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Christopher F. Rufo: Fed Up in Seattle 

Citizens of the ultra-progressive city have lost patience with political leaders’ failure to address the homelessness crisis.

Don’t believe the hype that “Amazon killed the Seattle head tax,” the new levy that the city recently passed on businesses to fund an affordable-housing initiative. The truth behind the city council’s stunning reversal—repealing the tax by a 7-2 vote, just four weeks after passing it 9-0—is that Seattle citizens have erupted in frustration against the city’s tax-and-spend political class that has failed to address the homelessness crisis, despite record new revenues.

“To my astonishment, I’ve heard at least a dozen neighbors, friends, and colleagues whisper that ‘Seattle needs a Giuliani’—that is, the city needs to recognize that, in addition to public programs, we need to get tough on street homelessness and enforce the law.”

As recently as a few years ago, it seemed as if Seattle voters largely viewed our hyper-progressive city council as a harmless oddity in an otherwise tolerant, thriving, liberal city. But times have changed. Now, according to recent public polling, 83 percent of Seattle voters are dissatisfied with how the council has addressed homelessness, 65 percent believe that the local government hasn’t used new tax revenues effectively, and 63 percent believe that the city has enough money to solve the problem but isn’t pursuing the right policies.

[Read the full story here, at City Journal]

Progressives have tried to paint the anti-head tax campaign as corporate astroturfing, but beneath the surface, it’s being driven by this broader shift in public opinion. In just two weeks, the No Tax on Jobs campaign, led by local businesses, recruited 2,000 volunteer signature-gatherers and collected nearly 46,000 signatures—more than double the amount required to qualify as a ballot measure. When I spoke with one of the volunteers in the liberal Fremont neighborhood, he told me: “I’m retired and I wanted to volunteer for the cause. I think the tax is a bad idea: if you tax something, you get less of it. I’m going to collect two pages of signatures and then go home.” Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Brilliantly Mocks the ‘Magic of the Birth Canal’

… A few days ago, Choice42 released this deliciously sardonic video entitled “The Magical Birth Canal.” It is a searing take on the pro-abort narrative that says life begins at birth.

Quite simply, it is brilliant …

… Something within that canal confers humanity on a life that has been human from the moment of conception. But pro-aborts prefer to think of the unborn as a mass of tissue not worthy of protection. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES THEY DID: Security Troops on U.S. Nuclear Missile Base Took LSD

WASHINGTON (AP) — One airman said he felt paranoia. Another marveled at the vibrant colors. A third admitted, “I absolutely just loved altering my mind.”

Meet service members entrusted with guarding nuclear missiles that are among the most powerful in America’s arsenal. Air Force records obtained by The Associated Press show they bought, distributed and used the hallucinogen LSD and other mind-altering illegal drugs as part of a ring that operated undetected for months on a highly secure military base in Wyoming. After investigators closed in, one airman deserted to Mexico.

“I felt paranoia, panic … I didn’t know if I was going to die that night or not … almost as if I was going to have like a heart attack or a heat stroke.”

— Airman 1st Class Tommy N. Ashworth

“Although this sounds like something from a movie, it isn’t,” said Capt. Charles Grimsley, the lead prosecutor of one of several courts martial.

A slipup on social media by one airman enabled investigators to crack the drug ring at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in March 2016, details of which are reported here for the first time. Fourteen airmen were disciplined. Six of them were convicted in courts martial of LSD use or distribution or both.

None of the airmen was accused of using drugs on duty. Yet it’s another blow to the reputation of the Air Force’s nuclear missile corps, which is capable of unleashing hell in the form of Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs. The corps has struggled at times with misbehavior, mismanagement and low morale.

Although seen by some as a backwater of the U.S. military, the missile force has returned to the spotlight as President Donald Trump has called for strengthening U.S. nuclear firepower and exchanged threats last year with North Korea. The administration’s nuclear strategy calls for hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending in coming decades.

The service members accused of involvement in the LSD ring were from the 90th Missile Wing, which operates one-third of the 400 Minuteman 3 missiles that stand “on alert” 24/7 in underground silos scattered across the northern Great Plains.

Documents obtained by the AP over the past two years through the Freedom of Information Act tell a sordid tale of off-duty use of LSD, cocaine and other drugs in 2015 and 2016 by airmen who were supposed to be held to strict behavioral standards because of their role in securing the weapons.

“It’s another black eye for the Air Force — for the ICBM force in particular,” says Stephen Schwartz, an independent consultant and nuclear expert.

In response to AP inquiries, an Air Force spokesman, Lt. Col. Uriah L. Orland, said the drug activity took place during off-duty hours. “There are multiple checks to ensure airmen who report for duty are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs and are able to execute the mission safely, securely and effectively,” he said.

Airman 1st Class Tommy N. Ashworth was among those who used LSD supplied by colleagues with connections to civilian drug dealers.

“I felt paranoia, panic” for hours after taking a hit of acid, Ashworth said under oath at his court martial. He confessed to using LSD three times while off duty. The first time, in the summer of 2015, shook him up. “I didn’t know if I was going to die that night or not,” he said as a witness at another airman’s drug trial. Recalling another episode with LSD, he said it felt “almost as if I was going to have like a heart attack or a heat stroke.”

Airman Basic Kyle S. Morrison acknowledged at his court martial that under the influence of LSD he could not have responded if recalled to duty in a nuclear security emergency. Read the rest of this entry »


Millennials Are Turned Off Sex, Study Suggests, with One in Eight Still Virgins at 26 

Millennials are waiting longer to have sex, with one in eight still virgins at 26 years old, new research has found.

The sharp rise in the number of young people waiting longer to have sex may be because of a “fear of intimacy” and the pressure of social media, according to analysts.

The Next Steps project, the brainchild of the Department for Education which is now managed by University College London, has tracked 16,000 people born in 1989-90 since they were 14.

The interviews, conducted in 2016, discovered a rise in the number of Millenials waiting longer to have sex compared to previous generations, where one in 20 reported still being virgins at around the same age.

Susanna Abse, a psychoanalytic psychotherapist at the Balint Consultancy, told the Sunday Times: “Millenials have been brought up in a culture of hypersexuality which has bred a fear of intimacy.

“The women are always up for it with beautiful hard bodies and the men have permanent erections. That is daunting to young people.

The fear for young men is of being humiliated that they can’t live up to that, plus the fear of exposure in your Facebook group.”

If those who refused to answer the question were also virgins, the figure rises to one in six … (read more)

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] How Big Government Backed Bad Science Made Americans Fat 

Q&A with journalist Nina Teicholz

Consumption of meat, butter, eggs, and cheese were once encouraged as part of a healthy diet. Then in the 1950s, a Minnesota doctor named Ancel Keys put forth his diet-heart hypothesis, claiming that saturated fats raise cholesterol levels and cause heart attacks.

Keys produced landmark studies of the relationship between diet and heart disease that transformed nutrition science. He became a powerful figure in the science community. Contemporaries who publicly questioned the validity of his findings risked losing their research funding or becoming pariahs. When the U.S. adopted dietary guidelines in 1980, Keys’ recommendations became enshrined in national food policy.

“We have made our policy based upon this weak kind of science called epidemiology which shows association, but not causation,” Teicholz explains. “We have the situation where we just cannot reverse out of these policies that were originally based on really weak science.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] UK Watchdog May Go After Christian Group

It’s sending a chilling message.

Stephanie Hamill reports: The tragic death of British toddler Alfie Evans is heartbreaking and the details surrounding his death will chill you to the core.

It’s hard to comprehend how a nation can take a child from a loving family, rip him off life support and deny him the care he needs to stay alive — all this because bureaucrats didn’t think his life is worth fighting for.

