L.A.’s $15 Minumum Wage: Great for Government Workers, Bad for Everyone Else


sheep-off-cliffWhen I think about California, I think the best thing is to paraphrase historian Richard Cobb’s famous quip about France: “Wonderful state, California… pity about the Californians.”

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Municipal Star Chamber (a.k.a. City Council) voted 14-to-1 to follow Seattle over a fiscal cliff and increase the city’s minimum wage to $15/hour (given that California law does not allow workers earning tips to be paid less than the minimum wage, that means waitstaff would earn fifteen dollars plus tips.) The city’s non-Mexican, anti-American Mexican-American mayor Eric Garcetti has been fervently pushing for Los Angeles to commit economic seppuku since taking office, and he has gotten his way. One can only assume the one holdout vote simply wanted a more reasonable living wage of $100/hour.

While The New York Times cheers this lunacy on, anyone with half-a-brain would know that this scheme is madness. Of course, the collective population of much of Los Angeles can barely cobble together a third of a cerebellum, so it is entirely understandable that this nonsense would pass in a town as overwhelmingly stupid as this one. But what is the real aim? Well, the unions were the real drivers of this wage hike, so that should explain everything. After all, there are only three major industries that remain unionized in L.A.: the entertainment industry (which is coughing up blood like a consumptive); the public school teachers; and the government employees. As the first group really does not have to worry about making minimum wage once it secures union membership, the latter two unions are certainly the real culprits.

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Filed under Americana, Culture, Democrats, Economics, Elitism, Entitlement, Hypocrisy, Liberals, Politics, Stupidity, Useful Idiots

Mental Health’s LGBT Blind Spot


We live in a society where LGBT has saturated both political agenda and popular culture. Broken family structures, abuse, and relationship instability are tragically prevalent. In such a climate, reported same-sex attraction could occur for a lot of reasons. Some of them might be uncomfortable. To demand its blind, universal acceptance is both delusional and damaging to mental health. Dogmatic affirmation of all claims to sexual preference might well encourage behavior rooted in pathology.

Another anecdote. I once worked with a two-mom, seven-child family. “The mommies,” as the kids called them, were very pleasant to work with, dedicated to the children, and willing to try pretty much anything to provide them a healthy childhood. They had family nights, chore charts, carefully-crafted systems of reward and punishment—everything a parenting book might have to offer. And their efforts had real and respectable benefits for the kids.

But this outward functionality had cracks in its foundation. Both women had previously been in relationships with men (hence the children), and both had been badly abused. They had been abused such that they swore off men altogether and opted for a same-sex relationship. Their attraction wasn’t a case of “we were born this way,” but a reaction to brutal life experience.

And this response, while on some level sympathetic, was based on an irrational instinct that painted all men as abusive monsters. Therefore, these children were being raised in a context of pathology, of unresolved trauma. As research shows, and the field constantly emphasizes, unresolved trauma is among the greatest causes of mental illness.

But the mental-health field is mostly professional, and thus subject to the academic and political authorities. It’s aimed at the practitioner rather than the pioneer. This leaves it unknowingly vulnerable to the powerful GLBT lobby. Even as we work to build people from the ground up, we blindly accept the ideas coming from the top down. If a professor or a textbook states that all sexual or gender orientation is above question, then so be it. The contradiction this presents to our greater body of psychological thinking goes unnoticed.

This creates a gap in otherwise perceptive, grounded, and well-intentioned minds. And this has very real consequences, for social workers are guiding the most troubled segments of society down particular paths. Operating off a false view of human functioning, we can be tricked into damaging what we’ve sworn to fix, perpetuating the problems we aim to solve. As we cruise into the twenty-first century with its fresh set of challenges, we would do well to check our blind spots once in a while.

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Filed under Culture, Education, Health, LGBT, Medical Discoveries, Mental Health Issues, Relationships

No Dental Insurance? Don’t Wait for Something to Go Wrong


The national debate over health insurance largely overlooked dental coverage. But many of the problems in the health care industry – lack of access, high costs and poor health outcomes – afflict dental coverage, too.

