Sunday, March 31, 2019

Millionaires Fleeing New York

It’s an old story. Gov. Cuomo has already been out whining about it. New York State has been losing taxpayers. Considering the something like 1% of the taxpayers pay something like half the taxes in a place like New York City, losing taxpayers will do serious damage to the state budget.

That’s right: high taxes are bad for your fiscal health. Who knew?

The New York Post reports that multimillionaire bankers are fleeing the state… and taking their bonuses with them:

New York City is forecast to shed more multimillionaires this year — with billions in Wall Street bonuses in their wake.

The massive bonus pool typical for city workers is under stress as more bankers and traders bolt for Florida and other states to escape New York’s punishing taxes and steep living costs, according to several pros who have studied the latest compensation data from the state comptroller.

“The governor and mayor don’t want to talk much about highly paid people like bankers leaving New York,” said Alan Johnson, CEO of New York-based compensation consultancy Johnson Associates.

“There are many relocating — and if you see financial service firms expanding in future, it will be to Tampa, Fla., and Austin, Texas, and other places where it’s not as expensive to live as New York,” he added. “It’s showing up in the numbers.”

With the alarming outflow of city residents — many of them wealthy bankers — New York state lost a staggering $8.4 billion to other states in 2016, the latest year data are available, one study shows. And that was up from $4.6 billion annually on average during the prior four years.

Here’s a for instance:

Last year, for example, asset manager AllianceBernstein announced it was moving its headquarters, and 1,050 jobs, from Manhattan to Nashville, Tenn. According to a study by Bankrate, the cost of living is 58 percent lower in the Nashville area than in New York.

“Considering how you can [make] trades from anywhere in America, I don’t see why low bonuses, and an unfavorable state and local tax rate, would make traders want to stay in New York,” said New York city trader Chris Craddock. “I already know a lot who have relocated to Florida and Texas — and they enjoy paying for goods and services state-tax free.”

Tax the rich to support welfare programs and you will end up with lower revenues and fewer rich people. Ain’t telecommunications great?

New York's Job Killing Minimum Wage Law

You are not surprised. You knew it was going to happen. You knew that increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour would cost New York City jobs. But, the dimwits who run the city and the state cheered the mandated increase. Now the news is coming in. Restaurant jobs are vanishing, for the first time in years. And, of course, prices are going up. It's not good for business.

The New York Post has the story:

New York City restaurants are eliminating jobs, reducing employee hours and raising prices due to the higher costs of the $15/hour minimum wage.

A once-growing industry is contracting, according to an online survey conducted by the New York City Hospitality Alliance, an association representing restaurants in the city.

Last year, “full-service restaurants recorded a 1.6 percent job loss, which is the first recorded annual loss in two decades,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the trade group.

The survey also said about a third of respondents will eliminate jobs and most will raise prices this year because of the new $15-an-hour law backed by Gov. Cuomo and other state officials, which took effect on Dec. 31, 2018.

A total of 76.5 percent of full-service restaurant respondents reduced employee hours, and 36 percent eliminated jobs in 2018, the survey said.

Also, 75 percent of limited service restaurant respondents reported that they will reduce employee hours, and 53 percent will eliminate jobs in 2019 as a result of the wage increases, according to the survey.

Needless to say, Gov. Cuomo does not care.

The Post concludes:

The Hospitality Alliance said, “The results of this survey, and other industry trends, signal that a once-growing industry responsible for hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic impact has become stagnant.”

Late News from the Gender Wars

Yes, indeed, here's some news from the gender wars.

First, a federal judge has decided that wearing skirts is sexist. Sort of. He has ruled that schools requiring girls to wear skirts are depriving said females of the equal protection of the law… because boys are not required to wear skirts. Presumably, girls who want to wear skirts will still be allowed to do so.

But girls are clearly treated differently than boys at the kindergarten through 8th grade school in Leland, about 10 miles west of Wilmington, Howard ruled. That’s a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection requirements.

The guardians of three girls attending the school sued the school in 2016. They said the dress code forces girls to be colder in the winter and “forces them to pay constant attention to the positioning of their legs during class, distracting them from learning, and has led them to avoid certain activities altogether, such as climbing or playing sports during recess, all for fear of exposing their undergarments and being reprimanded by teachers or teased by boys,” the judge said in summarizing the plaintiffs’ arguments.

So, skirts are out. Because they are sexist. And also because, in principle, they are more modest than… say… leggings.

The skirt requirement is out on an edict issued by a judge. If you were wondering who is running the country, now you know.

And that there’s this. Today’s young people are having less sex than seems right and proper.

The New York Post has this story too:

Despite the explosion of hook-up apps and dating sites, the number of adult Americans who haven’t had sex in the last year reached an all-time high in 2018, according to a new study by the General Social Survey.

The record lack of action is the climax of a decades-long trend among an aging population and growing numbers of single people, said the group, which is part of the University of Chicago.

Millennials aren’t without blame.

The survey showed that nearly 25 percent of the people who went without sex were twenty-something men.

