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February 2010
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April 2010

Karen Grindle Enabled Child Rape at South Berwyn School District 100

These allegations are disturbing:

An elementary-school music teacher in the South Berwyn School District 100 was charged with sexually molesting numerous students over a period of several years during his tenure in the district. Some of the victims brought this civil lawsuit against the District and a school principal who allegedly knew about the abuse long before the charges were filed but did not take appropriate responsive action.

An investigation revealed Polaroids of children bound in duct tape and gagged.  School superintendent William Jones reprimanded the teacher twice for inappropriate touching.  Children cried out for help by telling their school principal, Karen Grindle, about the abuse:

After attending a school seminar about inappropriate touching in 2001, they took a piece of paper and wrote a note to the woman who spoke to them.

He "rubs our leg sometimes, rubs our back to feel for a bra," the girl, then age 11, wrote for herself and her friends."

He comments (to) me about my hair and how nice it looks when it's down, comments to (another female student) on how she dresses and that she should be a model."  

Karen Grindle never reported the teacher to police.  She let the teacher continue having access to young girls.  Dozens more children were arrested because of Karen Grindle.

Men in the News

Men are the new black.  I will probably write an omnibus post on manhood.  Until then, here are but a few discussions on manhood throughout the world:

  • Japanese "herbivore men" are afraid of women.
  • Men prefer video games to women.  Or men turn to video games because they cannot get women - who are searching for the few men who haven't fallen for feminism, and thus are full of aggression and vigor.  Hard to say.
  • Women in San Francisco need to learn "game," because men are afraid of women.
  • "Omega Males and the Women Who Hate Them."  Even feminists don't like feminine men?  
  • Wait, women in developed societies prefer feminine-looking men.  Except that the study asked women to rate photographs rather than provide pictures of ex-boyfriends.  To understand women, look at what they do rather than say.  Yet the study does exactly the opposite.  P.S.  Do you think Don Draper has trouble getting action?
  • As a matter of fact, women who self-identify as feminists lust Don Draper.
  • At the University of North Carolina, men are under-represented on college campus.  The New York Times focuses on how discrimination against men (why else would men be under-represented?) harms women's dating lives.
  • More men than women are unemployed.  The current depression is best understood as a mancession. 
  • Women who slut it up until their mid-30s can't find men because they are old and used up?  No; that couldn't be right.   It's that men who refuse to date women who view men as nothing more than a semen-uploading device are afraid of "strong women."  Yes, really.
  • Women who don't want to knit alone with their cats should marry a man - not out of love, but to avoid being bored.  Anyone who'd marry Lori Gottlieb deserves his life of quiet desperation.  
  • How the epidemic of female narcissism (see Gottlieb's piece) is impacting men.
  • Given that men face widespread discrimination, should colleges start offering a course in Men's Studies?  Yes, they should.  And they could teach, inter alia, that women are just as likely to commit domestic battery against men than men are against women.  As a field trip, they could take the class to a family law courtroom for the greatest show on Earth: Watch a Man Lose His Livelihood, Children, and Soul.

The culture is changing.  Enjoy the show.  If you want a lovely mosaic of the relationship between men and women, do read "The Misandry Bubble."

Fat People Are Drug Addicts

The stress eaters among us will not find this at all surprising:

In a newly published study, scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have shown for the first time that the same molecular mechanisms that drive people into drug addiction are behind the compulsion to overeat, pushing people into obesity.

The new study, conducted by Scripps Research Associate Professor Paul J. Kenny and graduate student Paul M. Johnson, was published March 28, 2010 in an advance online edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience.

What are the practical implications for those of you who, like me, stress eat but don't want to: Avoidance.  There is no junk food in my home.  When I allowed it into my home, I gained 50 pounds in a couple of years.  To speak of willpower is to misunderstand addiction.  

Willpower is best understood as the absence of will.  Keep the junk food out of the home.  Control your environment.  You will never win a battle of wills by fighting the drug.   

Only through avoiding the battle of wills will you win the battle of wills.

