November 22, 2014

Is essential beauty meaningful? [bh]

rosamund-pike

Is beauty worth commenting on?

(Hat tip sdferr in a test of my thoughts on putting comments into posts.)

Update! From our friend, Lee:

“When I was a youngster, my dad took an interest in botany. All well and good, except he wasn’t over his previous ( and perennial as it turns out) passion for photography, with predictable results.
I gotta tell ya, after looking at eighteen thousand pictures of the most beautiful flowers in the western hemisphere, one can get an itching to see a picture or two of a rock, or a dry patch of sand say. Something, anything, to provide some context, or perspective, or otherwise relief from an endless parade of exquisitely beautiful and diverse same old same old.”

Update! From our Darleen from our Heinlein:

“An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl she used to be. But a great artist–a master–and that is what Auguste Rodin was–can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is…and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be…more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo see that this lovely young girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply prisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart…no matter what the merciless hours have done to her. Look at her. Growing old doesn’t matter to you and me; we were never meant to be admired–but it does to them. Look at her!”

Posted by bh @ 9:55pm
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November 22, 2014

This is what a Feminist looks like — The university system as The Village of the Damned [Darleen Click]

stepfordstudents

Brendan O’Neill on the death of Free Speech in the UK.

Have you met the Stepford students? They’re everywhere. On campuses across the land. Sitting stony-eyed in lecture halls or surreptitiously policing beer-fuelled banter in the uni bar. They look like students, dress like students, smell like students. But their student brains have been replaced by brains bereft of critical faculties and programmed to conform. To the untrained eye, they seem like your average book-devouring, ideas-discussing, H&M-adorned youth, but anyone who’s spent more than five minutes in their company will know that these students are far more interested in shutting debate down than opening it up.

This side of the pond is little better …

The ‘no platform’ policy of various student unions is forever being expanded to keep off campus pretty much anyone whose views don’t chime perfectly with the prevailing groupthink. Where once it was only far-right rabble-rousers who were no-platformed, now everyone from Zionists to feminists who hold the wrong opinions on transgender issues to ‘rape deniers’ (anyone who questions the idea that modern Britain is in the grip of a ‘rape culture’) has found themselves shunned from the uni-sphere. My Oxford experience suggests pro-life societies could be next. In September the students’ union at Dundee banned the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children from the freshers’ fair on the basis that its campaign material is ‘highly offensive’.

Barely a week goes by without reports of something ‘offensive’ being banned by students. Robin Thicke’s rude pop ditty ‘Blurred Lines’ has been banned in more than 20 universities. Student officials at Balliol College, Oxford, justified their ban as a means of ‘prioritising the wellbeing of our students’. Apparently a three-minute pop song can harm students’ health. More than 30 student unions have banned the Sun, on the basis that Page Three could turn all those pre-rapists into actual rapists. Radical feminist students once burned their bras — now they insist that models put bras on. The union at UCL banned the Nietzsche Society on the grounds that its existence threatened ‘the safety of the UCL student body’.

Stepford concerns are over-amplified on social media. No sooner is a contentious subject raised than a university ‘campaign’ group appears on Facebook, or a hashtag on Twitter, demanding that the debate is shut down. Technology means that it has never been easier to whip up a false sense of mass outrage — and target that synthetic anger at those in charge. The authorities on the receiving end feel so besieged that they succumb to the demands and threats.

Heaven help any student who doesn’t bow before the Stepford mentality. The students’ union at Edinburgh recently passed a motion to ‘End lad banter’ on campus. Laddish students are being forced to recant their bantering ways. Last month, the rugby club at the London School of Economics was disbanded for a year after its members handed out leaflets advising rugby lads to avoid ‘mingers’ (ugly girls) and ‘homosexual debauchery’. Under pressure from LSE bigwigs, the club publicly recanted its ‘inexcusably offensive’ behaviour and declared that its members have ‘a lot to learn about the pernicious effects of banter’. They’re being made to take part in equality and diversity training. At British unis in 2014, you don’t just get education — you also get re-education, Soviet style.

Who knew that being an observant Jew or Christian would be the radical provocateur against The Orthodoxy.

(I would have said, “The Man”, but that would have been inexcusably heteronormative, sexist and unconsciously submissive to The Patriarchy.)

