Tuesday, January 31, 2006
DNC Fund Raising Going Poorly?
Post by Jo Fish:
ChutzpahFrom the comments:
is a call I just got from the DNC looking for money.
I don't think so.
I politely explained to her that when the DLC and DSCC decide to grown a pair, I may send them the loose beer & pop cans floating around in my shop.Seems the rank and file aren't too happy.
But told her to put on my card 'don't hold your breath on that'.
Maybe it's for spinal surgery?
Yep, got the same call at 930am Sunday morning. Grow some balls first, THEN ask for money.
Maupin vs. Sheehan
As you would expect Matt's parents continue to grieve and suffer and cling to a sliver of hope for their son. Was Matt executed or is he languishing under terrorist capture and torture somewhere? Which fate would be worse?
Through their pain and suffering Carolyn and Keith Maupin maintain dignity, hope and honor. Currently, the Maupins hope to raise "$100,000 in scholarship money that will go to the schools attended by area soldiers killed in Iraq."
A dinner dance will be held on April 9 - the second anniversary of Maupin's capture after his convoy was hit by Iraqi insurgents - at the Oasis Country Club near Loveland.The Maupins live in Batavia, Ohio, a small town just east of Cincinnati. The public and the media in the area have been supportive of the Maupins in their pain and sorrow and in their efforts. Nationally, the media appears to largely ignore the Maupins.
By selling individual tickets for $30 each, $50 for couples and $300 for a table of 10, the Maupins hope to raise $100,000 in honor of 32 soldiers and Marines from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana who lost their lives in Iraq.
The national media prefers to spotlight the increasingly bizarre antics of Cindy Sheehan. Michelle Malkin and Hurricane_radio discuss Cindy's lunacy also reported in this article. Cindy, apparently on a massive ego-trip, would rather be hugging Hugo Chavez than actually helping someone.
Media bias is reflected not just in how something is reported but also in what is reported. The left-leaning national media would report on the disturbed actions of a woman only a half a step from Thorazine than the dignified, honorable actions of a couple still able to give and share with others despite their personal tragedy.
If you wish to support the Maupins, here is the contact info:
The Maupins said donations to the April 9 Scholarship Fund can be made at any Fifth Third Bank branch. For dinner dance information, call the Yellow Ribbon Support Center at (513) 752-4310.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Abortion Rights and Wrongs
First, let me openly admit that on the subject of abortion I start from my conclusion and work back to "logically" build a position to support my conclusion. When I was 19 my girlfriend and I discovered she was pregnant. Being before the Roe vs. Wade decision, abortion was not much a option unless we drove to some distant place. In reality, abortion would not have been seriously considered. We got married, I dropped out of college and found full-time employment. We produced a beautiful baby girl who is now 34 years old and provided two grandchildren.
In about 1991, a lady wrote a letter to the Cincinnati Enquirer describing how she had had three abortions during her life with the last one leaving her unable to conceive. I responded with a letter describing my life events. Several people responded in the newspaper and 4 or 5 wrote me personally. Of the ones that supported abortion "rights", all assumed that I had never finished college due to this child's conception and birth although I did not mention one way or the other the outcome of my schooling.
I found it interesting that the abortion rights supporters perceived unwanted or unplanned pregnancy as such a disaster and tragedy that it would ruin your life. For me, this child saved my life. Before, I had no real direction, was muddling through college with a 2.0 GPA, etc. Taking my responsibility seriously, I continued my college education although I had to take time off to earn money to pay tuition, etc. My lowest GPA in any one quarter was 3.75 with 5 quarters of 4.O GPA. After a 3 year break to work, I returned to graduate school and graduated with an M.S. with a 3.97 GPA (easy major though).
I dread to think where my life would have ended up without this series of events. Sure, maybe I could have accumulated more wealth, or traveled more extensively, or whatever, but for me this was the best thing that ever happened to me along with the births of my other three children.
A few weeks past, bunches and bunches of people traveled lots and lots of miles to march in Washington, D.C. (I use "bunches" and "lots" so as not to quibble over actual figures.) My son's small parochial school let school out for a day so students and faculty could go to the march if they wished. For virtually my entire adult life, abortion has been a volatile subject of debate. Some call those who oppose abortion "fascists," "Nazis," and "totalitarian." Those who oppose abortion call abortion supporters "murderers."
While I oppose the act of abortion, I prefer to avoid the hyperbole used by both sides of the issue. I'm not sure exactly when life begins or what the definition of a "viable life" should be. I know a couple whose premature baby weighed 1 lb. 4 oz. at birth and survived to become a healthy child although needs to wear glasses due to such early birth.
The truth is that none of us really "know" when life begins. We can choose when we think it begins and act accordingly. We also can't fully predict the outcomes of unexpected births, or expected births. I use the approach of Pascal's wager, that it is a better bet to believe a fetus is a living human being. I suppose the nuns in my grade school did a good job on "indoctrinating" me.
What if I support abortion and bet wrong. My ever after may not be that great. Of course, if you're an atheist this argument holds no value. But, I don't know how atheist are able to put any value on human life any greater than a common stone.
A funny thing to me is that many of the supporters of abortion rights use the argument that a woman has the right to control of her body. Despite the one/two dichotomy, these same people often speak out vociferously against any activity in which a woman's looks or sexual appeal is "exploited." Why can't a woman earn money by having sex with others? A woman could have sex with 10 men a night and it would be perfectly legal as long as she didn't ask for any pay. Why not be reimbursed for her efforts? These are consenting adults mutually agreeing to an activity.
