Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Homelessness Touches the Elites

Get ready! Get set! It’s time to ramp up the Schadenfreude. It’s time to shed a few tears for the ultra rich celebrities and high tech oligarchs who are living their dream. No, not the dream you live when you have so much money that you do not know what it feels like to spend any. Yes, the dream you live when your oh-so-empathetic affections for the downtrodden and the homeless arrive on your very own doorstep.

You live in a sanctuary city. You live in a sanctuary state. You want to open your city’s arms to the homeless, the mentally ill and the drug addicted. Until they move into your neighborhood. It was only yesterday that a New York State judge allowed the city to transform a dilapidated hotel into a homeless shelter… on what is gingerly called billionaires’ row…. If you know New York, billionaires row contains new ultra luxe condos on West 57th Street across to West 59th Street. They overlook Central Park and go for tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars. Now, thanks to comrade de Blasio the inhabitants will be surrounded by their very own homeless shelter… along with the good feelings it brings for allowing them to feel like they care about the poor.

Michael Snyder tells us all about it on his blog, The Economic Collapse (via Zero Hedge).

He examines the homeless encampments that have sprung up in the great metropolises of America’s West Coast. That would involve Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. He points out that homelessness, drug addiction and appalling hygiene have been proliferating at a time of economic prosperity, a time when the economy is growing and more and more people are holding jobs. What will this all look like when the economy slows down and unemployment rises. We might also ask how many denizens of these encampments are illegal migrants.

We begin with the testimony of punk rocker Johnny Rotten, inhabitant of Venice Beach, California. A tonier beach community does not exist. And yet, Mr. Rotten recently vented his pent-up emotions at what the armies of the homeless have done to his neighborhood and his house.

As I said, ramp up the Schadenfreude. Snyder quotes from Newsweek:

He told her the homeless situation in his swanky LA neighborhood is so bad that thieves are tearing the bars from the windows of his multimillion-dollar home, lobbing bricks, setting up unsightly tent cities and littering the beach with syringes.

“A couple of weeks ago I had a problem,” the former punk prince opined. “They came over the gate and put their tent inside, right in front of the front door. It’s like . . . the audacity. And if you complain, what are you? Oh, one of the establishment elite? No, I’m a bloke that’s worked hard for his money and I expect to be able to use my own front door.”

Rotten added of the punks: “They’re aggressive, and because there’s an awful lot of them together they’re gang-y. And the heroin spikes . . . You can’t take anyone to the beach because there’s jabs just waiting for young kids to put their feet in — and poo all over the sand.”

Trust me, Mr. and Mrs. Rotten are totally “woke.” They hate Donald Trump and vote for liberal progressive leftist radicals… the ones who have engineered this calamity.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, local residents of one of America’s most expensive cities have united to fight homelessness. That is, they are fighting to keep the homeless out of their neighborhood. How’s that one working out?

This from CBS:

Some San Francisco residents are turning to crowdfunding to raise money to fight a proposed homeless shelter in their wealthy neighborhood. As of Monday morning, the effort had raised over $80,000 of its $100,000 goal.

Calling itself “Safe Embarcadero for All,” the organizer is appealing to residents of South Beach, Rincon Hill, Bayside Village, East Cut and Mission Bay, saying the money will be directed to a legal fund to pay for efforts to fight the homeless shelter. San Francisco Mayor London Breed has sponsored legislation to fast-track the building of the Navigation Center, which would house 200 homeless people a stone’s throw from Google’s San Francisco offices and Gap’s headquarters.

I promise you, they all voted for Mayor Breed. Without knowing what they were voting for. Or, not caring.

As for the highly dubious free syringe program, program that has contributed mightily to the littering of San Francisco’s streets with used needles, the city is debating whether to continue it. Apparently, it is going to do precisely that. Nothing like doubling down on failed policy.

And of course you want to know about the homeless problem in Seattle. Home of Amazon, Starbucks and Microsoft. Glad you asked.

