Monday, January 30, 2006

Federal child support

Jeffery M. Leving and Glenn Sacks write:
Federal Child Support Enforcement Cuts Will Hurt Bureaucrats, not Children

Democrats, women's advocates, the National Governors Association, and child support enforcement officials are sounding the alarm over proposed cuts in the federal funds that subsidize states' child support enforcement efforts. The cuts, which recently passed the House, will reduce federal reimbursement from 66% of the states? costs to 50% over five years.
It would help children even more if the federal reimbursements were cut to zero. Here is another gripe:
Any GOP representative who votes against restoring the funds for child support enforcement should be attacked by his 2006 challenger as "anti-family" and someone who protects "deadbeat dads."
The federal program creates monetary incentives for busting up families, denying father visitation, and paternity fraud. It is not really even correct to call it child support enforcement because it does not enforce any money to be spent on supporting children. It only enforces mother (and father) support, and welfare agency reimbursement.

Comparing pilots to stewardesses

Toronto news:
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Tuesday that Air Canada's flight attendants can compare their pay with that of pilots and ground crews to determine if they are being discriminated against because of gender.

The top court said it is fair to make the comparison, because the flight attendants, pilots and ground crews all work for the same organization in the same business.

Air Canada had argued that each of the groups is covered under a different collective agreement, so a comparison would not be valid. The top court rejected that view.
The next time you hear that men make more than women, remember that they have to compare airline pilots to stewardesses to get that conclusion.

Cartoons upset Mohammedans

Canada reports from Gaza:
Masked gunmen stormed an office used by the European Union in Gaza City on Monday to protest cartoons published in Denmark and Norway.

Five men entered the building and closed down the office while 10 men stood watch outside.

One of the men said they were protesting the caricatures, one showing the Prophet Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse.
I mentioned the cartoons below.

This picture shows Mohammedans burning a Danish flag. There are more pictures here.

More news:
DUBAI (Reuters) - An Iraqi militant group called on Monday for attacks against Danish and Norwegian targets over satirical cartoons of Islam's Prophet Mohammad, saying a boycott of goods was not enough, according to an Internet statement.

"Boycotting cheese and dairy products alone is a flimsy stance that fits a weak nation that cannot defend its prophet ... They started this and they have to shoulder the responsibilities," said the statement attributed to the Mujahideen Army.

It called on its fighters to "hit whatever targets possible belonging to these two countries and other (countries) that follow their steps".
Here is the Hamas Charter.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Oppenheimer the dark angel

Rober Larue writes:
To the Editor:
James Horgan makes reference to Robert Oppenheimer as "the dark angel of nuclear physics." One wonders if Oppenheimer deserves that appellation, and if it is not more apt regarding Edward Teller. Oppenheimer, once the genie was out of the bottle, struggled to control atomic power rather than expand it, and he was martyred for his efforts.

Teller, on the other hand, sought tirelessly to increase nuclear destructive capability and contributed, Judas-like, to Oppenheimer's destruction. It's not surprising that Stanley Kubrick chose Teller, not Oppenheimer, as the model for Dr. Strangelove, as a recent biography of Teller has noted.
No, Strangelove appears to be mostly based on Herman Kahn. Oppenheimer was a Commie, and he only opposed nukes when used to defend ourselves from the Commies. Teller was a great and loyal American.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Comparing public and private schools

I am still trying to make sense out of this study:
A study finds that U.S. public school students do as well on math tests as those in private schools when student backgrounds are taken into account.

Christopher Lubianski and Sarah Theule Lubianski, of the University of Illinois used data from the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress, comparing the scores of 340,000 students in 13,000 schools, the New York Times reported. The number of students taking the test increased tenfold that year.

The Lubianskis used statistical techniques to adjust scores for family income and school and home circumstances. They found that the average raw scores of Catholic school fourth-graders were 14.3 points higher than public school students and 3.4 points lower when adjusted.
On this scale, an academic year is about 10 points.

What I don't get is how they adjusted for school circumstances. They were supposed to be measuring differences in school circumstances, not concealing them. I cannot find the paper online.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sex and sense of humor

Nature reports:
Bressler suspected that men and women do, in fact, both value a sense of humour in a mate, but that they might be looking for slightly different things: women valuing an ability to be funny and men valuing an ability to see the joke.

