Mar 30 2011

Do we need a White House Council On Men and Boys?

Category: societyharmonicminer @ 8:48 pm

From Kay Hymowitz: What America Really Needs Is A White House Council On Men And Boys


A few weeks ago, the White House Council on Women and Girls released an inter-agency report titled “Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being.”

I learned a lot from reading it, like, for instance, the answer to the question: Do we need a White House Council on Women and Girls? The answer, many readers won’t be surprised to hear, is no.

To be sure, the report has plenty of interesting data — almost all of it indicating that women are doing very well indeed. Women are living longer than men, which probably explains why there are 4 million more of them in the United States.

They are less likely to be victims of violent crime or to be unemployed. These days, far fewer women are having children as teenagers. Instead, they are busy earning more high school degrees than men, taking more Advanced Placement courses and earning more college degrees.

Fifty-seven percent of today’s college grads are female, and projections are that the number will reach 60 percent by the end of the decade. Women make up the majority of graduate students. They are also 51 percent of management and professional workers, though they make up only 47 percent of the work force.

Of course, as most people know, there is one area where women lag: They don’t earn as much as men. The foreword to the report puts it this way: “At all levels of education, women earned about 75 percent of what their male counterparts earned in 2009.”

Look carefully at the body of the report and you’ll see the two primary reasons why: First, women major in fields that tend to lead to lower-paying jobs. They dominate the ranks of the humanities and education majors, while they’re relatively scarce in science and technology.

The second reason for lower female earnings is that women work fewer hours.In 2009, employed married women spent on average seven hours and 40 minutes in “work-related activities,” compared to employed married men’s eight hours and 50 minutes.

Could discrimination still explain some of the wage gap? It could, but the evidence from “Women in America” is that women earn less because they work less and because they work as teachers rather than software developers.

The report doesn’t tell us whether there is any evidence that most Americans see either of these tendencies as a problem that a government council should solve.That may be because there is no such evidence.

In fact, as the economist Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute has suggested, there’s a stronger case to be made for a White House Council on Men and Boys.

A report from that imaginary council would begin by noting that 72 percent of girls get a high school degree, compared to 65 percent of boys. (Again, that’s Sixty. Five. Percent.)It would go on to state that the percentage of men getting a college degree has not budged since the 1970s.

It would point out that the share of men in the labor force has hit historic lows, as they account for seven of every 10 jobs lost during the Great Recession.It would also show that the trends for young men are ominous, since single, childless women in their 20s are now outearning them in most major cities by as much as 21 percent.

And finally it would observe that all of these trends reduce the proportion of “marriageable men,” that is, men with steady jobs whom women might want to marry and raise children with.The irony is that the dearth of such men means more single mothers, which in turn means more female poverty and lower income for women.

Unfortunately, the Council on Women and Girls never makes that connection.


Mar 29 2011

Moral and cultural relativism

Category: societyharmonicminer @ 2:13 pm

From ZOMBLOG, writing in Human Rights Imperialism: leftist satire or moral collapse?, an interesting essay on the internal contradictions of left progressivism (a redundant phrase) and the modern mania for “diversity” and “multiculturalism.”

I also know too much about history and anthropology to continue the bankrupt charade that all cultures are equal in value and equally worthy of respect and admiration. And this is where the Kinzers of the world and I have parted ways, I suppose. The accumulated Judeo-Christian/Greco-Roman/Renaissance-Enlightenment/you-name-it wisdom that Western culture has integrated over the millennia is without any question the best bet that the human race has going.

The essay linked above is long, but worth reading.  And, given that the writer is evidently not particularly sympathetic with Christianity, the conclusion quoted above is all the more remarkable.

There is a fundamental question underlying all this, that the essay doesn’t quite address, though it hints at it.  Is there such a thing as “natural law“, or not?  Is there such a thing as “human nature”?  “Human rights”?  “Right and wrong”?  If the answer to these questions is basically no, if everything is instead culturally bound and defined, then we have no basis for any project of any kind that is about changing any aspect of culture, our own or others, other than that we want it to be a certain way.   On the other hand, if there is natural law, human nature, and some irreducible minimum of human rights, if right and wrong actually exist, then on what grounds do we decide that “non-interference” in human suffering is better than trying to do something about it?

The left is basically schizoid about this.  On the one hand, the left thinks everyone should have universally funded healthcare and access to abortion and same sex marriage.  On the other hand, the left thinks that the US and the west should not impose its values on other nations/cultures that deny these things, and which in fact actively persecute large sectors of their own populations, even unto death. 

No wonder they want universal healthcare.  Psychotherapy is expensive.

Mar 29 2011

The most insulting comparison

Category: societyharmonicminer @ 9:24 am

In Five myths about why the South seceded, from the Washington Post, we learn that non-slave owning supporters of the institution of slavery in the pre-Civil War south were like currently poor supporters of the George W. Bush tax cuts.

