Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Remember those experts who said condoms would reduce pregnancy and STDs?

original article: The Condom Conundrum
MORE PROPHYLACTICS, MORE TEEN PREGNANCIES
July 21, 2016 by John Stonestreet

Remember those so-called “experts” who assured us that condoms would cut rates of fertility and STDs? Well, they now face a conundrum.

Those who’ve pushed condoms like candy in public schools have given us any number of rationales. They told us that young people “are going to do it anyway,” so more condoms would equal fewer pregnancies. They also said that more condoms would lead to fewer STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases. And as they proceeded to pass out condoms by the handful to our school-age children, they told us that religion and morality should be left out of it, in the name of public health and, of course, science.

New research, however, suggests these prophets of prophylactics were wrong—desperately wrong—and that it’s time for a fresh look at the issue.

A recently released study by University of Notre Dame researchers Kasey S. Buckles and Daniel M. Hungerman has found that access to condoms in schools actually increases teen pregnancies by about 10 percent—that’s right, increases it! Buckles and Hungerman selected 22 school districts in 12 states that started such programs back in the 1990s, including New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The study analyzed teen-fertility data from nearly 400 high-population counties over a span of 19 years.

Among the contributing factors Buckles and Hungerman cite is the possibility that condom-distribution programs can crowd out efforts to encourage young people to delay sexual activity. Condom-distribution programs may actually encourage more teenagers to have sex.

Is this really that surprising? If adults tell teens that the decision to engage in sex is theirs and give them condoms, what message do they receive?

It makes sense, especially given another finding of the study. Buckles and Hungerman found that sexual activity, along with STDs, increased in counties with condom-distribution programs. This puts a lie to all those lofty assurances from the Sexual Left that condoms would prevent all that. No, more likely, they encouraged it!

Michael J. New, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan at Dearborn, notes that this ugly outcome likely is a result of increased sexual risk-taking as a result of condoms in the schools. All at taxpayers’ expense.

Now Buckles and Hungerman are quick to point out that they believe the effects of teen fertility would be less alarming if the condom-distribution programs were also accompanied by mandatory sex-ed counseling. But New says such education efforts would not totally offset the jump in teen fertility caused by condom distribution. There would still be more births to teenaged mothers, and presumably more teen STDs, than if there were no condoms in the schools in the first place.

“Overall,” says New, “the study adds to an impressive body of research which shows that efforts to encourage contraceptive use either through mandates, subsidies, or distribution are ineffective at best or counterproductive at worst. In many countries, increases in contraception use are correlated with increase in the abortion rate.”

Now it would be optimistic at best to assume that the folks who brought these condom-distribution programs to us, and their cheerleaders in the media, would own up to the conundrum they have created and work to make things right. But no, we’ll have to do that ourselves.

So the first step to changing what our schools do is to read the study and make sure that members of your local school boards have a copy. Just come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary for a link to it, along with more information to get you up to speed.

And second, we shouldn’t be surprised that non-Christians teach our sons and daughters a non-Christian worldview concerning the human body, the unitive act, or marriage. Teaching our own kids about sex and design and relationships and marriage, while pointing out and countering the lies about sex proclaimed in the culture, is first and foremost our job as parents and as Christian communities.

children, culture, education, ideology, science, sex, study, unintended consequences

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5 Things President Obama Needs To Say About Black Crime But Won’t

original article: 5 Things President Obama Needs To Say About Black Crime But Won’t
July 20, 2016 by John Gibbs

President Obama held a nationally televised town hall last week to address heightened tensions and divisions in our society due to recent shootings of black criminals by police, and the recent shootings of police officers in Dallas. Just days after the event,three police officers in Baton Rouge were assassinated, further highlighting the high stakes for how the president handles this issue.

I was invited to attend last week’s town hall and ask the president a question, but ultimately could not make it. But I did watch it at home, and would like to highlight some key points President Obama did not to make, which could have begun the process of healing and reconciliation.

Indeed, Sunday’s execution of three police officers in Baton Rouge shows what can happen when the president creates an atmosphere of racial victimization and blames police. So it is critical that Obama develops a new message that takes us in the right direction before things get worse and there’s another incident.

With that in mind, here are the statements President Obama should have included in his remarks last week.

1. ‘We Must, Must, Must Reduce the Black Crime Rate’

The black crime rate is significantly higher than that of other races. Yes, some would claim this is due to institutionalized racism or a lack of job opportunities. However, black crime was much lower in past eras when discrimination against black people was much higher, and the economic position of black people was much worse, than today. So that can be no excuse.

President Obama should have talked about how the overall crime rate for black people is three times higher than the national average. He should have noted how blacks commit homicide at a rate eight times higher than whites do, according to Department of Justice data. Even though blacks and Hispanics combined make up only 30 percent of the population, they make up more than 80 percent of all gang members in the United States. He should also have talked how even though black folks are only 13 percent of the population, we commit about 62 percent of all robberies and 56 percent of all carjackings. Obama should have then asked: “Is this really what Dr. King died for?”

2. ‘We Must Put the Black Family Back Together’

Even though the studies clearly show that children born into single-parent homes have worse outcomes in nearly every area, sadly, today about 72 percent of black kids are born to unwed mothers. This has created a whole new generation of troubled young men who have an increased likelihood of entering a life of crime and getting themselves into altercations with the police that create these divisive incidents we see on the news.

So putting the family back together so black children are born into stable, two-parent homes will go a long way to fixing many of the problems black people face today, including problems with the police. President Obama should have forcefully illuminated the broken state of black families, then outlined his ideas to put it back together. There are many ways to approach this, but one good place to start is to scale back well-intentioned but ineffective entitlement programs that encourage and enable single-motherhood, many of which the president himself unfortunately supports.

If he couldn’t have stomached this tough but true response, Obama could have at least given the example of how he leads his own family, which is indeed a stable two-parent black family.

