September 30, 2008
Hat tip- Nicholas Bretagna II
September 30, 2008
British children as young as nine are being forced to marry against their will by their families, campaigners have warned.
Charities supporting victims of forced marriages report growing numbers of young teenagers and children seeking help.
They are urging schools to take tougher action where they suspect pupils are at risk, and to monitor their rolls carefully and raise the alarm when children disappear.
Thousands of Britons – mainly young women from the Asian communities – are thought to be victims of forced marriage each year, but concerns are increasingly focused on the plight of underage girls who are being offered for marriage to foreign men when they have barely left primary school.
No accurate figures exist for the scale of the problem, although the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit has helped rescue around 60 children aged 15 or under in the past four years – including 11 so far in 2008 – and experts fear that may represent only the tip of the iceberg.
Typically victims are taken overseas by their families on a false pretext and forced to marry. Extreme cases where women rebel against their family’s plans and try to run away have led to so-called ‘honour killings’ or suicides.
Ministers angered campaigners two years ago by dropping plans to make it a criminal offence to force someone to marry, after Muslim groups objected strongly to the plans.
A charity operating a national helpline on forced marriage, Karma Nirvana, yesterday highlighted one incident where a nine-year-old girl from a Pakistani family in the east Midlands was taken into care after her parents told her she was to be married.
Director Jasvinder Sanghera said that on average one child a week aged under 16 had sought assistance since the helpline launched in April.
‘The youngest child we have dealt with was nine years old,’ she said. ‘The girl told her teacher she was going to be forced to marry someone and initially she was not believed.
‘Ultimately, with the help of the Forced Marriage Unit, she was dealt with through child protection procedures. She was assessed and, thankfully, taken into foster care.’
The Forced Marriage Unit, jointly funded by the Home Office and Foreign Office, deals with around 5,000 calls and 300 known cases a year, while a third of all inquiries come from under-18s. Some 15 per cent of cases involve boys being forced to marry.
The youngest victim rescued and repatriated to Britain by the unit was an 11-year-old girl who was flown back from Bangladesh last year after her parents tried to make her marry a local man.
Ms Sanghera, who herself fled home after being threatened with forced marriage at the age of 15, said: ‘I currently have cases involving four children aged 11 to 14 who were forced to marry or were at risk, and have now been made wards of court.
‘You don’t just get forced into a marriage at 16 or 17. This is happening to very young children. We certainly have had cases of minors being sexually abused.
‘But we have no idea how many children under 16 are at risk, and this is compounded by a reluctance of schools to engage with the issue. Many schools shy away due to supposed cultural sensitivities.’
She added: ‘These marriages can be prevented by identifying the signs in school or teachers believing pupils when they raise it.’
The problem is believed to be particularly prevalent in Pakistani communities, she said, where many parents arrange to marry their children to first cousins.
The charity is calling for a formal system of headcounts before and after summer holidays, so that schools can identify children who disappear without explanation.
A report by Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee earlier this year said more than 2,000 pupils were unaccounted for in just 14 local council areas across England and Wales.
Plans to make forced marriage a specific crime were dropped by ministers in 2006 following a Muslim community backlash, although new laws passed last year gave courts new powers to issue injunctions preventing a young person from marrying or being taken abroad – any breach of which by parents would constitute a crime.
September 30, 2008
Rival Somali pirates arguing over what to do with a hijacked Ukrainian ship and its cargo of 33 tanks engaged in a shootout on board, killing three of their number, a maritime group said on Tuesday.
In the most high-profile of this year’s wave of hijackings off lawless Somalia, pirates seized the MV Faina six days ago and have demanded $20 million in ransom.
U.S. navy ships are shadowing the boat, whose capture has sparked controversy over the destination of its cargo and thrown a spotlight on rampant piracy in one of the world’s busiest shipping areas connecting Europe to Asia and the Middle East.
Andrew Mwangura, of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, said factions among the roughly 50 pirates on board had argued over whether to free the cargo and 20-man crew.
“The radicals on board do not want to listen to anyone,” said Mr. Mwangura, whose Kenya-based group is monitoring the saga via relatives of the crew and the pirates. “The moderates want to back-peddle. The Americans are close, so everyone is tense. There was a shootout and three of the pirates were shot dead.”
The U.S. navy has said the ship, which was heading for Kenya’s Mombasa port, was carrying T-72 tanks, grenade-launchers and ammunition ultimately bound for south Sudan via Kenya.
Such a shipment could violate the terms of a north-south peace pact in Sudan unless specifically authorised by both sides who signed a 2005 truce after more than two decades of war.
Kenya says the armoury was for its military.
Taking advantage of chaos on shore, where an Islamist-led insurgency has raged for nearly two years, Somali pirates have seized more than 30 ships this year and attacked many more.
Most attacks have been in the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and north Somalia, a major global sea artery used by about 20,000 vessels a year heading to and from Suez, including Gulf oil shipments. The pirates have also struck in the busy Indian Ocean waters off south Somalia.
With U.S. and French military bases in the area, many are unhappy with the lack of international action.
“If civil aircraft were being hijacked on a daily basis, the response of governments would be very different,” top shipping trade bodies and transport unions said in a joint statement.
“Yet ships, which are the lifeblood of the global economy, are seemingly out of sight and out of mind.”
As well as building new homes and taking new wives onshore, the increasingly rich pirates have bought speedboats, satellite phones and other equipment to aid their trade. They, and middlemen acting as financiers, are making millions in ransoms.
“There is a striking similarity between the actions of these unscrupulous pirates and the activity in ‘blood diamonds’ in Liberia and Sierra Leone during the civil wars in these countries,” said U.N. envoy to Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah.
“No ship, big or small, civil or military, is spared. With the seizure of the Ukrainian ship, a new line has been crossed.”
He said higher insurance prices for goods coming to the region were adding to hardships around the Horn of Africa.
U.S. analyst J. Peter Pham, of Madison University, called for a united international naval response, more attention on solving Somalia’s civil conflict, and better protection equipment on board commercial vessels.
“Many have done little aside from being prepared to pay ransoms which only perpetuate the cycle of violence,” he wrote in a new report on the Somali piracy phenomenon.
September 30, 2008
Anger runs deep. It is aimed at financiers, who first earned huge and conspicuous bonuses and now successfully force taxpayers to pay for their mistakes. It is also aimed at financial markets, whose merits have been oversold.
