Random Questions Blog Item
Mine for today:
What's the attraction to "red velvet" baked goods? (They're the color of an ugly scarf & kind of taste like one, too.)
Feel free to answer and/or post your own.
#illridewithyou Story Mostly Made Up
This was the story of a woman who supposedly offered to protect a woman in a hijab on public transit in Australia. Bullshit, apparently.
University lecturer Rachael Jacobs says she did see a woman on the train remove a scarf from her head, but...
Brighette Ryan reports in The Australian:
Rachael Jacobs has admitted that she "editorialised'' parts of her story.
"Confession time. In my Facebook status, I editorialised. She wasn't sitting next to me. She was a bit away, towards the other end of the carriage," she wrote.
Detailing her thought process, Ms Jacobs now says she wondered if she even needed to help."She might not even be Muslim or she could have just been warm!," she wrote.
The hashtag continues to divide people on social media, with some lauding it as Australia's way of combating Islamophobia.
Others say it detracts from the real tragedy of two people being murdered at Martin Place.
Gregg and I discussed this in the car on the way home from doing some shopping. The problem isn't individual Muslims but Islam, which calls for the death or conversion of the infidel, the death of apostates, the death of gays, and the installation of The New Caliphate across the globe. The terrorist attacks and murders of individuals across the globe who are Christian and other religions than Islam are a reflection of that command.
More from Breitbart's James Delingpole, dissecting what happened:
As ever, the bleeding hearts are missing the point. No one is arguing that there should be any kind of repercussions against Muslims. What we're saying is that behind Australia's national outbreak of mawkish special pleading and ecumenical outreach lurks yet another dodgy campaign by the inevitable lefty activists to hijack the news agenda for their dubious political ends.
As Devine notes, the woman who started the campaign by parading her own virtue in that initial tweet was Rachael Jacobs a Green party candidate from Brisbane who - as Jacobs herself admitted in a piece for Fairfax media (c'mon Gina? What are you waiting for? Buy up the rest of the operation. Then feed it to the sharks) may not have witnessed quite the scene of oppressed Muslim victimhood she imagined she had.
Elsewhere, we learn that the person who turned Jacobs's initial, self-serving Tweet into a viral sensation was yet another left-leaning activist (H/T to regular reader rightrightright). Her name is Tessa Kum and here (didn't I predict this was how the ABC would respond?) is how she was celebrated in an ABC interview.
Inspired by other acts of generosity that she'd read about on social media, Tessa Kum invited anyone wearing religious attire who was afraid for their safety to ride alongside her on public transport.
...But as investigative blogger Steve Sailer has discovered, Ms Kum is a little more complicated than that. Unless she is someone entirely different from the person called Tessa Kum who wrote this blog, she appears to have hate issues of her own so serious it's about time someone started a hashtag campaign to try to deal with them.
Here is our Tessa in cheery form:I'm learning about hate because I am coming to hate you, white person. You have all the control, all the power, all the privilege, and there is nothing holding you accountable. I hate the double standards and hypocrisy you display, the rank dishonesty of your conduct. I hate that you can harm us, when we cannot harm you. I hate that you have actually impacted on careers, multiple and not even directly, with your hypocrisy. I hate that you're so dominant in the publishing industry there's very few venues I'd consider safe to even submit to now. I hate what you have done to PoC I don't know. I hate what you have done to PoC I do know. I hate what you have done to me, and I was not involved.
So, not a neutral party motivated solely by love of her fellow human beings, then. But an anti-white racist motivated by, er, now what was that word beginning with "h" again?
If only Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson had had time to read Tessa Kum's screed. Then maybe they would have had the opportunity before they died to check their privilege and realise that basically - at least in the opinions of a certain kind of crusading Social Justice Warrior - they had it coming...
Muslims are actually not the ones in danger. It is largely others being persecuted by Muslims -- and slaughtered -- as Islam commands. For example, from RSN:
Thousands of Buddhist teachers and Children in Thailand have been slaughtered by Muslims in the past ten years. Will you ride with them?
Scores of Catholics in The Philippines have been killed by Muslims in the past few years. Will you ride with them?
Thousands of Hindu girls have been kidnapped, raped, forcibly converted to Islam and forcibly married in recent years. Will you ride with them?
More Christians were slaughtered in Nigeria than anywhere else in the world for the past two years. Will you ride with them?
Christians are being systematically forcibly converted to Islam or killed or persecuted in Kenya and Somalia and Ethiopia. Will you ride with them?
Sura 9:5 from the article:
009.005: But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
And from Danish psychologist Nicolai Sennels at 10newsdk:
What should worry us is that the share of Muslims taking the Quran literally is not a tiny minority, but a vast majority: 75 percent of Muslims in Europe think that the Quran must be taken literally. Recent surveys suggest that the almost countless Muslim ghettos in the West are populated by tens thousands, if not houndreds thousands, of young men adhering to the Jihadi ideology: 80 percent of young Turks in Holland see "nothing wrong" in waging Jihad against non-Muslims. 27 percent of all young French and 14 percent of all young British - includeding most probably the vast majority of young Muslims in these two countries - sympathize with the genocidal terror organisation Islamic State, whose fighters are also committing attacks against civilians here in the West.
...The psychological problem within Islam
The problem with Islam and Muslim culture is that there are so many psychological factors pushing its followers towards a violent attitude against non-Muslims that a general violent clash is -- at least from a psychological perspective -- inevitable. With such strong pressure and such strong emotions within such a large group of people -- all pitched against us -- we are facing the perfect storm, and I see no possibilities of turning it around. For people to change, they have to want it, to be allowed to change, and to be able to change -- and only a tiny minority of Muslims have such lucky conditions.
