Corey Booker's Nursery School View Of America
Senator Corey Booker called on us to be a "nation of love," not a "nation of tolerance."
I guess this sells to voters, who -- judging by the two leading candidates -- are a bunch of gullible fourth graders with adult privileges. Or are all smoking a lot of pot.
Okay, so on Monday, I tweeted to a white supremacist that I love black people, brown people, yellow people.
The truth is that I don't hate people for their color (and I love the melting pot-ness of America), but I find a lot of people (white, black, whatever) to be idiots who believe in idiotic things.
...As long as these people don't try to kill other people who don't believe as they do or otherwise violate people's rights, I tolerate them. That's what this country is about -- tolerating people's right to do what they wish, and if they aren't harming you, hands the fuck off.
And yes, we do need to "aim higher" -- closer to constitutional principles that don't allow asset forfeiture, police abuse under the guise of policing, pointless searches sans probable cause at airports across America, removal of due process from (mostly) men on campus, and free speech being diminished on campuses across America...just to name a few.
In other words, what matters is "governmental toleration." This involves things like freedom of religion, free association, and property rights -- which are fundamental to a democracy and which Donald Trump shows little respect for (when someone else's property rights are getting in his way to make some money).
I love this from legal theorist and Cato VP of Legal Affairs, Roger Pilon:
In sum, the world envisioned by the Declaration, even when fleshed out more fully than I'm able to do here, is essentially one of live-and-let-live. It's a world in which we're free to pursue happiness as we wish, even if we offend others in the process--a world that tolerates disrespect (that second sense of tolerance I noted earlier), but respects rights, the violation of which cannot be tolerated (the first sense noted earlier). But of course it's also a world that encourages tolerance (the third sense), because in a free society, as history demonstrates, individuals who can bring themselves to tolerate and even respect the differences of others are more likely to engage in cooperative exchanges with those others, and both parties to a contract, by definition, improve their situation. Thus freedom, tolerance, and prosperity are intimately connected.
But we sure aren't going to get there with the likes of "Up with puppies and unicorns!"
Pilon is also on to something here:
So what's going on here with this more recent wave of intolerance? Let me suggest, as I only hinted earlier, that this intolerance is not unconnected to the gradual growth of government over the 20th century and the accompanying growth of economic regulation and concentration, which is why I've focused on that larger background issue. As evidenced in the Carolene Products decision, one of the core conceits of modern liberalism is that economic and personal lliberties occupy separate spheres, and that the regulation of economic affairs will not spill over to personal affairs. History suggests otherwise, something we see clearly in highly collectivized regimes: the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Cuba, and plainly today in Venezuela. Just to be clear: We're not there yet--far from it. But the risk is real. It's implicit in the slogan we've heard coming so often from the White House in recent years, especially concerning Obamacare: "We're all in this together." Well if we are, in fact, all in this together, whether we want to be or not, then presumably no one should be rocking the boat. We should all "get with the program," because dissent and controversy can only impede our progress and so cannot be tolerated. Progress toward what? Toward whatever the collective decides in the post-New Deal democratic order.
A little more from Booker:
"Here in Philadelphia, let us declare again that we will be a free people. Free from fear and intimidation," Booker said. "Let us declare again that we are a nation of interdependence, and that in America love always trumps hate. Let us declare, so that generations yet unborn can hear us. We are the United States of America; our best days are ahead of us."
That, sadly, seems unlikely.
Your take? On the DNC, the election, the political process...where we're headed?
My Fortuneteller Is Alexis de Toqueville
Welcome to our world. Econ prof Barry Brownstein writes at the Foundation for Economic Education:
Tocqueville foresaw that if despotism came to America, it would not be of the old-world European kind; it would seemingly be more benign, an "all-powerful government, but one elected by the citizens;" deadly, nevertheless, to freedom. Look around us today. Presidential executive orders, congressional legislation, and ruling by bureaucratic fiat are shifting more and more power to the federal government. Sadly, a critical mass of the public is comfortable with this - as long as the power is used in the direction that they favor.
Democratic voting to elect our powerful masters is no guarantee of freedom. If Tocqueville was writing today, he might pen this same observation about the voting public in this year's election: "Under this system, citizens leave their state of dependence just long enough to choose their masters and then they return to it." If American-style despotism deepens, Tocqueville forewarns that it will:Spread its arms over the whole of society, covering the surface of social life with a network of petty, complicated, detailed, and uniform rules through which even the most original minds and the most energetic of spirits cannot reach the light in order to rise above the crowd. It does not break men's wills but it does soften, bend, and control them. Rarely does it force men to act, but it constantly opposes what actions they perform. It does not tyrannize but it inhibits, represses, drains, snuffs out, dulls so much effort that finally it reduces each nation to nothing more than a flock of timid and hardworking animals with the government as shepherd.
This Linkey Has Fleas
Philosophy Does Not Have "A Woman Problem": Academia Has A Coddling Of Women Problem
Christina Hoff Sommers, who has PhD in philosophy and taught it for more than 20 years, takes on the accusation that philosophy is an "unsafe hyper-masculine space" for women (video here):
In 2014, women earned 28% of the PhDs in philosophy. By contrast, they earned close to 60% in English, anthropology, and sociology--and 75% in psychology. When it comes to gender, philosophy looks more like math and physics. What explains the numbers?
A group of feminist philosophers is persuaded it knows the answer: Women are kept away by sexism, both overt and unconscious. These philosophers have ascended to power in the American Philosophical Association (APA) and are hard at work addressing the alleged crisis. In the past few years, there has been a surge of alarmist articles, blogs, and conferences on the precarious state of women in philosophy. There is even a song! Anyone who is concerned about the current state of academia should be troubled. Academic philosophy prides itself on logic and analytical rigor, but the women-in-philosophy movement appears to prefer dogma and pop-psychology.
What happens in these cases is coddling of women -- at the expense of men. The women get special treatment, special legs up, special mentoring, special awards -- and even (gag!), as Hoff Sommers points out, even a song.
Personally, I'm shocked by organizations of academics in science that have "feminist" wings -- and I will never join one of these. Academics -- especially women -- are often surprised by that when, upon being invited to some meeting feminist wing of an ev psych organization, I tell them it's not for me. For me, there's only science -- not feminist science or masculinist science or any other special interest group science.
Hoff Sommers continues, taking on some of the idiocy:
In 2008, MIT feminist philosopher Sally Haslanger published a cri de coeur in an academic journal lamenting that philosophy is combative, judgmental, and "hyper-masculine." Now, I was a philosopher. My husband was a philosopher. My stepson is a philosopher. I've been around a lot of philosophers. They are many things--"hyper-masculine" isn't one of them. Nonetheless, Haslanger was passionate--actually combative. She attacked analytic philosophy for favoring masculine terms such as "penetrating," "seminal," and "rigorous." And she spoke of the "deep well of rage" inside her--rage over how she and others have been treated. Haslanger called on "established feminists," to organize and resist "the masculinization of philosophy spaces."
Haslanger expected a backlash. Instead she ignited a hostile takeover. By 2013, she attained a top position in the American Philosophical Association, and wrote in the New York Times that her group's "persistent activism . . . is becoming institutionalized." Her article ended with these words: "We are the winning side now. We will not relent; so it is only a matter of time."
But Haslanger's winning side is based on a double standard. It treats the gender disparity in philosophy as self-evidently wrong--even "tragic," according to Yale philosopher Joshua Knobe. But much larger disparities that favor women, in fields like sociology, anthropology, psychology and veterinary medicine, are ignored. If disciplines with more men are ipso facto unjust, then how can fields with more women be acceptable? To be consistent, activists should be calling for gender parity across the curriculum. APA-sponsored posters with the word PhilosopHER are turning up in philosophy departments. Perhaps psychology and anthropology departments should have posters with the words PsychoBROS or Anthropolo-HE.
I've written before about how men are vastly more likely to have risky jobs (and in fact are the risk-takers of the species, generally speaking).
