Monday, January 31, 2005

Media man bashing

This NY Times article says:
Men Are Becoming the Ad Target of the Gender Sneer
Published: January 28, 2005

Are today's men incompetent, bumbling idiots? Judging by portrayals in some advertising, the answer seems to be yes - much to the dismay of some men. ...

[The ad] campaigns portray[] men in general, and husbands and fathers in particular, as objects of ridicule, pity or even scorn. Among them are ads for Bud Light, Domino's, Hummer, T-Mobile and Verizon.

The "man as a dope" imagery has gathered momentum over the last decade, and critics say that it has spiraled out of control. It is nearly impossible, they say, to watch commercials or read ads without seeing helpless, hapless men.

In the campaigns, which the critics consider misandry (the opposite of misogyny), men act like buffoons, ogling cars and women; are likened to dogs, especially in beer and pizza ads; and bungle every possible household task. Most marketers presenting incompetent, silly male characters say their campaigns provide a harmless comedic insight into the male mentality while also appealing to women. But men who describe themselves as rights activists are increasingly speaking out against the ads as a form of male-bashing, especially when the ads disparage the roles that fathers play in their children's lives.
It is not just the ads. TV sitcoms overwhelmingly portray men as fools and dopes, and women are the only ones who have any sense.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Attacking Summers

This Slate article whines about people who said that Harvard Pres. Larry Summers was raising legitimate issues. It says, "no one is talking about achieving 50-50 representation", but then goes on to blast Summers because Harvard has not hired women in sufficient numbers. I guess it is looking for some sort of quota. Furthermore, it accuses:
The chairwoman of the sociology department has told the New York Times that after a meeting with Summers about this issue many female faculty had left feeling he did not understand their concerns.
Add that to the list of differences between men and women. Female employees cannot do their jobs unless they feel that their bosses understand their concerns.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Autistics do not read People magazine

This story says:
"One of the main problems in people with autism is that they don't find it very motivating to look at other individuals," Platt said. "And even when they do, they can't seem to assess information about that individual's importance, intentions or expressions."
So autism researchers have figured out how to train monkeys to trade juice for pictures of the rear ends of high-ranking monkeys. The next step is to drug the monkeys to mimic autism. The hope is to explain why autistics do not subscribe to People magazine.

Who ever decided that it is normal to want to read People magazine?

Injured back while sneezing

Sammy Sosa is not so popular among Chicago Cub fans, and is now being traded:
But Sosa was suspended in 2003 for using a corked bat, and he batted .253 last season, slumping to 35 homers and 80 runs batted in, his lowest totals since the strike-shortened 1994 season. He landed on the disabled list after injuring his back while sneezing.
Huhh? One of the great power hitters of all time was sidelined by sneezing?! I missed that story.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Paul Busa's recovered memory

Paul R. Shanley, the notorious Boston priest who wore long hair, challenged the Church teachings on homosexuality, attended NAMBLA meetings, and supposedly molested dozens of schoolboys, is now on trial. The prosecution is down to one witness against him, and that man has holes in his story. He appears to have suddenly and mysteriously remembered being abused in 1983 at the age of 6, just in time to collect a $500k settlement.

The accuser's name is Paul Busa. I am not sure why the mainstream news media is refusing to name him. He is 27 years old, and he has been in the news for a couple of years. The name of Shanley's other main accuser, Greg Ford, has been reported many times. If I were a juror, I'd be wondering why Ford and all the others who got big payoffs are not testifying at Shanley's trial.

I am very skeptical about prosecutions based on recovered memory from childhood. I believe that the evidence is that such memories are very unreliable.
The accusations against Shanley rely on a psychological theory called dissociated or repressed memory. It holds that the mind can submerge the most traumatic memories in some walled-off place, where they remain unaltered and retrievable in exact detail by a triggering event or therapy. The idea comes from Freud's early work, and is one which he ultimately rejected. It was reformulated in some feminist psychotherapeutic circles beginning in the 1970s, and reached its apex in the 1980s and early '90s, when children, prodded by therapists, began reciting "memories" of satanic ritual abuses committed at their day care centers. Many people went to prison as a result of those stories. Most of those convictions have since been reversed; others continue to be fought. Yet the theory persists. Daniel Brown, a psychotherapist who testified to the grand jury in Shanley's case, argues that "material that is too intense may not be able to be consciously processed and so may become unconscious and amnesic."

