September 30, 2014
"Young women today do not understand the fragility of civilization and the constant nearness of savage nature."
Camille Paglia talks sense again. Will young women listen?
Young women today do not understand the fragility of civilization and the constant nearness of savage nature.
The disappearance of University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham two weeks ago is the latest in a long series of girls-gone-missing cases that often end tragically. ...
Wildly overblown claims about an epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses are obscuring the true danger to young women, too often distracted by cellphones or iPods in public places: the ancient sex crime of abduction and murder. Despite hysterical propaganda about our “rape culture,” the majority of campus incidents being carelessly described as sexual assault are not felonious rape (involving force or drugs) but oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides.
Colleges should stick to academics and stop their infantilizing supervision of students’ dating lives, an authoritarian intrusion that borders on violation of civil liberties. Real crimes should be reported to the police, not to haphazard and ill-trained campus grievance committees.
Too many young middleclass women, raised far from the urban streets, seem to expect adult life to be an extension of their comfortable, overprotected homes. But the world remains a wilderness. The price of women’s modern freedoms is personal responsibility for vigilance and self-defense….
The horrors and atrocities of history have been edited out of primary and secondary education except where they can be blamed on racism, sexism, and imperialism — toxins embedded in oppressive outside structures that must be smashed and remade. But the real problem resides in human nature, which religion as well as great art sees as eternally torn by a war between the forces of darkness and light.
Liberalism lacks a profound sense of evil ….Misled by the naive optimism and “You go, girl!” boosterism of their upbringing, young women do not see the animal eyes glowing at them in the dark. They assume that bared flesh and sexy clothes are just a fashion statement containing no messages that might be misread and twisted by a psychotic. They do not understand the fragility of civilization and the constant nearness of savage nature.
September 29, 2014
Intolerance of Christians in the U.S.
Princeton Professor Robert George, Cultural Elite Can No Longer Tolerate Christians in a message he wished he didn't have to deliver
“Christians, and those rejecting the me-generation liberal dogma of ‘if it feels good do it,’ are no longer tolerable by the intellectual and cultural elite,” says George, 59, director of the James Madison program at Princeton University. Citing the political witch hunt that forced Brendan Eich’s departure as CEO of Mozilla for a small contribution to a conservative political cause, George said politically correct mobs “threaten us with consequences if we refuse to call what is good evil, and what is evil, good. They command us to confirm our thinking to their orthodoxy, or else say nothing at all.”
His practical advice to the embattled faithful is "to hold these elites to their principles"
But what if those elites don't hold these principles anymore? As Roger Kimball writes In The Fate of Free Speech,
Senate Democrats, led by Harry Reid, had actually introduced a bill to challenge key provisions of the First Amendment. Yes, you read that aright. Democratic senators have proposed to gut the First Amendment. If passed, the provision would enable Congress to ban movies, books, and other forms of expression that bore on political controversies. Breathtaking, is it not? As far as I can tell from here, public response to this outrageous attack on free speech has been muted
It is extraordinary, is it not, that various Islamic groups, often with the collusion of Western politicians, including Hillary Clinton, are proposing to resurrect blasphemy laws , making it illegal — illegal — to “insult” Mohammed or criticize Islam? The end of their efforts is a “global censorship regime.” We’re not there yet, not quite, but we’re well on the road. One sign of the success of this campaign is the systematic reluctance of Western leaders to describe Islamic terrorism as, well, Islamic terrorism.
Perhaps the overarching condition that threatens free speech is the spread of political correctness. This has sharply curtailed candor about all manner of contentious subjects. It is no longer possible, in polite society, to speak frankly about race, about differences between the sexes, or a hundred other topics — so-called “climate change,” for example, or the relationship between Islam and free speech….A reluctance to speak the truth instills an unwillingness or even inability to see the truth. Thus it is that the reign of political correctness quietly aids and abets habits of complacency and unfreedom.
It took several centuries and much blood and toil to wrest freedom from the recalcitrant forces of arbitrary power. It is a melancholy fact that what took ages to achieve can be undone in the twinkling of an eye. It seems to me that we are at a crossroads where our complacency colludes dangerously with the blunt opportunism of events. Courage, Aristotle once observed, is the most important virtue because without courage we are unable to practice the other virtues. The life of freedom requires the courage to recognize and to name the realities that impinge upon us.
Last month, with the courage of a man who is dying, Francis Cardinal George wrote A Tale of Two Churches
The “ruling class,” those who shape public opinion in politics, in education, in communications, in entertainment, is using the civil law to impose its own form of morality on everyone. We are told that, even in marriage itself, there is no difference between men and women, although nature and our very bodies clearly evidence that men and women are not interchangeable at will in forming a family. Nevertheless, those who do not conform to the official religion, we are warned, place their citizenship in danger.
It takes no moral courage to conform to government and social pressure. It takes a deep faith to “swim against the tide,” as Pope Francis recently encouraged young people to do at last summer’s World Youth Day.
Swimming against the tide means limiting one’s access to positions of prestige and power in society. It means that those who choose to live by the Catholic faith will not be welcomed as political candidates to national office, will not sit on editorial boards of major newspapers, will not be at home on most university faculties, will not have successful careers as actors and entertainers. Nor will their children, who will also be suspect. Since all public institutions, no matter who owns or operates them, will be agents of the government and conform their activities to the demands of the official religion, the practice of medicine and law will become more difficult for faithful Catholics. It already means in some States that those who run businesses must conform their activities to the official religion or be fined, as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law.
Harvey Silvergate writes in the Wall St Journal about A Campus Crusade Against the Constitution Limiting First Amendment rights for Christians undercuts rights for everyone else.
Thus the current controversy surrounding evangelical Christian organizations on college campuses is a test of our commitment to liberal and constitutional ideals. Earlier this month the California State University System "de-recognized" 23 campus chapters of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). This decision stems from a December 2011 chancellor's executive order stating that "No campus shall recognize any . . . student organization unless its membership and leadership are open to all currently enrolled students."
