Friday, October 3, 2014

WHEN DOES "YES" REALLY MEAN "YES"?

In the male social culture of relationships with women, when I was growing up it was believed by most men, that when initiating different stages of sex with a woman and she says "no", that it is her playing "hard to get" and the real meaning is yes.

No woman wants her reputation to be that she is "easy" and so the belief was that this was simply part of the interaction. This was and is especially true of the younger generation in the past, as well as today's world.

Clearly, "no" means "no, and any other interpretation is an assumption that has led to numerous horrific cases of rape, criminal charges, suicide, trauma, and ruined lives.

California now has a "YES means Yes" law-Click Here- intended to deter sexual assault on campus. Under this law, to make love legally, each partner must agree as they "tag each base". 

This law attempts to define when yes means yes in College assault cases.

Just because a female said yes to being kissed doesn't mean she has said yes to having her breast or any other part of her body touched.

It seems absurd to me that anybody who thinks you can replace lust with a logical step by step government questionnaire, just hasn't been to college lately, or had contact with the younger generation.

In reality, the root of the problem is the serious cultural permission concerning the out of control drinking of alcohol, substance abuse among young people in "modern" society.

Today's party culture is so out of control that before the typical hookup, the average girl has had four drinks, and the average guy has had seven.

So yes, the law states that an intoxicated girl is incapable of giving legal consent even if she said "yes." But the guy she's with is too drunk to realize that, and often, too drunk to realize he's too drunk.

Certainly there have been many publicized cases world wide of horrifying incidents of date rape, gang rape, and forced rape by men of women victims which defy any sense of humanity.

There are many other times that these rapes go unreported by its victims due to embarrassment, shame, severe trauma, cultural mores, and genuine fear of retaliation.


Clearly this is a terribly critical, complex issue without easy answers, but is legislation by Governments, of "yes means yes", the answer?

Personally I think that it's unfair to  automatically assume the guy is always at fault when the girl also decided to drink too much.The woman is not always the losing person in this situation.

Any son, or their parents does not want their child to be accused of rape, and labeled a sexual predator for the rest of his life.

Bottom line: if colleges really want to prevent sexual assault, they have to understand the real issue isn't the sex.

The issues are about alcohol, substance abuse.

Most colleges pay "lip service" to the abuse of substance and alcohol abuse by their students. Binge drinking is common and openly done, often a way of initiation by Fraternities and Sororities. 

It's been this way for decades and remains unchanged.
 
The problem with "yes means yes" legislation, while the rules/laws although clearly stated should be respected by all, they are hard to recall when both of you are dead drunk and naked.

You cannot legislate away these types of problems by legal semantics.  

If Colleges, Society, Parents, People, want to seriously address the real issues, then there has to be meaningful, systemic, direct actions on their part, that are directed to educating and teaching personal accountability of all for their actions when violating the rights of others, no matter what a piece of legislation states.

Don't hold your breath for that to ever happen in a world such as we live in, where taking personal accountability and confronting the real issues, rarely is part of the way solutions are found. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

STEVEN- HOW COULD I HAVE KNOWN THAT YOU'D NEVER SAY GOODBYE.

                                                 




My son Steven Nathaniel Wolkoff would have been 37 years old today. Instead he lies dead in a grave because of the negligence and indifference of those who killed him, stole his life at the age of 30, and have tried to erase that he ever lived.

Most others don't think about Steven anymore, but our family and some of his friends miss him every second, of every day.

I mourn what was, what could of been, and what will never be.

You deserved so much better my son, it just wasn't meant to be.

Steven, "Forever Loved, and Remembered" is written on the necklace I wear on my neck for the world to see.

 I will always love you Steven.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

U.S. CONGRESS RETURNS FROM VACATION, NO-ONE NOTICES.



Has anyone noticed that the do nothing U.S. Congress is back in session after being on vacation all of August until now.
 
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just six percent (6%) of likely U.S. Voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job, unchanged from a month ago

Sixty-five percent (65%) rate its performance as poor. 

