Archives For: Updates

Another Day, Another Mass Shooting

Nov 21 2014 @ 12:59pm

Myron May, the man who shot and wounded three people at the Florida State University library yesterday morning before police killed him, was mentally disturbed:

May’s Facebook page shows he posted mostly Bible verses and links to conspiracy theories about the government reading people’s minds. Records show May was licensed to practice law in Texas and New Mexico. According to a Las Cruces, New Mexico, police report last month, May was a subject of a harassment complaint after a former girlfriend called to report he came to her home uninvited and claimed police were bugging his house and car. Danielle Nixon told police May recently developed “a severe mental disorder.” “Myron began to ramble and handed her a piece to a car and asked her to keep it because this was a camera that police had put in his vehicle,” the report said. The report also said May recently quit his job and was on medication.

In the wake of this latest tragedy, Beth Elderkin wants to talk about how almost all such “active shooters” are male:

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Readers continue to provide the best MGM conversation out there:

This is in response to this reader. The condition that worries the dads is called phimosis. Until my mid-twenties, I couldn’t see more than a dime-sized area of my glans when I pulled back my foreskin. I didn’t even realize my foreskin was supposed to retract until I stumbled upon information about the condition online.

I recommend the dads look at the archives of this forum. It contains many first-hand accounts of successfully overcoming phimosis with stretching exercises. After stretching my foreskin twice per day for a year, I was able to fully retract my foreskin when flaccid. My sensitivity decreased, but that was necessary. I was overly-sensitive, and now I’m able to retract to wash my glans every shower with soap and water, which any healthy uncircumcised man will tell you is simple and necessary. I don’t stretch now, years later, and my frenulum is still a bit tight when erect, but I was amazed by the improvement.

The forum is sometimes antagonistic to doctors, with the allegation that American doctors are too willing to circumcise in phimosis cases because they don’t know any better. Some extreme phimosis cases may need circumcision, but I recommend the dads do extensive research of their own before subjecting their son to a scalpel.

Another reader is pretty antagonistic toward American doctors:

America just doesn’t know how to deal with foreskins. We didn’t circumcise my son and his foreskin didn’t retract by age 5. We were told that it should by age 3, and the cure for a non-retracting foreskin was circumcision. No other advice was offered in England or America.

Then we moved to Bulgaria.

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What To Think Of Bill Cosby? Ctd

Nov 20 2014 @ 7:22am

Whoopi Goldberg, a diehard Polanski defender, is skeptical of the allegations against Bill Cosby:

Readers react to the disturbing story:

I certainly understand Barbara Bowman’s anger. I think the answer to her question, of course, has more than a little to do with race. In this country, accusing a black man of raping a white woman comes with the burden of our racism and history of oppression. And when that man is a beloved entertainer and symbol of American fatherhood? You are right that his accusers had and have absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose. I just can’t imagine what these women have gone through emotionally.

Hannibal Buress, by virtue of his gender and race, made it possible for us to have this conversation at long last. That it took a man to legitimize their stories is most unfair. We owe Buress our gratitude nonetheless.

Another wonders why Cosby didn’t get his comeuppance sooner:

Ten years ago we still had more of a top-down media structure. “Going viral” was not a thing yet. YouTube hadn’t even started. Instead, shocking things generally had to pass through gatekeepers, whose incentives were basically not to piss off the wrong people. Rape accusations at the time were considered not appropriate for polite company unless it reinforced an existing narrative. I’m sure many media outlets heard of these accusations, but dismissed them because they weren’t “truthy” enough.

How another reader on our Facebook page views the story:

He said / she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said.

But a couple readers share Whoopi’s skepticism:

You wrote, “Believing Bill Cosby does not require you to take one person’s word over another – it requires you take one person’s word over 15 others.”

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Your Monday Cry

Nov 17 2014 @ 8:41pm

The description on the video seen above:

Chris Picco singing Blackbird to his son, Lennon James Picco, who was delivered by emergency C-section at 24 weeks after Chris’ wife Ashley unexpectedly and tragically passed away in her sleep. Lennon’s lack of movement and brain activity was a constant concern for the doctors and nurses at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, where he received the absolute best care available. During the pregnancy, Ashley would often feel Lennon moving to music so Chris asked if he could bring his guitar into the NICU and play for Lennon, which he did for several hours during the last days of Lennon’s precious life. One day after filming this, Lennon went to sleep in his daddy’s arms.

A memorial fund has raised more than $100,000. Katy Waldman has mixed feelings about the Internet’s response to the story:

Why are we clicking and sharing (and giving)? Do we even understand what we see onscreen, or has Chris Picco’s tragedy just become another cheap portal to all the feels?

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The Stickler Youth

Nov 17 2014 @ 8:14am


A recent survey tests Americans on our grammar, as well as our fascist tendencies:

Research conducted by YouGov in October shows that, when asked, 21% of Americans consider themselves to be what is colloquially known as a ‘grammar Nazi’, that is someone who habitually corrects or criticizes the language usage of others.

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A Critique Of Ableism

Nov 15 2014 @ 11:16am

Reflecting on her experience working as a college administrator, June Thunderstorm questions diagnoses of ADHD, PTSD, and various allergies and phobias “that heavily credentialed people devise to shirk routine labor.” She scoffs that “there must have been at least six empathy-inducing acronyms for writing is hard, so I refresh my Facebook page all day instead“:

[N]ow, with ten years of graduate school under my belt, it’s become my job to guess how to grade papers that come with special slips marked “dyslexia”; those slips mean, basically, that I’m not supposed to judge the writing on the basis of syntax, grammar, or coherence. Of course, the dyslexic papers are always diverse—some have syntactic mix-ups that are clearly symptomatic of the disorder, some do not, some appear simply to be bad papers written by someone who did not read the book, and some are as good as the best papers in the non-dyslexic category. The non-dyslexic category involves a similar spread—a certain proportion have the syntactic mishaps that are the classic signature of dyslexia, most do not, some are terribly bad, and some are great.