The mantra that financial markets always allocate resources better was never true. Financial markets suffer from very serious failures, chiefly information asymmetry. The subprime saga started with beneficial risk diversification until it became a channel for contagion. The saga also revealed the depth of herding among financial institutions – the exact opposite of risk diversification among them. Having followed the same strategy, they all suffered simultaneous losses.
Financial operations are about risk-taking, which means uncertainty and, occasionally, crashes.
On this ground, anger is universal. US congressmen compete with themselves to lash out at the financiers who created this mess. But, outside the Anglo-American world, we see an outburst of resentment against the US and British approach to finance and banking. With people angry and scared at what may happen next, political leaders find it more difficult than usual to resist populist tendencies and seek to distance themselves from a possibly serious downturn. With market failures crudely in the limelight, they feel pressed to reassert the role of government. Nationalism is always a convenient spare wheel for difficult times.
Once again, Anglo-American capitalism is a bad word and globalisation is next in line. Speeches at this year’s United Nation General Assembly by leaders from every continent reveal the depth of contempt that has been lying low, buried underneath the apparent success of the globalisation process.
A first reason for this backlash is the delicate balance between individualism and solidarity. Americans are famously known to encourage and practise individual responsibility. In many other countries, solidarity is more highly valued and individualism is seen as the other side of egoism. Generous welfare states do not just reflect this view, they also create incentives to support collective insurance arrangements, even if they are inefficient. Adam Smith’s invisible hand, the assertion that individualism delivers the common best, is not popular: we know that his assertion is only approximately correct because it assumes that markets are perfect, which is not the case in practice.
Where individualism is considered a virtue, deviations from the ideal outcome are seen as a regrettable side-effect. But in most parts of the world, where individualism is considered morally wrong, the law of the market is tolerated as long as it delivers prosperity. When it fails, its legitimacy is soon questioned. The world’s major financial markets are in New York and London. No wonder, then, that anger is aimed at Anglo-American capitalism.
The second reason is related to the way financial markets operate. The US and the UK have championed arm’s-length finance, the financing of corporations through issuance of shares and bonds to anonymous stakeholders. Continental Europe – and south-east Asia – has long favoured face-to-face deals between entrepreneurs and bankers. Deals can be shoddy and cliquish, but they provide for some stability. Over the past two decades, arm’s-length finance has made headway in continental Europe, beating back the old boys’ networks. No wonder that the old boys are now hitting back.
Strikingly, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, and Peer Steinbrück, the German finance minister, have both announced the end of Anglo-American financial supremacy. It is not clear what their prediction is based upon.
They have denounced excesses, such as bonuses, but that does not even begin to address the root cause of the crisis. They have described financial markets as unregulated. This is simply wrong. Financial markets are tightly regulated. The problem is not just that the regulation is inappropriate, but also that supervisors have not enforced it.
We knew of the hundreds of billions of dollars in dubious claims parked off bank balance sheets in a clear effort at circumventing existing regulations. Regulatory arbitrage, as this is called, has gone unchecked for years.
Both leaders had harsh words for “speculation”, but this misses the fact that finance is speculation. Both zeroed in on short selling. Short selling is like cars. Drivers can be reckless; disciplining them seems more reasonable than banning cars. Denouncing market short-termism runs against evidence that markets better predict companies’ long-term performance than their own managers.
Mr Sarkozy and Mr Steinbrück may be simply captured by their own old boys, but the fate of Fortis, the Belgo-Dutch banking and insurance group, may give them second thoughts. Pain is travelling across the Atlantic and could hurt more good European banks. Mr Sarkozy promised that no French depositor would ever suffer any loss from any French bank. He might soon find the price tag pretty steep.
So will Anglo-American capitalism fade away? Maybe, but that will be decided in Washington, not Paris and Berlin. One thing is sure, neither France nor Germany can mount a serious challenge, at least as long as their people and leaders mistrust and misunderstand finance.
September 30, 2008
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered her Majority Whip, Jim Clyburn, to essentially not do his job in the runup to the vote on Monday for the negotiated Wall Street bailout plan, according to House Democrat leadership aides.
“Clyburn was not whipping the votes you would have expected him to, in part because he was uncomfortable doing it, in part because we didn’t want the push for votes to be successful,” says one leadership aide. “All we needed was enough to potentially get us over the finish line, but we wanted the Republicans to be the ones to do it. This was not going to be a Democrat-passed bill if the Speaker had anything to say about it.”
During the floor vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Democrat Conference chair Rahm Emanuel could be seen monitoring the vote on the floor, and gauging whether or not more Democrat votes were needed. Clyburn had expressed concerns, says the leadership aide, of being asked to press members of the Black and Hispanic caucuses on a bill he was certain those constituencies would not want passed.
“It worked out, because we didn’t have a dog in this fight. We negotiated. We gave the White House a bill. It was up to the Republicans to get the 100 plus votes they needed and they couldn’t do it,” said another Democrat leadership aide.
Emanuel, who served as a board member for Freddie Mac, one of the agencies that precipitated the economic crisis the nation now finds itself in, had no misgivings about taking a leadership role in tanking the bill. “He was cheerleading us along, mothering the votes,” says the aide. “We wanted enough to put the pressure on the Republicans and Congressman Emanuel was charged with making it close enough. He did a great job.”
Pelosi and her aides have made it clear they were not going to “whip” or twist the arms of members who did not want to vote, but they also made no effort to rally any support for a bill they attempted to hijack over the weekend.
Further, according to House Oversight Committee staff, Emanuel has received assurances from Pelosi that she will not allow what he termed a “witch hunt” to take place during the next Congressional session over the role Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac played in the economic crisis.
Emanuel apparently is concerned the roles former Clinton Administration members may have played in the mortgage industry collapse could be politically — or worse, if the Department of Justice had its way, legally — treacherous for many.
September 29, 2008
September 29, 2008
But that’s what happened to David Huckvale, 42, who needed a £40,000 bionic leg to walk again.
The father-of-two popped down to his local pub on the same day surgeon Alistair Gibson, who specialises in fitting the computer-controlled limb, was there for a pint.
When the two happened to meet Mr Gibson mentioned he had a spare leg and could fit Mr Huckvale for free.
Mr Huckvale had his leg amputated when he was 29 after a benign tumour was removed.
Before the chance encounter, he had been limping around in a false leg, which didn’t fit properly and walked with the help of crutches and was sometimes in a wheelchair.
Mr Huckvale had read about the bionic leg available in the US and was saving for one – but had only managed to put away a fraction of the required £40,000.
He even bought a lottery ticket every week in the hope he might get a windfall.
Mr Huckvale told the Sunday Mirror: “I have been blessed by a miracle. I can now play in the garden with my two girls. Alistair has given me my life back.”
