Sorry, Gwyneth, But That Particular "Carpet" Doesn't Need Steam-Cleaning
Ann Robinson writes in The Guardian of a recommendation Gwyneth Paltrow made on her goop.com website:
...A recommendation that women steam-clean their vaginas for extra energy, to rebalance female hormones and for a squeaky clean uterus:
The real golden ticket here is the Mugwort V-Steam. You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al."
...To give steamed vagina the seriousness it doesn't deserve, let's see if there's any science behind the extravagant claims. Mugwort, for instance, is an aromatic herb used in Chinese traditional medicine and as a food flavouring. In South Korea it's used in rice cakes and soup. And in LA it's used to steam vaginas.
Not in my part of Los Angeles.
Robinson explains why this is squirrel poop. An excerpt:
The water vapour in steam isn't a good idea either. The vagina is kept naturally well lubricated with oily substances. Water isn't hydrating to cells. On the contrary, water can wash away natural oils, leaving the vagina poorly lubricated and more prone to cuts and irritation. Thrush, caused by an overgrowth of candida, thrives on warm, damp conditions, so is a definite risk from steaming.
All of our orifices, including ears, nose, anus and vagina, are essentially self- cleaning. The pH of the vagina, natural mix of bacteria that live in it, mucus plug that sits at the top of the vagina and lining of the womb all work harmoniously and effectively together to ensure that bugs from the outside world generally don't invade upwards from the vagina to the fallopian tubes. Infection can happen from sexually transmitted infections, contraceptive coils or other surgical procedures. But mostly it's a very well-run system.
The claim that the steam clean could balance hormones is irrational. Hormones are produced by organs such as the brain and ovaries, travel in the bloodstream and have specific effects on their target organs. Steaming the vagina cannot possibly impact on hormone levels. I urge you to put the kettle away, throw the mugwort in some soup and consciously uncouple from this website.
When It Comes To Free Speech And Tolerance, Progressivism, Increasingly, Is A Pretty Name For Totalitarianism
Tolerance means tolerating other people's views. Letting them be heard -- and maybe listening because you might learn something or just improve your arguments by hearing holes in somebody else's.
Fredrik deBoer writes at QZ.com:
I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 19-year-old white woman--smart, well-meaning, passionate--literally run crying from a classroom because she was so ruthlessly brow-beaten for using the word "disabled." Not repeatedly. Not with malice. Not because of privilege. She used the word once and was excoriated for it. She never came back. I watched that happen.
I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 20-year-old black man, a track athlete who tried to fit organizing meetings around classes and his ridiculous practice schedule (for which he received a scholarship worth a quarter of tuition), be told not to return to those meetings because he said he thought there were such a thing as innate gender differences. He wasn't a homophobe, or transphobic, or a misogynist. It turns out that 20-year-olds from rural South Carolina aren't born with an innate understanding of the intersectionality playbook. But those were the terms deployed against him, those and worse. So that was it; he was gone.
I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 33-year-old Hispanic man, an Iraq war veteran who had served three tours and had become an outspoken critic of our presence there, be lectured about patriarchy by an affluent 22-year-old white liberal arts college student, because he had said that other vets have to "man up" and speak out about the war. Because apparently we have to pretend that we don't know how metaphorical language works or else we're bad people. I watched his eyes glaze over as this woman with $300 shoes berated him. I saw that. Myself.
These things aren't hypothetical. This isn't some thought experiment. This is where I live, where I have lived. These and many, many more depressing stories of good people pushed out and marginalized in left-wing circles because they didn't use the proper set of social and class signals to satisfy the world of intersectional politics.
I mentioned in a blog post that we recently went to hear UC Riverside law dean Erwin Chemerinsky speak, and a guy we know sneered about what a lefty he is (as if this made him unworthy of hearing). I don't agree with all of his positions -- I'm a libertarian and a fiscal conservative. But the man has argued before the Supreme Court and we have a meeting of the minds in how we both care deeply about civil liberties and the sort of society Martin Luther King called for, where people are judged by "the content of their character" instead of by skin color.
That's right -- even people you disagree with can have things of value to say.
And if you disagree with them, the way to maybe bring them over to your side isn't to throw them out for "crimes" against your version of what is permissible to say. It's to keep them there and have a dialogue.
