Category Archives: Culture

Terror Attack in New York

These kind of IS-inspired attacks have become the normal.

A man is being held after an attempted terror attack at New York City’s main bus terminal, officials say.

“Terrorists won’t win,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said after a blast at the Port Authority terminal in Manhattan during the morning rush hour on Monday.

The suspect, named as Akayed Ullah, 27, was wounded when a “low-tech explosive device” strapped to his body blew up in an underpass, officials say.

Voyager Fires Thrusters for First Time Since Carter Was President

Wow… just, wow.

(CNN)It’s a good idea to have a backup plan, especially in interstellar space.

NASA scientists needed to reorient the 40-year-old Voyager 1 — the space agency’s farthest spacecraft — so its antenna would point toward Earth, 13 billion miles away. But the “attitude control thrusters,” the first option to make the spacecraft turn in space, have been wearing out.
So NASA searched for a Plan B, eventually deciding to try using four “trajectory correction maneuver” (TCM) thrusters, located on the back side of Voyager 1. But those thrusters had not been used in 37 years. NASA wasn’t sure they’d work.
Tuesday, engineers fired up the thrusters and waited eagerly to find out whether the plan was successful. They got their answer 19 hours and 35 minutes later, the time it took for the results to reach Earth: The set of four thrusters worked perfectly. The spacecraft turned and the mood at NASA shifted to jubilation.

Women to Blame for Men’s Bad Behavior?

That’s one perspective.
When his “Today” show co-host Savannah Guthrie broke the news of Lauer’s firing on air, she was clearly devastated.
“… I’m heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner,” Guthrie said on the show. “He is beloved by many, many people here.” Guthrie added she also was heartbroken for the woman who came forward to tell her story and for those who might still come forward. Her fill-in co-host Hoda Kotb joined the Lauer lovefest.
Why would Guthrie and Kotb immediately rush in to praise Lauer before they even had details of the story? This type of selfish, blind loyalty is what enables these predators to reign with terror over working women in the first place. Must we always show this automatic sympathy for men we know who’ve shown such cruelty to women?
It’s infuriating.

NFL Agrees to Fund Players’ Social Causes

So the millionaire players have extorted the billionaire owners to pump money into lefty social causes. That sure makes me want to go out and buy a $250 ticket to a game.

The NFL and its players have reportedly reached a tentative agreement on a proposal to partner together in an effort to promote social justice.

According to the Washington Post‘s Mark Maske, the framework of the deal, which needs to be ratified by NFL owners, states the league and its teams will “provide approximately $90 million to $100 million between the onset of the arrangement and 2023 to social causes deemed important by the players, focused in particular on African American communities.”

What if the players want to use their new slush fund to oppose abortion or promote legal gun ownership? Can those causes get some NFL cash?

Matt Lauer Fired

Wow.

On Twitter, the programme said: “On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace by Matt Lauer.

“As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment.”

Lauer co-hosts The Today Show. NBC said it had “reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident”.

The network said it was the first complaint about his behaviour in his time there – more than 20 years – but NBC News chairman Andy Lack said it represented a “clear violation of our company’s standards”.

It’s becoming more and more clear that a great many of the media and political icons who have spent years telling middle America how to live our lives are disgusting pigs in private.

Mom Charged with Felony After Trying to Protect Kid from Bullying

This is outrageous.

(CNN)When Sarah Sims’ daughter complained she was being bullied in elementary school, the Virginia mother grew concerned.

Sims reached out to administrators at Ocean View Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia, where her daughter is in fourth grade, but she said she got no response. In September, Sims decided to investigate on her own.
She sent her daughter to school with a digital audio recorder in her backpack, hoping to capture audio from the classroom. School officials found out and confiscated the device, which had been in her daughter’s desk recording the school day.
Now, Sims, who is herself a student at Virginia’s Norfolk State University, is in trouble with law.
Earlier this month, Norfolk police charged Sims with a felony — intercepting wire, electronic or oral communications — and with a misdemeanor — contributing to the delinquency of a minor
[…]
Virginia is a one-party consent state, meaning it is legal for someone to record others when the person recording is involved in the conversation or when one of the parties in the conversation has given prior consent.
The Norfolk commonwealth’s attorney’s office, which would prosecute the charges, said it just received the case report and hasn’t begun investigating, according to spokeswoman Amanda Howie.
Let’s hope the DA has some common sense. But even if they drop the charges, which they should, the school’s reaction here is completely out of line. Clearly they have far more interest in concealing their behavior and protecting bullies than in serving the kids or the parents.

