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  1. #91
    ^^^ (Cont'd)

    #2. "Traditional" Families Are No Better Than Any Other Type Of Family

    As fellow columnist Kathy Benjamin pointed out last week, nuclear families have never been the norm in all of history. Probably because they would've been laughably impractical in olden times, when everything was covered in measles and Pa's gun couldn't reload fast enough to kill all the rampaging packs of werewolves. But there's a reason it caught on, right? Like, it has to be the best way to raise a child, right? We wouldn't pick that structure totally arbitrarily, would we?

    Yes, we kinda did, since studies consistently find that the mama/papa/baby-bear family structure is no better than any other type. In fact, it's "non-traditional" family "styles" that seem to have the best luck: One study found that children of single mothers in multi-generational homes tend to be the best at not drinking and smoking in high school (which is another reason Rand Paul's weird comment about absent fathers is super wrong), while the children of parents in a homosexual relationship tend to get the best grades and have fewer behavior problems -- that is, once you control for financial disparity. Because, once you really start digging, you realize that your parents' income is a bigger indicator of your future success than anyone wants to admit.

    Because even though there's nothing wrong with "non-traditional" family structures, they end up disadvantaged anyway because of all the ways society is trying to screw them. According to a study by the Department Of Housing And Urban Development, nuclear families built around heterosexual relationships are more likely to receive favorable treatment when searching for housing, which is an indicator of the types of struggles that "non-traditional" families face. And people tend to assume that single parents can only fuck up their kids, partly because people on the news keep saying it's true -- even though it's super, super not.

    Basically, we all decided that there was one "good" type of family, and then put up huge roadblocks to sabotage the success of other, "alternative" family structures. Which makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy. And speaking of self-fulfilling prophecies ...

    #1. Your Life Is Defined More By Luck Than Hard Work

    You know the American Dream: work hard, dream big, get rewarded. Or, in nerdy terms, you start out as a low-level NPC, but through hard work you keep leveling up your bank account until you reach a limit break and the law no longer applies to you. Every single argument we've talked about in this article is based on the idea that there is something of a level playing field for families. If you're a good parent to your kids and teach them the right shit, then it doesn't matter how much money you make or where you live -- they'll have the tools they need to succeed.

    Ha! Wouldn't that be nice. No, it turns out that who you are is less important to your success than who your parents were: Statistically speaking, a rich kid who drops out of college is likely to end up doing better in life than a poor kid who sticks around long enough (and takes out enough predatory student loans) to graduate. A big study of over 800 kids in Baltimore, from first grade to their late 20s, found pretty much the same thing: Only 33 of the kids -- that's 4 percent -- managed to climb out of their income bracket, or get college degrees. You can work your ass off to raise kids, and you can break your spine trying to be a good and honest person, but in the end, dumb luck decides whether or not you ever claw your way out of the bottom of the poverty pit.

    As for why, I mean, there's all kinds of speculation we can do. Most jobs require extensive networking, and since low-income kids learn different social skills than kids in high-income families, they're probably finding themselves with a huge disadvantage on that front. Then there are unpaid internships, which are considered a career-necessity by rich kids and a hilarious fantasy by 20-year-olds who have to pay for their own gas and cellphone. In fact, you know those "troublemaker" entrepreneurs I mentioned a couple entries ago? They also tended to come from wealthy families.

    Of course, this doesn't mean that hard work doesn't help. I don't know anyone who's doing well in life and hasn't broken their goddamn back, every day, for years. But there are a ton of other folks doing the same goddamn thing and not getting those same opportunities. Luck is just a way bigger part of it than anyone wants to admit. In fact, I think we're so addicted to this meritocracy myth that every lie in this article is just another attempt to hide the fact that the line between rich and poor has a barbwire fence built over it.

  2. #92
    Former Johns Hopkins Chief of Psychiatry DESTROYS ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner

    TPIWriter | 96,571 views

    Dr. Paul R. McHugh, is a brilliant former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital. He has written more than 125 peer-reviewed medical journal articles and has published six scholarly books. When it comes to former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner’s recent changes, he has things to say which will make liberals furious!

    McHugh reaffirms the obvious – changing the sex of a human is not possible. And, instead of a liberating sexual movement, those who think they are transgender are actually suffering from a life-destroying mental disorder. Wow!

    Take a look at what he has to say…

    While the Obama administration, Hollywood and major media such as Time magazine promote transgenderism as “normal,” said Dr. McHugh, these “policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.”
    “This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken – it does not correspond with physical reality,” McHugh wrote. “The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.”

    The transgendered person’s disorder, said Dr. McHugh, is in the person’s “assumption” that they are different than the physical reality of their body, their maleness or femaleness, as assigned by nature. It is a disorder similar to a “dangerously thin” person suffering anorexia who looks in the mirror and thinks they are “overweight,” said McHugh.

    This assumption, that one’s gender is only in the mind regardless of anatomical reality, has led some transgendered people to push for social acceptance and affirmation of their own subjective “personal truth,” said Dr. McHugh. As a result, some states – California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – have passed laws barring psychiatrists, “even with parental permission, from striving to restore natural gender feelings to a transgender minor,” he said.

    The pro-transgender advocates do not want to know, said McHugh, that studies show between 70% and 80% of children who express transgender feelings “spontaneously lose those feelings” over time. Also, for those who had sexual reassignment surgery, most said they were “satisfied” with the operation “but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery.”

    “And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a ‘satisfied’ but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs,” said Dr. McHugh.

    The former Johns Hopkins chief of psychiatry also warned against enabling or encouraging certain subgroups of the transgendered, such as young people “susceptible to suggestion from ‘everything is normal’ sex education,” and the schools’ “diversity counselors” who, like “cult leaders,” may “encourage these young people to distance themselves from their families and offer advice on rebutting arguments against having transgender surgery.”

    Dr. McHugh also reported that there are “misguided doctors” who, working with very young children who seem to imitate the opposite sex, will administer “puberty-delaying hormones to render later sex-change surgeries less onerous – even though the drugs stunt the children’s growth and risk causing sterility.”

    Such action comes “close to child abuse,” said Dr. McHugh, given that close to 80% of those kids will “abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated ….”

    via CNS News

    This sort of shocking life change should not be celebrated. We should have great sympathy for people struggling with this illness, as it is quite bizarre to willingly go through such massive surface-level changes.

    Clearly, this doctor’s comments will annoy many liberals and transgender-activists, but it’s the truth.

  3. #93
    I've been polyamorous for almost a decade

    By Laurie Penny October 12, 2017 | 12:56pm | Updated

    Polyamory, if you believe the newspapers, is the hot new lifestyle option for affectless hipsters with alarming haircuts, or a sex cult, or both. A wave of trend articles and documentaries has thrown new light on the practice, also known as "ethical non-monogamy" ? a technical term for any arrangement in which you're allowed to date and snuggle and sleep with whomever you want, as long as everyone involved is happy. Responses to this idea range from parental concern to outright panic. Sleeping around is all well and good, but do we have to talk about it? Have we no shame? What's wrong, after all, with good old-fashioned adultery?

    Having been polyamorous for almost a decade, I spend a good deal of time explaining what it all means. When I told my magazine editor that I wanted to write about polyamory, she adjusted her monocle, puffed on her pipe and said, "In my day, young lady, we just called it shagging around." So I consider it my duty to her and the rest of the unenlightened to explain what it is that's different about how the kids are doing it these days.

    The state of polyamory today

    The short answer is: It's not the sleeping around that's new. There's nothing new about sleeping around. I hear that it's been popular since at least 1963. What's new is talking about it like grownups. It's the conversations. It's the texts with your girlfriend's boyfriend about what to get her for her birthday. It's sharing your Google Calendars to make sure nobody feels neglected.

    The Daily Mail would have you believe that polyamory is all wild orgies full of rainbow-haired hedonists rhythmically thrusting aside common decency and battering sexual continence into submission with suspicious bits of rubber. And there's some truth to that. But far more of my polyamorous life involves making tea and talking sensibly about boundaries, safe sex and whose turn it is to do the washing up.

    Over the past 10 years, I have been a "single poly" with no main partner; I have been in three-person relationships; I have had open relationships and dated people in open marriages. The best parts of those experiences have overwhelmingly been clothed ones.

    'How very millennial'

    There's something profoundly millennial about polyamory, something quintessentially bound up with my fearful, frustrated, over-examined generation, with our swollen sense of consequence, our need to balance instant gratification with the impulse to do good in a world gone mad. We want the sexual adventure and the free love that our parents, at least in theory, got to enjoy, but we also have a greater understanding of what could go wrong. We want fun and freedom, but we also want a good mark on the test. We want to do the right thing.

    All of this makes polyamory sound a bit nerdy, a bit swotty ? and it is. I find myself bewildered when online trend pieces going for titillation clicks present polyamory as gruesomely hip or freakishly fashionable. Polyamory is a great many things, but it is not cool. Talking honestly about feelings will never be cool. Spending time discussing interpersonal boundaries and setting realistic expectations wasn't cool in the 1970s and it isn't cool now. It is, however, necessary.