The new policy has insidious implications. Any student may attend IVCF meetings or participate in its activities regardless of belief. But because IVCF asks its leaders to affirm their adherence to evangelical Christian doctrine—a "belief" requirement—California state-university administrators have deemed the group discriminatory. IVCF chapters will no longer have use of certain campus facilities and benefits available to other groups. This policy guts the free association right that was enshrined in the First Amendment precisely to protect minority or unpopular views.
It is obvious why IVCF would want to restrict leadership to true believers. It would be anomalous for a conventional religious group of any kind to open its top leadership to, say, atheists who would want to change the group's beliefs and activities. The pope has to be Catholic, after all.
Rod Dreher is following the story of a California charter school that "removed from its shelves The Hiding Place,
the fantastic memoir of Corrie ten Boom, the Dutch Christian woman who was sent, along with her father and sister, to a concentration camps for the crime of hiding Jews in Nazi-occupied Holland …..Reading The Hiding Place as a kid dramatically affected me. The moral heroism of the ten Booms sensitized me to the effects of anti-Semitism, and taught me what Christians must do if ever we are in a situation where persecuted people rely on us for protection. And, crucially, the fact that Corrie survived the concentration camps and emerged to exhort others to forgive and be reconciled with the barbarians who did this evil, staggered me.
The nation of Israel, in the name of the Jewish people, bestowed upon this Dutch Calvinist woman the highest honor the Jewish state can give to Gentiles, in grateful recognition of her service. Yet this secular charter school in California finds her story too offensive to tell to American schoolchildren.
In Part 3, despite the report that "One of the library attendants that the library has been instructed to remove all books with a Christian message, authored by Christians, or published by a Christian publishing company" and another that a recording of Bach's
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" was not allowed because it was Christian, the real problem may lie in "an overly bureaucratic system tied in knots as it tries to be all things to all people."
We've all had the experience of akihi
September 28, 2014
After many years of ignorant acceptance of one gruesome and ugly step downward in art after another that I witnessed when I wandered around in New York's overheated and overhyped art scene, I came to the reluctant conclusion that most contemporary art was garbage, that it had no soul, and that deep down… it was shallow….
For at the core of all the objects that form the mountain of crap that is palmed off as "art," there is simply and plainly, nothing at all. Nothing felt, nothing sensed, nothing learned, and nothing believed in. As such it is without soul. And nothing that lacks soul can survive death, especially the death of a culture and our present state …
Which is why it is so reviving to come across Lauridsen's citing of the magic and mystery of a painting that inspires music from his soul across more than three and a half centuries. It reminds us that art that is true, that art that comes from belief and the soul, will survive and will continue to expand the soul of man despite all the forces that may array themselves against "the good, the beautiful and whether or not something is true."
In discussing the origin of his chorale composition, "O Magnum Mysterium," in the early 1990s, Lauridsen cites as his primary inspiration a painting done in 1633, more than three and a half centuries before The painting is Francisco de Zurbarán's "Still Life With Lemons, Oranges and a Rose."
Listen to the beauty of Lauridsen's "O Magnum Mysterium," here.
In Reason, David Harsanyi contemplates The Countercultural Appeal of 19 Kids and Counting
Considering what we see on TV, it's basically transgressive. A place where homeschooling is treated as a reasonable way to educate your children, where kids talk about "honoring" their parents rather than demanding things from them, and where older kids start successful small businesses without a traditional college education.
19 Kids and Counting is basically the most earnest show I've ever watched. And while almost any mainstream show I grew up watching saw social conservatives through a political prism—irrational and hopeless—the Duggars' charitable spirit allows people to see the manifestation of religious ideals in real-time. Or so this apostate imagines. In any event, it's almost impossible to not be charmed.
By any measure, their lives should rub my secular sensibilities the wrong way, and the austerity of their beliefs are still somewhat off-putting. But whether you believe the family's lifestyle is optimal or not—and I don't—you can learn from them. What will most impress any parent is the boundless patience Jim Bob and Michelle have towards their many children. They handle situations with calmness and purpose, focusing on preparing capable adults, but also good people. Which all sounds terribly boring, but it's not. I never imagined that I would ever find myself asking the question "What would Jim Bob do?" … But, well, there it is.
Now, I certainly don't want to be a Duggar, but I have to confess that I want to be more like a Duggar than I am right now. Or maybe I just need a break from all the cynicism. So what?
But the real point isn’t that Germans love cash. It’s that—for the same historical reasons—they loathe debt. (Armchair anthropologists have also long noted that German word for debt—Schulden—comes from the word for guilt, Schuld.
“The wife has a bad snore on her"
An Irish plumber dug a tunnel from under his bed to the local pub and used it every night for 5 years leaving at 11 pm and returning at 1 in the morning without ever being detected by his sleeping wife.
Patsy Kerr from Omagh explained why
"“The wife has a bad snore on her and after watching the Shawshank Redemption on RTE one night in 1994, I decided to do something about it so I waited til she was in a deep sleep and then set about digging a hole under the bed in the direction of the pub. I used all manner of tools from spoons to a heavy duty tunnel boring machine I managed to sneak down there when she was at the shops. It wasn’t until 2009 that I hit the jackpot and came up through the women’s toilet mop and bucket room.”
He was caught only when a collapsed sewage pipe from a neighboring house turned out to be caused by a pipe Kerr had accidentally hit causing sewage to leak into the tunnel.
Patsy Kerr, summoned to the Omagh County Court explained why he was glad to be caught.
"“To be honest I was sort of glad I was caught. She was always smelling drink off me in the morning and I was explaining it away as a natural odor. But recently I was finding myself singing rebel songs and stuff coming back up the tunnel and it was only a matter of time before I was caught anyhow. The landlord was also wondering how I was just appearing out of nowhere at the same time every night and disappearing from the women’s toilets.”
