Monday, April 27, 2015


Woman Accused of Murdering Her Baby


Kimberly Pappas

(From wtrf.com and WWJ-TV) A 25-year-old woman, Kimberly Pappas, has been accused of murdering her newborn baby and putting the corpse in her desk at work.

Pappas faces counts of felony murder, premeditated murder, and child abuse.
Pappas allegedly gave birth in the bathroom, sealed the infant in a plastic bag and placed the newborn in her desk drawer and continued with her daily work routine.

Authorities said a co-worker called 9-1-1 when blood was found in the bathroom and the baby was found in a bag in the woman's desk drawer.
Sad story, eh?

Lauren Southern: Why I am not a feminist




Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Gavin McInnes on politically correct terrorism






Colorado Attorney Sentenced to Prison


Emily Elizabeth Cohen

(Boulder, Colorado)
Cohen was convicted late last year on 13 counts. Prosecutors with the Boulder County District Attorney’s office said her clients would come to her asking for help in gaining a path to citizenship but she ended up taking their money and never providing any services.

Because of Cohen’s crimes one victim wound up deported and another wasn’t allowed to enter the country. It’s believed dozens of victims paid Cohen at least $100,000.
OK

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Controversial Opera Is Squashed




(Willoughby, OH) This weekend's Willoughby South High School presentation of an original opera has been canceled due to a lawsuit threat that suggests that the opera promotes religion and is a violation of the separation of church and state.
The production, called "I am Martol" was written partially by Ben Richard, the school's choir director. According to the school district, Richard used music by Ola Gjeilo, a young Norwegian composer.

[Alex Luchenitser, a legal director for Americans United for Separation of Church and State] called it a religious opera and said public school teachers have no business promoting religion. He acknowledged he had not read the opera and relied on the complainant's description.
Students say "I Am Martol" is simply an opera about the struggle between good and evil. Participation was voluntary and no students are being forced to attend the production. The Willoughby-Eastlake School District’s legal department is reviewing the situation. A Go Fund Me account has been created to raise money for a new venue for the performance in anticipation that the show can be presented at a later date.

Interesting that Mr. Luchenitser has not even read the opera.

Posted by Note Taker


Explaining terrorism

Below is an excerpt from "The Metapolitics of Terrorist Radicalization" by British academic Roger Griffin.  As a former inhabitant of academe, I am well aware of the way little isolated worlds of discourse arise among academics that are virtually incomprehensible to outsiders. They largely have a private language -- rather reminiscent of how identical twins speak to one another in their early years.  And Griffin inhabits such a bubble. One feels that he couldn't speak plain English if he tried.

Since the topic he addresses is an important one, however, it would seem important to see if he actually has something useful to say.  I therefore offer below what I think is the most lucid part of his offering on the topic.

In case even that bit is too obscure, however, perhaps I should have a stab at summarizing it.  And one reason why I am summarizing something from the way-out-Left is that what he says does have a certain amount in common with what conservatives say.  So let me put in my own words what I think he is driving at:

We all have two problems:  We need to makes sense of our world and we need to be close to at least some other people. To begin with the first of those:

We very much seek to understand what is going on in our world and why.  Religion is the clearest example of that.  It answers the big "WHY?". And when there is no clear answer that does make us uncomfortable.  And in the modern world with its many competing theories about everything it is hard to find clear answers.  All answers are under challenge. So that is a problem

The second problem is that people need connections with one-another.  And an important form of connection is having language, customs, beliefs, remembered history, traditions, tastes and attitudes in common.  We call that culture.  And we get on best with others with whom we have a common culture.

But the modern world has so much change in it that culture is constantly being destroyed.  One half of politics is in fact devoted to change and that has some effect but the major source of change is technological progress.  Just look at how interpersonal interactions have been transformed quite recently by the arrival of social media.  And look at how books have become a niche product.  One Kindle machine can replace them all.

The area where the Left have been particularly successful in culture destruction has been the way they have severed our connections with our past.  Kids now graduate from school with virtually no knowledge of what happened before they were born.  The Leftist domination of education and the media ensures that. And the history we get from movies and the like is often a substantially false one.

