"Not Tonight...Headache" Is Now "Sexual Violence" At The University Of Michigan
Had a challenging column to put out this week, so I'm a little behind on this story I saw tweeted by various people, but it truly is incredible. Note what the University of Michigan categorizes as "sexual violence" -- "discounting the partner's feelings regarding sex," "criticizing the partner sexually," and "withholding sex":
Sexual violence Examples of sexual violence include: discounting the partner's feelings regarding sex; criticizing the partner sexually; touching the partner sexually in inappropriate and uncomfortable ways; withholding sex and affection; always demanding sex; forcing partner to strip as a form of humiliation (maybe in front of children), to witness sexual acts, to participate in uncomfortable sex or sex after an episode of violence, to have sex with other people; and using objects and/or weapons to hurt during sex or threats to back up demands for sex.
So, at the University of Michigan, "Sorry, I'm too tired" is now a form of sexual violence.
As is, "You never wait for me to come anymore."
Well, as categorized by their "Abuse Hurts" page.
Romantic partners, if you're at the University of Michigan, you'd better be putting out. Or you're a sexually violent abuser.
It's just one more example of how college campuses are trying to rival "zero tolerance" lower-grade schools for idiotic edicts.
Really? A Secret Service Plot?
Juliette Ochieng tweet:
These security breaches aren't accidents. The #SecretService is sending the president a message: "we let in what we want to let in."
Sounds more like incompetence to me. From the WashEx, Kelly Cohen writes that the Secret Service agent who stopped the White House intruder was off-duty (annoying auto-play video):
[He} was leaving for the night through the White House after seeing off the first family, sources told the Washington Post.
Initially, the Secret Service said Gonzalez had been quickly stopped at the front door. Gonzalez actually made it well into the White House before being tackled on the southern side of the Eastern Room, the Post reported Monday.
From the WashEx, Susan Crabtree writes of a "pervasive culture of cover-up" (also annoying auto-play video):
Secret Service managers told agents on the ground in Atlanta not to file a written report after discovering that a convict with a gun rode in an elevator with President Obama during his visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Sept. 16, according to two sources familiar with the case.
The president's Secret Service protective detail and other agents routinely file written reports if anything even mildly suspicious happens during a presidential trip or in the course of protecting any member of the first family at the White House on any given day.
Agents became alarmed during Obama's trip to Atlanta after discovering that a private security contractor working for the CDC with a criminal record had a gun within arms-length of the president, but superiors told them not to file "any paperwork" or initiate an investigation, according to two sources familiar with the case.
...The security officer with the gun attracted agents' attention and suspicion when he tried to take photos of Obama and videotape him leaving the elevator even after they told him to stop.
Secret Service agents questioned the man, alongside a supervisor who fired him on the spot and asked him to turn in his gun. The agents also ran his name through a database and discovered he had been convicted of assault.
The elevator case is another embarrassing blow to Secret Service leaders and exposes a breakdown in security protocols. One source called it a prime example of a pervasive "culture of cover-up" at the agency.
Advice Goddess Free Swim
It's Tuesday night, and I'm sleepy. You pick the topics. I'll post more on Wednesday morning.
P.S. One link per comment or my spam filter will eat your post.
The Government Wants To Take Your House And Your Stuff
Joining policing for profit -- police using the cover of bad law to steal assets of people not proven guilty -- is Kalamazoo's instance of seizing this woman's property. They say they're following the law but it seems unlikely the woman was properly notified about the missed payment or the intent to foreclose.
A woman, Deborah Calley of Kalamzoo, had her home seized because she missed one property tax payment. She made the payments in 2012 and 2013, but missed the one in 2011. She says letters about the missed payment were sent to out-of-state banks and a title company. Daniel Jennings writes at Off The Grid News:
"To take my $164,000 house over less than $2,000, yeah I would say that's extremely excessive," Deborah Calley told West Michigan TV station Fox 17.
Kalamazoo County foreclosed on Calley's home because she missed one property tax payment in 2011. She made the payments for 2012 and 2013 and told Channel 17 that she is willing to make up for the missed payment.
"When I paid the taxes in 2012 right there in Richland, no one said, 'Oh, well you still owe money for 2011,'" Calley said. "So, I didn't really have a clue. I thought I was right on time."
...The county says it followed the law.
