Category Archives: Culture

Graduate Protests Suppression of 2nd Amendment Rights on Campus

Good for her.

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Kaitlin Bennett graduated from Kent State University in Ohio with a degree in biology.

The following day, the 22-year-old returned to the campus with an AR-10 semi-automatic rifle strapped to her back and posed for photographs while holding a graduation cap emblazoned with the words “come and take it”.

Bennett, who later posted the photographs on Twitter, says she was protesting against a university policy that prohibited students, professors and employees from carrying “lethal weapons” on campus – but allows “guests” to possess them on school grounds (but not in buildings).

She noted that Kent State was the location where “four unarmed students were shot and killed by the government” – a reference to the 1970 incident where soldiers clashed with Vietnam War protesters, firing shots that hit 13 protesters and bystanders.

Museum of Wisconsin Art Expands

What a gem in the West Bend community and the state.

Construction has started on the Museum of Wisconsin Art’s Cultural Campus, which hopes to open in late summer or early fall.

Located south of the main building at 205 Veterans Ave., West Bend, the 2-acre campus aims to offer an outdoor experience for local artists and its fans, as well as expand MOWA’s program offerings.

But the campus also symbolizes an importantcornerstone in MOWA’s history.

In April, MOWA celebrated five years at its location east of the Milwaukee River in a plot of land once home to Field’s Furniture building and outlet mall that was demolished in 2007. MOWA moved to the location after a run in a small building on South Sixth Avenue in West Bend that started in the 1960s.

The campus also puts a cap of the first five years of the museum in its state-ofthe- art facility and a starting point for the next five years and beyond.

“It’s pretty big,” said Laurie Winters, MOWA’s executive director about the milestone.

Callous Emergency Services Operator Blames Overwork

Wow. The utter lack of compassion for the dead woman is breathtaking.

An emergency services operator has said she is not to blame after she mocked a young mother who died hours after calling the service in acute distress.

Naomi Musenga, 22, called Strasbourg’s ambulance service with severe stomach pain and said: “I’m going to die”.

“You’ll definitely die one day, like everyone else,” the operator replied.

The woman – who wishes to remain anonymous – told French TV on Sunday night that she was under pressure and the emergency services were overworked.

Asked if she regretted what she had said, the operator replied: “In the conditions… let’s say it was inappropriate.

“We are constantly under pressure… I can be two or three hours hanging on my phone, I have no time to get up there’s so much [demand] everywhere,” she said. “We hang up and we pick up.”

[…]

The operator’s lawyer told BFMTV last week said that she would normally field on average 2,000 calls a day.

I hope that last stat was a typo. If not, I call BS.

Black Panthers Protest After Viral Video Shows Officer Punching Teen

It does appear that the teen was already fighting before the officer engaged.

Amateur video which went viral on social media over the weekend shows a police officer in suburban Milwaukee punch a black teenager in the face while he and another security guard violently subdue him.

The Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee have called for a boycott of Mayfair mall and the firing of the police officer who was filmed beating a 17-year-old boy during an arrest.

The violent incident took place on Friday, when security at the Mayfair mall called police to report a group of young men who were allegedly causing a disturbance.

Amateur video filmed on a cell phone shows two officers trying to subdue one of the teens.

At one point, an officer working for the Wauwatosa Police Department throws a punch at the boy while he is being held back by a mall security guard, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

This looks like a close call on whether or not excessive force was used. Would have it been better for the officer to step back and tase him? Is that less violent than a punch? The kids sure has a lot of fight in him even after the punch. What do y’all think?

Nah, It’s Not a Mental Illness Problem

The BBC appears to be upset that more and more people are reacting to mass killings by wanting to improve our public mental health care policies instead of with more gun control.

In fact, few mass killers actually suffer from a diagnosable, serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and psychotic spectrum disorders. A 2004 analysis of more than 60 mass murders in North America, for example, found that just 6% were psychotic at the time of the killings. And when it comes to mass shootings, those with mental illness account for “less than 1% of all yearly gun-related homicides”, a 2016 study found. Other studies indicate that people with mental disorders account for just 3-5% of overall violence in the US, (much lower than the prevalence of mental illness in the general population – up to 18%) which “still leaves you with around 96% of violence, even if you’re able to eliminate all people with mental disorders”, Appelbaum points out.