Snyder quotes this report:

In the past two weeks, Seattle Is Dying has garnered 38,000 shares on Facebook and nearly 2 million views on YouTube. The report has clearly resonated with anxious, fearful, and increasingly angry Seattle residents. Exhausted by a decade of rising disorder and property crime—now two-and-a-half times higher than Los Angeles’s and four times higher than New York City’s—Seattle voters may have reached the point of “compassion fatigue.” According to the Seattle Times, 53 percent of Seattle voters now support a “zero-tolerance policy” on homeless encampments; 62 percent believe that the problem is getting worse because the city “wastes money by being inefficient” and “is not accountable for how the money is spent,” and that “too many resources are spent on the wrong approaches to the problem.” The city council insists that new tax revenues are necessary, including a head tax on large employers, but only 7 percent of Seattle voters think that the city is “not spending enough to really solve the problem.” For a famously progressive city, this is a remarkable shift in public opinion.

We can call it a glimmer of hope. But, let’s not be too optimistic, OK?

Monday, April 29, 2019

What Is Restorative Justice?

After the Parkland school massacre the bien pensant left rushed to the airways to denounce… the NRA. And, of course, guns. They put up so much static and noise that few people dared address the real issues.

Among them, as reported here, the serial dereliction of government agencies, from the FBI, which had been warned, to the Broward County sheriff’s department, which had been called to the Cruz home over three dozen times, to the school authorities who allowed the obviously dangerous Hektor Cruz to stay in school.

Writing at the Independent Women’s Forum, Inez Stepman has focused on the last. She has drawn attention to the Obama administration policy of “restorative justice.” It directed schools not to expel or suspend disruptive students, but rather to engage them in a conversation. In something very like therapy.

Perhaps the bureaucrats who dreamed up restorative justice really believed that these students would do better by staying in school. They did not think about how it would affect other students.

We should also consider the possibility that they were trying to rejigger statistics in order to make it appear that minority children were not more likely to be expelled. After all, what better way to reduce the incidence of minority crime than by decriminalizing crime. And by engaging miscreants in therapy.

So, how did it happen, Stepman asks, that Hektor Cruz allowed to stay in school after bringing weapons to school and threatening other students. And how was he able to pass a background check to buy guns?

In the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida, that claimed 17 lives, the nation descended into its usual debate over guns. But an important underlying factor in Parkland went mostly unexamined: how was the shooter, who had brought weapons to school and made threats on multiple occasions—criminal acts—able to keep a clean record with which to pass a background check to buy guns in the first place?

The reason is the policy called restorative justice. Stepman defines it:

Few parents in America may have heard the phrase “restorative justice,” but this new fad in school discipline is sweeping through districts, replacing more traditional practices like suspension, expulsion, and referral to law enforcement with a focus on “talking through” serious infractions and even criminal acts on campus.

Restorative justice is a well-intentioned experiment, and it may sound compassionate, but early results have given parents serious reason to doubt its effectiveness and safety. Only empowering parents with educational freedom will restore their ability to decide whether their children will be the subjects of experimental discipline projects, sometimes jeopardizing their safety.

Naturally, we want to know how this has all worked out in practice. Stepman explains:

Student surveys of school climate and safety, where available, can give us insight into how school culture and the lives of students change after traditional discipline is swept aside in favor of RJ policies. Suspension rates might go down in official reports, but students often report that they are less likely to feel safe and respected at school. And, contra the intentions of discipline reformers, those negative consequences were actually more severe at schools that serve low-income students and students of color, which deal with serious infractions more frequently than suburban schools.  

When disruptive students are not removed from the classroom, it’s most often their fellow students who suffer as teachers spend more time controlling an unruly classroom and less time actually teaching. “A significant portion of the achievement gap is actually a time-on-task gap, and much of that time-on-task gap is caused by disruptive classroom behavior,” says Robert Pondiscio, advisor to a high-performing charter network and a classroom teacher. According to a poll from the American Federation of Teachers, nearly four out of ten teachers report losing 2-4+ hours a week of instruction time to disruptive behavior, and those losses are worse in urban schools. This has serious consequences for student academic achievement. In Philadelphia, math and reading achievement dropped after RJstyle discipline policies were implemented. In California, student achievement in math dropped from the 50th percentile to the 32nd after implementation.

Statistically, the results are discouraging:

Schools in Los Angeles that implemented suspension bans lost an average of one fifth of a year of learning. In schools that, prior to the reforms, had more than 10 suspensions annually— schools already struggling with discipline problems—students lost a full third of a year of learning. A study of Pittsburgh’s RJ reforms not only found that academic achievement dropped in response, but also that the impact of those falling scores disproportionately hit minority students. The average black student scoring in the 50th percentile in a school that changed its policies saw his scores drop to the 44th percentile as a result.