That’s 8 percent more than women of that age.

Those ages 18 to 29 who abstain more than doubled in the last decade, the study said.

When you put it all together you arrive at a conclusion offered by commenter “trigger warning” on this blog yesterday. He suggested young men do not find today’s angry young women to be very attractive, enticing and alluring. Putting up with harangues about toxic masculinity is not worth it. Better to go out and buy it on the open market.

Moreover, we must add, if women in college have substituted skin-tight leggings for skirts, they seem to be manifesting some anxiety over the fact that they are not attracting erotic attention. It’s one thing for a middle aged woman to feel invisible when she walks down the street. But, for a college girl, it must be the ultimate indignity… to feel unnoticed and unwanted by college boys whose hormones are completely out of control. 

It’s as good an explanation as any I have seen.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Skin-Tight Leggings Debate Continues

Maryann White has been having a moment of notoriety. For having had the raw temerity to question whether women should wear skin-tight leggings to church, she has been attacked and assaulted by the feminist furies.

You know which furies I am talking about. The ones who rant and rave to no special purpose. The ones who are so right that they need not offer any cogent arguments. The ones who blame it all on men and assume that women can do anything they please and that no one is allowed to react. And the ones who pretend like Monica Hesse of the Washington Post to be offering rational thought and whose column contains none whatever.

At a time when feminists tell us that they want to be treated with respect, the notion that they might be treated with more respect if they wear less revealing clothes seems not to have crossed their mini-minds. Even when they cap off their mini-minds with pussy hats. At a time when women want to be respected for their minds, a distinguished columnist does not even pretend to have one.

You see, the problem is men. It is nothing but men. Since Hesse does not feel compelled to stare at lady’s rear ends she assumes that men do not either. Either she is not very bright, as we suspect, or she missed the biology class where they explained the differences between male and female biology.

The feministically correct attitude is clear: outrage, anger, yelling and screaming, emotional incontinence… anything but rational thought. Because women have a right to wear whatever they want and no one is allowed to react.

Incidentally, among those who are not allowed to react is Maryann White. Because White understood, as Hesse did not, that when large numbers of women strut their stuff in revealing garb, it reflects on all women. And makes it appear that all women are more available than they really are. But, then again, who am I to judge.

That is, it reflects on all women when female thought leaders offer full throated praise for those women whose leggings were painted on and full throated condemnation for any woman who would dare call them out on it.

Here is what Hesse considers to be consequential thought:

Within hours of the [Maryann White] letter spreading, the earth was already scorched. Demonstrations had already been organized where participants were invited to come in leggings. People were already infuriated by the implication that women were temptresses and men were helpless walking hormones. The public was already having the correct emotional response.

“My column would be four words,” I joked with a colleague. “Yep, she’s the worst.”

Women who walk around half naked are surely trying to tempt someone. Perhaps they are so insecure that they fear not been noticed. Naturally, Hesse saves her contempt for men, those “helpless walking hormones,” without noticing that instinct is what it is and that she knows nothing about it. And without seeing that those “helpless” men might also take certain liberties with women who dress like skanks. Didn’t the #MeToo movement suggest that these men are not quite as helpless as feminists would like them to be?

Next, Hesse pretends that she wants to address the core of the White argument. Thus, she wants to show off her capacious intellect:

Characters like Maryann White come along, and they’re so easy to hate. Swimming through the news cycle today is exhausting when done carefully — and the Maryann Whites of the world are convenient life buoys. She doesn’t require thoughtfulness; she requires only rage. Uncomplicated rage can feel like such a respite, a comfortable thing to cling to. But I don’t know if doing so solves any problems.

It doesn’t address the core of her argument: that her sons will respect women only if they realize they are “someone’s wives and daughters.” The implication is that women aren’t independent humans, but rather appendages of their male relatives.

Hesse would do better not to pretend to think. When a man sees a woman as someone’s wife or daughter he is not thinking that she is an appendage. Who ever thought up that idiot notion? It says that she belongs to a family unit, that she is a social being who is connected to other social beings.

White notwithstanding, the truth of the matter is, in the old days, when women were considered to be someone’s wives or daughters or even mothers, they were considered to be protected by stronger male beings. A woman protected is a woman less vulnerable.

If five decades of feminism has seen a ramp up of sexual abuse the reason is that women are now considered to be independent, that is, alone and isolated and vulnerable and weak. How did the great feminist minds miss the obvious point?

Naturally, Hesse does not understand anything about men. She does not understand that the male mind is hard wired to notice females who display their naked derrieres. She thinks it’s possible not to notice because she does not take much notice. But she is showing that she does not understand anything about men or about the biology of sexual difference.

It’s possible to notice someone’s “naked rear ends” — as White described women in leggings — and not have that turn into a creepy leer. It’s possible to do the very hard work of questioning your own behavior instead of taking the easy way out and asking other people to change their clothes.

