Rule 5 Blogging: United States Air Force

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Amanda Seyfriend in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. Today: some of our pilots!

Captain Katherine Gaetke, F-16 pilot from the 523 Fighter Squadron, and Crew Chief Staff Sergeant Michael Brooks from the 524 Aircraft Maintenance Unit prepare to fly dissimilar aircraft training at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, December 4, 2006. (US Air Force photo by Airman First Class Christopher L. Ingersoll)

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: United States Air Force’ »

From Around the Blogroll

The firing of Jill Abramson as the executive editor of The New York Times generated a lot of instant stories concerning Mrs Abramson (apparently) being paid less than Bill Keller, the white man who preceded her in the position, which were rather amusing considering the left’s continual cries about equal pay for equal work; your Editor is becoming convinced that liberalism and hypocrisy are so inextricably intertwined that one can no longer be a liberal without being a hypocrite.1 But with a couple of days having passed, we’re hearing stories about why Mrs Abramson was shown the door:

Generally Speaking, @AmandaMarcotte Is Insane, and Feminism Is Always Wrong
Posted on | May 16, 2014 | 5 Comments

So now, reacting to the firing of Jill Abramson discussed previously, we encounter this commentary from Amanda Marcotte:

Women, particularly ambitious women, often feel like they’re in a no-win situation when it comes to climbing the career ladder. They’re told to “lean in” and stop being afraid to ask for what we want. They’re told they’re holding themselves back because of a “confidence gap”, and that all they need to do to get ahead in life is to start acting as bold and confident as men do. They’re told they don’t make as much as men because they don’t demand higher salaries. Or worse, that they’re “choosing” to make less than men by applying themselves less at the office.

But what happens when women follow all this advice to lean in, hold their heads high, make demands, and fake it ‘til they make it? Well, a lot of women rightfully fear that they’ll be considered bitchy shrews. Women know that the very qualities that cause so many to see men as “powerful” look like, well, pushiness when they manifest in women. In fact, research confirms this fear: Following all that advice to act like a man can backfire and cause your boss to apply misogynist stereotypes to you that you will never get past. So the lame advice women get is to be pushy and confident sometimes and demure and retreating at others. How to tell the difference? Sorry, no one can help you there. You just have to know. Good luck, ladies.

Do ambitious women “often feel like they’re in a no-win situation”? I’m certain they do, just as I am certain that the advice they receive on how to deal with this situation is confusing. I am likewise certain that in their career competition with men — having chosen this competition themselves — these women expose themselves to the known ferocity of men in situations where a man’s ambition puts him in a posture of rivalry toward others who seek to ascend the same career ladder.

Ambitious women, I’m sure, encounter the kinds of attitudes and behaviors that Marcotte describes. There is no argument here, you see, with what Marcotte says the reality is. Rather, the question is about what ought to be, and in that question, Marcotte expects her readers to choose sides. She expects women to believe that ambitious men should just step aside and restrain their own competitive instincts, and let themselves be eclipsed by female rivals, merely because these rivals are women, for the sake of an ideological abstraction, Equality.

OK — but why?

Please tell me why, in such a situation, any man should be expected to act this way? Why should a man be less competitive toward a female rival than toward a male? Why must a man accept that his own individual ambition must be thwarted for the sake of Equality?

Why? Why, Affirmative Action, silly! Please make a note of it, and there’s more of Robert Stacey Stacy McCain’s article if you follow the link.

Miss Marcotte would never accept Mr McCain’s formulation, because to accept it means something she doesn’t realize that she has already conceded: men and women are different even in the business atmosphere, and that there can be — and are — real competitive advantages which accrue to men due to those differences.

Jessica Bennett of Jezebel, another feminist site, put it this way:

So what can Jill Abramson teach us about female bosses? That we’re still uncomfortable with them, for one. That, when a female boss leads like a man, we’ll deem her “brusque,” “pushy,” but when she leads like a woman, we’ll brush her off as too “soft.”

Research has long shown that women in power are judged more harshly because they’re women — what researchers call the “double bind.” The cause of course is stereotypes: that we expect women to be less competent from the start. That a female boss in and of itself violates our cultural expectations about how women are supposed to be, act, behave: you know, nurturing, maternal, warm.

So when a woman tries to act like a man to get ahead — or, you might say, like a leader — she suffers: liked less by both male and female colleagues, penalized for being “too aggressive.” When a man leads we see his assertiveness as “bold,” his demands “direct.” But when you’re Abramson — or any female boss before her — you’re just a bitch.

 

Mrs Bennett has just told us that most leadership traits wind up being masculine, something which would appall Miss Marcotte no end. But there’s more from Mrs Bennett:

How to close the gender gap at work? Strike a pose
By Jessica Bennett

Plenty of pundits have idiosyncratic ways of prepping for a big speech. But if you’re a six-foot-one progressive lesbian debating a conservative white man on Fox News, you’d better have a good one.

Sally Kohn, 36, has a ritual: A few minutes before she heads on set, she ducks into a hallway, spreads her feet, stands up perfectly straight and puts her hands on her hips, chin tilted up. She holds the pose for two full minutes – which point her testosterone levels rise her cortisol drops, making her more confident and less anxious. Then she walks on camera.

Kohn learned the trick from Amy Cuddy, a Harvard Business School social psychologist whose TedTalk on “Power Posing” – a shortcut to boosting confidence and gaining a quick competitive edge — has been viewed nearly 10 million times, and spawned a global following.

The allure of Cuddy’s work is in its ease: She knew from studies of facial feedback that when people smile, they can fake themselves into feeling happier.

