Category Archives: Culture

Acne Positivity Is a Thing

Huh.

After years of oppressive aesthetic perfection, acne positivity is a drive for people to be more open about their skin problems, from the occasional spot to full-blown cystic acne. It joins recent moves to celebrate the many and varied appearances of our skin – from vitiligo to freckles and stretch marks – but also seeks to educate those who still believe that acne is a problem for the unwashed and unhealthy.

Many trace the movement back to the British blogger Em Ford, who in 2015 posted a YouTube video called You Look Disgusting. It showed her both in full makeup and bare-faced with her acne visible, as a succession of comments people had posted about her skin sprung up around her: “WTF is wrong with her face?”, “I can’t even look at her”, “Ewww, gross, horrible, ugly …”. In the first week alone, it amassed 10 million views. Ford, whose YouTube channel My Pale Skin now has more than one million subscribers, will shortly launch You Look Disgusting 2.0.

Baseless Accusation Against Kavanaugh Shouldn’t Delay Vote

This is nuts. Even the BBC reporter has some very valid questions:

There are plenty of reasonable, sensitive questions arising from the Kavanaugh/Ford story.

First and most important, is the alleged incident true? Do the therapists’ notes, which have some flaws, count as corroboration?

If the incident is true, to what extent does it have a relevant bearing on the judge’s character today, 36 years later?

If no other women come forward with similar accusations, should it be dismissed as the egregious but one-off failing of a teenager?

If it’s not true, why was it raised it now and what impact should it have on both the judge and his accuser?

All of these questions are open for debate in a sensible, thoughtful way. I for one don’t have clear answers on any of them.

In the end, this is just going to be a he said/she said about something that happened over 30 years ago. People who don’t want Kavanaugh confirmed are going to insist that the accusation is true. Reasonable people will wonder why this is only coming up now. None of it has anything to do with the character of the man in 2018 or his lengthy tenure as a lawyer and judge.

Take the vote.

Union Thug Cyber-Stalks Wigderson’s Kid

That’s just creepy and unstable behavior. What kind of “teacher” goes after someone’s kid just because she doesn’t like his opinions?

Just when you thought the Left couldn’t get any lower, they can. A self-described “union thug” reached out to RightWisconsin Editor James Wigderson’s minor daughter to criticize him and her school on social media.

Angela Schissler Goodwin, a Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) school teacher who also describes herself as a “MKE liberal,” tracked down Wigderson’s daughter on Facebook and sent her a unsolicited message about her father.

“We are offended by what was said about MPS. We are an MPS family and those insults are reckless generalizations,” Goodwin wrote to James Wigderson’s daughter. “I can’t imagine why he has such mean ideas about a group of people.”

The pronoun “he” makes it clear that Goodwin knew she was contacting James Wigderson’s daughter, not James Wigderson himself. Goodwin is not a Facebook friend of James Wigderson’s daughter and would have had to specifically search her out online.

James Wigderson’s contact information is also available online.

In Goodwin’s Facebook intro, she describes herself: “Wifey, mom, daughter, sister, union thug public school teacher, recovering Catholic, MKE 414 Liberal.”

UW-Whitewater’s Chancellor’s Husband Banned From Campus #metoo

This is the most Clinton excuse ever.

Most recently, a female employee told an investigator last spring that Hill squeezed her knee under a table “not less than three times.” The employee sat between Hill and Kopper at the April 2018 event.

Hill told the investigator it was one time, not three, and that he had to move her leg so he could reach his own to massage a cramp in his calf.

Oh, here’s the context:

The University of Wisconsin System banned the husband of UW-Whitewater’s chancellor from campus and ended his unpaid appointment after a sexual harassment investigation found “merit” to the allegations made against him.

Chancellor Beverly Kopper announced the news in a statement Friday, saying that she “fully supported and cooperated with” the System’s investigation against her husband, Alan “Pete” Hill.

