Social inequality’s deepening roots

 Original post from The Washington Post

FILE - In this June 1, 2011 file photo, a group of students walk through the Sather Gate on the University of California, Berkeley campus in Berkeley, Calif. (Eric Risberg/AP)
FILE – In this June 1, 2011 file photo, a group of students walk through the Sather Gate on the University of California, Berkeley campus in Berkeley, Calif. (Eric Risberg/AP)

  Opinion writer March 20 2015

The rate of dog ownership is rising ominously. How can a profusion of puppies be worrisome? A report from the Raymond James financial services firm concerning trends in the housing market explains: Increasing numbers of women “are adopting dogs for security and/or companionship,” partly because of “the great education divide.”

Since 1979, the report says, the number of women going to college has accelerated relative to male enrollments. By 2012, there were 2.8 million more women than men in college, and by 2020 this “enrollment gap” is projected to grow to 4.4 million as women account for 74 percent of enrollment growth.

In 2000, the adult populations of college-educated men and women were approximately equal. By 2013, there were 4.9 million more women age 25 or older with college degrees than men in that age group. This means a shortage of suitable male partners for a growing cohort of young women, who are postponing family formation. The report says that millions of female-led households are being established by women who, being focused on their careers, aredelaying motherhood, partly because of a shortage of suitable partners. More about suitability anon.

“Increased ‘competition’ for college-educated males” might mean that college-educated bachelors will feel less incentive to become domesticated, further depressing family formation. And for the growing class of undereducated young men, there are increasingly bleak “employment, income and dating prospects.” What is good news for dog breeders is bad news for the culture.

Two years ago, Susan Patton, a Princeton graduate and mother of two sons who attended Princeton, detonated multiple explosions in the culture wars when, in a letter to the Daily Princetonian, she told “the young women of Princeton” what “you really need to know that nobody is telling you.” Which is that their future happiness will be “inextricably linked” to the men they marry, so they should “find a husband on campus” because “you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you.” She explains:

 “Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty. Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. . . . It will frustrate you to be with a man who just isn’t as smart as you.”

Patton’s brassy indifference to delicacy served the serious purpose of riveting attention on what social scientists call “assortative mating.” Plainly put, America has always aspired to be a meritocracy in which careers are open to talents and status is earned rather than inherited. But the more merit matters to upward mobility, the more inequality becomes entrenched in a stratified society.

Those favored by genetics and by family acculturation of the acquired social capital (the habits and dispositions necessary for taking advantage of opportunities) tend to go to school and then to work together. And they marry one another, concentrating advantages in their children.

Hence today’s interest in what is called privilege theory, which takes a dark view of the old couplet “All men are by nature equal/ but differ greatly in the sequel.” The theory leaps from the obvious to the dubious. Obviously some people are born with, and into, advantages, congenital and social. What is dubious is the conclusion that government has the capacity and duty to calibrate, redistribute and equalize advantages.

Joy Pullmann, writing at the Federalist, a conservative Web site of which she is managing editor, notes something else obvious: This agenda is incompatible with freedom. Furthermore, although some individuals have advantages they did not earn, “very often someone else did earn them” — by, for example, nurturing children in a stable family. It is hardly an injustice — an invidious privilege — for nurturing parents to be able to confer on their children the advantages of conscientiousness. The ability to do so, says Pullmann, is a powerful motivation for noble behavior that, by enlarging society’s stock of parental “hard work, self-control and sacrifice,” produces “positive spillover effects for everyone else.”

Enhancing equality of opportunity is increasingly urgent and difficult in a progressively more complex, information-intensive society. The delicate task is to do so without damaging freedom and the incentives for using freedom for individual striving, which is the privilege — actually, the natural right — that matters most.  …….’

Disney Faulted In Disability Access Complaints

A great example of how treatment of persons with a disability should be or should not be done. Some are arguing for equal but different treatment, while others for equal and same treatment. This is from the concept we are all different or the same. If we are all the same than equal and same treatment is correct, but if we are all different than equal but different treatment is correct. This is all to do with the concept of understanding, reasoning and the relationship regarding time.

Depending on the disability in question and the degree that the disability has on the person, is where it should be decided on how to apply any policies.  If the person through their disability has no concept of time, then the policy should cater for this to ensure they have equal treatment to a person who has a concept of time. Hardly anyone wishes to be kept waiting, but if you can understand why this has to be so, then is it not a case that the person could then wait their turn. While for those who, due to their disability are unable to understand why they have to wait, then a measure of cutting the waiting time needs to be applied.

Policies need to be flexible to reflect the needs of each individual to ensure all receive some resemblance of equal treatment.

