Category Archives: Culture

Downsizing

Mark Belling has a good column today about the generational decline in the birth rate and its impact on schools.

Downsizing a school district shouldn’t be difficult. You just reduce administrators, teachers and buildings in the same proportion as your enrollment declines. The problems are: The administrators don’t want to downsize themselves, the teachers are overly specialized and parents go ballistic when somebody proposes to close their kids’ school. One local district even decided to keep an elementary school open for one more year even though its enrollment is down to 50 (for the entire school!).

Districts got overbuilt when my generation’s parents were spitting out kids like rabbits (thus, the baby “boom”). Then my huge generation and the Gen Xers decided to sprawl out to the suburbs, creating need for more buildings in the Brookfields, Mequons and Burlingtons of the world. Along came the millennials and all of their idiosyncrasies, including an evident dislike of large families (or any families). What we have are massively overbuilt school systems with ridiculously bloated staffs of specialists, counselors, directors of this, that and the other thing, and in-house custodians, groundskeepers and nurses.

The only way out of this mess is to: a.) force the millennials to have kids (you can’t do that); b.) hope the incoming Generation Z kids revert back to wanting kids (unlikely); or c.) downsizing. The worst option of all is to borrow globs of money, increase your spending and put up even more buildings. That disastrous option is exactly the one most Wisconsin districts are taking.

Evil Billionaire Pays off Debt

Very, very cool.

Billionaire investor Robert F. Smith earned some stunned looks on Sunday during his commencement address at Morehouse College.

He told the graduating students he’d pay off their student debt.

“On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country: We’re going to put a little fuel in your bus,” Smith sad.

He continued: “I’ve got the alumni over here. And this is a challenge to alumni. This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.”

Baby Bust

This is an important trend to watch as we think about entitlement programs, education infrastructure, etc.

America’s baby bust isn’t over. The nation’s birth rates last year reached record lows for women in their teens and 20s, a government report shows, leading to the fewest babies in 32 years.

The provisional report, released Wednesday and based on more than 99% of U.S. birth records, found 3.788 million births last year. It was the fourth year the number of births has fallen, the lowest since 1986 and a surprise to some experts given the improving economy.

The fertility rate of 1.7 births per U.S. woman also fell 2%, meaning the current generation isn’t making enough babies to replace itself. The fertility rate is a hypothetical estimate based on lifetime projections of age-specific birth rates.

 

Grief is Not a Political Platform

Good for these kids. And shame on all of the opportunists who jump on their grief to advance their tyranny agenda.

It was meant to be a vigil for Kendrick Castillo, who was killed after he charged one of the two classmates who opened fire at his school in suburban Denver just the day before.

But the gathering at a neighboring school Wednesday night quickly turned political. There were speeches by politicians and at least one activist from the gun control group Moms Demand Action.

Some students from the STEM School Highlands Ranch, where nine students were shot Tuesday, reacted with anger, walking out in protest. There were chants of “mental health” and shouts of “f-ck the media” and “f-ck this.” One student, who later took the podium, said, “We can’t be used for a reason for gun control. We are people, not a statement.”

STEM School senior Fischer Argosino, who was at the vigil, told TIME the handling of the event was “inappropriate” and “disrespectful.” He said he resents the politicization of the students who had just lost a friend and experienced the trauma of yet another school shooting.

“We needed a time to mourn his passing and kind of process what happened. Because I would say it still doesn’t feel real,” Argosino said.

RIP Doris Day

A true American icon.

Hollywood legend Doris Day has died at the age of 97.

Her death was announced by her charity, the Doris Day Animal Foundation, on Monday.

The foundation said in an emailed statement she was surrounded by close friends and ‘had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia.’

The “Bar”

Interesting concept. I’m not sure it would ever work in Wisconsin.

A bar without booze sounds like an oxymoron, like an aquarium without fish or a bakery that doesn’t serve bread. But in cities like New York and London, where bars often function as second living rooms for apartment dwellers with little space, an alcohol-free nightlife option can appeal to people who, for whatever reason, would prefer not to drink.

Sam Thonis, who co-owns the bar with Regina Dellea, got the idea for Getaway three years ago, when he and his brother, who doesn’t drink, were trying to find a place to go out together at night. “There weren’t many nightlife options in New York that didn’t revolve around alcohol or weren’t trying to push that on you in some way,” Thonis says. “The more I talked to people, some of whom are sober and some of whom aren’t, the more I felt that people wanted that kind of space.”

