She told MLive's Emily Lawler, "Our first asset is our children, our priority is our children."
When state lawmakers debated whether to appropriate public funds for the project, some Republican legislators argued that $15 million was a pittance sum. If it was money to be used for grand economic development, they claimed, then it was worth diverting the taxes. (The Ilitches say the new arena will create 400 part- and full-time jobs, and the city will receive about $16 million in total income tax revenue.)
If stadiums are such a great deal, they can be funded privately.
But -- whoops -- they're typically only a great deal for those who own the team.
Here's a CBC report by Armina Ligaya:
The vast majority of studies done on the financial benefits of new sporting facilities by researchers not connected to any sport, league, or team have not found any economic boost for cities, experts say.
"Most of the independent research can't find any economic impact associated with either new arenas, new stadiums, or new franchises or large events," said Victor Matheson, a professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Ma., who has been researching the economics of sport for more than a decade.
"So, building a new arena doesn't seem to have any effect on a city's employment, per capita income, hotel occupancy rates, [or] taxable sales."
Gregg Easterbrook in The Atlantic on how the NFL fleeces taxpayers:
Pro-football coaches talk about accountability and self-reliance, yet pro-football owners routinely binge on giveaways and handouts. A year after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Saints resumed hosting NFL games: justifiably, a national feel-good story. The finances were another matter. Taxpayers have, in stages, provided about $1 billion to build and later renovate what is now known as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. (All monetary figures in this article have been converted to 2013 dollars.)
The Saints' owner, Tom Benson, whose net worth Forbes estimates at $1.2 billion, keeps nearly all revenue from ticket sales, concessions, parking, and broadcast rights. Taxpayers even footed the bill for the addition of leather stadium seats with cup holders to cradle the drinks they are charged for at concession stands. And corporate welfare for the Saints doesn't stop at stadium construction and renovation costs.
Though Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal claims to be an anti-spending conservative, each year the state of Louisiana forcibly extracts up to $6 million from its residents' pockets and gives the cash to Benson as an "inducement payment"--the actual term used--to keep Benson from developing a wandering eye.
So yes, great deal...a fantabulous deal -- for Mike Ilitch.
You say tomato, I say banana...
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Pantywaists At The University Of Michigan Boo Free Speech
Kathryn Blackhurst posts at The Blaze about a commencement speech former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave at my old alma mater, the University of Michigan:
Bloomberg continued, saying, "The fact that some university boards and administrations now bow to pressure groups, and shield students from these ideas through safe spaces, code words, and trigger warnings, is in my view a terrible mistake," as the crowd cheered. "The whole purpose of college is to learn how to deal with difficult situations, not to run away from them."
But some of the students offered a different response to his words as Bloomberg continued addressing the topic.
"A microaggression is exactly that, micro. But in a macro sense, one of the most dangerous places on a college campus is the so-called safe space, because it creates a false impression that we can isolate ourselves from those who hold different views," Bloomberg said. "We can't, and we shouldn't try. Not in politics, not in the workplace."
This time, Bloomberg's words were met with a mixture of boos and jeers.
I've joked about Ann Arbor (and U of M) that people used to protest everything but the grass in the cracks in the sidewalk.
And now -- yes, now they boo free speech and a world in which (horrors!) somebody might have a different opinion than the approved Social Justice Warrior credo.
University of Michigan: It's now a giant crib with pot and beer.
Mighty Morphin Power Jews
Kevin D. Williamson writes at NRO about what convenient scapegoats the Jews are for the left:
The Jews can be whatever their enemies need them to be. For Henry Ford and more than a few on the modern left, the Jews are the international bankers secretly pulling the strings of the global economy. As one widely circulated Occupy video put it: "The smallest group in America controls the money, media, and all other things. The fingerprints belong to the Jewish bankers who control Wall Street. I am against Jews who rob America. They are 1 percent who control America. President Obama is a Jewish puppet. The entire economy is Jewish. Every federal judge [on] the East Coast is Jewish."
For those who learned at the feet of that old fraud Edward Said, the Jews are the colonialists, the European modernists inflicting capitalism and technology upon the noble savages of their imaginations. The Israeli Jews commit the double crime of insisting upon being Jews and refusing to be sacrificial victims. They were okay, in the Left's estimate, for about five minutes, back when Israel's future was assumed to be one of low-impact kibbutz socialism. History went in a different direction, and today Israel has one of the world's most sophisticated economies.