In a second study, Bressler and his colleagues asked nearly 130 students to imagine two people of the opposite sex. One fictional character was funny; the other appreciated another person's humour. The team then asked each student which they would choose for a relationship.

Women generally preferred men who were funny, while men favoured a woman who thought he was funny.

Shafting boys

Ilana Mercer writes:
Evidence abounds that boys thrive in the more disciplined, structured learning environment. America's loosey-goosey schools, however, shun discipline and moral instruction. Boys are also biologically predisposed to competition. But in the progressive school, cooperative experiences and groupthink are preferred to individual achievement.

And girls are favored over boys.

When boys bubble over with unbridled testosterone, instead of challenging, disciplining and harnessing their energies, as teachers once did, they are emasculated or medicated. The former means being made over in the image of woman; the latter entails being diagnosed as "learning disabled" and drugged with Ritalin. It is a consequence of the demonization of male biopsychology.

The school is a microcosm of society. Both have been thoroughly feminized.

France does not have free speech

French news:
Stating that "homosexual behaviour endangers the survival of humanity" and that "heterosexuality is morally superior to homosexuality" can cost you dearly in France. Exactly these opinions, expressed by the French politician Christian Vanneste last year, led to him being sentenced on Tuesday to payment of a heavy fine.

A court in Lille ... ruled that Mr Vanneste has to pay a fine of 3,000 euro plus 3,000 euro in damages to each of the three gay organisations that had taken him to court.
A major goal of the gay rights movement is to suppress criticism.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Boys and girls are harassed

CNN reports:
Men are more likely to harass than women, but women and men are equally likely to be harassed on U.S. campuses, according to a report by the American Association of University Women.
The girls complain about it more.

Schoolboy argues system is favoring girls

Boston Globe news:
Girls are outperforming boys because the school system favors them, said Anglin, who has filed a federal civil rights complaint contending that his school discriminates against boys.

Among Anglin's allegations: Girls face fewer restrictions from teachers, like being able to wander the hallways without passes, and girls are rewarded for abiding by the rules, while boys' more rebellious ways are punished. ...

Of the 22 students in her honors Spanish class, only one is a boy, said [Kelli] Little, a senior. She also said that teachers rarely ask her for a hall pass if she is not in class, while they routinely question boys walking behind her.

As for assignments, she said, one teacher expects students to type up class notes and decorate their notebooks with glitter and feathers.

''You can't expect a boy to buy pink paper and frills to decorate their notebooks," Little said. ...

While some of Anglin's concerns appear to be supported by school statistics and anecdotal evidence, school officials say some of the solutions that he offers are far-fetched.

For example, he proposes that the high school give students credit for playing sports, not just for art and drama courses. He also urges that students be allowed to take classes on a pass/fail basis to encourage more boys to enroll in advanced classes without risking their grade point average. He also wants the school to abolish its community service requirement, saying it's another burden that will just set off resistance from boys, who may skip it and fail to graduate as a result.
I am sure that his complaint will be ignored, but he does have a point. The schools favor girls in a lot of ways.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Genetic differences help explain cigarette addiction

NewScientist reports:
Two new studies of smokers have yielded new insight into a gene linked to cigarette addiction. The findings could lead to more personalised -- and ultimately more effective -- treatments that help people to quit smoking.
Funny, I don't hear anyone demanding smokers rights because smoking is innate, and not a choice.

School boys can wear skirts

Newark NJ news:
The American Civil Liberties Union says the school district in Bergen County has decided that Michael Coviello can wear skirts to class. The 17-year-old began wearing skirts to protest a district ban on shorts at school between October and April. ...

The state's ACLU chapter told the school superintendent that all students -- not just girls -- are entitled to wear skirts.
The ACLU should not be dictating dress codes.

British culture of secrecy

British news:
Girls under 16 can have abortions without their parents' knowledge, a judge ruled yesterday.

Sue Axon, 51, a divorced, single parent of five children from Wythenshawe, Manchester, lost a High Court case challenging Government guidelines that allow health professionals to give sexual health advice to under-16s without parental consent.

In a case which had wide implications, Mrs Axon said the guidance was "undermining" family life by fostering a "culture of secrecy".
Young schoolgirls also get condoms and morning-after pills without their parents' knowledge or consent.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sexual activity required

Florida news:
University of Florida employees have to pledge that they're having sex with their domestic partners before qualifying for benefits under a new health care plan at the university. ...