In response, Thonis and Dellea made their bar a studiously 0% alcohol space, meaning that not even non-alcoholic beers that have a trace amount of alcohol are allowed on the menu. In the US, the term ‘non-alcoholic’ may be applied to beverageswith 0.5% alcohol by volume or less, which means many popular non-alcoholic beers aren’t actually alcohol-free.

“It’s 0% as much as humanly possible, so if you’re sober and it’s an issue for you, or you don’t even want the smell of alcohol around you, you’ll be safe,” Thonis says. But it still looks and feels like a bar – it only opens in the evenings, the lights are low and no one appears to be working on their screenplay.

Getaway, which opened in April, is part of a growing global wave of nightspots that specifically cater to people who are avoiding alcohol, but still want to go out and socialise in spaces that have traditionally been dominated by drinking. There’s Vena’s Fizz House in Portland, Maine and The Other Side in Crystal Lake, a suburb of Illinois. In London, alcohol-free Redemption bar now has three locations, as well as a menu of vegan, sugar-free, wheat-free food. In January, The Virgin Mary, an alcohol-free pub, opened in Dublin.

Unionizing Efforts

Heh.

Delta Airlines is facing significant criticism after posters discouraging its staff from joining a union were widely shared online.

“Union dues cost around $700 [£540] a year,” one of the posters states.

“A new video game system with the latest hits sounds like fun. Put your money towards that instead of paying dues to the union,” it continued.

The posters point to a website featuring Delta branding which encourages workers not to unionise.

Without confirming it produced the posters, a spokesperson for the airline said it had “shared many communications, which on the whole make clear that deciding whether or not to unionise should not be taken lightly.”

[…]

Politicians and union representatives were among those to condemn the posters online.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said the posters were “a disgrace”.

“I say to Delta: Stop trying to undercut workers’ right to form a union and negotiate for better wages,” he tweeted.

The pro-union people are permitted to say any outlandish thing they want about the company. They tell the workers how evil the company is… how greedy they are… how selfish they are… how badly they treat employees… and on and on and on. All of this in an effort to encourage people to unionize. But when a company makes the slightest effort to discourage the employees from unionizing, the socialist bullies immediately pounce on them.

No, Bernie, Delta wasn’t trying to “undercut workers’ right(s).” They were merely presenting a counter-argument. That is allowed in a free country, but not in Bernie’s socialist paradise.

Iron Throne to Live in Aggieland

Just so you know

If you want to see Arya Stark’s Valyrian steel dagger, Brienne of Tarth’s sword Oathkeeper and more all you have to do is head down to College Station. Texas A&M Cushing Memorial Library’s Science Fiction & Fantasy Collection is home to those treasures and more from Game of Thrones. Once the show ends, the college will also be home to the Iron Throne of Westeros. The university is home to author George R. R. Martin’s official repository since 1993, according to Austin 360. There they have various manuscripts, letters, books, memorabilia and more from the author being preserved. Find out more about George R. R. Martin’s connection to Texas A&M University here.

Be Like Nate

This kid is my new hero.

“I had my hand on a metal baseball bat just in case,” Nate told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin. “‘Cause I was gonna go down fighting if I was gonna go down.”

Denver Harshes on Shrooms

Interesting.

Voters on Tuesday appeared to reject an attempt to make Denver the first US city to decriminalize psilocybin – the psychoactive substance in “magic mushrooms” – and add a new chapter to the city’s role in shaping wider drug policy.

The citizen initiative on the ballot followed the same tack taken by marijuana activists to decriminalize pot possession in 2005 in the city. That move was followed by statewide legalization in 2012. A number of other states have since broadly allowed marijuana sales and use by adults.

With all precincts reporting late Tuesday night, the no votes for the initiative held a substantial lead over the yes votes, according to unofficial returns.

Late results showed nearly 55% of voters had rejected the proposed ordinance.

The arguments for legalizing (or decriminalizing) mushrooms are identical to those regarding marijuana. The fact that this didn’t pass is because there are fewer people taking mushrooms than smoking pot. It just shows that those arguments are, and always were, insincere. People want to legalize pot because they want to smoke pot. It’s as simple as that.

