Thursday, January 30, 2014

No Regrets

In view of the lengthy rant coming out soon, I want to set the record straight. I have written at length of the disappointments of my young adulthood with respect to women, disappointments the cause of which I have integrated into one of the themes of this blog and of those on the blogroll. And as I said, I don't plan on stopping.

But . . . the fact is that things really did seem to work out for the best. And I don't even mean this in the I-really-love-my-wife-we-have-a-great-relationship kind of way. It happens to be true, as it is true for any happily married man, that I continue to find my wife attractive into our middle-age because of the quality of our relationship. Love, to some extent, really is blind.

That's not what I'm talking about though. What I mean is this: objectively speaking, with the passing years, the list of women to whom I was attracted in my teens and twenties who have held up favorably compared to the woman I actually married is very short. And getting shorter.

I recently reflected on this recalling one such young woman, a member of a church singles group I frequented. Very cute. Nicely put together. Tantilizingly unattached the whole time I knew her. No apparent career-path to speak of that would crowd out a stable relationship. (To be fair, she may have seen the matter differently.) And, uncharacteristically for the women who turned me down, she always treated me with reasonable friendliness. And there I was: a newly-minted officer, in good physical shape if not yet at my peak, with a Mustang GT, and at least one interesting hobby (flying). So you can see how it was a lingering source of disappointment to me that I couldn't get an audition.

Well, she recently turned up on a friend's facebook friends list and . . . well, damn girl, you went and turned into a shapeless meat-sack! And this despite having natural advantages that Mrs. Φ never had.

And then I looked at the pictures of her husband, and . . . well, I can only assume they are happy together in their shapelessness. Most couples who make it to middle-age seem to be. But . . . Mrs. Φ gets up at 0600 and exercises for an hour 3-4 times per week. I stop off at the gym or the pool every evening. And we both like the results of this a lot better than the alternative.

Rejection wasn't fun; it's lingering side-effect is that here I am, blogging about it some twenty years later. But as much as I might want to look back and ask why, I should remember this: to the extent they misjudged me back then, they saved me from the consequences of my own misjudgment. And for that I am grateful.

Monday, January 27, 2014

No Dog in the Fight

From the Let-it-Burn department:

A giant Teutonic brothel

HOW modern and liberated Germany’s Social Democrats and Greens sounded in 2001. They were in government and wanted to raise the legal and social status of prostitutes. So they enacted a law to remove the stigma from sex work by, for example, giving prostitutes full rights to health insurance, pensions and other benefits. “Exploiting” sex workers remained criminal, but merely employing them or providing them with a venue became legal. The idea was that responsible employers running safe and clean brothels would drive pimps out of the market.

Germany thus embarked on an experiment in liberalisation just as Sweden, a country culturally similar in many ways, was going in the opposite direction. In 1999 the Swedes had made it criminal to pay for sex (pimping was already a crime). By stigmatising not the prostitutes but the men who paid them, even putting them in jail, the Swedes hoped to come close to eliminating prostitution.

. . . .

In the end, the policy choice comes back to culture and ideology, argues Susanne Dodillet at the University of Göteborg. Both the Swedish and the German laws originated in the feminist and left-leaning movements in these countries. But whereas progressive Swedes view their state as able to set positive goals, Germans (the Greens, especially) mistrust the state on questions of personal morality as a hypocritical and authoritarian threat to self-expression.

Here is yet another example of a debate that has removed itself so far from the concerns and interests of ordinary people that I just can't manage to be much interested anymore.  This article (and the Economist is admirably candid about its social leftism) looks at prostitution through a prism, not of morality, nor of family stability, nor even of the well-being of individual women, but of an intramural fight between various shades of feminism.  All that remains is for me to decide which faction of my enemies to whom I should offer surrender. With choices like these, I should probably prefer the German way, since I, too, though with better reason, mistrust any likely German state on questions of personal morality.  But, mostly, I plan to sit this one out.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Flophouses: Our Immigrant-driven Future

Via Trumwill, from Slate:

Bring Back Flophouses, Rooming Houses, and Microapartments

Dumb urban policies wiped out the best kinds of housing for the poor, young, and single. But they’re finally making a comeback in smart cities.

. . . .

In the following decade, California began regulating rooming houses and other hotels, setting standards for bathrooms (one per 10 bedrooms), window area per room, floor space per room, and more. Again, some of these rules may have had health benefits, and the rules’ proponents certainly thought they were helping. Yet they knocked the cheapest rooms off the market without providing substitutes.

Mmm . . . government policies that make illegal people’s inexpensive choices, all “for their own good”.  That sounds . . . really familiar!  I wonder what Slate had to say about it.

