Saturday, March 29, 2008

Teen Suspects in Interstate Shootings in Custody

I just saw that they have two teen suspects in custody after two people were shot on Interstate 64 in Virginia:

Investigators said they now believe the shootings that slightly injured two drivers were part of a long night of random gunfire in which the 19-year-old, a former high school athlete with a record of making trouble, and a 16-year-old also shot at a credit union and a residence.

"Everyone can, I think, rest compared to the state that we were in overnight," State Police Superintendent Steven Flaherty said at a news conference in Charlottesville.....

On a MySpace page attributed to Woodson, he described his occupation as "mechanic, sorta" and wrote, "Im just a country boy who keeps gettin his heart broken!!! Ive got my heart broken twice in less then a year... i dunno wat to do.... keep gettin my heart broke or stop caring!!! and i dont wanna stop caring."

Police declined to offer a possible motive in the highway shootings, which began early Thursday in central Virginia.

Woodson, the nineteen year old suspect sounds like a real prize:

According to news reports and court records, Woodson was arrested January 18, 2007, on allegations he stole two pickup trucks and set them on fire. Woodson, a former high school pole vaulter, was convicted of two misdemeanor counts of petit larceny and given a suspended sentence.

If I am reading this article correctly, stealing pick-up trucks and setting them on fire is just a misdemeanor worthy only of a suspended sentence. What's up with that? I don't know the details of this situation, but I have seen enough to know that even when teens and adults commit some pretty serious crimes, they often get a slap on the wrist. It's no wonder someone with a reputation as a troublemaker feels that he can get away with anything. Suddenly, shooting at random people on an interstate seems like a fun way to spend an evening, especially when one has rarely encountered any serious consequences for their past behavior.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Blogger Identification

I just noticed that John Hawkins at Right Wing News has posted his favorite blogs and mine is on the list. How nice! I often wonder what motivates people to read certain blogs. I think I read recently that many blog readers identify with the blogger and therefore, enjoy reading someone who views the world in a similar way. I think this is true to some degree. But sometimes I think people read blogs because the blogger has a personality or has traits the reader aspires to have but does not, or has in a very small degree but the blogger has it in spades.

Let me give you an example. I recently started reading Rachel Lucas's blog. She blogged a while ago, I think, and quit and then recently came back. My husband was the one who started telling me to read her blog, and I would, occassionally, look at something she posted and then I realized one day that I was...hooked. Lucas writes rants, about everything from her dogs humping to why people don't treat their parents better and she does it with such flare that her subjects might be better off if she actually used a sword against them, rather than her pen--or in this case, her keyboard.

Do I admire that? You better believe I do. Could I do it or would I do it? Doubtful--it's not my style but it is a style that I admire. There is another side of myself that I wish I had fine-tuned more but didn't. When you spend years in a PHD program and in my profession, you learn to restrain yourself from ranting at people, and instead, try to be objective without letting others know too much about how you actually feel. Lucas does just the opposite; there is no mystery about how she feels, it's obvious.

Do you have a favorite blogger who serves as your alter ego, with the traits you wish you had, but don't for whatever reason--such as your profession, family, not your style, but wish it was? etc. Which blogger is it and why do you admire or want to be like him or her?

Update: Rachel responds: Most people have to pay a psychologist for this kind of mental help.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Men Feel "Handcuffed by Political Correctness"

According to this article in the Telegraph, modern men feel emasculated:

Many men believe the world is now dominated by women and that they have lost their role in society, fuelling feelings of depression and being undervalued....

Men said they "felt handcuffed" by political correctness - only 33 per cent felt they could speak freely and say what they thought, whereas two thirds found it safer and to conceal their opinions.

Harvey Mansfield, a Harvard professor and America's best known political philosopher, who tackles the topic in his book Manliness, says the issue is ignored.

...According to the survey, men hold other men who speak their mind in high regard - the likes of Jeremy Clarkson, Jeremy Paxman, Bob Geldof and Gordon Ramsay. Their biggest hero is Churchill.

But four out of 10 are frightened of heights and spiders while a third are frightened of bossy women.

Surely the men in the survey did not state they were "afraid" of bossy women--for if the resulting emotion men have to being silenced and oppressed by women is fear, we are lost.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Do Facts Matter to Liberals?

If you are not familiar with the organization FIRE, you should be, for they are very much champions of free speech on college campuses, something that is sorely lacking these days. It seems that a biased Wikipedia editor has stated that they are a right-wing front group (if they were a left-wing front group like so much of the MSM, George Soros, etc. etc., I would assume this would be satisfactory). FIRE president Greg Lukianoff has a few choice words for Wikipedia editor Simon DeDeo (via Instapundit):

FIRE's experience has been that you are more likely to get in trouble on campus if you are socially conservative, make un-PC jokes, or do or say something deemed "insensitive." Liberals also run afoul of campus bureaucrats, and when they do, they too are punished utilizing the language of "tolerance" and "diversity." You can disagree with this assessment, you can do your best to disprove it, but if after reviewing case after case every year, you aren't convinced that there is a problem on campus, you should ask yourself if you are honestly looking at the facts, or if you are blinded by your own ideology.