Just eight percent (8%) of voters think most members of Congress get reelected because they do a good job representing their constituents. Sixty-seven percent (67%) think it’s because election rules are rigged to benefit incumbents, but 25% are not sure. 

Only 25% think their own member of Congress deserves reelection, the lowest finding in nearly five years.

74% of voters believe Congress has been unproductive this year.

And they’re right. As of last Wednesday this Congress had enacted only 142 laws, according to Pew Research Center. 

That’s the fewest of any Congress in 20 years. And just 108 of them were substantive pieces of legislation. Pew also found that the House and Senate have been in session for fewer days and hours this year than most sessions of Congress.
 
Members of Congress used to spend much of their time away from Washington holding open forums and town-hall meetings as well as campaigning in public. But those activities have waned. Fewer members hold truly open meetings. Most fill their district schedules with events with business leaders, local and state elected officials, supporters and fundraisers.

Avoiding disaffected voters and the opportunity for unpleasant sound bites has taken precedence over meeting constituents.

Congress is the institution that's supposed to protect us from dictatorship, and yet we hate it.

So, Congress will meet now for less than three weeks, just long enough to keep the government going until December, and then go back home to try to get re-elected.

During their upcoming campaigns, you'll hear a lot about various crises which may require us to bomb countries for their own good.

But no-one will seriously address the most important issues victimizing many of us, the economic crisis especially related to the question of jobs: what to do about jobs and incomes as the old industrial economy continues to shed middle class jobs? 

As the rich get richer, the gap between them and the rest of us is increasing, spiraling out of control. It is becoming increasingly difficult to financially survive for most Americans.

The manufacturing economy is dead at least from the standpoint of providing middle class incomes and long term job security for a third of the American workforce. 

If America can’t create new, post manufacturing jobs to replace the old ones, nothing we do will turn out very well.

Then there’s the service and infrastructure crunch. The country’s demand for services like education, health care, better systems of transportation, energy  is growing rapidly, but our ability to produce the quantity and quality of services demanded can’t match the need. 

The systems we have to produce and deliver these services are increasingly dysfunctional. As a result, we are seeing ruinous inflation in costs like college, university tuition and the health care system.

These problems must be addressed; health care costs are on course to bankrupt the country and education costs have already saddled the younger generation with crippling debt. 

These problems won’t go away on their own; as time goes on the country is going to need more health care, more education, rather than less, and we also want the quality of both to improve. 

In too many ways, all levels of government in the United States are too expensive, too cumbersome and too clumsy.
 

It’s both ironic and unsettling that just as the United States is leading the world towards a new kind of service based economy, our largest and most important service based industries are so inefficient and poorly organized. 

Technology, poor education, alienation has so dumbed down the average American, that mediocrity is the new norm, and work ethic pride is all but gone.

We can’t be a successful service economy until our biggest service sectors start working well.

Then there’s the demographic transition. Public and private pension systems and entitlement programs face a variety of challenges as the competition between retirees, elderly, disabled, poor, other vulnerable deserving members of our Country, and the rest of the population for resources is getting fierce.
 

One of the ways that a society should be judged is how it treats the most vulnerable of its members. These are supposed to be decided by cultural, social and spiritual values. 

They cannot be solved by callous ideas or government policy changes. But they are real, and unless we address them wisely the country is unlikely to thrive.
 
Getting back to our bombing other Countries for their own good.

I find that concept pretty weird because you look at many of the current worldwide crises: Ukraine vs Russia, the Islamic State versus everybody else, Middle Eastern, African conflicts, and what they boil down to is various religious and ethnic groups that have been shut out of the political systems that controls their lives.

Yet here in the United States we have huge numbers of citizens who can vote, but don't, so that government "by the people" is turning into government by the angriest people, because they're the only ones ticked off enough to pick up a pencil.

You only have to look around to see where that kind of system leads. So I hope we fix this soon. 

Because I would really hate to see the day when some other Country or Group decides it has to bomb us for our own good.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

AIRLINE SQUEEZE, RECLINE YOUR SEAT OR NOT?

