SPIRITOUS BUT NOT RELIGIAL

Thursday, September 11th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Prominent atheist Sam Harris has a recommendation:

Uber-atheist Sam Harris is getting all spiritual.

You mean he’s…no, not so much

In his new book, “Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion,” the usually outspoken critic of religion describes how spirituality can and must be divorced from religion if the human mind is to reach its full potential.

Okay, I’m game.  What does that mean?

“Our world is dangerously riven by religious doctrines that all educated people should condemn,” he writes in the book, but adds: “There is more to understanding the human condition than science and secular culture generally admit.”

Agreed.  What do we do about it?

The prescription, Harris holds, is Buddhist-based mindfulness meditation. A Stanford-trained neuroscientist, Harris is a long-time practitioner of Buddhist meditation. He said everyone can, through meditation, achieve a “shift in perspective” by moving beyond a sense of self to reach an enlightening sense of connectedness — a spirituality.

But not…you know…that kind of spirituality.

But, he warns, conflating mindfulness meditation or spirituality with anything supernatural — from the forgiving love of a Christian God to the cosmology of Buddhism — is a path to nowhere.

Sam?  The term you’re looking for here is “reinventing the wheel.”  The Episcopalians have been divorcing “spirituality” from “religion” for at least five or six decades now.

OH MANDY, WELL YOU CAME AND YOU GAVE WITHOUT TAKING BUT I SENT YOU AWAY

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 36 Comments

It never ceases to amaze me how you ladies keep up with all the stuff that’s supposed to piss you off.  Don’t shoot the messenger or anything but Amanda Marcotte has found you a new reason for resentment.  Cooking your family a nice dinner:

The home-cooked meal has long been romanticized, from ’50s-era sitcoms to the work of star food writer Michael Pollan, who once wrote, “far from oppressing them, the work of cooking approached in the proper spirit offered a kind of fulfillment and deserved an intelligent woman’s attention.” In recent years, the home-cooked meal has increasingly been offered up as the solution to our country’s burgeoning nutrition-related health problems of heart disease and diabetes.

There’s a problem with all that, of course.  Seems that…DUM, DUM, DUM, DUM, DUMMMMMMMMMM…A StudyTM Has Been Done.

But while home-cooked meals are typically healthier than restaurant food, sociologists Sarah Bowen, Sinikka Elliott, and Joslyn Brenton from North Carolina State University argue that the stress that cooking puts on people, particularly women, may not be worth the trade-off.

What did they find out?

The researchers interviewed 150 mothers from all walks of life and spent 250 hours observing 12 families in-depth, and they found “that time pressures, tradeoffs to save money, and the burden of pleasing others make it difficult for mothers to enact the idealized vision of home-cooked meals advocated by foodies and public health officials.”

Michelle Obama.  You have a call on the white courtesy phone.  No, the white phone.

The mothers they interviewed had largely internalized the social message that “home-cooked meals have become the hallmark of good mothering, stable families, and the ideal of the healthy, productive citizen,” but found that as much as they wanted to achieve that ideal, they didn’t have the time or money to get there. Low-income mothers often have erratic work schedules, making it impossible to have set meal times. Even for middle-class working mothers who are able to be home by 6 p.m., trying to cook a meal while children are demanding attention and other chores need doing becomes overwhelming.

Sigh.  Mandy?  My mom worked all through my childhood.  One of my earliest memories was of her working part-time at a fabric store at what was basically the first shopping mall in the St. Louis area.

But she always served us great meals.  And whenever my father or my siblings jokingly suggested that this or that dish was below par, I always got terribly defensive with them about it.  Big Food is also a problem.

Low-income women often don’t have the money for fresh produce and, in many cases, can’t afford to pay for even a basic kitchen setup.

Really?

Even when people have their own homes, lack of money means their kitchens are small, pests are hard to keep at bay, and they can’t afford “basic kitchen tools like sharp knives, cutting boards, pots and pans.”

Mandy?  I live in an apartment on a fixed and very low income.  I just bought myself a santoku knife and a cleaver from the local supermarket’s bargain rack a while ago (all metal, $3.99 each) and I buy fresh produce all the time.  So if “people have their own homes,” I have a REAL tough time believing that “they can’t afford ‘basic kitchen tools like sharp knives, cutting boards, pots and pans.’”

