November 24, 2015

The Dismal Future of the American Academy

Radical Parents, Despotic Children  Bret Stephens
Sooner or later, Orwellian methods on campus will lead to Orwellian outcomes.

For almost 50 years universities have adopted racialist policies in the name of equality, repressive speech codes in the name of tolerance, ideological orthodoxy in the name of intellectual freedom. Sooner or later, Orwellian methods will lead to Orwellian outcomes. Those coddled, bullying undergrads shouting their demands for safer spaces, easier classes, and additional racial set-asides are exactly what the campus faculty and administrators deserve.

In other words, the radical children who grew up to run the universities have duplicated the achievement of their parents, and taken it a step further. In three generations, the campuses have moved from indulgent liberalism to destructive radicalism to the raised-fist racialism of the present—with each generation left to its increasingly meager devices. Why should anyone want to see this farce repeated as tragedy 10 or 20 years down the road?
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Education entrepreneurs have long been trying to find a new way forward, without much success. For-profit schools could help—if they weren’t the constant target of liberal invective and government investigations. It might help, too, if concerned alumni could apply greater pressure on their alma maters in the face of these campus uprisings. But as the Bass family discovered when they tried to establish a Western Civilization program at Yale some 25 years ago, rich schools can afford to blow off rich alumni.

A better way might be to found great new universities ...or adopted the model of Hillsdale College in Michigan (where there are no protests) by refusing to accept federal subsidies, thus relieving them of the strictures and mandates by which the government enforces political correctness.

The campus uprisings of 2015 are the latest symptom of the disease of the American academy. Nobody should be surprised by it. Whether the disease of the academy also becomes the disease of the American mind depends on how far we are willing to let this go. Another generation shouldn’t be incubated in idiocy before we try something new.

Alan Dershowitz,  a former Harvard Law School professor of 50 years is speaking out, warning that students are “moving to the absurd,” and faculty and administrators are doing nothing to stop it.  ‘These Are Tyrannical Students’

“It’s gotten to the point where it is so abused and so hypocritical, and yet nobody is concerned.  After 50 years of teaching at Harvard, I have never met a less courageous group of people than tenured faculty.”

The last thing administrators or faculty want to do is get into fights with minority students, because then they’re perceived as being racists and sexists and homophobes, and these are epithets that are hard to respond to. So it’s much easier to go with the flow and be popular, particularly with the most vocal students.
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“It’s time for some brave administrators to stand up to these student hypocrites, and these are tyrannical students who think the truth is on their side and there’s no reason to hear opposing points of view,” Dershowitz said.

But that, he added, would require a “brave administrator or a brave faculty member.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:19 PM | Permalink

November 23, 2015

Not serious about protecting Americans

Why cook the books?  New claims Pentagon doctors ISIS intelligence to suit the White House as probe widens into 'manipulation'

A small-scale internal investigation has been expanded within the Defense Department into claims that U.S. intelligence about the Islamic State terror army has been censored by senior officials to reflect a rosier-than-reality viewpoint.

Dozens of intelligence analysts came forward in July to complain of the situation, even taking the unusual step of writing and signing their complaints to the DOD Office of the Inspector General, which opened a relatively low-key probe.  With the added unease created by the recent ISIS attacks in Paris, that probe has now gained more investigators and more documents. Yet it has also generated more concern from Congress because U.S. officials say some intelligence may have been deleted before investigators could seize it, according to a report over the weekend in The New York Times.

The bombing raids against ISIS turn out to be shams.  Why?  The Obama White House is giving ISIS a 45 minute warning before bombing their oil tankers by dropping leaflets advising potential jihadists to flee before air strikes in Syria.

While it took the U.S. fifteen months to even begin targeting ISIS’ oil refineries and tankers, air strikes by Moscow destroyed more than 1,000 tankers in a period of just five days.  In comparison, Col. Steve Warren said that the U.S. had taken out only 116 tanker trucks, the “first strike” to target ISIS’ lucrative black market oil business, which funds over 50 per cent of the terror group’s activities.

U.S. air strikes targeting ISIS oil assets are so rare that PBS was caught using footage of Russian fighter jets bombing an oil storage facility in Syria and passing it off as evidence of the U.S. targeting the Islamic State’s oil infrastructure.
U.S. military pilots have also confirmed that they were ordered not to drop 75 per cent of their ordnance on ISIS targets because they could not get clearance from their superiors.

Americans believe the government's first responsibility is to protect the national security and Americans at home and abroad. The traditional screening of immigrants to keep out those with a serious communicable disease like TB,  a violent criminal record, were apt to become a charge on the public purse and those who who advocate the overthrow of the US government.    Since there is no database that can corroborate the personal testimony of those who state they are Syrian refugees (Are they really Syrians?  Are they really refugees? ), and given the attack in Paris,  I don't understand why a pause in their resettlement is 'UnAmerican' as the President claims.  Besides, isn't it better to shelter them in a safe space, a refugee camp in their own country that we can create and protect?

Obama Administration refuses to give 27 states where Syrian refugees are being resettled any law enforcement information about them

In a call with senior Obama administration officials Tuesday evening, several governors demanded they be given access to information about Syrian refugees about to be resettled by the federal government in their states. Top White House officials refused...

On the call several Republican governors and two Democrats -- New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan and California’s Jerry Brown -- repeatedly pressed administration officials to share more information about Syrian refugees entering the United States. The governors wanted notifications whenever refugees were resettled in their states, as well as access to classified information collected when the refugees were vetted...

McDonough responded to Brown that there was currently no process in place to give states such information and the administration saw no reason to change the status quo.

 Liberals-And-Background-Checks

We've already accepted 1.6 million immigrants from predominately Muslim countries since 9/11

There’s no doubt that some Muslims come here to seek better economic opportunity, just like any other group that has immigrated in recent years.  But, if even 10% of these immigrants have radical Jihadist tendencies, that is 160,000 new ticking time bombs – all brought here after 9/11. ….A 2007 Pew survey found that 26% of young Muslims in America support suicide bombing in pursuit of Jihad (see p. 60).  This is a very ominous statistic given the increased share of young Muslims and the growth of cyber-jihad since 2007. 


No wonder respected commentators like Raymond Ibrahim writes such devastating articles as Exposed: Obama's Love for Jihadis and Hate for Christians

For starters, the overwhelming majority of "refugees" [98%] being brought into the United States are not just Muslim, but Sunnis – the one Muslim sect that the Islamic State is not persecuting and displacing....The real victims are Christians...Obama should further prioritize Christian refugees simply because his own policies in the Middle East have directly exacerbated their plight....  (Unlike Muslims or even Yazidis, Christians are easily assimilated into Western nations due to the shared Christian heritage, and they bring trustworthy language and cultural skills that are beneficial to the "war on terror.")
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these recent revelations of the Obama administration's pro-Muslim and anti-Christian policies.. fit a clear and established pattern of religious bias within his administration.  For example.....

In Obama Wants to Defeat America Not ISIS, Daniel Greenfield writes:

The unspoken idea that informs his strategy is that American power is the root cause of the problems in the region. Destroying ISIS would solve nothing. Containing American power is the real answer.......
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He doesn’t see the Caliph of the Islamic State as the real threat, but the average American who watches the latest beheading on the news and wonders why his government doesn’t do something about it. To the left it isn’t the Caliph of ISIS who starts the wars we ought to worry about, but Joe in Tennessee, Bill in California or Pete in Minnesota.

That is why Obama sounds bored when talking about beating ISIS, but heats up when the conversation turns to fighting Republicans. It’s why Hillary Clinton named Republicans, not ISIS, as her enemy.

Even the liberal Democrat Walter Russell Mead who supported Obama writes about the President's Cynical Refugee Ploy

The collapse of President Obama’s Syria policy is hardly a partisan issue. He has repeatedly overruled his own national security officials, top diplomats, and advisors, many of whom have been horrified by the President’s passivity in the face of onrushing disaster. His abrupt policy switch on airstrikes left many senior Democrats who had supported his apparent determination to enforce his “red line” against Assad twisting in the wind.
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For no one, other than the Butcher Assad and the unspeakable al-Baghdadi, is as responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria as is President Obama. No one has committed more sins of omission, no one has so ruthlessly sacrificed the well-being of Syria’s people for his own ends, as the man in the White House. In all the world, only President Obama had the ability to do anything significant to prevent this catastrophe; in all the world no one turned his back so coldly and resolutely on the suffering Syrians as the man who sits in the White House today—a man who is now lecturing his fellow citizens on what he insists is their moral inferiority before his own high self-esteem.
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From the standpoint of American interests and of the well being of the Syrians, the primary responsibility that the United States has toward the people of Syria is not to offer asylum to something like 0.25 percent of its refugee population. The primary duty of this country was to prevent such a disaster from happening and, failing that, to support in-country safe havens and relief operations. No doubt President Obama and the unthinking press zealots who applaud his every move prefer a conversation about why ordinary Americans are racist xenophobes to one about why President Obama’s Syria policy has created an immense and still expanding disaster.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:58 PM | Permalink

"Worse. It’s going to get much, much worse over the next couple years"

From an interview with Jonathan Haidt at First Things, The Revenge of the Coddled

Recently, he wrote a landmark article for The Atlantic with Greg Lukianoff, “The Coddling of the American Mind,” about the culture of oversensitivity on university campuses.