Let’s not sugarcoat what happened, this was a state-ordered execution of an innocent baby thanks to socialized medicine.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, the Christian legal group that took the lead in representing the Evans family may be investigated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, a watchdog group that works with the government. Read the rest of this entry »


Police Brilliantly Employ Anti-KKK Law to Arrest Mask-Wearing Anitfa Protestors

Counterprotesters are held by law enforcement officers as the National Socialist Movement holds a rally at Greenville Street Park in downtown Newnan on Saturday, April 21, 2018. The far-right hate group also drew anti-fascist demonstrators as well as hundreds of police officers. (HYOSUB SHIN / AJC)

Counterprotesters are held by law enforcement officers as the National Socialist Movement holds a rally at Greenville Street Park in downtown Newnan on Saturday, April 21, 2018. The far-right hate group also drew anti-fascist demonstrators as well as hundreds of police officers. (HYOSUB SHIN / AJC)

‘Remove your mask, or you will be arrested’

Greg Bluestein reports: Faced with hundreds of demonstrators rallying against a crowd of neo-Nazis in Newnan, local and state authorities turned to a little-known Georgia law adopted in 1951 to combat the Ku Klux Klan.

The law, which makes it illegal to wear a mask at most public events, was cited in several of the arrests of counterdemonstrators who joined a protest Saturday against white supremacists.

And the irony was not lost upon the organizers of the counterdemonstration, who were fuming Sunday that a law aimed at weakening white supremacists was used to arrest protesters who opposed a neo-Nazi rally.

“They were trying to stop us, and we were trying to dial down the racist stuff,” said Jeremy Ortega, a 19-year-old who was among the counterprotesters charged with a misdemeanor for wearing a mask.

He said many of the demonstrators wore masks to avoid being identified and threatened by white power groups.

Barricades and fencing are in place around a city park in Newnan as police prepared for Saturday's rally by a neo-Nazi group on Saturday, April 21, 2018. The neo-Nazis expected a turnout of 50 to 100, but only a couple dozen showed up. They were well outnumbered by counterprotesters and law enforcement officers. (HYOSUB SHIN / AJC)

Barricades and fencing are in place around a city park in Newnan as police prepared for Saturday’s rally by a neo-Nazi group on Saturday, April 21, 2018. The neo-Nazis expected a turnout of 50 to 100, but only a couple dozen showed up. They were well outnumbered by counterprotesters and law enforcement officers. (HYOSUB SHIN / AJC)

“The law, which makes it illegal to wear a mask at most public events, was cited in several of the arrests of counterdemonstrators who joined a protest Saturday against white supremacists.”

“We were peacefully protesting, yet they put guns in our faces and told us to take our masks off,” said Ortega, who added that he is considering filing a civil lawsuit. “It made no sense.”

State and local authorities did not comment on specific allegations of abuse on Sunday. But Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan said the overwhelming security – nearly 700 law enforcement officers were on hand – helped prevent the clashes from escalating.

“Making arrests in a volatile situation is never going to be pretty,” Keenan said.

No one from the white supremacist group was arrested on Saturday, and they largely avoided confrontations with police or the counterdemonstration group. The two dozen white supremacists who attended the rally were separated from the group by an 8-foot fence – and hundreds of armed officers.

‘Remove your mask’

On Sunday, a coalition of counterprotest groups planned a vigil at the Coweta County Jail to criticize what they said was excessive violence by police.

The Huffington Post reported that a contingent of officers approached a group of 50 counterdemonstrators before the rally and demanded they remove their masks or face arrests. The news outlet wrote that officers then “grabbed those who were still masked, tossing them to the ground and handcuffing them.” Read the rest of this entry »


Science Reveals: Communism Makes Nations Poorer and Less Healthy

Alain Tolhurst writes: Living under communism makes countries poorer and less healthy for decades, according to a landmark new study.

Researchers testing historical connections between cultures found that whether a country had been under communism was the biggest factor for those with lower health, income and educational levels.

In the first undertaking of its kind, they analyzed the fortunes of 44 countries across Europe and Asia and looked at geography, religion, systems of government and a more intangible quality called “deep cultural ancestry.”

Russian Communist Party supporters attend a memorial ceremony March 5 in Red Square to mark the 65th anniversary of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's death.

Russian Communist Party supporters attend a memorial ceremony March 5 in Red Square to mark the 65th anniversary of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s death.

Writing in the journal Royal Society Open Science, they matched these factors against where they ranked on the United Nations Human Development Index, which measures per-capita income, life expectancy at birth and the number of years its citizens spend in education.

Most of the issues they looked at appeared to have little or no effect on the disparities between the countries, except for Islamic countries scoring a little worse on education. Read the rest of this entry »


Peggy Noonan Channels Jordan Peterson: ‘If Adults Won’t Grow Up, Nobody Will’

From Facebook to Harvey Weinstein, America’s scandals amount to a giant crisis of maturity.

harvey-gameover

“The signal fact of Mr. Zuckerberg is that he is supremely gifted in one area—monetizing technical expertise by marrying it to a canny sense of human weakness. Beyond that, what a shallow and banal figure.”

It has to do with not being able to fully reckon with your size, not because it is small but because it is big. I see more people trembling under the weight of who they are.

Clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has been on this message for years. Are voices like his finally being being heard?

Laura Ingraham got in trouble for publicly mocking one of the student gun-control activists of Parkland, Fla. She’s been unjustly targeted for boycotts, but it’s fair to say she was wrong in what she said, and said it because she didn’t remember who she is. She is a successful and veteran media figure, host of a cable show that bears her name. As such she is a setter of the sound of our culture as it discusses politics. When you’re that person, you don’t smack around a 17-year-old, even if—maybe especially if—he is obnoxious in his presentation of his public self. He’s a kid. They’re not infrequently obnoxious, because they are not fully mature. He’s small, you’re big. There’s a power imbalance.

As of this week, it is six months since the reckoning that began with the New York Times exposé of Harvey Weinstein. One by one they fell, men in media, often journalism, and their stories bear at least in part a general theme.

mark-zuckerberg-HT

They were mostly great successes, middle-aged, and so natural leaders of the young. But they treated the young as prey. They didn’t respect them, in part because they didn’t respect themselves. They didn’t see their true size, their role, or they ignored it. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Actors at Casting Call Are Surprised by Real Gun Facts They’re Asked to Read

‘Imagine that.’

Stephen Kruiser writes: Here is what happens when people on both sides of the gun conversation in America are able to be heard. The producers of this video had a variety of actors cold read statistical truths about guns and crime in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »


Rex Murphy: The Contemptible Concept of ‘White Privilege’ is Just Ugly, Angry Racism 

scream-sjw

Maxime Bernier is right: Identity politics dissolves community, reduces a country to subsets of clans, and obscures the diversity of individual lives.

Then there is Justin Trudeau inviting the fanatically anti-Alberta-oil Bill Nye to Ottawa for a public chat on science, the highlight of which was the signal revelation of the centrality of breastfeeding to the scientific method — delivered by our PM. When baby wails and the milk flows, can Planck’s constant be far behind?

As well: Jaspal Atwal, failed Sikh assassin, holding what he ludicrously called a press conference. The only takeaway: his lawyer is scarier, though not necessarily more competent.

Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen shares the stage with Parliamentary Secretary MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, centre, and Heritage Minister Melanie Joly during a Black History Month reception at the Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., on Feb. 12, 2018. Justin Tang/CP

More fertile than them all however was the brisk, chippy, and entitled Twitter blast levelled by Liberal MP and person of colour, Celina Caesar-Chavannes (Whitby, Ont.), at Conservative MP Maxime Bernier (Beauce, Que.).

Bernier had criticized an earlier tweet by Ahmed Hussen in which the Immigration Minister said the federal budget was historic for “racialized Canadians.”

Bernier said he deplored that tweet’s “awful jargon,” the pitch to “racialized” Canadians, and put out a plea for “colour blindness,” character over skin colour. His critics, Bernier said, implied (he was) a racist because “I want to live in a society where everyone is treated equally and not defined by their race.”

“Please check your privilege and be quiet.”

— MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes

The parliamentary pigeons were duly agitated. Instanter, Caesar-Chavannes fired off her Twitter blast: Read the rest of this entry »


Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews Find LSD “Harmonizing” on Brain, Changes Personality for Years, Studies Show from Scientific Reports 

The study found that taking LSD is ‘harmonizing’ because it helps connect different parts of your brain in new ways while “reorganizing” it.

Josh Magness writes: Your brain on LSD is kind of like jazz improvisation.

