Archive for October, 2007

Not-remote control

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

I have lived all my life scrupulously avoiding trying to explain why people do things: I focus on what they are doing.

Trying to figure out what people are actually doing is difficult enough for me. Simple person that I am, if it quacks, waddles, has a flat beak and looks like a duck, I accept that it’s a duck and proceed accordingly.

I know people who would analyze whether the duck is an ugly swan, or whether it wants to make you think it’s a duck but isn’t, or whether it’s a duck who’s struggling to get its inner sheep to come out to play. While pondering these scenarios might be interesting, for the greater part they are a huge waste of time: you still have a duck.

Beyond a certain point, I stop looking into motivation, psychology or idiosyncrasies and simply try to accept what is there as best I can. Needless to say, mine is a very simplistic approach, as you surely noticed from this post last year.

Having said this, at times I succumb to the temptation of trying to explain why some people do some things. Recently I’ve been thinking about the issue of control.

A couple of weeks ago I posted the opening to the Kenneth Branagh film of Much Ado About Nothing, which starts with,

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea and one on shore,
To one thing constant never:
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey nonny, nonny.
Sing no more ditties, sing no moe,
Of dumps so dull and heavy;
The fraud of men was ever so,
Since summer first was leafy:
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey nonny, nonny.

At that time a woman friend (an old friend from pre-blogging days) had been watching the movie and we conversed about whether Shakespeare shortchanges men (“Men were deceivers ever… The fraud of men was ever so”), and whether Shakespeare offers valuable advice.

We both agreed that the advice is priceless, and worth living by. She wished she had learned of it earlier.

But we agreed for different reasons: she agreed because she has been treated badly by the men in her life, who indeed were deceivers ever. I have lived a much more protected life and my experience has been much better, and as I am an optimist and have been very independent from a very early age (I graduated high school at age sixteen by completing all the requisite courses because I didn’t like my all-girls’ school), I’m all for being blithe and bonny and letting go of sighs and woes, and avoiding hanging one’s life on someone else’s whims and wishes.

My friend, whose second husband had just left her, also talked about The Rules. The Rules essentially says that women should live the best lives they can and let men chase them.

Sounds good to me. I’ve been married for decades so I wouldn’t know whether The Rules work in today’s convoluted courtship capers. The Rules has been accused of being manipulative but I would wager that the fact still remains that men still like to chase women and women still want to be chased.

The problem comes up when one is trying to control the other.

A lot of women want to dominate everyone around them. They are driven mostly by insecurity but also by anger, and sometimes the wish for power. Most men actively resent domineering women and can be driven to all sorts of crazy behavior out of spite. Some men want to dominate, too. While independent women like myself are not interested in domineering men, some domineering men see this as a bull sees a red cape and charge ahead.

Whether it’s on a personal relationship, a professional situation, or just general everyday interaction, nothing puts me off more than a guy who’s trying to control me.

It seems to me, however, that the more appealing men are those who allow women to be all they are without trying to control them, which makes the woman more willing to surrender at the right time. The least controlling the guy, the better.

Why do some guys have this urge to control, then? Is it insecurity, anger, the desire for power over others, as it is in women, or is there more to it? Why do some guys seem to charge full speed ahead near independent women?

Yesterday I was talking to a male friend, who explained that independent women sometimes scare and anger men. Frustrated men need to compete and dominate: “some men need to dominate first before they can share. Others, better adjusted, are not threatened by those kinds of things,” my friend explained, “It’s pretty straightforward.”

So I ask you, dear readers, what is your opinion?

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Indoctrination education: your Delaware tax dollars in action

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

At the University of Delaware, you get treatment for your politically deficient attitudes:

According to the program’s materials, the goal of the residence life education program is for students in the university’s residence halls to achieve certain “competencies” that the university has decreed its students must develop in order to achieve the overall educational goal of “citizenship.” These competencies include: “Students will recognize that systemic oppression exists in our society,” “Students will recognize the benefits of dismantling systems of oppression,” and “Students will be able to utilize their knowledge of sustainability to change their daily habits and consumer mentality.”

