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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"New Biography: Young Obama ‘Considered Gayness’"

A friend, Ed, just forwarded this article from The Daily Caller:

President Barack Obama considered being homosexual as a young man, according to a forthcoming biography of the president.

The biography by David Garrow, "Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama," is set to come out on May 9. Garrow wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Martin Luther King Jr., and is a regular contributor to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

In a chapter about the former president’s two years at Occidental College, Garrow reveals a close relationship Obama had with an openly gay assistant professor named Lawrence Goldyn.

“Goldyn made a huge impact on Barry Obama,” Garrow wrote in the book. “Almost a quarter century later, asked about his understanding of gay issues, Obama enthusiastically said, ‘my favorite professor my first year in college was one of the first openly gay people that I knew…He was a terrific guy” with whom Obama developed a ‘friendship beyond the classroom.'”

The biographer added, “Goldyn years later would remember that Obama ‘was not fearful of being associated with me’ in terms of ‘talking socially’ and ‘learning from me’ after as well as in class.”

“Three years later, Obama wrote somewhat elusively to his first intimate girlfriend that he had thought about and considered gayness, but ultimately had decided that a same-sex relationship would be less challenging and demanding than developing one with the opposite sex,” Garrow wrote. “But there is no doubting that Goldyn gave eighteen-year-old Barry a vastly more positive and uplifting image of gay identity and self-confidence than he had known in Honolulu.”

Garrow recently spoke about his book on The Jamie Weinstein Show. When asked about Obama experimenting with homosexuality, Garrow paused and replied, “I think anyone and everyone, no matter what their role in life deserves a certain basic degree of privacy, in that context.”

You may consider having an apple pie for dessert. You may consider buying a new car. You may consider moving to Tallahassee. 

But you don't "consider" homosexuality, any more than you "consider" heterosexuality; those are things you either are or you aren't. 

In fact, this is one of the central tenets of the gay liberation movement: that they can't be blamed for something they have absolutely no choice about. Gays generally despise those clueless conservatives who term being gay "a lifestyle choice." 

Yet Garrow, who writes for both the NY Times and the Washington Post, is now apparently accepting that conservative view of homosexuality. 

According to Garrow, Barack Obama evidently came to this fork in the road of his life, and then, based purely on intellectual considerations, decided to become a heterosexual.

Note Obama's "reason" for deciding to become heterosexual: "that a same-sex relationship would be less challenging and demanding than developing one with the opposite sex."

Yep, that really rings true. After all, isn't that what all of us want from a romantic relationship: more challenges and demands? (Some of us have managed to find those things, but that doesn't mean we were looking for them.)

To swallow that line, one's bullshit detector would have to be turned completely off.

And with regard to his answer about whether or not Obama had ever "experimented," could Garrow's answer possibly have been any clearer?

It seems fairly apparent that Obama has never stopped "experimenting."

(Because I had titled the previous post "Queer theory," it occurred to me to title this post, "Theory of a queer." But I decided against it because that makes me sound anti-gay, and I'm really not; I'm just anti-dishonesty and hypocrisy.) 

Queer theory

I've always been sympathetic to gays. I've always thought gay bashers were despicable. And I supported gay marriage back when Barack and Hillary were -- publicly, at least -- against it.

I'm less sympathetic to queer theory. I've always had the vague impression that it boils down to not wanting to think of oneself as an oddball, and preferring to see everyone else that way.

I just looked it up on Wikipedia, which gave this description:

Queer theory is a field of post-structuralist critical theory that emerged in the early 1990s out of the fields of queer studies and women's studies. Queer theory includes both queer readings of texts and the theorisation of 'queerness' itself....Queer theory builds both upon feminist challenges to the idea that gender is part of the essential self and upon gay/lesbian studies' close examination of the socially constructed nature of sexual acts and identities. Whereas gay/lesbian studies focused its inquiries into natural and unnatural behaviour with respect to homosexual behaviour, queer theory expands its focus to encompass any kind of sexual activity or identity that falls into normative and deviant categories.

In other words, it's all about justification and obfuscation.

The whole field can be summed up by that old joke about the mother who watches the parade go by and then says, hmm, every single person in that marching band is out of step except my son. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sociopath alert: Tony Robbins

I was reading about acromegalics a few days ago, and among the prominent cases mentioned was the 6' 7" Tony Robbins. I peeked at his biography and saw something that should have occurred to me before: he is probably a sociopath.

He doesn't strike me as someone who is out to harm others. But, like Joel Osteen, another ostentatious self-promoter who's made a fortune off of theoretically wanting to help others, Robbins has a lot of the traits of a typical sociopath.

Robbins, a personal empowerment guru, has always given off the air of a snake oil salesman. The phrase "con man" is short for confidence man, and that's exactly what Robbins sells: confidence. He basically gives his audiences rousing pep talks about how they can accomplish everything they've ever wanted to, all they have to do is just do it.

(It's hard to argue with that logic.)

Robbins' books have titles like Unlimited Power, Awaken the Giant Within, and Giant Steps.

For his personal seminars, he uses tricks like fire walking and skydiving to imbue his audiences with the attitude that if they can do that, they can do anything. These techniques can work, and Robbins has many believers.

Pep talks can unquestionably benefit some people, and a skillfully delivered spiel by a charismatic man -- combined with "proof" that we can do things were wouldn't have imagined ourselves capable of -- can inspire us even further.

The question is, what kind of man is going to be best at delivering this kind of message? What kind of man makes the best salesman? What kind of man has no limits -- or brakes, if you will -- on his own personality?

What kind of man can sling that line of talk and constantly exude earnestness, with no hesitation, no catch in his voice, and no sense of sheepishness?

Usually, the kind who is unburdened by any sense of embarrassment.

Robbins certainly had the kind of family background one associates with sociopaths. This is from the "Early Life" section on him from Wikipedia:

Robbins is the oldest of three children and his parents divorced when he was 7. His mother then had a series of husbands, including Jim Robbins, a former semiprofessional baseball player who legally adopted Anthony when he was 12.

His father could not provide for their family, so he left them. His mother started abusing alcohol and prescription drugs sometime after. While growing up, Robbins helped provide for his siblings. Robbins was raised in Azusa and Glendora, California. He was elected student body president in his senior year and grew 10 inches in high school, a growth spurt later attributed to a pituitary tumor. He has said his home life was "chaotic" and "abusive." When he was 17 years old, Robbins' mother chased him out of the house with a knife, and he never returned.

Multiple marriages and substance abuse are often yellow flags for sociopathy. And what kind of monster chases her own son out of the house with a knife? The fact that Robbins ran out of the house shows that he thought she would actually use it. That's certainly a red flag for (her) sociopathy.

And, sociopathic mothers often pass that trait along to their children.

Running for student body president can be a sign of neediness (from one who gets no love from his own parents), and being elected to that position shows a certain early manipulative ability. We shouldn't read too much into that, but in combination with everything else, it is a clue to Robbins' personality.

Robbins has left a long trail of controversy and lawsuits, a not uncommon pattern with sociopaths. Again, from Wiki:

In May 1995, Robbins Research International (RRI) responded to Federal Trade Commission charges of misrepresentation of potential earnings to franchise investors. RRI and the FTC entered into a stipulated settlement agreement, in which RRI agreed to pay US$221,260 in consumer redress. RRI did not admit guilt under the settlement.

Financial seminar guru Wade Cook also sued Robbins for copyright infringement and plagiarism, alleging that Robbins used proprietary terms in his seminars and from Cook's book Wall Street Money Machine. In 1998, a Tacoma, Washington, jury ordered Robbins to pay Cook $650,900 in damages....

One chapter of Unlimited Power, called "Energy: The Fuel of Excellence", is dedicated to a discussion of health and energy. The National Council Against Health Fraud wrote a highly critical review of the chapter.