For the Jew-hater, this is maddening: Throw the Jews out of Spain, and they thrive abroad. Send them to the poorest slums in New York, and those slums stop being slums. Keep them out of the Ivy League and watch NYU become a world-class institution inspired by men such as Jonas Salk, son of largely uneducated Polish immigrants. Put the Jewish state in a desert wasteland and watch it bloom, first with produce and then with technology. Israel today has more companies listed on NASDAQ than any other country except the United States and China. The economy under Palestinian management? Olives and handicrafts, and a GDP per capita that barely exceeds that of Sudan.
The Arab-Israeli conflict is a bitter and ugly one. My own view of it is that the Palestinian Arabs have some legitimate grievances, and that I stopped caring about them when they started blowing up children in pizza shops. You can thank the courageous heroes of the Battle of Sbarro for that. Israel isn't my country, but it is my country's ally, and it is impossible for a liberty-loving American to fail to admire what the Jewish state has done.
More on the Jew-hate-apalooza from Kale Privilege -- specifically on SJW Jew hatred:
I'm not one to see racism and anti-Semitism in everything, but I have to say, the only place where I've seen more blatant anti-Semitism than on Tumblr is Stormfront.
The hatred of Jews on Tumblr within the SJ community is usually thinly veiled hatred of white people (which we all know, is fine, and if you're white and you have a problem with people saying you need to be exterminated, you're just racist!) but in fact, when Tumblr SJWs get on the subject of Jews, their hatred seems to exceed their hatred for whites. I have even seen it said (not on Tumblr, but on another SJ-oriented site) that there is such a thing as "Jewish privilege" which extends beyond white privilege-and that Jews are being handed law and medical degrees for no reason at all other than being Jewish.
One wouldn't expect this kind of bigotry from SJWs, especially toward an ethnic group that has been systematically killed and persecuted for thousands of years. We are sympathetic to the effects of slavery (as we should be!) but already, the Holocaust is ancient history, and it's OK to joke about it, comparing victims of this horrible genocide with thin runway models-and even going as far as to compare being on a fucking diet to being in a concentration camp (looking at you, "fat acceptance" movement).
Of course, this stuff doesn't persist when the SJ blogger is Jewish- but if the SJ blogger is a "POC" or anyone who considers themselves less privileged than the Jews (including someone who is just fat and white, and who feels that having to eat healthy is akin to being in Auschwitz), get ready for a Jew-hating-palooza.
It's odd that the SJWs are so quick to brand Jews as whiter-than-white and more privileged than regular ol' whiteys, when they are so eager to claim POC status for the Sami people, the Romans, and other ethnic groups who (for all intents and purposes) usually look white. SJWs have claimed that Cleopatra was Black, Beethoven was Black, and even that George Washington was Black. But the Jews? White devils. Don't worry about "making sense", people. The Jews are so white that they're EVEN WORSE than white people.
While they're hating the Jews, they should be very glad about one thing -- that the people in the explosive vests are not a bunch of Ashkenazis.
Filthy minded! No, it's like Uber for links.
No stains on the couch, please.
Just Assume Everything Is Deeply Offensive
"Simple, but Cute Halloween Costumes" that will have you drummed out of college as a hater.
We're Creating A Nation Of Pretend Adults
Hanna Rosin has a worthwhile 2014 piece in The Atlantic -- a long read on the decline of childhood freedom, independence, and experimentation in favor of constant parental supervision:
The common concern of parents these days is that children grow up too fast. But sometimes it seems as if children don't get the space to grow up at all; they just become adept at mimicking the habits of adulthood. As Hart's research shows, children used to gradually take on responsibilities, year by year. They crossed the road, went to the store; eventually some of them got small neighborhood jobs. Their pride was wrapped up in competence and independence, which grew as they tried and mastered activities they hadn't known how to do the previous year. But these days, middle-class children, at least, skip these milestones. They spend a lot of time in the company of adults, so they can talk and think like them, but they never build up the confidence to be truly independent and self-reliant.
