Mumsnet’s Political Insights Are Right up There with My Spaniel’s

Prime Minister’s Question Time (PMQs) is a big turn off. So says Mumsnet, the website for women who have had babies, are thinking about having babies, or who are just really into the idea that motherhood is such a blessed state in and of itself that it confers special insight and must be deferred to as often as possible on every conceivable occasion.

One politician who predictably agrees with them is milksop deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. Endorsing a petition signed by 56,000 Mumsnet users demanding that PMQs be made more accessible and less combative, he appeared at a specially convened Mumsnet Q & A session to show just how very much he cared about this vital demographic’s views.

Bravely and controversially, he told the assembled mothers that their petition was “brilliant.”

He said it was: “Basically saying: ‘When is Prime Minister’s Questions going to be a) scheduled to the time when people below 65 watch it? When is it actually going to allow other people to ask questions? When is it going to become less of this kind of Punch and Judy formula?”

Clegg went on to denounce the archaism and machismo of the Commons debating chamber.

“And so the whole thing is in a language which wasn’t used since 1867 and in a kind of highly aggressive, sort of, macho, chest-beating, testosterone-driven idiom which is deeply off-putting to – to any normal person.”

Elsewhere, Sky News reported on some of the special insights on Westminster politics to be found among Mumsnet users.

Nicola Turner, mother of four-year-old Lily, said: “I think they’re quite immature in a lot of respects, quite inconsiderate of each other. “They need to allow time for each person to speak and show the respect and consideration of allowing those people to speak without interrupting them.”

Vicky Barton, who has a one-year-old son William, agrees. She said: “The fact that the speaker had to stand up several times and tell them to be quiet and calm down, you get that in nursery or in primary school, you certainly don’t expect adults to have to be told more than once.”

The temptation with news “stories” like this – covered uncritically in the Mail, on Sky, in the New Statesman and on LBC radio; endorsed, as we have just seen, by Nick Clegg – is either to ignore them or report them dismissively with added snark.

Problem is, neither technique quite addresses the serious underlying menace here: a phenomenon which probably deserves the Twitter hashtag #waronmen

Why, pray, should the views on PMQs (or any other political issue for that matter) held by women with children be afforded any more significance than those of, say, cyclists or spinsters or hairdressers? And if we’re consulting Mumsnet, why not Dogsnet and Catsnet and Goldfishnet? Or – indeed – Dadsnet?

The answer, unfortunately, is that Mumsnet represents the vaguely acceptable face of a shrill, manipulative, bossy and often rather nasty neo-feminist movement whose influence can be seen everywhere from the hysterical Twitter trolling of characters like Caroline Criado Perez (the irritant who campaigned successfully to get Jane Austen on the next £10 note – not on her literary merits but on the ludicrous grounds that the author of Pride And Prejudice was some kind of proto-feminist) to the current Salem-style frenzy over the various celebrities or semi-celebrities being aggressively pursued through the courts for various alleged sexual offences at the behest of a new female Director of Public Prosecutions on an apparently holy mission to secure more rape convictions.

Do you like this new enlightened age into which these harpies are dragging us, kicking and screaming, by our rude bits?

Perhaps you do. But only if you agree all men are rapists, that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, that the reason there aren’t more women in the boardroom is because of corporate sexism, that sending sexist emails or tweeting disobligingly about your favourite Guardianista feminist harpie ought to be a career-destroying offence, that any criticism of anyone female is prima facie evidence of incorrigible misogyny, that the reason there aren’t more women engineers and neurosurgeons is because of a phallocentric bias which needs urgently addressing through positive discrimination, that women players at Wimbledon deserve exactly the same prize pot as men even though they play fewer sets and they’re less interesting to watch, that if only we had more female talents like Caroline Lucas and Hillary Clinton in government everything would run much more smoothly and consensually without any of that willy-waving war-mongering which is all men – bless – are really capable of because they’re all neanderthals at heart, rapists too, did I mention that all men are rapists?