[…]

Moreover, much of the violence that people with serious mental illnesses commit are minor infractions, such as verbal assault or hitting, not homicide (suicide, however, is a significant problem), and such infractions tend to be directed at those the perpetrator lives with, not at strangers and not at a mass scale. Large attacks also require a level of planning and organisation that often defies many with serious mental illness. A 2014 study, for example, found that just 2% percent of 951 patients discharged from a psychiatric hospital committed a violent act involving a gun, and just 6% committed a violent act involving a stranger.

That knee-jerk conclusion is problematic, he continues, because it encourages even more stigmatisation of people who have a mental illness, many of whom already have extremely difficult lives and already face discrimination in several areas, namely housing, jobs, and relationships. Individuals suffering from mental illnesses are actually three times more likely than the average person to be victims of violence, as they are more vulnerable.

 […]

Making this inaccurate link can also shift the focus of policy debates in the US. In debates over limiting access to firearms, some people start talking about fixing the mental healthcare system instead. “Suddenly you hear the gun lobby – which is very powerful in this country and has a vested interest in not having guns be regulated – become an advocate for better mental health care in America,” Swanson says. “It’s a distraction so we don’t talk about guns.” (Read more: “What if all guns disappeared?”)

It’s difficult to psychologically profile mass shooters because they often commit suicide or are killed during their attack. But what doctors and scientists do know is that the perpetrators of such events are frequently angry young men, who feel they have been mistreated by society and therefore seek to extract revenge.

Why is it OK to Disrespect Christianity?

Piers Morgan, of all people, makes an excellent point.

I have some breaking news.

Next year’s Met Gala is going to have an ‘Islam’ theme.

Yes, guests in 2019 will be encouraged to wear skimpy, provocative dresses that ‘celebrate’ the Prophet Mohammad, Islamic clothing including hijabs and burqas, and the Koran.

I can also reveal that the 2020 Met Gala will have a ‘Jewish’ theme.

Yes, a bunch of celebrities and models will be posing for the world’s paparazzi dressed in all manner of Jewish attire and regalia, including dressing up as Rabbis and wearing kippahs.

Oh, wait.

Neither of these things is actually going to happen.

In fact, just by suggesting it, I’m sure I will be subjecting myself to immediate anger from many Muslims and Jews.

The Met wouldn't dream of having an Islam or Jewish themed, but Catholicism is apparently fine. Monday night was titled 'Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination' and the stars and their designers threw themselves into the theme. Rihanna came as a silver Pope
The Met wouldn’t dream of having an Islam or Jewish themed, but Catholicism is apparently fine. Monday night was titled ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’ and the stars and their designers threw themselves into the theme. Rihanna came as a silver Pope

Yet apparently it’s absolutely fine to have a ‘Catholic’ theme, as we saw at last night’s Met Gala.

Christianity, it would seem, is fair game for a mocking fashion parade.

Buuuuuurn

boogers

Racial Disparity in Discipline Persists

The Obama discipline policies have been disastrous. Scrap them.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Black students are suspended from school, expelled and referred to law enforcement much more frequently than their white peers and the disparities are growing, according to a federal report released Tuesday.

The report released by the Education Department is likely to add to an already tense national debate about what causes such racial disparities. Civil rights groups believe that racial bias is at play and insist that federal protections are necessary. Some experts counter that forcing schools to adopt milder disciplinary practices makes classrooms unsafe.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering scrapping Obama-era rules that were meant to counter those disparities and urge schools to adopt softer discipline approaches. She met with supporters and opponents of that policy this month.

The data show that while black students represented 15 percent of all enrolled students in 2015-2016, they accounted for 31 percent of children referred to police or arrested. The disparity is 5 percentage points higher than in 2013-14, when such data was last collected. Two years ago, white students made up 49 percent of all students but represented 36 percent of students who were referred to the police.

That a racial disparity exists is evident. Liberals like to blame the disparity on racial discrimination by the people administering the discipline. While some racial discrimination might exist, I doubt that it can explain even 5% of the disparity – especially since the public school systems are some of the most liberal institutions in America. In any case, discipline should be administered evenly, fairly, and without regard to race, religion, gender, or anything other than the infraction committed. Anything more or less than that is an injustice.

Waffle House Killer Was Stripped of Right to Own Firearms

It looks like law enforcement was on the ball. The dad needs to be prosecuted.

A suspect with mental health issues who allegedly killed four people in a Tennessee fast-food outlet on Sunday had been previously stripped of his right to own firearms and left a trail of red flags.

Questions are being asked about how Travis Reinking, 29, was apparently able to get his hands on the weapons.

Police said the AR-15 rifle he allegedly used in the attack at a Waffle House in a Nashville suburb had been confiscated from him just last year.

