Friday, March 31, 2006

What's Happening to Boys?

What indeed. I read this article by Leonard Sax from the Washington Post, and it touches on something I've been watching and indeed it's been going on a long time... it's just reached a fever pitch.

The article notes that girls are driven to achieve goals, while boys drift aimlessly, content to play video games and work for spending money at Starbucks while living at home with Mom and/or Dad.

What's happened to boys?

Well, I have lots of speculation to offer. Where to begin?

I remember back in the early 1990's sitting at a Jr. High Academic Award event at which my younger step-son, an exception to this phenomenon, was receiving one or more awards. Even back then, the press -- both print and broadcast, was still rife with hand-wringing stories about how boys were treated differently in schools than girls, girls were not called on in class nearly as often as boys. Girls were being ignored, and thus not receiving as good an education. This supposedly heavily slanted the skillset in favor of boys when it came to college and the job market.

But something seemed a bit incongruous there in that assembly hall, where clearly there were at least two girls to every boy (perhaps as many as three to one) receiving academic awards. I was sitting there thinking, if girls are told they aren't as smart as boys and not encouraged to excel, why did the girls vastly outnumber the boys getting the awards? Besides, it really didn't jive with my experience in high school in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Girls, in general, were more studious than boys, in general, and typically got better grades.

I think part of the problem is that girls are encouraged to behave and be good members of society, where boys are encouraged by their peers and by girls themselves to be rebels. A big part of rebelling is not doing what you're supposed to be doing -- eg: studying.

This has been going on to some extent since at least the late 1950's. The boy who doesn't follow the rules, maybe gets a part-time job in high school and gets a car & scores booze, stays out late (and not at the library) is much more attractive to your average teen-age girl than is the boy who follows the rules, studies hard, and gets good grades. And anyone who doesn't think that the top thing on a high school boy's mind is impressing girls has his head in the sand.

But that's been going on more or less as I mentioned since around the 1950's. There are other factors that used to help balance this tendency that have been removed in our society. One of them has been the collapse of discipline in the home. There used to be real consequences for not keeping your grades up. Now at "worst" you get yelled at, and often it's not your fault, it's the teacher's (in the parents' minds, anyway).

And the third big factor, I'll posit, is the rapid development of the entitlement mentality in the past half-century. It used to be pretty much understood if you were a boy that unless you were in college or had really fallen on some temporarily rough times -- you were out of the house very shortly after high school. If you were not, you were seen as a failure. A loser. There was incentive.

"Being a man" used to have everything to do with responsibility. Today, that's to macho. Boys are discouraged from taking pride in "being a man". It's practically something to be ashamed of today.

Today, nothing's anybody's fault. There's little or no shame in living at home as an adult. Mom and Dad blame themselves for Johnny's failure, and so feel compelled to keep supporting him. Johnny, with a roof over his head, a comfy bed, & food bears little or none of the actual cost of his livelihood. Even if he does have a job, the money is typically his to spend irresponsibly -- after all, it's not enough to support him, and mom and dad aren't going to kick him out. What a deal!

We also live in a more and more liberalized society that sees making money as evil, especially men -- and even more so white men -- making money. So what incentive does Johnny have, especially if women will have casual sex with him? He's got everything he wants.

Low standards, lack of discipline, rewards for anti-social behavior, not being held responsible for their livelihood, and loose morals.

Ok, so what about girls? Why are girls driven?

After all, there is the same lack of discipline for girls, the same low standards, and the same protectiveness by parents. Not the rewards for anti-social behavior, though.

Deep down at the animal level, the truth is that men are driven by sex, and women are driven by security. It used to be that women could rely on men for that security. It is also true that women are at least socially predisposed -- if not genetically as well -- to more empathy than men are. They are probably less likely to be comfortable with burdening their parents with the extra load of supporting them as adults. Combine that with the deterioration of motivation for men to succeed -- women increasingly have to rely on themselves for their livelihood.

Now on top of that, add affirmative action as an incentive for women and a disincentive for men, and it's not hard to come up with a rational explanation to what is happening to boys.

Quote of the Day

From this article on RCP.

