Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Battle Between Liberal Professionals and Conservative Parents

Marquette student Mary Ellen Burke is doing an internship with the conservative periodical Human Events, and has written an interesting article about an initiative in Congress to prevent government-funded clinics giving birth control to teenagers without their parents knowing.
Last considered in 2003, the act (HR 3011) would require Title X clinics to provide written notification to parents at least five business days before issuing contraceptives to a minor. The bill was reintroduced in Congress on June 21 of this year and has 61 cosponsors in the House and nine cosponsors in the Senate.

“As a practicing family physician, and as a member of Congress, I have seen first-hand the painful consequences associated with our federal policy that allows children to make potentially life-changing reproduction decisions without their parents’ knowledge,” Coburn said at a press conference earlier this month.

Conservatives have expressed concern that the government is becoming too involved in an issue that should be decided within the family.

“That whole concept violates the very notion of parental authority and the right to protect our children,” said Carrie Gordon Earll, a senior policy analyst for Focus on the Family.
This is yet another front in the continuing battle between conservative parents and liberal middle-class professionals, the latter wanting to usurp authority over how children and teenagers should be raised.

And liberals indeed say they should be able to give birth control to teenagers without parents even knowing about it:
“The government doesn’t know what’s best in any individual’s family. Families are private things, not government things, and should not force communication [between parent and child],” said Marjorie Signer, communication director of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Singer said she believes the government should provide basic services, including accurate and comprehensive information, but not put regulations on those services.
This particular activist doesn’t seem to understand the irony of saying “The government doesn’t know what’s best in any individual’s family.” She in fact stands for the power of government to intervene in family affairs.

This, of course, is the same battle being fought over school choice, where liberals are on the side of a government education monopoly, essentially because they want the right to indoctrinate children.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

New York Times: Democrats Betray Consumers

From that bastion of liberalism, the New York Times:
July 29, 2005
Applauding the Cafta 15

In the wee hours yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Central American Free Trade Agreement by a sliver of two votes. Fifteen Democrats joined 202 Republicans in voting to open up trade between the United States and El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Anyone who believes, as this page does, that the benefits of free trade outweigh those of protectionism should give a pat on the back to the Democrats who chose principle over politics and defied their party's leaders to vote for the trade pact.

Trade votes are always cliffhangers, and Cafta was no exception. The vote, which started just after 11 p.m., took almost an hour as some Republicans, many from textile states, jockeyed over who would be allowed to vote against the bill and save face back home. But the Republicans who voted for Cafta at least did so knowing that they were ensuring for themselves the approval of their party leaders, including President Bush. Many of the Democrats who voted for the pact knew that they were practically guaranteeing themselves a primary fight come next election. Indeed, organized labor was already talking yesterday morning about extracting revenge. "Punish the Cafta 15" was a headline in Working Life, a pro-labor blog.

Labor unions should obviously give their support to anyone they deem fit. But the Cafta 15 deserve respect for their independence and good judgment. Cafta is a modest trade pact, hardly likely to lift the six countries' economies into the 21st century. But it may be enough to lift them into the 20th century by lowering tariffs and helping job growth in a needy region. It should help export growth in America as well. The American Farm Bureau Federation estimated that Cafta could increase United States agricultural exports by nearly $1.5 billion a year; the National Association of Manufacturers said it would add about $1 billion a year to the value of United States exports of manufactured goods.

Finally, Cafta will benefit the most underrepresented constituency in America: consumers, particularly the lower-income consumers who find that a 50-cent difference in the price of a T-shirt actually means something.
In spite of the votes of a few brave Democrats, and the need of a few Republicans to cover themselves, this was basically a party-line vote.

The Republicans voted for consumers, and the Democrats for special interests, most especially the labor unions.

More Indian Nickname Intolerance

From Townhall.com, via GOP3.COM, the story of one John Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University who is trying to bully broadcast stations to quit using the “Redskins” nickname for the Washington sports team:
John Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University, sent registered letters “styled as a legal notice” to four D.C. area television stations warning them to limit their use of the term Redskins “or risk a legal challenge to their broadcasting licenses.”

Of course, what’s offensive is in the eye of the beholder. What bothers Banzhaf and some Native Americans doesn’t bother other people. If he doesn’t like the name “Redskins,” he doesn’t have to buy their “offensive” merchandise. He doesn’t have to attend their games or watch them on TV. And he’s always free to root for the Cowboys.