And so, with two colleagues, she decided to try that theory out on body language – placing 42 research subjects into a series of high-power (bodies spread wide, feet up on desks) and low-power (sitting, slouched, arms wrapped tightly to the body) positions, tracking their hormone levels as she went.

In just two minutes, subjects in the high-power poses saw testosterone levels rise by as much as 20 percent and cortisol levels sink by about 25 – the chemicals linked to confidence versus stress, respectively. As it turns out, the best business leaders — both men and women — have relatively high testosterone and low cortisol levels, traits that tend to increase their appetite for risk, and configure our brain to cope in stressful situations.

For women looking to improve their leadership skills at work — to, as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg puts it, lean in to their ambitions — could it really be so simple?

“A lot of this stuff isn’t gendered, per se — I don’t feel like I’m using men’s tools,” says Kohn. “I feel like I’m using tools that we should all have access to and know about, but women simply haven’t been raised to cultivate.”

There’s more at the link, but with that article, Mrs Bennett has told us that testosterone, that wonderful hormone that makes men men, makes better business leaders.

So, maybe it’s true that Mrs Abramson lost her job because she is a woman, because, as a woman, she had less of the hormone that makes leaders!

Now, I find it somewhat difficult to label Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of the Times, as a sexist for having dismissed Mrs Abramson, given that he hired her, and promoted her, in the first place, something he did not have to do. Mrs Abramson was a high-powered, and highly paid, executive, and in that position she had one, and only one, responsibility: keep the boss happy, and that she apparently failed to do.

Sister Toldjah sends a birthday greeting to state Senator Wendy Davis (D-TX)

On Truth Before Dishonor, John Hitchcock pointed out that the vast majority of America’s poor aren’t poor.

The Colossus of Rhodey was offline for a while, but Hube tells us that, after a lot of work, they’re up and running again, and there’s plenty of good stuff there.

L D Jackson notes that Judge Michael Boggs, formerly an elected Democrat official, is too conservative for some liberals now that President Obama has nominated him for a federal judgeship.

Karen, the Lonely Conservative, tells us about former Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN), now the President of Purdue University, who has instituted belt-tightening measures at the university, which has enabled Purdue to freeze tuition rates for two years now. During his tenure as governor, Mr Daniels cut the state government workforce by 18%, cut and capped state property taxes, and balanced the state budget through budget austerity measures and increasing spending by less than the inflation rate. In his second term, Daniels saw protest by labor unions and Democrats in the state legislature over his policies regarding the Indiana’s school voucher program and the Indiana House of Representatives attempt to pass right to work legislation, leading to the 2011 Indiana legislative walkouts; he got it passed. It seems that perhaps, just perhaps, college really can be less expensive; all that you need is a good, conservative former governor at the helm.

Daniel Wani and his wife Meriam Yahia Ibrahim in happier times

At The Pirate’s Cove, William Teach asked why there’s no attention being paid by the media and the left to the pregnant Sudanese Christian woman, Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, sentenced to be hanged for apostasy. Her husband is an American citizen, but our State Department is doing nothing. The Islamist Shari’a law considers Mrs Ibrahim to be Muslim because her father, who abandoned the family when she was only six, was Muslim. Her mother, an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, reared her daughter as a Christian, and she has never been religiously a Muslim, but the Islamists don’t care about that. She has been sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery, because the Islamists don’t recognize her marriage to a Christian as valid, after she recovers from childbirth, and her execution will take place after her baby is weaned. In the meantime, her husband is prohibited from having contact with her, and with his other son by her, because he is Christian and the children are, by law, Muslim.

Jennifer Davis of the Victory Girls also wrote on the subject.

Maybe if we point out that Mrs Ibrahim is black, and not to do something is raaaaacist, the State Department would try to do something.  However, it seems rather odd to me that the United States would expend time and money concerning the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, none of whom were Americans, yet virtually ignoring the plight of an American citizen and his wife in nearby Sudan.

But, at some point, it’s time for Americans to wake up, and realize that our deeply-ingrained cultural notion that religion and state are almost entirely separate pretty much stops at our borders. Throughout the Muslim world, Islam is an integral part of the state, and of the law. The details vary from country to country, and even within the same countries — Sudan would be one of them — but the overall concept remains.

Donald Douglas at American Power pointed out the rather inconvenient fact that the Obama Administration threatened the Nigerian government with sanctions, just last year, for fighting against Boko Haram.

On Patterico’s Pontifications, the much better-looking Dana wrote about officials at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University have reached an agreement with student activists to force “mandatory power and privilege training” on incoming students during orientation.

Apparently, this training is viewed by students as necessary for all future public leaders to be effective.

We could not grapple with hard questions about the role of government, the impact of a particular social welfare program, or the root cause of poverty. To consider these questions, we needed the additional benefit of interdisciplinary frameworks from fields like sociology, gender studies, and ethnic studies. Without understanding the socio-historical context in which policy is made, we cannot analyze the disparate ways various groups are affected by public policy, nor can we determine the best path forward.

Translation: we are so fornicating stupid that we can’t figure things out without asking otherwise unemployable people from crap disciplines their unsupported opinions.

The exercise of public leadership must draw upon more than the principles of organizational management, the tactics of negotiation science, or the psychology of implicit biases. It requires an honest assessment of structural power dynamics, of in-group and out-group dynamics, and of privilege. It requires that we continue to dissect the ways in which social structures operate to endow some individuals with certain advantages, and others with marked disadvantages. It requires that we remain critically attuned to power dynamics, both micro and macro, that undergird the institutions many of us will operate within throughout our careers

No explanation given on how past and current public leaders have managed to be successful.