Yet people have a strong need for connection with their past.  We see that most vividly among the children of adoption.  They routinely move heaven and earth to find out what they can about their natural parents.  Being cut off from your past is distressing.  The way older people often develop an interest in genealogy and family history is a related phenomenon.  Yet the Leftist attack on anything traditional means that much of our past is swept away.

And a frustrated need for connection with our past explains something that is happening in my town even as I write.  A vast parade is winding its way through the streets of Brisbane.  It is the ANZAC day parade.  ANZAC day is Australia's day of remembrance of our war dead.  And people are thronging the streets to watch it, even though it also continuously broadcast on TV.  And what is probably most interesting is that the commemorations get bigger year by year -- with not only the old but also the young taking part.  It is in no danger of dying out.

So why do the young people go?  Very few of them have known someone who died in war.  They go because ANZAC day is the one day of commemoration of our past that the Left have not been able to ridicule out of existence.  So ANZAC day is the big chance for young people to connect with the past and those who went before them.  It is their chance to connect with something less transitory than their own lives.  They can feel part of a larger whole.  They can feel belonging.

So ANZAC day is a way that people can cope with change.  The past and the present reach out hands to one-another then.

We live in a world that is constantly being dislocated but somehow we mostly manage to cope with it.  ANZAC day is a peculiarly Australian custom but other countries have their own traditions that perform a similar function of remembrance.

But there are some people -- marginal people -- who fail to cope adaptively with the lack of social anchors.  They find or invent new anchors that connect them to other people.  And adopting beliefs that unite them with other people is a mainstream way of doing that. Shared beliefs both provide answers and provide connections.

The oldest such unifying belief is antisemitism.  Saying that the Jews are responsible for all ills is something that many people have been able to agree on for centuries.  It gave a sense of meaning and a feeling of understanding.  I spent some years on an up-close study of Australian neo-Nazis and something that stands out from that study is the way they identified one another.  A fellow antisemite was always described as someone who "knows the score"  -- i.e. someone who was part of a specially knowing circle having rare insight into the influence that Jews wield.  So it is no surprise that antisemitism is also a major feature of Islamic agitation.  It helps them to make sense of their own chaotic and oppressive civilization and makes them part of an agreed culture.  Whatever is wrong is the fault of the Jews.

And Islam does have a very strong and pervasive culture of its own. It answers the need for connectedness very well.  So it is no wonder that it attracts people who need that.  For people who feel left out for some reason, Islam offers an alternative home.  So it attracts converts among both Africans and, mainly in England, redheads.

Red hair is an accepted normal variation of hair color in most countries of Northern European origin but in England it is stigmatized -- probably because it is associated with the Scots and the Irish.  And the informal stigmatization of it is no mean thing.  Some redheads have been distressed enough to commit suicide.  So, again, marginality, disconnection from other people, is distressing and any possible solutions to the problem are eagerly sought.

So terrorism is a cry of both pain and anger -- pain at being poorly connected to other people and anger that most of the rest of the world does not share the beliefs that make sense of the world for the terrorist.

But, like much else, it is all a matter of degree: One has to feel REALLY alienated and REALLY dependent on a minority worldview to launch into terrorism.

And the role of social support is telling.  Homicidal and suicidal attacks by Muslims in the Western world are actually quite rare -- while they happen on a large scale more or less daily in the Islamic world.  If you are a Shi-ite among Shi-ites your loyalty to your particular belief system is enormously strengthened and can readily lead to the sacrifices ordained by that belief system when you confront Sunnis.  Social support is needed for Jihad as for much else.  Connectedness again rears its head.

In the West that degree of connectedness is absent but can be provided to a degree by the local mosque and living in a self-segregated Islamic bubble generally.

So, having identified the problem, how can we cope with it? It's rare for me to think that do-gooders actually do good but some  do-gooder approaches already underway are probably the only hope.  Drawing young Muslims into some sort of group activity could provide them with the fellowship they need and make them feel that the world is not too awful and worthy of destruction.