A battle broke out this week on Sunday, August 24th aboard a jetliner, two passengers fighting over the small space that separated their seats

Imagine taking 200-300 people, packing them into narrow seats in rows sometimes as close as 28 inches apart, then locking the door and sending the whole assembly five miles into the sky with only vending machine snacks for food.

What could possibly go wrong?

There is a plastic wedge sold online called "The Knee Defender"

It was created by Ira Goldman, who stands 6'3'' and was tired of being on a flight and having the person in front of him recline the seat smack into his knees.
kneedefender.jpg


So, Ira Goldman invented a wedge that fits between the tray table supports and the seat back preventing the passenger in front of you from reclining their seat.

You can then just cross your fingers that they'll think the seat is broken or you can offer the card that comes with The Knee Defender, explaining what you've just done.

It's hard to know which approach is more arrogant.

A passenger used Ira's invention on United Airlines Flight 1462 from Newark to Denver only to discover that the woman in front of him was having none of it.

Both passengers were sitting in United's Economy Plus section, the part of the plane that has four more inches of legroom than the rest of coach.

The fight started when the male passenger, seated in a middle seat of row 12, used the Knee Defender to stop the woman in front of him from reclining while he was on his laptop, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak.

A flight attendant asked him to remove the device and he refused. The woman then stood up, turned around and threw a cup of water at him, the official says. That's when United decided to land in Chicago. The two passengers were not allowed to continue to Denver.

Once they arrived at O'Hare, Chicago Police and TSA officers met the flight, spoke to the passengers,a man and a woman, both 48 and "deemed it a customer service issue".

The TSA would not name the passengers.

The plane eventually landed in Denver, arriving 1 hour and 38 minutes late, according to the airline's website.

The Federal Aviation Administration leaves it up to individual airlines to set rules about the device. United Airlines said it prohibits use of the device. Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air take the reclining mechanisms out of their seats, leaving them permanently upright.

If you are on a flight, particularly a long one, you know about the "seat of torture". Personally, I cannot feel my numbed ass or feet half way through any flight because of being packed into my seat like a sardine in a can.

For something as seemingly simple as stuffing rear ends between two armrests inside a flying metal tube, it kind of feels like there's some anger up there.

And things could get even more heated. Changes are happening now, as major U.S. carriers look for new ways to pump up profits by either adding to or reducing the number of coach seats, increasing legroom or cutting the distance between rows.

You might call it a game of aeronautical chairs that will directly affect passenger comfort, convenience and cost.

Are the seats getting smaller? Closer together? Are passengers getting bigger? Are we getting angrier?
Well, no. Yes. Yes. And it's unclear.

Americans are getting bigger, says Kathleen Robinette, who's studied human body measurements for the U.S. Air Force for three decades.

But in general, the problem's "not you-it's the seat," she says.

Since Robinette's first airline seat study for NASA and the FAA in 1978, she has a different perspective when she boards an airliner. "I always see all kinds of arms hanging out into the aisles. That means the seats are too narrow, and there's nowhere for the shoulders and arms to go except into the aisle because there's not enough room in the seat."

When "you keep getting your arm whacked by the cart as it comes down the aisle," don't feel guilty, she says. It happens to everybody. "And it's because of the seats."

In 1962, the U.S. government measured the width of the American backside in the seated position. It averaged 14 inches for men and 14.4 inches for women. Forty years later, an Air Force study directed by Robinette showed male and female butts had blown up on average to more than 15 inches.

The truth is that an airplane seat is a revenue generator. If you look at a 737 or A320 there are three seats on each side. 

If you wanted maximum comfort you could do two on each side and make the seats a lot wider. But with the reduced head count the operational costs don't generate enough profit for the Airlines.

However, the American rear end isn't really the important statistic here, Robinette says.

Nor are the male hips, which the industry mistakenly used to determine seat width sometime around the 1960s, she says.

"It's the wrong dimension. The widest part of your body is your shoulders and arms. And that's much, much bigger than your hips. Several inches wider." 

Furthermore, she says, women actually have larger hip width on average than men.

The industry used the male hip as a seat measuring stick "thinking that it would accommodate the women too, but in fact they don't accommodate the larger women."