Otherwise you might find this new cultural climate a mite disconcerting.




Source: Breitbart Feed

Gut Check: Ode to the Bar Owner in a Small Town

Truckee, California. 

I was there to deal with some family stuff and get away from some family stuff. There I came across the taker and the risk-taker.

After being away from this little town outside of Lake Tahoe for at least 3 decades, I sensed a change. A once dusty, mountain-littered, gritty little shit-kicking town was now swamped with luxury cabins owned by Obama voters and Norcal Landlords (one and the same, likely). They don’t fit the clichéd landlord, for they only ask that you not wear shoes on the expensive paneled floors and wash the bedding afterward. Don’t flush things wider than your arm.

My first stop was a rec center, shared by a sprawling neighborhood of chalets, lodges, and cottages. Yelping kids frolicked in the pool, a body of water featuring a stern sign banning anyone who has, or had, a semblance of diarrhea in the last few weeks. That could be me, any time in my life. Jamie Lee Curtis couldn’t save me if she airdropped a pallet of Activia.

You can’t spell “pool” without “poo,” and after an unfortunate accident, they’ve clamped down on unruly colons. “Unreported fecal incidents,” the sign admonishes at one establishment, can get you into deep doo doo. The lifeguards empty the pool of assorted humans on the hour, to check the PH levels (I made up the “PH” thing, because I’d like to think they’re logging in a record of Poo Happenings).

Photo Credit: Me

Saying Truckee’s changed is lazy. It’s friendlier, but somewhat colder — much easier to find safer stuff to do if you’re young, as the rough edges have been smoothed over by the wealthy types whose concern over climate change doesn’t prevent their second or third car from being a massive white Chevy Tahoe. Everyone has a hulking SUV to go with their Obama sticker. It’s like Nancy Reagan saying, “Just say no,” while smoking an angel dusted joint coupled with a crank floater.

You’re less likely to get knifed at Truckee in 2014 than 1974 — and that’s a good thing if you have a fear of stabbing. But you’re also more likely to get lectured by a white guy in a dusty pickup truck with a “coexist” bumper sticker — and for some, that could be worse.

In 1980s Truckee, some of us teens ran into a local store to buy beer (we were underage) and tried to play it cool by purchasing a number of things, including pornography and potato chips. Remember, back then, the thrill of purchasing porn practically surpassed the joy of “using” it. Buying porn — before the soul-sapping faucet of the Internet — was like buying firecrackers in Chinatown, an act of danger that made you feel like an outlaw without really hurting anyone (this is why we needed such harmless danger, to keep us from real danger). Buying a porno mag for a teenage boy created the same rush a middle-aged male gets from finding a hard-sought parking space. Effort enhanced reward.

It wasn’t until we got back to our room that we realized the porno we purchased was amputee-centric. I now always associate Truckee with a one legged-woman, spread-eagled, eyeing a man who passionately kissed the shorter end.

Truckee now? As I limply jog, I see lifters and drifters. Both are brown. One by birth, the other by mirth. One, the Mexican, came to get shit done; the other, a white jam band fan, to have fun. The Mexican works, the white fan shirks — at least until the cash has run out.

I dig the business owners, the man or woman who drops roots in Truckee to put up a shingle — it’s a constant, brave struggle for that guy or gal. It’s a gentle tug of war between the owner who knows things and the goofy drifter who knows everything… but does nothing. The transient mind populates all cities — backpacked, bearded, a positive attitude there to engender good will, and money. They are allergic to work but great with a Frisbee. 

Truckee is home to a delightful owner and the free spirits who float around them like moths on a lamp. It’s hard sometimes to hire such types, so the business owner is truly the adventurous kind. He has to hope you aren’t a scammer or layabout. It’s like this everywhere for the owner. And they’re the bad guys, according to our administration.

