Archive for March 2nd, 2012

A priest, a rabbi and a leprechaun walk into a bar.  The leprechaun looks around and says, “Begorrah, I’m in the wrong joke!”

The prefix “meta” means “after” or “beyond”, sometimes in the sense of a recursive function; for example, “metacognition” means “thinking about thinking” and a “meta-joke” is a joke about jokes.  A “metaupdate” is therefore an update of another update, in this case items which have appeared in previous update columns.  I’m going to organize these in chronological order of the updates, rather than the order of the original columns the updates reference.

Think of the Children! in Further Developments (November 18th, 2011)

Child Cultists apparently believe that sexually-active adults emit invisible “sex rays”, and that if any of that sex wasn’t entirely vanilla the intensity of those “sex rays” increases exponentially and never, ever fades away.  Therefore no such person, no matter how long ago she committed these dreaded acts, can ever again be allowed with 10 meters of children lest her pervy emanations induce the dreaded “premature sexualization”, which might {Gasp!} cause innocent children to have sexual thoughts or feelings at some point before the magical Advent of Shazam at exactly midnight on their 18th birthdays.

That was in reference to outcry over former porn star Sasha Grey’s presuming to actually read to children in a volunteer program.  Though she was initially accepted by administrators, they now seem to believe that sex rays can even contaminate the money handled by harlots, and magically seep from bank accounts into educational programs, thence to schools and into the brains of poor, innocent little soap-bubble urchins:

…being deep in the red isn’t deterring one [educational] group from publicly rejecting money [from]…former adult film star Sasha Grey…Although she retired…last April, one of Grey’s scenes is featured [apparently without Grey’s consent] in adult film “Anal Artists,” set to debut this week…In support of her “recent efforts to expose children to the world of literature,” Assence Films will donate a portion of the film’s proceeds to the National Education Association’s Read Across America program…But…NEA officials said…”Sasha Grey is not affiliated with the…program nor has she been invited or endorsed…to read at any…events, and NEA will not accept any proceeds from…any of her films”…Howard Levine of Exile Distribution …[said this] is discriminatory.  “Anyone that’s supporting reading and helping kids and donating money to their cause should be accepted…they’re trying to be politically correct”…

I’ve got news for the NEA; if money which has paid for sex work is “contaminated” then every child in the country is already affected, because the money earned by sex workers of all types flows into local economies just like everyone else’s does.  It is virtually a statistical certainty that some of the money you’ve given your kids this month as allowance or whatever was paid to a sex worker at some point between leaving the mint and ending up in your hands.  If our money is “dirty”, then every church and school in the world is hopelessly polluted by our “sin” because they’re all supported by money we’ve handled or even directly contributed.

A Moral Cancer in That Was the Week That Was (#2) (February 5th, 2012)

Actually, this is a double meta-update; remember the “bacon causes cancer” scare story?  Well, it turns out that it was not only inconclusive, but promoted by a radical animal rights group of the same ilk as the PCRM, which I discussed in That Was the Week That Was (#3):

Link between eating processed meat [such as bacon or sausages] and pancreatic cancer in Swedish research is bogus and paid for by animal rights groups…But the…World Cancer Research Fund suggested the link may be down to obesity…Prof Susanna Larsson, who conducted the study at the Karolinska Institute, [said] links to…cancers [other than bowel cancer] were “quite controversial”…

As JunkScience.com pointed out, “This is a meta-analysis of 11 studies, none of which…link processed meat-eating with pancreatic cancer.  So 11 x 0 = zero.”

