Thursday, October 30, 2014

What's the Sport?

Found this picture in my ancient archives. I think it is scintillatingly questionable.

Fireball Whisky Recall

Fireball Whisky

European standard for whisky is more restrictive than U.S. standard.
Fireball Whisky is being pulled from shelves in Europe because it contains too much propylene glycol – an additive that prevents evaporation and is a stabilizer in foods.

But it’s not going anywhere in the United States.

Norway, Sweden and Finland have recalled the popular cinnamon-flavored drink after a batch of the North American recipe, which contains higher levels of propylene glycol, was shipped there, its manufacturer said on Tuesday.

Officials in Finland say Fireball liqueur is prepared according to North American food regulations but does not meet the requirements of the European Union’s tighter standards on propylene glycol.
Reportedly, Fireball Whisky is very popular.

Violence genes may be responsible for one in 10 serious crimes

Leftists assure us that poverty is the cause of crime.  Could they be wrong?

The genes for extremely violent behaviour have been discovered by scientists who fear they may be responsible for one in 10 serious crimes.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden analysed the genetic make-up of 895 criminals from Finland to see if violence was in their DNA.

The majority of violent crime is committed by a small group of antisocial, repeat offenders, who seem incapable of rehabilitation.

Now scientists believe they have found which genes are responsible for high levels of rage and violence. They believe that they could be responsible for up to 10 per cent of serious crime in Finland.

The criminals who had committed the most serious crimes, such as murder, were found to have variants of two genes; monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) and cadherin 13 (CDH13).

MAOA is linked to dopamine levels in the brain, a chemical which makes people feel happy and fulfilled. CDH13 is linked to impulse control.

“When compared to the control population, non-violent offenders were not observed to exhibit either variant to a greater degree, indicating that these genetic variants may be specific to extremely violent behaviour,” said lead researcher Professor Jari Tiihonen.

The researchers, whose findings were published online in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, also suggest that the low dopamine levels associated with the MAOA gene may make carriers more aggressive when drunk or on drugs, increasing the risk of violent behaviour.

British scientists said the study could help identify potential criminals early when it was still possible to treat their violent tendencies.

However some British researchers criticised claims that the genes could be responsible for such large amounts of crime in Finland.

Prof John Stein, Emeritus Professor of Physiology, University of Oxford, said "This is a very interesting study with plausible aspects.

“But please do not accept the claims that these alleles are 'responsible for 5-10 per cent of violent offences in Finland'. All they show is that they may contribute 5-10 per cent to the chance of an individual being very violent.

“These alleles are quite common and so environmental factors are probably much more important. For instance simply improving prisoners diets can reduce their violent offending by 37 per cent."

Prof Jan Schnupp, Professor of Neuroscience, University of Oxford, added: "Half the people in your office will carry these genes. Odds are 50/50 that you do. How violent has your day been? To call these alleles "genes for violence" would therefore be a massive exaggeration.

“In combination with many other factors these genes may make it a little harder for you to control violent urges, but they most emphatically do not predetermine you for a life of crime.”


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Louisiana Woman Accused of Child and Dog Sex

(Jefferson Parish, Louisiana} A 26-year-old local woman, Angeline Lodice, has been accused of engaging in sex with a 3-year-old boy and a dog.

Lodice faces counts of aggravated rape of a victim under the age of 13, pornography involving juveniles, crimes against nature and sexual battery.
The abuse came to light after the father of the child was contacted by a relative of Lodice, who said he received photographs and videos of Lodice and the child, a Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office deputy wrote in a report.

It's unclear how Lodice knows the child.
Lodice faces a possible life sentence if convicted.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bruce Jenner

Bruce Jenner

Some things just make no sense.
Bruce Jenner has thrown caution to the wind and is ready to go public with his sex change gender transition into becoming a woman.