JH: The vast majority on the left are not illiberal, and these tendencies are very illiberal. It involves the shouting-down of speakers, disinviting speakers, telling people what they can say, telling people what they can wear. The new political correctness is extremely illiberal and most liberals are uncomfortable. The liberal left is much larger, but the illiberal left is much angrier and much more vocal.
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JH: There was a time when racial diversity and gender diversity were the most pressing issues, when many institutions were all-white and all-male. . . . [But] with each passing year, racial diversity and gender diversity, I believe, while still important, should become lower priorities, and with each passing year political diversity becomes more and more important: our nation becomes more and more paralyzed. . . . In higher education, we have a lot of race and gender diversity and we have essentially no political diversity. In social psychology we have virtually no one, there is only one conservative in the whole field that I know of.
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Fear reigns on campuses now. (See the recent essay on Vox entitled, “I’m a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me.”) Haidt relates his reticence to speak openly about the coddled culture:

JH: I would not want to lead a conversation on this topic with students here at NYU. Not because NYU is more PC than other top schools—it’s not. But professors are much safer these days speaking at other campuses than on their own because it’s only on your own campus that students are going to file harassment charges and drag you before the Equal Opportunity Commission if you say one word that offends someone. So I must heavily self-censor when I speak on my home campus. I can be more provocative and honest when I’m speaking at other schools.
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JH: Children are anti-fragile. They have to have many, many experiences of failure, fear, and being challenged. Then they have to figure out ways to get themselves through it. If you deprive children of those experiences for eighteen years and then send them to college, they cannot cope. They don’t know what to do. The first time a romantic relationship fails or they get a low grade, they are not prepared because they have been rendered fragile by their childhoods. So until we can change childhood in America, we won’t be able to roll this back and make room of open debate.

JH: My biggest prescription is that in every hospital delivery room, along with that first set of free diapers, should come the book: Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy.  If everyone in America read the book Free-Range Kids the problem would be over in 21 years, when the first set of tougher kids filled our universities.
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Dr. Haidt, do you think it’s going to get better or worse?

JH: Worse. It’s going to get much, much worse over the next couple years and at that point some universities may start changing policies. By that point, many or maybe most American parents won’t want to send their children to the top universities, and there will be an enormous market opportunity for second-level universities that offer a much less coddled campus culture. over the next couple years and at that point some universities may start changing policies. By that point, many or maybe most American parents won’t want to send their children to the top universities, and there will be an enormous market opportunity for second-level universities that offer a much less coddled campus culture.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:37 PM | Permalink

"The discredit that applies to all political parties today isn’t just huge; it is legitimate."

In the New York Times Michel Houellebecq: How France’s Leaders Failed Its People

Who exactly weakened the capacities of the police forces until they were totally on edge and almost incapable of fulfilling their mission? Who exactly drilled into our heads for years the notion that borders were a quaint absurdity, and evidence of a foul and rancid nationalism?
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The obvious conclusion is scathing, unfortunately. For 10 (20? 30?) years, our successive governments have pathetically, systematically, deplorably failed in their essential mission: to protect the population under their responsibility.....The discredit that applies to all political parties today isn’t just huge; it is legitimate.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:21 PM | Permalink

"Narcissism disguised as strategy" in the advertising industry and at Apple

Demographic Cleansing Of Ad Industry  A milestone in marketing stupidity has been reached.

According to a September report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor, a majority of consumer spending (51%) is now done by people over 50. These people are the target for 10% of marketing activity.

On the other hand, marketers spend five times as much money marketing to millennials, the moronic obsession of every marketer on the planet, than any other group.......
There is almost no one over 50 left in the advertising business. They have been the target of demographic cleansing -- and eliminated from agencies.

The result is a generation of advertising people with enormous self-regard and no hint as to the true nature of "the consumer" they are all so sure they know everything about.
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It is marketing by selfie-stick - narcissism disguised as strategy.

Another example of narcissism disguised as strategy is Apple.  For more than 3 months, I've been transferring data from an old iMac (OS 10.7.5) to a newer one with the El Capitan (OS 10.11.1).  In almost every case, the older design was far more useful, more legible and easier to use.  So now, I'll keep both.  The new one mainly for storage and surfing and the old one for doing everyday tasks and serious work.

I've been using Apple products since 1986.  I will no longer recommend Apple even though I'm now stuck with it.  Does Apple have any idea of how many customers it's alienating?

How Apple Is Giving Design A Bad Name.  No more user-centered design principles.

Once upon a time, Apple was known for designing easy-to-use, easy-to-understand products. It was a champion of the graphical user interface......

No more. Now, although the products are indeed even more beautiful than before, that beauty has come at a great price. Gone are the fundamental principles of good design: discoverability, feedback, recovery, and so on. Instead, Apple has, in striving for beauty, created fonts that are so small or thin, coupled with low contrast, that they are difficult or impossible for many people with normal vision to read. We have obscure gestures that are beyond even the developer’s ability to remember. We have great features that most people don’t realize exist.
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What kind of design philosophy requires millions of its users to have to pretend they are disabled in order to be able to use the product?
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The new generation of software has made gigantic leaps forward in attractiveness and computational power while simultaneously getting harder for people to use.  The problem is not restricted to Apple. Google maps become more attractive and more confusing with each iteration.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:09 PM | Permalink

"What the hell, why not?"

NPR had a fascinating story about the novelist Anne Bernays who teaches writing at Harvard University, Gray-Haired Granny? An 85-Year-Old Writer Goes Punk Rock Instead

Along about the time I became a great-grandmother I dyed my white hair blue. Not a wussy "blue-rinse" blue, but eye-stabbing, punk-kid blue. At the time, I didn't do any soul-searching. I just thought, What the hell, why not?

I was surprised by how this turn went over; everyone seemed to approve it. Grouchy people smiled at me....
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I always looked younger than I actually was — a lucky throw of the genetic dice. But even if you do happen to look your age, why spend your hard-earned money getting sliced and diced, shot in the forehead with embalming fluid and contributing to the cosmetic surgery industry — worth $11 billion last year? Because we're all afraid to show our age.

A few years ago someone asked me if I'd just had a face-lift, and I was thrilled. Hard-headed, realistic I may be, but I'm fundamentally as vain as the next woman. I won't go to the market without first putting on lipstick.

Is this fixation wired into the human female? If so, then we don't have to feel guilty about it. If not, then why do we behave as if our appearance trumps kindness, intelligence, imagination, enthusiasm and humor
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 Anne Bernays

I was lumpy at 11; at 85 I'm lumpy again. Of course I mind — but not all that much. I consider myself ahead of the game: I can still make the bed, walk around without mechanical assistance and instruct a roomful of students. And I just bought a second jar of hair dye, "Lagoon Blue," and plan to have it in place for the holidays.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:38 PM | Permalink

November 21, 2015

Miscellany 24

Bleached Woodpulp + Ink + Glue = A Mature Information Retrieval System

 Bleached Woodpulp+Glue

“You did what with my life?”.. Young Man Interviews His Older Self 38 Years Later

It takes someone with an incredible knack for planning ahead to create a "self interview" video project then pick it up and finish it 38 years later, it takes someone like Peter "Stoney" Emshwiller.  Stoney (who should have won an award by now for his amazing name) shot a video at age 18 in which he interviews his older self, and then he played interviewee at age 56 and finished the "self interview" video 38 years in the making.

201511081319
Watch it on YouTube under the title Later That Same Life

The Coywolf  is a new species that emerged in the Northeast, -  a hybrid of the coyote and the wolf that is also known as the Eastern coyote. According to a new article from The Economist, their population seems to have reached more than a million.

