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Dr. Helen

Be Ashamed of Kooky Radicals, Not Vegetarians

October 14th, 2014 - 6:33 am

I read with interest and understanding the article by PJM’s Zombie entitled “I am Ashamed to be a Vegetarian”:

I’m a vegetarian. I haven’t eaten meat in 20 years.

Up until this morning I was OK with my dietary choice.

But then I saw this video just uploaded by “Direct Action Everywhere,” a radical vegetarian activist gang, and now I am ashamed. Ashamed to be associated with them. Ashamed that everyone I meet must think I’m some sort of anti-meat revolutionary. Ashamed that mean-spirited lunatics have hijacked my personal food preference and turned it into rallyng cry for passive-aggressive bullying….

The difference between me and Direct Action Everywhere — which actually encapsulates the difference between my brand of “conservatarianism” and all types of progressivism — is that when I don’t eat meat, I don’t eat meat; but when a progressive doesn’t eat meat, she insists that nobody else eat meat either.

I don’t care what you do. But a progressive wants to boss you around.

It’s all very cutesy and pathetic when they employ juvenile attempts at emotional manipulation to get their way — but it quickly becomes brutal coercive totalitarianism when people like this get into positions of power.

To protest their protest, I may eat some chicken today. Just a nibble. To prove I’m not like the vegefascists.

I used to be a vegetarian too. From the age of 12 until 24, I ate no fish, chicken or meat. What was I thinking? Apparently, I wasn’t. Today, my diet consists mainly of meat and protein and I feel much better. Like Zombie, I never thought it was up to me to tell others what to eat, that was a personal decision. It seems like vegetarianism is now a code word for angry leftist and that is a shame. These totalitarians are filled with anger and have found a politically correct outlet to wield power over others.

That said, there are some aspects of the diet that are healthy and if people want to stop eating meat or eat less, why not? But now that it is filled with political connotations, it is easy to see why Zombie is ready to eat chicken in protest of the kooks in the vegetarian world. However, the shame should be targeted at totalitarians who force their views on others, not run-of-the mill types who simply want to try out vegetarianism for reasons other than politics. It is too bad that a simple diet change is now a symbol of kooky radicalism.

Are any readers here vegetarian? If so, do you have reasons other than politics for your decision?

Ashe Schow has an an interesting article at the Washington Examiner: “Feminist hysteria is causing the infantilization of women:”

When did female empowerment become female infantilization?

Women once were encouraged to be strong and independent, to brush aside insensitive words and actions and to emerge stronger. But now, politicians, pundits, even celebrities are feeding an outrage machine by telling women they should be offended by anything and everything….

This shift toward telling women they need help at every stage of their lives (remember the Obama campaign’s “Life of Julia”?) might raise funds for feminist causes or gain votes for politicians, but it’s not empowering. It’s infantilizing.

People often tell me that feminist dogma often backfires and makes women look ineffective. But looking ineffective is not a problem for many women. They see it as an asset and it is a form of power. Denying personal responsibility for themselves may be infantilizing to the majority of women in this country in a moral sense (yes, people should take responsibility for themselves) but in the current political climate, it is empowering. Society helps women when they plead for help and seem/look helpless. Even white knights are rushing to help women in need for whatever reason, whether just or not. Society rarely helps those who help themselves these days.

Women and their political sycophants keep men in their place by yoking them with one rule and law after the next and women wield this power to hurt men in marriage, divorce and relationships. The political class gains power by serving up this revenge and being rewarded with votes from both the hysterical feminists and other women who believe they are getting the short shaft and the media perpetuates the game. The only way to break this vicious circle is to make it costly to women who want assets and power over men and the political class who throw men under the bus in order to get votes. The white knights are another problem, one that makes it all the more difficult as women, white knights and the politicians together are a strong support group for feminist hysteria.

Many men have gone on strike in response but the withdrawal of male affection may not be a high enough cost for women as the government has now stepped in as surrogate husband.

What do you think would have to take place for women and the political class to change the way that they treat men in this country and in turn to create laws and a political climate welcoming to both men and women?

So says the father of a 10 -year-old boy who was seduced by a 47-year-old teacher:

A primary school teacher who wanted to have sex with her 10-year-old student, and had his name tattooed on her chest, has walked free from court.