Posted by Darleen @ 1:07pm
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November 22, 2014

You’ve been forced to pick your ObamaCare plan, now good luck in keeping even that [Darleen Click]

Because PR is much more important than your silly liberty

Here’s a Friday Obamacare news-dump for you: In a 300-page regulatory proposal released late this afternoon, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it is considering changing Obamacare’s auto-renewal rules so that, within the health law’s exchanges, instead of being automatically renewed into your current health plan, you’d be moved into the lowest cost plan from the same service tier.

From the attached fact sheet:

Under current rules, consumers who do not take action during the openenrollment window are re-enrolled in the same plan they were in the previous year, even if that plan experienced significant premium increases. We are considering alternative options for re-enrollment, under which consumers who take no action might be defaulted into a lower cost plan rather than their current plan.

(Fact sheet via Adrianna McIntyre; proposal first noted by Politico.)

States running their own exchanges could start doing this in 2016, and federal exchanges could start in 2017.

It’s not just auto-reenrollment. It’s auto-reassignment, at least for those who pick that option. Basically, if you like your plan, but don’t go out of your way to intentionally re-enroll, the kind and wise folks at HHS or state health exchanges might just pick a new plan—perhaps with different doctors, clinics, cost structures, and benefit options—for you. And if you want to switch back? Good luck once open enrollment is closed. There’s always next year.

A hassle? Maybe. But have faith: They know what’s best. […]

[S]ince HHS decided over the summer to institute auto-renewal, and since the majority of Obamacare enrollees are expected to take no action and thus stay in their current plans, the reality is that under the current system a lot of enrollees are likely to see large premium hikes, just because they didn’t shop around for a new plan.

They only have the purest of motives, you know. Bless their hearts.

h/t PJ Tattler

Posted by Darleen @ 12:39pm
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November 22, 2014

Obama’s amnesty is like Lincoln’s freeing of the slaves … or something … [Darleen Click]

The spin ramps up …

Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation provides the foundational precedent for President Obama’s executive order on immigrants in the country illegally. […]

Particulars in Obama’s proclamation may well be changed by Americans over time. But like Lincoln’s, its provisional and limited character will have a democracy-forcing effect — spurring officials and citizens to more actively engage in a constitutional dialogue.

Rather than refusing to follow the Constitution and “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” the president emphasizes that he will continue deportations, using all the budgetary resources Congress has provided. But those appropriations cover the annual removal of only 400,000 of the 11.3 million immigrants in the country illegally. Given this fact, Obama’s initiative has a constitutionally legitimate purpose: to prevent Homeland Security from wasting its scarce resources on breaking up innocent families when it could be targeting immigrants who deserve expeditious removal.

And here

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is drawing a parallel between President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and President Obama’s planned executive actions on immigration reform.

“Does the public know the Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order?” Pelosi asked at a news conference Thursday morning.

Looks like Leftists all got their White House talking points

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) this week said President Barack Obama’s pending plan to give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants will someday be seen as an historical action along the lines of the Emancipation Proclamation. […]

“One day there will be movies written about this episode in American history,” he said, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “There will be a president who issues an executive order like the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed three to four million slaves with the signing of a pen.”

Because slaves – people sold out of Africa and who were actual pieces of property are exactly the same as people who came here of their own free will and will do anything to stay.

Exactly the same.

Posted by Darleen @ 9:31am
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November 21, 2014

University of California — sick, sick, sick [Darleen Click]

Not only is someone with an ISIS flag condemning America met with indifference – but the anti-Israel (and anti-Semitic) comments that start almost immediately when the Israeli flag is displayed are alarming.

Also, it appears that smoking a cigarette is more threatening than the ISIS flag.

Also — the UC system enforcing ideological “purity” on whim and allegations as if it were run by Iranian Imams.

The Microaggression Farce

In November 2013, two dozen graduate students at the University of California at Los Angeles marched into an education class and announced a protest against its “hostile and unsafe climate for Scholars of Color.” The students had been victimized, they claimed, by racial “microaggression”—the hottest concept on campuses today, used to call out racism otherwise invisible to the naked eye. UCLA’s response to the sit-in was a travesty of justice. The education school sacrificed the reputation of a beloved and respected professor in order to placate a group of ignorant students making a specious charge of racism.