Mr Gibson said he was pleased to have been able to help.
September 29, 2008
Anyone who has ever used budget airlines know only too well how uncomfortable it can be: long queues, cramped seats and every tiny extra costs you.
But at least they are never told to get out and help push their plane.
That is exactly what happened to a group of passengers in China who were asked to get out and push after their plane broke down shortly after landing.
All together now: Passengers join airport staff to move the jet off the runway at Zhengzhou Airport
The Chinese Shandong airlines flight CRJ7 arrived safely at Zhengzhou from Guilin, but broke down before it could taxi to the passenger terminal.
Airport staff were called out to help push, but they had to ask some of the 69 passengers on board to help because the plane would not budge.
It took the group nearly two hours to shove the plane half a mile to a side lane.
One of the airport workers said: ‘Thank God it was only a 20-ton medium-sized aeroplane. If it were a big plane, it would have knocked us out.’
The plane remained parked in the side lane on Friday night, waiting for technicians arriving on the next flight to fix the problem.
September 29, 2008
A day after a 5-foot-tall yellow contraption appeared on the immaculately kept sidewalk outside the Hilton hotel, doorman Howard Golden walked circles around it, eyeing it suspiciously.
Then he pronounced his verdict on Atlanta’s latest jab at its runaway panhandling problem: donation meters.
“This is one of the dumbest things I’ve seen in my life,” said the New York City transplant. The way he figures it, nothing will stop a determined panhandler from making a day’s pay. Certainly not a meter.
“I’m just waiting for someone to steal it,” he said.
Panhandling is the No. 2 complaint about the city, behind traffic. Atlanta leaders have spent years battling an ever expanding and contracting swarm of beggars, credited with frightening tourists, driving away downtown business and being a general pain.
Now the city is asking victims — from conventioneers to everyday pedestrians passing a buck to keep the peace — to stop the problem themselves by cutting off panhandlers’ income at the source.
Spare change plopped into meters instead of panhandlers’ palms will be collected and distributed to social service groups, a new approach in a city that’s tried everything from bans to police stings to curb some of the nation’s most aggressive begging.
But with victims as weary of gimmicks as they are of panhandlers, success may be slow in coming.
Research in some cities shows panhandlers earn as much as $50,000 a year.
Parking meter-like donation stations designed to redirect some of that money began popping up downtown Sept. 11. Twenty-four hours later, few around the city seemed to consider them worth their dime.
“This will be a great way to do some good,” said Jeff McCord, a state worker who nonetheless breezed by the meter installed at City Hall. No change, he said.
He was like many pedestrians who bypassed the meters, their annoyance with panhandlers overshadowed by their indifference to any attempts to make them go away.
Marie Brewer glanced at the one outside City Hall, but shook her head when asked if she’d donate. She questioned how her change would be used.
“They take it … you don’t know where it will end up,” Brewer said.
Officials have placed five meters at prominent spots in the tourist heavy business corridor, where “spangers” — slang for spare change beggars — typically lurk.
Posters around the city encourage tourists and pedestrians to feed the meters instead of panhandlers. Resource cards list shelters and other places to find help for the fraction of panhandlers who officials believe are actually destitute.
The concept looks great on paper.
On city streets? Not so much.
“You think a guy’s gonna let you put money in here?” said Golden, who’s sure aggressive panhandlers would intervene if someone walked up to feed the meters.
Indeed, Atlanta panhandlers have a reputation for being pushy and at times violent. On Sept. 2, police arrested a man they say was a panhandler who shot and killed a Florida man at a gas station after begging him for money.
The city has tried to tackle the problem before. A three-year-old panhandling ban meant to silence beggars faltered after victims — usually tourists — refused to return for prosecutions.
Earlier this month, police wrapped up a 30-day sting involving plainclothes officers mimicking tourists and other pedestrians. Once they were panhandled, they essentially became victims guaranteed to show up for a trial.
The sting netted 50 arrests for violations of the panhandling ban. It was a small dent among the dozens of panhandlers that line entire blocks.
Police say they can do only so much. It’s up to the victims to cut panhandlers off.
“We do know the reason people are coming back is because they’re getting money,” said Wilma Sothern, vice president of marketing with Central Atlanta Progress, a revitalization group that has partnered with the city and tourism groups to curb panhandling.
She and other city leaders looked to cities like Denver for inspiration.
Pedestrians there were giving as much as $4.5 million a year to panhandlers before the city installed 86 meters last year, said Jamie Van Leeuwen, who helps oversee the effort through Denver’s Road Home, an anti-homelessness initiative.
The project has generated over $15,000 in coins.
Meters have been installed in such places as Chattanooga, Tenn., St. Louis and Baltimore, which got the first batch in the nation. In coming months, the city will add 25 meters to the nine it has, said Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.
Still, the biggest help has to come from folks like Daniel and Danielle Corenchuk, tourists from Fort Stewart, Ga., who were approached by panhandlers five times their first day in town.
“I had a man sing me a nice song … ‘Cupid, draw back your bow,’” Danielle said, chuckling.
She rewarded the soloist with 75 cents she wouldn’t likely feed into a meter.
After all, the panhandler had a nicer voice.
September 29, 2008
As long as the Palestinian world was divided into two separate entities only on the physical level, this could go on, yet in January this world will be divided into two on the legal front as well – a development that would mark the ultimate collapse of Palestinian politics.
What happened in 1936 and in 1948 is happening to the Palestinians this time around as well: On January 14, 2009, in about four months, 73-year-old Mahmoud Abbas’ term in office will end, and the storm shall start.
Hamas will not allow elections to be held in the Gaza Strip, most certainly when the presidential candidate is Abbas or another Fatah figure. As a result, it would be impossible to hold presidential elections. Hamas is waiting for this exact scenario to materialize in order to argue that according to the Palestinian constitution and election law, a retired president should be replaced by the parliament speaker.
The current parliament speaker is a Hamas man, Aziz Dweik, after Hamas has taken over the Palestinian parliament, which is not functioning in fact. Dweik has been detained by Israel, however, and therefore Hamas argues that the next president should be his deputy, Ahmed Bahar, who is of course also a Hamas man. This is how Hamas intends to fully take over the territories.
So what are the conclusions of these scenarios?
Gaza constitutes the Palestinian state. It has complete sovereignty, even though it is isolated and unrecognized. Not only does it no longer maintain any connection with the Judea and Samaria kingdom, they are hostile entities at this time.
