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August 26, 2008

Still More Thoughts Related to the Gender Wars « Social Issues »

The quite-possibly insulting aspect of all this to males is that women have the assumption that the only way a man won't be willing is if he already has someone better looking and/or younger...and even if he does, he probably is still open for some action on the side.

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posted by Nathan on 08:22 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
More Thoughts « Social Issues »

Part of the reason women don't work on pick-up lines is because (I think) most women have the assumption going in that men will find them attractive...or at least be willing. The trick for women, then, is how to just signal that one male that she is open to an advance.

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posted by Nathan on 06:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 25, 2008

A Thought, Regarding the Gender Wars « Social Issues »

Isn't it interesting that (for the most part), women don't ever work on pick-up lines, they work on pick-up (dance) moves?

There's more on this idea, coming soon...

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posted by Nathan on 04:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

May 31, 2008

America: What Kind of Society Are We? « Social Issues »

The thought just struck me. We are called a capitalist nation, and Sweden is a socialist nation, and China is stuck somewhere in between, but moving towards becoming a free market nation (while there is a strong sentiment on the Left in the US to move towards becoming a socialist nation).

But reading this article inspired the thought that calling the US a capitalist nation or capitalist economy isn't really correct. At least, it would be more correct to say that we are an Ownership nation. We want to own things, where we stay, what we do. Nearly everyone aspires to ownership. Those who don't aspire to ownership are often shunned or looked down upon by those who do.

That explains some of the social tensions in our nation better than racism, sexism, or other prejudice.

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posted by Nathan on 09:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

April 04, 2008

March 17, 2008

Good/Bad Science « Social Issues »

Men like pale women, women like dark men.

The good part of the science is that the researcher substantiated some things about humanity.

But there are several bad science aspects to this.

First, if men prefer light-skinned women, why the tanning craze in the US (and Europe)?
Second, did he really need to substantiate this in the first place? "Tall, dark, and handsome" is a set phrase in English. And we've already shown that men in the US, at least, don't necessarily prefer pale women.
Third, when he gets into "why," he's way beyond science, and way wrong. Science can usually only explain "what happens", but not "why". That's why science is not a good answer to religion. ...and why religion gets into trouble when it tries to explain "what happens" as truth, but that's another story.

Bottom line:
People are attracted to wealth/success most. So whatever the wealthy people are wearing/doing/saying, etc, will be attractive to almost everyone.

"Fat" was attractive for centuries because only the wealthy could get enough food to be fat. When food becomes plentiful, only the rich can afford the chef to make low-fat food taste good, and afford the leisure time to exercise into fitness (and maybe the women are more committed to fitness so they won't get divorced and kicked off the gravy train for a more fit mistress to become the wife). Pale skin is attractive in agricultural societies, because only the rich get to stay inside all day. But in industrial/business-oriented societies, healthy tans are attractive because only the rich can afford the vacations to the tropics in wintertime. But men with dark tans were also attractive even in agrarian societies because it signified that the man would do the back-breaking outdoor labor, allowing the woman to remain pale and unfatigued in doors.

This is not scientific, of course. But if anyone wants to grant me a few million dollars, I'd be more than happy to do the research to substantiate my claims!

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posted by Nathan on 07:50 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)

March 06, 2008

Yah, Sorry, I'm Not Going to Feel Sorry for You « Social Issues »

Don't come crying to me if you can't find a job you think pays enough for your unskilled effort.

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posted by Nathan on 12:25 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0)

February 29, 2008

Also Asinine, But On a Lesser Topic « Social Issues »

"I never got to go to college and this will be my chance to be in a sorority and have that experience."

"I never got to go to college..." Said Paris Hilton.

!??!?!!?

I guess she just couldn't scrape up enough cash for a community college class or two, huh?

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posted by Nathan on 07:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Truly Asinine « Social Issues »

Up is Down. Black is white. Speech Codes are Freedom. Pink is the new Black.

Only a black man can portray a half-black, half-white presidential candidate Messiah on SNL.

Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune put the question bluntly: "Call me crazy, but shouldn't 'Saturday Night Live's' fictional Sen. Barack Obama be played by an African-American?" Ryan went on to conclude: "I find 'SNL's' choice inexplicable. Obama's candidacy gives us solid proof of the progress that African-Americans have made in this country. I guess 'SNL' still has further to go on that front."

SNL still has further to go on that front?!?!

I'm flabbergasted.

"Authenticity" is the new "Asshattery".

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posted by Nathan on 07:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 28, 2008

So I Was Browsing the Interblogs... « Social Issues »

...and I saw an advertisement for this website.

And I know that many people want to search within their own chosen cultural/demographical affiliation for love and marriage. And I know this is the US, where Muslim legalistic extremism (fully subject only to Sharia) is a rarity...

But I can't help but think that any women, and even some men, who participate are being a little naive about the risks they face.

I'll probably get hate-comments for this post, but it is worth it.

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posted by Nathan on 08:31 PM | Comments (219) | TrackBack (0)

February 15, 2008

Why Men Should Embrace the Suck and Marry (UPDATED) « Social Issues »

Okay, since I talked about all the reasons men don't marry, I think I should make it clear that I'm not down on marriage. I'm not even down on the negatives of marriage.

To recap the argument: If men really don't marry as much anymore, it's because on paper, marriage has always had a high cost to men with little direct benefit, and liberalism/feminism has raised the cost to men of failed marriages, while reducing the cost to women for said failed marriages. This actually encourages women to allow/cause the marriage to fail and stick the costs to the man.

So with all that, why should a man get married?

Because it's good for him.

In the previous article, I slam "women" pretty hard. I discuss many of the negatives of Woman; by doing so, I'm not attempting to whitewash, ignore, or otherwise downplay all the negatives of Man. In fact, I come not to praise Man, but to bury him. Or something. This post is all about fixing what is wrong with Man. The last post was a little about shocking, a lot about telling women how marriage really looks to men these days...but not necessarily what I think my marriage is, or what marriage has to be.

Here's the thing. All the negatives of being married to a Woman come when she doesn't really love you. And let's be honest, most woman don't love their man. They may think they do. They may depend on their man. But they don't really love him. They are in it for themselves. Women marry in order to have someone who will make their own life easier, who will kill the icky bugs or keep their car running or clean out the gutters and lift heavy things and open jars and take out the garbage. --Yes, there are women who do any or all of these things...but most of those who do are not married. And a married woman won't do any of these things without adding points to her personal ledger of what he owes her.-- So a woman who doesn't really love her man has basically chosen a man who will give her the life she wants and believes she cannot achieve on her own without costs higher than she faces by marrying.

Make sense?

Now, in the rare cases (10%? Higher? Lower?) that the woman really does love the man, then it is great. The sex is frequent and extremely enjoyable for both (and not just due to biological clock alarm hormones). The companionship is warm and enjoyable for both. There is trust, and warmth, and mutual caregiving without any sort of resentment or tally of who is doing more, or who owes whom.

The vast majority of us will never experience that.

So the rest of us men face marrying a women who will be, to a varying extent, a shrew.

She will be demanding. She will fulfill the man's sexual needs on her own timeline and agenda (Every Kiss Begins With Kay!). She will take credit for every success he has, and blame every failure or problem in their life completely on his utter incompetence. She will demand he accept and internalize her standards and values while ignoring his. She will demand he do half of the work she considers hers, overestimate her own contributions and underestimate his, and demand he do 100% of the work she considers his, and require he complete his tasks on her agenda...usually during the big game she disdains. She will pressure him to abandon his friends, and raise the cost to him for pursuing his own interests and hobbies. Although she will never admit it, she expects him to plan for her retirement, not his...she is usually happiest if continues to work right up until the time he dies (both for the insurance/pension benefits are greater for the death of a still-productive employee, and because it keeps him from annoying her by being home all day).

And that is good. Because in meeting these demands, in living through these disproportionate requirements, a man truly becomes a Man.

There are few ways for a man to become a Man these days. The original article linked in my previous post about extended adolescence for males is actually right on. You can, to an extent, become a man in law enforcement or the military...but even in these institutions, liberal-think and politically-correct mentalities make it difficult (if not impossible) for men to grow up.

True maturity, true Man, is:
- Responsibility
- Sacrifice
- Effort
- Patience
- Emotional stability
- Dignity
- Honor
- Ruthlessness when necessary to those outside, Tenderness always to those inside
- Competence in every task
- Mastery in some select vital tasks

Our society doesn't teach these things. Our society teaches boys to become Androgynous Drones...emotionally fragile, metrosexual, touchy, eager to hire tasks out to specialists, argumentative and lazy moral cowards.

Marriage is unfair to males. But in learning to live with injustice, men become Men. We can't really charge the machine gun nest. We can't really fight off the savages to protect our family. We don't face poverty if we make the wrong business or employment choice, or if we stand up for our Honor and Dignity.
But we face an equally difficult road by choosing to become real men for our wives. Whether they appreciate it or not.

(and to tell the truth, I think if you grow into the ultra-competent, ultra-stable, successful Man, there is no woman who could help but return the protection and indulgence with anything but love and admiration)

We claim to be willing to climb the highest oceans and swim the most dangerous seas...and then we aren't willing to help do the housework.

That's wrong.

Marry, and give her twice as much as she demands. Expect to never be thanked. Embrace the suck.

Because when you grow up, it doesn't actually suck.

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posted by Nathan on 09:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

February 14, 2008

As If You Didn't Have Enough Reasons to Distrust Democrats... « Social Issues »

...here is additional proof the American Dream is still alive and well:

Hard work and sacrificing instant gratification for long-term gain still results in quick accumulation of true wealth.

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posted by Nathan on 10:13 AM | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0)
When Men Don't Marry...Why? « Social Issues »

Mr. Reynolds introduces two different comments to questions of men, women, and marriage. The first post (Kim Du Toit's) is a reaction to his wife's piece on the topic. Whereas the second (Rachel Lucas's) is a reaction to the original Lisa Gottlieb article that Dr. Helen was also vamping on. Except that Dr. Helen went ranging wide afar, also reacting to this article

Clear? Good.

