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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Republican Elizabeth Lauten Says Obama Girls Lack Class

So, now a totally despicable reaction can be credited to a knee-jerk reactionary, one of scores who routinely takes every opportunity to practice ritualistic Obama-hating. Criticizing the Obamas has become the national pastime of antagonists who find fault with everything they do. Republicans, in particular, claim political success by simply being against "anything Obama."

The latest venom-spitting episode is totally unacceptable and indicative of mindless adversaries who care nothing for human kindness.

President Barack Obama's daughters Sasha and Malia have been accused of showing disrespect and lacking "class" by Elizabeth Lauten, a Republican official and communications director for Congressman Stephen Fincher, after their appearance at a Thanksgiving ceremony in what she considered "short skirts."

Lauten made her caustic comments in a Facebook post, since deleted. And, naturally, after sharp criticism, Ms Lauten, the mindful politician, wrote an apology (of sorts) for her "hurtful words." She pointed out that she "had judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager."

("Obama daughters: Malia and Sasha Thanksgiving row apology." 
BBC News November 30, 2014)

What did Lauten say?

Her deleted post reads:

"Dear Sasha and Malia: I get you're both in those awful teen years, but you're a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play.

"Then again, your mother and father don't respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter. So I'm guessing you're coming up a little short in the 'good role model' department."

The post goes on to advise the girls to "rise to the occasion and act like being in the White House matters to you".

"Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar," she added.

She had also accused the two teenagers of looking bored when they stood with their father at the traditional turkey pardoning event at the White House, when the president spared two birds from the national dinner table.

The President's daughters are adolescents. They smiled, nodded and laughed awkwardly like any teens would if they had been there while their father made a "dad joke" or two about pardoning the turkey. Lauten quickly took this awkward occasion to light up her Facebook page for the Obama haters.

When you write about 13-year-old Sasha and 16-year-old Malia, calling them "classless" and telling them "they look like they belong in a bar," you are a hateful, ignorant person. Lauten's apologizes for her mistake, but she misses the mark -- she should apologize to Malia and Sasha Obama.

Elisa Doucette of Forbes explains the problem with Lauten's sorrowful words. Here is her apology:  
"I wanted to take a moment and apologize for a post I made on Facebook earlier today judging Sasha and Malia Obama at the annual White House turkey pardoning ceremony:
When I first posted on Facebook I reacted to an article and I quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager. After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents, and re-reading my words online I can see more clearly just how hurtful my words were. Please know, those judgmental feelings truly have no place in my heart. Furthermore, I’d like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and I pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience."
Doucette suggests a better apology:
"I wanted to take a moment and apologize to Sasha and Malia Obama for a post I made on Facebook earlier today judging them at the annual White House turkey pardoning ceremony:
When I first posted on Facebook I reacted to an article and I quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager. After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents, and re-reading my words online I can see more clearly just how hurtful my words were. Please know, those judgmental feelings truly have no place in my heart. Furthermore, I’d like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and I pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience."
"Treat the people you are apologizing to as if they are actual people, not pixels on a page. Say I’m sorry directly to them, acknowledge it was poor behavior, and promise to be better next time," says Elisa Doucette.

(Elisa Doucette. "The Art Of Online Apologies And Why Elizabeth Lauten 
Failed Miserably At Hers." Forbes. November 30, 2014)

The Bottom Line

When adults with pent-up animosity lash out without understanding and compassion, they unleash
imbecilic, judgmental rhetoric. To attack children about fashion and so-called "tasteless behavior" is repulsive. To do so in the name of politics is even more disturbing. This is what happens when a party promotes total war on the President -- the idiots in their midst rise to every occasion to lambaste the Obamas.

In one way, a silver lining does emerge from this affront. Perhaps the nation will begin to realize mindless attacks of hatred on the President of the United States contribute to the swelling bandwagon of those who dwell in the land of Groundless Accusation. How easy it is for opposing political views to sway haters to terrible actions. When people viciously attack the First Family for nothing, it is time to stop the negative partisanship.

I don't know how President Obama withstands the lack of respect and cooperation he faces every day. Most of it comes from those who take little time to research the issues and who rely upon the bias of news from media outlets that make huge profits on pushing their viewpoints with a particular political spin.

Sasha and Malia, I am sorry you became victims of an angry, thoughtless politician. I hope you can ignore the stupidity of those who dislike you just for having the name "Obama." I believe Elizabeth Lauten is guilty not only of misspeaking but also of prejudice and discrimination. She certainly admits her flawed thinking about her politics and her understanding of judging teenagers. This also makes me wonder about her views on minorities and equality.

How about you?

 Happy Thanksgiving, Ms. Lauten.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Smart People With Bias and "Including Others in Self"

Research has consistently shown people refuse to admit their biases. Howard J. Ross, author of Everyday Bias, cited a Dartmouth College survey where misinformed voters were presented with factual information that contradicted their political biases.

For example, those who were disappointed with President Obama's economic record and believed he hadn't added any jobs during his presidency were shown a graph of nonfarm employment over the prior year that included a rising line indicating about a million jobs had been added.

"They were asked whether the number of people with jobs had gone up, down, or stayed about the same," Ross wrote. "Many, looking straight at the graph, said 'down.'"

And, would you believe that Ross says it's even more difficult to get smart people to admit bias.

"The smarter we are, the more self-confident we are, and the more successful we are, the less likely we're going to question our own thinking," Ross says.

(John Blake. "The new threat: 'Racism without racists.'" CNN. November 27, 2014)

The Difference Between Prejudice and Discrimination

There is a difference between prejudice and discrimination. Prejudice is " an unjustified or incorrect attitude (usually negative) towards an individual based solely on the individual’s membership of a social group.
For example, a person may hold prejudiced views towards a certain race or gender etc. (e.g. sexist).
On the other hand, discrimination is "the behavior or actions, usually negative, towards an individual or group of people," especially on the basis of sex/race/social class.

What is the difference between the two? A prejudiced person may not act on their attitude.  Therefore, someone can be prejudiced towards a certain group but not discriminate against them.  Also, prejudice includes all three components of an attitude (affective, behavioral and affective), whereas discrimination just involves behavior.

(Saul McLeod. "Prejudice and Discrimination." 2008)

Facing Bias as Stereotyping

Stereotyping goes hand in hand with prejudice. The term stereotype as used in social science was first introduced by the journalist Walter Lippman in 1922. Previously the term had been used in the printing business.

When people stereotype humans, they attribute a series of traits to them based on the one trait that signals their membership in a particular group. Common contemporary stereotypes are that Asians are hardworking and studious, Hispanics are macho, and librarians are introverts.

Stereotypes limit and disregard people's individuality. They also lend themselves to negative and derogatory assumptions. When that happens the stereotype blends into prejudice.