So, Hesse closes her mindless rant—which she insists is not a mindless rant—by blaming Mrs. White for the “bad patterns” that are entrenched in her. What bad patterns would those be: encouraging women to respect themselves, encouraging women not to give it away for free, caring about women’s reputations:

Here’s what I wondered, scrolling through the profiles. Is there a conversation we could be having that would not just mock Maryann White, but would make others who think like her really consider what it meant to ask women not to wear leggings?

Is there a conversation that would explain that the anger is not really about your letter, Mrs. White. It’s not about leggings. This anger is about bad patterns that are so entrenched that you, a woman yourself, are trying to address them in the only broken, feeble way you can imagine — by asking younger women to stop having visible butts.

So, according to Hesse, Mrs. White is “broken” and “feeble.” She addressed the issue in a broken and feeble way. For my part I find that Mrs. White, who is not a professional columnist, showed more intelligence than the Washington Post gender columnist. Broken and feeble describes the Hess column perfectly.

Barack Obama Embraces an Anti-Semite

Just in case you had any doubt about it, the unmoved mover behind the Democratic Party’s move toward anti-Semitism is none other than Barack Obama. Just in case you thought that the Obama administration policy toward Israel, its contempt for the Israeli prime minister, its willingness to fund anti-Israeli terrorism and its unseemly willingness to ensure Iran’s eventually access to nuclear weapons was an aberration, think again. It was part and parcel of administration anti-Semitism.

Want more evidence? Recently, former president Obama embraced notable anti-Semite Rep. Rashid Tlaib and told her: “I’m proud of you.”

From the Daily Mail:

A Democratic congresswoman who vowed in vulgar language to impeach President Donald Trump and later suggested pro-Israel Jewish members of Congress have dual loyalties got a thumbs-up this week from Barack Obama.

The former president 'met with us new members of Congress and we had a thoughtful discussion about serving our country,' Rep. Rashida Tlaib wrote Thursday on Instagram and Twitter.

'The best part was when he looked straight at me and said, "I'm proud of you".'

The posts included a photo of Tlaib and Obama grinning, with the former president's arm around her. Tlaib spokesman Denzel McCampbell told that it was taken Monday night.

What is it about Tlaib that makes Obama proud of her? The Daily Mail counts the ways:

Tlaib is one of just three Muslim members of Congress.

She was photographed at an event in January posing with Abbas Hamideh, a Palestinian activist who has praised the Hamas and Hezbollah terror organizations, equated pro-Israel Jews to Nazis and claimed Israel has no right to exist.

'Yes, I am Muslim and Palestinian. Get over it,' Tlaib tweeted amid that controversy.

She also supports the 'Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions' (BDS) movement, which aims to economically isolate Israel.

Want more? Here it is:

Tlaib has also been criticized for following an Instagram account called 'free.palestine.1948,' a name referring to the year of Israel's founding.

That account routinely posts anti-Semitic memes that compare Jews to rats, call them a 'plague' and suggest moneyed Jews control the U.S. news media.

One image on the account directly compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler and suggested he was behind the 9/11 terror attacks.

When challenged about the account's content this year, its owner responded: 'Haha make me laugh f**k you and f**k israhell […] you wankers will never like the truth.'

It makes Barack Obama proud. Don’t pretend to be surprised to see that the Democratic Party is now embracing anti-Semitism overtly. The Obama administration made it safe to be anti-Semitic, but covertly. Those who supported him can count themselves as duped. 

How many American media outlets had the story?

The Downside of Exercise

Surely you know that exercise is good for you. It's good for your physical health and it's good for your mental health. I have often repeated the message on this blog and have faithfully reported the myriad of scientific studies proving the point. 

And yet, we all suspect that nothing cal be an unalloyed good. There must be a downside to exercise. Have we all been minimizing the risk in order to glorify the rewards?

In the interest of being fair and balanced I report this story, not exactly ripped from the headlines, but ripped from literary history. OK, you will guess that it's from The Onion, but that does not prevent it from offering a semblance of truth.

In a discovery shedding light on the famous macabre author’s less-acknowledged qualities, literary historians at Harvard University unearthed Wednesday dozens of uplifting poems and breezy short stories written by Edgar Allan Poe later in his life after he got into the habit of jogging. “Poe’s later, much more optimistic work makes it clear that the simple act of going for a short run every morning really improved his outlook and completely altered his writing style,” said researcher Dr. Bethany Smith, noting the author’s simple, healthy lifestyle change had evidently inspired previously unheard-of titles like The Joyous Day, The Happy Chickadee, and The Runner’s High, among dozens of other sparklingly cheerful works. “Though Poe may be known for his dark tone and gothic sensibility, these writings paint vivid pictures of young love’s ability to triumph and life’s small, beautiful moments. Diary entries from this period seem to indicate that he was in a better place and that he eventually even got down to a seven-minute mile.” Poe died in 1849 at age 40, having reverted back to a dark, humorless style of writing following a disastrous ACL tear.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Henry Adams on "Russiagate"

Henry Adams on "Russiagate" via American Digest:

Fallout from the Mueller Hoax

You have probably seen this article already, but for those of you, like yours truly, who had not, here is Matt Taibbi’s critique of the press coverage of the Mueller investigation. Taibbi writes in Rolling Stone, so we add his name to the list of honorable liberals like Stephen Cohen who saw through the charade and were willing to counter the leftist propaganda machine.