Eminem Regrets Use of Gay Slur

This is hilarious. Have you ever listened to Eminem? He uses just about every slur in the book. But this is the bridge too far?

Eminem says he was uncomfortable with homophobic lyrics he wrote and released on his recent album, Kamikaze.

He faced criticism for his language on album track Fall while speaking about Tyler, The Creator.

Eminem says he “felt like this might be too far”, in a new interview to promote the record on his own YouTube channel.

“In my quest to hurt him, I realize that I was hurting a lot of other people by saying it,” says Eminem.

“It was one of the things that I kept going back to and going ‘I don’t feel right with this’.”

[…]

Eminem has been criticised for his use of homophobic lyrics throughout his 20-year career in the mainstream.

His early albums are littered with gay slurs.

The rapper has previously defended his offensive language, saying that he believes the F-word is the same as calling someone a ‘punk’.

But he also formed a friendship with Elton John, who said in 2017 that Eminem was not homophobic and claimed he was “writing about the way things are, not how he thinks.”

“It’s OK… I have a lot of gay friends…”

Nine Eleven

This summer I spent a little time in Manhattan with a couple of my teenage daughters. We took in the sights, toured the museums, enjoyed the food, and explored the city. We made a special point of visiting the 9/11 Museum and memorial prior to seeing Come From Away on Broadway. It was not my first time to Ground Zero, but it was their first time. Being there always gets to me. The searing memories of that day still burn. Standing there… seeing the remnants… hearing the 911 calls and cockpit recordings… it still hurts.

My daughters were babies when 9/11 happened and have grown up in the post-9/11 world. I imagine that me talking about 9/11 to them is akin to my parents talking to me about the Kennedy assassination. Whatever, dad… The world in which we live – the September 12th world – is the only world they have ever known. But being in the ruins of the Twin Towers, I think they began to understand. In particular, hearing the phone calls and flight recorder from Flight 93 and those last moments of fear, courage, and resolve, hit all of us hard. Heroes.

If you have the opportunity to visit Ground Zero, don’t miss it. Amid the ruins, artifacts, and memorial are the signs of rebirth and renewal.

But most of all… Never Forget.

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Opioid Crisis Linked to Decreased Labor Force Participation

Speaking of West Virginia

The opioid crisis appears to be contributing to decreased labor force participation, especially in certain U.S. states, according to a chart by Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Slok.

Opioid use has been one of many driving forces behind higher disability rates, Yahoo Finance previously reported, which leads to more people being out of the labor force (even when the overall economy is humming).

West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas are seeing a particularly high correlation between opioid prescriptions and lack of labor market participation, as indicated by this chart:

Torsten Slok / Deutsche Bank Research

Coming Robot Apocalypse

Well, duh. I saw Terminator.

Robots could become radicalised if they are badly coded, an expert has warned.

Professor of electrical and computer engineering Subhash Kak from Oklahoma University believes robots could become mass murderers if they are not wired correctly.

Although the danger does not exist with the current technology, Dr Kak believes future technical malfunctions could put thousands of peoples’ lives at risk.

Earlier this year he issued another chilling warning saying that the machine takeover will lead mankind into a ‘hellish dystopia’.

Tesla’s Union Busting Ways

Huh. The darling of the Left hates unions. Can’t blame ’em.

Tesla and its billionaire owner, Elon Musk, have earned a reputation for union-busting efforts over the past few years. In February 2017, Musk accused a factory worker who outlined several issues within Tesla in a Medium blogpost of being a “union plant”. In an email, Musk also promised workers free frozen yogurt in a letter to employees that framed unionization efforts as an effort against Tesla by big car companies. The same month, Tesla employee Michael Sanchez alleged he was asked to leave the Tesla factory by security for handing out pro-union flyers outside to fellow employees.

The NLRB filed a complaint currently on trial over Musk’s alleged promise to workers in a June 2017 meeting to fix safety standard concerns if they refrained from efforts to form a union. Several similar charges against Tesla are currently under consideration by the NLRB, including one alleging surveillance and intimidation against workers attempting to form a union.