Another aspect of the abortion debate that disturbs me is the complete onsidedness regarding gender. Virtually, all the choices lay in the woman's hands. Not only do women hold all the power of decision but in some states, such as Ohio, laws allow women to anonymously drop off unwanted babies with no questions asked and no notice to the father. While preferable to abortion, this continues the heavy bias towards women in this realm.
A man's only choice is keeping it in his pants. Many feminists (and male feminists) support this position.
A solitary old man holding a large hand lettered cardboard sign in front of him. Men who are against abortion should keep it in their pants, it said. My husband and I chuckled as we passed him, and he grinned.I certainly support this position unless, as a man, you want to be joined at the hip with a woman you may not be able to stand.
That last message stayed with me on the long, slow drive back to New Jersey. He's right you know, I told my husband the next morning. That man with the placard we met as we were leaving. He gets it.
Some interesting thoughts on abortion, Democrats and euthanasia here.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Snakes on a Plane
Do Children Lie About Sex Abuse?
The sordid story began when Stephanie, just 7 years old at the time, was caught in a bitter custody battle between her parents, LaVonna and Stephan Arena. Worried that she'd lose her daughter, LaVonna took Stephanie and her brother from their home in Texas to a Florida homeless shelter. She then justified the abduction by telling social workers her kids were being molested.Now that she is older and realizes what she did was wrong she wants to ameliorate the situation the best she can.
Stephanie now says her mother used her as a tool to pry her family apart and to get her father to drop his custody claim.
"I am responsible for putting them in prison, and now that I am older and I can understand the consequences of my actions, I need to step up and do what I have to [to] make things right," she told "20/20" in an exclusive interview.She has been trying to make up for her actions since she was 11 years old. The task has been far from easy but Stephanie persisted bravely.
Judge Edward Johnson of Bell County, Texas, warned Stephanie repeatedly that she could face felony prosecution for perjury and a possible 10-year prison sentence if she recanted her original charges. Johnson refused "20/20's" request for an interview.Ironically and sadly, after sending two boys to prison using false accusations, Stephanie's mother "allowed a twice-convicted pedophile to live with her and Stephanie. A judge found her mom's judgment so poor he awarded sole custody of Stephanie to her father, Stephan." The mother seems to have made a habit of false accusations.
Even at her young age, Stephanie refused to back down and was willing — as the judge warned she might — to go to prison.
"I really do think that two-to-10 years is a small price to pay," she said.
It appears, however, that LaVonna's accusations are part of a troubling pattern. Police records and family testimony suggest that on three different occasions she has falsely accused other family members of abusing her kids, including a charge against Stephanie's father, Stephan Arena.False allegations sometimes occur because of over zealous police, mental health professionals and prosecutors. Two of the most infamous cases are the McMartin PreSchool case in California and the Fells Acres case in Massachusetts.
Of course, one of the real dangers of false accusations is that it may cause some cases of actual sexual abuse to be inadequately investigated. But I can barely imagine how scary and frustrating it must be to be the victim of false allegations.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Boy Sues His High School For Bias Against Boys
At Milton High School, girls outnumber boys by almost 2 to 1 on the honor roll. In Advanced Placement classes, almost 60 percent of the students are femaleAnglin receives support from the female class president.
It's not that girls are smarter than boys, said Doug Anglin, a 17-year-old senior at the high school.
Girls are outperforming boys because the school system favors them, said Anglin, who has filed a federal civil rights complaint contending that his school discriminates against boys
Of the 22 students in her honors Spanish class, only one is a boy, said Little, a senior. She also said that teachers rarely ask her for a hall pass if she is not in class, while they routinely question boys walking behind her.At least the other kids understand. I found this next item interesting because, as a basketball player, I received phys ed credit for playing sports. I never took a phys ed class in high school, just basketball and running track.
As for assignments, she said, one teacher expects students to type up class notes and decorate their notebooks with glitter and feathers.
"You can't expect a boy to buy pink paper and frills to decorate their notebooks," Little said.
School official said they cannot give credit for sports and are unlikely to allow students to take courses without grades.Most colleges allow you to audit a course if you pay tuition. But high schools do have more limited resources.
I'm curious to see how this turns out. I'm not real optimistic. I believe that the people and institutions are so used to seeing all discrimination as being against females and ethnic minorities that they wouldn't recognize anti-male gender bias if it hit them in the face.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Trouble In Detroit (and surrounding areas)
Ford Motor Co. plans to cut up to 30,000 jobs and shutter 14 plants in a sweeping restructuring that the nation's second biggest automaker hopes will tackle declining market share and rising costs that led to hefty losses in its North American operations.Problems continue at GM, too. Chrysler may be next.
CNNMoney.com asks "Are American cars really that bad?.
The answer is that, overall, GM and Ford cars are not that bad. In fact, depending on which survey you believe, they may even have become pretty good.CNNMoney.com looks at JD Power survey numbers to support this conclusion. The figures are based on the "number of problems vehicle owners have after 3 years of ownership."
The problem is that "pretty good" has become "not quite good enough" in a world where quality standards have been raised so high and which many consumers still have bad memories of General Motors and Ford cars that have failed them in the past.