3. ‘We Must Fix the Brokenness in Black Culture’

Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health Data shows that thepopularity of black kids decreases as their GPA increases, a trend not seen for white public school children. This means black kids pay a high social price for pursuing academic excellence. Research from psychologist Angela Neal-Barnett shows that things like taking an Advanced Placement class, taking an honors class, or—gasp—speaking standard English were behaviors many black students saw as “acting white” and thus carried a social cost.

Researchers are still working out the reasons for this unfortunate phenomenon, but I suspect it exists simply because many young black people are rarely challenged by teachers, parents, communities, and the media. That’s because: 1) It’s much easier to just blame racism, and 2) Challenging black veneration of underachievement might be seen as racist.

However, President Obama should have avoided the easy, cowardly approach of blaming racism and instead forcefully illustrated the problem, proclaiming that achieving excellence does not have a race attached to it, and we will have zero tolerance for blacks who ridicule other black folks for pursuing distinction.

There is also a destructive thug culture among some strains of the black community. Black journalist Cynthia Tucker Haynes beautifully states: “Somewhere along the way, a cadre of young black men and women began glorifying violence, misogyny and thuggery, accepting incarceration as inevitable, resigning themselves to lives on the margins of mainstream society. They created a thug culture that has been commodified — celebrated in music and movies, sold to poor adolescents in wretched neighborhoods as well as affluent teenagers in upscale communities.”

What more can be said? President Obama should have uttered these powerful words last night, then ended them with, “Therefore, we must demolish this thug culture that is destroying young black Americans. We will treat it the same as terrorism: pursue it, confront it, and destroy it.” That’s right, I just compared thug culture to terrorism. September 11, 2011 killed about 3,000 Americans, yet about 5,500 black men kill other black men annually. That’s almost two black 9/11s per year! So where’s the War Against Thugs™?

4. ‘The Police Are Not the Main Problem’

Over the past 35 years, a mind-bending 323,820 black people have been killed by other black people in America, far exceeding the number of police officers killed during that same timeframe. The data showsabout 71 blacks are killed by other blacks for every one black person killed by a white police officer. It is clear then, the real problem is black people killing each other.

Yes, cases of police misconduct should be confronted and handled promptly when they occur. Absolutely. But black deaths due to the police account for less than 2 percent of all black murders, so attacking the police must never be the main issue. President Obama should thus have stated forcefully, “Let us stop blaming the police, for they are not the ones killing black folks. Sadly, it is black folks who are killing each other. Therefore, wemust solve the national problem of black murder.”

5. ‘Blaming Police Gets More Police Killed’

Rhetoric that frames police for the deep, systematic problems in the black community puts police lives in danger by riling up hatred and resentment towards them, and encourages the kind of cop killers we’ve seen in Dallas and Baton Rouge. This kind of rhetoric can’t be tolerated.

First, it’s not true. The police are the first line of defense in protecting black Americans from black criminals, who overwhelmingly target black victims. Second, it takes focus away from the real issues at the source of the problem: broken families, thug culture, entitlement programs that disincentivize family formation, and a culture of low achievement.

President Obama should have thus forcefully declared “We will never allow police lives to be put in jeopardy by dangerous rhetoric that blames them for brokenness in minority communities, a brokenness they did not cause and cannot fix.”

Thankfully for the president, I do not charge for this free post-mortem analysis. But for further consultations, we’ll have to talk.

bias, bigotry, culture, hate crime, hypocrisy, ideology, racism, relativism, tragedy

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Who gets absolute moral authority?

original article: Malkin: Who gets absolute moral authority?
July 20, 2016 by Michelle Malkin

My 12-year-old son couldn’t remember the phrase “take a walk down memory lane” last week, instead describing a stroll through “nostalgia road.” I knew it would come in handy.

Put on your hiking boots and join me for an educational trip down good ol’ nostalgia road.

It seems like yesterday when Champion of Wimmin Maureen Dowd, bemoaning the lack of sympathy for anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan, declared in The New York Times that “the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute.”

No ifs, ands or other hedging qualifiers. Absolutely absolute.

And it was just a blink of an eye ago that the same New York Times spilled barrels of adulatory ink on the 9/11 widows known as the Jersey Girls. Remember them? The quartet of Democratic women parlayed their post-terror attack plight into powerful roles as Bush-bashing citizen lobbyists.

Their story, the lib narrative-shaping paper of record reported, was a “tale of a political education, and a sisterhood born of grief.”

Moms and widows deserved special consideration in the public square, the argument went a decade ago. Their experience and their testimony warranted respect, deference and the national spotlight.

But then, as now, only a special class of victims is entitled to cash in the Absolute Moral Authority card. Not all parents and spouses who have lost loved ones can join the Club of the Unquestioned and Unassailable.

On Monday night at the Republican National Convention, Pat Smith shared her own tale of a political education born of grief after her diplomat son, Sean Smith, died in the Benghazi terrorist attack. Hillary Clinton, she passionately insisted, “deserves to be in stripes!”

GQ sports writer Nathaniel Friedman showed his compassion for Smith’s loss and pain by tweeting, “I don’t care how many children Pat Smith lost I would like to beat her to death.”

MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who had helped make Cindy Sheehan a media star and urged her to run for Congress based on her status as a grieving war mom, fumed that Pat Smith had “ruined” the entire convention with her heartfelt testimony. The smug Democratic political operative turned TV bloviator, who had also elevated the Jersey Girls’ celebrity status with multiple bookings on his show, couldn’t bear to speak Smith’s name:

“I don’t care what that woman up there, the mother, has felt. Her emotions are her own, but for the country in choosing a leader, it’s wrong to have someone get up there and tell a lie about Hillary Clinton.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chimed in on the same network that he was disgusted with how the GOP convention was using Smith to “exploit a tragedy.”

GOP-bashers heaped similar derision on father Jamiel Shaw Sr. and mothers Sabine Durden and Mary Ann Mendoza, who all spoke at the convention about losing children to criminals who had slipped illegally through open borders and revolving deportation doors. “Progressives” sneered at Shaw as an “Uncle Tom” for pointing out that Latino gangbangers targeted his black son because of his race. The intolerant tolerance mob also accused Durden of being “fooled” and Durden and Mendoza of being “exploited for apocalyptic theater.”