Steven Pinker, speaking at an ev psych conference in, I think, 2006, noted that we don't try to push men into, say, kindergarten teaching. So what's with pushing women into professions they don't want to be in -- and all the coddling that comes with it? An example of that from the computer programming world, by Sarah Hoyt:
"[Blog.CodingHorror.com author] Atwood's next effort is a long list of things that can be done to make programming a 'more welcoming profession for women'. Hell, it's not a welcoming profession for most men. It attracts weird, it attracts poorly-socialized people (yes, I'm one of these. I can fake it for a while, but sooner or later the truth shows). Programming is ultimately for people whose focus is on cutting through the crap that makes up most of everyday life and teaching a very fast moron to do things that the ordinary everyday people think are valuable. If you don't have the basic competence, you might as well not bother."
What all of this coddling does do is make these worlds less hospitable for women who want to be in them, deserve to be in them, and like Hoff Sommers, didn't have feminists bleating at them to feel like they're a victim class.
I love the end to Hoff Sommers's piece:
In my senior year of high school, my mother gave me Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy. I relished that book. It was written by a man, and it was about men--Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Nietzsche. But I thought it was written for me. I wasn't aware I had entered an unsafe hyper-masculine space--to me it felt like a sacred space. I pursued a BA and PhD in philosophy and taught it for more than 20 years. It never crossed my mind, in high school or as my academic career progressed, that I would be unwelcome because I was a woman. There were some unsavory characters along the way, but the vast majority of my professors and colleagues were supportive and encouraging. I am glad that today's grievance blogs, alarmist theories, and angry tirades weren't around back then to discourage me--and sorry to think of their influence today on young women who are drawn to this great and difficult calling.
If The FBI Won't Do Anything About Emailgate, Maybe Moscow Will
Security expert John Schindler writes in the New York Observer about some of the fallout
Last week the Associated Press broke a big story about how Clinton's "unclassified" emails included the true names of CIA personnel serving overseas under cover. This was hardly news, in fact I broke the same story four months ago in this column. However, the AP account adds detail to what Clinton and her staff did, actions that placed the lives of CIA clandestine personnel at risk. It also may be a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, a 1982 law that featured prominently in the mid-aughts scandal surrounding CIA officer Valerie Plame, which so captivated the mainstream media. More recently, former CIA officer John Kiriakou spent two years in Federal prison for violating this law.
To make matters worse for Team Clinton, last week it emerged that several of the classified emails under investigation involved discussions of impending CIA drone strikes in Pakistan. Clinton aides were careful to avoid hot-button words like "CIA" and "drone" in these "unclassified" emails, engaging in a practice that spies term "talking around" an issue.
However, the salient fact is that the CIA--which has the say here--considers this information to be Top Secret, as well as enormously sensitive. It had no business being in anybody's unclassified emails.
And check this out:
...And in the unlikely event that nobody in our nation's capital is willing to go public with exactly what Hillary Clinton did, it now seems the Russians may do so. It's highly plausible that Russian intelligence services, among others, have many of Clinton's emails, perhaps all of them, given how slipshod her security arrangements were.
Therefore the recent statement by Julian Assange, head of Wikileaks, that his organization plans to release more of Clinton's emails should not be dismissed out of hand. Although Assange is prone to flights of fancy, Wikileaks has long served as a front for Russian intelligence, as Western security services are well aware, so it may not be fantasy that he could get his hands on more of Hillary's emails. It would be supremely ironic if the Kremlin demolishes Hillary Clinton's presidential aspirations thanks to her own neglect of basic communications security when she was secretary of state.
Dark cornery links.
I Half Expect The Wicked Witch Of The West To Fly Through On Her Broom
The view due to the fire near Los Angeles.
On a serious note, I hope people don't lose their homes.
This is how it looked closer to the beach (in Venice). That red dot is the setting sun.
photos by Gregg Sutter
Dating: The Double-Yellow Line Between Being Considerate And Being A Tool
LA Times publishes this series of lame dating pieces and this is one of them. A guy who seems to be a Mattel toy designer has a Tinder date. This is a dead giveaway that he's the sort of woman that gets walked on.
She said she lived in Beverly Hills. I suggested meeting at Urth Caffe so it would be convenient for her. What I didn't say is that I live in Santa Monica and I work in El Segundo, which meant making it to Beverly Hills on a weekday would be absolute torture. (Anyone who has seen "The Californians" on SNL knows what I am talking about.)
In other words, he bends over backward -- and then some -- for a total stranger. To the point where he goes through hours of hell in LA traffic.
It's great to be a guy who's considerate and who goes the extra mile -- once you have a girlfriend with an open heart who'll do the same for you.
But you can't just change the behavior; you have to change what's behind it -- probably some combo of dating out of your league and not having fixed whatever makes you feel all "I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!"
Or this is what happens to you:
The drive took almost two hours. Still, I found parking and made it to Urth with 10 minutes to spare. When I arrived, however, I got a message telling me she was actually about two miles away, at the SLS Hotel on La Cienega Boulevard. She was there getting her hair done "for tomorrow's shoot" and asked if I wanted to meet there instead. It was going to be either a 30-minute drive in traffic or a 20-minute walk, so I decided to keep my parking spot and headed on over.
I messaged when I reached the hotel, and she told me she still needed about 10 minutes. I said I'd be at the hotel bar.
Thirty minutes later ... she texted that she was "still getting worked on."
Fifteen minutes later (about an hour and a half since I arrived in Beverly Hills, and over three hours since I left my job), she messaged that she was on her way down.
She looked good, not amazing, but like her photos. I complimented her hair and went in for a friendly hug. She responded with a light, impersonal and slightly awkward embrace.
She looked at me and said, "You look nothing like your pictures!," to which I responded "You mean in a good way, I hope."
She just looked down.
I asked if she wanted to go back to Urth. She said "You're welcome to walk back and I'll meet you there," which I now realize was her first try at an exit strategy.
I suggested we just stay in the lobby for drinks. I began with some small talk, including asking why she's new to Tinder.
"Well, I just broke up with my boyfriend. Actually we broke up last month, but just stopped sleeping together this week. Like yesterday."
The guy blames the fact that she's a lingerie model/actress/whatever.
Okay, sure, maybe she's looking for somebody richer or famous-er or whatever, but even if he dates girls who aren't looking for that, his problem will remain. (And no, it probably doesn't help that he's probably dating out of his league.)
But his real problem? It's not that he's a nice guy; it's that he's a pathetic guy who shows women he'll do anything to get them.
As I write in "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck," first dates should be three things: Cheap, short, and local. And that's local for all involved, meaning you meet in the middle. You don't haul your ass through a traffic jungle so she won't have to muss her hair behind the wheel.
This says everything about you -- none of it good or helpful for getting a woman to do more than take you for a ride and then push you out the car door after you're doing paying for as much as she can squeeze out of you.
A Therapist On The Psychology Of Muslim Culture
Psychologist Nicolai Sennels has worked with numerous Muslim clients (more than 100, he says) and writes a very interesting analysis about psychological differences between Western culture and Muslim culture. Here are a few excerpts:
Muslim culture has a very different view of anger and in many ways opposite to what we experience here in the West.
Expressions of anger and threats are probably the quickest way to lose one's face in Western culture. In discussions, those who lose their temper have automatically lost, and I guess most people have observed the feeling of shame and loss of social status following expressions of aggression at one's work place or at home. In the Muslim culture, aggressive behavior, especially threats, are generally seen to be accepted, and even expected as a way of handling conflicts and social discrepancies. If a Muslim does not respond in a threatening way to insults or social irritation, he, not "she" (Muslim women are, mostly, expected to be humble and to not show power) is seen as weak, as someone who cannot be depended upon and loses face.
In the eyes of most Westerners it looks immature and childish when people try to use threatening behavior, to mark their dislikes. A Danish saying goes "...Only small dogs bark. Big dogs do not have to." That saying is deeply rooted in our cultural psychology as a guideline for civilized social behavior. To us, aggressive behavior is a clear sign of weakness. It is a sign of not being in control of oneself and lacking ability to handle a situation. We see peoples' ability to remain calm as self confidence, allowing them to create a constructive dialogue. Their knowledge of facts, use of common sense and ability in producing valid arguments is seen as a sign of strength.