 Coywolf

These animals have a completely new genetic makeup: Their genes are about one-quarter wolf DNA and two-thirds coyote DNA; the rest is from domesticated dogs. A 2013 study suggests this dog DNA is mostly from a few specific breeds, including German Shepherds and Doberman Pincers.

Don't miss this.  In a comic, the amazing story of the young Gene Roddenberry: It’s going to be okay 

 Rodenberrry Okay

Something Wonderful: One Thousand Gifts

Nigerians Are Building Fireproof, Bulletproof, And Eco-Friendly Homes With Plastic Bottles And Mud

 Nigerians-Are-Building-Fireproof-Bulletproof-And-Eco-Friendly-Homes-With-Plastic-Bottles-And-Mud

These colorful homes are bulletproof, fireproof, and can withstand earthquakes. They also maintain a comfortable temperature, produce zero carbon emissions, and are powered by solar and methane gas from recycled waste.

Animal Balaclavas Turn Skiers Into Cats And Lions

 Animal-Face-Balaclava-Ski-Mask-Teya-Salat-6

Cool video that explains why people in old movies talked funny

There’s a distinct accent that American actors and broadcasters used in the early days of radio and in pre-World War II movies. It’s most obvious in old newsreel footage where the announcer speaks in a high-pitched tone, omits his “Rs” at the end of words, and sounds like a New Yorker who just returned from a summer holiday with the British royal family. This speaking style is also heard in the speeches of Franklin D. Roosevelt and just about any performance by Orson Welles. But today, this accent is all but nonexistent, prompting the question: Did Americans speak differently before the advent of television?

The True Story of Paul Newman's Salad Dressing

Paul Newman passed on on September 26, 2008. But his smiling face lives on, not only in his wonderful movies, but in grocery aisles across America. And with  what other Hollywood legend can we not only enjoy one of his classic films, but dine on his delicious food and drink while we do so?

 Newman's Own

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:19 PM | Permalink

November 14, 2015

Lessons from history: “Totalitarianism didn’t come quickly”

Born in Austria, Kitty Werthman remembers the transition from the chaos of post-WWI Austria to the take-over by Hitler, and what followed.  Now president of the South Dakota Eagle Forum, she is hated by the Left because she is trying to warn the world that they are sliding into totalitarianism.

I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history. We elected him by a landslide – 98% of the vote..

In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25% inflation and 25% bank loan interest rates….We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany, where Hitler had been in power since 1933. We had been told that they didn’t have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living. Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group — Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria . We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back. Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler.

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Hitler Targets Education – Eliminates Religious Instruction for Children:
The day we elected Hitler (March 13, 1938), I walked into my schoolroom to find the crucifix replaced by Hitler’s picture hanging next to a Nazi flag. Our teacher, a very devout woman, stood up and told the class we wouldn’t pray or have religion anymore. Instead, we sang “Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles,” and had physical education.
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Equal Rights Hits Home: All food was rationed and ration cards only for those who worked.  Both girls and boys drafted for the labor corps for one year. "During the day, the girls worked on the farms, and at night they returned to their barracks for military training just like the boys. They were trained to be anti-aircraft gunners and participated in the signal corps. After the labor corps, they were not discharged but were used in the front lines. When I go back to Austria to visit my family and friends, most of these women are emotional cripples because they just were not equipped to handle the horrors of combat. "

Hitler Restructured the Family Through Daycare: ….The state raised a whole generation of children.. There were no motherly women to take care of the children, just people highly trained in child psychology. By this time, no one talked about equal rights. We knew we had been had…..

Health Care and Small Business Suffer Under Government Controls: As for healthcare, our tax rates went up to 80% of our income. Newlyweds immediately received a $1,000 loan from the government to establish a household. We had big programs for families. All day care and education were free. High schools were taken over by the government and college tuition was subsidized. Everyone was entitled to free handouts, such as food stamps, clothing, and housing….We had another agency designed to monitor business. My brother-in-law owned a restaurant that had square tables. Government officials told him he had to replace them with round tables because people might bump themselves on the corners.

“Mercy Killing” Redefined: Mentally retarded adults taken away from their homes and villages and euthanized

The Final Steps – Gun Laws: First registration, then confiscation

No more freedom of speech. Anyone who said something against the government was taken away. We knew many people who were arrested, not only Jews, but also priests and ministers who spoke up.

“Totalitarianism didn’t come quickly. It took 5 years from 1938 until 1943, to realize full dictatorship in Austria. Had it happened overnight, my countrymen would have fought to the last breath. Instead, we had creeping gradualism. Now, our only weapons were broom handles. The whole idea sounds almost unbelievable that the state, little by little eroded our freedom.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:06 PM | Permalink

November 12, 2015

Beauty and Peace

Msgr Charles Pope on the Simple, Objective Definitions of Beauty and Peace by the Ancient Philosophers. 

Beauty is the splendor of order. Yes, order is magnificent. Sometimes we speak of symmetry (Greek for “same measure”). Sometimes we speak of proportion (from a Latin word meaning that something is properly divided or shared). Musically, we speak of harmony (from the Greek harmonia, meaning agreement of sound) or of “concerts” (from the Latin concertare, meaning “to bring into agreement”). Yes, order is a beautiful thing that points beyond itself to purpose and design. Things in creation are not just here on earth haphazardly. They are not chaotically strewn about. Rather, things are intricately interrelated in multiple ways and at every level: atomically, molecularly, organically, ecologically, and cosmically. Such order, such beauty! Beauty is truly the splendor of order.

Peace is the rest of order. This definition is even more mysterious. We all know that order brings peace, but why? When our lives are in order we sleep well. When chaos wounds order we are in distress and seek to restore order. The perception of order bestows a kind of satisfaction and fulfillment. For a moment we can stop and say, “It is well; things are as they should be.” This sense of well-being ushers in peace and serenity. Yes, peace is the rest of order.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:37 AM | Permalink

Some of the creepiest photos ever

Antoine Geiger thinks phones are almost literally soul-sucking.

 Soul-Sucking-Phones-Sur-Fake-Antoine-Geiger-Thumb640

Soul-Sucking Photos By French Artist Show How Phones Are Stealing Our Identities Creepy

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:38 AM | Permalink

November 11, 2015

Distressing news of the despair of the middle-aged working class whites. Why?

First report in the Washington Post  A group of middle-aged whites in the U.S. is dying at a startling rate

“This is the first indicator that the plane has crashed,” said Jonathan Skinner, a professor of economics at Dartmouth College, who reviewed the study and co-authored a commentary that appears with it. “I don’t know what’s going on, but the plane has definitely crashed. ….“High school graduates [and] high school dropouts [are] 40 percent of the population,” he added. “It’s not just the 10 percent who didn’t finish high school. It’s a much bigger group.”

Working-Class–White Deaths Are a Cultural Problem writes David French

Middle-aged, working-class white Americans are killing themselves — committing suicide and dying of drug- and alcohol-related illnesses at such a staggering pace that the overall mortality rate for white men and women without a college degree actually increased from 1999 to 2013, an outcome that the Washington Post notes is “unheard of in recent decades” for such a large demographic in such an advanced nation, “with the exception of Russian men after the collapse of the Soviet Union.”
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Charles Murray’s Coming Apart documented the decline of America’s white working class in excruciating detail. While college-educated white families remained relatively intact, prosperous, and connected to church and their communities, the white working class suffered from family fragmentation, job loss, and declining religious and civic engagement.
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I grew up on the edge of the “Big White Ghetto” that my colleague Kevin Williamson described so beautifully early last year. I’ve seen the decline with my own eyes — the men and women hooked on opiates while living off questionable disability claims, parents slowly drinking themselves to death to escape failure and loss, and revolving-door relationships where neither partner can trust the other to remain faithful — much less to build a life and family together.
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While the economic challenges of working-class voters are well documented, the cultural challenges are just as notable. At every turn, the cultural aristocrats cause harm. Mocking poor whites is among the last acceptable forms of bigotry. Even the white working-class voters struggling with declining wages, declining health, and increasing despair are derided as somehow “privileged.” Those who speak for them are labeled bigots. Meanwhile, people keep dying, and families fracture.
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Self-indulgence is the animating force behind the sexual revolution, and the sexual revolution is gutting the working class. As Murray notes in his book, cultural progressives flood the nation with messages celebrating hedonism and sexual experimentation even as they tend to preserve their own wealth and power through remarkably restrained and disciplined personal lives — getting married, remaining faithful, and investing in their children. They don’t practice the hedonism they so loudly preach.