You know what my white privilege has been? It’s been the privilege of getting out of bed every morning and going to work to earn a living for my family and myself.  While I’m doing well now, such was also my privilege when the only jobs I could find were entry level and physical labor jobs. And apparently it’s also my privilege to pay taxes to support the lazy scumbags who won’t get out of bed in the morning to go to work to support themselves.  If I don’t have much sympathy for those who say that they can’t find decent jobs, it’s because I had to work some of those not-so-great jobs myself in the past, and I don’t consider them to be demeaning or beneath people in any way.

Well, that’s From Around the Blogroll for this week!
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  1. It doesn’t work the other way around: one can be a hypocrite without being a liberal, but you can still be a conservative without being a hypocrite.

I told you so!

A very disturbing story from The Pirate’s Cove:

Hooray! US Mining Personal Health Data For Your Own Good
By William Teach May 16, 2014 – 3:35 pm

The Government just wants to protect the vulnerable. It’s For Your Own Good:

U.S. Mines Personal Health Data to Find the Vulnerable in Emergencies

The phone calls were part Big Brother, part benevolent parent. When a rare ice storm threatened New Orleans in January, some residents heard from a city official who had gained access to their private medical information. Kidney dialysis patients were advised to seek early treatment because clinics would be closing. Others who rely on breathing machines at home were told how to find help if the power went out.

Those warnings resulted from vast volumes of government data. For the first time, federal officials scoured Medicare health insurance claims to identify potentially vulnerable people and share their names with local public health authorities for outreach during emergencies and disaster drills.

The program is just one of a growing number of public and corporate efforts to take health information far beyond the doctor’s office, offering the promise of better care but also raising concerns about patient privacy.

Again, this is just The Government protecting you. So what if the data is private. They’re The Government! They’re here to help!

More at the link.

But this is just more evidence of what we have said previously: we have suggested before that the Obama Administration’s insistence on all medical records being converted to computer storageand requiring certain things to be included, was to make our medical records computer searchable, and that searchability contained a lot of dangerous things.

The First Street Journal thinks that The New York Times article Mr Teach cited failed to ask a rather obvious question: if “some residents heard from a city official who had gained access to their private medical information,” just how and why did that “city official” gain access to their private medical information in the first place? More from the Times:

In some cities, text messages remind parents to get their children vaccinated. Elsewhere, emergency medical services sift records to identify — sometimes to law enforcement officials — “frequent fliers” who take repeated, costly ambulance trips. In New Orleans, a health care information exchange notifies primary care physicians when their patients are admitted to hospitals, offers insurers the ability to sift the data for “high-cost users” and permits authorized individuals to “break the glass” in emergencies — viewing records of patients who have not previously given permission and cannot speak for themselves. And a federal program allows data sharing with public health officials to monitor “mental health conditions” and other illnesses in hazardous situations, like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Your Editor gains little satisfaction from being right; simply saying I told you so hardly makes up for the utter perniciousness of the enforced computerization of medical records and the ability for people to search them for things. If “a city official” can check your medical records to see if you are a kidney dialysis patient, then why can’t someone else, a prospective employer’s human resources department perhaps, check to see if an applicant smoked or had high blood pressure or was obese by his body mass index or had ever undergone drug or alcohol abuse therapy?1 And if “a federal program allows data sharing with public health officials to monitor ‘mental health conditions,’” how long will it be before such information is available to law enforcement officials as well, whenever someone wants to exercise his Second Amendment rights to purchase a firearm? Many physicians will ask patients, including child patients, if they or their families have a firearm in the home. While physicians are not required to ask, and patients are not required to answer,2 the information could become part of that computerized medical record . . . and a back door to a national firearms registry.

Doctor/patient confidentiality? You can forget all about that! Your doctor cannot be required to testify against you in any maters which relate to confidential medical matters, but they won’t need to, will they; if some “city official” can gain access, how long will it be before prosecutors can as well?

Mr Teach concluded:

In other words, these benevolent Progressives found a workaround to take the private data. For your own good. It should concern everyone that Government keeps finding ways to intrude on citizens without permission. I bet if they had run the program voluntarily, asking citizens if there was anything Government should be aware of in the case of an emergency, they would get a good response. Because there are times when Government is necessary. It should not be done simply because Government wants to “help you” and manufactures ways around privacy laws. Where does it stop?

The answer is that it never stops; there will always be a good reason that someone just needs to know something.
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  1. I recognize that the law doesn’t allow human resources departments such access, but I am not naïve enough to think that a dedicated hacker couldn’t break through.
  2. Will a 9-year-old realize that if his doctor asks if dad has a gun in the house, he doesn’t have to answer?

No Wonder NYT Is Going Broke – You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up

There is big time Hi-Jinx going on at the NYT, or is that redundant? Recently their new Managing Editor, Jill Abramson was fired over the subject of “Pay Equality”. The NYT Blew This One. There were two stories on DRUDGE that should make the NYT, well, look stupid. It started out Abramson wanted equal pay of that of outgoing William Keller. Pinch, no brains, Salzburger in a fit, fired her for her audacity. Well, the first story is the WHY Abramson was fired, the second article says Abramson made more than Keller. So, when you look at the overall management of the NYT, the simple response was, YES, we’ll give you a PAY CUT and you’ll be right in line. But the NYT being the BRAINS of the Journalism World, just made an ass of itself, AGAIN. You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Story One:
May 14, 2014
Why Jill Abramson Was Fired

At the annual City University Journalism School dinner, on Monday, Dean Baquet, the managing editor of the New York Times, was seated with Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the paper’s publisher. At the time, I did not give a moment’s thought to why Jill Abramson, the paper’s executive editor, was not at their table. Then, at 2:36 P.M. on Wednesday, an announcement from the Times hit my e-mail, saying that Baquet would replace Abramson, less than three years after she was appointed the first woman in the top job. Baquet will be the first African-American to lead the Times.