Taibbi opens with a quotation from the Barr summary. By now, the reptilian Democratic masses are saying that we cannot count on a summary, but don’t they realize that the body of the report will one day be exposed, and thus, that Barr and with him Rosenstein would be beyond stupid if they had distorted the conclusions.

“[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

That one sentence should end a roughly 33-month national ordeal (the first Russiagate stories date back to July 2016) in which the public was encouraged, both by officials and the press, to believe Donald Trump was a compromised foreign agent.

After the 2016 election, the storyline instantly became that Trump was an illegitimate president, a foreign operative who’d cheated his way into office and would therefore need to be removed ahead of schedule.

There were too many stories that dwelled on this theme to count here, but we all saw them. New York asked, Was Trump “meeting his handler” in Helsinki? The Daily Beast asked why he dodged the question: “Is he a Russian asset?”

Two important points stand out here. First, that the press and the Democratic Party were hawking the story that Donald Trump was a Russian agent. It was so stupid and so implausible that leftist voters assumed it must be true. They seem completely to have ignored the proper way to evaluate such claims, by looking at administration policy toward Russia.

The press reached a new level of journalistic ignobility by presenting its story as gospel truth, without any questioning, without any doubt:

Some outlets didn’t even put their beliefs in the form of a question. “Trump Is Compromised by Russia” read a not-unusual editorial in the New York Times last November.

If you tried to protest that this had not been proven, that journalists should be more careful about leveling such serious accusations, the first line of response (if it wasn’t accusing you of being in league with Putin) was usually a version of: Be quiet, you don’t know what Mueller knows.

Mueller knows became the cornerstone belief of nearly all reporters who covered the Russia investigation. Journalists reveled in the idea of being kept out of the loop, thrilled to defer to the impenetrable steward of national secrets, the interview-proof Man of State. He was no blabbermouth Donald Trump, this Mueller! He won’t tell us a thing!

And, in the “hoist with his own petard” area, the press made a fatal mistake in elevating Robert Mueller to the status of a superhuman being who knew truths that the rest of us could merely guess at:

All this hyping of Mueller The Omniscient dovetailed with the preposterous mythologizing of the special counsel through consumer goods (Mueller action figures! “Mueller time!” beverage mugs! Saint Robert Muller prints!) and breathless stories like the Vanity Fair ode to the “dreamiest G-man to hunt for collusion.”

Then there were episodes like the “All I want for Christmas is you!” song performed by the SNL cast. “I don’t need a full impeachment / I just need a little fun / Please don’t tell us we aren’t crazy / At least indict his oldest son.”

Thus, they are in no position to dispute Mueller’s findings. This does not prevent them from disputing Mueller’s findings, because, they have no integrity.

Addressing the matter of obstruction of justice, and especially the matter of Mueller’s refusal to decide whether Trump should be indicted for it, Taibbi adds this salient point:

Barr’s letter includes a telling detail from Mueller himself on this issue (emphasis mine):

In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference,” and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President’s intent with respect to obstruction…

In other words, it was Mueller, not Barr, who concluded there was no underlying crime, so if the next stage of this madness is haggling over an obstruction charge, that would likely entail calling for a prosecution of Trump for obstructing an investigation into what even Mueller deemed non-crime.

As it happens, Mueller is now being trashed as … you guessed it… a Republican, thus biased:

After all the insistence that we put our trust in St. Mueller because he “knows all,” the new story suddenly is that Mueller all along didn’t know and didn’t try to know. The Atlantic’s take was, “Mueller, a career G-man, is fundamentally legally conservative,” which means “he has a narrow view of his own role.”

Therefore, despite the fact that Mueller didn’t determine he had evidence for a charge, we can “infer his conclusions by reviewing how he marshaled the evidence for and against guilt.”

Now what? Voices on the political left are now reduced to having to win an election. And perhaps to find a better candidate than the incompetent fraud whose claim to fame was being America’s leading enabler of sexual harassment:

By not delivering the desired goods, Mueller is now being described as “The God that failed Democrats,” by Edward Luce of the Financial Times, who makes the shockingly belated observation that the Democrats putting all their hopes in the “magic bullet” of the Mueller investigation “postponed the harder, less glamorous work the party needs to be doing.”

The mainstream media ran with the story, and hyped it to the Heavens, because it was good for business. It got ratings. As you know, ratings over at CNN and MSNBC fell significantly after the Barr summary was reported:

This manipulative brand of news programming preyed upon the emotional devastation of liberal audiences, particularly the older people who watch cable. It told them the horror they felt over Trump’s election would be alleviated in short order. The median age of the CNN viewer is 60 and MSNBC’s is 65, and these people were urged for years to place their trust in Santa BOB, who knew all and whose investigation would surely lead to impeachment and “the end.”