Decline and Fall of America's Working Class.  Noah Smith at Bloomberg

Something very troubling and very unique is happening to American working-class whites.
The immediate causes of the increase are not hard to identify. Drugs and suicide are the culprits…..But this doesn’t give us a real answer. Why are working-class whites turning to drugs and alcohol? Why are they killing themselves in record numbers? The trend started long before the 2009 recession, so that can’t be the main explanation. Falling household wealth isn’t the reason either, since mortality kept on increasing during the housing boom in the early 2000s. Nor is obesity the obvious cause….What about economic insecurity and falling wages? ….economic insecurity and wage stagnation have been an even bigger problem for blacks and Hispanics, and yet those groups are seeing their mortality fall.

In other words, none of the easy economic or health explanations are very persuasive.This may simply be one of those times when economic theory isn't that useful. After all, there exists no good economic model of drug abuse and suicide in the first place. The roots must be somehow sociological and psychological.

In fact, the deterioration of the American white working class is evident in other areas. Divorce rates have risen dramatically for this demographic group, even as they have fallen for the more educated. In other words, family breakdown is now as severe among the white working class as it was among the black working class in the 1960s, when Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote his famous report.

Is family breakdown the cause of alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicide? Possibly -- after all, families are an incredibly important source of emotional support. But that merely leads us to the question of why family breakdown is occurring in the first place.

Here’s a possible explanation that takes us back to economic factors. Beginning in the 1980s, the U.S. economy started trending toward greater inequality. The less-educated lost the semi-skilled jobs that they had held in previous decades. The uneducated class became a floating low-skilled labor force, which decreased the marriageability of white working-class men. That impaired family formation. A couple of decades later, the lack of family support started to take a big bite out of the emotional health of working-class whites, causing them to turn to alcohol, drugs and suicide once they reached middle age.

The Privileged vs. the White Working Class Truck drivers, trappers, farmers don’t rate in the eyes of our elites.

The authors, Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton and his wife, Anne Case, found their study rejected by several prestigious medical journals. Again, their conclusions are explosive — given that they raise questions about the conventional wisdom that “white privilege” trumps class
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The vast majority of so-called working-class whites with whom I graduated from high school did not go to college. Yet they started off their working lives in 1971 with good prospects at the nearby trailer-manufacturing plant, the fruit processor, the man-lift factory, and an array of high-paying welding and fabrication jobs. All such employment has now disappeared through globalization.

R.R. Reno says Deadly Progressivism

The crisis, however, has been plain to see. It’s a judgment on the moral myopia of today’s academic culture and mainstream media that anyone would be blind-sided by this report of rising death rates among poor whites. The meth epidemic has been killing people in poor white, small-town America for two decades. Earlier this year, Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, declared a public health emergency in a southern Indiana county. Reason: the rapid spread of HIV caused by needle sharing by heroin users who are poor and white. The collapse of working class culture among whites is old news. It’s laid out in detail by Charles Murray in his 2012 book, Coming Apart. We’ve known that the results are deadly. A few years ago the Times itself reported a dramatic decline in life-expectancy among whites who have failed to finish high school.

The experts are at a loss. Some point to “financial stress,” pointing to the fact that wages for working class Americans has been stagnant during the last few decades. One expert observed that whites are more likely than blacks to get prescriptions for opium-based painkillers.

I don't find myself baffled. For the last few decades, cultural leaders have been waging a war on the weak. Their goal is to dismantle traditional norms and rules for family life. They push to dismantle gender roles and other foundational categories that ordinary people use to orient themselves and make sense out of their lives. They advocate for drug legalization and doctor-assisted suicide as well. The upshot: reliable guides toward a normal life are removed, and potentially destructive behaviors that rich people either avoid or discretely manage are normalized. The most vulnerable pay the cost.
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To a great extent, our progressive culture strips ordinary people of almost all settled roles, other than economic ones. This heightens the existential pain of the already harsh economic realities of our globalized economy, which can be very punitive to the poorly educated. Two generations ago, a working class man was often poor or nearly poor, but he could be respected in his neighborhood as a provider for his family, father to his children, law-abiding citizen, coach of a Little League team, and usher in church. The culture that made such a life possible has disintegrated, partly due to large-scale trends in our post-industrial society, but also because of a sustained and ongoing ideological assault on the basic norms for family and community. Death rates are likely to continue to rise for poor Americans. I see no signs that the war on the weak will abate.

The Crisis Of The American Working Class 

The American working class is losing the things that make life worth living, replaced by dependency and hopelessness.
The numbers clearly indicate that these Americans are increasingly likely to kill themselves – whether on purpose or through the slow gradual death of addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. The rate of mortality increased most dramatically for white Americans lacking any more than a high school education.

…Imagine entering your fifties and looking back on your life and seeing substance abuse, disintegrated families, distance from kids, limited neighborhoods where connections have frayed, and the humility of economic dependence as far as the eye can see, and you start to understand how the slow and the quick roads to destruction seem more tempting than dealing with the pain of life.
That lack of hope is exacerbated by the absence of belief in a higher purpose or involvement in a community of religious believers.

.For all too many Americans in this segment of the population, the things that make life not only endurable but happy are faith, now lost to us; family, which is fractured; community, which is disintegrated; and work, which most find hard to come by. The TV screen flickers with images of people living lives you could never hope to emulate. Your situation is bleak, and while our soma is better, it is still not a replacement for the pursuit of happiness.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:58 PM | Permalink

Veterans Day 2015 in the midst of the 'Cultural Revolution' on campus

Believers, agnostics and atheists, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, all must recognize that their lives are founded on the blood and sacrifices of those now dead.  Yet, many of the freedoms they fought and died for are now imperiled by student 'cry bullies' and spineless college administrators who capitulate to them. 

 Sacrifice Veterans

The little tyrants dubbed the ‘Yale snowflakes’ are the bastard offspring of older radicals who created "the unhinged, unfree climate currently crippling daring thought and open debate across the Western world."

Today's  college students, older than many of those who went to war on our behalf in years past, demand safe spaces, trigger warnings and written rules to help them negotiate sexual relations,  Raised in an emotional cocoon by politically correct parents who micro-managed their play time, they are 'smart, kind and very  fragile' writes Jonah Goldberg, " We are raising fragile kids who to to become "the generation the mandarins of political correctness have been waiting for"

David French argues these PC student police aren't fragile, they are vengeful and malicious

Fragile people don’t form political movements, tote around mattresses as works of “performance art,” engage in civil disobedience, or shriek at the top of their lungs for the destruction of their enemies. Fragile people don’t try to sweep away all opposition, dominate the culture, and impose new legal and cultural norms. No, this is the work of vengeful and malicious political activists, people who’ve forsaken true debate and dialogue to try to impose their will through fear and intimidation. They are trying (and succeeding) at scaring people into silence

The Campus Lunacy Spreads

at Vanderbilt, where an online student petition demanding the suspension of Professor of Law and Political Science Carol Swain for being “hateful” toward minorities has gotten more than 1,000 signatures. The fact that Professor Swain is black is no insulation from these charges.

Swain’s apostasy is that she has made politically incorrect statements about radical Islam and her traditional Christian beliefs, statements that the petitioners deem intolerant and which the University, therefore, must  not tolerate — tolerance, of course, being a one-way street.

Without any apparent sense of irony, the petitioners make the inevitable demand that Swain be sent to diversity training camp (along with the rest of the faculty) so that she will think and speak in a manner approved by the commissars of political correctness.

Heather McDonald looks at this racial hysteria and writes

... this shocking video [at Yale]  is a glimpse of the future—the boorish, hate-filled Cultural Revolution come to America. Colleges have capitulated completely to delusional victimology; unless employers are willing to stand up against the coddled products of the academic hothouse, we may all soon be living in a world of screaming, monomaniacal victims.,

Political correctness is the strategy to preserve the dominant 'narrative'.  For heretics, there are loss of privileges, shaming, training camps, inquisitions and imprisonment. 

To end with my favorite quote from Theodore Dalrymple.  For 'communist' you could substitute fascist or totalitarian

Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:15 PM | Permalink

November 10, 2015

"We don’t ask questions. Questions are offensive”

This Viral Video About Campus Social Justice Warriors Is Fantastic

“Modern Educayshun” follows the experience of a student trying to navigate a classroom of overly sensitive social justice warriors. It centers around a math class in which 1+1=multiculturalism and 3×3=gender equality. Grades are a formula derived from the class average plus “privilege points.”