This is what I often do when strangers are rude to me by email. I try to "turn" them by not responding in kind. Instead, as I write in "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck,", I ask whether they think "Fuck you, bitch" will help me understand why they're right and I'm wrong and whether they'd haul off and talk that way to a woman standing in front of them in the grocery store.
It usually takes a couple of emails before they apologize for what jerks they were.
Je Suis Charlotte? Um, Non
France is for free speech until...well, it isn't -- just a few weeks after all the marching in the wake of the slaughter for Allah at Charlie Hebdo.
"Blasphemous" artwork -- showing women's shoes on Muslim prayer mats -- was removed from a Paris exhibition after warnings of possible violence.
The answer, of course, is the long view. Not to squelch free speech, punishing the speaker because people may get violent but to do everything possible to stop the violent people from doing bodily harm and laying waste to the values of a free society.
The story by David Chazan in the Telegraph/UK:
The French-Algerian artist, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, withdrew the work from an exhibition in a northern Paris suburb with a large Muslim population after an Islamic group told local authorities it could provoke "uncontrollable, irresponsible incidents".
More from ArtNet, by Coline Milliard, with a photo of the art at the link:
Bouabdellah, who was born in Moscow and grew up in Algeria, was due to exhibit her installation Silence (2008) at a recently-opened show "Femina ou la Réappropriation des modèles" at the Pavillon Vendôme in Clichy, a suburb north of Paris.
But the day before the opening on January 24, she was told by one of the show's co-curators, Christine Ollier, that the town hall had been in touch saying that a group "representing Muslims in Clichy had alerted the authorities to the possibility of a violent reaction provoked by the presence of the piece in the show."
According to Bouabdellah, who spoke to artnet News from her home in Morocco, the Clichy officials showed no support for the exhibition.
The artist explained that her piece was inspired by a group of Muslim feminists she had come across in Morocco, that it is an homage to strong women in the Arab world─and in no way blasphemous.
"[But] since we were not supported by the mayor, the guarantor of the French Republic's principles, I didn't want to take the responsibility, so we decide to remove the work," Bouabdellah said.
"Yes, it was self-censorship, I completely accept that," she continued. "It was a real moral dilemma for me, and I thought, 'I'm giving in,' but on the other hand, I didn't want the other pieces to be at risk or the show to close down."
Celebrated French performance artist Orlan took to Facebook to condemn the pressure to which Bouabdellah was subjected. "This act of self-censorship hides a more serious censorship," she wrote in an open letter published on the social media platform on Sunday.
"While I understand the reasoning [that led the artist and curators to remove the piece], I cannot support it as it opens the doors to all kinds of insidious restrictions of our freedom of speech, risking that we progressively move, consciously or unconsciously, from self-censorship to self-silencing, and from self-silencing to an inhibition provoked by fear," the letter continues.
Or They Could Just Avoid Getting So Trashed That They Pass Out Or Lose All Control Of Themselves
Susan Svrluga writes at the WaPo about how backward we've gone, with UVA sorority sisters ordered by their national chapters to avoid frat events this weekend.
Sorority sisters at the University of Virginia were ordered by their national chapters to avoid fraternity events this weekend -- a mandate that many of the women said was irrational, sexist and contrary to the school's culture.
It's not about one night of parties, several students said, but about their ability to make their own choices.
And they're not taking that lightly.
The rule came after a traumatic fall semester in Charlottesville, including the violent death of a student and now-discredited allegations of a gang rape at a U-Va. fraternity.
Women aren't men's equals if they need to be shielded like this instead of told to act like adults -- to not get so plastered they lose consciousness or come close.
No, nobody should be raped because of this, and sure, there are date rapes that have nothing to do with intoxication, but a person jeopardizes their safety (and not just in terms of sexual assault but mugging or worse) by allowing themselves to become so drunk they're no longer in control of who does what to them.
More from the piece:
A petition, started online on Monday, had almost 2,000 signatures by midday Tuesday. It reads, in part:
"Instead of addressing rape and sexual assault at UVa, this mandate perpetuates the idea that women are inferior, sexual objects. It is degrading to Greek women, as it appears that the [National Panhellenic Conference] views us as defenseless and UVa's new fraternal policies as invalid. Allowing the NPC to prevent us from celebrating (what used to be) a tight-knit community, sends the message that we are weak."