Fellow-journalists and others scrambled to find out what had happened. Sulzberger had fired Abramson, and he did not try to hide that. In a speech to the newsroom on Wednesday afternoon, he said, “I chose to appoint a new leader of our newsroom because I believe that new leadership will improve some aspects …” Abramson chose not to attend the announcement, and not to pretend that she had volunteered to step down.

As with any such upheaval, there’s a history behind it. Several weeks ago, I’m told, Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs. “She confronted the top brass,” one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management’s narrative that she was “pushy,” a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect. Sulzberger is known to believe that the Times, as a financially beleaguered newspaper, needed to retreat on some of its generous pay and pension benefits; Abramson, who spent much of her career at the Wall Street Journal, had been at the Times for far fewer years than Keller, which accounted for some of the pension disparity.

More here:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/currency/2014/05/why-jill-abramson-was-fired.html
Story Two:

New York Times publisher fires back, calls claim that Jill Abramson was paid less ‘not true’
By Ashe Schow | MAY 15, 2014 AT 2:28 PM

Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of the New York Times, told staff that it was “simply not true” that now-fired Executive Editor Jill Abramson was paid less than her male predecessor, according to a staff memo obtained by Politico.

A bombshell report on Wednesday revealed that Abramson had discussed the pay inequity with Sulzberger and that the gap was closed, but that Abramson had also asked a lawyer to inquire about past pay and pension disparities.

Sulzberger’s denial that Abramson was paid less would discredit the earlier report.

“It is simply not true that Jill’s compensation was significantly less than her predecessors,” Sulzberger wrote, as quoted by Politico. “Her pay is comparable to that of earlier executive editors.”

Not only that, but, according to Sulzberger, Abramson’s “total compensation package” for 2013 was 10 percent higher than her male predecessor’s.

Moron Here:

http://washingtonexaminer.com/new-york-times-publisher-fires-back-calls-claim-that-jill-abramson-was-paid-less-not-true/article/2548485

This pisses me off!

From the Associated Press, via NBC News:

Pentagon OKs Chelsea Manning Transfer for Gender Treatment

WASHINGTON – In an unprecedented move, the Pentagon is trying to transfer convicted national security leaker Pvt. Chelsea Manning to a civilian prison so she can get treatment for her gender disorder, defense officials said.

Manning, formerly named Bradley, was convicted of sending classified documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. The soldier has asked for hormone therapy and to be able to live as a woman.

The request was the first ever made by a transgender military inmate and set up a dilemma for the Defense Department: How to treat a soldier for a diagnosed disorder without violating long-standing military policy. Transgenders are not allowed to serve in the U.S. military and the Defense Department does not provide such treatment, but Manning can’t be discharged from the service while serving his 35-year prison sentence.

Some officials have said privately that keeping the soldier in a military prison and unable to have treatment could amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

More at the link.

First of all, the compliments of The First Street Journal to the Associated Press writer, who made an obvious effort not to misidentify Inmate Manning through the use of feminine pronouns. The only such misuse in the article was in a direct quote, from a Pentagon spokesman, RADM John Kirby. A rear admiral ought to know better than that, but he was probably under orders. The internally linked article noting the mistaken ruling1 by Leavenworth County District Judge David King which said that Bradley Manning could legally change his name to Chelsea did use the incorrect pronouns, which The First Street Journal will not do; Mr Manning is legally and physically male, and is not a woman regardless of how deranged he is.

However, we certainly do not compliment the Department of Defense, either for the decision not to contest the name change request, or for the decision to allow this prisoner to receive, at federal government expense! sexual reassignment “treatment.”2 That the decision was taken at the highest level is noted:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last month gave the Army approval to try to work out a transfer plan with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which does provide such treatment, two Pentagon officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record.

There you go: the decision was taken by the civilian leadership.

Of course, it’s more than just a problem with Secretary Hagel’s decision; the question of why the Federal Bureau of Prisons provides — and pays for — sexual reassignment “treatment” in the first place. Typically, the procedures which are mistakenly identified as male-to-female transition cost around $20,000. At a time when the federal government is borrowing over $500 billion a year,3 why in God’s name does the federal government spend money on these cockamamie procedures?4

Now, if Mr Manning is ever released from prison, and his sentence is such that he could be released on parole in as few as six more years, though he was sentenced to 35 years, your Editor has no problem at all with him getting together the money to pay for it himself. But while he is a prisoner, he should remain in jail, as a male, throughout his sentence.
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Update: I appear to have erred when I said that the Associated Press writer had avoided using the incorrect pronouns; the first paragraph uses the incorrect, feminine pronoun, though the third refers to “his 35-year prison sentence.”
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  1. The Department of Defense did not contest Mr Manning’s suit, which probably left the judge no choice.
  2. The word “treatment” is used in quotation marks because The First Street Journal does not regard improper medications and surgical mutilation to be a proper treatment for anything.
  3. In February, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the FY2014 deficit would come in at $514 billion.
  4. Of course, the government should not spend money on these procedures, for prisoners or anyone else, even if the budget showed a surplus.

Telling half the truth, the half-truth, and nothing but half the truth

Robert Stacey Stacy McCain pointed out a rather glaring omission in the stories about the Boko Haram terrorist group which seized a couple hundred school girls in Nigeria, to be sold as slaves or into forced marriages:

Boko Haram and the Jihad in Africa
Posted on | May 10, 2014 | 50 Comments

The #BringBackOurGirls Twitter hashtag — online activism about the plight of girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria — has been embraced by numerous celebrities, including Alyssa Milano. This situation has gained worldwide attention and highlights a reality that American media have in recent years deliberately ignored: The persistent menace of violent Islamic jihad in sub-Saharan Africa.

