“I am the victim of h8 (that is, you having an opinion that makes me h8 you)”

Brendan Eich is gone. The creator of JavaScript and co-founder of mozilla.org has quit as Mozilla’s CEO, forced out by the uproar over a donation he made six years ago to a ballot measure against gay marriage.

via Slate

…or for traditional marriage, since – despite the deliberately misleading rhetoric of the pro-ssm camp – something important in traditional marriage will be destroyed if marriage is redefined.

The distinction is important. Whether or not you believe, personally, that the redefinition of marriage is good or bad, the reality is that there’s only one reason for refusing to acknowledge that marriage is being redefined, and that is to make it sound like the only motive someone could have for voting “against gay marriage” is animus.

Which turns the entire argument into an ad hominem – as the side that openly and unapologetically hates its rivals accuses the other side of being motivated by hate and thus having no argument.

But I digress:

But that wasn’t enough. A revolt among Mozilla staffers, compounded by pressure from software developers, outrage on Twitter and a boycott movement spearheaded by OkCupid, has driven Eich out. Baker, having accepted Eich’s resignation, offers this apology: “We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.”

 

It may seem unrelated, but a professor on campus was recently arrested for taking the sign from a pro-life protester and destroying it. The professor said – apparently sincerely – that she had a “right” to be free of their viewpoint:

I asked Miller-Young if she could have behaved differently in this instance. There was a long pause. “I’ve said that I think I did the right thing. But I acknowledge that I probably should not have taken their poster.” Miller-Young also said that she wished that the anti-abortion group had taken down the images when they demanded them to.

Miller-Young also suggested that the group had violated her rights. I asked Miller-Young what right the group had violated. Miller-Young responded, “My personal right to go to work and not be in harm.”

Miller-Young elaborated that one of the reasons she had felt so alarmed by this imagery is because she is about to have the test for Down Syndrome. Miller-Young said. “I work here, why do they get to intervene in that?”

via Washington Post

We appear to have reached a point where identity politics teaches its adherents that they literally have the right to be free of any dissent – free of the presence of dissenters, and free of any unwanted signs of dissent.

The next question will be, is there an upper limit on what may be done to those who dissent “inappropriately”?

But of course, we should not confuse the rejection of Eich’s viewpoint (as a position so extreme it renders an individual unacceptable for prominent employment) as an act of intolerance. As Mozilla tweeted:

@nycconservative We believe in openness & that no one should be persecuted for the beliefs they hold, no matter what they are.— Mozilla (@mozilla) April 3, 2014

via The Federalist

Welcome to diversity. This is what tolerance looks like.

realistic_coexist1

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“Treating Mental Illness Seriously”

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011, is set to tour a New York gun show, the first such visit since she was shot.

Giffords and husband Mark Kelly, a former combat pilot and astronaut, are scheduled to be with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at the Saratoga Springs Arms Fair on Sunday to highlight a voluntary agreement and stricter state gun control law.

It will be latest event by Giffords and Kelly in their national campaign for expanded background checks for gun sales.

via CSMonitor.com.

Some people may blame guns for what happened to Giffords, but I blame the fact that, although Loughner was known to have serious mental health issues, the law prevented any of the many people who saw the problem from being able to solve that problem.

People tried to get this man help. The real scandal is that they could not do so.

Before Miriam Carey drove her car into a White House gate, led police on a car chase to the Capitol, and was shot dead to protect public safety, her boyfriend tried to prevent it from ever happening.

According to CNN, he “contacted police in December saying he feared for the safety of their child, who was 4 months old at the time. The boyfriend said the woman was acting delusional, claiming the president had placed Stamford under lockdown and that her house was under electronic surveillance.” He thought she had post-partum depression, but police found medications for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression in her home.

The most likely scenario is that Miriam was not taking the medications or they weren’t working. Either way, someone who was dangerous was on the streets.

We know how to stop this. What we need is mandatory and monitored community treatment for those known to have serious mental illness and a history of dangerousness, incarceration, or needless repeated hospitalizations.

Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) is a court order to stay in treatment as a condition of living in the community. To be eligible, individuals must have serious mental illness and a past history of dangerousness, incarceration, or needless hospitalizations caused by going off effective treatments. The decision is made by a judge, and only after consulting with the patient, their lawyer and observing full due process. Other protections ensure it is rarely used, is time limited, and is not abused.

According to media reports, Miriam Carey had a prior psychiatric hospitalization and acted dangerously toward her four-month-old child. While not enough is known yet, she may have been eligible for AOT. But Connecticut, where she lived, does not have an AOT law.