The Islamic expression of "holy anger" is therefore completely contradictory to any Western understanding. Those two words in the same sentence sound contradictory to us. The terror-threatening and violent reaction of Muslims to the Danish Mohammed cartoons showing their prophet as a man willing to use violence to spread his message, is seen from our Western eyes as ironic. Muslims' aggressive reaction to a picture showing their prophet as aggressive, completely confirms the truth of the statement made by Kurt Westergaard in his satiric drawing.
This cultural difference is exceedingly important when dealing with Muslim regimes and organizations. Our way of handling political disagreement goes through diplomatic dialogue, and calls on Muslim leaders to use compassion, compromise and common sense. This peaceful approach is seen by Muslims as an expression of weakness and lack of courage. Thus avoiding the risks of a real fight is seen by them as weakness; when experienced in Muslim culture, it is an invitation to exploitation.
Honor is a central concept in the Muslim culture. Many Danish newspapers experienced mass rage from Muslims, when they published and re-published the Danish Mohammed cartoons. They have realized that Muslims are very easily offended.
What kind of honor needs to be protected by threats of terror and boycotts? Is this really honor? Maybe if seen through the glasses of a culture based on a book written 1400 years ago. However, when seen from the perspective of modern Western psychology, it surely is not. From our perspective such behavior is closer to being dishonorable.
Having to constantly keep up one's appearances, becoming insecure and reacting aggressively when criticized is the result of low self esteem. Unfortunately the Muslim culture tells its men that criticism must be taken completely personally and met with childish reactions.
True self confidence would allow the individual the ability to think or say: "Ok. You have your own opinion about me or my religion. I have another opinion, and as I trust myself, I will not let my view of myself, or my central values, be disturbed by you." Knowing one's own strengths and weaknesses and accepting them is the core and basis of good self confidence.
If you had ever spent time in a Muslim community you experience this very clearly. You would find yourself constantly trying not to offend anyone and you'd treat everybody like a rotten egg. Jokes, irony and, especially, self-irony is as good as non-existent. It creates a superficial social environment where unhealthy hierarchies appear everywhere because nobody dares to, for instance, point out the weaknesses of childish men and make fun of the powerful. There is an old Danish fairytale about a little boy that points out the nakedness of the King; "He has no clothes on!!" embarrassing the proud King wearing his non-existent magic clothes, which are only visible to "good people" (actually, the King was just naked - because the tailor had cheated him!). Such a story could never have been written in a Muslim culture.
Many young Muslims become assailants. This is not just because of the Muslim cultural acceptance of aggression, but also because the Muslim honor mentality makes them into fragile, insecure men. Instead of being flexible and humorous they become stiff and develop fragile, glass-like, narcissistic personalities.
Unfortunately, most journalists and media people use the term "honor" when describing cases of violence where the offender makes excuses for himself by stating that his honor was offended. Since the concept of honor is completely integrated in the social rules of Muslim culture, it is seen to be justifiable when honor is threatened. This extends to beating or killing women who want to claim such basic human rights as to choose, for themselves, their own sexual partners. By using this term, as used by the offender, the media automatically takes the perspective of a clearly psychopathic and narcissistic excuse for treating other people badly. Instead, we should take our own Western culture as a basis when describing such crimes. Terms like "family execution," "childish jealousy," "control maniac" or "insecure" would be much closer to our cultural understanding of such behavior.
He winds up with this -- but the entire thing is worth reading.
...Since the Muslim world is already here - in thousands of Muslim ghettoes in Europe, Australia and North America - the possibility that violent conflict will happen in Western cities all over the world is very great.
We need to understand the Muslim culture much better if we want to be able to stop such a catastrophe. We need to understand that it is not possible to integrate masses of Muslims into our Western societies. We need to understand that our non-confrontational Western ways of handling conflicts make us look weak and vulnerable to Muslim leaders. We need to understand that Muslim culture is much stronger and more determined than our guilt-ridden, self-excusing Western culture. We need to understand that Muslims will only feel at home in a Muslim culture and this is why their religious demands for Islamization of the West will never end.
Arab Imperialism In Islam And The Slave Trade And Slaughter Of Blacks, Including Black Muslims
Very interesting article by Hugh Fitzgerald at Jihadwatch on Arab supremacism -- and, specifically, how Islam is a vehicle for Arab supremacism:
The second great fissure in Islam, after that of the Sunnis and Shia, and to which our discussion of the Berbers in Part I is obviously relevant, is that between Arab Muslims and the 80% of the world's Muslims who are not Arabs. It bears repeating (see the first paragraph of Part I), that because Allah chose to deliver his message in Arabic to a seventh-century Arab, because Muslims should read, recite, memorize the Qur'an in Arabic, because Muslims must turn toward Mecca in prayer at least five times a day, because Muhammad the Perfect Man and Model of Conduct was Arab, because the Qur'an was written in the Arabs' language, and they are its only true transmitters, because the earliest Muslims, whose customs and manners, written down in the Hadith, constitute the Sunnah, were all Arabs, because the Arabs were the first to conquer vast territories for Islam -- all this naturally produced a feeling of superiority in the Arabs. And wherever they conquered, along with Islamization came Arabization. That word describes two different things: first, the physical movement of Arabs into what were non-Arab lands, as in northern Iraq, where the Kurds live, and Saddam Hussein moved Arabs onto lands taken from them, in an attempt to change the demographics of the area, to "Arabize" it. But the Arabization that takes place even in Muslim lands without Arabs is different, and describes the change in the non-Arab population that follows Islamization: they lose their original identity and try to become, culturally, "Arabs."
Among the outward and visible signs of this, think of how many Muslim non-Arabs have eagerly given themselves Arab names and false Arab pedigrees, and copied Arab dress of the seventh century. (Imagine someone in the Congo wearing a suit, carrying an umbrella and wearing a homburg, and calling himself Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper.) They wanted the prestige of being thought "Arab." In Pakistan, to take an extreme case, millions claim to be "Sayids" - that is, descendants of the Quraysh, the Prophet's tribe.
But there were also those non-Arabs who, as with the Berbers, resented being severed from their own culture, resented Arab indifference to, or hostility towards, the languages, cultures, and histories of those whom they conquered and converted; in short, they resented this cultural imperialism. The Berbers, by and large, nowadays do not want to be Arabs, and some of them don't even want to be Muslims, to judge by their online sites, and they identify Islam with centuries of oppressive Arab rule. The Arab attempt to efface every memory, no matter how innocuous, of Berber culture, has backfired. This anti-Arab feeling among non-Arab Muslims is not to be deplored, but encouraged by the world's Infidels. It is one way to weaken the hold of Islam on four-fifths of the world's Muslims.
Among non-Arab Muslims, the Kurds and the black African Muslims in Sudan are the latest victims of Arab atrocities. The Arab military of Saddam Hussein managed to kill 182,000 Kurds during the qur'anically-titled Anfal. Then more Arabs were moved into Kurdistan to Arabize the region. And not a single Arab ruler, diplomat, or intellectual, inside or outside of Iraq, protested this massacre of the Kurds. This is the memory that needs to be kept constantly fresh in Kurdish minds. We do not have a stake in Kurds remaining in Arab-ruled Iraq, as our leaders have in the past insisted. Rather, the interests of Infidels are better served by an independent Kurdistan, grateful to the West for its aid, and ideally carved out of territory that was formerly part of Arab Iraq and Arab Syria (the Kurds in Iran and Turkey will have to wait).
