Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘Idiots’

You have the right to attract attention to yourself

Posted by sanityinjection on April 5, 2010

I don’t know Ty McDowell of Portland, Maine personally. I allow for the possibility than in other aspects of her life, she may perhaps be an intelligent person. But on this past Saturday, at least, Ms. McDowell may have qualified as the Dumbest Person In America.

McDowell, you see, believes strongly in equal rights for men and women. To her, that includes the right to bare one’s chest in public. So she arranged a protest in which she and two dozen other female true believers walked topless down a main street in Portland. Of course, this was hardly the first protest involving female nudity, and if that were the end of the story, I wouldn’t be making derogatory suppositions about McDowell’s intelligence.

In fact, McDowell and her fellow protesters were not arrested. Under Maine law such behavior is only criminal if the genitals are exposed. So in fact, legally McDowell and company *were* within their rights to do what they did, and were treated accordingly by the law.

Nonetheless, McDowell was by her own account “enraged” after the demonstration. But not because of the police or the law. She was angry because a crowd of hundreds of onlookers – mostly male – had watched and followed the demonstration – some snapping photos and videos. (To be fair, she might have been equally furious with some of her own group who didn’t seem to mind posing for photos.)

You see, it turns out that what McDowell really expects is not that a woman should have the right to walk around topless, but that the rest of us should all act like this is no big deal. And I’m sure there are places where that might even be the case. However, Portland, Maine wouldn’t be on the top of my list.

It strikes me as the height of stupidity for a female to walk around in public with her top off and not expect males to ogle her. While she certainly has the right to remain unmolested, if you don’t want people to pay undue attention to you, don’t attract undue attention to yourself. Duh. Furthermore, it seems inherently contradictory to simultaneously seek to draw attention to your cause and then be angry when you in fact receive attention.

Ms. McDowell is certainly entitled to her views, but if she thinks that the factors of human biology which inherently lead men to be attracted to female breasts as a secondary sexual characteristic are somehow going to be altered by protesting, she is definitely the Dumbest Person In America. Heck, even *women* notice other women’s chests.

I am all for equal rights under the law, but that is not the same as pretending that there are no biological differences between men and women. While it is always impolite to stare at someone no matter how underdressed they may be, let’s face it, there are impolite people out there. If this is truly a great social injustice, the best solution would probably be to have men refrain from going topless in public also. In fact, I would argue that such should in fact be the norm outside of a pool or beach environment.

Do you ever wonder when you hear about people like McDowell where their parents are and what they could possibly be thinking?

Posted in Domestic News | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

For God’s sake, you can’t “catch” fat!

Posted by sanityinjection on January 26, 2009

File under: Idiot Science.

Some researchers have actually discovered a virus that they think may be linked to obesity. Test have shown that the virus can lodge in fat cells and start replicating, producing more fat cells.  Other studies suggest that three times as many obese people have contracted this virus during their lifetime compared to normal people. (Never mind whether obese people are three times as likely to have caught any virus generally, that is a question for Smart Science. This is Idiot Science, where we confuse correlation with causality.)

Of course, the biggest problem is not with the scientists, but with those who will use this as more fuel for the idea that obesity is a disease. For the vast majority of people (not counting those with glandular or hormonal conditions), obesity is not a disease. It’s caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, but chiefly by DIET AND LACK OF EXERCISE. Duh.

Even if you caught a virus that was making more fat cells in your body, if you were burning enough calories, you still wouldn’t get fat. Duh. So what’s the best way to fight obesity? Eat healthy, smaller portions and exercise more. This is not rocket science. Duh.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am about 10-20 pounds overweight. While not clinically obese, I am under no illusions as to the cause of my condition. It is not caused by a virus. It is not caused by me living too close to power lines or wind turbines. It is not caused by MTBE in my water. It happened because I stopped getting enough exercise. Duh.

I am not suggesting that it is easy to lose weight. I am saying that it is simple to lose weight. Those two words don’t mean the same thing. Same goes for smoking. Not easy to quit at all, but very simple to quit. Just stop putting lit cigarettes in your mouth. Duh.

Meanwhile, people are dying of Ebola and other horrific diseases with no cure, and we’re spending money studying obesity?

Posted in Current Events | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Alabama NAACP doesn’t get it!

Posted by sanityinjection on January 13, 2009

The Alabama NAACP is protesting the inclusion  of a group called the Azalea Trail Maids, from Mobile, in President-elect Obama’s inaugural parade. The group consists of young women (mostly white, it would appear) in frilly, antebellum style dresses and parasols (think Gone With The Wind). The NAACP claims the costumes are reminiscent of plantation slavery in the South and hence inappropriate.