There is no “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” motto for Truckee. No one comes there to be a star, or a banker. They come to Truckee either to work hard, to work semi-hard a few months and bolt; to pull a handout along the serpentine bus routes. The freeloaders are, from my eyes, mostly young and white. And by young, I mean anywhere from 20 to 40. The sun makes everyone look the same, after awhile.

The bar owner, like the true Lewis or Clark, stakes a claim, gambling his livelihood, hoping people will come. Real daring is opening your door and hiring people who trust you, and whom you trust too. When people come, it’s truly an achievement. When you make enough money to pay your own bills, that’s huge. That’s the real Field of Dreams.

Truckee, populated by the sinewy and sun damaged, attracts some types whose brains seemed guided only by bumper stickers, and vice versa. The people who run businesses realize this — that such congenial peeps will always show up late, leave early, or not show up at all. If there’s a party, there are those who will call in sick.

The bar owner is aware of local and national politics. They smell what the IRS is cooking, are peeved by the VA mess, and so on. They are aware of this, even as they hire and fire, write specials on chalk boards, deal with garbage and parking. They do all of this daily. While the others — the drifters, not the lifters — stop by to ask if you’ll sign a paper that says they applied for a job in order to maintain benefits. 

“Can you just back me up when I say I applied to be a waiter at a place I wouldn’t want to wait tables at, so I can get benefits that allow me to hang out at your bar, where actual waiters have to bring me beer — beer that I will pay for minus a tip because I want to make sure i get every single drink I can out of my cash?”

That’s how I hear it.

You heard of the sign, “Irish need not apply?”

Due to an array of options supported by a benign populace, the individual — not the establishment — wears the “need not apply” around his neck. 

There are plenty of other things to do than to actually “do.”

And so we’ve got more young people not working in decades. It’s not entirely their fault — the job stats for the still hot are scarier than poop in a pool.

Regardless, Truckee is a great town. On a Friday afternoon, on a dusty road, in an obscure but well-stocked bar, spending my last day with a well-armed female proprietor, it reminds me that in a world where we think no one wants to work, there are still those who look for the challenge, forgetting that it is work.

That work is, instead, a purpose-giving adventure, an engine of worth — not financially, but morally and spiritually. That’s the real poop.

Greg Gutfeld is a mainstay on Fox News as co-host of The Five and the host of Red Eye. He’s also the NY Times best-selling author of The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage. His new book Not Cool, also debuted in the top 10 of NY Times best seller list. For more from Greg check out his official site or follow him on Twitter.




Source: Breitbart Feed

STD Infection Rates Surge in California Due to Social Media

An alarming rise in sexually transmitted diseases in Southern California is being attributed to social media. The two most affected groups are youths and members of the LGBT community, according to local NBC affiliate in Sacramento, KRCA 3.

Social media expert Thomas Dodson, who spoke with KCRA, told a reporter that he held several focus groups in which he noted the rise of sexual activity spawned by social media itself. 

Dodson cited contributing factors such as “constant connectivity” (apps such as Tinder and Grindr come to mind), “the pictures that they are sharing” (sexting has recently been on the rise, even in the popular app Instagram), and “access to the worldwide web that they [people] have.”

Gonorrhea and syphilis rates have shot up by 13% and 18%, respectively, between 2012-2013, according to a report by the California Department of Health. The report indicates that the highest incidents of STDs were found to occur in groups of youths between the ages of 15 and 24. 

KCRA 3 reports that a recent study by the LGBT center said, “Men who use smart apps such as Grindr are 25% more likely to be affected with gonorrhea and 37% with chlamydia.” 

Enrique Manjarrez, the outreach director for Breaking Barriers — a group which pushes for greater HIV testing among the LGBT community — says part of the reason for this dangerous rise in STD statistics is “the lack of education in talking about STDs and going after the youth and talking about the importance of getting tested.”




Source: Breitbart Feed

More Legal Challenges Coming Against Obamacare

With the Obama administration’s defeat in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, all eyes now turn to further Obamacare challenges. Chief Justice John Roberts shockingly greenlit Obamacare itself by converting it into a tax from a stated penalty, but he has also shown a partial willingness to chip away at the law.