But that’s what’s frightening. This potential legal action isn’t aimed at the people Banzhaf claims are offending him. Rather, he’s challenging others, warning them that if they even dare to speak a word he finds offensive, he’ll attempt to put them out of business. And he’s not subtle about his threat. “Broadcast stations whose licenses are challenged often face a major and very expensive legal battle,” he notes in a news release.
It’s not news that in the Newspeak of the politically correct liberals, “tolerance” means “if you say something we disagree with, we will punish you.”

And here’s the kicker: when you actually ask a national sample of American Indians what they think of the nickname “Redskins” 90% percent said they don’t mind it.

But of course, they don’t count.

The only minorities who count are those who agree with white liberals and leftists.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Congress Acting to Protect the Boy Scouts?

Our student Chris Kerzich is on the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America. He sends the following article to us:
Senate Approves Boy Scout Events on Military Bases
Tuesday, July 26, 2005

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Tuesday to allow U.S. military bases to continue to host Boy Scouts events, responding to lawsuits and a federal court ruling aimed at severing relationships between the government and the youth group.

The vote came one day after four adult Scout leaders from an Alaska troop were killed on the opening day of the National Scout Jamboree at the Army’s Fort A.P. Hill in Bowling Green, Va., when a tent pole apparently struck a power line.

In a 98-0 vote, the Senate approved the provision continuing the hosting of Boy Scout events as part of massive bill setting Defense Department policy for next year. After the vote, Senate leaders decided to put off further debate and votes on the overall bill, probably until fall when Congress returns from a monthlong break.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., a former Boy Scout who sponsored the Senate provision, said it is necessary to push back on a spate of lawsuits to limit Boy Scout activities on government property. The provision adopted Tuesday says Boy Scouts should be treated the same as other national youth organizations.

Frist said it “removes any doubt that federal agencies may welcome Scouts to hold meetings, go camping on federal property or hold scouting events and public forums” on government property.

In 1999, the ACLU of Illinois filed a lawsuit claiming the Pentagon’s sponsorship of such Boy Scout activities violates the First Amendment. The ACLU argues that direct government sponsorship of the group amounts to discrimination.

Civil liberties advocates have assailed the Boy Scouts organization because it bans openly gay leaders and compels members to swear an oath of duty to God.

On June 22, U.S. District Judge Blanche Manning ruled in the ACLU’s favor, saying the Pentagon can’t spend millions of dollars to sponsor Boy Scout events. She said in an earlier ruling that the government spent between $6 million and $8 million to host the Jamboree on a military base in 1997 and 2001.

The House in November overwhelmingly passed a nonbinding resolution that recognized the Boy Scouts organization for its public service efforts and condemned legal efforts to limit government ties to the organization that has 3.2 million members.
Action by the U.S. Congress hardly settles the issue of how government policy will treat the Scouts. In the first place, activist judges routinely blow off acts of legislatures with the claim that they are interpreting the U.S. Constitution, which trumps mere legislative acts.

In the second place, it remains to be seen how much Congress really wants to protect the Scouts from the gay lobby and the anti-religion lobby. Bills passed by Congress aren’t self-enforcing. Members often engage in “position taking” endorsing things that are popular with the public but which they really don’t like. Quite a lot of the liberal Democrats in the House and Senate really side with the ACLU and the gay lobby against the Scouts.

So the 98-0 vote in the Senate is really misleading as a way of assessing the real support the Scouts have.

It is good, however, and nobody will stand up and actually say “I want the government to discriminate against the Scouts.”

Not only are the Scouts a Christian organization, with every right to hold a Christian view of homosexuality, the recent scandals in the Catholic Church make it clear their policy is a sensible one.

Not that all homosexuals are pedophiles — that’s not even close to being true. But it is the case that putting gay scout leaders in close and intensive contact with a lot of teenage boys subjects them to a dangerous level of temptation, and people sometimes succumb to temptation.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

20,000 Seat Soccer Stadium in Downtown Milwaukee?

Marquette student Michael P. Sever has been in regular contact with the entrepreneur promoting a project to build a 20,000 seat stadium for a Major League Soccer team in downtown Milwaukee, on land cleared when the Park East Freeway was knocked down.