Anyway, here's my thoughts. The connections to the above articles might only be tangential at best, sometimes. My thoughts are also pretty dang cynical. Bear with me.

Short answer to why men are marrying less/later: There's conventional wisdom that says: Blowjobs end when the marriage starts. And while that's glib and an insufficient explanation by itself, if you ruthlessly analyze that according to logic, you can begin to understand.

Men marry because they want to have fun for the rest of their life with someone they enjoy having fun with. Period. Women will do what they need to in order to attract a man, and when they feel they have him solidly locked in, they stop making the effort.

Women complain that men are romantic while dating, etc, and then stop once they are married, but in reality, these women are putting the cart before the horse, or are the pot calling the kettle black. Women think they can live off the desirability they demonstrated during courtship...but that their responsibility towards their man ends with "I do". They then shift their sense of responsibility to "the family". They still do things "for him", but it ends up being what they want, with a thin veneer of excuse. I can guarantee you that very, very few men really care about having a tea cozy, or care that the potholders match the kitchen curtains...but these are actual examples of things women supposedly do to show love after marriage.

So what it comes down to is that society is no longer telling a male he must be married and raise/support a family to be a man. Without that pressure, the "honey trap" of female dishonesty loses its attractiveness...and the internet society of free porn makes the honey trap even less enticing. Which, in turn, causes more women to offer more explicit sexual promises with less commitment from men, which then makes it easier for men to get the milk without buying the cow...

But that was just the explanation for the short answer, by the way.

The long answer is:

Our liberal and feminist-leaning society is ruining marriage through several simultaneous developments.
1) The hypocritical differing state attitudes towards abortion and child support free women from responsibility for their actions, while increasing the responsibility for men. It reduces men to a function without a voice or choice, i.e., providing material support to women who want to have kids without a continuing responsibility to a husband. And don't kid yourself that the state is just making sure chidren get what they need; if that were true, child support would be set based on cost of living, not the stipulated father's income. I say "stipulated" because there are hundreds of cases where the woman made false accusations of fatherhood that the state made stick, i.e., refused to release responsibility even after the man was proven to not be the father.
2) The skewing of law against men in child custody and domestic violence. A woman can (and usually does) lie to gain legal advantages. Women often make false accusations of sexual abuse to get custody of kids. It takes no more than a woman's word (sometimes false) to send a man to jail for violence, but clear evidence of violence by women against men rarely gets punished, and requires far, far higher thresholds of proof to get any legal relief.
3) As opposed to the above assertion that men marry to have fun with their best friend, women marry for one over-arching reason: to lessen the burden of achieving the life they want (or think they deserve). This shows up all over the place:
- in child support and alimony demands and laws
- in complaints that men don't help women keep the house clean to the level the woman demands (as if her standards are automatically correct), while she feels no responsibility to help with what she considers "men's work"
- with the hypocrisy of women complaining about men stopping courtship behavior without recognizing (or caring) that such stoppage is a direct result of women stopping their courtship behavior first
- the establishment of sexual harassment rules that pretty much only benefit women, and are clearly subjective, i.e., it's only harassment if she doesn't like you...and she doesn't even have to tell you first
- the typical hypocrisy that a wife hates infidelity by her husband greater than anything else...while refusing to even try to meet his sexual needs/desires
- the social hypocrisy that it is wrong for a man to divorce his wife for getting old/fat, but perfectly acceptable for a woman to divorce a man for failing at work or business

All this adds up to a simple fact:
Marriage has always been for the benefit of the woman. Society strengthened the institution of marriage so that a woman could be gatekeeper to the fulfillment of man's physical needs, and receive protection. Liberalism and Feminism have weakened the institution of marriage by raising the cost of a failed marriage to the man, while reducing the cost of a failed marriage to the woman. To attract men into this riskier proposition, women offer more of what men want for free.

Bottom line:
Thus, marrying is more dangerous to men than it used to be, and a man getting what he wants/needs without marrying is easier than every before.

Next (tomorrow?) I'll talk about why men should marry anyway...and how.

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posted by Nathan on 09:12 AM | Comments (513) | TrackBack (0)

January 18, 2008

Blather « Social Issues »

Blather from "Reason" magazine, to be specific.

The puzzle is what happened next. In the 1990s, the pattern changed again, but the surprise involved men. The wage premium for a college degree continued to rise smartly. Women responded just as economic theory predicts that rational actors would: Their college attendance rates kept climbing because the more they learned, the more they earned.

Men, however, ignored what the market was telling them: Their college attendance and completion rates barely rose. Why? "That's the big mystery," says Gary Burtless, an economist at the Brookings Institution.

Are you serious? Or, rather, are they serious?!?

Big mystery?

Not at all. Affirmative action is absolutely a good part of the answer. Females were encouraged to apply to college. Males, not so much. When applying females are given preference to start with. Aside from actual preference, college admission standards were changed away from SAT scores toward things like essays on life experiences, goals, dreams, and your favorite color for a pony. And then once in college, males are castigated in pretty much every field except Engineering and Music, teaching styles are shifted toward those females prefer, speech codes and sexual harassment rules are biased against males, and the whole college experience is generally hostile to men across the board.

The article says men "ignored the market". Not so. The "market" included a much higher social cost for men to attend college than women. Men have responded by staying away in droves.

Big mystery?!?

Not for anyone with eyes and a brain.

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posted by Nathan on 07:52 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

January 16, 2008

Money: Better to Have Actual More, or Relative More? « Social Issues »

Karol at Alarming News is asking (in reaction to an LA Times article).

My response:

$100k. I could care less what anoyone else makes. I don't need gadgets, houses, cars just because others have 'em. I've $45k in the bank and could buy just about any nice car I wanted, cash, to include BMW 3 series or Audi A4 or Lexus IS350...but I choose to drive a '99 Corolla because it cost me $6k, insurance is low, it doesn't bother me when someone dings the door, and it gets me there just as capably as a car worth 8x its price. So as long as all the other prices/costs are the same, I absolutely want 2x as much money to buy guitars, books, food, vacations, and save for retirement.

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posted by Nathan on 11:39 AM | Comments (54) | TrackBack (0)

January 14, 2008

Stupid Commercials « Social Issues »

I saw a commercial the other day about a guy who comes home after a late night out with his friends, at 5:30 AM. His wife wakes up as he's undressing and asks if he's just getting home. He says, "No, I'm heading into work early to prepare an important presentation!" and she smiles in happiness at his future work prospects. He saunters off, happy that he got away with it.

Is America's character declining that far that our commercials celebrate someone who would lie so easily to avoid a little trouble?

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posted by Nathan on 11:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

January 11, 2008

Wah. « Social Issues »

Let me say it again: wah.

Money quote:

But in the end all the cashmere in the world cannot insulate you from the cold truth that such men will always love their money and their jobs more than you.

By "more than you", she means, "loves their money/jobs more than you do", because the article is about women who marry for money alone.

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posted by Nathan on 07:48 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

January 03, 2008

Related Thoughts « Social Issues »

Is being attracted someone for their money any worse than being attracted to them for their looks? (I changed the title slightly to be more in line with the article's main thrust)

Beware the Office Pirhana.

The moral of this story? Guys, you aren't as handsome as you think you are. She wants what's in your pants, true enough...but it's the wallet, not the body part.

UPDATE:
Okay, maybe that's too harsh. But if a woman suddenly starts coming on to you without having much time to know who you really are...the above warning applies.

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posted by Nathan on 09:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 06, 2007

But the the person who put the little girl into that situation should be publically castigated.

And I'm not talking about the gunman.

There are four principles in the story. Woman, daughter, friend, boyfriend. And guess what? Four different last names! Where is the daughter's father? And the boyfriend? 4 felony convictions. Yeah, that's good step-father material. This woman apparently has a history of making bad choices.

I hope her daughter doesn't repeat those mistakes when she grows up. At least the little girl shows courage; that should help.

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posted by Nathan on 08:13 AM | Comments (49) | TrackBack (0)

October 19, 2007

Other Appropriate Analogies « Social Issues »

Glenn Reynolds approvingly quotes Bill Gates for one of Mr. Gates' new projects.

I have to believe that one of the reasons Bill Gates (and Glenn Reynolds) care about this is because of the human toll, as Mr. Gates explains:

This week in Seattle, an extraordinary group of people – scientists, policymakers, and advocates – came together for three days to discuss what can be done to stop malaria. Melinda and I issued a challenge to those attending the meeting. We asked them to begin charting a course to eradicate malaria – not just to control or reduce it, but to work toward a time when no one on earth is infected with malaria, and no mosquitoes carry the disease.

Today, malaria kills more than one million people every year, most of them children in Africa. That’s the equivalent of losing every student in the New York City public school system in one year.

1 million per year. That really struck me. It's a big number.

I thought of that in a different way: A few years back, I was thinking of how to better understand that number of people dying every year, and at the time, San Antonion had a population of about 1 million people. So I thought of it as: what would the reaction be if a city the size of San Antonion were destroyed every single year, all the people dead.

It was a different toll I was thinking about, not the number of malaria-caused deaths per year.

Bill Gates could have used the number I was thinking of, instead of the number of kids in the New York School system.

1 million dead a year.

That's the number of abortions in the US every year since Roe V. Wade.

Hmm...I wonder why Bill Gates didn't use that as a way to help people understand how many people die of malaria every year?

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posted by Nathan on 08:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 30, 2007

Something I Believe to be True « Social Issues »

All non-voluntary behavior is conditioned to a greater or lesser degree.

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posted by Nathan on 11:37 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)
Education News « Social Issues »

You know what's cool?

Seeing a blog-worthy topic, being too lethargic to post it yourself, then seeing it covered quite nicely somewhere else, so that you can just put a link and consider your point covered.

GMan states my view rather well, as does Erica. I don't agree with Mr. Martinez. I particularly dislike how he assumes that those who don't agree with him must have blinders on. I'd say that's typical of the liberal/left, but in truth it is merely typical of those who don't like to consider the opposite view may have some good points. I think it is more a function of youth and immaturity than anything else. And youth/immaturity certainly has a high correlation with liberal/left populations, but that's another issue right there.

