Saturday, May 16, 2009

The end of free speech?

Freelance writer and film critic Christian Toto has a thought-provoking review up of Brad O'Leary's new book, Shut Up, America!: The End of Free Speech.


18 arrested at Notre Dame

Eighteen people were arrested at Notre Dame yesterday (via Newsalert):

Eighteen people- including former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes- were arrested on Friday outside the school's front gates. About 40 people participated in the prayer and listened to Keyes- who led the group- speak before the smaller number walked onto campus. There, they were stopped by security officers.

Some news reports say that these groups were trespassing, but I wonder if we will see an uptick in arrests of those people who protest Obama's policies?

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

PJTV: Deadbeat Dads, the recession and divorced men

I interview men's rights activist Glenn Sacks about Deadbeat Dads, his Lifetime TV Campaign, how the recession is hitting men and why non-custodial parents are the only ones whose debts will put them in jail. And do women use the courts as their "private army of vengeance?" Don't miss this important conversation.

You can watch here. Or just click on the picture.

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"What I've learned is that the way that men are wired to relate is totally legitimate."

John Hawkins interviews relationship expert Shaunti Feldhahn, author of For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women and For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men. A highlight:

Now let me reverse that. Same question: what do you think the biggest misperception that many women have about men and dating is?

I think honestly there is a dangerous assumption that a lot of women have -- and we would never usually say it out loud, but it's in there. It's this idea that we women think we're really the ones who are good at relationships. We women kind of think we're really the ones with the interpersonal skills. We honestly think when we see something that we don't understand or something that makes us upset,"He just has to learn to relate better." What I've learned is that the way that men are wired to relate is totally legitimate. It's just totally different. We don't have to make them relate the way we do.

While I don't think pronouncing that you are so Godlike that you are bestowing men with legitimacy for their way of thinking, it seems that Shaunti Feldhahn has a few decent things to say.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Since when did the decision to express a political opinion become an “age-appropriate risk”?

Tom Blumer at BizzyBlog had a couple of good questions after reading an article in Family Circle magazine recently:

I was more than a little surprised to see this quote I stumbled upon yesterday in a Family Circle Magazine (March 2009; free registration might be required) from a “Steve Schlozman, MD, a Harvard Medical School assistant professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital”:

Adolescents need to know you trust them to make good decisions,” he says. “Your faith builds their confidence to take age-appropriate risks — ask someone out on a date, audition for the play, offer a political opinion.“


The not-so-good Dr. Schlozman immediately follows with this absurd, dangerous, family-destructive statement which makes his credibility very, very suspect:

Prying can also spur kids to act out. “Kids need to have a separate life their parents don’t know all about,” adds Dr. Schlozman.

Really? Here’s a ditzy doc who says in essence that kids need to learn to be little sneaks to grow up well-adjusted. I hope that’s not typical family magazine advice, but I fear that it is.

Back on point: Since when did the decision to express a political opinion, whether inside a classroom or not, become an “age-appropriate risk”? And what are the potentially bad consequences of taking such a risk?

I'll venture a guess and say the doctor in the article means that voicing a political opinion can be risky in that others may disagree with you and that is often difficult for a teenager who does not have a fully formed sense of self (I think some do, however). Teens probably have less of a sense of self these days as they are told what to do and think so often and have few critical thinking skills.

Or perhaps people are so politicized these days that a political opinion is risky and does have bad consequences. For example, if a teen yelled, "I hate Bush" loudly in a classroom, my guess is that little would happen. Maybe Johnny would be told to "calm down." If conversely, however, he yelled, "I hate Obama," all hell would break loose. Johnny would be hauled off for counseling, maybe more drastic action would be taken. Maybe this is the risk the doctor in the article was talking about?

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From Transparency to Opacity in Health-care

Soda Tax Weighed to Pay for Health-Care:

Senate leaders are considering new federal taxes on soda and other sugary drinks to help pay for an overhaul of the nation's health-care system....

