Morons claiming to be “Educated Jews”, Palin Edition

Let’s begin by reminding ourselves why Jews generally speaking hate Sarah Palin:

Jews…are swayed by the notion that the presidency is a knowledge-based position requiring a background in the examination of detailed data and sophisticated analysis. They assume that such knowledge is the special preserve of a certain type of credentialed thinker (the better the university, the more unquestioned the credential) and that possessing this knowledge is the key to a successful presidency…The argument that such knowledge might be acquired or accessed when necessary by a person who has demonstrated a more instinctual skill set—the capacity to make decisions and to lead people—does not resonate with those for whom intellectual rigor has been a defining characteristic and a pathway to success.

That shot of brilliance comes from the mind of Jennifer Rubin, who today leaves Commentary for the Washington Post. Lucky them.

But never mind that. Here we have the Four Horses Arses of The Apocalypse:

Lieberman, Kristol, Lipsky, and the Podhoretz’s are sophisticated, educated, thinking Jews who appreciate Palin’s heartfelt support for Israel, her forceful and informed advocacy for energy independence, her strong stance on national security, and her fealty to traditional moral values (sometimes we forget these are Jewish values, too!). All are bellwethers of the increasing respect for Sarah Palin amongst us – the educated and affluent American Jews.

This of course was written by Binyamin Korn, he of JewsforSarah.com. [Sorry, I can’t bring myself to link to that.] So make that Five horses arses.

Seriously, what in G-d’s name do they think makes Sarah Palin good for American Jews? Or Israeli Jews, except in supporting their right to binge drink before they slip into an occupation coma?

I love this quote the best:

Palin’s Constitutional conservatism, in Lipsky’s view, “is unifying, uplifting, and inclusive.”

Let’s analyze this a bit. I’ll let them have Uplifting, as long as it makes them feel good. Unifying? Is he nuts? Sarah Palin is the most polarizing figure in American politics today. Inclusive? As long as you are white, rich, Christian and live in a rural area, then sure. Otherwise, fuck you and die, un-American scum.

Remember, Jews hate Palin because…O screw it. We hate Palin for every reason why most countries have found Jews an annoying lot. They ask too many questions. They sometimes express doubt. They are intellectually curious. Jennifer Rubin had this nailed ages ago. And now here comes Korn and his [sorry, I can’t help it] Korny JewsForSarah claiming the mantle for “sophisticated, educated, thinking Jews”. How is this even remotely possible?

Reader challenge: can we find other incredibly stupid propaganda fronts involving Jewish mobilization? I am reading When they come for us, we’ll be gone, and that book mentions a newspaper called Sovietisch Heimland [Soviet Homeland in Yiddish], which tried to pass off the severely anti-Semitic Soviet system as fun and exciting for Jews. Let’s see to what else we can compare JewsforSarah.com.

Time to trash DADT

Nate Silver has the goods on public attitudes toward gays in the military:

When the policy was established, none of the three positions had majority support among Americans. Forty-four percent supported open service, 37 opposed any service, and 19 percent supported allowing gay men and lesbians to serve only if they did not reveal their sexual orientation. Today, one position has emerged as the clear preference of the majority of Americans. Seventy-five percent of Americans support open service, 17 oppose any service, and only 8 percent support the compromise position of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

This finding comes right at a time when the Secretary of Defense urged Congress to allow gays to serve in the military:

The review, ordered by Gates, found that most troops don’t care if they serve alongside homosexual colleagues. Some 70 percent of troops overall said repealing the law would have positive, mixed or no effects. And a whopping 92 percent, according to the AP, of troops who’ve worked with a gay service member said the experience was either good or neutral.

DADT, while making some sense at a time when gays could not even dream of being out in the open, has become a relic over 17 years. [Which should give us pause as to how much ground we have gained as a society in acceptance of gays as an integral part.] With evidence this overwhelming, why is John McCain, of all people, so steadfast in getting in the way? [BTW is McCain’s definition of a “military leader” one who agrees with John McCain at this point?]

Is full-body scanning constitutional?

According to Jeffrey Rosen, no:

In a 2006 opinion for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, then-Judge Samuel Alito stressed that screening procedures must be both “minimally intrusive” and “effective” – in other words, they must be “well-tailored to protect personal privacy,” and they must deliver on their promise of discovering serious threats. Alito upheld the practices at an airport checkpoint where passengers were first screened with walk-through magnetometers and then, if they set off an alarm, with hand-held wands. He wrote that airport searches are reasonable if they escalate “in invasiveness only after a lower level of screening disclose[s] a reason to conduct a more probing search.”