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posted by Nathan on 07:31 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

August 29, 2007

The Cost of Weddings « Social Issues »

Here's one answer.

Then there's this one:

A boy asked his dad, "How much does it cost to get married?"

The dad looked perplexed and didn't answer.

The boy said, "Dad?"

The dad said, "I don't know..."

The son said, "Well, how much did it cost to marry Mommy?"

The dad said...

Read More "The Cost of Weddings" »

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posted by Nathan on 08:37 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)

August 28, 2007

Honeypot Squad? « Social Issues »

The Blogfather asks:

Well, either [Republicans are] more likely to do [the things that create sex scandals], or more likely to get caught in ways that become public. Which is it?

Professor Reynolds is talking about this.

Well, the obvious answer might be that the left-leaning media tends to play up Republican scandals much more, in word count and story-framing devices. The media can still act as gatekeepers on some issues and storied.

But I truly wouldn't be surprised if there is a self-designated "suicide squadron" of ideologues who makes it their mission in life to entice Republican leaders into embarassing positions, then expose and discredit them. Please note: I'm not speaking of the Craig incident, which involved a police officer...just discussing the trend of news reports in general.

If this is true, it wouldn't change the fact that if the Republicans acted in a moral manner, there would be nothing to expose and discredit.

But the glee in which the supposedly homosexual- and sexual freedom-supporting left castigates Republicans engaging in extra-marital sexual relations is disturbing.

I'm not claiming there is such a deliberate activity. I just wouldn't be surprised if there is.

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posted by Nathan on 08:05 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0)

August 24, 2007

A Really Interesting Experiment « Social Issues »

No bathing or washing for 6 weeks!!!

And she was apparently very honest about the results, including being jealous of others getting to take showers, and gross teeth.

But there are some benefits, however. Good reading.

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posted by Nathan on 07:56 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

August 23, 2007

"Juan, I'm Sorry About This" « Social Issues »

Oh, well, since you apologized, that makes the gaping hole in my chest okay, then.

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posted by Nathan on 01:03 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

August 20, 2007

Proxy Argument for Sex Education « Social Issues »

Teenagers and driving.

I'll just bet that many of the people who think teens shouldn't be taught driving crisis skills because they might try to use them are the same who think that sexual education in the 4th grade is a necessity.

And vice versa.

Food for thought, anyway.

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posted by Nathan on 09:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 10, 2007

Questionable Dating Advice « Social Issues »

Make a woman feel inferior to you, and she'll cling to you for self-esteem.

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posted by Nathan on 01:40 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

August 08, 2007

You've Heard of Shotgun Weddings? « Quotes You Can Steal » « Snark » « Social Issues »

Check out a "Shotgun Divorce".

Man, I wish I'd thought of that when it was current...

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posted by Nathan on 11:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

July 30, 2007

Rich Kids Don't Stay Rich? « Social Issues »

Personally, I think I agree. Being raised rich doesn't require the development of the sorts of habits that allow one to retain wealth.

That's the thesis offered for your reactions.

What do you think?

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posted by Nathan on 08:09 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

July 05, 2007

When Statistics Go Bad « Social Issues »
The number of women living with a husband is not equal to the number of men living with a wife, even though by definition the numbers should be equal. The gap is more than 100,000 in the New York metro area, well outside the statistical margin of error.

Explanation:

Census demographer Martin OConnell explained that the survey results are weighted by age, race and gender. If a 26-year-old black man is married to a 35-year-old white woman, and if 26-year-olds and blacks are underrepresented in the survey sample, then his interview may be weighted more heavily than hers. Theres no final step to make sure the number of husbands and wives is exactly equal, Mr. OConnell told me. If we did that, we would have to reweight the data again, and the data would endlessly spin around. Nonetheless, he says of the American Community Survey numbers, They are the best numbers you will ever get, any place.

That last line is the scariest, isn't it?

It all makes sense, but numbers/polls/statistics are misused more often than they are used correctly, it seems.

Non-smoothly-integrated link.

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posted by Nathan on 11:18 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
10 25 A List of Things Every Adult Should be Able to Do « Social Issues »

Dr. Helen asks, What kinds of things should an adult be able to do?

As she says, her question was based on Heinlein's statement:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Looking at the statement again, I'm fairly sure Heinlein meant it to be random listing of abilities, celebrating the diverse skills any single individual could attain within one lifetime. I don't think he really meant it to be what every adult should be able to do, because why know how to butcher a hog rather than a deer? Why should every human be able to plan an invasion or design a building? That's just silly.

And for what purpose should a human be able to do these things? Dr. Helen's additions (understand/use a gun, swim a reasonable distance, drive a stickshift, use internet/email, give a good backrub) seem to focus in on both social and literal survival. Heinlein does focus on survival somewhat, but the inclusion of being able to write a sonnet and comfort the dying emphasize that survival of the spirit is as important as survival of the body.

So I'll see Dr. Helen's bet, and raise it with a few of my own.

Here are the things I think every adult should be able to do, in no particular order:
1) Play guitar
Guitars are the most flexible, useful, easy-to-learn instruments there are. You can play all styles of music on a guitar. Being relatively light and sturdy, you can take one with you to the top of a mountain, to a party, on a plane, in your car. You can sing along easily while playing. You can play melodies, harmonize with other instruments, or play chordal accompaniment with anyting or anyone. Being able to play provides you an outlet for musical/emotional expression, even if you choose not to use it.
2) Speak a foreign language
This is vital. We are a global community now. Speaking a foreign language not only helps you understand others, but helps you to understand your own language better, as well.
3) change a diaper
4) butcher a large animal
5) sail a ship
I think learning to sail is a skill that may not be necessary to life, but makes life better. And who knows if you might need to sail a homemade raft after civilization collapses? (which is one of the reasons for many of the things on the list. You don't want life to be over just because your society's supports get knocked down)
6)
7) Be able to use both rifle and handgun with reasonable accuracy and safety
8) Drive a stick shift
9) Swim a reasonable distance
10) Plan and balance a budget
11) Build a wall
Understand this deceptively difficult task, and you understand much about safe construction
12) Set a bone, stop the bleeding, clear the airway
13) Comfort both the dying and the family of the dying
14) Take orders, give orders, cooperate, and act alone
15) Analyze a new problem
Logical thinking and analysis is vital to having a successful life.
16) Perform manual labor
Everyone needs to know how to work.
17) Be familiar with all mainstream technologies
18) Cook several complete (tasty) meals
No one should rely on restaurants for nutrition. What's holding me back is I'm not good with vegetable dishes. I can do a few casseroles, and lots of meat dishes, several potato dishes...but not too much on veggies. Usually I just open a can, or bag of frozen stuff and heat 'em up. I don't really count that. Nor do I really count a "Meal in a box" convenience product.
19) Defend yourself from physical, verbal, and emotional attack
20) Take responsibility for bad decisions
Too many people don't, seemingly to the point of pathological inability.
21) Finish a house (I can do many finishing steps, but not all)
Not necessarily vital, but it makes life much easier if you can accomplish various minor repairs around the house. Being able to finish (flooring, minor wiring, painting, trim, etc) gives you most of those skills. Which can save you lots of money.
22) Use needle and thread
From darning socks, to replacing buttons to repairing small holes in clothes, this is a necessary skill; knitting is a good sub-skill.
23) Backpack for at least 6 miles/day for at least 4 days
You have to enjoy wilderness to really understand and enjoy your place on the planet.
24) Navigate through maps, stars, etc
People get lost, and not only end up dying, but put their loved ones through unnecessary anguish. Being able to navigate is a simple fix that prevents that problem.
25) Find water, food, and shelter in the wilderness
Pt II of #24, pretty much.
26) Make mechanical repairs to your car, including changing a tire, changing spark plugs, changing door handles, etc
27) Build a campfire that can be started with only one match
28) Know how to keep things to yourself
29) Keep all promises (corollary: don't promise what you can't deliver)
30) Forgive

Read More "10 25 A List of Things Every Adult Should be Able to Do" »

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posted by Nathan on 09:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 20, 2007

Question « Social Issues »

I often see (like in this lead paragraph) a distinction between homosexuals and lesbians.

Why is that? Are lesbians not homosexuals?

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posted by Nathan on 11:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 23, 2007

The Power of Perspective « Social Issues »

Check out this:

I just got an eyewitness account of the Karl Rove-Laurie David-Sheryl Crow encounter at the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night, and it suggests that David and Crow were a bit more confrontational than they portrayed themselves in their own account of the incident, published in the Huffington Post. In their story, David and Crow write, "The 'highlight' of the evening had to be when we were introduced to Karl Rove. How excited were we to have our first opportunity ever to talk directly to the Bush Administration about global warming."

The eyewitness says the person who introduced David to Rove was the New York Times' Maureen Dowd. I want you to meet Laurie David, Dowd said to Rove. (These are all approximate recollections, so no quotation marks.) Dowd said David would like to say hello.

According to David and Crow, the encounter began with a polite request. "We asked Mr. Rove if he would consider taking a fresh look at the science of global warming," they write. "Much to our dismay, he immediately got combative. And it went downhill from there."

The eyewitness remembers it a bit differently. Immediately after Dowd's introduction, the witness says, David began lecturing Rove about global warming. This administration has done nothing on the issue, she told Rove. We face a crisis. The time to act is now. This administration has done nothing

At that point, Rove broke in to say, Well, actually we have done something. Rove mentioned global climate research, at which point David broke in herself to say, You just don't understand. All these questions have been answered. That's worthless. That's useless.

In their account, David and Crow write, "We reminded the senior White House advisor that the U.S. leads the world in global warming pollution and we are doing the least about it. Anger flaring, Mr. Rove immediately regurgitated the official Administration position on global warming which is that the US spends more on researching the causes than any other country."