In 2001, Robbins filed a lawsuit against The Vancouver Sun newspaper, alleging defamation and libel. The judge determined the Vancouver Sun defamed Robbins when it called him an "adulterous, wife-stealing hypocrite." Awarding Robbins $20,000 in damages, the judge wrote "While damages are presumed, the plaintiff's failure to take the witness stand and to testify about his feelings and the effect of the defamation upon his reputation leaves the court somewhat in the dark about these matters"...

On June 24, 2016, dozens were burned and required medical attention after attempting to walk on hot coals during a fire walking event at a Tony Robbins motivational seminar in Dallas, TX. Several attendees required hospitalization and were transported to medical facilities to treat burns while a bus was required by emergency services to handle the triage of burn victims.

None of these things, individually, prove sociopathy, but add them all up and you get a very distinct odor.

What I found most revealing was a letter Robbins wrote to one of his fans who asked him why he had gotten divorced from his first wife. (He had previously gone on publicly about how wonderful his wife was and what a great relationship they had; and he evidently had continued to do so even after they were separated.) Note how Robbins' glib, evasive, and ultimately meaningless reply is filled with vague generalities which reveal exactly nothing:

Thank you so much for your e-mail. First, I want to apologize for this belated reply. My intense seminar and travel schedule, along with my business and family responsibilities, have taken a big bite out of my time. However, I wanted to respond personally and acknowledge the time you took to think of me.

I’ve worked for years to create and present the most innovative, entertaining, and empowering materials possible. However, I know my technology is worthwhile when I receive notes
from people like you who are not only emotionally touched by my work, but more importantly, are taking action on what they’ve learned. To know that in some small way I’ve made a difference for at least one person and that I have helped them to begin to create the quality of life they truly deserve is what drives me most.

I appreciate your interest in my former marriage. The strategies I share with my audience to guide them on the path to more fulfilling relationships are based on my own personal experience and the knowledge I have gained from working with people from 80 different countries for more than a quarter of a century. Relationships are one of the single most important areas of our lives and one of the greatest opportunities for fulfillment or pain. The secret is making certain the person you select shares your values and vision. Some relationships cannot continue to be fulfilling because the two people have different visions for their lives or have learned to value different things.

While I offer many tools for enhancing relationships, I have never led my audience to believe that the path to a successful relationship would be to stay in a relationship where after deep, honest communication and soul searching both people discover that they do not share the same life vision. Any relationship can be made to work, but when people’s values and life directions are extremely different they must compromise. Continuous compromise means a compromised life for both parties. That is when difficult decisions need to be made.

Deciding to end my relationship with my former wife Becky was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. I am extremely proud of our 14-year relationship. When I entered the marriage at the age of 24 I immediately embraced the responsibilities of being a father to a 17-year-old son, an 11-year-old daughter, and a 5-year-old son. I remained in that marriage until my children were grown and I realized that I did not share a life vision with my former wife. At that time I chose to take the necessary actions to pursue a life in which I could be more fulfilled. Sometime later I met Sage, my lovely wife, whom I met coincidentally through a business relationship, and married a year later. We have been together for a blissful two and a half years.

The first two and a half paragraphs are just a standard boilerplate advertisement for his seminars, where he has "worked for years to create and present the most innovative, entertaining, and empowering materials possible."

That second paragraph in particular exudes insincerity: "To know that in some small way I’ve made a difference for at least one person and that I have helped them to begin to create the quality of life they truly deserve is what drives me most."

Gee, I would have thought that money was what drove him most.

And note how skillful Robbins is at reframing questions. When his fan asked him what had happened to his first marriage, about which Robbins had formerly waxed so enthusiastically, he was obviously calling Robbins to account, essentially saying, what the hell happened? But Robbins reframes it by thanking him for his email and "acknowledging" him for the time he took to think of Robbins and saying, "I appreciate your interest in my former marriage."

Now, what do you think the odds are that Robbins really appreciated that interest? (The rest of his reply shows about as much honesty.)

But what really gives Robbins away is that he has that peculiar sociopathic quirk, overuse of adjectives and adverbs meant to emphasize sincerity and goodness. When used in overabundance, however, they in fact indicate the opposite. I pointed out once how Franklin Lynch, aka "The Day Stalker," did this. And I pointed out how David Berkowitz, aka "Son of Sam," did it as well.

Robbins doesn't just have a seminar and travel schedule, he has an intense seminar and travel schedule. Note that the strategies he uses to guide his audiences to more fulfilling relationships aren't just "from my own experience," but "from my own personal experience."

And it's not just to help them create the quality of life they deserve, but the quality of life they truly deserve.

Robbins doesn't just say that the partners in a relationship should communicate, but that they should have deep, honest communication. (In my experience, the only people who emphasize honesty that way are those who lack that trait.)

Robbins isn't just proud of his 14 year relationship with first wife Becky; he's extremely proud of it. Also note that he's reframed the situation so that that first marriage now sounds like a success. Robbins sounds like one of those guys who proudly says he's had five very successful marriages.

And note that Robbins didn't divorce his wife because he grew tired of her and their constant fighting, or because he met a younger, hotter babe. Or because he wanted to take advantage of all his wealth and fame to screw around. It's because he "didn't share a life vision" with her.

That almost makes it sound as if before he divorced his wife, he was divorced from reality. At least, according to the way he describes their breakup.

The fact is, people don't get divorced simply because they don't "share a life vision." It's almost always for much more mundane reasons, like odious personal habits or financial irresponsibility or sheer boredom. And people like Robbins aren't driven by being able to make a difference "in some small way...for at least one person." They're driven by a desire for money, and fame.

Robbins isn't divorced from reality; he's just a habitual liar.

I happened to catch another clip of Robbins, embedded in this article. He's being interviewed by Oprah, and at one point he says, "I love people so much..."

This just isn't the kind of thing that honest people say. Normal people are programmed to love a small handful of people, not lots of people. Whenever you meet someone who talks about how they love a lot of people, it comes across insincere. Generally, the people who claim to love lots of people don't really love anyone.

And a false emotionality is a hallmark of sociopaths.

Robbins is a little reminiscent of Norman Vincent Peale (the author of The Power of Positive Thinking). Positive thinking -- essentially what Robbins pushes -- does work, and Robbins has probably helped a lot of people. But I'm not discussing his techniques -- his "technology," as he puts it -- but the man himself. What kind of guy makes the best promoter?

While I was reading about acromegalics, I was struck by the fact that so many of them have been cast in villainous roles, either in the movies or in professional wrestling. But most of them were actually decent people, from what I could see.

It's ironic that the one famous acromegalic with a reputation for helping people is, in my opinion, a sociopath.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Coming of age rituals, then and now

In many primitive cultures, tradition has dictated that young men, soon after reaching puberty, undergo various tests of courage and fortitude before they could be considered full-fledged adults.

Young boys of the Satere-Mawe tribe in the Brazilian Amazon mark their 13th birthdays by putting their hands into specially woven gloves containing hordes of fiercely stinging bullet ants. They must keep their hands in the glove for ten minutes at a time without crying out, and must undergo this 20 times over the course of several months.

In Vanuatu, young men must prove their manhood by jumping off a 98-foot tower with only two bungee-like vines attached to their ankles to break their fall. For the jump to be considered a success, their heads must actually touch the ground before they are yanked back upward by the vines.

The Masai of Kenya and Tanzania get circumcised at puberty, but must not flinch during the procedure, or they will bring shame upon their families.

In ancient Sparta, when a boy turned 18, he had to go into the countryside, armed with only a knife, and kill as many state-owned slaves (helots) as he could.

