Recent Articles

Spanish Nun Questions Mary’s Virginity

What is the price one pays when one suggests that sex is a necessary precursor to having a baby? Death threats! What follows is apparently deserving of the death sentence, according to the NYPost:

“I think Mary was in love with Joseph and that they were a normal couple – and having sex is a normal thing,” Caram told the Chester in Love Show, according to the Guardian. “It’s hard to believe and hard to take in. We’ve ended up with the rules we’ve invented without getting to the true message.”

According to the article, these sort of free-thinking questions also require an apology or, at least, that is what Sister Caram felt compelled to do.

The take-away: It is apparently the safer practice to proclaim that Mary got pregnant without having sex.

February 2, 2018 | By | Reply More

Defining Rape and Disparaging Women

With the #MeToo movement in full bloom, it is apparent that the discussion we are now having about consent and the contentiousness of this discussion have not moved much since 1993, when Katie Roiphe wrote “Date Rape’s Other Victim” in the NYT.  I am in general agreement with Roiphe’s analysis.

Like many important issues today, we have divided into tribes and locked horns. Regarding this particular issue of consent, it is apparently impossible for many people to see that expanding the notion of rape beyond physical threats and physical coercion can only be done at the risk of denying that women have commensurate intelligence, communication skills and autonomy as men.  Here is an excerpt from Roiphe’s 1993 article:

This apparently practical, apparently clinical proscription cloaks retrograde assumptions about the way men and women experience sex. The idea that only an explicit yes means yes proposes that, like children, women have trouble communicating what they want. Beyond its dubious premise about the limits of female communication, the idea of active consent bolsters stereotypes of men just out to “get some” and women who don’t really want any.

Rape-crisis feminists express nostalgia for the days of greater social control, when the university acted in loco parentis and women were protected from the insatiable force of male desire. The rhetoric of feminists and conservatives blurs and overlaps in this desire to keep our youth safe and pure.

By viewing rape as encompassing more than the use or threat of physical violence to coerce someone into sex, rape-crisis feminists reinforce traditional views about the fragility of the female body and will. According to common definitions of date rape, even “verbal coercion” or “manipulation” constitute rape. Verbal coercion is defined as “a woman’s consenting to unwanted sexual activity because of a man’s verbal arguments not including verbal threats of force.” The belief that “verbal coercion” is rape pervades workshops, counseling sessions and student opinion pieces. The suggestion lurking beneath this definition of rape is that men are not just physically but also intellectually and emotionally more powerful than women.

January 25, 2018 | By | Reply More

How important is a college education?

This article by Peter Coy in Bloomberg makes a strong case against the “need” for college education for most people.

[M]ost of us don’t need to understand the Krebs cycle or the Peloponnesian War. Honestly, how much do you remember, let alone use, from Spanish or chem or calculus? For many students, college is mostly about jumping through hoops on command to show potential employers you’re ready, willing, and able to jump through hoops on command.

January 18, 2018 | By | 1 Reply More

Sessions: OK to jail people because they are poor

Op-ed from the NYT:

Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions retracted an Obama-era guidance to state courts that was meant to end debtors’ prisons, where people who are too poor to pay fines are sent. This practice is blatantly unconstitutional, and the guidance had helped jump-start reform around the country. Its withdrawal is the latest sign that the federal government is retreating from protecting civil rights for the most vulnerable among us.

December 30, 2017 | By | Reply More

Trump exposes vulnerabilities of the U.S. Constitution

At the U.K. Guardian, Jonathan Freedman writes the following in his article, “The year of Trump has laid bare the US constitution’s serious flaws”:

I once thought the US constitution – a document crafted with almost mathematical precision, constructing a near-perfect equilibrium of checks and balances – offered protection against such perils. And there’s no denying that that text, as interpreted by the courts, has indeed acted as a partial roadblock in Trump’s path, delaying and diluting his Muslim-focused “travel ban”, for example.

But this year of Trump has also shown the extent to which the US has an unwritten constitution that – just like ours – relies on the self-restraint of the key political players, a self-restraint usually insisted upon by a free press. Yet when confronted with a leader unbound by any sense of shame – and shamelessness might just be Trump’s defining quality – America is left unexpectedly vulnerable.

December 30, 2017 | By | Reply More

Lee Camp Replies to “Neo-McCarthyite” smears of RT Network

Lee Camp refuses to let go of important issues of the day, and that is why he, and others who follow the facts where they lead, ended up at RT. But RT’s shows are now being smeared with a broad brush, as though all of its shows are the product of Russian propaganda. Lee Camp’s response:

December 20, 2017 | By | Reply More

Quotes for gearing up for the next adventure

I offer these nine short quotes so sum up my emotions this morning. I’ve recently concluded a rather intense and unsuccessful foray into public interest law. Down but not out. It’s time to turn my energies to a new project, not to cloister myself:

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Do the next right thing.”
Dale Irwin (A Kansas City consumer attorney, a friend of mine, who I hold in the highest esteem)

“If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.”
― Mario Andretti

There is no such thing as a disembodied mind. The mind is implanted in the brain, and the brain is implanted in the body.
Antonio Damasio (Neuroscientist)

“I will keep constant watch over myself and – most usefully – will put each day up for review… Let us balance life’s books each day…” – Seneca

Many People Die at 25 and aren’t buried until they are 75.
Benjamin Franklin

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

“To understand everything is to forgive everything.”
― Buddha

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
― William Wilberforce

December 10, 2017 | By | Reply More

A history of the female nude in art

This excellent article by Jesse Prinz surveys than 4,000 years of the female nude in art.  The website is Artboullion and the article is “Venus Stripped Bear: A History of the Female Nude.”

December 10, 2017 | By | Reply More

John Cleese Speaks Out on Political Correctness

John Cleese argues that if we don’t reign in political correctness, we will drain our society of humor, all of which challenges, and is critical. If allowed to an extreme, political correctness drives us not toward something useful, but to something Orwellian.

December 10, 2017 | By | Reply More