"We don’t ask questions. Questions are offensive,” a student explains.

 Modern Educayshun
Watch on YouTube

The video, written and directed by an Australian-based millennial, Neel Kolhatkar, received over 1 million views the day it was released.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:02 PM | Permalink

Idiocies on campus

Quote of the Day from The Tyranny of Social Justice Warriors

The next Robespierre is currently 17 years old and trying to decide between Harvard and Yale.

Social Justice Warriors are the product of a culture that trains its young to think that their every desire is self-justifying. If they feel it, it must be true.

Life is hard, and it’s harder if you’re stupid.

Hysterical Yalies protest a free-speech panel

The Yale kids did their screaming best to prevent us from having a conversation about free speech — the Yale kids are utterly immune to irony — but the event went much as planned. Coming and going, we were chanted at by idiot children screaming, “Genocide is not a joke!” Of course it isn’t. Yale kids, on the other hand . . .

Yale’s Idiot Children

I understand why the idiot children at Yale are so sensitive. Really, I do. I sometimes list in my mind all of the poor, suffering people who get a raw deal in this life, and Yale students are always right at the top, with the Bangladeshi orphans and women traded by sex traffickers in Vietnam. Yale isn’t a safe space, Congo isn’t a safe space — it all makes sense, as long as you don’t expect it to make sense.

The Mizzou Meltdown

Tim Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri system, is out in one of the most parodic PC meltdowns on a college campus to date. The Missouri episode shows how the political climate on campus falls somewhere between a Tom Wolfe novel, a Monty Python skit, and the French Terror. A reasonable person will find it difficult to identify what Tim Wolfe stood accused of. The fact of the matter is that Missouri’s social-justice warriors forced him out simply because they could.
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Wolfe is lucky he got away with merely quitting, without having to agree to go through an arduous program of re-education. After decades of mockery, political correctness is stronger than ever on campus and has to strike fear into the hearts of every professor and administrator, who are potential victims no matter how much they kowtow to the children. It is an ongoing cultural revolution, and common sense and rationality are its natural enemies.

Missouri’s Lesson: the Campus Wars Are about Power, Not Justice

Earlier this morning, Tim Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri system, abruptly resigned. Why? The popular narrative is that his “inadequate” response to a series of racist incidents on campus triggered a massive student backlash, including an unprecedented “strike” by the university’s football team, and he finally caved to the pressure.
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The Left has the will to power. University leaders have no will at all. They have earned nothing but contempt.

 Twitter Burgee College

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:54 PM | Permalink

November 9, 2015

The Final Hijrah

Back in February, ISIS smuggler said  "We will use refugee crisis to infiltrate the West."

An ISIS operative confirmed what many already suspected – the Islamic State is using the refugee crisis to form a fifth column of Muslim fighters inside Western nations.  The Syrian operative claimed more than 4,000 trained ISIS gunmen have already been smuggled into Europe – hidden among innocent refugees, reported the Express, a British newspaper
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In September, Robert Spencer said, “This is no longer just a ‘refugee crisis.’ This is a hijrah.”  Hijrah is the Islamic doctrine of migration, which is a form of stealth jihad.

The Final Hijra: A Warning on the Refugee Crisis

After Muhammad’s death, Muslims have counted two great hijras in the West. The first was the great Islamic expansion from 632 to 750, when Islamic armies conquered all of the territory from what is today central France to Uzbekistan. The second hijra included the Turkish migrations that resulted in the fall of Constantinople, and reached its zenith with Islamic armies besieging the gates of Vienna in 1683. It was during this last encounter that the horde was driven back by Polish Catholic forces into the Balkan Peninsula, breaking the strength of the Ottoman Empire…..

This, now, is the third hijra. According to certain voices in the Islamic world, it will be the final hijra, the one that will conquer Rome.

In Islamic circles, there has been a long-held belief that Christianity — and specifically, the Catholic Church — is the main obstacle impeding Islam’s domination of all humanity under one religious and political system. Therefore, in order to realize this vision, the Christian faithful must not only be converted to Islam, but their sacred spaces must be taken from them and given to the dar Al-Islam – “the house of Islam.” If the Islamic conquest of Jerusalem led to the end of Christianity as the dominant religion in the Holy Land, and the same was true in the Byzantine Empire with the fall of Constantinople, the conquest of Rome and the Islamization of St. Peter’s Basilica would mean the effective destruction of the Church worldwide, and its replacement with Islam.

Raymond Ibrahim argues that Western nations should only accept Christian refugees.

As refugees from the Middle East flood the West, a number of countries—including Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Cyprus, and Australia—are defying political correctness by wanting to accept Christian refugees only. 

While more “progressive” voices cry “racism,” the fact remains: there are several objective reasons why the West should give priority, if not exclusivity, to Christian refugees—and some of these are actually to the benefit of European host nations.

Christians are true victims of persecution.  From a humanitarian point of view—and humanitarianism is the chief reason being cited in accepting refugees—Christians should receive top priority simply because they are the most persecuted group in the Middle East….Conversely, Muslim refugees—as opposed to the many ISIS and other jihadi infiltrators posing as “refugees”—are not fleeing direct persecution, but chaos created by the violent and supremacist teachings of their own religion, Islam. …

Muslim persecution of Christians has been further enabled by Western policies, especially those of the Obama administration. After all, Christians did not flee from Bashar Assad’s Syria, or Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, or Muamar Gaddafi’s Libya.  Their systematic persecution began in earnest after the U.S. and others interfered in those nations in the name of “democracy.”  All they did is unleash the jihadi forces that the dictators had long kept suppressed. Now the Islamic State is deeply embedded in all three nations, enslaving, raping, and slaughtering countless Christian “infidels” and other minorities….

Unlike Muslims, or even Yazidis, Christians are easily assimilated in Western countries, due to their shared Christian heritage. Muslims follow a completely different blueprint, the Koran—which condemns Christians by name, calls for constant war (jihad) against all non-Muslims, and advocates any number of distinctly anti-Western practices.  Hence it is no surprise that many Muslim asylum seekers are anti-Western at heart, if not members of jihadi organizations.  …..Muslims follow a completely different blueprint, the Koran—which condemns Christians by name, calls for constant war (jihad) against all non-Muslims, and advocates any number of distinctly anti-Western practices.  Hence it is no surprise that many Muslim asylum seekers are anti-Western at heart, if not members of jihadi organizations.  ….
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In America and Britain persecuted Christians are “at the bottom of the heap” of refugees to be granted asylum. Muslims receive top priority. Since January 2015, the U.S. has granted asylum to approximately six Muslims for every Christian it takes in. .

By taking in “foreign” Muslims, as opposed to “siding” with “familiar” Christians, progressives get to feel “enlightened,” “open-minded,” “tolerant,” and “multicultural”—and that’s all that matters here.  Meanwhile, reality quietly marches on: The same Islamic mentality that slaughters “infidel” Christians in the Middle East is welcomed into the West with open arms.

Patriarch of Antioch: Muslims to Conquer Europe With Religion and Procreation 

In a stunning interview, the Catholic Maronite patriarch of Antioch, Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, has contended that Islam has a clear, two-pronged strategy to take over Europe: religion and procreation.

The cardinal said that Muslims look on Christians as weak and believe that since they have no children and barely practice their faith, Islam will easily conquer them. Sadly, he said, Muslims take their faith more seriously than most Christians, and they are gaining ground because of it.

“I have often heard from Muslims that their goal is to conquer Europe with two weapons: their faith and their birthrate,” al-Rahi said in a recent interview with Famiglia Cristiana, an Italian Catholic weekly magazine.
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The Muslims “believe that God’s will is to procreate and that marriage is aimed at this,” he said. “They think that numbers will give them the upper hand.” Christians, however, “hardly get married anymore, and have few children,” he said.

The first thing to do to protect Christians in the Middle East is to end the war in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Palestine,” the Cardinal said. “European states quarrel with each other about the number of refugees to be admitted but do nothing to end the conflict.”

“The Middle East is emptying and leaving the field open to fundamentalist and terrorist organizations,” al-Rahi said. For some reason, he said, “States do not talk about it, the only one making appeals is Pope Francis.”

“Europe is talking about the reception of refugees, those who would like ten thousand and another who will take three thousand people, but this does not help us,” he said. “Europe should focus on the cause of migration, namely the war. You have to turn off the tap and ensure that Muslims and Christians will return to their lands.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:05 PM | Permalink

ISIS executes 200 captive Syrians, many of whom may be children

Anti-ISIS activists use horrific jihadi propaganda film to claim brutal militants executed hundreds of children


 Isis Executes 200 Syrian Children

A horrific ISIS video which purportedly shows 200 Syrian children being lined up and gunned by militants has been revealed to be a jihadi propaganda video from 2014. 