"In this case we followed the statute and pursuing foreclosure is appropriate," Kalamazoo County attorney Thom Canny said.
Canny claims the county treasurer sent Calley seven certified letters alerting her to the missed payment, but Calley says the letters were sent to out-of-state banks and a title company.
The county contends it cannot stop the foreclosure because it followed state law. County Treasurer Mary Balkema and her deputy, Greg Vlietstra, went to the home and served a notice, but even that is disputed. Calley claims that she never saw the two or received the notice. In court testimony shown in a Fox 17 news story, Vlietstra said he couldn't remember to whom he gave the notice.
"The county admitted in this case, under oath I might add, that the certified mail that was sent to Deb's house came back," Calley's attorney, Ven Johnson, said. "In other words, she never accepted it. So, that means that the county knows it wasn't successful."
Johnson believes the officials may have given the certified letter to one of Calley's young daughters. If that happened, the action was not legal because the children have no legal standing in such a case.
Paglia On The Campus Rape Hysteria And The Illusion Of The "Perfectibility Of Mankind"
Camille Paglia writes in TIME:
Wildly overblown claims about an epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses are obscuring the true danger to young women, too often distracted by cellphones or iPods in public places: the ancient sex crime of abduction and murder. Despite hysterical propaganda about our "rape culture," the majority of campus incidents being carelessly described as sexual assault are not felonious rape (involving force or drugs) but oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides.
Colleges should stick to academics and stop their infantilizing supervision of students' dating lives, an authoritarian intrusion that borders on violation of civil liberties. Real crimes should be reported to the police, not to haphazard and ill-trained campus grievance committees.
Too many young middleclass women, raised far from the urban streets, seem to expect adult life to be an extension of their comfortable, overprotected homes. But the world remains a wilderness. The price of women's modern freedoms is personal responsibility for vigilance and self-defense.
Current educational codes, tracking liberal-Left, are perpetuating illusions about sex and gender. The basic Leftist premise, descending from Marxism, is that all problems in human life stem from an unjust society and that corrections and fine-tunings of that social mechanism will eventually bring utopia. Progressives have unquestioned faith in the perfectibility of mankind.
...Liberalism lacks a profound sense of evil -- but so does conservatism these days, when evil is facilely projected onto a foreign host of rising political forces united only in their rejection of Western values. Nothing is more simplistic than the now rote use by politicians and pundits of the cartoonish label "bad guys" for jihadists, as if American foreign policy is a slapdash script for a cowboy movie.
The gender ideology dominating academe denies that sex differences are rooted in biology and sees them instead as malleable fictions that can be revised at will. The assumption is that complaints and protests, enforced by sympathetic campus bureaucrats and government regulators, can and will fundamentally alter all men.
On a justice agenda, she's particularly right about this:
Real crimes should be reported to the police, not to haphazard and ill-trained campus grievance committees.
Reynolds: Reach Across The Aisle For The Next Attorney General
Glenn Reynolds has a wise idea for the president, writing in his USA Today column that like other presidents, Obama chose a friend for his Attorney General:
In many ways, this makes sense: The attorney general of the United States is at the top of the law enforcement apparatus, and in that position, you want someone you can trust.
But while presidents may feel better having an intimate, if not a crony, in charge of law enforcement, that kind of closeness raises questions for the rest of us. With the Obama administration beset by numerous scandals, from the IRS's targeting of Tea Party groups, to the Fast and Furious gun-smuggling scandal, to NSA and CIA spying on Americans, Holder's role has been not so much law enforcement as "scandal-goalie," ensuring that whatever comes out in the news or in congressional investigations, no one in the government will go to jail -- or face the pressures to talk that go with a serious criminal investigation.
Writing in Above The Law, Tamara Tabo notes that Holder's stonewalling, which led him to be the first attorney general ever found in contempt of Congress, has poisoned relations between the Justice Department and legislators, ensuring a rocky reception for whoever Obama names next.
But maybe not. Perhaps President Obama -- and, for that matter, future presidents -- should take a lesson from the way we handle the Department of Defense, and apply it to the Department of Justice: Consider naming someone outside his own party as attorney general.