Replacing expulsion with therapy ends up ruining the educational experience of all the children. Another victory for the Obama administration. And score one for therapy.

Pope Francis Financing Central American Migration

Unhappily for many, Pope Francis has gotten into the illegal migrant act. He has long since proposed the Europe open its arms to unassimilable migrants. Now, he is sending money to the Central American migrants camped out in Mexico, the better to facilitate their entry into the United States. Exactly why this is any of his business... beats me.

Naturally, he feels their pain and wants to help. He seems to believe that the problem is those dastardly Americans, who have not opened their borders to everyone who wants to come in. Everyone but the pope knows that the mix of unlimited migration and a welfare state is calamitous.

Being part of the bien pensant elite, the pope believes that these people are merely seeking a chance to make an honest living. No one ever asks what they are capable to contributing to an advanced industrial economy. No one ever asks how many of them have made it through elementary school. In truth, they are coming for the government benefits. The more of them arrive the less chance there will be for them to assimilate.

Anyway, the Vatican News reports the story (via Maggie’s Farm):

Pope Francis has donated 500,000 dollars to assist migrants in Mexico. The funds, from the Peter’s Pence collections, will be distributed among 27 projects promoted by sixteen Mexican dioceses and religious congregations, which requested assistance in continuing to provide food, lodging, and basic necessities to the migrants.

According to a statement from Peter’s Pence, “In recent months, thousands of migrants have arrived in Mexico, having travelled more than 4,000 kilometres on foot and with makeshift vehicles from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Men and women, often with young children, flee poverty and violence, hoping for a better future in the United States. However, the US border remains closed to them.”

Well, if the US border is closed-- and why, pray tell, should the Argentinian pope be deciding whether the American government should open or close its borders?-- I have a better idea.

Why not use the money to charter planes to transport these migrants… to Argentina. Yes indeed, to that trainwreck of a country, where a highly educated population cannot manage to produce a functioning economy, where its best and brightest are immigrating to Europe. There’s plenty of room in Argentina… so why hasn’t the pope recommended that the migrants go there. And why is he not offering to pay for their trip?

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Suicide Prevention, 101

Psychiatrist Amy Barnhorst makes an important point in her New York Times op-ed about suicide prevention. Mental health professionals want to help people. They want to prevent suicide. And yet, they have precious little to offer. It takes more than an SSRI, and most psychiatrists have little to offer beyond medication.

She writes:

As doctors, we want to help people, and it can be hard for us to admit when our tools are limited. Antidepressants may seem like an obvious solution, but only about 40 percent to 60 percent of patients who take them feel better. And while nearly one in 10 Americans uses antidepressants, there is very little convincing evidence to show that they reduce suicide.

This is because many of the problems that lead to suicide can’t be fixed with a little extra serotonin. Antidepressants can’t supply employment or affordable housing, repair relationships with family members or bring on sobriety.

Effectively, she is on to something important. Suicide prevention and the treatment of depression require life changes. The goal should be to get the patient back into his life, to repair relationships, to get and to hold down jobs.

Nonetheless, mental health providers perpetuate the narrative that suicide is preventable, if patients and family members just follow the right steps. Suicide prevention campaigns encourage people to overcome stigma, tell someone or call a hotline. The implication is that the help is there, just waiting to be sought out.

But it is not that easy. Good outpatient psychiatric care is hard to find, hard to get into and hard to pay for. Inpatient care is reserved for the most extreme cases, and even for them, there are not enough beds. Initiatives like crisis hotlines and anti-stigma campaigns focus on opening more portals into mental health services, but this is like cutting doorways into an empty building.

I suspect that good treatment is harder to find than she imagines. Reasonably, she ignores insight-oriented and psychoanalysis-inspired treatments, but she should have had a word or two to say about the new treatments offered by cognitive therapists.

One remarks that the solutions she sees are beyond the competence of any psychiatrist.

We need to address the root causes of our nation’s suicide problem — poverty, homelessness and the accompanying exposure to trauma, crime and drugs. That means better alcohol and drug treatment, family counseling, low-income housing resources, job training and individual therapy. And for those at risk who still slip past all the checkpoints, we need to make sure they don’t have access to guns and lethal medications.