Will these horrified hang-wringers be as outspokenly offended next week when the Democratic National Convention dedicates an entire evening to the so-called Mothers of the Movement?

Among the sainted moms of the Black Lives Matter movement who will speak on Hillary Clinton’s behalf are Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton; Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis; Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown; Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, mother of Hadiya Pendleton; and Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland.

Each of these cases lumped under supposedly unjustified gun violence and systemic racism is complicated and distinct. For starters, Bland hanged herself when her friends and family wouldn’t bail her out of jail after she had kicked a police officer. Two of the “children” involved in police shootings (Brown and Hamilton) had assaulted cops during their fatal encounters.

But drop all questions and doubts. “These mothers have worked tirelessly to raise awareness around the issues that surround their children’s deaths,” the liberal Huffington Post reports.

Because these women endorse race-baiting, gun-grabbing narratives and left-wing candidates, no one working in the mainstream media will ever challenge their parental prerogative to participate in politics on behalf of their loved ones.

Moms who have lost their children to Democratic incompetence, corruption and open-borders treachery are out of luck. The dealers of Absolute Moral Authority play with a loaded deck.

anti-war, bias, campaign, corruption, culture, Democrats, elections, elitism, fraud, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, lies, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, scandal, tragedy, troops, victimization

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Making ‘Star Trek’s’ Sulu Gay Is A Lame Move By Bad Screenwriters

original article: Making ‘Star Trek’s’ Sulu Gay Is A Lame Move By Bad Screenwriters
July 18, 2016 by D.C. McAllister

I don’t know if Courtney Kirchoff of LouderWithCrowder originally came up with this, but her label of “straight character appropriation” by Hollywood is spot-on, especially now that we have more of it with helmsman Sulu transforming from a straight character to a gay one in the new “Star Trek Beyond” movie.

Let me first confess to being a Trekkie, so I’m a bit biased about messing with a franchise I love. If you make a change, it better be worthy of the change. I’m a “Star Trek” purist from the days of Jim Kirk making out with green women and having the first onscreen interracial kiss with Uhura, and I’m irritated by making Sulu gay, not because I have a problem with homosexuality (I don’t) or because I take issue with exploring controversial themes (“Star Trek” is famous for doing just that). I object because this is an affront to consistent storytelling without making a complete overhaul of the narrative (think of totally re-imagined “Battlestar Galactica”)—all for the sake of checking off the “we’ve got a gay character now” box.

Ultimately, this was just a thoughtless decision without creative merit. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. To Hollywood’s surprise, the gay actor who originally played Sulu says he isn’t on board and has called the switch “unfortunate.” Fellow actors are now jumping all over George Takei like he’s a gay Uncle Tom.

The Gayness Is Disproportionate

“Star Trek,” of course, isn’t the first to engage in straight character appropriation. It’s been a recent Hollywood trend to increase the presence of gays on the screen, even though, as Kirchoff rightly points out in her rant against Hollywood “gaying all things,” homosexuals make up only about 3.4 percent of the U.S. population. Despite this low number, gays composed about 14 percent of characters in films released in 2014—and that’s increasing with transgenders now being added to the mix.

Despite the reality of the population numbers, the push for more gays is unrelenting. Not only are more gay characters being introduced in shows and movies, straight characters are being transformed into gay ones. You might have heard about Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen,” Marvel’s Captain America becoming gay (wouldn’t that be symbolic?), and Jeri Hogarth in “Jessica Jones” who is a straight man in the comic books but has magically transformed into a gay woman in the Netflix series.

There are even disturbing rumors about making James Bond gay. Can you imagine the new “Bond guy” Robert Pattinson (just grabbing from the barrel of hot actors here) whispering “Oh, James …” Ummm. No. I’m with Daniel Craig on this one—it ain’t going to happen. Still, the way things are going, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

As an aside, if sexuality is that fluid, I wonder what would happen if we started converting gay characters to straight—and not in that bisexual dump-the-lesbian-for-a-guy Ellen Degeneres life story kind of way. Imagine if the dashing Loras Tyrell of “Game of Thrones” had suddenly said after all that business with Renly that he really is straight and would be delighted to marry a woman and make babies. Things might have turned out better for him this past season. But I don’t think Hollywood would be too excited about that, do you?

Anyway. In its push to drape everything in the rainbow flag, Tinseltown thought it would be a dandy idea to have the most recent installment of straight character appropriation be Sulu of “Star Trek.” Yet Sulu never had any on-screen love interests, he’s straight in the books, had the hots for Uhura (who hasn’t?), and had a daughter from a “one-night stand with a glamazon…A very athletic, powerful and stunningly gorgeous woman,” Takei explains.

Regardless of the history, we know from Takei himself that the character was straight, and this is what Gene Roddenberry, the series’ creator, intended. Roddenberry’s son says he understands why Takei isn’t thrilled about the change since “in a way, it’s George’s character” as well as his father’s creation, but he does think his father would have supported having a gay character.

But instead of creating a whole new character, the writer of “Star Trek Beyond,” Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty in the new films, decided to have Sulu go through gay conversion therapy and repent of his straightness. Now we have a brief scene showing Scotty with his husband, holding his daughter. “Look everyone, Sulu is gay… now back to the action.” Instead of creating a whole new character, Pegg took the lazy route and decided just to appropriate a straight one.

It Doesn’t Even Make Any Plot Sense

“I’m delighted that there’s a gay character,” Takei told The Hollywood Reporter. “Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.”

When Takei first heard the idea of making Sulu gay, he tried to convince the team to develop a new character instead. “I told him [John Cho, who plays Sulu] ‘Be imaginative and create a character who has a history of being gay, rather than Sulu, who had been straight all this time, suddenly being revealed as being closeted.’”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Takei had enough negative experiences inside the Hollywood closet, he says, and strongly feels a character who came of age in the 23rd century would never find his way inside one.” Good point. Would a gay man really be hiding in the closet all these years in the extremely tolerant world of “Star Trek,” especially for someone from Earth and working in the all-inclusive Federation?