Complaints from workers over being fired for engaging in efforts to unionize at Tesla have become common. “I was a union supporter. I wore a union shirt almost every day to work and my supervisor at the time asked me why I wore it,” said Jim Owen, who left the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, in March 2018 due to concerns for his safety after a robot almost severely injured him while working on car hoods. “He told me upper management wouldn’t appreciate me wearing it.”

NFL Season Kicks off Tonight

The NFL season kicks off tonight. As I sit here with the TV on in the background, I see that rain has delayed the kickoff. It seems somewhat emblematic of the NFL as a whole right now.

For a little background, I love football. I came of age in the great state of Texas where life happens around football games. Thursday nights were for JV games, Friday Night Lights warmed you up for college ball on Saturday. Sundays were full of football and Monday Night Football capped off the week. After the weekend (Tuesday and Wednesday), the cycle started again. Watching football during on Thanksgiving and Christmas were as much a part of the traditions of those holidays as eating too much and a couch nap.

The last couple of years, I noticed that I was watching a lot less NFL. It wasn’t really a conscious decision. I’m not boycotting. But I used to watch any NFL game that was on. I would make a point to watch my team, but I was perfectly happy turning on a Bengals game if it was on because I enjoyed watching the game.

As this season kicks off, I didn’t even realize there was a game tonight until about an hour ago. I’m in a fantasy football league this year after a break for a couple of years. I struggled to know a good number of the players for the draft. I’m not even really sure which teams are expected to be good or not.

I’m just not as interested as I used to be. Why?

I suppose it could be age, but I still love to watch college football. I’ll watch any of the games. I also really enjoy watching high school football. I still really enjoy watching the game – just not the NFL as much.

Part of the reason is that the NFL has screwed with the schedule too much. Now there are NFL games on Thursdays, Saturdays, Sunday mornings when they play in Europe, etc. It’s a mess. Sometimes I just don’t even know there’s a game on.

Then, the NFL decided to mess with the delivery options. I realize that there are many options available for delivering television content. We pulled the plug years ago. But I’m not going to sign up for a subscription service I don’t already have, buy the NFL channel, or log into Facebook to watch a game. I remember when they first had a game exclusively on the NFL network. I shrugged and said, “oh well… it’s just a game.” That was one less game that I might have watched.

In recent years, the NFL has also been making the rules incomprehensible. I don’t mind complexity in the game. That is part of what makes it fun. It is a complex game with 22 men on the field with different assignments, skills, and responsibilities. There are nuances to coaching, clock management, officiating, etc. But the rules have become so ridiculous that even knowledgeable viewers can’t tell if a catch is a catch, or a touchdown is a touchdown, without a slow motion replay, an abacus, Ouiga board, 5 dice, and a Magic Eight Ball. And even then you’ll come to a different conclusion than the official. I don’t mind arguing about the occasional bad call, but I can’t even tell if the call is bad or not most of the time.

Finally, there are the protests. Sports are fun, but they are an escape from “real life.” They are supposed to be a mental break from work, politics, and the stressors of daily life. When watching or not watching a game becomes some sort of political virtue signal, I’m less interested in participating. I’d rather find a different way to spend my leisure time.

I suspect that football will be around for a long time, but I am starting to have my doubts about the NFL. I am, after all, one of their target demographics. I’m a football-luvin’ middle-aged guy with enough discretionary income to go to games and buy their advertisers’ merchandise if I want. I’m just not that into the NFL anymore. The league won’t die because of boycotts and protests. It will die when too many people don’t even know what’s going on in the NFL because they aren’t even paying attention to it.