Apples and oranges, Chris, says Mandy.  Fortunately for your mom, she didn’t have to deal with the Worst Generation.

The women interviewed faced not just children but grown adults who are whiny, picky, and ungrateful for their efforts. “We rarely observed a meal in which at least one family member didn’t complain about the food they were served,” the researchers write. Mothers who could afford to do so often wanted to try new recipes and diverse ingredients, but they knew that it would cause their families to reject the meals. “Instead, they continued to make what was tried and true, even if they didn’t like the food themselves.” The saddest part is that picky husbands and boyfriends were just as much, if not more, of a problem than fussy children.

That part rings true.  So what should be done?  Damned if Mandy knows.  Order in pizza or Chinese every single night, maybe?

The researchers quote food writer Mark Bittman, who says that the goal should be “to get people to see cooking as a joy rather than a burden.” But while cooking “is at times joyful,” they argue, the main reason that people see cooking mostly as a burden is because it is a burden. It’s expensive and time-consuming and often done for a bunch of ingrates who would rather just be eating fast food anyway. If we want women—or gosh, men, too—to see cooking as fun, then these obstacles need to be fixed first. And whatever burden is left needs to be shared.

Sorry I had to share that with you gals but I guess it’s better to know than to not to know, am I right?

YOU KNOW WHAT SUCKS?

Monday, September 8th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 27 Comments

When somebody at least half your age has a stroke:

Our beloved Mandy Nagy, also known as Liberty Chick, had a stroke yesterday and brain surgery to relieve the pressure today.

I am in touch with Mandy’s mom, who approved me letting people know via Legal Insurrection. Before surgery, Mandy also was able to nod approval with a small smile, her mom tells me.

Have to tell you, every time I read a story like this, my Calvinist inclinations get stronger and stronger.  Because I cannot begin to comprehend the reason why I’m still breathing.

When I was a kid, the city of Webster Groves used to periodically spray for mosquitos.  These trucks would drive up and down city streets spraying clouds of whatever.   Which we kids loved because whatever they were spraying smelled incredible.  So all us kids along Drayton Court would run around in these clouds of insecticide.

The house I grew up in on East Rose Avenue sat at the bottom of two hills, one large and the other smaller.  A really heavy rain meant that the sewers would quickly be overwhelmed and that the water would collect right in front of my house and I would go out and play in it.  Never mind the disease factor; one lightning strike and you wouldn’t be reading this because I would never have written it.

My favorite snack when I was a kid was barbecue-flavored potato chips.  When I had the money, I could and regularly did put away whole bags of the things and this was back when “regular” bags were a whole lot larger than they are now.

I got seriously into running after that (completed a ten-miler once) but eventually dropped it.  Injuries and such.  What regular exercise I get these days consists of walking to one of the two markets or the pharmacy close to my apartment.

So no, I don’t get why Mandy Nagy had a stroke.  Or why I’m still here to learn about it.

GLASS HALF FULL

Sunday, September 7th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 14 Comments

No need to worry how long the retirement money will hold out:

The elusive ‘God particle’ discovered by scientists in 2012 has the potential to destroy the universe, Professor Stephen Hawking has warned.

At very high energy levels, the Higgs boson could cause space and time to suddenly collapse – and ‘we wouldn’t see it coming’, the former Cambridge professor of mathematics says.

The God particle, which gives shape and size to everything that exists, could cause a ‘catastrophic vacuum delay’ if scientists were to put it under extreme stress.

It’d suck to be us, I guess.

SHAKEDOWN

Saturday, September 6th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 41 Comments

Radley Balko on the extortion racket that I call home:

On March 20 in the St. Louis County town of Florissant, someone made an illegal U-turn in front of Nicole Bolden. The 32-year-old black single mother hit her brakes but couldn’t avoid a collision. Bolden wasn’t at fault for the accident and wanted to continue on her way. The other motorist insisted on calling the police, as per the law. When the officer showed up, Bolden filled with dread.

“He was really nice and polite at first,” Bolden says. “But once he ran my name, he got real mean with me. He told me I was going to jail. I had my 3-year-old and my one-and-a-half-year-old with me. I asked him about my kids. He said I had better find someone to come and get them, because he was taking me in.” The Florissant officer arrested and cuffed Bolden in front of her children. Her kids remained with another officer until Bolden’s mother and sister could come pick them up.