The Mandan Indian tribe of North America would pierce a young man's chest, shoulder, and back muscles with wooden splints, then lift him by ropes attached to those splints. Crying out during this ordeal was forbidden. After the young man lost consciousness, he would be lowered to the ground again, and subsequently had to present his left hand for his pinkie to be chopped off.

The Fula tribe of West Africa would introduce their boys to manhood with a whipping duel, in which the boy who took the most punishment the most stoically was judged to be the winner.

There have been many similar rituals the world over, too many to list. All present a stark contrast to the current coming of age ritual in our country.

At age 18, many young people are herded off to college, where, in order to be accepted, they must demonstrate that they are so incredibly sensitive, and have such exquisitely refined sensibilities, that they cannot bear to hear any offensive truths.

And if you should be exposed to any harsh truths, you must flinch and yell and cry as much as possible. He who can take the least pain/reality, wins.

I'm glad I didn't have to grow up in one of those primitive cultures and undergo one of those excruciating rituals.

I'm also sorta glad I'm not going to college today.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bill O'Reilly's doppelgänger

O'Reilly has been in the news a fair amount recently for his firing from Fox News. Yesterday an article about him in the NY Post featured this photograph:

With his wide, thin mouth, his hooded eyes, his slight grin, his backward-sloping forehead, and the prominent jowls coming down from his chin, he reminds me of a crocodile:

O'Reilly's teeth don't quite emerge from his closed mouth, but the effect is not dissimilar.

Regarding the sexual harassment suits which eventually brought him down: the issue is way overdone these days, and it's ridiculous that cracking a dirty joke in the presence of a female or looking at her the wrong way is now considered "harassment." That said, my guess -- and it's only a guess -- is that O'Reilly was guilty of implicitly making a job contingent upon providing him with sexual favors.

Having his own personal harem must have been fun while it lasted.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

How whites use that 15 point IQ advantage

I was recently tasked with driving my parents' car back across the country, which I did last week.

Driving back, I listened to a few books on CD. I had been ambitious enough to borrow War and Peace from the library. What Tolstoy did best was analyze how peoples' egos drive them their behavior; he's actually reminiscent of Tom Wolfe that way. The book could have been called War and Pretension.

The actor who narrated it had a somewhat pretentious voice himself to begin with, and when he dialed it up a few notches to read the lines of the more grandiloquent characters, it was hard to take. So I ended up listening to less than a quarter of the book. (Not enough to call myself cultured.)

Anyway, listening to Tolstoy, it struck me: whites may average 15 points higher than blacks in IQ, but what do most of them use those extra points for? Mainly, to be pretentious: to buttress their egos, to admire their own reflections, and to preen morally.

I said in another post that blacks tend to be more genuine in the emotions they display, whereas the vast majority of the time, whites will just say whatever it is they think they're supposed to say -- whatever they think will make them look best.

A white will do something like sit through an opera, or ballet, just to prove to himself -- and others -- that he has sophisticated tastes. (I almost did that with War and Peace.) Blacks don't waste their time that way.

Pretentious blacks do exist -- I've met a few -- but on average, it's just far rarer to see blacks putting on airs. For instance, if they're proud of their clothes -- and black men do pay a great deal of attention to style -- they exhibit that pride guilelessly, without trying to hide their enjoyment of their fancy threads. Whites feel obliged to disguise their pride.

When a black does well at sports, he can be unabashedly egotistical about it, in an I-am-the-greatest sort of way. White athletes are more likely to pay lip service to a modesty they don't feel. (It wasn't a black who came up that trite phrase, "There's no I in team.")

I discussed this difference in a post where I contrasted the behavior of Peyton Manning and Cam Newton after the 2016 Super Bowl. (I basically said that Manning said all the right things, but was a liar; and that Newton behaved like a petulant child, but at least he wasn't phony.)

Whites often seem to have to pretend that they're busy, important people, with pressing engagements, who don't have the time to dally around. I first met people like this in college, back before anyone was important, long before they could possibly have had busy engagement calendars. But, somehow, they always wanted to show how they didn't have time for anything. Blacks never seem to feel that compulsion.

Whites often feel that they must show that they are morally superior beings. So they constantly do things to show how "good" they are. Only whites could be silly enough to define goodness as preferring other races to their own; blacks, Asians, and Hispanics do not suffer from this disease.

And whites will do things like drive around in a Prius, not to save the environment, but to show that they are saving the environment. (How often do you see a black in a Prius?)

Here's the real proof: when was the last time you heard a black person voice a humblebrag? If a black wants to boast, he makes no attempt to disguise it with false modesty. To me, unabashed egotism is far more palatable than the ultimate egotism of thinking you're not even egotistical. (How incredibly egotistical does a person have to be to believe that?)

If you're going to be a race realist, you have to be realistic about this difference, too: whites have the pretentious gene.

As long as I'm on the subject: what do Asians, who average roughly 7 or 8 points higher than whites, do with their extra points? Become grimly efficient automatons. They don't become pretentious; but they also remain charisma-free.

And what do Jewish people, who average 8 to 10 points higher than other whites, do with their extra wattage? Basically, take over -- and tell the gullible what to think. (In particular, to hate white men.)

White men, of course, are the ones who invented the train, the automobile, books on CD, and "War and Peace."

But in all honesty, they probably deserve credit for having invented pretension as well.

(There -- that should offend absolutely everybody.)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sprinter names 2017

Time to review the indoor track and field rankings and pick out the most outstanding names. All of these names have been taken from the top high school rankings in the 60, 200, and 400 meter dashes.

The men:

Zion Cross. Isn't that an oxymoron?

Cincier Holmes. Sherlock's earnest brother.

LaCarr Trent. Mr. Trent can run 60 meters in 7.01, which makes him about as fast as Renault's Le Car was.

JaMicah Polk. How islanders pronounce the name of Usain Bolt's country.

 Laquavious Ford. He must get a lot of email addressed to "Loquacious," since that's what his name Autocorrects to.

Zavier Johnson. The power of Phonics.

Naim Muhammad. Isn't that a little like naming your child John Middle Initial Craig?

Khance Meyers, Chantz Sawyers. Will employers give those two a chance?

Terroll Jolla. Say it slowly, otherwise it sounds like "troll."

Ojay Gibson. Mr. Gibson is a senior, which means he was born around 1999, four years after the Trial of the Century ended. By that point, of course, it was obvious to any unbiased observer that Mr. Simpson was innocent.

Prince Gaye. Think he takes any grief for that name?

Shaton Vaughn. He shat on his competition.

Champion Allison. His foresighted parents knew he would run 200 meters in 21.19.

Igo Grimes. He has a robust self-image.

Junior Desir. His son could be Junior Desir, Junior.

Dontavian Smith. Don't even think about it.

Quazier Dailey. His suburban opponents feel a little queasier when they see his name.

Roman Turner. Instead of naming their son Cassius or Marcellus or Octavious, his parents settled on a more generic alternative.

Willesley Lindo. One of the Seven Sisters. Sorta.

Kaiser Giddie. Good thing his last name isn't Wilhelm.

Zakharee Williams. A free-spirited Zachary.

War'Vreunta Moore. My favorite; I honestly can't think of anything to say about it.

Among the women:

Sha'Carri Richardson. Were her parents thinking of a baton, or a gun?

Derria Edwards. That part of the anatomy helps one sprint faster.

Serena Clark. Her parents are still hoping she'll take up tennis.

Lyn-Nikka Vance. Be careful with that pronunciation.

Armoni Brown. Were her parents thinking more in terms of harmony, our money, or Giorgio?

Zy'Shai Brown, Iantha Wright, Zaire Chest, Nyjah Young-Bey, Shante Robinson, T'Aja Cameron. If someone offered you 1000 to 1 odds, would you be willing to take the bet that any of these girls were white?

Karimah Davis. Don't know about Ms. Davis, but karma's a bitch.