There are two more upcoming cases on Obamacare worth watching. We can only hope that such lawsuits are just the beginning when it comes to the implementation of a law with regulations stacking up to eight feet tall.

Halbig v. Burwell: This case seemingly turns on a technicality, but it could completely sink the workability of Obamacare itself. The law allows for federal subsidies for those who buy their care through state exchanges; if subsidies are unavailable, those people can claim exemption from Obamacare penalties for hardship reasons.

There is one major problem for the Obama administration: 34 states refused to start state healthcare exchanges, and the law makes no provision for subsidies for those who buy their coverage through the federal exchange. That means that millions of people who applied for coverage through the federal exchange could be left without subsidies, freeing them of Obamacare penalties and destroying the base upon which Obamacare is based.

As Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University writes:

The administration’s loss in the Hobby Lobby case is a bitter pill to swallow, but it is not a lethal threat to Obamacare. For critics of the law, Halbig is everything that Hobby Lobby is not. Where Hobby Lobby exempts only closely held corporations from a portion of the ACA rules, Halbig could allow an mass exodus from the program. And like all insurance programs, it only works if large numbers are insured so that the risks are widely spread. Halbig could leave Obamacare on life support — and lead to another showdown in the Supreme Court.

There are two other cases pending on the same topic.

Sissell v. Health and Human Services: The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to decide on this case, which questions how Obamacare could be Constitutional given the Supreme Court’s bizarre reclassification of Obamacare as a tax rather than a penalty.

All revenue measures must originate in the House of Representatives, but Obamacare originated in the Senate. Pacific Legal Foundation is behind the case, and its principal attorney explains, “When lawmakers passed the ACA, with all of its taxes, did they follow the Constitution’s procedures for revenue increases? The Supreme Court wasn’t asked and didn’t address this question… The question of whether the Constitution was obeyed needs to be litigated, and PLF is determined to see this important issue all the way through the courts.”

Obamacare is a legal thicket that will only continue to rack up injuries – and accompanying lawsuits – as time passes. If the Roberts Court is more receptive to clipping away at Obamacare than it was to dismantling it, conservatives may yet have some legal hope.

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.orgFollow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.




Source: Breitbart Feed

Louisiana Board of Ed Votes to Lawyer Up Against Jindal Over Common Core Exit

The Louisiana state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted Tuesday 6-3 to hire outside lawyers to pursue a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) for removing his state from its Common Core test consortium.

The decision once again underscores the national debate sparked by the controversial Common Core standards regarding the power of the federal government and its often allied state boards of education over the elected representatives of the people, local school districts, and parents.

As nola.com reports, BESE came to its decision to hire attorneys after nearly six hours of debate and the failed attempt by three board members to keep Louisiana’s current tests in place for one more year. The board will meet again to actually authorize filing a lawsuit.

Breitbart News reported June 28 that a heated battle between Jindal and the state’s superintendent John White developed immediately following the governor’s decision to remove Louisiana from the controversial Common Core standards and from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), which is developing a test aligned with the nationalized standards for its member states.

Jindal won the approval of grassroots groups opposed to the Common Core standards when he removed his state from PARCC. White and the state’s board of education president, however, immediately declared that Jindal’s move was illegal and defiantly asserted that Louisiana “will implement the Common Core State Standards, as well as… PARCC for the 2014-2015 school year.”

Jindal announced that he removed his state from PARCC based on the Louisiana Department of Education’s (LDE) unlawful decision to bypass the state’s procurement law which requires an open bidding process.

“PARCC does not allow a competitive bidding process which is required under Louisiana law,” the governor said during a press conference on June 18. “BESE didn’t follow the rules.”

Within hours of White’s statement that Common Core will continue, however, the state’s Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols launched an investigation into the superintendent’s use of a 2003 testing contract to bring the PARCC test into Louisiana, a move that suggested he was attempting to maneuver around the state’s competitive bidding contract procurement laws.