Other experts, however, reject the notion that highly traumatic memories can be spontaneously repressed and recovered. One of Ford's first therapists, Robert Azrak, testified in a deposition that "there is no scientific basis" for the type of recovered memories described in this case. As Richard McNally, a clinical and experimental psychologist at Harvard and the author of Remembering Trauma, pointed out, "There is just no mechanism in the mind for keeping the door shut to traumatic memory. The more times a particular type of event happens, the harder it may be to distinguish one incident from another, but that doesn't mean people fail to remember the entire set of events." Remembering trauma, McNally said, "is crucial to evolutionary development; if you've been threatened, you better remember if you want to survive." That was as true for cavemen as it is for the contemporary child who, once burned, learns to avoid a hot stove.
Such testimony should not be allowed in court. It is just Freudian nonsense.

Update: (Feb. 7) Shanley was convicted on all 4 counts. Shanley did not testify, and it appears that his lawyer put on a weak defense.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Unwed father rights

John writes:
This is the second libertarian feminist to take up the cause of this "biological father." Wendy McElroy wrote a similar column a week ago. PS strongly disagrees. She supports the right of an unwed mother to put her child up for adoption without notifying the "father" who, in her view, should have no rights.
Cathy Young says:
In the end, our society sends men quite a mixed message. If your partner gets pregnant and decides to keep the baby, you're liable for 18 years of child support, whether or not you want to be a father. If she doesn't want to be a mother, she can give your child to strangers and there isn't much you can do. Then we complain that men don't take parenthood seriously enough.
I do think that the rights and responsibilities of fatherhood should be linked to marriage. The columnists do have a point in that it is unjust for unwed fathers to have responsibilities, but not rights.

Prof murders baby and gets honored with a memorial

Villanova University plans to honor Mine Ener's work with a memorial student lounge in the university library:
Ener killed her 6-month-old daughter and committed suicide in a Minnesota jail. ...

"It was a sad and tragic situation. She was depressed, but she did murder her daughter," Hoffman said Wednesday. "It isn't the kind of thing you want to remember on a Catholic campus." ...

Ener, 38, went into the bathroom at 9 a.m. one morning and fatally slit the infant's throat with a knife from the kitchen, because, she told police, she wanted to give the baby relief. Less than a month later, Ener put a trash bag over her head and committed suicide in prison.

New tables, lamps and an oriental rug _ a nod to Ener's area of study _ will be dedicated to her memory Thursday morning in a corner of the Falvey Library student lounge. A plaque already hanging on the wall lists Ener's department, her years at Villanova and an epitaph: "Scholar, Teacher, Mentor, Friend."
I don't see any memorials to any murderers who are men.

Lesbian college chief is upset

The new UC Santa Cruz chancellor Denice Dee Denton is all upset about Larry Summers remarks, and this article explains why. She managed to hire her lesbian lover in a phony $192,000 per year job.

Slandering a woman's virtuous reputation

The Chicago Tribune reports:
The Seattle Democrat is sponsoring a bill to repeal a 1909 Washington state law that makes "slander of a woman" a crime.

It isn't that Kohl-Welles, a women's studies lecturer at the University of Washington, wants to hear women slandered. But she believes the law is a relic of a time when men put women on a pedestal but denied them basic rights.

"This is one of those old laws that is really irrelevant now," said Kohl-Welles, adding that it almost surely violates the state and federal Constitutions.

The statute prohibits "false or defamatory words or language which shall injure or impair" the virtuous and chaste reputation of any female over 12. The law does say it is OK to slander a "common prostitute."
This is yet another feminist attempt to have women treated like common prostitutes.

Monday, January 24, 2005

National 'No Name-Calling' Week

Here is another goofy school trend:
NEW YORK (AP) -- Middle schools across the United States will observe "No Name-Calling Week" starting Monday.

The program, now in its second year, takes aim at insults of all kinds, whether they are based on a child's appearance, background or behavior.

It has the backing of the Girl Scouts of America and Amnesty International, but a handful of conservative critics have zeroed in on references to harassment based on sexual orientation.

"No Name-Calling Week" was developed by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which is seeking to ensure that schools safely accommodate students of all sexual orientations.

The group said it's unsure how many schools will participate in this week's event, but says 5,100 educators from 36 states have registered, up from 4,000 last year.
I think that a little name-calling is healthy.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Family ruined by suspected Shaken Baby Syndrome

Bob sends this Greenville Ohio horror story:
Prosecutor says boy may have died from genetic disease, not abuse

Associated Press

GREENVILLE, Ohio - A woman plans to seek custody of two children taken from her and put up for adoption now that a prosecutor says their brother may have died from a rare genetic disease - and not child abuse.

