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Somewhere in Elkhart County

Talking about bullying is the new bullying

David Cortman at TownHall.com makes a case for how the whole bullying discussion seems to be more than just concern about kids on the schoolyard. Check it out

I’ve been bothered by the discussion myself, suspecting that the real bullying is being done by those who are increasingly defining bullying as simply disagreeing with the left’s political orthodoxy.  Witness speech codes on campuses, and talk of “micro-aggressions,” a pseudo-science-y term if I’ve ever heard one.

We live in scary times.  Scarier if you’re not a liberal or leftist, because the powers that be in government, education and media appear to be conspiring to shut you up.  Bullying is not a big social issue.  People have been picking on each other for, well, for ever.  And people have been dealing with it.

It’s not a growing social problem.  It’s not even a social problem.  It’s a problem of individuals.  A bully is very often a kid who feels inadequate and has a hard time figuring out how to improve things, so he lashes out.  Or there may be deeper issues, including mental illness, drug use, parental abuse, etc. All of these are a problem.  But at its core, bullying is a problem for one kid at a time. And because it’s a problem of individuals, I’m very suspicious of those who try to frame in the context of a social problem — a problem of groups —  and try to make rules and regulations to deal with it.

Somehow, this kind of thinking needs to be corrected, because it’s terribly destructive, and gives power to people who make vague rules based on feelings and group dynamics.  You know.  Grown-up bullies.  We should be afraid of this, and fight it.

Perv Alert: New twist on the spy cam

A couple years ago, I picked up a keyring video camera, which I still have. It’s a fun little item, disguised as one of those keyless entry remotes for cars.  It has decent quality for both the audio and video.  We once strapped it to Jill Windy’s dog Gunner and let him run around the RVNN studio one afternoon.  But it’s not a regular thing.

Today I was browsing  Ebay and noticed a wider array of sneaky-pete video cameras than I’d seen before.  Cameras built into pens were kind of interesting.  Then I saw the one shown here, built into a coat hook. There were a number of sellers listing these so they must be pretty popular, but I wasn’t initially sure why.   It took me a minute to realize what this configuration is good for, and then it dawned on me.  Changing rooms.

Yes, this product appears to be marketed for the retail clerk/pervert who has time on his hands and a chance to plant one of these in a changing room.  Then at the end of the workday, he can grab it, go home and giggle away in his basement watching his prey on a computer, and possibly (probably) posting the video on the internet for others.

Privacy is gone in today’s world, so be aware that if you’re anywhere in public, it’s not just the security cameras that may be watching.


Government can’t explain Toyota incident

AP reports that the government can’t explain the runaway Toyota incident that happened on the San Diego freeways last week.

James Sikes called from his Toyota Prius last Monday to report his car was accelerating out of control. He drove for more than 20 minutes before a California Highway Patrol officer helped him bring it to a stop.

The story has seemed fishy, perhaps even staged, to us for a number of reasons.

First, Sikes claims to have been standing on the brakes for a good bit of the time, finally telling the 911 operator he called that he smelled his brakes burning. At 90 miles an hour, there should have been fire coming out from under his car.

Second, he claims he couldn’t handle a number of logical methods to turn off the car, such as putting it in neutral, pressing the ignition-off button, etc., because he was afraid to take his hands off the wheel.  And yet, he was talking on his cell phone.  Ok, maybe he had a bluetooth (no word on this), but he apparently tried pulling UP on the accelerator — a very risky move for a guy who was afraid to take his hands from the wheel.

Third, the recording from the 911 operator seems odd.  She too-quickly jumps to the conclusion that the accelerator is stuck, before Sikes mentions it (keep in mind there are only about 60 reports of this happening, nationwide).  Second, she ASKS HIM FOR HIS TELEPHONE NUMBER.  She’s from 911, right? They have caller id, right?  Then she calls Border Patrol, she says.  And it takes 20 minutes for anyone to get to this guy.

Fourth, the fact that the NHTSA boys can’t duplicate this problem is bothersome.  As the AP story indicates, this fact leaves the question open, but normally, we’d think some aspects of the malfunction could be concretely identified.

Fifth, the incident appears to be a ploy for a lucrative lawsuit for Sikes and his shyster, John Gomez.  Class action lawsuits have already been filed as well. Toyota’s mostly pristine record is being besmirched for money.

And for power.  We’ve been suspicious of the sudden rise in “malfunctions” at Toyota.  The company outsells the other American based automakers and it’s not unionized.  We should consider who stands to benefit from this whole episode.

John C. Dvorak and Adam Curry, on their podcast No Agenda, humorously skewer the San Diego incident — Listen to it here (some explicit language).

Michael Fumento in Forbes.com also writes about the “Toyota Hybrid Horror Hoax”

I’m SHOCKED!! More global warming mistakes to come.

The UN is apologizing for recent errors in its report on the disappearance of Himalayan Glaciers, and admitted there may be further errors. I’m more prone to buy a gas guzzler today than ever before.

Science is not politics. Nor should it be:WSJ Video

Daniel Heninger talks about public perception of science in the wake of the Climategate scandal.

Internet may make you smarter

UCLA Study: The Internet Is Altering Our Brains

One of Bill’s best moments #tcot

President Bill Clinton in Pyonyang with whats-his-name.

President Bill Clinton in Pyonyang with whats-his-name.

This week, President Bill Clinton, traveling as a private citizen, went to North Korea and returned with two female Current TV journalists who were destined for a terrible 12 years of imprisonment and possible death, for doing what is normal and natural in our free society: getting the story.

Immediately pundits and comics started making Monica Lewinsky-related jokes about the event, saying that “Bill only went so he could pick up a couple of women,” and other more vulgar knee-slappers. We say no fair. Oh, and get some new material.

Look, there may be a couple of things to question about the former president’s trip, but the outcome and the reasons for going are not among them. Clinton’s grim face in the ridiculous Mutt & Jeff photograph with Kim Jong Il is enough to show he didn’t go to North Korea to appease the “Dear Leader,” but was there to do the right thing.

While we may often disagree with Bill’s politics, and even more often with his wife’s, we applaud the image of a prominent American saving two women who would otherwise have suffered a fate they didn’t deserve. It should be one of Clinton’s prouder moments, because defending liberty and each other is what Americans do.

Politico coverage of the homecoming, including video here.