New York State has the largest and most studied program, called Kendra’s Law. Studies found those enrolled in Kendra’s Law are four times less likely to engage in future violence than those in a control group. Other New York studies found it reduced homelessness by 74 percent; suicide attempts, 55 percent; substance abuse, 48 percent; physical harm to others, 47 percent; property destruction, 43 percent; hospitalization, 77 percent; arrests, 83 percent; and incarceration, 87 percent. These results are consistent with those in other localities that use it.

By reducing the use of jails and locked psych wards as treatment settings, AOT saves a lot of money even accounting for the increased costs for court proceedings, case management, and prescriptions…

via National Review Online.

“The Surprising Similarities Between Drug Use and Overeating”

The neural mechanisms may not be exactly the same for drug addicts, but they are close enough, Kenny suggests, to warrant testing anti-addiction drugs as a treatment for obesity. One of the most promising, he says, neutralizes a protein in the brain called the “cannabinoid receptor 1,” which is where “the munchies” come from for pot smokers. Now that’s some food for thought.

via Newsweek and the Daily Beast

Don’t eat your Halloween candy too fast.

“The Drunk Sluts Rights Movement”

Of course, feminists would denounce such a statement of fact as a misogynistic expression of “rape culture,” but facts are facts: Alcohol is a significant contributing factor in the incidence of date rape….

…So the coed who starts guzzling tequila at the ATO house and wakes up the next morning sore, sticky and naked, with only vague memories of how she got that way, is not merely a victim of drunken fratboys — and we all know what deviant beasts those ATOs are, right? — but also a victim of all men everywhere throughout the course of human history. Anyone who says otherwise is just a misogynistic slut-shaming bigot.

via The Other McCain.

It’s really very simple: men should carry breathalyzers, and should test prospective mating partners.

And should call campus police on sexually aggressive women who flunk the breathalyzer, filing a complaint about drunk and disorderly behavior.

They should do this in the name of protecting their fellow man from false charges.

Yes, it’s harsh – but so is wrecking a guy’s life by having him tagged a rapist. Guys should drink responsibly…but then, so should females.

“Paying attention is a skill: Schools need to teach it.”

Again and again, we are told in this information-overloaded digital age, complex and subtle arguments just won’t hold the reader’s or viewer’s attention. If you can’t keep it simple and punchy, you’ll lose your audience. What’s the point of having a New York Times article about the U.S. stance toward the Syria that continues on an inside page if nobody is going to turn to the inside page? Even talking about “inside pages” is anachronistic, since more and more people get their news online, with articles that are “up-to-the-minute” but frustrating in their brevity.

By catering to diminished attention, we are making a colossal and unconscionable mistake. The world is a complex and subtle place, and efforts to understand it and improve it must match its complexity and subtlety. We are treating as unalterable a characteristic that can be changed. Yes, there is no point in publishing a long article if no one will read it to the end. The question is, what does it take to get people to read things to the end?

The key point for teachers and principals and parents to realize is that maintaining attention is a skill. It has to be trained, and it has to be practiced. If we cater to short attention spans by offering materials that can be managed with short attention spans, the skill will not develop. The “attention muscle” will not be exercised and strengthened. It is as if you complain to a personal trainer about your weak biceps and the trainer tells you not to lift heavy things. Just as we don’t expect people to develop their biceps by lifting two-pound weights, we can’t expect them to develop their attention by reading 140-character tweets, 200-word blog posts, or 300-word newspaper articles.

In other words, the “short-attention” phenomenon is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. First, we tell ourselves that people can’t maintain attention. Second, we do nothing to nurture their ability to maintain attention. And sure enough, we “discover” that people can’t maintain attention.

via Slate.

I used to give my kids excruciatingly boring attention-building tasks as punishment for misbehavior.

Whether it worked? I don’t know. But I do think it was better than hitting, shaming, or yelling – kids hate being forced to copy text, partly because if their attention wanders, they screw up – and have to start the line over (if not the page).

“The high cost of corruption”

As he heads to federal prison for what could be decades, one important question lingers: How much did his extortion, kickback and bribery rackets contribute to the city’s financial crisis and its filing in July for the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history?

“Kilpatrick is not the main culprit of the city’s historic bankruptcy, which is the result of larger social and economic forces at work for decades,” federal prosecutors said in court documents. “But his corrupt administration exacerbated the crisis.”

…But much more difficult to quantify is the nonmonetary cost of corruption: the betrayal of the public’s trust. The honest contractors who were elbowed out of deals, even though their bids were lower. The businesses that refused to participate in pay-to-play schemes and just stayed away — or went somewhere else.