And Christian outreach could also play a part.  The more fundamentalist Christian groups such as Pentecostals and Jehovah's witnesses are good at outreach and provide a strong sense of fellowship to their members.  It's conceivable that they could draw in young Muslims who are searching for meaning and for social anchors. Let's hope for more Christian activity in that direction.

A probably more effective but unacceptable approach would be to apply to Muslims living in the Western world the sort of rules that are applied at present to Christians in Saudi Arabia -- ban Islamic literature, including Korans, and forbid any sort of Muslim gathering or meeting.  That should destroy the social support needed to develop Jihadis.

But the anger and dissatisfaction that drives Western Jihadis does not wholly come from within the Jihadi or even from his local mosque.  It comes from Western  Leftism.  Islamic teaching is intrinsically antagonistic to non-Muslims but Islam was fairly quiescent for a long time, with the Armenian genocide being the last twitch of it until recently. So why has it suddenly had a great eruption in recent years?  It was the influence of the Left.  It took the Left a long time to throw off patriotism, with JFK probably the last sincere patriot from the American Left in public life.  But once the dam was broken, the Leftist critique of modern Western life has been both scathing and extensive. And that gave new life to semi-somnolent Muslim rejection of Western ways.  The Leftist critique of Western civilization became incorporated into the Muslim critique and gave new life to it

And the Leftist really is in much the same boat as the Jihadi.  He finds his disconnectedness with his country and much else distressing and often expresses that as anger towards others. Conservatives all know the fury that Leftists evince in responding to any criticisms of their claims.  The fury is so great that if you publicly reject global warming or are critical of homosexualiy, you are likely to be forced out of your job.

And there have of course been Leftist terrorists -- particularly in Germany, Italy and Japan. The Red Army Faction, the Red Brigades and the Japanese Red Army were all alienated and deeply fanatical young people, quite like Jihadis in many ways.  Such groups are unlikely to re-emerge now because of the friendliness of the Left towards Muslims.  Murderously motivated young men and women of the Left these days would find it most convenient to join some Muslim cell.

Conservatives, by contrast, are under no such stresses and strains.  They feel connected with much around them. They feel connected with their family, their community, their churches and service organizations, military involvements and of course their country.  And they are proud of what their forebears have accomplished.  It is no wonder that in surveys of happiness conservatives always show up as much happier than Leftists

I expand on the importance of connectedness and the Leftist lack  of it here Below is an excerpt that shows how disconnected and marginal was one convert to Jihad:

The Islamic State recruiter cited as the inspiration of the alleged Anzac Day terror plot was an ­apprentice motor mechanic who was bullied and called “black boy”’ at school.

Before he was a high-profile member of Islamic State, Neil “Chris” Prakash was a paint-­sniffing, high-school dropout who was easily led by others and “scared of his own shadow”.

Throughout his teenage years, Prakash, whose mother was schizophrenic, lived off and on in the spare room of a friend’s house in a Melbourne bayside suburb, listening to rap music and tinkering with his prized Nissan Skyline.

His adopted family describe him as a social outcast who drifted from entry-level jobs to TAFE courses before his abrupt conversion to radical Islam.

“It was a complete shock,” said David, a father of four who ­befriended Prakash as a troubled teen. “The kid was so fragile, he was scared of his own shadow.”

SOURCE

And on a personal note, although my service in the Australian army was completely undistinguished, I am pleased to say that I have worn my country's uniform.  That is connectedness too


Culture imparts to individual lives a sense of purpose deriving from the certainty that they are ‘capable of transcending the natural boundaries of time and space, and in doing so, eluding death’.1 Threats to cultural integrity, whether endogenous or exogenous, can thus create the conditions for extreme violence. Assaults on the integrity or self-evidence of the nomos, for example, the challenge of radically conflicting conceptions of reality or insidious cultural colonization by another society or other ethnicities, ‘threaten to release the anxiety from which our conceptions shield us, thus undermining the promise of literal or symbolic immortality afforded by them’.2 This, the authors add, can lead to the response of ‘trying to annihilate’ those who embody divergent beliefs, an impulse fully enacted in ethnic cleansing (which frequently involves terrorism) and genocide (which cannot, since there is no third party to be terrorized by the killings).