If the news of the Boko Haram abductions was shocking, it was because the American media have been so busy promoting the Obama administration’s narrative that, since the death of Osama bin Laden, the threat of Islamic terrorism has essentially ended. This narrative is politically convenient for Democrats, but as with most such narratives, it’s a gigantic lie. There are still many millions of Muslims in the world who hate us and want us all dead, and many of them are willing to take up arms to accomplish that goal.

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama will highlight the Boko Haram abductions in the weekly White House radio address, and I guarantee you in advance that the words “Muslim” and “Islam” will not be part of her script. American news media are willing accomplices in this dishonest propaganda, habitually referring to Boko Haram as “militants” or “rebels” (not terrorists, you see) and, as to the religious orientation of Boko Haram, they might as well be rogue Episcopalians for what you could gather from most media reports.

A lot more at the link. And, as Mr McCain predicted,1 the First Lady’s address made no mention of the words “Muslim” or “Islam,” or made any references at all which could tell the listener who Boko Haram were. The word “terrorist” was used.

The First Lady also mentioned Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan, the teenaged girl who spoke out for the education of girls in that country, saying that she “was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman while on a school bus with her classmates.” Again, you have to know who the Taliban are, or look it up yourself, to know that they are Islamists,2 because the First Lady sure wasn’t going to tell you! But if the kidnappers been radical Christians or, even worse, Jooooos, you could bet your last dollar that the professional media, and the First Lady, would have told you, would have made sure that you knew. Did the professional media ever fail to tell you that the late Fred Phelps’ “church” was Christian? And while they were rude, crude and socially unacceptable, they never killed or kidnapped anyone.

And, of course, if you got your information solely from the professional media, you wouldn’t know that most of the 180 girls still missing were Christians.

We Americans grew up with the concept that church and state are separate entities; we have no official church, we have no official religion, and we hold that people are free to worship, or not worship, however they please. It’s a great system, even though some atheist fanatics try to use lawfare to try to enforce an official atheism, but it has an unfortunate tendency to limit our understanding of some events outside our culture. We try — or at least the left try — to separate the Islamist terrorist groups from Islam, because we don’t want to offend Muslims who aren’t Islamists.3 They were not, of course, afraid of offending Christians by mentioning Mr Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church, were they?

Our concept of the separation of church and state simply is not shared that widely abroad. In the liberal Western democracies, it’s mostly ignored, but many nations have official state churches, the official Church of England being the most obvious example. But once you get into the Muslim areas, Islam is more or less a part of government, and a part of the various anti-government movements. There is legitimate disagreement as to whether a radical view of Islam is what inspires the Islamist terrorist groups, or whether Islam is simply a convenient, and thus adopted, religion and philosophy to use to further their political goals; your Editor views those two points as not being mutually exclusive, and that both are partially true.

The harmful bacillus of multiculturalism is weakening Western culture and society. You do not have to be a Christian to realize that societies which are, or were, predominantly Christian enjoy far greater freedom, liberty and economic success than those cultures in which Islam dominates. You do not have to be a Christian, or a Jew, to understand that you actually have the freedom to not be Christian or Jewish in those nations in which Christianity was the predominant faith, but that such liberty either just barely exists, if it exists at all, in the Muslim Middle East. Multiculturalism was defined thus in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Multiculturalism is a body of thought in political philosophy about the proper way to respond to cultural and religious diversity. Mere toleration of group differences is said to fall short of treating members of minority groups as equal citizens; recognition and positive accommodation of group differences are required through “group-differentiated rights,” a term coined by Will Kymlicka (1995). Some group-differentiated rights are held by individual members of minority groups, as in the case of individuals who are granted exemptions from generally applicable laws in virtue of their religious beliefs or individuals who seek language accommodations in schools or in voting. Other group-differentiated rights are held by the group qua group rather by its members severally; such rights are properly called group rights, as in the case of indigenous groups and minority nations, who claim the right of self-determination. In the latter respect, multiculturalism is closely allied with nationalism.

A lot more at the original, but the basis of multiculturalism is that all cultures must be equally respected, a view which, by its very nature, requires a suspension of judgement, to note, as I have, both in this article and in others, is to exercise judgement as to what different cultures have wrought, as to how different cultures have helped or hindered the people who live in them. Under multiculturalism, we cannot tell the truth, certainly not the whole truth, even to ourselves, because, heaven forfend! we might offend someone or be branded as racists, or commit some other crime against multiculturalism and liberal thought which would have academics banished to the Outer Void, while just regular people like your Editor would simply be dismissed as bitter clingers.

In their desire to be good and likable and inclusive, the left have made themselves deliberately stupid; in order not to appear judgemental, the left have abandoned judgement, and reason, and wisdom. The professional media won’t want to tell you, and the Obama Administration certainly does not, that the Boko Haram terrorists who kidnapped those mostly Christian girls from a school in Nigeria are Islamists, are men seeking to impose Islam as a political system wherever they can, because, horrors! some people might want to discriminate against Muslims. They have made themselves deliberately stupid.
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  1. He actually posted his story a couple hours after the transcript appeared on the White House web site, but stated that he hadn’t seen it, and was working of a reference from Matt Drudge. Knowing how long it takes me to write some articles, I find that totally believable.
  2. The Merriam-Webster Online dictionary defines Islamism as “a popular reform movement advocating the reordering of government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam.” Daniel Pipes gave a more detailed explanation in 1998:

    Islamism is an ideology that demands man’s complete adherence to the sacred law of Islam and rejects as much as possible outside influence, with some exceptions (such as access to military and medical technology). It is imbued with a deep antagonism towards non-Muslims and has a particular hostility towards the West. It amounts to an effort to turn Islam, a religion and civilization, into an ideology.