The Hollywood Reporter also makes the prickly point that this is even more twisted because the new film takes place before the old “Star Trek,” so we would actually have Sulu being gay and then going into the closet. That’s just weird. How do the “Star Trek” writers and all the actors rallying behind the decision to gay-up Sulu explain that little jewel of timeline inconsistency?

They can’t, but they don’t care. Instead of being faithful to a consistent science-fiction narrative, one actor after another is throwing his support behind the fictional gay Sulu and throwing the real-life gay actor who played straight Sulu under the bus. That includesZachary Quinto, who is also gay in real life, but plays straight Spock—for now. Pretty messed-up stuff.

It’s Not Positive for Gay People, Either

But it fits the Hollywood, pro-gay agenda, and in the long run it will probably undermine their cause. Like feminism, the homosexual militant agenda (as opposed to regular gay people who just want to live their lives in peace) has moved beyond wanting equality and tolerance. The Gay Gestapo, of which Hollywood is a part, wants power; they want to punish straights; they want to elevate themselves as the ones with enlightened gay consciousness; and they want to ram their agenda of approval and capitulation (not tolerance) down the throats of every American. In the process, they will push gay characters in your face, they will appropriate straight ones, and you will like it, damn it!

The sad thing is, this is only stirring up conflict and creating more division. A lot of people, and I include myself in this, are tolerant of homosexuality, love their homosexual friends, and really don’t care what people do in the bedroom. But I don’t need nor want gayness (nor feminism, global warming, environmentalism, gun control, and not even religion of any stripe) shoved in my face every time I turn on the television or go to a movie. If it happens, and continues to happen, I’ll just stop watching.

Most people want a good, well-written, well-acted story: realistic characters who are part of a beautifully crafted narrative that challenges us to think and makes us feel greater empathy for others. If that involves a gay character, great. If it doesn’t, if it’s about an agenda, the writers and producers have duped me into watching something that amounts to propaganda rather than good storytelling. That doesn’t make me a happy customer.

What the “Star Trek” writers are doing is a violation of quality art (and yes, even science fiction is a type of art—not high art, but still art) for the sake of a liberal agenda—or even worst, just to create conflict and buzz for marketing purposes (sometimes it really does come down to the almighty dollar). Either way, they don’t care about well-crafted storytelling or being faithful to the cohesiveness of a created universe. They just want to get gold stars for being progressive and tolerant, or they simply want to line their pockets. As a result, they’re just pissing everyone off.

Look, Good Art Is Possible

They could learn a lot from Alan Ball. He’s the gay screenwriter who created HBO’s “Six Feet Under” and wrote “True Blood.” He, probably better than many in Hollywood, mainstreamed homosexuality in television in a way that was artistic and effective (along with “Will and Grace”). Ball deftly created compelling homosexual characters who touched our hearts and revealed to us deep struggles gay people face today—a feat he accomplished while being artistically faithful and treating his own creations with the care and respect they deserve, even on those occasions when he was advancing his own commentary on homosexuality.

This is particularly true with the fictional character David Fisher in “Six Feet Under,” a beautifully crafted homosexual character with whom the viewer connects immediately, even if you’re not gay. The same is true of Lafayette Reynolds in “True Blood,” a complex character who tugs at our heartstrings in his quest for true love.

Ball gave us exceptional characters while maintaining quality storytelling. Does this mean he didn’t have an agenda? He certainly did. In a way, all writers have an “agenda.” They want to communicate something, and often it is something of social significance. In the case of “True Blood,” Ball had a gay agenda in the overall theme of the show, but he was clever enough to incorporate that into a story in a realistic way that lent itself to the narrative as created by the writer of the original series, Charlaine Harris.

This is what good writing looks like, and there are several other examples in television and film, including “Orange Is the New Black.” “Star Trek Beyond” in this instance isn’t one of them. They have taken good storytelling and turned it on its head just to make a cultural and political statement. This imposition of gayness by Hollywood is offensive not only on a social-cultural level, it’s insulting on a creative level.

Making Sulu gay did nothing to advance the plot or play into an overall narrative that actually promotes a significant message about homosexuality. Neither is it like “Battlestar Galactica” where Starbuck is now a woman in an entirely newly imagined story (and even that caused quite the uproar). “Star Trek” has not been re-imagined. Sulu is still Sulu, and nothing in the plot has called for a change in his sexuality—a change, as I stated previously, that cannot really be done retroactively because of the timeline of the story.

What the writers of “Star Trek” have done is lazy, banal, trivial, and, simply put, bad writing. As artists, they can do better. We as paying viewers deserve better. Instead, they just want to make a statement instead of creating something original. As a result, they will not convert anyone to their cause, and they won’t bring anything of worth to the art they are trying to create. Instead, they are diminishing themselves, undermining Roddenberry’s creation, and sewing discord from their soapbox perch instead of building bridges and opening hearts through imaginative storytelling.

bias, culture, diversity, homosexuality, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda

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In some schools social indoctrination supersedes normal education

original article: Media touts 14-year-old’s poem APOLOGIZING for being white, but now the backlash is building
July 14, 2016 by Tom Tillison

A 14-year-old student‘s “slam poem” on white privilege is taking the country by storm.

Royce Mann, a private school student at The Paideia School in Atlanta, won a competition with a poem, “White Boy Privilege,” in which he apologized to women and people of color for being born a white male, according to CNN.

…for starting life “on top of the ladder while you were born on the first rung.”

Never mind that, according to the Census Bureau, there were 19.7 million white Americans living in poverty as of 2014.

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“Dear women, I’m sorry. Dear black people, I’m sorry,” the poem begins. “Dear Asian-Americans, dear Native Americans, dear immigrants who came here seeking a better life, I’m sorry. Dear everyone who isn’t a middle or upper-class white boy, I’m sorry. I have started life on the top of the ladder while you were born on the first rung.”

Mann said he loves his privilege and doesn’t know what he would do without “my white boy privilege safety blankie to protect me.”

He even regurgitated the left’s false narrative of racist cops, saying, “I love it because when I see a police officer I see someone who’s on my side.”