Myann Davidson. Not your Ann.

Destiny Pennington, Destini Pickens, Destini Jeter. Their parents were fatalists.

Hava Turner. Please, I insist.

Shaianne Sipsey. They were a fierce tribe.

Masai Russell. Ditto.

Mariya Hudson. Ave Mariya!

Tiler Tyler. Sometimes a little asymmetry is preferable.

Kamry Brown, Camari Griffin. Brought to you by Toyota.

Shauntezz-Marie Austin. Her parents couldn't quite decide which ethnicity to go with.

O'Shayla Muldrow. Who says the Irish can't sprint?

Kennedi Weston-Shields, Kennedy Gamble, Khenadi Jones, Kennedi Sanders. All testimony to the enduring glamour of Jack and Jackie.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Why it's hard to sympathize with Aspies

Aspergers support groups say that Aspergers is an organic condition, one that no one chooses to have, and is therefore worthy of sympathy.

They're right, of course. And when we see people with other organic conditions -- such as cerebral palsy, or multiple sclerosis -- we feel sympathy.

The problem with Aspergers, though, is that it is not visible at first, and it only becomes apparent when one realizes how hypocritical, rigid, egocentric, and prone to meltdowns someone is.

In other words, it is an organic disorder which largely mimics a character disorder (narcissism).

Imagine, for one moment, that there was a congenital defect which people had no control over, and which caused them to punch you in the face every time they saw you.

After seeing them, and getting socked in the nose, would your natural reaction be, "Oh, you poor thing?"

Of course not. And that's not how most of us react to Aspies, either. We want to punch back (verbally).

It'd be a lot easier to sympathize with people with Aspergers if there were some visible, physical manifestation of their condition, say, an indentation on their foreheads to let us know their brains were lacking. But there's not, and the process of finding out what their personalities are like -- and finally figuring out the root cause -- is usually so infuriating that the window for sympathy has passed by the time the realization dawns.

Sometimes I think it would be better for Aspies to just say, upon initially meeting people, that they have Aspergers Syndrome, and maybe even semi-apologize in advance for it. This way people would be far more likely to make allowances for them. But, of course, this would also cause others to just immediately write them off, so Aspies don't do that.

And others have to find out the slow way, as described above.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Bloodthirsty Barack

Commenter Mark Caplan recently provided this link to this article from the Guardian about the amount of bombing America did in 2016, and quoted this mind-boggling paragraph:

In 2016 alone, the Obama administration dropped at least 26,171 bombs. This means that every day last year, the US military blasted combatants or civilians overseas with 72 bombs; that’s three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day.

Were you aware of this? I knew there were ongoing drone strikes, but had no idea it was going on anywhere near this extent.

Obviously, Obama did not approve every last airstrike, but he had to have approved them all in principle.

Why was there no media coverage of this in the United States? Is it not newsworthy? Would we have heard more about this if Obama wasn't so coddled by the MSM?

Twenty-six thousand bombs, yet the media's attention was focused on those horrible people who didn't want trannies to be allowed in bathrooms with their little girls in North Carolina.

They should have labeled him "Bomb-happy Barry." Or "O-bomba."

Sunday, April 9, 2017

"Convicted murderers serving life terms strangle four inmates"

Their diversity was their strength.

As often seems to be the case, the black sociopath had a relatively expressionless face, whereas the white sociopath seemed to have murder written right into his features.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

What we'll never know about Trump's Syrian escapade

Trump campaigned as a guy who wanted to ally with Russia -- and possibly Syria -- against ISIS and al Qaeda. Now he's done an about face.

It's disappointing. It's not as if Trump had been unaware that Syria had used chemical weapons before, given the publicity Obama's infamous "red line" pronouncement had engendered.

And this isn't just a waffling on policy, but a 180 degree change. What caused it? It can't have just been the pictures of the children who were killed.

Trump himself killed children in that Yemen raid two months ago. Does he now consider himself a war criminal?

So what really happened? What goes on behind the scenes is always far more interesting than the predigested version we're fed by the authorities. Unfortunately, we can only speculate.

Is Trump doing Israel's bidding? Israel has always considered the Shiite regimes (like Syria and Iran) much more of a threat than the more primitive Sunni movements (like ISIS and al Qaeda). My first thought upon hearing of this bombing was, what does Israel have on Trump?

My second thought was, what does this do to our relationship with Russia? It's possible that part of Trump's motivations was to "prove" that he's not in cahoots with Russia in any nefarious way after all the recent efforts of the Democrats to show that he is.

It's also possible that Trump wanted to show himself a more dynamic leader than Obama, who, after talking about that "red line," did nothing about it.

You also have to wonder if the chemical weapons couldn't possibly have been a false flag attack. So far Syria has denied using chemical weapons; while that denial means nothing, why would Assad invite international censure like that in a war he's already winning? It's certainly possible that Mossad or deep state forces within the CIA somehow managed to release the poison gas themselves.

What role did son-in-law Jared Kushner play in all this? It's been made public that he and Stephen Bannon have been at each other's throats, and it seems a fairly safe conclusion that while Bannon favored an America First policy, Kushner was pushing for more involvement in the Middle East.

The only thing we really know is that we'll never be certain of what happened behind the scenes, or what was going through Trump's mind when he changed it so abruptly.

I would have far preferred we ally with Russia to stamp out al Qaeda and ISIS, and then keep our subsequent involvement in the Middle East to a minimum.

In fact, that's a large part of why I voted for Trump.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Life is like a nine day vacation

Ever notice how when you're on vacation, you start counting how many days you have left, and by Wednesday you're a little depressed that half of your week is over, and by Thursday a real pall has settled over you?

Of course, it's an incredible waste of your vacation to spend half of it depressed because it's coming to an end.

Life itself is not dissimilar. One thing everybody of my approximate vintage (1954) seems to agree on is that not a half hour of the day goes by where the thought of our age doesn't pass through our minds in some form or fashion.

If I could get someone to hypnotize me and make me believe I was 32, I'd be happy. I might die in 10 years, but it'd be okay: at least I wouldn't have wasted the final 10 years of my life being depressed that it was nearing its end.

And that really is a wasted life. But somehow, it also seems to be human nature to feel that way.

Dave Chappelle special on Netflix

This post about Dave Chappelle having gone on steroids has been getting a lot of hits recently. It must be because a lot of people have been watching his new comedy special on Netflix. (He wears a jacket during that performance, almost as if he's embarrassed by his new build, but it's still apparent.)

Anyway, his new Netflix show is great. I was quite pleasantly surprised; I had thought that the steroids would somehow have caused him to lose his sense of humor, but they haven't. At least not yet.

It was almost surprising that Chappelle has many of the same mannerisms from before, but he does. And he's still funny.

If you get Netflix, watch it.

As an aside, I get the impression that Chappelle is sort of a closet Trump supporter, even though he voted for Clinton. This article basically confirms that.

In the special, he says he thinks "Trump is going to make America great accident." He has to add those last two words so as not to put off half his audience; but watching him, you get the sense of a realistic guy.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

John McCain needs to go

Yesterday John McCain said that the Republicans who proposed using the "nuclear option" for confirming Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch were "stupid idiots."

Strangely, McCain didn't call the Democrats that when they did the same thing.

McCain uses every opportunity to criticize his own party, and especially Donald Trump, whether or not that criticism is justified.

McCain left his first wife, a former model, after she'd been in a disfiguring automobile accident, in order to marry Cindy Lou Hensley, whose father owned one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributorships in the nation. But when those Billy Bush tapes came to light, McCain ostentatiously unendorsed Trump, saying that it was impossible to support a candidate who boasted about his "sexual assaults."

After the election, McCain, taking his cue from the media as usual, deemed the Trump White House "an administration in disarray."

