Move over, Barbie!

Barbie dolls have been popular among girls since they were introduced in 1959, but for many years they have been criticized for having profoundly unrealistic body proportions that are thought to lead many girls’ self-esteem to plummet after they hit puberty.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbie#Controversies

  • One of the most common criticisms of Barbie is that she promotes an unrealistic idea of body image for a young woman, leading to a risk that girls who attempt to emulate her will become anorexic.[citation needed] A standard Barbie doll is 11.5 inches tall, giving a height of 5 feet 9 inches at 1/6 scale. Barbie’s vital statistics have been estimated at 36 inches (chest), 18 inches (waist) and 33 inches (hips). According to research by the University Central Hospital in Helsinki, Finland, she would lack the 17 to 22 percent body fat required for a woman to menstruate.[16] In 1963, the outfit “Barbie Baby-Sits” came with a book entitled How to Lose Weight which advised: “Don’t eat!.”[17] The same book was included in another ensemble called “Slumber Party” in 1965 along with a pink bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs.,[17] which would be around 35 lbs. underweight for a woman 5 feet 9 inches tall.[18] Mattel said that the waist of the Barbie doll was made small because the waistbands of her clothes, along with their seams, snaps, and zippers, added bulk to her figure.[19]
  • In 1997, Barbie’s body mold was redesigned and given a wider waist, with Mattel saying that this would make the doll better suited to contemporary fashion designs.[20][21]

Frankly, I do not know why Barbies were made the way they appear, nor do I care. If I had a daughter, I’d never buy her one!

I’d get her THIS instead:

https://www.lammily.com/average-is-beautiful

contentThe creator of this new doll, Nickolay Lamm, started raising funds for it with the modest goal of $95,000. He ended up getting a whopping $501,384!  So clearly there is a demand for this doll. And…..

$25 +

Lammily – Exclusive First Edition

10386 claimed

One Lammily wearing blouse, denim shorts, and white sneakers. Exclusive first edition, will not be sold in retail stores. FREE USA Shipping. International Shipping: Canada – $7 All Other Countries – $13

Estimated Delivery: November 2014

So over 10,000 people have already ordered this doll!

Learn more about the doll creator here:  http://nickolaylamm.com/

college-853x1024I fully endorse this and hope it will sell to millions of girls in the next decade or so. It may never overthrow Barbie, but at least it will give mothers and daughters a realistic alternative.

Celebrating Black History Month, Stupidly

Read this embarrassing article:

http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local/black-history-month-inspired-school-lunch-menu-cau/ndGPD/
Black History Month inspired school lunch menu causes outcry

menuNoelle Walker and KTVU.com

CONCORD, Calif. —

A student effort to come up with a special menu for Black History Month backfired at Carondelet High School in Concord.

Interim President, Sister Ann Bernard, said students who were members of the Black Student Union club at neighboring De La Salle High School planned a special lunch to celebrate the month.  The menu included fried chicken, corn bread and watermelon.

“They thought this was a very clever way, in their own way, of celebrating Black History Month. It was as simple, and naive as that,” Sister Bernard explained.

On Thursday Bernard publicly apologized for the event she said was planned without following procedures to get staff approval.

“It was the parents who thought, rightfully so, we were being insensitive to African American culture, which is not who we are or what we profess,” Bernard said, shaking her head.

The first staff or administration heard of the proposed menu was when it was announced over the loudspeaker Monday morning.

“Most people were laughing, but they were laughing nervously because they knew it wasn’t right,” said sophomore, Dom Carpenello.

While Carpenello admitted the menu sounded tasty, she admitted, “The menu really doesn’t have anything to do with black history.”

The chief curator at Oakland’s African American Museum and Library, Rick Moss, agreed.

“I guess there’s an impression that all black people eat this kind of food, which of course is false,” Moss said.

He said the menu came from a place of ignorance about what Black History Month means, but says the reaction to the students’ misstep was also wrong.

“So this is wonderful opportunity to actually inform people, not something to react to,” Moss said.

Carondelet High School is using the incident as a “teachable moment,” Sister Bernard said there will be teacher sensitivity training and a student assembly this month.

“There’s education needed on every single level, not just for students, but also for faculty and staff,” she said.

As for the menu, Bernard said, “I can assure you that fried chicken and the rest of it is not part of it.”

I cannot believe the sheer ignorance being displayed here! This issue is about misrepresenting the culture of an entire race. Fried chicken, corn bread. and watermelon are not and have never been “black” foods, but were among the cheap foods served to the enslaved ancestors of most African-Americans by slaveowners. It would be like showing pictures of Nazi concentration camps as part of celebrating Jewish History Month!

For more details on the incredible stupidity of it all, read this:

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/02/07/fried-chicken-lunch-black-history-month-really/

Economic Abuse of a Little Girl

Read this article:

http://gma.yahoo.com/cupcake-business-run-11-old-shuttered-illinois-health-202621307–abc-news-topstories.html

HT_cupcake_girl_1_jtm_140205_16x9_992
Cupcake Business Run By 11-Year-Old Shuttered By Illinois Health Officials

By ALYSSA NEWCOMB

The cupcake empire Chloe Stirling built out of her home kitchen has come crumbling down after Illinois health officials said the sixth-grader wasn’t in compliance with local laws.

Chloe, 11, said she was told by health officials in Madison County, Ill., that if she wants to continue selling cupcakes she will need to buy a bakery or build a separate kitchen.

“It bummed me out because I wanted to keep baking,” Chloe told ABCNews.com. “I had a bunch of orders and they said I had to cancel them all.”

Stirling, who is in sixth grade, has operated “Hey Cupcake” out of her family’s kitchen in Troy, Ill., for the past two years. And it appears her success may have invited the scrutiny of regulators.