It is important to reduce social prejudice. In the 1950's, Gordon Allport introduced the intergroup-contact hypothesis. In this view, intergroup contact under positive conditions can reduce social prejudice.

 The necessary conditions include the following

*  Cooperation towards shared goals, 
*  Equal status between groups, and  
*  Support of local authorities and cultural norms.

Considerable research since then has supported these ideas. In a 2003 review, Stephen Wright and Donald Taylor also noted the effectiveness of identification with a super-ordinate group. In other words, different groups can come together as part of one overarching group, for example as part of one community or of a common humanity.

(Lisa J. Cohen, Ph.D. "The Psychology of Prejudice and Racism."  
Psychology Today.

Of course, cross-group friendships reduce stereotypes and social prejudice through positive emotional experiences with members of different groups. Having close friends from different groups is especially effective in this regard.

Why? Consider the following reasons: 

*  It is nearly impossible to hold onto a simplistic, negative stereotype of someone you know well. 

*  Secondly, a close relationship promotes identification with the other person and of the groups they belong to. This is referred to as "including the other in the self," a notion introduced by Stephen Wright, Arthur Aron and colleagues.

"Including the Other in the Self"

Steven Wright has a Ph.D. in Social Psychology, and he is a professor of psychology at Simon Fraser University. His work includes investigation of the conditions that lead disadvantaged group members to accept their disadvantaged position, to take individual action to improve their personal position, or to engage instead in collective action to alter the conditions of the disadvantaged group as a whole.

The model of "including the other in the self" finds when entering a close relationship, a person should perceive that the self and other should begin to overlap by including aspects of the other in the self.

More specifically, when the other makes his or her resources available, this leads to the belief that these resources are now included in the self.

Most importantly, these new resources lead to greater inclusion 
 of the other in the self by also incorporating 
the other’s perspectives and identities in the self.

(L.R. Tropp, A.M. Stout, C. Boatswain, S.C. Wright and T.F. Pettigrew. "Trust and acceptance in response to reference to group membership: Minority and majority perspectives on cross-group interactions. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 36. 2006) 

Barriers to Self-Expansion at the Intergroup Level

Wright and others acknowledge those who self-expand in one area may put ourselves at risk of losing aspects of the self in another area.

Consequently, people may be fearful of creating 
a close relationship with an outgroup member 
as this may trigger animosity from original ingroup members. 

Often individuals must balance between potential benefits of including the outgroup in the self with the potential loss of ingroup friends and the associated resources. If the self-loss outweighs the self-expansion, it is possible for a decrease in perceived self-efficacy.

A second barrier for self-expansion is the notion for an overabundance of self-expansion in a short period of time. The accumulation of new resources and perspectives in our self-concept leads to a need for self-integration (i.e. combining different resources, identities and perspectives into single overarching self-concept). An excessive amount of self-expansion without proper self-integration can be quite stressful (e.g. moving to a new city, or starting a new job).

It has been suggested that when a person is socially stable, self-expansion via an outgroup member is most likely to be successful. Consequently, the likelihood for cross-group contact and the inclusion of the outgroup in the self is dependent on the degree of self-expansion in other domains.

The Bottom Line

Many intelligent people hold their stubborn bias against factual research to the contrary and strong concessions.

It is imperative to fight bias and stereotyping that feeds prejudice and discrimination. All of us, but especially those prone to stereotyping and bias must attempt to find the "other" (those they target with prejudice) into their "selves" (personal understandings).

This entails actions that allow the biased to share needed resources with others while making close friendships and also finding overlapping positive aspects of the "other's" personality and humanity. Only then can people expand their views and incorporate once-misunderstood perspectives and identities in their selves.

How unfortunate that many people fear the risk of "including the other in the self." They often don't want to fight the pressures from their in-groups to be seen as someone with a different stance who can find common ground with other groups. They lack the fortitude to face animosity from their in-group friends if they would interact, and thus they remain bias as a whole toward the unknown outsiders. Bingo, Bango -- stereotyping views solidify.

Others make good efforts at cross-group friendships and simply find themselves too stressed out with this overwhelming, excessive self-expansion. These folks try to expand: they make new out-group connections, but they stumble as they fail to integrate understandings of important outgroup disadvantages. They are the people who have some outgroup connections (friends) but who do not assimilate the outgroup's distinct views and understandings.

"Oh yeah, I'm not prejudice," white people love to profess. I have lots of black acquaintances." These humans may not discriminate because their actions are not discriminatory; however, I do believe many who claim this do practice bias and stereotyping, prejudice behaviors which lend support to discrimination. They insist the days of civil rights injustices are over when, in fact, they have taken a sharp turn away from blatant, outward discrimination towards subtle prejudice.

Socially stable people can end prejudice and discrimination. They can do this by incorporating the outgroup in themselves, and this requires deep friendships and even deeper understandings of foreign beliefs. Isn't it ironic that the old cliche of "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" actually conducive to making important new outgroup acquaintances and accepting them into the brotherhood of man?

It is impossible to be your best self by blinding clinging to ingroup thoughts and behaviors. We tend to automatically disbelieve anything that goes against our limited ingroup knowledge. It is human nature, but human nature at its most rigid.

We must resist the temptation to close our minds to cries of injustice just because we think we know better. We must also give close consideration to them, the opposition, and make concerted efforts to climb inside their skin and face their troubles with the invigorated good hope for correcting basic wrongs.

"From the viewpoint of absolute truth, what we feel and experience in our ordinary daily life is all delusion. Of all the various delusions, the sense of discrimination between oneself and others is the worst form, as it creates nothing but unpleasantness." 

 --Dalai Lama

Saturday, November 22, 2014

GOP, Can You Handle the Truth About Executive Actions?

"You want answers? You want answers? You can't handle the truth! .... 

"You don't want the truth because deep down in places 
you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, 
you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. 
We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline." 

Remember that quote from Colonel Jessep in the film A Few Good Men? Perhaps Republicans should consider these words before they spit venomous accusations of unconstitutionality against President Obama and his recent executive action concerning immigration reform.

Punchline, indeed, GOP. No, an executive order is not "the very definition of tyranny." That's the truth if you can handle it.

Jaime Fuller of The Washington Post points out ...

"In 1992, liberal activists crossed their fingers that President Clinton would be elected, bringing an end to what they saw as the executive actions-filled years of the Reagan and Bush administrations. 

"Gary Bass, director of the watchdog group OMB Watch, told the Washington Post at the time that Reagan 'grabbed every lever 
that the executive power could give to exert control 
and shift power from Congress to the executive.'"

(Jaime Fuller. "Executive actions: An increasingly common way for Congress to hate presidents." The Washington Post. November 17, 2014)

Fuller continues, "Every president since George Washington has interpreted the Constitution to allow executive orders, seeing in the phrase, 'shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed' (Article II) a whole world of political possibilities. And then, he issues an executive order, or a memo, or some other directive steering policy closer toward where the White House hoped Congress would take it on their own."