 

One more thought… when and if the NFL falls, it will happen very quickly. Their cost structure is such that they have massive labor and infrastructure costs. Those costs are fixed, or the most part, because the labor costs are weighted to the batter players and you can’t run a team with fewer than 11 people – at the bare minimum. Realistically speaking, something around 35 players is probably the minimum to still put on an entertaining professional entertainment product. On the other side of the ledger, much of their revenue is tied to the massive broadcast deals – many of which are being paid by broadcasters who are struggling themselves. If the value of those deals collapse, the dominoes will fall quickly and NFL revenue with them. With a rigid cost structure, the NFL will not be able to adapt quickly enough and will enter bankruptcy rapidly to get out of the employment contracts.

Pastor Takes Heat For Eulogy at Franklin Funeral

Some harsh rhetoric, but the message is spot on. I’m not sure if a funeral was the appropriate place for it, but it seems that most of the backlash was about people not liking the message – not the venue.

“I was trying to show that the movement now is moving and should move in a different direction,” he said. “… What we need to do is create respect among ourselves. Aretha is the person with that song ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T’ that is laid out for us and what we need to be as a race within ourselves. We need to show each other that. We need to show each other respect. That was the reason why I did it.”

Williams, who is the pastor of Salem Bible Church in Atlanta, said his words about black women being incapable of raising sons alone were taken out of context. He described as “abortion after birth” the idea of children being raised without a “provider” father and a mother as the “nurturer.”

Many thought Williams took a shot at Franklin, who was a single mother of four boys. But the pastor said a household can become stronger with two parents rather than one.

“Here’s the root of what I’ve been talking about: In order to change America, we must change black America’s culture,” he said. “We must do it through parenting. In order for the parenting to go forth, it has to be done in the home. The home.”

Williams also received backlash for his thoughts about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Some called Williams’ eulogy a “disaster” as his speech caused an uproar on social media and in the funeral crowd, including Stevie Wonder who yelled out “Black Lives Matter” after the pastor said “No, black lives do not matter” during his sermon.

“I think Stevie Wonder did not understand what I said,” Williams said. “I said blacks do not matter, because black lives cannot matter, will not matter, should not matter, must not matter until black people begin to respect their own lives. Then and only then will black lives matter. That’s what I said, and again, and again, and again. We need to have respect for each other. Once we start doing that, then we can begin to change.”

Cannon Returned to Alamo

Gig ’em.

Texas A&M University’s Alamo cannon conservation project came to a historic conclusion Wednesday as the last of seven battle-used cannons were returned to the Alamo in a changing of the guard ceremony between living historians and members of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets.

During the “Texas A&M and The Alamo Present: A Salute to Alamo Cannon Conservation” event at the Texas A&M System’s RELLIS Campus, Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp thanked Conservation Research Laboratory (CRL) Director Donny Hamilton and Research Associate Jim Jobling and the students who worked on the project for their year of conservation work. He also recognized members of the Corps of Cadets on who participated in the changing of the guard ceremony.

“I’m also proud to be part of a place that has the men and women in the Corps of Cadets, who have the same attitude that the people in the Alamo had, and that is life is not worth living without liberty,” Sharp said.

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, whose General Land Office manages the Alamo, called the event an “important milestone in preserving Texas history” and commended Texas A&M and the CRL for undertaking the conservation effort.

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Sexist Temperature

Speaking of odd claims of sexism.

Governor Cuomo supposedly favours Arctic conditions when making public appearances. It’s sufficiently bad that the New York Times once headlined an article, “Going to an Event Featuring Cuomo? Take a Coat, or Maybe a Blanket”.

Keen to avoid the Big Freeze, Ms Nixon’s team emailed organisers to ask that the room be heated to 76F (24C) on Wednesday night.

Strategist Rebecca Katz wrote that working conditions are “notoriously sexist when it comes to room temperature, so we just want to make sure we’re all on the same page here”.

If 76 degrees is sexist against men and 66 degrees is sexist against women, what would be the non-sexist temperature? It’s quite the conundrum.

OR… and I’m going out on a limb here… we could treat people as individuals who may have different preferences in regards to the ambient temperature.