A similar conclusion is arrived at by Jessica Stern in Holy Terror as the result of numerous in-depth interviews with ‘religious’ terrorists to establish patterns in their motivation:

Because the true faith is purportedly in jeopardy, emergency conditions prevail, and the killing of innocents becomes, in their view, religiously and morally permissible. The point of religious terrorism is to purify the world of these corrupting influences. But what lies beneath these views? Over time, I began to see that these grievances often mask a deeper kind of angst and a deeper kind of fear. Fear of a godless universe, of chaos, of loose rules and loneliness.3

Modernity, she realizes, ‘introduces a world where the potential future paths are so varied, so unknown, and the lack of authority so great that individuals seek assurance and comfort in the elimination of unsettling possibilities’.4

‘One-worlders, humanists, and promoters of human rights have created an engine of modernity that is stealing the identity of the oppressed’. Extremism is a response to ‘the vacuity in human consciousness’ brought about by modernity.5 In The Blood that Cries out from the Earth, James Jones stresses how modernization and globalization have failed to create a satisfying culture for millions in developing countries, such as Indonesia and the wider Islamic world generally, and has thus created a ‘spiritual vacuum’ which is the source of the appeal exerted by religious extremism.6

In the anomie of our postmodern, global society with its smorgasbord of options and lifestyles, a religious conversion provides clear norms, a preordained answer to the postmodern dilemma ‘who am I?’—and a sense of rootedness in a timeless tradition that transcends and feels more substantial than the ever-shifting kaleidoscope of contemporary communities of reference.7

It is significant that none of these authors distinguishes between the nomic crises emanating from the breakdown of an existing nomos and inspiring what we have termed Zealotic forms of defensive aggression, and the type of nomic crisis into which the denizens of modernity are born and which they sometimes go to extreme lengths to resolve by converting to violent forms of programmatic Modernism. Nevertheless, there is a significant degree of convergence between our approaches.

The fruitfulness of this line of inquiry into the roots of fanaticism is further reinforced by Eric Hoffer’s slim but ‘classic’ treatise on political and religious fanaticism, The True Believer, written in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War when the memories of the mass rallies of Hitler and Stalin were still vivid. This offers a number of insights into the intimate relationship between anomy and blind faith in mass movements and in their leaders—that apply just as well to the commitment of disaffected individuals to terrorist causes also.

For example, he writes that when ‘people who see their lives as irremediably spoiled’ convert to a movement ‘they are reborn to a new life in its close-knit collective body’.8 The drive to belong to a community of faith, secular or religious, which provides a sense of ultimate purpose missing from an atomized, anomic individual existence leads to the ‘selfish altruism’ described by Dipak Gupta as intrinsic to the terrorist persona, and epitomized in the members of the jihadi movement whose ‘acts of self-sacrifice transform them into god-like creatures, much beloved by God himself’.9

Hoffer goes so far as to relegate the importance of ideology to a secondary factor, stating ‘a rising mass movement attracts and holds a following not by its doctrine and promises, but by the refuge it offers from the anxieties, barrenness and meaninglessness of an individual existence’.10 He sees all forms of self-surrender to a political cause as ‘in essence a desperate clinging to something which might give worth and meaning to our futile, spoilt lives.’11

In the more clinical discourse of the post-9/11 social sciences, Arie Kruglanski endorses Hoffer’s assumption by arguing that extremist ideologies exert a particular fascination on individuals suffering from inner confusion and a troubled identity because they are formulated ‘in clear-cut definitive terms’ and offer a sense of ‘cognitive closure’.12

They thus provide an antidote to what we have called the liquid, liminoid quality of modernity. In an era where all certainties are in meltdown, extremism offers a protective shelter from what Walter Benjamin called ‘the storm of progress’. Kruglanski also contributed to an important multi-author paper which views ‘diverse instances of suicidal terrorism as attempts at significance restoration, significance gain, and prevention of significance loss.