If we ignore all this, and keep telling the story that there is a simple solution at hand, the families of suicide victims will be left wondering what they did wrong.

This leads us to ask who ought to be offering these services. Clearly, psychiatrists are not trained to do so. But, this should also lead us to ask about the state of the profession itself. The leading lights of the psychology world, the American Psychological Association recently published a paper arguing that therapists ought to be trying to turn men, to take a random cohort, into women. The psycho association proposes that men get in touch with their more sensitive and vulnerable sides. Really? Do you think that a man will find the courage to take charge of his life by feeling more vulnerable, by enhancing his capacity for empathy? If men believe that therapists, mostly these days women, want to turn them into women, will this make them more or less likely to seek treatment?

And besides, not to be any more sexist than necessary, do you think that a woman suffering from depression should receive kudos for being vulnerable and empathetic. Or for feeling her feelings. Perhaps she too should be shown how to screw up her courage and to take charge of her life, to stop feeling her feelings and to take some steps, even small steps, toward getting a job, making a new friend, or taking up a new hobby. Leaving patients alone with their feelings will not prevent them from thinking about suicide. To say the least.

The Biden Factor

How viable is Joe Biden. True enough, he looks the part. He looks presidential. He has a long record of public service and was President Obama's loyal lapdog for eight years.

By Niall Ferguson’s reckoning, Biden still rankles from the fact that Obama chose Hillary as his designated successor in 2016. By the rules of counterfactuals, Biden has been encumbered by “what ifs.” He assumes, not unreasonably, that he could have beaten Donald Trump n 2016. If only Obama had not made a deal with the Clinton devils Joe Biden would be president today.

Thus, his candidacy is a "what if" candidacy. The problem is, has his time passed? Is it simply too late. Has his ship already sailed? And will he run a campaign that would have been more suitable in 2016, against a candidate who now has a record to run on?

So, Biden’s peculiar announcement video emphasizes that he is the candidate who can beat Donald Trump. Ferguson explains:

He has opted to position himself, from the outset, as the candidate who can beat Trump. The opening salvo of Biden 2020 was a three-minutes-plus video revolving round events in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, when clashes between neo-Nazis and anti-fascist protesters culminated in the murder of Heather Heyer.

According to Biden, Trump’s statement at that time — that there were “some very fine people on both sides” — had “assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.”

Now Biden was born in 1942, so we’re being asked to believe that Trump is a bigger threat to the United States of America than either the Axis powers in the Second World War or the Soviet Union in the Cold War. But the implausibility of that claim is not the reason Biden will struggle to be the Democratic candidate next year.

That’s a nice of way of saying that Biden was indulging a piece of rhetorical hyperbole. The Democratic resistance has been wallowing in such hyperbole since November 9, 2016, so it feels a bit stale. As does Joe Biden, for that matter.

Ferguson does not think that creepy Joe is going to be harmed by his behaviors toward women. I respectfully disagree. True enough, many commentators, even of a conservative persuasion, have rushed to defend the hair sniffer. Apparently, they do not understand the power of pheromones and have no familiarity with other hair-based fetishes… as in panty sniffing. As a rule, women find such practices disgusting, a violation of their privacy. In truth, most men would agree.

So, I consider it a vulnerability, one that Biden’s opponents will surely exploit.

Ferguson’s analysis has it that the Democratic Party has moved too far to the left to nominate a Joe Biden. Perhaps that is true. On the other hand, the same party is so completely consumed with rage about Donald Trump that they would probably nominate a wet racoon if they thought he could beat Trump.

As for Biden’s other vulnerabilities, aside from  his being white and male, I recently discovered a salient article regarding Biden’s multiple experiences with cosmetic surgery. Vanity of vanities, do you think that America is ready to elect a president who is so vain that he has had, as they say in my neighborhood, work done.

Emily Larson reports in The Washington Examiner:

Cosmetic doctors are certain that former Vice President Joe Biden’s full head of hair, smooth forehead, and Cheshire Cat grin are the result of plastic surgery and other procedures.

Around the time of the 2008 campaign, alterations in Biden’s appearance became noticeable. His hairline changed, wrinkles disappeared, his smile was brighter. “Without any question Joe Biden had hair transplants,” Dr. Barry Cohen, a plastic surgeon with offices in the Washington suburbs, told the Washington Examiner.