UPDATE: Well, well… it passed after all. Is the vote legitimate if half of the voters were high? lol

Babies deserve society’s protection

Here is my full column that ran yesterday in the Washington County Daily News

The debate over abortion has taken a gruesome turn and Gov. Tony Evers is in the vanguard of a radical new front in the war on babies.

The dispute about when and if abortion should be allowed in our nation has generally come down to one’s opinion of when life begins, or, to put it another way, when a person becomes a person. Ardent pro-lifers, like myself, believe that life begins at conception.

From a religious point of view, most of the major religions teach that life begins at conception. From a scientific point of view, the moment of conception is when the parents’ DNA commingles to create a new, unique DNA. It is generally accepted that each person has unique DNA and it is a distinguishing characteristic of personhood.

When discussing when it should be allowed to kill a conceived child, those who do not believe that life begins at conception generally try to figure out a point upon the developmental trajectory when the child (or growth, or clump of cells, or whatever) becomes “viable.” Given that human children are unable to survive on their own without the aid of adults until several years after birth, the distinction of when a child is “viable” is utterly arbitrary. But virtually every pro-abortionist puts the point of viability before birth.

Some pro-abortionists put the viability demarcation at the point of pregnancy when the baby could survive outside of the womb with medical help. Some put it at when there is heart and/or brain function. Some put it at when the baby can feel pain. Some put it right up until the moment of birth. These arguments are old and well-worn.

At the root of the debate, however, was the notion of morality and human rights that we do not just kill people. We used to be able to agree that killing humans without the due process of law or an act of war was immoral and barbaric. This was especially the view when it came to killing babies. Pro-abortionists had always argued that abortion is not murder because it does not kill an actual human. Such a stance was a tacit acknowledgment that killing actual humans is wrong. Even the most pro-abortion people who support abortion up until birth would argue that an unborn child is still not an actual human deserving of rights and protections of law and society.

Not anymore.

In response to a wave of pro-abortion legislation being passed in states like New York and Vermont which would dramatically expand when and how abortions are allowed, Wisconsin’s legislative Republicans announced a bill that would protect babies who are born alive after a

botched abortion. Since medical professionals are already morally and legally obligated to protect life and even most pro-abortion people oppose killing babies once they are born, the Republican bill is just common sense.

In an earlier age, the Republican bill would have had broad bipartisan support. All it says is that if a baby is lucky to escape the womb alive during an abortion attempt, the medical personnel would be obligated to provide lifesaving care to the child. After all, once the baby is outside of the womb, we used to all agree that it was a child deserving of protection.

Immediately after the Republicans announced their Born Alive Abortions Survivors bill, Governor Evers rushed to tell anyone who would listen that he will veto the bill. Not wanting to admit that he supports killing babies, or at least letting babies die by withholding medical care, Evers has offered a couple of nonsensical excuses. He has claimed that the law is redundant and not necessary. If so, so what? It takes just as much effort to sign it as it does to veto it. Evers has also said that the law is not necessary because babies never survive abortions. The people who are alive today after botched abortions would take issue with Evers’ assertion. There is no data collected on how many babies have survived an abortion only to be left to die by an ardent abortionist.

Evers gave away the game in his response to President Trump’s comments about the bill during his recent Wisconsin rally. In response to Trump, Evers said, “To say that doctors in the state of Wisconsin are executing babies is just a blasphemy.” What a telling use of the word “blasphemy.” To blaspheme is to speak or act against God or a religious tenet. Evers is so exercised by Trump’s comments because the president had the audacity to blaspheme against the liberal orthodoxy where abortion on demand stands as a pillar of faith.

Even people who believe that life does not begin until birth should support the Born Alive Abortions Survivors bill. Sadly, abortionists are very effective and it is rare for a baby to survive an abortion attempt, but when they do, the least we can do is provide them medical treatment and a chance to live.

Babies deserve society’s protection

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. In it, I note the ghoulish shift in the abortion debate and our governor’s position as chief ghoul. Here’s a taste.

In response to a wave of pro-abortion legislation being passed in states like New York and Vermont which would dramatically expand when and how abortions are allowed, Wisconsin’s legislative Republicans announced a bill that would protect babies who are born alive after a

botched abortion. Since medical professionals are already morally and legally obligated to protect life and even most pro-abortion people oppose killing babies once they are born, the Republican bill is just common sense.