September 27, 2014
Jihad in America UPDATED
When Colleen Hufford woke up, she never could have imagined she would be beheaded at work.
Alton Nolen, who now goes by Jah'Keem Yisrael, a convert to Islam, decapitated Hufford and was stabbing Traci Johnson with the intent of beheading her when he was shot and wounded by Mark Vaughan, CEO of Vaughan Foods and a reserve deputy sheriff carrying a concealed handgun
In a statement, Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel said: "Mark put an end to the threat by shooting the suspect and saving the life of a second victim who was being actively attacked by the suspect. There is every reason to believe that the lives of untold others were saved who would have been targeted by the suspect if it hadn't been for Deputy Vaughan’s actions."
The Muslim convert who allegedly beheaded a female co-worker was arguing with his colleagues about whether it is acceptable to stone women to death the day he launched his attack, it has been claimed.
Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, was trying to convince workers that Islam teaches that the punishment is acceptable on Thursday, shortly before he was fired from his job at Vaughan Foods in Moore, Oklahoma, according to local media. He returned the same day and lashed out at colleagues Colleen Hufford and Traci Johnson with a knife, police said.
He allegedly beheaded Ms Hufford and stabbed Ms Johnson - and would have continued his rampage had he not been shot by the store's CEO. According to Truth Revolt, a family told a local Oklahoma paper Nolen was telling co-workers about an unspecified Islamic teaching which - Nolen claimed - said women should be stoned for committing certain offenses.
He survived the injury and was hospitalized, while Ms Johnson remains in stable condition in hospital.
Now, it has emerged that Nolen apparently celebrated terrorism, promoted Islam and disparaged non-Muslims in a series of posts on Facebook in the months leading up to the alleged killing. Under the name Jah'Keem Yisrael, the suspect posted an image of Pope Benedict XVI to the social networking site, accompanied by the caption: 'SHARIA LAW IS COMING!!'….. Other posts saw Nolen reading the Koran, donning Muslim religious clothing, praying in a mosque and seemingly performing the one-figure salute of the Islamic State terror group.
Earlier this year, Nolen, whose Facebook cover photo appears to show several Taliban fighters, posted a photo of the 9/11 attacks, writing: 'A future prophecy revelation 18.8. She (the Statue of Liberty) is going into flames. She and anybody who's with her',
Nolan posted this picture of himself on his Facebook page on Sept 5 standing in front of the gates of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City. His caption read “At The Masjid (Mosque)Today For Jumar 9/5/2014 & Peforming Wudu!!!”
Roger Simon asks Have Our Prisons Become Jihad Factories
Was Nolen motivated by jihad or workplace revenge or a cocktail of both? Probably both. He had a checkered past. He had been convicted in January 2011 of “multiple drug offenses, assault and battery on a police officer and escape from detention,” according to state records. He was released from prison in March 2013.
We don’t know the extent to which Nolen’s conversion to Islam occurred in prison, although it is highly likely most of it did. This is surely worth investigating. Such conversions are a monumental powder keg in the process of going off. From Wikipedia:
J. Michael Waller claims that Muslim inmates comprise 17-20% of the prison population in New York, or roughly 350,000 inmates in 2003. He also claims that 80% of the prisoners who “find faith” while in prison convert to Islam. These converted inmates are mostly African American, with a small but growing Hispanic minority. Waller also asserts that many converts are radicalized by outside Islamist groups linked to terrorism….
Brendan Tevlin, of Livingston, was stopped at a red light driving home from a friend’s house on June 25 when Ali Muhammad Brown allegedly walked up his car and fired 10 rounds, striking him eight times.
Mr. Brown then drove the car, with Tevlin’s lifeless body still in it, to a parking lot in West Orange and left him there, Fox News reported.
….Mr. Brown had undergone extensive Jihad training in California and that he’s suspected of additional murders throughout the country, a local Fox affiliate reported.
Mr. Brown allegedly called Tevlin’s death “a just kill” for Muslim deaths at the hands of Americans in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
Who can forget the Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Hassan. A former United States Army psychiatrist and Medical Corps officer, Hassan shouted Allahu Akbar! before fatally shooting 13 people and injuring more than 30 others at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009. Prior to the shooting the Army and the FBI concluded that his many emails to the late Anwar al-Awiaki were in the nature of 'research' and that he was not a threat. The Department of Defense called the mass shootings 'workplace violence.' In 2013, after a court marital, he was convicted of 13 counts of murder and sentenced to death.
Nassan has written a letter to the leader of the Islamic State, Ameer, Mujahid Dr. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
“I formally and humbly request to be made a citizen of the Islamic State.”
John Malkovich transformed
John Malkovich transforms himself into Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, Alfred Hitchcock, The Joker, John Lennon, Salvador Dali, Bette Davis, Pablo Picasso, Che Guevera and others in an astonishing series of photographs by Sandro Miller. who said, 'I can suggest a mood or an idea and within moments, he literally morphs into the character right in front of my eyes.'
September 24, 2014
Health roundup: Sweeteners, depression, wine and junk food
The sweeteners under the microscope are saccharin, which is found in Sweet’N Low, sucralose, which is found in Splenda, and aspartame, which is found in many diet drinks.
The Israeli researchers that ‘today’s massive, unsupervised consumption’ of artificial sweeteners needs to be reassessed.
The researchers, from the Weizmann Institute of Science, first showed that all three sweeteners made it more difficult for mice to process sugar. This is known as glucose intolerance and is important because it raises risk of developing diabetes and obesity.
In a study of almost 400 people, the researchers linked artificial sweetener with being fatter and glucose intolerance.And, worryingly, volunteers who didn’t normally eat or drink artificially-sweetened foods began to become glucose intolerant after just four days of consumption. The numbers affected were small – just four out of seven men and women in the trial – but the research overall was judged significant enough to be published in Nature one of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals.