All you had to do was keep turning in, because the good news could come any minute now! The bombshell is coming! Never mind that this is causing our profits to soar. Don’t wonder about our motives, even though outlets like MSNBC saw a 62 percent bump in viewership in the first full year of Russiagate coverage. Just keep tuning in. The walls are closing in!

That was bad enough, but now that the Mueller dream seems to have died, news organizations are acting like they didn’t hype Mueller as savior.

So, for the left, it’s back to democracy. Heaven forfend:

[Chris] Matthews, in a tone that suggested he was being the sober adult delivering tough love, completed his thought about how “they don’t have him on collusion” by saying, with a shrug of undisguised disappointment:

“So I think the Democrats have got to win the election.” He added, “There’s no waiting around for uncle Robert to take care of everything.”

I know no one cares how this sounds to non-Democrats, but this is a member of the media looking sad that Democrats would have to resort to actual democracy to win the White House back.

The blow to the integrity of many news organizations stings. And it will undermine their credibility at the same time that it enhances President Trump's:

Given that “collusion” has turned out to be dry well, to the ordinary viewer it will look a hell of lot like the MSNBCs of the world humped a fake story for two consecutive years in the hopes of overturning election results ahead of time. Trump couldn’t have asked for a juicier campaign issue, and an easier way to argue that “elites” don’t respect the democratic choices of flyover voters. It’s hard to imagine what could look worse.

For the commercial press to recapture any dignity after this collusion debacle, it has to at least start admitting to its role in artificially raising expectations in the last two years. It’s hard to imagine them doing that, however. This story has been so enormously profitable for cable stations, in particular, it will be hard for them to let go of this narrative. What are they going to do, go back to just reporting the news? One can almost feel how depressed network executives must be at the thought. They’ve trained audiences to expect bombshells. What will they sell now?

A sad and pathetic story, well explained by Taibbi.

Renewable Energy Is Killing Cows in France

You probably know that wind turbines kill massive numbers of birds. You probably don’t care, because what are a few birds when you are saving the planet. Thus, when you are ensuring that your soul will find salvation.

But, did you know that solar panels and wind turbines also kill large numbers of cows? OK, I understand that you will see it as a twofer. These engines of inefficient energy production are saving us from fossil fuels which are destroying the troposphere, but they are also saving us from the dire environmental effects of cow flatulence.

Evidently, the French farmers who are watching their cattle die are none too happy. But, this must mean that they have not received any instruction from our imbecile-in-chief, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

How does it happen? Well, not to get too scientific, the wind turbines and solar panels increase the amount of electricity in the soil. And, the increase is too much for cattle. So, the cattle get sick and die.

In an environmentally friendly way, of course.

Anyway, the Daily Mail (who else?) has the story:

French cattle farmers claim they have lost hundreds of cows to electricity slowly killing their animals from nearby wind turbines and solar panels.

In Cotes-d'Armor, Brittany, this phenomenon has seen hundreds of cattle die on farms, claim the worried agricultural workers.

One farmer has even filed a lawsuit against an unnamed company over the mysterious deaths. 

Farmers started noticing their animals losing weight, with many of them subsequently dying.

But vets could not work out what caused the cows' deaths as they were not suffering from any diseases so farmers ran tests on their land.

They claim these examinations revealed wind turbines and solar panels are releasing too much electricity into the ground, which is slowly killing their animals.

Local farmer Patrick Le Nechet said the mysterious deaths began when a new batch of photovoltaic solar panels were installed, according to Europe 1.

He discovered there were electrical currents of over one volt both in the ground and in the water - three times the accepted threshold for animals. 

Le Nechet told the French radio station Europe 1: 'They lost weight, we lost 120 in five years. It can not be explained, even veterinarians do not know what to do.

'There is a lot of direct current coming into the earth. When we see all the animals die, it is untenable.'

Stephane Le Brechec, a cattle farmer from Allineuc, around 18 miles from Cote-d'Amour, lost even more cows and claims 37 of his beasts died in just six months.

He said that over the last few years he has lost 200 cows, caused by antennas transformers and turbines, he claims.

It’s the latest news from the environmental war against living things.

The Problem of Unqualified College Students

Here’s another story about the dog that didn’t bark. The author, a university professor at we-do-not-know-which school, inveighs in long Guardian article about having to teach an increasing number of unqualified students. He is using the latest bribery and cheating scandal to explain that more and more of his students cannot do college work, but have been admitted because they are legacies or athletes or children of wealthy parents.

Naturally, the first thing that pops into your mind is that he is being extremely disingenuous. He knows and you know and as I know that the real problem is not legacy students— most of whom, as Heather Mac Donald has shown, are qualified— but minority students who were admitted to fulfill diversity quotas.