“In fact, he had bad plugs years ago,” Cohen said. “Subsequently, he filled in his frontal hairline to camouflage the bad ‘Barbie dollesque’ plugs. I suspect he has regular Botox and probably filler. If he had a face lift, he needs another.”

As it happened, John Kerry also had some work done. You don't think that he was born that way, do you? How did his candidacy work out?

The general opinion now is that cosmetic surgery for men is not disqualifying. And yet, in the hands of the right opponent, it might become a defect. For a manly man like Joe Biden, Botox does not quite fit the image.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

A Widening Gender Gap

Reality bites. It bites more fiercely when you have conjured up an idealistic view of human behavior and then imagine that the marketplace is going to accommodate your adolescent illusions. That means, reality bites when two young professionals marry and discover that she is the one who becomes a mother and that he is the one who becomes the breadwinner. Whoever imagined such an injustice?

Claire Cain Miller reports this ghastly phenomenon, but offers an analysis that downplays the role that gender might play. She remarks that more and more high intensity executive jobs require people to be on call all the time, to work ungodly long hours. By the way, the people, mostly men, who do these jobs are very well rewarded for their efforts, but they can only do the jobs and have a family if their wives are on call all the time at home.

In our age of networked communications, an executive must be available all the time. A client in Shanghai needs to talk to you. It’s 3:00 a.m. You talk to the client. If you don’t do it, if you are not available, your client will stop doing business with you. In a competitive marketplace, if you do not put in the extra time, someone else will do it.

We will mention in passing, because no one seems to care about it, and because even Miller does not report it, but if a woman spends more time on the job she will be neglecting her children. Working part time, as the woman Miller profiles does, might be a very good thing for children. And, hopefully we have all gotten over the notion that toxic males are adequate mother substitutes.

Miller de-emphasizes the role of gender. Thus, she considers it a problem to be solved, a blip on the path to gender equality. So she argues, and reports on the works of feminist theorists, to the effect that the workplace should restructure itself to accommodate feminist fantasies. 

This would make it possible for more men to remain at the pinnacle of their professions while spending less time on call. Since the global marketplace, and the competition coming from around the world has produced this system, the natural conclusion would be that feminists need to convince everyone everywhere to change the way they work and the way they bring up children. It sounds like a pipe dream, because it is a pipe dream.

This propagandizing will produce one singular result. Some men, having taken the bait, will work less, will demand more time to care for their children, and will fall behind in the race to corporate excellence. Then, their wives will disparage them as losers. If you think that this is an easy problem, think again.

Miller blames the structure of work. It is easier than imagining that it might have something to do with human nature.  Or with the fact that children do better when they are brought up by their mothers. 

So, here is the profiled couple:

Daniela Jampel and Matthew Schneid met in college at Cornell, and both later earned law degrees. They both got jobs at big law firms, the kind that reward people who make partner with seven-figure pay packages.

One marriage and 10 years later, she works 21 hours a week as a lawyer for New York City, a job that enables her to spend two days a week at home with their children, ages 5 and 1, and to shuffle her hours if something urgent comes up. He’s a partner at a midsize law firm and works 60-hour weeks — up to 80 if he’s closing a big deal — and is on call nights and weekends. He earns four to six times what she does, depending on the year.

It isn’t the way they’d imagined splitting the breadwinning and the caregiving. But he’s been able to be so financially successful in part because of her flexibility, they said. “I’m here if he needs to work late or go out with clients,” Ms. Jampel said. “Snow days are not an issue. I do all the doctor appointments on my days off. Really, the benefit is he doesn’t have to think about it. If he has to work late or on weekends, he’s not like, ‘Oh my gosh, who’s going to watch the children?’ The thought never crosses his mind.”

Is this a bad thing? Is this a problem? Is something wrong with having a mother who is so totally responsible that her husband never has to think about the children? These two people have jobs, roles and function that complement each other. If it had happened that he needed to worry about whether or not someone was caring for his children, he would lose focus at work and would be less effective. He would also not be as well rewarded.

True enough, his wife has a law degree also. But, ask yourself this: if she were a neglectful mother, abandoning her children to an army of Nannies, would she be as effective a lawyer as he is.