Rosin looks at her own parenting as well -- vis a vis how children were raised just a few decades prior:
I used to puzzle over a particular statistic that routinely comes up in articles about time use: even though women work vastly more hours now than they did in the 1970s, mothers--and fathers--of all income levels spend much more time with their children than they used to. This seemed impossible to me until recently, when I began to think about my own life. My mother didn't work all that much when I was younger, but she didn't spend vast amounts of time with me, either. She didn't arrange my playdates or drive me to swimming lessons or introduce me to cool music she liked. On weekdays after school she just expected me to show up for dinner; on weekends I barely saw her at all. I, on the other hand, might easily spend every waking Saturday hour with one if not all three of my children, taking one to a soccer game, the second to a theater program, the third to a friend's house, or just hanging out with them at home. When my daughter was about 10, my husband suddenly realized that in her whole life, she had probably not spent more than 10 minutes unsupervised by an adult. Not 10 minutes in 10 years.
It's hard to absorb how much childhood norms have shifted in just one generation. Actions that would have been considered paranoid in the '70s--walking third-graders to school, forbidding your kid to play ball in the street, going down the slide with your child in your lap--are now routine. In fact, they are the markers of good, responsible parenting. One very thorough study of "children's independent mobility," conducted in urban, suburban, and rural neighborhoods in the U.K., shows that in 1971, 80 percent of third-graders walked to school alone. By 1990, that measure had dropped to 9 percent, and now it's even lower. When you ask parents why they are more protective than their parents were, they might answer that the world is more dangerous than it was when they were growing up. But this isn't true, or at least not in the way that we think. For example, parents now routinely tell their children never to talk to strangers, even though all available evidence suggests that children have about the same (very slim) chance of being abducted by a stranger as they did a generation ago. Maybe the real question is, how did these fears come to have such a hold over us? And what have our children lost--and gained--as we've succumbed to them?
Related: My podcast on how kids learn and grow through play, with one of the sources she mentions, Boston College psychologist Peter Gray.
Links that need a foot massage and a Band-Aid.
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Thought Police Manning The Police Force In SF
It's a CNN piece by Marc Randazza, the First Amendment lawyer who defended me when the TSA's Thedala Magee tried to squeeze $500K out of me for using my free speech rights to complain about how she violated me at LAX.
The story here: Racist texts, discovered as part of a federal corruption probe, were sent by a SF cop, Jason Lai -- in private conversations with his friends -- and the discovery of those texts led to his dismissal.
I think what this guy said is ugly and deplorable.
"I hate that beaner," one text reads, "but I think the nig is worse."
"Indian ppl are disgusting," proclaims another.
"Burn down walgreens and kill the bums," a third message states.
However, the question should be simply this: Is there evidence that racism played a part in how he did his job?
And there should be an investigation into that, not just a knee-jerk assumption.
Let's take out the pitchforks and torches. Grab the rope so we can lynch former San Francisco police officer Jason Lai. What was his sin? Is he on the growing list of police officers who have taken the life of a fellow citizen? No. Did he falsify evidence? No. What did he do? He used naughty words when talking about other people. He used racial and homophobic slurs.
Did he use them when he was speaking to suspects or victims? No.
He used them in private conversations via text message with his friends. Private conversations.
For his private thoughts, and with no evidence that he ever behaved in a racist manner, he is the latest victim of the Internet hate machine and he is being hung out to dry by his former superiors. Let's remember that when a cop kills someone, we usually hear "well, we don't know what really happened."
But this time, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr told reporters Tuesday, "Reading the text messages literally makes me sick to my stomach." He apologized to the public, adding that there is "no tolerance for officers who hold such reprehensible views."
No tolerance. Suhr is putting his foot down. Suhr isn't waiting for context. Suhr isn't interested in the whole story.
Meanwhile, in the separate instances when San Francisco police shot and killed Alex Nieto, Mario Woods, or when the police fired six rounds into Amilcar Perez Lopez, Suhr defended them and tried to tell us we didn't know the whole story and we didn't know the context.
Randazza rightfully puts this into perspective:
We have less and less regard for personal privacy, and thus I would like to make sure that every one of you out there who might be cheering this "exposure" of Lai for having bad thoughts had better be prepared to have your search history, your text messages, your emails, your most intimate private thoughts broadcast to the public so it can decide how it would like to judge you.
If you are not ready for that, then I would ask if you are really so pure of heart and mind. Are you so good at hiding your embarrassing or unorthodox thoughts? Are you so clean that your private thoughts can be put on the Internet for everyone to see?
...If a cop can put six bullets into an unarmed kid and find himself protected behind the "thin blue line," but he can't make a private comment to his personal friends, then we really have entered a bizarre world of political correctness and form triumphing over substance.