The result: Airline seats are approximately 5 inches too narrow, she says. And that's for passengers in the 1960s, let alone the super sized U.S. travelers of today.

Current standard coach seat widths range from 17 to 19 inches between the armrests, and that little piece of real estate is known in the airline industry as "living space."

The term seems appropriate for some non-stop transoceanic flights that will have you inhabiting your "living space" for up to 18 hours.

"One of the most important things about a comfortable seat is the ability to move in it," Robinette says. "You have to be able to readjust your posture every so often for it to stay comfortable." Otherwise, she warns, passengers put themselves at risk of deep vein thrombosis, a serious health condition affecting people prone to blood clots. 

Sitting in place for long periods can lead to clotting in veins. Clots can break loose, travel through the bloodstream and lodge in the lungs, blocking blood flow.

Although America's butts are bulging, it doesn't appear that economy class seats are following suit.

"Our seating surfaces are contemporary appropriate," says a spokesman for Southwest Airlines. The airline is in the process of reconfiguring seating on its entire fleet. But it's not changing the width.

Seat rows aboard Southwest Boeing 737-700s are moving closer together. In airline-seat speak the operative word is "pitch."

Pitch is defined as the distance between one point on a seat and the same point on the seat behind. A typical seat pitch in coach measures from 31 to 35 inches.

Southwest's new pitch configuration moves its rows about an inch closer together, from 32 to 31 inches, according to the airline. In addition, economy seats will move only two inches during recline instead of three, the airline says.

Bottom line: Southwest's new economy class seats will allow for six additional coach seats per plane. Bonus: The new seats weigh less, which will save about $10 million in yearly fuel costs.

Now, if rows are moving closer together, we're playing footsie with legroom.

Over the past few years carriers have been moving toward a standard of charging more for seats with extra legroom.

These include seats in the forward coach cabins and emergency aisles that used to cost the same as other economy class seats. 

Also, some airlines have reconfigured seats to add a bit more legroom in certain aisles, for a price.

It looks like coach seats won't be getting any bigger any time soon. That's largely because consumers don't demand bigger seats, Robinette says. 

Instead, most consumers demand low fares while airlines consider profits as their first priority, so that's what airlines focus on, making money.

"The manufacturers are perfectly willing to make the wider seats," Robinette says. "They understand the issues". 

But their customers are the airlines. They're giving the airlines what they ask for which is to test the extremes of how far passengers allow themselves to be squashed into smaller and smaller spaces of discomfort.

This will continue until, and if ever there are enough passengers who also demand that airlines treat them like human beings, not as cows herded into a "cattle pen".

 A "cattle pen" is defined in the dictionary as an enclosure for holding livestock. The term describes multiple types of enclosures that may confine one or many animals. It also fits the manner in which the Airline Industry views us as its customers.

All of us need to finally come to understand the only difference between air travel and a cattle pen, is that the cows get nutritionally healthier food to eat than we do.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A SOCIETY OF CRUELTY-ROBIN WILLIAMS


Since Robin Williams died, amateur Internet shrinks, trolls, self appointed experts have been busy diagnosing a person they never met.

Robin Williams was a victim, similar to all the victims that I write about on this blog. Everyone else seems to have an opinion about what happened to him and why.

Some of it has been cruel, perpetrated by people who justify their cruelty as a necessary deterrent to suicide: as if bullying, criticizing the dead is some kind of public service.


But Robin Williams wasn't a monster.  He had a weakness. He was a human being who became a victim. 

He was a man with a family, not simply a famous celebrity that was seen through the plastic illusion of what he appeared to be in his public career.

The dark corners of the web feed on weakness to draw energy from cruelty, with arm chair experts spouting their clueless opinions on his life, death.

The Internet and various forms of media allow others to talk big, but the truth is that we all suffer from the many weaknesses of being human. One small step and any of us can become a victim of life's obstacles.

Yet the keyboard cowboys continue to shoot victims down ruthlessly, with no regard to any sense of compassion, or how close any of us are to the frailties of life.

In a society of cruelty and criticism it's easy to be mean.