After months of speculation, Bruce is telling the world what many already knew—he has long yearned to be a woman, and he finally decided, on his 65th birthday, that he is making his dream come true.
Jenner is 65 years old and he's an Olympic decathlon champion, so it's a mystery of what possesses him to want to wear lipstick and pantyhose.

Kentucky Teacher Guilty of Sex with Student

(Frankfort, Kentucky) A 30-something English teacher formerly at Franklin County High School, Carrie Staples Williams, has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree unlawful transaction with a 17-year-old male student.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Zach Becker said Williams admitted to the inappropriate relationship, which occurred from September 2006 to January 2007 when she was 23 years old.

“There were emails documenting this,” Becker said, sent from Williams’ personal Hotmail account.[…]

It wasn’t until after the victim died this year that law enforcement was notified of the allegations.

“He did take his own life in the spring of this year,” Becker said. “…While his mother was going through his personal items, these previously referred to explicit emails were discovered.”

The victim’s mother then notified the current superintendent, Chrissy Jones, who immediately notified the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
Sentencing is scheduled for December 5.

Another attempt to "psychologize" conservatives -- one which overlooks the obvious

Does the Study of Science Lead to Leftward Leanings?  Not  quite. Key excerpts from the latest article below.  It is difficult to know whare to start in such a rubbishy article but I should note initially that the use of student attitudes to draw great inferences about people in general is an act of faith. In the very first piece of research I ever did (in the mid-60s) I used students and found a correlation of .808 between two variables  -- which is very high.  Being a very skeptical person even then, however, I repeated the research using a sample of Army conscripts, a much more representative group.  The correlation dropped to negligibility. Plainly, you CANNOT draw reliable conclusions from student samples

But does the research below tell us anything about instututions of higher education?  Perhaps it does, though what it shows is obvious and no surprise.  It shows that universities and colleges  are hotbeds of Leftism.  So even some students who do not start out as Leftists eventually become brainwashed into it.  The authors found that in the third and fourth year of study, the students had become more Leftist than they were in the first and second year.

So how come the authors found the effect among science students only?  Probably because the social science and humanities students were already asymptotically Leftist from the outset.  They started out Leftist in their studies so had little room to move further Left.  The authors don't give their results in tabular form so I was not able to check that. It is however a common finding that social science and humanities students are the most Leftist

But even the interpretation of the results as showing us something about academe may be too incautious.  The measuring instruments used by the authors were woeful.  The ad hoc scale they used in Study I had a reliability (alpha) of only .58, which is simply too low to conclude that it is measuring any consistent trait.  It implies that the items had virtually nothing in common.  An alpha of .75 is the normal threshold for a usable research instrument.

And the rest of the research relied on an even  more execrable instument -- the SDO scale, which assumes what it has to prove.  The SDO scale must be one of the most uninsightfully put-together instruments in the psychology literature.  See here for details on that.

So the only really safe conclusion is that the research proves nothing at all


According to a research team led by Harvard University psychologist Christine Ma-Kellams, immersion in the world of science tends to shifts students’ attitudes toward the left side of the political spectrum.

In the Journal of Social and Political Psychology, Ma-Kellams and her colleagues describe four studies that support their thesis. In the first, 196 students from a New England university revealed their ideological positions by responding to 18 statements expressing political opinions.

“Across domains,” the researchers report, “those who are in scientific fields exhibited greater political liberalism compared to those in non-hard-scientific fields.”

Importantly, this was only found for students in their third or fourth year of college. This strongly suggests that, rather than political liberals being attracted to science, it was the hands-on study that made the difference.

The second study featured 100 undergraduates, who expressed their views on three hot-button political issues (same-sex marriage, affirmative action, and the Affordable Care Act). They also completed the Social Dominance Orientation Scale, in which they expressed their level of agreement or disagreement with such statements as “Sometimes other groups must be kept in their place,” and “In getting what you want, it is sometimes necessary to use force against other groups.”