I write about privacy in "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck" (and also quote Randazza a number of times -- but about traffic stops and airplane seats). Here's some of what I write:
Technology's impact on privacy isn't a new issue. "Numerous mechanical devices threaten to make good the prediction that 'what is whispered in the closet shall be proclaimed from the housetops,' " wrote Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis in the Harvard Law Review in the 90s--the 1890s. They were worried about the advent of affordable portable cameras and dismayed at the way newspapers had begun covering people's private lives.
Brandeis and Warren explained that a person has a right--a natural human right--to determine to what extent their thoughts, opinions, and emotions and the details of their "private life, habits, acts, and relations" will be communicated to others. They noted that this right to privacy comes out of our right to be left alone and that it applies whether an individual's personal information is "expressed in writing, or in conduct, in conversation, in attitudes, or in facial expression."
This has not changed because of what's now technically possible: how it takes just a few clicks to Facebook or Instagram an embar- rassing photo of a person or blog their medical history, sexual orientation, sex practices, financial failings, lunch conversation, or daily doings. No matter how fun and easy the technology makes immediately publishing everything about everyone and no matter how common it's become to violate everyone's right to privacy, each person's private life remains their own and not a free commodity to be turned into content by the rest of us.
Boobstarter: Crowdfunding For Breast Implants
"Markets in Everything," as economist @Mark_J_Perry tweeted.
Stacey Leigh Gonzalez writes at LatinosHealth that there's now a crowdfunding site for women, My Free Implants:
By encouraging random people to "Invest in Breasts,"' the crowdfunding site is drawing flak from a number of media sources and groups.
Since 2005, My Free Implants offers women a place to get funding for breast surgeries. In exchange for donations, contributors (often men) can receive tokens such as messages, photos or videos from the female beneficiaries.
Australian news site News.com.au says the website now has 5000 active donors with over 3500 listed projects. With 1,200 success stories, the founders maintain that the website has helped raise $13 million dollars for breast enlargement surgeries.
However, not everyone is pleased with the company's success. She Knows labels My Free Implants as sexist and degrading towards women.
Independent sees the website as exploitative towards the female gender, encouraging men to browse through the blogs and women's profiles like shopping in a mall.
Medical institutions from the U.S., U.K. and Australia have expressed their concern. President Hugh Bartholomeusz of the Australian Society Plastic Surgeons says the website propagates a "dangerous misconception" of cosmetic surgery.
What, that it's only affordable for rich women?
"Cosmetic surgery is serious, invasive surgery," Bartholomeusz said on the Australian publication. "This is not something that should be treated in the same way as the purchase of a new outfit or hairstyle."
That is, unless you have lots of money, in which case, step right up, washboards!
More from Slate's Mark Joseph Stern:
The women of MFI never get direct access to any money that is raised; rather, it goes to an escrow known, inevitably, as the Boob Bank. When a woman reaches her goal, usually around $5,500, the money is paid directly to an MFI-affiliated plastic surgeon who performs her surgery. If all goes well, her before-and-after pictures, along with a Q&A, enter the hallowed MFI Hall of Fame.
MFI's founders claim that about 1,100 women have received implants through the website, and a quick glance through its hall of fame seems to confirm that. But $5,500 is a lot of money, and each private message from a donor brings an "MFI girl" only $1.
"Some women go on and are like, I'll show you a video of me masturbating for $200," said the college student. "And that's actually really annoying. But I'm a dude. If girls want to send me a naked picture, I'm not going to say no."
Women are free to request any amount of money for any kind of image or video, and donors are often happy to oblige. The most ambitious women participate in the aforementioned donor-generated contents. When my friend signed up, one open contest promised $100 to the woman who could prove she had "the best ass on MFI." One offered $50 for the most delicious-looking picture of a hamburger (that's not some arcane slang term--really, just a hamburger). And one offered $2 for a photograph of a vagina.
Okay, not a very good deal. But...consenting adults.
And I've written about the risks -- and here's more from the Slate piece:
These disclaimers aside, the website's breezy tone masks a disturbing truth: Breast augmentation is one of the riskiest things a woman can do to her body. A sizable portion of breast augmentation patients experience chronic breast pain, nerve damage, and infection. Almost all implants leak at some point, many within about a decade of surgery. A broken saline implant can leak bacteria or mold into the body; a broken silicone implant can leak liquid silicone that is taken up by the patient's liver and lymph nodes. Compounding the danger, many women don't notice a break for months or even years.