While this is a good measure, I use Consumer's Reports ratings and recommendations which don't show such a rosy picture for American manufacturer cars. These ratings are based on the reports of members of Consumers' Union and cover a longer time span than three years. Of the best and worst used cars CR lists 62 "Good Bets," only eight American cars make the list. Of the 32 "Bad Bets," 21 are American made. Japanese manufacturers dominate the "Good Bets."
Over the past 20 years, I've had American made cars and a couple of Toyotas. From personal experience, there's no comparison. As one used car salesman once told me, "I'd rather have a Toyota or Honda with 125,000 miles on it than an American car with 25,000." I like to drive a car till it drops. I put over 200,000 miles on my Dodge Neon and about 175,000 miles on my Ford Aerostar minivan. However, it required a lot of money in repairs and maintenance - head gaskets in the Neon, a lot of less serious stuff in the Aerostar and the roof leaked around the luggage rack. Now I have a Toyota with nearly 155,000 miles and only a new timing belt plus routine maintenance has been required. It still runs beautifully.
It's not hard to make a car that looks good, feels good and runs good off the showroom floor. But to make one that does after 150,000 miles is. Others I know have had wonderful experiences with Toyotas and Hondas. Totally, unscientific evidence but enough to convince me. Quality does count.
During the recession that began in the 1970's and ran into the 1980's, I read an article about how manufacturers that produced high quality products, such as Maytag, Anderson Windows and Honda, did just fine. Seems people are more careful with their money when things are financially tighter. They don't want to waste their money on inferior products.
For me, when I look at automobiles my top two priorities are quality and, because I drive over 100 miles a day, economy. I feel confident I can get both from Honda or Toyota, with American manufacturers, I feel it's a crap shoot. When the Big Three get serious about quality, they will make serious profits.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Zero Base Budgeting and Life
A method of budgeting whereby all activities are reevaluated each time a budget is set. Discrete levels of each activity are valued and a combination chosen to match funds available.Basically, you start at zero for each new budget and evaluate and justify your budget from there. When learning this it struck me that such an approach may be helpful in one's approach to life in general.
Over the years, one tends to build a system of preconceptions about nearly everything, people, countries, food, clothes, companies, etc. If one is not careful, one's view of the world becomes so tinted by these preconceptions that one fails to perceive what is really there. Maybe, it would be better, fresher to start at zero each day.
This doesn't mean to disregard the knowledge we have accumulated. The knowledge is important in helping us to negotiate our everyday world. It simply means to allow ourselves to open up to the possibility of new experiences. Maybe the person at work who has been a thorn in our side is trying to change, maybe they'll be friendlier and more cooperative. Maybe some seafood is good.
Jiddu Krishnamurti said:
So that is the first thing, if I may suggest, that we have to learn: to be able to look at your wife, or husband, without the image that you have built through many years about her, or about him: and that is extraordinarily difficult. Our life is a series of experiences; we have had a thousand experiences and all those experiences have become knowledge, they have left their mark on the mind, the very brain cells themselves are loaded with these memories and when we look at our wife, or at a friend or the clouds, or the light of the rising sun, we look with the memories of experiences, therefore the looking is of the past - with the eyes of the past we look and therefore there is no understanding of life as it is in the present.A psychological/emotional zero base budgeting. With each day I try to allow myself to look at the world with fresh eyes. Sometimes I succeed and am pleasantly rewarded, although pleasant reward is not the point. Something new presents itself to me and I recognize. Other times, I act out of my built up preconceptions and prejudices. This may work out OK and be pleasantly rewarding also. But when I create an unnecessarily negative experience because of my preconceptions, I realize that I wasn't paying attention to what was going on at the moment but reacting to some event(s) from the past. For those few moments when I'm right here, right now, there is no substitute.
Perhaps this sounds like a lot of blather, but I find that somehow it seems to make my life more meaningful, or something.
Another BAD Teacher
Joshua Vannoy wore his Denver's Bronco Jersey to school last Friday at Beaver Area Senior High School in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. His teacher, John Kelly, wore a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey the same day. (Not much of a professional dress code.)
This was the result:
The teacher, John Kelly, forced Joshua Vannoy to sit on the floor and take the test Friday -- two days before the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Broncos 34-17 in the AFC championship game. Kelly also made other students throw crumpled up paper at Vannoy, whom he called a "stinking Denver fan," Vannoy told The Associated Press on Monday.Time for a spelling bee.
Kelly said Vannoy, a junior at Beaver Area Senior High School, just didn't get the joke.
How do you spell "asshole?" Answer: J-o-h-n K-e-l-l-y.
Next word, how do you spell "dumb ass?" Answer: J-o-h-n K-e-l-l-y.
Sorry if you find this offensive but this teacher's actions go way beyond offensive and he doesn't seem to get it at all. Mr. Kelly needs to find another profession, maybe working at a sewage treatment plant.
Read the article at SI.com.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
This victory extra special, true Orange-blooded Volunteers despise Florida for stealing football coach Doug Dickey years ago and making us put up with the obnoxious Steve Spurrier. Sure both were in football but the rivalry bleeds over to all sports. Additionally, the Vols' Chris Lofton scored 29 points in the victory. Chris hails from Mason County High School. The same schools that my two youngest children attend. Way to go, Chris!
BTW - Seth Davis at SI.com called this one almost perfectly.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Official Bias in Kentucky
I asked the worker, who had a Master's in Social Work degree, about it and she stated that just the previous week she had been to a workshop on domestic violence and had been told 90% of all domestic violence was committed by men. (So not quite all.) I decided to do a little research on the Internet.