The eyewitness says Rove asked David if she had read the IPCC report, referring to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which, while confirming a human role in climate change, substantially undermines some of the most catastrophic charges made in Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," which David produced. David said she had read the report. "We felt compelled to remind him that the research is done and the results [the IPCC report] are in," David and Crow write. "Mr. Rove exploded with even more venom. Like a spoiled child throwing a tantrum, Mr. Rove launched into a series of illogical arguments regarding China not doing enough thus neither should we. (Since when do we follow China's lead?)"

In the eyewitness' version, again, David and Crow are a bit more aggressive than their own story suggests. The eyewitness says David told Rove, You need to bring in new people to tell you the truth. Rove mentioned Dr. John Marburger, the White House science advisor. At that point, according to the eyewitness, Crow began poking Rove's chest with her finger, demanding to know what corporations were underwriting Marburger's work. Rove said Marburger had been in academia most of his career.

With Crow jabbing him in the chest, Rove turned to take his seat. Then, the witness says, Crow grabbed his arm. A few more words were exchanged, and it was over. At the Huffington Post, David and Crow described the ending this way: "In his attempt to dismiss us, Mr. Rove turned to head toward his table, but as soon as he did so, Sheryl reached out to touch his arm. Karl swung around and spat, 'Don't touch me.' How hardened and removed from reality must a person be to refuse to be touched by Sheryl Crow? Unfazed, Sheryl abruptly responded, 'You can't speak to us like that, you work for us.' Karl then quipped, 'I don't work for you, I work for the American people.' To which Sheryl promptly reminded him, 'We are the American people.'"

In light of the eyewitness' account, another way of saying it might be, How hardened and removed from reality must a person be to refuse to be jabbed in the chest by Sheryl Crow?

Now, the Corner has a vested interest in disagreeing with Liberals and supporting Republicans and Conservatives. But considering all the people involved, the level of heated rhetoric and action that the Global Warming cause engenders, and the general disrespect and disdain Liberals harbor toward Republican/Conservative leaders, I think the above account is probably more accurate than the one give over at Huffington Post.

And this is why I don't think you can take a woman at her word for accusations of sexual harassment, domestic violence, rape, and division of labor in housework: they feel self-righteous, and spin things in a way that makes their point of view look the best. That doesn't mean that accusations of rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, and lazy husbands are wrong. But since the women absoutely stands to gain if her accusations are believed, there needs to be clear evidence of the accusations before any legal or societal action is taken.

Too often, such evidence is not present.

[shrug]

Not a popular view, perhaps; I expect to be castigated, if any females or liberal males actually read this post (not a certain thing at all, unfortunately), but it is my view, and I have my reasons. I'd be happy to share those reasons with anyone who asks politely.

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posted by Nathan on 12:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

April 13, 2007

Democratics and the RIAA « Social Issues »

I'm actually surprised Kos dislikes 'em.

Taking control of the common person's life, ruining their enjoyment, and making even partial solutions suck worse than the original problem, all for the purpose of helping rich elites continue raking in the cash.

Yep, that's both the RIAA and the Democratic Party.

Via Glenn Reynolds.

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posted by Nathan on 09:05 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

April 03, 2007

Women's Anger « Social Issues »

Good conversation going on here.

It is a response, in a way, to this post. Also worth reading.

I may share my thoughts later, but it won't be pretty.

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posted by Nathan on 10:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 21, 2007

Irony and the Human Condition « Social Issues »

Peace activists try to insist we can have a world without war. They rightfully point out the damage that war causes on people, the economy, the environment. They rightfully point out that war is Hell, that no one wants war, that the politicians who make the decisions to go to war are protected from most of the negative effects (barring a complete surrender/loss, of course, in which the politicians are often executed).

But although war often results in killed, maimed, dislocated, and discomfited citizens, war is the last resort to protect citizens from even greater depredations of dictators, despots, tyrants, megalomaniacs, etc.

Sure, it is fun to imagine "No More War" scenarios. But humans are violent. Humans often encounter situations in which they cannot fully control their emotional responses, and such emotional responses create tension and crisis that lead directly to violence.

The best examples of violence that seemingly can't be fully avoided is (you guessed it):

The Peace Movement.

Self-awareness and self-understanding are important, yanno?

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posted by Nathan on 09:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
After Years of Observation « Social Issues »

...it is clear to me that women should know going in:
Any elastic hair ornament will, at some point, be a wrist ornament.

Make sure it looks good as both.

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posted by Nathan on 07:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 22, 2006

Man, Global Warming Sucks « Social Issues »

It's wiping out islands as fast as the earth can form them!

Check this out:

Images obtained on 12 and 14 November from NASA's Terra satellite, for instance, suggest that the island has shrunk in surface area by about a third since early October. Small volcanic lakes on the island have also disappeared.

Home Reef last erupted in 1984, when it created an island of roughly the same dimension which also later vanished beneath the waves. Alain Bernard of the Free University in Brussels says he expects the new island to be gone within a month.

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posted by Nathan on 09:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 29, 2005

Tommy Lives « Social Issues »

If you aren't familiar with the Who's rock opera Tommy, you might want to get familiar with it now.

Cuz while this video-game whiz isn't deaf or mute, he is blind.

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posted by Nathan on 08:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 28, 2005

Heartlessness « Social Issues »

I can't believe this!

[A]uthorities said she abandoned her 4-year-old son on the Capital Beltway, then struck him with her car when he tried to get back in.

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posted by Nathan on 11:24 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

July 20, 2005

Two Related Items of Interest « Social Issues »

First: Good!*

The rest was DELETED after thinking about it a little bit. Feel free to hold on to your Google cache, if you will. And it is still seared (seared!) into your memories, I'm sure.

Read More "Two Related Items of Interest" »

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posted by Nathan on 01:38 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

July 18, 2005

Hollywood Doesn't Get It...Again « Social Issues »

See, nothing I've seen in the previews for Willy Wonka makes me think they improved anything over the original other than maybe (...maybe) the special effects.

Same thing for The Bad News Bears.

In fact, it seems like the main thing they are pushing in Willy Wonka is "Johnny Depp acting like a little kid." And this version of The Bad News Bears seems like Billy Bob Thornton is channeling Nicholas Cage from Leaving Las Vegas.

Does Billy Bob not understand that "drunken woodenness" does not do Walter Mathau's crotchety grumpiness any justice?!?!??

Luckily (and this is where Hollywood doesn't get it), the magic of Netflix, Blockbuster, and/or various cable company's Movies on Demand means that if I want to see The Bad News Bears or Willy Wonka, I am not dependent on spending $5-10 per person to see their sub-par crap in the movie theather.

Heck, I'd even say, if I want to see a decent movie, the catalog of the above-mentioned movie services dwarfs any of the garbage coming out of Hollywood these days.

Changes are a-comin', people. Technology will make it possible for people to make good movies, and make money from it, by bypassing Hollywood.

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posted by Nathan on 01:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 12, 2005

Why DC Comics is Lame « Social Issues »

1) The name. "DC Comics", but the "DC" stands for "Detective Comics", so they are calling themselves "Detective Comics Comics" on their own official website.

2) Superman being so superpowerful that only kryptonite and red suns can hurt him.

3) Superman's lame "no one can recognize me if I put on my glasses" secret identity.

4) Aquaman.

5) Anytime they hit upon a semi-popular hero, they run it into the ground with minor variations: Superman, Superboy (A younger Superman...in the future???), Supergirl, SuperDog???!?; Batman, Batgirl, Robin (an obvious "Batboy"); Hawkman, Hawkgirl; Aquaman, Aqualad.

6) Nearly every superhero has a significant villain that is nothing more than an "opposite but equal", including the amazingly lame "Bizarro" treatment.

7) Why would it matter if Superman can leap over a tall building in a single bound if he can fly?

8) If Lex Luther (or whomever) can make our sun red so as to inconvenience Superman, everyone on earth would be burned to a crisp and life on earth would end. Somehow, that never seems to be an issue with DC

9) The Teen Titans may have had a short stretch of decency when they hired away Marvel writers, but for the most part, this was their best "supergroup", and it was still pretty lame for most of its existence. DC has nothing even half so cool as the Fantastic Four, much less the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., the X-Men, the Defenders...

10) Compare "rich, gadget-men": DC has Batman: weenie who suffers his parents' death, and so broods and beats up on villains; he comes up with gadgets only for himself. As if no one else has had his parents die tragically. Marvel has Tony Stark: an alcoholic with a bad heart, and comes up with Iron Man as a possible weapon for the defense industry. Which is more interesting, more relevant, more inspiring, cooler? If you say "DC's", there's no help for you.

There's more, but there's no reason to go any further. DC never figured out how to consistently incorporate real-life elements like the Thing's problems with his appearance, Spiderman's realization that his moment of selfish detachment indirectly caused his beloved uncle's death, Doc Ock's friendship with Aunt May, Dr. Doom's kindness to children, etc. Which is why DC isn't worth reading. I'll throw you DC fans a bone by admitting that for short stretches, specific comic lines/threads might have been worth following. But by and large, DC is far inferior to Marvel.

Oh, John Byrne was the worst artist, but he worked for both sides at various times. I hated his minimalist style. His facial proportions were often wrong, his lines were too thick and eliminated subtle shading, and strong heroes usually just looked like skinny stick figures. I have no idea how he ever got to be considered top talent.

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posted by Nathan on 10:13 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)
» ResurrectionSong links with: I Link Because I Have To...

July 11, 2005

Freedom II: Purpose « Social Issues »

Freedom should have a purpose. It should bring peace and happiness to the largest number of people possible. Meaning, Freedom shouldn't be enjoyed on the backs of the non-Free, however, there are people who will not be happy or at peace regardless of the level of Freedom attained. Furthermore, I do think that the intersection of Freedom and Happiness/Peace is at the center of two poles. Meaning, too little Freedom causes great unhappiness. But too much Freedom often (usually? invariably?) has the same result.

Related.