However, the length of time since the adoptions occurred could make the mother's efforts futile, a legal expert said.

The Darke County prosecutor said he is closing the homicide investigation into the death of 5-year-old Daniel Crow Jr. because of the disease.

Prosecutor Richard Howell told the Dayton Daily News in an interview Jan. 11 that Daniel's parents "deserve some exoneration. It shouldn't be held over their heads. ... I can't prove he was even abused, let alone who did it."
Despite many such prosecutions, I believe that there is considerable doubt whether Shaken Baby Syndrome even exists.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Harvard prez says women can't hack it

Joe sends this Boston Globe story:
The president of Harvard University, Lawrence H. Summers, sparked an uproar at an academic conference Friday when he said that innate differences between men and women might be one reason fewer women succeed in science and math careers. Summers also questioned how much of a role discrimination plays in the dearth of female professors in science and engineering at elite universities. ...

However, the problem of women in academia is one that Summers is confronting in his role as university president. The percentage of tenured job offers made to women by the university's Faculty of Arts and Sciences has dropped dramatically since Summers took office, prompting vigorous complaints from many of Harvard's senior female professors...

He offered three possible explanations, in declining order of importance, for the small number of women in high-level positions in science and engineering. The first was the reluctance or inability of women who have children to work 80-hour weeks.

The second point was that fewer girls than boys have top scores on science and math tests in late high school years. ...

In his talk, according to several participants, Summers also used as an example one of his daughters, who as a child was given two trucks in an effort at gender-neutral parenting. Yet she treated them almost like dolls, naming one of them "daddy truck," and one "baby truck."
The iSteve blog adds:
I think it's highly relevant to this that one of Summer's first accomplishments at Harvard was hiring away MIT's superstar evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker.
I don't know what Pinker thinks about this, but he is adamant that there is a scientific consensus that these sorts of innate genetic differences exists. That's the way evolution works, he says.

Update: Here is a Saletan column on the subject. Here is Charles Murray in the NY Times.
FORTY-SIX years ago, in "The Two Cultures," C. P. Snow famously warned of the dangers when communication breaks down between the sciences and the humanities. The reaction to remarks by Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard, about the differences between men and women was yet another sign of a breakdown that takes Snow's worries to a new level: the wholesale denial that certain bodies of scientific knowledge exist.
I don't think that there is any communication breakdown. It sounds like Summers communicated quite clearly. The Boston Globe reported:
Nancy Hopkins, a biologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, walked out on Summers' talk, saying later that if she hadn't left, ''I would've either blacked out or thrown up."
It sounds like she understood him, but behaved like a stereotypical woman who cannot face the truth.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

England criminalizes smacking children

The BBC reports:
Parents in England and Wales who smack children so hard it leaves a mark will face up to five years in jail under new laws in force from Saturday.

Mild smacking is allowed under a "reasonable chastisement" defence against common assault.

But any punishment which causes visible bruising, grazes, scratches, minor swellings or cuts can face action.
This didn't satisfy the anti-spanking zealots. One of them said, "Defining acceptable ways to hit children should become a thing of the past. It should be just as wrong to hit a child as it is to hit an adult."

This is from a country that doesn't believe in self-defense against home invaders. The academic studies have failed to show any harm to mild spanking, and most American parents believe that spanking is necessary.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Was the feminist movement a cruel hoax?

A Maureen Dowd column in the NY Times says:
A second study, which was by researchers at four British universities and reported last week, suggested that smart men with demanding jobs would rather have old-fashioned wives, like their mums, than equals. The study found that a high I.Q. hampers a woman's chance to get married, while it is a plus for men. The prospect for marriage increased by 35 percent for guys for each 16-point increase in I.Q.; for women, there is a 40 percent drop for each 16-point rise.

So was the feminist movement some sort of cruel hoax?
The feminist movement did not change anyone's IQ, so I guess she means that it suckered smart women into developing attitudes and habits that made them undesirable to men.

She may be correct. Many feminists have attitude problems that make it hard to visualize them having happy marriages. I think that most men are happy to marry an equal if she really is an equal, but are not eager to marry a feminazi with equality delusions.

All family groups agree

This Family News story says:
Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the pro-family Eagle Forum, said she hopes lawmakers will also look to Ohio, whose state marriage amendment is considered the strongest in the nation.