McCain has suggested that Trump wants to clamp down on the free press, which is "how dictatorships get started."

He has criticized Trump's travel ban as a "self-inflicted wound in the war against terror."

And McCain has said plenty of other things which seem similarly misguided and off target.

It's high time we gave John McCain back to the North Vietnamese.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Things aren't looking so good for Sherri

I wrote back in December about all the inconsistencies in Sherri Papini's story of kidnap and abuse. Now it looks even more suspicious. 

The NY Post ran an article yesterday, Jogger's family reported her to police years before abduction, which detailed Papini's past lies:

The California mother who says she was kidnapped during a jog last November before reappearing along a freeway on Thanksgiving was previously reported to law enforcement by her family, according to documents obtained by the Sacramento Bee newspaper.

Sherri Papini’s mother, Loretta Graeff, alleged to authorities in December 2003 that her daughter “had been harming herself and blaming the injuries on her,” in a two-sentence incident report from the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office obtained by the newspaper.

The incident report did not say whether officers found evidence that Papini — then 21 years old — had in fact harmed herself.

When asked what happened by the Bee, Shasta County Sheriff’s Lt. Pat Kropholler said in an email to the newspaper that a deputy spoke with Papini’s mother back in 2003 and “gave her advice.”

In addition to her mother, Papini’s sister and father also contacted law enforcement about her, according to the documents obtained by the Bee. Her father alleged his daughter burglarized his residence in 2000, and her sister alleged the same year that her back door had been kicked in and she believed Papini was the suspect.

The reports provided no details about any arrests, and the sheriff’s office did not confirm to the paper if Papini had ever been charged in connection with her sister’s allegation.

When asked further by the paper to answer questions about Papini’s alleged abduction, Kropholler only said a detective has been assigned to the case full time and the agency is “in contact with the Papinis on a regular basis.”

One of the arguments that Papini was really abducted was that she had been branded, had lost weight, and been shorn of her hair during her two week disappearance. But if in fact she was self-harming back in 2003, that argument is weakened considerably. And if Papini's own sister and father separately accused her of breaking in and burglarizing their homes, that lowers her credibility further.

And now, four months later, there's still no evidence to corroborate her claims.

At this point it looks as if Sherri has Munchausen's Syndrome, that peculiar form of sociopathy that causes its "sufferers" to feign serious illness -- or a kidnapping -- in order to gain attention and sympathy. 

Just one more piece of evidence that looking like an angel is no proof of being one.

Another thing I just noticed: Papini has "sanpaku eyes." (A phrase I learned just today thanks to commenter Smallberries Worldwide, who pointed out that the woman described in the previous post has them.) 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

"'Don't worry about it': Woman tells cops to chill over dead boyfriend"

Maybe I'm twisted, but I found the article referenced above hilarious:

A Florida woman accused of fatally shooting her boyfriend Tuesday told police “don’t worry” about his blood-soaked body.

Police arrived to the Orlando apartment on Tuesday night to find Everett Leslie Humble, 63, bloody and unresponsive on the porch, the Orlando Sentinel. He had been shot multiple times and was declared dead at the scene.

His girlfriend, Paula Lynn Hobbs, was at the apartment when police arrived and wouldn’t comply with officers. According to police, when asked what happened, Hobbs told them “don’t worry about it.”

Hobbs, 51, then reportedly locked herself inside the apartment with her live-in boyfriend’s body. Police said she eventually surrendered and allowed them inside the home.

“If you tell me he is dead, I will tell you why I did it.” Hobbs said, according to the police report.

According to WPXI, a .22-caliber revolver was recovered in a drawer at the couple’s apartment.

Here is a picture of Paula Lynn Hobbs:

I sometimes wonder myself why the cops get so worked up about a little shooting. I mean, what's the biggie? And now, finally, someone has called them on it.

Paula Lynn's tactic doesn't seem to have worked, since she's now being held without bail in Orange County jail, charged with first degree murder. 

But it makes you wonder what else she'll have to say. At her trial, asked to describe what she did, she might explain, "Aah, not much, really."

And if the judge tries to lecture her, she can put it all into perspective by saying, "What're you trying to do, make a federal case out of this?"

It's hard to read much from Paula Lynn's face. She's not a bad-looking woman, and was probably considered attractive in her day. She looks as if she might have had a couple drinks before the photo above was taken; but she doesn't have the ravaged look that long time addicts get. 

Whatever her story is, I find her inspirational.

If I get caught with 100 kilos of fine white powder tightly encased in clear plastic wrapping in the trunk of my car, and the police ask what it is, I'm just going to say, "Ah, nothing," and close the lid of the trunk.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Go ahead and get that plastic surgery

If I had my life to live over again, I'd get plastic surgery at age 22 or so. Why not? Everybody judges you by your looks. To say otherwise is naive.

Like it or not, your looks shape your life. Obviously, your appearance has a huge impact on your love life. And of course no corporation would ever admit to this, but the fact is, good-looking people get preference in hiring, too; beautiful young women are rarely on the unemployment line.

So why not put your best face forward?

Most people hold off because they'd feel foolish, and don't want to appear vain, or are worried that something might go wrong.

The biggest problem is when people don't know when to stop. Michael Jackson famously went from looking like this:

To this:

Jackson is always cited as a cautionary tale. But what everybody forgets is that he looked great after the first two or three surgeries, about the time Thriller came out.

He'd had his nose narrowed, and his eyebrows done, and maybe one or two other procedures I can't put my finger on. But, then, he couldn't leave well enough alone. 

The rule of thumb seems to be that one or two or three operations are good. But becoming "addicted" to plastic surgery never ends well.

Jackson is the most widely known cautionary tale; but there are plenty of others who've had bad outcomes. Here are a few more you may be familiar with. 

The operations to avoid seem to be lip plumping, which always seem to go wrong, and cheek implants, which usually look unnatural. (Those two operations in particular, for some reason, always seem to make women look sleazy.)

But go to any plastic surgeon's website, and you'll see a lot of good outcomes. And even if you're not going to have career in show biz, if can correct small imperfections, why not?

Look at these before and after photos of Scarlett Johansson:

Pre-nose job, she has a pleasant face, but doesn't look all that different from half the girls you went to high school with. After, she's pretty enough be a movie star.

The question  you have to ask yourself is, even if you don't plan a career in show business, wouldn't it be preferable -- for all sorts of reasons -- to go through life looking like the girl on the right? We all know she'll get more attention and in general be treated better than the girl on the left.

Or look at Michelle Pfeiffer:

If she hadn't had that original nose job, she never would have become Michelle Pfeiffer. (One strange side effect with both Johansson and Pfeiffer is that both look more intelligent post-nose job; it makes absolutely no sense, I know, but somehow, they do.)

The same principles, by the way, apply to men.

Nice girls would be mortified to have people find out that they'd gotten cosmetic surgery. And, as most nice girls have been taught, it wouldn't speak well of them as people if they cared enough about (superficial) appearances to have the operation.

But, that doesn't mean they shouldn't do it.

And I'd tell the 22-year-old version of myself the same thing.

Think about it this way: you don't feel ashamed if you work out in order to look better, do you? A regular workout routine certainly entails putting more effort into your appearance than a one time medical procedure does. And you don't feel foolish about buying a new outfit. But why not? New clothes express a certain vanity as well.

The truth is, we're all vain, and we all do things to indulge that vanity. Even if that indulgence entails the opposite of what we normally think of as self-indulgence -- like cutting out desserts. Or forcing ourselves to get down to Pilates class every other day.

Some cultures are already more accepting of it. Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela are said to have already gone plastic surgery-crazy. And Seoul, South Korea, is now supposed to be the world capital of cosmetic surgery.

Why let those countries have all the fun?