    The word “Islamism” is highly appropriate, for this is an “-ism” like other “-isms” such as fascism and nationalism. Islamism turns the bits and pieces within Islam that deal with politics, economics, and military affairs into a sustained and systematic program. As the leader of the Muslim Brethren put it some years ago, “the Muslims are not socialist nor capitalist; they are Muslims.” I find it very telling that he compares Muslims to socialists and capitalists and not to Christians or Jews. He is saying, we are not this “-ism,” we are that “-ism.” Islamism offers a way of approaching and controlling state power. It openly relies on state power for coercive purposes.

    Islamism is, in other words, yet another twentieth-century radical utopian scheme. Like Marxism-Leninism or fascism, it offers a way to control the state, run society, and remake the human being. It is an Islamic-flavored version of totalitarianism. The details, of course, are very different from the preceding versions, but the ultimate purpose is very similar.

    More at the original.

  3. We have noted previously that the good feminists at Brandeis University were appalled that Ayaan Hirsi Ali connected the oppression of women, including female genital mutilation, with Islam, because, why, that’s just not done, that’s just not nice, that’s not politically correct, but Mrs Ali, who was born in Somalia, knew a lot more, much of it from having lived in a Muslim country, than the privileged American students at Brandeis.

Rule 5 Blogging: Women With Weapons!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Kate Upton in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. Today: we just love women with weapons!

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea — Captain Betsy Dombert, director of staff for the 8th Fighter Wing, prepares to enter a F-16 to take off for a flight Aug 4. Captain Dumbert is a native of Clarksville, Tenn. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Women With Weapons!’ »

From Around the Blogroll

Following North Carolina House House Speaker Thom Tillis’ victory in the Republican senatorial primary, Sister Toldjah noted incumbent Senator Kay Hagan’s decision to go for broke and “fully embrace” Obaminablecare. Most polls show that the wholly misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unpopular, but, as I have said previously, the only polls which actually count are the ones held on election day, and this helps to set up the North Carolina senate race as a referendum on that terrible law.

Meanwhile, Patterico noted that the Carolina Democrats are already claiming that Mr Tillis, the most moderate of the candidates in the primary, is far too conservative for Carolina voters.1 Donald Douglas of American Power also wrote on the subject.

Jeff Goldstein wrote about then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision not to list the Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram as a terrorist organization. That decision certainly didn’t make much news at the time, but the group seizing a couple hundred Nigerian girls and selling them as wives kind of puts a spotlight on it. Isn’t it odd that the supposed frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination has fouled up everything she has put her hands on?

William Jacobson of Le*gal In*sur*rec*tion wrote about the (supposedly) defunct JournoLists (once again) carrying water for the Obama Administration. I would have thought that, at some point, even liberals would have wanted President Obama to get something, anything! right, but apparently that point hasn’t been reached.

L D Jackson laughs about President Obama’s statement that Americans need to trust their government more. This is a government with away-too-powerful Infernal Revenue Service being used to attack political opponents — something which was one of the House Judiciary Committee’s Articles of Impeachment against President Nixon — and a National Security Agency, which is supposed to provide intelligence on foreign threats, spying on almost everybody, yet the nincompoop in the White House says we need to trust the government more?

On the Colossus of Rhodey, Hube mocked Florida public school teacher Swornia Thomas, who prohibited a 12-year-old student from reading the Bible during a designated free reading period. The school principal backed up the teacher, and neither of them were aware of federal Department of Education regulations which state that yes, students certainly may read the Bible, or any other religious books, during such times. Of course, had the student been reading a Quran, the teacher probably wouldn’t have bothered him in the slightest.

Patterico blogged on a subject I’ve note on this site many times before, how commercial banks create money. That’s (probably) a subject on which not too many people are really interested, but it is one of the bases of modern economics, and really should be better understood.

 

And the story? Francis Wilkinson of Bloomberg called Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) an Affirmative Action senator. He won election to the House of Representatives, in a heavily Republican district, after having won the Republican primary runoff against Paul Thurmond, son of the late senator, by a two-to-one margin. The voters chose him. After Senator Jim DeMint resigned, Governor Nikki Haley (R-SC) appointed Mr Scott to serve in the seat held by Mr DeMint; Governor Haley herself is a member of a racial minority, an American of Indian descent — India Indian, not a North American Indian — who also won her seat by the majority vote of the people of South Carolina.

That’s the part that Mr Wilkinson doesn’t understand: Republicans who oppose Affirmative Action have no problem at all voting for candidates who are not of European ancestry, but believe that everyone should compete equally, without special help. And the results of Affirmative Action are pretty clear: the left see any person who is part of a racial minority who has achieved anything of significance as having done so not on merit, but because he had some special help.

From Karen, the Lonely Conservative:

HGTV Nixes Show Over Host’s Beliefs
by Lonely Conservative • May 9, 2014 • 3 Comments

Home and Garden Television (HGTV) canceled plans for a new show called “Flip it Forward” because one of the hosts of the show has publicly expressed his Christian belief that homosexuality is a sin. David Benham, who would have co-hosted the show with his twin brother Jason, is also pro-life, something else that is no longer tolerated in this brave new world of ours.

Even worse, the brothers used to flip houses for profit. The new show was going to be about them finding “fixer-uppers” for low income families and turning the houses into “forever homes.” So I guess HGTV is against helping the poor, or at least they have no problem sacrificing the poor to avoid the wrath of the evil leftists who have taken over our country.