Even though donors pay for the initial surgery, breast implants can raise a woman's health care costs for the rest of her life. According to FDA guidelines, women with silicone implants should receive a breast MRI three years after the initial surgery and every two years thereafter, to ensure they're free of leaks or other complications. These MRIs, which are rarely covered by insurance, can cost between $2,000 and $5,000, surely an impossible sum for a woman unable to afford the implants herself. Mammograms are a basic preventive health measure once women reach middle age, but implants render them less accurate at detecting tumors. Mammograms can rupture implants, dissuading many women with breast augmentation from seeking the tests.
My Free Implants pitches its services as a kind of charity to help women gain confidence and allow good-hearted men to have a little fun. But it has a darker side. Breast implants are high-cost, high-maintenance, and high-risk.
This is only a problem when government forces us to pay for everyone's healthcare.
Also, you can get an MRI for less if you negotiate and do it out of the insurance system -- then again, who's reading the thing.
But about those MRIS for asymptomatic women, Andrew Kaunitz, MD, writes at Medscape:
According to plastic surgeons at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY, the evidence to support such screening is lacking. These authors of a 2008 report go on to state that the evidence is not conclusive that MRI surveillance leads to a reduction in patient morbidity, or that the benefits of screening outweigh risks, which include unnecessary patient anxiety, false-positive results, and even unneeded surgery.
As the FDA report points out, silicone implants do not cause connective tissue disease, reproductive problems, or breast cancer. Accordingly, many plastic surgeons recommend MRI only when women with silicone implants present with a specific problem or concern.
The FDA's June 2011 report appropriately points out that 20%-40% of patients have reoperations to modify, remove, or replace their implants within 8-10 years of their initial surgery. Often, insurance does not cover these subsequent surgeries. Clearly, this is information that women need to understand prior to making decisions to proceed with implants.
I do think getting implants (or any unnecessary surgery) is a really bad idea, per the risks. I also think that many people don't understand or aren't helped to understand the risks.
But, still, I have to wonder -- how much of the protesting here is about the notion that women shouldn't be able to change themselves physically or, especially, to get themselves bigger boobs?
Johnnie Walker Redhead.
Crimes Against Sense And Being A Grownup About Things That Disturb Us
It is not a "hate crime" to burn 1. An American flag, 2. A rainbow flag, 3. A flag with my face on it.
It is speech.
This is a story from Canada, but the fact that they do not have the First Amendment, and the fact that they consider this a "hate crime" doesn't make it one.
Brett T. posts on Twitchy:
This February, students at the University of British Columbia raised the familiar rainbow-colored pride flag over campus as part of the school's week-long "celebration of gender and sexual diversity." Just days later, the flag was burned in what many called a hate crime.
Police soon announced they had identified a suspect, and on Tuesday, UBC student Brooklyn Marie Fink, 31, appeared in court for the first time. CBC News offered this update on the suspect:
Brooklyn Marie Fink, 31, who describes herself as transsexual, talked about the flag burning after her first court appearance in Richmond on Tuesday.
"As a media artist, I intended in burning the flag only to illustrate my displeasure at the university's failure to come to an agreement on the fact of the flag's offensiveness."
...Fink told CBC she does not feel included in the LGBT label -- an abbreviation used to cover a range of non-gender-conforming identities, which often stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
Fink draws a distinction between identities based on what gender someone is attracted to -- versus what gender someone identifies as.
Okay, at 5 a.m.-ish, as I'm posting this, it's a little early for me to parse what the issue is, but perhaps at 6 a.m., after I've had some coffee, I'll understand it better.
Okay, there's more:
"The university's flag ... is the flag of inclusion of the whole university. And when you take it down and you put up an exclusive flag that only represents [a small proportion] of the population, then you are sharing your hegemony over the university," she said.
Fink said the rising awareness about transgender people has made life more difficult for her, something she finds "really emotional, really stressful" to talk about.
"Ten, 12 years ago I was just a tall woman and nobody thought anything of it," she said.
"But because these gender nonconformers are being so loud and proud ... now everybody looks and they can see oh, that tall woman with a deep voice, maybe she's a dude."
The thing is, though I still don't quite get the reason for flag burning, I defend Fink's right to do it. We all should.
Definition of a hate crime from the US:
A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, the FBI has defined a hate crime as a "criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity." Hate itself is not a crime--and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.
About that last part, that's the law here, yes, but hurt feelz are increasingly reported on campuses as "hate crimes" and may be seen as harassment. For example, about the pro-Trump chalkings:
The Student Centers Policy and Procedure Manual, last updated in February, gives DePaul wide latitude in how to interpret chalked messages.