In an earlier age, the Republican bill would have had broad bipartisan support. All it says is that if a baby is lucky to escape the womb alive during an abortion attempt, the medical personnel would be obligated to provide lifesaving care to the child. After all, once the baby is outside of the womb, we used to all agree that it was a child deserving of protection.

Immediately after the Republicans announced their Born Alive Abortions Survivors bill, Governor Evers rushed to tell anyone who would listen that he will veto the bill. Not wanting to admit that he supports killing babies, or at least letting babies die by withholding medical care, Evers has offered a couple of nonsensical excuses. He has claimed that the law is redundant and not necessary. If so, so what? It takes just as much effort to sign it as it does to veto it. Evers has also said that the law is not necessary because babies never survive abortions. The people who are alive today after botched abortions would take issue with Evers’ assertion. There is no data collected on how many babies have survived an abortion only to be left to die by an ardent abortionist.

Evers gave away the game in his response to President Trump’s comments about the bill during his recent Wisconsin rally. In response to Trump, Evers said, “To say that doctors in the state of Wisconsin are executing babies is just a blasphemy.” What a telling use of the word “blasphemy.” To blaspheme is to speak or act against God or a religious tenet. Evers is so exercised by Trump’s comments because the president had the audacity to blaspheme against the liberal orthodoxy where abortion on demand stands as a pillar of faith.

Christians Are Being Wiped Out in Some Parts of the World

Even in America, Christianity is the only major faith that is culturally acceptable to repress.

The persecution of Christians in parts of the world is at near “genocide” levels, according to a report ordered by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The review, led by the Bishop of Truro the Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen, estimated that one in three people suffer from religious persecution.

Christians were the most persecuted religious group, it found.

Mr Hunt said he felt that “political correctness” had played a part in the issue not being confronted.

The interim report said the main impact of “genocidal acts against Christians is exodus” and that Christianity faced being “wiped out” from parts of the Middle East.

It warned the religion “is at risk of disappearing” in some parts of the world, pointing to figures which claimed Christians in Palestine represent less than 1.5% of the population, while in Iraq they had fallen from 1.5 million before 2003 to less than 120,000.

“Evidence shows not only the geographic spread of anti-Christian persecution, but also its increasing severity,” the Bishop wrote.

Teaching Office Life

Not a bad thought.

If you’ve spent much time working with recent graduates – people who have just finished university without much work experience – you’ve probably witnessed your share of odd office behaviour.

For instance, the new grad who shows up dressed for a night of clubbing, or the entry level worker who doesn’t realise the CEO in a Fortune 500 company doesn’t want his opinion about their new brand strategy, or the new grad who takes all her calls on speakerphone without noticing the colleagues glaring in her direction.

We’ve all heard the stereotypes about entry-level workers who think they should get a corner office or have their own assistant right off the bat – but in my experience, those are outliers.

Of course, we’ve all been there at the start of our own careers … because we don’t do a very good job of teaching students and recent graduates how to navigate office life. We teach them other things – how to write a research paper or analyse a poem or conduct a lab experiment – but we don’t have many formalised mechanisms for teaching the sort of skills that will have a huge impact on how to succeed in your first few years of work: skills most of us think of as just how to be in an office.

Part of the problem is that the people who could do the teaching work in academia and don’t have much, if any, recent experience of industry

Instead, we just throw young people in and expect them to figure it out … which of course leads to plenty of professional faux pas along the way, some of them only mildly embarrassing but some quite embarrassing indeed.

We’ve all heard the stereotypes about entry-level workers who think they should get a corner office or have their own assistant right off the bat – but in my experience, those are outliers. What’s much more common are young workers who haven’t fully processed that they’re adults now and don’t need to ask for permission to go to lunch, or to leave a meeting to use the bathroom, or who feel awkward calling their older colleagues by their first names, or are afraid of asking questions because they think they’re already supposed to have all the answers.

Evers Vows to Let People Kill Babies

What a monstrously immoral man.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) promised to veto a “born alive” abortion bill if the GOP-backed legislation makes it to his desk.

The bill, introduced last week, hasn’t yet been voted on in any relevant legislative committees. Still, Evers told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinelthat he would veto the bill, citing existing protections and criminal penalties under Wisconsin state law.