More HERE

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Friday, April 24, 2015


Louisiana Teacher Accused of Sex Crimes


Sommer Nicole Odom

(Iowa, Louisiana)
A teacher at the Lake Charles Charter Academy has been accused of having inappropriate contact with a student, city police said.

Deputy Chief Mark Kraus said Sommer Nicole Odom, 35, of Iowa, La., was arrested Tuesday afternoon on four counts of indecent behavior with juveniles, three counts of oral sexual battery and one count of sexual battery.
OK

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Are women who don't want children blue lobsters?


I probably don't need to say so but lobsters are normally red

A long but amusingly uninsightful essay below.  It appeared in "The Atlantic" under the heading "Why Women Aren't Having Children".  The author, Sophie Gilbert,  praises the attitudes and feelings of women who do not want to have children -- without apparently realizing that she is praising destruction of the attitudes concerned.  Attitudes and personality are highly hereditary so what is happening is that non-maternal women are breeding themselves out of existence.  With no children their particular genes will perish.

There have always been some non-maternal women, some of whom became the well-known category of "maiden aunts".  But, in the absence of contraception and amid social pressures to marry, many did reproduce and passed on their anti-survival instincts.

So it is surely a very good thing that non-maternal women now feel free to breed themselves out of existence.   Future generations will look back on them with wonder and pity.

So an apt reply to the disturbed Shulamith Firestone, who believed that “childbearing was barbaric and pregnancy should be abolished”, is surely that she is more than welcome to abolish herself -- which she duly did in 2012, leaving no-one behind like her

Women who don't want children are evolutionary duds  -- and we are now seeing the last of them.  They are a "sport" (a genetic accident).  They are not as unusual as blue lobsters but result from a similar process.

A methodological note:  With regard to the fact that highly educated women are less likely to have children, one must offer the classic caution that correlation is not causation.  Not having children is not the same as not wanting them and for the subset who actually do not want them, it must be allowed that such women may be more likely to fill their lives with extra education.  The direction of the causal arrow between more education and childlessness is not in general known and subjective reports may be unreliable

A personal note:  What I have said above is undoubtedly politically incorrect and, if I were in employment, attempts would probably be made to get me fired.  What I have said is, however, I believe, entirely objective and, as such, is not intended to hurt,  offend, disparage or condemn.  And it is undoubtedly scientifically accurate. I cheerfully admit however that I have a great love of children and had a great time helping to bring up four of them.  I am not a blue lobster


Pope Francis is widely believed to be a cool Pope—a huggable, Upworthyish, meme-ready, self-deprecating leader for a new generation of worshippers. “He has described himself as a sinner,” writes Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Pope Francis’ entry on Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world,  “and his nonjudgmental views on … issues such as sexual orientation and divorce have brought hope to millions of Roman Catholics around the world.”

But there’s one issue that can make even Cool Pope Francis himself sound a little, well, judgy. “A society with a greedy generation, that doesn’t want to surround itself with children, that considers them above all worrisome, a weight, a risk, is a depressed society,” the pontiff told an audience in St. Peter’s Square earlier this year. “The choice not to have children is selfish. Life rejuvenates and acquires energy when it multiplies: It is enriched, not impoverished.”

Not Wanting Kids Is Entirely Normal

Ignore the irony of a man who’s celibate by choice delivering a lecture on the sacred duty of procreating, and focus instead on his use of the word “selfish.” This particular descriptor is both the word most commonly associated with people who decide not to have children, and part of the title of a new collection of essays, Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed, by 16 different writers (both female and male) who fall into exactly that category. While the association appears to be so deeply embedded in the collective psyche that it’d take dynamite to shift it, if the book reveals anything, it’s that there’s an awful lot more to not wanting children than the impulse to put oneself first. “People who want children are all alike,” writes editor Meghan Daum in the book’s introduction, with apologies to Tolstoy. “People who don’t want children don’t want them in their own way.”

The 16 essays—variously funny, devastating, infuriating, insightful, and, yes, occasionally smug—not only dismantle the assumption of selfishness, they shed light on a stigma that’s remained stubbornly pervasive well into the 21st century, even as other formerly taboo lifestyles have become thoroughly mainstream. In 2015, thanks in no small part to the success of various works of fiction, it’s more acceptable to talk about wanting to be beaten by a sexual partner than it is to express honestly and openly a deliberate intent to not procreate.