    There is so little that makes ethical sense in the lives of young and youngish people today. If there is an economic type that is over-represented among the poly people I have encountered, it is members of the precariat: what Paul Mason memorably called the middle-class "graduate with no future." Even the limited social and economic certainties that our parents grew up with are unavailable to us. We are told, especially if we are women, that the answer to loneliness and frustration is to find that one, ideal partner who will fulfill all our emotional, financial, domestic and sexual needs. We are told this even though we know full well that it doesn?t work out for a lot of people. Almost half of all marriages end in divorce.

    Challenging the doctrine of monogamy

    Paradoxically, as the moral grip of religious patriarchy has loosened its hold in the West, the doctrine of monogamous romance has become ever more entrenched. Marriage was once understood as a practical, domestic arrangement that involved a certain amount of self-denial. Now your life partner is also supposed to answer your every intimate and practical need, from orgasms to organizing the school run.

    Polyamory is a response to the understanding that, for a great many of us, that ideal is impractical, if not an active source of unhappiness. People have all sorts of needs at different times in their lives ? for love, companionship, care and intimacy, sexual adventure and self-expression ? and expecting one person to be able to meet them all is not just unrealistic, it?s unreasonable. Women in particular, who often end up doing the bulk of the emotional labor in traditional, monogamous, heterosexual relationships, don?t have the energy to be anyone's everything.

    I don't expect anyone to be everything to me. I want my freedom and I want to be ethical and I also want care and affection and pleasure in my life. I guess I'm greedy. I guess I'm a woman who wants to have it all. It's just that my version of "having it all" is a little different from the picture of marriage, mortgage and monogamy to which I was raised to aspire.

    Not all polyamorous relationships work out ? nor do all conventional relationships. We're making it up as we go along. It would be helpful to be able to do that without also having to deal with prejudice and suspicion.

    It's easy to see where the suspicion comes from. The idea of desire without bounds or limits is threatening. It's a threat to a social order that exerts control by putting fences around our fantasies and making it wicked to want anything unsanctioned. It's a threat to a society that has developed around the idea of mandatory heterosexual partnership as a way to organize households. It's threatening because it's utopian in a culture whose imagination is dystopian because it's about pleasure and abundance in a culture that imposes scarcity and self-denial. Freedom is often frightening ? and polyamory is about balancing freedom with mutual care. In this atomized society, that's still a radical idea.

    Extract taken from "Bitch Doctrine" by Laurie Penny, published by Bloomsbury, out now $24.99.
    Last edited by Joescoundrel; 10-20-2017 at 07:21 AM.

  4. #94
    US Supreme Court backs ruling against gay spouse benefits

    Associated Press / 09:53 AM December 05, 2017

    AUSTIN, Texas, United States - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Texas ruling that gay spouses may not be entitled to government-subsidized workplace benefits - a potential victory for social conservatives hoping to chip away at 2015's legalization of same-sex marriage.

    In June, the Texas Supreme Court overturned a lower court's decision favoring spousal benefits for gay city employees in Houston, ordering the issue back to trial. That was a major reversal for the all-Republican state high court, which previously refused to even consider the benefits case after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision that the Constitution grants gay couples who want to marry "equal dignity in the eyes of the law."

    The Texas court changed its mind and heard the case amid intense pressure from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton, as well as dozens of other conservative elected officials, church leaders and grassroots activists. They argued that the case may help Texas limit the scope of the Supreme Court ruling, especially in how it is applied to states.

    Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision to reject Houston?s appeal of the Texas court decision came without dissent or comment. The case began with a coalition of religious and socially conservative groups suing America?s fourth-largest city in 2013 to block a move to offer same-sex spousal benefits to municipal employees.

    Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of the civil rights group GLAAD, said the U.S. Supreme Court "has just let an alarming ruling by the Texas Supreme Court stand which plainly undercuts the rights of married same-sex couples."

    "Today?s abnegation by the nation's highest court opens the door for an onslaught of challenges to the rights of LGBTQ people at every step," Ellis said in a statement.

    But other advocates said Monday's action simply shows the Texas case is not fully concluded, rather than indicating how the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately rule on the larger issue.

    "There was high hope that the Texas decision was so wrong that the court wouldn't sit by and let it go," said Kenneth Upton, a Dallas-based attorney for the prominent LGBT-rights group Lambda Legal. "That's not how it works with the Supreme Court."