The pattern would repeat itself twice more at UCLA that fall: students would allege that they were victimized by racism, and the administration, rather than correcting the students’ misapprehension, penitently acceded to it. Colleges across the country behave no differently. As student claims of racial and gender mistreatment grow ever more unmoored from reality, campus grown-ups have abdicated their responsibility to cultivate an adult sense of perspective and common sense in their students. Instead, they are creating what tort law calls “eggshell plaintiffs”—preternaturally fragile individuals injured by the slightest collisions with life. The consequences will affect us for years to come.

Posted by Darleen @ 1:44pm
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November 21, 2014

Call for aid

Hi, everyone. Just a note to let you know that my mother’s funeral was yesterday and that today we’ll be paying up her storage locker, which my brother left in arrears.

The funeral and burial costs were a bit over $11k, the storage unit is $700, and we spent an additional $4500 on travel and the lawyer.

My brother cashed out my mother’s life insurance account which named us all beneficiaries. He then took out a new account for $10k naming himself sole benificiary.

He refused to contribute any of the over $200k he took from my mother toward the funeral costs. And because my mother made a turn so quickly, we were fortunate to have about $15k available in order to give her a decent casket, a nice service, and a small send-off party, attended by family and friends my mother has had going all the way back to high school.

I’ve now learned from many of them the extent of my brother’s abuse of her — to the point she was terrified to defy him. She told one friend, “in this house, Steven is god.”

He’s using money he stole to hire a lawyer, so he’s going to fight to maintain his booty.

I hate to ask, but I’m down to my last $200 until next Thursday. We still have to pay the rental car bill and pay for meals through tomorrow.

If anyone has the means to contribute it would mean the world to my family.

It troubles my pride to have to put my hat out like this. But with the new house, we extended ourselves a bit, never imagining we’d have a $16k outlay with only one day’s notice.

Thanks in advance. And do know how much we appreciate any help you can give.

Regards,
Jeff

Ps. If you Tweet, consider RT the post. Thanks much.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:07am
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November 19, 2014

Obamnesty — fundamentally transforming America into a neo-feudal state [Darleen Click]

Barry to give American citizens the middle-finger tomorrow ..

President Obama will announce Thursday that he will use his executive authority to expand temporary protections to millions of undocumented immigrants, according to several individuals who have been briefed on the decision. Obama will travel to Las Vegas on the heels of that announcement to rally support for his initiative on Friday. […]

The president is preparing to use his executive authority to expand temporary protections to millions of these individuals, as well as to broaden visa programs for highly-skilled technology workers and perhaps also stiffen security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Posted by Darleen @ 1:37pm
89 comments | Trackback

November 19, 2014

Two-minute Grubering [Darleen Click]

Posted by Darleen @ 1:21pm
8 comments | Trackback

November 18, 2014

Requiescat in pace …. [Darleen Click]

Whatever else is going on in the world, I want to pause here to lend my thoughts and prayers to Jeff and his family upon the death of his mother.

Posted by Darleen @ 8:23pm
12 comments | Trackback

November 17, 2014

program note [updated; updated again; final update]

My family will be heading to Baltimore Sunday to visit my mother; we’ll be back just before Thanksgiving.

Thanks to all of you for your kind words and well wishes.

Also, thanks to Bobby U and SW for your donations. Very much appreciated!

update: received a call from family and the health care facility in which my mother is staying. Evidently she’s taken a turn for the worse and they want us to try to fly in earlier than Sunday. My wife is out of town right now but we’re going to try to find a flight out tomorrow evening.

If you’re so inclined, say a prayer or two for us.

update 2: So. Southwest Airlines doesn’t do bereavement rates or anything like that. To change our flights will cost us $4K, plus my wife will have to get a flight home early from her business trip. My brother is also going to pocket the $10K from the life insurance policy he holds on my mom and make me pay for the funeral. So here’s hoping she can hold on until the Sunday afternoon. As executor of Mom’s estate, I’m going to have to pay her bills and taxes, too — and she has nothing left that my brother hasn’t stolen, so I just can’t do everything. It’s not possible.

My Mom is off all medication except morphine at this point.

So. If anyone needs me, I’ll be by myself.

Oh. And fuck Southwest Airlines. Seriously. Fuck them. At least if she holds out until Friday, I can make the funeral.

update 3: With some help I was able to get a flight today. Thanks everyone.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:19am
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