“Shame,” writes the psychotherapist Jeanne Safer in one essay, “—for being selfish, unfeminine, or unable to nurture—is one of the hardest emotions to work through for women who are conflicted about having children.” In 1989, Safer wrote a magazine article about her “conscious decision not to have a child,” but was so aware of the thorny territory she was wading into that she published it under a pseudonym. The article became a book, Beyond Motherhood: Choosing a Life Without Children, and Safer became a figurehead for all the likeminded women who felt, she writes, “that someone was speaking for them at last.”

Twenty-six years later, the women Safer interviewed tell her they’re more than happy with their choices, but still the shadow of shame lingers. “Any person who marries but rejects procreation is seen as unnatural,” writes the author Sigrid Nunez in another essay. “But a woman who confesses never to have felt the desire for a baby is considered a freak. Women have always been raised to believe they would not be complete and could not be thought to have succeeded in life without the experience of motherhood.”

The concept of the innate biological desire to have a baby is a familiar one, repeated throughout books and television shows and emotional anecdotes about how friends and family members were suddenly gripped with a burning desire to get pregnant. But for women who’ve never felt such an urge, and who keep waiting for it to happen without ever experiencing any such stirrings, the notion can be alienating. “I finally said to myself, I don’t really want to have a baby, I want to want to have a baby,” writes Safer. “I longed to feel like everyone else, but I had to face the fact that I did not.” If you're of child-bearing age, it can indeed feel like Facebook feeds are flooded with bump selfies and sonograms and baby pictures. In the 1970s, one in ten women reached menopause without giving birth to a child. But by 2010, it was one in five, according to data gathered by the Pew Research Center, and one in four for women with a bachelor’s degree. A quarter of educated American women are getting through life without ever having children.

The inextricable links between increased education and intelligence, and opting out of procreation, are underscored by Laura Kipnis, a cultural critic who writes one of the more explicitly feminist essays in the book. Referring to the activist Shulamith Firestone, who believed that “childbearing was barbaric and pregnancy should be abolished,” Kipnis ponders the value of equating motherhood with “such supposedly ‘natural’ facts as maternal instinct and mother-child bonds,” which, she writes, “exist as social conventions of womanhood at this moment in history, not as eternal conditions.” The concept of profound maternal affection, she argues, was invented in the 19th century after both birth and child mortality rates started to decline. Before that, women couldn’t afford to get attached to infants that had a 15 to 30 percent chance of not reaching their first birthday. Ditto the concept of mother-child bonding, which coincided with the rise of industrialization, “when wage labor first became an option for women” and it became important to impress upon them the significance of staying home. The reason why fewer women are giving birth in Western countries, Kipnis says, is education.

Though no one exactly says it, women are voting with their ovaries, and the reason is simple. There are too few social supports, especially given the fact that the majority of women are no longer just mothers now, they’re mother-workers. Yet virtually no social policy accounts for this. Interestingly, women with the most education are the ones having the fewest children, though even basic literacy has a negative effect on birthrates in the developing world—the higher the literacy rate, the lower the birthrate. In other words, when women acquire critical skills and start weighing their options, they soon wise up to the fact that they’re not getting enough recompense for their labors.
That critical thinking plays a role in falling birthrates is backed up by a study conducted at Kansas State University, in which researchers found that “people’s desire to have children is most influenced by the positive and negative interactions, and the trade-offs.” These are detailed elegantly in an essay by Lionel Shriver, the author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, a book in which a mother’s life is ruined by her psychopathic son. “I could have afforded children, financially,” Shriver writes. “I just didn’t want them. They are untidy, they would have messed up my apartment. In the main, they are ungrateful. They would have siphoned away too much time from my precious books.”