The Israeli government’s desire to reach a diplomatic solution with Abbas by the end of the year is unfeasible. In the coming months, Abbas will become radical in respect to his words and deeds. It is no coincidence that he went to visit Samir Kuntar in Lebanon, and that he constantly declares that the refugees will return to Israel. Abbas will be radicalizing his statements and objectives so he is not accused of capitulating to Israel.
All of the Palestinian Authority’s institutions are not functioning, a fact that turns it into an artificial entity, which is operating at the mercy of the terrible enemy, Israel, both in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria. Israel, and only Israel, is sparing the Palestinians a political, economic, and social collapse.
We reached the absurd situation whereby everything hinges on Abbas at this time. Condoleezza Rice’s artificial support for Abbas has turned him into a major player: If he stays, there will seemingly be a diplomatic solution, yet if he goes, everything will collapse along with him. How absurd!
This status, which grants Abbas great weight and importance, also reflects great weakness. How can we reach an agreement with him when he doesn’t represent a large part of his own Authority? How can we reach a deal with him when his future presidency is undemocratic? In practice, he has dissolved the parliament, established an illegal government without getting the required permission from parliament, and now he may extend his own term in office. And what will happen if at the same time we will see another Palestinian, and a Hamas man at that, assuming the role of president?
And finally, once Hamas thwarts the prospect of elections it will end the Palestinian dreams of unity and make it clear that we are dealing with two peoples with two destinies. As such, the Palestinian vision will spread across four countries: Gaza, Judea and Samaria, Jordan, and Israel – not bad for someone who doesn’t even have one state.
An almost sole outlet for the Palestinian distress may be a new type of Intifada or some kind of other military activity against Israel that would reunite Palestinian forces. Tzipi Livni’s term in office, should she become prime minister, would encourage them to do so as they would perceive Israel to be weakening. Are we ready for this? In the midst of the leadership vacuum that we are facing and our leaders’ shallowness, is anyone preparing for a Palestinian collapse, which will of course affect us too?
September 29, 2008
During the early 1970s, the school I was at experienced a surge in enrollment. The yield that year — percentage of students accepts to those who enrolled — was extremely high, too high, in fact, in relation to the number of dormitory rooms available to house incoming students. Thus, what was great for the university’s bottom line created a problem. Where were we going to put these students? One option that appeared was an off-campus dormitory at a local theological seminary that had the opposite problem: not enough students to fill its quarters. However, when the students on my own campus heard about the off-campus alternative, they “requested” (a.k.a. protested) the administration to create triples out of the resident halls’ doubles and keep everyone around the quad. We obliged, converted student lounges into rooms, put bunk beds in the doubles and the extra students were in residence on site.
Fast forward eight years, two complete academic cycles, and the undergraduates came to the administration and protested (a.k.a requested) that the triples on campus be re-converted into doubles because the overcrowding was creating too many social problems: long lines for bathrooms, too noisy, difficulties in the dining halls, etc. We obliged, opened up the lounges, took out the bunk beds and extra closet units, and reduced occupancy. We found an off-campus dormitory at the local theological seminary that still had unused rooms. No joke. Not a single student from Protest No. 2 had any memory of Protest No. 1. Tabula rasa.
From the September 15, 2008 Columbia Daily Spectator:
“Columbia has not allowed ROTC programs to operate on campus for over 40 years, when the military training groups were banned as a statement of opposition to the Vietnam War. More recently, the University Senate — the highest body of administrative, faculty, and student representatives which makes recommendations to the University’s Board of Trustees — has reaffirmed the ban, citing opposition to the U.S. military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Final decisions on university policy rest with the board of trustees. Students who are interested in ROTC can join programs at other schools.”
Policy decisions are affected by current environment. Columbia’s administration responded to the anti-war fervor on campus with a policy change — no more ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) on campus. They reacted once again, to affirm the no-ROTC policy, when the military’s position on homosexuality and the campus community’s position were in conflict. But the issues surrounding ROTC have changed once again, and now there is a movement to reinstate the military’s presence on campus.
ROTC on non-military campus (distinguished from the service academies) accomplishes several things: educates students who will become officers in the military with supplemental skills beyond traditional academic disciplines, such as leadership, personal and professional codes of conduct, strategic problem solving, military tactics, and others areas. Enrollment in the ROTC program comes with financial assistance and military service obligations.
While I believe that keeping gay people from serving the country is wrong and foolish, unsound and un-American, I found the actions directed against ROTC to be unpersuasive and unproductive. They did not get the job done. Our military is under civilian authority: Policies put in place by the military are subject to approval by a chain of command that goes through the secretary of defense to the commander-in-chief. Each of the branches of the military has a non-military leader, Secretary of the Army, Navy, Air Force, etc. Congress and the administration control the military; or, to put it another way, the military takes orders from “we the people.” And our military needs all the talent it can get.
Yet the ROTC programs became lightening rods for anti-war and equal-rights policies. Students who effectively shut down ROTC programs were denying their fellow students the right of freedom of choice, to be engaged in public service, and here is where the past meets the present.
Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain recently spoke at a forum on public service held at Columbia University. Both men proclaimed their support for the encouragement of public service by many sectors of the population: college students and beyond, in many fields of endeavor — education, health, social service — in urban and rural communities — full time, part time, for pay, or as volunteers. The tone of the meetings was to invigorate a spirit of service into the national consciousness, a subject many will recall I have addressed in the past.
But in their remarks, both Obama and McCain also voiced support for the reintroduction of ROTC to campus in order to give students the right to select the military as an avenue to engage in public service. They pointed out the irony of holding a public service conference on a campus that has limited the rights of its students to support the military. Obama put it into context when he said, “I recognize that there are students here who have differences in terms of military policy … But the notion that young people here at Columbia … aren’t offered the choice, the option of participating in military service, I think is a mistake.” And McCain pointed out, “the attractiveness of serving in the military, particularly as an officer.”
As an aside, in an odd “compromise,” Columbia and Harvard allow their students to enroll in ROTC on other campuses! Is this the campus equivalent of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy?
The Columbia campus is gearing up for a referendum on the subject, most likely to take place after the presidential election in November. As a Columbia alumnus of the Class of 1959, I vote for the return of ROTC and for fair treatment of all who seek to serve their country without regard for their sexual orientation. Patriots come in all forms.
September 29, 2008
When the history of the Great Economic Meltdown of 2008 is written, in-your-face shakedown groups like the Greenlining Institute will be held to account.
Greenlining, headquartered in Berkeley, California (where else?), is a left-wing pressure group that threatens nasty public relations campaigns against lenders that refuse to kneel before its radical economic agenda. Its principal goal is to push politicians and the business community to facilitate “community reinvestment” in low-income and minority neighborhoods.