Consider just a few of the court's accomplishments: The justices have weakened the authority of other institutions, public and private, such as schools, businesses and churches; assisted in sapping the vitality of religion through a transparently false interpretation of the establishment clause; denigrated marriage and family; destroyed taboos about vile language in public; protected as free speech the basest pornography, including computer-simulated child pornography; weakened political parties and permitted prior restraints on political speech, violating the core of the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech; created a right to abortion virtually on demand, invalidating the laws of all 50 states; whittled down capital punishment, on the path, apparently, to abolishing it entirely; mounted a campaign to normalize homosexuality, culminating soon, it seems obvious, in a right to homosexual marriage; permitted discrimination on the basis of race and sex at the expense of white males; and made the criminal justice system needlessly slow and complex, tipping the balance in favor of criminals.

Related.

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posted by Nathan on 01:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 09, 2005

Some Questions « Social Issues »

Freedom.

...for Freedom's sake alone? If so, to what extent?

Or does Freedom have a utility? If so, what should the desired outcome of Freedom be?

I have my thoughts on this, but I'd rather hear some of your thoughts first.

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posted by Nathan on 01:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

July 04, 2005

Pro-Choice, Anti- Roe v. Wade Advocates Are Correct « Social Issues »

Mickey Kaus puts together a strong Pro-Choice argument for the reversal of Roe v. Wade. He's said it before, I've said it before, other people have said it before. It still strikes me as good sense:

... Would it really be so terrible if Roe goes? Abortion would become a legislative decision again. Pro-choice forces would mainly win, with Democrats who wanted to preserve the option of abortion clobbering Republicans (and maybe retaking legislatures) all across the country. But Americans who oppose abortion would win a few points, and become part of the democratic dialogue--instead of being left to nurture resentment at the judges who exclude them and tell them there's nothing they can do about it. Good for democracy, good for Democrats, good for the rule of law--and OK for "choice." Would someone "engaged with real-world facts" have such a big problem with that outcome? Even if it meant they'd be accused of having a coherent judicial philosophy.

The people who get it will continue to get it. The people who don't get it will continue to not get it. Sometimes I wonder why anyone bothers.

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posted by Nathan on 12:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Happy 4th of July! « Social Issues »

Happy 4th of July!

Read More "Happy 4th of July!" »

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posted by Nathan on 11:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 27, 2005

Sad News « Social Issues »

Winnie the Pooh fans everywhere are mourning the passing of Paul Winchell (Tigger) and John Fiedler (Piglet).

My sympathies and prayers go out to their families.

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posted by Nathan on 08:08 AM | Comments (2)

June 23, 2005

Religious Intolerance « Social Issues »

Remember my gut reaction to the report that "religious intolerance" had been discovered at the USAF Academy?

When I read the report, I kept thinking: "Isn't preventing students from proselytizing their faith a violation of Freedom of Religious Expression?"

Even someone on 'Team Heretic' agrees with me.

The report found evidence of the "perception" of religious intolerance, though no real religious intolerance. It found "perceived bias" but no real bias.

The Usual Suspects act like, well, they usually do:

Last week, a group of Democrats in Congress tried to pass a measure condemning the Air Force Academy for allowing religious proselytizing at the school before the report was released.
(emphasis mine)

This is just getting ridiculous.

Expect more breathless reports, since this allows liberals to attack two things they hate: the military and Christianity.*

Read More "Religious Intolerance" »

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posted by Nathan on 05:31 PM | Comments (0)
Property (Lack Of) Rights (UPDATED) [or: I've Got a Bad Feeling About This] « Social Issues »

There's a
great deal of
hyperbole right now
afloat around the
blogosphere in
regards to

this decision.

It's all justified. Well-justified.

The people responsible for this travesty? I'm glad you asked:
John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

Not a conservative, out-of-the-mainstream extremist in the bunch. No sign that freeing women to "control their bodies" has any impact on controlling their homes and lives.

UPDATE: More, and even more.

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posted by Nathan on 11:21 AM | Comments (5)
» Hold The Mayo links with: I Used To Own A House

June 21, 2005

Who Do You Represent? Who/What Gets Your Loyalty? « Social Issues »

Long-time readers know I'm interested in China and have traveled there several times. I go to a Chinese church and have contact with people from another culture there every week. I've deployed overseas with the Air Force several times as well.

One thing is very clear to me in every interaction with foreign nationals: everything I say and do will be taken as a reflection of America, white males, Chiristians, and US military (not necessarily in that order). And maybe a few other things as well.

I can't control their assumptions.

I can't cause them to take my words/actions as just a white Christian male from the US, and ignore the military part. Or a Christian servicemember from the US, ignoring the white male part. Not only can I not control it, I usually cannot even know what they are seeing and assuming.

When overseas, or when interacting with a foreign national, it is very clear to me that the future repercussions and impacts of the meeting are impossible to know. An inadvertant mistake could leave an bad impression that makes things worse for all Americans, and American strategic interest.

And so at the back of my mind, always present, I remember that there is something more important than me: my family back home, and the nation they live in, including the economy, their employment, their energy needs, their security...my faith...my unit, which might someday be fighting a battle and need every advantage to win support from the civilian foreign nationals in the area.

It is very clear to me that my loyalty to my nation is greater than to myself. It is very clear to me that my own likes, dislikes, annoyances, needs, etc, aren't all that important, to an extent. And yet, despite all these restrictions, I still have expansive freedom.

I have the freedom to be pleasant. I have the freedom to be friendly. I have the freedom to return insults with smiles. I have the freedom to be flexible, and to try and understand other cultures and their point of view.

That's why I find "The Ugly American" so irritating. That's why I find the military officer who decided she wasn't going to wear a burqa to be so infuriating. That's why I find Dick Durbin to be such an unmitigated jerk.

When you are in another country, you are in someone's home. You may not like the food they eat, or their customs, but you are in their home, and you should learn to fit in. You shouldn't demand others change to meet your assumptions and demands. And even more importantly, you should be friendly, flexible, patient, kind, generous, and slow to anger. Wait until you get home, close the door, and rant about the idiocy of the foreigners if you must, but don't take it out on an actual person. Not only is that an excellent lesson in patience, but you spread good will with every encounter.

When you are in the military, you have signed on to be a warrior for the US' interests. Complaining about something being "demeaning to women" is placing your own culture on such a high level of importance that it must be imposed on others in their own home...that's more than a little selfish. I hate wearing some of the uniforms, particularly dress uniforms. They are uncomfortable, and I'm since I have to "set them up" (Put on all the ribbons in the right location, right order, even and square) so rarely, I'm scared to death of not doing it right and bringing some minor measure of dishonor to my service. But when I have to, I do it. I don't care if I had to wear a bear suit every day to work to please some third-world nation's sense of morality; if the military requires it, I do it. If I can't do it, I am obligated to resign my commission and get out. Or, if it is a legal order, I am required to comply and then take action after the fact. Refusing to wear the burqa is selfishness, pettiness, and placing an agenda above the needs of the military and the US' strategic interests.

And the negative comments about our military by Democrat leaders...[shakes head]. Dick Durbin is getting the attention more recently, but it started long ago. Remember Patty Murray's argument that Osama bin Laden was loved for the good he did in Afghanistan and we should try to be like Osama (and then when given a chance to back that up, she voted against funding to help build schools, roads, and daycares in Afghanistan in a fit of typical Democrat hypocrisy)?

Leaders should lead. As such, they should consider who they are leading, and to where. As has been pointed out, there are ways Sen. Durbin could have criticized the Bush Administration's policies without giving aid and support to our enemies' propaganda system. Howard Dean should be able to find a way to say "Democrats Good" without having to resort to insulting (and wholly inaccurate) stereotypes of Republicans.

Do you ever think of who you represent? Do you ever suppress your natural reaction because of awareness of your status as a representative? Do the groups to which you belong get any of your loyalty, or do you consider your personal right to be a jerk to trump all other considerations?

...here endeth the sermon. Heh.

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posted by Nathan on 10:10 AM | Comments (2)
» Mark in Mexico links with: 10,000 Angels will swear you were wrong

June 20, 2005

Feel-Good Story of the Day (UPDATED) « Social Issues »

It's good to see Seattle Police are serious about terrorism, even if the city's Senate* and Congressional representation aren't.

Lead paragraph:

Police shot a man who had a large backpack strapped to his chest and was carrying what looked like a grenade in a federal courthouse in downtown Seattle on Monday after he tried to get through security.

UPDATE: Suicide by Police?

Read More "Feel-Good Story of the Day (UPDATED)" »

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posted by Nathan on 03:02 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2005

Terri Schiavo Autopsy « Social Issues »

So the information has now been released.

No signs of abuse, massive brain damage, therapy wouldn't have worked, brain deterioration...

Okay.

But did she really have to be dehydrated to death to find these things out?

And why couldn't two more experts (one chosen by Terri's family, and one chosen by a separate court) participate? All these assessments were made by an expert hand-picked by Michael Schiavo and/or his attorneys...isn't there a good chance of conflict of interest in that?

Final point: while the reports say the autopsy "report" was released, all I've seen are the autopsy "conclusions". That can be considered a "report", yes...but will other doctors be allowed to see and investigate the actual photos and samples? Somehow, I doubt it. Somehow, I doubt the MSM will mention that aspect.

UPDATE: Someone smarter than me (which leaves out pretty much no one) says:

Terri Schiavo, a profoundly disabled woman who was not terminally ill and who had an army of family members ready to care for her for the rest of her natural life, succumbed to forced dehydration at the hands of her spouse-in-name-only.

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posted by Nathan on 01:42 PM | Comments (2)
» The Roost links with: For those that care

This article makes me suspect that Taiwan hasn't even become a truly democratic nation even since martial law was lifted and the native Taiwanese were nominally allowed to participate in politics.

A question: if a people don't really have a voice in their governance, but think they do, is it still democracy? Even more importantly, does it matter if it's not?*

Which, I must say, is why I'm not only not overly concerned about a Congressional attempt to amend the US Constitution to ban flag-desecration, I'm also somewhat encouraged by it.

See, I won't support the amendment, and I'll let my state legislature know about it.