They were struck by the Orwellian incongruities--Mexican flags, chants of "Mexico, Mexico," and the spectacle of illegal alien residents lecturing citizen hosts on what was permissible in their own country.

and here's the quote

'Why would anyone wave the flag of the country that they would never return to--and yet scream in anger at those with whom they wish to stay?'

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jill Caroll Released

Heard this morning on NPR that Jill Carroll was freed in Iraq. That's a good thing, naturally. It makes me very happy.

One thing that struck me though was her whole speal on how well she was treated.

"I was kept in a good good, small, safe place, a safe room. Nice furniture. They gave me clothing. Plenty of food. I was allowed to take showers and go to the bathroom when I wanted. Never hit me. Never even threatened to hit me".
No, but they did threaten to kill you. Several times.

I have to wonder, though, when hostages get released if they don't speak very carefully to perhaps protect others that are still in captivity. I hope that's the reason the emphasis seems to be on her good treatment.

But let's keep in mind that they killed her interpreter right in front of her and held her, a non-combatant -- captive for three months as a pawn in a life or death (hers) game of international ransom.

Lest anyone have any illusions that these are nice people.

Quote of the day

From George Will

large rallies by immigrants, many of them here illegally, protesting more stringent control of immigration reveal that many immigrants have, alas, assimilated: They have acquired the entitlement mentality spawned by America's welfare state, asserting an entitlement to exemption from the laws of the society they invited themselves into.

I might add many were protesting with Mexican flags and using revolutionary language.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Dwindling Support

The incomparable Ann Coulter, who I only agree with about 95% of the time (according to the latest poll), put into words something that's been bugging me for a long time and I've been looking for a way to say it.

She did it quite well here:

She does what I couldn't right about here:
Indeed, according to the polls, the public's feeling about the war in Iraq began three years ago with fear, skepticism and dread — and steadily went downhill.

If these poll results were accurate, support for the war should be about negative 3,000 percent by now.

This has occurred to me too, as every day I hear the drip drip drip about the dwindling support for the war, and the growing dissatisfaction with Bush. With all the dwindling and mounting over the past three years, you'd have thought we'd've had a revolution by now. But just under a year and a half ago, a majority still re-elected the dude mostly because of his action against the Muslim terrorist threat.

Negative 3,000 percent. That about sums it up.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


This article, by one Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post, has had me thinking for about a week. It gets right to the crux of what is and has been going on in the world for the past 15 years, at least -- although not quite in the way the author probably intended.

She's talking about a book by a conservative Harvard professor called "Manliness".

In it, she says the following:

"The problem of manliness is not that it does not exist," Mansfield concludes. "It does exist, but it is unemployed." Well, um, excuse me, but I think — it’s just my opinion, now, maybe you disagree, and I’m sure we could work it out — Mansfield has it exactly backward. Manliness does exist. The problem is that it’s overemployed — nowhere more than in this administration.
Well let me tell you Ruth, it is just your opinion, I do disagree, and I'm not so sure we can work it out.

She ends her article thus:

Mansfield writes that he wants to "convince skeptical readers — above all, educated women" — that "irrational manliness deserves to be endorsed by reason." Sorry, professor: You lose. What this country could use is a little less manliness — and a little more of what you would describe as womanly qualities: restraint, introspection, a desire for consensus, maybe even a touch of self-doubt.

But that’s just my view.

Well, I'm glad you're not going out on a limb to claim you're correct there. After all, that would be assertive and manly.

Our culture, our country, has plenty of restraint, and as a matter of fact often too much. It is excactly what brought 9/11 upon us. If you read any of Al Queda's literature, it is rife with how weak we are, how we are crippled with self-doubt and restraint, and how little respect that evil group of people have for these admittedly (by me, not them) noble qualities.

Allow me to expound. Restraint is what allowed 19 men with box cutters to commandeer 4 airliners and fly them into buildings. Foreknowledge and presumption of that restraint gave them the balls to try it. People from a more manly culture would have overpowered 5 men on a plane with boxcutters and kicked their collective asses. But no -- restraint was shown on three of the planes. Guess what? The fourth plane failed.