Besides the ugly underlying message that women are weak and unable to care for themselves, the other ugly message is that men are out-of-control animals.
RELATED: On the supposed "rape culture" -- which does exist...in ISIS territory, but not on college campuses.
via I R A Darth Aggie
What's Yours Is The Government's!
Glenn Reynolds writes at USA Today:
Obama proposes to tax the appreciation on inherited homes. When you sell property at a profit, you pay capital gains on the difference between the basis (what you paid) and what you sell it for. (Obama also proposes to increase the capital gains rate). That's not a big issue for most middle class people, because right now if your parents leave you their house, you get what's called a "step-up" in basis.
That means that the basis isn't what your parents paid for the house decades ago, but rather what it was worth when you inherited it. Thus, the appreciation your property experienced while your parents owned it comes to you tax-free. For many families, that appreciation is their biggest inheritance. Now, subject to some exemptions Obama plans to tax those gains, and other gains via inheritance.
Why would the White House even consider such a thing? As McArdle observes: "The very fact that we are discussing taxation of educational savings -- redistributing educational subsidies downward -- indicates that the administration has started scraping the bottom of the barrel when seeking out money to fund new programs. Why target a tax benefit that goes to a lot of your supporters (and donors), that tickles one of the sweetest spots in American politics (subsidizing higher education), and that will hit a lot of people who make less than the $250,000 a year that has become the administration's de facto definition of 'rich'? Presumably, because you're running out of other places to get the money."
When a government is desperate for cash, it goes after the middle class, because that's where the money is. Yes, the rich are rich, but the middle class is far more numerous. And this has raised other fears. As McArdle also notes, if 529 plans aren't sacrosanct, what about Roth IRAs? People have worried for a while that the government might go after retirement accounts as another source of income -- to the point that there have even been calls for Congress to make such grabs explicitly off limits.
...The truth is, in our redistributionist system politicians make their careers mostly by taking money from one group of citizens that won't vote for them and giving it to another that will. If they run short of money from traditional sources, they'll look for new revenue wherever they can find it. And if that's the homes and savings of the middle class, then that's what they'll target.
Beyond the money, what this inheritance tax would mean for some is that they'd lose the home their parents willed to them -- a home they are perhaps living in.
The Holocaust: How Could All These People Sit By While It Was Happening?
When I was in my late teens, my dad showed me a newspaper headline in a paper he'd saved about Jews being slaughtered in Europe.
I asked why nobody did anything and he didn't really have an answer.
I saw a tweet that reminded me of this:
Here's the link to the piece on it in today's Telegraph, by Roy Greenslade.
The newspaper reported that mobile gas chambers were being used for industrialised murder and that "an average 1,000 Jews were gassed daily".
The article, reproduced on the Telegraph's website, also lists the death toll from massacres in seven towns and cities. Here are two paragraphs:"Children in orphanages, pensioners in almshouses and the sick in hospitals have been shot. In many places Jews were deported to 'unknown destinations' and killed in neighbouring woods.
In Vilna 50,000 Jews were murdered in November. The total number slaughtered in this district and around Lithuanian Kovno is 300,000".
Yet the article, which referred to "the greatest massacre in the world's history", was published on the fifth page of a six-page issue. And it got no traction elsewhere.
Hundreds of thousands of people slaughtered and no traction.
Was it because they were Jews? Some other reason?
I heard a woman on CNN -- a woman who was sent to Auschwitz at age 10, and was experimented on by Mengele -- and teared up at the horror intentionally shoved on a child.
How Can You Be This Dumb And Still Be President?
Tax college funds? Hello?
Peter Suderman at reason sees a bright side in it. As the headline to his piece goes: "How Obama's 529 College Tax Plan Debacle Proves the Welfare State is Doomed":
To understand just how bad the politics of Obama's now-withdrawn plan to tax 529 college savings were, think about it this way: Obama, under heavy pressure from both Democrats and Republicans, made a public show of pulling a proposal that already had no chance of passing.
Even as an inert fantasy proposal, it was so widely disliked that the White House had to back down.