What I found was that Kentucky indeed, at that time, about year 2000, considered all domestic violence a man battering woman problem. They even had an online domestic violence training module that stated such. The training module has since disappeared. Maybe that had something to with my having sent an email to the American Coalition of Fathers and Children about the module. I wish I had downloaded a copy for future reference.
Things have changed only slightly since then. Today I performed some searches on the ky.gov website and still found a heavy bias although not quite as obvious. My intention here is not to argue the statistics of domestic violence, abuse and related crime. Such statistics are influenced by many factors - unreported incidents, undetected incidents, differing opinions of what's abuse, etc. My intention is to show the imbalance of official policy and lack of equal protection under the law that the U.S. Constitution supposedly guarantees.
First I found this link to the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association Certified Domestic Violence Advocate Certification Program via the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Reviewing the mandatory and suggested reading list I found eight reference to men. Seven of the references were to men as abusers/batterers. The other was a reference to gay men. I found 122 references to women. All references were to women as victims except for a few that addressed women and substance abuse. Hardly seems to be a balanced approach. Although KDVA is a private agency, the Kentucky state government website will send you there.
At the Kentucky Attorney General's site, the list of programs contains this tidbit: "On-staff violence against women prosecution specialist," nothing relating to men.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services also has a "Concurrent Child Maltreatment and Domestic Violence Tip Sheet". for its workers. The language is generally gender neutral except at one point: "Has he been specifically abusive to the children?" Am I being too picky or is this a Freudian slip in print? Are women never abusive to children? We all know the answer to that question.
Just for laughs I found this abstract on Violence and Stress Experienced by Female Long-Haul Truckers. I don't know what percentage of long-haul truckers are female, but I bet it's pretty small. Of course, male truckers never experience violence or stress.
Other facts lost in all this because of the focus on domestic violence are:
- Males were 3.4 times more likely than females to be murdered in 2002
- From 1976-2002 Males made of 37.2% of murder victims from intimate violence.
- Males made up 76.4% of all murder victims during that same time period.
- Females committed 35.2% of all intimate partner murders form 1976-2002
I'm not arguing that any violent crime be ignored. Women and children victims of violent crime need protection. But so do men who are victims of violent crime. Yet, they are not only being ignored and denied equal protection but being viewed only as the problem.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Broken Mouth Mountain
I heard a while ago that West Virginia was going to ban it but that's a state that was lynching people only 25 years ago so that's to be expected..."I couldn't resist.
Of course every psuedo-intellectual actor/actress (and plenty of others) loves to assail the hillbillies and rednecks of Appalachia and the South. It soothes one's ego to look down one's nose at an entire region of people with an air of superiority.
In a brief search of the Web, the most recent lynching in West Virginia was 1931, more than 70 years ago.
1931. On December 10, two African Americans accused of killing two white constables were forcibly removed from the Greenbrier County jail and lynched by a mob of white men. Following several convictions for the lynching, the West Virginia Supreme Court upheld a 1921 anti-lynching law drafted by Harry J. Capehart and T. G. Nutter. Source: Posey, The Negro Citizen of West Virginia, 78-80.As you can see, the lynching was fully prosecuted under a law passed in West Virginia in 1921. The Federal government has yet to pass an anti-lynching law although it did apologize for not doing so.
But I did find this article about a lynching that occurred in 1999 in Ledger's home country of Australia.
And, why do they keep calling them "cowboys"? They were shepherds. At least they didn't have a love affair with the livestock. I think Woody Allen did that in a movie about 35 years ago, "Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex" I believe. But I'm sure Hollywood plans to explore the more serious aspects of love between human and animal in the near future. We need more enlightenment.
BTW - according to this newspaper article in Charleston, WV, there is no ban.
Self-Made Man Has Trouble With Women!
Here Instapundit discusses Norah Vincent's book, Self-Made Man : One Woman's Journey into Manhood and Back . What really caught my eye was the excerpt he posts:
Bisexuals know that hurt gets inflicted by both sexes in equal measure if not always by the same means. But for these women -- who had never dated other women, and thus never been romantically hurt by them -- men as a subspecies, not the particular men with whom they had been involved, were to blame for the wreck of a relationship and the psychic damage it had done to them.I don't know about the bisexual part but the "pass my test" part sure sounds familiar. Usually the prize for passing the test isn't that great. We all should try to ensure we're compatible with someone but it's rather condescending and arrogant to think someone has to pass a test to have the possibility of a relationship with you. If I want to pass tests, I'll go back to school. For some women the test is ongoing. If you flunk the test after matrimony, you lose half of everything you worked for.
It's hardly surprising, then, that in this atmosphere, as a single man dating women, I often felt attacked, judged, on the defensive. Whereas with the men I met and befriended as Ned there was a presumption of innocence -- that is, you're a good guy until you prove otherwise -- with women there was quite often a presumption of guilt: you're a cad like every other guy until you prove otherwise.
"Pass my test and then we'll see if you're worthy of me" was the implicit message coming across the table at me. And this from women who had demonstrably little to offer. "Be lighthearted," they said, though buoyant as lead zeppelins themselves. "Be kind," they insisted in the harshest of tones. "Don't be like the others," they implied, while having virtually condemned me as such before hand.
How many times have you heard a woman tell a man, "You just lost some points."? In the words of comedian, Greg Hahn, how many points did I start out with? And, I want to transfer my account to your younger sister.