The sickening mass execution video was posted online by an anti-ISIS activist based in Yemen and quickly started to draw condemnation from social media users shocked by the atrocities.

However the footage is believed to have filmed in late August 2014 and the victims are prisoners of war who were caught by ISIS after the jihadi group overran the Assad held Tabqa airbase in Syria.

Forced to lie side-by-side and with their faces in the dirt, the video shows about 200 Assad regime soldiers fighting in the Syrian Arab Army stretched out in a long line to the left and right.  Behind them, at least a dozen gunmen armed with assault rifles and handguns stand poised and ready to fire.  One militant then begins firing at point blank range - shooting each prisoner individually as he makes along the row of victims.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:24 PM | Permalink

The federal agency still running on paper

The Washington Post reports on your government at work

A decade into a project to digitize U.S. immigration forms, just 1 is online

Heaving under mountains of paperwork, the government has spent more than $1 billion trying to replace its antiquated approach to managing immigration with a system of digitized records, online applications and a full suite of nearly 100 electronic forms.

A decade in, all that officials have to show for the effort is a single form that’s now available for online applications and a single type of fee that immigrants pay electronically. The 94 other forms can be filed only with paper.

This project, run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, was originally supposed to cost a half-billion dollars and be finished in 2013. Instead, it’s now projected to reach up to $3.1 billion and be done nearly four years from now, putting in jeopardy efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration policies, handle immigrants already seeking citizenship and detect national security threats, according to documents and interviews with former and current federal officials.
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“You’re going on 11 years into this project, they only have one form, and we’re still a paper-based agency,’’ said Kenneth Palinkas, former president of the union that represents employees at the immigration agency. “It’s a huge albatross around our necks.’’
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:13 AM | Permalink

"What progressive ideas have in common is that when put into practice they seem to cause people to be miserable."

Patrick Marnham writes about neo-reaction as a reaction to multiculturalism and mass immigration, ….and the general l failures of progressive ideas in  The neo reactionaries Michel Houellebecq and other French intellectuals may herald the end of the Left's age

The new reactionaries are convinced that one of the cornerstones of French culture, ‘freedom of expression’, is dying. They reject ‘post-colonial guilt’ and are appalled by ‘cultural relativism’. To get down to the nitty-gritty, they take the view that France’s sovereignty is under threat from Arab immigration. Europe’s migration crisis has highlighted their fears, and the lip service that President Hollande pays to Angela Merkel’s refugee-quota system — widely unpopular in France — has further aided the reactionaries’ arguments.

What progressive ideas have in common is that when put into practice they seem to cause people to be miserable. Multiculturalism removes people’s sense of comfort and community, replacing it with alienation and atomisation. Secularisation may lower social capital. Egalitarianism makes people feel like failures because it offers them largely false hopes of rising socially. Sexual liberation is based on the contradiction of sexual equality and sexual freedom, which clash just as surely as economic freedom and equality; and intense sexual competition makes people unhappy…..

In fact the book’s characters appear to be so weary of the 68er society that they willingly accept a traditional faith that, by restoring men and women to their tradition roles, makes most people happier. I don’t know if he’s simply being provocative, but one of the great paradoxes of the sexual revolution is how unhappy it makes women.

Michel Houellebecq's latest novel is Soumission (Submission) about a future Islamic takeover of France was published on the day of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. It  is a best-seller throughout Europe and throughly controversial, both acclaimed and denounced

A digested read in one page at The Guardian and here are excerpts from two reviews at Amazon

“Extraordinary . . . if there is anyone in literature today, not just in French but worldwide, who is thinking about the sort of enormous shifts we all feel are happening, it’s [Houellebecq].” ―Emmanuel Carrere, Le Monde

“A work of real literary distinction . . . [Houellebecq] has been the novelist who has most fearlessly and presciently tackled the rise of Islamic extremism in recent years . . . He is a writer with a gift for telling the truth, unlike any other in our time – I’ve been consistently saying he is the writer who matters most to me for many years now. I’ve read Submission twice in the last week with ever growing admiration and enjoyment. There’s been no English-language novel this good lately. With Submission Houellebecq has inserted himself right into the centre of the intellectual debate that was already raging in France about Islam and identity politics . . . There is nobody else writing now more worth reading.” ―David Sexton, Evening Standard

But the very best review is by Karl Ove Knausgaard in The New York Times last Sunday. (Incidentally this Norwegian was profiled in the WSJ magazine this past weekend in  Why Karl Ove Knausgaard Can’t Stop Writing as its 2015 Literary Innovator for risking everything by writing ‘My Struggle,’ a 3,600-page account of his life)

The life it depicts is a perfectly ordinary French middle-class life. François is in his mid-40s, a professor at the Sorbonne, he lives alone, eats microwave dinners in front of the TV in the evenings, his romantic relationships are fleeting, a year at most, usually with one of his female students. …..

The main reason François’s ennui never really seems significant,…..coincides with the massive political upheaval France is undergoing in front of his very eyes. An election is coming up, and the mood across the country is tense, there are armed street battles and riots in several towns, right-wing radicals clash with various ethnic groups, and yet the media avoid writing about it, the problem is played down, and people seem weary and resigned.

.It is this theme that lends the novel its narrative thrust and which of course is the reason for all the attention it has received, for anything that has to do with immigration, the nation state, multiculturalism, ethnicity and religion is explosive stuff in Europe these days . Many of its elements are recognizable, like the newspapers omitting to mention, or mentioning only with caution, conflicts arising out of ethnic differences, or the political left’s anti-­racism overriding its feminism, making it wary of criticizing patriarchal structures within immigrant communities, say, but in this novel all is brought to a head, taken to its most extreme conclusion, in a scenario of the future that realistically is less than likely, and yet entirely possible. What’s crucial for the novel is that the political events it portrays are psychologically as persuasive as they are credible, for this is what the novel is about, an entire culture’s enormous loss of meaning, its lack of, or highly depleted, faith, a culture in which the ties of community are dissolving and which, for want of resilience more than anything else, gives up on its most important values and submits to religious government…….

a depiction of a class of people helplessly enclosed within its own bubble, without the faintest idea what’s going on outside or why, a bit like the aristocracy before the revolution, it is also realistic, because when a person has grown up in a certain culture, within a certain societal system, it is largely unthinkable that that culture, that system, might be changed so radically, since everything in life — the beliefs instilled in us as children at home and at school, the vocations we are trained in and to which we later devote our labor, the programs we watch on TV and listen to on the radio, the words we read in newspapers, magazines and books, the images we see in films and advertising — occurs within the same framework, confirming and sustaining it, and this is so completely pervasive that to all intents and purposes it is the world, it is society, it is who we are. Minor modifications and adjustments take place all the time, of a political nature, too — sometimes the right is in charge, sometimes the left, and the greens may win a percentage of ground — but total upheaval isn’t even a  faint possibility, it is simply unimaginable, and therefore does not exist.

And yet society’s total upheaval is what “Submission” depicts. ….this entire seamless revolution is seen through the eyes of François, a man who believes in nothing and who consequently is bound by nothing other than himself and his own needs. ….This lack of attachment, this indifference, is as I see it the novel’s fundamental theme and issue, much more so than the Islamization of France, which in the logic of the book is merely a consequence. What does it mean to be a human being without faith?
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:39 AM | Permalink

November 8, 2015

To the real threat of an EMP, Obama proposes a plan to develop a plan

Forget global warming and climate change, there are real threats that the government is doing very little about: nuclear and/or cyber attacks on the power grid and preparation against cyber attacks and solar storms.  We are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on stopping climate change which will have little effect except on our economy and not spending the relatively small amount on hardening our electrical infrastructure whose vulnerability to an EMP is acute.

Despite almost 2 decades of research and reports, the Obama Administration proposes a plan to develop a plan when we already know how quickly and inexpensively the infrastructure could be hardened for less than the price of one B-2 bomber.  That we fail to do so is shocking and should enrage every American

In 2008, after studying the issue for years, the U.S. government's EMP commission issued an extensive report which showed that an EMP is capable of causing catastrophe for the nation. …..a massive geomagnetic assault on satellites and interconnected power grids could result in a blackout from which the nation may need four to 10 years to recover.