...Naming an attorney general from the opposite party would tend to make the administration of justice bipartisan, and would provide considerable reassurance, as Holder's tenure in office emphatically did not, that the powers of law enforcement were not being abused in service of partisan ends. In an age of all-encompassing criminal laws, and pervasive government spying, that's a big deal.
On his blog, Reynolds suggests, as an example, gay-marriage advocate and former Solicitor General Ted Olson.
Unfortunately, I don't think a conservative who out-liberaled the president on gay marriage is going to fly. More about the President's "which way is the wind blowing?"/"politics as usual" gay marriage stance here.
Linkie got kicked in the teethies.
Lena Dunham Wants You To Work For Her For Free
Hamilton Nolan writes at Gawker:
This week, rich and famous human Lena Dunham will begin her 12-city book tour. Several dates will feature regular people performing. They will not be paid.
He does the math on that:
Forbes' estimate of Lena Dunham's annual earnings: $6 million
Lena Dunham's book advance: $3.7 million
Tickets sold for Lena Dunham's book tour: 8,000
Price per ticket: $38 (or $900, from scalpers)
Total book tour ticket revenue: $304,000
Percentage of book tour revenue reserved for regular people performing as warm-up acts for Lena Dunham: 0%
Oh, and in case you're wondering, this wasn't something she was in the dark about. The open call for performers to work for free as warmup acts for her book tour was posted on her website.
Imperfect Parenting Is Now Illegal
I'm not a parent, but I feel for parents who are pulled about six ways all at once. Sometimes they take a chance and maybe even do something dumb in respect to how they supervise their kid -- like overtaxed parents have for centuries upon centuries.
Well, this mom has surely learned to keep her mouth shut in therapy, since the therapist was the one who informed on her. Lenore Skenazy writes at reason:
A mom's 20 minute absence from home became an obsession of a Child Protective Services officer. As is often the case, the issue was not whether anything bad happened to kids while mom was out. The sole criteria for CPS hounding this woman for two solid years seems to be that something bad could have happened.
The story from Mashable by Rebecca Ruiz:
The ordeal began on a June morning when Gonzalez, then 36, awoke at 7:30 a.m., startled and groggy. Her 16-month-old son had been sick, and Gonzalez slept fitfully; her husband left earlier to start the first of his two jobs. Like most parents, Gonzalez's mind immediately settled on the day's many tasks, including taking the children to walk her four-year-old son to the bus stop. And that's when the panic surged--she had overslept and the bus had already departed.
As her eight-year-old daughter dressed for school, Gonzalez and her son rushed down the stairs from their third-floor apartment in Schaumburg, Illinois, and looked for the bus. Seeing an empty street, Gonzalez quickly decided to drive the two miles to school.
When she returned home after a 20-minute absence, Gonzalez found her toddler son watching television in bed and her daughter ready to attend school. She regretted impulsively leaving them alone, but felt grateful nothing tragic had happened.
The next day, Gonzalez mentioned the incident to her therapist, a clinic student who helped treat her for depression. "I did something probably stupid," Gonzalez recalls saying. Her therapist remained silent then, but a few hours later, Gonzalez's phone rang.
"I talked to my supervisor," her therapist said, "and I explained to her what you just told me, and we have to call [Department of Children and Family Services]." Gonzalez hadn't heard of the child welfare agency, but was terrified. "She started telling me that they were probably going to come and interview and probably they would take the children away."
When the case for neglect was opened against Gonzalez, her daughter told the investigator she hadn't been afraid during her mother's absence; she knew when to open the door if someone knocked and had been previously instructed to call 911 in the event of an emergency. The children's pediatrician told the investigator that Gonzalez and her husband had been exemplary parents, and that he had no reason to suspect neglect or abuse.
Still, the investigator and his supervisor recommended "indicating" the allegation of neglect -- a finding that would put Gonzalez's name in the state's central registry for five years, barring her from jobs in child care, teaching or in-home health care, and placing her under a kind of semi-permanent suspicion in the eyes of the agency. Officials argued that Gonzalez's daughter might have been able to make a decision on her own behalf in a hypothetical emergency during those 20 minutes, but that it was beyond her ability to do the same for her 16-month-old brother. This constituted inadequate supervision, and therefore, neglect.
What could have happened is now being used to ensnare and punish normal moments of parents being overwhelmed and imperfect here and there. Or what's now considered neglect -- allowing children independence.