White, however, who is supported by BESE president Chas Roemer, argued that it was Jindal who was breaking the law by removing the state from PARCC.

In a legal memorandum released last Thursday, however, Thomas Enright, Executive Counsel to the Governor, debunked the claims made by White and Roemer that Jindal’s action to remove Louisiana from the Common Core standards and PARCC was illegal.

According to nola.com, BESE wants to use its omnibus testing contract to purchase PARCC’s questions, but Jindal’s Division of Administration states such a move is outside the scope of the contract.

“We’re at a crossroads,” said White. “It’s not a crossroads about Common Core. It’s not a crossroads about PARCC. Finance and purchasing have collided with academic policy, and there’s a question about who makes the decision.”

Similarly, Roemer argued that Jindal’s team was overstepping his constitutional authority by dictating the content of state tests.

“Who gets to determine the educational content of our assessment, and can that be determined through the procurement [process]?” he asked.

Nichols, however, said, “Today’s action boils down to one simple thing: BESE voted to hire outside counsel to determine if the Department of Education should follow state procurement law. We think the law should be followed.”

“The possibility that BESE would file suit over this issue is disturbing when they clearly have not followed the procurement law,” said Louisiana state Rep. Brett Geymann (R) in a statement to Breitbart News. “The Governor, in his authority, has required an RFP [request for proposals] process for the assessment which is not only state law but also guarantees we are getting the best available product on the market.”

“BESE and the Department of Education, who want to sole source the PARCC contract, have done a poor job in the entire process and this possible lawsuit is only hurting the students,” Geymann continued. “BESE and the DOE should use the existing Leap and iLeap tests in place now and then enter into the competitive bid process for the future assessment, begin development of our own standards, and drop the idea of a lawsuit.”

“Anything short of that is an exercise in arrogance and lack of respect for the wishes of the majority of the people,” he added.

A lawsuit “is probably the only way out of this situation,” said Barry Erwin, president of the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL), one of the leading state organizations that have lobbied for the Common Core standards, according to The Advocate.

During education committee hearings, parents reported to Breitbart News that Stephanie Desselles of CABL engaged in ridiculing behavior which included “snickering” and “laughing” at parents as they testified against the standards, to the point of being “disruptive.”

Roemer said the law firms that have offered to represent BESE without charge are Preis Gordon APLC, in Baton Rouge, and Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver LLC, in New Orleans.

PARCC has been in the midst of its own controversy since a New Mexico judge ruled at the end of May that its state officials must review a protest filed by American Institutes for Research (AIR) prior to moving forward with what could be a lucrative contract awarded to education giant Pearson by PARCC.

The judge said the RFP brought forward by New Mexico officials was “ambiguous” regarding where protests against the bidding process were to be submitted.

The contract awarded to Pearson was described by James Mason, a Mississippi Department of Education state leader for PARCC, who was a member of the negotiating team for the Pearson contract, as one of “unprecedented scale.”

PARCC state officials said that though a number of other education companies had inquired about the consortium’s request for proposals for the project, the fact that Pearson ultimately was the only bidder was not an outcome that should draw questions about the soundness of PARCC’s process.

In its letter of protest to New Mexico officials, AIR claimed that the solicitation for bids improperly “bundled” assessment services to be provided in the first year of the tests with work in subsequent years, a practice that unfairly restricts competition and favors Pearson since work after the first year would rely on a content/delivery platform already engineered by Pearson. Such an arrangement would require vendors other than Pearson to develop an assessment system with only cursory information regarding costs, etc.

According to AIR, the “bundled” system would allow Pearson to “transform the advantage it enjoys as the year-one [content/delivery] platform vendor to an advantage for subsequent years of the program,” as Education Week reported.

In essence, AIR’s legal action argues that as a result of the system used to determine the award, Pearson would end up having a “monopoly on completely different work for the next seven years.”




Source: Breitbart Feed