With far fewer Americans having dental than medical insurance, and poor dental health being linked to adverse and potentially deadly consequences, those who forgo dental treatment could find themselves with considerable bills.

Around 40 percent of Americans lacked dental insurance at the end of 2012, according to the National Association of Dental Plans. That’s compared to 12.9 percent without health insurance, according to the latest figures from Gallup. Those lacking coverage are far less likely to see a dentist – both for regular preventive exams and treatment of acute pain and other problems.

Many Americans don’t see the dentist unless something is wrong, and 56 percent of those without dental insurance skip preventive treatment altogether. Their reasons for delaying or forgoing care: high costs and lack of price transparency, according to the 2013 U.S. Survey of Dental Care Affordability and Accessibility. But like forgoing health care, neglecting oral health could be a costly exercise in denial.

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Meet Generation Subprime


There’s such a danger that the millennial generation might one day be called “Generation Subprime” that Washington is taking notice. That’s the takeaway from a new bill from Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., that is meant to help millions of Americans correct errors on their credit reports. This effort is welcome news for Americans struggling with low credit scores that drive up the cost and reduce overall access to borrowing.

While unchecked borrowing and lending contributed to the recent financial crisis and following recession, there is concern that an overcorrection is now in place five-plus years into the recovery. Younger Americans appear to be more constrained from accessing credit than previous generations. According to a 2012 report by the Pew Research Center, weak employment prospects have forced 49 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds to settle for jobs they don’t want, limiting later employment opportunities and decreasing their contribution to economic growth.

Student loan debt incurred by the millennial generation, according to a new report by S&P’s Chief U.S. Economist Beth Ann Bovino, could also be keeping traditionally creditworthy young consumers from investing in large long-term assets like first homes at the same stage in their economic lives. This research builds off a wealth of other sources, including the White House Council of Economic Advisers’ 2014 report.

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Fracking might not be Cause of Those Earthquakes After All


One of the favorite stories trotted out by the media and opponents of fracking is that the process causes earthquakes. Unsurprisingly, it looks like this is yet another case of the media and the Left relying on the narrative instead of scientific facts. Per an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, geologist Craig Pollard of Cinco Resources told people gathered for a presentation hosted by the Institute for Policy Innovation, “Based on known geology and known science, the most likely explanation is that it’s occurring in a known faulted zone of an old buried mountain range.”

Here’s how the article describes the rest of his talk:

“The media is working on sensationalism,” Pollard said. “For it not to be water injection, for it not to be fracking, is not news.”

But he said the different formations west of the Metroplex, including Cleburne and other Johnson County communities, point more toward wastewater injections into old wells than to fracking, the technique of high-pressure pumping of water and chemicals to crack shale and release its oil or gas.

He noted that Dallas sits on an ancient mountain range buried in sediment from the Cretaceous period, which ended 66 million years ago along with the dinosaurs. Mountains, because of the way they’re formed, indicate a web of fault lines. Tarrant County sits on a flat formation, indicating few faults.

But he said the culpability of wastewater or saltwater injections is limited because of underground pressure that resists the water. Pumping power is the key.

The United States has fault lines beyond the San Andreas and New Madrid. Our nation is crisscrossed by a web of them. Most of them are dormant, but that’s different from extinct. For example, here is a list and map of the major quarternary faults and folds thought to be responsible for earthquakes over magnitude 6.0, courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Sex Ed: Incomplete Without Abstinence


A hallmark of the Left is their inability to comprehend that opposing opinions can and do exist at the same time. They’re the Thought Police, and are routinely convinced that another’s viewpoint must boil down to obsession over said subject matter. This is frequently seen in discussions regarding sex education. Conservatives hold “radical” views about sexual choices (meaning: you’re responsible for your own, regret & rape aren’t the same thing, and babies aren’t to blame for your lack of wisdom). These views greatly concern the Left.