In one case, a mother allowed her nine-and-a-half-year-old daughter to walk three blocks to a safe park with her 20-month-old sister. In their tight-knit Orthodox Jewish community, this was a common practice, but a bystander saw the girls, escorted them back home, then called the child welfare hotline to report their mother.
And then the upshot:
It's not clear that reporting "inadequate supervision" benefits anyone in some cases, Appell said. Research has shown that children placed in foster care, for example, can experience physical or sexual abuse in their new homes. Many also leave the system with post-traumatic stress disorder, perhaps because of maltreatment and the forced separation from their families. But these scenarios don't immediately occur to bystanders.
Linkie with very furry legs.
The Usual iWhipping Boy: No, "Tech-Driven Narcissism" Isn't What Makes Us Rude
Frances Terrell Lippman, in a letter to the editor about my recent LA Times op-ed, thinks so:
With more ways to talk about ourselves -- Twitter, Instagram, texting, Facebook, that old standby email and all the rest that will be coming along -- rudeness is inevitable.
People often blame technology -- and it feels comforting and right to do it, because we all have to duck around some asshole meandering down the sidewalk engrossed in his electronic binky (and all the other manifestations of those umbilicalized to their me-phone).
I explain in my book, "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck" (which the op-ed is a miniature of):
[On sources of blame for all the rampant rudeness] "It's the Internet; it alienates people." Oh, right--when it isn't functioning as the single most connective force in human history. And sorry, all you cell phone blamers, but iPhones don't leap out of people's pockets and purses, put themselves on speaker, and float around the grocery store barking into the ears of everybody shopping.
...Much of this surge in rudeness we're experiencing is a consequence of life in The New Wild West, the world that technology made. Technology itself doesn't cause the rudeness. But technological advances have led to sweeping social change, removing some of the consequences of being rude, especially in the past fifteen years, with so many people living states or continents apart from their families and friends, often spending their days in a swarm of strangers, and being both more and less connected than ever through cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype.
And I write in the LA Times op-ed:
We're all experiencing more daily rudeness than ever, to the point where there seems to be a revised Golden Rule: "Do unto others ... whatever you think you can get away with." Pundits are quick to blame technology, too much parenting, too little parenting and the reality TV empire known as the Kardashians. But science tells another story: We have lost the constraints we had on our behavior for millions of years of human history. In short, we are rude because we are now living in societies too big for our brains.
I came to this idea via the finding by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar that there's a "magic" population limit -- approximately 150 people -- beyond which civility breaks down. In a society of 150 or fewer, where everyone knows everyone else (like the small bands in which we evolved), concern for reputation keeps people from acting out. But there's no need to worry about reputation when you are surrounded by strangers, as we so often are these days, and it's transformed our society into a free-for-all for the piggy and entitled.
We obviously can't turn the clock back to a world where everybody knows everybody and the blacksmith's mother. What we can do is use my "societies too big for our brains" concept to bring back some of the constraints and benefits of the small societies in which we evolved.
This starts with letting empathy -- "How would I feel if that were done to me?" -- be our behavioral guide, rather than whether we know the person we are about to do it to. We also need to start speaking up to the rude, which is something many people feel uncomfortable doing.
To get over this psychological hurdle, we need to recognize rudeness for what it is: A form of theft. A cell boor who privatizes shared space as his own is stealing your attention. The neighbor who blasts music at 2 a.m. is stealing your sleep. And ultimately, all rudeness is the theft of everybody's peace of mind because it makes our world into an ugly shove-or-be-shoved place.
By the way, most dismayingly, the shipping message on my book at Amazon says the book will ship in "1 to 3 weeks." This is a glitch in their system. The publisher just reprinted (for the fourth time!) and that was right after the third reprint, and my editor (who is the executive editor and has some mojo!) will straighten this out on Monday. (They can get books to Amazon in a day, in my past experience!) The book is in at Barnes and Noble and should ship right away. Please order a new copy, which helps support the author (me!), which allows the author to keep writing books and keep eating at tables instead of out of Dumpsters.
