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366,000 Google results! “Crazy GOP uncle” is the Dem green bean/mushroom soup casserole

Needs those talking points
Oh gee, gotta write something for Thanksgiving that’ll work in how great Obamacare is and how mean we are to orphans from Syria….Maybe I could explain how that’s exactly what ISIS wants and we care so much about what ISIS thinks….No, I already wrote that in my column yesterday…Oh, I know!
I’ll write a column called “How to Talk to Your Crazy Republican Uncle at Thanksgiving!”
What? You say that’s already been done, that when you google it, you get 366,000 results?
The Huffington Post did it? USA Today did it? Vox did it?
The Los Angeles Times did it last year?
And the Democratic National Committee does it every single year! In a phone-friendly version so you can read your talking points off your Android lying next to your fork at the family table.
Here’s a sample:
The United States has one of the strictest refugee screening processes in the world—we can help families whose lives have been destroyed by ISIS without jeopardizing our security. But when our leaders embrace Islamophobia, that makes it harder for us to fight terrorism abroad. And not for nothing, screening refugees based on their religion goes against everything our country stands for

Still, we know millennials can’t cook even though they went to Princeton, and a list of liberal talking points might make a nice addition to Aunt Millie’s marshmallow-topped yams.

You say give it a rest? Why? Every other media outlet in America is giving advice on how to talk to your crazy Republican uncle. This year, last year, next year, every year until the last Democrat dies. Why can’t I?

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Hate hipsters but want to be PC? Rename drinking Pabst “poverty appropriation”

From my latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

Memo to Joyce Carol Oates: Betcha ISIS is “joyous” over that Russian plane shootdown

From my latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

Tweeter-bomber Oates: Time to get back to work on that 499th novel?

“All we hear of ISIS is puritanical & punitive; is there nothing celebratory & joyous? Or is query naive?”

Maybe Joyce Carol Oates should stay away from Twitter.

So many sarcastic responses followed–what about that little dance they do at beheadings?–that the New York Times felt compelled to phone a Joyce Carol Oates expert to Put It All Into Context:

“Randy Souther, who has written about Ms. Oates for 20 years and started a scholarly journal focused on her work, Bearing Witness: Joyce Carol Oates Studies, said he believed the focus on one of her four tweets missed important context. She is prone to separating her thoughts into several tweets, and she is often searching for explanations of why people do what they do, he said.

“’She’s trying to figure out what is it about an organization like ISIS, or a terrorist organization, that can draw people in and keep people in,” Mr. Souther said. ‘There must be something more than just evil, there must be somewhere in there something we don’t see.’”

Hah! And there is!

This isn’t the first time the hyper-prolific novelist’s fans have scrambled to unearth a meaning that could make plausible sense out of Oates’s bizarre tweets.

Remember her dead dinosuar tweet?

“So barbaric that this should still be allowed… No conservation laws in effect wherever this is?”

NPR had to jump to the rescue:

“The photo was, of course, a memento of Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. And Oates’ comment was attached to a tweet from Chris Tilly, the movie editor at the website IGN, who had written, ‘this guy thinks it’s cool to kill defenseless animals then take a selfie. Jerk.’

“Oates’ message has been retweeted more than 3,000 times; it has sparked jokes and jabs. But as Oates tells Newsweek about the response, ‘many of my tweets are meant to be funny; but I guess that is not always a good idea.'”

Nah, not if the tweet was “meant to be funny” but actually fell flatter than a manhole lid.
Posted by Charlotte Allen

WaPo’s Dana Milbank’s anti-ISIS strategy: Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

From my latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

Flower power from Milbank: hippie days are here again.

“Boy: They’ve got guns. They can shoot us because they’re very, very bad, daddy.

“Father: They’ve got guns but we have flowers.

“Boy: But flowers don’t do anything. They’re for… they’re for… they’re for…

“Father: Look, everyone is laying flowers here.

“Boy: Yes.

“Father: It’s to fight against the guns.”

Comments Milbank:

“That father-son exchange is a more powerful answer to Islamic State than any missile strike.”

And why stop there with the flower power? Why bother with those nasty “missiles” at all? How about sticking a daisy into the muzzle of every ISIS rifle, the way the original hippies did back in the Vietnam War days? We could also ship the Islamic State some posters saying, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?”
Posted by Charlotte Allen

The Starbucks “war on Christmas”: Christmas is kind of a tough enemy to defeat

From my latest for the Wall Street Journal:

This year's Starbucks red holiday cup.

Sorry, but even that plain red  cup color has a religious meaning

Still, it is worth noting how quickly progressive journalists, bloggers and Twitter-philes rounded themselves up into a herd to trample Mr. Feuerstein and his red-cup campaign. They posted photos of “Hail Satan” scribbled on the cups and mocked the outcry as “phony” (the Washington Post’s Petula Dvorak) and a “right-wing freakout” by “deeply Christian insane people” (the Daily Kos).

The liberal backlash has been so nasty that it’s hard not to suspect Mr. Feuerstein and his allies are onto something—maybe the left really is trying to weed out religious microaggressions wherever it finds them.

But Christmas is a difficult enemy to defeat. One reason is that the supposedly secular and whimsical elements of Christmas—the ornaments and snowflakes—have always been deeply intertwined with the religious. During the Middle Ages, poets described lavish Christmas feasts at King Arthur’s court, and carolers sang about the boar’s head and seasonal greenery. You can sue the crèche out of the public square, and you can demand that everyone say “Happy Holidays”—but the religious residue will linger, warm and glittery enough to entice even the ardently nonreligious to buy Christmas trees and line up their children to sit on Santa’s lap.