Page 33 says chalking is allowed outside of the Student Center, but messages "may not contain profanity or may not abuse, assail, intimidate, demean, victimize, or have the effect of creating a hostile environment for any person based or group of people [sic] on any of the protected characteristics in the University's Anti-Discriminatory Harassment Policy."
I'm "biased" against KKK members and neo-nazis. If I burn their flag, am I guilty of something other than speech about what I -- yes -- hate, which is hate of other people based on their race or religion?
Hillary Clinton Pledges To Form Her Presidential Cabinet Around The Raggedy Ann And Andy Model
Dollwise, being a redhead is a bit like being a black girl -- or how it used to be -- which is to say that, when I was growing up, there were only two options for the wee ginger, Raggedy Ann and Raggedly Andy.
And yes, it's nice on some level to have a doll that has something in common with you -- like how Raggedy Ann had red twisted yarn for hair, just like mine.
However, we grow up -- or we should -- and then we change our standards. Like if we're running for the highest office in the land.
No, though, that does not include our Hillary.
Ashe Schow writes in the WashEx that she would try to make her hypothetical administration "look like America."
Clinton was asked by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow whether the former secretary of state would follow in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's footsteps and pledge to make her Cabinet 50 percent women.
...But anyway, Clinton responded by saying: "Well, I am going to have a Cabinet that looks like America, and 50 percent of America is women, right?"
What she's announcing is, basically, no, I don't want the best person for the job; I want to play matchy-matchy!
Well...not entirely matchy-matchy.
I highly doubt that she plans equal representation for the 41 percent of Americans identify as Republican or Republican-leaning. Thirteen percent of Americans are black. Will Clinton make sure 13 percent of her Cabinet is black?
One percent of Americans are American Indian or Alaska Native. Will Clinton make sure one percent of her Cabinet is American Indian or Native Alaskan? Is that even possible?
...Eight percent of Americans under 65 have a disability. Will Clinton make sure 8 percent of her Cabinet is disabled?
Twenty percent of Americans are Catholic. Will Clinton make sure 20 percent of her Cabinet is Catholic?
...I'm not sure where she's going to find a disabled transgender Native-American Buddhist, though.
Women are not acting like men's equals until they stop with the choices made from the woundy place and simply look for the best person for the job.
You were expecting a donkey?
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The Government Has No Business Policing Taste Via The Patent/Trademark Office
Ana Sofia Walsh posts at MimesisLaw about two cases. One of these is the DOJ's request for the Supremes to review a federal appeals court's judgment that the US Patent and Trademark Office violated the free speech rights of the Oregon-based band, "The Slants."
The law in question is Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act which states that a trademark shall not be granted if it:"Consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute [...]"
What fucking business is it of some bureaucrat to decide what is and isn't "immoral" or "scandalous," just for example -- and to tell people they can't have a certain name?
Taste is a subjective thing. I think it's in bad taste to show your hairy toe knuckles in flip-flops while I'm dining. You may think it's in bad taste for me to have "fuck" on a manners book cover. (Well, fuck you, and I mean that in the politest of ways.)
Also, as The Slants contend, and as the Supremes (not the ones with Gladys Knight) noted as the Supremes noted in Cohen v. California, 1971 -- the "Fuck the Draft" case -- sometimes offensive speech is just the right speech to get the message across.
As Walsh writes:
The Slants - an all Asian-American male band - maintain that they chose the name to challenge stereotypes and reclaim the derogatory term. The issue in the case is whether the denial of a trademark based on the subjective considerations of a Trademark Examiner that a mark is immoral/deceptive/disparaging etc is contrary to the free speech provisions in the First Amendment. Basically, should TM Examiners be able to make arbitrary decisions as to whether a trademark is offensive or not.
Here's where the Redskins come in - their trademark was revoked in 2015 after over 50 years of registration when a federal court ruled that their name was disparaging to Native Americans. Pro-Football Inc noted in its petition to the SCOTUS that their decades-long registration has only recently become disparaging, claiming that in at the time of registration in the 60s, "Redskins" was not necessarily considered offensive; thereby showcasing the arbitrary and potentially free speech-encumbering decisions that the USPTO undertakes. Moreover, they state that the denial of trademark after over 50 years violates their due process.