In addition to declaring joint financial obligations, prospective enrollees must "have been in a non-platonic relationship for the preceding 12 months," according to the affidavit.

Marylou Behnke, a UF senator, told Cavanaugh she found the requirement "offensive."

As a member of the Senate, representing faculty in UF's College of Medicine, Behnke said she was compelled to learn more about UF's plan. She said she was taken aback to find that employees would be required to swear to prior sexual activity, a standard not applied to married couples covered by UF's primary health care plan. ...

Confidentiality is promised to UF employees enrolled in any health care plan, but Behnke said she had concerns about whether the affidavit might lead to discrimination if it ended up in the wrong hands. Pledging an active homosexual relationship, as the affidavit requires for gay couples, could potentially bar an individual from participation in organizations like the Boy Scouts or the military, Behnke said.
There is something very strange about these homosexual couples who want to be treated just like married couples. They want the benefits, but they are embarrassed about what they are doing.

Soy not so healthy

AP health news:
DALLAS - Veggie burgers and tofu might not be so great at warding off heart disease after all.

An American Heart Association committee reviewed a decade of studies on soy's benefits and came up with results that are now casting doubt on the health claim that soy-based foods and supplements significantly lower cholesterol.

The findings could lead the Food and Drug Administration to re-evaluate rules that currently allow companies to tout a cholestorol-lowering benefit on the labels of soy-based food.
I just bought some imitation peanut butter called SoyNut Butter. I had to goto a market with a health food section to find it. It wasn't even shelved with the peanut butter; it was in the other side of the store. I guess that I should be happy that some people mistakenly believe that it is healthy, or I might not have been able to buy it at all.

Gene test and insurance

Diana Abramo writes to the NY Times editor:
Re "Gene Increases Diabetes Risk, Scientists Find" (front page, Jan. 16):

The discovery of a variant gene that predisposes more than a third of the American population to Type 2 diabetes could, its discoverers hope, eventually allow testing for that gene. But this would mean worse health outcomes, not better, because we have a profit-driven health care system.

As your series on diabetes this month stated, insurers often discourage diabetics from enrollment. Tests demonstrating a predisposition to diabetes could result in refusal of coverage, exorbitant rates or exclusions for diabetes and all related complications.

Without a single-payer system with a goal of providing health care rather than profit, exciting advances in genetics will not result in better health care, but in health care denied.

Scientific breakthroughs unmatched by breakthroughs in insurance systems will be of no avail.
This makes no sense. Insurance companies will not cancel a third of their customers just because of a gene test.

If a gene test raises rates for a third of the population, then it should lower rates for the other two thirds. On average, consumers should benefit because insurance companies should not have to be paid as much to assume risk.

There might be some public policy reasons for barring insurance companies from using certain genetic tests, but anything that allows better prediction of disease should make the whole system more efficient.

Defining Mohammedan

Wikipedia defines Mohammedan:
Mohammedan is an archaic term in English for a Muslim that was commonly used in western literature until around the mid-twentieth century. Earlier generations of westerners falsely believed that the followers of Islam worshipped Muhammad, when actually Muslims worship only God (or Allah); Muhammad is regarded as the last prophet. The term is offensive to many Muslims, because of the word's implication that Muhammad is worshipped.
I doubt that this is correct. I can't find any proof that westerners thought that anyone worshipped Muhammad. Eg, this 1910 encyclopedia does not say so.

The word only suggests that a Mohammedan is a follower of Mohammad, and that is correct. There are Mohammedans who prefer other terms, such as moslim or muslim, but I think that is for other reasons. The term Mohammedan is accurate.

Muhammad taught many things, besides religion. I think that the terms moslem, muslim, and Islam were invented for just the religious aspects of his teachings. The term Mohammedan is more correct if one wants to include his other teachings. That is why I continue to use it.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Distinguishing Mohammedans

This Stratfor report distinguishes various Mohammedans:
For starters, it is important to understand that "Islamist" -- not "Islamic" -- is the accurate term to refer to the militants' ideology, which seeks the establishment of a government that implements Islamic law. ... Beyond the moderate mainstream of Islamism are two types of actors -- radical and militant. The former espouse a radical agenda, but do not use violent means. ... there are "jihadists" who they seek to establish an Islamic state by waging a jihad (armed struggle) against the current regime. ... Although not all Wahhabis are jihadists, it would be safe to say that most jihadists are Wahhabi. ... jihadists are also a sub-category within the wider Islamist militant universe.
Unless you are a diplomat, I don't see why these distinctions are useful. It is not clear to me that there are clear differences between these various Mohammedan actors, or that the terminology is accepted.