Consistent with the first study, the researchers found that “for those with significant exposure to their discipline (i.e., upperclassmen), studying science is associated with more liberal political attitudes.” Furthermore, they found this was due to a lower level of support for the my-group-deserves-to-dominate positions outlined above.

Additional studies featuring Canadian students and a community sample from the Boston area came to the same conclusions.

“Relative to those studying non-sciences, students in the sciences exhibited greater political liberalism across a variety of domains (including foreign policy, health care, and the economy) and a variety of social issues (gay marriage, affirmative action), as well as in general self-reported liberalism,” Ma-Kellams and her colleagues write.

This, they conclude, is the result of “science’s emphasis on rationality, impartiality, fairness, progress, and the idea that we are to use these rational tools for the mutual benefit of all people in society.”

In one sense, these results are something of a surprise. Given the fact the social sciences involve people and politics more directly, one might think the study of these disciplines would be more likely to shape minds in a more liberal direction. But these students were no more liberal than those majoring in disciplines having nothing to do with science.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Pennsylvania Woman Accused of Sex with Boy

(York, Pennsylvania) A 23-year-old local woman, Katelyn Marie Sweitzer, has been accused of engaging in sex with a 14-year-old boy.

Sweitzer faces counts of statutory sexual assault, indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old and corruption of minors.
Police say Sweitzer and the boy had sex Oct. 13 at Sweitzer's apartment, where the boy's mother caught them.

Sweitzer later admitted to willingly having sex with the boy, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Sweitzer was booked into custody at the York County Prison with bail set at $5,000.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cute, eh?

Anyone who can get a couple hundred people to act in any semblance of unison is either a genius or, at least, a hard worker blessed with luck. Kudos to the director.

Coca-Cola Problem

(Abuja, Nigeria)
The Federal Government of Nigeria is suing Coca-Cola and Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), over alleged failure to comply with Consumer Protection Council (CPC) orders over two half-empty cans of Sprite.

The lawsuits follow a consumer complaint, which ended in investigation into the half-filled cans of Sprite bought at a supermarket in Abuja.

The case was brought to the Federal High Court in Abuja against Coca-Cola Nigeria and its chief executive as well as the Nigerian Bottling Company and its managing director for criminal breach of the Consumer Protection Act.
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) considers it to be a threat to public health.

Some excerpts from a diatribe by an Australian Green/Left law academic

He's certainly got a good imagination.  He implicitly implies that "climate disruption" is going on but seems unperturbed that the 2003 prophecy he quotes (in red) shows no sign of being fulfilled.  Mr Obama is in fact letting poor Hispanics flood into America these days.  Some fortress!  The usual Green/Left lack of reality contact.

And where do we see these days "a dramatic growth in violent political and social unrest over dwindling resources"?  I know of none.

And another loss of reality contact in saying that police forces are also adopting military ideas and tactics "to confront demonstrations about climate change".  Tactics of that sort are indeed growing in the USA but they are used to confront crime, especially black crime (check Ferguson, Missouri). If middle-class Greenies make a big enough nuisance of themselves they might experience such approaches but that is entirely their doing.

And his last paragraph below is sheer fantasy -- and a good laugh. A definite ivory tower inhabitant

For over a decade, the Pentagon and other Western militaries such as Australia have put serious thought into the medium and long-term implications of climate change. For example, in 2003, the Pentagon released a paper titled “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and its Implications for United States National Security.”

The report predicted massive flooding, storms, forced migration, food shortages, starvation and water crises. Moreover, as a result of diminishing carrying capacity, the report also foresaw a dramatic growth in violent political and social unrest over dwindling resources.

The authors of the Pentagon report also predicted “boom-times” for militarized security, as nations that have food, water, energy and other resources mobilize high-tech technology to separate themselves from the masses outside of their geographical borders. By 2025-2030, the authors predicted:

The United States and Australia are likely to build defensive fortress around their countries because they have the resources and reserves to achieve self-sufficiency… Borders will be strengthened to hold back unwanted starving immigrants.