But it is time to return some power to the state legislatures. It is time that we don't take the word of a judge as the final word, but act to change things to be more in line with what The People really want...even if that result is that the people don't really want it.

This bill is good for the exercise of Democracy.

UPDATE: Related.

Read More "Illusion (UPDATED)" »

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posted by Nathan on 11:29 AM | Comments (3)

June 14, 2005

Orenthal, Robert, and Michael « Social Issues »

Found "Not Guilty" by a court of law does not equate to "Exonerated", necessarily.

Also, "Assumed innocent until proven guilty" is for the "eyes of the law", and maybe employers. I don't have to stick to that. You'll forgive me, I hope, if I decide not to trust any of the high profile celebrity defendents found "not guilty" by Los Angeles courts.

Related.

Also quite related.

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posted by Nathan on 09:52 AM | Comments (1)

June 13, 2005

Roe Vs Wade Could/Should be Overturned « Social Issues »

And here's why.

It's become a lodestone.

If you really think abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, if you really think that abortion should remain legal for the truly desperate situations, then you should be preparing for the end of Roe v. Wade.

And by preparation, I mean laying the groundwork for a Constitutional Amendment that will establish the right you want beyond the reach of a few newly-nominated justices.

You see, Roe v. Wade has always been tenuous. Anything established by judicial fiat can be removed by judicial fiat. And so pro-Choice advocates have to make sure the social context never shifts against abortion. They have to make sure a conservative President never gets the opportunity to appoint judges who stick to what's actually written in the Constitution. And in struggling to do so, the pro-Choice advocates have become extreme in trying to make sure the "right" to abortion doesn't get eroded. They can pressure any Democrat candidate for President must toe the line on abortion. They expend political power making sure that procedures that disgust most people (i.e., partial-birth abortion) remain legal. The way the MSM fought the terminology battle (when every major news outlet referred to it as "so-called partial-birth abortion") for the pro-Choice advocates was another nail in the coffin of the public's trust of MSM, as well. And it didn't help any when a NARAL spokesperson said someone shouldn't be prosecuted for a murder because "it would set a bad precedent for abortion".

The linked article demonstrates the eroding support.

Pro-Choice advocates depend on certain language eliciting a certain emotional reaction to keep abortion "rights" off-limits. But over time, the semantic framing of the issue has worn thin. "Safe, legal, and rare" worked until people realized that abortion advocates only cared about the first two. Pro-"choice" worked until people realized the only choice allowed was to have an abortion (anything else would be castigated).

I tried to avoid the semantic battle, and always tried to argue against abortion using pro-abortion terms. I felt that if I could use their emotionally-charged terms and still make a decent argument against abortion, my point had more strength. In every conversation I had, I challenged pro-Choice advocates to imitate me, i.e., use pro-Life terms to argue for abortion "rights". Not a single one dared to take me up on the challenge. And I think more and more people are tired of "framing" and "semantics", and are starting to pay attention to what, exactly, is happening. And the result is that 50% of the nation wants abortion to be legal only in the case of rape, incest, or a life-threatening situation for the mother.

The battles and the invective are going to get worse before they get better.

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posted by Nathan on 09:57 AM | Comments (10)

June 10, 2005

True, but... « Social Issues »

People who work sitting down are paid more than people who work standing up. -- Ray Prince

10 Bonus Points to the first person who reads my mind about why this is so.

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posted by Nathan on 05:57 PM | Comments (2)
Interesting. Weird, but Interesting « Music/Guitar » « Social Issues »

Caption Contest? No prizes...

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posted by Nathan on 12:51 PM | Comments (1)

June 08, 2005

Notice Me! « Social Issues »

Just remember, as you read blog posts about this:

1

2

...that I addressed/covered this issue more than a month ago.

The problem is not just that he was convicted of murder. The travesty is that he was charged at all.

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posted by Nathan on 11:42 AM | Comments (0)
» ResurrectionSong links with: Life in Prison (Updated)

May 30, 2005

Skittles « Social Issues »

I'm actually fairly amused by the Skittles commercials. I particularly like that the people they cast for the commercials are pretty much absolute dorks. I'd be a shoo-in if I ever auditioned.

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posted by Nathan on 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2005

Morality and Suicidal Thoughts « Social Issues »

Considering the information that came to light in this article, I would really like to see a study done of suicide successes, attempts, and thoughts in relation to level of sexual experience cross-referenced to age.

Not that Planned Parenthood would allow such a study to see the light of day, if it could help it.

Maybe there's an abstinence message in Romeo and Juliet?

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posted by Nathan on 05:53 PM | Comments (1)
Fewer Kids in San Francisco « Social Issues »

In some ways, this related to the previous article.

The article addresses the reasons:

San Francisco has the smallest share of small-fry of any major U.S. city. Just 14.5 percent of the city's population is 18 and under.

It is no mystery why U.S. cities are losing children. The promise of safer streets, better schools and more space has drawn young families away from cities for as long as America has had suburbs.

But kids are even more scarce in San Francisco than in expensive New York (24 percent) or in retirement havens such as Palm Beach, Fla., (19 percent), according to Census estimates.

San Francisco's large gay population — estimated at 20 percent by the city Public Health Department — is thought to be one factor, though gays and lesbians in the city are increasingly raising families.

But I think they absolutely miss the mark. Simply put, in trying to create a liberal utopia, they have rendered their city extremely un-family friendly. From subsidizing homeless people, to having an Adult atmosphere nearly everywhere at all times, to increasing taxes that effectively transfer the bulk of revenue away from families, the San Francisco leadership has created an environment in which few people would want to raise their children.

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posted by Nathan on 12:32 PM | Comments (0)
National Health Care "Insurance" « Social Issues »

One of the things that bugs me about national health care is that those who use it the least (take the best care of themselves to need less care, as well as not going to the doctor for minor problems) are the ones who pay the most (as it, getting the least value for the amount of money they pay).

There are certainly medical conditions in which it would be difficult, if not impossible, for an individual to afford decent care, and I guess I don't mind so much that we spread the cost around to the entire society for such situations. But I do object to the people who go to emergency rooms with a cold because they didn't call early enough for a same-day appointment during normal hours. I do object to the people who go in for viral infections (which can be recovered from through time and rest only). I do object to the people who show no interest in being involved in their own treatment and conditions, and so waste doctors' time and raise costs for the rest of us.

A yearly check-up is a good idea, especially as you advance in age. But unless you seriously injure yourself, most people really shouldn't need to see a doctor that often. For most minor illnesses, time is the best medicine.

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posted by Nathan on 10:21 AM | Comments (9)

May 15, 2005

Regarding the Mentos' "Bird" Commercial « Social Issues »
Indeed the song is No Limit, sung by the former Dutch band 2Unlimited.

And,

Here's the site you can see the commercial. The video of "No Limit" can be seen here.

Don't thank me, thank the tireless effort of my reader, Eric. Nice job, dude.

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posted by Nathan on 05:12 PM | Comments (28)

May 04, 2005

Someone Else Noticed « Social Issues »

As much as people might like to think so, the idea that secularists/liberals/atheists/whathaveyou have been piling on against Christians is not just my imagination.

Excerpt:

In more than 50 years of direct engagement in and observation of the major news media I have never encountered anything remotely like the fear and loathing lavished on us by opinion mongers in these world-class newspapers in the past 40 days. If I had a $5 bill for every time the word "frightening" and its close lexicographical kin have appeared in the Times and The Post, with an accusatory finger pointed at the Christian right, I could take my stack to the stock market.

Please note, he's just talking about a recent trend of anti-Christian editorializing in news articles. As such, it is part of a larger movement that ostensibly wants religious freedom, but actually wants to restrict Christian expressions of faith.

And I don't really even think much of it is intentional, deliberate, or conscious. I repeat, though, that I think much of the sub-conscious motivation of many of the people involved are getting revenge for several of their champions taking hits or being defeated, in part by the opposition of conservative Christians. It's a shaming campaign, perhaps, in hopes of shaming Christians out of their political views? I'm not sure.

But it's there.

I can even admit that's not going to be obvious to everyone. Some people who do their own thing are going to see the MSM's campaign against Christians and agree with a few points, perhaps dredging up some old grudges, perhaps making some valid points. But just because their motivation or opinion isn't the same does not mean they don't add weight to the whole movement. It's kind of a variation on mob mentality, if you will.

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the "head's up."

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posted by Nathan on 09:42 AM | Comments (1)

May 01, 2005

Wasted Cash « Social Issues »

Gas prices are high. Boo-freakin'-hoo.

I understand that high gas prices are a tax on economic activity, because it raises the costs inherent to shipping goods and moving people. I have always tried to get the most fuel-efficient car I could*.

However, Mr. Carter's point that "Money spent on gasoline could otherwise be spent on more productive durable goods, or, better yet, saved for a rainy day," seems rather inane to me.

Before the rise of Starbucks, you could get a decent cup of coffee for $.49 if you looked hard enough, and not that much more if you didn't. Nowadays, well, isn't the average cup of Starbuck's coffee something like $32 per gallon? Isn't that also money that could/should be spent on more productive durable goods or saved for a rainy day? Many people drink 2 cups of starbucks a day, five days a week, which probably comes close to the weekly gas bill of some people (Even at $2.50 a gallon for gas, that would double my gasoline bill...I should end up filling my tank about once every two weeks once I get settled in to my home and work).
Has anyone talked about government intervention to stop the financial hemorrhaging on this issue? I haven't seen any.

Or what about the colassal waste of capital that gets spent on going to the movies? I haven't been in about 2 years, so I'm not sure what the going rate is now...$8 for an adult? Higher? And then you have the price-gouging on popcorn ($7 for a large that costs them literally $.07 to make?!??!!), soft drinks, and candy...isn't this worse than the gasoline/fuel issue where the market actually determines what the price is?

This isn't really a big deal, but making such a big deal about gas prices seems infantile to me. There are things that far more money is wasted on, like, say: the current Social Security Ponzi Scheme.