But his distorted views get worse.

‘Because of my gender, I can watch any sport on TV, and feel like that could be me one day,” the student said. “Because of my race I can eat at a fancy restaurant without the wait staff expecting me to steal the silverware.

In a sane world, his offering would be cause to investigate for possible child abuse for a severe form of indocrination, but instead Mann has been applauded for being enlightened… for being “woke” in Black Lives Matter lingo, CNN reported.

Where did he get such notions?

“That was the first time I did slam poetry,” Mann told Fusion in a phone interview. “I wrote it because I became aware of white privilege this year. We have a class called Race, Class and Gender that everyone has to take, and I got really passionate about how unfair it is.”

And he concluded his liberal equality rant with a call to action.

“Hey white boys: It’s time to act like a woman,” he said. “To be strong and make a difference. It’s time to let go of that fear.”

While the mainstream media is touting the boy’s indoctrinated message far and wide, not everyone is buying it.

What school requires its students to be indoctrinated this way in a class on Race, Class, and Gender? According to the Atlanta Joural-Constitution it’s The Paideia School in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Does school choice work? It depends on whether you ask parents or education bureaucrats

original article: Even When School Choice Works, Critics Call It a Failure
July 11, 2016 by Vicki Alger

Thomas Paine recommended vouchers to help parents afford private schools for their children more than 200 years ago. While most college students today use vouchers to attend public or private colleges and universities, the concept remains needlessly controversial when it comes to parents using them for their school-age children.

For example, in a recent Washington Post article Emma Brown recently claimed school choice hasn’t worked based on evidence from New York City, where students are no longer assigned to public high schools based on their zip codes.

For starters, the Big Apple is hardly, as Brown calls it, “a real-life laboratory for questions of school choice” just because in 2004 the city deigned to allow parents of eighth-graders to choose up to 12 public high schools to attend out of a possible 400.

Currently, more than half of all states have parental choice programs that include private schools – not just public schools. New York isn’t one of them.

But Brown’s own evidence shows that empowering parents over their children’s education works. According to Brown, as of 2015 NYC’s overall public high school graduation rate has improved steadily and now exceeds 70 percent. Even neighborhood-based racial graduation rate gaps have diminished. Yet because they exist, school choice must be a failure. Brown seems to be implying (although she doesn’t say so explicitly) that returning to the old way of assigning students to schools would level the playing field.

It likely would…but not in a positive way since assigned schooling minimizes the likelihood students will be able to attend schools that are the best for for them. And, by removing competition for students schools have little (if any) incentive to customize instruction to individual students’ needs.

The reality is, parental choice programs are helping participating students (overwhelmingly those from disadvantaged backgrounds) as well as non-participating students who benefit from the effects of their schools having to compete for students and associated funding.

A new research synthesis helps shed light on the growing body of research proving that parental choice works.

Currently, there are 50 private school scholarship programs in 26 states and Washington, DC. What’s more, over half of them were implemented in the past five years. But do such programs work?

Experts from the University of Arkansas conducted a global review of “gold standard” studies, and using scientifically exacting methods concluded that private school choice results in statistically significant improvements in reading and math performance, 0.27 standard deviations and 0.15 standard deviations, respectively.

To put those results into perspective, 25 percent of a standard deviation represents approximately one year of academic growth on most measures of student achievement. These results are all the more remarkable because most private school choice programs limit eligibility to students from low-income families, and these students typically struggle academically.

Such results should come as welcome news for addressing chronic achievement gaps and high college remediation rates – but they likely won’t.

Parental choice in education, private-school parental choice in particular, remains a political hot button. Teachers and administrators unions, among others, fiercely oppose supporting parents’ right to choose non-public schools for their children.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has done everything in its power to shut down the successful DC Opportunity Scholarship Program – (although it was recently reauthorized) in spite of evidence from the US Department of Education “What Works” division that the program is effective, efficient, and popular. It’s also accomplishes more for a whole lot less.

Thankfully, parents and policymakers in the states are moving ahead with an ever-growing array of parental choice programs, including vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, and education savings accounts (ESAs). Such progress will be difficult if not impossible to stop, no matter how loudly critics complain.

bureaucracy, children, culture, education, fraud, government, nanny state, politics, public policy, reform, study

Filed under: bureaucracy, children, culture, education, fraud, government, nanny state, politics, public policy, reform, study

A dynamic society is not perfectible – stop acting like cattle

In light of the US Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage we see the two fundamental social forces at work in the United States. These forces show us the human condition is dynamic, thus so is human society. Because society is not a static thing the idea of progress is not nearly as settled as many people would think.

The idea of progress is a very noble one, at its core. There is suffering and injustice in the world. A lot of it. ISIS is a good example of the evil that exists in the world. Indeed the desire for improvement of the human condition adds social pressure to a people to prevent its decay into a barbaric society like that of ISIS. A health society needs this desire to improve.

On the other hand, because society is dynamic and not static, we must remember that progress itself is not static. The idea that past improvements are here to stay is an assumption. There are good reasons for thinking progress is a permanent thing but there are also good reasons to doubt this assumption. It seems to me the idea of progress, while often viewed as achievement, is in practice really nothing more than trend.