The truth? All modern presidents make policy choices about which violations of federal law to prosecute. Obama’s decision to defer deportation is in line with actions of past presidents, and well within the scope of his authority.

Distinguished professor, author, and political science chair Robert Spitzer reveals ...

"George Washington issued eight such orders. In fact, every president except William Henry Harrison (who held office for only a month before dying in 1841) has issued them. Based on the numbering system established in 1906, presidents have issued roughly 14,000 - yet the actual number is far larger, since before that time records of the orders were often not kept.

(Robert J. Spitzer. "Obama's Executive Orders: Can We Talk?" 
The Huffington Post. November 18, 2014)

Republican presidents such as Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush systematically exempted large numbers of illegal immigrants from deportation, including some 1.5 million people in the case of Bush. In fact, in October 2008, Slate magazine made a list of the "nine most odious executive orders issued by George W. Bush that the next administration should overturn."

Concerning Immigration

Hard-core Constitutional Originalists should know that in the original understanding of the Constitution, Congress did not have a general power to restrict immigration (though it did have power over naturalization).

Granted, immigration restrictions have been deemed permissible under precedent dating back to 1889; however, Originalists applaud presidential discretion to cut back on enforcement of laws that themselves go against the original meaning of the Constitution concerning immigration.

Robert Spitzer speaks of the enormous discretion over immigration decisions granted by Congress to presidents and agencies over the decades. He believes that Obama stands on firm footing to prioritize prosecutorial discretion and that he also possesses ample precedent to protect selected groups from deportation and the statutory authority to grant work permits.

The Bottom Line

If all is considered concerning President Obama's executive action, it is most likely the only logical decision in light of the inaction of a gridlocked Congress to address immigration reform. His decision to act is timely and legal.

The real question for all Americans is this:

"Do illegal immigrants violating the law to escape Third World conditions deserve compassion?" 

Please read this question again, and pay close attention to the qualifying remedy: "deserve compassion."

The United States Congress evidently doesn't have the time or the inclination to answer this burning question. We all know why. I will spell it out: P-A-R-T-I-S-A-N-S-H-I-P.

President Obama took discretion to "take Care" under Article II of the United States Constitution. Then, the President made a decision that these immigrants deserve a measure of compassion from the Executive Branch. 

To satisfy proper procedure, Obama's decision must be based on prior legislative or constitutional authority. I believe it is. Let's review another executive ruling of the past. Wasn't it a needed reform?  I defer to Professor Spitzer ...

"When Harry Truman ordered the racial integration of America's military forces in 1948 (anticipating by six years the Supreme Court's ruling that "separate but equal" in public schools was unconstitutional), it was the first important step in eliminating segregation."

So, Speaker of the House John Boehner, remember your words. You said, "Every member of Congress swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So did President Barack Obama."

Are your speaking of the Original Constitution and its immigration stance?

And, Boehner continued, "Over the last five years, starting -- not coincidentally -- when his political party lost the majority in the House of Representatives, the President has consistently overstepped his authority under the Constitution, and in so doing eroded the power of the legislative branch."

Are you condemning only what your party deems to judge as "overstepping"?

"The House will in fact act," Boehner told reporters.

And, what (as if I didn't already know) will the House "action" be, Speaker Boehner?

Boehner replied: "With this action, the President has chosen to deliberately sabotage any chance of enacting bipartisan reforms that he claims to seek."

Thank God the truth is finally spoken. We can all expect more partisan gamesmanship, and we can quote Speaker Boehner for the honest declaration that reeks of uncooperative public service.

Compassionate people don't matter to political parties; only party members matter to these  organizations because each party member represents a blind vote for keeping power in office and jobs in hand. And, the country is still looking for "a few good men" to come together and accomplish the greatest dreams of those who dare to dream.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Immigration Reform = Political Parties and Millions of Votes

I wonder how many people today remember President George W. Bush's frustration as he finally gave up on an immigration overhaul through the Senate approximately seven years ago? He believed in "compassionate conservatism," and rewriting the immigration system was at the core of his stance.

"In May 2006, Republican senators at Bush's urging joined Democrats to offer a blanket amnesty to 12 million illegal aliens and permit US businesses to go abroad and bring in foreign workers. Senators had been shocked by the millions of Hispanics marching in America's cities under Mexican flags... President Bush was hailed for his compassion and vision." 

(Patrick J. Buchanan. State of Emergency:The Third World Invasion 
and Conquest of America. 2007)

Like Republican President George Bush, President Obama begged for immigration reform and failed at getting Congress to act. But, he did not give in.

Instead, Obama asked his lawyers if he could change the system on his own. His White House team decided he could. So, in a prime-time address, he announced he would wield executive power to patch up the system as best he could, temporarily shielding up to five million people from the threat of deportation.

The President plans to offer temporary relief from deportation to the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have been in the country for more than five years. He'll also extend a program that already allows undocumented migrants brought here as children to stay in the country.

And, a key element of Obama's plan is to instruct immigration authorities to target those undocumented immigrants who are dangerous rather than law-abiding undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and residents and others.

The President said they will go after "felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who's working hard to provide for her kids."

(Jim Acosta and Stephen Collinson. "Obama: 'You can come out of the shadows.'" 
CNN. November 21, 2014)

Of course, Republicans claim Obama is subverting the Constitution and behaving more like a king than a president. They say Obama has not only overstepped the boundaries of his authority but also "ignored the will of the people." Speaker Boehner said he told the President that the American people simply "don't trust him to enforce the law as written."

But, two avenues are open to those who claim Obama is acting like a criminal. He explained one of these alternatives:

"To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress have failed, I have one answer. Pass a bill," Obama said.

(Stephen Collinson. "On immigration, a tale of two presidents." CNN. November 21, 2014)

And since Obama was forced to act via executive order, his moves could be wiped out with the stroke of a pen by a future president.

This executive decision came against a backdrop of crisis on the southern border as thousands of child migrants were teeming across the border. Republicans charged the human tide was triggered directly by the President's earlier executive order that offered certain categories of Dreamers -- undocumented immigrants brought the nation as children -- relief from deportation.

The Obvious

Both parties understand the desperate need for immigration reform. It is sorely evident that many political arguments have kept this legislation from coming forth. The longtime partisan gridlock is truly sickening in light of the urgency of the problem.

What is the real problem with the stalemate? You and I know the problem lies in the tremendous strength of the the immigrant vote. This is a block that has the potential to strengthen greatly the Democratic Party. 

Yet, the right Republican support for immigration reform could also aid their voting contingent. Like most all issues, immigration has turned into a party issue. For so long now, the lack of political compromise has hurt so many Americans. Enough is enough. If parties want the votes, they must act to satisfy the immigrants.