A little anecdote, I once knew a man who owned a service station situated just off of an Interstate exit and thus was quite valuable. He was a nice but rough-hewn, mechanic kind of fellow which is what you would expect from a service station owner. Once upon a time, he had been married for 3 months. Upon the divorce, he had to pay his ex-wife $100,000. This was pre-1980. Quite a bit of money for that time. Obviously, his ex-wife hadn't made any sort of significant contribution to the value of his service station. His take on the situation was this, "I could have had a $1,000 whore every night for three months for less than that."
I'll have to read this book.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Augusta School Gym
This is the school gym in Augusta, KY. It serves all grades. The school and the town of Augusta are quite small. The school has about 300 students kindergarten thru 12th grade. This is where George Clooney played basketball. According to a local, he "wudn't any good."
If you look closely you can pick out number 41 on the left side. He shares my DNA (my oldest son). My son's team won the game on a last second layup that fell in as the buzzer went off.
My oldest son barely tops 6 feet tall but can dunk with two hands. Here he blocks the shot of a 6' 6" opponent. As my younger son says of his older brother, "He's got serious hops!"
Monday, January 16, 2006
To Date of Not To Date
Feminist created Âdomestic violenceÂ laws serve as another way to give women an upper hand over men while keeping them dependent on men and the government. Domestic violence laws are not necessary, since there are already well-established laws in place preventing assault and battery. But feminists wanted to give women an advantage in the home over their husbands and boyfriends by teaching them to involve the government in order to win verbal arguments. Domestic violence laws now include Âglaring looksÂ and Âfinancial violence,Â whatever that means. Somewhere less than twenty percent of all domestic violence calls even involve an allegation of assault. Domestic violence laws give women an edge over men because men are five to nine times less likely to call the police over a dispute than women are. Police reports and restraining orders play a large role in deciding child custody issues, so the more a woman calls the police, the better chances she has at obtaining custody of any mutual children along with ÂfreeÂ child support...Rachel Alexander, a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Arizona, wrote the column. Earlier in the column she makes this statement:
To remain relevant in the U.S. and other democratic countries, feminists have championed odd issues, issues that are not about womenÂs equality, but are about getting one-up on men.This sums up much of the reason I haven't actively sought a date or other romantic contact with a woman in four or five years.
Having been married twice I'm more than twice shy. It seems the defining quality of a woman that is wrong for me is that she is a woman I want. I'm considering having my sisters screen any women I might be interested as they can evaluate with objectivity. But the other reason for my reluctance is "What can a woman offer that will enhance my life more than harm it?"
This may sound somewhat selfish but I'm perfectly to give all that I can but it is fully reasonable to expect equal in return. As a middle age man, I have four children and want no more. I remember wanting to have children as far back as my middle grade school years. The nuns would talk to us about how great it would be to enter the priesthood. I would always think, maybe, but first I want to get married and have children. Then if my wife happens to die unexpectedly and my kids are grown.... (Morbid but I was a kid.)
But now I have enough kids and, despite the Strom Thurmonds of the world, consider myself too old to bring new children into the world. A woman could offer me companionship and partnership and this is what I would like.
But if the partnership goes bad, what happens? Who has the advantage in property settlements, etc.? I've already given up two houses. After my last divorce I successfully made a concerted effort to be fully independent financially and otherwise. I've worked too hard to risk what I've earned. I've always been a "serious" dater. I don't see much point in dating unless potential matrimony is in the stars. Since, I'm not too interested in matrimony, why date? Now I have all the time I want to watch my kids play sports (and sometimes play with them), take them camping, plus pursue a few of my own interests without demands from another adult.
I am not the only one to think this way. Stephen Baskerville touches on this in his article, Men Boycott Marriage. This post at Free Republic touches on the same subject. There is even a website called NoMarriage.com which focuses on keeping men from marrying.
For me, as long as the risks and potential losses are too great and the scales of justice tipped in favor of females, I will remain more than reluctant to enter into a close relationship with a woman.
UPDATE: BTW, According to my scores on the, Authentic Happiness Inventory I am quite happy.
4.08 on a scale of 1 to 5.
As high as or higher than:
95% of web users
93% of my gender (male)
94% of my age group
96% of my occupation group
92% of my education level
100% of my Zip Code
(I live in a low population Zip Code. Odds are strong I'm the only person in my Zip Code to have completed this inventory.)
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Root Causes and Miss Manners
While visiting I read portions of the Knoxville News-Sentinel including the editorial section. I first began reading the editorial section of the newspaper in the eighth grade. One of my early ambitions was to be an editorial columnist. Then I discovered that most newspaper writers don't make much money. I then found a different area in which not to make much money but continued to read the editorial section.
In recent years I have read newspapers less and depended more in the Internet for my news. Newspapers have one definite advantage however, you can scan the pages quickly and pick out the stuff that interests you much more quickly than on the Internet. During my scanning of the letters to the editor I came upon a letter discussing the need to find the "root causes" of terrorism in order to eliminate it. Ah, the old root causes argument. I am actually dismayed that some still think that we can find the root causes and thus embark on a course that will ameliorate the problem and eliminate terrorism, poverty, hatred, etc.
I'm sure there are plenty of root causes of terrorism such as hatred going back into Biblical times, terrorists teaching kids to be terrorists beginning at infancy, etc. I'm sure certain actions of the U.S and other western nations exacerbate the problem of terrorism. But I'm not sure if we can actually analyze the situation adequately and use that information to implement a course of action that will actually work. I simply like the "talk softly and carry a big stick" approach.