Ms. Bolden didn’t know it but her nightmare was just starting.

Bolden posted a couple hundred dollars bond and was released at around midnight. She was next taken to Hazelwood and held at the jail there until she could post a second bond. That was another couple hundred dollars. She wasn’t released from her cell there until around 5 p.m. the next day. Exhausted, stressed, and still worried about what her kids had seen, she was finally taken to the St. Charles County jail for the outstanding warrant in Foristell. Why the county jail? Because the tiny town of 500 isn’t large enough to have its own holding cell, even though it does have a mayor, a board of aldermen, a municipal court and a seven-member police department. It’s probably best known locally for the speed trap its police set along I-70.

By the time Bolden got to St. Charles County, it had been well over 36 hours since the accident. “I hadn’t slept,” she says. “I was still in my same clothes. I was starting to lose my mind.” That’s when she says a police officer told her that if she couldn’t post bond, they’d keep her in jail until May. “I just freaked out,” she says. “I said, ‘What about my babies? Who is going to take care of my babies?’” She says the officer just shrugged.

The Foristell warrant stemmed from a speeding ticket in 2011. As mentioned before, Bolden didn’t show up in court because she didn’t have the money to pay it and feared they’d put her jail. It’s a common and unfortunate misconception among St. Louis County residents, especially those who don’t have an attorney to tell them otherwise. A town can’t put you in jail for lacking the money to pay a fine. But you can be jailed not appearing in court to tell the judge you can’t pay — and fined again for not showing up. After twice failing to appear for the Foristell ticket, Bolden showed up, was able to get the warrant removed and set up a payment plan with the court. But she says that a few months later, she was a couple days late with her payment. She says she called to notify the clerk, who told her not to worry. Instead, the town hit her with another warrant — the same warrant for which she was jailed in March.

Stories like Bolden’s abound across the St. Louis area. And despite the efforts of the ArchCity Defenders and legal aid clinics like those at Saint Louis University and Washington University, the vast majority of the people swept up into the St. Louis County municipal court system don’t have attorneys to inform them of their rights or to negotiate with judges and prosecutors.

Why do things like this happen here?  Mostly, it stems from the unique political situation of St. Louis County.

There are 90 municipalities in St. Louis County, and more in the surrounding counties. All but a few have their own police force, mayor, city manager and town council, and 81 have their own municipal court. To put that into perspective, consider Jackson County, Mo., which surrounds Kansas City. It is geographically larger than St. Louis County and has about two-thirds the population. Yet Jackson County has just 19 municipalities, and just 15 municipal courts — less than a quarter of the municipalities and courts in St. Louis County.

How did that happen?  Basically, because it used to be the easiest thing in the world to start your own town in St. Louis County.  All you had to do was to go around to the people of your proposed town, get at least 50% of them to sign a petition saying that you’d like to be a town, present that petition to the St. Louis County Council and it was a done deal.  At one point, there were well over a hundred of them.

I’m not sure that Balko’s assertion that most County municipalities have their own police forces is true any longer.  The smaller towns, which were always scarcely more than glorified subdivisions, as well as a few larger and older towns, either never had their own police to begin with or have phased out their forces in favor of contracting with St. Louis County for regular police patrols.

But Balko is exactly right about one thing.  For too many St. Louis County municipalities, traffic and other violations basically constitute the town industry.

Some of the towns in St. Louis County can derive 40 percent or more of their annual revenue from the petty fines and fees collected by their municipal courts. A majority of these fines are for traffic offenses, but they can also include fines for fare-hopping on MetroLink (St. Louis’s light rail system), loud music and other noise ordinance violations, zoning violations for uncut grass or unkempt property, violations of occupancy permit restrictions, trespassing, wearing “saggy pants,” business license violations and vague infractions such as “disturbing the peace” or “affray” that give police officers a great deal of discretion to look for other violations. In a white paper released last month, the ArchCity Defenders found a large group of people outside the courthouse in Bel-Ridge who had been fined for not subscribing to the town’s only approved garbage collection service. They hadn’t been fined for having trash on their property, only for not paying for the only legal method the town had designated for disposing of trash.

This is not a racial thing.