That's what Brett Easton Ellis calls the Millennial generation in a piece for Vanity Fair:
I have been living with someone from the Millennial generation for the last four years (he's now 27) and sometimes I'm charmed and sometimes I'm exasperated by how him and his friends--as well as the Millennials I've met and interacted with both in person and in social media--deal with the world, and I've tweeted about my amusement and frustration under the banner "Generation Wuss" for a few years now. My huge generalities touch on their over-sensitivity, their insistence that they are right despite the overwhelming proof that suggests they are not, their lack of placing things within context, the overreacting, the passive-aggressive positivity, and, of course, all of this exacerbated by the meds they've been fed since childhood by over-protective "helicopter" parents mapping their every move. These are late-end Baby Boomers and Generation X parents who were now rebelling against their own rebelliousness because of the love they felt that they never got from their selfish narcissistic Boomer parents and who end up smothering their kids, inducing a kind of inadequate preparation in how to deal with the hardships of life and the real way the world works: people won't like you, that person may not love you back, kids are really cruel, work sucks, it's hard to be good at something, life is made up of failure and disappointment, you're not talented, people suffer, people grow old, people die. And Generation Wuss responds by collapsing into sentimentality and creating victim narratives rather than acknowledging the realities of the world and grappling with them and processing them and then moving on, better prepared to navigate an often hostile or indifferent world that doesn't care if you exist.
...When Generation Wuss creates something they have so many outlets to display it that it often goes out into the world unfettered, unedited, posted everywhere, and because of this freedom a lot of the content displayed is rushed and kind of shitty and that's OK--it's just the nature of the world now--but when Millennials are criticized for this content they seem to collapse into a shame spiral and the person criticizing them is automatically labeled a hater, a contrarian, a troll. And then you have to look at the generation that raised them, that coddled them in praise--gold medals for everyone, four stars for just showing up--and tried to shield them from the dark side of life, and in turn created a generation that appears to be super confident and positive about things but when the least bit of darkness enters into their realm they become paralyzed and unable to process it.
Agree? Disagree? Your experience?
Why They Don't Stop The Female Thief
I don't think it's so simple as her being attractive and a woman. I think it's because they suspect they'll be accused of attacking her.
The Secret On Brisket
The only people who are excited to eat it are non-Jews invited to Jews' houses for holidays.
Former Muslim: President Obama Is Wrong; ISIL Absolutely Speaks For Islam
Michelle Obama Confuses USA With Saudi Arabia
About the USA, First Lady Michelle Obama said at the United Nations, "We still struggle with ... harmful cultural norms that tell women how they are expected to look and act."
We have these for men, too. They're called "civilization." This is the most free country on the planet. Norms here, unlike in Saudi Arabia, do not come with morality police slinking around every corner, looking to throw you in a cage and give you a caning.
I've violated "norms" my whole life, like the "get married and have children" norm -- along with the "be normal" norm. Sure, there are tradeoffs, but I choose to be as I am, and it's not a form of persecution when people try to push me to get married or when they look askance for me for being unmarried or working all the time.
Moderation Is A Source Of Death Threats In Islam
That's what happened to a Muslim academic in South Africa. Stephanie Findlay writes in the Telegraph/UK:
A Muslim academic is vowing to push ahead with the launch of his woman and gay-friendly mosque in South Africa, despite receiving death threats.
Taj Hargey, director of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford, a group of "forward thinking" Muslims, said his Open Mosque will welcome all genders, religions and sexual orientations when it opens in Wynberg, a Cape Town suburb, on Friday.
"You enter the mosque, do I ask you the question who did you sleep with last night? No. It's not my business who you slept with," said Mr Hargey, a native of Cape Town.
"Women will enter the same doors as men, women will take part in the service" said the 60-year-old. "This is the first time you'll see men and women praying together."
Mr Hargey says the Open Mosque, that has been in development for two years, is designed to counter growing Islamic radicalism in Africa.
"South Africans have become Arabised, they think they must wear the burka, must have face masks, that men must wear pyjama dresses," said Mr Hargey. "They think that is the only version of Islam."
With over 300 people expected to attend the first service, Mr Hargey, who has caused a similar uproar in Britain when he called on Muslims to ban the burka, says the response to the Open Mosque has ranged from ecstatic to apoplectic. "A 77-year-old grandmother just called me and said: 'All my life I've been waiting for this, for the first time I can go to a mosque and be warmly welcome,'" he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Hargey says he has received "a lot of death threats".