The Greenlining name is a play on the unlawful practice of “redlining.” That’s when financial institutions designate areas, typically those with a high concentration of racial minorities, as bad risks for home and commercial loans. The Institute wants banks to give a green light to loans in these areas instead.
Recently profiled by John Gizzi, Greenlining uses carrot-and-stick tactics to blackmail public agencies, banks, and philanthropists to achieve its objectives. The Institute brags it has threatened banks into making more than $2.4 trillion in loans in low-income communities.
Was this a good idea?
Not according to University of Texas economist Stanley Liebowitz. He wrote that the current mortgage market debacle is “a direct result of an intentional loosening of underwriting standards — done in the name of ending discrimination, despite warnings that it could lead to wide-scale defaults.”
Liebowitz isn’t alone is pointing out that U.S. financial markets are now being asphyxiated by a terrible credit crunch that might have been avoided if lenders had refrained from doling out loans they ought to have known were doomed to default.
Activist groups were encouraged to agitate by the Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act, which enshrined in law a kind of lending protection racket. Banking regulators were given the power to make trouble for banks that failed to lend enough money to so-called underserved communities. Banks that paid enough — whatever that means — got left alone, but banks that didn’t, got their legs broken.
How much money is enough to satisfy the law? Even the Federal Reserve Board can’t say for sure. From the Fed’s online summary of the Act:
The CRA requires that each depository institution’s record in helping meet the credit needs of its entire community be evaluated periodically. That record is taken into account in considering an institution’s application for deposit facilities.
Neither the CRA nor its implementing regulation gives specific criteria for rating the performance of depository institutions. Rather, the law indicates that the evaluation process should accommodate an institution’s individual circumstances.
One can almost imagine a CRA commissar saying, “It’d be a real shame if something happened to that nice bank of yours.” When in doubt about potential CRA liability, don’t risk committing a crime against diversity: make the loan. Or else.
After CRA came into effect, Saul Alinsky-inspired “community organizer” groups such as Greenlining, ACORN, and National Council of La Raza got into the shakedown business. They preach the hateful class-warfare rhetoric of their fellow community organizers Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Michael Pfleger.
They rage against capitalism and demand crushing taxes and aggressive wealth-redistribution programs. They demand more government spending on social programs, a higher minimum wage, and gun control. Depending which way the economic wind is blowing, they demand more subprime lending, or curbs on subprime lending, which through the magic of dysphemism, is linguistically transformed into “predatory lending.”
La Raza (“The Race,” in Spanish), which has lobbied to strengthen CRA, performed an amazing sleight of hand last year. After decades of demanding more loans for racial minorities, the group performed a dramatic about-face, suddenly warning that lenders, realtors, and investors who bought up subprime loans could be sued under a federal law that forbids housing discrimination.
It was the lenders’ responsibility to “match families to the sustainable loans that they should have gotten in the first place,” said Janet Murguia, La Raza’s president. Pointing to 2005 data that show subprime loans with high interest rates comprised more than 50% of all mortgages taken by African-Americans and 40% of Latino borrowers, compared to 19% of white borrowers, she raised the specter of racism. Murguia failed to mention that without a subprime market many members of racial minority groups would have remained renters, unable to buy a home.
And the Greenlining Institute played rough with Rabobank, an international Netherlands-based “megabank” (assets: $740 billion) that was expanding its U.S. operations.
Even though Rabobank had received an “Outstanding” rating in its most recent CRA performance evaluation by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, that wasn’t enough for Greenlining.
The group targeted Rabobank, demanding that it shell out $7.5 billion for loan programs to help farmworkers buy their own farms. When the bank balked, Greenlining launched a campaign last year against its proposed acquisition of another bank.
Activists noisily picketed Rabobank until it caved.
“Congratulations to everyone,” “Rabobank is totally afraid of you,” Greenlining’s top legal dude Robert Gnaizda yelled in offering congratulations to at demonstrators through a bullhorn. “Rabobank is totally afraid of you.” Earlier this year, Greenlining proudly unveiled what it called a “unique agreement” with Rabobank “to turn San Joaquin farmworkers into farmowners.”
This is the kind of political activism that drove banks to make irresponsible decisions, and that now threatens to put taxpayers on the hook for bank bailout packages costing potentially trillions of dollars.
Even though the left’s pathological preoccupation with economic egalitarianism never takes a vacation, the left isn’t entirely to blame for Wall Street’s current troubles.
The Federal Reserve Board encouraged bad behavior by keeping interest rates artificially low for far too long after the 9/11 attacks. Since money was cheap, bankers went overboard with exotic mortgage products, and investors kept inflating the housing bubble, sending home prices into the stratosphere.
But no one can deny the fateful role that these liberal financial activist groups played in making a bad situation much worse.
September 26, 2008
September 26, 2008
As noticed by more than a few readers, the math below is off. We caught the math errors prior to posting, but we decided to leave the post as is because of the sentiments expressed -SC&A)
Subject: The Birk Economic Recovery Plan
I’m against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.
Instead, I’m in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a “We Deserve it Dividend”.
To make the math simple, let’s assume there are 200,000,000 bona fide U.S. Citizens 18+.
Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..
So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00.
My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend.
Of course, it would NOT be tax free. So let’s assume a tax rate of 30%.
Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes. That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.
But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket. A husband and wife have $595,000.00.
What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?
- Pay off your mortgage – housing crisis solved. Repay college loans – what a great boost to new grads
- Put away money for college – it’ll be there
- Save in a bank – create money to loan to entrepreneurs.
- Buy a new car – create jobs
- Invest in the market – capital drives growth
- Pay for your parent’s medical insurance – health care improves
- Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean – or else
Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. and of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.
If we’re going to re-distribute wealth let’s really do it…instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( “vote buy” ) economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.
If we’re going to do an $85 billion bailout, let’s bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!
As for AIG.
- Liquidate it.
- Sell off its parts.
- Let American General go back to being American General.
- Sell off the real estate.
Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.
Here’s my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn’t.
Sure it’s a crazy idea that can “never work.”
But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!
How do you spell Economic Boom?
I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion We Deserve It Dividend more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC.
And remember, The Birk plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.
Ahhh…I feel so much better getting that off my chest.
Kindest personal regards,
T. J. Birkenmeier, A Creative Guy & Citizen of the Republic
PS: Feel free to pass this along to your pals as it’s either good for a laugh or a tear or a very sobering thought on how to best use $85
May want to even flood Congress with this message!!!