[…]

Secret Service officers detained him in July 2017 and charged him with unlawful entry after he crossed a security barrier.

He told Secret Service agents he “was a sovereign citizen and has a right to inspect the grounds” and that he wanted to meet President Donald Trump, according to a police report.

Following that arrest, authorities revoked Mr Reinking’s Firearm Owners’ Identification card.

They also confiscated four legally owned guns, including the AR-15 that was used in the Waffle House attack, police said on Sunday.

But authorities said the guns were returned to the suspect’s father, Jeffrey Reinking, after he asked to keep them.

Sheriff Robert Huston in Tazewell County, Illinois, told a news conference on Sunday the father had promised he would “keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis”.

It was unclear how Travis Reinking apparently reclaimed the guns, said Sheriff Huston.

But Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said Jeffrey Reinking “has now acknowledged giving them back”.

Second Chances

Former governor Tommy Thompson penned an interesting piece last week that suggests that Wisconsin do a better job of training ex-cons to reenter the workforce.

Our prisons are full of people who want another chance to succeed.  Here’s how we can help create better parolees and in turn help our state address workforce shortages:

• Create a core criteria/survey/interview process to find those incarcerated individuals who have both the desire and will to succeed after prison.

• Develop a “Second Chance Skills Institute” that would deliver certified job and entrepreneurial tools along with necessary life skills training. Participation would require a signed contract and a “no mistakes,” immediate expulsion policy.  The program would have to be fully completed, similar to a skilled technical college degree.

• Work with state government, employers, business groups such as Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and trade unions both financially and for instructional and mentoring support.

• Convert an existing prison (or build a new one) to house the “Second Chance Skills Institute.” This secure hub would be part of the Department of Corrections, but fully supported by other state agency efforts including the Department of Workforce Development and the University of Wisconsin and technical college systems.

• Draw on technical schools, two-year colleges and social service organizations along with specifically-hired instructors.

• Develop a highly-structured early parole opportunity, with specific responsibilities and a “no mistake” clause for the most qualified graduates, in which a sponsor-business would provide a skills-specific job opportunity.

The end product, a highly-skilled and marketable job applicant best-equipped to enter the workforce and far-better equipped to reenter society. This high-quality program would create a highly marketable and sought after payroll-ready employee, permanently attached to an ongoing “Second Chance Skills Institute” support network.

There’s a lot of merit in some of these ideas. We need to have harsher penalties and less lenient judges when people violate the laws, but we also need to do a better job of reintegrating these folks back into the mainstream when they are released. The best way to keep people from committing further crimes is to get them integrated into the mainstream culture where criminal behavior is discouraged and where they have more to lose if they get put in prison again.

Complaint Against Gender-Neutral Bathrooms Tossed

Heh.

In January, Mary Jo Walters, far-left activist and independent candidate for U.S. Senate (because ultra-liberal Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, could use the competition), filed a discrimination complaint against the Rape Crisis Center in Madison. 

Walters’ liberal resume includes Wisconsin Capitol “occupier” during the left’s 2011 protests over Gov. Scott Walker’s public sector collective-bargaining reforms, a Democrat candidate for Wisconsin lieutenant governor in 2014, a grassroots activist in the campaign to legalize cannabis, and a self-described advocate of social justice issues.

Her allegation: That a November #MeTooMadison fundraiser for the Crisis Center, in an attempt to make all event-goers feel welcome, established “Gender-Neutral” bathrooms, according to documents obtained by MacIver News Service. 

The event, held at downtown Madison’s Majestic Theatre, featured the stories of sexual assault victims – in the spirit of the national #MeToo campaign to bring awareness and support to survivors of sexual violence. 

Walter’s complaint was eventually dismissed for lack of probable cause.

In her original complaint, filed with Madison’s Department of Civil Rights and the Madison Equal Opportunities Commission, Walters wrote that having to use a gender-neutral bathroom was “upsetting emotionally, seeing it was at a rape event.” 

Walters’ criticism seems obvious, but perhaps we shouldn’t assume the gender of a potential rapist.

Asperger Sent Kids to their Deaths

I expect they’ll be renaming that syndrome fairly soon.

Newly uncovered documents suggest Hans Asperger, the paediatrician whose name describes a form of autism, was actively involved in the Nazi regime’s euthanasia programme in Austria.

The evidence comes from previously unexamined Nazi-era documents and patient records.

They suggest Dr Asperger ingratiated himself by referring children to a notorious euthanasia clinic.

