Monthly Archives: November 2012

So we have standards because….?

David Scott, a part-time officer in the Barnstead Police Department of New Hampshire, is suing the New Hampshire Police Standards & Training Council for sex discrimination.   (Story here.)  The police department agreed to hire him as a full-time police officer upon satisfactory completion of the department’s physical fitness tests.  Scott passed the bench press, sit-up, and pull-up portions of the test, but could not run 1.5 miles in the time allotted for men.  If he were a woman, however, his best time would qualify him to pass.

We can debate the legal merits of the case, but I’m more interested in the idea that women don’t need to run as fast as their male counterparts.  Are criminals going to run more slowly if a female cop is chasing them?  Will criminals leap smaller fences?  Do they weigh less?  Is there any discernible reason to require less of women in testing, when presumably, the same will be asked of them on duty?

Yes, without lower physical fitness requirements, there would be precious few women police officers, and presumably, it’s a good thing to have women officers around to do things like strip-search female arrestees who need strip-searching.  But if they are out on the streets and incapable of chasing down perps or doing whatever needs to be done that requires a high level of physical fitness, then they simply aren’t qualified for the job.

The women’s fitness test would then indicate that they are qualified to hang around the station, and presumably, any man who passes that test should be able to do the same thing.  On the flip side, any woman who passes the man’s test could be out on the street or on the SWAT team or whatever it is that requires a high level of physical strength and endurance.

The other alternative is that the male physical fitness standards are too high – that a police officer job can be done competently by anyone capable of passing the women’s physical fitness test. Then, the question is why would good, capable officers like David Scott be denied a place on the force because of overly stringent standards?

Sex discrimination isn’t the problem; it’s a symptom of a larger problem, i.e. the idea that we can apply different standards to people facing the same challenges and somehow obtain a good result.  Criminals don’t run that much more slowly when chased by lady cops.  Calculus doesn’t solve itself when an affirmative action admit is doing it.  Surgery doesn’t become less bloody or more safe if someone who was admitted on reduced standards is performing it.  Fires don’t burn more slowly, or fire hoses don’t become more manageable, when women or minority firefighters are wielding the hoses.

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Filed under Bioethics, Law, Miscellanea

I think they’re hanging out with the wrong redheads. Or the wrong men.

Really, New York Post? Really?

Being the redheaded stepchildren of the world forces gingers to develop a thick skin, they say. While anti-gingerism is prevalent in the UK (the word “ginger” is considered derogatory in England), in the US, the bias is more subtle. Redheads are thought to be “hotheads,” ill-tempered and even crazy. Millionaire matchmaker Patti Stanger suggested that red hair is a red flag on the dating scene.

“I can’t get my millionaires to date a redhead,” she said last year. “The only men who like redheads are Irish.”

While Stanger’s words drew heat (she eventually apologized), Jones grudgingly agrees, saying, “Males prefer blondes or brunettes.”

When men do pursue redheads, it’s often because they are lotharios seeking to check off a literal “to-do” list, or it’s because they watched “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” too many times and now sexualize ginger women.

Men may prefer blondes, but they want demure, sweet, pliable, and sexual blondes – not strong women.  Men who like redheads – or are at least neutral to flame-coloured tresses – are much  more fun to date.  Quality of quantity, kids, quality over quantity.

(I usually say “Don’t ask me how I know these things,” but this time, I’m going to say, “Please ask me how I know.”  The answer is that I’m a natural blonde who dyes red, and lemme tell you, my dating life radically improved.)

Patti Stranger’s opinions are reminiscent of those psychological studies, conducted on college campuses and therefore, almost entirely on college students, that purport to apply to the entire human race.  Just as we can’t necessarily derive valid conclusions about the psyches of fifty-year-olds from those college psych studies, we can’t really talk about the dating scene from the expertise of a woman who works with men who, despite their wealth, are too dysfunctional to meet a woman on their own and end up hiring someone to help out.  Just saying.

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Filed under Miscellanea

Vote for Achievement and Merit, not Depedendent Irresponsibility

Time’s Person of the Year is often marred by bad choices (e.g. Barack Obama), but we, the American public, do get to vote – at least for showing Time what they think.  (The votes do not actually influence whose visage is on the cover.)

Unfortunately, Sandra “I can’t afford $9/month in birth control, even though I go to a law school that costs $65,000 per year” Fluke is a nominee.  Click to open the link and vote against her – feminist lawyers shouldn’t be crying to Daddy Government to pay for their basic bills. The lack of independence, self-control, and personal responsibility is appalling and a source of shame to all women who make their own way in the world.

Fortunately, we have alternatives: we can vote for Gabby Douglas, Olympic gold medalist.  A young woman of actual achievement, of actual independence, with strong family values.

These two young women (Flukie is my age, so maybe ‘young’ is a misnomer) could not stand in more sharp contrast to each other.  Fluke’s ‘achievements’ appear to be entirely within the sack and in getting admitted to top-level schools; despite an outstanding, half-million-dollar education, she apparently can’t figure out how to buy condoms from CVS.