According to their criteria, Puerto Ricans like myself are racists, simply because my grandparents crossed the Atlantic and settled abroad:

“[a] racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality.”

And it’ll cost you $16,098 if you’re a Delaware resident, $27,348 if you’re from out of state. I guess that part of their “consumer mentality” should not be affected.

Indoctrinate U, for sure.
Flopping Aces has DU’s University President Patrick Harker’s contact information:

Office of the President
University of Delaware
104 Hullihen Hall
Newark, DE 19716-0101
(302) 831-2111 FAX: (302) 831-1297


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MS-13 gang members arrested in Princeton

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Last August I posted about the MS-13 gang’s connection to the Newark murders of three young college students in Newark.

In yesterday’s Princeton Packet (I’m including the full article since the Packet tends to not keep their articles up permanently):
Night of burglaries in Princeton nets arrests
Three gang members are charged

Princeton Borough Police followed silently for more than two hours the night of Oct. 19 as three individuals allegedly cased several homes before being arrested and charged in connection with at least 10 burglaries in the borough, the township and on the campus of Princeton University.

All three suspects are undocumented illegal aliens, and evidence has linked all three with the MS-13 street gang, police said, in announcing the arrests this week.

Saul Eduardo Palma-Chajon, 22, whose last known address was in Princeton, and Byron Diaz, 18, of Princeton, and a 16-year-old male Princeton resident were charged with numerous counts of burglary, theft and criminal mischief as well as conspiracy to commit burglary, receiving stolen property and being armed while committing a burglary.

Mr. Palma-Chajon and Mr. Diaz were also charged with employing a juvenile in a crime, and the juvenile was also charged with juvenile delinquency.

Police said the series of residential burglaries over the last several weeks involved homes being entered with the use of force during the late afternoon or evening hours.
Once inside, the suspects stole merchandise, including jewelry, laptop computers, cameras, iPods and credit cards.

Princeton Borough Chief Anthony Federico said two burglaries in the borough occurred on Gordon Way, and two occurred on Hamilton and Vandeventer avenues, respectively.

At least one of the two burglaries in the township occurred on Deer Path, and at least three more occurred on the university campus, he said.

Although much of the stolen items have been recovered and claimed by the victims, a substantial amount of stolen merchandise has not yet been linked to any victim, and police are still determining how many burglaries occurred, Chief Federico said.

As part of the investigation, a team of officers engaged in a burglary surveillance detail on the east end of the borough on Oct. 19, a Friday night.

At 8:30 p.m., officers began to observe the group of three males acting suspiciously near Hamilton Avenue, before they entered yards on a number of properties and walked around to allegedly “case” the homes, police said.

For the next two hours, the surveillance unit followed the group while they continued to enter yards in the northeast and southeast sections of town and occasionally split up, police said.

Although they did not attempt to break into a house, the group was stopped by police at 10:30 p.m.

Two of the three individuals gave police fake names and identification, police said.

Further investigation revealed that all three individuals possessed property that had been reported stolen from recent burglaries, police said.

Subsequent residential searches in the borough yielded stolen items from at least eight different recently reported burglaries and thefts in the borough, the township and on the university campus.

Borough police have notified Immigration Customs Enforcement to advise the agency of the arrests of the individuals, all of whom are from Guatemala.

Charges are also pending within Princeton Township and within the Princeton University Campus.

Mr. Palma-Chajon’s bail has been set at $1,000,000 cash, and Mr. Diaz’ bail has been set at $500,000 cash.

The juvenile is being held at the Mercer County Youth Detention Center.
Chief Federico said it was unusual that most of the stolen property was recovered.

“Most burglars will get rid of the stuff really quickly,” he said. “It’s unusual when we get back this amount of property.”

Any victim of a recent burglary or theft in the Princeton area should call the Princeton Borough Police Detective Bureau at 609-924-4141 to view the recovered property to see if it belongs to them.

More posts and links here. Background: Nationwide crackdown on vicious gang nets 10 in N.J.