Animal personalities

Here is a long NY Times story about how octopuses and other animals supposedly have personalities. Psychologists should test out more of their goofy theories on animals.

Naomi Wolf sees Jesus

British news:
Naomi Wolf, one of America's foremost feminist thinkers, has found a spiritual awakening in God after experiencing a "mystical encounter" with Jesus.

Wolf, best known as the author of the Beauty Myth, a groundbreaking 1991 polemic against the cosmetics industry that radicalised a generation of young women, revealed the cause of a hitherto unexplained mid-life crisis that set her on a "spiritual path".

In an interview with the Sunday Herald, Wolf spoke publicly for the first time about her vision. Her comments will spark a theological skirmish in the United States and leave her open to further attacks from other feminist critics.

Wolf admitted that, during a therapy session to treat writer's block, she encountered what she described as a holographic image of Jesus. ...

She also expressed apprehension that her faith would be hijacked by religious groups. "I don't want to be co-opted as the poster child for any religion or any agenda," said Wolf, who was brought up in a liberal Jewish household. "There are a lot of people out there just waiting for some little Jewish feminist to cross over. I don't claim to get where this being fits into the scheme of things but I absolutely believe in divine providence now, absolutely believe God totally cares about every single one of us intimately."

Despite pleas to distance her faith from any religion, her admission to seeing the "child of God" will trigger a theological battle between the American Christian right and the Jewish lobby over the ownership of her soul.

Wolf, a one-time adviser to President Clinton, has been attacked before by the Republican right in 2000 when it was revealed she advised Al Gore to start behaving like an "alpha" male in his presidential campaign. ...

In a series of successful books, Wolf has projected her own experiences into a universal ideology for women.

Her critics, led by Camille Paglia, accuse her of being a lightweight.
No one cares about the ownership of her soul. There are many other feminists who similarly project their own experiences into a universal ideology for women.

Big sex harassment payoff

Missouri news:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A woman who said she was sexually harassed by her supervisor has been awarded $6.8 million in damages.

A Jackson County jury said Kendra Lynn, of Kansas City, should receive $50,000 in actual damages from TNT Logistics North America Inc. and Michael Gill, the woman's former boss. The jury called for $6.75 million in punitive damages in its Jan. 13 verdict.

Lynn said Gill made lewd comments to her about five times in October 2003 and once hit her buttocks with a belt in front of another supervisor. She also claimed she was wrongly fired after filing a sexual harassment complaint, but the jury sided with TNT, which makes car parts.
So I guess that the jury thought that Lynn was properly fired, but still deserves a million dollars for each lewd comment she heard.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Disrespect for belief
Louise Arbour - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - has appointed two UN experts on racism to carry out a detailed investigation into what Arbour characterizes as a "disrespect for belief."
Has the UN run out of serious complaints? Yes, newspaper cartoonists sometimes show a disrespect for beliefs. I see nothing wrong with these cartoons.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Women feel your pain

Malcolm Ritter says women feel your pain more:
NEW YORK --Bill Clinton said he felt others' pain. But a new brain-scanning study suggests that when guys see a cheater get a mild electric shock, they don't feel his pain much at all. In fact, they rather enjoy it.

In contrast, women's brains showed they do empathize with the cheater's pain and don't get a kick out it.

It's not clear whether this difference in schadenfreude -- enjoyment of another's misfortune -- results from basic biology or sex roles learned during life, researchers say. But it could help explain why men have historically taken charge of punishing criminals and others who violate societal rules, said researcher Dr. Klaas Stephan.
This is yet another difference between men and women.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Not saying sorry

A reader sends this story:
Lynne Truss was lamenting the fact that no one seems to say "I'm sorry" anymore. A school teacher asked her class "What word that ends in R-Y isn't used at home very much and should be used more often?" Finally a puzzled looking kid raised his and and said "Buggery?".
Usually we hear what some people call a non-apology apology. I make my kids say that they are sorry to each other.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Teachers abusing kids

The holyoffice blog says:
William Saletan notes that women teachers having sex with male pupils make up a tiny percentage of teachers nationwide, that their crimes generally involve sex with students 15 and older, and that they rarely employ violence or threats in coercing the teens to have sex with them. ...

