Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fox News and Non-Verbal Body Language

Do you ever watch the body language of some of the liberal guests on Fox News? Last night, I watched Michelle Malkin hosting the O'Reilly Factor and started to notice all the squirming in their seats and eye darting on the part of her guests of the liberal persuasion. Typically when you see a guest with a liberal point of view on Today, World News Tonight, or any other liberal news program, meaning basically all of them except Fox News, they look rather confident, particularly if they are regular commentators. However, last night, one of the guests of Michelle's, an immigration activist, looked like he was gearing up for a boxing match rather than a discussion. His eyes darted back and forth and he looked quite uncomfortable, and probably with good reason. When your argument for immigration consists of saying something like, "Well, there are hundreds of millions of illegal immigrants all over the world, and the United States only has 6% of them--so what's the problem?" then maybe you should look uncomfortable because you would have to know deep down that your argument lacks the logic to stand up to scrutiny. When Katie Couric bats her eyelashes at you and coos in sympathy to your left leaning cause, you just don't need to get that worked up, but when you are challenged by the likes of Michelle Malkin, the eye darting and seat shifting begin.

In another segment, a Democratic strategist, Julie Roginsky, is talking with Michelle and a Republican strategist about the Edwards blogger fiasco. The Democratic strategist looks like she is geared up for a fight, her eyes are flashing and she looks ready ready to swing--but she also looks out of her element. She is geared up for a challenge and she must realize to some extent that her slanderous excuses for Edward's poor judgement in hiring bloggers will not hold up--her body language gives her away. "Look, McCain hired an anti-semitic blogger for his campaign," she states. Perhaps Roginsky should check her notes again and see that she made a "mistake." If she didn't feel uncomfortable while in the studio, then maybe she will when bloggers rake her over the coals. The time for getting away with any left-leaning statement as if it were fact is over, and maybe the liberals are just starting to figure that out--and thus the discomfort.

So next time you watch Fox News, take a look at the body language of the liberal guests as compared to the conservative guests. You will often see the liberal display a defensive stance, darting eyes and shifting in their seat. The discomfort could just be fear of being challenged, but my guess is, that deep down, many of these people know that their arguments do not hold water and what they can get away with on regular news segments no longer works on Fox News. It's no wonder liberals hate it so much.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Is the Blogosphere Sexist?

Ann Althouse thinks there is some truth to Amanda Marcotte's accussation that she was fired because of sexism:

I think Marcotte goes way too far blaming sexism for her troubles, but there is still some truth to it. I've seen plenty of attacks on me that have the odor of sexism. I think there is a sense out there that the blogosphere belongs to the guys and the women are interlopers. Rationally, most guys will say that's not true, but I think they still have that prejudice, that instinctive reaction: Who does she think she is? Who let her in here? And I readily admit that some of what I think is my own imagination, but I've read enough things about me to believe it.

Sexism is what got Marcotte hired in the first place-- she and her co-blogger were hired because they were women, and Edwards as well as the bloggers mistakenly believed that because they were women, they could get away with anything. No self-respecting politician would have hired a man who talked and acted like a deranged teen who spouted off at the mouth as if he were a sexually abused borderline using the internet as a weapon against all that angered him. Such a man would rightly be called a loose cannon--a misogynist who was part of a fringe group of warped minds. My guess is that Edwards hired these women to make the point that he was a "progressive feminist" who took women's views seriously. His mistake was to believe that the average woman, or man for that matter, would take the views of a bigot and a hater like Marcotte seriously regardless of sex. Sexism may have played a part in Marcotte and her fellow-hater getting hired but it certainly played no part in getting them fired--their unprofessional conduct and rantings did that for them all by itself.