The rules were not accidents. Real-estate owners eager to minimize risk and maximize property values worked to keep housing for poor people away from their investments.

Without changing the underlying reality, that paragraph could be rewritten thusly:

The rules were not accidents.  Residents eager to minimize crime and maximize quality-of-life worked to keep violent and dysfunctional people away from where their children played.

Kind of puts a different spin on the same set of facts, doesn’t it?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Man of Wood

I saw the movie SuperJesus Man of Steel on 3D Blu-Ray.  It wasn’t a bad movie, necessarily.  The action was pretty good, although I’m pretty sure it exhausted the ways a superhero can be thrown into (and through) a building.

The movie opens with the debate over Krypton’s impending demise.  Evidently, the Kryptonians had been addressing their energy crisis by drawing energy from “deep in the planet’s core” causing it to eventually, um, explode.  (Don’t think too hard about this; the takeaway is Fracking-Is-Bad.)  To save the Kryptonian race, Jor-El wants access to the “Codex”, apparently the database in which all Kryptonian genetic information is kept.  Zod, the antagonist from Superman II, accepts these premises, but Jor-El accuses him of wanting to “only save the bloodlines you deem worthy” – this in a civilization that had been genetically engineering itself for hundreds of years.  (Don’t think too hard about it; the takeaway is that Eugenics-Is-Raciss’.)  Jor-El and his wife had apparently defied this social norm by secretly conceiving and bearing a child the old fashion way “to reintroduce the element of chance” in procreation – and onto whose DNA they eventually fuse the Codex.  (Don’t think too hard about this; your head will explode.  Like Krypton.  Because Fracking.)

Henry Cavill (Clark Kent / Kal-El / Superman) is 30 years old; Amy Adams (Lois Lane) is 39.  This difference is distracting.  Amy Adams is still lovely, but she may be past the point of holding up well under Blu-Ray’s resolution.  Something about her face looked . . . off.  It could be aging, or it could be the make-up or post-production efforts to hide the aging.  It’s interesting, however, that while Margot Kidder was 30 when Superman came out, Christopher Reeve was only 26.

Watching this reboot made me ponder how impressionable young children are.  I remember upon seeing S’78 that Superman looked exactly like I had imagined a real-life version of Superman would look like based on the TV series.  I never got that feeling with Cavill, even though Cavill’s body is developed to modern standards of fitness.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I Got Your “Empowerment” Right Here, Baby . . .

So, the other day, our agency celebrated “Empowering Women in the Workforce”.  I heard it was a good place to meet girls, so . . .

The keynote speaker was “The Honorable” Dot Harris, Director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity for the Department of Energy.  A diversicrat, in other words.  Some highlights from her speech:

“Women have an IQ five points higher than men.”

I’m not making this up.  Apropos of nothing at all, this was the first thing out of her mouth.

So, first of all, no, they don’t.  In the categories most relevant to STEM (the purported focus of her speech) they are behind men in IQ.  And that’s especially true at the level Ms. Harris is supposedly operating.  And second, I’m pretty sure this is not the glass house she really wants to be throwing stones in.

"Our students place #31 against other countries in academics"

Thank you, immigration!  But in point of fact, and with very few exceptions, we educate students much better than their nations of origin do.

"Women make $.70 on the male dollar."

Mostly bogus:  This Forbes article summarizes a bunch of studies showing that, with appropriate controls, the differential is in single digits, and sometimes favors women over men.

"Girls in Georgia and Tennessee are told to be nurses."

The point being that they aren’t told to be doctors, presumably like the girls in Blue states are and like boys everywhere are.  I googled around unsuccessfully trying to find a citation for or against this 50s-era factoid, but for now, I’m betting that the same class of people decrying the alleged tracking of girls into nursing are also crying that the shortage of nurses means we have to have immigration reform now!  Yup, I’m betting that’s the case.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Dominant Moves

From the Philadelphia Enquirer (via, a story of "veteran homelessness":

After a 30-year military career in which he earned three graduate degrees, rose to the rank of colonel, and served as an aide to Pentagon brass, Robert Freniere can guess what people might say when they learn he's unemployed and lives out of his van:

Why doesn't this guy get a job as a janitor?

Freniere answers his own question: "Well, I've tried that."

Freniere, 59, says that his plea for help, to a janitor he once praised when the man was mopping the floors of his Washington office, went unfulfilled. So have dozens of job applications, he says, the ones he has filled out six hours a day, day after day, on public library computers.
So Freniere, a man who braved multiple combat zones and was hailed as "a leading light" by an admiral, is now fighting a new battle: homelessness.

Then again . . .