Read More "Wasted Cash" »

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posted by Nathan on 06:24 PM | Comments (5)
Musings on Crusades and Theocrats (UPDATED) « Social Issues »

Yes, I do think there is a recently-undertaken campaign against religion in America. Here are some more indications of that campaign.

As I said in the comments on the first linked post:

...no one is going to convince me that after 200 years of having references to God in all sorts of government literature, that saying “Under God” in the pledge is somehow suddenly an assault on religious freedom.

To tell the truth, the time to have worried about a burgeoning theocracy would have been at the height of power and influence of Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority. That was far closer to imposing a Theocracy on the United States than anything these days. Meaning: not close at all, despite the overheated rhetoric recently.

Please, if we are close to imposing a Theocracy, name me a few of the leaders. Tell me which sect of Christianity is leading the charge. You can't. Because there is no such movement.

So, if we aren't close to a theocracy, why are atheists 'fighting back' so much recently? Why are liberal Democrat leaders making such dark and dire warnings against Christianity and its 'dark' agenda?

Most people point to the loss of the 2004 election and 'values' voting.

I think it may be more basic than that. Rather than continuing to drag it out, I'll say it plainly:
It is retribution/revenge for the failure of the homosexual movement to win same-sex marriage rights across the entire nation. They blame religion for being the motive force behind the rejection, and so are trying to eliminate the free expression of religion nationwide.

I'm tired of it, but to tell the truth, if religious expression were suddenly (and in violation of the Constitution) suppressed to the level anti-theocrats want it, Christianity would actually grow even more. Christianity always does well under persecution, and the faith not only becomes stronger, it returns to its roots.

UPDATE: Because apparently I wasn't clear enough, I would like to go a little deeper.
Greg Nokes didn't seem to like my statement about there being a recent trend of attempting to suppress Christian religious expression. I left a comment or two there.
Later, I saw a post at Keven McGehee's that explains that some anti-Christians really do seem to think there is some movement toward a Theocracy and are actively 'fighting back'. Now, I don't actually agree that an anti-theocratic movement is fighting back, I think it the motive force comes from a smaller group looking for revenge/retribution. Which I explained in this post.
However, what I did not make clear is that I don't consider Greg a part of that. I might consider him piling on at worst; but my impression is he just likes talking about the issue, so I linked his post both as an example of someone who doesn't see the issue the same way as I do (so that you, my dear reader, can check out different points of view), and also to maybe throw him some miniscule amount of traffic out of respect for his opinions and willingness to share them civilly.
So if that wasn't clear to you, Greg, or to any other reader, I apologize, and I hope no hard feelings or misunderstandings will persist.

I want religious freedom for everyone. But I don't want religious freedom for everyone but Christians. Lately, it seems as if a significant subgroup of liberal atheists want to apply affirmative action precepts to religion, and that's kind of what I'm arguing against. You know: where it's okay to have a Jewish, Wiccan, or Pagan religious symbol because they aren't the dominant religion like Christianity is, i.e., insisting the 10 Commandments are removed from courthouses but not the Goddess of Justice...

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April 29, 2005

Pro-Choice Advocates are Wrong « Social Issues »

This article demonstrates why. The story makes me feel physically ill.

After Erica's doctor's visit a week earlier, Jerry said, she had decided she didn't want to be pregnant anymore. She'd heard that if someone stood on a pregnant woman's stomach, you could abort the babies. For days, she'd asked Jerry to do it. He didn't want to, but ultimately he gave in.

Back in the hospital, Erica did two things: She admitted that Jerry had hit her several times, and she confirmed Jerry's story about stepping on her stomach. Under a state law passed in 2003, she had just implicated her boyfriend in two counts of capital murder. Under that same law, she was guilty of nothing, since a mother has the right to end her pregnancy.

Now, that's Jerry's testimony/confession. It may turn out that Erica didn't ask him to do it, that he forced it on her.

But the facts are unassailable: If a woman begs a man to hurt her enough to cause a miscarriage, he faces prison for murder; she wouldn't even be charged.

How is this moral? How is this even remotely close to justice?

What does this imply about doctors?

What follows is harsh. Don't read if you have an emotional attachment to a pro-choice stance.

Read More "Pro-Choice Advocates are Wrong" »

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posted by Nathan on 02:08 PM | Comments (15)
Stupid Kids' Shows « Social Issues »

Okay, everyone hates Caillou. That's just about a given.

But Bear in the Big Blue House has been pretty reliably good, in my opinion. Sure, there's a little social-liberalistic ideology indoctrination present, but you get that in everything these days, and Bear had been pretty good in my experience.

Then yesterday morning, Tutter saw a show about a hero, and then started annoying everyone trying to save them.

So instead of playing along with Tutter and encouraging his imagination, everyone made him feel kinda bad about it. When Tutter finally gave up in frustration, saying, "I'll never be a hero," Bear's solution was to say, "You may not be a hero, but you are something no one else can be: Tutter! And that's pretty special."

Argh!

Hasn't the Empty Self-Esteem movement already been totally discredited????

Why didn't the writers have Bear talk about the jobs society needs that you can be a hero, like policeman or military...or if that is too icky for social engineers, paramedics, doctors, or firemen? Or talk about the everyday heroism of teachers and contributers to PBS, at least.

Best would be for Bear (and any parent who finds himself in the situation) to talk about being a hero by being brave enough to stand up to peer pressure, or being brave enough to not fight back against siblings, or having the courage to do something his parents wanted him to do even when he doesn't want to, like eating vegetables or taking a bath!

At the very least, Bear could have said, "You may not be able to save anyone from a dragon, Tutter, but you make me very happy when you clean up your room without me having to tell you, when you say please and thank you to people, when you [engage in behavior the adult wants the child to increase], and that's pretty cool and special.

Self-Esteem should come from a sense of accomplishment, not being. That's not a news-flash, I know...so why don't the writers of Bear in the Big Blue House know that?!??! Morons.

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posted by Nathan on 09:52 AM | Comments (4)

April 27, 2005

April 26, 2005

Pictures of Pretty Girls in Hawaii (UPDATED) « Social Issues »

To tell the truth, I'm a little uncomfortable taking pictures without permission; it is rather rude to take someone's picture without their permission, after all.

I've managed to capture a few snapshots. Mostly distant shots with telephoto. I've seen another half-dozen girls today here in Starbucks...but the place is a little too small to take a picture without everyone noticing.

I did screw my courage to the sticking point to ask one girl if I could take her picture...but I couldn't get her attention and I didn't want to get up and leave my computer to go ask her... My loss is, well, your loss, I guess.

Within the next few weeks I'll go hang out at the University and snap the shutter like crazy. That should have some good results. Until then, I'll continue my surreptitious shutterbugging until I have enough decent ones to put up a gallery...

UPDATE: The quality may be a little low, but I'm rediscovering the usefulness of a camera phone for this sort of mission. And let me emphasize, I'm not doing this for me, I'm doing it for you. In other words, to increase my hit total as much as possible. I'm going to need a cyanide pill for if I'm caught...but if you don't mind, I think I'd like to try out the placebo version?

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posted by Nathan on 11:55 AM | Comments (5)
The Other Nuclear Option « Social Issues »

Yep, global warming is caused by environmental activism.

Emphasis mine, read the whole thing.

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posted by Nathan on 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2005

Children in a World of Adult Sexuality (EDITED TO CORRECT ERRORS) « Social Issues »

There is a perspective you get from being a parent that it is very hard for a single person to understand. It's the understanding that you have a child whose prime motivation is to learn about life. Everything is new to a child, and perspective and context make a huge difference in how incidents and information impact.

The parent, the adult, can try to give the child the proper context in which to interpret what they see and hear. But a parent cannot put the child in a box and filter everything. And the world is far more obscene, profane, and carnal than it was even just 15 years ago.

All you adults reading this, especially South Park Republicans and Deadwood Democrats, do you realize you can watch your movies with adult situations, sexuality, and foul language without it affecting you because you were more protected when you were a child. And by insisting that no one touch or regulate your entertainment on "pay" TV (which is now the default in most homes, reaching more households than broadcast TV ever did in the 70s), you are eliminating that protection for your kids.

Michelle Malkin points to an excerpt from a book by a former writer for the sex industry who finally realizes this point.

Excerpt of the excerpt:

In today's media climate, whether we want it or not, we are inundated, saturated, beaten over the head with sex. Television, our national public commons, has an ever-mounting percentage of explicit sexual content on cable, shading down to the mere leering double entrendre and snickering innuendo of broadcast sitcoms. It's difficult to find a program that doesn't reference sex. It's egregious, it's out of control, it's too much. Media, advertising art, and entertainment constantly shove images at me that I am just not interested in seeing.

The average child in America puts in a full workweek, forty hours, consuming media. That means our kids are getting a snootful of this stuff, all day every day, week in and week out.

The creators of South Park find it hypocritical that we are so concerned about children being exposed to sex and bad language but don't care about kids being exposed to violent themes in movies.

Well, that's a gross oversimplification. First, parents do object to gratuitous violence, like that in, say, Grand Theft Auto. Then people say being exposed to violence doesn't necessarily make kids violent.

In all fairness, I think there is a point there. Context does make a difference. I was a little worried when my son started watching the Power Rangers, because so many parents have expressed concern that it teaches kids to hit. But I watched it a few times with them and grew less concerned. Violence in that show is always used to help, protect, and defend; not to hurt, manipulate, or destroy. And so we actually use the Power Rangers quite a bit as object lessons in having courage and persistence in dealing with difficulties, i.e., "Okay, so you fell down on your bike. Don't you think it hurts when the White Power Ranger gets kicked in the face? But he gets up and tries again, right?" This actually is working quite well, by the way. The Power Rangers aren't lessons in violence, but in courage.

And violence can, and is portrayed in different ways. Saving Private Ryan is violent, yes. So are Jackie Chan movies. So is the movie The Magnificent Seven. But violence is portrayed differently in all three, and really not glorified as violence itself, but violence in relation to something important. Defense, protection, saving.