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The insane "Mother of All Tax Bills"

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Kevin Hassett discusses at Bloomberg

For those of you wondering what the details of taxing the rich to pay for Democratic spending proposals might look like, Rangel, a close ally of Hillary Clinton, has provided a tour of the abyss. If the “mother of all reforms,” as he calls his tax plan, had a name, it would be Mrs. Bates. But, unlike Norman’s mother in the Alfred Hitchcock classic “Psycho,” this lady is very much alive.

In terms of revenue, Rangel’s reform would be the biggest tax increase in history. Compared to a baseline where President George W. Bush’s tax cuts are extended and the dreaded alternative minimum tax isn’t allowed to swallow millions of taxpayers whole, the bill raises taxes by a whopping $3.5 trillion over the next 10 years, according to the office of Representative Jim McCrery of Louisiana, the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee.

To put that in perspective, that’s about $2 trillion more than the 10-year cost of the Bush tax cuts enacted back in 2001.

But the revenue grab isn’t the scariest part. That honor belongs to the increase in marginal tax rates, which is almost unfathomable in its scale. Rangel’s main objective is to repeal the alternative minimum tax, which was originally designed to capture taxes from wealthy individuals but over the years has taken in more and more middle-income families.

48% Tax Rate

To accomplish that, and still collect the AMT revenue, he would enact a surtax on the adjusted gross incomes of wealthy taxpayers. If your family’s income is above $200,000, then your surtax is 4 percent. If it’s above $500,000, it’s 4.6 percent.

But the tax increase on the wealthy doesn’t stop there. When the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010, the top marginal rate goes back to 39.6 percent. In addition, Rangel would restore the phase-out of itemized deductions and personal exemptions that was repealed in Bush’s 2001 bill.

The accountants’ lobby must have been knocking at Rangel’s door.

Tom Blumer was saying,

This is why you will almost never, if ever, hear the Charlie Rangel/Hillary Clinton crowd, whom I am tentatively naming “Team Chillary” (in honor of what they will do to the economy if they get their way), actually say that they want to raise the highest federal bracket to 39% or so with their MOAT, and then to 44% or so if the tax system in place since 2003 otherwise goes back to where it was in 2000 (this is usually referred to as “repealing the Bush tax cuts,” but should be seen as a big tax increase over what we’ve been used to now for many years). Instead they speak of tiny-sounding 4% surtaxes and the like.

As the old psychiatrist said to Carmela, “You’ve been told. Now you can’t say nobody warned you.”

ore from Betsy.

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Monday, October 29th, 2007

Welcome to the first Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Today’s top Latin American news is that Argentina’s first lady, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, is now its president.
Here’s the BBC video report

The campaign has been colorful, to put it mildly, between those auctioning their votes on line to that suitcase with $800,000 that Chavez (allegedly) sent the Kirchners last August

Argentina To Elect New Evita – Or Is It Hillary?

From The Heritage Foundation: Argentina: Implications for the U.S. If First Lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner Becomes President. One thing for sure: expect more populism.

This week’s Spanish-language roundup: Martha Colmenares’s roundup on the Argentinian elections


Road Rage in the Bahamas

The women’s civic committee of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, shows how the police have tried to repress protestors. Bolivia Confidencial posts their video here (Such is Evo’s repression) in Spanish.

Learn To Surf In Floripa

Subjective Lens photoblog Chile

Leonard Weinglass’ seditious activism on the Cuba 5

Cuba, Bush, and The Lives of Others

El che lives at the UN

ECrisis posts on International terrorist rings in Spain and Latin America, and links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps

Also at ECrisis, Banco del Sur is a Slush Fund for Sponsors of Terror, Drug Running, Criminals, Mafias, Racketeers and Propagandists

The Rehabilitation of Miguel Hidalgo

AfroMexico – Mexicans of African descent (via Mexico in English)

Anything but no, when it comes to travelling with the dog.

Ortega’s Nicaragua: Another Tropical, Socialist Paradise?