“I think those protections already exist,” Evers told the newspaper. “We have all sorts of issues to deal with in the state of Wisconsin and to pass a bill that is redundant seems to be not a productive use of time. And clearly I ran on the belief — and I still believe — that women should be able to make choices about their health care. But this deals with a specific issue that’s already been resolved.”

That’s a BS excuse. If the law would be redundant, as he claims, then what’s the harm in signing it? The truth is that Planned Parenthood and the abortion fascists are pushing to have infanticide legal and Evers supports it too.

Two Wisconsinites Plead Guilty to Assisting ISIS

They are still an extremist threat.

In one Facebook post Dais wrote in part, “…I was and I continue to be on the doctrine of the Islamic State,” according to her plea agreement.

“She spread ISIS’ message of violence to numerous individuals in countless places,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger said.

This included sharing step-by-step videos for making bombs and poison with potential ISIS attackers.

“Without people like Dais to perpetuate extremism online, ISIS’ reach would be much more constrained,” he said.

Two years earlier, Yosvany Padilla-Conde of Milwaukee conducted similar acts by helping a man named Jason Ludke try to provide materials and resources to the Islamic State Group.

Krueger said both cases reveal the continuing threat of homegrown terrorism.

“While ISIS no longer controls any significant parts of Iraq or Syria, they continue to exist online and in the hearts and minds of those who believe that violence against innocence is an acceptable means to an end,” he said.

Deadly Easter Explosions Rip Across Sri Lanka

Prayers for our Christian family who are suffering this Easter Day.

The first reports of explosions came at about 08:45 (03:15 GMT) local time – with six blasts reported within a small space of time.

Three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo’s Kochchikade district were targeted during Easter services and blasts also rocked the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels in the country’s capital.

As police hunted those responsible, two further explosions were reported.

One blast hit near the zoo in Dehiwala, southern Colombo, and an eighth was reported near the Colombo district of Dematagoda during a police raid, killing three officers.

It remains unclear who was behind the attacks, but 13 arrests were made by police on Sunday.

The government has said they believe suicide bombs were used at some of the sites.

Critics Say Notre Dame Donations Should be Used for the Poor

Oh, fer cryin’ out loud.

Paris (AFP) – France’s culture minister pleaded Thursday for an end to the controversy over the 850 million euros (950 million dollars) pledged to restore Notre-Dame cathedral, which critics have suggested would be better spent on the poor.

Some of France’s biggest companies and billionaires, including luxury goods tycoons Francois-Henri Pinault and Bernard Arnault, have pledged amounts of 100 million euros or more to rebuild the landmark after it was gutted by fire on Monday evening.

The vast sums have drawn fire in a country where wealth inequality and the plight of the low-income households have been highlighted during five months of demonstrations by “yellow vest” protesters.

“This pointless debate consists of saying ‘it’s too much money for Notre-Dame even though there are needs elsewhere’ — of course there’s a need for money for the social system, for health, the fight against climate change,” Culture Minister Franck Riester told RMC radio.

“But let’s leave this extraordinary show of generosity to run its course,” he pleaded.

He said Notre-Dame was “not only old stones. It’s a part of our identity, it’s our nation, European culture.”

Swastika Acres Changes Name

Well, that’s an unfortunate name.

(CNN)The Swastika Acres neighborhood of Cherry Hills Village, a town just outside Denver, will get a new name after a unanimous city council vote.

The new name will be Old Cherry Hills, CNN affiliate KDVR reported.
The area had once been home to the Denver Land Swastika Company, a company that chose its name before Nazis adopted the swastika symbol.
Though the name doesn’t appear on any visible signs in the community, City Councilman Dan Sheldon told KDVR the name still appears in real estate documents.

Facebook “Unintentionally” Uploads Millions of Email Contacts

Uh huh

Social networking giant Facebook said on Wednesday evening it may have “unintentionally uploaded” the email contacts of up to 1.5 million users on its site, without their permission or knowledge, when they signed up for new accounts since May 2016.

Users affected by that incident were not just limited to the United States, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Those contacts were not shared with anyone and Facebook is deleting them, a company spokesperson told CNBC.

“We’ve fixed the underlying issue and are notifying people whose contacts were imported. People can also review and manage contacts they share with Facebook in their settings,” the spokesperson said.