In the gay marriage example, we have a group of people who are widely believed to have been oppressed. The alleged oppression prevented gay people from loving who they wanted to love and prevented them from living with who they wanted to live with. Of course neither of these forms of oppression are true in the United States, as gay people were living with and loving the people they wanted all along. Though these allegations are true in some regions of the world:

Thrown to death… for being gay

‘Kill the gays’ penalty proposed Malawi Muslim Association

UK Muslim Cleric: ’Okay to Kill Gays’

Horrific moment ISIS kill four gay men by throwing them from a roof

Iranian Gay Men To Be Hanged For Sodomy: Report

‘Gays’ and the Muslims who kill them

So Far, Media Downplaying Muslim Scholar Preaching Death for Gays in Orlando

Yes, yes, gay people have been murdered in the United States as well. In the US killing gay people is considered murder, while in many other parts of the world murdering gays is considered justice. But there are plenty of people who insist on treating the murder of gays in the US as no different from killing them elsewhere. In fact many go out of their way to argue conservatives and Christians are no different from Islamic extremists, yet would insist Muslims don’t hate gays. How are conservatives and Christians hateful homophobes no different from Muslim homophobes while Muslim homophobes are not homophobes at all? Don’t ask me. We live in a country where believing marriage is between one man and one woman is treated as equivalent to murdering gays, yet when gays are actually murdered by an Islamic extremists it is not Muslims who are to blame. Guess who is to blame:

ABC Blames Orlando Terror on Election Rhetoric and Guns in America

Anything But Islam: Media Attack Guns, Men, Christians, GOP Instead of Ideology in Terror Attack

NYT Columnist: Orlando Shows ‘How Potent’ Combination of ISIS, NRA Can Be

The View: Orlando Shooter Had No Ties to ISIS but Trump Is ‘Working With ISIS to Kill Us’

Vile Bee Prays NRA Is Plagued with Boils, Declares She Wants to Take Guns Away Post-Orlando

ThinkProgress Blames Christians For Orlando Shooting

Nets Censor Chick-fil-A’s Help in Orlando Blood Drives After Shooting

North Carolina NBC Reporter Blames Christians, Bathroom Law Advocates for Orlando

CBS Insinuates Christians ‘Promote the Kind of Violence’ in Orlando

Huffington Post Blames Orlando on Christians and Fox News Viewers

NY Times Again Blames Anti-Gay GOP, Not Radical Islam, for Orlando Massacre

The Logic Behind the Left’s Demonization of Conservatives

So we’ve got a convoluted notion of who is anti-gay and who is not but American culture tells itself redefining marriage to include same sex couples is progress, and this progress is here to stay.

That’s rather curious. In Europe in centuries past, it was one group or another of Christians who could be oppressed, abused and murdered merely for being the wrong kind of Christian. Some of those people left the old world to help forge a new world, one inherently based in a spirit of individual liberty where they could practice their beliefs freely. This idea would later be codified as the freedom of religion and made part of the law of the land. But that essential liberty is being undermined, along with a few other things.

There some fundamental problems with the way the American government dealt with the gay marriage issue. The tactics chosen to affect this type of change undermine many rights Americans currently enjoy and even some vital aspects of the government itself.

First, American society holds to a separation between church and state. This separation is widely and frequently cited as essential to the preservation of liberty. Throughout its history the United States has treated marriage as an inherently religious thing. But in 2016 the federal government usurped this religious institution, making it what a few oligarchs on the bench decided it should be. And gay activists demanded this. So much for keeping government out of the bedroom. It turns out keeping government and religion separate is only selectively important; apparently we don’t need this separation when government wants power over religion.

Second, American society holds to a separation of powers. The genus of the American experiment has several aspects, not least of which is the balance of power. In the Constitution of the United States, the supreme law of the land, the power to make law does not rest in the hands of the President or the Supreme Court. That power is reserved for the Congress. But the Supreme Court has decided it can make law by fiat. This is not the first time SCOTUS presumed the right to make law (Roe v Wade is another).

This episode in American history show us certain things presumed permanent can easily be undone. The separation between church and state and the separation of powers are being undermined, and are done so with celebration from the political left. In the aftermath of recent mass shootings we see an overt effort to defend Muslims against imaginary acts of meanness while undermining the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms (and even question the right to self defense, another aspect of the law of the land long thought to be permanent). Some people are willing to be honest about their true intentions in supporting gun control.

You think gay marriage is a great step forward? Will you think the same if it turns out changing marriage in this way was merely a step toward banning marriage altogether as activist Masha Gessen is candid enough to admit?

You think the right to free speech is a permanent fixture of a free society? Well, you’re right, but that doesn’t mean the United States is going to remain a free society, not with politicians clamoring to change the first amendment. In the United States it used to be taken as self evident that rights do not come from government but from a higher source. Today it seems half of Americans think rights are bestowed upon us by government. Some may call this progress; I would call it regress.

When our Progressive (by that I mean radically left leaning) society pushes for its idea of liberty I cannot help but notice this also means the restriction or even elimination of other liberties often taken for granted. Liberty is an achievement, but not a permanent one. The American experiment is an historical anomaly in a world where oppression and tyranny are the norm. Not seeing tyranny for what it is, Progressives tend to fight inequality not realizing they do so by sacrificing everyone else’s liberty and are pushing American society back towards the historical norm.

In his body of work on analyzing society Russel Kirk explains ten principles of conservatism. In principle 10 he explains it like this:

The conservative is not opposed to social improvement, although he doubts whether there is any such force as a mystical Progress, with a Roman P, at work in the world. When a society is progressing in some respects, usually it is declining in other respects. The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces, which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called its Permanence and its Progression. The Permanence of a society is formed by those enduring interests and convictions that gives us stability and continuity; without that Permanence, the fountains of the great deep are broken up, society slipping into anarchy. The Progression in a society is that spirit and that body of talents which urge us on to prudent reform and improvement; without that Progression, a people stagnate.

Therefore the intelligent conservative endeavors to reconcile the claims of Permanence and the claims of Progression. He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

Change is essential to the body social, the conservative reasons, just as it is essential to the human body. A body that has ceased to renew itself has begun to die. But if that body is to be vigorous, the change must occur in a regular manner, harmonizing with the form and nature of that body; otherwise change produces a monstrous growth, a cancer, which devours its host. The conservative takes care that nothing in a society should ever be wholly old, and that nothing should ever be wholly new. This is the means of the conservation of a nation, quite as it is the means of conservation of a living organism. Just how much change a society requires, and what sort of change, depend upon the circumstances of an age and a nation.

Let us embrace healthy change (an admittedly subjective concept) when it is needed (also a subjective notion) and not rush to it just for the sake of change. All actions have consequences. Changes we impose on society by fiat have not been vetted and consequences will ensue, often painful and often accomplishing the opposite of what was promised. As Kirk alludes to a balance between permanence and progression let us carefully consider the change we desire and especially the methods we employ to achieve it. Whether the change we affect hits its target or misses completely there will inevitably be unforeseen consequences either way. We cannot possibly know how future generations will interpret or distort our efforts and accomplishments of today.