As for the Sudan, northern Arabs attacked and murdered, over several decades, millions of black African Christians and animists and, more recently, Arab militias (the Janjaweed) murdered, in Darfur (in the western Sudan) nearly half a million black African Muslims. Given the attempts of Muslims in the West both to find allies among blacks (CAIR with its solicitousness for "Black Lives Matter") and the apparent attractiveness Islam holds for some blacks in Europe and North America (especially in prisons, where the conversion rate is high), there is ample reason to keep talking not only about what the Arabs did in the Sudan in the recent past, but about the longer history of the Arab slave trade in East Africa.
That Arab slave trade began earlier, and lasted longer, and claimed more victims, than the Atlantic slave trade of the Europeans. This trade was particularly hideous because the Arab slavers castrated young black boys while they were still in the bush, and only 10% survived to make it, by slave coffle to the coast and thence by dhow, to the Muslim slave markets of Egypt, Arabia, and Istanbul. For the same reasons, to create doubts among would-be black converts, we in the West ought to be discussing not only that African slave trade of the Arabs, but the continued enslavement by Arabs of blacks in the Sudan (see the testimony of the "Lost Boys") and Mauritania. It would also be useful to remind would-be black converts that Saudi Arabia and Yemen gave up slavery, reluctantly, and only because of terrific pressure from Great Britain, as late as 1962, and that there are reports of slavery continuing to exist in the Saudi interior, just as, despite being officially outlawed, it still exists in the Sudan and Mauritania. And finally, that Muhammad himself was a slave-owner, thus legitimizing slavery in Islam, needs to be more widely known, in order to dampen Islam's appeal among blacks.
Dampen Islam's appeal? Absolutely.
While not all Muslims practice Islam as it commands (which means they are in danger of being slaughtered as apostates, like the Ahmadis too often), many do. And Islam masquerades as a religion, but it is actually a totalitarian system that commands the conversion or slaughter of "the infidel" and the installation of the new Caliphate around the globe.
(This is not a place where documents like the American Constitution have the slightest bit of standing, in case you were wondering, and if you're gay or an atheist or a woman who is raped without four men to witness it, sorry, you're supposed to be slaughtered.)
ISIS has just put out a video urging Muslims (about "infidels") to "kill them wherever you find them."
Anyone familiar with the Quran knows that this is a passage from it (helpful commentary is from the excellent site, thereligionofpeace.com):
Quran (2:191-193) - "And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun(the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)" (Translation is from the Noble Quran)
The verse prior to this (190) refers to "fighting for the cause of Allah those who fight you" leading some to believe that the entire passage refers to a defensive war in which Muslims are defending their homes and families. The historical context of this passage is not defensive warfare, however, since Muhammad and his Muslims had just relocated to Medina and were not under attack by their Meccan adversaries.
In fact, the verses urge offensive warfare, in that Muslims are to drive Meccans out of their own city (which they later did). Verse 190 thus means to fight those who offer resistance to Allah's rule (ie. Muslim conquest).
The use of the word "persecution" by some Muslim translators is disingenuous (the actual Arabic words for persecution - "idtihad" - and oppression - a variation of "z-l-m" - do not appear in the verse). The word used instead, "fitna", can mean disbelief, or the disorder that results from unbelief or temptation. This is certainly what is meant in this context since the violence is explicitly commissioned "until religion is for Allah" - ie. unbelievers desist in their unbelief.
Double chocolate-chip linkies.
Call Of The Fucking Wild Here Today
I woke up 22 minutes late (on a bit of a writing deadline), with a need to create an ant holocaust. (California summer fun!)
For the uninitiated, no, this isn't Florida, with those bugs the size of Mini-Coopers, but at some point in the summer, you wake up to a highway stripe-like line of ants. Today was the day.
Windex holocaust followed.
P.S. I generally save spiders -- take them outside on a sheet of paper -- but they tend to come in a one-pack.
The Sort Of Woman Who Isn't A Feminist
I'm not a feminist. As I've written here, I call myself a humanist, which means I stand up for the rights and fair treatment of all people, including those with a penis in their pants.
Feminism these days is too often a demand for special rights for people with vaginas -- under the guise of equal rights.
And it's too often a way to unearned power -- typically, unearned power over men, that comes at a high price: Playing the victim.
The problem is this: Play it long enough and you become it -- meaning it becomes who you are and how you go about the world.
Well, Lena Dunham, who absolutely is a feminist, talked to Estee Adoram, the famed booker for the Comedy Cellar in New York who has launched many a comedy career. Adoram said to her: "I am not a feminist."
Well, Dunham interviewed Adoram for her newsletter, and Lisa DePasquale reports on what she said:
It's clear that Dunham and Adoram could not be more different in their career path. Adoram served in the Israeli Army before becoming a hostess at the Comedy Cellar, and then eventually worked her way up to the most important job there. Dunham started with a series on HBO and Emmy nominations after the first season. Basically, Adoram has been successful in the male-dominated fields of the military and comedy and Dunham is dying to get her to join her cult of victimization. Adoram ain't having it and it's a beautiful thing to see.
Here's a selection of Adoram's responses to Dunham's loaded questions.
On lack of females in comedy:
"I am not gonna put someone on who is not great just because she's female. And I really don't believe any club owner would not book a woman just because she's a woman. There's only one trend in comedy and that's to be funny. I don't go for gimmicks."
On what offends her:
"I hate vulgarity. I don't mind dirty. There's a difference between a comic who works dirty or is vulgar. I don't want the level of intelligence to go down the toilet because of that. I have personal stuff that I don't like. I wouldn't be offended, but I don't like it. I don't like Holocaust jokes."
On rape jokes:
"Depends on how you do it. You need to come and you're going to listen to Lynne Koplitz doing the rape joke. If you don't laugh, I'll buy you whatever you want."
On being stepped over in the business because she's a woman:
"Maybe they say things behind my back, I don't know. But no, I never felt it. I can't even think of an incident of somebody trying."
On whether the feminist ideology defines her:
"I was always in the position of authority, even when I was in the army. I was always in the position of authority."
"I was in charge. I have pictures to show, to prove it. There is something in my character, I guess, that makes it happen. I never felt: 'I am not allowed to do that because I'm a woman.' Feminism would step in and say, this is a blockage here. I never felt that. I worked, I worked hard, and I always was recognized for the job."
"The reality is, most people that I come in contact with give me my dues."
On "equal pay":
"Now, there's the big thing in show business. Equal pay for women and whatever. It probably is an issue. To me it's not. Yeah, I would like to make more money, of course. At the end of the day, for me, what matters is the satisfaction with what I do, my relationship with people, whether it's comics, coworkers, friends, people I meet. I feel happy. As long as I have enough to live for what I want to do, I'm good. I don't know if it's words of wisdom, but that's what kept me happy."
Clearly, Estee Adoram is the refreshing kind of broad who probably doesn't mind being called a broad. I identify with her more than I do with Dunham and today's feminist heroes. Hollywood should take note. We have enough movies and TV shows about the lives of vapid, self-important millennials like Lena Dunham. Give us more on the inspiring women like Adoram who came before them and don't subscribe to the victimhood worldview.
Welcome to my worldview, too.
Lame-ertarians: Meet The Anemic Duo The Libertarians Have Given Us
Meet Gary Johnson and William Weld. Together, they make up the anemic Libertarian ticket for President.
I've met Gary Johnson. Sadly, at a time when candidates with charisma are needed more than ever, he embodies that old joke -- that when a particular person (as in, Johnson) walks into the room, it's as if two people just left.
Steve Chapman writes at Reason about the somewhat anemic policy points of Johnson and Weld:
He and Weld are what you might call kinder, gentler Libertarians. Johnson decries the drug war but says the only drug they advocate legalizing is marijuana--harder ones being off-limits. They would not have intervened militarily in Iraq, Libya or Syria, but Johnson says, "I don't have any alliances I'd want to end."
"We're right up the middle," asserts Weld. About the most radical ideas they offer are cutting the federal budget by 20 percent and abolishing the departments of Education, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development.
The overall effect of hearing all this is underwhelming, like going to see a Bears-Packers game only to discover they're playing flag football. The impression is probably not accidental or unwanted. What Johnson and Weld plainly aim to do is assure Americans disgusted by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump that the Libertarian Party offers an honest, proven approach, not a radical experiment.