As I've written here before, there are many Muslims who either have no idea what is in the Quran -- what it commands of them -- and many who do not practice actual Islam but a watered-down version. But Islam itself is a dangerous, death-promoting totalitarian system masquerading as a religion.
For a short and very interesting e-book that explains why through detailing Mohammed's history and Islams, pick up Howard Bloom's The Mohammed Code.
And from The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg in 2011, the real deal on who's a victim of "hate crimes":
When you dive into the FBI statistics on hate crimes, you discover something very interesting, something CAIR didn't mention, and something Potok didn't report: According to the FBI, only 13.2 percent of religiously-motivated hate attacks in America were directed against Muslims. Jews, however, were on the receiving end of 65.4 percent of all religion-based attacks: the FBI reports 887 hate crimes against Jews, as opposed to 160 against Muslims.
Anybody see the hashtag #illridewithChaim? Me, neither. (Of course, it wouldn't be multi-culti and PC to want to protect a white Jewish person from violence.)
How About You Let Us Decide Which Products Are Too Offensive To Buy, US Government?
"Comfyballs" boxers have been nanny-stated away by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
"Those Kinds Of Things Happen In Life..."
That's Michelle Obama retelling a story of her trip to Target with a racism angle.
Yes, "those kinds of things" happen to me, too -- people in stores asking me to reach things off high shelves. Because they assume I'm "the help"? No, because they're short and I'm tall.
Sometimes I voluntarily reach for things for people, like when I saw an old lady looking for hair dye. The box she wanted was way down on the very bottom of the shelf. Yes, that time I just bent down without even being asked. Because she's old and I'm young, and I bend better.
I know, I know...self-inflicted racism!
You Can Get Into The US, Even If You're Banned, If You're Rich Enough To Pay The Entry Fee
Entry fee? That's what it amounted to in this Ecuadorian woman's situation. She was banned after committing visa fraud. But the Obama admin saw that the ban didn't stick.
Frances Robles writes in The New York Times, in a piece headlined "Ecuador Family Wins Favors After Donations to Democrats":
MIAMI -- The Obama administration overturned a ban preventing a wealthy, politically connected Ecuadorean woman from entering the United States after her family gave tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic campaigns, according to finance records and government officials.
The woman, Estefanía Isaías, had been barred from coming to the United States after being caught fraudulently obtaining visas for her maids. But the ban was lifted at the request of the State Department under former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton so that Ms. Isaías could work for an Obama fund-raiser with close ties to the administration.
It was one of several favorable decisions the Obama administration made in recent years involving the Isaías family, which the government of Ecuador accuses of buying protection from Washington and living comfortably in Miami off the profits of a looted bank in Ecuador.
The family, which has been investigated by federal law enforcement agencies on suspicion of money laundering and immigration fraud, has made hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to American political campaigns in recent years. During that time, it has repeatedly received favorable treatment from the highest levels of the American government, including from New Jersey's senior senator and the State Department.
The Obama administration has allowed the family's patriarchs, Roberto and William Isaías, to remain in the United States, refusing to extradite them to Ecuador. The two brothers were sentenced in absentia in 2012 to eight years in prison, accused of running their bank into the ground and then presenting false balance sheets to profit from bailout funds. In a highly politicized case, Ecuador says the fraud cost the country $400 million.
People on the left like to believe the Democrats are the party of the people. Don't kid yourself. They're the party of the rich people, just like the Republicans.
Best Twitter Profile Line
It's from Mike @Monteiro:
"This is a personal account and does not reflect the opinions of my boss, who is an asshole."
What's Next, Leaving Med Students Unprepared to Administer A Rape Kit Because The Subject Might Be "Triggering"?
Robby Soave writes at reason that professors are holding back from teaching rape law lest the delicate flowers in college these days find the subject "triggering":
Victims of sexual assault deserve competent legal representation; the legal system needs prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges who have vigorously studied the nuances of rape adjudication. Social progress on all these fronts will be rolled back if law professors stop educating students about rape. That would be a travesty of justice.
It's time to admit that appeasing students' seemingly unlimited senses of personal victimhood entitlement, unenlightened views about public discourse, and thinly-veiled laziness is not merely wrong, but actively dangerous. Colleges are supposed to prepare young people to succeed in the real world; they do students no favors by infantilizing them. But worse than that, by bending over backwards to satisfy the illiberal mob, colleges are doling out diplomas to people who are prepared for neither real life nor their eventual professions. Should medical colleges abdicate their responsibility to instruct students on how to administer a rape kit to a victim, or ask a victim difficult questions about her trauma, because that discussion is triggering to some of the students?
It would be better for professors to instruct students on how to confront their uncomfortable emotions and grow beyond them, but alas, that seems less and less common.
RELATED: A University of Michigan student who dared mock trigger warnings lost his position at the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily, after another student was offended by a piece he wrote for the conservative paper, The Michigan Review. Soave writes:
Last week, he became the victim of what The College Fix has described as a "hate crime." The doorway of his apartment was vandalized in the middle of the night; the perpetrators pelted the door with eggs and scribbled notes like "shut the fuck up" and "everyone hates you you violent prick." They left copies of the offending column and a print-out picture of Satan.