The town of Berkeley, for example, has unusually high black political participation. For about a century, there was a historically black enclave in northwest St. Louis County called Kinloch. In the 1980s, most of Kinloch was erased due to an expansion of the St. Louis airport. Much of Kinloch’s population wound up in nearby Berkeley, infusing the town with black residents who had been in the area for generations, and had well-established traditions of political participation and self government. Currently, Berkeley has an all-black city council, a black mayor, a black city manager, and majority-black police force.

If any town could overcome the legacy of structural racism that drew the map of St. Louis County, then, it would be Berkeley. And yet this town of 9,000 people still issued 10,452 traffic citations last year, and another 1,271 non-traffic ordinance violations. The town’s municipal court raised over $1 million in fines and fees, or about $111 per resident. The town issued 5,504 arrest warrants last year, and has another 13,436 arrest warrants outstanding. Those are modest numbers for St. Louis County, but they’re high for just about anywhere else.

So what’s to be done?  Nothing that will actually happen.

“There are too many towns,” says Vatterott. There are too many towns, and not enough taxpayers to sustain them. How to fix that problem is another matter. There has long been a movement in St. Louis to merge the county with the city. That movement has picked up steam recent years as advocacy groups like Better Together have pushed proposals to merge a number of public services. But real change would require a good portion of these towns to merge with other towns, or to dissolve themselves entirely. That would require the town councils or boards of aldermen to vote themselves out of a job.

If you live around here long enough, you tend to joke about situations like this.  There’s this town a little bit southeast of here called Grantwood Village.  Back when it still had its own police force (consisting of one officer), you knew to drive the speed limit if you were anywhere around the place because Grantwood Village was locally-celebrated for writing you up if you give them even a little bit of a chance.

While I don’t claim to have anything near the horrible experience of Ms. Bolden,  I have had similar treatment.  My truck had expired tags so I was ticketed three times (once by a town called Glendale, while driving the truck, and twice by Webster Groves, while it was parked on private property).

Since it would have cost me at least $500 to bring the damned thing up to code (and that was only the stuff I knew about), I paid off all three tickets.  It was a strain and I had to sell off a little more of my inheritance from my father but I eventually got it done.  And I have since gotten got rid of the truck entirely.

DEAR GOP

Friday, September 5th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Want a winning issue for both this November and two years from now?  Advocate defunding or even completely eliminating America’s single greatest criminal conspiracy:

The IRS says it has lost emails from five more workers who are part of congressional investigations into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax exempt status.

The tax agency said in June that it could not locate an untold number of emails to and from Lois Lerner, who headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. The revelation set off a new round of investigations and congressional hearings.

On Friday, the IRS said it has also lost emails from five other employees related to the probe, including two agents who worked in a Cincinnati office processing applications for tax-exempt status.

The agency blamed computer crashes for the lost emails. In a statement, the IRS said it found no evidence that anyone deliberately destroyed evidence.

AND NOW FOR A BRIEF MALE MOMENT

Thursday, September 4th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Oh sweet mother of…Pam Oliver is FIFTY-THREE??

Thank you for your kind indulgence.

AND NOW…IDIOTS

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 33 Comments

I don’t think that anyone has been as screwed over by history as badly as Jonathan Edwards.  Over his far-too-short career, the man crafted hundreds of sermons that still have influence to this day.  Freedom of the Will demonstrated that Edwards was one of the most formidable intellects that North America has ever produced.

And yet, most people who think that they know Edwards think that they know him because of exactly ONE SERMON that he delivered twice and didn’t even finish the second time he tried it.  Like Matthew Paul Turner, for example:

In the spring of 1734, the untimely death of a young man became a catalyst for Edwards to reach Northampton’s youth. At the young man’s funeral, Edwards preached a sermon that, for him, turned into a memorial service for every soul in attendance:

“Consider, if you should die in youth… when others stand by your bedside and see you gasping and breathing your last or… see you put into the coffin and behold the awful visage which death has given you, how shocking will it be to them to think this is the person that used to be so vain and frothy in conversation. This is he that was so lewd a companion. This is he that used to spend of his time in his leisure hours so much in frolicking.”

Believe it or not, those dark words knocked ’em dead, which was exactly his intention. Later, Edwards noted that many of his youngest members “clearly exemplified” what he called the universal holiness of life.