So, in certain jobs, being on call all the time is an advantage. Theorists blame it on the economy and on certain types of jobs, the types that own your time. If you are going to be making large sums of money and if you bear executive responsibility, your time will not be your own. You can blame it on the advent of the greedy professions, but the truth is, most women do not want to do such jobs. They do not gain what men gain by moving up the status hierarchy.

Miller blames it on telecommunications and of a networked work world. And the system of international free trade. As for whether the gender disparity is unintentional, one might point out that it has nearly always been the case that women spend more time bringing up their children an making a home. It’s nice to have a new scapegoat, but, in truth, the reality is far more complex.

She writes:

The returns to working long, inflexible hours have greatly increased. This is particularly true in managerial jobs and what social scientists call the greedy professions, like finance, law and consulting — an unintentional side effect of the nation’s embrace of a winner-take-all economy. It’s so powerful, researchers say, that it has canceled the effect of women’s educational gains.

Just as more women earned degrees, the jobs that require those degrees started paying disproportionately more to people with round-the-clock availability. At the same time, more highly educated women began to marry men with similar educations, and to have children. But parents can be on call at work only if someone is on call at home. Usually, that person is the mother.

In other words, the absurd feminist illusion of men and women sharing equally home making and child rearing was a lie. As was the illusion of men and women having equal careers. Motherhood makes that largely impossible. But, again, we have no indications that women, regardless, are willing to make the sacrifices needed to be on call all the time. After all, rising up the status hierarchy will make a woman less attractive to men. It will produce the opposite effect for men.

This is not about educated women opting out of work (they are the least likely to stop working after having children, even if they move to less demanding jobs). It’s about how the nature of work has changed in ways that push couples who have equal career potential to take on unequal roles.

“Because of rising inequality, if you put in the extra hours, if you’re around for the Sunday evening discussion, you’ll get a lot more,” said Claudia Goldin, an economist at Harvard who is writing a book on the topic. To maximize the family’s income but still keep the children alive, it’s logical for one parent to take an intensive job and the other to take a less demanding one, she said. “It just so happens that in most couples, if there’s a woman and a man, the woman takes the back seat.”

Women don’t step back from work because they have rich husbands, she said. They have rich husbands because they step back from work.

So, it’s a trade-off. A woman who wants to see her husband succeed to the point of accumulating riches, will step back from work and will be on call at home all the time. If she does not want to do that, her husband’s career prospects will suffer. And he might blame her when he falls behind his cohorts. 

Of course, in the old days, when men fought wars, women stayed home and cared for children.

Overwork is most extreme in managerial jobs and in the greedy professions, a term coined by the sociologist Lewis Coser in 1974 to describe institutions that “seek exclusive and undivided loyalty.” (Rose Laub Coser, a sociologist and his wife, also used it to describe the expectations of motherhood). But overwork (or at least time in the office or online, regardless of whether much work is getting done) has become increasingly common in more jobs, whether it’s accounting, information technology or any job in which someone’s manager stays late or sends emails on weekends and expects employees to follow suit.

Technology is one reason for the change, researchers say; workers are now more easily reachable and can do more work remotely. Also, business has become more global, so people are working across time zones. A big driver is the widening gap between the highest and lowest earners, and increasingly unstable employment. More jobs requiring advanced degrees are up-or-out — make partner or leave, for example. Even if they aren’t, work has become more competitive, and long hours have become a status symbol.

“The reward to become the winner is a lot higher now than in the past,” Ms. Cha said. “You have to stick out among workers, and one way is by your hours.”

Researchers are especially concerned about women’s unused career potential.

With the rise of college-educated, dual-earner power couples, it was realistic to imagine that two people could each work in jobs at the top of their fields and share the duties at home. But at the same time as work became more demanding, family life changed, too.

People are increasingly marrying people with similar educations and career potential — a doctor is likely to be married to another doctor instead of a nurse. Yet the pay gap between husbands and wives is biggest for those with higher education and white-collar jobs. Some parents on elite career paths each continue on them and outsource child care, while others decide not to maximize their family earnings and each take lower-paying, more flexible jobs. But researchers say that because of the changes in work and family, many educated couples are finding that couple equity is out of reach — and many women are left with unused career potential.

True enough, women now tend to outperform men in school. How does it happen that the underperformers are more likely to be working their way up the corporate ladder. 