I do understand that granting amnesty does not secure our borders. Only a fool would believe that. Yet, blocking all dreamers from American citizenship is committing blanket judgment and forcing a sick stagnancy upon our free soil. Surely, politicians have to be careful not to commit the greatest Constitution sin of believing we, present-day American citizens, control the ideals of freedom and refuge for all. 

People should know that now, November 21, 2014, the President of the United States has no power to put undocumented immigrants on the long road to citizenship. He cannot grant permanent residence permits known as Green Cards, and all of his changes could be struck down by a future president.

As daunting as the task may be, each immigrant presently in America must be judged on an individual basis. This is what democracy demands. This is the burden of the government in the Land of the Free. For God's sake, we must see people as "human beings" and judge them by their merits, not as "Mexicans" or as "Latins" or as "unwanted refuse."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Black and White Racism in Ferguson, Missouri

The problem in Ferguson, Missouri, is not complicated. Rather, it is as clear as black and white.

America still refuses to come to grips with color. Until people -- white, black, brown, red, yellow, rainbow -- accept each other as human beings and not as distinct individuals within the same population, distrust, fear, and hatred will continue to haunt our American citizen identity.

A racist is defined not as a person within a distinct ethnic population, but instead as any person "who practices particular poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race."

For Christ's sake, all races should take pride in positive parts of their identity; however, no race should take part in anything that supports inequality or criminal activity in the name of the color of their skin. All of this activity simply adds to stereotypes and fuels the flames of bigotry that still burn in the hearts and minds of people who can't see beyond race.

Everyone I talk with about the Michael Brown incident includes speculation on racial judgment. Why? I believe racists -- white and black -- automatically use incidents like this to confirm their lingering distrust of those unlike themselves. I'm not saying that some of this animosity isn't warranted. I am saying that people who use and abuse others because they are white or black are simply in the wrong.

Let's review some obvious actors in the Brown incident that provided opportunities for racists everywhere to confirm their prejudiced views:

The robber (identified as Michael Brown) and the victims at the convenience store

Michael Brown himself

The police officers involved in the on-scene investigation

Officer Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown

The eyewitnesses to the shooting such as Dorian Johnson

Brown's parents and attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of Trayvon Martin,

Owners of businesses that were vandalized and looted

Outside influences that flocked to Ferguson to join local protesters including civil rights leaders like Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Jesse Jackson

The entire Ferguson Police Department

The Missouri Highway Patrol 

President Obama and the Justice Department investigation

Governor Jay Nixon, City of St. Louis Mayor and other area leaders

Two reporters -- one from the Huffington Post and another from the Washington Post who were arrested by police at a Ferguson McDonald's

The St. Louis County Medical Examiner who conducted the autopsy of Michael Brown

Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said Attorney General Eric Holder who ordered a separate federal autopsy for Brown at the request of his family.

The National Guard brought to Ferguson by order of Governor Nixon

Attorney General Eric Holder who was ordered to monitor unrest in Ferguson by President Obama

Trayvon Martin's mom, Sybrina Fulton, who wrote a heartbreaking letter published in TIME magazine to the family of Michael Brown.

Brown's mother and father, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr., who traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to testify before the United Nations Committee Against Torture as part of a delegation of human rights advocates organized by the New York- and Atlanta-based U.S. Human Rights Network. McSpadden also said on the Today Show, "When justice is prevailed, then maybe they'll regain their trust in the locals."

The grand jury that began investigating whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson should be criminally charged for the death of Michael Brown.

 The NAACP that held a peaceful protest throughout Ferguson

Vonderrit Myers Jr., a second black teenager in the area, who became a shooting victim

Clergy and activist academic Cornel West arrested by police on "Moral Monday"

There is so much black and white interaction that transpired in Ferguson that so many closed minds wish to label as "racist." This unfortunate incident is rift with speculation, accusation, and mixed reports. No matter whoever is to blame for whatever, racists on both sides of the issue do nothing but encourage further violence and continued racial distrust and hatred.

It's time to stop blame in the name of race when the blame is unwarranted and liable to do nothing but build further racist views. I don't know all of the facts in the Brown case, but whatever they are, people who use the incident to stir undue hatred of Caucasians or of Afro-Americans are wicked.

"Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which 
rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. 
The foundation of such a method is love."  

--Marin Luther King, Jr.

In 2014, Ferguson, Missouri should not be a step backward in racial equality. I hope the truth does prevail, yet I believe even if it doesn't, those who blindly continue to act with black or white bigotry are destroying the foundations of love so many have worked so hard to establish in America. Our land cannot be a place of injustice because of the color of your skin nor can it be a place where people cling to closed minds colored by bigotry.

I pray for colorless justice in Ferguson. God, please let people see that "wrong" and "right" are not to be judged in terms of black and white, but instead judged in terms of one humanity of like beings. Please alleviate the ugly distrust. Your will be done.

"Hatred paralyses life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; 
love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." 

--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Charles Manson To Marry "Star" Burton and Same-Sex Couples Still Denied?

 The Loving Couple

Well now, what's the buzz?

80-year-old Charles Manson has a license to marry Afton Elaine Burton, a 26-year-old woman who visits him in prison.

Won't this be a delightful May-December affair?

Burton "fell in love" with Manson when she was 16, (she claims) not for his notorious, murderous exploits but instead for his gentle philosophy toward the earth. Manson is a proponent of ATWA, an environmental viewpoint that stands for air, trees, water, animals. 
Afton Burton, who goes by the name "Star," has been in touch with Manson since she was 17, and she moved from her home in Illinois to Corcoran, California in 2007. Burton reportedly has been visiting Manson in jail on Saturdays and Sundays since then.

Burton believes Manson is innocent. "I'm completely with him, and he's completely with me. It's what I was born for, you know. I don't know what else to say," Star said.

Burton runs a few pro-Manson websites, said she would like to work on his case, so marrying him would allow her access to information and documents restricted to family. “There’s certain things next of kin can do,” she told the Associated Press.

California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton confirmed to the AP that the license had been transmitted to the prison.

Thornton said each California prison designates an employee to be a marriage coordinator who processes paperwork for an inmate's request to be wed. In most cases, she said, the department of corrections approves of such weddings as "a tool of family reunification and social development." But Manson is "a unique case."

Thornton confirmed that Manson can have a wedding at the prison and invite an officiate from outside the prison to perform the ceremony.

Burton said the wedding might have happened earlier if Manson did not have "some situations" at the prison.

Thornton explained that in February, Manson had three violations for possession of a weapon, threatening staff and refusal to provide a urine sample. Further details on the violations were not immediately available.

Burton said the prison holds marriages on the first Saturday of each month. She expects to be married in an inmate visiting room at the prison.  