On July 8, Edwards traveled to the town of Enfield, Connecticut. He’d been invited to preach because some of Enfield’s holier residents were concerned that the Affections had as of yet passed over their town like the angel of death. According to one of the concerned few, the most they’d managed to muster out of their local heathens was some “considerable crying among the people” and a bit of “screeching in the streets.” That simply wasn’t good enough. They wanted the people of their town to experience whatever was happening in places like Suffield, Longmeadow, and Coventry, locations where the Affections had hit people like an atom bomb and proceeded to induce seizures, night sweats, and fits of rage. So they contacted Edwards and assigned to him a clear mission: Bring the Affections to Enfield.

Chances are, upon receiving his marching orders, Edwards knew which sermon he was going to preach, an effective number he’d delivered once before called “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”

With a calm demeanor, Edwards told the people of Enfield that God stood ready to toss their meaningless sin-ridden souls into a black hole of fiery torment, a terrible place where Satan waited and gleefully pined for the chance to manifest his dominion over their bodies. The picture that Edwards painted was horrendous and frightening, a duty he performed with ease, as if he’d gone on a field trip to hell a couple days before with his kids, witnessed its horror, and on the way home stopped at Olive Garden. But that’s how Edwards viewed hell, as if it were a geographical location. His words brought hell to life, making it real, tangible, and terrifying, like France or New Jersey or a Carnival cruise to Cozumel.

In his book Erasing Hell, Francis Chan, one of evangelicalism’s well-loved Bible teachers, writes, “God is love, but [God] also defines what love is. We don’t have the license to define love according to our standards.” If Chan is correct, this is how Jonathan Edwards defined the love of God in 1741:

“The God that holds you over the pit of Hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times so abominable in his eyes as the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince: and yet ’tis nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment: ’tis to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to Hell the last night… but that God’s hand has held you up: there is no other reason to be given why you han’t gone to Hell since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking his pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending his solemn worship: yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you don’t this very moment drop down into Hell. Oh sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in.”

Even in context, taking on the presence of an individual from Enfield, Connecticut, in 1741, this prose was a vile, reprehensible excuse for a sermon. Nevertheless, for Edwards, the presentation was a success. The Affections fell over the crowd that night. In fact, Edwards’s words caused such a ruckus that he wasn’t able to finish his sermon. The one slightly hopeful line at the end didn’t even get spoken. Instead, the residents of Enfield were left dangling like spiders over the pits of hell that night, overcome with the spirit of Edwards’s “Affections.”

Quick question, Matt.  You and the wife and kids, if you have any, are at a get-together by the seashore someplace.  At some point, you notice that your kids are running full-speed toward the edge of a cliff with the intent of jumping into and frolicking in the ocean.  Only you know that the ocean starts a good deal farther out and if your kids do what they intend, they will be dashed to death against the jagged rocks below.

How do you approach this situation, Matt?  With Shakespeare’s “sweet and honeyed sentences?”  Or by screaming at your kids at the top of your lungs?

Do you think that Hell is a real place and that eternal separation from God is a bad thing?  If you do, how else would you preach this subject?  If you don’t, why do you pretend to care?

THIS IS THE *CORRECT* WAY TO HANDLE CROWDS

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 12 Comments

I saw this posted by Kate at SDA and just had to share it. I can’t think of much of anything to say about it; the video speaks for itself, and makes for amazing viewing, especially when the molotov cocktails come out near the end. You really need to watch the whole thing to see just how nasty it got, and how effective the police were – without firing a gun so much as once. Kudos to the Korean Police for outstanding training and implementation in a very dangerous situation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uREJILOby-c

I’m sure our Canadian friends would agree that this should be required viewing (and methodology) for the Ontario Provincial Police. Those who aren’t familiar with the problems up north, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_River_land_dispute (The OPP have basically refused to take any action whatsoever against violent First Nations [Native American] factions.)

Bill (not IB)

NERVOUS ABOUT THE ISLAMIC STATE?

Monday, September 1st, 2014 | Uncategorized | 41 Comments

You might want to look into the idea:

Columbus [Indiana] Police said they’ve never had anything like it – three churches vandalized in the same night.

Someone spray painted them on the outside. It’s the words used, though, that have some people asking if this was more than a prank.

“It was just one word. It said ‘Infidels!’” Father Doug Marcotte said of what was spray painted on Saint Bartholomew’s Catholic Church in Columbus overnight Saturday.

Parishioners saw that, along with the word “Qur’an 3:151″ on their way into mass Sunday morning.