Harvard's Gregory Mankiw, who served as chairman of President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, has written that he regards himself as a "libertarian at the margin." He explained, "Given our starting point today, I believe more reliance on individual liberty and less on governmental solutions is usually a step in the right direction, but I often recoil at more radical libertarian positions."
In that sense, Johnson's claim that most Americans are unwitting libertarians is entirely plausible. In principle, at least, they would most likely favor reducing taxes and spending, respecting individual autonomy in matters like marijuana, same-sex marriage and education, and exercising more caution about military intervention abroad. But those inclinations have firm limits, which Johnson doesn't propose to breach.
And yes, I'd rather vote for The Anemic Duo than Hillary or Trump. (If we're splitting hairs here, they're both corrupt, but she's at least a corrupt adult.)
Of course, I'd rather vote for Hitler's dead dog than either Hillary or Trump.
Of all the years for the Libertarians to get their shit together and put up a candidate who doesn't seem wacko nuts and who people actually might want to vote for, this would have been it.
This is a really good deal somebody (thank you!) bought through my Amazon links. It costs hundreds of dollars to have custom molds for teeth bleaching made at a dentist. This one's only $69, with mail-away molds, and it get really good reviews.
After you buy that, don't buy syringes; buy what I've used for years, which I first found in a drugstore in Michigan: Dr. George's Dental White Mint Flavored Gel. It's a whole bottle of the stuff for $15.99 instead of just a few tiny syringes.
Today's Deals include: Asics Gel-Pulse 7 Running Shoes, $54.99.
To buy things not seen in my links, Search Amy's Amazon. Thank you all so much for shopping through my Amazon links. This helps support the work I do on this site.
Camp Dumps Trump
Jimmy Camp is just a super guy, and the Republican husband of my Blue Dog Democrat friend Samantha Dunn. Not long ago, I blogged her piece on their righty/lefty love.
Her piece is titled "I fell in love with a Republican" -- which isn't to say he's simply a guy who colors in the Republican side on the ballot:
The man I love personally called Henry Kissinger to tell him about Richard Nixon's funeral arrangements. He ran Orrin Hatch's bid for president and has worked for Rudolph Guiliani and even that poor, dumb bastard Rick Perry. His mother has a framed picture hanging in the house of her arm-in-arm with Robert Dole, autographed with a "Thanks Sharon! Bob." His father is pastor of an Evangelical church, a man who watches a defective television set built with only one channel. Fox News.
What Camp is is a person who's in the Republican party because he's a fiscal conservative who believes in liberty, opportunity, and personal responsibility, among other things.
So, I was pleased, but not surprised to see Martin Wisckol writing in the OC Register that Camp's quit the GOP because of Trump:
Orange-based political consultant Jimmy Camp, who has worked on high-profile Republican campaigns through the state for 30 years, announced today that he was leaving the GOP because of the party's presidential nominee.
"Donald Trump is a narcissistic, self-centered, unprincipled, miserable example of a human being," Camp said in a prepared statement. "I cannot support this man nor can I be a member of a party that would choose him as their nominee."
More from Camp, who says he turned down an offer of a position in the Trump campaign in April:
"I've dedicated 30 years of my life to make my party the party of opportunity, of freedom and of individual liberty and responsibility. I have worked within my party to make it one not of 'tolerance,' but one of inclusion and opportunity regardless of race, gender, religion, sexuality or nation of origin, and Trump stands for none of these things. I am truly sad to be leaving the party I have worked so hard for, built lasting friendships and dedicated my professional life..."
Why Grandma's Still In The Workplace And May Be A Better Employee Than Young Hipster Dude
Scientist Rosalind C. Barnett and journalist Caryl Rivers have an op-ed in the LA Times, "Why your grandmother is still employed."
Of course, the answer may be that she can't afford to retire -- I don't think I'll be able to, and I hope my prose and thinking won't get so musty that nobody wants to pay me for it. (I also can't imagine retiring; then again, my job involves reading, writing, thinking and speaking, not farm labor.)
And what I've noticed is that 80 -- or 70, or 60 -- has really become the new, oh, who the fuck knows, but old people aren't always old these days. They may have gray hair and heart meds, but they still think and act young (as much as that's possible with their aching whatever the hell it is).
As Barnett and Rivers write about the vitality of older people -- cognitive and otherwise:
People don't have a use-by date -- 65 isn't a magic age after which workers merely plod along, doing routine work, bereft of creativity and new ideas.
In 2014, Los Angeles' own Frank Gehry, now 87, opened two museums, one in Panama City and one in Paris. In 2015, a Gehry building opened in Sydney, Australia. Among other projects, he's now embarked on an ambitious plan related to redeveloping the L.A. River.
At the same age, evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson has launched a new project: preserving biodiversity by permanently protecting about half the planet, reserving it for the 10 million species other than Homo sapiens. He calls the project "Half Earth," as in "half for us, half for them."
...From 2000 to 2015, there has been a dramatic uptick in the ranks of retirement-age workers. The percent of workers 65 and over, although small, has grown 300% (from 2% to 6%), according to the ADP National Employment Report.
It used to be that if you were over 65 and working, you probably worked part time, but around 2001, the wind shifted, and full-time employment started climbing. By 2007, 55% of workers 65 and older were employed full time; by 2014, 60% of workers age 65 and older had full-time jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
...Yet these older workers aren't being hired or kept on the job for charity's sake. A major international study, done by the Max Planck Institute in Germany in 2010, punched a sizable hole in the commonly held notion that veteran employees are dim, slow and less productive.
In fact, the study found that older workers' productivity was more consistent than younger workers'. The researchers compared 101 young adults (20-31) and 103 older adults (65-80) on 12 different tasks over 100 days. These included tests of cognitive abilities, perceptual speed, episodic memory and working memory. Researchers expected that the younger workers would perform more consistently over time, while the older workers would be more variable.
...The researchers suggested that older workers' wealth of experience enabled them to design strategies to solve problems. In addition, their motivation was higher than the younger workers'. "On balance, older employees' productivity and reliability is higher than that of their younger colleagues," says Axel Börsch-Supan of the Max Planck Institute. Other studies back up the Planck research: Older people are more focused, less distracted, and more able to zero in on the job at hand than younger workers.
Part of the reason is that they've seen a lot and they don't panic. As one over-65 manager told the AARP, "The patience you develop as you get older helps you deal with stressful situations. A crisis comes up and rather than getting emotional, you're more likely to think, 'This too shall pass.' When you can be dispassionate about a problem, it's easier to see what's urgent and where to put your resources."
The best evidence indicates that the significant cognitive and physical declines that may come with aging set in much later than 65, and they are variable, not absolute.
They left out a big reason -- Grandma may also be a little less into chasing the boys than the 20-something employee.
Free Speech Isn't Easy, And It Can Get Ugly, But It's Better Than The Alternative
Twitter is a private business and can ban Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos -- as it did. Permanently, they say. It has not explained the reason for the ban, though there's talk of it being about a series of ugly exchanges with Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones.
This started with a review, by Yiannopoulous at Breitbart, in which he reports that Ghostbusters is kind of a PC horror show:
An early mission for the new team will be a disturbance at a health food store. An obese female ghost is tearing the place apart, upset she can't find anything tasty to eat. Maybe she is worried she will be late to the ghostly JC Penney sale. Anyway, she is being lectured in the health food store by the ghost of Dr. Atkins who wants her to shed weight.
The Ghostbusters capture Dr. Atkins while scolding him that "Ghosts can be healthy at any size." The girls point the portly poltergeist toward the nearest pizza shop and try to give her a high five on the way out, but the ghost is so large she slimes them all.
The feminists themselves commit plenty of crimes. Spoiler alert: they kill Bill Murray. They don't just kill him; the movie chucks him out of a window. It's a clumsy metaphor for the treatment of boys in college campus kangaroo courts and in general in public life these days.