2011 Before the Lights Go Out: A Survey of EMP Preparedness Reveals Significant Shortfalls.

2012.  Near miss: The Solar Superstorm of July 2012 - the most powerful in more than 150 years
"If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces," says Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado. …If the eruption had occurred only one week earlier, Earth would have been in the line of fire.

2013  The Catastrophic Effect of an EMP Attack or Severe Solar Storm in a report for the EIS (Electric Infrastructure Security) Council

Our alarming and needless vulnerability to subcontinent-scale disaster, a  An EMP strike or a severe geomagnetic storm could lead to the damage or destruction of difficult-to- replace -voltage power stations, resulting in a long term blackout over vast regions that could last for years. Without power, water would not be pumped through the water system and food refrigeration would last only as long as emergency backup power. It could shut down the oil pipelines as well as the retail gas station networks, draining the fuel  and other vehicles to a halt. Production and distribution of food, pharmaceuticals and medicine would be drastically affected. There would be severe risks for critical installations, from nuclear power stations to dams. It could disrupt the government, stop water and waste management systems, drive oil refineries out of control and cripple the  It could severely damage computer networks throughout the country, and could shut down telephone networks, the internet, email, radio and television. It could disrupt the economy by severely damaging the electronic data communication systems that have become essential to the banking and financial industry.
It could shatter the foundation of modern society.

2014 The Most Likely Armageddon Threat … Preventable for a Small Amount of Money

Well-known physicist Michio Kaku and other members of the American Physical Society asked Congress to appropriate $100 million to harden the country’s electrical grid against solar flares.  As shown below, such an event is actually the most likely Armageddon-type event faced by humanity.  Congress refused.

 Emp Areas Probable Power System Collapse-1
Unless we harden our electrical system to withstand electrical pulses, an EMP remains an attractive method for bad guys to bring the U.S. to its knees. Bottom line:  Failing to harden our grid invites catastrophe from solar flares and terrorists.  It makes us doubly vulnerable.

There’s An Easy Fix … Are We Smart Enough to Take It?.  it would cost about $1 billion to build special protective devices into the US grid to protect its EHV transformers from EMP or extreme GMD damage and to build stores of critical replacement parts should some of these items be damaged or destroyed…

For the cost of a single B-2 bomber or a tiny fraction of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bank bailout, we could invest in preventative measures to avert what might well become the end of life as we know it. There is no way to protect against all possible effects from an extreme GMD or an EMP attack, but we could implement measures to protect against the worst effects. Since 2008, Congress has narrowly failed to pass legislation that would implement at least some of the EMP Commission’s recommendations.

2015 Let's Worry about a Real Threat

An EMP can be created naturally when a solar storm on the sun ejects a cloud of particles that strike the Earth.  An EMP can also be created artificially by exploding a nuclear bomb above the atmosphere at an altitude between 30 and 500 miles.

An EMP is an asymmetric threat.  A small and weak enemy can strike a devastating below against the United States.  Thus, it is a tempting weapon, especially for terrorists or terrorist regimes.  Defense against EMPs is not an all-or-nothing situation.  Even minor measures could make a huge difference in the recovery from an EMP attack.  For example, hardening the capital equipment of the grid; thinking ahead how the grid can quickly support small islands of electricity; hardening the means of transportation (cars, trucks, and trains); making sure that water, food, and fuel can be accessed when pipelines and the electrical grid are not working; hardening SCADA systems that control much heavy infrastructure; hardening the cell phone network; and much more.
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Bills have been introduced in Congress to harden essential national systems against EMPs, but due to lobbying from the electric power industry, these bills have been defeated.  The industry is obviously short-sighted and reactionary.

Apparently utilities are willing to slavishly obey mandates to change everything to prevent imaginary global warming because the executive branch tells them to do it.  But in the absence of marching orders from Obama, they are content to resist modest measures to prevent an unholy disaster.  Lobbying against EMP protection is lobbying in favor of death.

July 2015  "A cyber attack has the potential of existential consequences."  Final Report of the Defense Science Board (DSB) Task Force on Resilient Military Systems.

Based upon the societal dependence on these systems, and the interdependence of the various services and capabilities, the Task Force believes that the integrated impact of a cyber attack has the potential of existential consequence. While the manifestation of a nuclear and cyber attack are very different, in the end, the existential impact to the United States is the same.

Nov 2015 United States Increasingly Vulnerable to Potentially Catastrophic EMP Attack

Previous estimates have found that an EMP event ‘could kill 9 of 10 Americans’

2015 The massive disruption predicted by the U.K. Department of Business, Innovation and Skills  Earth Will Only Have 12 Hours To Prepare For Massive Solar Storm

Trains will be disrupted, power will go out, satellite signals will go wonky - that’s what we have to look forward to when the sun next has a melt down, and we’re unlikely to get more than 12 hours warning. In a new government document, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has laid out its Space Weather Preparedness Strategy, outlining the risks of unsettled space weather as well as what it plans to do about them. The document explains that the worst case scenario is a ‘coronal mass ejection’ - huge eruptions on the sun which cause parts of its corona to detach. The corona is the pearly glow around the sun that you can only usually see during a total solar eclipse, made up of plasma and rarefied gases.

The worst case scenario is based on the Carrington event of 1859 which caused solar-flare related x-rays and radiation storms. In 2015, a similar event could cause the national grid to fail, satellite operations to shut down, increased radiation on flights and upset to electronic systems.

The report suggests that there are three things the country needs to do to prepare for such an event: 1. improve alerts and warnings, 2. update power and communication infrastructure with failsafe backups and 3. have a plan in place to deal with the effects should they come to pass.  As for you: the advice from the government is to prepare yourself for a solar event just as you would for any other natural hazards like floods and storms.

Obama Team Fails to Protect the Grid  James Woolsey comments on the White House's plan

Some of us, who have been warning for years about solar and man-made threats to the electric grid, are disappointed to discover that the long-awaited “National Space Weather Action Plan” is only 38 pages long, and is not really a plan.  It is a plan to develop a plan to protect the nation from space weather.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:13 PM | Permalink

Medical Quarterbacking

WSJ Medical Quarterbacking.  A review of The Patient's Playbook by Leslie Michelson
Providers are drowning in patients. As a result, you need to fight tenaciously to make sure that you get the best care.

As Leslie D. Michelson explains  in “The Patient’s Playbook,” people who are confronted by a serious illness discover that “there is no map.” There is no one with the time, information and stamina to coordinate, or “quarterback,” their care.

Mr. Michelson seeks to change all this. He isn’t a physician, but he has spent the past decade delivering what might be called concierge medical quarterbacking—helping patients, generally people with a high net worth, manage complex medical challenges. Now he’s ready to share his “playbook” with the rest of us.

The advice is often disarmingly simple. Prepare for illness when you are healthy. Get hold of your medical records. (You have a legal right to them.) Figure out which hospital you would want to go to in an emergency. He tells the harrowing story of parents who brought their jaundiced 2-day-old infant to the hospital where she was born, only to discover that the emergency-room staff there were used to adult patients and had minimal experience taking care of children.

Above all, Mr. Michelson implores patients to be intensely involved in their own care. Many people, when speaking with a doctor about a health problem, “behave as if they were powerless,” he writes. Some become deferential; others just want to leave as fast as possible. He urges patients instead to “bring their A-game” to the doctor’s office. Use a trusted resource like the National Institutes of Health or the UpToDate medical website to educate yourself about your condition; then, during your appointment, take notes and ask questions.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:38 PM | Permalink

"He was a farmer who spread his side far and wide"

The new "Half-Sibling" family at a sperm donor sibling reunion.  NBC News video One girl's search finds 48 siblings.

This is the third consecutive year that the Case-Adams family has hosted a "sperm donor sibling" reunion at their home to spend a day together carving pumpkins, sharing a meal, roasting marshmallows, playing baseball and charades.

And talking about what they tell people who ask about their dad.

"I just tell people he was a very busy man," said 14-year-old Kel Shamley, who attended with his mom and grandmother.