Original post from Disability Scoop


A fan meets Elsa from

A fan meets Elsa from “Frozen” at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. A civil rights commission has found that Disney provided inadequate accommodations to some theme park visitors with disabilities. (Ellen Creager/Detroit Free Press/TNS)

A civil rights commission has found reason to believe that Disney discriminated against theme park visitors with developmental disabilities after altering its disability access policy.

In five cases, the Florida Commission on Human Relations has found that “reasonable cause exists to believe that unlawful public accommodation practices occurred” at Disney parks.

The panel’s determinations, dated Feb. 13, but released publicly this month, represent a blow to Disney. The company has insisted that proper accommodations have been offered to guests with disabilities despite making significant changes to its access policy in 2013.

Previously, visitors with disabilities at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida could obtain a Guest Assistance Card, which often allowed them to skip to the front of long lines for rides and other attractions. However, under the current policy, those with special needs can instead receive a Disability Access Service Card entitling them to schedule a return time, which is based on current wait times, for one park attraction at a time.

Following the change, dozens of families sued Disney arguing that the new system violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by inadequately accommodating the needs of their children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Currently, suits brought by 44 families are pending before the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Some families suing Disney also lodged complaints with the Florida Commission on Human Relations. The families alleged discrimination in violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act arguing that Disney’s policy change left their children prone to meltdowns and unable to enjoy the theme parks.

“While an accommodation was offered, it was a blanket accommodation that did not take into account the nuances between various disabilities or the fact that complainant’s son’s disability required more assistance than other cognitive disabilities,” the 12-member Florida commission said in its findings to one family, which was nearly identical to the determinations provided to four other families.

“The accommodations offered would not allow him to enjoy the park as it was intended to be enjoyed by all other patrons. In addition, there was no effort by respondent to determine a suitable accommodation for her son which would allow him to fully enjoy the park,” the civil rights panel found.

The commission does not have any enforcement authority, but can act as a mediator, said Frank Penela, communications director for the Florida Commission on Human Relations. Penela said he’s unable to comment on specific complaints, but indicated that a finding of cause can add leverage if the matter is pursued in court.

“If we find cause, it usually gives them a little more meat to their case,” Penela said.

Attorney Andy Dogali, who is representing the families, said the findings bolster their legal efforts.

“The commission collected a great deal of information, and its findings are perfectly consistent with the allegations of all of the plaintiffs against Disney,” Dogali said. “The (Disability Access Service) is a lousy system which accommodates only the highest-functioning autistic guests; for guests with moderate or worse autism or cognitive impairment, it creates a horrible experience.”

Disney representatives did not respond to a request for comment from Disability Scoop, but told the Florida Commission on Human Relations that the company did not violate any laws and went to great lengths to provide service to visitors with disabilities.  …………’

As Rio 2016 Draws Closer, When Will Discrimination End For Sportswomen In Saudi Arabia?

Original post from The Huffington Post UK

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Lacking the motivation to partake in an active lifestyle?

Spare a thought, then, for women in Saudi Arabia who are actively discouraged – and even trolled – for taking part in sport.

In fact, “women are being killed by their government” – or so suggest the authors ofKilling Them Softly, a report focusing on how the Saudi government’s policies, when it comes to women’s sports, is harming their health.

But there are those who aren’t willing to let culture and government policies get in the way of their dreams.

Namely Sarah Attar and Wojdan Shaherkani – two women who bravely competed in the 2012 Olympic Games, becoming the first Saudi Arabian sportswomen to do so.

sarah attar

Runner Sarah Attar

wojdan shaherkani

Wojdan Shaherkani, Judo athlete

Attar, whose mother is American and father is Saudi, wanted to represent Saudi Arabia at the sporting event as a way of inspiring women.

Back in 2012, she told the press: “This is such a huge honor and an amazing experience, just to be representing women. I know that this can make a huge difference.”

Despite finishing last in the 800m race, Attar – who was covered head to toe due to strict rules in place from Saudi’s Olympic committee – received a standing ovation for her efforts.

And although Shaherkani lost to Puerto Rico’s Melissa Mojica in women’s judo, it did not matter, as she became Saudi Arabia’s first ever female Olympic athlete.

Of course, when you go against the ideologies that dictate the lives of so many women in your home country, you’ll inevitably pay a price in doing so.

Shaherkani was branded by Twitter users back home as “The Prostitute of the Olympics”, while Saudi Arabian press failed to even report on either of the female athletes’ performances.

Meanwhile, the Saudi sports minister and head of the Saudi National Olympic Committee confirmed that Saudi Arabia would not support women in practising sports.

Prince Nawwaf al-Faisal made his opinion on the matter very clear: “Female sports activity has not existed (in the kingdom) and there is no move thereto in this regard.”

But why?

According to the authors of Killing Them Softly, Ossob Mohamud and Ali Al-Ahmed, the Saudi government fully embraces traditional religious theology. This sadly places a whole host of limitations on women including banning them from driving and making it very difficult for them to engage in any form of physical activity.

