The Downside Of Screentime Exposed

I was the mean mom that limited computer time. My kids were allowed to play educational games on the computer for a limited amount of time each day. I did not allow them to have a gaming system until the youngest was 10. Time on it was also limited. I was also the mom that provided my kids with stupid phones, mostly for my convenience in being able to track their whereabouts as a working mom, until they were pretty well grown or could buy their own smart one.

I believed then and still do, that after seven hours a day sitting in the classroom and being tied to an ever-increasing amount of technology in the classroom, my kids needed to be outside, engaged in real time activities with their peers and interacting the rest of the family.

Turns out a few pretty smart guys agreed with my approach. Oddly they are the ones that gave us many of the screens I see toddlers grabbing for and manipulating when I am out and when I spend time with my young nieces and nephews.

According to Business Insider, both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs limited their children’s use of technology:

In 2007, Gates, the former CEO of Microsoft, implemented a cap on screen time when his daughter started developing an unhealthy attachment to a video game. He also didn’t let his kids get cell phones until they turned 14. (Today, the average age for a child getting their first phone is 10.)

 

Jobs, who was the CEO of Apple until his death in 2012, revealed in a 2011 New York Times interview that he prohibited his kids from using the newly-released iPad. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home,” Jobs told reporter Nick Bilton.

One has to wonder what they knew about the effects of the products they invented. An ever-growing body research shows that for children and teens, screen time has an addictive quality. It is being likened to cocaine and other drugs as far as the effects on young brains and rehabilitation programs have cropped up even though there is no formal diagnosis.

Some of the most startling findings have come from Jean Twenge, Ph.D. Dr. Twenge has been researching generational differences for several decades and has a data set that includes approximately 11 million adolescents across generations. The title of Dr. Twenge’s most recent book alone should parents of adolescents pause and parents of young children a warning:

In an excerpt from The Atlantic:

The advent of the smartphone and its cousin the tablet was followed quickly by hand-wringing about the deleterious effects of “screen time.” But the impact of these devices has not been fully appreciated, and goes far beyond the usual concerns about curtailed attention spans. The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health. These changes have affected young people in every corner of the nation and in every type of household. The trends appear among teens poor and rich; of every ethnic background; in cities, suburbs, and small towns. Where there are cell towers, there are teens living their lives on their smartphone.

 

To those of us who fondly recall a more analog adolescence, this may seem foreign and troubling. The aim of generational study, however, is not to succumb to nostalgia for the way things used to be; it’s to understand how they are now. Some generational changes are positive, some are negative, and many are both. More comfortable in their bedrooms than in a car or at a party, today’s teens are physically safer than teens have ever been. They’re markedly less likely to get into a car accident and, having less of a taste for alcohol than their predecessors, are less susceptible to drinking’s attendant ills.

 

Psychologically, however, they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.

Other significant items in Dr. Twenge’s research findings regarding the i-Generation (also called Generation Z):

  • Nearly one in four teens does not have a driver’s license when they graduate from high school
  • The number of teens who get together with their friends nearly every day dropped by more than 40 percent from 2000 to 2015
  • 12th graders in 2015 were going out less than 8th graders did as recently as 2009
  • Only about 56% of high school seniors in 2015 went out on dates

One of the conclusions she draws is that childhood is lengthening and today’s 18-year-olds are more equivalent to the previous generation’s 15-year-olds. The other is that despite more time at home, they are no closer to their parents.

Perhaps the most definitive finding she cites is from The Monitoring the Future survey, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This study has asked 12th-graders more than 1,000 questions every year since 1975 and queried eighth- and 10th-graders since 1991.

 The results could not be clearer: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy.

 

There’s not a single exception. All screen activities are linked to less happiness, and all nonscreen activities are linked to more happiness. Eighth-graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media are 56 percent more likely to say they’re unhappy than those who devote less time to social media. Admittedly, 10 hours a week is a lot. But those who spend six to nine hours a week on social media are still 47 percent more likely to say they are unhappy than those who use social media even less. The opposite is true of in-person interactions. Those who spend an above-average amount of time with their friends in person are 20 percent less likely to say they’re unhappy than those who hang out for a below-average amount of time.