As it is now, narcissistic personalities and sociopaths are far more likely to have procedures done. Why let them be the only ones who benefit? My general advice to most narcissistic personalities (if they'd ever listen, which of course they wouldn't) would be, be less the way you are, and stop acting as if the world revolves around you, and learn to admit when  you're wrong.

But my advice to "normal" people would be the opposite: be more like narcissistic personalities. Don't let a sense of shame hold you back from enjoying all the advantages that accrue from a better appearance.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Chuck Berry, multitasking

After writing about Chuck Berry three posts ago, I found myself watching more of his old videos.

Here's Berry singing Almost Grown in front of a studio audience. He's simultaneously playing the guitar, singing, dancing, mugging, and making expressive gestures with his hands in order to entertain us.

What's striking about all this is how naturally it seems to come to him, and how effortless it appears.

A lot of the old videos were probably lip sync productions, and probably, guitar syncs as well. It's hard to believe that with all that vigorous dancing Berry could continue to sing on pitch and not get out of breath.

But, I'm not sure of that, and it was apparent from some of his later videos that he could do all those things at the same time (though his singing in those later videos is usually off key.)

Here's a video of Berry performing Little Queenie, with a white backup band. His ability to multitask is highlighted here, since his bandmates are doing nothing but playing their instruments. That's by design, but it's also obvious none of the others could have done what he did.

What makes it really amazing is that he's the one who composed the music and wrote the lyrics as well.

(It's a little embarrassing the way these old-time videos would regularly cut back to the white audiences clapping along, as if to show other whites that it was okay to enjoy Berry's music.)

Finally, here's a video of Berry performing Oh Baby Doll. Same thing: playing the guitar, singing, and dancing, all while hamming it up.

It's sort of like watching a circus performer juggling three balls while simultaneously keeping a plate spinning in the air.

Except that at the same time, you know you're watching the guy who actually invented circuses.

Update, 4/19/17: I've just been informed by an anonymous commenter that Berry actually didn't compose the melodies, that another black musician named Johnny Johnson did. Oh well. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Immigrant Nazis

Let's do a little thought experiment:

First, let's compare the radical Muslims of the seven countries from which Trump is trying to suspend immigration to the Nazis.

Both groups hated Jews. Many Islamic clerics in the countries named have said they want Israel wiped off the face of the earth; the Nazis held similar views.

Both groups felt that homosexuals are sick, disgusting individuals who should be persecuted.

And adherents of both movements were completely convinced of their righteousness, and superiority.

One major difference is their attitude toward women. Herman Goering never advocated cutting the clits off young girls; Joseph Goebbels never suggested that women not be allowed to go out in public with uncovered faces. And Adolf Hitler never said that women should not be allowed to drive, or attend school, or leave their houses unaccompanied by a male relative.

In any case, there are some strong parallels, even if the Islamic fundamentalists are far harsher when it comes to treatment of women.

Now, let's imagine that Germany and Austria were still dominated by the Nazis -- and that many of them want to emigrate to the US. And, let's say that the political dividing lines in America regarding the immigration controversy were roughly the same as they are now.

What would the liberals be saying? Ignore for the moment the fact that the Left's favorite insult these days is "Nazi" -- since the Nazis, in both spirit and belief, did have much in common with today's Islamic fundamentalists.

Would they call people opposed to immigration "Naziphobics," as if they had some sort of weird mental disease?

Would they say that we shouldn't discriminate on the basis of creed, or persecute those poor Nazis for their beliefs?

Would they tell the anti-immigration forces that "that's not who we are?"

Would they constantly remind us that we are a nation of immigrants?

Would they have sanctuary cities catering to illegal Nazi immigrants?

Would they accuse those opposed to more immigration of being "haters?"

After all, this is effectively what's going on right now, except for that minor difference of the Islamic attitude toward women.

Think of this parallel the next time you hear a liberal become hysterical over Trump's proposed immigration ban.

Is there anything more pathetic than a guy who never outgrew his sport?

Right now I'm watching the heats of the men's NCAA swimming championships. Tonight I'll watch the finals. And tomorrow I'll probably do the same. This is after having watched all of the women's NCAA swimming championships last week.

It's a complete waste of time, of course. I'm doing absolutely nothing productive, and getting exactly nothing done. But, I still follow the sport closely enough to be curious as to how various swimmers do.

In a way, it's not all that different from following politics: I'm curious about who wins and who loses, how people acquit themselves, and what factors impinged. But while most people would find it incredibly boring to watch a bunch of swimmers go back and forth in a pool, to me, whether it takes a certain competitor 43.7 or 44.1 seconds to complete four lengths is the stuff of high drama.

(That's what I mean by pathetic.)

All of this means I'm no better than the slob you might find in a bar wearing the jersey of his favorite sports team and wanting to talk about how his favorite pro team is doing that year. I've never identified with that guy; but I'm sorta forced to admit, I am him.

For the sake of this blog I'll try to keep the conversation away from swimming and on topics you can identify with.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lack of inhibitions pays off

Just stumbled across this article in the NY Post, If you don't have anything nice to say, you could make $900 a day.

It's about a black man who gave up his job working in a photo lab when he realized he could make more money shining shoes.

I wrote earlier, here, about the difference in inhibition between the races. This guy is a perfect example. He is utterly, completely uninhibited about talking to strangers on the street and jokingly insulting the state of their footwear.

He's likable, congenial, and actually quite witty. He doesn't have any false pride. And, he's making an honest living. But he's a perfect illustration of that basic racial difference.

The video clip of him talking to strangers on the street shows whites reacting as they almost always do in such situations. They keep moving, somewhat warily, and either ignore him or smile as they process what he's said and his harmlessness registers.

It's just a little, telling, slice of life.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Chuck Berry's backup dancer

I was going to write a "Chuck Berry RIP" post a couple days ago; he was certainly a groundbreaking musician, and he had always struck me as a cool guy. I had also always been under the vague impression that his Mann Act conviction had been a racially-motived railroading.

But when I looked into that conviction, it turned out to be completely justified. He had in fact brought a 14-year-old Mexican girl up to work as a prostitute at his club in St. Louis (after having sex with her numerous times himself, when he was in his 30's). There had also been a tax fraud conviction, and another lawsuit (which Berry settled) brought by 60 women who claimed that Berry had secretly videotaped them going to the bathroom. And, Berry had a longstanding reputation for being too cheap to pay a regular backup band.

So, I felt a little less motivated to write a paean. 

But there was no question about his musical genius (he wrote his own songs) and his stage presence. Berry, like Snoop Dogg, seemed to have, as his natural default facial expression, a sort of leer, which suited him. Here's Berry:

And here's Snoop Dogg:

The difference was, Berry's leer seemed to be light-hearted, playful, and slightly self-mocking, whereas Snoop's leer is as likely to come across as an arrogant half sneer.

The other difference is, Berry was an incredibly talented musician.

In any case, I was moved, out of a sense of nostalgia, to watch a few clips of Berry on Youtube.

After seeing two or three, I stumbled across this video of him performing Sweet Little Sixteen. What struck me most about it was the backup dancer who appears from around 22 seconds into the clip up to the 45 second mark of the minute and ten second video.

For some reason, she just looked incredibly good to me. She was obviously pretty, though the resolution of the video isn't clear enough to see her face all that well. Her dancing and clothing seem dated now; you might even find them a little silly. Nor was she particularly athletic. But somehow it added up to an overwhelming feminine appeal which seems missing in most of today's overly athletic dancers with their piston-like movements. And, like Berry, she seemed to be enjoying herself while performing, which made her even more irresistable.

Maybe she appealed to me because that's the sort of dancing that was in vogue when I was young. Maybe it was partly the high energy, nostalgia-inducing song. Or, maybe I'm crazy.

But take a look at the video, and I think you'll see what I mean.