Yet, he utters not a word about the problems posed by diversity quotas. This leads us to two possible conclusions. He might be so obtuse and so “woke” that he did not notice, or he is employing a sophisticated rhetorical strategy to speak about a matter that he would not be allowed to speak about. He might will be evading censorship by complaining about Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.

The more I read his article, the more I think that the latter is the case. In place of groups of unqualified students he trots out, you should substitute: unqualified diversity candidates.

In any event, the article is well worth your attention. The author begins by explaining the problems posed by unqualified students:

In this setting, where teaching quality is at a premium and students expect faculty to give them extensive personal attention, the presence of unqualified students admitted through corrupt practices is an unmitigated disaster for education and research. While such students have long been present in the form of legacy admits, top sports recruits and the kids of multimillion-dollar donors, the latest scandal represents a new tier of Americans elbowing their way into elite universities: unqualified students from families too poor to fund new buildings, but rich enough to pay six-figure bribes to coaches and admissions advisers. This increase in the proportion of students who can’t do the work that elite universities expect of them has – at least to me and my colleagues – begun to create a palpable strain on the system, threatening the quality of education and research we are expected to deliver.

When there are too many students who can’t do the work, what can you do?

Students who can’t get into elite schools through the front door based on academic merit don’t change once they’re in class. They can’t do the work, and are generally uninterested in gaining the skills they need in order to do well. Exhibit A from the recent admissions corruption scandal is “social media celebrity” Olivia Jade Gianulli, whose parents bought her a place at the University of Southern California, and who announced last August to her huge YouTube following that “I don’t know how much of school I’m going to attend. But I do want the experience of, like, game days, partying … I don’t really care about school.”

If you think that this is just about Olivia Jade, you have missed the point. The author gets to the point, namely that “every unqualified student” requires more attention, more resources and waste more time. And more remedial work. You probably know that colleges and universities have long been providing remedial classes for minority students:

Every unqualified student admitted to an elite university ends up devouring hugely disproportionate amounts of faculty time and resources that rightfully belong to all the students in class. By monopolizing faculty time to help compensate for their lack of necessary academic skills, unqualified students can also derail faculty research that could benefit everyone, outside the university as well as within it. To save themselves and their careers, many of my colleagues have decided that it is no longer worth it to uphold high expectations in the classroom. “Lower your standards,” they advise new colleagues. “The fight isn’t worth it, and the administration won’t back you up if you try.”

Better yet, unqualified students game the system to get good grades… because if they do not, professors will be accused of racism. OK, the author does not say “racism” but you get the picture:

In comparing stories, we have also found that such students strive to “work the system”, using university procedures to get the grades they desire, rather than those they have earned, and if necessary to punish faculty who refuse to accede to those demands. It is perhaps unsurprising that students whose parents circumvent the rules to get them into elite universities are often the ones who become adept at manipulating the university system in a corrupt way.

Unqualified students require remedial classes. Does this refer to legacy students or to minority students? We report, you decide:

For untenured faculty members, the pressures created by this setup can be a threat to their careers: it’s very difficult to teach well, let alone do the research and publishing necessary to keep your job, when you’re being hounded to provide a remedial education on top of an already heavy set of official duties….

Even for tenured professors, whose jobs are supposedly secure, becoming known as someone who won’t “play ball” by giving the sports star or the legacy an easy pass can mean exclusion from important opportunities and sources of support. So we suck it up as we recap our lectures for students who couldn’t attend due to golf team practice, or teach them skills most Americans learn in high school, or create extra credit assignments to bring up their marks.

It’s a cautionary tale, one that would never have been published if he had added the least indication that the problem was not being caused by Jade Olivia, but by the increasing numbers of students admitted to fulfill diversity quotas:

This kind of thing has easily added 10-12 hours a week to my workload, and I know I’m not alone in that respect. As one of my colleagues put it, the unskilled and entitled students will “eat you alive”. Over the past decades as an instructor, I have seen my teaching workload increase dramatically despite holding the same number of courses in the same subjects. What has changed is the proportion of unqualified students in the classroom.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The 7% Solution

The last time any of us heard about the 7% solution, it was the premise of a rather lame movie involving Sherlock Holmes and Sigmund Freud.

Now, we have a new 7% solution. The number refers to the percentage of British citizens who approve of Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of the Brexit negotiations. We have been following the rising chorus of commentators who have declared May to be a monument to human ineptitude, so we add this story, from Zero Hedge:

Now that Parliament has (at least temporarily) seized control of the Brexit process from Prime Minister Theresa May's government (prompting the PM to offer Brexiteers her head on a silver platter in exchange for their support for the withdrawal agreement she negotiated with the EU), MPs, including 30 rebel tories and three junior ministers in May's own cabinet, have finally signaled that they have had enough with the government's dysfunctional management of the Brexit process.

And as it turns out, public opinion is overwhelmingly on their side.According to a poll of more than 2,600 British adults conducted by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), the only issue that remainers and leavers can agree on regarding the whole Brexit process is that May's government has seriously botched the whole affair. Only 7% of responders said they believed the UK government had handled Brexit well, according to the Guardian.