Such an outcome would make current LNP immigration policy look like “an evil child's fumbling toys” to quote Hannah Arendt. And yet, the Australian government already uses the Navy to prevent asylum seekers from landing on Australian soil. Moreover, it has continued to build an “economic fortress” around itself by dramatically cutting its foreign-aid budget and refusing to commit to the United Nations Green Climate Fund.

Police forces are also adopting military ideas and tactics to confront demonstrations about climate change and other justice issues. Stephen Graham highlights in his book Cities Under Siege, the way that large defence and IT companies have created a multi-billion dollar market in civilian technologies directed at crowd control and civilian disturbances. Geographic mapping and drone technology are perhaps the best-known examples utilised by the Australian police.

This might sound like hyperbole, but I do not think it is a stretch to imagine a time when the US-Australian Great Green Fleet (complete with biofuel planes) is deployed in the name of national security to “hold back unwanted starving” climate refugees or masses of people suffering from climate related disease.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Missouri Teacher Accused of Sex with Girl

(Marshfield, Missouri) A 46-year-old teacher with the Marshfield School District, Johnna Feazell, has been arrested on suspicion of wagga-wagga, slurp-slurp with a 16-year-old girl.

Feazell faces two counts of tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution and one count of tampering with a victim or witness in a felony prosecution.
Police say the teacher tried to obstruct their investigation of whether she had a sexual encounter with a 16-year-old girl.

Feazell was arrested on Oct. 16 after police served a search warrant at her home. She was charged with statutory sodomy and attempted enticement of a minor on Oct. 17. The Marshfield School District, where she taught for 14 years, put her on paid leave.
Feazell was booked into custody and released on $50,000 bond.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pennsylvania Teachers Union Block

Teachers Union Placard

Frankly, I don't even understand how charity could be rejected.
Two Pennsylvania teachers are fighting the state’s largest teachers union for interfering with their charitable giving.

The teachers allege in a suit filed in district court that the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) is blocking them from exercising their right to donate union dues money to charity. Pennsylvania allows religious objectors to cut ties with unions as long as they donate an equivalent agency fee payment to charity. That money is given to the union, which is then supposed to send it to the charity of the teacher’s choosing.

Jane Ladley, an elementary school teacher for 25 years before retiring in June, said that the union prevented her from directing her $435 donation to a scholarship fund to teach high school seniors about the Constitution because it was “too political.”
Individuals who seek charitable contributions should be forever thankful of all donations. Of course, my opinions are just that --- my opinions.

Pennsylvania Animal Rights Bill Dies

(Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)
Pigeon shoots can live on in Pennsylvania, and cats and dogs can still be eaten in the privacy of your own home.

That's the state of affairs now that state lawmakers have left town without passing a state proposal banning both activities.

A silly little Leftist lady tries to "psychologize" conservatives

One does not expect much in the way of profundity from the  crusading Australian Leftist organ, "New Matilda", but a rather long diatribe just up there is particularly feeble.  Author Lissa Johnson starts out claiming that conservatives are psychopaths but gives neither reasoning nor evidence that could lead to that conclusion.  She particularly targets Tony Abbott, Australia's conservative Prime Minister.

So what psychopathic characteristics does Mr Abbott show?  Is he, for instance, extremely self centred?  Seeing Mr Abbott has for many years taken substantial time out to work hands-on in Aboriginal communities, creating and upgrading facilities for the use of the community's people, that accusation has to earn a resounding "Not Guilty" verdict.  I know of no Leftist who has shown anything like Mr Abbott's personal committment to Aboriginal welfare.  It is because of that committment that the reviled Prof. Spurr called Abbott an "Abo lover".