As for the notion that the blogosphere is full of sexism and men just don't realize it, I think the Professor should take a real look at who some of these sexist comments are made by. I, for one, have noticed that as many sexist and nasty comments on my blog are written by females as by males. And, proportionally, men do read more political blogs: generally about 75% of political blog readers are male, meaning that there will be more of a chance of comments of any type from men on blogs such as Althouse's--but many of these males are supportive of women's sites, otherwise they would not be on there commenting and interacting with female bloggers. And, honestly, some of the ugliest comments I have gotten have been from cowards that come to my site to make ugly comments about my husband's appearance--one commenter (don't know if male or female) even called him "tubby." How sexist is that? Other so called progressive sites call me the "ole Mrs. Doctor Perfesser" or some such nonsense--I have seen this on "feminist sites." Isn't it sexist to be addressing a woman by her husband's occupation etc? So, who is the sexist here? (Even leftist blogs have complained about that: see the footnote.)

I recently answered some questions for a researcher who was studying women's political blogs and she asked if I encountered sexism as a woman on the internet. My response, "Yes, but frequently from other women." And the digs from those women are often not subtle, and usually related to appearance. I remember reading some blog where a "feminist" didn't like something I said and stated, "She needs to do something with that hair, Meow!" "What a catty comment," I thought, particularly coming from a blogger who seemed to pride herself for being a feminist.

To tell you the truth, I don't read many of the "feminist" blogs: they seem immature and tend to blame men in vile terms for every aspect of their miserable lives--while at the same time, slamming any man who makes the slightest criticism of women. Yep, the blogosphere is sexist all right but it may just be that the women give as good or better than they get. So I really can't feel too sorry for them. I am just disappointed that the typically just and reasonable Professor Althouse would fail to give her male readers and bloggers the benefit of the doubt in this aspect.

Is Eye Rolling a Sign of Intelligence?

While reading over the Homeschool Carnival this week, I found this post: If You Want your Child Socialized: A Public School Satire. It's actually quite humorous and sad, both at the same time. This post is particularly helpful if you have a gifted child who is made fun of in school for his or her sensitive nature or tendency to roll his or her eyes at the dummied down curriculum. Public school teachers, often because of their insecurity or desperate need for conformity, will become incensed by the eyerolls and determine the child to be a problem. It seems to me that the main source of socialization for many kids, especially smart ones in public school, is found in learning how to cope with the egos of teachers who can't teach and other kids who are uninterested in learning anything beyond dominating the social hierarchy.


Young Adult Novels for Boys

Many of my readers emailed to thank me for recommending The Dangerous Book for Boys. If you are still looking for some reading for the young man in your life, here are a couple of recommendations for novels for the modern male at a terrific new blog full of book reviews: Books for Kids.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Interview with John Ondrasik: Five for Fighting

John Ondrasik, the singer of the band, Five for Fighting, is an amazing artist not just for his terrific music, but for his ability to take a risk and (gasp!) actually write songs that are pro-American. He talks with us today about how he made it in the music business, his new album, Two Lights, (get it here from iTunes) and how he felt when his song, Superman (It's not Easy), became the anthem after the September 11th attacks. Superman is just one of the songs from his first album, America Town, that is appreciative of this country.

If you typically do not listen to podcasts, listen to this one just to hear some samples of the wonderful songs John has written such as Two Lights, The Riddle, World, Freedom Never Cries and 100 years--a song you probably know from the JP Morgan Chase commercial. You can visit John's new charity website at

You can listen directly -- no downloads needed -- by going here and clicking on the gray Flash player. You can download the file directly by clicking right here. You can get a lo-fi version suitable for download by going here and selecting lo-fi. And, of course, you can get a free subscription via iTunes -- and you should!

This podcast is sponsored by Volvo automobiles at


Amanda Marcotte: Liar or Delusional?

Cathy Young ponders the question in her post: PandaGate and anti-male bigotry.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"It's Still a Good Country"

Peter Lillelid's reply when reporter Brittany Bailey asked him what he thought of America after being shot by six teenagers ten years ago. Here is the full story from WBIR in Knoxville with videos (click on the upper right video icons) of Peter's life in Sweden with his new family. He seems like an amazing young man.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"It was Quite Surreal"

A mass shooting took place at a Salt Lake City shopping mall last night:

A historic mall’s winding hallways became a shooting gallery for a gunman in a trench coat who fired a shotgun randomly at customers, slaying five before being killed by police, authorities and witnesses said.