The cupcake mogul said she’s raked in some serious dough for a kid her age, charging $10 for a dozen cupcakes and $2 each for the more elaborate treats, such as cakes that look like high heel shoes.

“It felt good because with all my money I could buy stuff I wanted and didn’t have to wait until my birthday or Christmas,” Chloe said, adding that she was also saving money for a car.

Her mother, Heather Stirling, told ABCNews.com she’s meeting with officials from the health department and the state attorney next week in hopes of finding a way to help Chloe re-open Hey Cupcake.

“This is her niche. You have kids who are good at baseball and soccer and this is what they pursue,” Stirling said. “Chloe is one of a kind. No one else does this at her age. There are a lot of hoops we’re going to have to jump through.”

Toni Corona, a spokeswoman for the Madison County Department of Health, told ABCNews.com in a statement that the laws are “applied uniformly and without discrimination.”

She said the department “applauds the entrepreneurial spirit” of Chloe and “joins with her many fans in hoping she will find a location for her cupcake enterprise that complies with state laws.”

Do you see something missing in this article?  How about any evidence that anyone was sickened by any of the products produced by this girl’s baking business?

Shutting down her business for failing to comply with state health regulations even with no complaint from customers about her products serves one purpose:  Eliminating competition with the corporations that dominate our economy and both force people to work for them instead of working for themselves and force them to buy their products instead of creating their own. This is bullying of the worst sort and it goes against our legal standard of “innocent until proven guilty”. The State of Illinois and the officials of Madison County should be ashamed of themselves!

Rape, School Sports and Small Town Insanity

P Z Myers put the spotlight on a teenage rapist yesterday:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/10/14/matthew-barnett-sleazebag-and-rapist

The story is sadly typical of small towns and their pathetic bigotries, but what really drew my attention later was a comment below it. (Emphasis mine.)

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/10/14/matthew-barnett-sleazebag-and-rapist/comment-page-1/#comment-705351

39
MarkM1427

15 October 2013 at 1:04 am (UTC -5)

Anonymous? That scumbag will wish he only had the cops to deal with. If only they’d go after the media for not calling this shit what it is: an inexcusable, unforgivable act of violence against another human being. I didn’t see a word of this until ThinkProgress shared it on Facebook. I wonder why no one else seems to give a shit about the actual victims here. Ever since I first read this story it’s been stuck in the back of my head. It obviously pisses me off, but it also hits close to home in several ways for me.

As outraged as I am about this, I’m not at all surprised. It’s not the first time I’ve heard about a small town demonizing the victims who dared to put the town through the trauma of dealing with the fact that a heinous crime happened in their neighborhood instead of, you know, the actual criminal. A similar story of what happened to my grandmother has stuck with my family for nearly 50 years. (I’m not going to derail the thread with the whole story, but a small town covered up the murder of her mother since the guy who did it was close to powerful people in the town.) Why can’t this shit ever change?

And this has finally done it. I thought I would never say this, but I can’t go on believing that athletic programs are a positive influence for students. Even though I benefited from sports myself, I can’t support them anymore. I was an athlete in high school, and to this day I believe that being part of the football team did a lot to make me more social then. I have Asperger’s and I might not have as much as spoken a word the whole four years if I didn’t join one group or another. For so long I defended these sports programs as something that could be a great influence on the athletes if the coaches actually gave a damn about that like the ones I had did.

But no more. I now see that my experience was the exception, not the rule. School sports, much like religion, corrupts the adults who are involved in it, you know, the ones that are supposed to ACT LIKE ADULTS. If sports programs warp peoples’ minds to the point that they are consistently willing to enable rape by athletes in the name of winning a fucking ball game, they are toxic to society and we should cast them out of schools.

I don’t intend to derail the thread with the tangent I know I went off on, but this story has had my mind spinning faster than a centrifuge ever since I read it. I can’t wait for the town to finally have the wrath of the rest of the country descend on them for the scumbags they are.

And that led me to ask what, if anything, do sports programs have to do with the actual process of education? Nothing that I can see. Yet almost every school and college out there has a sports program which no doubt costs money to maintain. Perhaps it is time to start putting pressure on schools to eliminate funding for sports programs before they even think of eliminating anything else from a school’s budget!

A Family of Enablers

This is a true story, with names changed for privacy’s sake. Before you read it, read this definition of an “enabler”.

http://www.asktheinternettherapist.com/articles/enabler-definition/

An enabler is a person who by their actions make it easier for an addict to continue their self-destructive behavior by criticizing or rescuing. The term codependency refers to a relationship where one or both parties enable the other to act in certain maladaptive ways. Many times, the act of the enabler satisfies a need for the codependent person because his or her actions foster a need from the other person or persons in the relationship.

There was once a girl named Suzanne. When she was 15, she became pregnant, but the father was completely unknown; it was rumored that he was an illegal immigrant. So she gave birth to her son Darren.  Her family, rather than force her to take care of Darren full time, allowed Suzanne to dump the baby on her mother and sister Cathy while she continued to party all the time. As a result, Suzanne became pregnant again at the age of 17, this time giving birth to a daughter, Cindy, whose father was also unknown. As the years went by, the extended family of Suzanne showered gifts to Suzanne’s children on their birthdays as well as every Christmas, rather than have Suzanne be the chief provider for those children. Then at age 20, Suzanne became pregnant yet again, and her 16 year old sister Cathy also became pregnant at the same time. Both sisters gave birth to babies that year, Suzanne to a boy named Charles and Cathy to a girl named Penny. Finally, Suzanne had a fourth baby, a girl named Millie, at age 24. In all Suzanne’s cases, the fathers never took responsibility for their children, instead, the family continued to enable her by showering all the children with gifts every year, thus rewarding Suzanne by proxy for having them.

Suzanne only responded to the love shown to her children by continuing to screw up. Last I heard, she was addicted to drugs and had gone to jail over it.