County Court judge Mark Taft said he was at a complete loss to understand why mother of eight Diane Brimble, 47, had engaged in “such utterly inappropriate conduct which must dismay every parent”.

“You breached the trust reposed in you by [the boy's] parents who properly expected that a classroom teacher would care for their son in a professional manner,” Judge Taft said on Thursday when sentencing Brimble on a two-year community correction order and 200 hours of unpaid community work….

“She tried to manipulate [the boy] to think that she loved him and that his parents did not. This hurts me to the very core,” the father said.

“I feel angry that if it was a 46-year-old man and a 10-year-old girl that it would most likely be a different outcome … I feel angry and betrayed by the Education Department who did nothing to remove this evil woman from other children,” he said.

“To think a woman would get a tattoo with my child’s name as a sign of her undying love for [the boy] baffles me. I would like Brimble to endure the pain of removing name forever.”

Whatever women do sexually to boys or men is viewed as a mental health problem to treat. Note the difference when it comes to men coming on to young girls.

Are Cell Phones the New Cigarettes?

October 7th, 2014 - 12:02 pm

I thought about this question as I read this CNBC article about people cutting back on food, healthcare and other items in order to afford their cellphones:

Nearly half of Americans have cut back on spending, including for travel, food and health care, in order to afford their technology.

The CNBC All-America Economic Survey found that 49 percent of the 805 respondents economize to afford technology. The nationwide survey, with margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent, found the top way to save for technology, chosen by about a third, is to cut back on traditional entertainment such as movies and restaurants. But 20 percent report cutting back on clothing, 11 percent purchase less food and 10 percent have reduced spending on health care….

When it comes to which technology is the most important, Americans clearly choose the cellphone. Asked which bills they definitely would pay if they ran into hard times, 39 percent said they would make sure to get a check in the mail for their cellphones, compared with 28 percent for Internet services and 20 percent for pay television, such as satellite or cable. But just 46 percent felt totally committed to paying their credit card bills, just five points above the response for paying for cellphone bills.

By contrast, 92 percent say the definitely would pay their mortgage or rent bill and 90 percent would make sure to pay the utility bills. Seniors were the most committed to paying the cable bill.

It used to be that people with less money were always talking about how broke they were but always seemed to have plenty of cash when it came time to buy cigarettes or booze for that matter. Now, people have money for the iPhone 6 Plus and less for food and health care. With so many people giving up smoking, the addiction has turned to technology. And face it, the government and tax payers might spot you on food and health care but that new iPhone? Probably not as likely, though still somewhat of a possibility.

Fun Fiction and MatchMaking

October 5th, 2014 - 5:51 am

I don’t generally read fiction, I prefer non-fiction. However, Glenn received a book from Instapundit reader Suri Rosen who wrote a gem of a book called Playing With Matches that I couldn’t resist reading last night while everyone else in the country was watching football.

I worked as a matchmaker at a dating service for a while in graduate school and it was really a skill to figure out what people actually wanted and liked in a potential mate. Rosen’s book tells the story of a 16- year- old girl who has these skills in a close knit Jewish community where she anonymously matches up desperate singles from twenty to seventy and older. From the description:

When 16-year-old Raina Resnick is expelled from her Manhattan private school, she’s sent to live with her strict aunt — but Raina feels like she’s persona non grata no matter where she goes. Her sister, Leah, blames her for her broken engagement, and she’s a social pariah at her new school. In the tight-knit Jewish community, Raina finds she is good at one thing: matchmaking! As the anonymous “MatchMaven,” Raina sets up hopeless singles desperate to find the One. A cross between Jane Austen’s Emma, Dear Abby, and Yenta the matchmaker, Raina’s double life soon has her barely staying awake in class. Can she find the perfect match for her sister and get back on her good side, or will her tanking grades mean a second expulsion? In her debut novel, Suri Rosen creates a comic and heartwarming story of one girl trying to find happiness for others, and redemption for herself.

I found the idea of a matchmaker who acts as a coach to nervous singles kind of interesting. Nowadays with Match.com or other online dating services, no one gets much good advice in an old fashion way about how to deal realistically with another person. Dating and relationships have lost a lot of the human touch that this book brings to life. It’s a fun book and was a nice change from the political and financial books I generally read.