The latter of which is also incredibly damaging for their health.

According to an independent study published for the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, 34% of women are obese in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the Saudi government spends roughly £3 billion each year treating illnesses related to obesity.

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa Division for Human Rights Watch, offers HuffPost UK Lifestyle an insight into what is – and isn’t – acceptable when it comes to women’s sport in Saudi Arabia.

“There is no ban on women going to the gym in Saudi or playing sport per se,” she says. “Rather, sex segregation means that most private gyms – there are no public ones, really, outside of schools – are limited to men only, and that in order for women to have access to gyms, they need women-only facilities, of which there are few.”

She adds that the government doesn’t offer physical education (PE) classes at schools, which means that girls do not have access to physical fitness.

“In addition, because of the restrictions on women’s attire and movement, it is not an option for them to exercise in public.”

Point blank: it’s primitive. As a result, women are often driven to participate in underground sports leagues in order to keep fit and maintain an active lifestyle.

One woman, named Dima, even told Human Rights Watch of how she used to go to the local oil company compound to practice sports, as it was the only opportunity she had.

But, despite all of this, things might finally be looking up for the female population of Saudi.

A spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee told HuffPost UK Lifestyle that they are now working with the International Federations to achieve 50% female participation in the Olympic Games as well as to “stimulate women’s participation and involvement in sport by creating more participation opportunities”.

“We believe that Wojdan Shaherkhani and her compatriot Sarah Attar’s participation in London was a great achievement and sent a strong message to all the girls in the country who will be inspired by these athletes’ performance even if they did not win medals,” added a spokesperson for the IOC.

“We also see that this was the starting point for a wider participation of girls and women in sport in the country.”

Sarah Leah Whitson echoes that things could be starting to take a turn for the better, as Saudi women who have access to private girls’ schools can participate in sports there.

There are also a handful of new gyms being built especially for women.

Sarah Attar is now training hard with hopes of representing Saudi Arabia at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

She told Women’s eNews: “I cannot see them not sending women next time. And if I could run in Rio, I think it would be awesome.”

Here’s hoping she’s right.  …………..’


The Coalition’s cruellest cut?

Mary Laver’s Fight for Independence: Cameron’s Cruellest Cut?


Green Party Would Save the Independent Living Fund #SaveILF from DPAC

An extract ‘

At a lobby held on 6th January Independent Living Fund recipients called on MPs from all political parties to save the ILF. Caroline Lucas MP who sponsored the lobby told the meeting that her party the Greens are fully behind the call to keep and re open the ILF.

Tracey Lazard, CEO of Inclusion London said: “The Independent Living Fund (ILF) was set up to enable disabled people with the highest support needs to live in independently in the community.  …………….’

The Independent Living Fund will now close on 30 June 2015 for all of the UK, however it would appear that for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland they will arrange for their own equivalent funds to start from 1 July 2015, while in England the responsibility will rest with the respective Local Authorities, but it is unlikely that the English authorities will ‘earmark ‘ any funds for the existing ILF recipients.

Without any similar funding the current ILF recipients may not be able to lead their lives with the independence the ILF funding as allowed them and for some or all, may not be able to live independently at all.

How would you feel if you were advised that the life you are leading will change and the independence you have will, most likely, be no longer available. Is this equality?

Real Men Don’t Hit

A message to everyone.

Please use the link below as the video in the reblog post is not working.


Brooding In The Tepid Dusk

I’m going to share a very beautiful video here with a strong message.

And since I have a tendency to never shut up, I’m going to add that it is not just the women on whom one shouldn’t inflict violence upon ; no one should hit anyone. As simple as that.


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School Head Teacher says ‘Parents should buy Ipads for their children

Ipads for school children

This Head Teacher needs re-educating to act responsively, you do not ask parents to buy something for their children by asking the children first, you correspond with the parents directly.

As to whether, the question should have been asked in the first place is questionable. Why are they required, what will be the advantage, and more need to be considered. How will their use affect the teaching within school, is it replacing some lessons or creating additional lessons and will any teachers be made redundant.

On the face of it a very ill thought idea, which needs to be rethought or withdrawn.

Are Roman Catholic children a special case?

Free bus passes withdrawn

Am I missing something, from the article it would appear that the free bus passes were issued on a discretionary basis, so since when as a discretion become a right. It is also said it is discrimination against Roman Catholics, but that can not be, because it would appear this discretion is only for Roman Catholic children. It was discrimination, but this was for all the other children in Sheffield.

We all know the Roman Catholic church is rich, but also are many other churches from other denominations. No church passes its own wealth onto its congregation. Just the opposite, they expect the congregation to provide it with more funds.

While it will be true that this discretion is only being withdrawn due to the council having to save money, because of Central Government directives, is it correct to treat all children in Sheffield on an equal basis.