Sever, strongly supporting the project, makes the following argument:
Now that I’ve explained why an MLS team in Milwaukee would be a good thing for the community, I will now explain why MLS will succeed in Milwaukee. The reason that I hear most often though as to why MLS will fail is because “Milwaukee is not a soccer town.” Attendance figures from the indoor Milwaukee Wave in the low 3,000’s are cited, as well as the financial problems for the Wave’s outdoor sister club Milwaukee Wave United, which this past winter was on the verge of folding. These comparisons are not accurate because neither of these teams play “Major League Soccer.” The Milwaukee Wave play indoor soccer, a bastardization of the game most soccer fans love. Comparing Milwaukee Wave with MLS is like comparing the Packers to the Arena Football League. It is just not a legitimate comparison because of the inherent differences in the games and their target audiences. As for the outdoor version of the game, Milwaukee Wave United is a minor league team in every sense of the word. Wave United’s players are part-timers, and Wave United does not even play in an organized league.

That being said, this situation has been seen before in Salt Lake City, Utah. Salt Lake City was home to the Utah Blitzz in the dregs of minor league soccer in summer of 2004. The Blitzz were drawing an average attendance in the hundreds. However, when Real Salt Lake became the 12th member of Major League Soccer this past spring, and US National team stars like Eddie Pope and Clint Mathis signed on to play for the Beehive state outfit, they are now regularly drawing well over 20,000 per game. Is it that unreasonable to believe that Milwaukee would not experience a similar phenomenon with an MLS franchise?
We frankly remain skeptical. But the claim is that this stadium is to be built entirely with private money.

If so, who are we to tell some entrepreneur how to spend his cash?

Except that in cases like this millions of dollars of road, utility and other infrastructure costs are typically borne by government.

Our view is that this project, if it is to fly politically, jolly well better remain something done entirely with private money.

Political Correctness in Marquette’s School of Education

The following just came via e-mail from a Marquette student:
I just read the post on the liberal nature of MU’s School of Education and I could not agree more. I took EDUC 008 this past semester and it could have been called “Intro to Liberal Idealism” and no one would have noticed. In that class I basically learned that white males were unable to teach any other races, that the opinion of the minority always trumps that of the white majority, and that only when vouchers are issued to “skinhead” schools as well as Christian schools will school choice be acceptable (This seriously came from an in-class video). For a program that wants so desperately to embrace diversity, the total lack of diversity of opinion is laughable.

Also, I think the “social justice” focus is a detriment to producing competent teachers. That class was such fluff that I spent literally 2 hours studying for the midterm and final combined and still got an A in the course. Because the class dealt with such idealism, there were no concepts to learn, and absolutely nothing pedagogical. This was made clear from the beginning. All that was needed was to regurgitate the liberal “socially just” nonsense they taught us.

This class made me seriously re-consider my future at MU when it comes to pursuing a teaching degree. After all, political correctness can be found much cheaper elsewhere.
While we were put off by the politically correct language in the “Institutional Report” to the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, we warned that what appears in a bureaucratic document isn’t necessarily a guide to what happens on the ground.

But, as we noted, biased rhetoric tends to legitimate biased practices. Indeed, biased rhetoric is likely to reflect the biases of the people who produce it.

One can see why leftists in education schools would want an ideological litmus test for teachers. One of the reasons they so strongly oppose school choice, of course, is that they view the public schools as a vehicle for indoctrinating future generations into what they consider to be “enlightened” and “progressive” attitudes.

Which is all the more reason for parents to favor school choice. In a competitve market for teachers, education school credentials are not very highly valued, which is all to the good.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Wal-Mart and the Culture Wars

We recently did an Op-Ed piece for a free market think tank in Chicago, the Heartland Institute, and it ran just yesterday in the Journal-Sentinel.

In it, we pointed out the speciousness of many of the attacks on Wal-Mart, and especially the fact that the mega-retailers opponents seem to be fighting the culture wars rather than trying to make rational economic policy.
If a capitalist corporation gets to be a big success, it inevitably finds itself in the cross-hairs of leftist political activists who don’t much like capitalism and especially don’t like large corporations.

In the 1980s, General Motors found itself in this position when Michael Moore made the movie “Roger and Me.” More recently, McDonald’s has been a target, attacked by (among other people) filmmaker Morgan Spurlock in “Super Size Me.”