That’s according to Selen Atasoy, a research fellow at the Center for Brain and Cognition at the Pompeu Fabra University in Spain. She was among the authors of a study published in the journal Scientific Reports that found the psychedelic drug can reorganize your brain in a “harmonizing” way.

“Just like improvising jazz musicians use many more musical notes in a spontaneous and non-random fashion,” she told PsyPost in an interview, “your brain combines many more of the harmonic waves (connectome harmonics) spontaneously yet in a structured way.”

Twelve people were examined for the study, with some taking LSD and some a placebo drug. Researchers examined their brain with an MRI scan both during and after the subjects listened to music.

Researchers said they wanted to study the combined effect of music and LSD because “music is also known for its capacity to elicit emotions, which is found to be emphasized by the effect of psychedelics.

“Exploring the combined effects of music and the psychedelic state induced by LSD provided us an opportunity to reveal not only the LSD-induced dynamical changes in the brain,” they wrote, “but also how these dynamics are affected by the presence of a complex, natural stimuli like music.”

The study found that taking LSD is “harmonizing” because it helps connect different parts of your brain in new ways while “reorganizing” it. The effects were temporary, but Newsweek reports that it’s a positive sign for people with some psychological conditions.

The brain could more efficiently make those new connections while a person listened to music, the study also found.

Atasoy told PsyPost that because changes in a brain with LSD were “structured” instead of random, this “suggests a reorganisation of brain dynamics and the emergence of new type of order in the brain.” Read the rest of this entry »


They Don’t Hate The NRA. They Hate You

Just believing in the Second Amendment makes you a non-human.

Kurt Schlichter writes: The progressives are cranking things up to 11 on the Stupid/Psycho Scale, which is good for us in the short term – some of us Normals were growing complacent and the midterms are coming. But we also need to open our eyes and accept the bitter reality we face. We can’t just pretend the truth is not the truth because we wish it were otherwise. The left’s dropping of its mask has demonstrated once again the undeniable fact. The left hates you.

Just give them a listen. Those carefully selected moppet puppets are out there on TV telling Normals “We are going to outlive you.” When leftists tell you that you are going to die first, you should believe they mean it. They have a track record of making that happen.

And then there is the new meme, that the NRA is a “terrorist” organization. This means you are a “terrorist” simply by advocating for your political views. Think about that. Labeling your political opponents as “terrorists” – gee, that can’t end badly. Violence against and suppression of terrorists is okay, isn’t it? And when this ploy works with guns, it will happen with the next right the left wants to take from us.

How’s that blood on your hands? Sure, you were thousands of miles away, and your AR-15 – like the 14,999,999 other AR-15s out there – never shot up a school, but just believing in the Second Amendment makes you a non-human. Those of us who know something about history know that the people leftists regard as non-human always tend to end up non-living.

Gun rights activist Holly Cusumano, 18, waves a flag during a rally for the 2nd Amendment at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Oh, they want to have a conversation, all right. It’s a conversation about how you are going to be disarmed, disempowered, and at their mercy.

[Read the full story here, at Town Hall]

Crazy talk? No. Don’t be gaslighted. They will tell you exactly what they want for you if you give them long enough. The beauty of social media is these creeps just can’t help themselves; you just have to have the strength to listen and accept the truth no matter how unpleasant it is. Read the rest of this entry »


Katie Roiphe: The Other Whisper Network

How Twitter feminism is bad for women

Of course, the prepublication frenzy of Twitter fantasy and fury about this essay, which exploded in early January, is Exhibit A for why nobody wants to speak openly. Before the piece was even finished, let alone published, people were calling me “pro-rape,” “human scum,” a “harridan,” a “monster out of Stephen King’s ‘IT,’?” a “ghoul,” a “bitch,” and a “garbage person”—all because of a rumor that I was planning to name the creator of the so-called Shitty Media Men list. The Twitter feminist Jessica Valenti called this prospect “profoundly shitty” and “incredibly dangerous” without having read a single word of my piece. Other tweets were more direct: “man if katie roiphe actually publishes that article she can consider her career over.” “Katie Roiphe can suck my dick.” With this level of thought policing, who in their right mind would try to say anything even mildly provocative or original?

For years, women confined their complaints about sexual harassment to whisper networks for fear of reprisal from men. This is an ugly truth about our recent past that we are just now beginning to grapple with. But amid this welcome reckoning, it seems that many women still fear varieties of retribution (Twitter rage, damage to their reputations, professional repercussions, and vitriol from friends) for speaking out—this time, from other women. They are, in other words, inadvertently creating a new whisper network. Can this possibly be a good thing?

Most of the new whisperers feel as I do, exhilarated by the moment, by the long-overdue possibility of holding corrupt and bullying men such as Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, and Matt Lauer to account for their actions. They strongly share some of its broader goals: making it possible for women to work unbothered and unharassed even outside the bubble of Hollywood and the media, breaking down the structures that have historically protected powerful men. Yet they are also slightly uneasy at the weird energy behind this movement, a weird energy it is sometimes hard to pin down.

Here are some things these professional women said to me on the condition that their names be withheld:

I think “believe all women” is silly. Women are unreliable narrators also. I understand how hard it is to come forward, but I just don’t buy it. It’s a sentimental view of women. . . . I think there is more regretted consent than anyone is willing to say out loud.

If someone had sent me the Media Men list ten years ago, when I was twenty-five, I would have called a harmlessly enamored guy a stalker and a sloppy drunken encounter sexual assault. I’d hate myself now for wrecking two lives.

One thing people don’t say is that power is an aphrodisiac. . . . To pretend otherwise is dishonest.

What seems truly dangerous to me is the complete disregard the movement shows for a sacred principle of the American criminal justice system: the presumption of innocence. I come from Mexico, whose judicial system relied, until 2016, on the presumption of guilt, which translated into people spending decades, sometimes lifetimes, in jail before even seeing a judge.

I have never felt sexually harassed. I said this to someone the other day, and she said, “I am sure you are wrong.”

Al Franken asked for an investigation and he should have been allowed to have it; the facts are still ambiguous, the sources were sketchy.

Why didn’t I get hit on? What’s wrong with me? #WhyNotMeToo

I think #MeToo is a potentially valuable tool that is degraded when women appropriate it to encompass things like “creepy DMs” or “weird lunch ‘dates.’” And I do not think touching a woman’s back justifies a front page in the New York Times and the total annihilation of someone’s career.

I have a long history with this feeling of not being able to speak. In the early Nineties, death threats were phoned into Shakespeare and Company, an Upper West Side bookstore where I was scheduled to give a reading from my book The Morning After.That night, in front of a jittery crowd and a sprinkling of police, I read a passage comparing the language in the date-rape pamphlets given out on college campuses to Victorian guides to conduct for young ladies. When I read at universities, students who considered themselves feminists shouted me down. It was an early lesson in the chilling effect of feminist orthodoxy.

But social media has enabled a more elaborate intolerance of feminist dissenters, as I just personally experienced. Twitter, especially, has energized the angry extremes of feminism in the same way it has energized Trump and his supporters: the loudest, angriest, most simplifying voices are elevated and rendered normal or mainstream.

[Read the full story here, at Harper’s Magazine]

In 1996, a six-year-old boy with Coke-bottle glasses, Johnathan Prevette, was suspended from school for sexual harassment after kissing a little girl on the cheek. This was widely interpreted as a sign of excess: as the New York Times put it, a “doctrine meant to protect against sexual harassment might have reached a damaging level of absurdity.” Yet I wonder what would happen today. Wouldn’t feminists be tweeting, “Don’t first grade girls have a right to feel safe?” Wouldn’t the new whisperers keep quiet?

One thing that makes it hard to engage with the feminist moment is the sense of great, unmanageable anger. Given what men have gotten away with for centuries, this anger is understandable. Yet it can also lead to an alarming lack of proportion. Rebecca Trais­ter, one of the smartest and most prominent voices of the #MeToo movement, writes:

The rage that many of us are feeling doesn’t necessarily correspond with the severity of the trespass: Lots of us are on some level as incensed about the guy who looked down our shirt at a company retreat as we are about Weinstein, even if we can acknowledge that there’s something nuts about that, a weird overreaction.