Prof Asperger claimed to have shielded his patients from the Nazi regime.

The patient records and documents show that Dr Asperger sent patients to the Am Spiegelgrund clinic in Vienna, where they were put to death.

Oklahoma City Bombing – 23 Years Later

A couple of years ago I found myself in Oklahoma City on this date and spent a few hours at the memorial. Since it was an anniversary, the place was fairly busy. There were several families spending some time with each other remembering their loved one who died that day. At times, I felt like I was intruding on their grief. Even though it was over 20 years ago, the pain and hurt is still very, very real for a great many people. Please take a moment today to remember those who were killed for the simple act of going to work and living their lives.

 

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Antisemitic Attack in Germany Caught on Video

Germany has spent generations atoning for the sins of the Holocaust just to import a fresh batch of anti-Semites.

German police are investigating an assault on two young men in Berlin, in which the attacker was filmed shouting anti-Semitic abuse.

The men say they were harassed in the Prenzlauer Berg area on Monday while wearing Jewish skullcaps (kippahs).

A video of the incident, which was later shared on Facebook, shows the attacker hitting the men with his belt.

He is heard shouting “Yahudi”, an Arabic word for Jew, before being dragged away by another man.

One of the victims, a 21-year-old Israeli called Adam, then reportedly followed the attacker but gave up after a glass bottle was thrown at him.

Onslaught From the Left

It’s here.

This collection of energized Democrats, described as “resistance warriors” by organizers, is convinced that their party will lose this fall if it doesn’t embrace a broad slate of uncompromising progressive candidates who deliver “an Elizabeth Warren-style economic populist message,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which coordinated this week’s gathering along with the Sanders-backed Our Revolution.

“Not only can you run on your values and win, but it is necessary to do so in some of these red districts,” Green said.

Liberal icons Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will headline a program that’s designed to give lesser-known Democratic candidates at all levels a crash course on winning in the Trump era.

It’s not enough to simply oppose the Republican president, organizers say.

Participants will learn how to look good on television, find donors, design websites and, perhaps most importantly, develop a message around progressive economic priorities. The progressive movement’s most aggressive allies are expected to be on hand: groups such as Indivisible, Planned Parenthood and the AFL-CIO.

Kid Sues to Wear Shirts that Say “Diversity” and “Love”

It’s fine for the school to have a dress code. It just needs to be clear, fair, and consistent.

Matthew Schoenecker likes guns and T-shirts showing guns. But when the freshman wears the latter to Markesan High School, he is told to change, cover them, or spend the day in an isolated cubicle.

So he’s exercising some other rights to defend what he calls his First Amendment right to support the Second Amendment — he sued the principal in federal court.

The suit, filed Monday in Milwaukee, names principal John Koopman as the sole defendant. It claims Koopman violated Schoenecker’s freedom of expression by restricting him from wearing shirts that depict guns and other weapons in “a non-violent, non-threatening manner.”

The suit also contends that Koopman’s personal, case-by-case determination of which shirts are “inappropriate” violates Schoenecker’s rights to due process.

Two particular shirts crossed the line for Koopman. One reads “Celebrate Diversity,” and depicts a variety of firearms.  Another says LOVE, but the letters are formed by a handgun, a grenade, two knives and an assault-style rifle.

The Post-Privacy Era

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:

There is a lesson that I have preached to my children for years when it comes to using free services on the internet — if you are not paying for it, you are the product being sold. The recent revelations regarding Facebook confirm that lesson, but also highlight just how much of an illusion privacy has become in modern society.

The most recent privacy breach by Facebook garnered so much media attention because there is a connection to President Donald Trump, but it is hardly a new revelation. Facebook collects data about the people who use it and sells that information to anyone who can afford it. Facebook’s entire business model is predicated on collecting, shaping and selling its users’ information. Facebook’s customers are not the people who use it to share pictures of their meals and pets. Facebook’s customers are the people who buy information about Facebook users.

Facebook is hardly the only company that operates this way. They have merely become one of the largest and most popular because they created an application that people enjoy using. There are plenty of other companies with similar business models. Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google, Spotify, Pandora, Tinder and on and on. Even many websites for which you pay will sell any information they collect about you to anyone with a credit card. And since many people access their favorite sites on their mobile devices, location and other information can also be collected.

Then there are the data brokers who amalgamate information from many sources to create incredibly detailed and accurate profiles of people. They collect information about your buying habits, internet search activity, medical information, income, address, what guns you own, what movies you like, who your friends are and much more. These companies know more about people than their families or neighbors.