Anyway, upon further reflection, Berry, despite the trouble he got into, was not a bad guy. Naughty, yes; evil, no. And frankly, given his persona, given his songs, given the age he lived in, it would actually be a little disappointing if he hadn't been a little bit bad.

And maybe, just maybe, he gets a little more leeway for having been a genius.

Chuck Berry, RIP. 

Filial respect Part XII

I give my son a haircut once a month. After the last one, he complained that I had cut it too short on top.

I said, "Short hair looks good on you; I prefer mine short."

He replied, "You have to have short hair. When yours gets long, you look like Woody Allen. I don't have that problem."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sociopath talk

The Sun ran an article yesterday about Bruno Fernandes de Souza which delivers a great lesson on how sociopaths talk (and think): Goalie who had ex fed to dogs: Get over my 'one mistake.'

When you tell people to "get over" something, you're of course implying that if anyone has a problem with your behavior, the fault lies with them, not with you.

The relevant excerpts from the article, in italics:

The Brazilian goalkeeper who ordered the murder of his girlfriend before feeding her to his Rottweilers has incredibly claimed he’s “not a bad guy.”

De Souza must have a pretty extreme definition of "bad guy." He's probably thinking, well, it's not as if I'm a serial killer, since I'm only responsible for one killing. (Just one -- what's the big fuss?)

Bruno Fernandes de Souza was let out of jail in February on a legal technicality after spending just six years behind bars for his horrendous crime.

The goalie had former model girlfriend Eliza Samudio tortured and beaten before being strangled, chopped into pieces and fed to a pack of Rottweilers, following a dispute over child support.

(Simply being strangled and chopped into pieces was evidently not enough punishment for the crime of getting impregnated by him.)

But in his first interview since leaving jail and controversially signing with Boa Esporte, de Souza is quoted as saying: “Dude, what happened, happened.

(Exactly what intelligence is being conveyed in that statement? It's just another way of saying, hey, no big deal. The utter lack of any shame or guilt is apparent.)

De Souza's use of the word "dude" seems calculated to make him sound like a regular guy.

“I made a mistake, a serious one, but mistakes happens in life — I’m not a bad guy.

De Souza refers to Samudio's torture, beating, and strangulation as a "mistake" -- the same way you or I might refer to taking the wrong exit on the freeway.

And note the passive voice: "mistakes happen." You know, pretty much the same way the weather happens.

“People tried to bury my dream because of one mistake, but I asked God for forgiveness, so I’m carrying on with my career, dude.

What kind of horrible people would try to bury a guy's dream? Let's face it, he's the real victim here. (De Souza might have made a wiser choice of word than "bury" though.)

The implication here is that since the Almighty has forgiven him, you should too. And now he's just "carrying on" -- brave soul that he is.

“I’m starting over.”

In other words, he now has a clean slate. 

De Souza is a good-looking guy --

-- which must help when it comes to getting a girl to sleep with him and then convincing his younger, impressionable cousins to murder her for him. In some pictures de Souza even looks wholesome --

-- which just goes to show that you can't judge a book, or a soccer star, by their covers.

You can, however, judge both by their words. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

The World Happiness Report

An article, The 15 happiest countries in the world, appeared on Bloomberg this morning:

Chances are, if you live in the U.S., you feel worse today than you did 10 years ago. Don’t worry, it’s not you. This is a national problem: America’s rank on the happiness scale is falling.

When it comes to happiness, the U.S. ranked 19th among the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2016, down from third among 24 countries on a similar measure in 2007, according to the World Happiness Report, produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and funded by the Ernesto Illy Foundation.

Money, at least in the U.S., doesn’t buy happiness, the report found. Even as the country pulled off an economic turnaround, with increases in income and unemployment falling to historic lows, Americans are becoming less happy...

The report is based on an annual survey of 1,000 people in more than 150 countries that simply asks them to rank, on a scale of 0 to 10, whether they are living their best life.

Researchers then use six measures to try to understand the results: gross domestic product per capita, life expectancy, support from relatives or friends, charitable giving, freedom to make life choices, and perceived levels of government and corporate corruption.

Rankings are created using the average of three years of surveys. Nordic countries, of course, were the happiest. In the list covering 2014-16, Norway moved into the top spot as the happiest country in the world, followed by Denmark and Iceland. The least happy nations: Syria, Tanzania, Burundi and the Central African Republic. The U.S. ranked 14th on the most recent rankings average....

Jeffrey Sachs, one of the editors of the report, suggested five means by which to improve social trust: campaign finance reform, policies aimed at reducing income inequality (such as public financing of health), improved social relations between native born and immigrant Americans, working to move past the fear of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and improved access to high-quality education.

The political nature of Sachs' report is transparent: his suggestions for increased happiness are basically a Democratic wish list. And, like any good liberal, he completely ignores the most salient factor distinguishing the happiest countries from the unhappiest ones: their demographics. 

Lists like this pop up from time to time, and I always wonder, how exactly do they measure happiness? I've seen similar lists where people are actually asked whether they're happy or not. But how can people possibly know -- in any remotely objective sense -- how their level of emotional happiness compares to others' unless they've inhabited other peoples' minds? 

What these happiness reports fail to take into account is human nature. You can put two people into the exact same situation, and they would experience different levels of happiness from it. Some peoples' mental equilibrium dials seem to have been set to "happy," and others to "disgruntled." That's just their nature. 

In fact, one's baseline happiness probably has an inverse relationship with one's quality of life. If you're the type to be satisfied with whatever nature has provided, you're less likely to work hard at improving GDP, making headway in medicine, and maintaining a functioning, democratic form of government which guarantees freedoms for its citizens. 

Conversely, those most easily disgruntled would be more likely to work to improve their lot. 

It also seems a little ironic that Scandinavians, who have always had a reputation for being morose -- remember those dour Swedes with their shortened days and the world's highest suicide rate? -- now rank highest in "happiness." 

If you were to call this a "quality of life" index, using the same criteria, its conclusions would be more credible. Otherwise, it seems silly.

Meanwhile, in the interests of further equality -- which seems to be one of Sachs' goals -- Norway should voluntarily decrease its level of happiness by following the lead of its neighbor Sweden and import more Muslims. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

A closer look at the crime described in the previous post

The nature of the assault and robbery committed in that Texas Burger and Chicken restaurant in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn calls for a closer look.

I wrote about the group nature of much of black crime before, here. This crime fits that pattern perfectly. There were five people involved. And they may not even have known each other.

First, there were the two guys at the restaurant who evidently didn't have the money to pay for their meal.  (Who goes into a restaurant and orders a meal they can't pay for?) The white guy, perhaps in order to save them from embarrassment, offered to pay. Somehow, they took offense at this, and started beating him with his own cane. Once he was down on the floor, they started to kick him.

Two more guys -- who just happened to be passing by -- saw what was happening through the restaurant window, and decided to join in the fun. So they came in and stomped him some more. (Why should the first two have all the fun?)

Then, a fifth guy entered the scene, and, seeing his opportunity, went through the pockets of the victim to steal what he could.

When whites commit a crime like this, it's almost always one or maybe two sociopaths. But this incident followed a not uncommon pattern: whatever blacks happened to be in the vicinity at the time, joined in.

You have to wonder what set off the first two. Their white victim offered to pay for their meal, which they somehow found so infuriating that they had to start attacking him? Were they insulted that he thought they were unable to pay for their own meal? (They were a couple dollars short.)

Given that the man whom they assaulted was gay (this article points out that he has AIDS), it's likely he has "gay voice." Perhaps the first two blacks felt that he was coming on to them somehow. So the most likely scenario seems to be that it started out as a gay bashing.

But the second set of two guys wouldn't have heard the victim's voice, and probably wouldn't have known he was gay. They just saw a white guy getting stomped and wanted their share of the action.