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based watchdog group that pressures food companies to make healthier products, plans to propose a federal excise tax on soda, certain fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and ready-to-drink teas. It would not include most diet beverages. Excise taxes are levied on goods and manufacturers typically pass them on to consumers.

Senior staff members for some Democratic senators at the center of the effort to craft health-care legislation are weighing the idea behind closed doors, [my emphasis] Senate aides said.

Hope and change!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Reader links on male injustice

Many of you have been sending links this week to stories of male injustice, or stories of interest. I thought I would share a few with other readers. First, there is this story (thanks to the reader who sent it) on sexting where the male teen in the case is put under house arrest and the female must (gasp!) do a research paper:

Two Mason teens who were charged earlier this year with "sexting" nude photos on their cell phones were sentenced today in Warren County Juvenile Court.

The teens admitted to charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, misdemeanors of the first degree, according to an announcement from the Warren County Prosecutor's Office.

Juvenile Court Judge Mike Powell sentenced each teen to 100 hours of community service and counseling. The male teen was sentenced to house arrest for 30 days while the female will be required to submit a research paper to the court relating to the dangers of “sexting.”

The teens will be required to turn over their cell phones to a probation officer for 30 days. The sentence also allows for the offenses to be dismissed from their records if they fully complete the terms of the sentence.

“This is a just and adequate punishment,” Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel said. “It sends a message to the teens of Warren County that this is not a joke, this is a serious issue that can have long lasting consequences.

Can anyone explain to me why the male got a stiffer sentence?

Next up is a sexist story sent in by another reader about male birth control called, "Why I'll NEVER trust a man who says he's had the contraceptive jab... and neither should any girl." What I find ironic is when the author says:

Without being too indelicate, there's also the question of proof. How on earth can a woman know that the man really has had the injection?

Imagine the scenario: boy meets girl, and, like so many young women now, she doesn't know the man particularly well.

As they strip and get into bed, she asks him if he has 'brought anything'. He says: 'Don't worry, I've had the jab.'

What woman in her right mind would believe that? At least you can see a condom with your own eyes. Or would they issue sperm-free certificates for men to carry around with their driving licences to prove they're up to date with their jabs?

But most important of all, you can't buck human nature. Deep inside every man who still has his own hair and teeth, and even those who don't, is a sexual predator who will have sex anywhere, anytime, if he can.

My question is, why is it that if a woman tells a man she is on the pill and she gets pregnant because she lies about it, people say the man should have known better and blame him--and these blamers are often women. I hardly think anyone will blame a woman if she ends up pregnant from a man who lies. Men have been dealing with this situation for years, glad to know the shoe is on the other foot now. And don't even get me started on the "every man is a sexual predator."

I do want to add that if I was male, I would protect myself if I did not want children by getting this contraceptive so I would be at less risk of getting a woman pregnant. This, along with DNA testing, could provide more sexual freedom for men since they have no rights when it comes to pregnancy.

Finally, another reader sends in a sad story about a man who, it seems, killed his wife in an accident with a chain saw. The reader appropriately makes the point, "Seems like a tragic accident, but I'll be trying to find updates to see if the husband gets punished more harshly than Mary Winkler."

Reader, please keep us informed. And if other readers have thoughts on these issues, share them below.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Starve the Beast

The Galt Effect on Uncle Sam:
There are a thousand reasons why Federal receipts are down, but the one that is most interesting is the attitude towards government effect. Our attitude about how our government is doing can be good or bad, depending on how we side on the issues. If we feel that government is doing a good job, we’re more likely to prepare our tax returns and calculate our withholding based on an optimistic outcome (taking fewer risks). The reverse is also true: when we believe that the government is doing a bad job or mishandling our tax dollars, we will take riskier deductions on our tax return, as well as calculate our withholding in such a way as to prepare for a bad financial year (to hold back as much cash as possible), or with the intent to starve/punish the beast.