...The column that caused such a controversy, "Do the Left Thing," was published in The Review last month. It's a first-person narrative in which Mahmood pretends to be a left-handed person who is offended by the institutional patriarchy of right-handedness.
Best of all, Soave reports that the geniuses who attacked him "wore hoods and baggy clothing to disguise themselves; less brilliantly, they changed in full view of the apartment complex's security camera. They appear to be women of unclear ages."
RELATED: Jeannie Suk in The New Yorker.
Linky with an eyepatch.
A Visit To Coffee Heaven
We went up to visit the friends in Santa Barbara over the weekend. They'd had the older Nespresso machine the last time we'd been up there, and I preferred my own coffee (made on my $25 Aeropress, which looks like a junior high science project) to the Nespresso.
Well, this time, they had the newer model, and it made THE most fabulous coffee. They have the one that foams milk, too, that's more expensive, but they told me it's the same as the less expensive model, the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker, Electric Titan.
I highly recommend the Volluto capsules. Volluto is a milder blend. This is odd, because I drink my coffee break-a-tooth black, but it was absolutely fantastic.
There's also the Variety Pack.
And for ease of cleaning, low price, and simply great foam, I recommend the Capresso frothPRO. Get this model if you get it. The groovier-looking one is not as good.
And for a little something to read while you're enjoying your faaabulous coffee, don't forget to order my book, "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck."
Along with positive reviews in the WSJ and other publications, Library Journal gave the book a starred review: "Verdict: Solid psychology and a wealth of helpful knowledge and rapier wit fill these pages. Highly recommended."
And one more warming deal: Deal Of The Day -- 65 percent or more off women's coats.
Thanks to everyone shopping through my Amazon links. Much appreciated!
Where Is Al Sharpton?
Black lives seem to matter less to many when they are taken by black people. A 15-year-oldboy was one of three dead and 32 wounded in weekend shootings, writes Ethel C. Fenig at American Thinker. Yet no one is marching in protest, and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are not appearing on CNN to demand change:
All of the dead were black people, whose lives certainly must have mattered, as were a large majority of the seriously wounded who are now having trouble breathing, even though their alleged black killers didn't think so. But the protesters and the Al Sharptons and the Jesse Jacksons ignored these incidents and similar ones all across the country in their ignorance.
The 15-year-old boy in the Chicago incident, a few days shy of his 16th birthday, was walking with his identical twin brother to a school basketball game when they were confronted by other black male teens with a gun. When informed of her son's fate the grief stricken boys' mother collapsed at the scene of the crime; the boy's twin is understandably deeply shaken. The funeral will take place on what would have been the victim's birthday; the surviving twin will pass his birthday at his brother's funeral.
Very helpfully, some students at Mt. Holyoke are insisting that black on black crime is a myth. I'm sure the 15-year-old's mother and twin brother will find that very comforting.
So Much Theory Called Feminist Is Just "Unmitigated Rubbish"
From 2010, philosopher Janet Radcliffe Richards, who actually happens to be a defender of feminism, gave a lecture, saying that much of what passes for feminist theory in academic circles is "unmitigated rubbish." Via SecularNewsDaily:
Modern feminism in academic circles has ... taken to extremes the idea of the sexes having different interests, to the extent of developing a "feminist" critique of nearly every academic discipline. Radcliffe Richards gave examples of radical theorists rejecting concepts such as truth and reason as "phallocentric", producing what she termed 'unmitigated rubbish' in the process, emanating from self-contained Women's Studies departments. This kind of "feminism" is a misnomer still leaning heavily on ideas that were in vogue in the 1970s, Janet argued. The tone and content of these "feminist" critiques is irrationalist, and 'if feminism is supposed to be a movement for justice for women' then it cannot afford to reject truth and science as 'masculine' concepts in the process, a tactic which in fact keeps many women on the margins of academia just as powerfully as any patriarchal system.
I do not want women going to Women's Studies departments and learning this stuff and thinking it's a good way of getting women emancipated. ... I regard this as a terrible perpetuation of the subordination of women. It's just carrying on patriarchal man's job for him.
Janet went on to criticise the assumption that equality of outcome (such as equal pay or equal representation in all professions) was the necessary consequence of removing systematic discrimination. Unequal outcomes might be the result of the environment or might be intrinsic; evolution makes it overwhelmingly likely that there would be differences between the sexes; different reproductive roles necessitated different reproductive tactics.
Many feminists (and much of the left) had, however, taken strong objection to Darwinian studies of how such differences might have worked out over evolutionary time. Far from being a rational pursuit of removing discriminatory obstacles to individual development, such feminism had embraced an anti-scientific ideology. Feminism, Janet argued, should rightly be concerned with systematic inequality, but cannot rationally presuppose equality of outcome.
Social Security Sins Of The Father (And Mother): Govt Goes After Their Offspring For The Money
The government knows no bounds when it comes to unfairness. It's been coming after children of people who were overpaid Social Security benefits, reports Marc Fisher in the WaPo. One of the people in the story was a 1-year-old infant at the time her mother was allegedly overpaid benefits:
The Social Security Administration, which announced in April that it would stop trying to collect debts from the children of people who were allegedly overpaid benefits decades ago, has continued to demand such payments and now defends that practice in court documents.
After The Washington Post reported in April that the Treasury Department had confiscated $75 million in tax refunds due to about 400,000 Americans whose ancestors owed money to Social Security, the agency's acting commissioner, Carolyn Colvin, said efforts to collect on those old debts would cease immediately.