It's a minor but revealing political fiasco--one that shows how distant the White House is even from the interests of its own party while offering a preview of economic policy debates and welfare-state fiscal challenges for decades to come.
The political optics of the plan were flat-out terrible for Obama, who put forth the proposal in the context of a State of the Union address built around the theme of Middle Class Economics. The gist was that Obama proposed taxing the wealthy in order to pay for new middle class benefits, like free community college tuition.
But, somewhat awkwardly, given the president's chosen theme, 529 plans are tax-advantaged savings vehicles that currently benefit an awful lot of middle class people. In particular, they benefit middle and upper-middle class families in high-tax blue states.
So it is not exactly surprising to find that, in addition to the entirely predictable GOP pushback against the proposal, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, lead a seperate Democratic push for the White House to drop the plan. This is an administration that is now so isolated and out of touch that it does not grasp the obvious interests of its own party.
The plan was also tremendously awkward for Obama himself. As the folks at Americans for Tax Reform have noted, Obama was not only a public booster of 529s, someone who as a Senator voted to make them permanent and praised them as tools to help families with college expenses in his book, he was also someone who had relied on a 529 himself, contributing $240,000 to a 529 college fund for his own children back in 2007. Obama took advantage of the plan's tax benefits--then proposed closing the door behind him.
Fear Funded That!
That's the advice of former FBI assistant director Thomas Fuentes, via PrivacySOS:
If you're submitting budget proposals for a law enforcement agency, for an intelligence agency, you're not going to submit the proposal that 'We won the war on terror and everything's great,' cuz the first thing that's gonna happen is your budget's gonna be cut in half. You know, it's my opposite of Jesse Jackson's 'Keep Hope Alive'--it's 'Keep Fear Alive.' Keep it alive.
Yanking Of Due Process Leads To Sue Process In Campus Sexual Assault Cases
Not surprisingly, some of the men on campus who were denied their due process rights when accused of sexual assault are not going quietly.
The Obama administration forced schools to set up kangaroo courts on campus, leading to the expulsion of some students under "standards" of evidence that would never fly in an actual court.
Ashe Schow writes at Wash Ex that, predictably, some of these students are now suing, which means that colleges are paying for the results of the sick the edict forced on them by the Obama administration:
A Voice for Male Students has compiled a list of 57 lawsuits against universities for such acts. By comparison, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is investigating nearly 100 complaints filed by students claiming they were sexually assaulted and their allegations mishandled.
Two weeks ago, Saint Joseph's University settled a lawsuit filed by a student claiming he was expelled due without adequate due process. That settlement, too, was confidential.
In November 2014, Swarthmore College settled with a student who had his case re-opened after the Department of Education began investigating two non-related cases at the university. In the original investigation, no charges were brought against the student. But months later, when the case was re-opened, a fast-tracked hearing found him guilty of sexual misconduct.
In addition to these recent cases, 14 other students (from the list of 57) have settled with their universities following lawsuits and another seven had their school rulings overturned or received favorable rulings on certain counts of their lawsuits.
In eight cases, courts ruled against the students.
So government lays down edicts and men end up paying with their futures -- stripped of the rights they'd have in the justice system -- and then colleges get socked with lawsuits and pay in dollars to the students who have been ruined by a system they were forced into by the government.
More and more, this country is operating on the principle you see in communist countries of "anyway you slice it, you're fucked."
The "Perceptive Disability" In How The Left Sees Criticism Of Islam
Counter-jihad is about human rights, and "to truly be a liberal, you have to be for counter-jihad." Eric Allen Bell on Islam and human rights.
A guy on TV before I was born.
Hey, Little Girl, Don't You Know That Hairstyles Are Segregated?
White, blonde 12-year-old Mallory Merk liked box braids and posted a selfie of herself in them -- and was promptly blasted as racist, black culture-thieving and all sorts of other stuff.
I think she looks pretty. Looks like she has a wheat field growing out of her head.
From Opposing Views' Dominic Kelly:
"Yes, something as 'trivial' as a hairstyle can be triggering or upsetting," Jamilah Lemieux tweeted. "Let us have it. This goes to everyone, btw. It's feeling like psychological torture, esp against the backdrop of state-sanctioned murder and the #BlackLiveMatters movement. ...our bodies, our music, our fashion, our lips, our hair...everything about us is ripe for the picking by people WHO DO NOT TREAT US WELL. This is not happy cultural mixing where you bring the blonde and I bring the braids, because you hate me and tell me as much all the time."
