Thursday, December 20, 2018

Melania Notices Non-Verbal Military Child in a Wheelchair, Establishment Media Ignores What Happened Next

You probably missed it in the deluge of anti-Trump news this week, but first lady Melania Trump is making some waves on social media for the way that she approached a non-verbal military child in a wheelchair at a Toys for Tots toy drive.

According to The Daily Caller, the event happened Tuesday during the first lady’s visit to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., as part of a tour of two military installations and an aircraft carrier.

After Melania gave some remarks in a hangar, addressing military children and their parents, she helped roughly 100 kids sort toys for needy children into boxes.

“The scene was chaotic, with little children grabbing the toys and running to the other side of the hangar to put them in boxes. The children were yelling and running around in wild excitement. In the midst of the chaos, Melania could be seen regularly stopping and kneeling down to help a confused child — or to answer any question they had,” The Daily Caller reported.

In the midst of the holiday fray, Melania took a little bit of time out to help a special needs child by the name of Braydon.

 No one in establishment media will show you this story - since they don't care about good news from this admin & orange man bad - but this week @FLOTUS knelt down & engaged a non-verbal military child in a wheelchair.

Braydon is seen making hand motions, presumably to communicate with her. The video shows the first lady talking with him for about a minute and a half before moving on.

In a statement to The Daily Caller, Braydon’s mom said that the 12-year-old was thrilled to meet the first lady. “He is so happy to meet Melania and how he says he is hungry from the excitement,” she said, adding that it was an “honor.”

The first lady will also be donating something other than her time for children in need.

“The First Lady will be gifting 100 books to the Toys for Tots Literacy Program. Since starting in 2008, the program has distributed over 39 million books to less fortunate children, helping to reduce the illiteracy rate among children,” the Office of the First Lady said, according to The Daily Caller.

“Mrs. Trump will also be giving ‘Be Best’ totes filled with a coloring book and White House candies to all the children that will be helping out at the drive.”



I’m a restaurant employee in a city with a $15 minimum wage; here’s how it’s hurt me

Simone Barron

Upon winning back a majority in the House of Representatives, Democratic leaders have thrown their support behind a $15 federal minimum wage. But across the country in Seattle where I work, the promised utopia of a $15 minimum wage is far from a reality.

I have worked in the full-service restaurant industry for nearly 33 years in several cities across the country, including Chicago and Indianapolis. For the past 17 years, I’ve worked as a tipped employee in Seattle. Currently, in Seattle, the minimum wage is $15 and will rise to $16 starting next year. One would expect my income to rise with these wage increases. Instead, I’m actually watching my income drop.

Let me start off by explaining why my industry is a little different. Seattle is one of just a few of locales in the country that doesn’t allow for tips to count towards hourly wages. What this means is that the pressure all businesses are feeling from a $15 wage minimum is magnified for full-service restaurants.

Since most restaurants work off slim profit margins — between 3 and 5 percent — each increase in labor costs makes it harder to operate. This forces restaurant owners to make tough decisions such as reducing hours, eliminating staff positions, or even closing altogether.

As a $15 minimum wage went into effect in Seattle, some restaurants made the decision to change their tipping models. My employer took away tip lines and switched to a service charge model in order to keep his restaurants sustainable for as long as possible. This has reduced my income substantially, because the 14 percent I receive from a service charge is far less than the 20 percent I used to receive in tips.

This model has also changed my job from an art of professional service to a standard sales job; now, it’s less about how I use my skills to maximize my income and more about selling you the most expensive item on the menu to maximize the service charge. With tipping, I used to work four shifts a week, and I made enough money to raise a son, pay my rent, and go to school. Now, thanks to the $15 minimum wage, I work six days a week just to make ends meet.

I’m not the only tipped worker who’s been significantly harmed by rising minimum wages. I have many friends who have lost jobs because of Seattle’s minimum wage increase. One of my friend’s restaurants had to leave Seattle because the owner could no longer sustain the city’s high labor costs. Another friend's restaurant closed down entirely because the owner could no longer make the numbers work.

