Bill Whittle KILLS IT

In re: the hysterical fanaticism surrounding the Trayvon Martin case, Bill Whittle blew me away with this 10-minute eye-opener:

Some Things You Weren’t Supposed to Know

Furthering my points made regarding the horrible racism of the left in declaring it off-limits to criticize urban culture.

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It’s Not Racism if it’s True

Some years ago, I recall reading angry facebook rants and general media hang-wringing about Chicago’s nightclubs.  It seems that, in an attempt to protect their businesses from vandalism, theft, and, in particular, sexual harassment complaints and drug busts (word of such being like poison to their bank accounts), many of Chicago’s evening hot spots began implementing dress codes with rules clearly targeting black and Hispanic popular attire.  The new rules were full of things like “no backward caps, no loose or baggy pants, no underwear showing, no ‘do rags.'”  Popular music – especially urban and hip hop – was full of icons who dressed this way to make a statement, and it doesn’t take a genius to realize that such rules would block mostly black and Hispanic people from the clubs unless they changed how they dressed.  The foul cries came fast and loud – RACISTS!!

In a related moment of clarity, Barack Obama actually said something true recently.  (shocking, ain’t it?)  In response to George Zimmerman’s acquittal, Obama gave a rambling speech identifying Trayvon Martin as a symbol of the problems and racial barriers still facing African Americans today.  In that speech, he said:

“Few African Americans today can say they’ve never had the experience of being followed in a department store by suspicious security guards.  We’ve all had that unsettling sensation of walking across the street and hearing the clicks of locks on the car doors beside us.  It happened to me often before I became a senator.”  He was weaving a narrative of threads connected to the general media conclusion that George Zimmerman feared for his life and killed Trayvon Martin only because he was black, and that these events echoed the experience of most blacks in America today of being distrusted and harassed for the crime of being black.

I have another theory.  A theory, incidentally, shared by Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter, in a rare moment of cultural honesty.  Responding to complaints about widespread abuse of Philadelphia citizens by flash mobs:

  • “Take those God darn hoodies down, especially in the summer. Pull your pants up and buy a belt ’cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt. Nobody.”
  • “If you walk into somebody’s office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back, and your shoes untied, and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won’t hire you? They don’t hire you ’cause you look like you’re crazy!”
I finally understood my theory and quit worrying about my reactions to the people I saw around me in my many travels when I moved to NYC and it afforded me the opportunity to put my feelings to the test.  Just a few days ago, while riding home from work, I chanced to have a pleasant conversation with a nicely dressed young African American man who was taking his son to a play downtown.  He wore a crisp-looking sport jacket and smoothly ironed pants, and his son was obviously dressed (by his father, no doubt) for a night of culture.  No hoodies, no ballcaps, no ridiculously loose pants hanging below the waist.  I noticed these two because I overheard the father warning his son that he was going someplace very nice and had to be on his best behavior or they wouldn’t come back again.  I smiled at him and he chuckled and said “you have to start warning him early or we’ll be in the lobby by the second act because he won’t sit still.”  We had a nice little chat about the importance of teaching your kids manners and then I got off at Columbus Circle and changed trains.  At no point did my lizard brain warn me of danger.  At no point did I regard this man and his son with anything other than a smile and a kind word.

Later in the ride (on my new train and crossing into Brooklyn), I realized that my traveling companions were making me nervous.  No one had done anything untoward, and I was likely perfectly safe, but my lizard brain didn’t like what it saw.  My car was filled with all kinds of people of different races, but, as we were approaching Prospect Park and Church Avenue – neighborhoods with higher crime rates and poverty problems – most of them looked unkempt…like street thugs.  Lots of hoodies on during the hottest week of the year, lots of loose fitting pants, lots of bandannas and t’shirts with nasty language on them, lots of huge tattoos.  And that’s when the light bulb went on for me.  All the times I’ve seen a black man on the street and walked a little faster, or passed a group of Hispanic men leaning against a car and turned my head to avoid catching their eyes…I was never responding to the color of their skin.  I was responding to other contextual variables.  It can’t be that my negative, fearful reactions are caused by skin color if I’m perfectly at ease with men with the same skin color who are behaving a little differently than is common.

No…it’s not racism if it’s not based on race, but on behavior or culture.  I detest almost all rap…and, ironically, the few rap hits that I’ve actually enjoyed hearing were sung by white artists like Eminem or clean-imaged stand-outs like Will Smith.  The problem, however, is not race – it’s culture.  I can’t stand listening to songs that disparage women, reduce sex to a game, glorify drug culture, gang warfare, and victimology, and decry all authority figures as the source of all urban unrest and anger.  It’s corrosive, it’s not an accurate or uplifting portrayal of the real world, and it terrifies me.