Restraint is what allowed Osama Bin Laden to live through the 1990's ... St. Bill's years.

Restraint is what Saddam Hussein relied upon to coninue his reign of horrors unmolested.

Restraint is what the U.N. is all about -- restraining anyone from doing anything to stop any tin-pot dictator from doing anything they want to. Inaction favors tyrants. Calling Bush a tyrant for taking action is not only hypocritical, it's dead wrong. This administration is paying, politically, for the restraint of the previous administration, and frankly I admire it's steadfastness in continuing the fight in the face of relentless attacks by the press and the massive and slowly more and more successful propaganda campaign against doing what needs to be done dispite the obvious political pressure against it. These guys aren't as concerned with staying in office as they are in doing what needs to be done.

Like a man.

(note -- that's a metaphor. A an honorable woman will behave the same way, and a dishonorable man will not).

It's getting hot in here

Why is Mars warming?

You global warming freaks really ought to take a gander at this article. Very well written with very good points. Like why is Mars warming, too?

Then there's this:

...the Kyoto Treaty will do little to solve the carbon-dioxide problem. Masquerading as a global environmental policy, Kyoto exempts half of the world's population and nine of the top 20 emitters of carbon dioxide--including China and India--from its emissions reduction requirements. It is in fact an effort to replace the world's markets with an internationally regulated (think U.N.) global economy, perhaps better described as a predatory trade strategy to level the world's economic playing field by penalizing the economic growth of energy efficient nations and rewarding those emitting much greater quantities of noxious gasses. Which explains why in 1997 the U.S. Senate voted 95-0 to oppose the signing of any international protocol that would commit Western nations to reduce emissions unless developing countries had to do so as well.

95-0. During the..... Clinton administration. So, all Democrats who voted voted against it. Wow. Why? Rove make 'em do it?

As The Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, almost none of the nations that igned on are meeting Kyoto's requirements. Thirteen of the original 15 European signatories will likely miss the 2010 emission reduction targets. Spain will miss its target by 33 percentage points and Denmark by 25 points. Targets aside, Greece and Canada have seen their emissions rise by 23% and 24%, respectively, since 1990. As for America, our emissions have increased 16%, so we are doing better than many of the Kyoto nations.

So the Big Bad U.S., led by Bushitler-Rove-Halliburton's anti-environmental policy during the Clinton administration where every Senator voted against Kyoto, even though we didn't sign on to it are kicking Spain's, Greece's, Denmark's, and Canada's asses at reducing emission increases.


Protestors in College Towns

The following is an adaptation of an email I sent to Brian in Iraq when he'd asked me if the protestors still protested on the corner of Providence and Broadway. It was quite a rant, but I think I hit some major points here, so here it is, republished for public consumption. Maybe it will help people put things in some perspective.

I live in a college town, and people protest. People have been protesting on the corners of major intersections at rush hour and in front of the post office since long before I was in college, and while I was here. Every year the "activist" groups have a fresh crop of freshmen to pounce on and indoctrinate. The older ones get a rush from recruiting new followers to validate their opinions. And there's always a new group of people that suddenly woke up to the fact that the world isn't perfect after they got away from high school, plus they've been patted on their heads all their lives for parroting the political views of their liberal teachers (and often parents as well). It's win/win up until that point for them. After all, who is going to say "yeah, I'm against the environment" or "yeah, I'm for war"? Nobody is. All their lives they've gotten kudos and head pats because they were kids and nobody expected them to tackle issues on a more complex level where you have to examine tradeoffs and consequences of action or inaction. So they get to college and decide in order to feel REALLY superior they need to go Speak Out™, become vegans, and wear only woven hemp. They do this not so much because they care about the issues, but because they want everybody to know that THEY care about The Issues™.It's all about ME for most of them. Look at ME! I'm ACTIVE! I'm SPEAKING OUT! I'm BETTER than you. YOU should listen to ME! Put ME in the papers. Put ME on the evening news. Everyone must see ME. I'm IMPORTANT!!!! Pat me on the head, I'm SAVING THE WORLD!!!!!!