Safe Hunt

It is always amazing how safe the hunt is considering how many people are wandering around the woods with powerful firearms.

MADISON (AP) — Seven hunters were shot during Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season, state wildlife officials said Monday.

The season opened Nov. 18 and closed at sunset on Sunday. According to Department of Natural Resources data on its website, five male hunters accidentally shot themselves during the season. A sixth man was shot by someone within his own party during a deer drive in Ozaukee County on Wednesday. The seventh victim was hunting ducks from a kayak in Waukesha County on Friday when a stray bullet struck him or her. None of the incidents were fatal.

License sale data suggest fewer hunters were in the woods this year than in 2016. The DNR sold 588,387 licenses authorizing hunting with a firearm during the nine-day season through midnight Sunday, down 1.7 percent from the previous year

Happy Thanksgiving

To all of my readers, friends, family, acquaintances, coworkers, & enemies… Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. May you all have a safe and comfortable one.

And just to insert a little controversy and debate into the day, is the correct pronunciation THANKSgiving or thanksGIVING? On what syllABLE do you place the emPHASis?

UW-Madison Dean Apologizes for Culture of Sexual Harassment in Department

No safe spaces in that department, apparently.

The dean of UW-Madison’s College of Letters & Science acknowledged this week a failure to provide a safe environment in the wake of a Wisconsin State Journal report on a culture of persistent sexual harassment in a university department.

One of the women who spoke to the State Journal also wrote an open letter to UW-Madison leadership, saying her efforts to report the behavior of one professor were met with skepticism from the department’s head and warnings from the university’s legal department that she would be on her own if she were sued by the professor for defamation.

“Due process cannot be a justification for inaction or a barrier to clear and confidential reporting options and tangible whistleblower protection,” former graduate student and current administrator of the art history department Clare Christoph wrote. “Without these, campus assurances that sexual harassment will not be tolerated will continue to be meaningless and women who experience this demoralizing and damaging behavior will not feel safe coming forward.”

Those Wacky Chauvinist French

Heh. The headline says “macho,” but I’m not sure that is allowed to be use to describe the French.

Paris (AFP) – French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has clamped down on attempts to make French more female-friendly, issuing a ban on so-called “inclusive writing” in official texts, according to a memo seen by AFP on Tuesday.

Moves to end the linguistic dominance of the masculine over the feminine have sparked impassioned debate in France, coming as a flurry of revelations about sexual harassment and assault continue to dominate global headlines.

At the centre of the row is the growing use of formulations to embrace both genders in the plural form, which requires full-stops being inserted in the word — to the horror of purists.

Respecting the Hunt

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Sorry for being a bit late posting it. I was, predictably, hunting. Here you go:

It is the end of November and we all know what that means — Thanksgiving and the kickoff of the Christmas season. In Wisconsin, it also means that it is the annual nine-day gun deer season. Our state and local governments have been tinkering with the regulations in recent years — mostly for the better — but the gun deer season continues to be an integral part of Wisconsin’s heritage.

At the most mundane level, Wisconsin’s deer hunters provide a vital service to the state by controlling the population. Deer are responsible for millions of dollars of crop damage every year and thousands of vehicle accidents. According to statistics compiled by State Farm last year, Wisconsin is sixth worst in the nation when it comes to accidents involving deer, elk, and moose with the odds of hitting a deer in the state 1 to 77. The national average for automobile damage after a collision with a deer was $3,995 last year. From this perspective, keeping Wisconsin’s one-million-strong deer population in check is a necessary function.

But Wisconsin’s deer hunt tradition is so much more than just a utilitarian community service. It is a tradition that binds families, friends and fellow Wisconsinites. Throughout Wisconsin, hunters spread out into the woods to commune with nature and each other. Then they return to their homes, their buddy’s shed, their local tavern or elsewhere to swap stories, tell lies and engage in endless speculation about where to find the elusive Turdy Point Buck.

Every family and group has their own unique traditions and communities. For some, the deer hunting tradition unites generations where grandparents teach their grandkids and kids soak up time with their parents. For this reason, perhaps, the legislature decided to waive the minimum hunting age in Wisconsin. Up until a week ago, children had to be at least 10 years old to participate in a mentored hunt where the mentor and child must stay within arm’s length of each other and share a gun. The new law allows children of any age to participate in a mentored hunt and to carry his or her own gun.

The new law allows kids to get into the field and learn the craft of hunting with their mentors (usually their kin) earlierif their parents choose. Thirtyfour other states already do not have a minimum hunting age. While seemingly minor, this change to Wisconsin’s law is another step in the ongoing trend in Wisconsin to push more decisions and control back to the people and out of the hands of government. After all, who is in a better position to decide the maturity and skill of a child — their parents or the government? And who has more of a vested interest in the safety of that child — their parents or the government?