Sara Ashley O'Brien writes at CNN.com:
The review coincided with the deluge of hate tweets toward Jones -- but Yiannopoulos told CNNMoney that he's "not responsible for what strangers on the Internet post."
And there was terribly mean and heartbreakingly racist, terrible stuff said to her. In one case, somebody (apparently) impersonated her on Twitter, writes Kristen V. Brown at Fusion:
At one point, Yiannopoulos even began tweeting out obviously fake tweets masquerading as tweets from Jones herself. Though it is unclear whether Yiannopoulos actually authored the falsified tweets himself or simply shared them, it was clearly an attempt to further smear Jones online.
That's when she finally had it and went off Twitter.
As somebody who's had a mob after her online, my heart really goes out to her. I think this is absolutely terrible. Here's this woman who's worked as a comedian, who gets a big role in a major motion picture, and all of these tiny turds use that to shit on her. Even if she's the worst actress to ever walk a set, she didn't deserve this. It's "Lord of the Flies" treatment.
Spiked's Brendan O'Neill writes about the horrible, racist Twitter-hounding of Jones:
Jones is a very funny African-American comedian and the only good thing in the otherwise flat, weird and mirth-free Ghostbusters reboot. Yet for the past 48 hours she has been subjected to vile racist abuse by alt-right tweeters and gamers and other assorted saddos for her part in what they view as the feministic crime of remaking Ghostbusters with a female cast.
The comments made about Ms Jones have been genuinely nauseating. She has been called the N-word. She has been sent photographs of apes. It's like something from the 19th century. No one who believes in racial equality and basic human decency could fail to be moved by her pained tweet following two days of relentless racial slurs: 'I feel like I'm in personal hell. I didn't do anything to deserve this. It's just too much. It shouldn't be like this. So hurt right now.' For any black person to be subjected to racist abuse is horrific; for it to happen to a woman whose only 'crime' was to land a breakthrough role in a female-oriented summer blockbuster is particularly despicable. Ms Jones hits the big time and is instantly bombarded with racist smears -- awful.
...What is most striking is how much this alt-right shares in common with the lefty SJWs (Social Justice Warriors) it claims to hate. Both are fuelled by the politics of victimhood: SJWs claim a massive culture of misogyny is ruining their lives; alt-righters insist a feminist conspiracy is destroying theirs. Both are mean: peruse the blogs or tweets of any vocal alt-right or SJW and you'll be struck by their disgust for anyone who disagrees with them. And both are censorious. Don't be fooled by the alt-right's freedom-lovin' postures. They're just as keen as SJWs to slam and ultimately end culture that offends them, whether it's Beyonce doing a Black Power dance at the Super Bowl or Ghostbusters with four women in it.
Jonathan Turley, who rightly called the attacks on Jones "disgusting and racist" and "highly offensive" -- which they are. In observing that Jones ultimately quit Twitter over them, he writes:
Yet, Jones is a celebrity and, in a free and open forum, there will be inevitable trolls and vile commentators. It is the cost of free speech that we often have to put up with a degree of garbage, including racists like some of those attacking Jones. On our own site, we have a civility rule and I try to catch racist or personal attacks but I also try hard to minimize deletions on a site committed to free speech. That results in commentary that I often dislike or find offensive. Yet, such hateful commentators are often shouted down by more mature commentators.
Moreover, when people like Jones are subjected to racist or obnoxious attacks, it serves to lay bare the serious racial problems that we continue to face in this country. Removing evidence of such views just forces these commentators under ground and turns them into victims. As difficult as the trolls must be for celebrities like Jones (and I do not belittle the emotional toll even for a celebrity), these postings expose the problem rather than scrub it away through bans and sanctions.
...I remain very concerned about the increasing content-based censorship on Twitter, Google, and other sites. Yiannopoulos has objected that he is being punished for the comments or actions of fans and trolls as opposed to his own statements. Moreover, he has raised what he views as a double standard in the treatment of groups like Black Lives Matter and more conservative groups.
...I continue to believe strongly that, despite hateful or obnoxious speech on social media, we are far better off in maintaining a free and robust forum on the Internet than engaging in private censorship. The desire to silence critics can become insatiable as companies like Twitter sanitize their media through bans and sanctions. Whatever problems people have with Yiannopoulos, he remains a strong voice for young conservatives. Critics should answer him, not work to silence him.
I wholeheartedly agree.
Melania's Speech-Cribbing A Big Ploy?
Interesting -- and plausible.
Louise Mensch writes at Heat Street:
You're falling for this? Seriously?
Look, of course Melania Trump didn't write the speech. And of course a speechwriter plagiarized Michelle Obama. But this wasn't a mess-up or a foul.
Let's assume the speechwriter has Michelle's speech in front of him. He chuckles as he lifts a paragraph practically word for word. He knows perfectly well that this is the age of the internet and that it will instantly be found online.
He also knows that Trump has no money, and that Melania is Trump's third wife, without accomplishments other than some risqué modeling. He further knows that SOMETHING has to be done to get the media talking about something other than the hellish Trumpster Fire of the RNC convention - Reince Priebus gerrymandering the rules, the WWE style Trump-entrance, the rows upon rows of empty seats, the embarrassing, political pastoral prayer opening - and the total lack of Republican superstars like, say, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Is she right?
It's All That TV Those Infants Watched In The Womb!
Science Daily reports on yet another study that shows evolved sex differences in toy preferences. And that's SEX differences, not gender differences, though that's how it's put in the article.
From my Apple computer dictionary:
Although the words gender and sex both have the sense 'the state of being male or female,' they are typically used in slightly different ways: sex tends to refer to biological differences, while gender refers to cultural or social ones.
The Science Daily report:
To investigate the gender preferences seen with toys, the researchers observed the toy preferences of boys and girls engaged in independent play in UK nurseries, without the presence of a parent. The toys used in the study were a doll, a pink teddy bear and a cooking pot for girls, while for boys a car, a blue teddy, a digger and a ball were used.
The 101 boys and girls fell into three age groups: 9 to 17 months, when infants can first demonstrate toy preferences in independent play (N=40); 18 to 23 months, when critical advances in gender knowledge occur (N=29); and 24 to 32 months, when knowledge becomes further established (N=32).
Stereotypical toy preferences were found for boys and girls in each of the age groups, demonstrating that sex differences in toy preference appear early in development. Both boys and girls showed a trend for an increasing preference with age for toys stereotyped for boys.
Speaking about the study, Dr Brenda Todd, a senior lecturer in psychology at City University said, "Sex differences in play and toy choice are of interest in relation to child care, educational practice and developmental theory. Historically there has been uncertainty about the origins of boys' and girls' preferences for play with toys typed to their own sex and the developmental processes that underlie this behaviour. As a result we set out to find out whether a preference occurs and at what age it develops.
"Biological differences give boys an aptitude for mental rotation and more interest and ability in spatial processing, while girls are more interested in looking at faces and better at fine motor skills and manipulating objects. When we studied toy preference in a familiar nursery setting with parents absent, the differences we saw were consistent with these aptitudes. Although there was variability between individual children, we found that, in general, boys played with male-typed toys more than female-typed toys and girls played with female-typed toys more than male-typed toys.
"Our results show that there are significant sex differences across all three age groups, with the finding that children in the youngest group, who were aged between 9-17months when infants are able to crawl or walk and therefore make independent selections, being particularly interesting; the ball was a favourite choice for the youngest boys and the youngest girls favoured the cooking pot."
The study is here.
For an excellent book on this subject (by a researcher who's done research on sex differences in infant preferences), check out Warriors and Worriers: The Survival of the Sexes, by Dr. Joyce Benenson.
The Creative Mental Twisties Women Do To Call Themselves Oppressed
With some frequency, I feel grateful to be living now, as opposed to any other time in history, because, as a Western woman, I have more rights and I'm safer than women have ever been.
Yet, amazingly, women find more and more reasons to complain about their circumstances.
Students at the Colorado School of Mines, a public university in Colorado for engineering and applied science, voted to name their athletic arena "The Mine Shaft."