But although some people whose refunds were seized were reimbursed in recent months, some of those same taxpayers have since received new demands from Social Security, asserting that the debts remain and seeking repayment.
In March, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice's tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. It turned out that after Grice's father died in 1960, when she was 4, her mother got survivor benefits to help feed and clothe her five children. Social Security says it overpaid someone in the Grice family -- it's not sure who -- in 1977. With Grice's mother long since dead, the government came after Mary to pay the debt.
The Takoma Park woman, now 58, filed suit against Social Security, challenging the government's right to take her money without notice to satisfy her mother's debt. After The Post wrote about her case, the government returned Grice's tax refunds to her. But in August, she received a new bill from Social Security, seeking the same $2,997 that the agency had refunded to her four months earlier.
"DID YOU FORGET?" the letter said, demanding that Grice "send us the full payment right away."
The four other plaintiffs who have joined Grice in her federal lawsuit have also received letters explaining that although the government returned their confiscated tax refunds after Colvin said such collections would cease, "this refund does not eliminate your overpayment."
The children of payees they're dinging never received the benefit of this money. Again, it went to their parents.
How sick is this?
Despite the announced freeze, Social Security has continued to press Jessica Vela of San Diego for $16,888 that the government claims she owes for overpayments made to her mother in child support benefits when Vela was 1. Vela's mother is still alive, and Social Security first tried to collect from her, but the mother fought the government in court and won. That's when Social Security turned to the daughter.
...Now 24 and a Navy veteran whose husband remains on active duty, Vela was a month away from delivering her second child in April when her income tax refund of $5,996.87 was seized by the Treasury Department this spring.
"They took our entire refund without prior notification by mail, carrier pigeon, smoke signal, anything," she said. "We were hoping to buy a crib and everything else we needed for the baby with that money."
Vela has repeatedly contacted Social Security to appeal the seizure, and she said that some Social Security employees at the offices she has visited told her that she was in the right, but in October she received a letter telling her that the agency would not review her case again.
Women With Dyed Pits And That Magical Feminist World Where No One Will Ever Judge You
There's a WaPo article by Peter Holley about the ridiculous mini-trend of women going bushy in their armpits and then having the hair dyed. He's quoting Roxie Hunt, the Seattle hairdresser said to have started the trend:
The movement, Hunt said, is as much about embracing personal freedom as it is about aesthetic experimentation.
"It's a celebration of our right to make conscious choices about our bodies," Hunt said. "I would hope that in the next few years we can normalize the concept and female body hair and change the dialogue about what this country considers naturally beautiful."
In her "Free Your Pits Manifesto," which you can read here, Hunt writes:Whether you shave or not, women should be allowed to make decisions about their bodies without judgement from others. And, women making these decisions about their bodies should not be something exploited by the media. What we need is encouragement, not judgment. We greatly appreciate this opportunity to discuss how important it is to be true to yourself and to love your body, but we also recognize that women making conscious decisions about themselves should not in any way be shocking. We aim to normalize the concept of body hair on women and help others embrace their own if they so choose.
Regarding Hunt's childish view, typical of feminism and feminists, that nobody should "judge" you, we all judge people unless we're brain dead.
The world does not exist to encourage you.
PS Women -- and men -- have been shaving and epilating since about 7,000 BC. As I wrote in my column "When Harry Met Hairy":
It's great when your girlfriend reminds you of somebody exotic out of the movies -- when that somebody is Mila Kunis or Eva Mendes, not Chewbacca.
From that column, the history of hair removal -- male and female:
Archeological evidence (including hair-scraping stones and an impressive set of Bronze Age tweezers) suggests that women -- and often men -- have been shaving, depilating, and yanking out body hair since at least 7,000 B.C. In the early 1500s, Michelangelo sculpted David (who would have been a hairy Middle Eastern dude, looking more Borat than baby's bottom), making him look like he was too busy spending three weeks at the waxer to slay Goliath. And these days, male bodybuilders also remove their body hair, lest their admirers have to peer through the hair sweater to find the pecs and abs.
The Quran Calls For Violence Against The Infidel -- And Muslims In Australia Answered That Call
UPDATE: Michael Totten on The Sydney Gunman's Failed Message.
The jihadist invasion at a Lindt café in Australia is Muslims behaving as the Quran commands to behave -- waging jihad against the unbelievers (of Allah). It also calls for them to slaughter the unbelievers. Let's hope that doesn't happen.
The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called 'hypocrites' and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.
Unlike nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by the historical context of the surrounding text. They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subjective as anything else in the Quran.
The context of violent passages is more ambiguous than might be expected of a perfect book from a loving God, however this can work both ways. Most of today's Muslims exercise a personal choice to interpret their holy book's call to arms according to their own moral preconceptions about justifiable violence. Apologists cater to their preferences with tenuous arguments that gloss over historical fact and generally do not stand up to scrutiny. Still, it is important to note that the problem is not bad people, but bad ideology.
Unfortunately, there are very few verses of tolerance and peace to abrogate or even balance out the many that call for nonbelievers to be fought and subdued until they either accept humiliation, convert to Islam, or are killed. Muhammad's own martial legacy - and that of his companions - along with the remarkable stress on violence found in the Quran have produced a trail of blood and tears across world history.
...The strangest and most untrue thing that can be said about Islam is that it is a Religion of Peace. If every standard by which the West is judged and condemned (slavery, imperialism, intolerance, misogyny, sexual repression, warfare...) were applied equally to Islam, the verdict would be devastating. Islam never gives up what it conquers, be it religion, culture, language or life. Neither does it make apologies or any real effort at moral progress. It is the least open to dialogue and the most self-absorbed. It is convinced of its own perfection, yet brutally shuns self-examination and represses criticism.