[. . .]

I suspect what the critics really dislike about Wal-Mart is not economic but cultural. Wal-Mart is very “red state.” It’s headquartered in Arkansas. It’s mentioned in country songs.

The crowd that likes to say it’s on the side of poor Americans ought to appreciate a place whose prices make a modest paycheck go a long way. But they prefer to fight the culture wars, and Wal-Mart is their bugaboo.
Of course, we are happy to argue the economics of Wal-Mart, and do so in the Op-Ed piece, but we think the cultural factors are paramount.

But one interesting take on the economics of the issue comes from Don Salyards, who notes that small-town retailers have long been under threat from larger or more efficient competitors:
Once upon a time, towns in America were served by local merchants who ran small retail establishments. These small businesses gave great personal service. The owners of these small shops knew their customers by name. They knew your wife or husband’s name. They knew the names and ages of your children. They supported town activities. They hired their employees from the towns where they resided and spent their money locally, boosting their hometown economies.

Furthermore, the profit margins of these small retailers were relatively slim. These “mom and pop” stores applied a modest but fair mark-up over their costs. Like their friends and neighbors, few of these small town retailers got rich. They simply eked out a living.

Then, everything changed. The big retailers invaded the space of the small town merchant. They offered a larger inventory of goods and services. The local merchant didn’t have the capital to stock such a large inventory. The big retailer’s costs were so much lower and their efficiency was so much greater, the town folk could now buy their products as cheaply as the local retailer.

[. . .]

I’m not talking about Wal-Mart or Target, or Best Buy, or Home Depot. I’m not even talking about this century. I’m talking about Aaron Montgomery Ward and Richard Sears.
Of course, mail order giants Sears, Roebuck and Montgomery Ward did not drive small town retailers out of business, although they certainly hurt some of the less competitive ones.

But small retailers did compete, although only by offering better quality, or better (perhaps more personal) service or specialized products not available from the big catalog firms.

Economic reactionaries — and this includes most of the political leftists — always dislike economic change when it’s the result of the free market (as opposed to socialist planners). But in a democratic, eqalitarian American political system they can seldom stop it.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Imposing an Orthodoxy in Education Schools

From AcademicBias.com:
Brooklyn College’s School of Education has begun to base evaluations of aspiring teachers in part on their commitment to social justice, raising fears that the college is screening students for their political views.

Critics of the assessment policy warned that aspiring teachers are being judged on how closely their political views are aligned with their instructor’s. Ultimately, they said, teacher candidates could be ousted from the School of Education if they are found to have the wrong dispositions.

[...]

Critics [...] say the dangers of the assessment policy became immediately apparent in the fall semester when several students filed complaints against an instructor who they said discriminated against them because of their political beliefs and “denounced white people as the oppressors.”

[...]

In 2000 the council introduced new standards for accrediting education schools. Those standards incorporated the concept of dispositions, which the agency maintains ought to be measured, to sort out teachers who are likeliest to be successful. In a glossary, the council says dispositions “are guided by beliefs and attitudes related to values such as caring, fairness, honesty, responsibility, and social justice.”

To drive home the notion that education schools ought to evaluate teacher candidates on such parameters as attitude toward social justice, the council issued a revision of its accrediting policies in 2002 in a Board of Examiners Update. It encouraged schools to tailor their assessments of dispositions to the schools’ guiding principles, which are known in the field as “conceptual frameworks.” The council’s policies say that if an education school “has described its vision for teacher preparation as ‘Teachers as agents of change’ and has indicated that a commitment to social justice is one disposition it expects of teachers who can become agents of change, then it is expected that unit assessments include some measure of a candidate’s commitment to social justice.”

Brooklyn College’s School of Education, which is the only academic unit at the college with the status of school, is among dozens of education schools across the country that incorporate the notion of “social justice” in their guiding principles. At Brooklyn, “social justice” is one of the four main principles in its conceptual framework. The school’s conceptual framework states that it develops in its students “a deeper understanding of the quest for social justice.” In its explanation of that mission, the school states: “We educate teacher candidates and other school personnel about issues of social injustice such as institutionalized racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism.”

Critics of the dispositions standard contend that the idea of “social justice,” a term frequently employed in left-wing circles, is open to politicization.