September 26, 2008
There was a man from my youth that left a lasting impression on a future blogger. I shall call him Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith was a milkman- not the ideal profession for anyone seeking security, prosperity and advancement in the 70’s and 80′s. He was a widower, left with 3 daughters to raise on his own. His wife passed away at a young age from a cancer that was diagnosed too late.
Mr. Smith dutifully completed his rounds, everyday, delivering milk and eggs, cheese and butter, to those who felt sorry enough for him to pay the extra few cents so he could make a living and raise his daughters. My parents were among the clients who got to know him and appreciate his ever happy disposition.
The milkman would regale his clients with his weather predictions, warnings of traffic safety and stories of his growing daughters. He would beam with pride as he recounted every prize and spelling bee won, every report card and every milestone passed. I thought that kind of pride was silly and believed my mother or father only feigned interest in Mr Smith’s stories, because they felt sorry for him.
When I became an uncle and then a parent and began to watch the children of my closest friends take their first tentative steps in life, I understood that my parents weren’t feigning interest at all in the well being of Mr Smith’s daughters. I recall that on the first night my daughter was home after her birth, there was an accident that resulted in the death of a child. I watched the report on TV intently and was profoundly upset by the event. I had never paid attention to the reports of traffic accidents before. Now, I was in despair for those poor parents.
In any event, my father always spoke highly of Mr. Smith, but I never paid attention, nor even cared. That our milkman would have a huge impact on my life would be apparent to me, years later.
Mr. Smith moved himself and his daughters to a home (a rather broken down hovel, in reality) near the dairy- a little over 2 miles away. He moved there because he could walk to work and and save bus fare, or ‘carfare’ as he used to say.
The money he saved would be used to buy his daughters new clothes, because he knew that as they got older, they would be ashamed of having to wear hand-me-downs from church rummage sales and thrift shops. There would come a time when the girls were older, they would want and need ‘party dresses’ and ‘party shoes’ as he called them, to go out and to attend dances. “I can’t have my daughters embarrassed when they go out,” he’d say.
Of course, he always encouraged his daughters to do their schoolwork and made no allowances for slacking off. They were going to college, he always said. He meant it.
Rain or shine, sleet or snow, Mr Smith would get up before dawn and walk to the dairy, two miles away, to begin his daily ritual and deliver milk to an ever dwindling client roster. At the end of the day, Mr Smith would leave his milk truck at the dairy and walk home, with some eggs and cheese for his dinner. Many years later, his daughters would tell us that he rarely had meat or chicken- that was reserved for them. His daughters recall how they would wash their clothes in the washer- but rarely used the dryer. Utilities cost money.
Although his health deteriorated, Mr Smith kept walking to and from work, keeping his customers happy and keeping those daily few pennies saved, to be spent on his daughters. Mr Smith delivered milk for over 30 years. Mr Smith walked to and from work for about 20 of those years.
Well, his daughters did go to college. They all received scholarships- all of them- and they all graduated, with advanced degrees. They are now all professionals.
My parents buy milk and eggs and cheese at the supermarket now. Mr Smith can’t work anymore, because his health won’t allow him that.
Mr Smith’s daughters bought him a condo- a small place, really, and outfitted him with new furniture and clothes. They spent a summer holiday with him at Bath, a place his wife loved. He had not been on a holiday since her passing. He needed to work. He told my father the ocean was beautiful, better than he remembered. He showed my dad the holiday photos, and didn’t my dad agree that his girls were beautiful?
He argued bitterly with his daughters when they wanted to buy him a place- he wanted them to be secure and put their money away, save it. His government pension was able to cover the rent for the tiny two bedroom dilapidated hovel he lived in. He did not realize, or choose to realize, how secure his daughters were, because he chose to walk to and from work, every day, for over 20 years. More importantly, they were secure because he did the best he could raising his beautiful daughters. They may have more than a few days with little or no heat, but they never had a day without love.
My father once asked Mr Smith how he managed, all those years, to raise his daughters the way he did. The reply he got was simple.
“They are my daughters. I love them. I had to do it.”
Through good times and tough times, those words, from one of the wisest and most honorable men I have known, kept me doggedly going. Like my friend Andrew, the impact Mr Smith had on me is immeasurable.
It matters not where you come from, only where you choose to be.
Two of Mr Smith’s daughters are happily married, with families of their own. He is an adored grandfather. The youngest, ‘daddy’s girl,’ is still single.
Some say girls marry men like their fathers. My father has said Mr Smith’s youngest daughter won’t have an easy time finding someone who can measure up.
My dad is right.
September 25, 2008
September 25, 2008
Clowns — make that 21 naked clowns— are coming to haunt your dreams.
Graduates of San Francisco’s Clown Conservatory Class of 2008 have stripped down to their birthday suits to make a 2009 Naked Clown Calendar, a joyful and humourous work of art the clowns hope to sell in honor of a beloved mentor paralysed from the effects of multiple sclerosis (MS) and others stricken with the disease.
These aren’t the usual photos of clowns at kids’ parties or falling out of cars. No, they’re photos of clowns tumbling though the air, performing songs in the park or flying out of cannons — with pies and top hats hiding the naughty bits.
“Our goal was to create this sort of craziness in your mind,” says Chad Benjamin Potter, the lead clown on the project. “When you think of clowns you think of costumes and makeup and hair. When you think naked clowns, that’s something else entirely.”The idea came about when clowns studying their first year at the San Francisco Circus Center’s Clown Conservatory started talking about how great they felt, physically, thanks to all the training. They also felt they’d bonded in a unique way. They started talking about what they could do together and the idea of a clown calendar came up. Next thing they knew, someone suggested doing it in the buff.
“But of course we wanted to do something that everyone can enjoy,” Potter says, noting the calendar does offer a touch of modesty. “I am going to sell (the calendar) to my grandmother and I also want to sell it to my niece and my nephew.”In the city’s Sunset District, Judy Finelli’s eyes are bright as she offers a guest to have a look at the Naked Clown Calender a home helper placed in her lap. Finelli, 60, is a lifelong clown who co-founded the San Francisco School for Circus Arts, now the Circus Center. In 1989 she was diagnosed with MS. Today she is quadriplegic.
Sales of the calendar will help raise money for the Judy Finelli Fund, a non-profit organization set up through the Circus Center. The fund works with the MS Foundation of Florida to do advocacy and research. It also will provide scholarships to people with MS who want to do circus arts
“It’s done with a smile, it’s done with a wink-wink-nudge-nudge kind of thing,” Finelli says of the calendar, which she clearly enjoys. “I’m grateful they put me on the back of the calendar, but I’m also grateful they didn’t ask me to strip!”