So now, in her last gambit, May has stated that if Parliament approves her plan or something like it, she will resign the prime ministership.

It doesn’t look like it is going to work out, but it’s the first time May has raised the issue of resigning… a good step toward accepting responsibility for having botched the Brexit negotiations. Now if she only recognized that resigning should precede the Brexit solution, not follow it. She should resign in shame for failing. If she doesn't understand that resigning after victory avoids shame by creating a false persona, she will never be a competent leader.

Oh, well. You can't have it all.

Exercise More; Live Longer

Here’s some news you can use. Exercise, the medical profession has proved for the umpteenth time, reduces the risk of early death.

You knew this already, but there’s no harm in being reminded. From the UPI (via Maggie’s Farm)

Getting just a small amount of exercise each day may significantly cut the risk of early death, new research shows.

Replacing 30 minutes of sitting time each day with moderate to vigorous exercise was associated with a 45 percent lower risk of death, according to a study published Monday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Those results were shown in people already putting in 17 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous exercise. People on this workout regime were also more likely to be thinner, more educated and less likely to smoke, leading them to suffer fewer strokes, heart attacks and early deaths.

Within the same group, replacing the 30 minutes of sitting with light exercise was linked to a 14 percent risk of death.

And finally:

"These findings suggest that the replacement of modest amounts of sitting time with even light physical activity may have the potential to reduce the risk of premature death among less active adults," conclude the authors.

The Great Leggings Debate

Maryanne White has a problem. She has a problem with women wearing leggings. She is especially concerned about the women who wear leggings to class and to church at Notre Dame University. A Catholic mother of four sons, White wrote to the Notre Dame campus newspaper to express her anguish.

Here are a few paragraphs:

The emergence of leggings as pants some years ago baffled me. They’re such an unforgiving garment. Last fall, they obtruded painfully on my landscape. I was at Mass at the Basilica with my family. In front of us was a group of young women, all wearing very snug-fitting leggings and all wearing short-waisted tops (so that the lower body was uncovered except for the leggings). Some of them truly looked as though the leggings had been painted on them.

A world in which women continue to be depicted as “babes” by movies, video games, music videos, etc. makes it hard on Catholic mothers to teach their sons that women are someone’s daughters and sisters. That women should be viewed first as people — and all people should be considered with respect.

Quaint notion that.

She continued:

Leggings are hardly slave girl outfits. And no one is forcing them on the countless young women who wear them. But I wonder why no one thinks it’s strange that the fashion industry has caused women to voluntarily expose their nether regions in this way. I was ashamed for the young women at Mass. I thought of all the other men around and behind us who couldn’t help but see their behinds. My sons know better than to ogle a woman’s body — certainly when I’m around (and hopefully, also when I’m not). They didn’t stare, and they didn’t comment afterwards. But you couldn’t help but see those blackly naked rear ends. I didn’t want to see them — but they were unavoidable. How much more difficult for young guys to ignore them.

I’ve heard women say that they like leggings because they’re “comfortable.” So are pajamas. So is nakedness. And the human body is a beautiful thing. But we don’t go around naked because we respect ourselves — we want to be seen as a person, not a body (like slave-girl Leia). We don’t go naked because we respect the other people who must see us, whether they would or not. These are not just my sons — they’re the fathers and brothers of your friends, the male students in your classes, the men of every variety who visit campus. I’m fretting both because of unsavory guys who are looking at you creepily and nice guys who are doing everything to avoid looking at you. For the Catholic mothers who want to find a blanket to lovingly cover your nakedness and protect you — and to find scarves to tie over the eyes of their sons to protect them from you!

I do not need to tell you that Mrs. White has been wildly excoriated and ridiculed across social media. What a prude? What a retrograde prissy schoolmarm? Students at Notre Dame University are proudly showing off their leggings on social media.

As for the difference between “unsavory guys” and “nice guys” I would suggest that there are no more nice guys. If these women do not want to receive unwanted advances they can have a say in the matter by dressing appropriately. If they do not, they are saying that they want to attract the dread male gaze to their butts. No one has a problem with that... except for women. It is the students' right to wear leggings, constitutionally speaking. It is not their right to flash people in church and then to complain if someone notices. Obviously, in an age when we do not want men to make unwanted advances toward women... wearing more conservative attire might send a different message. Is that such a bad thing?

The feminist left thinks so. While defending the hijab, an instrument of female oppression, they insist on the right to wear leggings. One can only wonder what would happen to them if they wear leggings in a mosque??

At a time when we supposedly want men to see women as something other than as the sum total of their declivities is it too much to remark that a woman who is wearing painted on leggings is not going to be respected for her mind? Or for her achievements?

Because the arguments against Mrs. White are mindless, all by themselves. They insist that young women should be able to wear whatever they want but that young men should not notice and should not draw any conclusions from their appearance. They are saying that they want to exercise complete and total control over the way other people see them. As though that were possible and as though that would not be utterly despotic.