Hopefully, continued understanding on the effects of screentime will lead to moderated approaches to technology in the classroom as well as a proliferation of “stupid” phones that are used just to make a phone call for pre-teens and adolescents. In either case, the mounting research and the parenting controls of some of tech’s top executives should provide clues to parents with young children that with technology, it is possible less is more. And I am awfully glad I was such a mean mom.

If you want to learn more, Dr. Twenge’s book is available on Amazon.

 

The Progressive Push For Popular Vote

They haven’t stopped whining since early in the morning on November 9, 2016. Despite Democrat criticisms of Donald Trump as being a danger to democracy for saying he might not accept the election results, it actually seems to be Hillary Clinton and her enablers that are dangerous to our republic. Now DNC chair Tom Perez has taken it to a new level. He’s just lying. According to the Washington Free Beacon:

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez incorrectly stated “the Electoral College is not a creation of the Constitution” during a Tuesday night speech.

“The Electoral College is not a creation of the Constitution,” Perez said during a lecture at Indiana University Law School. “It doesn’t have to be there.”

According to the article, Perez went on to whine about Hillary having won the popular vote echoing Clinton’s own comments that the election was somehow illegitimate and suggesting we look to Kenya as a model for how to create a mechanism for overturning an election. I’m not kidding. She really said that.

Despite Democrat claims to the contrary we do not live in a democracy, by design. A brief review of the writings of the Founders will demonstrate some of the things they feared most in setting up a central government was the tyranny of the majority and the states becoming subservient to a monolithic central power. So we live in a Constitutional Republic. Say it slowly with me Democrats, Re-Pub-lic. See it isn’t so hard.

Some of the primary tools by which the Framers attempted to ensure that large and more populous states, like Texas and California, could not hold undue sway over smaller and less populous states, such as Montana and Rhode Island was the method by which we elected both Senators and the President.

Well, the Progressives in the early 20th century “fixed” how we elected Senators. Much to our detriment in this writer’s humble opinion. Now elected by popular vote, Senators have lost accountability to the government of their home state. Furthermore, they have become entrenched career politicians complicit in the expansion of federal power far beyond the intent of the Founders. Yes, Mitch and Diane, I’m looking at you.

The Progressive movement grew out of the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th and early 20th century due to rapid and fundamental economic changes. Now are dealing with the second wave of Progressives. In their zeal to address the problems posed by a society undergoing significant change due to technology and the global economy,  they desire a strong central government to ensure “fairness” and solve the problems that these changes bring. This is obvious in the popularity of Left-wing darlings, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris.

Their new obstacle? The Electoral College. You see, the Progressives have conquered many population centers including California, Oregon, Illinois and New York. In Texas and Georgia, they have made inroads in the large urban centers. If they can remove the last remaining obstacle to a government based only on popular vote, they can nearly ensure a Progressive candidate will head the Executive branch for the foreseeable future.

To achieve the destruction of the last remaining obstacle to State subservience to the Federal behemoth, they will continue the narrative of popular vote being more important and even resort to lying as Perez did in his speech. The Electoral College is enshrined in Article II if the Constitution for an explicit purpose.

Georgia is not California. Wyoming is not New York. And as incredulous as it may seem, those of us living in states that have not fallen victim to the Progressive mindset don’t want to be governed from the center as if we have. We don’t want to regulate pet stores. A law forcing public funding of abortion for any reason up until the moment of birth would also meet with quite a bit of resistance. These are just a few examples.

In this political moment, the entire national discussion has become so polarized, it’s often toxic. The differences between the coastal blue states and vast swaths of red states in the middle and to the south have been laid bare. Are red state voters really supposed to contemplate submitting to the will of large urban populations? All because Democrats and Progressives can’t get over the fact they ran a horrible retail candidate, who is ever more demonstrably corrupt, and lost?