At first glance, this seems honest and insightful of her. She seems, for a moment, to recognize the energy that is unnerving some of us, an anger not interested in making distinctions between Harvey Weinstein and the man looking down your shirt—an anger that is, as Traister herself puts it, “terrifyingly out of control.” But weirdly, she also seems to be fine with it, even roused. When Trump supporters let their anger run terrifyingly out of control, we are alarmed, and rightly so. Perhaps Traister should consider that “I am so angry I am not thinking straight” is not the best mood in which to radically envision and engineer a new society. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Jordan Peterson: Fix Yourself

Want to make the world a better place? Start by bettering yourself. Best-selling author and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson explains how incremental daily changes can lead to a better life and ultimately a more harmonious world.


The Dirty War Over Diversity Inside Google 

Advocates of greater diversity at Google say they are being harassed and targeted on right-wing websites.

Nitasha Tiku reports: Fired Google engineer James Damore says he was vilified and harassed for questioning what he calls the company’s liberal political orthodoxy, particularly around the merits of diversity.

Now outspoken diversity advocates at Google say that they are being targeted by a small group of their coworkers in an effort to silence discussions about racial and gender diversity.

In interviews with WIRED, 15 current Google employees accuse coworkers of inciting outsiders to harass rank-and-file employees who are minority advocates, including queer and transgender employees. Since August, screenshots from Google’s internal discussion forums, including personal information, have been displayed on sites including Breitbart and Vox Popoli, a blog run by alt-right author Theodore Beale, who goes by the name Vox Day. Other screenshots were included in a 161-page lawsuit that Damore filed in January, alleging that Google discriminates against whites, males, and conservatives.

What followed, the employees say, was a wave of harassment. On forums like 4chan, members linked advocates’ names with their social-media accounts. At least three employees had their phone numbers, addresses, and deadnames (a transgender person’s name prior to transitioning) exposed. Google site reliability engineer Liz Fong-Jones, a trans woman, says she was the target of harassment, including violent threats and degrading slurs based on gender identity, race, and sexual orientation. More than a dozen pages of personal information about another employee were posted to Kiwi Farms, which New York has called “the web’s biggest community of stalkers.”

Meanwhile, inside Google, the diversity advocates say some employees have “weaponized human resources” by goading them into inflammatory statements, which are then captured and reported to HR for violating Google’s mores around civility or for offending white men.

Engineer Colin McMillen says the tactics have unnerved diversity advocates and chilled internal discussion. “Now it’s like basically anything you say about yourself may end up getting leaked to score political points in a lawsuit,” he says. “I have to be very careful about choosing my words because of the low-grade threat of doxing. But let’s face it, I’m not visibly queer or trans or non-white and a lot of these people are keying off their own white supremacy.”

Targeted employees say they have complained to Google executives about the harassment. They say Google’s security team is vigilant about physical threats and that Danielle Brown, Google’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, who has also been targeted by harassers, has been supportive and reassuring. But, they say they have not been told the outcome of complaints they filed against coworkers they believe are harassing them, and that top executives have not responded assertively to concerns about harassment and doxing. As a result, some employees now check hate sites for attempts at doxing Google employees, which they then report to Google security.

Google declined to respond to questions due to ongoing litigation, but a Google spokesperson said the company has met with every employee who expressed concern.

The complaints underscore how Google’s freewheeling workplace culture, where employees are encouraged to “bring your whole self to work” and exchange views on internal discussion boards, has turned as polarized and toxic as the national political debate. Read the rest of this entry »


Report: Obamacare Exchanges Fraud Costs Taxpayers Millions

It seems an incredible waste to put tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of taxpayer dollars at risk through fraud on federal exchanges.

Christopher Jacobs reports: What do Obamacare and Haley Joel Osment have in common? They both see dead people.

On Tuesday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released another report into eligibility verification checks on the federally run Obamacare insurance exchange used by more than three dozen states. As with prior studies, GAO concluded that regulators still need to improve integrity efforts to ensure the federal government spends taxpayer funds wisely.

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

Among the report’s most noteworthy conclusions: A total of 17,000 federally subsidized insurance policies studied during the 2015 plan year—the most recent for which GAO had complete data at the time of its investigation—began or continued after the applicant’s reported date of death. In 1,000 of those cases, coverage began after the applicant’s reported date of death. In a further 2,000, the application was submitted after the applicant’s reported date of death—in most cases because the exchange automatically re-enrolled applicants without checking to determine that they remained alive.

obamacare-skeleton-panic.jpg

GAO previously recommended that the federal exchange verify eligibility periodically, checking changes in circumstances that would affect the status of federal subsidies, such as death. However, to the best of auditors’ knowledge, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not implemented this recommendation, one of 18 relating to exchange integrity that remain open (i.e., not completed) from two prior GAO reports. Read the rest of this entry »


St. Clement’s Catholic Primary School Worker in Trouble Over Her ‘Designer Vagina’ 


Zuckerberg’s Dilemma: When Facebook’s Success Is Bad for Society 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with entrepreneurs and innovators at a round-table discussion in St. Louis on Nov. 9.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with entrepreneurs and innovators at a round-table discussion in St. Louis on Nov. 9. Photo: Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Facebook’s chief has signaled he will do what it takes to curb the social network’s negative effects—but how far will he go?

reports: When scientists started linking cigarettes to cancer, the tobacco industry silenced them—only acknowledging the extent of the truth decades later, under legal duress.

Imagine if, instead, they had given these researchers license to publish papers, or even taken the information to heart and crippled their own moneymaking machines for the good of their addicted users.

No one has accused Facebook FB 1.37% of causing cancer, but Mark Zuckerberg now stands at a similar crossroads.

In the face of pressure brought by a growing roster of Facebook investors and former executives, many of whom have publicly stated that Facebook is both psychologically addictive and harmful to democracy, the Facebook founder and chief executive has pledged to “fix” Facebook by doing several things, including “making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent.”

Mr. Zuckerberg has also recently told investors he wants his company “to encourage meaningful social interactions,” adding that “time spent is not a goal by itself.”

Facebook researchers have acknowledged that while direct sharing between individuals and small groups on Facebook can have positive effects, merely scrolling through others’ updates makes people unhappy.

Facebook researchers have acknowledged that while direct sharing between individuals and small groups on Facebook can have positive effects, merely scrolling through others’ updates makes people unhappy. Photo: ISTOCK

So here’s the multibillion-dollar question: Is he willing to sacrifice revenue for the well-being of Facebook’s two-billion-plus users?

Mr. Zuckerberg has already said the company will hire so many content moderators to deal with fake news and Russian interference that it will hurt profit, but whether he will go further and change the basic fabric of Facebook’s algorithms in the name of users’ mental health, he has yet to say.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Clearly, Facebook, a company Mr. Zuckerberg started when he was in college, has changed so much that even its creator is playing catch-up to the reality of its globe-spanning power.

In June, he changed the company’s mission from “connecting” the world to bringing the world closer together. He said he used to think giving people a voice would make the world better on its own, “but our society is still divided. Now I believe we have a responsibility to do even more.”

In December, Facebook researchers surveyed the scientific literature and their own work and publicly acknowledged that while direct communication and sharing between individuals and small groups on Facebook can have positive effects, merely lurking and scrolling through others’ status updates makes people unhappy. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Iran’s Anti-Government Protests Spread to Major Cities, ‘The World is Watching’ says U.S.

The US says “the world is watching” how Iranian authorities respond to anti-government protests that have broken out in several cities.

Thousands of people have joined the protests, with scores arrested.

A White House statement said Iranians were fed up with “the regime’s corruption and its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism”.

“The Iranian government should respect their people’s rights, including their right to express themselves. The world is watching,”

— White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, on Twitter

Meanwhile, authorities urged supporters to turn out for nationwide demonstrations on Saturday.

The rallies are commemorating the 2009 demonstrations held in support of the then conservative government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Those demonstrations were in response to protests by reformists over a disputed election which returned him to power.

The BBC’s Persian Service says thousands of people were likely to have been bussed into a rally in the capital Tehran.