This is a great example of somebody looking for an excuse to complain. If anything, the symbolism of a whole troop of Scarlett O’Haras marching in salute of a black President of the United States is a reversal of the power structure of slavery and an example of how far our nation has progressed. You can bet that 40 years ago, a Southern group like this would have flatly refused to have anything to do with honoring a black man.

Besides, wouldn’t it be more pleasant to watch pretty young ladies promenading in becoming, but modest outfits rather than the usual platoons of wrinkled Shriners riding scooters? 🙂

Posted in Current Events, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why does the NYT even have a “Business” section anymore?

Posted by sanityinjection on December 22, 2008

It’s getting to the point where first-year college students have a better understanding of economics than the reporters who cover business stories for the New York Times. Witness this latest offering about measures that some companies have been taking to cut labor costs without laying off workers:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/22/business/22layoffs.html

The article reads like a feel-good piece. The nice companies care about their workers, and the nice workers are willing to make sacrifices to help the company. What a crock of manure.

Sure, there are some companies and workers that fit that description. But there are two very major and obvious economic factors that are totally ignored by the article’s authors.

The first is that companies have a big incentive to avoid layoffs, in any economy, but particularly when they are hurting. The more employees you lay off, the more you have to pay in unemployment insurance in the following year, and for a few years thereafter. In the long run, it can cost you more to lay off an employee than you save, especially if they are part-time workers who aren’t costing you health benefits.

The second factor, which applies on the other side of the coin, is that not every company can implement these creative measures with regard to benefits and salaries even if they want to. Changes such as these have to be negotiated with unions and cannot be implemented unilaterally by the company. Some unions are smart and are willing to work with the company to preserve jobs. Many, however, are stubborn and cling to the smallest privileges. This forces companies to fall back on what they can do without having to get the unions to agree, which is layoff employees.

I don’t know how you write this article without mentioning either of those important aspects – unless you’re ignorant of the subject you’re being paid to cover.

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Good God, when will the corporate welfare to automakers end?

Posted by sanityinjection on October 28, 2008

Last month I blogged about the $25 billion in loans that Congress handed to domestic automakers. I criticized this bailout as corporate welfare disguised as a jobs provision, and watched helplessly as the Democrats in control of Congress – the very same people who usually complain about corporate welfare – shepherded it into law, without much opposition from the GOP either.

Now it appears that $25 billion is not enough. GM and Chrysler are asking the feds for an additional $10 billion to help facilitate a proposed merger between the two auto giants. Part of that would include the government paying off $3 billion in pension obligations owed by the companies to their retirees. Are you kidding me?

Everybody knows that mergers, while they may be necessary in order to keep companies afloat, always mean job losses. The people who would benefit from this merger are the companies’ investors, including their CEOs, as well as all the companies that do business with the automakers. But why should the federal government pay to keep them fat and happy? Here’s a thought: What if the automakers actually had to live with the consequences of their failures? Maybe they would be forced to make changes that would allow them to become competitive again, instead of being sheltered and coddled by the government.

Let me be very clear: I am not against a GM-Chrysler merger. I am against having it paid for by the taxpayers while the CEOs ride off into the sunset with preferred stock options and golden parachutes and workers lose their jobs. Have we learned nothing from the behavior of the execs at AIG? How many more times will the taxpayers be robbed to reward incompetence?

The worst part of all is the significant possibility this will sneak through without sufficient media attention, just like the last one did. Then later when the whole thing fails and we, the taxpayers, are on the hook for it, the new Congress and Administration will blame it all on Bush and the previous Congress.

Aren’t we tired of this?

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Try to understand, people: It’s not about hurt feelings!

Posted by sanityinjection on October 16, 2008

It’s been a busy day.

The latest comes to us from the Fort Myers News-Press, with a story about the arrest of a 9-year old girl on felony battery charges after she uncontrollably hit, kicked and spit at her teachers. Read the article, and pay particular note to the reader comments at the end:

http://news-press.com/article/20081016/SS08/810160362/1075

Nobody seems to dispute that the child was out of control. Clearly, the school called in law enforcement because they were at their wits’s end. Officers responding had to charge the child in order to arrest her both for her safety and everyone else’s. I have no doubt that police handled the child appropriately as a juvenile – I doubt she was thrown in “jail” with the drunks and petty criminals. The felony charges legally enable the state’s youth/social services and mental health services to get involved to try to help this child – and clearly such help is needed. There is nothing that prevents the DA from dropping the charges if the child gets the help that she needs, and I expect that’s what will happen.