"It not only protects marriage," she explained, "but it protects us from the Legislature or the courts pretending that they have a substitute for marriage and giving same-sex couples all the rights and benefits of marriage even though they don't give them the name."

There will be disagreements within the pro-family camp when the final draft is submitted­specifically over the issue of civil unions­but Tom McClusky, director of government relations for the Family Research Council, predicted everyone will be onboard.

"One hundred percent of the family groups agree that something needs to be done," he said, "and ultimately it will be deduced that we need to pass a marriage amendment."
No, it doesn't protect marriage from its main attacker -- the family courts.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Bush admits no WMD

In the evening news at 11:03 pm, the San Jose bay area NBC TV station said:
Turning now to the war in Iraq, the Bush administration admitted today its main reason for going to war was not justified. After searching every weapons site in Iraq, 1500 military and weapons specialists determined Saddam Hussein did not have any weapons of mass destruction.
Now that would be news, if true. But here is the White House press conference, and McClellan didn't say that at all. He merely acknowledged that Pres. Bush said in October that no WMD had been found, that the main reasons for war are as valid as ever, and that no WMD have been found since then.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Playing footsie at Harvard

The NY Times reports on some scientific research:
In another, psychologists at Harvard found that they could increase the attraction between male and female strangers simply by encouraging them to play footsie as part of a lab experiment.
This would be obvious to anyone but a Harvard psychologist.

Children Made Fatherless By Family Courts

A Phyllis Schlafly column on how family courts attack fathers:
One of the best-kept secrets in American society today is that two-thirds of divorces are now sought by wives, not husbands. The feminist movement has taught wives that they can seek "liberation" by walking out on the marriage contract and marital duties and still reap the benefits of marriage, i.e., their children and his money.

Some 80 percent of divorces are involuntary, over the objections of one spouse. Very few of these divorces involve grounds such as desertion, adultery, or abuse.

We urgently need a comprehensive study of how many family court decisions deprive fathers of their parental rights, and deprive children of their fathers, when that awesome punishment is not based on any finding of fault. Information is difficult to gather because most of what family courts do is not available to public scrutiny.

How many children are separated by judicial fiat from involuntarily divorced fathers who have done nothing wrong? How many children are separated from their fathers because of questionable child abuse accusations without any evidentiary hearing or due process of law?
The answer is many millions of children. There are actually many books and articles on the subject.

Brian writes:
Thank you Ms. Schlafly for your article. You stated that "[w]e urgently need a comprehensive study of how many family court decisions deprive fathers of their parental rights, and deprive children of their fathers, when that awesome punishment is not based on any finding of fault." Please allow me to respectfully disagree with you on this point. A study, no matter how comprehensive, is not material. A right is a right is a right, no matter what any "study" says. If all of the religious leaders of the world did a study which proved that individuals were not properly practicing their faith, as I'm betting you know, that would not mean that the state could (legally) create laws that would encourage proper practice.

The "public" has been so dumbed-down about rights, and relies instead on "studies" by purported "experts." So, I would suggest to you that the last thing we need is a study. What we need is the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize our cases and stand behind their countless decisions that parenting is a fundamental right that cannot be infringed upon without a compelling state interest. It is the ONLY thing that matters. Though I doubt they will hear me, I'm working on it (as many others are). You can find more information at My best to you and your children.
Brian is right. The advantage of the study is just to document and publicize the damage that the courts are doing. Many people naively assume that the courts are acting in the interests of the children.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Adulterous wife denied divorce

Here is an LA Times story about an adulterous wife who vindictively sent her husband to prison on dubious charges, got a wholly unnecessary restraining order against him, demanded custody of their 2 small children, got pregnant with another man, went on welfare to become a public parasite, misled her divorce court judge, and now she is generating public sympathy from the news media. Seattle Superior Court Judge Paul A. Bastine denied Shawnna J. Hughes' divorce petition because Washingtion state law presumes the imprisoned husband to be the father, and the state may want to sue him for welfare reimbursement.

There are so many things wrong here that I won't try to explain them.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Very few Christians are really fundamentalists

Here is a NY Times article that acknowledges that not all right-wing American Christians are fundamentalists.
"If I were to buy stock in global Christianity, I would buy it in Pentecostalism," said Martin E. Marty, professor emeritus of the history of Christianity at the University of Chicago Divinity School and a coauthor of a study of fundamentalist movements. "I would not buy it in fundamentalism."

After the American presidential election in November, some liberal commentators warned that the nation was on the verge of a takeover by Christian "fundamentalists."