While Wisconsin has been encouraging and nurturing the state’s deer hunting culture, West Bend has acknowledged the practical need to allow hunters to thin the deer herd within the city limits. Up until last week, the city forbade hunting within the city limits. The problem is that without any natural predators, the deer continue to breed and the herd grows. This has resulted in an increase in people crashing into deer with their cars causing property damage and injuries.

In order to help thin the West Bend herd, the Common Council passed a resolution to allow very limited hunting in two of West Bend’s parks. Under the new ordinance, the city will issue 20 nuisance permits for bow hunters to hunt deer in Lac Lawrann Conservancy and Ridge Run Park for four days in January. Anyone wanting to participate will have to pass a proficiency test. Then the city will hold a lottery to award the 20 permits to anyone who applied and passed the test. A committee will decide some of the finer details of the actual hunt, but it will be highly regulated with the focus being the safety of the hunter and any citizens who may venture into the two parks.

Such onerous restrictions seem a bit overwrought given Wisconsin hunters’ tremendous safety record — especially bow hunters — but they are reasonable measures meant to assuage the fears of some of the city’s citizens. Over time, the regulations will undoubtedly be adjusted to balance the need for safety with the need to manage West Bend’s deer herd.

There is an expression from my alma mater that is apropos to Wisconsin’s rich deer hunting heritage: From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. And from the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.

Indeed.

Millennials More Likely to Oppose Assault Weapon Ban then Older Folks

Huh.

Resistance to a ban on military-style assault weapons is strongest among millennials, according to a new Quinnipiac poll released this week.

[…]

Opposition to an assault weapon ban was strongest among Republicans and among self-identified registered voters 18-34, the poll found. Unlike older Americans, millennials were closely divided on their support for an assault weapon ban, with 49% supporting and 44% opposing a ban.

There was huge support for a return to banning the sale of assault weapons from voters over 50, with 70% support from over-50s and 77% support from over-65s.

[…]

For younger Americans, “these are guns that, as long as they’ve been part of the gun culture, have been very common and fairly typical guns, and that’s less true with somebody who was, say, born in 1930,” said Dave Kopel, a gun rights advocate and firearms law expert at the Independence Institute in Colorado.

People who grew up with the gun culture of the 1950s might be more accustomed to brown wooden hunting-rifles, while younger gun owners may be more used to the black polymer rifles that are often categorized as “assault weapons”, Kopel said.

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Because different Americans may have radically different conceptions of what an assault weapon is, the results of the survey on whether they should be banned should be judged with some skepticism, Yamane cautioned.

Bill Proposed to Protect Kids with Guns at School

This seems utterly reasonable, and in a sane world, unnecessary.

MADISON (WKOW) — Some high school students would no longer have to fear being expelled for having a gun at school, under a limited exemption being considered by state lawmakers.

Under current law, if a student leaves an unloaded gun in their locked car, in the the school parking lot, they would face a mandatory expulsion hearing if anyone reports it to the administration.

But the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) asked Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) to craft legislation that would exempt schools from starting that expulsion process, if law enforcement investigates the incident and doesn’t press charges..

WASB President Steve McCloskey told the Assembly Committee on Education Thursday it is not uncommon for students in rural Wisconsin to hunt before and after school.

And since many of those students live a far distance away from school, McCloskey said it is reasonable for them to keep an unloaded rifle in their locked vehicle.

Gay Times Fired Editor

Well, that’s awkward.

The editor of Gay Times has been sacked for tweeting a series of antisemitic and misogynistic comments as well as using Twitter to attack gay people, homeless people and disabled children.

[…]

Rivers had taken on the role with a mandate to promote inclusivity. But the offending tweets, since deleted, showed him directing hate towards Jews, lesbians, overweight people, as well as Asian and Chinese people.

“I wonder if they cast that guy as ‘The Jew’ because of that fucking ridiculously large honker of a nose,” he tweeted in 2011. “It must be prosthetic. Must be.”

In another tweet he asked for film recommendations but excluded films about the Holocaust. Rivers also described Jews as “gross”.

His tweets directed at women included: “I’ve just seen a girl in the tightest white tank & lord help me if she’s not pregnant, she should be killed. #gross.”

Another abusive message said that “whiny” women should “change your tampon” and stay out of his way.

Wisconsin Eliminates Minimum Hunting Age

Good.