“It’s certainly not a warm and fuzzy verse. It talks about the infidels, their refuge being the fire,” explained Father Marcotte.

Specifically, that passage of the Qur’an reads: “We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down [any] authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.”

Saint Bartholomew’s wasn’t the only Columbus church vandalized.

“It’s really bizarre and the fact that they hit two other Christian Churches. It’s not like we’re all in a line. So why did they pick the three of us?” asked Father Marcotte.

Outside East Columbus Christian Church and Lakeview Church of Christ, members there found the same kind of graffiti Sunday morning.

NEWS FLASH

Monday, September 1st, 2014 | Uncategorized | 29 Comments

Baby boomers are old.  Second news flash.  We’re whining about it.

END OF AN ERA…ISH

Saturday, August 30th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 48 Comments

Mike Sam didn’t make it:

The St. Louis Rams released defensive end Michael Sam on Saturday, the team announced.

Sam’s hopes of sticking with the Rams and becoming the first openly gay athlete to play in the NFL came up just short in a competition against undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks.

Westbrooks is one of nine defensive linemen to land a roster spot on the team.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that Mike’s NFL career is over.

Sam officially hit waivers Saturday at 4 p.m. ET when all NFL teams had to trim their rosters down to the league-mandated 53 players. From there, the other 31 teams will have until noon ET on Sunday to put in a claim for Sam. If he goes unclaimed, he will be free to sign with a practice squad.

And the Rams would like to keep him around.

A league source said earlier this week that the Rams would like to bring Sam back to their 10-man practice squad, but Fisher fended off questions about any potential moves Saturday, saying the practice squad will be affected by the team’s needs at other positions.

“There will be no challenge, no challenges whatsoever,” for whatever team picks up Sam, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said at a news conference.

“There’s no challenge with respect to Mike Sam,” Fisher said. “He’s not about drawing attention to himself. He kept his head down and worked and you can’t ask anything more out of any player for that matter.”

So this story’s not over by a long shot.

DEMENTIA

Saturday, August 30th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 56 Comments

I suppose that most of you have seen news reports, feature stories or documentaries about families dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease.  They’re always well-done and communicate what it’s like as best they can, given their time constraints.

But as a veteran of that war, those of you who receive the news that someone in your family has been diagnosed with that disease had better understand something.  No Alzheimer’s stories or documentaries you watch, however long they run, can even begin to describe the hell that you’re about to experience.

For me, one of the worst parts (if you leave out that time, early on, when I left the nursing home after visiting Momma one evening, she wanted me to take her home, an attendant had to hold her back and I got to listen to Momma scream all the way to the front door) of the whole experience was when my sister Jennifer brought her first child Madeline over to the nursing home for a visit.

If Mom had been right, she would have been over the moon about Madeline.  She doted on all her grandkids and, since Jen lived in town, Momma would have taken over full-time daycare duties whether Jen asked her to or not; the simple fact of the matter is that my mom would have ordered Jennifer back to work immediately and taken up Maddie’s upbringing all by herself.

And she would have been the happiest grandmother who ever lived.

So Jen, Madeline and I are sitting at the front entrance of the nursing home one cool evening when Dad wheels Mom out and formal introductions are made.

Mom’s reaction to Madeline?  She had little or no reaction at all.  None.  That’s the thing about watching someone with Alzheimer’s die over a prolonged period of time.  You seldom lack reasons to desperately want to drink yourself unconscious.

But what must it be like to helplessly watch your entire country slowly lose its mind?

More than 1,400 children were sexually abused over a 16 year period by gangs of paedophiles after police and council bosses turned a blind eye for fear of being labelled racist, a damning report has concluded. 

Senior officials were responsible for “blatant” failures that saw victims, some as young as 11, being treated with contempt and categorised as being “out of control” or simply ignored when they asked for help.

In some cases, parents who tried to rescue their children from abusers were themselves arrested. Police officers even dismissed the rape of children by saying that sex had been consensual.

There were calls for Shaun Wright, the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire (pictured above, left), to step down after it emerged that he was the councillor with responsibility for children’s services in Rotherham for part of the period covered by the report.

Details of the appalling depravity in the town and the systemic failures that allowed it to continue were laid out in a report published by Professor Alexis Jay, the former chief inspector of social work in Scotland. Victims were gang raped, while others were groomed and trafficked across northern England by groups of mainly Asian men.