Did it ever occur to Suzanne’s family that if they had disowned Suzanne after she got pregnant the second or third time and forced her to live strictly on her own with her as the only support for her kids, she might have come to her senses and stopped having babies out of wedlock and avoided partying and drugs? That maybe her sister might also have not gotten pregnant?  That the family as a whole would be much more functional than they ended up being? Love is a wonderful thing, but it is possible to have too much love for someone and end up failing them.

300 teens should be LOCKED UP!

I find this incredible!

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/brian-holloway-former-nfl-star-reacts-teens-trash-house-twitter-091813

Ex-NFL player reacts to trashed house

An estimated 300 teenagers threw a party at the house of Brian Holloway over Labor Day weekend, authorities say, causing a reported $20,000 in damage to the property of the former New England Patriots and Los Angeles Raiders left tackle.

That sentence might normally make Holloway sound like the coolest irresponsible uncle ever, except there’s a catch: Holloway spends most of his time these days in Florida and wasn’t at the Stephentown, N.Y., vacation home at the time of the rager.

Continue reading

Women shouldn’t teach at Christian schools, round 2

First, look at this:

http://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/women-shouldnt-teach-at-christian-schools/

Are all Christian schools this bigoted? Appearantly!

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/highschool-prep-rally/former-coach-fired-christian-school-wedlock-pregnancy-145601399.html#

Former coach of the year fired from Christian school for out-of-wedlock pregnancy

In an incredibly bizarre situation that appears headed for a legal challenge, a Dallas-area volleyball coach and science teacher was fired by the Christian school at which she worked for becoming pregnant before being married.

As first reported by Dallas Fort Worth network WFAA, Rockwall (Texas) Heritage Christian Academy volleyball coach and science teacher Cathy Samford was fired during the fall semester after she became pregnant out of wedlock. Samford had led the volleyball program for three years and had been named the school’s coach of the year once during that span.

Still, that couldn’t help save her job when she first admitted her pregnancy during the fall semester, with the school terminating her based on a  violation of her contract’s morals clause because it was determined her pregnancy meant she could not serve as “a Christian role model.”

“I looked it up and thought, ‘They can’t do this,’” the 29-year-old Samford told WFAA. “We all have different views and interpretations. It’s not necessarily the Christian thing to do to throw somebody aside because of those.”

While Samford and her lawyer, Colin Walsh, are working toward filing a discrimination suit against the school, their case may be complicated by the fact that Heritage Christian Academy is a private school, and recent Supreme Court decisions have defended the right of Christian schools to exert more influence on their hirings and firings because they consider teachers to be “ministers in the classroom.”

“The Supreme Court, as a matter of fact in the last month, has ruled 9-to-0 that a Christian school does have that right, because this is a ministry, so we have the right to have standards of conduct,” Heritage Christian Academy headmaster Dr. Ron Taylor, who acknowledged that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had contacted the school, told WFAA. “How’s it going to look to a little fourth-grade girl that sees she’s pregnant and she’s not married?”

 

While the two parties attempted mediation, those efforts failed quickly because the school refused to consider a settlement for the case.

That has left Samford uninsured and in financial distress as she heads towards giving birth, a situation she never considered possible when she was a proud member of Heritage Christian Academy’s faculty.

Would it have been better if this teacher and coach had chosen abortion to hide that she was ever pregnant? According to traditional Christian morals, isn’t having an abortion even worse than having the baby out of wedlock? And have any men been fired for getting a woman pregnant out of wedlock? I’ve never heard of that happening!

This is why I will never teach at or send any children I have to such a school….most of them seem to be run by sexist hypocrites! This is not about enforcing morals, this is about a school trying to save money by denying an insurance claim, something you would expect only from corrupt private businesses! And even if having a baby out of wedlock is considered immoral, the BABY should not be punished for her parents’ mistakes!

Good riddance to Prussian Blue!

A few years ago, I learned about a set of twin girls named Lynx and Lamb Gaede who had formed a music duo named Prussian Blue while they were still nine or ten years old . They played songs championing racism, anti-Semitism, and other evil dogmas. They recorded albums, toured at white supremacist functions, and otherwise made idiots of themselves, all to please their  bigoted mother.

Not any more!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussian_Blue

As of early 2009, the band’s Web site and MySpace page are no longer operational.

They do still have a blog up, but no entries have been made to it  since 2008.

[ready+for+the+dance.JPG]

So what happened? THEY GREW UP, and not just physically!

http://www.thedaily.com/page/2011/07/17/071711-news-nazi-twins-1-6/

Lamb and Lynx Gaede, the dimpled tween rockers whose Nazi-themed pop band, Prussian Blue, sparked an exuberant media firestorm several years back have grown up — and had a change of heart.

“I’m not a white nationalist anymore,” Lamb told The Daily in an exclusive interview, the twins’ first in five years. “My sister and I are pretty liberal now.”

“Personally, I love diversity,” Lynx seconded. “I’m stoked that we have so many different cultures. I think it’s amazing and it makes me proud of humanity every day that we have so many different places and people.”

And now that they are 19 and legally adults, they need never follow their mother and her views again. But at the same time, the damage the mother did to them may never be entirely undone; no matter where they go or what they do in the future, the legacy of “Prussian Blue” will probably follow them for the rest of their lives.

April Gaede, unless you have yourself changed and become enlightened as well, you can go to hell for what you did to your daughters!

Grades in school should be eliminated

It has occurred to me that giving letter grades to students in school is a form of rating some better than others that has nothing to do with whether they are successful or not. If the lowest passing grade is a D-, then a student who gets that grade will still pass, just as much as one who gets an A+. So why bother with such grades at all?

I would propose instead that all students be allowed only TWO levels of achievement: P (pass) or F (fail) and that in order to pass, they must score at least 90% on all tests in a certain subject. That’s right; the grade you end up with will be the LOWEST score you make on a test in a six week period. So if you score an 89 on one test, you still fail for that whole period. At the end of a school year, if you fail in a single six week period, you fail the entire course.