Footage posted on social media showed street protests in Kermanshah

What was the US response?

“The Iranian government should respect their people’s rights, including their right to express themselves. The world is watching,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Twitter.

The tweet later appeared on President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

The US State Department urged all nations “to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption”.

Footage posted on social media showed street protests in Kermanshah

Footage posted on social media showed street protests in Kermanshah

What is Iran saying about the protests?

First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri has suggested that government opponents are behind the protests, according to comments reported by state broadcaster IRIB.

He said: “Some incidents in the country these days are on the pretext of economic problems, but it seems there is something else behind them. They think by doing this they harm the government, but it will be others who ride the wave.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Do Sexual Harassment Training Videos Work? 

 


Mayors From Seven Major French Cities Write Open Letter Saying They Are Overwhelmed By The Flow Of Migrants

Local chiefs from Nantes, Lille, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Rennes, Toulouse and Strasbourg wrote an open letter to Parisian officials to ask for relief from the ‘extreme tension’ caused by migrant arrivals.

  • The mayors from large French cities wrote open letter to Le Monde newspaper
  • In it they stressed their settlements were going through a ‘social emergency’
  • They said there has been a ‘massive rise in the demand for asylum’ recently 
  • To relieve ‘extreme tension’ on services, they added, a national plan was needed 

Iain Burns reports: The mayors of seven large French cities have appealed to the national government to save them from the ‘social emergency’ of huge numbers of migrants.

Local chiefs from Nantes, Lille, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Rennes, Toulouse and Strasbourg wrote an open letter to Parisian officials to beg for relief from the ‘extreme tension’ caused by the arrival of people seeking a new home.

The mayors – including this year’s presidential hopeful Alain Juppé (from Bordeaux) – explained that there had been a ‘massive rise in the demand for asylum’, with ‘several thousand’ migrants arriving every month.

 The letter comes just over a year after the relocation of several thousands migrants from the Calais Jungle in Northern France.

The mayors - including this year's presidential hopeful Alain Juppé (pictured) - explained that there had been a 'massive rise in the demand for asylum', with 'several thousand' migrants arriving every month

The mayors – including this year’s presidential hopeful Alain Juppé (pictured) – explained that there had been a ‘massive rise in the demand for asylum’, with ‘several thousand’ migrants arriving every month

Local chiefs from Nantes, Lille, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Rennes, Toulouse and Strasbourg wrote an open letter to Parisian officials to help relieve the ‘extreme tension’ caused by the arrival of people seeking a new home. Pictured: Migrants leaving the Calais Jungle last year

Writing to Le Monde, they added: ‘A social emergency. An urgent solidarity. [Our cities] are, on this subject as on others, on the front line.

‘We can not, we must not, resign ourselves to the human, social and health drama of uprooting migrants. Every month, several thousand people arrive in our cities. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES SHE DID: Meryl Streep Targeted by Street Artists With ‘She Knew’ Posters

The posters appeared in several locations in Los Angeles.

In posters that appeared in several locations in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Meryl Streep was seemingly depicted as a Harvey Weinstein enabler by anonymous street artists.

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Posters hung early in the morning, before the sun came up, feature an image of Streep next to Weinstein with a red strip across her face with the text “She knew,” an apparent reference to Weinstein’s alleged sexual abuse of women over the course of decades.

The posters are a riff on the work of artist Barbara Kruger, whose signature text in red banners has been adapted and copied for decades.

unnamed-embed_1 Read the rest of this entry »


America’s Neo-Victorian Future

Megan McArdle writes: Last week I considered our culture’s vanishing burden of proof when a prominent man is accused of any sexual impropriety. Certainly I wouldn’t want the bad old days of sexual harassment to continue. But there must be some way to find justice for women who have been abused without rushing to punish men who may not have abused anyone.

You can think of crimes as a sort of pyramid: At the top, there are a relatively small number of actions that we can all clearly agree merit the severest sanction, if proven. And then, as you slide down the walls of the pyramid, a growing number of cases that are less and less bad. At the base of the pyramid is a gray area where reasonable people can disagree about whether the evidence is strong, or the behavior alleged merits any sanction.

What happens if we try to apply the sanctions that are clearly merited for the guys at the top to the guys in the middle? What happens if we try to move the line down until it encompasses more and more of the guys at the bottom? Read the rest of this entry »


Kansas Democrat Andrea Ramsey Drops Out of Race After Sexual Harassment Allegation

Deciding to run for Congress was an ‘intensely personal decision’

Lindsay Wise And Bryan Lowry report: Andrea Ramsey, a Leawood Democrat, decided to run for Congress after joining neighbors at a protest outside U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder’s Overland Park office the day Yoder cast a key vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Andrea Ramsey, a Democratic candidate for Congress, will drop out of the race after the Kansas City Star asked her about accusations in a 2005 lawsuit that she sexually harassed and retaliated against a male subordinate who said he had rejected her advances.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the case told The Star that the man reached a settlement with LabOne, the company where Ramsey was executive vice president of human resources. Court documents show that the man, Gary Funkhouser, and LabOne agreed to dismiss the case permanently after mediation in 2006.

Ramsey, a 56-year-old retired business executive from Leawood, was one of the Democratic candidates vying to challenge Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder in 2018 in Kansas’ 3rd District.

She was running with the endorsement of Emily’s List, a liberal women’s group that has raised more than a half-million dollars to help female candidates who support abortion rights.

Ramsey will drop out on Friday, her campaign said.

“In its rush to claim the high ground in our roiling national conversation about harassment, the Democratic Party has implemented a zero tolerance standard,” Ramsey said in a statement Friday. Read the rest of this entry »


Miss Iraq Forced to Flee Country Over Instagram Photo Alongside Miss Israel

Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, and her family had to flee their homeland after receiving death threats over a photo she posted online last month.

Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, and her family had to flee their homeland after receiving death threats over a photo she posted online last month.

Why? Because Idan posed with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, at a Miss Universe International Beauty Pageant, the Times of Israel reported.

Idan came under fire for posting the photo to Instagram, captioned, “Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel,” in addition to modeling a bikini.

“The two of those things together caused a mess for her back home where people made threats against her and her family that if she didn’t return home and take down the photos, they would remove her (Miss Iraq) title, that they would kill her,” Adar Gandelsman told Israeli TV, the paper reported. Read the rest of this entry »


Anti-Semitism in France: ‘In 2017, We Had to Move Because we’re Jewish’

Antisémitisme: En 2017, on a dû déménager parce qu’on est juif

  • In 2016, the number of anti-Semitic acts and threats fell sharply compared to 2015.
  • In some cities of Seine-Saint-Denis, synagogues closed, the world’s fault.
  • This “exodus” inside is still difficult to assess.

(translated from French via Google translate)

For weeks, André * slept with a bat baseball at the foot of his bed. A violently slammed the door made her jump. “After the burglary, I was always on the alert. With my wife, we no longer felt safe with us, “says the energetic septuagenarian by stirring his coffee. In spring 2015, his apartment was ransacked twice a few weeks apart. The second time, the thugs have left a trace message to the lipstick on the guestroom wall leaving little doubt as to their motivation: ”  dirty Jew, long live Palestine  .” So after 40 years in Bondy, in Seine-Saint-Denis. The couple set sail in December 2015, management Villemonble in the “golden triangle” of the department.

If his wife had not opposed it, Andrew, who defines himself as a Jew “traditionalist” but that does not bear the kippa on Fridays for Shabbat, would have left Israel to aliyah. In 2016, 5,000 departures were recorded, 8,000 the year before. The attacks against the Jewish school Ozar HaTorah  in Toulouse, groceries hide in Sarcelles or the Hypercacher Vincennes sometimes served click. “These attacks were a shock but it obviously does not underestimate Semitism we live every day . For a long time, Jews were targeted through their symbols, today, it directly attacks the people, “said Sammy Ghozlan, president of National Bureau of Vigilance against Anti-Semitism(BNVCA).