Douglas has fought against long odds, trained daily for years, and is a world champion in a hyper-competitive sport.  Every day, she had to demonstrate true merit in athletics and an art to get where she is – not just good grades or a really super-duper admissions essay.  Douglas perfected her technique, mastered almost impossible flips and turns, and learned to excel.  She is a role model; Sandra Fluke is a warning of what to not become.

(Other options for the achievement-oriented feminist POTY voter? Marissa Mayer or the Mars Rover.

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Filed under Miscellanea

Political discrimination at universities

Allegedly, universities – especially elite universities and law schools – promote the free and open exchange of ideas.  Recent events suggest otherwise.

A jury found that Teresa Wagner was discriminated against by the faculty at the University of Iowa; the meritorious woman denied a professorship because of her conservative, pro-life viewpoints.  (More from Paul Caron here.)

Meanwhile, back at the alma mater, the Zeta Psi fraternity was asked to remove its Scott Brown banner.  (Scott Brown, aka Hottie McAwesome, is a Tufts alumnus and was a member of Zeta Psi.)   The university has a ‘no-banners’ policy that is strictly enforced when it comes to Republicans who are running for a United States Senate seat, but seems to be lacking when it comes to LGBT rainbow banners and other expressions of ‘free speech’.

‘Tolerance, so  long as you think exactly like us,’ is Orwellian.  Likewise, ‘free speech’ was never about popular speech, or ensuring that a community could censor that which it wishes.  Legally, a private university like Tufts is not held to the same standard as a public university, but private universities that promote themselves as a marketplace of ideas, or an outstanding place to get an education, are duty-bound to live up to that billing.

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Filed under Academia, Miscellanea

What happens when you fund ‘health care reform’ that pays for 16,000 new IRS agents and zero new physicians or nurses

Orlando Health is preparing for its largest layoff in history; it will eliminate 400 employees in order to save money to comply with ObamaCare.  (Hat tip: Sunshine State Sarah.) Medicaid reimbursements are down 20%, or $15 million.  Medicare, which pays for seniors, will be cut in 2014 – to the tune of $100 billion a year nationwide.  Given that Florida has more than your average number of people age 65 or older, it stands to reason that Florida hospitals will be hit particularly hard by the cuts, which will effect reimbursement rates.

This doesn’t stop people who live in a dream world from not understanding these “unexpected” effects:

Laura Goodhue, executive director of the health-advocacy organization Florida Chain, also questioned whether the layoffs were necessary.

“I’m not sure why they’re having layoffs now. And I’m not sure what they’re referring to in regards to reduced payments,” she said.

“As a result of the Affordable Care Act, more Floridians are going to have health coverage, not fewer, so there will be more paying Floridians in the system,” Goodhue said.

If the government mandated that a grocery store were to give out 10% more food despite stagnant or falling revenues, the stores would cut staff, too.   There’s nothing magical about medical care that makes the laws of economics inapplicable.  You simply cannot pay for ‘free’ medical care for an additional twenty million people, cut Medicare by $100 billion per year, destroy cost-saving measures like FSAs, develop mandatory issuance of insurance (even to those who are already sick), and not have massive price increases and/or layoffs in the medical industry.

Again, ObamaCare pays for sixteen thousand new IRS agents but not a single extra physician or nurse.  It sets up a system wherein almost all medical transactions will be run through an insurance company, thus increasing the cost of care by increasing the transaction costs. This will lead to layoffs and decreased quality of care.

 

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Filed under Economics, Medicare/Medicaid, ObamaCare

How’s that working out for you?

In a lame attempt to defend the estate tax, Patrick Lester, Director of Federal Fiscal Policy with a progressive think tank, says this:

“The idea behind the estate tax is to prevent the very wealthy among us from accumulating vast fortunes that they can pass along to the next generation. The poster child for the estate tax is Paris Hilton — the celebrity and hotel heiress. That’s who this is targeted at, not ordinary Americans.”
Except that ordinary Americans are getting creamed on the estate tax, especially those who own ranches or small businesses, while the Paris Hiltons, Teresa Heinz Kerrys, and Joe Kennedy IIIs flourish.
The super-wealthy – those who really can leave eight or nine figures of wealth to each child – are functionally immune from the estate tax.  The schlubs who have a large cattle ranch get creamed.  We aren’t taking almost half of the Hilton’s estates each generation (which is what would happen with a 45% estate tax on everything over $1 million), but we are taking half of a lot of small businesses and farms.   Mr. Lester is probably the type to complain about big business and Monsanto, but forgets that the antidote to that is small businesses and family-owned farms.
Whatever one may think about taking half of Paris Hilton’s inheritance before it hits her pocket, despite having already taxed that money several times, our current estate tax system leaves huge fortunes intact but creams upper-middle class families, those with small businesses, and people whose parents die young.