Prof Jay wrote: “No one knows the true scale of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham over the years. Our conservative estimate is that approximately 1,400 children were sexually exploited over the full inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013.

“It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated.”

She added: “There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone.”

Prof Jay said: “Within social care, the scale and seriousness of the problem was underplayed by senior managers. At an operational level, the police gave no priority to child sex exploitation, regarding many child victims with contempt and failing to act on their abuse as a crime.”

It emerged that there had been three previous reports into the problem which had been suppressed or ignored by officials, either because they did not like or did not believe the findings.

Tuesday’s report concluded that by far the majority of perpetrators were Asian men, and said council officials had been unwilling to address the issue for fear of being labelled racist.

Two things.  ANY British political leaders or police officials who knew about this and did nothing should not only lose their jobs but face prosecution and even jail time for this atrocity.  Merely getting sacked because you looked the other way while thousands of innocent young British girls were essentially sold into slavery and have had their lives destroyed sounds like the most nauseating parody of the term “slap on the wrist” that it is possible for even the most depraved human mind to conceive.

British media?  If you actually want to do something about the mindset that led to these appalling crimes and the moral cowardice that ignored them, the first thing you’re going to need to do is be honest.  And the very first thing that that means is to LOSE THE DAMNED EUPHEMISMS.

Where are these “Asian men” from anyway?  Asia’s a big place.  Are they Chinese?  Japanese?  Koreans?  Mongolians?  Vietnamese?  Thais?  Cambodians?  Laotians?  Burmese?  Uzbeks?  Turkmen?  Kazakhs?  Tibetans?  Uyghurs?  Azerbaijanis?  Manchus?

Or are they Pakistanis, British media?  If they’re Pakistanis, then bloody say that they’re Pakistanis, damn it.  But let’s cut to the chase here.  Are those “Asian men” also Muslims, British media?  Then say that too.

If you can’t do make yourselves do both of those things, if being labeled “racist” or “anti-Muslim” scares you more than telling the truth about what happened at Rotherham and who it happened to, then the whole lot of you might as well quit your jobs, look for media positions overseas and start the citizenship process.  Because Great Britain will no longer be good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

AND NOW…IDIOTS

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Content, as I always say, edited slightly

A photo of a Garwood home flying a Nazi flag has gone viral on Twitter after it was posted Tuesday morning, with commenters expressing concern the resident supports the Holocaust, with which the flag is sometimes associated.

The Winslow Place resident, Mark Dunaway, 44, told NJ.com he has flown the flag for at least 10 years.

“I understand now that people turn on CNN and see the flag associated with Nazism, but that’s not the intention of that flag at all,” Dunaway said. “It’s not meant to be a symbol of hate but a symbol of my pride in my German heritage. I am not a Nazi, I’m not anti-American and I certainly don’t support genocide. I love my country, but I also respect where my ancestors came from.”

DEAR ESPN

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 33 Comments

My name is Christopher Johnson.  I’m the day-to-day proprietor of a blog called the Midwest Conservative Journal; perhaps you’ve heard of it.

But that’s not important so let me get straight to the point.  I’ve got a business proposition for you.  Since you don’t seem to currently have a position comparable to it, I would like to suggest that ESPN establish a position in its broadcast and print divisions which would be called “Editor” and which I feel more than capable of filling:

Rams coach Jeff Fisher remains angry over an ESPN report that dealt in part with the “showering habits” of defensive end Michael Sam by ESPN reporter Josina Anderson.

The function of the “Editor” would be twofold.  One, of course, would be to tighten up pieces as much as possible.

“I’m extremely disappointed in her piece,” Fisher told the Post-Dispatch on Wednesday, not long before the team boarded buses for Lambert Airport and the trip to Miami for Thursday’s preseason finale.

The other would be to determine whether this or that piece should even see the light of day what with it being too stupid for words.

“I think it’s unethical,” Fisher continued. “I think it’s very, very unprofessional. Not only the piece itself, the content. The manner in which she did it.”

This would be a great deal for ESPN since I could work entirely online, saving ESPN the moving expenses.  I could tighten up this piece, tell the author of that piece, “What the hell were you thinking, writing something this mind-blowingly idiotic?  Hell, no,” that kind of thing.  Let me know what you think.

Sincerely,

Christopher Johnson
Webster Groves, Missouri

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