At present, clinical depression can take several months to diagnose as doctors try to decide whether the patient has the condition or whether they are simply experiencing natural feelings of sadness caused by an event or tragedy.
But scientists from Northwestern University in Chicago say they have identified nine chemicals in the blood which are raised during depression. They have devised a blood test which measures three of these chemicals to diagnose depression.
A single dose of antidepressant medication is enough to produce dramatic changes in the brain within three hours, a study has found. Volunteers had their brains scanned after taking the widely-prescribed drug escitalopram, marketed in the UK as Cipralex and Lexapro in the U.S. The drug is a serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) and aims to boost the level of this ‘feel-good’ chemical in the brain. SSRIs are believed to change brain connectivity in important ways, but the effects had generally been thought to take place over a period of weeks, not hours.
Combining exercise with chemotherapy boosts the cancer-fighting effects of the drugs more than the treatment alone.
U.S. researchers discovered those who exercised while receiving chemotherapy had 'significantly smaller' tumors after two weeks than those that had only received common chemotherapy drug 'doxorubicin'.
They believe this could be because exercise increases blood flow to the tumor, bringing with it more of the drug in the bloodstream.
A lot of people are going to use this as an excuse. Is Drinking Wine Better Than Going To The Gym? According To Scientists, Yes!
Jason Dyck and other science researchers in the University of Alberta in Canada found that red wine, nuts and grapes have a complex called resveratrol which improves heart, muscle and bone functions; the same way they’re improved when one goes to the gym. Resveratrol proved to be an effective antioxidant when tested on rodents which is why scientists are planning on testing it with diabetics. If results are positive for the benefits of the complex, patient’s heart health could be improved just as much as it does when they work out vigorously.
I Had a Stroke at 33. A stroke that saved her life because they found a hole in her heart.
For a month, every moment of the day was like the moment upon wakening before you figure out where you are, what time it is. I was not completely aware of what had happened to me. I was not completely aware of my deficits, in an ignorance-is-bliss sort of way. I was unable to fret about the past, or the uncertainty of the future.
The sun is bright. The leaves rustle. This is the wind on my face. I am alive.
This is the thing: People pay a lot of money to live like that. To live in the present tense.
1. Junk Foods Flood The Brain With Dopamine…stimulating the same areas as drugs of abuse like cocaine.
Our Paper of Record
The New York Times
Correction: September 23, 2014
An article on Sept. 11 about President Obama’s speech to the nation describing his plans for a military campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, gave an incorrect comparison between efforts by the president to seek allies’ support for his plans and President George W. Bush’s efforts on such backing for the Iraq war. The approach Mr. Obama is taking is similar to the one Mr. Bush took; it is not the case that, “Unlike Mr. Bush in the Iraq war, Mr. Obama has sought to surround the United States with partners.”
Truth Revolt comments
It only took the Times two weeks to correct this basic factual error. But the error has a point: to differentiate good, wise, holy and just Obama from evil supervillain George W. Bush. The New York Times is simply fulfilling Obama’s central life function: not being George W. Bush.
In point of fact, Barack Obama had a total of nine allies in his battle against ISIS as of September 5. George W. Bush’s original “coalition of the willing” had 48 countries as members.
Bush also got authorization from Congress for the use of military force against Iraq, something President Obama has failed to do before bombing ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Congress passed the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution by Congress, on March 18, 2003.
In yet another egregious error for which the New York Times has yet to issue a correction appeared in a travel article published on September 16, 2014 entitled Hoping War-Weary Tourist Will Return to Israel
…"Nearby the vast Church of the Holy Sepulcher marking the site where many Christians believe that Jesus is buried ……"
Surreptitiously, they changed the tense from "is" to "was" in a new version of the story. Mollie Hemingway asks Will Someone Explain Christianity to the New York Times?
Are you smarter than a New York Times copy editor? Did you know that Christians do not believe Jesus is buried in a tomb in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre because they believe he rose from the dead? Oh you did know that basic teaching of the world’s largest religion? Congratulations.
A hint that’s good for journalists confused on the matter is to consider the church also goes by the name “The Church of the Resurrection.”
Or to visit the tomb for yourself and note that it does not contain the relics of Jesus Christ. Or to read Scriptural accounts of what went down on that first Sunday of the Resurrection. Here are relevant links to the account in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ — which is tied to the empty tomb — is arguably the most influential event in human history. It’s really something one should know about.
September 23, 2014
Who's really supports poor inner city students?
Released last week, “The Rule” is a documentary about St. Benedict’s, a Catholic high school in Newark’s heart that for a century and a half has served as an academic haven for the often-embattled young men there. The school is run by the monks of Newark Abbey in accord with the principles set out in the 1,500-year old Rule of Saint Benedict. Originally intended as a guide for creating self-governing communities of faith in 6th century Italy, the rule can also turn poor, sometimes neglected boys into young men of integrity and promise.
St. Benedict’s graduates virtually all its students and sends them on to college, where 85 percent finish. By comparison, less than a third of Newark’s public-high-school students graduate in four years.
The secrets to St. Benedict’s success are no mystery. The teachers are dedicated and invested in the students’ lives. Some students live on campus, removing them from the distractions of chaotic homes. There is zero tolerance for drugs, violence or gangs. One offense and you’re out. As one monk says, “You can only be in one gang — ours.”
The motto that forms the basis of this community is “whatever hurts my brother hurts me,” and students take that to heart.
In trying to explain the success of St. Benedict’s amidst the failure of Newark, Father Ed says, “what we don’t have in Newark is a sense of connectedness, that’s why people can shoot each other.”
Watch the 2.5 trailer of The Rule on Vimeo and be amazed.