Public “Pissiors” Under Attack

What to do?

Feminist protesters have begun vandalising the new open-air street urinalsin Paris, labelling them sexist and discriminatory.

Several of the eco-friendly urinals have been placed in public spots in recent months as an experiment to counter Paris’s problem of urine-soaked pavements.

But protesters in recent days targeted two on the Île Saint-Louis and near Gare de Lyon station – plastering them with stained sanitary towels and tampons, then blocking them with concrete.

Notes left behind attacked Paris authorities for encouraging men to unzip and relieve themselves without cover in open public spaces – even though public breastfeeding still elicits scorn.

[…]

“These urinals are designed to comfort men and reinforce the idea that women aren’t welcome in the public space. It is discrimination and reinforces the stereotypical, sexist idea that men can’t control themselves in any way, including their bladders.”

[…]

Police handed out 5,000 fines to people caught urinating against walls or on pavements in Paris in the first half of 2018 – almost all men. But with 450 self-cleaning public toilets across the city, many open 24 hours a day, feminists said the extra public urinals specifically for men were sexist and unnecessary.

It is an interesting dilemma. It is a legitimate issue that people – almost all men – are pissing all over the city. So city officials try something that it targeting the problem: men. But that’s viewed as sexist. Because it is. Because men are the problem.

Classical Insults

I agree.

More than 2,000 years ago, the famous Roman politician Marcus Tullius Cicero once accused his enemy Clodius of incest with his brothers and sisters.

But far from being shocking to people living at the time, this type of insult was just a part of normal everyday life, according to one prominent historian.

Professor Dr Martin Jehne of the Technische Universität Dresden says modern insults are nothing compared to those flung around ancient Rome.

According to the historian’s findings, Romans could be even more cruel than the trolls of today and would often stoop to sexual slurs to insult their opponents.

Professor Jehne said withstanding and overcoming insults can ultimately have a politically stabilising effect in society, with those who exchanged vile taunts often working together in the near future.

Likewise, the common people were allowed to insult the elite – who could not retort – helping to curb their ‘omnipotence fantasies’, Professor Jehne claims.

Mom Questioned for Allowing Daughter to Walk Dog Alone

This is nuts.

An Illinois mother-of-two says she had been investigated by child services for allowing her eight-year-old daughter to walk the family dog by herself in their neighborhood.

Speaking to the Chicago Tribune, 48-year-old Corey Widen, of Wilmette, said earlier this month, someone called the police on her after seeing her child outside with her Maltese puppy, Marshmallow, without an adult around.

Police interviewed the mother and decided not to pursue criminal charges, but the incident trigged a two-week investigation by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

[…]

After hearing Widen’s response, the officers left without charging her with child neglect.

Under Illinois state law, child neglect is defined as leaving a minor younger than 14 ‘without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety or welfare of that minor.’

In Strange Twist, Stormy Daniels Pulls Out

Huh.

Big Brother has denied claims that Stormy Daniels didn’t go into the Celebrity Big Brother House because producers wanted to “control” her.

The adult film star was expected to be one of the housemates this series, which started on Thursday night.

But she pulled out at the last minute, and her lawyer said producers “tried to script a result” that she wouldn’t go along with.

He added: “They can make up any story they want, but that’s what happened.”

Imam Preached Jihad to Manchester Suicide Bomber

One might be concerned with this

An imam at the mosque where Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi and his family prayed was delivered a sermon calling for jihad.

Mustafa Graf encouraged followers to ‘take action’ at the Didsbury Mosque in Manchester on December 16, 2016.

That was just six months before Salman Abedi detonated a suicide bomb killing 22 at an Ariana Grande concert in the city.

Increasing Number of Elderly Declare Bankruptcy

This is a concerning trend.

Older Americans are filing for bankruptcy at more than double the rate of just 25 years ago, a sign of a “coming storm of broke elderly,” a new study finds.