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Filed under Economics, Miscellanea

Gov. Jindal Rejects ObamaCare

Here’s Gov. Jindal’s letter to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.  This blogger’s favourite part:

When the PPACA was proposed, the President promised that if individuals liked their current health care insurance, they could keep it. However, the PPACA model will actually force individuals into the broken, government-run Medicaid system and into heavily-regulated, government-run health care plans (deemed “minimal essential coverage” by the Federal government).
Individuals should have the right to select what health care plan is best for them, and not be limited to a one-size-fits-all product that a political process deems is “essential”. By mandating that certain benefits be provided in all insurance plans, the price of premiums will increase, leaving individuals unable to continue the coverage they like and a price they can afford.

In practise, “minimum credible coverage” forcibly diverts huge sums of people’s money into health care spending.  You are forced to, by law, purchase a very expensive, frills-intensive health care plan, or pay a penalty.  Once you have three “free” doctor’s visits per year, you may as well use them in order to get what you pay for.  Ditto “free” contraception, in-vitro fertilisation, or a host of other goodies that people would normally go without.

It’s like requiring everyone to purchase every meal at a Ritz Carlton buffet, then saying that this will bring down the cost of meals and reduce obesity.  The way to reduce health care spending is to improve people’s ability to opt out of non-necessary procedures, rather than requiring them to purchase coverage for every procedure imaginable and then creating a panel of people to (arbitrarily) deny care.  In my buffet analogy, it would be like the government jumping into the buffet line to tell people that they can’t have any food at all.

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Filed under Individual Mandate, ObamaCare

ObamaCare Update: the Carnage Begins

Due to the cost of providing Cadillac health care to all full-time (i.e. working more than thirty hours a week) employees, many companies are laying people off and cutting hours.  Denny’s is adding an “ObamaCare surcharge” to all of its bills to reflect the increased cost of doing business.

Meanwhile, doctors, who spend about twelve to fifteen years of their adult lives, and about $300,000, to train for medicine, are now gravitating away from Medicare and Medicaid heavy fields. ABC gives us this headline: “Doctor Shortage Could Cause Health Care Crash.”  (Hat tip.) Hey, we told you so.

Meanwhile, medical device executives are descending on Washington to attempt to get the additional 2.3% tax on medical device sales (not profits) repealed.

You can have the “right” to technologically advanced, free health care all you want, but you have to get someone to provide it.

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Filed under Economics, Employer Mandate, ObamaCare

‘Discrimination’ is a necessary part of any faith-based group

Tufts University has de-funded and de-recognised the Tufts Christian Fellowship TCF requires leaders, but not members, of the group to adhere to its Basis of Faith, reading as follows:

“The Tufts Christian Fellowship is dedicated to understanding and celebrating the basic Biblical truths of Christianity. We believe in the only true God, the almighty Creator of all things, existing eternally in three persons Father, Son and Holy Spirit — full of love and glory. We believe in the unique divine inspiration, entire trustworthiness and authority of the Bible. We believe in the value and dignity of all people: created in God’s image to live in love and holiness, but alienated from God and each other because of our sin and guilt, and justly subject to God’s wrath. We believe in Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine, who lived as a perfect example. We believe in justification by God’s grace, to all who repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. We believe in the indwelling presence and transforming power of the Holy Spirit, who gives to all believers a new life and a new calling to obedient service. We believe in the unity of all believers in Jesus Christ. We believe in the victorious reign and future personal return of Jesus Christ giving over the unrepentant to eternal condemnation but receiving the redeemed into eternal life.”

In short, to be in a leadership role of the Tufts Christian Fellowship, you have to be a Christian.  Allegedly, this violates a non-discrimination policy.

To which I must say: why on earth are you applying a non-discrimination policy to the leadership a religious group?  Would you require that Hillel accept a devout Muslim as its president?  That the Tufts Democrats accept a tea-partying conservative in its leadership?  Society of Women Engineers, a man as president? Must the Tufts Latinos accept a non-Hispanic leader? It makes perfect sense to not permit the Tufts Daily to discriminate on the basis of religion when making decisions about its editors, but the same cannot be said of groups whose raison d’etre is to create a community of religious (or women, or ethnic groups).

Moreover, the Basis of Faith does not discriminate against any group aside from non-Christians: it does not take some prelapsarian view that women cannot be leaders and must ‘submit’ to male authority, nor does it deny gays or lesbians the chance to lead.  In fact, belief in the “value and dignity of all people” is about as inclusive as you can get.

So, this Jumbo must ask: Tufts, are you really going to be this discriminatory in your de-funding of TCF?

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Filed under Miscellanea

New York Rations Gas Two Weeks after Sandy Hits

Yes, price controls lead to rationing.  People who do not have power would rather pay $8/gallon for gas than freeze, and gas companies would happily spend the extra money to redirect resources that way if they were compensated for it, but the State of New York prohibits such.

This will happen under ObamaCare.  We’ve seen it with cancer drugs, and we will see it with medical devices, doctors, nurses, and hospital facilities.

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Filed under Economics, ObamaCare