Not everyone wants to help the children. Despite proven academic success of NYC’s charter schools, the mayor and unions are waging a war on city’s charter kids
Harlem Success Academy 3, an elementary school where 95.2% of the students are black or Hispanic and 80% are from poor households who qualify for free or discounted lunch, performed better on standardized reading and math tests than 99.5% of all elementary schools in the state.
Wouldn’t you think that these Harlem charter schools would be recognized as academic models for the rest of the city and the state?
Yes, except for a few major obstacles. The Success Academy charter schools are run by Eva Moskowitz, and her network of charter schools hire only non-union teachers, who are paid well but can be fired for non-performance. So the New York City teacher unions hate Eva Moskowitz despite her “off-the-charts success” at educating black and Hispanic kids in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. Likewise, instead of being thrilled that so many of the city’s low-income, minority students are being educated so successfully, the new New York mayor Bill de Blasio hates charter schools just as much as the entrenched teacher unions (who are a main part of his political base of support) and he is in a ferocious battle to stop Eva Moskowitz and the spread of charter schools.
Only non-union teachers can be fired.
Why Catholic Schools Spell Success For America's Inner-City Children
Attention from across the political and social spectrum is shifting to the astonishing success of inner-city Catholic schools in working with the very children the public schools have abandoned as uneducable. An abundance of recent research comparing public, private, and religious schools shows that Catholic schools improve not only test scores and graduation rates for these children, but also their future economic prospects-and at a substantially lower cost.
It doesn’t take long, though, for a visitor to discover St. Aloysius’s most powerful asset: the rich content of its classroom instruction. St. Aloysius exemplifies the old-fashioned notion that school is a place where children learn about our civilization’s shared knowledge and values and where teachers remain the undisputed authorities in the classroom, imparting that knowledge and those values through a coherent grade-by-grade curriculum. This traditional approach has stood the test of time.
The St. Aloysius parents I spoke with unanimously identified the school’s strong academic focus and sense of order as the main reasons they were willing to take on tuition bills rather than settling for a free public school…… “It’s more than worth it to me,” he says. “My children come home and they get right to their homework. They have developed a love for learning that comes from their dedicated teachers and also a sense of responsibility and independence to do the hard work.”
I was able to appreciate the power of that mission-driven culture when I attended one of St. Aloysius’s Friday afternoon staff meetings. The teachers and the principals were working on revising a statement of core principles for the school, derived from Jesuit education doctrines, called “The Graduate at Graduation.” The purpose of the document is to remind St. Aloysius teachers in every grade of the character traits and intellectual qualities that they should develop in their students before graduation.
As several teachers made clear, the underlying premise of the document was to nurture good “Christian behavior” in the children. At one point, several teachers brought up the Jesuit ideal of becoming “men and women for others” and how that might translate into specific guidelines for classroom instruction. There then ensued a wide-ranging conversation about the meaning of generosity in students’ everyday behavior.
I listened to the conversation with amazement and thought about how unlikely this would have been in any public school. The constitutional prohibitions against religion-based activities in tax-supported institutions wouldn’t be the only obstacle; another would be the entirely self-imposed taboo against encouraging such virtues and practices as sexual restraint, hard work, and charity.
Science and Climate
How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything By Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
Here's one certain sign that something is very wrong with our collective mind: Everybody uses a word, but no one is clear on what the word actually means. One of those words is "science."
let me explain what science actually is. Science is the process through which we derive reliable predictive rules through controlled experimentation. That's the science that gives us airplanes and flu vaccines and the Internet. But what almost everyone means when he or she says "science" is something different…..
To most people, capital-S Science is the pursuit of capital-T Truth. It is a thing engaged in by people wearing lab coats and/or doing fancy math that nobody else understands. The reason capital-S Science gives us airplanes and flu vaccines is not because it is an incremental engineering process but because scientists are really smart people. In other words — and this is the key thing — when people say "science", what they really mean is magic or truth.
While it is a fact that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads, all else equal, to higher atmospheric temperatures, the idea that we can predict the impact of global warming — and anti-global warming policies! — 100 years from now is sheer lunacy. But because it is done using math by people with tenure, we are told it is "science" even though by definition it is impossible to run an experiment on the year 2114.
You might think of science advocate, cultural illiterate, mendacious anti-Catholic propagandist, and possible serial fabulist Neil DeGrasse Tyson and anti-vaccine looney-toon Jenny McCarthy as polar opposites on a pro-science/anti-science spectrum, but in reality they are the two sides of the same coin. Both of them think science is like magic, except one of them is part of the religion and the other isn't.
It also means that for all our bleating about "science" we live in an astonishingly unscientific and anti-scientific society. We have plenty of anti-science people, but most of our "pro-science" people are really pro-magic (and therefore anti-science).
Modern science is one of the most important inventions of human civilization. But the reason it took us so long to invent it and the reason we still haven't quite understood what it is 500 years later is it is very hard to be scientific. Not because science is "expensive" but because it requires a fundamental epistemic humility, and humility is the hardest thing to wring out of the bombastic animals we are.
I thought today's example of bombast would be Shawn Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) who said on Friday “The failure to invest in climate solutions and climate preparedness…… makes you a member of the Flat Earth Society.”
But then Robert Kennedy Jr Aspiring Tyrant said that climate change dissenters should be serving time in jail.
Climate Science Is Not Settled writes Obama appointee
We are very far from the knowledge needed to make good climate policy, writes leading scientist Steven E. Koonin who was undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Barack Obama's first term and is currently director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University.
The idea that "Climate science is settled" runs through today's popular and policy discussions. Unfortunately, that claim is misguided. It has not only distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment. But it also has inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future.
The crucial scientific question for policy isn't whether the climate is changing. That is a settled matter: The climate has always changed and always will….
Even though human influences could have serious consequences for the climate, they are physically small in relation to the climate system as a whole….
A second challenge to "knowing" future climate is today's poor understanding of the oceans. The oceans, which change over decades and centuries, hold most of the climate's heat and strongly influence the atmosphere. ….