This is what makes the Quran's verses of violence so dangerous. They are given the weight of divine command. While Muslim terrorists take them as literally as anything else in their holy book, and understand that Islam is incomplete without Jihad, moderates offer little to contradict them - outside of opinion. Indeed, what do they have? Speaking of peace and love may win over the ignorant, but when every twelfth verse of Islam's holiest book either speaks to Allah's hatred for non-Muslims or calls for their death, forced conversion, or subjugation, it's little wonder that sympathy for terrorism runs as deeply as it does in the broader community - even if most Muslims personally prefer not to interpret their religion in this way.
Although scholars like Ibn Khaldun, one of Islam's most respected philosophers, understood that "the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force", many other Muslims are either unaware or willfully ignorant of the Quran's near absence of verses that preach universal non-violence. Their understanding of Islam comes from what they are taught by others. In the West, it is typical for believers to think that their religion must be like Christianity - preaching the New Testament virtues of peace, love, and tolerance - because Muslims are taught that Islam is supposed to be superior in every way. They are somewhat surprised and embarrassed to learn that the evidence of the Quran and the bloody history of Islam are very much in contradiction to this.
Others simply accept the violence. In 1991, a Palestinian couple in America was convicted of stabbing their daughter to death for being too Westernized. A family friend came to their defense, excoriating the jury for not understanding the "culture", claiming that the father was merely following "the religion" and saying that the couple had to "discipline their daughter or lose respect." (source). In 2011, unrepentant Palestinian terrorists, responsible for the brutal murders of civilians, women and children explicitly in the name of Allah were treated to a luxurious "holy pilgrimage" to Mecca by the Saudi king - without a single Muslim voice raised in protest.
For their part, Western liberals would do well not to sacrifice critical thinking to the god of political correctness, or look for reasons to bring other religion down to the level of Islam merely to avoid the existential truth that this it is both different and dangerous.
There are just too many Muslims who take the Quran literally... and too many others who couldn't care less about the violence done in the name of Islam.
Europe is already in deep doodoo, reports Pravda:
President of the Institute of the Middle East, Evgeniy Satanovskiy told Pravda.Ru what jihadists wanted in Germany and what threats they posed to this country.
"In Germany there are thousands of jihadists, according to German Police hundreds of them are prone to organizing terrorist attacks. This is a very high threat level. And German Islamic communities, as a matter of fact, like Islamic communities around all Western Europe, are literally occupied by jihadists, and under complete inaction of the politically correct western political elite they have already trained the second or third generation of radical Islamists, a considerable part of whom now went to fight in Syria or Iraq or joined different divisions of al-Qaeda," Satanovskiy pointed out.
Back to the Australia situation: Great news -- three hostages were able to escape, police confirmed Sunday night. Via FoxNews.
UPDATE, as of 10:21 pm PT, two more hostages have gone free. Seems they're women. As of yet unsure as to whether they escaped or were let out, but I'm guessing they escaped.
Deep-discounted at Amazon -- normally $129, now $69 -- not sure for how long. (Saw it tweeted as a "Gold Box" deal.) It's the UP 24 by Jawbone - Bluetooth Enabled - Small - Retail Packaging - Red. It's a little fitness- and sleep-monitoring bracelet that reports the stats to your phone.
Advice Goddess Free Swim
It's Saturday night, and I'm sleepy. You pick the topics. I'll post more on Sunday morning.
P.S. One link per comment or my spam filter will eat your post.
What About Women Who Want To Pursue Painting Or Spend More Time Making Love To Their Husband?
A tweet about France's supposedly superior policies for moms -- which privilege people who make that choice over others and then send the bill to those mysterious folks called "other people."
No, you really cannot have it all, nor should you be able to.
Choices in life are tradeoffs. With each choice you make you are forgoing another choice. France makes "magical" things happen -- no forgoing. You can have two children and work 20 percent less at your job and still make the same money.
As Crid has pointed out here, there's a piper to pay. France does not pay the full cost of their defense, putting only 2.1 percent of their GDP into it and having us as a backstop. Ted Galen Carpenter and Marian L. Tupy at Cato:
America's already huge defense budget continues to grow. Counting the costs of the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. spends nearly as much on the military as the rest of the world combined. This year, defense spending will be roughly five percent of America's almost $15 trillion GDP.
We also pay for France's rock-bottom drug costs with higher drug prices in our country. (Sure, big pharma is into big profits, but research does cost a few shekels, too.)
About the "Waah, mothers should have it all" argument, Claire Cain Miller and Liz Alderman write in The New York Times:
Since Kerry Devine, 32, and her friends began having children, she has noticed a stark difference between her female friends in Auburn, Wash., where she lives, and those in England and Cyprus, where she grew up. In the United States, they almost all stopped working outside the home, at least until their children were in school. Yet, she says, she can't think of a friend in Europe who left work after her children were born.
Ms. Devine quit her job after she had her first child, a girl, four years ago, because she thought 12 weeks of maternity leave was too short. "I just didn't want to leave her in day care or pay for the expenses of it," she said. When she gave birth to twin boys this year, a return to work -- she had been a property manager for apartment buildings -- looked even less plausible.