My parents belong to the oldest reform Jewish congregation in Michigan, Temple Beth El. I think it's been around for over 100 years, and the only deadly thing I experienced there was the rabbi's sermon. When I was still around in Detroit, the reform-ier temple, the humanist one, was merely thought to be a bit...odd. Not death-worthy.
Both of them - fornication and homosexuality - involve immorality that goes against the wisdom of Allaah's creation and commandment. For homosexuality involves innumerable evil and harms, and the one to whom it is done would be better off being killed than having this done to him, because after that he will become so evil and so corrupt that there can be no hope of his being reformed, and all good is lost for him, and he will no longer feel any shame before Allaah or before His creation. The semen of the one who did that to him will act as a poison on his body and soul.
There is an exception:
As a side note, in 2012, a cleric issues a fatwa endorsing sodomy as a means of widening the anus in order to pack it with enough explosives to kill bystanders in a suicide bombing. As Sheikh Abu al-Dema al-Qasab put it, "Jihad comes first, for it is the pinnacle of Islam, and if the pinnacle of Islam can only be achieved through sodomy, then there is no wrong in it."
Where Husbands And Boyfriends Go To Die While Still Alive
Ladies, at least give a man a choice, like whether he'd prefer to have you run over him in a minivan several times.
Please buy my book, "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck," only $9.48 at Amazon and about that at Barnes & Noble. New copies help me earn back my advance and support me as a writer -- of this site and more.
Conversation soon to be overheard in Seattle:
Wait -- is that a half-eaten sandwich in your trash?
What do you mean you didn't like the cooked carrots?
Off with your head!
Daniel Beekman writes in the Seattle Times that Big (Sanitation Collector) Brother is going to be looking to see whether you're tossing too much food out with your trash, and if maybe -- gasp! -- some recyclables sneak in there:
The Seattle City Council passed a new ordinance Monday that could mean $1 fines for people who toss too many table scraps into the trash.
Under current Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) rules, people living in single-family homes are encouraged but not required to dispose of food waste and compostable paper products in compost bins.
Apartment buildings must have compost bins available, but residents of apartment buildings aren't required to use them.
And businesses aren't subject to any composting requirements.
Under the new rules, collectors can take a cursory look each time they dump trash into a garbage truck.
If they see compostable items make up 10 percent or more of the trash, they'll enter the violation into a computer system their trucks already carry, and will leave a ticket on the garbage bin that says to expect a $1 fine on the next garbage bill.
This is like the ridiculous plastic bag ban in California that is supposed to be saving energy but is actually wasting it. Likewise, separating your trash is an idiotic waste of time, per a John Tierney New York Times piece I love.
I'm with "punditenvy," who left this comment on the Seattle Times site:
This is ludicrous on several levels:
1. How do you accurately calculate the 10%?
2. What's to stop people from putting the compostables at the bottom of the bin and covering them up with non-compostables?
3. Is a $1 fine a real deterrent?
4. If someone challenges the fine, how does the city prove its case? Will garbage collectors be taking photos and writing up reports about violators? If so, at what cost?
Is this really the society anybody (who does not have some mental problems) wants to be living in?
A New Comedy From The Federal Government
The US Postal Service wants to deliver our groceries.
Or, as Adrian Moore, whose tweet led me to this story put it:
Geniuses at the Postal Service going broke with monopoly on mail, so now they want to compete to deliver groceries.
Now, I have rented same house for, oh, 17 years. My neighbors have live in theirs a few years longer. Today, I got neighbors' mail and they got mine -- as we have about two or three days a week for, oh, 17 years.
From GovExec.com's Eric Katz:
The cash-strapped agency is looking to deliver groceries to homes in select metropolitan areas nationwide, as part of a pilot program it hopes can launch it back into the black. The program, which is pending approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission, would be called Customized Delivery.
USPS would "provide delivery of groceries and other prepackaged goods," for the most part between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. Customized Delivery would aim to build on "operational testing" the Postal Service started in conjunction with Amazon earlier this month in San Francisco.
Problem: My neighbors eat yucky.
Question: Do I try to persuade them to move or to eat more butter, bacon, and steak?
Trickle-Down Humanity: My Op-Ed In The LA Times Today
"Trickle-Down Humanity" is the title of the last chapter of "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck," and it's reflected in my book-related op-ed the LA Times published today. (Please read the whole thing at the link!)