In 1860, many subsistence farmers aspired to become large slave-owners. So poor white Southerners supported slavery then, just as many low-income people support the extension of George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy now.

Can these people be serious?  Low income people who support the tax cuts of the Bush administration aren’t mostly expecting to be rich some day.  They’re hoping to get or keep a job this year, and they understand that when the government takes money from the wealthy, the wealthy will employ fewer people.  And the poor may have figured out that the government does not create jobs, despite the misleading rhetoric of the Left.

In any case, it’s risible to conflate the moral status of being allowed to keep more of the money you’ve earned through work or investment with the moral status of keeping slaves or supporting slavery.

Here’s a better comparison.  Some people who have not had an abortion (or been involved with someone who had one), and don’t plan to get one anytime soon, nevertheless support abortion-on-demand.  Why?  For many, they want to keep the door open that someday, just maybe, they might want to get one, or push a woman they’re involved with to get one.

Like the poor southern subsistence farmer who doesn’t really expect to be able to buy a slave, but might want to sometime, and so supports slavery, these “pro-choice” supporters don’t want to arrange their lives and behavior to obviate the “need” for abortion to be available to them.

The moral status of abortion and slave-holding are far more comparable than the silly comparison quoted above, as is the reality of the “maybe someday” thinking that enabled both.


Mar 27 2011

Selling what no one needs as if it mattered if they buy it?

Category: Beautyharmonicminer @ 10:53 am

At Pyromaniacs: Open Letter to Rob Bell, there is a thoughtful post addressed mostly to Rob Bell, whose recent book seems to suggest some form of “universal salvation”. The article is well worth reading, but this comment from a reader of that blog named “H” seems unusually pithy to me.

He <Rob Bell> makes his living from tithes and offerings by preaching things that don’t need to be heard to people that don’t need to hear them because they will ultimately be saved from sinfulness they really don’t possess by a Savior they didn’t even need when they were alive who died for no reason because he planned to save them regardless anyway, then writes a
book explaining it all to people that don’t even need to understand it because (again) they’re going to get saved anyway.

By extension, this sort of comment applies to all those who a selling some kind of “social salvation in the here and now” and not the eternal salvation of God.

H/T: Melody

Mar 24 2011

ABC Pilot “Good Christian Bitches” Mocks Christians

Category: church,religionamuzikman @ 6:38 pm

I welcome back to the blog my daughter who has written this piece for her university newspaper.  I think her point is well taken.  Insert ANY other faith in the title and imagine the outrage…

Posted by Embowlee

Imagine this. You’re relaxing on your couch, channel surfing, and you come across a show titled “Good Christian Bitches.” Does this alarm you at all? Are you offended? I promise I’m not making this up. After running the pilot episode in March, ABC may air the controversial show sometime in its 2011 TV lineup.

While it may have the intention of poking fun at Christian circles, as Christians form the bulk of ABC’s viewers, in actuality it scornfully mocks Christians.

I’m not sure what I think is crazier—the fact that someone would title anything with both the word Christian and the word bitches in the same sentence, or the fact that ABC would even consider airing a show like this.

The very fact that a show like this exists makes me wonder if ABC is attempting to shed light on a perception or even a reality of Christians today. If that’s the case, this show could give Christians a valuable look into the way people view them. Furthermore, it’s entirely possible that this is just an attempt for Christians to indulge in a little self-deprecation.

When I heard the title, I struggled with conjuring up any sustainable storyline that this show could possibly center around.

I can tell you that the show portrays its main character, Amanda Vaughn, as a woman recently divorced who travels back to her hometown looking for a fresh start. There she encounters her old friends—with whom she had burned some bridges—who they set out to destroy her reputation by any means necessary. Then, in the midst of all the maliciousness, Amanda turns to those who love her and sticks to her faith.

Sounds like an award-winning show to me!

Not only is the plot completely unoriginal and predictable, it seems to have a striking similarity to another show, also on ABC, called “Desperate Housewives,” in which the women are catty and wealthy. I’d say the only difference between the two is that “Good Christian Bitches” has women that are not only catty in their social lives, but also in the church setting.

Based off of the book “Good Christian Bitches,” author Kim Gatlin has a website advertising her book. On the web page, as plain as day, she says, “For Heaven’s sake, don’t let God get in the way of a good story!” As if that’s the major issue here—that God is getting in the way of a “good” story.

Now that we’re introduced to this controversial show, imagine this. Let’s replace the word Christian in the title with Muslim or even Jew. It’s still highly and unacceptably inappropriate, except the reality is, if Christian were replaced with any other religious faith, people everywhere would be furious about it, not just the religious group. It would literally become an international feud against the network. The fact of the matter is, though, ABC would never dream of airing a show like that!