This might or might not be a problem, but we must also note that the academic system is increasingly geared to advantage females. Men are disparaged and denigrated in the American school system, and in some of their European counterparts. Thus, women excel and men tend to slack off. 

But then, once they graduate from school, men have a chance to work in a world that values manly virtues. They might complain that they are being overworked but they are surely willing to go to great lengths to avoid returning to the female centered world where they are treated as toxic excrescences.

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Case of the Abusive Mother-in-Law

Surely, we understand the decisions. A husband tells his wife that he wants to cut all ties with his family, especially his mother. His wife does not want to help precipitate a major family disruption. She wants a harmonious and inclusive family environment. We understand her reasoning perfectly.

Husband accepts her reasoning and continues to try to maintain good relations with his mother. It is not working out well. Mother-in-law continues to abuse her son at every opportunity. So, the daughter-in-law writes to Carolyn Hax:

When I married my wonderful husband, he asked if we could cut ties with his family. I thought he was joking.

He grew up in a verbally and emotionally abusive household — something I will never fully understand, but definitely didn't grasp pre-marriage. While his mother was also a victim (her father was the abuser), she is the one we have the most problems with. I spent the first part of our marriage telling my husband he should be more supportive of her because she was a victim and has clear untreated mental illness. What I didn't understand was that she filled his childhood with manipulation, passive-aggression, severe OCD and hoarding, and helicopter parenting.

Now she continues to unload her untreated anxiety on him. He tries to set boundaries, she ignores them. Many people have suggested therapy, she refuses treatment. She blames every problem she's ever had, including things that happened four decades ago, which she still ruminates about constantly, on any- and everyone but herself. Every 20-minute call leaves my husband drained and frustrated.

She wants to be around her grandchildren. How do we let this woman into our life without feeling depleted? How do we set boundaries with someone who ignores them?

— Distraught Daughter-in-Law

Carolyn Hax offers a wise and correct observation. This woman created the problem by refusing to accept her husband’s suggestion the first time. She bears some considerable responsibility for the current state of affairs. Thus, she owes him a large apology. Once he receives it, and once he knows that his wife is with him, he will have an easier time standing up to his abusive mother.

Surely, this is totally correct. And it is very important to note that his inability to deal with his mother derives from his wife’s disloyalty. Kudos to Hax:

You laughed off your husband’s cry for help! And then sided with his tormentor against him.

This history must be addressed before you deal with the present. Why? You owe him a massive apology. And because your husband needs strength to hold the line with his mother — wherever he draws it, which we’ll get to — and healthy relationships with the primary people in our lives are, for any of us, a significant source of emotional strength.

As his wife, you are likely the primary person.

Maybe you get it and have long since repaired the trust you damaged by siding against him. My apologies, if so. But your letter doesn’t have that “WOW I messed up” vibe, and his mother is still tormenting him — and that tells me there’s still work to do on your marital trust. That means a full reckoning with your part in his pain. Such as: “You asked sincerely to cut ties with your family and I treated it as a joke. I’m so sorry. I left you to deal with her unsupported.” Show him you get it and you’re safe to lean on now.

As a full and fully comprehending partner, you can join him in learning about boundaries: namely, that when properly set and held, they aren’t subject to anyone’s disrespect. You decide what behavior you’ll accept from people, and become unavailable to those who behave otherwise. She gets blamey on the phone? He says, “Sorry to interrupt, but I have to go,” and hangs up. She screams? He screens.

She keeps hurting him? He cuts ties.

Ultimately, cutting all ties is the right thing to do.

I would only add one point. We understand that the new husband accepted his wife’s suggestion because he wanted to ensure harmony within his family. In a better world he would have politely refused from the onset. After all, he had known his mother his entire life. His new wife did not know her at all. He should not have suggested it, he should have explained that he has no other choice but to cut ties with his mother. A loyal wife would have acceded. It’s fair to say that the wife created the mess, but her husband allowed her to do so. If he could not stand up to his wife, why would we expect him to be able to stand up to his mother?

Climate Change Hysteria

Here’s a story that will brighten your day. I promise. OK, those who hang on the drool issuing forth from one Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will not find this very amusing. After all, the bug-eyed buffoon from New York City has already told us that the world as we know it is going to end in twelve years. If you actually believed that, you should stop reading now. And you should bow your head in shame.