But isn’t that the political rub – dislike any aspect of black or Hispanic urban culture and you are RACIST.  Because all of those things you evil whites dislike about urban culture are caused by your racist institutions and behaviors anyway.  Blacks wouldn’t be walking around like gang-bangers if we weren’t so afraid of them that we made them feel isolated on a crowded sidewalk or singled out in a busy department store!

Well perhaps, my friends, it’s the other way around.  We choose our clothing because it represents our priorities when defining how the world sees us.  Girls who wear uber-minis and skin-tight jeans want to be seen as sexy on some level or they wouldn’t wear that attire.  The most important thing, evidently, in urban culture, is to be seen as ghetto-tough.  The hoodies, designed to cover up parts of your face that would identify you and thus make you instinctively more imposing, the foul t’shirts, the baggy pants…they all send the message loud and clear – “Question me and I will f*** you up.”  Or if you want to be more charitable, it may be more along the lines of “I’ve given up and don’t care how I look at all.”  That our culture has evolved to where this is the message young minorities in the inner cities want to send is one of the saddest things about this world we now inhabit.  But that whites might react to that culture with instinctive alarm is not a matter or race…it’s just common sense.

If people like Barack Obama really wanted to end racial disparities and unite this country, they would, perhaps, look in the mirror and realize that the day they stopped dressing like punks and put on a suit was the day they stopped drawing our unavoidable suspicions.

THIS —>

—> Modern Parents are Idiots

Read it and cry.  I certainly did.

The fun thing is that as good as my parents were…I am circling the drain as we speak struggling to escape the whirlpool of failure that is consuming young people these days because, though my parents tried to push me into the labor force to teach me about the importance of hard work…NO ONE WOULD HIRE ME for more than a day at a time.  Why?

Say it again…because modern parents are idiots.  Bare with me, I’ll explain the connection.

The same attitude that causes “Nick” in the other post to sneer at someone who would try to make his kids earn some money while still in school (calling childhood work “slave labor” and saying such things were tantamount to child abuse) also convinced millions of modern parents to vote for lawmakers supporting laws such as:

  • Child labor restrictions so strict that even in farming communities, kids have a hard time breaking into the farming way of life and getting paid for it
  • Minimum wage laws that do not have exceptions for children (if you could pay a kid half of what you pau an adult to be a movie theater snack jockey or ticket ripper…your movie ticket would cost half as much and your 32 ounce soda would cost $1.50 instead of $5.75…and hey…I’d have gotten a job when I was 16!)
  • Extensions of health insurance coverage to protect all of those boomerang kids until they’re 26
  • ETC

The point is…because modern parents are very…very stupid…a whole generation has now grown up in a world where the expectation is that kids will live the high life and be provided for either by relatively well-to-do parents or by the government when the parents struggle financially.  This continues right up through college when kids get up to 47 THOUSAND dollars in college loans paid for by EVERYONE in the form of higher tuition and national debt at the same time (how is THAT a good thing?) so that they can go to college even if they don’t have a strong desire to do so.  ANd while there…they are coddled and live the high life AWAY from home…having to do none of the work to support themselves but thinking that they’re all grown up.  Time was that if you wanted to go to college, you worked HARD to pay for it.  My Mom worked three jobs to go to the University of Utah for a year.  But…I had no concept of this…I went to college and pissed away 40 thousand dollars to nearly fail out the first time I tried.  But I was “gifted” so I got second chances.  Lucky me.  Most kids won’t be so lucky.  Now that I’m finally having to learn about how hard it is to survive on my own (and not entirely succeeding, mind you)…I really wish I hadn’t had it so easy all those years.

Cross-post: Geek Social Fallacies Gone Wild

My co-author and I have both read the famous document The Five Geek Social Fallacies – in a nutshell, they explain why all geeks of a minimal geek magnitude have behavior patterns that most in the mainstream world would find unproductive or dangerous.

The five fallacies in bullet form:

  1. Rejection is Evil – Because most geeks spend their childhood being excluded from the cool crowd, they come to think that being isolated for any reason at all is the worst crime in the human arsenal.
  2. Friends Accept Everything About Me – If anyone dares to point out a character flaw, or disagree on an issue that is a core value for a geek, they must not be real friends!
  3. Friends Come Before EVERYTHING – Geeks tend to forge clingy, co-dependent, desperate friendships based on the principle that being rejected is the worst human crime and losing a friend is the worst form of being rejected…meaning that if you don’t put your friends above everything else, you are not a real friend because you’re rejecting their needs.
  4. Friendship is Transitive – To a geek, if you’re their friend…and someone else is their friend…that someone else should be your friend too!
  5. Friends Do Everything Together – To a geek, if you have a hobby that you do not wish to share with them, you can’t be a real friend.
I am bringing this up again because I believe it explains the behavior of the Science Fiction Writers of America.  A group that has become among the most fascistic, oppressive, groupthink-centered echo-chambers in the world.  I mean that literally.  They are HORRIBLE to people who do not toe the party line.  The only thing separating the SFWA from, say, a cult, is a compound in Montana.
See this spoof song:
But the reason that happens…they’re ALL geeks.  And geeks aren’t allowed to disagree with geek allies, because if there is a disagreement, it is a personal betrayal – a rejection – and, like a knife through the gut, it is intolerable and must be SILENCED.  I think this is why geeks are particularly vulnerable to the evils of utopian thinking.

The Bradley Fighting Vehicle!!

There’s a great movie that lampoons the military for wasteful spending, bad concept development, minimal oversight, and high-level corruption that characterized the Pentagon and senior military leadership during the Cold War called “The Pentagon Wars.”  This movie chronicled the development of a useless half-tank, half-rapid troop transport system known as the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

This began as a good idea – troops deployed in multiple overseas venues around the USSR and its communist allies during the cold war needed a way to safely get to the front lines very quickly.  The goal was to produce an armored vehicle that could move very quickly, provide covering fire, and move an entire platoon twenty clicks in a matter of minutes without the attrition common in WWII era troop transports (more than half of the casualties in the first two days of the Normandy invasion occurred in the process of getting the troops onto the beaches – they arrived in amphibious transport shells that had no shielding…men died by the hundreds before they had even left their shells or fired a shot).  This is a good concept.  But, as with all things governmental, this good idea was run through a series of concept meetings, development committees and contract talks, and at each level, higher-ups with cozy connections to public/private contract companies or even just a pet idea that they really wanted deployed added another modification to the blueprints for the BFV until, after over a decade of development, the concept went from light, fast-moving armored vehicle with a hatch for soldiers to lay down covering fire to a heavy mini-tank theoretically capable of repelling MORTAR FIRE that could now safely transport only 9 men…not the full platoon originally envisioned.  I say theoretically equipped to deflect mortar fire (and stinger missiles too!) because in practical tests, the metal used to barricade the vehicle would become hot enough to release toxic fumes and kill the vehicle’s occupants when it was actually struck with a missile or mortar shell.

I bring this up because this just came across the conservative headlines:

http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/10/defense-department-spent-34-million-on-unused-facility-amid-furlough-panic/

Even in a democratic administration that actively demonizes the military and claims to desire defense budget cuts, the pork barrel rolls on.  And the reason?  Bureaucracy will always…ALWAYS be wasteful, inefficient and ineffective.  The military is not immune to this.  One of the few things Bill Clinton did CORRECTLY (because he had significant bipartisan cooperation and the help of GOP budget hawks) was military base closure.  A lot of wasteful spending from the Cold War years was rolled back in a manner that made it easier, not harder, for the military to do its job.  But that kind of government waste reduction cant be limited to defense…and it can’t only occur once every thirty or forty years.  It needs to be ongoing and it needs to be unbound by agendas and branch mandates.  Just because Housing and Urban Development has what sounds like a noble mission statement does not mean that waste reduction within HUD is an attack on the poor.  It’s funny how Hollywood can see the failure of government bureaucracy when it happens within the Pentagon, but there’s never been a great Hollywood movie about the 50 billion dollars we owe Native American tribes that just…DISAPPEARED from Department of the Interior or the yearly excesses of the IRS or the GSA.

FACT: A bureaucracy is always slow to change, slow to adapt to problems, inefficient with money, and in need of oversight…whether it be the bureaucracy of a large multinational corporation or a government agency…and that includes agencies that Democrats seem to think are above questioning because they like the mission statement.  And that also includes defense, which the GOP seems to prefer to run on the principle of laissez faire when, in reality, defense spending is just as bureaucratic (read: stupid) as anything else.  Maybe if we were more hawkish about wasteful spending within DoD, it wouldn’t be such a hard thing to sell the American people on the need for a larger portion of the budget to go to defense (since the Constitution actually requires that we defend ourselves!)…and maybe…just maybe…people like my father who do good work advising the military would be able to keep their jobs and not face layoffs and furloughs because we spent billions of dollars on nothing at all.