So the incident was a twofer: the guy was first picked on for his sexuality, then for his race.

Shockingly, there have been no demands from the New York Times as yet demanding that this beating be prosecuted as a hate crime.

(I don't approve of the concept of "hate crimes" in the first place, since we can't read minds, but if you're going to have such laws, they ought to be applied evenly.)

It almost goes without saying these days that if the races were reversed in such an incident the sky would come falling down; but this case seems particularly egregious. Most of the MSM has simply ignored it. Imagine if some black gentleman had offered to help two whites pay for their meal, then those two whites had taken offense and stomped him. Then imagine that two more random whites had come into the restaurant to join in the fun.

Then imagine a fifth white guy had robbed the black man, who was lying on the floor with multiple broken bones.

The hue and cry that would ensue would be deafening. The various news networks would all cover the crime, and act properly aghast at the fiendish nature of the crime. The New York Times would scream for an investigation by the Department of Justice, and would wail about how racism is alive and well in the age of Trump. They might even say that Trump had implicitly encouraged the crime with his encouragement of violence at his rallies and his exclusionary policies.

But, the crime was not white-on-black. So, crickets.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Test for racism:

The following article, Man beaten to pulp after offering to pay for attackers' meal, appeared in this afternoon's NY Post:

A good Samaritan ​who ​offered to lend two men short on cash a couple bucks to cover their meal at a Brooklyn eatery ended up beaten and robbed for trying to help, cops say.

The victim was savagely beaten by four men inside a Flatbush fried-chicken joint — and then robbed by a fifth as he lay helpless on the floor, cops say.

The 37-year-old victim told police that an argument began when he offered to help pay for the two men’s meal, which they were a few dollars short of paying for, inside Texas Chicken and Burgers in Flatbush on March 1.

The two men got angry at the offer and soon grabbed the victim’s cane and began striking him in the head and body with it and their fists, police said.

The men pummeled the victim harder when he tried to defend himself, and soon two other men entered the location to join in the beating.

When the attackers fled, another man entered the Texas Chicken and Burgers spot and emptied the victim’s pockets before fleeing, police said.

The victim was taken to an area hospital, where he was treated for multiple broken bones, contusions and lacerations.

No names were named, and no races were mentioned. If, despite this, you jumped to a conclusion about the races of the perpetrators, then you're a racist.

It doesn't make any difference if any of the various stereotypes have any truth to them. The point is, if you notice patterns at all, you're a bad person

And if you thought anything along the lines of "Aw Christ, when are people going to learn?" -- you're a particularly bad person.

You may not have heretofore realized how bad you are, but, trust me, you are. 

If you are curious as to whether you're right, you can click on the link above and watch a video of the beating. 

And if you're curious as to the identity of the victim, his photograph is in this article

But, again, all of that is irrelevant. If while reading this article you had any thoughts other than, "Our diversity is our strength," you're evil. End of story. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Samantha Ponder strikes out against sexism

Pregnant ESPN reporter Samantha Ponder was in the news this past week for having put the trolls who criticized her appearance in their place.

This article from titled ESPN Reporter Samantha Ponder Shuts Down Trolls Who Criticized Her Body While Pregnant struck a typical tone:

If there's one thing Samantha Ponder won't stand for it is the ridiculous hate from body shamers who are calling out her appearance during her pregnancy.

The 31-year-old sportscaster is expecting her second child with her star athlete husband, Christian Ponder. After receiving multiple nasty comments about her appearance, Ponder finally hit her limit this week, according to Us Weekly.

“Getting sexist/vulgar tweets abt my job/appearance while I’m unable to see my own feet & covered in toddler pee is somethin else I tell ya,” she tweeted Tuesday, March 7.

The barrage of hateful comments sprung up after it was announced that Ponder may be replacing Chris Berman for Sunday NFL Countdown.

“When I can Tell you Women’s Rights, you can tell me about Sports. I never carried a Child, you Never carried a Football,” one hater wrote.

Another came in hot with a simple, “no talent.”

Even though she's had to deal with a lot of unbelievable hate, she's also received sweet messages of support from fans and women who look up to her for paving the way.

“You are an inspiration for young girls like my daughter. She is now a sophomore in college dreaming of being on the sideline,” one man wrote.

Another fan added to the conversation saying, “You inspire me everyday! I really look up to you & you make me realize my dreams are totally possible!! You’re Super Woman!"

Making fun of a woman's appearance because she is pregnant is unquestionably rude, though the two critical Tweets that cited had nothing to do with Ponder's appearance. 

But the entire premise of Ponder's position that she is taking a stance against sexism seems to be built on shaky ground. 

ESPN has always been a liberal organization politically, as one might expect of a channel that focuses on sports dominated by blacks. (They have advocated for more gun control, praised Colin Kaepernick's stance, sided with BLM, given Caitlyn Jenner a heroism award, threatened Chris Broussard for taking a religious view of homosexuality, and fired Curt Schilling for criticizing radical Islam.)

So, one would think they would also be horrified by the sexism implicit in judging women by their looks. After all, they have proven reliably politically correct on every other issue.

But Google "ESPN babes" and you'll come across this article. (I had the feeling that the kind of people who are ESPN fans would use the word "babes" to refer to women.) Take a look at their selection of female sportscasters and judge for yourself what the most important prerequisite is for being a female sportscaster at liberal ESPN seems to be.

Does anyone doubt that Ponder's looks were central to why she was hired in the first place? Here's Samantha:

If you Google-image Samantha Ponder, you won't find a single shot -- not even in her "informal" at home shots -- where her hair, eyebrows, eye makeup, and lipstick have not been done up perfectly.

(By the way, does it not seem that an argument's credibility these days is in inverse proportion to the number of times it relies on using the word "hate?" The article uses either "hate" or "hateful" four separate times in their brief, eleven sentence article.)

It's not as if ESPN is an outlier here. All MSM organizations take politically correct positions, and rail against sexism in tones of horrified outrage whenever the issue arises. But when it comes to whom they hire as on camera talent, well, looks are paramount.

When it comes to the dramas they air, it's the same story: the female romantic interest is, almost always, a beauty. And when it comes to the commercials they run, the spokesmodels are also almost always beauties.  

So doesn't that make their stance against those horrible sexists who would judge a woman by her looks just a little bit hypocritical? 

Now, just to be clear: I'm not defending the trolls who razzed Ponder for her appearance. They are, undoubtedly, idiots. (The fact that they watch ESPN in the first place is probably further evidence of that.)

And Ponder herself is not some card-carrying third-wave feminist; she's just a cute girl trying to make her way in the world and doing the best she can for herself. It's natural enough for anyone who's been insulted to lash back. It was the media, more than her, who politicized this incident.

But let's also be clear about exactly where Samantha Ponder stands in the grand scheme of things: she is not a victim of sexism.

She is its beneficiary.

A resemblance

I just happened to see this picture of Katie Ledecky today --

-- and it struck me whom she resembles: Olga Korbut.

Each woman is among the greatest ever in her sport (and Ledecky is far from through).

But while they resemble each other facially, and both have huge smiles, they have completely different builds. Korbut was a pixie-like 4'11" and 84 pounds at her peak, as befits a champion gymnast, whereas Ledecky is listed at six feet on the Stanford roster and looks as if she weighs roughly 160.

(It would have been so much cooler if her Stanford bio had merely said "Katie is a passable distance freestyler" rather than exhaustively listing her every last accolade; it's not as if anyone who'd ever go to that website might possibly be unaware of her accomplishments.)

Ledecky, according to Wikipedia, is a quarter Czech, a quarter Jewish, and half Irish. Korbut was born in western Belarus, near the Polish and Lithuanian borders. So their ethnicities are not identical. But from the neck up, they look as if they could have been sisters.