We need more people who have enough courage to be kind.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

AMERICANS ARE SICK OF GOVERNMENT...PERIOD


Americans are sick of government...
PERIOD

Gallup: ALL branches of government hit record low approval ratings


 


 A new Gallup poll highlights the fact that Americans are at their wits’ end with government, all three branches of government.


Confidence in the Supreme Court, Congress, and the presidency has hit record lows.
Americans' Level of Confidence in the Three Branches of Government
The Supreme Court is down to a 30 percent approval rating, an all time low. Congress is currently at 7 percent, another all time low. The President is now at 29 percent, a six year low, and an all time low under Obama, just 4 points higher than the all time low under then reviled George W. Bush in 2007.

The branch with the most steep drop in confidence is the presidency, falling a full seven percentage points from its 2013 rating of 36 percent.

Obama is currently experiencing worse ratings than his two predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, at the same point in their terms, and has done in each subsequent year of his presidency.

To put this into further perspective, in 1998 Bill Clinton had a rating 24 points higher than Obama currently does, despite the fact that he was embroiled in a sex scandal and facing impeachment. 

Americans' Level of Confidence in the U.S. Presidency, by Term Year
At the same point in Bush’s presidency, his approval remained higher than Obama’s is now, despite the fact that American support for the Iraq war was at an all time low.

Since this time last year, approval for the Supreme Court, has fallen by four points, with approval for Congress falling three points. It’s a steady decline, with both branches having fared poorly from 2012 to 2013 also.
Americans' Confidence in Branches of Government

Congress, as highlighted above, is now trusted by fewer than one in ten Americans. With more government scandals than you can shake a stick at, economic stagnation, destruction of the middle class, the widening gap between rich and poor, a crumbling nation wide infrastructure, Americans clearly feel that Congress is utterly failing to represent their views and wishes on Capitol Hill.

Gallup has also noted that of 17 institutions it has measured this year, Congress came rock bottom in terms of confidence status with Americans. 

The criminal justice system, the health care system, and even banks all ranked much higher.

America’s elected representatives are also still viewed in a worse light than zombies, witches, dog poop, potholes, toenail fungus, and hemorrhoids. 

Congress also still ranks less popular than cockroaches, lice, root canals, colonoscopies, traffic jams, used car salesmen, Genghis Khan, Communism, North Korea, BP during the Gulf Oil Spill, or Nixon during Watergate.

“While Americans clearly have the lowest amount of confidence in the legislative branch, ratings for all three are down and are at or near their lowest points to date.” Gallup notes.

Up until now, the bizarre loyalty of American voters has been that when they are asked if they'd vote for their own Congressman, historically a majority has said "Yes."

Until now.


The numbers have finally went upside down (CLICK HERE), with a majority now saying they would vote against even their own Member of Congress.

Most Americans now say Congress is so dysfunctional, they wouldn't even reelect their own Congressperson.

However, there is often a disconnect between what voters say and actually do in the voting booth. There is also a widespread failure of voters to actually cast a vote because they have no faith in the candidate's running for political office

In many ways the problem is staring at us every morning in the bathroom mirror.
 

Why do we keep voting for people we hate or not voting at all to dump them from their thrones of self indulging power?
 

Voters don't blame themselves, but in fact, they are part of the problem. They don't vote in primaries when it really matters. That is how they get stuck with two idiot clowns on the November general election ballot because they weren't there voting when these clowns were first  selected in the primaries.

But the major part of the problem is that we in fact do not actually have a choice in elections, such as the upcoming mid year elections in November 2014.
 

Those running for Office have already usually been bought and paid for by special interest groups, to even get their name on the ballot.

Both Democrats and Republicans have cleverly redrawn the voting maps to redistrict the voters into safe party enclaves, so there really is no choice in much of America to kick out the politicians who have turned us all into powerless victims. 

Yes, the slime ball politicians have abused their power by "fixing' the system so that your vote against them will not count very much, if at all.

