Saturday, January 19, 2008

Is Morality Important in a Partner?

"Dear Prudence" at Slate says a one time moral blunder is okay, I say it's a warning sign. "Mr. Goody Two Shoes" writes Prudence, concerned that his girlfriend is a thief:

The other day my girlfriend of three years told me that she found a wallet with over $200 inside. When I asked her what she was going to do with it, she said she was going to keep the cash. When I asked her why, she responded that she "needed the money." While I can understand finding that much money just laying on the ground doesn't happen often, I am somewhat disappointed and shocked by the lack of ethics in her final decision (even though we are both pretty broke at the moment). I even had to plead with her to anonymously mail back the person's driver's license and other contents of the wallet because it was a generous thing to do. Part of me just wants to forget the whole thing ever happened, while another part of me tries to make her feel guilty for being so misanthropic. Are opposing moral views something I should just accept within our relationship, or is this a sign of a deeper issue?

Prudie's response?

...... But your next move should not be to try to make her feel guilty, but to get her to understand why you were so disturbed by this incident. Tell her you don't want to keep flogging this, and after this discussion you will not bring it up again, but what nags at you about the whole thing is how out of character it was for her, because she is a thoughtful, considerate person. You can add that you know that if she accidentally left her wallet somewhere, she'd hope the person who found it would return it intact. Obviously, you're looking for her to say that you're right, and that she realizes she made a mistake. She may feel so defensive that she can't do that now, but maybe after mulling it, she will. Keep your promise that you will then let this drop. You've known her for three years, so unless other evidence presents itself, consider it a one-time lapse.

Hello? The girlfriend should feel guilty, she took someone else's money and then had no qualms about never returning the wallet. This is not a one-time lapse, it is a window into how the girlfriend ticks. Understanding how someone operates when under stress or when no one else is watching is important. It tells you how they will treat you under the same circumstances. The girlfriend said she took the money because she needed it, what if this couple gets married and this woman needs money or something else in the future, will she just take it out of your joint account when you're not watching even if you don't want her too? If she gets desperate enough, what else will she do? Perhaps this guy doesn't know this woman as well as he should.

I would tell him to take this behavior as a warning sign and to keep it forefront in his mind. Does he plan on marrying her at some point? If so, I would tell him to have a looooonnnng engagement because watching how she responds to that stress might tell him even more about what kind of person she is, or isn't. It's better that he find out about her lack of morals now before he is sitting in divorce court, or worse, in a loveless marriage wondering how he missed the warning signs when they were right in front of him all along.


Friday, January 18, 2008

It's Payback Time for that Damn Dustbuster!

Glenn Sacks wonders about a USA Today financial colunm that blames men for retiring early:

USA Today financial columnist Sandra Block's column below all but comes right out and says that men are selfish for retiring at retirement age. Instead, men should continue to work, work, work while--guess what?--women should retire earlier.

The opening paragraph of the article gives a clue as to the bias the writer feels towards men:

Here's some advice for married men who will turn 62 this year: If you want to make up for all the times you came home with beer on your breath, left your socks on the bathroom floor or gave your wife a DustBuster for Valentine's Day, hold off on filing for your Social Security benefits.

Yes, those troublesome men. They die earlier than women and therefore should work longer to provide for their merry widow in retirement. Shouldn't it be the other way around? It seems to me that if you are going to die sooner, you will have a shorter retirement to enjoy and therefore, you should retire sooner, not later. But, naturally, the writer looks at what is best for women, so guys, get back to work so your wife won't have to.

Or on the other hand, maybe someone should suggest to wives that since their husbands will be supporting them long after they're gone, maybe the wives should try to make the few years their husbands have remaining a bit more pleasant. Think you'll see that article any time soon?
John Hawkins interviews Jonah Goldberg about his book Liberal Fascism which was at #1 on Amazon yesterday and now is sitting at #2.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Early Voting in Knoxville

Glenn and I went to early voting yesterday in Knoxville and heard that the turnout had been outstanding, partly because Fred Thompson is on the Presidential ticket. The local news stated that 1195 people voted yesterday when we did--just 400 voted on the first day in the last Presidential primary and 70,000 are expected in total. There was also mention that many of the voters were first time voters or people who are not regular voters.

I happened to catch the local news at WATE this afternoon and noticed that they caught pictures of both Glenn and me voting. Watch the video and see if you can catch us (it's very brief). You will have to scroll down and click on the camera icon next to "early voting" under "6 News video" in the middle of the page. Hint--I have on the brown jacket that you see to the left and you can hopefully recognize Glenn.

Has anyone else done early voting in their town? How is the turnout?


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I was very saddened to read that actor Brad Renfro died; he was a Knoxville native:

Actor Brad Renfro is dead, the Los Angeles County Coroner confirmed to Access Hollywood.

Renfro's body was discovered at his home in the Wilshire area of Los Angeles, by his girlfriend, authorities told the LA Times.

He was declared dead at 9 AM, a coroner’s spokesperson told the paper....

The talented actor found himself in frequent trouble with the law beginning in the late ‘90s in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee.

In 1998 he was charged with cocaine and marijuana possession but managed to skip out on jail time by making a plea deal.

Three years later, Renfro made headlines again, this time in Florida, when he was charged with trying to steal a yacht in Fort Lauderdale.