Manipulative

The pro-life movement has a bad habit of gunning for shock-value in their advertising and viral video production…but all the pictures of the remains of an aborted baby or the footage of ultrasounds during dilation and curettage and especially during later term abortions are depicting an ugly truth in an insensitive way (that’s bad, in case you missed my meaning), whereas this video:

http://www.lifenews.com/2013/07/07/michigan-college-student-wins-national-pro-life-video-contest/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+lifenews%2Fnewsfeed+%28LifeNews.com%29 (click through to the youtube and judge for yourself)

…is manipulative on a whole ‘nother level.  I get a gut-twisting pain when I see children being asked to be the faces of political campaigns.  That should never…ever…EVER happen.  We are all ready to lambaste Organizing for America for its rallies full of children waving signs for Obama or the corrupt teachers’ unions for their propagandizing of the 2008 election using the children in their protection…so why do we praise the misuse of children in a pro-life video that won awards?  Just because it’s effective doesn’t mean we should do it.

Not to mention the fact that the studies show that would-be mothers who elected abortion generally feel an overwhelming sense of RELIEF in the first two years…not the horrifying nightmare of never-ending guilt portrayed in the video.  I’m as pro-life as anyone I know, but we have to tell the truth.  And the truth is that the guilt associated with abortions tends to arrive later…tends to creep in under the surface.  That isn’t our best angle…we need to stick to the undeniable facts.  It’s undeniably true that there are health risks…severe ones…associated with abortions.  It’s undeniably true that abortions tend to be predominantly carried out by the people our society is supposed to be HELPING – minorities, the poor, and the young.  It’s undeniably true that abortion destroys an innocent life with all of the necessary blueprint materials to be a person who would have the right to live the moment they were born.  And it’s undeniably true that when we are confronted with the humanizing aspects of our fetuses, as in the previous ad I mentioned here, we INSTINCTIVELY react with horror at the thought of killing them.  Beyond that…it’s undeniably true that Planned Parenthood lies to or obscures the truth from its customers on a routine basis, that they are not generally staffed with medical doctors with surgical privileges, and that they don’t allow their employees to refer to the fetus as a baby because it statistically significantly lowers the odds that the would-be customer will opt for an abortion.  It is undeniably true that PP claims to be about women’s health services when, in fact, they offer NOTHING related to women’s health other than basic consultation, pap smears, and abortion service.  For anything else, they refer you to real doctors.  Those are the things that we need to stay focused on.  We can’t get sucked into playing cheap psychological games and distorting the truth to sell our message.

Why Ann Althouse is a Hypocrite

Althouse is on the record as having no sympathy for men claiming that women have lied about their use of contraception and then gotten the men to pay child support for that lie for eighteen years.  I am inclined to agree with Ann that men shouldn’t be having sex if they’re not ready to be parents and in committed long term relationships.  But here is the correct response to Althouse’s cruelty toward men (which, IMHO, is the highest form of hypocrisy), penned in better language than I could have done myself:

http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/171982/

I find that I agree with Ann about 1/3 of the time and the other 2/3 of the time, I find her a little too brutal and Randian for my taste.  In this case, however, she is just plain wrong.  She is suggesting that, because the genders are not equal in the responsibilities they have in the actual biological process of procreation, the law should be unequal and biased toward women.  You’ll pardon me if I find it hypocritical for a woman to make that assertion and then get offended when someone calls them the evil “s” word for wanting to have their free sex…not to mention get children entirely on their own terms and force unwilling men to pay for them.

Bite me, Ann.  Bite me.

A VERY Instructive Link

Abortion Rules in Europe

I am genuinely impressed to see that Europeans, in many cases, have embraced such common-sense pro-life measures as:

  • Limiting the availability of abortion after the first trimester except in extreme cases — and in those extreme cases, requiring the approval of qualified medical professionals.
  • Requiring that abortions be performed in medical centers that meet strict standards.
  • Requiring waiting periods, counseling, and education regarding alternatives.
  • Requiring parental consent when the patient is under-aged.

My question then becomes: What the heck is wrong with the Wendy Davises of the world? Even famously liberal Europe disagrees with your extremism!

Drive-By: Standing with Objective Evil

Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? The “Hoes Before Embryos” crowd rallying around supposed “feminist hero” Wendy Davis are standing with objective evil — and they’re scientifically illiterate to boot. The law the Texas legislature is attempting to pass is not talking about embryos — it’s talking about later term fetuses who are mere weeks from the limit of viability (which, FYI, is currently hovering around 24 weeks gestation). It’s talking about fetuses who, as revealed by any modern ultrasound, are obviously distinct human beings — not “parasitical clumps of cells.”

I can imagine why someone would support legal abortion in the first trimester, when the unborn child’s humanity is not quite so evident. I disagree with that position both scientifically and philosophically, but I can understand the fears that would drive someone to it. Fighting for late-term abortion, however, is just sick. Such a view is waaaaay outside the mainstream of American opinion and should be recognized as such.