But Jillian Kay Melchior writes at Heat Street:
In an email sent last August, a student (whose name was redacted) describes being "shocked and disgusted" at the nickname choice for the university's Lockridge Arena.
"The idea behind the name, at least from the students perspective, was that the students could tell the opposing team they had been 'shafted,'" the student wrote. In making her complaint, the student used another racially loaded term (and some misspellings) in an email to administrators: "The most common definition of the word means to get jipped out of a deal, which doesn't make since [sic] for us to be telling another team. But the other and most disturbing definition is to be raped. Bottom line, I think the name supports rape culture. If Mines is truly trying to diversify the campus maybe they should not have the student section have such a phalic [sic] name."
Administrators sprung into action after receiving the student's complaint.
Katie Schmalzel, assistant director of housing operations, took the complaint so seriously that she forwarded it to the university's Title IX coordinator. "I agree with [pronoun redacted] about the name being inappropriate, and goes against everything our work stands for," she wrote.
What, humorlessness, lack of due process, giving women unearned power over men and a democratic process, and treating women as eggshells, not equals?
Also, what a dipshit -- the two words are used together, first of all. And hilariously, "The Mine Shaft" is typically the name of a gay bar. If there are women there, the last thing anybody there wants to do is rape them.
Rape culture, by the way, is what they have a number of countries in the Middle East, and which is absolutely trivialized by women saying that it exists on campus because of the name of an athletic arena.
First World Problem: No Free Tampons In Co-Working Spaces
Did Slate's XX run short on topics?
Occasionally, I check in there to see if there is something particularly ridiculous, and this time, I wasn't disappointed.
Christina Cauterucci has an article-length snivel on the absence of free tampons in co-working spaces.
As co-working spaces engage in an arms race of amenities to convince ever hipper companies to untether from old-school office setups, many have left their members to figure out menstrual supplies on their own. Washington, D.C.'s Canvas Co boasts on its website that "you won't find any carpets, water-coolers or Ikea" there.
You also won't find any tampons or pads in the restroom. You will find free snacks, soda, beer, monthly catered lunches, and a ping-pong table.
MakeOffices has locations in Chicago, Philadelphia, and D.C.; the chain will soon expand to New York. In addition to beer and wine, members get fresh fruit, granola bars, Red Bull, twice-monthly breakfasts, and occasional in-office massages from professional massage therapists--all free.
Menstrual products are some of the only amenities behind a paywall: Unless an individual building management company decides to provide them to MakeOffices members, tampons and pads are only available from bathroom vending machines.
Cove doesn't offer menstrual supplies, though it does provide San Pellegrino, soda, snacks, and discounts at yoga studios.
The Oficio website features a testimonial commending the space's "rotating artwork" and "Zen music." Members get free lattes, access to a fully stocked bar cart, and monthly catered lunches. If they bleed through their tampons, though, they're out of luck.
Um, because Oficio and these other companies are located in the middle of the Sahara, a continent away from the nearest Rite-Aid?
If you can't figure it the fuck out to carry a bunch of tampons in your purse or backpack, do you really think you're equipped to deal with the stress of the workplace?
I would like to formally announce that I am not part of the set of women who show how equal they are by complaining bitterly that they don't get special treatment.
P.S. In France, I carry toiletpaper around. It's really not a big deal.
The Art Of The Ghost: Donald Trump's Ghostwriter Tells All
"Donald Trump's Ghostwriter Tells All," the headline on the New Yorker piece by Jane Mayer reads. And the subhead:
"The Art of the Deal" made America see Trump as a charmer with an unfailing knack for business. Tony Schwartz helped create that myth--and regrets it.
The book made "The Donald," as they used to call him in the New York Post, big beyond New York City. People all thought the book was his words, his thinking, the secrets behind his success:
The book expanded Trump's renown far beyond New York City, making him an emblem of the successful tycoon. Edward Kosner, the former editor and publisher of New York, where Schwartz worked as a writer at the time, says, "Tony created Trump. He's Dr. Frankenstein."
Starting in late 1985, Schwartz spent eighteen months with Trump--camping out in his office, joining him on his helicopter, tagging along at meetings, and spending weekends with him at his Manhattan apartment and his Florida estate. During that period, Schwartz felt, he had got to know him better than almost anyone else outside the Trump family. Until Schwartz posted the tweet, though, he had not spoken publicly about Trump for decades. It had never been his ambition to be a ghostwriter, and he had been glad to move on. But, as he watched a replay of the new candidate holding forth for forty-five minutes, he noticed something strange: over the decades, Trump appeared to have convinced himself that he had written the book. Schwartz recalls thinking, "If he could lie about that on Day One--when it was so easily refuted--he is likely to lie about anything."
The interview process:
Trump had been forthcoming with him during the New York interview, but it hadn't required much time or deep reflection. For the book, though, Trump needed to provide him with sustained, thoughtful recollections. He asked Trump to describe his childhood in detail. After sitting for only a few minutes in his suit and tie, Trump became impatient and irritable. He looked fidgety, Schwartz recalls, "like a kindergartner who can't sit still in a classroom." Even when Schwartz pressed him, Trump seemed to remember almost nothing of his youth, and made it clear that he was bored. Far more quickly than Schwartz had expected, Trump ended the meeting.
Week after week, the pattern repeated itself. Schwartz tried to limit the sessions to smaller increments of time, but Trump's contributions remained oddly truncated and superficial.
"Trump has been written about a thousand ways from Sunday, but this fundamental aspect of who he is doesn't seem to be fully understood," Schwartz told me. "It's implicit in a lot of what people write, but it's never explicit--or, at least, I haven't seen it. And that is that it's impossible to keep him focussed on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes, and even then . . . " Schwartz trailed off, shaking his head in amazement. He regards Trump's inability to concentrate as alarming in a Presidential candidate. "If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it's impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time," he said.
In a recent phone interview, Trump told me that, to the contrary, he has the skill that matters most in a crisis: the ability to forge compromises. The reason he touted "The Art of the Deal" in his announcement, he explained, was that he believes that recent Presidents have lacked his toughness and finesse: "Look at the trade deficit with China. Look at the Iran deal. I've made a fortune by making deals. I do that. I do that well. That's what I do."
But Schwartz believes that Trump's short attention span has left him with "a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance." He said, "That's why he so prefers TV as his first news source--information comes in easily digestible sound bites." He added, "I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life." During the eighteen months that he observed Trump, Schwartz said, he never saw a book on Trump's desk, or elsewhere in his office, or in his apartment.
Schwartz says of Trump, "He lied strategically. He had a complete lack of conscience about it." Since most people are "constrained by the truth," Trump's indifference to it "gave him a strange advantage."
When challenged about the facts, Schwartz says, Trump would often double down, repeat himself, and grow belligerent. This quality was recently on display after Trump posted on Twitter a derogatory image of Hillary Clinton that contained a six-pointed star lifted from a white-supremacist Web site. Campaign staffers took the image down, but two days later Trump angrily defended it, insisting that there was no anti-Semitic implication. Whenever "the thin veneer of Trump's vanity is challenged," Schwartz says, he overreacts--not an ideal quality in a head of state.
...When Schwartz began writing "The Art of the Deal," he realized that he needed to put an acceptable face on Trump's loose relationship with the truth. So he concocted an artful euphemism. Writing in Trump's voice, he explained to the reader, "I play to people's fantasies. . . . People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It's an innocent form of exaggeration--and it's a very effective form of promotion." Schwartz now disavows the passage. "Deceit," he told me, is never "innocent." He added, " 'Truthful hyperbole' is a contradiction in terms. It's a way of saying, 'It's a lie, but who cares?' " Trump, he said, loved the phrase.