Barbara Oakley, author of A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra), has an a new article out “How I rewired my brain to be fluent in math”:

The problem with focusing relentlessly on understanding is that math and science students can often grasp essentials of an important idea, but this understanding can quickly slip away without consolidation through practice and repetition. Worse, students often believe they understand something when, in fact, they don’t. By championing the importance of understanding, teachers can inadvertently set their students up for failure as those students blunder in illusions of competence. As one (failing) engineering student recently told me: “I just don’t see how I could have done so poorly. I understood it when you taught it in class.” My student may have thought he’d understood it at the time, and perhaps he did, but he’d never practiced using the concept to truly internalize it. He had not developed any kind of procedural fluency or ability to apply what he thought he understood.

More from Dr. Helen: 

How I Just Spent 20 Minutes of My Time

Is it Really a Shock?

October 1st, 2014 - 4:45 pm

I read the headline at Drudge: HHS shock: 1 in 12 Americans use illegal drugs, could fill all MLB stadiums 19 times:

America is doped up — and drunk.

According to a shocking new report from the Health and Human Services Department, there were 24.6 million people aged 12 or older who used illicit drugs during just one month last year.

“That’s enough people to fill every major league baseball stadium in the U.S. 19 times,” said the report. There are 30 MLB stadiums.

Even worse: Of the 24.6 million dopers, 2.2 million were adolescents aged 12 to 17.

Actually, I’m surprised the number isn’t higher. It’s like the 70′s all over again but worse, with drugs, apathy and incompetence rewarded or at least rarely penalized and success, achievement and hard work treated with disdain and distaste. I wonder where this will lead?

How Not to Be Poor

September 29th, 2014 - 1:46 am

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I read over Kathy Shaidle’s piece on the ways in which one can stay out of poverty. While a lot of the poor lifestyle decisions she points out make sense for avoiding poverty, such as finishing high school or not having numerous kids while a teenager, or even avoiding smoking, my experience as a therapist has taught me that education on how not to be poor is an important component for helping people to avoid poverty. Let me explain.

Most books like Peter Thiel’s Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future tell one how to get rich and become the next billionaire. However, that is a pipe dream for most people, given that there are only about 2,325 billionaires in the entire world. What we need is more training on how not to be poor, a much more attainable goal. Yes, large life decisions can make one poor, but small, educational steps can make people capable of using money to provide a better life for themselves and their families.

Over the years, I have dealt with clients who lived in bad circumstances. They were depressed and often broke, living in a bad area which caused their depression to worsen. When they would come into any money, they quickly spent it on unproductive items or gave it to other family members, rather than learning how to use small amounts of money to slowly turn things around. Many had no bank account, no credit, and no idea that going to the local payday loan place was like adding fuel to a fire. In short, many people simply do not understand how to use money to improve their life and, in turn, improve their mental health and health in general.

I would start by teaching a client how to save money each month, how to go to the bank and set up a savings account, and from there, a checking account. Those that listened almost always ended up with cash, a car, and a home without going into debt. How do you use money wisely? You think about it and realize that you don’t need a lot of money to live well. You just need to use the money that you have as a tool rather than a hindrance.

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How I Just Spent 20 Minutes of My Time

September 23rd, 2014 - 10:35 am

I saw a dumb quiz at the New York Times asking “Can You Read People’s Emotions?” (The quiz is a year old but still amusing). Given my profession as a psychologist, I would hope I could read faces and it seems I could: I got a 35/36. If only all tests were this easy for me–though one of the faces I got wrong.

Here is the test if you want to waste some time. Let me know how you did in the comments.

September 23rd, 2014 - 7:03 am

Barb Oakley, author of A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra) has a piece in the WSJ: How We Should be Teaching Math:

Today’s Common Core approach to teaching STEM is at least superficially appealing. The goal of placing equal emphasis on conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, and application is laudable. But as with any new approach to teaching, the Common Core builds on the culture that’s already there. And the culture that has long reigned in STEM education is that conceptual understanding trumps everything. So bewildered math teachers who are now struggling to teach the Common Core are leaning on the old thinking, which has it that if a student doesn’t understand—in the “ah-ha,” light-bulb sense of understanding—there’s no way she or he can truly become expert in the material.