Sexual themes, however, are nearly universally about one thing: titillation. Sexual themes are, by definition, attempts to arouse and incite desire. There is one simple message in our Sexually-Oriented culture today, and it's not the one I want my children internalizing as a Way to Live.

I am convinced that pursuing sexual satisfaction as an end-goal itself is the antithesis of peace, happiness, and stability in life. I wish the world wasn't working so hard to drown me out when I try to teach my children that philosophy of life.

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posted by Nathan on 11:01 AM | Comments (2)

April 23, 2005

Political Correctness Run Amok « Social Issues »

"One nation, under your belief system!?!??"

Don't you think this anti-religious movement is getting out of hand?

So was this open season on religious belief brought on by libertarians who feel uncomfortable finding themselves under the same big tent as conservative Christians in voting for Bush, or liberals who feel they lost the 2004 election on the basis of religious values?

I'd guess the latter is the main reason; after all, they have the bulk of the mainstream media to spread their viewpoint...but the fiscally-conservative-socially-moderate voting bloc probably contributed significantly, as well.

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posted by Nathan on 11:29 AM | Comments (0)
» The Roost links with: I pledge allegance to the moral majority...
» Myopic Zeal links with: One Nation, Under God Your Belief System

April 22, 2005

Policy As Written, Policy As Enforced « Social Issues »

Does our society, or more importantly, do our authorities completely lack common sense?

If you take the public education system's various Zero Tolerance policies, or the Federal governments War on Drugs as examples, I guess you have to say we do.

Yes, "we", because the government and the administration for public schools are hired by us, and we have direct input into the tenure of both.

Maybe an even more important question is: can we restore common sense to our society, government, and empowered authorities?

The reason is this is an important question is that there are at least three major issues in the news right now that I can think of right off the top of my head that could be resolved with an infusion of common sense.

1) Abortion
2) the relation between religion and government
3) Same-Sex Marriage rights

It is these discussions that provide most of the vitriol in the blogosphere and op-ed pages. It is these topics that have deepened the fissures between liberal and conservative, between the religious and the atheist, that threatens to fracture both parties into a hundred squabbling factions.

I know most of us are tired of it, but nothing ever gets resolved.

Stepping back a moment, it seems like the main problem is that these issues are being argued on the basis of singular examples rather than common sense. For instance: "I have an uncle who has been 100% faithful to his boyfriend for 70 years, and is a model of love and chastity, so how can you deny him the right of marriage?" Well, public policy is not and should not be made on the basis of one example. Or: "What if a girl were raped by her father right after they moved to a new town so she didn't have anyone to turn to for help in dealing with the crime and the pregnancy she now faces? So we must have federally-funded abortion-on-demand without parental notification legal through the middle of the 3rd trimester to help this poor girl". Or, "I do not support and will not stand for my taxes going to pay for anything as religious as a Christmas Tree or for a govt official on the payroll saying "Happy Easter" or a privately-funded monument to the 10 Commandments showing anywhere on Courthouse grounds, because that represents an establishment of Religion in the governemnt".

One of those cool moments of clarity that change your life came in my Junior year of college, in American Public Policy class. The point the teacher made is that there is always and inevitably a difference between Policy-as-written and Policy-as-enforced, and that the dichotomy can be deliberately used to shape public behavior to the benefit of everyone involved. The example she used is Texas'/Houston's policy on speeding tickets. Whatever level of govt it was had built a toll road, and people weren't using it enough to pay for itself. So they stopped enforcing the speed limit on the tollroad; people regularly went 80 mph on it. It encouraged people to pay the $3 for the tollroad if they were in a huge hurry, which made the toll road profitable and reduced congestion on the non-toll freeway. But the automatic $3 charge kept enough people off the tollway that going 70 to 80 mph was still relatively safe.

Now, why can't that sort of attitude be adopted toward these issues?

Why can't abortion be absolutely illegal after the 1st trimester, with the understanding that a truly horrible situation will still be handled discreetly, and even if noted, not prosecuted?

Why can't "sodomy" remain illegal, but only used as an add-on charge when involving rape or manipulation of the underaged?

Why can't the use of harder drugs remain illegal, but we stop prosecuting people who are merely 'using', unless they are also engaged in another criminal behavior like robbing a store to get money for their next fix?

Why can't homosexual partners be treated as common-law lifetime relationships for the purposes of inheritance and hospital visitation without altering legal definitions of marriage? Heck, the added advantage there is that they would have to actually act like a married couple to get the rights of common law marriage...which would defuse the conservative argument that "gay marriages" would be used as a license for extreme promiscuity with spousal medical insurance as a safety net.

Maybe these aren't the best examples. There are probably better ones.

My frustration arises from the litigous society we have created, in which common sense can't be applied or else the ACLU will hit you with a discrimination suit and someone gets a $10 million windfall from "punitive" damages designed to re-engineer social attitudes and mores.

Are you happy that we have a society in which Andrea Yates can drown her children and never get a day of prison? In which a woman gets several million dollars for getting a 2nd degree burn from coffee because she slurped too quickly? In which kids get thrown out of school for bringing a 2" long plastic toy rifle to school? In which a 14-year-old can get an abortion without her parents knowing, but not a tattoo? In which a 12-year-old can get free condoms and be encouraged to engage in oral/anal sex to "preserve virginity" (Thanks, Planned Parenthood!) but a 20-year-old can't purchase a beer? In which tipping authorities to illegal immigration is worse than going to the Emergency Room for your child's cold because the parent knows they won't be denied despite not being able to pay?

This was...not...my best post. ...but that's...okay. Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and: Doggone it! People like me.

Anyway, these are the random thoughts I am having as I sit in a Starbuck's constantly being distracted by nice gams and slender waists wending their way toward a Venti Latte with caramel.

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posted by Nathan on 01:49 PM | Comments (2)

April 16, 2005

The War On Drugs « Social Issues »

The War on Drugs is ridiculous, counterproductive, useless, and waste all around. To stop the drug trade, you have to reduce demand. But all a dealer needs to do to increase demand is give a little of his product for free, and he gets a whole new customer base addicted. It's like trying to empty the ocean with a sieve.

So you have to greatly reduce supply, so you don't have people with lots of product to deal. But that's forcing a foreign country to change their ways; difficult at best, and nearly impossible when dealing with a jungled mountain area like that in Columbia.

But you can work on the weakest link: the dealers.

Here's what I'd do:
1) Legalize marijuana. It's really not much different than alcohol in terms of addictiveness, and few people commit crimes while stoned. Of course, if it does ever look like it might be legalized, I'm buying lots of stock in Frito-Lay's and other snack makers...
People argue against marijuana from the basis of it being a gateway drug: i.e., it may not be a problem, but it leads to usage of other, worse drugs. But I presume it is a gateway drug precisely because it is illegal. If someone smokes it and doesn't seem to be harmed or dangerous at all, because they are doing something illegal anyway, they might as well try some other stuff...
2) Keep all 'harder' drugs illegal. They are significantly different from alcohol and cigarettes in the addictability, and that means people who are hooked and can't get the product do commit crimes to get it. But you stop enforcing it, because most of these people are victims of the dealers who get them hooked. So you keep 'em illegal to send a message to kids, and so you have something else to smack people with if they do drive under the influence, or rob a store while high, etc.
2a) I could even see having a program where the govt hands out some harder drugs to an addict...but only in a locked cell that amounts to entry into a treatment program...I'll have to muse more on that.
3) Take out the dealers. Make it too expensive/difficult/painful to keep dealing. I'd support mandatory death sentences for all dealers, although I'd probably insist on an extremely high threshold for proving someone was a dealer, like getting caught in the act of selling. Just handing a joint to your younger sibling shouldn't count...maybe specific quantities? Although merely possessing large quantities shouldn't be enough, either.
At the very least, capital punishment for dealing should be an option.
That would allow us to slash the War on Drugs budget down to a 1/10th of what it already is, and yet still be quite a bit more effective.

Anyway, that's my $.02 worth.

Inspired by this post and this one.

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posted by Nathan on 06:52 AM | Comments (4)

April 15, 2005

April 14, 2005

10k Fugitives Arrested « Social Issues »

The mind boggles at the number.

Excerpt:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Marshals Service Director Ben Reyna are expected to announce the results of the unprecedented coast-to-coast sweep at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Among the 10,340 people captured between April 4 and April 10 are 162 accused or convicted of murder, 638 wanted for armed robbery, 553 wanted for rape or sexual assault, 154 gang members and 106 unregistered sex offenders.

It looks like AG Gonzales was a better choice than anyone could have guessed.

This is amazing, to say the least. Was it really as simple/easy as this? A week-long focused effort, and 10k fugitives are located, surrounded, captured, and taken into custody? Why wasn't this done before? Did someone have an idea for a unique approach?

This is what an AG should come up with.

I'm sure some libertarian will complain this is a mis-use of federal power and a violation of States' Rights. [/snark]

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posted by Nathan on 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2005

Terri Schiavo Wrap-Up (UPDATED) « Social Issues »

Yeah, the issue has been pounded. So what?

Over the weekend I talked with friends about the issue. I had a certain impression of issues different from their impressions because they seemed to pretty much depend on mainline news media. I had a difficult time giving any verbal evidence they would accept as credible as CNN. I could point out that the brain scans were 10 years old; I could point out that other credible neurologists gave a different prognosis from the doctor who saw the case. But nothing I said made a dent because I didn't have the links in front of me, and "CNN Said".

So what follows is just the information I found in about 30 minutes of research. If I get in such a discussion again, I'll have more ammunition. Now so will you, if you didn't already.

If anyone knows of any other factual or authoritative collections of material supporting the idea of reasonable doubt toward the PVS prognosis, please leave the link in the comments.

UPDATE: But none of the following points are proof that Terri Schiavo was murdered. All I ever wanted was more time for a thorough review based on current evidence, not a single CT scan more than 10 years old and a prognosis from a single doctor that spent less than an hour with Terri. Don't we usually get 2nd opinions on weighty medical issues?

Read More "Terri Schiavo Wrap-Up (UPDATED)" »