So what is this supposed to insinuate about Christians? We face backlash on the daily, and are expected to continue to act as Christians. We’re taught to turn the other cheek, and to treat our neighbors as we would like to be treated, but this allows people to take full advantage of us. But again, this only makes me wonder about the perception of Christians that could lead ABC to want to create a show about it.

But is that to say that we just sit back and let the media portray us however they darn well please? For a very long time, the “b-word” has been used to degrade, humiliate and harass women. Put that together in the same literary line with the word Christian, and you have the world’s worst combination of words.

However, our culture seems to have normalized the word bitch, turning it into more of a slang word, which has caused many of us to become desensitized to it all together.

If this show does end up being aired, the odds of the title being changed is almost a sure thing, said Fox News writer Hollie McKay. However, that won’t change the fact that the show will be mocking people of faith.

Mar 10 2011

I could have retired on it

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 11:17 pm

Spider-Man’s debut comic sells for $1.1 million

A comic collector has been caught in Spider-Man’s web, paying $1.1 million for a near-mint copy of “Amazing Fantasy” No. 15 that features the wall-crawler’s debut.

The issue, first published in 1962, was sold Monday by a private seller to a private buyer, chief executive Stephen Fishler told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

I used to own a copy of Spiderman #1, and it was in pretty good shape.  It would probably only have been worth a few hundred thousand dollars.

My mom threw it away when we moved from Indiana to Missouri, in a box of other (probably) highly collectible comics.

Moral of the story?

Got me.

Mar 09 2011

I Knew It!!!!!

Category: humoramuzikman @ 7:01 pm

I should be kicking back on some Greek isle, right now!

Dang it!

It’s about time someone realized how tough it is to be a trombone player!

And don’t mess with this early retirement or I’ll go to Wisconsin and protest.

Mar 08 2011

Immigration by the numbers, and what doesn’t work to address world poverty

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 10:22 am

While the video doesn’t make this point, it’s also clear that simply giving money “to poor countries” isn’t going to do a great deal of good.  In any case, while I haven’t been able to track down the source of this quote,”Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of rich countries and giving it to the rich people of poor countries,” there is some truth in it.  Everyone who works legally in the USA pays Social Security taxes.  Since that money is just part of the overall budget (there is no “lock box” or “trust fund”), minimum wage workers in the USA are sending money to the Mubaraks of the world.

Far more people have been elevated in India in the last 30 years by its capitalist economic revival than by foreign aid from other governments or international charities.  As annoying as it is to socialists everywhere, the best thing the US can do is export capitalism and freedom.

“Micro-finance” (funding small loans to help people start businesses in poor countries) is not useless, and can help some people become self-supporting.  But for it to work, there has to be sufficient freedom and rule of law in the culture for investment and hard work to pay off.  It’s not likely to succeed when the local government boils down to a protection racket.


Mar 06 2011

It shouldn’t be so hard to sneak up on Al Qaeda

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 3:46 pm

On Fox News, I just watched a Libyan woman in a headscarf firing her AK-47 out of an open car window, not at anything in particular, just randomly into the air, as far as I could see. I have only fired a gun once in a semi-enclosed space without hearing protection, when I simply forgot to put the hearing protectors back on (they look like big headphones). I couldn’t hear correctly for several hours after that, and that was only a small caliber handgun. I can’t imagine firing any high powered rifle in such circumstances without hearing protection.

From this, I conclude that most of the AK-47-shooting Arab world must be half-deaf.

That could be a good thing, in the case of terrorists. It should be easy for our soldiers to sneak up on them.

On the other hand, maybe the reason wife-beating is so prevalent in Arab Muslim circles is that the women can’t hear their husbands telling them what to do…. firing assault rifles out of open car windows without hearing protection will do that to you. Come to think of it, though, I’m not sure how smart it is to try to beat a woman who has access to an AK-47.

She might decide to fire the thing in a less random direction. It isn’t necessary to have good hearing to shoot straight.

Ammo must be really cheap in the middle east.

Mar 05 2011

You can kill ’em, just don’t cut ’em

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 8:34 pm

In San Francisco, the electorate may be considering a ban on infant circumcision, as Jewish groups oppose circumcision ban in US city . Odd that the infant doesn’t have a right to life 30 seconds before being born, but 1 minute later has a right to a foreskin.

Jewish groups and others are up at arms over an attempt to outlaw male circumcision in San Francisco by putting the issue to a popular vote.

Self-described “intactivist” Lloyd Schofield has been collecting signatures for a voter initiative that would criminalize infant circumcision in the Californian city.

After two months of collecting names, he claims to be more than half way toward getting the 7,168 signatures he needs by late April to put the matter on the November ballot.

Given that most Jews vote left, the cognitive dissonance is… cutting.

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