The percentage of accused Catholic clerics was no higher than clergy of other denominations, and that it was dwarfed by the percentage of public school teachers accused of sexual misconduct ...
He makes the point that current hysteria about female teacher sex abuse is analogous to hysteria about priests several years ago.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The future of family court

British news:
A BISEXUAL man who answered an advert to father a lesbian couple's baby has won a landmark court battle to be one of the official parents, it was revealed yesterday. ...

Experts interviewed the youngster who told them she had two mothers -- Mummy and Ma -- identified as Ms A and Ms C.

In a bizarre twist, the girl's mother -- Ms A -- got pregnant a second time, with sperm donated by a homosexual who lives with another gay, and she also has a daughter aged three, known as E.

The lesbian couple now plan to "wed" under the recent change in the law permitting same-sex civil partnerships. The case is expected to set an amazing precedent following the boom in gay weddings.

Mrs Justice Black, one of England's top judges, ruled that the father was entitled to legal recognition that he had parental responsibility for the five-year-old.

She said that whatever the law may do to change the shape of family life, nothing could beat the fact a child had a natural parent.

The court appointed leading child psychiatrist Dr Claire Sturge to investigate the case.

The judge said: "Dr Sturge did not find D muddled about her family. She told Dr Sturge that she is lucky because she has two mummies. ..."

The two lesbians have agreed to increase his contact with D from once a month to every other Saturday, plus extra holidays.

Legal proceedings in relation to parental responsibility for the second child are pending.
This is a mess, and it will not be solved by having wacky child psychologists interview and assess the kids. The kids are not the crazy ones here.

Ordered to raise black consciousness

Ohio news:
Haines, who was accused of using racial slurs and threatening a black cab driver, must attend services at any one of Cincinnati's predominantly African-American churches.

"It seems readily apparent to me that you don't like black people," Judge William Mallory Jr. told Haines. "That's OK with me. But you have to understand that you are at the whim and authority of a black judge." ...

"If you want to get out of jail, you're going to have to raise your black consciousness," the judge said.
I didn't think that it was a crime to use racial slurs.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Feminists making the world worse

The new book Women Who Make the World Worse : and How Their Radical Feminist Assault Is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military, and Sports is already swamped with negative and spiteful reviews. It must have hit a nerve. Here is a positive review.

Update: There is apparently a campaign to trash this book. The Amazon reviews are absurdly negative.

Generalizations with obvious exceptions

The Dilbert blog says:
A friend shared with me an observation that I thought was provocative enough to get you all riled up. He says that when men tell a story about how their day went, it's usually focused on something good that happened. When women tell a story about their day, it's usually focused on something negative. BOCTAOE
That last acronym is Dilbert's own shorthand for But Of Course There Are Obvious Exceptions. It allows him to make sweeping generalizations.

Update: Dilbert has now revised his theory to say that complainers mate with non-complainers. Don't take his blog too seriously.

Copyrighted lawyer threat

The Smoking Gun posted a threatening letter including this:
We are well aware that Smoking Gun frequently elects to snidely disregard the content of letters from our firm, instead posting them on the website notwithstanding their designation as confidential legal communications and notwithstanding the legal arguments set forth in the correspondence. We request that in this instance, rather than having this typical knee-jerk response, ...

This letter is a confidential legal communication and is not for publication, and you are not authorized to publish this letter. ... Any publication disseminated or broadcast of any portion of this letter will constitute a breach of confidence and a violation of the Copyright Act.
The letter is from James Frey's law firm, and he is very upset that he might lose millions of dollars from a web site exposing the lies in his autobiography.

This is funny. I guess that I am also breaching the confidence by posting the above excerpt. These lawyer letters are amusing. Meanwhile, Frey sounded like a con man on the Larry King show. He sure fooled a lot of people with the biggest selling "nonfiction" book of 2005.

Update: Here is another confidential legal notice. The Smoking Gun is not intimidated by these silly lawyer notices.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Financial abortion for men

John Tierney write in the NY Times:
If the pro-choice side adopted a gender-neutral policy, then either the man or the woman would have the right to say no to parenthood. I don't know of anyone advocating that a woman be required to have an abortion, but there's another right that could be given to a man who impregnates a woman who isn't his wife. If the woman decided to go ahead and have the child, she would have to notify him and give him the option early in the pregnancy of absolving himself of any financial responsibility for the child. ...