Another reform I would make would be to stop graduating students from high school after they complete 12th grade. Instead, I think the various levels in school should be:

Elementary school:  Level I through Level V (I’m using Roman numerals for the various levels),

Middle school:  Level VI though X,

High school: Level XI though Level XV.

with “college” or “university” levels eliminated because they will be integrated with the high school levels.

For example, in math, basic arithmetic could be Levels I and II, algebra could be Level III or IV, and calculus could be Level X or XI. Similar designations would be made for other subjects.

A student who fails a level would be forced in the next year to retake the course(s) he failed, without exception. Thus if he was at Level II, he would remain at that level until he passes all his Level II courses. Thus, there might be children well past puberty that would still be in elementary school. Students who have finished elementary school but not yet reached middle school may leave school, though their job prospects would be limited. The same is true for students that have finished middle school but not yet reached high school.

ROTE LEARNING MUST BE BANNED! Instead, children of all ages should be expected to express creativity and critical thinking by writing the answers to their tests in essay form, not merely marking “true” or “false” to a question or answering a multiple choice question in which it is possible to get the right answer by accident or by cheating! By causing children to take controversial positions and defend them before their peers, they may soon learn that many things they assumed were absolutely true from their parents and others are not necessarily so.

Abuse of children takes many forms

Read this:

http://moms.dailybuzz.com/blog/12823-not-without-my-niece

Hi Amy,

I have a pretty awful and ugly family situation and I really don’t know what to do about it.  I feel completely helpless and I thought maybe you and your readers may have some advice or suggestions on how to proceed.  It is kind of long and involved, although I will try to make it as brief as I can.

My older sister died almost 4 years ago from cancer.  She, my parents and I all live within a mile of each other.  At the time, her daughter was 4 (almost 5)–now she is 8.  She still lives close by with her dad.

At first it seemed we were all united as a family, together in our grief.  Little by little, though, her husband withdrew from us and began to push us away.  He has never been the easiest guy to get along with and the more time that passed, the less he wanted to have anything to do with us.  My parents and I took turns watching my niece while he was at work until I got pregnant and then I mostly turned things over to them after my daughter was born.

It soon became apparent to me that my sister was the glue that held us all together.  She must have worked really hard to keep everything going and everyone pleased.  Her husband was constantly angry with my parents (who can be very overbearing and pushy, yes, but they always mean well).  He was gruff and unreachable and things became very uncomfortable.  He stopped calling me to babysit if he needed it and things were just very, very stilted and awkward.  After a while, I ceased to speak to him at all and many, many months would go by before I’d have any contact with him.  My parents still saw him daily, as they would watch my niece all day or, after she started school, put her on the bus or take her off the bus and watch her until he got home from work.

Things became even more complicated when he started dating his girlfriend.  At first she seemed nice and my parents thought it would be good for my niece to have someone around the house again.  About a year ago, his girlfriend moved in and ever since then, she has methodically and meticulously worked to remove every trace of my sister from that house and has made it more and more difficult for us to spend time with my niece.  I have only met her once, this past December at my niece’s birthday party.  She shook my hand and gave me the once over with a look of disgust on her face.  Then she spent the next 2 hours trying to pretend like she wasn’t watching my every move.

I have heard over and over again from my parents how she speaks to them–rude is putting it mildly.  She is apparently completely disrespectful to them and so is he.  It is really hard for me to watch all of this.  I am pretty sure that my parents die a little each day that they have to go through this.  When my niece’s dad calls, my dad is super nice to him and I want to vomit.  My dad tries to keep the peace and he rarely looses his cool although a few times recently he has said that he has never been more offended at how he is being treated.  I know he tries to be even keeled so he won’t piss off my niece’s dad because we’re all afraid he won’t let us see her anymore.  Someone once said, “He has the prize.”  And it’s true.  My niece is the prize.

A few times recently, my niece’s dad and his girlfriend have either been late or forgotten to pick up my niece at the bus stop after school and she has had to wait on her stoop for someone to come home.  My parents are incensed.  To make sure she wasn’t left outside again, my dad has taken to cruising by the bus stop to ensure that someone is there to meet her.  Today my mom told me that my niece’s dad and his girlfriend have decided to enroll my niece in an after school program at a local Tae Kwon Do school  Their van will pick her up at school, take her to the studio where she’ll do homework and take Tae Kwon Do lessons.  This is actually pretty cool and my niece is excited and I am excited for her.  However, the plan is for this to happen M-F.  Which means that we will never see her!  They do stuff on weekends so we typically get to visit with my niece after school.  My mom is beside herself and my stomach aches just thinking about it.  I’m so angry, so quietly angry.

I am positive that the girlfriend is quietly whispering in my niece’s dad’s ear.  He may have never liked us but everything that has happened lately is so diabolical and I don’t see him doing this on his own.  I want to ask her WHO THE EFF ARE YOU LADY?  You’re his girlfriend, not his wife.  She seems like a snake.  My niece may be too young to stand up for herself and her Daddy is her man.  It pains me to see how they treat her–they put her second all the time.  I mean, yes, the Tae Kwon Do is neat but I also see it as now they don’t have to worry about remembering to pick her up or be home early.  She’ll be out of their hair for a while, they don’t have to help her with her homework, etc.  It’s all very convenient.

I love my niece, adore her and I never, ever see her.  It is literally breaking my heart and it is making my parents even more wrought with grief.  My niece is our link to my sister and they are essentially taking her away from us by making it virtually impossible to see her and spend time together.  My daughter (who will be 3 soon) constantly asks me if we can play with my niece and I cannot take having to say “Niece is with her Daddy” again and again.  These cousins should be able to build their relationship.  I also have a son who is now 10 months and could potentially have no memory of ever having spent any time with her.