“It’s political correctness that has insinuated into the criteria for accreditation of teacher education institutions,” a noted education theorist in New York, Diane Ravitch, said. “Once that becomes the criteria for institutions as a whole, it gives free rein to those who want to impose it in their classrooms,” she said. Ms. Ravitch is the author of “The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn.”

As if to underscore how politicized classrooms have become in this new environment, one Brooklyn College Professor, Priya Parmar, made Michael Moore’s political film Fahrenheit 9/11 required classroom viewing right before the election:

Students also complained that Ms. Parmar dedicated a class period to the screening of an anti-Bush documentary by Michael Moore, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” a week before last November’s presidential election, and required students to attend the class even if they had already seen the film. Students said Ms. Parmar described “Fahrenheit 9/11” as an important film to see before they voted in the election.

“Most troubling of all,” [student Evan] Goldwyn wrote, “she has insinuated that people who disagree with her views on issues such as Ebonics or Fahrenheit 911 should not become teachers.”
Indoctrination at Marquette

To what extent is this sort of indoctrination a part of the School of Education at Marquette?

Certainly, the “word” on campus is that Education majors are required to endure courses in “multiculturalism” that are exceedingly biased and tendentious.

Some insight on this issue can be gained from the School of Education’s “Institutional Report” to the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Of course, bureaucratic documents of this kind are absurdly tedious to read, and may be a poor source for understanding what is really going on. On the other hand, the rhetoric people use does matter. Adopting politically biased rhetoric tends to legitimate politically biased actions.

The document is full of rhetoric about “social justice,” although sometimes this appears to mean nothing more controversial that students going out and volunteering to do good things. But sometimes one comes across more explicitly political rhetoric:
Consistent with the mission of the School of Education, the Teacher Education Program at Marquette University has a commitment to social justice in schools and society. A commitment to social justice demands that educators have a deep understanding of the disciplines they teach and use developmentally and culturally responsive pedagogies that embrace technological advances to facilitate learning for all children. An essential goal of the program is to develop in prospective teachers the strongly held ideals of care and respect for all students, racial justice, transformational leadership, and critical reflection.
We don’t know anybody who opposes racial justice, but we know a lot of people who oppose affirmative action preferences and quotas. In context, it appears that the Education school endorses the latter.

The business about promoting social justice “in society” is suspect. Teachers have no more right nor any more obligation to “promote social justice in society” than anybody else. The Education school appears to be claiming to turn out a bunch of leftist political activists.

But it gets worse:
Candidates who are preparing to teach are expected to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions in five areas of competence and in ten standards which have been identified by the Department of Public Instruction. Two additional standards have been specified by the EDPL department: commitment to social justice and use of technology. Course goals and objectives are carefully aligned with these proficiencies and standards, and assessment of candidate outcomes occurs at multiple intervals throughout the program. (Please see Section 3: Standard 1, pp 26-32 for listing of standards.)
Translation: we aim to inculcate a “disposition” in favor of “social justice.”

The further one goes, the worse it gets. The Report then quotes a 1975 statement by some Jesuits as follows:
Our faith . . . demands of us a commitment to promote justice and to enter into solidarity with the voiceless and the powerless. This commitment will move us seriously to verse ourselves in the complex problems which they face in their lives, then to identify and assume our own responsibilities to society (Document of the 32nd Congregation of the Society of Jesus, 1975).

Teaching for social justice is at the core of democratic education. It serves as a reminder not only to the inequities and biases that continue to wear away at the foundation of democratic values, but of the powerful stories which inspire us to work toward change, to make the world a better place (Ayers, 1998).
We have no problem with “solidarity with the voiceless and the powerless.” The problem is that the leftists who use this kind of rhetoric don’t think of the unborn as among the “voiceless and powerless.” And they don’t think that such “solidarity” requires favoring (say) school choice.

This rhetoric, in other words, is simply a bunch of code words for a leftist political agenda.

The rhetoric just goes on and on:

Educators must “use student culture in order to maintain it and to transcend the negative effects of the dominant culture” (Ladson-Billings, 1994, p. 17). They must use a “pedagogy that empowers students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and politically by using cultural referents to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes. These cultural referents are not merely vehicles for bridging or explaining the dominant culture; they are aspects of the curriculum in their own right”
And what is the “dominant culture” that has negative effects? A media culture that encourages sexual promiscuity? A legal culture of litigation? Of course not! Those are elements of the “dominant culture” that leftists like.