A third fundamental challenge arises from feedbacks that can dramatically amplify or mute the climate's response to human and natural influences. But feedbacks are uncertain. They depend on the details of processes such as evaporation and the flow of radiation through clouds. They cannot be determined confidently from the basic laws of physics and chemistry, so they must be verified by precise, detailed observations that are, in many cases, not yet available.
September 19, 2014
Snapshots of America
1 in 4 Americans open to succession according to a Reuters / Ipsos poll
Some 23.9 percent of Americans polled from Aug. 23 through Sept. 16 said they strongly supported or tended to support the idea of their state breaking away, while 53.3 percent of the 8,952 respondents strongly opposed or tended to oppose the notion.
The urge to sever ties with Washington cuts across party lines and regions, though Republicans and residents of rural Western states are generally warmer to the idea than Democrats and Northeasterners, according to the poll.
Americans ‘surprisingly uncertain’ what their branches of government are, new survey reveals
In the relatively short survey administered to 1,416 adults and published on September 17, 2014 (Constitution Day), the APPC [Annenberg Public Policy Center ] found that 35% of respondents could not name even one branch of government in the US. Only a little more than a third of respondents (36%) could name all three branches of government.
For the first time, there are more single American adults than married ones 50.2% (30.4% never married while 19.8% are divorced or widowed. Link has map of the U.S. showing where the singles are
They're often pegged as the civic-minded, do-gooding generation. But while they're still optimistic about their own personal prospects, a new study finds that today's youth are often more skeptical of the country's institutions than the young generations that preceded them.
In the mid-1970s, when baby boomers were coming of age, about a third of high school seniors agreed that "most people can be trusted." That dropped to 18 percent in the early 1990s for Gen Xers — and then, in 2012, to just 16 percent of Millennials.
The researchers also found that Millennials' approval of major institutions — from Congress and corporations to the news media and educational and religious institutions — dropped more sharply than other generations in the decade that followed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Score another one for Chinese teenagers, who leave U.S. kids in their dust when it comes to knowing how to handle money. That's the latest anxiety-producing statistic (for American parents, anyway) to emerge out of a newly released international study of the financial habits of roughly 29,000 teens from countries as far flung as Australia, China, Colombia, France, Israel, Russia, Spain, and the U.S……
Many teens still fall woefully behind in understanding financial instruments, institutions, and the best basic ways to build wealth.
Amid a national debate about the worth of a college education, a respected annual poll about the education views held by Americans has found that only 44 percent of Americans now believe that getting a college education is “very important” — down from 75 percent four years ago.
That’s a brutal decline. Add to this the threat posed by the campus rape panic — chasing women away with exaggerated claims of rape, and men with quite realistic fears of the Sex Police — and college recruiting will be increasingly difficult, I expect.
Insty, aka Glenn Reynolds, a law professor in Tennessee, is the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself
War on Poverty: Successful or Flop?
Since its beginning, U.S. taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s War on Poverty (in constant 2012 dollars). Adjusting for inflation, that’s three times more than was spent on all military wars since the American Revolution.
The federal government currently runs more than 80 means-tested welfare programs. These programs provide cash, food, housing and medical care to low-income Americans. Federal and state spending on these programs last year was $943 billion. (These figures do not include Social Security, Medicare, or Unemployment Insurance.)
But today the Census will almost certainly proclaim that around 14 percent of Americans are still poor. The present poverty rate is almost exactly the same as it was in 1967 a few years after the War on Poverty started. Census data actually shows that poverty has gotten worse over the last 40 years.
How is this possible? How can the taxpayers spend $22 trillion on welfare while poverty gets worse?
The answer is it isn’t possible. Census counts a family as poor if its income falls below specified thresholds. But in counting family “income,” Census ignores nearly the entire $943 billion welfare state.
The typical family that Census identifies as poor has air conditioning, cable or satellite TV, and a computer in its home.
the War on Poverty has not succeeded according to Johnson’s original goal. Johnson’s aim was not to prop up living standards by making more and more people dependent on an ever larger welfare state. Instead, Johnson sought to increase self-sufficiency, the ability of a family to support itself out of poverty without dependence on welfare aid. Johnson asserted that the War on Poverty would actually shrink the welfare rolls and transform the poor from “taxeaters” into “taxpayers.”
Judged by that standard, the War on Poverty has been a colossal flop. The welfare state has undermined self-sufficiency by discouraging work and penalizing marriage. When the War on Poverty began seven percent of children were born outside marriage. Today, 42 percent of children are. By eroding marriage, the welfare state has made many Americans less capable of self-support than they were when the War on Poverty began.
According to the World Bank, researchers found that the aspect of poverty that most concerned the poor was “fear, shame, [and] helplessness” Oddly, they did not mention income inequality or lack of material things. They wanted to be empowered and prospered by their own initiative.
Opportunity provides self-sufficiency, along with respect and pride. This, in turn, removes fear, shame, and helplessness while creating income growth and more wealth for everyone. Inversely, focusing on income inequality means government must redistribute wealth after people create it, thus creating dependency, which creates ultimately what the poor consider poverty: a perpetual state of helplessness. This also leads to resentment against those able to succeed without the condescending paternalism of government.
Focusing on income inequality does not help the poor long-term. Instead, it helps political entities that provide virtual patronage and distracts from bureaucrats’ poor handling of economic forces that require real skill to address. It’s not hard to write a check with someone else’s money. It is harder to empower growth with reasonable policies that do not punish success.
September 17, 2014
They were never Arabs to begin with
Interior Minister Gideon Saar has instructed the Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) to allow the registration of a new nationality – Aramaean – in the identity cards of Christian citizens who were registered as Arabs until now.
Saar's decision applies to most of the Christians currently living in Israel, or about 130,000 out of a total of 160,000. They applied as a group to the Interior Ministry in 2010 and will now finally be allowed to register as Aramaeans.