Recently, discussions of abstinence-based education have increased. This was due in large part to a provision passed by Congress, included in other legislation, that increased funding to abstinence-only education. Almost on cue, the Left blew up at the idea of such a backwards, non-progressive, unfair thing and insisted that the youth of America were being led astray in health classes across the nation. Abstinence is a four-letter word, and how dare it even be introduced in our schools. As reported at Reality Check:

Since 1982, more than $1.7 billion in federal money has been spent on programs that are damaging to young people and fail to provide opportunities to learn vital information and skills that they need. In the past, a collective outcry from young people, parents, educators, and medical and public health professionals has been successful in reducing spending on AOUM programs. Now, in 2015, Congress has passed the first-ever increase in the 18-year-old Title V program. We’ve been here before, and we won’t stand for the perpetuation of these damaging programs. Our young people deserve better.

Young people most definitely deserve better, but it won’t be found in shielding them from the idea of abstinence in their sex ed classes. With a 2013 pregnancy rate for 15-19 year olds at 273,015 babies born, I’d say education programs which include abstinence aren’t really the problem. These kind of programs are seen as damaging by the Left, but what’s really the issue? Youth are ill-informed, not uninformed, and are encouraged to do what feels right at the moment more than they’re encouraged to consider consequences of those moments’ actions. That is the problem. There must be a balanced approach to sex education in this country. Such an approach would involve educators listing the truths about sex in a clear, concise manner that presents the facts of making a choice to engage in such activity, the potential outcomes (disease, parenthood), and the responsible alternatives. Contrary to popular belief, abstinence is an alternative. Not a popular one, obviously, but the only fool-proof route that doesn’t end in medication for an STD or buying diapers for your new arrival.

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Assisted Suicide Means The End Of Medicine


To be a physician in this beautiful sense is to have one aim only in sight: to return our patient to health and to give him hope and comfort, sometimes simply by listening attentively to his woes. The value of the sufferer’s life is always infinite, and equal to all others, no matter how sick, dependent, or poor. The patient relies on this value judgment in the most vulnerable moment of his life: when pain possesses him and death stalks him.

The physician stands with all his power, mighty or meager as it might be, between the patient and death. The patient wholeheartedly depends on his doctor to do that for him. That is why the Oath has another sentence: “Nor shall any man’s entreaty prevail upon me to administer poison to anyone; neither will I counsel any man to do so.” It was well understood 2,000 years ago, as it is today, that the vocation of physician was a vocation to heal and comfort, a vocation to chase away death.

To make death by poison one of the arrows in the doctor’s quiver is to change the entire profession. How can a patient trust in his physician if death by prescription is just one of many routine management options, and perhaps the easiest and most cost-effective?

Changing the laws to make physicians their patients’ executioners instead of their healers and comforters will utterly corrupt the sacred profession. The hospitals where our poor and vulnerable go for healing and hope will be just another place where they are valued cheaply, and their lives discounted.

Of course, that will be only one of the many ill results of Progressives’ superstitious fantasy that “change” is always for the better. Chesterton said it best: “As for our own society, if it proceeds at its present rate of progress and improvement, no trace or memory of it will be left at all.”

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Can We Have Religious Liberty In Modern America?


The Supreme Court is soon to decide a case that could potentially impose same-sex marriage as a nationwide civil “right.” During one exchange in oral arguments in the case, Obama administration Solicitor General Donald Verrilli was asked by Justice Alito whether a religious school could lose its nonprofit status if it held that marriage is between one man and one woman. Here is the solicitor general’s response: “It’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is it is going to be an issue.”

That certainly sounds like a “yes.” Will it end with religious schools? What about churches? Will Christian churches lose their nonprofit tax status if they hold firm to one of their foundational beliefs—a sacrament of their faith?

It is no exaggeration to say we are at a tipping point of one of the pillars of the American founding: Religious liberty. Can religious liberty be sustained in the America of today which understands itself, and the idea of liberty, in a different way than our forefathers did? John Adams, that venerable founder of our republic, once wrote that we are “a government of laws, not of men.”

Christians must hold in tension our personal desire for liberty, and religious liberty in particular, with the God-given desire to see the culture around us receive spiritual liberty from all the destructive desires which hold it in bondage. The best way we can do this, the best way I believe we can save this fragile and declined republic, is by going back to our founding principles—principles founded on the laws of nature and of nature’s God—even when rogue governors, tyrant judges, and media-enabled shout-downs are encroaching upon us.