"He was a farmer who spread his seed far and wide," says 18-year-old Kinsey Presley-Hornung, who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, and has the light brown hair, green-brown eyes and nose shared among her siblings.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:24 PM | Permalink

November 3, 2015

Miscellany 23

Photographer Creates Haunting Photo Series By Removing Phones From Every Image  by Craig Carilli

 Photo-Cellphones Removed

From the Art of Manliness  100 Skills Every Man Should Know

12. Fix a Leaky Faucet
19. Perform CPR
21. Sew a Button
22. Split Firewood
27. Sharpen a Knife
28. Change a Diaper
31. Unclog a Toilet
35. Treat Frostbite
60. Throw a Knockout Punch
84. Make a Logical Argument
98. Cook a Signature Dish

Moon Photobombs Earth In Photo Taken From NASA Satellite 1 Million Miles Away.  Watch the gif at the link

Frenchman develops 'cure' for builder's bum 

Builder's crack, plumber's bum, the coinslot, bottom cleavage… No matter where you go in the world, there's an expression for the unfortunate moment when a tradesman or woman bends down and reveals the top end of their backside.

In French, it's called the plumber's smile (sourire de plombier) or even the "mason's line" (raie du maçon). And Adrien Herve-Pellissier - a 24-year-old man from Rennes in western France - thinks he has cracked it. ..Within nine months, Herve-Pellissier came up with the prototype for a product he named the "sourire de plombier" - a boxer short that keeps the builder's dignity intact.

"The underwear has a large elastic band on it, you see, so when you squat down we don't have to see your arse." The 24-year-old says the phone hasn't stopped ringing since his invention hit the news

7 'Ancient' Forms of Mysticism That Are Recent Inventions  Cracked tells us the reality behind Yoga, Tarot, Satanism, Ouija Boards, Ninjutsu, Friday the 13th and The Viking Religion

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:46 PM | Permalink

November 2, 2015

"I see firsthand in my company why not enough people are signing up and premiums are rising."

The Wall Street Journal  on the The Slow-Motion Implosion of ObamaCare by Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants.

I see firsthand in my company why not enough people are signing up and premiums are rising.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced recently that she expects 10 million people to be enrolled in health-care coverage through ObamaCare’s exchanges by the end of next year. What she didn’t mention was that in March of last year the Congressional Budget Office predicted that 21 million people would be enrolled in 2016—more than double the new estimate.
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Supporters credit ObamaCare with helping nine million uninsured Americans find coverage in 2014. But a new paper from the Heritage Foundation, however, suggests that nearly all of the increase came from adding nearly nine million people to the Medicaid rolls.

In other words, ObamaCare expanded coverage in 2014 to the extent that it gave people free or nearly free insurance. That goal could have been accomplished without the Affordable Care Act. To justify its existence, ObamaCare must make affordable private insurance available to a broad cross-section of uninsured Americans who are ineligible for Medicaid.

But with fewer people buying insurance through the exchanges, the economics aren’t holding up. Ten of the 23 innovative health-insurance plans known as co-ops—established with $2.4 billion in ObamaCare loans—will be out of business by the end of 2015 because of weak balance sheets.

One problem is that nearly half of the 10.5 million uninsured people eligible for ObamaCare are between the ages of 18 and 34—and young people tend to be healthy and unwilling to pay for pricey coverage they don’t need.

But propping up ObamaCare requires this group’s subsidizing the medical costs of the aging and ill. So far, no luck. It makes sense for healthy young people to pay a penalty rather than purchase the insurance. And in 2015 that’s what 6.6 million people did, according to the IRS. Next year the minimum penalty increases to $695 or 2.5% of income above $10,000, whichever is greater. In many cases, that’s still much cheaper than insurance.
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It is easy to avoid or limit exposure to the penalty with some simple tax planning, as there are 30 different exemptions (which 12 million people claimed last year) and the IRS collects the penalty by reducing an employee’s tax refund.

The uninsured also know they can receive medical care at the emergency room. And if they fall ill, they can always purchase insurance during the next enrollment period, because ObamaCare eliminated existing conditions as a justification for denying coverage.

Our employees are smart enough to figure this out. Of our company’s 5,453 eligible employees, only 420 enrolled.

How have things changed under ObamaCare? Wealthy Americans continue to have health insurance, albeit at a higher price. But they can afford it. Many middle-class Americans are paying higher premiums they can hardly afford. And then millions more low-income Americans have heavily subsidized insurance or Medicaid coverage.

However, millions of other Americans who enjoyed good individual insurance before ObamaCare have found themselves forced out of affordable plans, with their new premiums rising rapidly. Other middle- and working-class Americans who were uninsured are still uninsured and paying the penalty or claiming an exemption. That isn’t affordable care. In many cases, it isn’t care at all.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:39 PM | Permalink

November 1, 2015

“You would probably have to go quite a long way back in human history to find [such a] mad obsession”

Later this month, France will be hosting the 21st Session on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11) with a stated purpose of achieving a new international agreement on climate to keep global warming below 2°C.  So when a society of French mathematicians release a white paper saying the UN's fight against global warming “absurd” and “a costly and pointless crusade,  I pay attention.

“You would probably have to go quite a long way back in human…history to find [such a] mad obsession,” ….
The mathematicians harshly criticized a “crusade [that] has invaded every area of activity and everyone’s thinking," noting that "the battle [against] CO2 has become a national priority.  "How have we reached this point in a country that claims to be rational?” they ask, adding that mathematicians “do not believe in crusades. They look at facts, figures, comments and arguments.”….

There is not a single fact, figure…[or] observation that leads us to conclude the world’s climate is in any way ‘disturbed,” the paper states. “It is variable, as it has always been. "….  The French mathematicians also said that the UN’s climate models have failed to take into account natural phenomena that affects climate far more than human activity.  Human impact on the climate is “tiny, quite negligible in comparison with natural causes,” they point out. “Human beings can do nothing about solar activity, the state of the oceans, the temperature of the Earth’s magna, or the composition of the atmosphere.”….

Furthermore, the work done by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) does not meet the basic standards set by reputable scientific journals because its “conclusions go [contrary] to observed facts; the figures used are deliberately chosen to support its conclusions (with no regard for the most basic scientific honesty); and the variability of natural phenomena is passed over without comment.”…….

“People who do not believe in global warming have been told to shut up. No public debate, no contradictory discourse. No articles in scientific journals. They simply have been told that the case is proven and it is time to take action… We are simply required to keep quiet and do what we are told. No second opinion is permitted.”  “It is on the debris of the fundamental principles of the law and of democracy that this white paper has been written.”

Perth electrical engineer’s discovery will change climate change debate -

Perth-based electrical engineer Dr David Evans,  a former climate modeller for the Government’s Australian Greenhouse Office, with six degrees in applied mathematics, Dr Evans has unpacked the architecture of the basic climate model which underpins all climate science.  He has found that, while the underlying physics of the model is correct, it had been applied incorrectly.  He has fixed two errors and the new corrected model finds the climate’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide (CO2) is much lower than was thought.

It turns out the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has over-estimated future global warming by as much as 10 times, he says.  “Yes, CO2 has an effect, but it’s about a fifth or tenth of what the IPCC says it is. CO2 is not driving the climate; it caused less than 20 per cent of the global warming in the last few decades”.

Water Vapor: The Big Wet Elephant In The Room. 

 Water Vapor Climate Change

Stuart Schneiderman in The Climate Change Mania writes

It never looks like hysteria when you are in the middle of it. It never feels like a mania when you are being consumed by righteous zealotry. It never looks or  feels like a cult when you believe it to the depths of your soul.

True believers are never swayed by the evidence. They believe the absence of empirical data is a test of their faith. They might skew the data in order to lure in those who still hold to an outmoded view of empirical science, but they themselves have given their lives to the narrative, not to the facts……

In a strange way the climate change hysteria is like what others have called the madness of crowds. It is like selling your house and your business in order to buy a tulip bulb. How did that one work out?

He's on to something, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that he thinks the Western climate scare is a fraud, designed to restrain industrial development in countries like Russia.

And our government seems to be in on it. Did Federal Agency Commit Climate Fraud? Sure Looks Like It

Earlier this year, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists took part in a study that found — no surprise — that the "pause" in global warming from 1998 to 2013 didn't exist.  Their change didn't come from actual temperature readings. It came from extensive data manipulation and tinkering. Instead of a pause, they found a surge.

What's strange is that major temperature revisions by NOAA and others in recent years have always been up — never down — a clear sign of possible bias.  Earlier this year, for instance, it was revealed that nearly half of all supposed global warming in recent NASA data came from the agency's own highly suspicious statistical changes, not from actual temperature readings.

Enter Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican and chairman of the House Science Committee. Curious, he subpoenaed NOAA for research documents related to the study. NOAA refused to hand them over. Smith's committee wants to know why.

"The American people have every right to be suspicious when NOAA alters data to get the politically correct results they want and then refuses to reveal how those decisions were made," Smith said this week.

Hear, hear.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:40 PM | Permalink