Alvaro Vargas Llosa on Fujimori’s Shadow

La Casa’s Leticia Rodriguez Continues Legacy

The Venezuelan bloggers are doing a line-by-line review of Chavez’s proposed constitutional reforms. You can read it all here: Venezuela’s Constitutional Reform.
Veneuela-USA looks at
Constitutional reform – Article 100

Alive and blood thirsty (comments on the Che influence over chavismo)

Another shameful day in Venezuela’s democracy

The hunt for the liter of milk

Chavez is Adored by His Subjects – NOT!

The dope from Venezuela

The Prophetic Scent of repression.

The Human Rights Foundation: Artists Reunite for Human Rights in Latin America; Concert Tour in New York to Stress the Plight of the Caracas Nine

The Venezuela Connection: exhibit F, as a Royal Navy warship seizes 3 tons of cocaine from Venezuelan vessel
More at the Royal Navy website.

Want this badge?

Blog Carnival

If you are a Latin America or Caribbean blogger who wants your post featured in next week’s Carnival, please send me your link: faustaw “at” yahoo “dot” com.
One link per blog, please.

Special thanks to Lady Godiva for her kind words and support.

Don’t miss also the resources at the Hispanic Center for Economic Research for more information on Latin America.


Others blogging on this:
The Astute Bloggers
Doug Ross@Journal
Dr. Sanity
GM’s Corner
Obi’s Sister
Sigmund, Carl and Alfred


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Sarko walks out on 60 minutes, 70,000 walk out on NHS

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Sarkozy walks out of TV interview: Sarko wasn’t going to talk about his divorce, and he didn’t:

“If I had something to say about Cecilia, I would not do so here,” he said before cutting off further questions.

I like that.

No Pasaran has the link to 60 Minutes

Update, Friday November 2:
Kyle-Anne Shiver:

So, to all our American men, who have been cowed by the unisex armies of overbearing loud-mouthed gossips, I say it’s high time you throw off the shackles of politically-correct indulgence and join the Sarkozy revolution. You too can be real men again, and all the real women will love you for it. Catty gossip has no place in the public discourse, and simply standing your ground and saying so, in no way makes you a “Male Chauvinist Pig,” or even a borderline “sexist.” It simply makes you a self-respecting gentleman of the highest order.

Amen to that!


The latest trend in outsourcing:
Record numbers go abroad for health treatment with 70,000 escaping NHS
Record numbers of Britons are travelling abroad for medical treatment to escape the NHS – with 70,000 patients expected to fly out this year.

And by the end of the decade 200,000 “health tourists” will fly as far as Malaysa and South Africa for major surgery to avoid long waiting lists and the rising threat of superbugs, according to a new report.

The first survey of Britons opting for treatment overseas shows that fears of hospital infections and frustration of often waiting months for operations are fuelling the increasing trend.

Meanwhile at the Times of London, Quack Michael Moore has mad view of the NHS.

I expect Michael Moore will be rewarded with an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

Welcome, Blog Report visitors.
Please read this week’s Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean, and please visit often.

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Special podcast today at 1PM Eastern: Matt Sanchez calls from Germany

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

While the WaPo proclaims, ‘I Don’t Think This Place Is Worth Another Soldier’s Life’ bloggers like Jim Hoft are taking the time to check and verify. Frequently their findings are contrary to those of the MSM.

Then there are the independent journalists and bloggers that go to Iraq and report from the war zone.

Jeff Emanuel asks, Does independent journalism from Iraq really make a difference?

Clearly it does:

The bottom line is, though, we do have outlets (though none better than our own websites, which is why we try to flush traffic there at every opportunity), and we risk our lives to make the information available. It’s up to the American people to decide to use that information. As far as media competition goes, that’s a large part of what Bill Roggio and his PMI (an organization I’ve done a lot of work to help out with) are trying to do — to set up a news-reporting version of the AP, AFP, Reuters, etc. that makes its living (inasmuch as a 501(c)3 can “make a living”) filing reports from the front lines in the war on terror, through the use of embedded reporters. Is it possible? Yes. Is it sustainable? To this point, the conservatives and unaffiliateds who have been approached — some people who spend an inordinate amount of time griping about the media we (Americans) have vs. the media they want us to have — have proven unwilling to actually do anything about the problems they are so vocal about; therefore, PMI is behind the power curve as far as funding goes. If and when a conservative (or non-liberal) with actual vision to go along with his or her deep pockets steps forward and decides to back the frontline reporting project, then this, I believe, can and will become a powerhouse of journalism that more and more people will see and become affected by.