And further:
Critical reflection:

Consistent with Ignatian pedagogy (International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education, 1993), critical thinking in teacher education is the ability to “analyze conventional wisdom, reject technocratic approaches to teaching, and view schools from the perspective of those who benefit from them the least” (Valli, 1990). With such thinking, teachers become aware of their personal beliefs, assumptions, and biases and are also able to stand back from those biases to weigh competing claims, contexts, and implications of educational practices. They are then able to “think and act at classroom, school, and systemic levels to correct societal injustice” (Valli, 1990).
Of course, “conventional wisdom” here is like “dominant culture” in the paragraph above. Politically correct professors most certainly promote a “conventional wisdom:” that of the left.
Through the courses which comprise the undergraduate program in teacher education, the unit has attempted to alter the traditional classroom dynamic by encouraging candidates to engage in critical dialogue and by reinforcing a social reconstructionist, multicultural perspective. This perspective includes attention to anti-racist education (Derman-Sparks & Phillips, 1997), pedagogical strategies deemed effective with students of diverse racial, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds, and critical inquiry into policy issues related to equity (Nieto, 2004). The recognition that multicultural education has failed to critique power relations, especially in terms of racial inequities, and has taken instead a colorblind approach (Thompson, 1998) with an aim more akin to assimilation (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995) has led the unit to approach undergraduate teacher education in a manner that foregrounds [sic] social justice.
In other words, a “colorblind approach” is out, and minorities are not supposed to assimilate.

And these aren’t positions that should be debated in the Education school, these positions are the official orthodoxy.

Readers with an especially high tolerance for tedium might look at page 21 of the report, where two required introductory education courses (EDUC 008 and EDUC 048) are described in ways that make it clear they are politically correct indoctrination.

Or one then might look on page 32, under “Standard 12: Leadership/Advocacy for Social Justice” which makes it clear that faculty are supposed to be leftist political activists.

Finally on page 44 we find:
Dispositions for All Candidates

Teacher education candidates are repeatedly exposed to these dispositions beginning with the program’s initial course: EDUC 008, Introduction to Schooling in a Diverse Society. In this course candidates are invited to think in new ways about the common, yet often unquestioned, construct of schooling. By focusing on the impacts of race, ethnicity, culture, socioeconomic class, gender, and identity on schooling experiences, the multiple layers of power and control in school and community contexts, and the unique concerns, demands, conditions and rewards of the teaching profession, candidates are asked to develop more complex understandings and questions about both schooling and themselves, as candidates and potential future teachers. Experiences such as the Manresa Project, service learning, and action hour requirements are built into this initial course to ensure that candidates enter the program understanding the strong expectations the unit has for them to grow in their beliefs and attitudes about teaching. All subsequent courses stress the importance of developing the dispositions required to be a successful teacher. For example, the required course, EDUC 048, Critical Inquiry into Contemporary Issues, requires candidates to consider teaching as a process of inquiry that includes learning more about issues plaguing the equitable development of all students. Since this social critique is intended to foster greater democracy, freedom, and social justice within education, candidates are guided in their understanding of how teachers can play a significant role in developing equitable educational experiences. Experiences related directly to the development of dispositions in this course include reflective journals, a critical issues project representing multiple perspectives/viewpoints, a critical issues debate around a controversial issue related to schooling, and the formation of a critical issues web site.
So students are to “grow in their beliefs and attitudes about teaching.” We wonder what happens to students whose “growth” doesn’t accord with their professors politics. Or whose views on social justice are close to those of the Republican Party.

Of course, the mere fact that School of Education promises the National Council for Accreditation that it will, in effect, engage in leftist indoctrination doesn’t prove that any such thing happens.

And we would like to hear from students and even faculty in the School of Education about how this plays out in practice.

But the rhetoric of the document is disturbing. It’s long been the case that colleges and universities claimed to present unbiased instruction, all the while leaning sharply to the left. It’s quite recent that they have admitted a leftist bias, and claimed that one can’t really be a teacher unless one holds politically correct views.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Time Magazine: Bias in Labeling Supreme Court Justices

A good catch from blogger Dennis York:

Time Magazine did a photo spread on sitting Supreme Court justices, and color coded them as “liberal” and “conservative” and as “moderate” and “staunch.”