Even that supposedly unadorned Starbucks cup still has a religious connotation: Red is a Christmas color because it is the shade of the holly berry, associated with Christmas and its theological meaning since at least the 15th century. As one carol has it: “The holly bears a berry, / As red as any blood, / And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ / For to do us sinners good.” Order a latte at Starbucks, and you will be honoring, even in attenuated fashion, the infant who was brought into this world to shed his blood for human redemption.

Read the whole thing here.

Posted by Charlotte Allen


The graduate-school boondoggle: Get a Ph.D. and never work full-time again in your life

From my latest for the Weekly Standard:

Celebrity STEM Ph.D.–but unable to land a tenure-track job
As late as 1970, more than two-thirds of faculty positions at U.S. colleges and universities were tenure-line, but now the percentages are reversed, with 1 million out of the estimated 1.5 million Americans teaching college these days classified as “contingent” faculty, the overwhelming majority of them working part-time. Parents who have shelled out or borrowed the more than $60,000 per year that it can now cost to attend an elite private college may be shocked to learn that their young Jayden or Sophia isn’t actually being taught by the Nobel Prize-winners advertised on the faculty but by shabbily attired nomads with ancient clattering cars who are wondering how to get the phone bill paid.
All of this means that every fall there is a desperate scramble among the young and the highly credentialed to garner one of the ever-diminishing entry-level tenure-track slots that still exist. A May 2014 report from the Modern Language Association (MLA), representing scholars in English and foreign languages, asserted that every year about 1,000 brand-new Ph.D.s in those fields emerge to chase about 600 new job openings. The report didn’t consider that those newbies are also competing with the 400 leftovers who had failed to obtain jobs during the previous year—plus all the leftovers still in the job market from the years before that. The humanities, where undergraduate majors are in steep decline, are famously overloaded with unusable doctorates, but as John Cooley learned to his chagrin, new STEM Ph.D.s fare only slightly better. Atlantic senior associate editor Jordan Weissman observed in 2013 “a pattern reaching back to 2001” of “fewer jobs, more unemployment, and more post-doc work.” Postdocs in the sciences essentially consist of low-paid lab scut work. “Once it was just a one or two-year rite of passage where budding scientists honed their research skills,” Weissman wrote. “Now, it can stretch on for half a decade.”
As Kelsky—but almost nobody who is actually still inside academia—points out, there’s an elephant in this clamorous room of underemployed scholars. It’s the fact that from a supply-and-demand standpoint, graduate schools are simply turning out way too many Ph.D.s for the academic market to bear, depressing their wages accordingly. It’s a similar crisis to the glut of new attorneys that law schools were churning out in recent years even as law jobs paying enough to cover sky-high law school debt were disappearing. The law market seems to have corrected itself, with law school enrollments steadily plunging since 2011. That collapse hasn’t happened with graduate schools. Indeed, throughout the 2000s and beyond, new enrollments in master’s and doctoral programs of every kind continued to climb, even in the arts and humanities, where the job pickings are slimmest. In the fall of 2012, for example, new arts-and-humanities enrollments shot up by nearly 8 percent, according to a report from the Council of Graduate Schools. “It’s an ethical problem,” Kelsky said. “The Ph.D. degree in the majority of cases leads directly to unemployment. Five- or six-figure debt and unemployment.”
It’s certainly true that professors love having graduate students around. They’re generally bright and motivated, they tend to do the assigned reading unlike many undergrads, and they typically don’t show up for class with hangovers. Graduate classes tend to be small, easy-to-grade seminars rather than huge lectures with hundreds of bluebooks. Grad students form an eager slave-labor force for research and teaching assistance, and their very presence on campus assures faculty and administrators that their institution is a serious scholarly enterprise, not a cow college in the middle of nowhere.
Posted by Charlotte Allen

“Lactivism”: Breastfeeding Nazis try to make nursing just about mandatory

From my latest for the Weekly Standard:

At a “nurse-in”: going Maoist

In 2012, the AAP issued a statement identifying breastfeeding as a “public health issue” akin to avoiding second-hand smoke and wearing seatbelts. A 2011 report from the Obama administration’s surgeon general’s office highlighted a study that claimed breastfeeding would save American taxpayers $3.6 billion annually in formula outlays, days taken off work by parents caring for their formula-sickened children, and the cost to society in lost productivity occasioned by premature deaths supposedly attributable to formula-feeding.

In 2009, the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which provides vouchers to low-income women for buying nutritious foods, began offering a superior quantity and range of groceries to mothers who breastfeed exclusively. In 2012, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg—he of the 16-ounce drink-cup ban—launched Latch On NYC. This “nudge” (to nursing) program required hospitals to keep formula under lock and key, dole it out in minute quantities, and hector new moms incessantly on the pneumonia, diarrhea, and ear infections that would ensue from feeding a baby out of a bottle. In the Third World, the World Health Organization and other groups have downplayed the high risk of HIV transmission by way of mother’s milk in order to promote the breast.

The irony, as Jung points out, is that, thanks to all the mother’s-milk-is-healthiest rhetoric, the bottle has actually made a covert comeback, because few career-pressed women have the time or inclination for the one or even two solid years of nursing that the lactivists tout. There is now a lively capitalist market in breast pumps (including some very fancy models), storage bags, cleaning equipment, and Internet-facilitated “human milk sharing” that has turned the product of women’s breasts into a valuable commodity.

Read the whole thing here

Posted by Charlotte Allen




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