For hours after Monday evening’s rampage at the Trolley Square shopping mall, police searched stores for scared, shocked shoppers and employees who were hunkered down awaiting a safe escort.

Marie Smith, 23, a Bath & Body Works manager, saw the gunman through the store window. She watched as he raised his gun and fired at a young woman approaching him from behind....

Matt Lund was visiting his wife, Barbara, manager of the Secret Garden children’s clothing store, when he heard the first shots. The couple and three others hid in a storage room for about 40 minutes, isolated but still able to hear the violence.

On the way out, Lund said, he saw a woman’s body face-down at the entrance to Pottery Barn Kids and a man’s body on the floor in the mall’s east-west corridor. “There were a lot of blown out store windows and shot gun shell casings all over the floor,” Lund said. “It was quite surreal.”

This incident goes to show that violence can happen at any place at any time, in the most unexpected of places. People often think that if they live in a "safe neighborhood" nothing bad will happen to them, but this is simply not true. I learned a long time ago in my work that the troubled mind can show itself in the most unexpected of places, and it no longer surprises me that violence like this exists; my only comfort is that it does not happen more often.

Update: Hugh Hewitt and Michelle Malkin have more information on the shooter.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Interview on Why Kids Kill

John Hawkins at Right Wing News did a mini interview with me on the topic of violent kids. You can read it here.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

NHS Blog Doctor: A Raw Deal for Women.

Newsflash: Blogfest Doesn't Erupt in Violence

Glenn and I attended a blogfest of Tennessee bloggers at Calhoun's in Knoxville last night and had quite a nice time. The consensus from other bloggers who attended seems to be that it was quite an achievement that about 25 or so bloggers and their family members got along and/or did not start a bar brawl for almost three whole hours while conversing over ribs (or in my case, salad). I sat next to a blogger, Perry Nelson, who posts the following about the event:

It was a very civil gathering, I thought, despite the fact that a group of that size represented almost every variation of political, social and cultural perspective imaginable.....I had the pleasure of dining between Dr. Helen Smith, a.k.a. Mrs. Glenn Reynolds, on the one side and Ms. Lissa Kay, with whom I worked at ClientLogic a while back, on the other. In the two hours and forty-five minutes the group spent together we made cultured conversation and behaved quite respectably. Quite an achievement, if you ask me, for a group of such potentially disruptive forces in the community.

SayUncle makes a few observations about the cast of characters:

A few things on meeting other bloggers:

There were no laptops (that shocked me).

There was very little discussion of politics.

Every few seconds, someone’s camera flashed.

Dr. Helen doesn’t like to be called Dr. Helen.

I was only called crazy once.

So here are a few tips I garnered from this shindig, for the benefit of other bloggers who attend blogfests and who want a good time:

1) Keep the party short--no more than three hours, bloggers have short attention spans but can generally behave in public for about that length of time. If the party goes longer, who knows where the alcohol and conversation will lead. Nowhere good, that's for sure.

2) Do not discuss individual views of politics lest the person sitting next to you would not vote for a "Rethuglican" or "Leftard" if their life depended on it. Just a thought, why is it that grown people in their 30's, 40's or even 50's who pride themselves on being progressive or civil always refer to others who do not think like themselves with such names?

3) Do not call anyone crazy more than once: it is bad manners (but then, you would know that if you spent more time away from the computer screen and around real live people!) and most importantly:

4) Keep the alcohol flowing freely; an open bar puts everyone in a good mood. For some people, alcohol seems to bring out their violent side, but for bloggers, it seems to put them into a friendly stupor where they open up and share their darkest secrets. As long as the secrets are not political, all seems to go well. And finally:

5) Have fun -- how often do you get to meet your fellow bloggers in the flesh? Kind of like meeting Mick Jagger or something.