Alcoholics would never keep beer in the 'fridge.  A heroine junkie would never keep needles in his desk drawer.  Yet obese people keep "little snacks" all throughout their homes.  

If you are fat and unhappy about being fat, then quite frankly, you are a drug addict.  

It's OK.  I'm a drug addict, too.  You couldn't tell by looking at me, since I am in fantastic shape.  That was not always the case.  Every day I think about junk good.  Every day I am tempted.  If I take even one bite of a cookie, I will eat a box of cookies.

So I almost never take that bite.  On days I do step out, I move on immediately and do not let a single bad choice define the rest of my days or the rest of my life.  

Switch the frame.  Food is an addiction.  Learn from alcoholics.  How they they recover?  They don't recover by rewarding themselves with a weekly treat of beer.  "This week was a huge success.  I didn't drink once.  I've earned this shot of vodka!"  They keep keep gin sitting around at home.  They protect themselves from themselves through avoidance.

To win without fighting is best.  In a battle with drugs, to win without fighting is the only way one can win.

Six Years (Off-and-On)

Happy (Belated) Birthday to Crime & Federalism.  The first post was on March 19, 2004.  Burned through some co-bloggers, got fired from a job, lost a couple of friends; but also got citied in two federal judicial opinions, got me jobs, and gained several friends.

Saying, "I don't care who reads," is bravado.  A blog without readers is a diary. 

So...Thanks for reading.  There are enough readers that I feel a light pressure to produce content; but not so many readers that I feel resentful at the pressure to produce.  A good balance.  Thank you.

P.S. Have you bookmarked and blogrolled Section 1983 Blog?  It's really good - certainly better than Crime & Federalism, and definitely more worthy of your attention.

Status and Happiness

Numerous studies all show the same thing, namely, that people are only happen when they are above others:

A study by researchers at the University of Warwick and Cardiff University has found that money only makes people happier if it improves their social rank. The researchers found that simply being highly paid wasn’t enough – to be happy, people must perceive themselves as being more highly paid than their friends and work colleagues.

The biggest threat to individuality is comparing one's self to others.  Why care what other people are doing?  If I am able to pay my bills, I don't care what other people are making.  This is why I am an freeman rather than a slave.  

The researchers were seeking to explain why people in rich nations have not become any happier on average over the last 40 years even though economic growth has led to substantial increases in average incomes.

Lead researcher on the paper Chris Boyce from the University of Warwick’s Department of Psychology said: 

“Our study found that the ranked position of an individual’s income best predicted general life satisfaction, while the actual amount of income and the average income of others appear to have no significant effect. Earning a million pounds a year appears to be not enough to make you happy if you know your friends all earn 2 million a year”

Have you ever looked at the statement of wages the Social Security Department sends you?  I did last year, and it made me re-examine my life.  My senior year in college I earned approximately $13,000.  While earning substantially more, I was less happy.  Why?

It's always important to examine what one values.  I value autonomy and knowledge.  I don't care much for what money can buy.  I drive a crappy car and don't care if I ever own a home.  (But what about kids?  No, thank you.)

To earn more money, I need to kiss more ass and read fewer books.  Is the trade worth it?  For me, it's not.

For you, maybe the trade is worth it.  I never preach that one should adopt my values.  Instead, I teach that you should discover your own values.  If status whoring and wearing Prada is your thing, great.  Who am I to tell you otherwise?  If you're thoughtlessly status whoring and wearing Prada, perhaps it's time to ask yourself: Is it worth it?

More importantly, ask, Why am I doing this?

Consider that much of what we do it to signal reproductive fitness.  How much did that car cost?  If your end game is sex, wouldn't it have been cheaper to hire a personal trainer and take steroids?  

Or maybe you don't even consciously want to sex people, but instead are buying a car because your selfish genes told you to?  We are often unaware of our gene's motives.  The transcendent process requires one to examine what evolutionary motivations he has; and to decide whether to allow those motivations to move him.