Freniere, like many of his fellow down-on-their-luck veterans, does not match any hat-in-hand Hollywood image of homelessness. He receives an annual pension from the military of more than $40,000.

His struggle to find a job after retiring from the Air Force collided with the end of his marriage nearly two years ago. Unable to return to the home he shared with his estranged wife, and faced with expenses including bills for two sons in college and debts that mounted when he maintained a nicer lifestyle, he took up a nomadic existence.

Maybe not!


Over chips and salsa at a Baja Fresh in King of Prussia, he spent more than four hours engaged in a rambling conversation in which he quoted Dante, Andrew Jackson, and the novelist Leon Uris. He touched on his hobbies, from painting to playing guitar to learning new languages.

Freniere, who said he had been found to have dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, said he earned the nickname "Lightning" in the military for his constant motion and ability to talk anyone's ear off.

Okay, but I've seen officers use "constant motion" to communicate, "I'm way too busy with things way more important than you to actually stop what I'm doing, look you in the eye, and have a conversation. But trot along after me if you must, which will force you into a submissive frame." It's transparently a dominance move, and among such moves above-average in its discourtesy.

Come to think of it, talking someone's ear off might be a dominance move too, especially when no one has asked you a question about what you're talking about.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Victoria’s Secrets in a Bunch


Too Pretty to Fight? O-6 Steps Down Over Comments

Nov 25, 2013

Associated Press| by John Milburn

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Pentagon officials said Friday that an Army colonel who wrote an internal email suggesting photos of attractive women should be avoided in promotional materials has stepped down from her duties involving a gender study.

Army spokesman George Wright said Col. Lynnette Arnhart had agreed to step aside, and Gen. Robert Cone, commander of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Eustis, Va., had accepted the gender integration study's leadership change "in order to protect the integrity of the ongoing work on gender integration in the Army."

The content of the email was first reported by Politico this week. In the email, Arnhart stated that "average-looking women" should be used in Army materials used to attract women for combat roles, Politico reported.

In addition, Wright said that Col. Christian Kubik, a public affairs officer also with the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, was suspended for his involvement in the email pending an investigation.

According to the email chain obtained by Politico, Kubik forwarded Arnhart's email to other public affairs officers, cautioning the use of photos "that glamourize women" would undermine the Army's gender integration efforts.

Lynnette’s concern here seems pretty silly.  Then again, most marketing strategies, short of Don Draper-levels of creativity sound pretty silly when you state their assumptions out loud.  And nothing is quite as silly as the entire concept of women-in-combat . . . but we pretend to take it seriously anyway, because to do otherwise is to get fired.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Home: That word doesn't mean what you seem to think.

From The Aviationist:

Earlier this year, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little, said that an IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) F-4 Phantom combat plane attempted to intercept a U.S. MQ-1 drone flying in international airspace off Iran. As we reported back then, one of the two F-4 Phantom jets came to about 16 miles from the UAV but broke off pursuit after they were broadcast a warning message by two American planes escorting the Predator. The episode happened in March 2013, few months after a two Sukhoi Su-25 attack planes operated by the Pasdaran (informal name of the IRGC – the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution) attempted to shoot down an American MQ-1 flying a routine surveillance flight in international airspace some 16 miles off Iran, the interception of the unmanned aircraft failed. After this attempted interception the Pentagon decided to escort the drones involved in ISR (intelligence surveillance reconnaissance) missions with fighter jets (either F-18 Hornets with the CVW 9 embarked on the USS John C. Stennis whose Carrier Strike Group is currently in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility or F-22 Raptors like those deployed to Al Dhafra in the UAE. New details about the episode were recently disclosed by Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh who on Sept. 17 not only confirmed that the fighter jets providing HVAAE (High Value Air Asset Escort) were F-22 stealth fighters but also said that: "He [the Raptor pilot] flew under their aircraft [the F-4s] to check out their weapons load without them knowing that he was there, and then pulled up on their left wing and then called them and said ‘you really ought to go home.'"

If I'm reading the account correctly (and it's not very well written), and the Iranian F-4s came within 16 miles of a drone 16 miles off the Iranian coast, then their distance from "home" was exactly zero. The distance of the American planes from their home?

7243.53 miles.

Just sayin' . . . .