What is particularly disturbing, however, are the comments from readers who seem to think that the most important consideration is the “feelings” of the mother! To wit:

“You are all very good at judging this woman and her child for the worst. You all better hope that
you are never in her situation because only then will you know what she is feeling right now.” -Joan24

“Without the community as a whole recognizing the problems and insisting on the school reforming their policiies, this type of thing will continue and worsen. Instead of pointing fingers, you should all be thankful you aren’t walking in this mother’s shoes and never will…The person in the most danger IS the child with the diagnosis FROM the teacher and other students….you have NO idea what a family goes through and you shouldn’t pretend that you do.” – Jacqui7315

How does one twist things around so that the biggest problem here is insensitivity to the mother??? Gosh, I’m sorry if she was offended or embarrassed by her little angel being carted off to the police station. Never mind the fact that the mother, for whatever reason, has failed (perhaps with the best of intentions) to get her daughter the care she needs. Never mind that calling in law enforcement may ultimately *help* the girl. No, what counts is not the child’s welfare, but we must never embarrass or offend the single mother of a special needs child.

Let me be even more blunt: If your child is violently out of control, I don’t give a rat’s ass if you’re offended or embarrassed by whatever steps need to be taken to protect both your child and those around her. You, the parent, have failed and you need help. That’s not a moral judgment, just a fact. Some mental illnesses are more than parents can handle without help from trained professionals.

Unfortunately, the women I’ve quoted above seem to be projecting their own experiences onto the case, and reacting as if their own parenting were being called into question. To which I can only respond: Not everything is about YOU! Nothing should come before the welfare of the child, and if that bruises your self-image as a martyr mommy embattled by an ignorant and uncaring world, too flippin’ bad.

Posted in Domestic News | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sorry, Europeans: No more lingerie ads for you

Posted by sanityinjection on September 5, 2008

In the latest outbreak of idiocy among our European cousins, the Women’s Rights Committee of the European Union has proposed banning any advertising “deemed to portray women as sex objects or reinforce gender stereotypes.

Speaking in the European parliament in favor of the proposal, Swedish member Eva-Britt Svensson urged European nations to use existing equality, sexism and discrimination laws to control advertising, and to create new regulatory bodies to monitor ads and introduce a “zero-tolerance” policy against “sexist insults or degrading images”.

It’s no wonder so many Europeans think the EU is a waste of space if this is what they spend their time and money on. I mean, is this really the biggest problem facing Europe today? Heck, most Europeans have a far less Puritan attitude toward sexuality than we Americans do anyway. Britain already has something called the Advertising Standards Authority, and even they said “Although the ASA supports the overall objectives of the report… the approach suggested is inflexible and impractical.”

It would be easy enough to dismiss this silliness, if it weren’t for the absolute *certainty* that there are morons in the US who would not hesitate to propose the same idiocy here. Speaking for myself, I often am disgusted by TV and print advertising that I find pointlessly sexualized.  It would be nice if they would hold themselves to a higher standard, just as it would be nice if magazines like Vanity Fair actually considered whether it was appropriate to feature 15-year old Miley Cyrus gratuitously naked, regardless of the artistic pedigree of the photographer. However, the tastelessness of these materials does not even come close to rising to the level of warranting government censorship of the media.

I agree that the over-sexualization of teenage girls is a bad thing, but if those girls’ parents were doing their jobs properly, there would be no problem. If we want to criminalize this behavior, I would suggest the focus should be not on the media but on those parents who, like Billy Ray Cyrus in the case mentioned above, shamelessly pimp out their daughters’ bodies in the media. On the other hand, you can’t reasonably prohibit a lingerie brand like Victoria’s Secret from advertising their product with an image of an adult model actually wearing it, provided the images are not blatantly obscene. There is a difference between being sexy to sell a perfume and being sexy to sell children’s toothpaste.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/2686538/EU-wants-to-ban-sexist-TV-commercials.html

Posted in Current Events, Foreign Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Sunspots and climate change

Posted by sanityinjection on September 2, 2008

For the first time in a century, there were no sunspots observed for the entire month of August. This is significant because the sun has been in an active period for the last several decades – roughly the same period of time in which the effects of “global warming” have been observed.