The decision “corrects a historic injustice that wrongly defined Israel's citizens of eastern-Christian descent as 'Christian Arabs,' although other than their spoken language, they have absolutely no connection to the Arab nationality,” he wrote.
In an emotional letter to Saar, Nadaf thanked him for Israeli society's “pluralism and its openness to absorbing religious and ethnic minorities out of love and acceptance, without any discrimination, according to the principles of democracy, individual freedom, freedom of conscience and freedom of worship.”
Father Nadaf said that the Christians wish to become “an inseparable part” of Israeli society make their voices heard “in the social, economic, academic and political sphere in the state of Israel.”
“This is the first time that a Middle Eatern state recognizes the Aramaean-Christian minority as a legitimate nationality and acts to preserve it, the teaching of its language and its absorption in society,” he wrote.
"In contrast with the region's countries, in which Christians and other minorities are systematically murdered, churches are destroyed and people are forced to hide their identities just because they are defined as Christians – while with every decade that the world progresses, the Arab countries go a decade backward – the state of Israel has made a giant lead forward.”
Health roundup: MS, Breast cancer, healthy drinking, bottled water and hold the sugar
A team at Bristol University have described their work as a 'breakthrough' after discovering a way to stop cells from attacking healthy body tissue
In the study, scientists were able to selectively target the cells that cause autoimmune disease by dampening down their aggression against the body's own tissue, while converting them into cells capable of protecting against disease.
The researchers have now revealed how the administration of fragments of the proteins that are normally the target for the attack leads to correction of the autoimmune response.
The outcome is to reinstate self-tolerance, where an individual's immune system ignores its own tissues while remaining fully armed to protect against infection. Researchers say that by specifically targeting the cells at fault, the immunotherapeutic approach avoids the need for immune suppressive drugs.
There’s a whole generation of people now hitting old age who were put on drugs such as Valium and temazepam years ago and I’d argue we’re now beginning to see the long-term impact of those drugs on the brain,’ says Mr Haslam.
‘Maybe now this increased risk of Alzheimer’s associated with the drugs will finally persuade GPs to think twice before prescribing them as a long-term treatment.’
Removing both breasts to treat cancer affecting only one side doesn't boost survival chances for most women, compared with surgery that removes just the tumor, a large study suggests. The results raise concerns about riskier, potentially unnecessary operations that increasing numbers of women are choosing.
The study involved nearly 200,000 California women treated for cancer in one breast and followed for several years afterward. Ten-year survival rates were nearly identical - roughly 82 percent - for women who had lumpectomies to remove the tumor plus radiation, and for those who had double mastectomies. Women who had a single mastectomy, removal of just the cancerous breast, fared slightly worse.
Drinking Is Healthy The decisive benefits of moderate drinking
In 2006, the Archives of Internal Medicine, an American Medical Association journal, published an analysis based on 34 well-designed prospective studies—that is, research which follows subjects for years, even decades. This meta-analysis, incorporating a million subjects, found that “1 to 2 drinks per day for women and 2 to 4 drinks per day for men are inversely associated with total mortality.”
The more alcohol a society consumes, the fewer alcohol-related problems and alcohol-related deaths (including cirrhosis) it has. So the more you drink—up to two drinks a day for woman, and four for men—the less likely you are to die. You may have heard that before, and you may have heard it doubted. But the consensus of the science is overwhelming: It is true.
Obviously, if you are an alcoholic, you will live longer by not drinking.
Bottled water and magnesium. Unlike tap water, bottled water has little magnesium. Drinking only bottled water can make you ill and that may be making you ill.
Nausea, bloating, exhaustion and osteoporosis can be caused by a deficiency in magnesium
This little-heard-of deficiency is surprisingly common among women — one survey found one in ten suffers from it, but some experts cite figures as high as seven in ten — and the effects can be devastating. From maintaining energy levels to steadying heart rhythm, regulating blood pressure and keeping bones strong, magnesium is vital for the body. Magnesium deficiency is hard to diagnose, so many people don’t know they have it.’
Ironically, calcium is useless without magnesium, which is why a deficiency is implicated in osteoporosis. So experts argue that many typical manifestations of aging — loss of muscle mass, rising blood pressure and diminished nervous system function — are because the body’s ability to metabolize magnesium may decrease with age.
Dr Ferguson uses magnesium to treat migraines as it has a relaxing and calming effect on the body. A German study found a 41.6 per cent drop in migraine frequency among sufferers who were given a supplement, and it can also treat asthma by suppressing histamine production.
Hold the sugar, not the salt. Sugar could be worse for your blood pressure than salt, shock new research reveals
…. in an article in the American Journal of Cardiology, researchers led by Dr James DiNicolantonio state ‘It is sugar not the salt that may be the actual causative factor for high blood pressure.
‘This notion is supported by meta analyses of randomised control trials (large-scale studies) suggesting that sugar is more strongly related to blood pressure in humans than sodium.
‘Encouraging consumers to hold the sugar, not the salt, may be the better dietary strategy to achieve blood pressure control
Tasty and practical tips
From Authority Nutrition, An Evidence-Based Approach
5. Eating Avocados Can Lower Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels
3. Garlic Can Combat Sickness, Including the Common Cold by boosting the function of the immune system
One large 12-week study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared with placebo. The average length of cold symptoms was also reduced by 70%, from 5 days in placebo to just 1.5 days in the garlic group. Another study found that a high dose of garlic extract (2.56 grams per day) can reduce the number of days sick with cold or flu by 61%
From Cool Tools, a way to save on your Rx
Companies like GoodRx.com are creating tools that can help you find the best prices online, making true price comparison fast and efficient.
GoodRx works by pulling in price feeds from most of the top pharmacy chains in the US, allowing you to search and sort by drug, delivery form, dosage, count, and pharmacy type. It’s trivial to compare prices for brand name vs. generic, and the website automatically sorts the results by price.