Thank goodness the Founder’s had the wisdom to give us one more tool. The Amendment process. As is correct these are ratified by the states requiring a high bar for consensus before an overhaul to the Constitution can be affected. May we all bow to their far-reaching wisdom and thank our lucky stars the reign of Barack Obama gave us so many Republican run states. Or on January 20, 2020, you would be almost certainly choking on the phrase “President Harris”.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Hillary! A Wish For You

Lots of tweets don’t age well. Lord knows many of mine from the 2016 election are laughable now. However, I am not sure any of mine can compare to this:

As we all know, that’s not exactly how it worked out. But it is Hillary’s birthday and I do have some sincere wishes and a few suggestions about how she can make this year better than last one.

So Hillary, now that you are back from your chardonnay riddled walk in the woods the quickest way to make this year better than last is stop telling us What Happened. The complete list of those blamed is longer than my kids Christmas list when they believed in Santa. And it is pointless. You lost fair and square and there is no trophy for winning the popular vote no matter what Rosie O’Donnell thinks.

Okay. That’s settled. Now that you have hit the big 7-0, I want to share with you things other women I truly admire and love have chosen to do with their time at a similar milestone. Maybe it will help you stay out of the limelight (thank God)  and more importantly, relax and enjoy yourself.

Travel

Without the demands of career and family, many women I know choose to travel and see the world. Now I know you were First Lady and Secretary of State, but now you can travel to destinations that won’t put you at risk for weathering sniper fire (snickers). Many of my loved ones have found an Alaskan cruise to be quite amazing. Also, I hear Branson, MO is quite fun and you would finally be able to connect with all of those folks in flyover country that screwed up your turn.

Charitable Work

In looking for ways to stay active many I know have worked tirelessly to give their time to a favorite organization that needs a hand. Or with connections such as yours, I am sure you would be excellent at fundraising. Or perhaps you could even start your own foundation……(okay I had to).

Be a Grandma

Charlotte and Aidan are growing up so fast. I know as a young mother (without a lot of money and a gaggle on nannies) I appreciated the time my parents spent with my children immensely. I also know as a child, time spent with my grandmothers is full of memories I cherish. One of them actually made most of my clothes as a young girl. Do you sew? It’s not too late to learn. And paper dolls are also a big hit. I know the little ones today have smartphones and tablets, but there are plenty of other engaging activities you can try since you aren’t so technically savvy. This way you won’t have to wipe anything with a cloth. Except for maybe the end of the little cherubs noses when they have a cold.

See Hillary? There are so many things to do other than travel the media circuit coming up with excuses and making suggestions, like emulating Kenya’s election laws. We honestly stopped listening when you blamed the DNC. That was comedy gold.

So have a piece of cake, a glass or six of chardonnay and resolve to make year 71 completely different than year 70. We’re behind you 100%

 

Halloween is Coming….Do You Know the Rules?

As reported by the New York Post, Halloween is still a few weeks away and it is already a problem. For some people. From the Post:

An article on raceconscious.org by Sachi Feris has been making the rounds on mommy Facebook groups. Feris writes that her 5-year-old daughter declared she wanted to be Polynesian Disney character Moana, which she worried would be “cultural appropriation.”

You can read more about Ms. Feris, her social justice neuroses, and the breathless conclusion as to what culturally appropriate costume her woke 5-year-old finally selected at the link above. I did and I feel dumber for having done so.

When one of my daughters was four she became obsessed with another Disney character, Mulan. It is based on the story of a young Chinese woman immortalized in the poem Ballad of Mulan. As the only child of an aging father, Mulan pretends to be a young man and ends up in the army when a man from every family was conscripted to fight Genghis Khan and his invading force.

When I say obsessed, I mean she watched it at least once daily, sang the soundtrack constantly and actually insisted we call her Mulan. She was four. So we did. Mulan was the equivalent for me of what Frozen has become to mothers of young girls now. The soundtrack can still give me a headache.