With climatologists starting to agree that for the last couple of years the earth has actually been cooling, it is time to start paying more attention to the impact of solar activity on earth’s climate. While the interaction between the sun’s radiation and our climate is complex and not fully understood, we do know that the last “mini-ice age” in the 1600s, which had a dramatic affect on agriculture and human population, coincided with a long period of very low sunspot activity.

None of this is to suggest that climate change is solely a function of solar activity or that carbon emissions from human activities are not a factor. Rather, it reminds us what sober scientists have been telling us all along – the earth’s climate is an incredibly complex system with many different factors affecting it. The earth has undergone dramatic warming and cooling periods long before man began to burn carbon in significant amounts. Contray to what Al Gore’s propagandists would have us believe, there is no scientific basis for the conclusion that man’s activities are the primary driving force behind climate change, or that these activities have somehow “upset the balance” of the earth’s ability to regulate its climate beyond repair. Keep in mind that just thirty years ago, the same scientists who are now telling us that the sky is falling on global warming were shrieking that the earth was headed for a new ice age. (Conclusion: Unstable people will always find something to be unstable about and should not be taken too seriously just because they happen to be highly educated.)

Given the uncertainty of the science, at what point should we start to wonder whether those who advocate massive government regulations to restrict carbon emissions might possibly have other motives besides climate altruism? Could it be that some of these people were already heavily invested in alternative energy technology research and might stand to benefit financially from any fossil fuel panic they were able to stir up?

 http://www.dailytech.com/Sun+Makes+History+First+Spotless+Month+in+a+Century/article12823.htm

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Let the disinformation begin, Part II: Corporate taxes

Posted by sanityinjection on August 18, 2008

Last week, a number of major media outlets, including the Associated Press, filed stories with headlines like this: “Most Companies in U.S. Avoid Federal Income Taxes.” The basis for these stories was a report from the Government Accountability Office showing that, in fact, 60 to 70 percent of American companies pay no federal tax in a given year. Certain legislators, inclduing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, seized on this as an argument for increasing taxes on corporations. So what’s wrong with all this?

Proving that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, none of the news stories or left-wing legislators bothered to ask the question of *why* so many companies pay no federal taxes. The answer is very simple: The vast majority of “companies” in America are small businesses, many of which in any given year do not make any profit, and therefore do not pay any taxes. What little money they make is generally paid out to the owners as wages rather than having to be taxed as a dividend. For larger corporations, 75% do pay federal tax in a given year, and of the ones that don’t, they usually end up paying the following year.

The point is that in this case the media, and legislators like Pelosi, are either guilty of deliberately misrepresenting the facts in order to justify their goal of raising taxes, or they are badly uninformed and rushing to judgment based on insufficient information. I’m not sure which is worse.

The following article, although written by a very partisan source, explains the problem in detail. The issue is not that you can’t advocate for raising taxes, but if you’re going to do that, it shouldn’t be based on inaccurate information or deliberate falsehood:

http://bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&sid=aJHKNW1lro9Y&refer=columnist_hassett

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wherefore dost thou tax me?

Posted by sanityinjection on August 14, 2008

Interesting little story from Reuters regarding an Italian athlete, Francesco D’Aniello, who just won a silver medal in a shooting event at the Beijing Olympics. Apparently, Italy, like a number of countries, offers cash prizes to Italian athletes who win medals. However, those cash prizes are subject to taxation, like other forms of income. So D’Aniello, at a press conference, suggested the Italian government carve out a special tax exemption for Olympic medallists:

We athletes go through major sacrifices to get to this level. It would be the right thing to do to remove the taxes from what we get here. It would be a very good thing.

Normally I am inclined to sympathize with anyone who feels their taxes are too high. And I have no doubt that the Italian tax rates are probably higher than ours here in the US. But D’Aniello’s request is fundamentally flawed. Without gainsaying the amount of work and sacrifice that went into his achievement, does D’Aniello really think that athletes are the only ones who devote tremendous hard work and make sacrifices for their professions? How about police, firefighters, soldiers – should they all be tax exempt too? Or maybe D’Aniello thinks he’s more important than they are. The bottom line is, the government bonus for his medal is income, and should be taxed as such. The amount of the bonus was not given, but based on what similar countries pay, it’s probably a six-figure amount.

Of course, the Italian legislature might be wise to at least make a pretense of seriously considering D’Aniello’s suggestion. He is, after all, armed and a crack shot.

How do you say “ungrateful ass” in Italian?

http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSPEK15558920080812?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews&rpc=22&sp=true

Posted in Current Events, Foreign Affairs, Politics, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »