Why Are Student Protesters So Fearful?

Some 20 years ago Todd Gitlin wrote The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America Is Wracked by Culture Wars. He was roundly booed by everyone with an investment in identity politics.

I remember that period as it was when I first got on-line.  I wasn’t much vested in the politics of identity and was constantly catching a bunch of crap for being politically incorrect.

Over the last 20 years I have come to view identity politics as one of the most universally oppressive piles of bullshit to ever come down the pike.

You see once there was something called the common good, things most people could agree were good for the majority of people in this country and for the country in general.  There were enough things we could agree on.

Not everything turned into a fight complete with name calling.

Maybe we used to feel we actually had some control over our lives, some real say in how things were run.  Maybe living in the real world was less overwhelming than being flooded 24/7 with pleadings for support accompanied by an inability to do anything about much of anything.

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/opinion/sunday/why-are-student-protesters-so-fearful.html?_r=0

Todd Gitlin
Nov. 21, 2015

The message coming out of recent student protests on college campuses, from Princeton and Yale to the University of Missouri, couldn’t be clearer: Students are rightly pained by the racist and sexual abuse still shockingly common into the 21st century, and for good reason they are indignant that institutions they trust — or wish to trust — fail to stop the culprits, or even to acknowledge publicly the harm they do.


But rumbling under the surface of some recent protests is something besides indignation: an assumption of grave vulnerability. The victims too often present themselves as weak, in need of protection. Administrators are held, like helicopter parents, wholly responsible. To a veteran of movements of the ’60s like myself, this is strikingly strange.

Surely there are reasons to feel vulnerable to abuses of power. There is a rape culture. Black people are killed by the police in grotesque proportions. Hatred of immigrants has reached a high pitch of hysteria and looms large in the thinking of one of our major political parties.

It is also true that many administrators are caught flat-footed; just consider how long it took the University of Missouri to acknowledge longstanding concerns by minority students about campus racism.

And yet, when that recognition came and the president and chancellor resigned, instead of celebrating an extraordinary victory — with football players as their crucial allies — demonstrators blocked photographers from taking pictures of their assembly. They apparently believed that public assemblies ought to be “safe spaces,” meaning, safe from photography, which might have been thought to be useful for bringing the news to a larger public. Their starting assumption was that the press had it in for them.

At Yale, meanwhile, administrators cautioned students about how to dress properly for Halloween, and when another administrator publicly questioned whether this was an issue the administration needed to take a position on, protesters demanded her resignation.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/opinion/sunday/why-are-student-protesters-so-fearful.html?_r=0

Consume more, conserve more: sorry, but we just can’t do both

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/24/consume-conserve-economic-growth-sustainability

Tuesday 24 November 2015

We can have it all: that is the promise of our age. We can own every gadget we are capable of imagining – and quite a few that we are not. We can live like monarchs without compromising the Earth’s capacity to sustain us. The promise that makes all this possible is that as economies develop, they become more efficient in their use of resources. In other words, they decouple.

There are two kinds of decoupling: relative and absolute. Relative decoupling means using less stuff with every unit of economic growth; absolute decoupling means a total reduction in the use of resources, even though the economy continues to grow. Almost all economists believe that decoupling – relative or absolute – is an inexorable feature of economic growth.

On this notion rests the concept of sustainable development. It sits at the heart of the climate talks in Paris next month and of every other summit on environmental issues. But it appears to be unfounded.

A paper published earlier this year in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences proposes that even the relative decoupling we claim to have achieved is an artefact of false accounting. It points out that governments and economists have measured our impacts in a way that seems irrational.

Here’s how the false accounting works. It takes the raw materials we extract in our own countries, adds them to our imports of stuff from other countries, then subtracts our exports, to end up with something called “domestic material consumption”. But by measuring only the products shifted from one nation to another, rather than the raw materials needed to create those products, it greatly underestimates the total use of resources by the rich nations.

For instance, if ores are mined and processed at home, these raw materials, as well as the machinery and infrastructure used to make finished metal, are included in the domestic material consumption accounts. But if we buy a metal product from abroad, only the weight of the metal is counted. So as mining and manufacturing shift from countries such as the UK and the US to countries like China and India, the rich nations appear to be using fewer resources. A more rational measure, called the material footprint, includes all the raw materials an economy uses, wherever they happen to be extracted. When these are taken into account, the apparent improvements in efficiency disappear.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/24/consume-conserve-economic-growth-sustainability

University yoga class canceled because of ‘oppression, cultural genocide’

I for one am fed up with this cultural appropriation bullshit.

Call the stretching exercises something else.  Like Stretching Exercises based on Yoga.

I guess all the TaeKwondo, Karate and Kung-fu schools are going to have to close too.

No more studying languages other than your own or reading books, watching movies outside your own culture.  Better yet outside your own particular identity group classification.

Absolute conformity to your designated identity community is mandatory otherwise you could be labeled as having a psychiatric disorder called ODD (Opposition Defiant Disorder).

Wait I saw movies from this dystopian nightmare.  The series is called Divergent and is based on a young adult series by the same name.

Fuck me.  Being anti-authority/questioning authority/not being a good sheeple makes one mentally ill in the Brave New World Order.  Resisting the 24/7 programming is being …  Well for want of a better term Divergent.

I should have known I was in deep shit some 20 years ago when I faced ostracism for resisting the ideology of the Transgender Borg Collective

Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly in a place where I was immersed in the history of the American Revolution I considered my rights and freedom to decide things for myself to be innate, as natural as a breath of mountain air.  I saw myself as an individual endowed with with basic rights including the ability think for myself.

Telling people they can’t study things and learn for themselves about the world around them is the worst sort of totalitarianism.  It imposes ignorance and places that ignorance on a pedestal of correct thinking.

I don’t give a shit if it is the right wing denying the importance to others of their particular holidays that come at the end of the year or denying sex education or denying climate change.  Fuck those who claim sacred status for yoga and other exercise techniques.  Fuck those who demand the world conform to their particular ideology. I don’t give a shit if it is so called progressives demanding I believe their bullshit and accommodate their ultra sensitivities.

You can believe what ever the fuck you want.  But I will go to war to defend my right to believe something different if my learning and life experiences have taught me something different.

From The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/11/23/university-yoga-class-canceled-because-of-oppression-cultural-genocide/

November 23, 2015

In studios across the nation, as many as 20 million Americans practice yoga every day. Few worry that their downward dogs or warrior poses disrespect other cultures.

But yoga comes from India, once a British colony. And now, at one Canadian university, a yoga class designed to include disabled students has been canceled after concerns the practice was taken from a culture that “experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy,” according to the group that once sponsored it.

In a telephone interview with The Washington Post, Jennifer Scharf, who taught the class for up to 60 people at the University of Ottawa, said she was unhappy about the decision, but accepted it.

“This particular class was intro to beginners’ yoga because I’m very sensitive to this issue,” she said. “I would never want anyone to think I was making some sort of spiritual claim other than the pure joy of being human that belongs to everyone free of religion.”

The trouble began on Sept. 7. That’s when Scharf, who said she had taught a class since 2008 through the school’s Centre for Students with Disabilities — part of the university’s Student Federation — got an e-mail.

“I have unfortunate news,” the e-mail from a student representative of the center read. “Apparently our centre has chosen not to do yoga for programming this year. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns in regards to this and I am welcome to explain. Thank you so much for volunteering to do yoga over the past couple years. It has truly been wonderful and I hope to stay in touch in the future.” (Scharf provided the e-mail exchange to The Post, but removed the name of the representative so the person could not be identified, saying: “I don’t want to get anyone in trouble.” A message sent to the representative’s e-mail address was not immediately returned.)