When Halloween rolled around, as you might imagine my daughter wanted to be Mulan. Simple enough to create with things I had around the house and a cheap black wig. A relief to me as a young mom still completing her degree. Why would I tell her no? She had become obsessed with a strong female character who had a fierce love of her family, an independent spirit and the heart of a warrior.

You see, I was far more concerned with the behavior and attributes of the role models my daughters chose. I was thrilled when they were a bit older and never really thought Brittany Spears was something to aspire to. Even more thrilled they became wary when Hannah Montana became Miley Cyrus.

So my daughter dressed as a strong Chinese girl for one night. She looked adorable, wore the costume daily for the next several months and acted out every positive characteristic Mulan displayed in her own imaginative play. The only thing she appropriated was independent thinking and an inner warrior to face life’s little disappointments.

So Ms. Feris, I suggest you be thrilled that your daughter has selected an equally independent and strong character to identify with. If she wants to emulate her for one night, instead of her ethnicity, why don’t you emphasize how happy you are she has picked such a wonderful character to idolize. Reiterate all the things about Moana’s character and personality that make her worthy of emulating.

We raise strong women by encouraging young girls to select good role models and imitate their best qualities. For young children, this includes imaginative play, dress up and “pretending”. So if your child wants to be an amazing young Polynesian princess for one night just relax and let her. And tell her why she made a great choice.

 

More Kalifornia Krazy

The state that has decided you can be HIV positive and not disclose it to your intimate partners and that will shield illegal immigrants who commit crimes from federal immigration authorities has finally surpassed the minutiae of regulating cow farts. Today Governor Moonbeam signed a law regulating pet store owners.

Beginning in January of 2019, pet store owners in Kalifornia, regardless of ethical business practices or relationships with licensed reputable breeders, will only be allowed to sell animals they obtain from an animal shelter or other not-for profit rescue. AB-485 regulates the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits and the requirement is as follows:

122354.5. (a) A pet store operator shall not sell a live dog, cat, or rabbit in a pet store unless the dog, cat, or rabbit was obtained from a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group that is in a cooperative agreement with at least one private or public shelter pursuant to Section 31108, 31752, or 31753 of the Food and Agricultural Code.
Yes, you read that correctly, Kalifornia just regulated the sale of pet rabbits. Last I knew, the only reason socialists gave for even owning a rabbit was to raise them to prevent starvation in Venezuela, but what do I know.
As is so typical in nanny states such as those on the Left coast, the law is implemented with zero regard for consumer choice, the effects on small business or the problems they will create. Of course, we know the only time the word “choice” is applied in these little socialist bubbles is when they are trying to preserve the right to kill your unborn child, but I digress.
People get pets for different reasons. Shelter animals, especially dogs, are very unpredictable. As I wrote elsewhere, my youngest dog was billed as a Lab-Shepherd-Husky mix by the shelter we adopted her from. All very stable and predictable breeds that respond well to click and other forms of training.
After a few months, it became clear the assessment of my pup was completely wrong given the behaviors she displayed. We did a doggie DNA test and it turned out she was mostly Staffordshire Terrier (essentially a pit bull) and Chihuahua with a little bit of Chow thrown in for good measure.
My children are grown and we are still working on some of her more stubborn behaviors. If my children were small, or I was looking for a dog that could be trained for a particular purpose, such as a companion for an elderly relative, she would have been a horrible match. We love her to death, but she is definitely not for everyone.
Kalifornia has said they are trying to reduce the number of “puppy mills”. Have they thought about elevating the number of returns for puppies and dogs? Or will they mandate all dogs get doggie DNA tests next to prevent the return of incompatible dogs? See how one rule breeds another rule? Raising costs to the business owner and the consumer.
Also, I do not hear a lot about a problem with “kitten mills” or “rabbit mills”, so exactly what problem are they trying to fix? I think it might be the problem of pet stores. Kalifornia has just decided they don’t want any.
Of course the regulation comes with increased recordkeeping requirements, rules about who pet owners can partner with in the shelter and animal rescue business and fines if the business owner makes a mistake. All things that hamper a business and add cost for whatever bureaucratic gain the state gets.
To recap, in Kalifornia you can knowingly infect someone with the HIV virus and not tell them. You can also be one of the thousands of criminal aliens Kalifornia releases back into the community every year. But you can’t be a pet store owner that endeavors to be the best in your market by partnering with ethical and responsible breeders to provide pets to consumers after January 1, 2019. Is it just me or are the priorities just a little messed up?