Once you find the best option, you can print out a “discount card” that contains GoodRx’s Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) information, so the pharmacist can find the GoodRx quoted price. (They’ll also mail you a card for your wallet if you request one.) Every time you fill a prescription using GoodRx’s group information, they make money via referral fees, so the service itself is free to use.
Out of curiosity, I had the pharmacy quote prices using the GoodRx rate vs. my major health insurance company’s negotiated group rate. GoodRx won by $150.
A quick search on GoodRx.com saved me over $500 in less than a minute. If you live in the US and need to fill a prescription, search here first.
From Distractify 40 Genius Travel Tips That Will Change Your Life Forever
22. To use Google Maps offline, type “OK Maps,” and the visible area will save for future access.
27. Wait to buy airline tickets until 3 p.m. on Tuesdays.
37. Get free WiFi at airports. Add “?.jpg” to the end of any URL to get around the ludicrously expensive WiFi. Alternatively, you can sit right outside an airport club lounge: Wi-Fi signals often glide through the walls.
20th century jihad by the last Caliphate killed between 1-1.5 million Christians
Raphael Lemkin was a Polish Jew and a public prosecutor in Warsaw when he delivered a paper to the Legal Council of the League of Nations in 1933 calling the Crime of Barbarity (which evolved into the idea of genocide a name he coined) a crime against international law.
Late in life, he responded to an interviewer who asked him how he became interested in genocide, ""I became interested in genocide because it happened so many times. It happened to the Armenians and after the Armenians Hitler took action".
He joined the Polish army and defended Warsaw when it was under siege and sustained a bullet wound to his hip. Evading capture by the Germans, he fled Poland for Lithuania and from there to Sweden where he received permission to enter the United States in 1941. He became a special advisor to the War Department, and after the an advisor to Robert Jackson chief counsel at the Nuremberg trials, a distinguished scholar and professor of law.
He was moved by the annihilation of between 1 - 1.5 million Armenians and other Christians who were targeted for extermination by the Ottoman government under the guise of deportation, a crime of genocide which Turkey denies to this day. Turkey has threatened those who write about the Armenian genocide with reprisals. It wasn't until 2010 that the U.S. Congressional panel voted narrowly that the Armenian holocaust was indeed genocide.
Wikipedia has an extensive article on the Armenian genocide from which I got the following two quotes:
Winston Churchill described the massacres as an "administrative holocaust" and noted that "the clearance of the race from Asia Minor was about as complete as such an act, on a scale so great, could well be. … There is no reasonable doubt that this crime was planned and executed for political reasons. The opportunity presented itself for clearing Turkish soil of a Christian race opposed to all Turkish ambitions, cherishing national ambitions that could only be satisfied at the expense of Turkey, and planted geographically between Turkish and Caucasian Moslems"
As a neutral state, Sweden maintained representatives in Constantinople (now Istanbul) during the entirety of WWI who reported on.the massacres. What the ambassador wrote
In his report on 22 July, Anckarsvärd noted that the persecutions of the Armenians were being extended to encompass all Christians in the Ottoman Empire:
[The deportations] can not be any other issue than an annihilation war against the Greek nation in Turkey and as measures hereof they have been implementing forced conversions to Islam, in obvious aim to, that if after the end of the war there again would be a question of European intervention for the protection of the Christians, there will be as few of them left as possible."
On 9 August 1915, Anckarsvärd dispatched yet another report, confirming his suspicions regarding the plans of the Turkish government, "It is obvious that the Turks are taking the opportunity to, now during the war, annihilate [utplåna] the Armenian nation so that when the peace comes no Armenian question longer exists"
Andrew Bostom writes the Ottoman Caliphate of 1915-19 Exponentially Worse than ISIS
Notwithstanding the recent horrific spate of atrocities committed against the Christian communities of northern Iraq by the Islamic State (IS/IL) jihadists, the Ottoman jihad ravages were equally barbaric, depraved, and far more extensive.
Occurring primarily between 1915-16 (although continuing through at least 1919), some one million Armenian and 250,000 Assyro-Chaldean and Syrian Orthodox Christians were brutally slaughtered or starved to death during forced deportations through desert wastelands.
The identical gruesome means used by IS/IL to humiliate and massacre its Christian victims were employed on a scale that was an order of magnitude greater by the Ottoman Muslim Turks, often abetted by local Muslim collaborators (the latter being another phenomenon which also happened during the IS/IL jihad campaign against Iraq’s Christians).
Reverend K. Balakian’s eyewitness narrative Hai Koghota (The Armenian Golgotha) — recounted the harrowing details of a particular slaughter at Yozgat, its Islamic religious motifs unexpurgated. Balakian quotes a Turkish gendarme who confirmed the Ottoman government’s sanction of this explicit act of mass-murderous jihad. Regarding this particular massacre, Balakian laments:
It is impossible for me to convey what happened to those 6,400 defenseless women, virgins, and brides as well as suckling infants. Their heartrending cries and doleful pleas brought down the deaf canopies of heaven. The police soldiers in Yozgat (and Boghazliyan) who accompanied us would even boast to some of us about how they had committed tortures and decapitations, cut off and chopped up body parts with axes, and how they had dismembered suckling infants and children by pulling apart their legs, or dashing them on rocks.
More than one million Armenian city dwellers and peasants were savagely slaughtered and made to choke quietly on their own blood. Tens of thousands of Armenian males, lashed together with string or rope, were mercilessly butchered along all the roads of Asia Minor, or massacred with axes, like tree branches being pruned. The executioners were deaf to the crying and weeping of these wretched victims, even to their pleas to shoot them so that they might escape the torment: the order had come from on high and the jihad against the Armenians truly had been proclaimed. Yes, it was necessary to mercilessly slaughter them until not a single Armenian was left within the confines of the Ottoman Empire.