The USPTO's lawyers assert that denials of trademarks on this basis do not curb free speech as the term can still be used to promote and advertize products/services. The crucial difference is that without trademark protection, it is not possible to prevent others from using the term for commercial or other purposes.
See how government power is abused? Now it's to stop commerce -- but just that of people who use names the bureaucrats and others do not approve of.
So, These "Triggered" Students Never Watch TV? The Ruin Of A Piece Of Art At Pitzer College
One way to get attention is to earn it -- do something worthy of attention.
But that takes work.
The other way to get attention is to mewl about being "triggered" -- psychologically debilitated by some word or picture.
In previous decades, somebody would have said, "Oh, grow the fuck up," or something like that to somebody who said something like this.
Now, people all bend over backwards to accommodate these "victims" -- and really, those doing the mewling are anything but victims. In fact, through claiming to be victimized, they have power they would otherwise have to work to earn.
Take a recent situation at Claremont's Pitzer college.
Selena Spier (PZ '19), painted a mural there. It's a handgun with flowers coming out of the end, and it was approved by the "Pitzer College aesthetics committee." (Who knew there was such a thing?)
*larger photo below
Well, Steven Glick reports at at the Claremont Independent that "Early Monday morning, Gregory Ochiagha (PZ '18), a Student Senator at Pitzer College, sent out an email to the student body" criticizing the mural:
"It's truly in bad taste to have a large depiction of a gun in a dorm space--especially when students of color also reside there," states Ochiagha. "Now let's imagine there were countless videos of white teenagers, white teenagers that look like you, or your brother or your sister, get shot to death by police officers. Imagine scrolling down Facebook everyday and seeing a new video of the same thing, over and over again. Really put yourself in that headspace. Then ask yourself whether it's the brightest idea to have white teenagers, who have a very real fear of getting shot, see a large gun every time they want to get food from the dinning [sic] hall."
...Ochiagha continues, "My Black Mental and Emotional Health Matters. I shouldn't be reminded every time I leave my dorm room of how easy my life can be taken away, or how many Black lives have been taken away because of police brutality. This is emotionally triggering for very obvious reasons. And if you want to belittle or invalidate by [sic] black experience, I live in Atherton, come thru, let's have that idiotic conversation."
...Jessica Folsom (PZ '19) responded by providing additional background on the mural. "Just to preface this, I am not trying to dismiss how you feel or belittle your experience as a student of color," she states. "This mural is actually representative of a nonviolence movement to protest the Vietnam War in the 60s. There's a famous photo of a protester putting flowers in the barrel of a National Guardsman's rifle and everything." Folsom continues, "I thought it might be an important distinction to make between what the mural actually represents and perhaps the romanticized aesthetic of a gun which someone (maybe you?) could potentially mistake this for. I hope this helps."
Sadly -- sadly for free speech and the increasing chills on it that come when they are shown to work -- Spier said she "plans to modify" her mural -- and has (photo below). Glick continues, quoting Spier:
"I spoke with Gregory earlier and we agreed on a modification that preserves the integrity of the original piece while avoiding any potentially triggering content--it's a change I was absolutely happy to make in the interest of creating a safe and inclusive environment for everyone in my community," Spier told the Claremont Independent. "I have absolutely no right to decide whether or not my artwork is offensive to marginalized communities--nor does anyone else in a position of privilege, racial or otherwise."
Like this Ochiagha guy never turns on TV -- even just "Law & Order" -- and never goes to the movies, or reads the newspaper, so as to avoid this supposedly debilitating experience of seeing a gun.
This is just such bullshit. As I keep noting, proclaiming yourself a victim over what would, at any other time, be seen as a triviality or just a normal part of life to deal with, is a way to have unearned power over others.
I have met people and known people who are Holocaust survivors -- who had babies ripped away from them and watched their entire families be marched into the gas chambers or be shot into mass graves. Knowing this and reading about this (and being kicked around by anti-Semites myself as a kid) doesn't make me feel fragile; it makes me realize I need to fight back.
And guess what: Art is sometimes about disturbing people. Well, that is when you aren't creating art for toddlers. Which, on campus, I suppose is what's being done.
Well, what disturbs me now -- deeply -- is what's been done to this art piece.
Once again, here's the original, in progress:
And now -- disgustingly denuded -- after newly-minted censor Ochiaga's power play (from a @HannahOh16 tweet):
And last but not least, that Hannah Oh tweet says it so perfectly:
This painting about peace triggered SJWs, who now decide what art is allowed. Kind of like Hitler & Mao but whiny.