The Camel’s Nose in That Was the Week That Was (#5) (February 18th, 2012)

The disgusting saga of Mark Berndt, the third-grade teacher who fed his semen to children for years and documented it with photos, just keeps getting worse.  The original story broke on January 11th, then on February 3rd a second teacher from the same school was arrested:

…The arrest of Miramonte Elementary School [second-grade] teacher Martin Bernard Springer, 49, came three days after L.A. prosecutors accused former teacher Mark Berndt of bizarre acts in his classroom …The allegations against Springer…come from two students he allegedly touched improperly within the last three years…Springer was ordered out of his classroom Thursday morning…Authorities are looking for other potential victims in both cases as well as past episodes of possible misconduct…Supt. John Deasy said he wants to fire Springer as soon as next Tuesday, when the Board of Education will discuss the case in closed session…At the same meeting, Deasy said, he also will urge the board to fire Hamilton High music teacher Vance Miller…[after] two former students, now adults…accused Miller of having sexual relationships with them…

By Monday, the district had decided on a scorched-earth policy instead:

…Los Angeles school officials said they will temporarily replace the entire staff of an elementary school…where two teachers have been accused of lewd acts…Supt. John Deasy announced the action at a tense public meeting…in which…parents chanted “cover-up!” and accused the school system of failing to protect their children…More than a quarter of the students enrolled at Miramonte didn’t show up Monday as parents kept them home…Officials emphasized that no other educators at the school are under suspicion but that a bold act was needed…Many, maybe all, of the current Miramonte staff will be returned to the school eventually…In the interim, their places will be filled by teachers and other workers on a rehiring list.  The Miramonte staff will continue to be paid…Once students return, each will be interviewed by the district, and a psychiatric social worker will be present in every classroom, Deasy said…

So much for not traumatizing the kids.  I can’t even begin to imagine how much a social worker in every classroom will cost, but obviously the district has plenty of money:

The Los Angeles Unified School District paid Mark Berndt…$40,000 to drop the challenge to his dismissal last year.  The payout consisted of four months of back salary plus reimbursement for the cost of health benefits.  Berndt was fired by the Board of Education in February 2011…but…fought to keep his job…until he settled with the school system and resigned in June…counsel David Holmquist [said]…”We were told we could not do any investigation” to avoid interfering with a law enforcement probe…”We didn’t have any evidence, and we couldn’t put on any witnesses.  We didn’t have anything to successfully defend a challenge.”

The cops are still being proprietary about the whole thing, and on the 18th told the parents to butt out:

The investigation into a former third-grade teacher…could be hampered by the flood of civil cases related to the scandal and public statements made by alleged victims, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives…Since the charges were announced, civil attorneys say they are representing more than 60 victims…Earlier this week two alleged victims appeared with their attorney on the “Dr. Phil” television show.  “The lawyers are making it that much more difficult,” [said] William McSweeney, chief of detectives…”It is going to raise issues of credibility.”  The civil attorneys have made claims about Berndt that are not contained in the original charges, including some accusations…that Berndt fed the alleged victims cookies with his semen on them…Detectives are still investigating and are urging families to contact the Sheriff’s Department before seeking private counsel.

I’m glad the cops get to see how it feels to have outsiders interfering with their work for a change.

One Year Ago Today (Meta-edition)

Thinking with the Wrong Head”  discussed Chris Lee, the congressman who stupidly documented his indiscretions with photos.  Well, here’s another example of the same syndrome, this time from Arizona:

…well-known border hawk Sheriff Paul Babeu, who’s now running for Congress in Arizona, was…[accused by] a Mexican immigrant who said he dated the sheriff for years and was threatened with deportation if he ever told anyone about their romance. The Phoenix New Times…broke the story on its website…complete with text messages…[and] compromising photos…reminiscent of recent sex scandals that ended the careers of Congressmen Anthony Weiner and Chris Lee…The New Times identified the accuser only by his first name, José…he met Babeu through the dating website gay.com in 2006…Babeu was a police officer in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler at the time and was elected as sheriff of Pinal County in late 2008… José volunteered for Babeu’s campaign, maintaining his websites and social media accounts…They were apparently together during Babeu’s fast rise to becoming a national figure in the fight against illegal immigration…[but] their relationship went sour…when [José] began to suspect that Babeu was using a website for casual hookups…

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