How Twitter Sows Division

Yesterday morning as is my custom, I grabbed a cup of coffee, fed my dogs and retreated to my porch to review my newsfeeds on Twitter. One of the first things I saw was that Rose McGowan’s Twitter account had been locked in the midst the Harvey Weinstein scandal. When I first noted it was still dark. By lunchtime, feminist groups were calling for boycotts of Twitter over Rose’s account being locked and after about 100 articles on the interruption to Rose’s account, Twitter finally said why they did it. Apparently, Rose had posted a private phone number, which is and has been a term of service violation since I joined the platform five years ago.

Because of stature and scrutiny, Rose was made aware of the specific thing that resulted in being locked out and Twitter unlocked her account. Quite frankly posting someone else’s private phone number or address without permission should have consequences for the person who does it on any public platform. Do I think putting Rose in a timeout for 12 hours like a toddler who misbehaved is necessary? No. A simple “delete this tweet because…….to begin tweeting again” would seem to be a rational way to deal with adults.

Rose is lucky. Most Twitter users never find out the reason their specific tweet is in violation of Twitter rules when asked to delete. Worse than that, many are never told why their accounts are permanently suspended by the platform after seemingly normal interactions. Here are two examples.

A user who went by the name @orneryyg had his 2100 follower account suspended. He was a regular Twitter user who blogged for Misfit Politics, Halsey News, and The New Americana and would engage in what were sometimes heated Twitter political debates. He admits sometimes they became contentious and he might have used profanity from time to time, but nothing out of the ordinary from what he has seen on the platform. The account had been locked a few times for what he assumes was language, but because Twitter doesn’t offer an explanation, he is not sure. He has appealed his original suspension over a dozen times offering to delete any required tweets and still has no idea why his account can not be returned.

He does know that several accounts have claimed responsibility for getting his original account and subsequent accounts he created suspended by using coordinated reporting mass reporting. The same users posted screenshots celebrating getting the account of popular Twitchy editor Sam Janney (@Politibunny) being locked out. Because Twitter lacks transparency in the administration of it’s TOS many users believe that coordinated reporting from a number of accounts or using script designed for Twitter can affect a suspension or lockout without a significant TOS violation.

Rick Canton who tweeted under the handle @RickCanton beginning in 2012 was a very popular Conservative account with over 70,000 followers. As a political activist in Virginia and new blogger, he used his Twitter account in conjunction with his very popular Facebook account to promote his writing and his causes. He tweeted a tweet critical of the Black Lives Matter narrative. He used the word “retarded”. He admits it and while I may have used a different word it is surely not shocking for Twitter. Another user responded admonishing him for using the word and he pointed out a case where she had used it a tweet herself. When Rick refused to capitulate to her criticism she blocked him, posted a screen cap of the tweet she found offensive and reported Rick for harassment. Yup. She responded to his tweet, but he was harassing her? Rick has appealed over 20 times for the return of his account has only been told he engaged in “targeted harassment” in an auto-reply.

Like @orneryyg, the interaction for which he was permanently suspended was not even notable or unusual until he was unable to log into his account. Both users believe they were suspended for what is commonly called “Tweeting while Conservative”. I believe based on my own experience and observations it is an utter failure in the Twitter algorithm combined with the fact that Twitter Support does not do a personal review of most reports or appeals. They simply can’t. If numbered sequentially, one report I received was nearing 7 million cases.

I have referred to Twitter’s new guidelines as “The 500 Dirty Words” (H/T to George Carlin) that they simply refuse to articulate. Combined with an algorithm that seems to respond to mass reporting, and a seeming 3 strikes and you’re out rule, the perception of political reasons for why some users are locked or suspended more often will persist. When Conservatives see garbage like this flow through our mentions from verified Liberals with no consequences it only reinforces the perception. These tweets are still live.

                  

Maybe I’m simple, but rather than create elaborate algorithms that create a perception of political favoritism in a country already divided, perhaps the Technocrats at Twitter could consider the following:

  1. While the majority of users endeavor to be respectful even if they are snarky, if there really are words you don’t want us to use on your platform, tell your user base what they are and apply your standard consistently.
  2. Political debate can get contentious. If emotions run high and someone tweets in anger or makes a prohibited statement that you have clearly said is not allowed, keep it simple. Say “Delete this tweet because (insert reason here) to resume tweeting.
  3. Stop using the algorithm to infer “targeted harassment”. A few users on the Conservative side have told me they are starting to figure it out. If someone tweets them multiple insulting tweets, they report them for targeted harassment. And they have observed the accounts be affected. This doesn’t need to be a game of three-dimensional chess where everyone is trying to figure out how to negatively impact another user using your reporting function.
  4. Focus on actual threats of physical harm, posting of personal information, revenge porn and contacting people’s employers. The worst Twitter is the Twitter that stomps into your personal life and tries to ruin you or do you harm. These are far less common and may be able to be reviewed by an actual person.
  5. Treat your users like adults. I have spent years using both my “Block” and “Mute” buttons with great success. I have only made reports in the most egregious circumstances.
  6. If scripts and bots are used on your service to harass users, find them, eliminate them and prevent it from happening again.

In case you didn’t notice Twitter, feminists, one of the key groups you developed these new tools for are calling for a boycott of your service because Ms. McGowan got locked out for what is, always has been and always should be a clear violation of your terms. They think you shouldn’t have because she is a victim who in anger broke the rules. By trying to police every interaction for hurt feelings and words people don’t like, you have created an environment that is the antithesis of the free exchange of ideas the platform was founded on.

Title IX Reforms Are Moving In The Right Direction

Imagine being accused of sexual misconduct and having your education and reputation hanging in the balance. While you know someone has accused you of something, your accuser has the right to remain anonymous and you are not allowed to have any legal representation during the evaluation of the claims against you. A relatively inexperienced college administrator in a Title IX office will be in charge of the process and will also decide who speaks on your behalf. And there is no standard other than the adjudicators in the process believing your accuser at a level of 50% plus a feather that could end your education at that institution and put a note in your permanent file that will brand you as a risk to any other institution you apply to. 

This is what young men across the country have faced since the 2011 Dear Colleague letter according to Michelle Owens, an attorney and social worker in Tennessee. She has stood by as an outside advisor to numerous young men confronted with the procedural fallout from the letter. She advises them outside of the process because she is not allowed in the interviews. In fact one college administrator said during one of the proceedings she was involved with that they “liked the attorneys to act like potted plants”.

Despite the challenges in the process, Ms. Owens has had a great deal of success in getting her clients relieved of the administrative charges levied against them. She attributes this to having a social work background in addition to being an attorney and being able to prepare her clients and their witnesses thoroughly. Ms. Owens also serves as a spokesperson for Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE). She is pleased at Secretary DeVos rescinding the Obama era guidance, but says there is more work to be done. The interim guidance does not address the full scope of needed changes and SAVE advocates for a return to due process protections to protect not only the accused, but victims as well. 