I believe his family still has a business here in Knoxville --Renfro Interiors. I can't imagine the grief they must feel.

Update: Here is a round-up of blog posts and news stories on the Knoxville born actor.

What's Homeschooling got to do with it?

The NYT's had an article out yesterday entitled "Lack of Supervision Noted in Deaths of Home-Schooled" (Hat Tip: The article looks at the Washington D.C. case where four girls were killed allegedly by their mother, and concludes that homeschooling "kills" or at least is dangerous.

Why? Because abusive parents can stay home and abuse their kids instead of keeping them under the watchful eye of the state. Sorry, I don't buy this, kids fall through the cracks at school everyday (they even get abused in DCS custody!) and the D.C. case had little to do with homeschooling and more to do with finding an excuse to keep the police out of the house:

The oldest girl, Brittany Jacks, stopped attending classes in early March. A social worker from the Booker T. Washington Public Charter School went to the home April 30 and called police after she was denied entry, Fenty said.

The social worker reported that after speaking to Jacks she appeared to have mental health issues and “that she was possibly holding Brittany hostage by refusing to allow her to attend school,” Fenty said. A police officer who responded also was denied entry, but Jacks told him she was home-schooling the children.

If someone is possibly being held hostage, do the police always give up so easily if they hear a good excuse? I sure hope not.

I think that A Brief History blog has the right take on the Time's article:

Read the story and see if there is any sign that these kids were home schooled. The animosity of the left wing to home schooling is just amazing. Here is the real beef the Times has:

Once against the law in all but five states, home schooling is now legal throughout the country and highly regulated in just six states, New York among them. About 1.1 million of the 50 million school age children were home schooled in 2003, the National Center for Education Statistics says.

What do you think the murder rate among home schoolers is ? Just think, 1.1 million kids escaping the clutches of the teacher's unions.

Perhaps the real story here is the animosity of the Times to homeschoolers and the need for more supervision of state agencies like DCS.

Update: Ace: "The NYT has a lot of problems with the most basic sort of comparative statistics, doesn't it? At least when it comes to the military and home-schoolers and other Undesirables."


Carnival of Homeschooling

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up. Be sure to check out this post on homeschooling and child abuse that asks the question: "Should we increase requirements?"


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Appliance Woes

Do you ever have one of those periods where every appliance in your house starts to break down? I had one of those this month and am just recovering from the bill handed to me by the Sears repair guy for my front loader washing machine. Last month, it was the dishwasher, prior to that, the stove and refrigerator. I remember one of my colleagues muttering to me once about his appliance woes, saying that his strategy is that when the refrigerator breaks and/or needs to be cleaned out, it's time to move. I laughed at the time but I'm starting to see the wisdom of his words. I could really kick myself for not buying the warranty with all of these appliances but I have never had good luck with doing so. It seems like I never use them, there is a deductible that is equivalent to the service charge, or they are just too expensive to make purchasing them worth it.

And it's not just about the money, the time it takes to wait around for the service people is insane. "We'll be there Tuesday between 1 and 5." Great, I love being trapped at home for hours on end. It could be worse, it's often 8 to 5, as if none of us have anything better to do then sit at home all day, hoping that the call is closer to 8 than 5 and knowing that whatever time it is, it will be the most inconvenient, i.e. when you dash out for five minutes at 3:15 to pick up a kid or go to the store. When I lived in NYC, I did my wash in a dirty laundry mat at the end of the street, it was sort of fun, and at least I didn't have to wait for the repairman, just for the next empty washing machine.

Update: Megan McArdle says that warranties are a bad deal for consumers--that makes me feel a little better.


Monday, January 14, 2008

I read this story the other day and wanted to mention it, it's quite sad:

A woman found in her home with the decomposing bodies of her four daughters was suspected by a social worker of holding one of the girls hostage as early as April, city officials said Friday.

An investigation into the family was closed because child and family welfare officials thought the family had moved to Maryland — even though authorities there couldn't locate the family.

“It's completely unclear why they made that determination,” said Carrie Brooks, spokeswoman for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. The city is continuing to investigate.

It is sometimes the case that real victims of abuse are not followed through with very well by welfare agencies and on the other hand, the authorities go overboard in cases where no real abuse is occurring. The key is to be able to tell the difference and follow through in real abuse cases and back off in those cases where a child is not in danger.

Update: Here is more on the case.

Podcast: Rudy Giuliani on Domestic Issues, Hillary's Economic Advisor

We caught up with Mayor Giuliani who had a few minutes (eight to be exact) to talk to us about his position on the Second Amdendment, health care, energy and the current campaign.

Next we turn to Hillary Clinton's senior economic advisor, Gene Sperling. Sperling is the author of The Pro-Growth Progressive: An Economic Strategy for Shared Prosperity, whose main theme is that empowering people directly rather than by trying to protect them by restricting or impeding markets is important for economic success. Mr. Sperling discusses Hillary's new aggressive $70 billion stimulus package, (who will be paying for that?), a possible recession and health care.

You can listen directly -- no downloads needed -- by going here and clicking on the gray Flash player. You can download the file and listen at your leisure at by clicking right here. You can get a lo-fi version suitable for cellphones, Treos, and dialup connections by going here and clicking "lo fi." And, of course, you can always get a free subscription via iTunes. Free! Show archives are at

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