It's kind of a miniature of my book (though the book has tons of specific advice on numerous topics, including how to balance politeness and self-incrimination in a traffic stop, and how to get noisy neighbors to stop being noisy).
An excerpt from the beginning of the op-ed, which the LA Times titled "In battle against rude people, kindness is a powerful weapon":
In Los Angeles, you can call 311 to get a stack of old mattresses removed from your alley; I don't see why there isn't some number to summon aliens with a giant ray gun to pop down and vaporize the guy marching back and forth in front of my house, yelling into his cellphone.
And sure, as he helpfully pointed out, "It's a public street!" -- but there's a reasonable presumption that the sounds you hear inside your house will be house sounds: the tea kettle whistling, bacon frying and your dog biting his toenails. Basically, another person's right to have a cellphone yell session outside your home ends where your living room begins.
...Admittedly, some rudeness is a result of good people just not being mindful. If their behavior is pointed out to them, they will generally express embarrassment and apologize . However, for the egregiously, remorselessly rude, we need to bring back the power of shaming in the public square. Standing in for the pillory we have what I call webslapping: posting awful behavior on social media. (There's a new sheriff in town, and it's the YouTube video that goes viral.) Even if the particular rude person never sees his or her ignominious star turn, the fear of being similarly exposed should deter others from acting out.
A small kindness that's no big deal when you do it for someone you know is an incredibly powerful act when done for a stranger.
Not everyone will be comfortable standing up to the rude, but we can all start making a daily effort to treat strangers like neighbors: smiling, saying hello, and doing the small kindnesses that we would for people we know. For example, a friend came upon an older lady fanning herself on a bench on a hot Boulder, Colo., street. The woman asked my friend where she could get a Diet Coke. My friend went up the block, bought a Diet Coke, came back and handed it to the woman. "Oh, my God!" the woman shouted. "You're kidding me! God bless you! I can't believe you did that!"
It's pretty amazing. A small kindness that's no big deal when you do it for someone you know is an incredibly powerful act when done for a stranger. It's also likely to have cascading societal returns. Research by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky found that recipients of kind acts were almost three times more likely to do kind acts for others. So simply by regularly reaching out to our co-humans, we can transform our society, little by little, from a vast strangeropolis to a really, really big neighborhood. The way I see it, a minimum of one kind act a day should be our self-imposed cover charge for living in this world. We get the society we create -- or the society we let happen to us.
Amy Alkon's latest book is "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck," which was published in June.
If You Like Your Plan, You Still Can't Keep It
New wave of Obamacare health plan cancellations coming soon!
Robert F. Graboyes writes at USNews:
There's a bizarre reason why millions of Americans saw their health insurance plans cancelled in 2013 - and as explained in a new video put out by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, millions more will lose their plans in years to come.
Insurance coverage for Americans will remain in permanent turmoil because the Affordable Care Act requires all plans to fit within four cookie-cutter designs called "metallic tiers." (The tiers - bronze, silver, gold and platinum - refer to the percentage of medical expenses a particular plan pays.) The video also notes that families may have to change plans repeatedly because, as circumstances change, a plan that fits within a tier one year may not fit in any tier a later year.
...Mercatus affiliated scholar Chris Conover has noted that there is no technical reason for Congress to have included this particular provision in the law and suggested the cookie-cutter requirement may have been based on the assumption that Americans can't handle more than four plan designs when buying insurance.
These waves of cancellations will bring real hardship to Americans. At the least, many will have to dive back into the exchange Websites which, despite their absence from the headlines, are still largely nonfunctional. Worse, for some Americans, the cancellations will mean changing doctors, interrupting coverage and losing continuity of care.
The video with Grayboyes -- he explains this well:
Information on grandfathered plans here.
In this morning's email, expressing disgust about my science-based approach to giving advice:
"You are a disgrace to your gender."
Thanks! I do try!
The Unfree Speech Movement
Sol Stern, was among the student radicals at Berkeley in 1964, back when colleges had intellectual freedom, as the subhead of his WSJ op-ed puts it. Stern writes about why the move for unfree speech is so successful on campuses today:
The Berkeley "machine" now promotes Free Speech Movement kitsch. The steps in front of Sproul Hall, the central administration building where more than 700 students were arrested on Dec. 2, 1964, have been renamed the Mario Savio Steps. One of the campus dining halls is called the Free Speech Movement Café, its walls covered with photographs and mementos of the glorious semester of struggle. The university requires freshmen to read an admiring biography of Savio, who died in 1996, written by New York University professor and Berkeley graduate Robert Cohen.