The rate of people 65 and over filing for bankruptcy grew nearly 204 percent from 1991 to 2016, a study published by the Social Science Research Network found, and the percentage of seniors among all U.S. bankruptcy filers increased by nearly five times over the same period.

Researchers looking at data from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project found that high health care costs, combined with reduced incomes and the widespread decline of pensions, are all contributing to the growing trend of “financially broken retirees.”

Deborah Thorne, one of the study’s authors from the University of Idaho, said “it’s not an individual’s fault” when they have to file for bankruptcy, citing issues with retirement systems and Medicare.

Wait… what? “”it’s not an individual’s fault” when they have to file for bankruptcy”??? Whose fault is it, then? Part of the problem is that people aren’t taking responsibility for their own financial affairs. They behave as if magic pixies flew into their bank accounts and spent all of their money. Except in rare circumstances, almost every bankruptcy is an individual’s fault. Let’s think about this for a minute.

For years, we have seen Americans saving way too little.

Northwestern Mutual’s 2018 Planning & Progress Study, which surveyed 2,003 adults, found that 21 percent of Americans have nothing saved at all for their golden years, and a third of Americans have less than $5,000. To put that into perspective, it means that 31 percent of U.S. adults could last only a few months on their savings if they had to retire tomorrow.

[…]

Young people who haven’t had as much time to save aren’t skewing the statistics, either. The report found that 33 percent of boomers have $25,000 or less in retirement savings.

Whose fault is that? It’s the individual’s fault, of course. Many, many people can save more, but choose not too. They choose to buy stuff now instead of putting that money into an investment or savings account. We live in a consumption culture and people consume at a rate far higher than their means. The lack of savings, often coupled with massive personal debt, leave far too many people without the means to deal with even a relatively minor life emergency like a medical bill, car accident, flooded basement, or whatever. They are unable to afford these unlikely, but not unexpected, events.
And why do most people go bankrupt? The top 5 reasons are:
1) Medical expenses
2) Job loss
3) Poor/Excessive use of credit
4) Divorce/separation
5) Unexpected expenses
#3 is obviously an individual’s fault. Most of the other causes can be weathered for a while if people are frugal and save money when times are good. People are going to lose jobs… it happens. Divorces happen. Medical expenses happen. Storms happen. Plan for it. Save. Don’t run up debt. If it doesn’t happen to you, then you still won’t regret having saved the money.

There are rare circumstances where an individual could be said to not be at fault for their financial condition. A major economic depression or natural disaster, for example. A lengthy, expensive medical issue, for example. But if an unexpected $5,000 bill pushes you into bankruptcy, it’s your fault. You planned poorly.

Our culture increasingly seeks to absolve individuals of any responsibility for the choices they make (see: abortion). But while the final incident that pushes someone into bankruptcy may not be their fault, the fact they were so vulnerable to bankruptcy is usually the result of a thousand bad decisions made up to that point.

Dad Yells at White Supremacist

This made me LOL.

A livestreamed conversation with Jason Kessler, a white supremacist rally organizer, was interrupted when Kessler’s father admonished the 35-year-old on video, and told him to get out of his room.

Kessler was one of the main organizers of last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Heather Heyer was killed when a self-described Nazi drove his car into a crowd of protesters. In the video, he was in conversation with Patrick Little, a neo-Nazi who ran as a Republican for the US Senate in California this year. Little’s platform included calling for the United States to be “free from Jews”.

Kessler and Little were deep in conversation about Orthodox Jews, when Kessler’s father cut in.

“Hey!” Kessler’s father can be heard to yell. “You get out of my room!”

“You got a drunk roommate there?” Little asked.

“Something like that,” Kessler responded. His dad then cuts in, saying: “I want this to stop in my room, Jason, this is my room.”

Kessler explains to Little that legal costs associated with last year’s Unite the Right rally meant that he had to move back in with his parents.

The neo-nazis and the Antifa folks have a lot in common.