...Like every mother in France, Delphine Dubost, a public-school teacher in Paris, was required to take a month and a half off before the births of her children. She was also able to take two and a half months of maternity leave afterward, all while receiving her full paycheck. After her second child, the law permitted her to work 80 percent of full time without a salary cut. She enrolled her children in France's state-run day care system where, for about $740 a month, children receive organic meals and even diapers. "It was great," she said. "You can keep working, but can also spend time with your children."
The employment decline in the United States is especially striking, because it has long preferred flexible labor markets -- rather than extensive benefits, like those in Europe -- in the name of job growth. Europe's long list of regulations and benefits, including family leave policies, still seem to be exacting a cost on the Continent's economies. But it's now clear the American approach has its costs, too: The free market leaves many families, particularly many women, struggling to find a solution that combines work and home life.
And here we see the socialist fantasy: Other people will pay for your choices, and the money will come from...oh, there's that money tree over there...just go pluck some dollars. They'll magically grow back!
From the NYT's comments:
Robert Daniels, West Palm Beach, FL
I fail to see how an individual's decision to have a child is the responsibility of the company's to grant them benefits that wouldn't be afforded to their single working counterpart. I'm sure 90% of the American work force would jump at a chance to take a year paid leave of absence or the right to work at home (even though statistics support lower productivity from work at home employees). If a family chooses to have a child then they should be prepared econmically for said decision, not the company.
Another sensible sort:
Jess, New York
This article neglects several key issues in the working/nonworking parent debate. First, is the long summer break and relatively short school day, put our children behind many children around the world in school as well as being extraordinarily burdensome to families with parents employed outside the home. Extending time in school would help parents at all levels of the socioeconomic ladder as well as improving education. Our summer break stems from our agrarian past and serves no useful purpose today. Children start each school year having to review much of what they learned in the prior year. Also, even for older children, summer jobs are very difficult to find and putting the time to productive use is challenging.
A second critical issue for people to consider is that is is a long life. Even if one wanted to dedicate time to childrearing until the teenage years, this still leaves many years to fill economic, social and emotional needs through work. Active parenting is a relatively short part of a working life that spans from the twenties to the seventies. In our child centric society childrearing can be all consuming. I would suggest, however, given the duration of the time after children, it is worth preparing for the next stage. Stay current on industry trends, document volunteer experiences in terms of skills applied, take free classes, start a small business or nonprofit, do whatever you can to enhance your value to your next employer.
And here's a woman who understands and accepts the tradeoffs -- and doesn't expect other people to pay the price of hers:
kkm, Ithaca, NY
Interestingly, this article does not consider value apart from money. It's a lot of work to raise children well; our culture tells us this can be done on a part time basis, or even just an hour or two a day. To run a home, to make meals, to have time and focus for the people around you takes time. At a professional job, we are expected to work far over 40 hours per week, we are lucky to be able to take a vacation. I had expected to go back to work after my son was born, but the idea of putting my 10 week old in someone else's arms and walking away devastated me. I decided to stay home with him and later my other children were born.
I changed from identifying myself as a research biologist to a mother. A full time mother; that is my job now. Financially things are tight. No exotic vacations for us-- not even disney world! Clothes are hand-me-downs, and Salvation Army, and yard sales. -- But I have time for camping with my family, birthday parties, making dinner, working in the garden, reading to my children. --I volunteer in the community in a number of ways.
I would resent being away from my children and family. My work at home is valuable, to me, to my family, and to society. I ask that such article such as this one would at least in a sentence or two, address that value.
When Rape Is On the Agenda, Use Of Logic Is Woman-Hate
Freddie deBoer challenges the lack of logic at The Week, in "What progressives don't want to talk about in the Rolling Stone scandal":
The social risks of being seen to express skepticism towards any given accusation of rape are now so powerful that many people avoid even the suggestion of doubt. Those who are willing to question individual accusations, like Cathy Young, are subject to repeated and vociferous criticism. In such an environment, it's no wonder Erdely felt little urge to interview the alleged assailants. To do so in our media culture was to invite risk and little reward.
But as the ensuing days have proved, there is considerable danger in applying this standard to journalism, and not merely for the accused. Ultimately, refusing to subject accusations of rape to rigorous review hurts accusers, by failing to build the strongest case on their behalf, and other victims, by producing ambient skepticism in the culture.
Take, for example, the accusation against musician Conor Oberst that emerged last year, which was later entirely recanted by his accuser. These accusations emerged piecemeal, first from comments on the website xoJane and later in an essay published on that site, from an initially pseudonymous accuser. This would seem to be a situation where care and skepticism are warranted; internet comments are, famously, the Wild West, largely unregulated spaces where people can say anything and usually do. It's easy to imagine someone making an accusation in such a space and having the story spiral out of control -- which is exactly what happened in this instance.
But prior to Oberst's exoneration, skepticism about that accusation was met with anger. Jezebel's Tracie Egan Morrissey, for example, asked, "Why would she want to hurt Oberst? And why would someone lie about being sexually assaulted? What could be gained from that? Nothing, really." This attitude presumes a rational mindset; Oberst's accuser later explained that she was driven to lie in part by grief over a sick child. Regardless, those who had reacted angrily to doubts about Oberst's guilt were left to retract their previous support, and in so doing, gave space to those who would deny rape writ large. Going to bat for every accusation, no matter how credible the evidence or circumstance, only plays into the hands of denialism when accusations are revealed to be false.