So tell me…what to do?  Anything?  Sit back and let this happen?  (This is what I’ve done and it hasn’t worked.)  I don’t feel like I have any leg to stand on to confront them.  I just don’t know where to go or what to do or how to begin.

Thanks.
Heartbroken Aunt

Let’s look at some passages from this letter for some clues to what went wrong.

It soon became apparent to me that my sister was the glue that held us all together.  She must have worked really hard to keep everything going and everyone pleased.

No one person should be holding together a family that is really meant to be together. In truth, the sister started the trouble by marrying a guy who was not compatible with the rest of her family. Unless you intend to disown the rest of your family to be only with your husband, that is ALWAYS a mistake.

About a year ago, his girlfriend moved in and ever since then, she has methodically and meticulously worked to remove every trace of my sister from that house and has made it more and more difficult for us to spend time with my niece.

This is flatly dishonorable. This girlfriend is being abusive toward’s the memory of the little girl’s MOTHER. If the girl’s father tolerates this, what does that say about his true attitude towards his dead wife and his daughter? He needs to find a woman who will be a replacement for the girl’s mother, not just someone to be his new sex partner! His priorities are screwed up, to the point where he really has no business being a father. If you don’t always put your child’s needs FIRST above your own, you are not being a good parent.

My wife and I have no children, so if our marriage ended we could separate and I’d never have to bother with her relatives again. But the moment any couple has a child, that complicates things. That child will have physical and emotional links to both parents and the various relatives of those parents. No outsider should EVER be allowed to come in and interfere with those links. That father in the case above shouldn’t be raising a daughter if he treats her relatives on the mother’s side as disposable.

Child centered societies must go!

Read this story:

Restaurant bans kids under 6. Discrimination or smart move?

At McDain’s Restaurant, in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, kids don’t eat free. And starting next week, they don’t get to eat at all.   Mike Vuick, owner of the Pittsburgh area eatery has just announced a ban on children under 6 at his casual dining establishment.

After receiving noise complaints from customers about crying kids at neighboring tables, Vuick decided to institute the policy, which will go into effect July 16.

In an email to customers, Vuick explained: “We feel that McDain’s is not a place for young children. Their volume can’t be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers.”

The owner of the “upscale, casual and quiet” restaurant explains to WTAE Local News, he’s got nothing against kids in general, but their endless screams at public dinner tables are “the height of being impolite and selfish.”

Last year, North Carolina’s Olde Salty restaurant made a similar decision. Owner Brenda Armes posted a sign that read “Screaming children will not be tolerated”, making it clear to parents when their kids scream, they’ll be asked to take it outside. Armes said the move has boosted business, and Vuick is confident his ban will benefit McDain’s as well.

But not everyone is on board. Some Monroeville locals are offended that they’re being singled out for having young kids, and pointing fingers at noisy adults.

“If they’re so concerned about noise, what do they plan to do about the loud people at the bar?” asks one local resident.

It’s not illegal to ban kids from eating establishments, but some parents consider the move discriminatory, and potentially a violation of rights for certain special needs kids. What do you think: are kid-free restaurants a great idea or flat-out wrong?

No, it is NOT discrimination! It would only be discrimination if the restaurant were banning all members of a certain religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation. But children younger than six can always wait until they are older to go to the restaurant.

But even more telling are some of the comments that were left on the article:

Posted by IND Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:01am PDT

I think this is great. I work hard for my money and when I want to go out to a nice quite, relaxing dinner, listening to crying children is the last thing I want to hear. Also, there used to be a time that if you went out to dinner a little later in the evening, there would be no children as they would be home in bed; however, it appears that parents these days drag their kids out at all hours of the evening — no wonder they’re screaming — their tired!

Posted by Elise Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:09am PDT

Parents need to teach their children the proper behavior in public. Parents are to blame on this issue.

If kids can’t behave then yes don’t take them out. I have 5 children and they knew how to behave properly at all times . They were never banned , we received many compliments on them. It can be done.

Posted by BonnieM Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:12am PDT

I personally am driven nuts when I hear kids screaming and the parents do nothing to stop it! And it is the parents I want to strangle!

We wouldn’t have to have rules that some find offensive if people would just think of someone besides themselves once in a while. I took my kids into restaurants when they were young, and if they misbehaved they were taken outside and talked to in private. If they acted up again, we would leave. Then they would be left with a sitter the next time we went until we could be assured they would behave with manners. It isn’t rocket science, it is called consistent good parenting.

Indeed, people who have small children should not feel entitled to take their children with them everywhere they want to go. That’s selfishness, and selfish parents produce selfish children that are even more arrogant and stupid when they grow up, causing our society to enter a downward spiral. Adults who do not have children should have places reserved for them, just as there should be places set aside for parents with small children. The stigma attached so often to childless couples should be eliminated as well.

And parents, you are not loving your children when you fail to discipline them so they will be forced to behave respectfully in public. Instead, you are being cowards. And it is NEVER too early to start training them. As soon as they learn how to talk and to understand what you say, you must have an attitude of ZERO TOLERANCE for any hint of disrespectful behavior. I’m sure if enough parents do this, fewer places will feel the need to ban small children and all will be happy, including the children themselves.

Dentists, sex dolls and pedophiles, oh my!

This story, and variations of it, are all over the web now:

http://www.cnngo.com/tokyo/life/japanese-turn-sex-doll-dental-training-robot-976056

Japanese turn sex doll into dental-training robot

Tokyo university reveals realistic synthi-patient, claims “root canal” gags play no part in its appeal
By Mark Hiratsuka 1 July, 2011

Tokyo frequently presents a story that’s borderline fiction — sex dolls for cavity-filling practice, puhlease — but the pedigree of the new Hanako Showa 2 dental training robot tells us this is no product of a fevered imagination.