("Charles Manson Gets Wedding License." Associated Press. November 18, 2014)


Oh, the glory of love... NOT. Cuckoo... Cuckoo. This marriage license makes me madder than a one-legged stripper doing a lap dance. Thank God at least something is still right in the universe: Because Manson is serving a life sentence, the couple will not be allowed to have conjugal visits, even after they are married. 

Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:
"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Why do some state laws prohibit same-sex couples from getting married when Charles Manson, of all people, can legally tie the knot with this less-than-stable, headline-grabbing young woman? The denial is a travesty of justice. The Supreme Court must correct this discrimination.

Legal arguments for excepting same-sex marriage from the definition of marriage as a civil right have rested on the argument that the state has a compelling interest in restricting same-sex marriage that justifies limiting the right to marry (an argument that was also used to justify restrictions on interracial marriage), and/or that laws permitting civil unions provide a substantially equivalent standard to marriage that satisfies equal protection standards.

Where is the reasoning used by the state for allowing a convicted mass murderer the right to marry and denying that right to free, law-abiding gay couples? This is appalling.

Hey, "Star," or "Afton," or whatever you call yourself today, grab your fifteen minutes of fame and make your money by writing your book about being the spouse of Crazy Charlie and a proponent of his "gentle philosophy." Don't forget to carve that attractive, loving swastika into your forehead to seal the vow. You are doing a wonderful service to yourself, not to me.

And, hey, Highest Court in the Land, check out the latest proof of the great imbalance in civil rights. Once and for all, realize that those who oppose same-sex marriage base their understandings on judgmental principles not applicable to states' interests. And, please as time passes without your final judgment on the legality of same-sex marriage, think of a happily married Manson.

How can you justices sleep at night? We all know what occupies old Charlie's dreams now, don't we?

"Believe me, if I started murdering people... 
there'd be none of you left!" 

 --Charles Manson

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Portsmouth Town Center, a.k.a. The Martings Building

Jason Kester, the Director of the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA), tells us that the Marting's Building is now known as the Portsmouth Town Center. 

Portsmouth City Council has authorized Portsmouth City Manager Derek Allen to enter into a three-year contract with SOPA, pledging $25,000 a year as its share of SOPA’s budget to make that organization the city’s primary economic development arm.

The Portsmouth Daily Times reports ...

"The one building that has had a polarizing effect on the city and specifically Portsmouth City Council is the building known as the former Marting’s property.

“'We also need a plan to increase the occupancy of the buildings downtown from Fifth/Third building to the former Martings property to the vacant buildings along Chillicothe Street. We’re looking at every building downtown – and we’re open to ideas,' Kester said. 'I am trying to find investors who are interested in developing downtown and I’ve had contact with a couple consultants who have provided some insight. We don’t know what the problem is – so it’s difficult to know how to fix the problem. The Portsmouth Town Center is the largest vacant property – but it’s not the only vacant building.'”

(Frank Lewis and Wayne Allen. " "SOPA working to develop downtown Portsmouth.  
Portsmouth Daily Times. November 17, 2014)

Kester says SOPA doesn't have "a full understanding of the strengths and weaknesses – so it’s a challenge to know how to develop the property." The Port Authority is gathering information on all of the buildings and will hopefully be able to develop a plan in coordination with the other property owners downtown to spur growth and development.

Now, I'm not a consultant, yet I believe the problem with the property now known as the "Portsmouth Town Center" is evident. It is a huge, aging, department store property owned by the City of Portsmouth that sits in the middle of a downtown void of a vibrant retail shopping trade. It is the Lazarus of Portsmouth that remains an empty edifice memorializing a bygone era.

The Town Center has become a metaphoric albatross that continues to hang around the neck of city government. The entire epic of the acquisition of the property by the city and their efforts for well over a decade to remodel it or to sell it have left an indelible bad taste in the mouths of taxpayers. "Vacant" is an apt description of both the minds of those who procured the property and of any investment plan for future use.

How does the city "fix" the "problem"? The "problem" should not have been created in the first place; however, "fixing" the remains may require a project for which the city has insufficient funds. An old axiom of construction is that remodeling and renovation is often more expensive than starting from scratch. I think the city has learned that lesson.

Portsmouth seems to have been victimized by bad judgment concerning proper renovation. Many residents still mourn the loss of a historic railway terminal in town and often wonder why a plan for a major facelift of that property was abandoned.

Yes, polarization haunts Chillicothe Street just as it lingers in other areas of the city. It stems from memories of an energetic past when bright city lights once drew happy shoppers in droves to something residents called "Downtown Portsmouth."

Over the years the crowds found little to buy and even less to afford as major retail business after major retail business closed. Skeletons of the thriving businesses were all that was left to occupy the downtown real estate, and an occasional small store still reopens in there to operate as little more than a reminder of a glorious city retail exchange.

SOPA, it takes real materials and real innovation to make abandoned real estate "come alive." Time changes everything, and dreams cannot be built on false promises and speculation. Dreams can only be realized by positive industry guided by gifted thinkers.

"Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions 
stems the dream again; and this interdependence 
produces the highest form of living." 

 --Anais Nin

The "strengths and weaknesses" of which you speak lie within humans. Bricks, mortar, wood, nails -- these are merely materials used by those who construct dreams with their great foresight and imagination. It is folly to begin fruitless enterprises just to occupy space. And, it may be important to consider the possibility that grandiose structures have outgrown their utility and their appeal.

Good luck with your "study" of primary economic development as it relates to downtown Portsmouth. How do you inject life into an area that has been guilty of "beating a dead horse"? I don't really know, but I do know why some mistakes of the past can only be erased with novel thinking and fresh actions.

Unanswered E-mails: Manager Allen and Councilman Meadows Croon Duet "That's Life"

Here is the latest play-by-play from city hall:

It's trouble as usual for city council as the plot thickens ...

Portsmouth City Manager Derek Allen is frustrated with his job. He says he's working tremendously long hours on a mission to "turn this city around," yet he feels he can't satisfy people with his efforts. He says he needs another employee in his office to be able to meet the expectations that people have.

Fifth Ward Councilman Gene Meadows is evidently one who is dissatisfied. He doesn't like the fact that Allen hasn't answered all his e-mails.

In his defense, Allen explained that since he returned from vacation he has not had time to go through all of his electronic correspondence. He affirms he has taken his allowance of exactly 10 days of vacation in 2014.

But, Meadows, unwilling to accept the explanation, says. “If we’re prohibited from contacting department heads to ask a question, you’re going to have to find some way to respond to us regardless of the number of e-mails that you get.”

The dramatic conflict builds ...

Meadows then accuses Allen of being gone Thursday and Friday, non-vacation days.

Allen replies that he had his required 40 hours of weekly work in by Thursday, so he didn't work those days.

The climax is upon the table ...