Still, others defended the young girl's hairstyle.
"Black women saying white women can't get braids while they're running around with blonde hair," a user pointed out.
Guess what: America is a place where the world's cultures come together into probably the most diverse place on the planet. Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas (although most of it is Chinese like Taco Bell is Mexican). Black people go to Passover seders. And a friend in the music business who knows and loves American musical history describes American music as unique -- an amalgam of "the Jews and the Blues." (He talked to me about how Gershwin went down and lived in the South to create "Porgy and Bess.")
You really have to laugh at a woman who talks about a 12-year-old's hairstyle as "feeling like psychological torture."
This is what people do when they live in the freest country on the planet and, in lieu of identity through accomplishment, really need a hobby.
For the record, I love some black women's hairdos -- especially the braids. I wouldn't get them but only because I'd look like crap in them with my big white head showing through.
UPDATE -- RELATED: Via Rap-Up, Azealia Banks slams Iggy Azealea and T.I. for appropriating black culture (and said so as tears!! rolled down her face):
As tears rolled down her face, she explained how white America and capitalism have robbed her of her identity. "At the very fu**in' least, ya'll owe me the right to my fu**in' identity. And to not exploit that shit. That's all we're holding onto, like hip-hop and rap. And Bill Cosby, and whatever the f**k it is. Ya'll putting that on TV for the youth to fu**in' see."
She called T.I. a "coon" for promoting Iggy and blasted his wife Tiny. "You out here trying to promote this white bitch. They got your wife on VH1 and that bitch can't fu**in' read. You're a fu**in' shoe shinin' coon. How dare you."
She's never been in the same room as Iggy, who she once called "Igloo Australia," and she has no interest in ever speaking to her. "It's not interesting to me."
But she does like artists including Rae Sremmurd, DeJ Loaf, Big K.R.I.T., Young Father, and Manolo Rose.
Something's Wrong When Multiple Cops Fire Their Guns To Disarm A 17-Year-Old Girl With A Knife
Elizabeth Nolan Brown blogs at reason that 17-year-old Kristiana Coignard, who apparently had some psychiatric problems, showed up at the Longview, Texas police station "brandishing" a knife.
A knife is certainly not nothing. But it is also not a gun. And one can't help but wonder why three cops, in the middle of their own lobby, were unable to subdue a knife-wielding teen girl without the use of lethal force. Coignard was shot multiple times--some sources are saying four times, though I couldn't confirm this--and three police officers have been placed on administrative leave in conjunction with the shooting.
Coignard was killed by the gunfire. Police statement here. Nolan continues:
Coignard had been living with her aunt, Heather Robertson, who told ThinkProgress that the girl struggled with depression and bipolar disorder and had previously attempted suicide several times. "I think it was a cry for help," said Robertson about her niece's actions. "I think (police officers) could have done something. They are grown men. I think there is something they are not telling us."
People claiming to be with the hacker collective Anonymous are rallying around Coignard's case. "We ask you what kind of people you hire as a police officer that can't take a knife from a small 17 year old girl?" they ask. "We ask you why are your officer's carrying tazors if they will only reach for their guns first? ... To the citizens of America it looks as if police are trained to kill and not to serve and protect us."
Tasers? Talking to her while holding a shield -- standard or improvised?
If you can't defuse a situation with a girl holding a knife in a police station lobby without gunning her down, you shouldn't be a cop.
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The Religion Of Myers-Briggs -- The Fad That Just Won't Die
Just got an email from columnist and and supposed business expert crowing about giving four students the Myers-Briggs test -- a test that supposedly measures personality (as in, measures it in a way more accurate than having your tea leaves read). Argh.
Here's Wharton School's @AdamMGrant at HuffPo on what crap it is:
My name is Adam Grant, and I am an INTJ. That's what I learned from a wildly popular personality test, which is taken by more than 2.5 million people a year, and used by 89 of the Fortune 100 companies. It's called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and my score means that I'm more introverted than extraverted, intuiting than sensing, thinking than feeling, and judging than perceiving. As I reflected on the results, I experienced flashes of insight. Although I spend much of my time teaching and speaking on stage, I am more of an introvert -- I've always preferred a good book to a wild party. And I have occasionally kept lists of my to-do lists.