    Houston has been paying same-sex benefits amid the case's developments and will continue to do so while it progresses through lower Texas courts. The city argues that the 2015 legalization of gay marriage meant all marriages are equal, so anything offered to opposite-sex couples must be offered to same-sex ones.

    Conservative groups counter that the U.S. Supreme Court didn't declare spousal benefits a fundamental right of marriage two years ago, and that it should be up to states to decide. They also see a chance for Texas to defend religious liberty under a state gay marriage ban that voters approved in 2005.

    Jared Woodfill, a Houston attorney and conservative activist at the center of the case, called Monday's action by the nation's high court, "A nice early Christmas present."

    "The U.S. Supreme court could have taken the case and used it to further expand Obergefell. They chose not to," he said. "It's confirmation that the Texas Supreme Court got it right."

    Woodfill said that religious liberty groups in two other states had contacted him in years past, seeking information about Texas? legal challenge.

    "It obviously has precedential value, not just for Texas but the entire country," Woodfill said. However, the court has said on several occasions that the denial of such petitions "without more has no significance as a ruling."

    In August, three Houston city employees and their spouses sued the city in federal court, concerned that the civil case could force the city to stop paying same-sex benefits. A federal judge dismissed that case last month, saying it was too early since the civil case was still proceeding. Upton, who represented the city employees, said they were ready to sue again depending on what happens in Texas courts. /cbb

  5. #95
    Sex scandals dampen holiday celebrations

    Associated Press / 07:46 AM December 05, 2017

    NEW YORK, United States - 'Tis the season to keep that office holiday party from adding to the list of workplace sexual misconduct scandals.

    With the names of Weinstein, Spacey and Lauer likely getting more mentions this year than Dancer, Prancer and Blitzen, employers are making sure their year-end staff merrymaking doesn't generate more inappropriate conduct.

    There will be less booze at many. An independent business organization has renewed its annual warning not to hang mistletoe. And some will have party monitors, keeping an eye out for inappropriate behavior.

    TV and movies often depict office parties as wildly inappropriate bacchanals or excruciatingly awkward fiascoes, if not, horrifyingly, both. But even a regular office party can be complicated because the rules people normally observe at work don't quite apply, which makes it easier for people to accidentally cross a line - or try to get away with serious misbehavior. Especially when too much drinking is involved.

    According to a survey by Chicago-based consulting company Challenger, Gray & Christmas, only 49 percent of companies plan to serve alcohol at their holiday events. Last year that number was 62 percent, the highest number in the decade the firm has run its survey. The number had been going up each year as the economy improved.

    "As soon as you introduce alcohol at an off-site activity, peoples' guards are dropped," said Ed Yost, manager of employee relations and development for the Society for Human Resource Management based in Alexandria, Virginia. "It's presumed to be a less formal, more social environment. Some people will drink more than they typically would on a Friday night or a Saturday because it's an open bar or a free cocktail hour."

    The Huffington Post reported Friday that Vox Media, which runs sites including Vox and Recode, won't have an open bar this year at its holiday party and will instead give employees two tickets they can redeem for drinks. It will also have more food than in years past. The company recently fired its editorial director, Lockhart Steele, after a former employee made allegations of sexual harassment against him.

    A survey by Bloomberg Law said those kinds of safeguards are common: while most companies ask bartenders or security or even some employees to keep an eye on how much partygoers are drinking, others limit the number of free drinks or the time they're available. A small minority have cash bars instead of an open bar.

    The National Federation of Independent Businesses recommends all of those steps, and adds another that might seem obvious these days: don?t hang mistletoe. It's been giving those suggestions for several years.

    Yost said he always gets a lot of requests for advice in planning and managing these events, but he's getting even more of them this year. He said he?ll be spending his corporate holiday party the way he always does: patrolling hallways, checking secluded areas and trying to watch for people who look like they are stuck in an uncomfortable situation ? for example, inappropriate touching or a conversation that's taken a bad turn. If they're visibly uncomfortable, he'll intervene and plan a later conversation with the person responsible.

    The Challenger, Gray & Christmas survey shows that about 80 percent of companies will have a holiday party, the same as last year. And not everyone is planning changes.

    Anthony Vitiello, the marketing director for software company UltraShipTMS, said he planned his company's event and didn't rethink it. For the last few years the firm?s has marked the holiday with drinks and passed hors d'oeuvres in the wine cellar of a local restaurant. Vitiello thinks the formal setting makes the event calmer.