Good advice, but since when do those liberals blinded by ideology listen to facts? DeDeo is just taking a page straight out of the work of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals--rather than look at facts, try to marginalize your opponent by calling names. It's time we quit falling for such psychologically manipulative tactics and started rewarding critical thinking skills. Educational institutions used to teach these skills, now they teach that posturing the correct political stance is more important than the truth. How tolerant is that?

Podcast: How to Retire Cash-Rich

Do you wonder if you're doing enough for retirement at this point in your life? I often do as I figure that Social Security will be history or getting to be history by the time I retire (not that one could really live fully on Social Security anyway). Jim Schlagheck, author of Cash-Rich Retirement: Use the Investing Techniques of the Mega-Wealthy to Secure Your Retirement Future talks with us today about retirement, where to put your money, how to save, whether real estate is a good investment and finally, about the upcoming election and how it might affect the economy.

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 by clicking right here. And you can get a lo-fi version suitable for dialup, cellphones, etc. by going here and selecting the lo-fi option. And of course, you can get a free subscription via iTunes -- and it's free.

Music is by Mobius Dick. Show archives are at


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Should Mom or Dad Really be "Last Hope" in Middle-Age?

I read with curiosity this article on middle-aged "kids" coming home to live with mom and dad:

After being laid off from her job as an events planner at an upscale resort, Jo Ann Bauer struggled financially. She worked at several lower-paying jobs, relocated to a new city and even declared bankruptcy.

Then in December, she finally accepted her parents' invitation to move into their home — at age 52. "I'm back living in the bedroom that I grew up in," she said.

Taking shelter with parents isn't uncommon for young people in their 20s, especially when the job market is poor. But now the slumping economy and the credit crunch are forcing some children to do so later in life — even in middle age.

Financial planners report receiving many calls from parents seeking advice about taking in their grown children following divorces and layoffs.

Should older parents really be digging into their savings and retirement to help their middle-aged children? One financial planner in the article says to be careful:

"I almost have to act like a financial therapist if you will," she said. "'Here is the line I'm drawing for you. That's fine. You can do up to this point, but at this point, now you're starting to erode your own wealth.'"

What is going to happen to these parents who use their savings to help kids when they need it for their own retirement? If their kids are self-centered enough to take their parent's retirement from them, will they really help the parent later on down the road or will they be more like this woman, who wrote to the Huffington Post complaining that her mom was a pain in the ass?

If the latter, what are the chances that the middle-aged kids will go on to return the favor and support mom and dad if and when their money runs out? Probably pretty unlikely. Perhaps a better investment for parents of middle-aged kids without jobs, income etc. would be to present them with the book, Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream. A young man goes out in the world with 25 bucks to see if he can build a life:

Ten months into the experiment, he decided to quit after learning of an illness in his family. But by then he had moved into an apartment, bought a pickup truck, and had saved close to $5,000.

The effort, he says, was inspired after reading "Nickel and Dimed," in which author Barbara Ehrenreich takes on a series of low-paying jobs. Unlike Ms. Ehrenreich, who chronicled the difficulty of advancing beyond the ranks of the working poor, Shepard found he was able to successfully climb out of his self-imposed poverty.

Perhaps there is a lesson here for older adults asking for hand-outs from mom and dad.

Update: Neo-neocon has more thoughts on baby-boomers moving home.

Is Therapy the New 21st Century "Punishment?"

Years ago, people were subjected to public whippings, put in stocks, or stamped with a Scarlet A if they broke the law. Maybe this was extreme but is going to the other extreme of sending people to "counseling" in order to duck responsibility really the answer? The answer seems to be "yes." If you are disgraced and play your cards right, you may be sent to therapy rather than held fully responsible for your actions (via Classical Values):

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer has gone into therapy in the wake of the hooker scandal that swept him out of office, a Spitzer insider told The Post yesterday.

As part of the therapy, Spitzer will explore whether he has an addiction to sex, the source said.

Don't you just love how therapy is now being used as the new 21st century "punishment" for those who have broken the law? FWIW, I am for legalizing prostitution, but it was against the law at the time Spitzer decided to partake in it--and given how he has ruined others in a similar vein, I can't get too high on my libertarian bandwagon for him here. Anyway, it seems to me that therapy is the new punishment that people the authorities do not really want to hold totally responsible for their actions fall back on to make it look like "something" is being done.

Have you taken note of the trend? If you are a politician or celebrity who has broken the law, you are subjected to--horrors!--addiction counseling. If you are a woman who commits a heinous crime such as murder, you may be able to spend part of your 7-month sentence in something as atrocious as....mental health counseling! I have even worked cases where juveniles have committed severe crimes such as carjacking and had attorneys want to send a social worker to the teen's house for counseling rather than send them to a correctional facility. As John Stossel says, "Give me a break!"

Therapy should not be used as a punishment for those who commit crimes. It should certainly be used to assist people in getting better and turning their behavior around while paying for their crimes, but it is not a substitute for being held responsible for one's actions.