People also status whore as a way to feel good about themselves.  Aren't there more productive ways to feel good?  Unless you're mentally ill, you'll almost certainly derive more feel-good chemicals working at a no-kill animal shelter than you would one-upping someone at the latest Georgetown dinner party.  

And do you think people are those dinner parties are even happy?  The most miserable people are in the world end are the chattering and dinner party classes.

There are certainly many ways of going through life.  Chasing status seems like the one least likely to bring you happiness.

Most Influential Books Meme

Catch-22: Probably this is the best explication of human thinking – ever.  It also got me over puppy love.  I was 19 when I read it, and could not understand why this girl whom I treated nicely ended the relationship to date a jerk.  She wants a nice guy but if you’re nice she doesn’t want you – that’s a Catch-22.  More broadly: People want what they want until they get it, in which case they don’t want it anymore.  This is completely nuts, but such is the human condition.

On the Genealogy of Morals: Where did morality come from?  What drives it?  What’s its purpose?  Nietzsche was a philogist, and it showed.  Through tracing the history and development of morality, we learn that morality exists for one reason – to oppress. 

The Education of a Bodybuilder: Arnold Schwarzengger is one of the most interesting men to have ever lived.  His success is due to one thing - pain.  Most people move away from pain.  They think that the absence of pain leads to pleasure.  Yet people who have lived pain-free lives are boring and almost always unsuccessful.  Always seek pain in what you do, because pain leads to pleasure.  That's true of life inside the weight room and outside of the weight room.  

The Moral Animal:  Robert Wright introduces evolutionary psychology to a wider audience.  I read all of the original books (e.g., The Selfish Gene, Sociobiology) after reading Wright's.  There's no reason to read beyond The Moral Animal.

The Nicomachean Ethics:  While there is much good in the Ethics, most important of all is Aristotle’s discussion of friendship.   No one after Aristotle has anything interesting to say about friendship, and if a person created his friendships based on the Ethics, he would live a fulfilled life.

Atlas Shrugged: While I outgrew my childish objectivism, Rand’s public-servant-as-leech is the most valuable metaphor in her work.  The people who claim to act in the public interest – think Wesley Mouch – are actually advancing their own interests.  Al Gore is fighting global warming from the comfort of a Tennessee McMansion in between flights on a private jet to earn $100,000 speaking fees.  Goldman Sachs supports cap-and-trade.  Why?  Because the best way to enrich one’s self is to hide the profit motive underneath a cloak of public service.  Never trust anyone who claims to be a public servant.

The Making of a Country Lawyer and How to Argue and Win Every Time:  Gerry Spence would be insufferable were it not for his extensive training in charisma.   These two books can teach you, too, how to be charismatic.

Great Dialogues of Plato:  Got me thinking philosophically, and changed how I questioned common truths.

Theory of Positive Disintegration by Kazimierz Dąbrowski.  In a world of child rape, human trafficking, , animal cruelty, environmental destruction, and oppressiveness: How can a caring person not have a nervous breakdown?  According to Dabrowski, every emotionally rich person will have a nervous breakdown that may lead to increased human consciousness.  Ergo, the disintegration of lower-levels of consciousness is positive.  Neurosis and breakdown are not afflictions – but are instead the normal transitions complex people make when transitioning from the primitive to higher levels of emotional development.

The Little Prince: In 70 pages – with pictures – I challenge anyone to better describe love (the rose), the obsession with money (the fat banker encounter), and vicious cycles (the alcoholic).

The Psychology of Judgment and Decisionmaking:  This is the only book I’ve read in the past couple of years that completely changed my thinking.  It’s an introduction to cognitive bias.  It has changed how I think about my own life, and the means and methods I use when persuading others.  I bought several copies to give as gifts, and recommended it to everyone I respected.

Collected essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson - specially Self Reliance: "There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till."  Free online, too, if you Google around.

The Viking Portable Jung: I am only 1/3 into this book.  It is so full of wisdom that reading it all at once would be to cheapen the experience.  You cannot rush intimacy.  I read a few pages a week and will probably spend all year with Jung.  I will not fully appreciate Jung for at least 5 more years, as I'm still too young and self-involved.