    "We haven't had any incidents, not a single one I can recall, where anyone got loud or over-consumed," he said. He added that many of the Fairlawn, New Jersey, company's 25 employees go out for drinks once a month, and he's not aware of any cases of misconduct.

    Yost said he?s not making changes to his group's event either. He added that companies concerned about sexual misconduct need to look further than the holiday party.

    "While there are additional complications that are associated with a holiday event, that's one day a year," he said. /cbb

  6. #96
    From Inquirer online ...

    French Actress Catherine Deneuve Has a Problem with the #MeToo Campaign


    A few years ago, walking along the streets of New York City, my mother was apparently running a mental tally of men who walked past us with a compliment or a wolf-whistle directed at me. She was rather miffed that I, then in my late 40s, seemed to still be able to attract appreciative looks and comments, not to mention less polite leery glances and catcalls, from the opposite sex, men of varying ages and ethnicities and degrees of hotness; men in smart suits, men in worker's overalls, men in uniform, men in casual attire; men who seemed prosperous and sophisticated, men who were plebs.

    It didn't matter to her who the men were or where they came from. It mattered that they noticed me and chose to express, completely unbidden, their appreciation of my looks. It mattered that they noticed me, despite the fact that I was of an age that would indicate that I was not exactly in the first - nor second - blush of youth. It mattered that decades before, men had often expressed, completely unbidden, the same appreciation of her (admittedly stunning) looks, whether in Europe, or America, or even Asia, and now she was invisible.

    I'd be lying if I said I wasn't delighted by the male attention I was receiving. It was quite flattering, considering I was a single mother of two grown daughters, to discover that I still had "it."

    So I can understand, to a certain extent, the sentiments of Catherine Deneuve, et al, the 100 or so French female actresses, writers, journalists, and academics who lamented, in an open letter to Le Monde, the indiscriminate stridency of the #MeToo movement across the Atlantic, and its accompanying mission of vigilante justice, the poisoning of relations between men and women, the politicization of something as edifyingly primal and basic as flirtation and the appreciation of female sexuality, the curtailment of sexual freedom in the in order to forward a feminist agenda that viewed men as adversaries, not partners or lovers.

    "Rape is a crime," the letter stated. "But insistent or clumsy flirting is not a crime, nor is gallantry a chauvinist aggression. As a result of the Weinstein affair, there has been a legitimate realization of the sexual violence women experience, particularly in the workplace, where some men abuse their power. It was necessary. But now this liberation of speech has been turned on its head."

    It went on to say, "This expedited justice already has its victims, men prevented from practicing their profession as punishment, forced to resign, etc., while the only thing they did wrong was touching a knee, trying to steal a kiss, or speaking about 'intimate' things at a work dinner, or sending messages with sexual connotation to a woman whose feelings were not mutual."

    While the letter does make some valid points - it also attacks #BalanceTonPorc, the French counterpart of #MeToo - it does highlight a very French sensibility that women of a certain generation, like Catherine Deneuve, have always embodied, a sensibility that seems to have contributed to the particular mystique that surrounds French women: that they prize sensuality and the art of seduction, that they support sexual freedom, regarding sex as being about pleasure first and foremost, that they don't think of women as victims and abhor "self-victimization." And that a woman’s desirability is something to cultivate, celebrate and maintain. A woman who is no longer desirable is no longer powerful; she is invisible, her value diminished.

    Implicit in this way of thinking, however, is that men are and will always be the arbiters of a woman's desirability. Even a magnificent Fanny Ardant, in her 60s, was desperate for the sexual attentions of a much younger man, who clearly was a jerk, in the movie Bright Days Ahead, because it meant she was still vital and desirable. And my 70-something mother, on a certain level, sought this same validation in New York, hoping to find it in the odd male gaze that could somehow appreciate the vital and desirable woman dressed in an elegant trench coat, who could still flirt and dazzle with disarming quips like the Catherine Deneuves of this world. I did mention to her that perhaps giving up smoking in an increasingly health-conscious America might make her more attractive.

    So for all the letter's talk about "inner freedom," and the power that comes from knowing that "a woman can, in the same day, lead a professional team and enjoy being the sexual object of a man, without being a 'promiscuous woman,' nor a vile accomplice of patriarchy," it seemed to insist on a woman's right to be appreciated and objectified, without acknowledging that there are men who insist, equally, on appreciating and objectifying women to the point of violence, abuse, harassment, and assault.

    Perhaps it's true that women should never underestimate the power of charm and flirtation, or even sexy underwear. And women should never have to be victimized. But men should also understand and respect boundaries.

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