The Wall Andre – Personal collection / André

Decline in anti-Semitic acts in 2016

Si on s’en réfère au Service de protection de la communauté juive (SPCJ), qui s’appuie sur les données du ministère de l’Intérieur, les agressions physiques ou verbales à caractère antisémite ont fortement baissé en 2016: 355 actes et menaces ont été recensés contre 808 l’année précédente. Read the rest of this entry »


PERVOCALYPSE: Dustin Hoffman Accused of Exposing Himself to a Minor, Assaulting Two Women

Cori Thomas was in high school when she says Dustin Hoffman exposed himself to her in a hotel room.

“He came out of the bathroom with a towel at first wrapped around him, which he dropped. He was standing there naked. I think I almost collapsed, actually. It was the first time I had ever seen a naked man. I was mortified.”

Speaking to Variety, the women described predatory incidents involving Hoffman that fit into a pattern of alleged behavior that has emerged in the wake of previous sexual-misconduct claims against the now 80-year-old actor.

“I didn’t know what to do. And he milked it. He milked the fact that he was naked. He stood there. He took his time.”

— Cori Thomas

Representatives for Hoffman did not make him available to provide comment for this story. In a letter to Variety’s owner Penske Media Corp., Hoffman’s attorney Mark A. Neubauer of Carlton Fields Jordan Burt called the accusations against the actor “defamatory falsehoods.”

Thomas was 16 years old and a high-school classmate of Hoffman’s daughter Karina at the United Nations International School in New York when she met the actor in 1980. An aspiring actor, she had spent a Sunday afternoon with Karina and Hoffman walking in Manhattan — visiting the Drama Bookshop, where, she said, Hoffman bought her a copy of Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story,” and eating dinner at Jim McMullin’s on the Upper East Side, where she had veal piccata for the first time. They also visited the San Remo on Central Park West, where Hoffman, in the midst of a divorce from his first wife, Anne Byrne, was buying an apartment. Hoffman showed Thomas and Karina the apartment, which was being renovated while Hoffman stayed at a hotel near the house that he and Byrne had shared.

Photo by Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock. Actor Dustin Hoffman poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'The Meyerowitz Stories' during the London Film Festival

Photo by Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock. Actor Dustin Hoffman poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film ‘The Meyerowitz Stories’ during the London Film Festival

“This was at first one of the greatest days of my life,” she said. “One of my idols was spending time with me and talking with me respectfully.”

[Read the full story here, at Variety]

Thomas’ parents — her father was the U.N. ambassador from Liberia — were supposed to pick her up at the restaurant. But, according to Thomas, Hoffman suggested that the three of them wait at the hotel where he was staying and leave a note for Thomas’ parents with the maitre d’ saying they had gone to the hotel. After the three arrived at Hoffman’s hotel room, “Either Karina or Dustin suggested that [Karina] should go home” to Hoffman and Byrne’s house nearby, Thomas said, “because it was a school night and she had homework. So she left, and I was left in the hotel room with him alone.”

Shortly after Karina departed, according to Thomas, Hoffman went to the restroom. She heard the shower turn on. “I was just sitting there waiting for my parents,” Thomas said.

After several minutes, “He came out of the bathroom with a towel at first wrapped around him, which he dropped,” Thomas said. “He was standing there naked. I think I almost collapsed, actually. It was the first time I had ever seen a naked man. I was mortified. I didn’t know what to do. And he milked it. He milked the fact that he was naked. He stood there. He took his time.” Read the rest of this entry »


Matt Labash: Millennials Have Officially Killed the Holiday Office Party 

Thanks Vox.com.

Matt Labash writes: As we celebrate this Christmas season (or this “holiday,” for Christ-haters), I don’t wish to be a killjoy to the world. But reflecting on the year gone by, it’s hard not to notice that we have lost a few of our favorite things: Tom Petty, political moderation, our dignity.

And yet, as we’ve hunkered down throughout 2017 to weather every storm from Hurricane Harvey (the tropical cyclone that nearly destroyed Houston) to Hurricane Harvey (the film producer/sex-criminal who has all but destroyed famous men), there seems to be another death that has barely registered—that of the open-bar office Christmas party.

It is a time-honored tradition, and in Dilbert-ified America most cubicle monkeys know the drill: Don your smart-yet-festive sweater vest. Show up to your company’s voluntary holiday gathering, where absences are informally noted by supervisors who will passive-aggressively punish the missing come January. Pretend you enjoy socializing with colleagues that you wouldn’t invite over to your house on a dare. All while drinking until your liver cries uncle, or until Jones from purchasing miraculously transforms into a sparkling conversationalist.

[Read the full story here, at The Weekly Standard]

But the already-ailing patient might have died on the table last week, when news broke that Vox Media, after an internal sexual-harassment scandal that saw editorial director Lockhart Steele get fired, announced of their holiday party in a staff memo: “At the request of many of you, we will ramp up the food and cut down on the drinks.” According to accuser Eden Rohatensky’s Medium post, after an apparent drinking bout, the man eventually revealed as Steele caressed her hand and kissed the back of her neck in an Uber.

Vox Media, in case you don’t read the Internet, is, as they put it with characteristic modesty, “a prestigious modern media company .  .  . [that is] shaping the future of journalism and entertainment.”

The parent company’s myriad media outlets—or “brands,” as modern media companies now insist on calling themselves—include everything from tech-news site the Verge to foodie site Eater to the flagship itself, Vox. Read the rest of this entry »


MORAL PANIC: The Warlock Hunt

The #MeToo moment has now morphed into a moral panic that poses as much danger to women as it does to men.

Claire Berlinski writes: #Metoo, of course. Women are not going nuts for no reason. We’re fed up with feeling prickles down our spine as we walk alone on dimly lit streets. Fed up with thinking, “If he feels entitled to send me that message, what might he feel entitled to do to if he knew where I lived?” Fed up with strangers who smack their lips and murmur obscenities at us. Fed up with thinking, “No, I don’t want to go to his hotel room to discuss closing the contract. I’ll have to tell him my husband’s waiting for me to call. ‘My husband? Oh, yes, he’s pathologically jealous, bless his heart, and a bit of a gun nut…’” My husband is perfect in every way but one—he doesn’t exist—but he has served me so well over the years that I’m willing to overlook his ontological defects. I shouldn’t need him, but I do.

I’ve been fortunate. My encounters with law enforcement have been contrary to reputation: The police have taken me seriously, once arresting a stalker when he failed to heed a warning to cease and desist. But too many women have been murdered because they could not persuade the police to take them seriously. That stalker doubtless believes he was “unjustly accused” and “his life destroyed” by a hysterical woman. He’s full of it. I’ll bet he did the same thing to many women before me. Sexual predation tends to be a lifelong pattern.

Among us, it seems, lives a class of men who call to mind Caligula and Elagabalus not only in their depravity, but in their grotesque sense of impunity. Our debauched emperors, whether enthroned in Hollywood, media front offices, or the halls of Congress, truly imagined their victims had no choice but to shut up, take it, and stay silent forever. Many of these men are so physically disgusting, too—the thought of them forcing themselves on young women fills me with heaving disgust. Enough already.

All true; yet something is troubling me. Recently I saw a friend—a man—pilloried on Facebook for asking if #metoo is going too far. “No,” said his female interlocutors. “Women have endured far too many years of harassment, humiliation, and injustice. We’ll tell you when it’s gone too far.” But I’m part of that “we,” and I say it is going too far. Mass hysteria has set in. It has become a classic moral panic, one that is ultimately as dangerous to women as to men.

If you are reading this, it means I have found an outlet that has not just fired an editor for sexual harassment. This article circulated from publication to publication, like old-fashioned samizdat, and was rejected repeatedly with a sotto voce, “Don’t tell anyone. I agree with you. But no.” Friends have urged me not to publish it under my own name, vividly describing the mob that will tear me from limb to limb and leave the dingoes to pick over my flesh. It says something, doesn’t it, that I’ve been more hesitant to speak about this than I’ve been of getting on the wrong side of the mafia, al-Qaeda, or the Kremlin?