The primary problem with the Obama era guidance according to Ms. Owens is that it redefined sexual assault on college campuses. In cases she has handled the term sexual assault has been used to describe things such as touching on the shoulder and unwanted flirting. Perhaps most disturbing is that the vast majority of her clients were in relationships with their accusers that ended anywhere from two to eighteen months prior. Many times they had 100’s of interactions with their accuser and often no idea which of these the complaint arose from. She has also seen what could be typically referred to as bad manners from continuing to flirt when someone is not interested to having sexual relations with another person during the course of a relationship be handled through sexual assault charges and the Title IX office on campus. What used to get you labeled as a jerk that would have a hard time getting a date can now get you suspended and a notation in your transcript.

It also doesn’t help that every college has a different definition of what rises to the level of sexual assault. In many cases the list of behaviors under this definition do not rise to the level of criminal behavior and she sees many cases in which the accuser just wishes to rid themselves of having to deal with someone that has embarrassed or upset them. Ms. Owens acknowledges that there are cases of sexual assault and rape on college campuses that meet the legal definition of a crime. These are not the cases that she typically sees being handled by the Title IX office on campus. 

Further in cases where a sexual assault rises to the level of criminal behavior, a college office can not impose legal penalties such as jail time or require an individual to register as a sex offender. So while the process may remove the individual from the campus, it does nothing to protect women outside that environment from being assaulted. One must wonder why the feminist movement and Senators Gillibrand and Feinstein are okay with a scenario where a college campus can release an actual predator back into society without involving the criminal justice system. It’s essentially as if all of these proponents are looking to create a special class of victims on college campuses by infantilizing young women to be incapable of dealing with common relationship and dating issues, such as cheating while allowing actual predators to escape law enforcement. 

While SAVE and Ms. Owens are pleased at Secretary DeVos’ first steps in the process, they feel the interim guidance leaves some room for improvement to help victims and and the accused receive due process. First, like in every other case of federal law or regulations, there must be a consistent set of guidelines as to what constitutes sexual assault on a college campus that more closely follows the legal definitions of a crime. Ms. Owens says some schools have gone so far overboard in the definitions, the simplest of traditional dating rituals can arise in a complaint if the accuser says they are unwanted. While the new guidance reminds schools that the definition of hostile environment is sexual misconduct that is “severe, persistent, or pervasive”, these criteria need to be standardized so colleges and universities better understand what is expected.

Next, the interim guidelines provide for mediation. Mediation is used for problems with interactions, not to resolve an issue of criminal sexual assault. This fact that this is allowed on a case by case basis under the interim guidelines is a demonstration of how far outside the legal definition of sexual assault many campuses have gone. SAVE also encourages the referral of felony level cases to local law enforcement, whenever feasible. The criminal justice system provides 28 protections to identified victims that are not available on campuses.

Finally, SAVE advocates a system that provides consistency in training in the process of investigations for campus resources. Many Title IX investigators are entry level college administrators with limited background in investigation or due process. Having expert support would improve the process for both victims and the accused.

Ms. Owens adds that some of these changes may be forced by civil court actions. In her home state of Tennessee, the 6th Circuit recently ruled that colleges can be sued for failing to follow their own campus handbook policies and procedures, as it constitutes a due process violation. These cases are becoming more common as other courts have made rulings similar to the 6th Circuit. She adds it is far from an ideal solution though. For someone who was wrongly convicted through the campus process, a court case can take up to two years during which their education is essentially on hold. Further in the case of a victim who was sexually assaulted, they will usually be the chief witness for the school and be deposed at length forcing them to relive their experience. 

If you are interested in learning more about the recommendations SAVE has for campuses and Secretary DeVos you may visit their website. For issues with a Title IX claim you can reach Ms. Owens directly through this link

 

 

 

 

Valerie Plame Wilson – A Mediocre Mea Culpa At Best

So, this was Valerie Plame Wilson’s (sort of) apology for tweeting this:

https://twitter.com/ValeriePlame/status/910884546723196929

And upon received criticism added insult to injury by tweeting this:

https://twitter.com/ValeriePlame/status/910893481735757825

And this. Clearly she can’t be antisemitic because ancestry or something :

https://twitter.com/ValeriePlame/status/910893826079723521

Then dug her hole a little deeper:

https://twitter.com/ValeriePlame/status/910894036545765376

Before lecturing her critics:

https://twitter.com/ValeriePlame/status/910894146029621249

So let’s break down her mea culpa to expose that it is first and foremost both ludicrous and insincere. She says she “skimmed” the piece she tweeted and clearly defended for hours. I skimmed the title and found it offensive enough to have skipped reading the article completely. But I am not Valerie. Agree or disagree with Bill Kristol and his politics, he is a well known Jewish Conservative. The title alone tells you the article is going to be an indictment of other like minded Jewish commentators and political figures.