The photography was done by art student Gabriela Alonso in a studio and, secretly, in public places.
LaRena R. Iocco, who shares August with her clowning partner Lindsey Jones, says taking her photos in a San Francisco park was “a little nervewracking but thrilling.”
A helper stood guard with bathrobes while Iocco and Jones posed in a grove of trees, a guitar and ukulele positioned just right.
Photographer Alonso would steal as many shots as she could until the helper warned that someone was coming.
“We would have to throw on bathrobes and just chill,” Iocco says.
The clowns have a lofty goal of raising $1 million selling the 16-month calendars. No word yet about what sheningans they’ve planned for 2010.
I can count on my hands the number of times in the last month I have heard a good word uttered in this great town of Hollywood about Sarah Palin. I have been trying to figure out what it is about her that bothers so many women here. How can a woman from a tiny town affect all the big girls from the big city like this? I have been taught the lesson that if something really bothers you about someone then there is a good chance that you see something in them that reflects what you do not like in yourself.
Why are feminists so bothered by her? Could it be that if she were to be elected, it would be the end of their movement? I mean, what would they say at their next feminist meeting: “Women aren’t getting ahead”? What they should be saying at their next meeting is: “My God, do you see the way this woman is being treated? Let’s do whatever we have to do, even though, yes, she thinks differently on certain issues, let’s defend her.” But how can they? Her very existence brings to light the waste of the life and years that they have lived on this Earth. Sarah Palin is everything they hate, because she is everything they never could be or chose not to be.
What could be worse for a woman who has chosen a barren existence, in the name of a movement, than to see a woman get ahead who has already actually gotten so many great things out of life? If Sarah Plain gets elected it would sort of imply that their lives have had no meaning, and would leave open the question: “For what have they done any of this?” Sadly, this has to be how they see it.
Instead, the detractors should be looking at this as everything they have fought for coming to fruition. That every girl across this great land has a role model, a woman’s woman, who doesn’t take her orders from the man, and who is beholden to no one. These women, in this sad town that I live in, are fighting the wrong fight against the wrong party. I would say, what kind of message are you sending to your daughters, but I guess that is the point, you don’t have any.
But I have sisters, I have a mother, I have nieces, and I want to tell you women to shut up. The women in my life have a role model and it is not you. For years you have looked down upon them and snickered at them in your meetings. You had a shot at redemption and you passed it up. Your role model of womanhood lost her bid, and you did nothing to defend her as she was being attacked. In case you haven’t noticed, Hillary Clinton has been very silent and has not said a bad word. I have to tell you, my level of respect for her has skyrocketed. After all, Hillary is nothing like you; at the end of the day she too is a mother trying to create a better life for her daughter.
Whether or not Sarah Palin is the next Vice President, one thing is for certain. She has shown you for the frauds that you are, for Pandora’s box has been opened and you will never be able to close it. You are not the role models for the next generation of women. You have lost all of your credibility. There is a new type of woman out there who can juggle both a family and a career. You had your chance to get on board and you blew it, sorry.
One last thing, if Sarah Palin really does become the next Vice President, the day she gets in should be recognized and remembered as “Women’s Day.” The day when women and men, regardless of their lives or backgrounds, are truly equal.
September 25, 2008
Men and women are different psychologically because they are different biologically. We know this to be the case because biology has been shown to play a pivotal role in the perceptions we have of ourselves and our identity, both as individuals and as members of society.
One of the great ‘culture wars’ of the last century has been fought over gender identity. Differences in human biology were minimized or eradicated entirely. There is entire generation that has been taught that what is good for men is good for women and what is good for women is good for men. As a result, the reality that men and women have different needs is ignored. What separates men and women, according to the cultural dogma 0f this western new world order, is gender as defined by sexual organs only.
There are of course, other truths. Men spend most of their lives focused on leaving a mark, a legacy of some kind. They need to prove that their existence matters.
Women are different. They have a sense of worth and validity men do not have, primarily because biology dictates that they create and nurture. Women instead find their self worth in seeking recognition for who they are and what they mean to others.
(It is at this point that we wish to note we are speaking in generalities only. There are plenty of successful women achievers and plenty of nurturing men. We are painting with broad brush strokes so as to make clear the broader picture)
Boys come to understand and define their gender and identity by leaving their mothers. Boys are taught that they are not just like mother and in fact, must be different than mother to be boys. They detach to find their masculine identity.
Girls on the other hand, are taught to identify with their mother and as they mature, they develop deep attachments to their mothers (Harvard psychologist Carol Gilligan, author of In A Different Voice discusses these issues and the role biology plays in the moral development of children).
As we noted, feminine identity is most easily recognized by attachment and relating to mother (or maternal figures). Detachment for women is a much more difficult exercise. Masculine identity has it’s origins in detachment from mother. That detachment comes relatively easily for healthy boys. On the other hand, that encouragement to detach leaves boys with a lesser ability to relate. For better or worse, these are the issues that help define gender identity.
Any observer of children can easily recognize that a rule, boys tend to be more competitive and rule governed. Competition fosters independence and individual achievement. Rules make conflict mediation easy, so game can continue. Strict rules work in concert with competition. Who is faster or stronger can be easily measured if the playing field is level. Boys and men measure themselves with achievement.
It is also true that girls less competitive. They are at once more cooperative and more importantly at the same time, more concerned with feelings and even less concerned with rules. These qualities are absolutely needed to nurture. For example, when nurturing requires ‘breaking the rules,’ girls have no problem breaking the rules. An even playing field is the last things girls care about.
It ironic to note that young girls reaching puberty and early teenage years are inundated with the message that being a girl is being less than being ‘whole’ and that ‘wholeness’ is found in pursuing the same endeavors as boys. This idea, force fed to girls by way of popular culture and education has yielded tragic results. Overnight it seems, they have to learn new rules and compete in a game their in which their biology has not prepared them.
This of course places women in an almost no win, catch-22 position.
In defining humankind with a one size fits all parameter, popular culture has unfairly put an onerous burden on women.
We understand the qualities that define adulthood and maturity are many, not the least of which are independent and autonomous thinking, logical thinking and responsible actions and behaviors. These are masculine traits. They are measured and played out on a level playing field.