[Read the full story here, at The American Interest]

But speak I must. It now takes only one accusation to destroy a man’s life. Just one for him to be tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion, overnight costing him his livelihood and social respectability. We are on a frenzied extrajudicial warlock hunt that does not pause to parse the difference between rape and stupidity. The punishment for sexual harassment is so grave that clearly this crime—like any other serious crime—requires an unambiguous definition. We have nothing of the sort.

In recent weeks, one after another prominent voice, many of them political voices, have been silenced by sexual harassment charges. Not one of these cases has yet been adjudicated in a court of law. Leon Wieseltier, David Corn, Mark Halperin, Michael Oreskes, Al Franken, Ken Baker, Rick Najera, Andy Signore, Jeff Hoover, Matt Lauer, even Garrison Keillor—all have received the professional death sentence. Some of the charges sound deadly serious. But others—as reported anyway—make no sense. I can’t say whether the charges against these men are true; I wasn’t under the bed. But even iftrue, some have been accused of offenses that aren’t offensive, or offenses that are only mildly so—and do not warrant total professional and personal destruction. Read the rest of this entry »


IT’S ON: Justice Department to Probe Planned Parenthood Over Fetal Tissue Practices

John Bowden reports: The Justice Department is moving to investigate Planned Parenthood over the organization’s fetal tissue practices, according to a letter sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

In the letter obtained by The Hill, the department requests unredacted documents from the panel’s 2016 probe into Planned Parenthood over claims that the organization profited off the transfer of tissue and body parts from aborted fetuses to research firms.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who chairs the committee, referred Planned Parenthood to the FBI last December, saying at the time that his committee had uncovered enough evidence for the FBI to investigate the claims.

The Hill reported last month that the FBI had asked the Senate for documents it obtained from abortion providers, signaling that agents may be investigating the organization.

The letter sent Thursday states that the Justice Department intends to conduct a “thorough and comprehensive assessment” of Grassley’s report.

“At this point, these records are intended for investigative use only,” adds the letter sent by Stephen Boyd, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs.

News of the letter was first reported by The Daily Beast.

In 2015, videos released by the conservative activist group Center for Medical Progress showed Planned Parenthood staffers discussing procurement of “intact” and partial fetuses in exchange for compensation for expenses. Read the rest of this entry »


Mark Hemingway: Why Liberals Have Such A Hard Time With Monstrous Men And Their Art

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While it’s not a universal truism, more often than not, bad morals make for bad art, and the unwillingness to say so produces even worse criticism.

Specifically, there’s no getting around Allen’s celebrated film “Manhattan.” Allen’s character in the film dates a 17 year-old Mariel Hemingway, as if an older man having a sexual relationship with a teenager is a perfectly normal thing to do. It certainly doesn’t seem so normal when you consider that Allen later started dating, and eventually married, the adopted teenage daughter of his then-wife Mia Farrow.

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

Dederer’s essay is worth reading for the thoughtful and self-aware things she has to say. Specifically, the downfall of others is always an invitation to look inward at our own flaws. “Even in the midst of my righteous indignation when I b-tch about Woody and Soon-Yi, I know that, on some level, I’m not an entirely upstanding citizen myself,” she writes. However, Dederer’s essay also unintentionally reveals a great many troubling blind spots about the explicitly political nature of the relationship that liberal America has with popular entertainment.

The False Choice of Bad Habits Justifying Good Art

By way of a discursive explanation, there’s this Bill Hicks bit — he can be a creative, even brilliant comedian, but I used to like Hicks a lot more when I was in high school and immature enough to think that being transgressive and angry passed for funny — about how if you had a problem with drug use you should probably just burn your record collection because drug use was so inspirational for so many musicians. The explicit point here was to force acceptance of the idea drug use is a good thing to some extent. Read the rest of this entry »


THE APOCALYPSE IS HERE: Matt Lauer Accused of Sexual Harassment by Multiple Women, Garrison Keillor Fired Amidst Allegations

reports: As the co-host of NBC’s “Today,” Matt Lauer once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present. It included an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, which left her mortified.

On another day, he summoned a different female employee to his office, and then dropped his pants, showing her his penis. After the employee declined to do anything, visibly shaken, he reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.

He would sometimes quiz female producers about who they’d slept with, offering to trade names. And he loved to engage in a crass quiz game with men and women in the office: “f—, marry, or kill,” in which he would identify the female co-hosts that he’d most like to sleep with.

These accounts of Lauer’s behavior at NBC are the result of a two-month investigation by Variety, with dozens of interviews with current and former staffers. Variety has talked to three women who identified themselves as victims of sexual harassment by Lauer, and their stories have been corroborated by friends or colleagues that they told at the time. They have asked for now to remain unnamed, fearing professional repercussions.

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On Wednesday, NBC announced that Lauer was fired from “Today.” It was a stunning move for a co-host who was widely considered the crown jewel of the network’s news division, with a $25 million annual salary. The cause of his dismissal, according to sources, was a detailed complaint from another current NBC employee about inappropriate sexual conduct from Lauer that started on a trip at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and continued for several months.

The employee met with human resources at NBC on Monday night … (read more)

Source: Variety

Minnesota Public Radio said Wednesday that it was severing all business ties with Garrison Keillor, the creator and retired host of “A Prairie Home Companion,” after allegations of “inappropriate behavior with an individual who worked with him.”

Over four decades, Mr. Keillor, 75, had created a financial juggernaut for the radio network with his weekly broadcast of songs, skits and tales of his fictional hometown Lake Wobegon, along with related books, recordings and other products.

In a statement he provided to The New York Times, Mr. Keillor said, “I’ve been fired over a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard. Most stories are.”

Effective immediately, MPR said, it will no longer distribute and broadcast Mr. Keillor’s remaining programs, “The Writer’s Almanac” and “The Best of A Prairie Home Companion Hosted by Garrison Keillor.”

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Creepy Uncle Joe Biden: ‘I’m Sure That’s Completely Normal’


Two MORE Women Accuse Senator Al Franken Of Opportunistic Ass-Grabbing

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One woman told HuffPost that Franken had grabbed her backside ass at an event honoring women.

Jenavieve Hatch and Zachary Roth report: Two more women have told HuffPost that Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) touched their butts in separate incidents. These are the third and fourth such allegations against Franken in the past week. Leeann Tweeden, a radio host, wrote last week that Franken had kissed and groped her without her consent during a 2006 USO tour. On Monday, Lindsay Menz accused Franken of groping her at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.

“My story is eerily similar to Lindsay Menz’s story. He grabbed my buttocks during a photo op.”

The two additional women, who said they were not familiar with each others’ stories, both spoke on condition of anonymity. But their stories, which describe events during Franken’s first campaign for the Senate, are remarkably similar — and both women have been telling them privately for years.

“My immediate reaction was disgust. But my secondary reaction was disappointment. I was excited to be there and to meet him. And so to have that happen really deflated me. It felt like: ‘Is this really the person who is going to be in a position of power to represent our community?’”

In a statement to HuffPost, Franken said, “It’s difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don’t remember those campaign events.”

panic-panic-franken.jpg

The first woman, who spoke to HuffPost on condition of anonymity because she’s worried she’ll be harassed online for making the allegation, said Franken groped her when they posed for a photo after a June 25, 2007, event hosted by the Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus in Minneapolis.

“My mother loves Al Franken. She listened to Air America every day,” the first woman said. ”I saw him and asked if we could take a photo together for my mother, and we stood next to each other … and down his hand went.”

“My story is eerily similar to Lindsay Menz’s story,” the first woman said. “He grabbed my buttocks during a photo op.”

The second woman told HuffPost that Franken cupped her butt with his hand at a 2008 Democratic fundraiser in Minneapolis, then suggested the two visit the bathroom together. She spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear that the allegation could affect her position at work.

“My immediate reaction was disgust,” the second woman said. “But my secondary reaction was disappointment. I was excited to be there and to meet him. And so to have that happen really deflated me. It felt like: ‘Is this really the person who is going to be in a position of power to represent our community?’”

The first woman, a 38-year-old book editor who was living in Minneapolis at the time, told HuffPost that she had just finished performing with a feminist choir at the Women’s Political Caucus event, which Franken and his wife, Franni Bryson, attended. After the ceremony, she and other members of the choir approached him for photos. Read the rest of this entry »


Apple’s Diversity Chief Denise Young Smith Forced to Resign After Only 6 Months for Promoting Diversity

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Jonathan Vanian reports: Apple’s diversity chief is leaving the company after holding the job for only six months.