If all goes as planned for freshman legislator Rob Stafsholt, Wisconsin’s traditional gun deer hunting season will open Saturday with a twist that’s raising concern around the country.

Under legislation that Gov. Scott Walker is expected to sign into law this week, kids of any age will be allowed to hunt deer and carry their own gun when accompanied by an adult — no training required. Previously, kids had to be at least 10 years old to hunt with a mentor and the two had to share a weapon.

[…]

Stafsholt said that of 42 states with mentored hunt programs, 34 don’t set a minumum [sic] age. In addition, Wisconsin was one of only four of the 42 states to limit the mentor and youth hunter to a single gun.

This story is a little dated. Walker signed it into law today. While there is certainly a minimum age at which kids are mature enough to hunt or handle a firearm, that age is very subjective and specific to the individual child and family. Frankly, parents have a much greater vested interest in ensuring the safety of their kids, so it makes sense to put this determination in their hands. I suspect that when we look back at this in five years, we will not see any change in the safety record of Wisconsin’s hunt.

Carfentanil Bust in Canada

It’s scary what people are putting into their bodies.

It was a carbon monoxide alarm that brought the Canadian authorities to the house in Liatris Drive, a quiet residential street lined with manicured gardens. As firefighters checked over the house to ensure its inhabitants were safe, something else caught their eye: kilograms of a mysterious powder sitting in the basement.

Soon afterwards, the police arrived at the house in Pickering, near Toronto, with a search warrant. They seized 33 identical handguns – and 53kg of the unidentified white and yellow powder.

Lab tests eventually revealed 42kg of the substance to be carfentanil – a drug the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has described as “crazy dangerous” and which authorities in the US have flagged as as potential chemical weapon. The local police force had unwittingly stumbled across what is believed to be the largest volume of the opioid ever seized in North America.

Developed in the 1970s as a tranquilizer for large animals such as elephants and bears, the synthetic opioid has also been studied as a potential chemical weapon by countries including the US, China and Israel. It is thought to have been deployed with disastrous effects when Russian special forces attempted to rescue hundreds of hostages from a Moscow theatre in 2002.

But it only burst into public view last year after officials across North America began to warn that it was being cut with heroin and other illicit drugs, leaving a rash of overdoses and deaths in its wake.

Twisted Headline

Here’s the headline from CNN:

Why men use masturbation to harass women

Um… no. “Men” do not use masturbation to harass women. A very few, twisted, horrible men do, but the tremendous majority of men do not. The effort to lump all men together because of the abusive behavior of a few celebrities is the kind of sexism that the folks at CNN would decry if it were turned around. Can you imagine a headline like, “Why women rape children”? Of course not. Because while a very few, twisted, horrible women do, the tremendous majority of women do not. And to suggest otherwise is a gross generalization.

Facebook Trials Program to Combat Revenge Porn

This seems like it will not end well.

Facebook is testing a system that allows users to message themselves their nude photos in an effort to combat so-called revenge porn.

It will store a “fingerprint” of images to prevent any copies of them being shared by disgruntled ex-lovers.

The trial is in Australia, where studies suggest one in five women aged 18-45 may have had image-based abuse.

But one expert says there will still be problems outside Facebook and related sites such as WhatsApp and Instagram.

Facebook said it looked forward “to getting feedback and learning” from the trial.

Planned Parenthood Fights to Kill Babies

This lengthy story about how urgently and fervently Planned Parenthood wants to be able to kill babies without any accountability or consequences is grotesque. At least there is one piece of morality in the piece.

Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield, argues that informed consent is “pretty much standard operating procedure” for any medical procedure. While Vukmir, a registered nurse, was raised to oppose abortion, she says her health care background has played a large role in her approach to the issue. She recalls a moment in the 1980s, when a colleague expressed disbelief that Vukmir could be “a nurse and … pro-life.”

“It’s precisely because I’m a nurse that I’m pro-life,” she says. “This is what we do; we save lives. There never was a question for me whether or not I would support legislation to protect human life, because it’s professionally what I’ve always done.”

American Arrested for Insulting President on Twitter

No, not Trump.

A U.S. citizen has reportedly been arrested in Zimbabwe for insulting the country’s president on Twitter.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy told the Associated Press that Martha O’Donovan was arrested on Friday after posting tweets that allegedly insulted Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

O’Donovan, who works for Magamba TV, a local news network aimed at youth, is being represented by lawyer Obey Shava of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. O’Donovan’s Twitter account is private, but an unverified account appearing to be MagambaTV tweeted news about her arrest.

Before you get too indignant, remember that the previous administration arrested a man for posting an anti-Islam video in the wake of the Benghazi attack.