More at the link. As it happens, your Editor watches HGTV a lot, and there are several shows in which the hosts are flipping houses for profit, Flip or Flop primary among them, and with one of the hosts frequently discussing his concerns over whether they are going to make money on a featured flip, and with the profit realized noted at the end of the show.

And while I haven’t gone through and counted, I have noticed that on shows like House Hunters, House Hunters International and Property Brothers, where couples (usually) are searching for homes, homosexual couples have been featured in a significantly greater percentage of the shows than the percentage of homosexuals in the population. It’s almost as though HGTV was promoting homosexuality as simply a normal living arrangement.

William Teach wrote about The Wall Street Journal’s take on yet another global warming climate change assessment by the Obama Administration:2

But the fine print that few will ever read acknowledges the real uncertainties of something as complex as the planet’s atmosphere. “There has been no universal trend in the overall extent of drought across the continental U.S. since 1900,” the authors observe. We also learn that “trends in severe storms, including the intensity and frequency of tornadoes, hail, and damaging thunderstorm winds, are uncertain and are being studied intensively.” And so on.

The National Climate Assessment matters because it serves as the underlying justification for carbon-related regulations. Introducing bias into this primary source (though it does not make new analytic contributions) will distort the rule-making process across the government for years to come.

The report reveals less about climate than it does about the method of the President who described the night he won the Democratic nomination as “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” The White House is telling all and sundry that Mr. Obama wants to fill out his last two and a half years in office with action on climate change, but the report shows he doesn’t want an open or honest debate.

There’s more at the Journal original, but I think that Mr Teach nailed it with his conclusion:

There’s nothing wrong with many adaption schemes, nor alternative energy, regardless of your belief it is anthropogenic or not. What we do not need to do is piss away money in a political manner which accomplishes little, while destroying the economy. Not too mention the massive increase in fascistic, controlling Big Government.

Exactly right. Conservation of our natural resources and cleaning up the environment is a good in itself: it’s economically wise and good for our health. But trying to clean things up should not mean impoverishing ourselves: we can work on better, renewable energy sources without prematurely destroying our current electricity generation, without wasting working families’ hard earned dollars, without making everything cost more, for no gain in real wealth. And I’d say that the Obama Administration is horribly conflicted on this: they say that working Americans deserve a raise, but then they want to turn around and take all of that increased pay3 to spend on higher electricity and fuel bills.

Of course, we really don’t need to worry at all, because, as Robert Stacey Stacy McCain told us , the radical feminists have determined that we’ll all be dead in a short sixteen years!

What this guy, Guy, says, or rather what he demonstrates with the support of hundreds of long term scientific evidence from many sources including very conservative and mainstream sources, is that all life on this planet will come to extinction by 2030. The major cause of this extinction will be that the global warming and melting of the ice has triggered a series of feedback loops of toxic gas emissions such as methane and carbon dioxyde which were trapped in the soils and underwaters of the earth by the ice and frost. These feedback loops have already started, are now unstoppable and life on earth is already on its way to extinction. No technology can stop this – especially since male technology is part of the problem and their use and fabrication will only emit more greenhouse gases. Even if men’s system collapsed now, if all men died and we returned back to stone age, it is unstoppable. Unprecedented levels of methane and carbone dioxyde have already been released into the atmosphere because of the warming and the more gas is emitted, the more the planet heats because of the greenhouse effects of the gas, and the more gas is emitted again. Once the air is too intoxicated plants will start dying too and if all or most plants die together, all the carbon dioxyde they sequestered will be released too, which only further intoxicates the air. There will simply be no more oxygen to breathe and the time it will take for the earth to regain cool temperatures and for the gases to be sequestered again, if that ever happens, which might be between 100 or thousands of years according to the extent of the damage, all species and life will have been already gone.

Emphasis mine, as I’m sure you guessed. :) The esteemed Mr McCain has rather a lot of fun with “Witchwind,” who has determine that all heterosexual intercourse is rape, and is telling us that this is National Offend A Feminist Week. Your Editor believes in feminism to the point that everyone ought to have equal opportunity to try and compete, and that men and women ought to be paid the same for the same jobs. Oddly enough, that is the same view that he holds concerning Affirmative Action, about race, and pretty much about everything: everyone has aright to try, and everyone ought to be playing by the same rules.

On Truth Before Dishonor, DNW asks if modern liberals are fit to be free. Your Editor wonders if it’s the right question, given that so much of American liberalism is devoted to policies which restrict freedom; it’s less a question of whether liberals are fit to be free than the fact that they don’t like freedom. They are busy trying to create a society in which they are enslaving themselves to the government, saying that it’s all for our own good, and that those who don’t agree, well, they have to be enslaved, too.

And I’ll wrap it up with Kelley Kruse’ article on The Victory Girls, noting the anniversary of VE Day. Mrs Kruse asked:

The Allies stood up to Hitler and his mighty war machine, the Third Reich. Could we do that now? Could we make the sacrifices that our grandparents and great-grandparents once did, in order to defeat a terrible force intent on reshaping the world in its own image?

In a word, no.

We defeated Germany, and Japan, by killing millions of their soldiers, and by bombing their homelands mercilessly, destroying their productivity and killing a couple of million of their civilians, the elderly, the able, and children alike. We created firestorms which burned tens of thousands of people to death, and defeated them by killing and bombing and burning until they were unable to continue to fight any longer.

Today? A seven-year-old boy gets killed while we are taking out a terrorist leader, and, oh my Lord, we’ve committed a grievous sin! With today’s mentality, we couldn’t have defeated the Germans, because we couldn’t have bombed their factories, because innocent civilians would be harmed.