So what about the various other attributes of the psychopath?  Ms Johnson is a clinical psychologist so she should know them well. Which of those does she find among conservatives?  She does not say.  She offers no evidence for her assertion.  What she does do is however amusing.  She offers a survey of the psychological literature on the psychology of conservatism.  And her survey is a broadly  accurate one.  But nowhere in that literature are conservatives accused of psychopathy!  Her own literature survey refutes her opening assertion!  The evidence that Leftists are pychopathic is however abundant.

So let us look at the psychology literature Ms Johnson believes in.  The big problem with it is that it is almost  entirely written by Leftists --  with all the lack of ethics and objectivity that one expects from that.  The author in that literature most favoured by Ms Johnson is the amusing John Jost, senior author of a paper that purported to be a meta-analysis of the literature on the psychology of conservatism, and which claimed, inter alia, that Stalin, Khrushchev and Castro were conservatives!

And one of his co-authors was the anti-scientist Frank Sulloway, who tried to use litigation to suppress publication of a research report that contested one of his theories.  Leftist attempts to suppress speech that they disagree with are notorious (See TONGUE-TIED) but Sulloway stands out even in that company.

And suppressing contrary evidence was Jost's bag too.  His article purported to be a meta-analysis and should, as such, have offered a comprehensive view of the relevant literature.  It did not.  It omitted about half of the relevant research.  Which half?  The half that disagreed with his foreordained conclusions, of course!  Any hope of finding truth in the writings of Prof. Jost and his ilk is therefore highly likely to be disappointed.

And even if one conceded every claim about conservatives made by Leftist psychologists, the gruel is thin. They have such a lot of trouble finding something wrong with conservatives that they confine themselves almost entirely to cognitive style variables.  And such variables can be seen in a variety of lights. Even Jost ended up admitting that.  For instance, one of the earliest accusations hurled at conservatives was that they are "intolerant of ambiguity".  But that can equally be parsed as showing that conservatives seek order.  And seeking order in natural phenomena is precisely what real scientists do.  The idea that such a cognitive style is in any way aberrant is simply ludicrous.

I in fact have had many papers published in the academic literature on cognitive style research and repeatedly found that the measuring instuments used fell far short of accepted psychometric standards.  So even the literature that Jost & Co. reviewed was inadequate to support their conclusions.  My most recent article in that genre is here

And I would be remiss if I did not take some note of two more of Ms Johnson's academic inspirations:  Altemeyer's RWA research and the SDO scale associated with Jim Sidanius.  Both are fairly hilarious pieces of work, as I show here in the case of SDO and most recently here in the case of Altemeyer.

The unfortunate Ms Johnson is simply credulous.  But Leftists believe what they want to believe anyway, and damn the evidence

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Sunday, October 26, 2014

California Teacher Accused of Naughty with Male Student

(Orange County, California) A 34-year-old English teacher at La Paz Intermediate School, Kristen Goodwin Roush, has been accused of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a male student.

Roush faces prosecution for lewd and lascivious acts with a child.
In July, investigators were contacted by the student’s parents regarding what they perceived as an inappropriate relationship between their son and Roush.

Detectives conducted a several month long investigation.

According to deputies, witnesses were interviewed and evidence was obtained from both the victim and the teacher’s cell phone.
Roush was booked into custody at the Orange County Jail with bond set at $50,000.

Tip: JR

Trick or treat

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Saturday, October 25, 2014

50 Percent Of American Workers Make Less Than 28,031 Dollars A Year

The Social Security Administration has just released wage statistics for 2013, and the numbers are startling.  Last year, 50 percent of all American workers made less than $28,031, and 39 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000.  If you worked a full-time job at $10 an hour all year long with two weeks off, you would make $20,000.  So the fact that 39 percent of all workers made less than that amount is rather telling.  This is more evidence of the declining quality of the jobs in this country.