I understand the typical arguments for legislating higher wage rates. I especially understand it in Seattle, where the cost of living is incredibly high. But there’s no free lunch. Under our minimum wage increase, tipped workers are losing income and moving backward to $15 an hour. Right now, I’d happily trade my gig in Seattle for the golden days in Indianapolis, a so-called “low wage” market where I earned more and was both more financially secure and happier.



Explaining the Left, Part V: Left vs. Right Is Brain vs. Mind

Dennis Prager
When I talk to young people, I try to offer them what I was offered when I was their age but is rarely offered today: wisdom. I was given wisdom largely because I went to a religious school — a yeshiva, a traditional Jewish school in which the long day (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) was divided between studying religious subjects (in Hebrew) and secular subjects (in English).

With the increasing secularization of society, less and less wisdom has been conveyed to young people. One particularly obvious example is most secular people, especially on the left, believe human beings are basically good. It is difficult to overstate the foolishness of this belief. And a belief it is: There is no evidence to support it, and there is overwhelming evidence — like virtually all of human history — to refute it. Jewish and Christian kids who study the Bible know how morally flawed human nature is by the age of 10.

Another thing I tell young people — which, if they take seriously, will make them immeasurably wiser, finer, happier and more productive — is life is a daily battle between the brain and the mind. The brain wants an ice cream sundae; the mind knows too many sundaes will make a person overweight and eventually diabetic. Similarly, the brain (especially that of the male) wants sex with anyone it finds attractive; the mind knows the trouble doing so will likely lead to.

The brain is instinctive and feelings-based; the mind is thoughtful and can be reason-based. Tragically, since the 1960s, the brain — i.e. feelings and instincts — has been valued far more than the mind.

That explains why for 40 years, I have asked high school seniors which they would save first if both were drowning, their dog or a stranger, and only one-third have voted to save the stranger. Their reason? They love their dog, not the stranger. The brain over the mind. Feelings over thought (not to mention transcendent values).

On the most important issue in human life, determining what is right and what is wrong, the brain (feelings) has triumphed over the mind (reason and values). At least two generations of Americans have been raised not with moral instruction but with the question “How do you feel about it?”

Almost every left-right disagreement in American life can be explained by the brain-mind conflict. The brain is led by what feels good, the mind by what does good. And leftist positions feel good.

It feels good to allow anyone who wants to enter America to do so. But if America is worth preserving, the mind understands that the right policy cannot be determined by feelings.

It feels good to keep expanding government so it can provide more and more people with benefits. But the mind recognizes this is a recipe for disaster because people become addicted to benefits, and because the government assumes greater and greater debt it will not be able to repay.

It feels good to lower admissions standards to enable more blacks to enter prestigious colleges. But the mind knows it doesn’t help blacks — on the contrary, it hurts the many of them (as it does students of any ethnicity and race) who are not prepared for the academic demands of prestigious colleges.

One of the oldest and most fundamental Jewish teachings is that every human being has two competing impulses — the “yetzer ha-tov,” the impulse to do good, and the “yetzer ha-ra,” the impulse to do bad. When I was a young man, one of the leading rabbis of the last generation, Rabbi Wolfe Kelman, told me something that changed my life. “Dennis,” he said, “I have become pretty good at keeping my yetzer ha-ra in check; it’s my yetzer ha-tov that gets me into trouble.”

Even when propelled to do good, we cannot be guided by feelings.

It’s not only the human being that is driven by the conflict between feelings and reason. So is America.



Gallup: Americans Say No. 1 Problem is 'Government,' No. 2 is 'Immigration'

A new survey shows that the "top problem" cited by Americans is "government," and the second top problem is "immigration." For contrast, among the issues seen as least problematic for Americans are "unemployment-jobs" and "gun control/guns."

In the survey, conducted by Gallup after the midterm elections, the polling firm asked Americans about the country's top problems and then listed those issues that were "mentioned by at least 3% of respondents."

Nineteen percent of respondents cited "government" as the problem, making it the top issue of concern. In second place came "immigration," cited by 16% of the respondents. However, when broken down politically, 29% of Republicans said immigration is a problem but only 7% of Democrats said the same.

Only 8% of respondents said "unifying the country" was a problem, and only 3% said unemployment-jobs and then gun contol/guns were a problem.

Also, only 5% said "healthcare" was a problem.

"These data come from a Gallup Dec. 3-12 survey, conducted as a looming budget impasse between Republicans and Democrats threatened to shut down the government," reported Gallup. "The government has commonly been cited in recent years as the most important problem facing the country, with the problem having received or been tied for the most mentions -- 22 times in the last 24 months."

"As another potential partial shutdown of the Federal government approaches, government is again mostly likely to be cited by Americans as the most important problem facing the country," said Gallup.  "However, the current level noting government dissatisfaction is still below the 25% who cited the issue in January of this year, a few weeks prior to the last time the Federal government faced a shutdown. That shutdown ended after three days."



FDA Policies Kill

Walter E. Williams

Among the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's responsibilities are approval and regulation of pharmaceutical drugs. In short, its responsibility is to ensure the safety and effectiveness of drugs. In the performance of this task, FDA officials can make two types of errors — statistically known as the type I error and type II error. With respect to the FDA, a type I error is the rejection or delayed approval of a drug that is safe and effective — erring on the side of over-caution — and a type II error is the approval of a drug that has unanticipated dangerous side effects, or erring on the side of under-caution.

Let's examine the incentives of FDA officials. If FDA officials err on the side of under-caution and approve a drug that has unanticipated dangerous side effects, the victims of their mistake will be highly visible. There may be congressional hearings, embarrassment to the agency and officials fired.

It's an entirely different story if FDA officials err on the side of over-caution and either disapprove or delay the approval of a drug that is both safe and effective. In that case, the victims will be invisible. They will have no idea that their suffering could have been eliminated, or in the case of death, their loved ones will have no idea why they died. Their suffering and/or death will be chalked up to the state of medicine rather than the status of an FDA drug application. Their doctor will simply tell them there's nothing more that can be done to help them. The FDA officials go scot-free.

Let's look at some of the history of the FDA's erring on the side of over-caution. Beta blockers reduce the risk of secondary heart attacks and were widely used in Europe during the mid-1970s. The FDA imposed a moratorium on approvals of beta blockers in the U.S. because of their carcinogenicity in animals. Finally, in 1981, the FDA approved the first such drug, boasting that it might save up to 17,000 lives per year. That means that as many as 100,000 people died from secondary heart attacks waiting for FDA approval. Those people are in the "invisible graveyard," a term to describe people who would have lived but died because the cure that could have saved them was bottled up in the FDA's regulatory process.

Today, the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute is leading the battle to bring some sanity and compassion to the drug approval process. It recently published a paper by Mark Flatten, titled "Studied to Death: FDA Overcaution Brings Deadly Consequences." Flatten examined the FDA's approval process and made some important recommendations. Flatten criticized some FDA practices, saying, "Instead of having to prove a new treatment is safe for its intended use, the FDA now reviews drugs based on how they might be used by doctors to treat individual patients, effectively substituting the judgment of agency regulators for that of practicing medical professionals." He added: "Instead of proving a drug achieves the medically beneficial results that its makers claim, the FDA requires proof the new treatment will improve long-term outcomes. So it is no longer enough, for instance, to prove a new drug will reduce blood glucose levels for diabetics. Drugmakers must show, somehow, that this will make patients live longer."

One Goldwater Institute suggestion is to allow drugs approved in certain other countries, such as Canada and the European Union, to receive nearly automatic U.S. approval. After all, those countries have drug regulatory structures similar to that in the U.S. Why should treatments approved in those countries not be available here?

The Goldwater Institute is also calling for a bill to restore free speech in medicine. It thinks Congress should allow drug manufacturers to provide information about "off-label use." This is a common practice in which doctors prescribe FDA-approved drugs to treat conditions other than those the FDA originally approved them for after new beneficial uses arise.

Strong evidence of FDA over-caution bias comes in the 1974 words of then-FDA Commissioner Alexander M. Schmidt: "In all of FDA's history, I am unable to find a single instance where a congressional committee investigated the failure of FDA to approve a new drug."



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


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