“I don’t think I’ve cheated anybody,” Allen says. “I took a week’s vacation. I left early last week. I already had my 40 hours in. To me it is somewhat insulting. I understand your frustrations that I haven’t been able to get back to you on an e-mail but the last time I checked there’s still 83 emails I didn’t get through. I got through about 70 of them.” Such accusations make Allen wonder why he ever even took the job of city manager.

Insult leads to insult ... 

Meadows replies by denying he said "anybody cheated the city our of any hours," and he stresses he has weeks in which he works "70 and 80 hours, too."

And, at last, the anticipated denouement ...

Councilman Meadow says, "That's life."

(Frank Lewis. "City Mgr. frustrated with job." Portsmouth Daily Times. November 16, 2014)

Another Stirring Performance

What will become of all the unanswered e-mails? Are they merely a product of well-deserved vacation time, or are they related to some kind of dastardly, secretive prohibition?

And, what of all of this massive overtime argument and the Mexican standoff of "I work more than you work." It seems what we have here is the classic theme of "failure to communicate" further complicated by the age-old maxim: "There are not enough hours in the day."

Will the city manager get help? Will the councilman continue his Frank Sinatraesque view of the problem?

And, in the meantime, will discussions at City Council meetings ever lose their smack of "na-na, na-na, boo-boo; stick your head in doo-doo"?

"I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet,
A pawn, and a king.
I've been up and down and over and out,
And I know one thing:
Each time I find myself flat on my face,
I pick myself up and get back in the race!

"That's life! (That's life)
I tell ya, I can't deny it.
I thought of quittin', baby,
But my heart just ain't gonna buy it.
And if I didn't think it was worth one single try,
I'd jump right on a big bird and then I'd fly."

From "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mr. Perfect Versus the Well-Groomed Man

What makes women crazy about a man? I have read about women and their dreams of landing a perfect specimen of a U.S. male. You know the "hot" features that draw the eyes of a woman: a V-shaped, athletic body; broad shoulders and a strong chest; a flat, six-pack tummy; narrow hips and muscular legs; a narrow butt; sensitive, kind eyes; a high nose and a strong chin; and even a large member in the nether regions. 

All of these things are undoubtedly sexy attributes, yet most males are lucky to have one or two absolutely "hunky" features to impress the ladies. But, don't despair, gentlemen. All guys can benefit from understanding there are some body parts that men think women don't notice, yet they may check them out as much as the traditional He-man features.

Yep, we are talking about grooming. Personal grooming plays an essential role in enhancing one’s personality. And, remember, a lot depends on a person's first impression. Grooming and hygiene help men to make a mark of their own in the first meeting itself. Many men wrongly think that personal grooming is for females only. This is untrue.

Every individual irrespective of gender should look clean, fresh and hygienic. All men can enhance their appearance with good grooming. In fact, a study by GQ and Allure magazines (2010) found that 63 percent of men surveyed say they like their morning grooming routine, and 72 percent say they feel more pressure to care about what they look like.

Accordingly, men are spending more money on their grooming products because they’re using more of them. In 2010, the found that was an average of 11 products to a woman’s 16 products, and they’re getting more expensive versions of the products they need.

According to Pat Guenther, vice president of pharma, wellness and personal care at Multi-sponsor Surveys, “In the men’s grooming market, grooming dollars follow grooming attitudes. Casuals and Respectable Joes report spending on average between $31 and $37 respectively over 12 months on personal grooming tools or appliances. Lookin’ Hot and Cool Customers on the other hand spend nearly twice as much in a year’s time—on average between $62 and $64, respectively.”

(Pat Guenther. “The 2012 Study of Men’s Grooming Appliances & Tools”)   

Let's look at some male body parts that benefit from good grooming: 

1- Eyebrows
2- Nails
3- Skin
4- Feet
5- Ear/nose hair
6- Teeth

Without getting into how to keep all of these parts well groomed, I chose just to include this list as a reminder that there is considerable ground for improvement in all of these areas. Men can become much more attractive to females if they simply practice daily good grooming -- how much attention to spend and how much improvement to make are up to the individual. Suffice it to say that any improvement will be appreciated by the fairer sex.

The entry on the skin is mainly about taking care of skin. Men’s skin is different than women’s skin. It is up to 40% thicker, pumps out five times more oil, and contains more sebaceous glands. Different skin and hair conditions are also much more frequent in men, including rosacea/rhinophyma, acne scarring and male pattern hair loss, to name a few. Men’s skin also ages differently than women’s, losing collagen more rapidly after the age of 30. Many skin improvement products are readily available over-the-counter.

How about hairy men as a turn-on? A relatively new, popular male skin practice is known as manscaping. I really don't understand the appeal, but the Multi-sponsor Surveys of 2014 report a sizeable proportion of men -- 39% -- remove body hair below the neck (aka "manscaping) at some point, up from only 6% in 2005. The increase in body hair removal among all age groups suggests that men are continuing to remove body hair even as they age.

The manscaping trend is sharply skewed toward millennials and Hispanic men, among whom majorities -- 57% and 58%, respectively -- report body hair removal. For these men, it is just part of their total grooming routine, with the majority agreeing that "removing body hair helps a man look and feel well-groomed."

("Study: Majority of Millennial Males Manscape." Mult-sponsor Surveys. July 23, 2014)

Here is a simple checklist that men can use as an aid to good grooming: 
  • Shower
  • Wash your hair
  • Wash your ears (inside, out, and behind)
  • Brush and floss
  • Clip your nails (includ­ing your toenails)
  • Shave or trim your facial hair
  • Pluck stray hairs on the bridge of your nose and eyebrows
  • Apply a neu­tral antiper­spi­rant and taste­ful cologne
  • Wear clean underwear
  • Wear freshly laun­dered clothes
As far as clothes go, a few simple suggestions can improve the look groomed men desire:
  1. Wear clothes that fit. When it comes to cloth­ing, fit is king. Most guys wear cloth­ing that is too big for them, because it’s com­fort­able or because they can’t be both­ered to shop for cloth­ing that fits well. Also a lot of guys are self-conscious about their body and try to hide it with loose cloth­ing. A good fit accen­tu­ates your body and even mod­est cloth­ing will look good if it fits well.
    • With shirts, the shoul­der seam should extend to the end of the shoul­der, not any further.
    • On dress shirts, the cuffs should not extend past the wrist bone.
    • The bot­tom of your pants or jeans should rest gen­tly on the top of your shoes.
    • Your pants should never slip off your waist with­out a belt.
  2. Match. Most straight guys have a hard time with color coor­di­na­tion, but match­ing is easy when you know what to look for:
    • Your belt should match your shoes and/or your accessories.
    • If you’re wear­ing dress pants, your socks should match your pants.
    • If you’re wear­ing jeans, your socks should match your shoes.
    • Less is often more, so try not to wear too many col­ors at once. 
  3. Acces­sorize. Acces­soriz­ing will help you to spruce up your look, but don’t overdo it just for the sake of it. 
    • A nice watch goes a long way to increase your style and status.
    • A scarf can round off an out­fit really well and make you look extremely fashionable. 
    • A neck­lace can accen­tu­ate the neck and shoul­ders and can cre­ate a sense of power and dominance.
    • A bracelet can accen­tu­ate your hands and arms. Whether metal or leather, make sure they match the col­ors and style of your outfit.
    • You can put a ring on any fin­ger, but avoid the left ring fin­ger for obvi­ous reasons.
    • Sun­glasses can cre­ate a sense of mys­tery and power. Find a pair that com­pli­ments your head shape.
  4. Dress to your per­son­al­ity. Dress­ing to your per­son­al­ity and lifestyle is impor­tant in pro­ject­ing a con­gru­ent image and it will help you to attract women with sim­i­lar tastes and inter­ests. If dress­ing like a rock star fits your per­son­al­ity, then do it. If you’re a top account­ing exec­u­tive, you should dress like a styl­ish and suc­cess­ful exec­u­tive. If you’re into surf­ing then, by all means, go for a surfer look etc.
("Style and Personal Grooming Tips for Men."