But there's no reason that it couldn't be a little fairer. As Alito ruled, it's not an undue burden for a wife to notify her husband before an abortion. And it's not unfair, as Goldscheider proposes, for a single woman expecting child support to be required to tell the father as soon as she decides to keep the baby. If men are going to pay to play, they should at least know the score.
The column generated 7 hysterical feminist letters, including this from Tufts gynecology professor Steven J. Ralston:
In my professional experience, it is men who are least likely to be responsible when it comes to birth control and the least likely to use the form that they have the most control over: condoms.
What does he mean by this? His professional experience consists of examining women, and he says men are the least likely to use condoms? Are his female patients using condoms?

UK ceremonies

UK gay news:
Several newspapers, including the Daily Express, have reported that the word marriage is to be dropped from registry offices, apparently so as to not "offend homosexuals".

They say that rooms currently called "Marriage Suites" will now be called "Ceremony Suites" to stop lesbian and gay couples feeling neglected.
Feeling neglected?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Free booze benefits homeless alcoholics

Canada news:
TORONTO, Ontario (Reuters) -- Giving homeless alcoholics a regular supply of booze may improve their health and their behavior, the Canadian Medical Association Journal said in a study published
on Tuesday.

Seventeen homeless adults, all with long and chronic histories of alcohol abuse, were allowed up to 15 glasses of wine or sherry a day -- a glass an hour from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. -- in the Ottawa-based program, which started in 2002 and is continuing. ...

"Once we give a 'small amount' of alcohol and stabilize the addiction, we are able to provide health services ..."
He calls 15 drinks a day a "small amount"! A lot of people would just pass out after 15 drinks.

Irony abuse

Charlie writes that the irony police should lock this nut up:
I learned of the execution of Stanley Tookie Williams while I was giving a series of lectures in Shanghai, China. I was struck by the many ironies surrounding this controversial death penalty case.

The fact that I was in China learning of the execution of a man in the United States was the first irony that caught my attention. I asked a Chinese university student whether he supported the death penalty. He said, ''Yes, but I am from China."

The second of many ironies was that an elitist, foreign-born governor who made his fortune by promoting violence in his films denied Williams clemency.

Perhaps the most provocative irony, however, that occupied my mind while I thought of the execution of Williams was the similarities he shared with Martin Luther King Jr.
At the very least, someone should send him a dictionary. None of those things are at all ironic.

Leftist movies that rank poorly

The movie Good Night, and Good Luck finished 2005 ranked 101 in domestic gross, sandwiched in between Munich Brokeback Mountain. The latter two movies were released in December, and are still in the theaters. They won't do nearly as well as you might expect from the rave reviews from the critics.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Most consequential woman of the century

NY Post book review:
January 8, 2006 -- WHO was the most consequential woman in American politics during the 20th century? ...

A good case might be made for Eleanor Roosevelt, though FDR's wife is perhaps more iconic than significant.Then there's Phyllis Schlafly, the leading lady of American conservatism. As a renowned anti-feminist during feminism's heyday in the 1970s, she was said to be out of touch with her times. But it turns out that she was firmly in touch with her country's spirit, as she mounted an astonishing campaign to turn back the Equal Rights Amendment, a bit of constitutional mischief that was once the sine qua non of political feminism.
There is a new book on her by Donald T. Critchlow.

Tips for meeting Afghans

Here is what to do if you meet a Mohammedan Afgan:
Eat with your left hand as much as possible.

If you are a man, ask a about his wife, daughters or sisters.

Walk in front of someone at prayer.

Ask a Muslim if he is a Sunni or Shiite.

Call him "Hajji," "Mullah," or "Akhund", and not "raghead".

If you see a picture or rug in a private home that you like, shower the host with complimentary comments and he/she will feel culturally obligated to give it to you.

Take off your shirt and leaves your shoes on. Better yet, sit with your leg up so that your sole faces the Afghan.
You run the risk of offending the Afghan.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Calero still in jail

The Calero couple is still in jail:
Deputy District Attorney Jon ... Yamaguchi said "given their lack of responsibility" over the New Year's weekend, he didn't want the couple released on their own recognizance.