“The numbers don’t tell the gravity of the situation,” said Reid Schar, the former federal prosecutor who successfully prosecuted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. “When you have public corruption cases, the things that are very difficult to gauge and are not captured are, ‘How much of public confidence is eroded by what the person has done? …

“How do you put a value on a company that didn’t bid or get the job?’ You don’t know.”

In 2002, for example, Kilpatrick killed a plan to add a House of Blues restaurant at Ford Field because the company that proposed it refused to hire Kilpatrick’s father and codefendant as its minority partner. Kilpatrick had pledged $10 million in city funds but changed his mind when the company refused to hire his dad.

In 2006, Ferguson used his relationship with the mayor to pressure a company into giving him 40% of a contract to renovate the Detroit police headquarters. The company offered 30%. Ferguson declined. The company then bowed out of the deal.

In 2001, minority contractor William Hayes was stiffed out of a $24.7-million sewer repair job that Kilpatrick steered to Ferguson instead. Six years later, Hayes closed his 40-year-old excavation business, claiming later that Ferguson and Kilpatrick made it impossible for him to compete for water and sewer contracts.

“He helped put me out of business,” Hayes told the Free Press in March, referring to Ferguson. “It said right in the text messages. He told Kwame to put me out.”

Meanwhile, Kilpatrick padded the city payroll with friends and family, including a cousin who admitted stealing nearly $20,000 from the Manoogian Mansion restoration fund. City payroll records show that more than two dozen of Kilpatrick’s appointees were relatives or close friends who got an average 36% in salary increases while other employees got 2%.

via Detroit Free Press

“Is technology scrambling my baby’s brain?”

Every new narrative technology has been demonized upon arrival by those convinced it’s harming their children. In 1835, the American Annals of Education declared that the “perpetual reading” of novels “inevitably operates to exclude thought, and in the youthful mind to stint the opening mental faculties, by favoring unequal development. No one can have time for reflection, who reads at this rapid rate.”

Radio was so addictive, parents warned, that children were skipping meals to tune in, and film transformed viewers into sexually deviant criminals. Television was a mental wasteland. Video games created violent killers.

viaThe Verge.

When I look at young people today, I see a generation that is everything these horrified oldsters were afraid of – no; worse. Far worse. If those people could see into today, they’d be out smashing radios and holding formal comic-burnings, just to save their great-grandkids from becoming what they glimpsed in nightmares.

Whether we ought to agree with their assessment is an open question.  I mean, we’re used to ill-mannered kids without critical thinking skills, and maybe the fact that they know how to post naked pictures of themselves online is enough to make up for the fact that they can’t name a single Supreme Court justice. Who am I to judge, right?

But consider the logic itself:  if every generation pushes the envelope just because pushing the envelope is what every generation does, is the logic that says “it [terrifies/shocks/infuriates] the elders, therefore it must be good”  really the smartest way to determine what “progress” looks like?

“Parents’ Yelling Is as Harmful as Hitting, Study Finds”

The study followed 976 two-parent families, with children assessed at ages 13 and 14. Researchers asked kids various survey questions to appraise their behavior problems, depression symptoms and the warmth of the relationship with their parents. Parents completed surveys to gauge their use of harsh verbal discipline.

When their children were 13, about 45% of participating mothers and 42% of fathers said they had used harsh verbal discipline with their child during the past year. Those kids whose parents used higher levels of harsh verbal discipline when their children were 13 experienced larger increases in behavior problems the next year, including fighting with peers, trouble in school and lying to parents, as well as symptoms of depression.

The increases were similar if parents used harsh verbal discipline or physical approaches such as pushing or spanking. The degree of warmth of the parent-child relationship outside of any altercations didn’t alter the negative effects of the harsh verbal discipline. Kids’ behavior problems also led parents to increase their use of harsh verbal discipline tactics, fueling an escalating cycle, the study found.

As to why yelling can prove so toxic for young teens, “adolescence is a very sensitive period when [kids] are trying to develop their self-identities,” Dr. Wang said. “When you yell, it hurts their self image.

via Parents’ Yelling Is as Harmful as Hitting, Study Finds – WSJ.com.

The presence of significant amounts of yelling in the teen’s home indicates a problem already exists. Not yelling probably isn’t going to solve the problem.

Not trying to be judgmental – I’ve had teens, and I know how difficult it can be – but if there’s a serious amount of yelling going on, it does not seem likely to me that the yelling is the problem. It is more likely to be a symptom, rather than the cause, of what’s wrong with the family.