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Diversity-Is-Our-Strength (2013)

Woman charged with vandalism had can with green paint

AWOL Soldier Guilty in Ft. Hood Plot

Report Finds $1.9 Billion Cost for Maryland from Illegal Immigration

Doctor indicted for double murder in Springdale Community Church shooting

State Department granted New York terror plotter a student visa

U.S. cities become hubs for Mexican drug cartels’ distribution networks

Rep raises alarm after murders by illegals blocked from deportation by home countries

Minnesota Sheriff Reports to Congress on Growing Somalia Gang Threat in Hennepin County

Riots Break Out Between Black, Latino Students At Victorville School

Daughters captive for months or longer

Fairfax schools chief to propose deep cuts

Al-Shabaab:  Three Americans Among Gunmen in Kenya Mall

Feds NY man active in immigration reform arrested on child porn charge

Abducted Georgia Teen Ayvani Hope Perez Found Alive

'Dreamer' Promoted By Durbin Laughs About Using US Flag As Prop For 'Messaging'

Maine Voices: Immigration reform locks black workers out of the American dream

Undocumented LA County Parents On Pace To Receive $650M In Welfare Benefits

Immigration is an environmental issue

The STEM Crisis Is a Myth

Population growth increases climate fear

Low-skilled immigrants: Economic burden or boon?

ICE had chance to detain suspect before Vanessa Pham was killed

In Silicon Valley, age can be a curse

Agencies buying hotel rooms for surge of Mexican illegal immigrants, others released

U.S. Chamber Pushes For Immigration Reform

Silicon Valley self-serving in immigration debate, critics say

Seattle officials call for ban on 'potentially offensive' language

Woman charged with vandalism had can with green paint

Boulevard Crash Suspect's Criminal and Driving History

No Cop/Bad Cop

Court Documents Detail a Deadly Family Feud From Brooklyn to Pakistan

Minneapolis: Charges accuse man of killing bicyclist in hit-and-run crash

After FBI probes, questions on granting of asylum

Mexico takes over from the U.S. as the fattest nation on earth, according to UN report

425-Pound, Arm-Sniffing Man Gets 32 Months For Annoying Boy, 10

Why Liberals Should Oppose the Immigration Bill: It's about low-wage American workers

Enforcement Holiday: Immigration Bill Allows Criminal Illegals 'Safe Harbor'

Immigration Rights Activist Alleged ‘Mesh Mask Bandit’

Twelve Los Angeles-Area Residents Accused of Attempting to Bilk Medicare of $22 Million Arrested as Part of Nationwide Crackdown

Rise in illegal crossings roils immigration debate

Evangelicals Mislead on Funding of Immigration Ads

Illegal Immigrant Mother of Seven Given Food Stamps, Meds, Housing, and Social Security - For 20 Years

DOJ: Social Media Posts Trashing Muslims May Violate Civil Rights

America’s New Oligarchs— and Silicon Valley’s Shady 1 Percenters

Man jailed for allegedly trying to drag teen from SoCal bookstore

Another police officer killed in Houston by an illegal alien

Court Documents Detail a Deadly Family Feud From Brooklyn to Pakistan

'You and your children will be next': Islamic fanatics wielding meat cleavers butcher and try to behead a British soldier, taking their war on the West to a new level of horror

Senate Judiciary Committee Rejects Effort to Stop Gang Members from Being Amnestied

Immigration officers union warns against Senate immigration bill

Software developer wages fall 2% as workforce expands

Unsealed Indictment Regarding $45 Million Cybercrime Campaign

Ariel Castro, Cleveland suspect, has a dark past that foreshadowed crimes he’s now accused of

L.A. County officials worried about costs of immigration overhaul

Biometric Database of All Adult Americans Hidden in Immigration Reform

STEM labor shortages?: Microsoft report distorts reality about computing occupations

NYC Considering Allowing Non-Citizens To Vote

Bill allows for $150M in grants to sign up illegal immigrants to become citizens

The Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrants and Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer

Immigration: Fueling U.S. Income Inequality (2013)

Guestworkers in the high-skill U.S. labor market: An analysis of supply, employment, and wage trends

Stabbing suspect has long criminal history

Mosque that Boston suspects attended has radical ties

"Obama Will Let Me Go"

City Recruits Minority Lifeguards Even if They Can’t Swim

Schools push a curriculum of propaganda

Hundreds of teens mob pedestrians on Chicago's Magnificent Mile

Senate Votes Down Sessions' Amendment that would Prevent Amnestied Illegal Aliens from Accessing Taxpayer-Funded Healthcare

DHS Budget Cuts not Impacting Perks at Illegal-Alien Detention Centers

Confluence of actions by Obama administration may prompt flood of illegal immigrants, experts say

Sequester do-over: Feds recaptured 4 immigrants released under budget cuts

U.S. attorney dropping case against Uber driver

Report Shows Senior Administration Official Has No Interest in Enforcement

In face of coming budget cuts, U.S. frees illegal immigrants from custody

Victoria's Secret worker scarred for life when niqab-wearing attacker threw acid in her face as she walked home from shop

In suburbs of L.A., a cottage industry of birth tourism