Yet intellectual diversity is hardly embraced. Every undergraduate undergoes a form of indoctrination with a required course on the "theoretical or analytical issues relevant to understanding race, culture, and ethnicity in American society," administered by the university's Division of Equity and Inclusion.
How did this Orwellian inversion occur? It happened in part because the Free Speech Movement's fight for free speech was always a charade. The struggle was really about using the campus as a base for radical politics.
...On Oct. 1 at Berkeley ... one of the honored speakers at the Free Speech Movement anniversary rally on Sproul Plaza will be Bettina Aptheker, who is now a feminist-studies professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Writing in the Berkeley alumni magazine about the anniversary, Ms. Aptheker noted that the First Amendment was "written by white, propertied men in the 18th century, who never likely imagined that it might apply to women, and/or people of color, and/or all those who were not propertied, and even, perhaps, not citizens, and/or undocumented immigrants. . . . In other words, freedom of speech is a Constitutional guarantee, but who gets to exercise it without the chilling restraints of censure depends very much on one's location in the political and social cartography. We [Free Speech Movement] veterans were too young and inexperienced in 1964 to know this, but we do now, and we speak with a new awareness, a new consciousness, and a new urgency that the wisdom of a true freedom is inexorably tied to who exercises power and for what ends."
Read it and weep--for the Free Speech Movement anniversary, for the ideal of an intellectually open university, and for America.
An essential quote from it (one of many):
"It is crucial ... to note how the definition of safety has been watered down on campus. The term is no longer limited to physical security -- far from it. In my career, I have repeatedly seen safety conflated with comfort or even reassurance. It is hard for me to overemphasize how dangerous this shift is."
What Must A Guy Do To Get Taken Off The Payroll For His Government Job, Set The Building On Fire?
The Free Beacon posts that the EPA porn watcher is still on the payroll -- more than four months after being banned from the EPA building:
It has been months since a high-paid Environmental Protection Agency employee was banned from the building. In some weird real-life "Office Space" parallel, he is inexplicably still getting paid-and no one has fixed the glitch.
Whether the employee watched porn on his government-issued computer is not in question. Allan Williams, deputy assistant inspector general for investigation, told the House Oversight Committee in May that his office had discovered an EPA official that habitually watched porn on the computer.
The Free Beacon reported that the official "spent up to six hours a day on the taxpayer dime looking at pornography," viewing more than 7,000 pornographic files while on the job. Not only that, but the employee was rewarded with "performance rewards" for his hard work.
"So this guy is making $120,000, spending two to six hours a day looking at porno. Then this information I have is he received performance awards during the time period?" Rep. John Mica (R., Fla.) asked Williams at the time.
Williams responded, "Uh, he possibly did. Yes, sir."
Fappy government job to you...
The Barbarians Behead A French Tourist For Allah
Ryan Gorman writes on AOL that French tourist Hervé Gourdel was beheaded by Muslims in Algeria.
An ISIS-offshoot based in Algeria has executed a French hostage after previously threatening to kill him over France's participation in airstrikes over Iraq.
Herve Gourdel, 55, was captured Sunday by Jund al-Khilafa while on vacation. The horrifying video ends with one of the insurgents holding his head over his body as another stands on it waving to the camera while they all praise Allah.
Gourdel was captured only one day after landing in Algeria, according to reports.
Gourdel was a mountaineer, and described himself in the barbarians' video as a "mountain guide," The Wire reports. He looks a bit like a crusty retired French friend of ours, in his 70s. Terribly sad.
I was always sort of amazed that friends of mine from France were so relaxed about vacationing in places like Algeria and Egypt that are so hostile to westerners and Enlightenment values.
Beheading is big in the Quran -- it calls for it for unbelievers:
Book of Al-Anfal, verse 12 (8:12) - "I (Allah) will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off."
Sadly, if you want to climb some mountains these days, and want to keep your head on your shoulders, you'd best stick to places like Switzerland that as of yet do not have an Islamic majority.