Besides, it's always easier to blame men... for getting the right idea.

Notre Dame mom’s anti-leggings letter sparks ‘naked’ debate

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Therapy Is Ruining Her Marriage

Under the highly professional aegis of her credentialed therapist, a woman who calls herself  No Space for Private Thoughts, NSPT, has made a hash of her marriage. So she writes to another therapy-addled twit, that being New York Magazine columnist Ask Polly, to seek absolution.

To be clearer, she wants Polly to tell her that she is right and that her husband is wrong. After all, she was merely expressing her feelings. Just because they were all hostile shouldn't matter. Better yet, if you prefer idiocy, she was feeling her feelings. Her therapist told her to do it, so she cannot understand why it doesn’t work. Being a good therapy patient she believes that the fault lies with the husband and that he now needs therapy himself.

Thus do therapists do bad jobs and use their own failures to gin up business for themselves and their profession.

Apparently, said husband has mental health issues of his own. Considering that he is married to a complaining nag, it is not overly surprising. You will see that NSPT begins her complaining by saying that her husband does not always do as he is told. She does not quite see that when she behaves this way she is treating him like a child. 

Here is her letter:

The past year has been hard on our family. My husband and I have beautiful children and are gainfully employed, but he dislikes his position and is dealing with major depression and anxiety. I’ve been holding it together, some days are better than others, but I support him and am trying to help him as he journeys to recovery. About seven months ago, I finally got my postpartum anxiety under control and have been feeling better, which is a blessing because I don’t know that I could handle everything without having my own mental health in check.

Lately, my husband has sometimes been difficult to be around. He has forgotten some of the small things I’ve asked him to refrain from doing over the years (“Please wash out your spit from the sink” and minor things like this). I talked to my therapist, and she advised me to write these things down and, if I felt the need to bring them up at a later date, I could. Having them somewhere would help me figure out what was important enough to address and what was just a nagging thought that would pass. This was great advice because my husband also asked me to take it easy on him and stop criticizing him about small stuff. Because our children are small, I wasn’t confident that a diary would be private, as they tend to go through things. So I decided to email myself when I wanted to write down my complaints. The emails turned into vent sessions with myself and I also wrote down some other bigger relationship issues I had feelings about. I’d planned to review these issues and address them with my husband, maybe after he got through the worst of his depression.

Let’s be clear. The therapist was offering her bad advice. She was not helping her patient to deal with emotions. She was turning her into a complaint factory. You see, within the therapy world, the practice of writing down certain things has been in use for decades now. It is a staple of cognitive therapy. Yet, all serious cognitive therapists understand that when you are depressed and feel worthless you should write down thoughts about yourself… not about other people. You should write down evidence that would tend to prove your worthlessness and an equal number of thoughts that prove your worth. Unbalanced thoughts are the royal road to depression.

This therapist has incompetently told the letter writer only to write down her complaints about her husband. And she chooses to write them in emails. Again, this is none too bright. Try writing them on a piece of paper and then discarding it when finished.

Since this woman explains that she and her husband do not keep secrets, it is no surprise that he found her complaining, whining emails. After all, they share a computer. Duh!:

My husband and I generally respect each other’s privacy. For instance, a few months ago, while using Google Maps in the car, my husband opened my email and asked why I’d received a note from an admissions department regarding a master’s program. I wasn’t seriously looking at the program — I was just curious — so I didn’t share with him that I had inquired. It was surprising that he read my email, and I asked him not to go through my emails again, and if he had any questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them. We don’t keep secrets, so this wasn’t an issue, and he apologized.

Now you can see where this is going. Last night, after a hard day at work, my husband opened up our personal computer. I was still logged in to my email when he opened the email portal to check his own, so my inbox popped up. He saw an email about three or four down in my inbox titled “relationship complaints,” and he decided to open it. He not only read the most recent email I had sent myself, he also read the other three.

These emails I sent contained private, very negative thoughts that I did not want him to see. I was working through my emotions in a healthy way. He knows I journal to clear my head, and he knows that I have a tendency to send emails to myself as a way of journaling. The emails contained only criticisms of him; some were very petty while others were larger relationship issues we need to work on once his mental health is in a better place.

He immediately confronted me, and I became defensive and hurt that he invaded my privacy. He is hurt and thinks I have shown him I don’t love him, like him, or want him around. We aren’t speaking.

I know we need couples counseling, which I’m going to set up today. But was I really in the wrong to email myself these private, very negative thoughts? If not, how can I get through to him that, while it’s understandable that he is hurt, he invaded my privacy in a major way?

No Space for Private Thoughts

Genius, if you don’t want him to see them, don’t write them down where he can see them. One suspects that the man discovered the truth about his marriage in the emails. He discovered that his wife’s latent and blatant hostility to him was rendering him depressed and anxious. It was an awakening, you might say, one that should lead the woman to fire her therapist and to change her deviant ways. One is trying to be optimistic: if she wrote to Polly the chances are that she will double down on nagging and drive her husband out of the house.