Although, I do like the idea of helping people of other nations achieve as high a standard of living as possible. The more you have to lose the less likely you are to take a course of action, such as terrorism, that will lead to its loss. Yet, with the corruption and totalitarian control of many of the governments of terrorist based countries, helping these people is a virtually impossible task. Plus, if one of terrorism's root causes, why isn't terrorism much more rampant in Central and South America?
Maybe some of the root causes have more to do with the beliefs of the terrorists themselves or is it a strange coincidence that the overwhelming majority of terrorists share a common belief. I don't know what you can do to change this belief system. No one seems to have had any significant success so far.
In December, 2004, The American Spectator wrote about root causes.
Root causes are the rationalizations liberals give -- usually after the fact -- for their immoral actions or for the immoral actions of others. The paradox at the heart of the root-causes fraud is that causal theoretical explanations are invoked only after bad deeds have been committed. Good deeds have no need of mitigating circumstances.The article includes a focus on terrorism.
Western Liberal "intellectuals," not Jihadists, are behind the root-causes theory of terrorism. Ask any Islamic terrorist why he desires to kill Americans and Israelis, including innocent civilians, and he'll reply with candor and conviction. The Islamic criminal, unlike the common criminal that inhabits Western jails, lacks psychological savvy, a fact that increases his believability. He hasn't yet imbibed the teachings of Western progressive psychotherapists, eager to help him excavate the "root causes" of his depraved deeds.
On to Miss Manners.
Miss Manners' column today focused on vulgarity. The kind of vulgarity she discussed was not the cursing, vile kind but the conspicuous consumption kind. She starts out:
Is vulgarity a criminal offense?I love this:
It would seem so. When rich people are in trouble and stories about their wild spending habits come out in court, you know they are headed for the slammer. This involves some unseemly chortling about how people who have been living soft lives will fare in prison.
You can't be too careful about exposing your children to what is otherwise touted as the national dream -- cornering the market in superfluous and ludicrously priced dry goods.Almost everybody hates the rich although almost everybody dreams of being one of the rich. Her final paragraph reads:
It all looks ugly when it comes out in court. What Miss Manners wants to know is why the public doesn't regard the same behavior in law-abiding citizens as tasteless and silly.Good thought. It seems the American public can't get enough of the infinitely boring Paris Hilton and other insipid rich celebrities but are always eager to see the Martha Stewarts and Leona Helmsleys go to jail on trumped up charges.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Battered Men and VAWA
The final version includes text that, for the first time, recognizes male victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. This is a step in the right direction of a balanced approach to family violence - but only the first step.This is good news. As Cathy points out:
No less important, the bill directs the General Accounting Office to "conduct a study to establish the extent to which men, women, youth, and children are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, and the availability to all victims of shelter, counseling, legal representation, and other services commonly provided to victims of domestic violence."
The 1996 National Violence Against Women Survey, cosponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute of Justice, found that 38 percent of the approximately 2.3 million Americans who experience partner violence every year are menThere is still a long way to go. The VAWA has been essentially a tool of radical feminists to heavily tilt the scales of justice in favor of women, whether deservedly so or not. Domestic violence services for men are a rarity. See how many protective shelters you can find for men, and then for women. Men are relegated to homeless shelters while women, even in small towns, such as Maysville, KY (population less than 10,000), have women's shelters. Try to find one for men (other than a homeless shelter) in a city ten times that size. You won't.
Evil Yahtzee Claims More Victims
State liquor enforcement agents said they suspended the pub's liquor license because the game, which required $1 to play, constituted gambling.Many folks think Yahtzee is a innocent parlor room game but think again. But in Warren, Ohio which is just outside of Cincinnati, in 2001, Yahtzee addiction claimed other victims.
Officers of a local social club pleaded innocent Thursday to misdemeanor charges of operating a gambling houseYahtzee has even been associated with illegal substances in Michigan.
The club was raided Jan. 12 by police detectives and liquor agents with the state's Department of Public Safety. More than $7,000 was confiscated along with football betting slips, football pools, tearoffs, BBs, and gambling card games and Yahtzee, Warren Detective Sgt. Jeff Hoolihan said.
The club was raided Jan. 12 by police detectives and liquor agents with the state's Department of Public Safety. More than $7,000 was confiscated along with football betting slips, football pools, tearoffs, BBs, and gambling card games and Yahtzee, Warren Detective Sgt. Jeff Hoolihan said.
In the bag was a shrinkwrappedStrangely enough, in the Kalamazoo County, Michigan jail, inmates are allowed to play Yahtzee.
Yahtzee game. The two subjects were then placed in the back of the patrol car and transported to the police station. A half an hour
later the officers located the drugs in the Yahtzee game.
The game must be donated to the jail and distributed by the Chaplain (Monopoly, Scrabble, Checkers, Chess, Yahtzee, Risk, and Domino's only).I guess for these hardened criminals Yahtzee can do little more harm to their lives than they've done themselves.
A public education/awareness program is needed to warn the unsuspecting about the dangers of Yahtzee. Until then, be careful when you walk down the board game aisle at your local Walmart or Toys R Us.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
University Seeking Ways To Increase Male Enrollment
Women outnumber men at institutions of higher learning across the nation and Alaska is no exception, said Judy Kleinfeld, the director of northern studies at UAF who researched the growing gender gap on UA campuses.It doesn't take a genius to see that this disparity will harm the earning power, economic status, etc. of males as a group if allowed to continue. More:
Women make up 61 percent of the enrollment on the university's 16 campuses statewide, but the gap widens significantly when researchers consider the number of women versus men who complete degree programs, especially among Alaska Natives.