So what constitutes a “skim”? Do you suppose it might involve reading the first paragraph of what you tweet out as a “provocative”, “thoughtful” piece by Philip Giraldi? I’d like to think that’s a fair expectation. So I read it. Here’s what it says:

I spoke recently at a conference on America’s war party where afterwards an elderly gentleman came up to me and asked, “Why doesn’t anyone ever speak honestly about the six-hundred-pound gorilla in the room? Nobody has mentioned Israel in this conference and we all know it’s American Jews with all their money and power who are supporting every war in the Middle East for Netanyahu? Shouldn’t we start calling them out and not letting them get away with it?”

Dare I say there is a 600 pound gorilla in the first paragraph? I am totally sure this conversation took place (not) and it wasn’t at all imagined by the author as an opening to set himself up to go on one of the most offensive screeds I have read in awhile.  It is 10 minutes of my life I will never get back and I blame Valerie.

The piece goes on to place all of of our foreign policy decisions in the Middle East on the shoulders of prominent Jewish commentators and civil servants. It creates the construct that opposition to the Iran deal comes only from the corridors of AIPAC and asserts the media in general (all Jewish controlled according to the author) is somehow complicit pushing a narrative that the Iran Deal must go. Does this guy even watch the news?

Finally he suggests that American Jews who support Israel should be somehow flagged in the media if they refuse to “recuse” themselves from the debate. I think he really means shut up, but recuse sounds voluntary. Here is the author’s suggestion to remedy the problem:

For those American Jews who lack any shred of integrity, the media should be required to label them at the bottom of the television screen whenever they pop up, e.g. Bill Kristol is “Jewish and an outspoken supporter of the state of Israel.” That would be kind-of-like a warning label on a bottle of rat poison – translating roughly as “ingest even the tiniest little dosage of the nonsense spewed by Bill Kristol at your own peril.”

He likens the opinions of pro-Israel American Jews to rat poison and suggests providing some sort of chyron when they appear to warn people. In the course of the article he names 15 Jewish commentators and officials by name, alludes to Jared Kushner and condemns the entire membership of AIPAC, WINEP and the Hudson Institute. In no uncertain terms he suggests they all remove themselves from Middle East policy debate because they are incapable of being impartial based on their faith.

What the article really promotes is silencing of the opposition based on their faith. This is just a grossly antisemitic point of view and pays no heed to the fact that polling prior to the 2016 midterms showed up to 84% of American Jews supported the deal.  The author turned an article about political opposition in one about religion. Plain and simple.

I am not Jewish. I opposed the Iran Deal. I listened to Ben Rhodes when he said he manipulated a complicit and inexperienced press pool to run with the administration’s preferred narrative and I believe him. I am furious we sent pallets of cash to the number one state sponsor of terror and am fine if this administration decided to decertify it. Maybe I need a chyron or a special designation? I’m not sure. Maybe Valerie can tell me.

So as to Ms. Wilson’s assertion she skimmed the article, I find it ludicrous. It was antisemitic from beginning to end. To have “zeroed in on the neocon criticism”, neocon was literally the only word she read. Her tweets in defense of herself told her critics to “read the whole thing” and “think clearly”. I think it is a valid assumption that at that point she had read the entire thing. Well Valerie, after reading the whole thing myself, I clearly think you should grab a tiki torch and a Pepe T-shirt and join Richard Spencer at his next rally.