All of this collecting, buying and selling of information is legal. Then there is the illegal activity. All of this information is stored somewhere and people want it. Every week there is another story about some company being hacked and people’s information being stolen. Any information you keep on a computer will eventually be stolen. It is a matter of when, not if.

Worried yet? There is more. The next wave in breaking down privacy barriers is already here. The popularity of voice-driven technology like Siri, Alexa, Google Home and others has opened the door to a new way for businesses or hackers to collect information about you. Each of these devices is constantly listening to everything you say as it waits for you to say the key words to activate it. When a person uses these devices, their words are recorded and sent into the gigantic data processing hubs where they can be stored and used for anything.

Now people are sending their DNA to businesses through the mail to get a report back on what their ethnic heritage is or what diseases and disorders they are genetically predisposed to. These companies are creating massive databases of DNA that can be sold and used for everything from marketing products to redirecting government programs to something nefarious.

The fascinating aspect of the collapse of privacy is that it is almost entirely voluntary. People are willingly sharing incredibly personal information about themselves all over the internet. In an odd quirk of human nature, people who are unwilling to share details about themselves to their friends at church are more than willing to share their most intimate details on a digital platform that the entire world can access.

Why?

There are some legitimate and positive reasons for people to share personal information online. Having detailed information about people allows some companies to deliver a more personalized service. By knowing more about their customers, retailers, airlines, banks and many other companies can customize their offerings to the individual consumer. Consumers love it.

All of that information is also being used for more general societal benefits. For example, Google has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control to track flu outbreaks in real time based on spikes in the use of certain search terms. This allows the CDC to better allocate resources to where and when they are needed most.

People also enjoy the convenience of technology. Of course it is easy enough for you to use a remote to turn off the television, get up and adjust the thermostat, close the garage door, set an alarm, and turn on the radio. But it is even easier to just say, “hey Siri” and let it do the rest. The price of that convenience is that Apple, which provides Siri, now knows what channel you were on when you turned the television off, what temperature you like at that time of day, what kind of garage door opener you have, when you plan to get up and what music you like. What will Apple do with that information? That is none of your business. It is theirs.

Of course, there is a darker reason for people being willing to abandon any notion of privacy. The vile parts of human nature like vanity, greed and pride drive people to want to share things that were considered private 30 years ago. For every picture of a silly cat on one site, there is a picture of some guy’s private parts somewhere else.

Our culture has certainly crossed into a post-privacy era. It was a threshold we sprinted across willingly and without hesitation. There are many benefits, but also great risks. It will take a while for our laws and expectations to catch up.

Boston Marathon Clarifies Stance on Transgender Folks

Frankly, I don’t know how else they would have done it.

BOSTON (AP) — In 1967, a Boston Marathon official nearly dragged a woman off the course after she managed to enter the men’s-only race. Five decades later, race officials aren’t as concerned about gender boundaries: They’re now publicly acknowledging that transgender runners can compete using the gender they identify with.

“We take people at their word. We register people as they specify themselves to be,” said Tom Grilk, chief of the Boston Athletic Association, the group behind the race. “Members of the LGBT community have had a lot to deal with over the years, and we’d rather not add to that burden.”

At least five openly transgender women are signed up to run the storied 26.2-mile race through Boston and its suburbs April 16. And while they aren’t the first, their presence helped bring clarity to the race’s stance on transgender runners.

Remember that there is real money on the line here for the winners – $150,000 each for the man and woman who wins. Google tells me that the fastest marathon time for a man is about 2 hours and 2 minutes while it is about 2 hours and 15 minutes for a woman. Look for a transgender woman to start winning the marathon in record time and natural women (not sure what the PC term is for someone who identifies with the gender they were born with) will be ticked. Then it’ll all end up in court. Yippee.

I Am the Majority

This. All this.

Parkland Students Protest Clear Backpacks

Yeah, it really sucks when THE MAN imposes new rules on people who didn’t do anything because one guy broke the rules.

When survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting returned to classes after spring break on Monday, they were met with a slew of new security measures, including a widely resented policy: mandatory clear backpacks for everyone.

Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting in February, were quick to express their disdain for their new accessory.

[…]

“I hate the backpacks, and I think they solve nothing,” Alyssa Goldfarb, a 16-year-old sophomore, told Vice News. “It’s more of a way of the county saying, ‘Hey, we’re doing something.’”

Indeed. Kind of like banning bump stocks or large magazines.