But when I took the test a few months later, I was an ESFP. Suddenly, I had become the life of the party, the guy who follows his heart and throws caution to the wind. Had my personality changed, or is this test not all it's cracked up to be? I began to read through the evidence, and I found that the MBTI is about as useful as a polygraph for detecting lies. One researcher even called it an "act of irresponsible armchair philosophy." When it comes to accuracy, if you put a horoscope on one end and a heart monitor on the other, the MBTI falls about halfway in between.
Now, if you're an MBTI fan, you might say it's typical of an INTJ to turn to science. Touche. But regardless of your type, it's hard to argue with the idea that if we're going to divide people into categories, those categories ought to be meaningful. In social science, we use four standards: are the categories reliable, valid, independent, and comprehensive? For the MBTI, the evidence says not very, no, no, and not really.
1. I'm Not Schizophrenic
A test is reliable if it produces the same results from different sources. If you think your leg is broken, you can be more confident when two different radiologists diagnose a fracture. In personality testing, reliability means getting consistent results over time, or similar scores when rated by multiple people who know me well. As my inconsistent scores foreshadowed, the MBTI does poorly on reliability. Research shows "that as many as three-quarters of test takers achieve a different personality type when tested again," writes Annie Murphy Paul in The Cult of Personality Testing, "and the sixteen distinctive types described by the Myers-Briggs have no scientific basis whatsoever." In a recent article, Roman Krznaric adds that "if you retake the test after only a five-week gap, there's around a 50 percent chance that you will fall into a different personality category."
The rest at the link.
Grant wrote an inspiring book, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, which has a research-based message (pretty much described by his subtitle) that dovetails with the advice I give in "Trickle-Down Humanity," the last chapter in "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck."
Fake Engine Noise: The Socks In The Bra Of The Auto Industry
Drew Harwell writes in the WaPo:
Stomp on the gas in a new Ford Mustang or F-150 and you'll hear a meaty, throaty rumble -- the same style of roar that Americans have associated with auto power and performance for decades.
It's a sham. The engine growl in some of America's best-selling cars and trucks is actually a finely tuned bit of lip-syncing, boosted through special pipes or digitally faked altogether. And it's driving car enthusiasts insane.
Fake engine noise has become one of the auto industry's dirty little secrets, with automakers from BMW to Volkswagen turning to a sound-boosting bag of tricks. Without them, today's more fuel-efficient engines would sound far quieter and, automakers worry, seemingly less powerful, potentially pushing buyers away.
Softer-sounding engines are actually a positive symbol of just how far engines and gas economy have progressed. But automakers say they resort to artifice because they understand a key car-buyer paradox: Drivers want all the force and fuel savings of a newer, better engine -- but the classic sound of an old gas-guzzler.
Later in the piece, Harwell asks a question:
Does it matter if the sound is fake? A driver who didn't know the difference might enjoy the thrum and thunder of it nonetheless. Is taking the best part of an eight-cylinder rev and cloaking a better engine with it really, for carmakers, so wrong?
via Jay J. Hector
Muslim Imperialism: The Problem Of Jihadists And Sharia-Seekers In Europe
Sabia E. Demian writes at Gatestone Institute:
Even presuming that the majority of Muslims in Europe wish to adapt and blend in with the "natives" and live not only side by side, but totally intermingled in all aspects of life, they are hampered by the violent minority. Many immigrants, also, have a hard time moving away from their past. They can feel lost. They have left behind their origins and heritage but are not in tandem with their progeny, even though they were the ones who willingly and deliberately sought this monumental change. Actually, their offspring frequently reject their values as well as them, mostly because they simply don't comprehend them. It is equally true of the "natives." The "generational gap" is not often bridged for the sake of peace and harmony.
The militant minority, though, have a totally different agenda. They are hell-bent on the Islamization of every single person in Europe, which is the same across the globe. They are a power to be reckoned with because they are recruiting other newcomers from all corners of the earth, and the prize they offer is so temptingly salacious to youths with still-confused emotional needs. The guiding and funding sources are mostly away from the scene of the fray. If these sources could be dried up, there would be more hope for a peaceful resolution. The politics of separateness -- whether churning up racial divisions in America or separating Muslims in Europe from their non-Muslim hosts -- is now a big business and will not easily be given up.