Women have become trapped by current culture. They can choose to be masculine and ‘adult’ or they can remain women and be perceived as less than their male counterparts. Popular culture and education have demanded that woman be both male and female and excoriate those who cannot ‘pull it off.’ As a result, a whole generation has come to deceive themselves and others, masquerading as anyone other than who they really are. This is a huge burden that has huge consequences. All too often, women who have chosen to be caretakers and nurturers are defined as deficient in their own moral development.
We know that boys and men need to achieve and accomplish to express their ‘natural selves.’ They do so via logical and fair rules, by way of defined and concrete actions. We also know that women are more naturally connected to others. They more easily focus on relationships and relating to others. Their natural empathy and intuitiveness (a biological function of nurturing) is decidedly not masculine in nature.
(It is at this point that we wish to reiterate that we are speaking in generalities only. There are plenty of successful women achievers and plenty of nurturing men. We are painting with broad brush strokes so as to make clear the broader picture)
Because we are less aware of who we are as men and women (with distinctions often blurred), the chasm between the sexes has deepened. At the beginning of the 21st century, it would appear as if we know more about physical chemistry than we do about human chemistry.
With men less sure of their own identity (’a child doesn’t need a father’) the quest for a more clear identity has taken on Quixotic proportions.
Men have always desired respect. If they didn’t get it, well, those were the breaks. Nowadays, many men demand respect simply by virtue of their existence (not unlike women ‘demanding’ special recognition by virtue of their anatomy). ‘I was dissed’ has been the cause of a whole lot of violence.
Real respect is of course, earned. Men want to earn respect because they ‘figured it out’ for themselves. The lessons learned can be big (’check out the house addition I put up’) or small (’I told you I’d get you there), but in the end, men are gratified because they solved a problem by themselves (’I can put up a house addition too’ or ‘I can get you there just as well as anyone else).
Women may roll their eyes at that kind of bravado. They ask, what’s the big deal about asking advice? Women ask for advice all the time, why can’t men?
Men are hurt- and will react accordingly- when advice, instructions or suggestions offered by a woman are perceived a statement of lack of respect or the lack of confidence a woman might have in the man’s ability to ‘figure it out.’ When a man is sure of a woman’s respect for him, he has no trouble asking and even seeking out her advice.
On the other hand, a man who demands ‘Respect me because of who I am and because of anything I might do or not do’ is the sky writing sized statement of a man with no self esteem. Sadly, there are no shortage of men so poorly endowed. The identity confusion wrought by popular culture has also guaranteed that there are no shortage of women who will willing pair up with such ‘men.’
How that came about is no mystery. With gender roles uncertain, there have been generations of men and women who cannot identify with a healthy relationship. Some women grew up very unhappy, with male figures who harshly dominated them. Some of those woman will follow in the same footsteps and allow themselves to be dominated and live a very unhappy life. Others will choose to ‘protect’ themselves and select only men they can dominate. They too are destined to live a very unhappy life.
Many women today find identity in being the victim or the aggressor. There are few more profound tragedies for women today and the children they nurture.
Both men and women need positive role models to fortify and validate who they are.Those role models aren’t only of the same sex. Men and women need to look to each to other to make the glove fit.
Women need to look up to men and men must make the effort to make women feel wanted and cherished.
Men must come to understand that there they can express their love and caring in ways other than by solving problems. They must learn that women don’t necessarily want to solve the problem and be done with it. Often, they want to discuss the issues surrounding the problem. Women know when other women want advice or when they want to discuss and examine the issues that surround the problem. Men are used to rules and level playing fields. These are skills that must be learned. If a man does not immediately respond, it does not mean he doesn’t care. Women need to be clear when they need help to fix a problem and when they need to vent.They also need to be clear on how they communicate. A guy can sit at a bar all night long, talking to a disinterested bartender and be perfectly happy with little or no meaningful exchange.
Women need to understand that when men feel secure and respected they will ask for advice and intimacy. While women have experience with relating, a more complex and ethereal reality, men have experience with achieving, usually an individual endeavor with defined rules and a level playing field. A man does not necessarily need for a woman to wax eloquent on her respect for him. Conversely, a man who simply acknowledges a woman’s need for communication and then doesn’t engage in the kind of exchange she expects might be in for a pretty miserable evening. Women need to teach men how to respond to their emotional needs. Unlike women, men did not develop those skills in the schoolyard or lunchroom.
Women feel fulfilled and will respond best if they feel cherished, recognized, appreciated and acknowledged for who they are.
Men feel fulfilled and respond best when they feel needed and respected, when they believe they have an important role to play- to leave a mark or legacy. If properly developed and encouraged, men will direct their efforts to make their legacy their family.
Still, it bears remembering that while there is plenty of crossover, what makes men and women tick are different.
A woman’s sense of self is most often defined by those aspects of nurturing such as feelings, relationships, communication and connectivity with others, even when she also highly capable, competent and logical.
A man’s sense of self can most often be defined by respect trust, acceptance, admiration and encouragement, even when is also nurturing, gentle and caring.
Out identities are not zero sum games. We can be who we are and at the same time, possess the attributes we attribute to others.
Men are more reluctant to give or ask for advice. Women ask for and give advice freely because their need to ‘relate’ trumps a man’s need to go it alone.
A man who believes a woman is trying to remake them will resist, because while she sees her efforts as improving him, he perceives himself as not being good enough or even as a failure. Men who believe they are part of a solution to a problem will jump on board and cooperate.
Both men and women who do not feel appreciated will turn outward . If he doesn’t feel good, he gets involved in sports or hobby that keeps him away from home and family. Id she doesn’t feel appreciated, she will turn to her friends for what she can’t get. In either case, home and family suffer.
While men have no problem with believing they are deserving of respect, women often do not believe they deserve to have their needs met. They want to be told they are worthy not only of having their needs met, but even more [authors' note: My grandmother used to say that the most wonderful thing my grandfather ever said to her came in the form a promise: 'If there is a 'next time around,' I'll make you a wedding worthy of a Princess, because you deserve it and besides, every young girl deserved to be a princess. I think of those things, you know.']
When the communicating and relating to others hits a pothole, women become vulnerable to feeling rejected and abandoned. Men have to be aware of that. Men fear failure, incompetence and abandonment, too. When women they are close to are unhappy, men often feel like failures, believing it is their job to keep women happy.
Whether we care to admit it or not, our biology dictates a whole lot of our psychology. The emotional need of women help define their identity. Women are more caring and understanding than men and they always have a need to connect. They need devotion, reassurance, validation and appreciation if they are to be who they are meant to be.
Men need to conquer and achieve and leave a mark. They want to be respect, trusted and encouraged.
It’s that simple- and that complex. At least now you know the parameters.