Change should be viewed more like a pendulum rather than a ladder. As we see in our own lifetime some things previously taken for granted have been inverted. We now allow a man to claim to be a woman. We now allow a white person to claim to be black (though for some reason we won’t allow a murderous thug to declare himself Muslim). We officially claim the freedom of religion and use it as an excuse to restrict the freedom of religion. We restrict the freedom of speech and excuse it as the avoidance of hurting someone’s feelings. The more volatile an issue is, and the more controversial the methods of dealing with it, the more likely a strong reaction will upend what was once considered stable. You can push, but you should expect others to push back.

We humans are not perfectible. And neither is society. What was once achieved can be torn down. Humanity is a dynamic thing. Real solutions are elusive. Realistically we should expect to deal with the problems of life by finding trade offs rather than sweeping solutions. In this election season we would do well to remember every promise a politician makes has an underlying cost, a cost often obscured or ignored but will come back to bite us eventually. Don’t blindly accept what politicians and news media are selling.

american, civil rights, conservative, culture, first amendment, free speech, freedom, ideology, philosophy, politics, right wing, separation, unintended consequences

Filed under: american, civil rights, conservative, culture, first amendment, free speech, freedom, ideology, philosophy, politics, right wing, separation, unintended consequences

The Gun Control Farce

original article: The Gun Control Farce
June 21, 2016 by Thomas Sowell

Surely murder is a serious subject, which ought to be examined seriously. Instead, it is almost always examined politically in the context of gun control controversies, with stock arguments on both sides that have remained the same for decades. And most of those arguments are irrelevant to the central question: Do tighter gun control laws reduce the murder rate?

That is not an esoteric question, nor one for which no empirical evidence is available. Think about it. We have 50 states, each with its own gun control laws, and many of those laws have gotten either tighter or looser over the years. There must be tons of data that could indicate whether murder rates went up or down when either of these things happened.

But have you ever heard any gun control advocate cite any such data? Tragically, gun control has become one of those fact-free issues that spawn outbursts of emotional rhetoric and mutual recriminations about the National Rifle Association or the Second Amendment.

If restrictions on gun ownership do reduce murders, we can repeal the Second Amendment, as other Constitutional Amendments have been repealed. Laws exist to protect people. People do not exist to perpetuate laws.

But if tighter restrictions on gun ownership do not reduce murders, what is the point of tighter gun control laws — and what is the point of demonizing the National Rifle Association?

There are data not only from our 50 states but also from other countries around the world. Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm’s empirical study, “Guns and Violence: The English Experience,” should be eye-opening for all those who want their eyes opened, however small that number of people might be.

Professor Malcolm’s book also illustrates the difference between isolated, cherry-picked facts and relevant empirical evidence.

Many gun control advocates have cited the much higher murder rates in the United States than in England as due to tighter gun control laws in England. But Professor Malcolm’s study points out that the murder rate in New York has been some multiple of the murder rate in London for two centuries — and, during most of that time, neither city had serious restrictions on gun ownership.

As late as 1954, “there were no controls on shotguns” in England, Professor Malcolm reported, but only 12 cases of armed robbery in London. Of these only 4 had real guns. But in the remainder of the 20th century, gun control laws became ever more severe — and armed robberies in London soared to 1,400 by 1974.

“As the numbers of legal firearms have dwindled, the numbers of armed crimes have risen” is her summary of that history in England. Conversely, in the United States the number of handguns in American homes more than doubled between 1973 and 1992, while the murder rate went down.

There are relevant facts available, but you are not likely to hear about them from politicians currently pushing for tighter gun control laws, or from the mainstream media, when those facts go against the claims of gun control advocates.

Despite hundreds of thousands of times a year when Americans use firearms defensively, none of those incidents is likely to be reported in the mainstream media, even when lives are saved as a result. But one accidental firearm death in a home will be broadcast and rebroadcast from coast to coast.

Virtually all empirical studies in the United States show that tightening gun control laws has not reduced crime rates in general or murder rates in particular. Is this because only people opposed to gun control do empirical studies? Or is it because the facts uncovered in empirical studies make the arguments of gun control zealots untenable?

In both England and the United States, those people most zealous for tighter gun control laws tend also to be most lenient toward criminals and most restrictive on police. The net result is that law-abiding citizens become more vulnerable when they are disarmed and criminals disobey gun control laws, as they disobey other laws.

The facts are too plain to be ignored. Moreover, the consequences are too dangerous to law-abiding citizens, whose lives are put in jeopardy on the basis of fact-free assumptions and unexamined dogmas. Such arguments are a farce, but not the least bit funny.

civil rights, constitution, culture, gun rights, ideology, law, study

Filed under: civil rights, constitution, culture, gun rights, ideology, law, study

Muslim Teens Say They’re Victim of Hate Crime, Then STUNNING Video Comes Out

original article: WATCH: Muslim Teens Say They’re Victim of Hate Crime, Then STUNNING Video Comes Out
July 5, 2016 by Conservative Tribune

When two Muslim teens from a Brooklyn mosque said that they had been beaten because of their religious beliefs, New Yorkers and Americans of all stripes were outraged.

However, it turns out that police revealed a different motive for the attack. They’re not investigating it as a hate crime because they say that the teens were hitting on a woman inside a car and her boyfriend, enraged by the harassment, attacked the 16-year-olds.

According to WABC-TV, the incident happened in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Sunset Park. As the teens described it, they had just left prayer services at the Muslim Community Center when they started looking at a car.

The attacker then stepped out from behind the car and said, “you f***** terrorists” and “You Muslims are the cause of all the problems in the world” while kicking and beating the teens.

Police, however, discovered something different.

According to the New York Daily News, the two teenagers had been hitting on a woman in a parked car for over an hour. While that was bad enough, their actions went above sexual harassment. They had attempted to open her car door and poked their head inside the window.