We previously saw big sister, plain Jane Hanako Showa, in early 2010, noting that the synthetic patient was being used in the Showa University dental school for more than simple caries-evacuation practice on her plumbed-in dentures.

That model even incorporated the concept of being female simply so junior dentists could learn not to accidentally fondle her breasts. We kid you not.

Silicone sheath

So, a year and a half later, little sis makes her bow sheathed not in her sibling’s PVC skin, but lifelike silicone, and sporting a host of internal modifications besides.

Hanako 2 genuinely is based on a Dutch Wife-style love doll from Orient Industry in Tokyo’s Taito Ward — trust us, you don’t want to click that link at work — giving her a head start in the “realistic” stakes.

Aside from the human-feel skin on her face, mouth and tongue, she also contains robotics that allow her to mimic a range of motions, including sneezing and gagging when clumsy trainees dip their instruments too far into her gullet.

Talkative, ain’t she?

Hanako 2 also has the gift of the gab and can chat with her human companions about how she’s feeling, what ails her and, probably, how she can manage to speak with all that medical metal in her face.

Japan being Japan, there’s clearly no scope for the tried-and-trusted medical school technique of pulling passersby in off the street for a free “checkup.”

Rather, Tokyo’s finest would-be dentists get to grapple with a chimera created originally for self-gratification, but packed instead with cutting-edge robotics and put to work in the name of a nation’s oral health. It’s a beautiful thing.

My first reaction to this was, “Wow, here’s another example of Japanese technical wizardry being put to a good use! It’s certain better to train dentists with dolls that can react like real patients than with real patients that might be injured or infected due to a mistake.” Continue reading

Laci Green, your warning is too little, too late!

Laci Green is a YouTube personality that is known for two things: At first she was mainly interested in proclaiming and defending her atheism (she was raised a Mormon and rebelled against that religion in her teens). Later, she turned to discussing sexuality and dedicated herself to making “sex positive” videos in which she offers advice and suggestions on how to improve your sex life. But she does have her limits.

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A tribute to Daria Morgendorffer

If only she were real and I was again a teenager, I would have been proud to be her boyfriend!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daria_Morgendorffer

While she is hardly perfect (which makes her realistic and thus acceptable to most TV viewers), she seems to embody more than most the Honorable Skepticism I follow.

Her first appearance was in the TV show Beavis and Butthead (B&B). Surprizingly, she didn’t seem to hate the morons as much as others did and they in turn respected her more than one might have expected:

When Daria got her own show a few years later, she blazed a trail for cartoon characters few ever dared to go before, or since.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI4YaLJKFw4

Yes, I was a lot like Daria when I was her age, except I was a born-again Christian. But otherwise I didn’t tend to follow the crowd, I was very into science, and I wore glasses. Today, I am even more like her, having dropped Christianity for agnosticism.

Here is some behind the scene information on the Daria show:

I have heard they are bringing back B&B, with all new episodes. They need to do the same with Daria, with her now being depicted as a college student. Because while B&B were hardly role models for teenage boys, Daria is a great one for teenage girls! We need MILLIONS more girls like her, rejecting the shallowness of modern culture and embracing rational thought.

Revert Muslims?

A green version of http://commons.wikimedia.or...

Image via Wikipedia

After a brief discussion with a Muslim friend in Facebook about religious tolerance, I noticed she often used the word “revert” in reference to herself and certain other Muslims. I’d never heard of that term before, so I googled the phrase “Muslim reverts”. I then found this:

http://www.revertmuslims.com/glossary.html

Revert            A person who returns to a religion they previously had; Muslim custom is to apply this term to converts to Islam as well, on the grounds that Islam is the religion that every person was born into, but their parents made them another religion. (Emphasis mine)

Gee, I wonder where that delusion came from. As I stated earlier, I don’t accept that babies are born atheists either.

Some atheists have gone further and asserted that atheism merely means “lacking belief in a god”, but that is illogical since what would follow from that is all newborn babies would therefore be atheist (they are born with NO beliefs at all) and this actually makes the term atheist useless for statistical purposes as well. It is ideologically useful (you can thus argue that atheism is a child’s natural state and thus religious indoctrination violates the child’s “true” nature), but has no empirical foundation.

An empirical case against the idea that a person can be born a Muslim is that babies do not practice any of the five pillars of Islam from birth; they must be taught those rituals by their parents and others.

Why can’t babies just be considered blank slates? Then one could argue that the default religious position of any child would be the religion his parents agree to raise  him in. I was raised a Southern Baptist, so that was my default position. I later deconverted from Christianity, joined a Unitarian Universalist church, converted to the Baha’i Faith, and finally reverted to Unitarian Universalism.

But no matter what else I do in my life, my past memberships in both the Southern Baptist Convention and the Baha’i Faith will always be a part of my existence. As I told my Muslim friend:  “I will pick fights with Christian extremists, atheist extremists, and even Muslim extremists. That’s because I figured out long ago that religion cannot be about objective truth, but about what fits your soul and identity. Whether there is one God, a billion gods, or no God, we all must live by what we know and can accept. To demand otherwise is to violate the very nature of what it means to be human.”

And to the end of my life, I know that my soul and my identity always will be linked to:

  • Agnosticism (my view of God)
  • Unitarian Universalism (my religious allegiance)
  • and Honorable Skepticism (my ethical philosophy)

NOT ISLAM OR ANY DOGMATIC GOD-CENTERED RELIGION!

The Irish people must abandon Catholicism!

It is painful for me to proclaim that, despite being a non-theist who was never a Catholic. I know all too well how deeply embedded Catholicism is in the spirit of Ireland; a major theme of past Irish rebellion against English domination was the British being Protestant and the Irish being Catholic. Without the support of the Catholic Church, Ireland might never have won its political freedom. But now the time has come for the Irish people to seek their spiritual freedom as well, and so they must throw off the Catholic dogmas and institutions too!