The Founders of the Constitution agreed that we needed a representative democracy,

  • They wanted a democracy, which according to their beliefs is a government where the views of the people were represented by popularly elected leaders.
    1. Leaders have to be regularly elected by their constituents.
    2. The central purpose of government is to protect the natural rights of its citizens.
Wouldn't it be nice if we as citizens could use our constitutional rights to persuade the local 
Congresspersons to change their attitude by demanding action to reform the current shit hole called Congress?
 

Can that happen, after all, we are The United States of America, land of the free and where democracy reigns supreme.

To be honest: No. This is not going to happen by those drunk with their own self interest, greed, corruption, and political power.

Don't you just hate honesty?







Sunday, July 27, 2014

JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL/MIDDLE SCHOOL-BE ORDINARY IS THE REAL COOL

I still am not sure what ever happened to Junior High School being replaced by the terminology of Middle School. I suppose that it is part of the idiotic marketing  concept of creating a false illusion that something has actually been changed for the better, but in reality nothing has been changed.

Most kids want to be popular more than anything else, as life at that age is generally about wanting to have a lot of friends, to "fit in", be "cool", and to be liked by your peers. 

Peer pressure is the guiding force and the master of determining who is to be judged as "in" and those others who are exiled to be called the nerds, losers because they do not fit the mostly cosmetic requirements of being in the popular category.

When you were in Junior High School (AKA Middle School), what did you want to be? 

Psychologist Joseph Allen, who teaches at the University of Virginia, decided to track a large class of middle school kids into adulthood.

Being king or queen of the school hallways might seem cool in your teens, but it doesn't bode well for your social status later in life, a new study suggests. 

Teens who try to act older than their age might gain popularity early on but are more likely to have problems with drugs and alcohol and engage in serious criminal behavior by their early 20s, according to the study (CLICK HERE FOR STUDY) published in the journal "Child Development". 


"It appears that while so-called cool teens' behavior might have been linked to early popularity, over time, these teens needed more and more extreme behaviors to try to appear cool," Joseph P. Allen, lead author and professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, said in statement.


The finding comes from a 10 year study in which researchers followed 184 students as they progressed from age 13 to 23.


At 13, those who exhibited  "pseudomature behaviors", a catchall term for behaviors that seem to boost perceived popularity were rated as more popular by their peers. 

The cooler kids impressed their peers through displays of romantic behavior (like kissing or touching), deviant acts (like damaging their parents' property or sneaking into a movie theater without a ticket), or by associating themselves with more physically attractive friends. 

As the years went on, however, these antics did not correlate to an increase in popularity. In fact, just the opposite happened. 

The pseudomature behaviors evolved into larger problems and the status of once cool individuals dropped: 

"The adolescent who comes to depend upon pseudomature behavior to gain peer status may gradually need to shift, for example, from minor forms of delinquency, such as vandalism and shoplifting, to more serious acts of criminal behavior such as everything from drunken driving arrests to losing jobs, to being arrested or fighting in public, to impress even a subset of older peers," the authors wrote.  


The chart below shows that students who engaged in pseudomature behavior at 13 were perceived as more popular by their peers than those who did not engage in pseudomature behavior, but that correlation faded over time. 

Screen Shot 2014 06 12 at 10.59.20 AM
If the trend lines continued past age 15, you'd expect so-called cool-kid behavior to be less associated with popularity as people get older  and that's exactly what happened.


By 22, the cool kids struggled to make friends. "These previously cool teens appeared less competent socially than their less cool peers by the time they reached young adulthood," Allen said.  


Teens who become popular simply by hanging out with pretty people probably don't work as hard to develop meaningful relationships, according to the study. That behavior is carried into adulthood, to their detriment. 


The study didn't look into why these kids feel such a deep need to be popular, whether it's inborn or because of what may be going on at home. 

But Dr. Allen says his research should reassure the parents of the not so popular kids.

"If their kids are in middle school and they're seen as being left out or left behind, maybe they're actually doing just fine," says Allen. 

I would like to believe that all of this means "being ordinary"  as an adolescent often translates into becoming extraordinary, productive, and happy as an adult, instead of being determined by how many friends you have as a teenager.

Now if we can only convince kids that this is true, it may just be the most important piece of knowledge they will learn in Junior High school.