Because, guess what, climate change hysteria has been with us for quite some time now. Peter Baggins, at TheOccidentalObserver.com (via Zero Hedge) has done us a great service. He has gone back in time and unearthed the dire prophecies pronounced by climate change hysterics in 1970.

You will not be surprised at what you are going to read. Here they are:

  1.  “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
    — Harvard biologist George Wald
  1. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” 
— Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day

  1. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human
    — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner

  1.  “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100–200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years. … Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born. … [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.
    — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

  1. “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions …. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.
    — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter

  1. “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.”
    — Life magazine

  1. “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable. … By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate … that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any. … The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
    — Kenneth Watt

You will note that most of these prophecies were offered by people who held serious titles in serious American universities. They were scientific thought leaders.

Climate change hysteria has been with us for decades now. It will likely be with us for many more decades.

Bringing Rape Culture to Sweden

You would think that the Feminist Paradise called Sweden would be tough on rape. After all, feminists in this country have been militating against rape culture. Thus, by logical deduction, a nation that was run by feminists would naturally be far more strict when it comes to punishing rape. Surely, it would not suffer from patriarchal toxic male solidarity and excuse rape as a simple misunderstanding.

You would be in for a big surprise. In the Feminist Paradise of Sweden they go soft on rapists. Especially on Muslim migrant rapists, like this one from Somalia. You will note that the man, convicted of rape, was originally sentenced to one year and ten months in jail. Thus, felonious rape merely gets you a slap on the wrist. As crimes go, it’s slightly more serious than jaywalking, but not by a lot. I have long since considered multicultural Sweden to have embraced human sacrifice. I still do. 

But, then the tough hard-assed feminists in Sweden have added an additional punishment. A migrant rapist should be deported from the nation. After all, they do not want to have convicted rapists wandering around their thoroughly “woke” nation. 

At least, such was the case up to now. Recently, the Supreme Court of Sweden has decided that the expulsion order was unfair or not very nice or racist or whatever. Thus it overturned prior court rulings and is allowing the convicted rapist to stay in the country.

Here is the story, from the Swedish paper, called The Local:

Two lower courts had ruled that the man, a 33-year-old Somali citizen, should be deported after serving a jail sentence for rape, but the Supreme Court overturned this decision while extending his jail sentence by four months. The reason for ruling against deportation was that his ties to Sweden were considered to be strong, although two of the five Supreme Court justices argued the seriousness of the crime outweighed this and that he should be expelled.

The man was first found guilty of rape by Linköping District Court, after he forced himself on a woman he did not know while they both stayed overnight at a mutual friend's apartment.

He was found guilty based on witness statements from the victim and the apartment owner, as well as SMS messages and the fact his DNA was found on the victim.

That court initially sentenced him to one year and ten months in jail, followed by expulsion from Sweden and a ban on returning for the next ten years.

Perpetrators of serious crimes can be expelled from Sweden as part of their punishment if they do not hold Swedish citizenship. If the perpetrator has been resident in Sweden for at least five years, though, Swedish law dictates the court must find that there are "extraordinary reasons" for ordering a deportation.

A Supreme Court spokeswoman explained the reasoning:

Lina Zettergren, a Judge Referee at the Supreme Court with responsibility for preparing the cases and presenting proposals for decisions, told The Local.

"But consideration should also be taken to the foreigner's ties to Swedish society. In the judgment, consideration should be taken to factors such as living conditions, for example if the person has a property, is socially integrated, has learned Swedish, and so on, if the person has children and is in contact with them, if there are other family members, and the length of time the person has spent in Sweden," Zettergren said.

"The idea behind the requirement of 'extraordinary reasons' [if the perpetrator has been in Sweden for over five years] is that there should be a point where a foreigner has the right to feel secure in Sweden. It's a complete judgment where all factors are weighed up, and which factors are decisive depends on the circumstances in the individual case. If the foreigner has a strong tie to Sweden, typically a more serious crime is required for deportation to occur."

Put that one in your pipe and smoke it. It has to be a “more serious crime” to merit deportation. Apparently, in “woke” Sweden rape is not a very serious crime. A migrant raping a Swedish woman is not a very serious crime. After all, it merits a mere twenty-two months in prison.

So, there you have it, the properly feminist attitude toward rape. It is not a very serious crime. Those who perpetrate it should receive limited jail time and should not be deported to Ilhan Omar’s home country.