So, even if a man is not a perfect specimen of feminine desire or a chiseled, hot property, he can definitely use grooming to improve his sex appeal. This entry may seem incredibly simplistic; however, I am sure many males need good grooming suggestions. Many men seem to assume spending any time looking good is basically wasted energy, and it is evident many guys who groom too little are not even remotely appealing to female tastes.  

Saying all of this, I do believe some males need to understand that overdoing their "animal sexiness" creates an image that is much too strong and even frightening to attractive females. For instance, a great deal of men do not understand the difference between an overpowering scent vs. a subtle scent in a cologne, so they buy into the "more is better" fallacy.

And, I'm sure there are plenty of men who use makeup these days. I guess that is an option, but it is wise to realize the risks of any bold, artificial change.

I would think it might be wise for a man to talk to a trusted female about grooming techniques. Cosmetologists can offer useful suggestions for improvement. Or, it might be that just a little more personal attention to grooming could do wonders. Hygiene issues such as bad breath, chapped lips, and shaggy facial hair can make a prospective girlfriend run for cover.

A well-groomed man with a good-paying job and a genuine, caring personality can be the "catch" a beautiful woman keeps. In these days of the Wal-Martian mentality of personal upkeep and dress, the well-groomed male certainly is a refreshing sight for many sore feminine eyes. Looking "clean" and "sharp" may be just the ticket to a male makeover for dating success.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"2014, A Space Reality": Computers and Robots Are Devouring Your Jobs

"Almost 47 percent of US jobs could be computerized within one or two decades, and not only manual labor jobs could be affected: a new study reveals a trend of computers taking over many cognitive tasks thanks to the availability of big data."

(Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne. The Future of Employment: 
How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerization? Oxford Martin Programme 
on the Impacts of Future Technology. September 18, 2013)

The study evaluated around 700 jobs, classifying them based on how likely they are to be computerized, from low risk occupations (recreational therapists, emergency management directors and healthcare social worker) to high risk ones (library technicians, data entry keyers and telemarketers).

The Oxford study suggests two waves of computerization, with the first substituting computers for people in logistics, transportation, administrative and office support and the second affecting jobs depending on how well engineers crack computing problems associated with human perception, creative and social intelligence.

The research further provides evidence that wages and educational attainment exhibit a strong negative relationship with an occupation’s probability of computerization.

Where will this change leave you? 

Technological advancement has always been a major driver of social change. Most agree that the key to success lies in researching to explore which jobs will become obsolete and which ones are growing -- and then preparing to pursue what’s poised to thrive.

As you might expect, the study also found that the more education you have, the less likely it is that your job will be computerized. In other words, jobs that require more education resist replacement by computers
In other words, jobs that pay more and require more education resist replacement by computers. - See more at:

It's worthwhile to know the facts:

"The availability of big data was identified as a major trend that's given engineers huge amounts of complex data to work with, which has made it possible for computers to deal with problems that, until recently, only people could handle. For instance, pattern recognition software applied to patient records, clinical trials, medical reports and journals makes it possible for computers to be used as diagnostic tools, comparing data to arrive at the best possible treatment plan."

 (Lakshmi Sandhana. "47% of US jobs Under Threat From Computerization According to Oxford Study." September 24, 2013)

The study realizes the following trends:

* Algorithmic improvements over human judgment are likely to become increasingly common.

* Improvements in sensor technology will offer enough big data to engineers to help solve problems in robotic development that previously held back the field

* Technological advances have allowed robots to take over manual labor in agriculture, construction, manufacturing as well as household and personal services such as lawn mowing, vacuuming and elderly care.

* The current trend of labor market polarization to extremely low-paying and extremely high-paying jobs will be truncated (reduced), and the demand for middle-income occupations will not continue indefinitely.

Who Is Most at Risk to Lose a Job to Computerization?

High-wage and high-skill jobs are least likely to be computerized, the study concludes. For example, science and engineering jobs that require a great deal of creative intelligence aren't susceptible to computerization.

The study says, "Most management, business, and finance occupations, which are intensive in generalist tasks requiring social intelligence, are largely confined to the low risk category. The same is true of most occupations in education, healthcare, as well as arts and media jobs."

Dentists, nutritionists, athletic trainers, podiatrists, elementary school teachers and occupational, recreational and mental health therapists all have a less than 1 percent chance of being replaced by computer software say Frey and Osborne.

The study predicts that computers will substitute people in low-wage and low-risk jobs in the near future. High risk sectors are service, sales and office administrative support. The jobs most at risk all have one thing in common: they're in occupations "mainly consisting of tasks following well-defined procedures that can easily be performed by sophisticated algorithms."

It is probably no surprise to anyone that telemarketers are the occupation with the highest probability of computerization.

According to Frey and Osborne, other jobs that face at least an 85 percent chance of being automated are low-skilled occupations such as retail sales, but also high-paying positions now held by accountants, auditors, budget analysts, technical writers and insurance adjusters, among others.

Sectors particularly affected are service, sales and office administrative support - See more at:
There are three attributes (“engineering bottlenecks”) that make a job less likely to be computerized. First, perception and manipulation (i.e., finger/manual dexterity, the ability to work in cramped/awkward positions, etc.). Second, creative intelligences (i.e., originality, fine arts, etc.) and third, social intelligence (i.e., social perceptiveness, negotiation, persuasion, and assisting and caring for others). - See more at:
The three attributes (“engineering bottlenecks”) that make a job less likely to be 
computerized ... 

First, perception and manipulation (i.e., finger/manual dexterity, the ability to work in cramped/awkward positions, etc.). 

Second, creative intelligences (i.e., originality, fine arts, etc.) and 

Third, social intelligence.