Link tink. (Audrey Hepburn is nowhere to be seen, sorry.)
The Selective Feminism Of Tina Fey
On DeathAndTaxes, Jamie Peck notes that Fey complained all over the media that Colin Quinn had called her a "cunt" when she was head writer on SNL, but then rips into inappropriately sexual women. As Peck puts it:
Women who code as falling on the lower rungs of America's class society. Women who dare to use their sexuality to get by (or ahead) in a game that's doubly rigged against them.
Peck quotes Fey's rip on SNL's Weekend Update "into Michelle "Bombshell" McGee for "stealing" Sandra Bullock's husband Jesse James. (Jesse James himself was not mentioned.)" (Bracketed bits are by Peck):
There is no Oscar curse. The curse is that there are women like Bombshell McGee walking around.
I know we shouldn't judge people on their appearance but when your body looks like a dirtbag's binder from 7th grade metal shop, it doesn't bode well for your character.
You know there's a term for women like Bombshell McGee, they're called Bombshell McGees. Seth, the world has always been full of whores. For every Sandra Bullock, there's the woman who got a tattoo on her forehead because she ran out of room on her labia. [Tattooed people are gross!]
For every Elin Nordegren, there's a Hooters waitress who spells "Jamie" with two e's and a star. [I'm sure she's working at Hooters because she loves it.]
You could be the woman who cures cancer and you'd still be up against some skank rocking giant, veiny fake boobs where the nipples point in different directions like the headlights on an old Buick. [She could at least have had the decency to be able to afford a better boob job.]
But wives, you are not the losers in these situations. You are the winners, because this has to be the loser.
Things are hard enough for women as it is...
It's not my goal to police the feminism of random celebrities. But when you publicly brand yourself as a feminist and reap huge rewards from that brand, you open yourself up to criticism and debate. Being a feminist is not just about standing up for people like you. It's about standing up for all women who are being oppressed for bullshit reasons, which include interlocking factors of race, class, gender identity, sexuality, et cetera. I find it disappointing (if unsurprising) that not a single interviewer has held Fey's feet to the fire about this essential hypocrisy as she promotes her latest movie to the masses. Consider this my attempt at doing just that.
Obama's Legacy: The Ginormous And Growing Failure That Is Obamacare
As I've written before, I still have the healthcare -- formerly pretty good and affordable. Now, thanks to "Affordable" Care -- jacking up the monthly price and socking me with a big deductible -- I just can't afford to use it.
Well, things are going to be getting worse. Major insurer UnitedHealth just announced that, in the wake of losses over $1 billion for 2015 and 2016, they're pulling out of most of the Obamacare exchanges. Other big insurers are as well.
Marc A. Thiessen writes at the WaPo:
The president promised these insurers taxpayer bailouts if they lost money, but Congress in its wisdom passed legislation barring the use of taxpayer dollars to prop up the insurers. Without the bailouts, commercial insurers are being forced to eat their losses -- while more than half of the Obamacare nonprofit insurance cooperatives created under the law failed.
So what happens now? Because commercial insurers are not going to keep bleeding cash to prop up Obamacare, they have three choices: 1) scale back coverage, 2) raise prices or 3) get out of the exchanges entirely. More and more are going to choose option 3.
Does this mean that Obamacare is finally entering its "death spiral"? Not exactly. As my American Enterprise Institute colleague Scott Gottlieb explains, while commercial insurers are starting to leave Obamacare, they are being replaced by Medicaid health maintenance organizations (HMOs) offering skimpy plans that mirror what they offer in Medicaid -- our nation's emergency health insurance program for the poorest of the poor.
This is a catastrophe for people stuck in Obamacare. According to a 2014 McKinsey survey, about three-quarters of those in the exchanges were previously insured on commercial plans, either through their employers or the individual market. They were doing fine without taxpayer-subsidized insurance but were pushed into Obamacare. They now face rising premiums and smaller provider networks -- and as commercial insurers flee, they will increasingly be stuck in horrible, Medicaid-style plans.
This is not what the president promised when he sold Obamacare to the American people.
...The president promised "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." But commercial insurers who stay in Obamacare are responding to massive losses by narrowing provider networks, with fewer doctors and hospitals to choose from. And those that quit are being replaced by Medicaid HMOs with even less doctor choice.
We're going to end up with a health care system modeled on the VA -- you know, that system that has such contempt for the vets who served our country that it often doesn't get around to actually treating them.