Today Matt Sanchez, who’s been embedded in Iraq for four months and will be returning there after a break in Germany, will be calling for a special podcast at 1PM Eastern.

We will continue the conversation we started three weeks ago when Matt called from Iraq.

The call-in number is (646) 652-2639. Please join us!
BlogTalkRadio Listen Live


In other, unrelated war news,
The Iraqi Army has collected money to aid the families whose homes burned down in California.

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Sunday books, shoes, and Carnival

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

This week’s “Five Best” from the WSJ, business books:

The only book I haven’t read of these five is the Email book. I highly recommend Twyla Tharpe’s book: entertaining, insightful, and very enjoyable.


This week’s shoes, Ugg’s Tie Bow:
Yes, I know they’re ugly, but these will keep your toes warm

A slipper with a sheepskin insole and driving shoe treads on the outside. Make sure to change into dress shoes when you get to the office!

The Carnival of the Insanities is up.

If that’s not enough insanity for you, read about what happened when Bill Richardson started wathing the X-Files.

Saturday evening periodic table

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

What were you expecting, more tango?
Well, in that case,

Give me six months of intensive training and those shoes, & I’ll be dancing like that.

Facebook, demographics and the Beeb

Saturday, October 27th, 2007


Facebook reveals the BBC as a liberal hotbed
The BBC has frequently been accused of having a liberal bias.

But now the corporation’s own staff appear to have confirmed this by revealing their political views on the networking website Facebook.

A survey of BBC employees with profiles on the site showed that 11 times more of them class themselves as “liberal” than “conservative”.

Research by the conservativehome. com website showed that 1,340 staff put themselves in the “liberal” or “very liberal” category, compared with just 120 who were “conservative” or “very conservative”. Some 340 regard themselves as “moderate”.

Regular readers of my blog certainly know that. A quick survey of my posts can tell you of their love of Che, their conveing al-Qaeda propaganda, and on and on.

Ed Driscoll has some observations on the Beeb’s ‘Powerfully Corrosive Internal Culture’

Also don’t miss this:

Biased BBC has more.

On the subject of Facebook,
Over at Newsbusters, Matthew Sheffield links to Patrick Ruffini’s excellent article, The Early Adopter Effect

It was after I started reached the mid-20s that I stumbled upon something that may help quantify the early adopter bias. High school and college users were pretty consistently about 4-8 points more liberal than conservative. That’s sort of where you’d expect them to be given the 18-29 year old vote. And Facebook’s market penetration with this cohort is such that this is likely to be a highly representative sample of Americans that age.

But the older you got, through users in their 20s, the more liberal the user base became. It was inexorable. Each year, liberals picked up a couple of points on conservatives. My fellow 29-year olds on Facebook are +25.3% liberal. The 20-year old bracket is +4.5% liberal.

Given how stable the numbers were for college/high school users, with much higher numbers, this seemed unlikely to suggest an actual demographic shift in Generation Y.

But something else was going on. As liberals were picking up steam, the number of Facebook users were getting progressively smaller with each age cohort.

It makes perfect sense when you think about it. These users represent early adopters who never used Facebook in college. The people who joined Facebook since it opened up, or finagled a way into it before then using a stray alumni .edu address like I did.

This is pretty strong evidence of a liberal/early adopter correlation. Non-college Facebook users in their late twenties are two to one liberal where their college age counterparts are pretty closely matched.

That two-to-one ratio probably correlates with usage of other high-end web services and even traffic to the candidate sites themselves. It also gives quantifiable backing to the idea that Republicans stand to gain as the universe is widened entering the general election, as I’ve long suspected.

Here’s my facebook page, and I belong to the Newsbusters group, too.


For more Saturday reading, don’t miss The Wahington Times‘s fabulous round-up.

Techorati: BBC
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