The insistence that every rape accusation must be presumed to be true inevitably means that the credibility of those opposing rape will always be bound up with the least credible accusation. This, perversely, makes it harder for those people to speak out against rape, not easier. The notion that rape victims should be believed by default seems humane and understandable. But in practice it leads to a condition where all rape accusations must be true for any individual standard to be taken seriously. That's an impossible standard, one no crime should ever have to meet.
As I wrote just a few days ago:
The same goes for "sexual harassment," and that's in quotes because the subject of that witch hunt, Bora Zivkovic, did nothing that met the legal standard for sexual harassment. It was sexual harassment simply because the women who accused him said it was.
And numerous reputable science writers -- males, too, like David Dobbs -- piled right on.
There are so many parallels to the Rolling Stone story. Nobody reported the other side of the story. The women were just believed. And questioning them was heresy and made you almost "as bad" as Bora. Yet, science writers take pride in their supposed skepticism. ("Supposed" is exactly right.)
It's time somebody reported that story. David Carr? Brendan O'Neill? Cathy Young? Katie Roiphe?
An injustice has been done to Bora and it's time somebody righted it by putting out a full set of facts -- including the other side.
(Good analysis of the whole Bora situation here, at nikitab.)
Furry links with very sharp teeth.
"You A Dumb Bitch," The Cop Tells Her
She a smart bitch, it turns out. The daughter of a cop, who knows her rights. And the video on her phone, apparently erased by somebody in the police department, was -- oopsy! -- still on the cloud.
In the early hours of a Sunday morning in March, Kianga Mwamba said, she was on the way home from a family gathering and about to stop to pick up some food for her children at the all-night restaurant Valentino's.
But as she got near, she stopped to record a group of police arresting a man across the street.
Mwamba, 36, flicked on the video recorder on her cell phone, telling officers she was allowed to record. But the situation quickly devolved into Mwamba's being hauled from her Toyota, tasered and charged with assaulting two police officers.
"I'm in shock for real, like are they really doing this to me," Mwamba said as she recalled the arrest in an interview this fall.
Kianga Mwamba, 36, was accused of assaulting police officers after she videotaped an arrest. The charges were later dropped and she is suing the police department, alleging that officers tried to delete the tape from her phone.
And when Mwamba was bailed out of jail that Monday morning, she said the video she made appeared to have been deleted from her phone. It was only when she checked another app that backed up her images and videos to the cloud that she found she still had a copy, she said.
Prosecutors dropped all the charges against Mwamba in September, concluding that there was insufficient evidence to move forward, and last week she filed a $7 million lawsuit against a number of officers she says were involved in her arrest and what she says was an attempt by police to destroy the footage.
...Mwamba's video does not capture the entire scene, and after she stopped her car and began filming an officer told her keep moving once a stoplight turned green.
"All right, I'll park, I'll park," Mwamba tells the officers.
Multiple officers can be heard telling Mwamba to get out of the street but as she tries to pull over, Mwamba says she cannot get out of the road because there are officers blocking the way.
"How can I pull my car over right here when the police is right here?" Mwamba says, according to the video.
Then, a minute and 23 seconds after Mwamba began filming, things appear to start spiraling out of control. The video does not show what happened but shouting and the sound of banging can be heard outside the car and Mwamba says, "Why would you do that?"
Officer Stephanie Uruchima wrote in a report that Mwamba had accelerated and hit Officer Kari Larson in the legs, knocking her back. Mwamba denies that she tried to hit Larson.
Uruchima then described an orderly process of trying to remove Mwamba from the car, but on the video it appears as though officers rush forward and they can be heard using a Taser, which has a distinctive clicking sound.
Read the details in the complaint (from the suit filed).
Law prof Turley blogs:
Despite consistent rulings upholding the right of citizens to film police in public, these abuses continue.
...The March 30th encounter is now the subject of a lawsuit against the Baltimore City Police Department, a department that has been the subject of repeated and ongoing claims of police abuse.
In the complaint ... Mwamba says that she was told to move her car but could not because there were police officers around it and then without warning she was dragged from the car and tased. She said that when she asked for her inhaler, officers laughed at her.
Ugly. To protect (themselves) and serve (themselves).
The Ugliness Of What Police Unions Stand Up For
Here's one example -- from a letter from a police union. WaPo's Sarah Larimer included this in a piece, "Police union: Miami chief's statements on Eric Garner's death 'do not reflect the views' of local officers."
The chief felt something indictment-worthy had gone on. The money shot from the police union's letter:
"Tackling Mr. Garner may have also caused him to not be able to breathe," the letter reads. "We also feel that Mr. Garner was not placed in a chokehold. The fact that he states eleven times that he can't breathe proves he was actually breathing."
Land Of The Wussies (Reporting The "Papercuts Of Oppression")
Princeton students have set up -- yes! -- a micro-aggression reporting service!
Via @AdamKissel, Katherine Timpf writes at NRO:
Princeton University students recently launched "Tiger Microaggressions," a service that takes other students' reports of microaggressions and publishes them on its Facebook page -- so that no one has to "carry the burden alone to call out " offenses against political correctness.
"If you witness a microaggression and would like us to put it on blast, submit your experience," encourages the page, which, by the way, also refers to microaggressions as "papercuts of oppression," which are "so small but slice deep."
...According to the operators, "microaggressions are all around us" and anything can be a microaggression because "there are no objective definitions to words and phrases."
"The perspective and lived experiences of each individual contextualizes the world around them and thus places a particular meaning in words based on their distinct subjectivity," they explain. "What counts as harmless banter to some may be emotionally triggering to others."