What divides students with the special slip from everyone else is not always or only dyslexia.

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A National Eating Plan? Ctd

Nov 13 2014 @ 2:21pm

A reader exclaims:

Look! We almost had a national food plan – it got to the white paper stage.

Another reader:

This is a topic in which I am extremely interested and see the many challenges. In my mind, it is a fact that we are harming our health, the planet, animals, and the economy with the current SAD (Standard American Diet). So many places to go with this it’s hard to be succinct. First off, I agree with Bittman, Pollan, et al on the goal they are trying to achieve, but I have issues with the means. Anything like a “National Food Policy” coming from Obama will be derided immediately as nanny-state-ism by half the country. But there are pieces I think he should address anyway:

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A National Eating Plan?

Nov 12 2014 @ 4:00pm

If a foreign power were to do such harm [from the food system], we’d regard it as a threat to national security, if not an act of war, and the government would formulate a comprehensive plan and marshal resources to combat it. … So when hundreds of thousands of annual deaths are preventable — as the deaths from the chronic diseases linked to the modern American way of eating surely are — preventing those needless deaths is a national priority.

A national food policy would do that, by investing resources to guarantee that: All Americans have access to healthful food; Farm policies are designed to support our public health and environmental objectives; Our food supply is free of toxic bacteria, chemicals and drugs; Production and marketing of our food are done transparently; The food industry pays a fair wage to those it employs; Food marketing sets children up for healthful lives by instilling in them a habit of eating real food; Animals are treated with compassion and attention to their well-being; The food system’s carbon footprint is reduced, and the amount of carbon sequestered on farmland is increased; The food system is sufficiently resilient to withstand the effects of climate change.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown is more than a little skeptical:

The good news, they tell us, is that “solutions are within reach”—and it’s here that this piece really start to get amazing. The authors acknowledge that many of the problems with America’s food economy are not market failures at all but “largely a result of government policies.” So the solution surely must be to get government meddling out of food and farm policy as much as possible, no?


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Will Roberts Vote Against Obamacare?

Nov 11 2014 @ 11:58am

Barry Friedman and Dahlia Lithwick aren’t so sure:

[I]t is possible everyone has their political calculus wrong with regards to the Chief Justice, just as we did the first time the Supreme Court looked at the ACA. Roberts, according to all accounts, did a last-minute 180 on Obamacare in 2012. We may never know why, but it seems likely it had something to do with preventing a backlash against the court. While such a backlash is less likely now—especially given the just-completed midterms that gave Republicans control of the whole Congress—Roberts is savvy enough to know how a ruling against the federal government in this case could be perceived. In a recent speech to the University of Nebraska College of Law, Roberts said that he didn’t want Americans to start to view the Supreme Court as a “political entity.” “I worry about people having that perception, because it’s not an accurate one about how we do our work. It’s important for us to make that as clear as we can to the public.” A 5-4 anti-Obamacare vote in King v. Burwell would accomplish the exact opposite: Eliminating the federal government’s subsidies, when there is such widespread agreement that Congress never, ever intended such a thing, would look like nothing but a political swipe.

I’m staggered that the Justices took the case. I tend to agree with Simon Malloy that a partisan SCOTUS ruling that struck down the heart of the Affordable Care Act on a technicality/typo would invite the greatest mobilization of liberal voters since 2008. But that might not stop the Court anyway. Noah Feldman suspects that, if SCOTUS “announces a fundamental constitutional right to marry, its liberal legacy will be so prominent that Roberts may have reason that he can kill Obamacare without tarnishing the court’s reputation too much”:

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Charles Murray celebrates the contributions of stay-at-home wives:

[M]any of the important forms of social capital take more time than a person holding a full-time job can afford. Who has been the primary engine for creating America’s social capital throughout its history, making our civil society one of the sociological wonders of the world? People without full-time jobs. The overwhelming majority of those people have been wives.

Every aspect of family and community life gets an infusion of vitality and depth from wives who are not working full time. If you live in a place that you cherish because “it’s a great community,” think of the things you have in mind that make it a great community (scenery and restaurants don’t count), and then think about who bears the brunt of the load in making those things happen. If you live in a place that is not a community—it’s just a collection of unrelated people, living anonymously, without social capital—think of the reasons why it is not a community. One of the answers will be that no one has spare time for that kind of thing.

I’m not knocking the importance of stay-at-home moms for raising children. I just want us to realize that stay-at-home wives are one of the resources that have made America America. It is entirely understandable that some wives work full time, either for the fulfillment of a vocation or to make money–the same reasons men work full time. But when either partner in a marriage—and it will usually be the wife—chooses to devote full time to being a parent and neighbor instead, that choice should not just be accepted, but celebrated.

And stay-at-home husbands as well. The division of labor within marriage is important, but it doesn’t have to follow traditional gender lines. Catherine Rampell responds to Murray:

Among fathers, 16 percent say they’d ideally stay at home, if money were no object. Just 7 percent of them are actually abstaining from the labor force. Now look at mothers: 22 percent say they would ideally like to stay at home and not work, while 30 percent actually do so. …

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