But in the United States today, most of the Protestants who make up what some call the Christian right are not fundamentalists, who are more prone to create separatist enclaves, but evangelicals, who engage the culture and share their faith.
And of course most American Christians are either mainline Protestants or Catholics, and they aren't fundamentalists either.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Child murderer gets new trial

Judges seem to have a lot of tolerance for mothers, no matter how bad the behavior. Andrea Yates murdered 5 of her kids, and was convicted by a jury for 3 of the murders, but an appellate court has just ordered a new trial:
The Texas First Court of Appeals ruled that the conviction should be reversed because an expert witness for the state, Dr. Park Dietz, presented false testimony when he said Yates may have been influenced by an episode of the "Law & Order" television program. No such episode had ever aired.

Yates, now 40, apparently was a fan of the show and watched regularly.
Men get railroaded all the time based on inaccurate and speculative testimony from govt experts, and no one cares.

If a witness did indeed mischaracterize a TV episode, then the time to object should have been during the trial.

John writes:
I'm with Andy on this one. False testimony by a government expert witness should be sufficient to require a new trial for both Martha Stewart and Andrea Yates. There can be no doubt that, in each case, the false testimony was critical to the jury's conviction.

No one ever explained what was [Yates's] motive. Until that question is answered, yes there definitely is a real question of her guilt.

Yes, this crime is worse because it was rational and lacked insanity. (Alternate link here.)

These were not "honest mistakes." They were not mere inadvertent "inaccuracies." They were pivotal, decisive, intentional, and deliberate. They went to the heart of the case against these two women, supplying a missing link in the case against them.

Without the false testimony of these two experts, the government's case was insufficient and both women should have been acquitted.
No, that is not the law. It is not a crime for a physician to do an abortion (with the woman's consent), and your article quoted a Michigan criminal law prof as saying that this recent incident was not a crime under Michigan law either.

Mothers murder their kids in the USA much more than fathers do. Your message just illustrate the bias that makes excuses for mothers murdering their kids, while wanting to criminalize men's behavior that law profs say is completely legal.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Abortion provider distributes defective condoms

Consumers Reports magazine now tests condoms for reliability, and ranked them:
Planned Parenthood model worst performer A melon-colored model distributed by Planned Parenthood performed the worst, bursting during a test in which the latex condoms were filled with air.
Abortion is Planned Parenthood's main source of revenue.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Ode to the Nice Guys

Read this rant about nice guys.

Gunfight stories

Read Handguns magazine for What Really Happens In A Gunfight. Along with practical advice, it tells this story:
The most dramatic wound that I ever personally saw involved a woman who was shot in the head by a .357 Magnum. I was a patrol deputy and responded to a public housing project on the report of a shooting. I arrived at the same time as the medic crew and found a white female sitting on the sofa with a dimpled hole in her forehead.

There was a similar wound on the back of her head. As I spoke to her at the scene (to find out who shot her, not to further my personal research) I was told that she had been in an argument with her live-in boyfriend when he picked up a snub-nosed .357 revolver and shot her in the forehead. She advised that her head, "Slammed back and I fell back onto the sofa. I have been sitting here ever since. I have a big head ache." It later turned out that the 158-grain jacketed semi-wadcutter bullet used in the shooting had spilt the lobes of her brain finer than any surgeon could have hoped to. The bullet left a hole in the rear of her skull, which was patched in some way. This victim was released from the hospital and then refused to testify against her boyfriend. ("I still love him.") He was prosecuted anyway. This incident remains one of the strangest things that I have ever seen.
H suggests: 38 Special 158-grain lead hollow-point; 9mm +P+ jacketed hollow-point; .40 155- and 165-grain jacketed hollow-point; .45 ACP hollow-points; .223 55 grain FMJ and hollow-point; 12 gauge 00 buckshot; and 12 gauge rifled slugs.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

British teens on the pill

The BBC lists 2004 stories you might have missed, and includes this:
96. One in four 16- and 17-year-old girls in the UK is on the contraceptive pill - more than ever before.
I've wondered why European teenage pregnancy rates aren't higher. I guess this is the explanation.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Haitian zombies

This article outlines how to make a zombie.
In real life, the zombies come from the Caribbean island of Haiti. They are a person who has been almost-killed, and then later raised from the almost-dead by a voodoo priest, to be used as slave labour for the rest of their miserable life. Zombies can move, eat, hear and speak, but they have no memory and no insight into their condition. There have been legends about zombies for centuries, but it was only in 1980 that a real-life case was documented.