Make room for daddy:
In "The Art of the Deal," Trump cites his father as "the most important influence on me," but in his telling his father's main legacy was teaching him the importance of "toughness." Beyond that, Schwartz says, Trump "barely talked about his father--he didn't want his success to be seen as having anything to do with him." But when [the Village Voice's Wayne] Barrett investigated he found that Trump's father was instrumental in his son's rise, financially and politically. In the book, Trump says that "my energy and my enthusiasm" explain how, as a twenty-nine-year-old with few accomplishments, he acquired the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Barrett reports, however, that Trump's father had to co-sign the many contracts that the deal required. He also lent Trump seven and a half million dollars to get started as a casino owner in Atlantic City; at one point, when Trump couldn't meet payments on other loans, his father tried to tide him over by sending a lawyer to buy some three million dollars' worth of gambling chips. Barrett told me, "Donald did make some smart moves himself, particularly in assembling the site for the Trump Tower. That was a stroke of genius." Nonetheless, he said, "The notion that he's a self-made man is a joke. But I guess they couldn't call the book 'The Art of My Father's Deals.' "
Tony Schwartz has an agenda -- he is an embarrassed liberal who sold out.
But you can look to Barrett and other sources to see -- rather easily -- to fact-check a good deal of this stuff.
This isn't to say Hillary is peachy-keen to vote for. As I keep putting it, she's just the corrupt adult in the picture -- the known quantity; corruption as usual.
There's a great piece at Reason, by Jesse Walker: "Clinton vs. Trump: Who's Worse? Libertarian-leaning luminaries weigh in." A few of these:
Washington Post blogger and former reason staffer
"Ugh. I guess I'd say Trump is worse. Clinton is at least a known commodity, and clearly better on trade and immigration, though even those are grading on a steep curve. Trump seems marginally less enthusiastic about starting wars, but who knows? He's been all over the place. On criminal justice, Clinton has a proven record of awfulness, but has vaguely vowed to do better. Trump has a record of demagoguing crime, has brought horrendous people like Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie into his campaign, and has vowed a heaping pile of more awfulness as president. So I guess that one goes to Clinton. I'd imagine Clinton would be a standard center-left Democrat on tax, spend, and regulatory issues. Trump's policies could well be economically calamitous. So again, a begrudging nod to Clinton.
"It's probably also worth noting that as a white guy, I'm of a demographic that has the least to fear from a Trump presidency (and there's still plenty to fear). For Latinos, blacks, and Muslims, the prospect must be terrifying. So I guess in short, I'm thinking Clinton would be terrible. But Trump would be worse, and could be catastrophic."
half of the comedy/magic team Penn & Teller
"For many years I have believed two things about presidential politics: 1. Every major-party candidate was smarter than me. 2. There is no one worse than Hillary Clinton.
"I have been proven wrong on both of these this year."
Bloomberg View columnist and former reason editor
"That the president of the United States should not be a self-aggrandizing, xenophobic bully who scorns the rule of law, lacks a sixth-grade knowledge of how the government works, neither appreciates nor understands the decentralized workings of the economy, and believes conspiracy theories he reads in the National Enquirer shouldn't be something readers of reason need to be convinced of. But, alas, too many libertarians have convinced themselves that all politicians are equally terrible (correctly discerning that Hillary Clinton is awful in many ways) and that we'd be better off if someone would blow up the system. Clinton would still be subject to the checks that system provides, including the demand for a modicum of deference to the law. For the very reason that she is such a conventional politician, her opponents would know how to effectively oppose her. Trump would be much harder to counter and would simply ignore the checks on his powers, claiming--with some justification--a mandate for one-man rule."
Govt Is Here To Protect You -- Just Not From Obviously Fake Companies Looking For Material To Make Dirty Bombs
It's got to be hard for terrorists to get their hands on dirty bomb material, right?
It's not like they can just ask nicely and fill out paperwork with some company name they made up, and get then some government functionaries to stamp a big A-OK! on their request...right?
Well, at Free Beacon, Adam Kredo reports that inspectors working undercover were able to fool the US's top nuclear regulator into granting it licenses to acquire material necessary to make dirty bombs:
As part of a covert GAO [Government Accountability Office] test, the accountability agency established several dummy corporations and attempted to procure licenses needed to purchase dangerous radioactive materials, including those needed to build a crude nuclear explosive device.
The accountability agency did not take steps to make it appear as if these dummy corporations were legitimate businesses, according to the report, which showed that the NRC granted a license to the fake organization in one of three test cases.
In each case, the GAO attempted to acquire the licenses needed to purchase increasingly dangerous radioactive materials, the most dangerous of which are known as category 1 materials. The least dangerous materials are dubbed category 3, but all are classifications that include hazardous nuclear substances coveted by terror groups and other criminal outfits.
...However, "in a third case, GAO was able to obtain a license and secure commitments to purchase, by accumulating multiple category 3 quantities of materials, a category 2 quantity of a radioactive material considered attractive for use in a 'dirty bomb'--which uses explosives to disperse radioactive material," according to the report.
"In the third case, the official from the regulatory body accepted GAO's assurances without scrutinizing key aspects of the fictitious business, which led to a license being obtained," according to the report.
The findings are particularly concerning as GAO "made no attempt to outfit the [fake business] site to make it appear as if a legitimate business was operating there."
The NRC handed a paper license to an undercover GAO operator during the undercover operation.
Well, if you're a fan of consistency, at least the "security" of our nuclear material is kind of on par with the "security" at airports. As I have recently been describing that particular puppet show, the employees they have couldn't find a terrorist if he crawled up their ass and yodeled.
The Happy Lazy Slacker Problem
Tina Cormier interviews macroeconomist Erik Hurst for the Becker Friedman econ research center at the U of Chicago:
Your work on labor supply may be able to shed light on some major sociological shifts occurring within a specific group in our workforce. Can you elaborate?
In my third summer project, I'm trying to understand the labor market and patterns in employment over the last 15 years in the US. Specifically, I'm interested in employment rates of young (in their twenties), non-college educated men. In prior work on changes in demand for low-skilled labor, the theory exists that as technology advances, both employment and wages fall due to decreased demand.
In this strand of my research, I'm almost flipping that theory on its head by asking if it is possible that technology can also affect labor supply. In our culture, where we are constantly connected to technology, activities like playing Xbox, browsing social media, and Snapchatting with friends raise the attractiveness of leisure time. And so it goes that if leisure time is more enjoyable, and as prices for these technologies continue to drop, people may be less willing to work at any given wage. This explanation may help us understand why we see steep declines in employment while wages remain steady - a trend that has been puzzling economists.
Right now, I'm gathering facts about the possible mechanisms at play, beginning with a hard look at time-use by young men with less than a four-year degree. In the 2000s, employment rates for this group dropped sharply - more than in any other group. We have determined that, in general, they are not going back to school or switching careers, so what are they doing with their time? The hours that they are not working have been replaced almost one for one with leisure time. Seventy-five percent of this new leisure time falls into one category: video games. The average low-skilled, unemployed man in this group plays video games an average of 12, and sometimes upwards of 30 hours per week. This change marks a relatively major shift that makes me question its effect on their attachment to the labor market.
I wonder how many have been stymied by the labor market -- and also, how many really play a ton of video game hours per day. 12 hours a week isn't all that much. Less than two hours per day. Some people watch TV for that much time -- and some do it for much more time.
His remark continues:
To answer that question, I researched what fraction of these unemployed gamers from 2000 were also idle the previous year. A staggering 22% - almost one quarter - of unemployed young men did not work the previous year either. These individuals are living with parents or relatives, and happiness surveys actually indicate that they quite content compared to their peers, making it hard to argue that some sort of constraint, like they are miserable because they can't find a job, is causing them to play video games. The obvious problem with this lifestyle occurs as they age and haven't accumulated any skills or experience. As a 30- or 40-year old man getting married and needing to provide for a family, job options are extremely limited. This older group of lower-educated men seems to be much less happy than their cohorts.
I am currently working to document this phenomenon, but there is a real challenge in determining what the right policy response might be to address the underlying issues.
If you have to find a job, you go pound the pavement for one. If mommy and daddy give you a nice couch in the basement, it's not like dire things will befall you if you don't get a job this week...or next...or the next.