The prosecutor also said he didn't want them released in case they wanted to confront the boys' grandmother, Liberata Holden of Manteca -- who had summoned the officers who found the boys -- "for the predicament that the defendants find themselves in." ...

Calero and De La Vega wore jail jumpsuits and sniffled throughout their arraignment Friday, which came just hours after prosecutors formally charged them with two counts each of child endangerment.

Such a charge alleges the defendants "willfully" caused or allowed the children "to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered." Each charge carries a maximum sentence of six years.
The law also requires that the endangerment be "under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death". I am still waiting for an estimate of the likelihood of great bodily harm, and what that harm is. I do not think that the DA has enough info yet to charge anyone with anything.

I also question locking them up because he might talk to his mother-in-law who schemed to steal custody of his kids. The Constitution allows him to confront his accusers. The DA seems to be particularly vindictive in order to satisfy news media folks who wanted to make a public example out of a bad parent.

Update: A reader writes:
I like your comments. If people dig a little deeper, Its not what it seems!
He has more on his blog. It is possible that Calero had a deal with the grandmother to watch his kids, but the grandmother set him up so that she could win a custody fight.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Single sex clubs banned

Wendy McElroy reports:
Last week, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against the Santa Rosa health club Body Central.

According to the agency, which enforces California's civil rights and anti-discrimination laws, the club's women-only policy violates the civil rights of men.

In 1995, the California Supreme Court decided a case in which a woman demanded entry into an exclusive men-only golf club. The court ruled that private clubs operating as businesses were required to follow state laws against discrimination.
I think that California should allow single-sex clubs. It is a little strange how liberals promote same-sex marriage but want to outlaw same-sex clubs.

Child neglect law

More on the child neglect case of 2 days ago.

Here is the California Penal Code:
273a. (a) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, four, or six years.
I listened to some radio talk show callers comment on whether parents should be prosecuted for leaving their home alone. They were just amazingly irrational and vindictive. For example, a caller argued that she raised latchkey children, but that was okay because she was working while the kids were left alone at home. If the parents left kids alone while partying, then she thinks that they should be prosecuted.

I don't see how this statute applies to the couple who left their kids home alone at all. The law is against willfully endangering a child in "conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death". The kids were fine, and not in any significant danger that anyone has identified.

I am really appalled at the folks who approve of the grandmother's behavior. She refused to babysit the kids, had the (in-law) parents arrested, opportunistically seized temporary custody of the kids, and manipulated the kids into betraying their parents. I wouldn't give the kids to that grandmother. Most of these child care court cases are driven by custody disputes or vindictive relatives and neighbors, and busybodies are encouraged by cases like this one.

Here is another story:
The boys' father, Jacob Calero, 39, appeared at the hearing in a yellow jumpsuit and handcuffed.

Any decision made in the hearing will not be disclosed because representatives from all parties involved are under a gag order issued by Judge Lois Haight. ...

"The judge must determine what happened and why the parents acted as they did, and that could take some time."
So we may not hear what happened. The father has apparently lost his constitutional rights already.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Birth control pill risks

Science Daily:
In the January issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers have published a new investigation measuring sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) before and after discontinuation of the oral contraceptive pill. The research concluded that women who used the oral contraceptive pill may be exposed to long-term problems from low values of "unbound" testosterone potentially leading to continuing sexual, metabolic, and mental health consequences.
Here is another story.

Update: NY Times story here.

Local earthquake

An earthquake woke me up this morning:
The temblor registed 3.14 on the Richter scale and struck at 6:05 a.m. It originated 6.3 miles beneath the earth's surface, the USGS said.
The epicenter was just a couple of miles from my house.

Alien abductee indicators

58 common indicators of UFO encounters or abductions by alien beings:
Have had unexplainable missing or lost time of one hour or more.
Have been paralyzed in bed with a being in your room.
Have unusual scars or marks with no possible explanation on how you received them (small scoop indentation, straight line scar, triangular marks, scars in roof of mouth, in nose, behind or in ears, etc.)
Have seen balls of light or flashes of light in your home or other locations
Have a memory of flying through the air which could not be a dream, or many dreams involving flying. ...
These are also indicators of schizophrenia.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Home alone kids

San Ramon California news:
OAKLAND, Calif. A husband and wife were arrested today at Oakland Airport after returning from their New Year's celebration in Las Vegas.