One unanswered question is whether Islam is a religion of peace. First, the Arabic word Islam does not mean "peace" but an act of subjugation to God (Allah) and His will. Second, the basis and teaching of Islam is understood universally to consider non-Muslims as infidels. Third, infidels have to be wiped out. There is no gainsaying the word of Allah in the Koran, the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad and the shari'a. Thus, Muslims by birth or conversion, regardless of whether they are ultraconservative, moderates or secularists, are trapped in this vise-grip of enforcing the will of Allah on everyone, non-Muslim or Muslim, if they veer away from the straight and narrow.
What is poignant to me, an Egyptian Coptic Christian who has lived and worked as a physician in Muslim and non-Muslim countries, is the abysmal lack of understanding of Islam by the Western media, leaders and the man-on-the-street. It is mind-boggling to see the degree of ignorance of blatant truths and facts in the way many policies are handled.
Europe is in the middle of a civil war like no other -- for the grand prize of religious dominance by the few over the many. Regardless of the denials of many Europeans and observers from around the world -- who say that the terror acts are not related to Islam, or if in any way Islamic at all, are merely committed by deviants from the "true" origins of Islam -- in reality, the mayhem we see currently is generated by jihadist Islam. This minority is bolstered by others of a similar conviction, but with even more militant ideas and deeper purses.
The rest of the world is at risk of the same fate. There is chapter and verse, other than 9/11, 7/7, the Madrid train bombing and attacks in India, Argentina, Russia, Israel, Canada, Belgium, Australia, Britain and France, among others. As first steps, governments in the West need honestly to study Islam; and an ominous force must confront, contain and cut off the supply of jihadists and their sources of funding.
If European Islamists wish to leave the continent to fight in Syria and Iraq, that should be allowed to exit, but they should not expect to be allowed back.
"Do As I Say..."
Pharrell Williams wants to talk to you about your energy consumption...
The floral of the linky story.
Advice Goddess Radio, Sun, 7-8 pm PT: Dr. Michelle Skeen On How To Stop Letting Your Fears Sabotage Your Relationships
Amy Alkon's Advice Goddess Radio: "Nerd Your Way To A Better Life!" with the best brains in science.
*"Best Of" replay. We'll have another for Superbowl Sunday, then I'll back with live shows.
Tonight's show will help you stop pushing potential partners away by exploring why you do that and explaining how you can stop.
Psychologist Dr. Michelle Skeen explores how our "core beliefs" can set the stage for our developing unhealthy, fear-based patterns of behavior that keep us from having happy and healthy connections with others.
Join us on tonight's show as she explains the underlying causes and how to yank yourself out of the unhealthy thinking and patterns and develop the skills you need to have loving and happy relationships.
Skeen's book we'll be discussing: Love Me, Don't Leave Me: Overcoming Fear of Abandonment and Building Lasting, Loving Relationships
Listen to the show at this link at 7pm PT or download the podcast afterward:
If People Were Like Dogs
I'm dogsitting for Mingus, my friend's ginormous old Bichon.
This calls for some strategic food-locating, because Mingus will eat my dog Aida's food if Aida doesn't happen to have her face right in the bowl.
Imagine being at a restaurant and having a guy reach over the table divider to grab food off your plate.
Yeah, sometimes we really are more civilized than dogs.
That said, I think Gregg would be flattered if I greeted him not just with a kiss or few but more like Aida does -- running up and down the porch stairs three or four times out of excitement, twirling around, jumping up on him, and then peeing a little on the cement.
Maybe Allah Really Is All-Powerful: No Line For The Louvre!
Sure cleared the tourists out of Paris. A friend there says even some of the fashion people aren't showing up for the collections.
Here's the long line at the Louvre -- even in the rain --and the commentary of a guy who took the shot.
The line on the right consists of several hundred people (I'm not exaggerating - click on the other photos if you don't believe me!) who will spend an hour or more on this rainy Sunday afternoon queuing to get into the Pyramid, where they will have to queue again to buy their museum tickets.