In many homes in America today, both parents are working multiple jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. Our paychecks are stagnant while the cost of living just continues to soar.  And the jobs that are being added to the economy pay a lot less than the jobs lost in the last recession.  In fact, it has been estimated that the jobs that have been created since the last recession pay an average of 23 percent less than the jobs that were lost.  We are witnessing the slow-motion destruction of the middle class, and very few of our leaders seem to care.

The "average" yearly wage in America last year was just $43,041.  But after accounting for inflation, that was actually worse than the year before...


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Tennessee Woman Accused of Shooting Child with BB Gun

Marry Cruickshank

(Clarksville, Tennessee) A 26-year-old local woman, Marry Cruickshank, has been accused of shooting a 6-year-old child in the face with a BB gun.

Cruickshank faces counts of aggravated assault and aggravated child abuse.
According to a warrant, Cruickshank was shooting a BB gun and said she didn't believe it was loaded. She fired the gun at the ground near the 6-year-old, and the child was not struck.

The victim and another child ran to the right side of the house near a tire swing, and Cruickshank allegedly pointed the gun in the direction of the children and fired.

The 6-year-old was struck in the head and taken to Gateway Medical Center for treatment.
Cruickshank was booked into custody at the Montgomery County Jail with bond set at $25,000.

Friday, October 24, 2014

New York Woman Convicted as Sexual Predator

(Warsaw, New York) A 38-year-old local woman, Heather Castrechino, has pleaded guilty in Wyoming County Court to performing oral sex on a 3-year-old child.
Her plea came in satisfaction of a four-count indictment filed against her, an indictment that included allegations that Castrechino videotaped the sexual assaults against the child.

Assistant District Attorney Vincent Hemming and defense attorney Adam Koch worked out a quick deal in the case against Castrechino.[…]

The indictment charged Castrechino with two counts of predatory sexual assault against a child, a class A felony punishable by 25 years to life in prison, same as a murder conviction.

Hemming said the plea, however, ensures that Castrechino will be in prison for 25 years and on post-release supervision for another 25 years. An order of protection bars her from contact with the child for 58 years.
Formal sentencing is scheduled for November 20.

Carolina Teacher Accused of Switching Child's Meds

Stacey Rademacher Kolmodin

(Fayetteville, North Carolina) A 31-year-old teacher formerly at Glendale Acres Elementary School, Stacey Rademacher Kolmodin, has been arrested for allegedly switching out medication prescribed to an 11-year-old child she had been babysitting.

Kolmodin faces counts of child abuse, larceny, trafficking opiates and creating a counterfeit controlled substance.
Investigators said Kolmodin took Tylenol with codeine liquid out of a prescription bottle and replaced it with a liquid that was a similar color.

The child, who the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said suffers from numerous medical illnesses, had to go to a local hospital after having an allergic reaction to what authorities called "the counterfeit medication."

Kolmodin was a first-grade teacher at Glendale Acres Elementary School until April, when she was arrested on drug charges after a school official discovered her allegedly snorting a "powdery substance up her nose" at her desk, the sheriff's office said.

Investigators said she also has a history of illegal drug activity that includes "doctor-shopping" to get prescriptions for Percocet.
Kolmodin was booked into the Cumberland County Detention Center with bond set at $31,000.

Indiana School Coach Accused of Child Seduction

Emmy Gibson

(Elkhart County, Indiana) An assistant soccer coach at Concord High School, Emmy Gibson, 27, has been accused of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old female student.
Police say the girl admitted that on numerous occasions "she would either sneak out of the house and Gibson would pick her up, or Gibson would sneak into her house and they would lie in bed together, kissing and touching."

The girl told police Gibson was concerned "about getting into trouble so they had not yet engaged in sexual conduct" and they were allegedly waiting until the girl turned 18.

Police say they collected text messages between Gibson and the girl which supported the relationship details the girl provided in her interview.

The school reported the incident to Elkhart County Police after an investigation, and police handed it over to the prosecutor’s office in September.
Gibson reportedly faces a charge of child seduction. A warrant has been issued for Gibson's arrest.

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