Why? Because of this report:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110118/ap_on_re_eu/eu_ireland_catholic_abuse

Continue reading

No Fun with Dick and Jane

See Johnny read. Johnny reads about Dick and Jane. Read, read, read Johnny. Boring, boring book. Johnny hates to read. Johnny can’t read the newspaper yet.

Seriously, the people who created and published the classic Dick and Jane Readers of the 20th Century should have been banned from working in any school or publishing company! I wonder how many young minds were ruined by those idiots!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_and_Jane

I am a champion of phonics, and hope we never repeat the mistakes made in dumbing down our education via a long discredited method of teaching reading. Rudolf Flesch is one of my heros.

Attacking homophobia and bullying in the Fort Worth City Council

Having lived in the Fort Worth area all my life, I was never prouder of that than I was when I saw this video on YouTube. For the people of Texas, there is hope for greater enlightenment as long as people like Joel Burns and myself are around!

Such courage may cause him to be voted out of office, but it may also lead to a revolution. Let us keep up the pressure to stop the hate, the violence and the ignorance.

I’ll add this much older voice to Mr Burns’ as well:

Because bigotry is evil no matter where it comes from, and even if religion or social standards support it.

Ten Reasons the Quiverfull Movement is Idiotic

In case you’ve never heard of the Quiverfull movement in Christianity, here is its website:

http://www.quiverfull.com/index.php

We exalt Jesus Christ as Lord, and acknowledge His headship in all areas of our lives, including fertility. We exist to serve those believers who trust the Lord for family size, and to answer the questions of those seeking truth in this critical area of marriage.

Whether your quiver is large or small, you are welcome. Come browse our articles and resources. Also, be sure to check out the QuiverFull Digest, our email discussion group that was started in 1995.

Dedicated to providing encouragement and practical help to those who are striving to raise a large and growing, godly family in today’s world!

Continue reading

The “Health Ranger” attacks vaccines

Imagine the horror of giving a baby a vaccination to protect his health, only to have him become violently ill. Sadly, such things may happen if the vaccines are defective. But when a product is defective, the logical response is to stop using the product for a short time, do an investigation to determine what went wrong with the product, and then replace it with an improved version of the product, NOT ban the product completely and tell people to never use it! But that is exactly what anti-vaxxer loons in Australia are doing!

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The Spice Girls were frauds from the beginning

One of the greatest failures of the public in the world was reflected in how the Spice Girls, with their slogan “Girl Power” became such an overwhelming success. If enough people had applied skepticism to the matter, they would have rejected the pop group en masse and they would have had only minor hits, if any at all.

Continue reading

A damning statement about public schools

Occationally I find a statement by someone so stunning in its brilliance, yet so obvious, that I feel the need to spread it around. Such as this:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/08/i_am_the_wrong_person_to_answe.php#comment-2702235

Posted by: skeptifem Author Profile Page | August 3, 2010 10:28 PM   #9

Public school isn’t meant to genuinely educate. It never will. They dole out skills that increase the value of the lowest rung of workers. That is the purpose of it. Having customers and workers who can read and do basic math is something that power structures need, so we have it.

The current cirriculum in schools does not prepare students for huge portions of living, perpetuating privilege and disadvantage. People come out of school knowing nothing about how to go further than HS, medicine, the law, economics, and history. Children are taught obedience and discouraged from thinking critically. The liklihood of a state institution portraying the state honestly (which is to say, in a negative light) is unlikely. So it isn’t as though everyone who grew up in public school isn’t pumped full of ridiculous lies in the same way the homeschoolers are, it is just a different set of lies.
Real knowledge and the ability to think critically is kept to classes of people who are conditioned for obedience. The number and variety of meaningless hoops a person typically has to jump through in order to make it far in education weeds out radical people. Even on the K-12 level, people are branded “behavior problems” (of course there are genuine ones as well), or put into “slow” or “advanced” groups based on what people should know by a certain age, as if minds don’t vary wildly in that respect. It divides em, often along race/class/sex lines. It teaches learning is a chore (that takes place between 7 and 3), and you learn what other people say, and that you unwind by doing a bunch of non thinking by buying products or staring at screens all day. It kills the motivation to learn. Children don’t see the past or future of the world they are in, shut in with only people their own age except for authority figures.

SO yeah, I unschool. I don’t see the supremacy of public school at all. Crappy homeschools literally move school into homes- that is what creationist homeschoolers do in spades. School would have to be radically rethought for me to approve, and they have been before. Voluntary skill swaps, anarchist free schools from the early 1900s, that I would approve of in a school. As is public school is a crock of shit.

I must note that I was brought up in public schools, even in college. I guess I was lucky I learned to think as critically as I do. But I am not against public schools. But P Z Myers, who wrote the blog entry skeptifem was commenting on, said at the beginning:

I am not a fan of homeschooling; in fact, if I had my way, I’d make it illegal.

I am glad that P Z is not a dictator over us, then. Not all homeschoolers are religious fundamentalists. That’s an urban myth we need to stamp out.

There are indeed secular homeschoolers. Here are some of their websites:

http://www.secularhomeschool.com/

http://www.secular-homeschooling.com/

http://www.secularhomeschoolers.net/

http://www.atheistview.com/secular_homeschool.htm

There are also Unitarian Universalists who homeschool:

http://www.uuhomeschool.org/

Public schools may provide a valuble service, but no one should rely on them exclusively to educate their children. Parents and other adults also have a responsibility to be teachers, now and forever. Let it be so.

There is still hope even for those who are brainwashed

Check out this blog:

http://nolongerquivering.com/

It is a protest against men using religion to train women to be little more than breeding machines.

http://nolongerquivering.com/about/

by Vyckie

I am a single mother of 7 wonderful kids. I am a former “Quiverfull” mother who dedicated my life to bearing and raising up “Arrows for God’s army.”