Shriver acknowledges that this attitude could be interpreted as selfish. But, it seems, her feelings are indicative of “a larger transformation in Western culture no less profound than our collective consensus on what life is for.” In other words, she's saying, an existential shift in the way educated humans approach living—a switch from living for the (possibly celestial) future to enjoying the present—has led humans to think much more carefully about having children, since the drawbacks tend to outweigh the benefits. “As we age,” she writes, “we are apt to look back on our pasts and question, not, did I serve family, God, and country, but did I ever get to Cuba, or run a marathon? Did I take up landscape painting? Was I fat? We will assess the success of our lives in accordance not with whether they were righteous, but whether they were interesting and fun.”

That attitude might indeed be selfish, but is it any more selfish than bringing ever more humans into an overpopulated world? Is it more selfish than having a baby simply because you want to, which is often the case? Has anyone in recent memory declared that they were procreating out of a selfless desire to perpetuate the human race, when the human race has never, ever, been less in need of perpetuation? The sense that having children is the most worthy of human activities is questioned by the writer Tim Kreider, who argues that it’s “a pretty low-rent ultimate purpose that’s shared with viruses and bacteria.” Ditto Geoff Dyer, who writes in his very funny essay that “not having children is seen as supremely selfish, as though the people having children were selflessly sacrificing themselves in a valiant attempt to ensure the survival of our endangered species, and fill up this vast and underpopulated planet.”

Has anyone in recent memory declared that they were procreating out of selfless altruism?
Not having children isn’t selfish. Not having children is a perfectly rational and reasonable response given that humans are essentially parasites on the face of a perfectly lovely and well-balanced planet, ploughing through its natural resources, eradicating its endangered species, and ruining its most wonderful landscapes. This might sound misanthropic, and it is, but it is also true.

Maybe the world would be a better place if fewer women weren’t compelled to have children while their resources are stretched unreasonably thin. Maybe fewer sweet, chubby-cheeked toddlers would grow up to be surly, resentful adults because they always had the lingering sense their presence wasn’t wanted. Many of the writers in Shallow, Selfish, and Self-Absorbed discuss their own traumatic childhoods, and how they were made to feel responsible for their parents’ failed careers, or failed relationships, or unhappy lives. But there should be no shame attached to the decision not to participate any further in the great human experiment, whether or not it comes from the fact that that experiment has failed a person in the past. “To me, the lack of desire to have a child is innate,” the Fusion culture editor Danielle Henderson writes. “It exists outside of my control. It is simply who I am, and I can take neither credit nor blame for all that it may or may not signify.”

As a compilation of writing, Shallow, Selfish, and Self-Absorbed is generally very strong, bringing together a diverse range of voices and styles to riff entertainingly on a subject that has seemed, up until now, unriffable. But as a collection of manifestos, it’s hugely significant. It won’t influence anyone hell-bent on children away from having them, nor will it dissuade people who feel eternally conflicted about the subject. But what it does, more crucially, is refuse to accept the perpetuation of the myths that have surrounded childbirth for the last 200 years—that women have a biological need to procreate, and that having children is the single most significant thing a person can do with his or her life, and that not having children leaves people sad and empty. Try telling that to Oprah Winfrey, or Ellen DeGeneres, or Jane Austen, or Queen Elizabeth I. Or George Washington, or Nikola Tesla. The argument that lingers after having read the book is that the sooner having children is approached from a rational standpoint rather than an emotional one, the better for humanity, even if the result is that there are slightly fewer people left to enjoy it.

SOURCE

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).


Utah Teacher Pleads Guilty to Rape of Boy - Update


Brianne Altice

A former Utah high school teacher accused of having sex with three of her male students took a plea deal Wednesday to avoid a trial, sobbing as she accepted the agreement in court.

One of the boys was 16 and two were 17 when they were having sex with Davis High School English teacher Brianne Altice, 35.
OK

Tip: JR

* * * * *

Utah Teacher Pleads Not Guilty to Rape of Boy - Update
[Previous 3/2/14 post]
(Farmington, Utah)
A former Davis High School English teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a then-16-year-old student pleaded not guilty to charges Thursday.

Brianne Land Altice, 34, is charged in 2nd District Court with three counts of first-degree felony rape and one count of first-degree felony forcible sodomy.

After the woman entered her pleas a two-day trial was set to begin May 12.