When her boyfriend came out, one thing led to another and … well, you can guess the rest. One of the teens suffered a concussion, bruises and cuts. Another suffered a black eye. Police are aware of who the perpetrator is, but are still searching for the man.

“The hate crimes unit investigated it and determined that this incident is not a hate crime,” NYPD spokesman Sgt. Brendan Ryan said.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, somewhat predictably, disagreed.

“Our position is, let’s keep all possibilities open, at least until the assailant is arrested and questioned,” Afaf Nasher, executive director of CAIR’s New York chapter, told the Daily News.

We obviously don’t condone what this man did. In spite of the inappropriate and intimidating behavior the Muslim teenagers engaged in, his actions were appalling and he should be charged to the fullest extent of the law.

That said, the media was more than willing, in the early part of the investigation, to reflexively refer to this as a hate crime. For that matter, the two victims in this case felt compelled to treat it as such, even though it quickly became apparent that their actions had contributed to the attack.

This isn’t the first case we’ve seen like this, either. When accusations of hate crimes are made, the media should keep a healthy dose of skepticism on hand.

And as readers, we need to remember that accusations are printed on page one; retractions on page 17.

see video

culture, diversity, hate crime, immigration, islam, justice, political correctness, scandal, sex, unintended consequences

Filed under: culture, diversity, hate crime, immigration, islam, justice, political correctness, scandal, sex, unintended consequences

Should brownies be banned from public schools now?

original article: Why police were called to a South Jersey third-grade class party
June 29, 2016 by Emma Platoff

On June 16, police were called to an unlikely scene: an end-of-the-year class party at the William P. Tatem Elementary School in Collingswood.

A third grader had made a comment about the brownies being served to the class. After another student exclaimed that the remark was “racist,” the school called the Collingswood Police Department, according to the mother of the boy who made the comment.

The police officer spoke to the student, who is 9, said the boy’s mother, Stacy dos Santos, and local authorities.

Dos Santos said that the school overreacted and that her son made a comment about snacks, not skin color.

“He said they were talking about brownies. . . . Who exactly did he offend?” dos Santos said.

The boy’s father was contacted by Collingswood police later in the day. Police said the incident had been referred to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency. The student stayed home for his last day of third grade.

Dos Santos said that her son was “traumatized,” and that she hopes to send him to a different Collingswood public school in the fall.

And she wants an apology. She said she graduated from Collingswood High School and has two other children, a 21-year-old who also went through Collingswood schools, and a 3-year-old. Her husband, the third grader’s father, is Brazilian, dos Santos said.

“I’m not comfortable with the administration [at Tatem]. I don’t trust them and neither does my child,” she said. “He was intimidated, obviously. There was a police officer with a gun in the holster talking to my son, saying, ‘Tell me what you said.’ He didn’t have anybody on his side.”

The incident, which has sparked outrage among some parents, was one of several in the last month when Collingswood police have been called to look into school incidents that parents think hardly merit criminal investigation.

Superintendent Scott Oswald estimated that on some occasions over the last month, officers may have been called to as many as five incidents per day in the district of 1,875 students.

This has created concern among parents in the 14,000-resident borough, who have phoned their elected officials, met with Mayor James Maley, blasted social-media message boards, and even launched a petition calling on the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office to “stop mandated criminal investigation of elementary school students.”

The increased police involvement follows a May 25 meeting among the Collingswood Police Department, school officials, and representatives from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, where school officials and police both said they were told to report to police any incidents that could be considered criminal, including what Police Chief Kevin Carey called anything “as minor as a simple name-calling incident that the school would typically handle internally.”

The police and schools were also advised that they should report “just about every incident” to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency, Carey said.

Previously, the school district, following the state’s Memorandum of Agreement Between Education and Law Enforcement Officials, had only reported incidents it deemed serious, like those involving weapons, drugs, or sexual misconduct. Both Carey and School Board President David Routzahn described the protocol set forth after that May meeting as a significant change in procedure.

“It was a pretty clear directive that we questioned vehemently,” Oswald said.

But a month after the meeting, and after police investigations that parents consider fruitless had begun to gain attention, Maley wrote in a public letter that the May 25 meeting was intended to “reinforce the applicability” of the MOA, “not to expand its terms.” Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo, in an accompanying statement, said she hoped Maley’s message “clarifies” the responsibilities of school officials.

Maley said in an interview Tuesday that there had been a “misunderstanding” during the May 25 meeting. But Oswald said the Prosecutor’s Office was shying away from its own instructions.

“At some point, it seems, they’ve realized that the intent of the MOA that they’re leaning heavily upon is not what they directed us to do,” Oswald said. “It went way above what that MOA says.”

Another point of contention between the Prosecutor’s Office and school officials is what prompted Maley’s meeting in the first place.

In a public letter issued to parents Monday, Routzahn said he was “not aware of any single event” in the district that might have prompted the Prosecutor’s Office to ask for a higher reporting standard.

But Maley said the Prosecutor’s Office had been concerned about a “delay” in reporting an incident at Collingswood High School this spring. He would not comment further, noting that the incident was under investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office.

Oswald said the high school incident had not been raised during the meeting May 25.

“I welcome discussion on that as well,” he said.

Several parents said they consider the recent police involvement not only ridiculous but harmful.

Megan Irwin, who has two daughters who have attended Collingswood public schools and who teaches first grade in Pennsauken, said the police had been called to deal with behavior the schools could easily have handled.

“Some of it is just typical little-kid behavior,” Irwin said. “Never in my years of teaching have I ever felt uncomfortable handling a situation or felt like I didn’t know how to handle a situation.”

And Pam Gessert, a Collingswood resident who works as a school counselor in Burlington County, said that because teachers have the best relationships with students, they are most qualified to determine what happened in a particular incident.

bureaucracy, children, criminal, culture, education, extremism, government, hate speech, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oversight, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, racism, racist, relativism, scandal, victimization

Filed under: bureaucracy, children, criminal, culture, education, extremism, government, hate speech, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oversight, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, racism, racist, relativism, scandal, victimization

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