How lovely that college students, ripped away from their helicopter parents, are able to continue the culture of coddling even while away at an Ivy League university.
Linky (with a little tongue).
Turning Elderly People Into Storable Office Supplies
Important piece to read if you have an elderly relative in a nursing home -- on how the real drug problem in nursing homes is overmedication. Ina Jaffe writes at NPR:
It's one of the worst fears we have for our parents or for ourselves: that we, or they, will end up in a nursing home, drugged into a stupor. And that fear is not entirely unreasonable. Almost 300,000 nursing home residents are currently receiving antipsychotic drugs, usually to suppress the anxiety or aggression that can go with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia.
Antipsychotics, however, are approved mainly to treat serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. When it comes to dementia patients, the drugs have a black box warning, saying that they can increase the risk for heart failure, infections and death.
None of this was on Marie Sherman's mind when her family decided that her mother, 73-year-old Beatrice DeLeon, would be better off in a nursing facility near her home in Sonora, Calif. It wasn't because of her Alzheimer's disease, explains Sherman -- it was because her mother had had some falls.
She was given medication to quiet her down, with the nursing home staff saying she was agitated. The effects were ugly:
The DeLeon's daughter, Marie Sherman, says that when her mother wasn't "lost" she was "out of her skin."
"I mean, she was calling for help," Sherman says. "She was praying, 'Our Father, who art in heaven, please, please help me. Please, take me, please, get me out!' "
It turned out Beatrice DeLeon was given Risperdal and Seroquel, which are approved to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. But professor Bradley Williams, who teaches pharmacy and gerontology at the University of Southern California, says antipsychotics should only be used as a last resort, and just for a month or so, before gradually being eliminated.
...Antipsychotic drugs change behaviors, Williams says. "They blunt behaviors. They can cause sedation. It increases their risk for falls." And in the vast majority of cases, the drugs aren't necessary. "If you want to get to the very basic bottom line," he says, "why should someone pay for something that's not needed?"
But residents or their guardians may not know that the drug is not needed. And they're rarely told about the serious risks, says attorney Jody Moore, who specializes in elder law. She has sued nursing homes in California for failing to get informed consent when they use antipsychotic drugs, as required by law.
"We learned that the families really weren't told anything other than, 'The doctor has ordered this medication for you; please come sign a form,' " says Moore. "And families did."
Terrible stuff. If you have an elderly relative in a nursing home, find out all the drugs they're being given and run them through Uncle Google and/or get an opinion about them from your primary care physician or a doctor you know. Make sure your loved ones aren't being behaviorally warehoused -- that the drugs they are taking are for their benefit and not that of an overworked (or just lazy) nursing home staff.
Rape: It Only Matters When It Happens To Women
Michael Brendan Dougherty writes in The Week about the "rape culture" that everyone ignores -- the prison system that all but encourages sexual assaults:
Statistics on rape are notoriously unreliable. In or out of prison, victims often fear reporting on their assailants. And so the above statistics are likely to underestimate the problem. But we do know that once you include the prison population, men are raped more often in the United States than women.
In prison, men may become the victim of repeated gang rapes. Prisoners can be locked into cells with the men who prey on them. Some live under the constant threat of sexual assault for decades. Their efforts to report their rape are ignored or even punished, both by prison personnel and an inmate culture that destroys "snitches." The threat of rape is so pervasive it causes some inmates to "consent" to sex with certain prisoners or officers as a way of avoiding rape by others.
Acceptance of prison rape is a stinking corruption. No conception of justice can include plunging criminals into an anarchic world of sexual terror. And obviously it thwarts any possibility of a rehabilitative justice that aims to restore criminals to lawful society. Inmates are not improved or better integrated into society through physical and psychological torture.
...The first step to reform is simply acknowledging the humanity of our prisoners. Part of that involves reconciling our concepts of retribution and rehabilitation. After all, making sure that an appropriate punishment is inflicted on a convicted criminal (and no more than that) is a way of taking the original crime and the original victim seriously, too.
The Wage Gap Is Really A Life-Choice Gap
Ashe Schow writes at the WashEx:
Despite continued claims from the White House and media that women earning less than men is solely or entirely due to discrimination, a new Bureau of Labor Statistics report puts that explanation to rest.
The report, released this week, found that women on average made 82.1 cents to the dollar that men earned. At first glance, this 17.9-cent gap still seems high, even though it's lower than the oft-cited 23-cent figure.
But dig deeper, and one will find that the gap is nearly entirely due to the choices women make in their personal lives. Mark J. Perry, an American Enterprise Scholar, made an incredibly handy chart comparing women's earnings to men...
...Single women with no children earned 96.1 percent of what men with similar characteristics earned -- and that doesn't even begin to factor in career and education choices. As Perry noted, marriage and children have -- in terms of earnings -- a negative impact for women.
"Therefore, BLS data show that marriage has a significant and negative effect on women's earnings relative to men's, but we can realistically assume that marriage is a voluntary lifestyle decision, and it's that personal choice, not necessarily labor market discrimination, that contributes to much of the gender wage gap for married workers," Perry wrote.
Another significant factor contributing to the wage gap is the number of hours worked. Married women working full-time and having children under the age of 18 earned only 78.9 percent of what married men with children earned. But there is no evidence this is due to discrimination -- the difference was that men were more likely than women to work 40-plus and 60-plus hour work weeks, contributing to higher earnings.
The money quote: "Single women with no children earned 96.1 percent of what men with similar characteristics earned -- and that doesn't even begin to factor in career and education choices."