We must prepare for this to take a very long time, and along the way we will encounter setbacks: religious institutions losing tax-exempt status may or may not yet be one of the many we face. Our culture will give us repeated occasions to prove our integrity and sincerity. The fight is on two fronts: civil and spiritual. Both require our energy and commitment. Both require humility and peace-ability.

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Filed under "Transparency", Constitutional, Culture, Government, Law, Politics, Religious Freedom, The Supremes

LGBT Activists Arm For Further War On Free Speech


The American Unity Fund is a heavily funded new super-PAC looking to blanket the country with LGBT anti-discrimination laws. In effect, those laws aim to wipe out any alternative voice to the LGBT agenda. The effort is being spearheaded by billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer and another wealthy hedge fund manager, Tim Gill. Gill’s operations—the Gill Foundation and Gill Action—have been dedicated to “nonpartisan” gains for the LGBT lobby on the legislative and judicial fronts.

But with an expected federal win for gay marriage from the Supreme Court, the LGBT movement is poised to shift its focus to policing speech in the workplace, schools, businesses, and public squares across America.

Of course, they can’t call their campaign “Three Cheers for Thought Policing in America” or “Gag Orders for All Americans.” So, instead, they’ve adopted the Orwellian slogan “Freedom for All Americans.” The intent of the slogan and campaign is to stir up the idea that we need a lot more anti-discrimination laws in America because there is so much bigotry and hate throughout this land of ours.

The ultimate goal of the campaign, according to The New York Times, is passage of a national LGBT anti-discrimination law. In the meantime, Singer and Gill, et al. will be pushing for ever more and ever stricter “anti-discrimination” and “anti-hate” laws in state legislatures.

The “Freedom for All Americans” rollout has been accompanied by other articles that champion the case for more anti-discrimination laws in the wake of an expected Supreme Court decision that would, for all practical purposes, federally ban recognition of marriage as a male-female institution.

Laws intended to change how individuals think—about anything—require enforced silencing. If the “Freedom for All Americans” meme is about freedom (which it’s not), then it’s only about negative freedom. That is, freedom from “discrimination.” Freedom from “hate.” Which basically gives carte blanche to those holding power (ultimately, the state) to define and cherry pick whatever “discrimination” and “hate” may mean before granting whatever due process is left over for the accused.

So laws of this sort, hiding under the fig leaf of “anti-discrimination,” will give the state the power to police speech and behaviors.


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Why Does the Left Kowtow to Islam?


The American left has spent the past few weeks trying to tell us that they believe in free speech, but…—and the “but” is that anything that offends the sensibilities of Islamic fanatics is unnecessarily provocative, hateful, and possibly racist. Therefore, such “hate speech” shouldn’t be allowed.

Now they’ve gotten a taste of their own medicine. They tried to censor an anti-censorship event.

This raises a big question, one of the great paradoxes of our era. Why is it that a large segment of left has embraced a code of appeasing “sensitivity” toward Islam—when they are its obvious next victims? Why do they wring their hands over “microagressions,” while urging us not to provoke people who execute homosexuals and throw acid in women’s faces?

They kowtow to Islam precisely because it is a real threat, a macroaggression that trumps all of the microaggressions. So you could say that it is simple cowardice. They protest against people they know are extremely unlikely to harm them, and they shut up about the fanatics who might actually follow through on their threats.

In fact, a running theme of the left’s arguments, repeated with a great deal of apparent sincerity, is the notion that it is irrational to fear Islam, that describing the religion as violent and dangerous is “Islamophobia.” They seem to have largely talked themselves into believing that they have nothing personally to fear from Islam. Jihadists may throw gays off of buildings in Syria, but it can’t happen here.

This is nonsense, of course, but it is revealing of the mindset. They actually talk themselves into believing that “censorship of LGBT artists” is an equal or even greater threat, far more urgent than anything having to do with Islam. For the left, the main source of evil in the world always comes from within America and from within the West, never outside of it.

The left is fundamentally reactionary. It is a reaction against capitalism and against America. The left are defined by what they are against, or more accurately who they hate. So they are drawn to sympathy toward Islam because it is not-us: non-Western, non-American, neither Christian nor a product of the Enlightenment.

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