Scharf was sorry to hear of the cancellation — attributed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to the University of Ottawa Student Federation, which describes itself as the “instrument of political action” for the undergraduate population at the university.

“That’s disappointing news for sure, is there someone I can speak to about this?” she wrote. “Do you know why the decision was made? I don’t mind doing it for free so if money is a concern, that’s no problem.”

Money was not a concern, however. Culture was.

“I think that our centre agreed … that while yoga is a really great idea, accessible and great for students, that there are cultural issues of implication involved in the practice,” the response read. “I have heard from a couple students and volunteers that feel uncomfortable with how we are doing yoga while we claim to be inclusive at the same time.”

Explaining that yoga has a fraught history, the representative continued.

“Yoga has been under a lot of controversy lately due to how it is being practiced and what practices from what cultures (which are often sacred spiritual practices) they are being taken from,” the e-mail read. “Many of these cultures are cultures that have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy, and we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves and while practicing yoga.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/11/23/university-yoga-class-canceled-because-of-oppression-cultural-genocide/

De Blasio, Bratton On ISIS Threat

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8 Things Later-in-Life Lesbians Want You To Know

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/helene-tragos-stelian/things-lesbians-want-you-to-know_b_8577926.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay%20Voices


At an event earlier this year, I met two women who, as it turned out, were not only business partners but also life partners. They left their marriages and grown children in their 50s and have been together ever since. My curiosity piqued, I’m afraid I monopolized their time with my many questions. As someone who writes about midlife reinventions on my site, Next Act for Women, I am always on the lookout for women who have made major life changes, whether personal or professional, later in life. This certainly qualified.

As luck would have it, soon after, I received an unsolicited request from Lisa Ekus, who fell in love with another woman at 51 and wanted to share her story. It was kismet. After hearing more about Lisa’s background, and talking to my sister, Kat, who also came out late, I felt there was a lot we “straight” people needed to learn. Starting with my most glaring misconception…


Most of the women I interviewed were adamant that they did not suddenly turn from straight to gay, but rather only awakened later in life to their attraction to women. They feel this attraction has always been there but had been previously inaccessible, for reasons individual to each situation.

Lisa Dordal, who came out after being married to a man for five years, explains, “I finally embraced the fact that I was a lesbian when I came out of the closet at age 30. I believe strongly that I was knit in the womb as a lesbian. In retrospect, the clues had been there all along. In high school and college, I wrote poems about girls and women I had crushes on and can also remember falling in love with my best friend at 14–as much as one can ‘fall in love’ at that age.”

Candace Talmadge agrees: “It’s a question of acknowledging that which is already within you and deciding to act on it instead of ignoring or burying it in the closet. I tried to act straight and dated men without any success. I could have continued on that unhappy road but I found a person who loves and respects me and has been my best friend since 1986, and my spouse since last year. She just happens to be female instead of male.”

Dr. Lauren Costine, Psychologist, LGBTQ Activist, and author of Lesbian Love Addiction: Understanding the Urge to Merge and How to Heal When Things Go Wrong, shares her journey: “Once I had worked on my internalized LGBTQ phobias, I finally felt good enough about myself to be my authentic self. I stopped worrying about what anyone thought about my identity and who I loved and had sex with–especially my mother, who made it very clear she did not want me to be a lesbian. It was very hard on me for a long time because I did not want to disappoint her and I know her inability to love this part of me affected my ability to come out earlier in life. Unfortunately, she never accepted my lesbian identity but I finally moved past needing her approval and started living my life. And it’s amazing! I love my life. I love being different and don’t want to be like everyone else. Life was way harder when I was trying to be straight. Being an LGBTQ activist–trying to make the world a better place for LGBTQ folks–takes away any discomfort I may have being a sexual minority.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/helene-tragos-stelian/things-lesbians-want-you-to-know_b_8577926.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay%20Voices

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Sanders speaks on democratic socialism

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Reform Islam to save it from extremists

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