My pregnancies nearly killed me on several occasions, but I was so dedicated to the ideal that I continued to risk my life. I left the movement and my Christian faith, so that’s led to learning a whole new way of thinking and living. My kids and I are really having a blast and enjoying the freedom to be ourselves rather than ordering our lives according to some predefined roles based upon an ancient patriarchal society.

I am a former Christian homeschooling mother of seven who finally walked away from fundamentalism after our radical extremism drove my oldest daughter to attempt suicide. I was so convinced of, and committed to, the Biblical family ideals espoused by what has been termed the “Quiverfull” or “Biblical Patriarchy” movement.

Mine is a candid story of one who was seriously sucked into a hate-filled worldview and was so committed that I was willing to die for the cause – and now I am equally bold in speaking up to say that the Quiverfull worldview and lifestyle overburdens women, enslaves the daughters and destroys families.

Of course, this is the sort of evil that trapped Andrea Yates and killed her five children.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrea_Yates

Why some people commit suicide

There are many cases I’ve heard of in which a young person, raised in a good family, suddenly commits suicide. Usually, the parents and friends of the victim do not forsee the event and cannot explain it afterwards. But I think I have an explanation.

The person may still be a teenager raised in an extremely religious family who decides not to follow his or her parents’ faith. Once he decides to leave it, he realizes that he may lose his parents’ love and that is a burden no child should have to endure. This is especially bad if the child is raised in a close knit community where the religious extremism is strongly enforced by nearly everyone in it. The attempts to keep the child’s deconversion a secret while going through the motions of religious life must be a constant source of stress on the child.

Issues like homosexuality, racism, and other forms of prejudice may also be factors, but I naturally think religious bigotry is the most serious one of all.

Sarah Palin, living a lie

Let me be frank and blunt about this matter of the Republican Vice-Presidental nominee of 2008: She is an IDIOT and a disgrace to all responsible women in America, if not the entire world!

She has five children and her oldest daughter Bristol, only 17, is already expecting a child of her own. So in essence, Sarah Palin illustrates that women, even highly achiveing ones like her, are still expected to be breeding machines as well.

I find that absolutely disgusting!

How can anyone, knowing the vast environmental destruction humans have caused around the world, because of our growing populations, ever put their trust in anyone that herself contributes to the problem?

How can anyone think that her assumptions about birth control and abortion are in any way applicable to places that are overcrowded, just because they seem justified in lightly populated Alaska, the state Palin is governor of?

How can anyone, claiming to be Christian, be so damn materialistic as to favor the exploitation of Alaska’s mineral resources to make people richer, at the expense of the wildlife that live there? Jesus constantly denounced that attitude! So do I, despite being non-Christian.

How can anyone, having so strong sexual urges herself that she would crank out five babies, seriously think that abstinence before marriage is an option for teenagers with their own raging hormones, including her own daughters? One of them has obviously rejected that. If those values didn’t work for the Palins, why should they be applied to anyone?

Nevermind that Bristol, the pregnant daughter, is planning to marry her baby’s father. Statistics show that the overwhelming majority of teen marriages end in divorce. In any case, she is at a disadvantage in moving on with her education, and even if she does that, many teen mothers, lacking financial resources, would not be so fortunate.

Nature made our sexual urges strong for a reason, that being that REPRODUCTION, the purpose of sex, is what perpetuates all species. Unless we eliminate those urges, we will inevitably give in to them when opportunities present themselves. I think anyone who says otherwise is a LIAR.

Therefore, the Roman Catholic Church, advertising its priest and nuns as celibate and therefore “pure” and totally dedicated to the church and nothing else, is lying to us all. And so is Sarah Palin.

Her daughter Bristol is living proof that her values on sexuality are a failure. And that being the case, her values about economics and the environment, issues which are affected by human population growth, are also discredited.

We need to BURY this loon before she destroys us! IMMEDIATELY!

Statutory rape, a legal absurdity

In many states in the United States, is it considered a crime, specifically statutory rape, for an adult of either sex to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor of either sex, even if the minor gives consent to the act. Legally, the minor is considered incapable of giving consent just because he has not reached a certain chronological age, even if he or she has already passed puberty and would otherwise be sexually mature.

I find this legal standard to be insulting to all parties involved and want it abolished, IMMEDIATLY!

I beleive that once a minor has shown physical evidence of puberty, he or she should be held responsible for any sex acts that the minor chooses to participate in, regardless of the gender of the minor, gender of the other partner, the nature of the act, or even the age of the other partner.

Minors are not “protected” by statutory rape laws, they are insulted, treated the same as children who have NOT reached puberty. Most teenagers themselves know how wrong that is and that in turn results in lack of respect for the law in general from teenagers as well as others in different age groups.

There is no question that sexual relations between a pre-pubescent child and an adult is totally inappropriate and the adult should be punished by imprisonment, since such children are indeed not capable of giving consent to sexual acts, lacking a sex drive and fully developed genitals.

There is also no question that sexual relations between a teacher and one of his or her own adolescent students, regardless of their genders, is immoral, being disruptive to the educational process. In such a case, the teacher should be fired and blacklisted from teaching in any school, and the student who took part in the sex acts should also be expelled permenantly from the school.

What I’m writing about is an adult being charged with a sex crime merely for having sex with someone, regardless of physical development, JUST BECAUSE THE MINOR HAD NOT REACHED AN AGE LEGALLY DEFINED AS “ADULT”! In most states, that age is 18. But is it common knowledge that some 15 or 16 year olds are mature enough to handle sex with either members of their own age group, or older partners, while some 18 year olds are not. There is nothing magical about the age of 18.

So abolish the statutory rape laws! They are not based on reality. Only prejudice.