UA ranks second in the nation in the divide between the number of women who receive bachelor's degrees compared with men. The gap is even wider at the certificate and associate program levels.
Nationally, men make up less than 44 percent of college enrollment.
What's needed is a cultural change in how teachers and parents approach education for boys, some officials said.The university is seeking to make a concerted effort on all 16 of its campuses to improve opportunities for male students. The article is a must read and clearly describes the problems and potential solutions. I hope some universities in the lower 48 take notice.
"We use to think it was the girls that needed extra attention to succeed in school, but now we know that boys need just as much, if not more, attention," Kleinfeld said.
The UAA College of Education has been training teachers to try different methods of classroom instruction to better reach all students, Schneider said.
Ted Kennedy and the Alito Hearings
In an era when America is still too divided by race and riches, Judge "Alioto" has not written one single opinion on the merits in favor of a person of color alleging race discrimination on the job. In fifteen years on the bench, not one.Malkin makes a lengthy defense of Alito in race using numerous examples. I would like to hear Ted Kennedy describe what he plans to do to narrow the divide by riches. I bet, whatever his plan, it doesn't include putting any kind of dent in his family fortune for which he expended little effort.
Today Malkin referenced this op-ed column in the Washington Times. The first sentence of the column reads:
"Something unusual happened on the way to this week's nomination hearings for Judge Samuel Alito: Reporters scoffed at the ridiculousness of Sen. Ted Kennedy."Seems Teddy is losing influence and respect.
Alito seems to be performing well in the Senate hearings. Here are the New York Times transcripts of today's exchanges. There is a good exchange with Senator Biden when Biden asks:
But all kidding aside, I mean, that's how it read to me; that sheer personal antipathy is OK, even when the employer's reason for not hiring the person toward whom they showed sheer personal antipathy weren't true. How do you distinguish that from discrimination, subtle discrimination? That's tough for me.Alito follows with a good explanation and points out how opinions written by Sandra Day O'Connor agree with opinions he has put forth.
Monday, January 09, 2006
Boys Needs in School
In girls' schools, students are encouraged to discover their own strengths and develop their own talents as part of the path to womanhood. Boys deserve the same opportunity to develop their own understanding of who they are and who they wish to become.The article is at the National Coalition of Girls' Schools website. Thank you for thinking of the boys. I wonder how many other female oriented groups bother to give sincere encouragement to males.
As this new paradigm emerges, some people worry that girls have been given an advantage, to the detriment of boys. They want the pendulum to swing back the other way.
But that's exactly the wrong approach. If girls and the girls' movement are leading the way, then the goal ought to be helping boys and the boys' movement catch up, not dragging girls down.
TV Commercials - The Good, Bad and Ugly
During the commercial break, we were treated to a promo for "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy - Bachelor Party." On of the scenes in the promo featured on of the queer eyes humping a woman coming out of cake. Although dressed the scene was quite vulgar. Quickly I changed the channel to Spike TV which was showing some innocous program. But in a moment, Spike went to a commercial break and began showing a commercial for "Girls Gone Wild" videos that was more vulgar than the "Queer Eye" promo. Click to somewhere else. Both the shows were perfectly for an intelligent 12 year old but the commercials were "R" rated. Once again, our societies obsession with anything sexual raises its ugly head.
Vonage joins Tostitos in the commercials demeaning to men category. Vonage's ad shows a woman in the forground explaining how she signed up for Vonage's services, installed everything herself, and it was all so easy. (Guess a woman can't be expected to do anything difficult.) In the background, a man dances around like a drunk in a disco. At the end of the commercial the woman has a pained look on her face. Not as bad as the Tostitos commercial but the same basic message: Men are doofases.
Dodge Trucks currently is running a commercial for a quad-cab model that shows everyone wanting to sit in the back seat because it is so roomy. The male driver is frustrated that no one will ride up front with him and the ad is humorous. But, it doesn't make a joke at the expense of anyone but makes a situational joke. But Dodge loses in another ad for the Dodge Durango, Dodge shows a man hopelessly lost in the desert pulling a boat and refusing to use his navigation system. (The stereotypical male who won't ask directions.) Oh, well.
Radley Balko's Predictions for 2006
The Three Stooges
Friday, January 06, 2006
Maybe Homeland Security Is Working
John Gibson at FoxNews joined in with James K. Glassman that our anti-terrorists efforts are working. I still say it's too early to tell.
This reminds me of the story where a guy goes through a magical ritual every night while camping with his buddies. After a couple of nights his buddies ask him what he's doing.
He replies, "I'm keeping the tigers away."
"But there are no tigers in the U.S."
"See, it must be working!!"
I'm sure there are terrorists plotting attacks in sites on the U.S. mainland. Some are probably in the U.S. right now. But because, as I pointed out in my previous post, traditionally there have been long lulls between terrorists attacks in the U.S., it's a little early to start breaking our arms by patting ourselves on the back.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Homeland Security: Working or Not?
In February, 1993, Islamic terrorists planted a truck full of explosives in the underground garage of the north tower of the World Trade Center. Fortunately only six people were killed plus about a thousand injured. Small numbers considering tens of thousands worked in the building.