Computerization, jobs and the future: Research views on technology’s effects - See more at:
(Dante Perez. "Computerization, Jobs and the Future: Research Views on Technology’s Effects. February 24, 2014)

The Oxford team says: "Our findings thus imply that as technology races ahead, low-skill workers will reallocate to tasks that are non-susceptible to computerization -- i.e., tasks requiring creative and social intelligence. For workers to win the race, however, they will have to acquire creative and social skills.

Think About It

How important is building creative and social skills? If you want a secure job in the future, the answer is "very."  These are skills that complement software applications. They are skills that not only help a person acquire employment but also guarantee that person's employment longevity. The following represents important important, employable job skills:

Basic      Critical Thinking       Personal Qualities
Reading      Learning       Responsible
Writing      Thinking Creatively       Self Confidence
Math      Reasoning       Self Control
Oral Communication      Decision Making       Social Skills
Listening      Problem Solving       Honesty
     Organizing       Integrity
     Planning      Adaptable and Flexible
     Team Spirit
     Punctual and Efficient
     Self Directed
     Good Work Attitude
     Well Groomed

     Self Motivated

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Baby, I Love Your Tight-fitting Genes

"The jewel in SingldOut’s crown is its collaboration with 
Instant Chemistry, a biotech company on the University of Toronto campus. Once a member has completed their profile they are 
sent – drum roll, please! – the world’s first consumer genetic test designed for the dating industry."

--Lisa Scott, Metro U.K. reporter/editor

Why waste time and effort finding your soul mate, your love of a lifetime. There is an easy way to find your most compatible significant other. And, no, I'm not talking about speed dating or computer dating where duds are much more common than successful matches. These methods are far from foolproof. One revealing study by global research agency OpinionMatters found that 53% of online daters admitted to being dishonest on their online profiles.

But, what is it were possible to find your true genetic love match -- the chemical connection of your life? That's exactly what the company SingldOut guarantees.

They base their infallible love search on past research that has suggested that genes indicating compatibility between immune systems might mean that two people are "chemically" well matched for a relationship. Now, SingldOut is combining that idea with now-easier genetic testing to offer a service allowing couples to find out if they're biologically compatible.

"We're trying to bridge the gap between the digital and biological worlds of love," said Jana Bayad, CEO of San Diego, California, startup SingldOut, in an interview with CBS MoneyWatch. Other companies  are also trying to make a business out of the genetics of compatibility.

(Erik Sherman. "Can You Find Your Genetic Love Match?" 
CBS Money Watch. November 11, 2014)
Here's how it works:
1. You subscribe. Click here for the website: What is the cost? Presently, here are the options:

Free trial membership: Singldout offers a free 30-day trial membership for members who sign up with LinkedIn. 

Gold Membership: Gold Memberships include a complementary DNA kit shipped to you and back for free.
  • 3 months subscription is $149 or $49 monthly
  • 6 months subscription is $199 or $33 monthly
2. You receive a DNA test kit in the mail which tests the human leukocyte antigen, or HLA, of which there are three types.
3. You swab your mouth. SingldOut says, "The key benefit is that we give you a glimpse of what your relationship might look along 3 key biological dimensions:
Physical attraction → HLA test
Relationship satisfaction → Serotonin test
Personality compatibility → Personality questionnaire
4. You return the sample
5. The company finds others with the best match -- Opposites attract? It is believed the less your HLA matches your partner's, the more compatible you supposedly are. In the 1990s, an experiment reportedly found that people tended to be more attracted to the smells of the opposite gender whose HLA makeup was most dissimilar to their own.
The company insures they will never share your DNA data with anyone unless you ask us to. Your DNA sample will be destroyed immediately after it has been analyzed to establish your IC Biocompatibility Score.

Love Science or Love Baloney?
Evolution-centric theory suggests that the attraction is a natural one because a person is driven to look for someone with complementary immune issues, so that their offspring would in theory be less susceptible to diseases, rather than more susceptible if parental weaknesses reinforced each other.

SingldOut also looks at a gene involved in the regulation of serotonin. According to Bayad, the gene controls your inclination to react to stress in either a cool-headed or high-strung way. Basically, the company says science can determine whether someone is high-maintenance or low-maintenance. A couple is fine so long as both people aren't of the high-strung variety.
Still, while genetics seems to play some role in human sexual attraction, it clearly is not the only, or even predominant, factor determining human mate choice. Bayad emphasizes that the genetic factor accounts for only 40 percent of compatibility. The company does not see this test at all as deterministic. 
SingldOut wants to have this data available to users when they go on the database. In the future, they want to have a feature where a person can search just based on the HLA scores [immune system genes] or just search based on the serotonin scores or the psychological assessment scores.
"The whole purpose of this is to help single people, especially professionals who don't have time to go out and mingle, and see if they have chemistry with people," Bayad said. "It sheds some light on who you are as a person and how to make a relationship work."

Evolution-centric theory suggests that the attraction is a natural one because a person is driven to look for someone with complementary immune issues, so that their offspring would in theory be less susceptible to diseases, rather than more susceptible if parental weaknesses reinforced each other.

SingldOut also looks at a gene involved in the regulation of serotonin. According to Bayad, the gene controls your inclination to react to stress in either a cool-headed or high-strung way. Basically, the company says science can determine whether someone is high-maintenance or low-maintenance. A couple is fine so long as both people aren't of the high-strung variety.

Although it has long been known that other mammals, such as mice, selectively mate with partners having different genetic variants of their MHC genes, which control immune responses, a few studies have found that humans prefer sexual partners with only moderately different or even similar MHC variants, others have found that MHC diversity is detected by facial shape rather than smell, and still more have found that women in committed relationships are most attracted to men with different MHC alleles. 
Some studies have also discovered that women on birth control pills tend to prefer men with the same MHC variants, the opposite of their peers not on the pill. As one scientific review of the entire body of data concluded, “the mixed evidence … makes it difficult to draw definitive conclusions, [but] the large number of studies showing some MHC involvement suggests there is a real phenomenon that needs further work to elucidate.”

(Gary Marchant and Yvonne Stevens. "I Love Your Genes! 2014)

The Future
In the very near future, we will have the opportunity to learn about all kinds of predispositions and inclinations buried in our DNA, from health risks to behavioral tendencies to traits affecting abilities such as intelligence, athleticism, and musical talent. It is an amazing new world of information.
Few, if any, of these genetic findings will be deterministic, but they will be a scientific window into the unique individuals we are and the person we may become. Genetic testing provides us an opportunity to explore these once-hidden influences.

What will this mean to the way people view "the spark of love"? Although all of this sounds far-fetched, unromantic, and antiseptic, perhaps we are making important discoveries about human compatibility while solving some of need to better understand ourselves as we seek love.

"Whilst it may be our species greatest achievement, responsible 
for every technological advance we have or ever will make, 
science is also poop and sex and boogers.”
 --Katie McKissick, What's in Your Genes