As currently used in U.S. airports, the new full-body scanners fail all of Alito’s tests.

Rosen further goes on to note:

Rejecting the “backscatter” machines used in the United States, which produce revealing images of the body and have raised concerns about radiation, the Dutch use scanners known as ProVision ATD, which employ radio waves with far lower frequencies than those used in common hand-held devices. If the software detects contraband or suspicious material under a passenger’s clothing, it projects an outline of that area of the body onto a gender-neutral, blob-like human image, instead of generating a virtually naked image of the passenger. The passenger can then be taken aside for secondary screening.

The blobs are a result of a technology to which I was introduced at American Science & Engineering several years ago. The idea is simple: security personnel need not see human tissue, but rather plastics and metals. The article quotes TSA Chief Pistole as saying that, yeah, it would be great but the technology gives a lot of false positives. So what? False negatives, that’s a problem. False positives only get people out of line more often for secondary screening.

Look, the whole thing is idiocy. None of these tools will catch the anal bomber or the vaginal bomber or the cranial cavity bomber. But if we must do this, then at the very least do it in such a way that the basic dignity of the traveling public is maintained. O wait, that’s right, this is the TSA.

Dept. of The most wonderful time of the year

A father and son team to instill a sense of togetherness:

A sweet-faced 12-year-old boy beat down an 83-year-old man Sunday in a Target parking lot in Delray Beach, with his father joining in to help finish the job, police say…

The pair drove off, and despite allegedly changing the license tag on their vehicle “to conceal their identity,” police were able to track them down to a residence in the 200 block of Northeast Fifth Avenue.

So they got arrested. Apparently, this isn’t the first time Dad got into trouble for beating up strangers.

On women in Physics

According to this article in Slate, women can boost test scores in Physics merely by doing a few, short creative-writing exercises. Huh? Here’s the basis of the theory:

When it comes to math and science classes, women can be subtly hampered by negative stereotypes about their gender. This is the idea of stereotype threat, advanced by psychologists Joshua Aronson and Claude Steele, and now solidly established, as I’ve written in Slate before. Stereotype threat can roar into action when members of any stereotyped group are primed to think about belonging to it—in other words, when women focus on being female or African-Americans on being black. It causes performance problems, but stereotype threat can also be countered, often in simple ways. As the Colorado writing exercises show, getting women to focus on things they care about can buck them up. The lesson is that small doses of affirmation can do a lot of good.

I think makes sense. Anyone who is told that they belong to a group that sucks will, on average, suck. Performance in anything is very psychological.

Girls, at least of my generation and before, have been constantly told that the hard sciences and math are really something at which men are better wired. This untrue and damaging stereotype has altered the career paths of countless women. Worse, we still expect girls to participate and excel at these classes, which further damages self-esteem, etc. [I know this sounds PC and corny, but it is right.] I tire of seeing all-male theoretical physics groups at companies. Believe me, I have lived them.

So, while I have nothing to say about these new studies, I find them intriguing:

Now, the Colorado researchers have shown that writing exercises can also make a difference for female science students. In a double-blind study published last week in Science, the researchers worked with 399 undergrads in a calculus-based physics class. They randomly assigned some of them to write about two or three items from a list that included “learning and gaining knowledge,” “belonging to a social group,” “athletic ability,” “relationships with family and friends,” and “sense of humor.” They were then told to reflect on why these things mattered to them. (The other students received the same list of values, but were asked to choose the ones least important to them and write about why they might be important to other people.) Students completed these exercises early in the semester, at moments when they might be expected to feel uncertain about the class: the first week of school and then the week before the first midterm.

The benefits were dramatic. Most of the women who received C’s in the class were in the group that had written on values they cared about least. Most of the women who received B’s had written on what they cared about most. (There was no effect for women who were getting A’s, or for men in general.) Women who affirmed their own values also scored higher on a standardized exam of key physics concepts, taken at the end of the term. Strikingly, women who’d said they believed the stereotype that men are better at physics were the ones who benefited from the exercises the most.

The question is, if this really is beneficial, how does this alter the teaching of physics? Do we make kids write these essays at the beginning of class? Or are there nuggets of wisdom we can extract that will help us teach physics to girls a little bit differently?