Yes, even in ugly weather, you'd see people lined up outside the Louvre.
Here's the line for the Louvre this week, in the wake of Allahu Akbar! slaughters at Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery store:
Less For You; More For MEEEE!
From a Daniel Pink tweet. And actually, to be grammatically correct, that would be "fewer" things. (All the money in the world and the guy can't buy grammar!)
Americans need to have 'less things', says US billionaire who flew wife, kids, & 2 nannies to Davos on private jet. http://dailym.ai/1uxuM65
Sure, he can afford the jet and all, and I sure don't begrudge him those things.
And I'm all for having things and not being run by them.
And there have always been people who live beyond their means.
But the reality is, right now, many people are just not able to find the jobs to give them the means. We have a president who toppled the healthcare applecart instead of taking care of serious economic problems in front of him, and many people are still paying for that.
The Republicans bear responsibility for this, too.
But this President could have focused on economics when he needed to and instead he played around with his pet. To all of our detriment.
It Isn't The Muslims Being Assaulted In Sweden
A non-Jewish reporter puts on a Jewish skullcap and scary and ugly times ensue, reports the Times of Israel:
A Swedish reporter who walked around Malmo while wearing a kippa to test attitudes toward Jews was hit and cursed at by passersby before he fled for fear of serious violence.
Sveriges Television on Wednesday aired secretly recorded footage from Petter Ljunggren's walk through Malmo, which documented some of the incidents that occurred within the space a few hours.
In one scene, Ljunggren -- who, in addition to wearing a kippah was also wearing Star of David pendant -- was filmed sitting at a café in central Malmo reading a newspaper, as several passersby hurled anti-Semitic insults at him.
...One person on a scooter approached Ljunggren to warn him to leave for his own safety. In the heavily Muslim Rosengard neighborhood, Ljunggren was surrounded by a dozen men who shouted anti-Semitic slogans as eggs were hurled at his direction from apartments overhead. He then fled the area.
...Dozens of anti-Semitic incidents are recorded annually in Malmo, a city where first- and second- generation immigrants from the Middle East make up one third of a population of roughly 300,000. Several hundred Jews live there.
Fred Kahn, a leader of the local Jewish community, told JTA that most incidents are perpetrated by Muslims or Arabs.
Seems that #illridewithyou should be #illwalkwithyou and that it should be the Muslims who aren't haters accompanying the Jews to protect their safe passage throughout their day.
Remember European civilization? Take a picture of it where you see it, because there's a good chance it won't last much longer.
Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success, which looks like a smart book, is only $2.99 on Kindle -- today only -- at Amazon. I saw it recommended by a researcher on Twitter and just bought one myself.
Search Amy's Amazon for other stuff.
And thanks to all who buy through my links! Much appreciated!
This Is Not The Behavior Of People In A Free Society (Attempt To Ban Germaine Greer From Speaking At Cambridge)
It's like people are pining for an Orwellian unfree society with all their outcry every time somebody whom they disagree with is going to give a talk. Pathetic and dangerous.
Charlotte Ivers writes at Cambridge.tab.co.uk that the members of the "CUSU Women's Campaign" at Cambridge are rising up to condemn the Cambridge Union for hosting Germaine Greer as a speaker:
Greer, a prominent feminist theorist, has previously been accused of transphobia. Most notably, she publically opposed appointing a trans woman to an academic position at Newnham.
From a statement that CUSU Women's Officer Amelia Horgan posted on Facebook:
Greer does not represent feminism, and she does not represent us.
Why should a speaker "represent" you or your views in order to be allowed to speak?
A totally childish view -- the view of entitled brats who see no danger in yanking the Enlightenment value of free speech. (Children, the world does not owe you emotional comfort at every turn.)
The answer to speech you don't like is more speech, not squashing speech.
Oh, and happily, the president of the Union, Amy Gregg, and her colleagues seem to agree:
"The Union maintains its commitment to free speech and, as ever, rejects no platform policies. We neither condemn nor condone the viewpoints of any of our speakers, but provide a neutral forum where they may be questioned and challenged by our members. We respect the decision of CUSU LGBT+ to issue their statement condemning someone they believe to represent views contrary to their core aims, but our speaker program will remain unchanged."