For over eight years after the 1993 incident no foreign based individuals or groups staged a terrorist attack in the U.S. This is a period of time more than double that since 9/11 till now. No Homeland Security, no domestic spying (at least not along the lines of the illegal wiretaps now alleged), no super long security searches at airports, etc. Will the present efforts be able to beat this record? Obviously, we'll find out.
But I wonder about several things. How many resources and how much ability do the Islamic terrorists really have? It certainly took them a long time to go from the truck bomb to the airplane attack on the WTC. Maybe the only reason we've been spared more terrorism in the U.S. since 9/11 is a lack of resources and know-how by the terrorists.
Has U.S. soil been spared because terrorists are focusing on killing Americans (and others) in Afghanistan and Iraq? This is, in many ways, an easier battle than trying to sneak into the U.S. and arrange the materials and carry out plans for terrorist acts here. Plus, protecting their home turf probably has priority over attacking ours.
And, as I've iterated many times, I have a hard time believing that the Bush administration is really serious about homeland security when it continues to leave our southern borders wide open. It takes 2-3 hours to board an airplane but millions of unidentified illegal immigrants enter our country each year.
I am willing to admit that the Bush's policies and the Homeland Security program quite likely has provided some protection. But, I am not willing to give it a label of "successful" and am not willing to support the continued erosion of the privacy rights and other rights of U.S. citizens. The proof will take at least another five years. If we can't do better than before when none of the Bush policies and agencies were in action, it's all for naught.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Comments Now Work
Another "Men Are Lazy, Stupid, etc." commercial
Then the camera angle changes and shows a woman working on a laptop. She then exclaims, "I've got it!" (or something like that.) The men turn and look at her with dumb, blank looks on their faces.
Once again the advertising mavens have chosen to show men as a bunch of comical doofuses while the only intelligent person in the scenario is a woman. Given the audience for football games is overwhelmingly male, I have to wonder how beneficial this commercial is for Tostitos' sales. It might do more good if it ran during "Oprah." I certainly am less likely to buy Tostitos or any other product that portrays persons like myself in a negative light. I wonder what would happen if the genders were changed and a man was the only sensible, hard working person.
Feminist author Naomi Wolf called the beer commercials using the Swedish Bikini Team as part of a "violent backlash against the advances women have made over the last 20 years." Why should routinely portraying men as bumbling idiots be any more acceptable? Because everything wrong in our world in because of men, turn about is fair play, and two wrongs do make a right in this case.
Monday, January 02, 2006
Bad Christmas Presents
This year my 12 year old son received a gift rental certificate from a movie rental that went out of business 2-3 months before Christmas. Undoubtedly, his aunt who lives about 25 miles out of town received the certificate as a gift some other time and decided to re-give it without checking to make sure the store was still open. This is the same aunt who once gave us the same gift we had given her the year before. Her husband, who is my oldest son's godfather, once gave my oldest son the exact same duffel bags two Christmas's in a row. These were cheap little duffel bags with "Everlast" on the side that he probably got for free since he was a high school baseball coach.
In every other way, this couple is generous and considerate but selecting appropriate Christmas presents seems to escape them. Much the same way, my brother gives me nice presents except that they are rarely something I will ever use. He's given me two sweaters over the past several years. If he observed my dress, he would realize I never wear sweaters. I'm warm natured and usually wear short sleeved shirts under my jacket. If he'd only ask I'd gladly give him some nice, cheap suggestions.
Since Christmas is a time of giving, I try to focus on the giving but sometimes a gift, such as gift certificates to out-of-business stores, is so absurd that I can't help but roll my eyes and laugh.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
A Somber Christmas and New Year
The recovery did not continue, however, and the Friday before Christmas he had to return to the hospital. Since then he has been in and out of various ICU's, had holes drilled in his head to drain blood that had pooled on the brain, and now suffers a blood clot which apparently resulted from the surgery. A heprin drip was tried for about 12 hours to dissolve the clot but due to the surgery any form of blood thinner was dangerous.
Although my father used a cane to walk, he visited the health club 4-5 times a week and rode the exercise bike before this accident. Now he can't stand without assistance and continues to be in danger of dying from the complications.
While we all recognize that falls hurt and generally take care not to fall, we often forget just how serious falls are. After auto accidents, falls are the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. Falls are the leading cause of children under 14 years old although death from falls is low.
The elderly suffer much more from falls with permanent debilitation or death being much more common. Having worked as Social Services Director in a nursing home and having been married to an occupational therapist, I knew all this. But, it didn't help.
The most frustrating part of the whole situation is that all my father's children had told him at one time or another to be careful, don't try to do more than you can, etc. But a combination of his stubbornness and refusal to accept the limitations of an aging body overruled common sense. My father tried to carry in more groceries (3 bags) at one time than he could safely handle and now he may pay with his life.
Another irony is that the path from the car to the point in the house where he fell is a veritable obstacle course. First, he went through a carport filled with firewood, potted plants and other items. Then he crossed an area behind a retaining wall filled with pea gravel and loose, wobbly stepping stones, after which he ascended the steps to the front porch. Then, when inside the "safe" house, he somehow fell.
It's funny how significant incidents affect your life. I'll always remember this when carrying in groceries as I always remember other experiences when performing a certain task or being in a certain place.
However, I feel good about my family. Everyone has pulled together and been supportive of each other, especially my father and mother. There are times when politics and social issues don't matter as much. This is one of those times.
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