They've always made me sick. In reality, all they've done is buy the extremist points of view that are the grotesque logical extensions of overly simplistic philosophies that are based on simple statements that happen to be true. War is bad. Nature is good. But don't try making an entire life philosophy out of either of those statements, because it ain't that simple in the real world.

I have resisted the urge to visibly flip them off as I drive by, although I've done it under my dashboard many times. I don't want them to think they got to me, see. What I like to do is completely ignore them, like they weren't even there. They WANT the attention, and negative attention is even better to them than positive attention. That's because the whole point is the whole exercise is to make them feel better than other people -- not just the other people who agree with them but are not protesting, but especially the people who disagree with them. When you confront them, it gives them "war" stories to tell their comrades back at camp. "And HE said [insert probably embellished misrepresentation of what you said here] and I said [insert politically correct party-line rant here] ." That makes them feel the most superior. That's what it's all about.

So for me, it's eyes on the road ahead and grumble at them and maybe flip them off under the dashboard as a way of venting. And of course, my blog helps. I vent here all the time. That's part of what it's for.

There were protests "all over the world" a week or so ago to mark the third anniversary of the invasion -- but none in Iraq. If there had been any in Iraq, you can bet the treasonous press would've been all over it.

I think that speaks volumes. The other thing that speaks volumes is that the protests have been far, far smaller than the organizers' projections. The leaders of the main groups that organize the big ones are communist groups (ANSWER, CND, and "Stop The War Coalition") -- who have a stake in doing anything they can to bring down freedom and capitalism. They're not really against the war, they're FOR the war and they are actively rooting for the other side.

However, their numbers are pathetically (and thankfully) relatively small. Unfortunately, their allies in the press tend to amplify their importance by reporting every little protest anywhere in the world without balancing that coverage with the quiet majority who, while some may even be unhappy that we went to war, definitely do not agree with the freaks that America is bad and that we should withdraw yesterday, Bush should be censured, impeached, & hung, and Kerry should be installed as President King, all men should be gay or neutered, and guns should be melted down and made into giant statues of limp penises to put in front of public libraries that don't have copies of Huckleberry Finn in them.

Yeah... multi-culturalists are basically anti-American-culturalists. They are cultural anarchists, or "No Culture"-alists.

Today's reccomended reading

Unfathomable Zealotry by Richard Cohen

you can say that these horrors are usually being inflicted by a minority. You say it is a few crazed terrorists of Iraq who are doing the killing. It is not most Iraqis. You can say the same about suicide bombers and torturers and rogue governments, like the one Saddam Hussein once headed. You can take solace in numbers. Most people are like us.

Then comes the Rahman case and it is not a solitary crazy prosecutor who brings the charge of apostasy but an entire society. It is not a single judge who would condemn the man but a culture. The Taliban are gone at gunpoint, their atrocities supposedly a thing of the past. In our boundless optimism, we consign them to the "too hard" file of horrors we cannot figure out: the Khmer Rouge, the Nazis, the communists of the Stalin period. Now, though, this awful thing returns and it is not just a single country that would kill a man for his beliefs but a huge swath of the world that would not protest. There can be only one conclusion: They were in agreement.

Monday, March 20, 2006

No bad peace, eh?

From yesterday's protest in San Francisco, lifted from this LGF post:

So I wonder if they'd feel the same way peeking out at their men and masters from under their decidedly un-pink burkas, being denied education and being considered unclean and the property of men?

I'll agree, and everyone from GW Bush on down will agree that there is no good war. War always sucks for both sides. But no bad peace? I beg to differ.

Bad peace is why good and courageous people go to war, despite the fact that they would rather be gardening.

Oh, wow

Check out these San Fransico War Protest photos.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Protests, But not in Iraq

Great point. Couldn't put it better myself, so head on over and read what I read for yourself.

Actually, the point is even better made if you read this AP story first. Then But Not In Iraq.

And apparently, the ones that are taking place aren't nearly as popular as their organizers had hoped.