Denise Young Smith, a 20-year Apple veteran was most recently the company’s vice president of diversity and inclusion, is stepping down, Apple confirmed. TechCrunch first reported on Denise Young Smith’s upcoming departure.

She will be replaced by Christie Smith, a longtime Deloitte human resources executive. Unlike her predecessor, Christie Smith will not directly report to CEO Tim Cook, but rather to Deirdre O’Brien, who is Apple’s human resources chief.

“We deeply believe that diversity drives innovation,” an Apple spokesperson told Fortune. “We’re thrilled to welcome an accomplished leader like Christie Smith to help us continue the progress we’ve made toward a more diverse workplace.”

Earlier this November, Cornell Tech, a joint venture between Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, said Denise Young Smith would join the engineering school as its executive-in-residence starting Jan. 2018.

She had irked some critics in May when she commented during a conference, “There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.” Her comments were seen by some as insensitive to people of color, women, and members of the LGBT community, who have long faced an uphill battle in the workplace. Read the rest of this entry »


‘FRANKEN SLIME’: New York Post Cover for November 17, 2017

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Survey: One in Two U.S. Millennials Would Rather Live in a Socialist or Communist Country

Anti-aircraft missiles on parade as they are led past Lenin's Tomb en route to the saluting base in Red Square to celebrate the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.

Anti-aircraft missiles on parade as they are led past Lenin’s Tomb en route to the saluting base in Red Square to celebrate the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Getty.

This survery claims one in two U.S. millennials would rather live in a socialist or communist country than a capitalist democracy.

Millennials: Communism Sounds Pretty Chill!

 writes:

… According to the latest survey from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a D.C.-based nonprofit, one in two U.S. millennials say they would rather live in a socialist or communist country than a capitalist democracy.

What’s more, 22% of them have a favorable view of Karl Marx and a surprising number see Joseph Stalin and Kim Jong Un as “heroes.”

Really, that’s what the numbers show.

“Millennials now make up the largest generation in America, and we’re seeing some deeply worrisome trends,” said Marion Smith, executive director of the organization. “Millennials are increasingly turning away from capitalism and toward socialism and even communism as a viable alternative.”

But do they even know what it is?

The survey, which was conducted by research and data firm YouGov, found that millennials are the least knowledgable generation on the subject, with 71% failing to identify the proper definition of communism.

Smith explained that this “troubling turn” highlights pervasive historical illiteracy across the country and “the systemic failure of our education system to teach students about the genocide, destruction, and misery caused by communism since the Bolshevik Revolution one hundred years ago.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Are Your Kids Too Fragile? How to Make the Next Generation More Resilient

If you’re a parent of a child under the age of 12, here’s a question for you: When is the last time you let them walk to school by themselves, have an unscheduled play date, or—God forbid!—let them to go to the store to pick up a gallon of milk by themselves?

Kids today are tagged, surveilled, and tracked like endangered species. Is it any wonder that our college campuses now rush to provide safe spaces and panic rooms to protect young adults from speakers and materials they might find disturbing?

To discuss the changes in American childhood—and what to do about them—Reason’s Nick Gillespie sat down with Lenore Skenazy, the author of Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) and a contributor to Reason. Skenazy is launching a new non-profit called Let Grow, along with psychology professors Jonathan Haidt and Peter Gray, and Daniel Shuchman, who’s the chairman of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Read the rest of this entry »


Love & War: Does the Mate-Switching Hypothesis Explain Female Infidelity?

Evolutionary theory says men stray to increase offspring, but what motivates women? Enter the mate-switching hypothesis.

David Buss is professor of psychology at University of Texas, Austin. His work has been published widely in journals and he is the author of several books, including The Evolution of Desire: Strategies in Human Mating (new edition, 2016). Edited by Pam Weintraub

writes: Scientists now know much about human mating. The menu includes at a minimum: brief sexual flings, long-term pair-bonding, some infidelity, some polygyny (one man, multiple wives), rare polyandry (one woman, multiple husbands), occasional polyamory, some divorce, and frequent serial mating. These strategies are not well-captured by single labels such as ‘monogamous’ or ‘polygamous’. And we know with reasonable certainty that lifelong monogamy does not describe the primary pattern.

Divorce rates in the United States have hovered just below 50 per cent, and are variable but comparable across cultures around the globe. Among married couples, infidelity is far from a trivial occurrence. In 1952, the sexologist Alfred Kinsey estimated it at 26 per cent for women and 50 per cent for men, although other studies put rates lower or higher. We know that infidelity is the leading cause of divorce worldwide, from the Inuit in Alaska to the !Kung San of Botswana. And we know that most adults in the modern world, including roughly 85 per cent in the US, have experienced at least one romantic break-up.

But there has always been one missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding mating strategies, especially among women. Why do women have so many affairs when these do not increase the number of offspring they can produce?

From an evolutionary perspective, male infidelity is fairly straightforward. Men have evolved a strong desire for sexual variety, stronger than women’s on average, due to the large asymmetries in parental investment. Men can reproduce with as little effort as it takes to inseminate a fertile woman. Women require a metabolically costly nine-month pregnancy to produce a single child. Stated differently, an ancestral married man with two children could have increased his reproductive output by 50 per cent by a single successful reproduction with an affair partner. Adding additional sex partners for women who already have one generally does not, and never could have, dramatically increased their reproductive success.

Yet women do have affairs, a phenomenon that, up until now, has been explained by the ‘good genes hypothesis’: the concept that women have evolved a dual mating strategy – securing investment from one man while mating on the side with men who have better genes than their regular partners.

But the good genes hypothesis fails to explain why, in the wake of infidelity, so many women literally stray, throwing over a current mate for the affair partner. My team’s new concept – the mate-switching hypothesis – fills the gap in scientific understanding, explaining what we observe in the real world. The mate-switching hypothesis posits that women have affairs to extricate themselves from a poor mateship and trade up to a better partner.

For both sexes, the hypothesis explains what we commonly observe: a year after publicly declaring her marriage vows, a woman finds herself sexually attracted to her co-worker. After changing his child’s fifth diaper of the day, a man wonders whether he made a terrible mistake and fantasises about his high-school sweetheart that got away. After six years of marriage, a woman finds that she’s the primary breadwinner and her husband’s laziness has eroded her confidence in their union; she notices that her co-worker lingers longer in the doorway of her office than strictly needed. After years of living a life of quiet desperation, a man starts a passionate affair with his next-door neighbour. A woman confesses to her best friend that she’s in love with another man and surreptitiously lays the groundwork for leaving her husband – a separate bank account and a deposit on an apartment.

These diverse scenarios stem from a common cause – humans have evolved strategic adaptations for mate-switching, a phenomenon that is widespread across species. The simplest such adaptation is the ‘walk-away’ strategy, in which organisms simply physically separate themselves from costly cooperative partners. The mate-switching hypothesis proposes a version of the walk-away strategy underpinned by human psychological adaptations designed to detect and abandon costly mates in favour of more beneficial ones.

Many in modern cultures grow up believing a myth about lifelong love. We are told about falling for the one and only. We learn that the path to fulfilment is paved with a single glorious union. But the plots of fictional love stories often come to a close upon the discovery of that one and only, and rarely examine the aftermath. The story of Cinderella ends with her getting the prince. After overcoming countless obstacles, a union is finally consummated. Few romantic fantasies follow the storyline of committed mating – the gradual inattentiveness to each other’s needs, the steady decline in sexual satisfaction, the exciting lure of infidelity, the wonder about whether the humdrum greyness of married life is really all life has to offer.

In fact, we come from a long and unbroken line of ancestors who went through mating crises – ancestors who monitored mate value, tracked satisfaction with their current unions, cultivated back-ups, appraised alternatives, and switched mates when conditions proved propitious. To understand why, we must turn our gaze to those ancestors and uncover the mating challenges that they confronted. Read the rest of this entry »