According to court documents, Altice is accused of having sexual intercourse with a male student, now 17, on several occasions between January and September of 2013.

Prosecutors say the teacher acknowledged to investigators that she had engaged in sex with the boy on two occasions.

An earlier probable cause statement, filed with the Davis County jail after Altice was arrested at her South Weber home in late October, alleged that one of the trysts occurred in a Kaysville park.

She has been free on $10,000 bail since her arrest. She was on paid leave until she fired Feb. 3.
So, the case continues.

* * * * *

Utah Teacher Charged with Rape - Update
[Previous 12/17/13 post]
(Farmington, Utah)
Brianne Land Altice, 34, has been officially charged with three counts of rape, all first-degree felonies.
The prosecution thickens.

* * * * *

Utah Teacher Accused of Sex with Student
[Previous 10/29/13 post]
(Kaysville, Utah) A 34-year-old teacher at Davis High School, Brianne Altice, has been accused of engaging in sex with a 15-year-old male student.

Reportedly, Altice faces two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.
The boy told the police about the sex, which allegedly occurred between the spring and August of 2012 when he was about 15 years old, said Kaysville Police Lt. Paul Thompson. Police then searched Altice’s home in South Weber.

"With the assistance of the Davis County Sheriff’s Office Ms. Altice was interviewed and evidence from the residence corroborated the victim’s statement," according to a Kaysville Police Department news release.
Altice was booked into custody at the Davis County Jail.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Arkansas Woman Accused of Multiple Drug Violations


Rebecca Sarah Conner

(Mountain Home, Arkansas) A local woman, Rebecca Sarah Conner, has been accused of multiple drug violations.
Conner, 34, is being held in the Baxter County jail on a $100,000 bond for two counts of possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver and two felony charges for possession of drug paraphernalia.

The arrest comes after investigators continued to receive information about the use and trafficking of drugs at 304 Foster Street, according to Mountain Home Police Chief Carry Manuel. Along with Conner, three other individuals were arrested Monday.
OK

Social co-operation

I put up a post recently in which I looked at the now generally accepted sociological finding that social homogeneity promotes interpersonal involvement and trust.  Most notably in multicultural communities, social harmony and co-operation is damaged.

I thought therefore that I might add to my remarks on the subject by way of an anecdote.  The report is from a wise young mother who left the big smoke to live in a small country town in New Zealand.  There is one well-liked Chinese family there but everyone else is of British or Northern European ancestry. Many families have lived there for generations. It could reasonably be described as a Kiwi monoculture.  Nobody has to press "1" for English there. The young mother and her husband are well settled there now and both are  greatly pleased by the move.  She writes:

Last Thursday I returned home from swimming with H** [young daughter] when only 20 minutes after my return there was a knock at our door. It was one of the mum/swimming instructors at my door returning my phone that I had accidently left behind at the pool.

She told me one of the girls picked it up, gave it to her and she recognised the photo of H** on the phone and popped over to drop it off. Of course I was grateful and thanked her, I also told her I hadn't yet noticed that I had even lost the phone.

She saved me the stress and panic of realising I had lost it and it left me thinking about how wonderful living in a small town is. It is a lovely thought that H** will be under the watchful eyes of the people around us as we all know and look out for each other's kids.


Would that it were like that everywhere!  Anyone for New Zealand?  I have another favorite New Zealand story here.

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Minnesota Alleged Murder Case


Ahmed Abdirahim Abdi

(Minneapolis, Minnesota)
A 17-year-old boy is suspected of killing a 21-year-old woman with a gunshot to the head in a Minneapolis duplex, and authorities have issued a warrant for the teen’s arrest.

The Hennepin County attorney’s office has filed a juvenile petition alleging murder by Ahmed Abdirahim Abdi, according to police spokesman John Elder.

Abdi, of Minneapolis, is accused of killing Ayan Abdi Abdulahi, of Bloomington, on April 11 at a home in the 2400 block of Portland Avenue.

Police say they believe “people are harboring Abdi and assisting in him avoid capture.”
OK
Obawisdom



Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Home

eXTReMe Tracker