Too good a quote to pass up

"... to have a record of consistent support for war and militarism, from the Red Army in Eastern Europe to the Serbian ethnic cleansers and the Taliban, is quite another. It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as "antiwar" when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side."

From Bill Crawford at All Things Conservative. It's not clear where he got it. It was in a quote in his post. But no matter. It distills the truth down to its essence.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Documents from Iraq are being released

Ever since I read this article, I've been looking for information from the documents it mentions to come up.

Apparently, some of the information from the captured documents we got in the Iraqi invasion is being released, finally. Here's a very interesting piece from the Council on Foriegn Relations.

Judging from his private statements, the single most important element in Saddam's strategic calculus was his faith that France and Russia would prevent an invasion by the United States. According to Aziz, Saddam's confidence was firmly rooted in his belief in the nexus between the economic interests of France and Russia and his own strategic goals: "France and Russia each secured millions of dollars worth of trade and service contracts in Iraq, with the implied understanding that their political posture with regard to sanctions on Iraq would be pro-Iraqi. In addition, the French wanted sanctions lifted to safeguard their trade and service contracts in Iraq. Moreover, they wanted to prove their importance in the world as members of the Security Council -- that they could use their veto to show they still had power."
So, it turns out, as suspected, that Saddam had been cozying up to France and Russia and relying on them to cover his behind on the Security Council. Saddam believed he could do whatever he wanted and he need not fear any action from the UN. It turns out he further believed that if the US should invade on its own, international pressure would soon stop it. Saddam really believed he would never be removed from power.

The Saddam Fedayeen also took part in the regime's domestic terrorism operations and planned for attacks throughout Europe and the Middle East. In a document dated May 1999, Saddam's older son, Uday, ordered preparations for "special operations, assassinations, and bombings, for the centers and traitor symbols in London, Iran and the self-ruled areas [Kurdistan]." Preparations for "Blessed July," a regime-directed wave of "martyrdom" operations against targets in the West, were well under way at the time of the coalition invasion.

Nope, no reason there to topple the regime. Michael Moore was obviously right that pre-war Iraq was a land of peaceful green grass, yellow flowers, blue skies, and butterflies.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Guantanamo Deal

Most of the anti-Gitmo crowd seems to have this religious belief that general citizens minding their own business selling currants at the market were rounded up and sent off to Guantanamo bay. Here's a bit different take.

And the crux of the whole thing is here:

There are British jihadis who have killed, or planned to kill, dozens of Britons. And the problem is that their profiles are not so very different from the Tiptonites, and certainly not very different from that of Moazzam Begg. They’re always nice guys, family guys, and we simultaneously demand that the intelligence services and the police know who they are and pre-empt their possible acts of terrorism, while demanding that they only be detained if they can be brought to trial and found guilty in a court of law, and that the wrong ones are never detained.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Port Deal

I've read the arguments pro and con.

There are compelling arguments on both sides.

The UAE government has been more than cooperative with the US.

Two of the 9/11 hijackers came from UAE.

Some of them also lived in Germany.

The general population of UAE may have a different position on the US than the UAE government has.

The UAE company won't be responsible for port security.

The company's employees may make our own security more difficult....

The arguments go back and forth. In the end, it does make me a bit uncomfortable. I understand the concerns of the critics. I feel them myself.

But I'm going to have to go back to another argument I've used before and feel I have no choice but to use in situations like this. And that is, there is a bunch of stuff going on behind the scenes that we cannot and should not know about at this time. I know that's not ideally how things should work, but that's the way they have to work in the real world.

I don't think for a split second that George Bush & Co. are oblivious to the concerns and red flags. They are probably more aware than we are of specific, actual risks that might even make our hair curl. The fact is, though, that they understand the big picture far better than we can. If the deal did not come with far more pros than cons for America and its security in the long term, deep down I have faith that Bush wouldn't be adamant about his support for the deal.

Hell, even Clinton and [shudder] Carter are for the deal. If this position were something to be used against Bush, you know darned well Carter would be on that bandwagon, bashing him over the head with it like some heavy blunt object.

Something's going on behind the scenes. We will find out what it is one day. For now, I have to trust the President.