That’s it for this week!
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  1. As anyone who lived in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia can tell you, the state is referred to simply as Carolina, not North Carolina. :)
  2. Your Editor is automatically skeptical of any site calling itself “globalchange.gov“.
  3. Not that there will be any increased pay in real terms, and there will probably be fewer jobs to boot.

Missing the important point . . .

. . . which is exactly what I expect of msn.com, msnbc and the Associated Press:

North Korea unleashes racist slurs against Obama
By Hyung-Jin Kim of Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — After bombarding South Korea’s female president with sexist invectives, North Korea’s state news agency has fired off racist insults against President Barack Obama that U.S. officials condemn as “disgusting.”

North Korea is notorious for inflammatory, warlike rhetoric against its rivals South Korea and the U.S. but had rarely used racial slurs in its verbal attacks. Pyongyang’s tone has grown angrier in recent weeks as it threatens to conduct a fourth nuclear test.

In a lengthy May 2 dispatch released only in Korean, Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency published comments from a factory worker who said Obama has the “shape of a monkey” and made many other crude insults.

“It would be better for him to live with other monkeys at a wild animal park in Africa … and licking bread crumbs thrown by onlookers,” worker Kang Hyok at Chollima Steel Complex was quoted as saying.

More at the link.

Th story continues to note that the government leaders have some sort of deniability, since they aren’t quoted as saying it, but that’s just a state-run media ploy. But who really cares if the only fat kid in North Korea calls President Obama a name? The President has doubtlessly heard worse, and that Kim Jong-un doesn’t like him isn’t going to harm the United States in any way.

Of more real concern is yet more North Korean sabre-rattling. That, too, shouldn’t be much of a concern, other than for the fact that President Kim is too young and too new in his job for us to know just how seriously he takes his own words and government positions. During a meeting last month, President Obama said that it might be time to consider further sanctions against North Korea, and reaffirmed that the United States would not hesitate to use military force to defend its allies.

The problem with that is that President Kim has seen just how willing the United States and its Western allies are to use military measures against Russian moves against Ukraine, which is: not at all. It would not be an unreasonable assessment by President Kim and the North Korean military leaders that if they did cross the 38th parallel, if they did invade the Republic of Korea, President Obama would issue a strongly, strongly worded condemnation, but actually do nothing.1

North Korea is desperately impoverished, and while it has a couple million men under arms, cannot really sustain any sort of prolonged war; it has to win quickly, and seize the wealth of South Korea to have a chance. But the DPRK does have at least a few atomic weapons, and that weighs heavily in any calculation; Seoul is not far from the border, and North Korea could subject it to nuclear fire if that was what President Kim decided to do, and that, in my opinion, would draw an even more strongly worded condemnation from President Obama.

One final point: our government gets all upset every time the DPRK threatens to conduct another nuclear weapons test. The testing of North Korean atomic weapons means blowing one up in a deep hole in the ground. Those tests do no damage, and they expend a significant amount of the expensive and difficult-to-produce weapons grade fissile material that North Korea has. We should be happy when North Korea takes some of its weapons-grade material and wastes it by making a big bang in a deep hole; that’s one less atomic bomb which can be used against someone else.
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  1. Not only would such not be an unreasonable assessment, it is what I believe would be the case. If the DPRK invaders took measures to reduce American casualties among the almost 30,000 “tripwire” troops we have along the DMZ, and said that those troops would be released unharmed, I’m almost certain that President Obama would back down.

We were told that raising the minimum wage wouldn’t lead to job losses . . .

. . . but it seems as though those job losses are happening anyway.

The Robots Have Won: Panera Replaces Cashiers with Kiosks

This isn’t the first time kiosks were used in place of real people. Airlines have been doing it for years, and now Panera has joined the club!

The soup and sandwich giant will be cutting down the number of cashiers in its new store design in attempt to fix its speed problems. The chain has faced criticism in the past over its slightly slower service in comparison to other fast food companies, so it was proposed to put the power of the order in the customer’s hands. Panera Chief Executive Ron Shaich said in an interview:

The dirty little secret in the food industry is one in seven orders is wrong. We’re one in ten, a little better than average. Half of those inaccuracies happen during order input.

More at the link. The First Street Journal has already reported on the effects of President Obama’s executive order requiring federal contractors to pay an increased minimum wage, and the results are exactly what we’ve told you they would be: employers cutting positions.

Congress has not yet passed President Obama’s minimum wage increase, so it cannot be said that Panera Bread’s actions here are in response to such. Realistically, it looks more like Panera is trying to save money, and increase efficiency, even at the current minimum wage. Your Editor and his darling bride (of 34 years, 11 months and 19 days) ate at a Red Robin in Allentown about a year ago, and that particular restaurant already had a similar ordering system, installed on the individual tables rather than at a kiosk; customers using credit or debit cards could also pay at those stations on the tables.

And why wouldn’t such restaurants? We’ve been seeing the tend to consumer automation for decades now, with computers answering telephones; actual receptionists have gone the way of keypunch operators. Why? Because computers don’t call off sick, computers don’t get to work late, computers don’t get distracted, computers don’t complain about working conditions or ask for raises or take vacation days or require health insurance. The Red Robin at which my wife and I ate, fewer employees were needed to perform the same function — get food cooked and delivered to the customers at their tables — and that is a direct contribution to the bottom line.

So, what will the minimum wage increase for which the President has asked do, if he gets it: it will raise the cost of labor for businesses which employ people who earn less than $10.10 per hour now, and that increases the pressures on those companies to find ways to cut labor costs. We may not be able to stop the trend of places like Panera Bead and Red Robin toward ordering automation, but the President’s proposal would actually speed it up.