Police say Jacob Calero and his wife, Michelle de la Vega, left his two young sons home alone last Friday morning while the newlyweds headed out of town to ring in the new year alone.

Authorities say the children's grandmother called police when she began to suspect the couple had left without the kids after being unable to find a babysitter.

Calero and de la Vega were married last year. The children's mother died in 2003.
The boys were aged 10 and 5, and were doing just fine at home. They had supplies of food. The parents were charged with felony child endangerment. No one has said what the danger was.

I don't see how this justifies a felony charge. The kids might have been in greater danger if the parents took them to Las Vegas.

It is amazing to hear people comment on this case on a radio talk show. Apparently a lot of kids these ages get left alone at home, both in the USA and the rest of the world, without many problems.

Some callers describe their own parenting practices, and dogmatically declare that all parents should do the same. One caller even said that she refuses to leave her cats alone, and hires babysitters to watch her cats.

Some callers blame the grandmother, because she was a busybody who was scheming to get custody of the kids. She had refused to take the kids during the trip. She now has temporary custody of the kids.

Birth rates and demographics

Mark Steyn writes in The New Criterion:
Much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most Western European countries. ...

Yet while Islamism is the enemy, it's not what this thing's about. Radical Islam is an opportunistic infection, like AIDS: It's not the HIV that kills you, it's the pneumonia you get when your body's too weak to fight it off. ...

Scroll way down to the bottom of the Hot One Hundred top breeders and you'll eventually find the United States, hovering just at replacement rate with 2.07 births per woman. Ireland is 1.87, New Zealand 1.79, Australia 1.76. But Canada's fertility rate is down to 1.5, well below replacement rate; Germany and Austria are at 1.3, the brink of the death spiral; Russia and Italy are at 1.2; Spain 1.1, about half replacement rate. That's to say, Spain's population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy's population will have fallen by 22%, Bulgaria's by 36%, Estonia's by 52%. In America, demographic trends suggest that the blue states ought to apply for honorary membership of the EU: In the 2004 election, John Kerry won the 16 with the lowest birthrates; George W. Bush took 25 of the 26 states with the highest. By 2050, there will be 100 million fewer Europeans, 100 million more Americans--and mostly red-state Americans.
He says that demographics favor a Mohammedan takeover of Europe.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

NEA pays itself well

WSJ article:
We already knew that the NEA's top brass lives large. Reg Weaver, the union's president, makes $439,000 a year. The NEA has a $58 million payroll for just over 600 employees, more than half of whom draw six-figure salaries. Last year the average teacher made only $48,000, so it seems you're better off working as a union rep than in the classroom.
The article also describes how the NEA gives money to left-wing causes.

Choosing women's work

Linda Hirshman writes in the American Prospect:
During the '90s, I taught a course in sexual bargaining at a very good college. Each year, after the class reviewed the low rewards for child-care work, I asked how the students anticipated combining work with child-rearing. At least half the female students described lives of part-time or home-based work. Guys expected their female partners to care for the children. When I asked the young men how they reconciled that prospect with the manifest low regard the market has for child care, they were mystified. Turning to the women who had spoken before, they said, uniformly, "But she chose it."
It is hard to imagine what "sexual bargaining" she was teaching those college students. It sounds as if they understood their self-interest a lot better than her.

David Brooks trashes her article for other reasons.

There are feminist bloggers who are very upset with Brooks. They argue that a woman shouldn't choose child care because a man wouldn't choose child care. I am a man and I have chosen to spend a lot of my time on child care. It seems like a reasonable choice to me.

Priests on trial for their beliefs

Italy news:
Signor Cascioli's contention echoed in numerous atheist books and internet sites is that there was no reliable evidence that Jesus lived and died in 1st-century Palestine apart from the Gospel accounts, which Christians took on faith. There is therefore no basis for Christianity, he claims.

Signor Cascioli's one-man campaign came to a head at a court hearing last April when he lodged his accusations of "abuse of popular credulity" and "impersonation", both offences under the Italian penal code. He argued that all claims for the existence of Jesus from sources other than the Bible stem from authors who lived "after the time of the hypothetical Jesus" and were therefore not reliable witnesses.
Meanwhile, the Vatican has charged another priest with heresy.