The three conservative justices were all coded as “staunch,” and the four liberal justices were all coded as “moderate.”

The three conservative justices vote conservatively virtually all the time, and the four liberal justices vote liberally virtually all the time.

Apparently, in the view of Time, voting liberal all the time is a “moderate” thing to do.

York observes:
Time Magazine doesn’t even attempt to whitewash their biases anymore, and they never miss an opportunity to talk down to their readers.
Our view is somewhat different. We think that Time doesn’t see any need to conceal their biases because they simply can’t see that they have any.

Obscene anti-Bush/Blair Ad from Greenpeace U.K.

It’s titled “Blair Blows Bush.”

We are not kidding, and it’s as bad as it sounds.

A spokeswoman at the U.S. Greenpeace office in Washington said that each national organization is independent, and “we don’t always see eye to eye.”

One might write this off as an odd bit of rhetorical overkill, but given the festering hatred of Bush that prevails in leftist circles we think it’s a window into a culture where standards of civility simply don’t apply, because those with different political positions have been demonized.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Media Duplicity on Karl Rove: Saying One Thing to a Court, and Another on the Air

The Karl Rove hubbub has largely disappeared from media consciousness during the last couple of days — displaced by the Supreme Court nomination and shriveled because of the lack of new revelations.

But before it’s completely forgotten, it would be good to record the extent of media duplicity.

On March 23, 2005, a group of 36 major news organizations (including almost everybody you have ever heard about in the Mainstream Media) filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The purpose was to get two reporters (Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time) “off the hook” with regard to their legal obligation to testify about how the name of Valery Plame (CIA employee) became public.

Both reporters claimed the need to protect confidential sources.

Why did this stellar group of media organizations claim they did not need to testify?

First, they argued that no crime had been committed in the publication of Plame’s name (pp. 5-9). The law requires that the CIA must actually be trying to protect the identity of a covert operative, and the brief argues that the CIA was extremely sloppy and haphazard about doing this.

For example:
She worked at a desk job at CIA headquarters, where she could be seen traveling to and from, and active at, Langley. She had been residing in Washington, not stationed abroad — for a number of years.
The brief also cites a story in the Washington Times that Plame’s identity and covert status had been twice revealed before it was published by Robert Novak. A Moscow spy gave her identity to the Russians in the mid-1990s, and it also leaked from documents sent by the CIA to the Swiss Embassy in Havana.

Indeed, the brief argues that “. . . these facts establish such sloppy tradecraft that, at a minimum, the CIA was indifferent to the compromise of her identity.”

In other words, not only was no crime committed, but Valery Plame was not in any genuine way a covert operative. Thus, even if Rove had leaked her name, it would not have been an big deal. In reality, Robert Novak published her name, and his source was someone other than Rove.

One can argue, of course, that what the Mainstream Media’s lawyers tell a court isn’t binding on the people who work in the newsroom. But that argument is pretty weak.

If the media brief represents the facts correctly, the folks in the newsroom should have known that and given no credence to claims that Rove might be a criminal. If the brief was deceitful, then the reporters should have known that, and were morally culpable for not engaging in some “whistle blowing.”

Instead, all the top news organizations made the arguments in court that served their interests, and broadcast specious nonsense driven by their ideological biases.

And didn’t even notice the contradiction.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Liberals and “Traitor” Karl Rove

Any trace of restraint in expressing their hatred appears to have deserted the left where Karl Rove and his supposed “outing” of Valery Plame is concerned.

He is widely condemned as a “traitor.” A quick Google search turns up this exact language on: . . . with the latter adding “Execute the scumbag bastard.”

What Rove supposedly did was reveal to a Time reporter the identity of a CIA employee, who technically had “covert” status. In reality, she was known to acquaintances and friends to be a CIA employee, and it had been years since she did any kind of genuinely covert work. Further, the Time reporter didn’t use the information to “blow” Plame’s identity. Robert Novak did that, and he apparently had the information before Rove did.

But liberals and leftists, we are to believe, are very very scrupulous about national security. It’s just thoroughly and entirely unacceptable to them ever to compromise the identity of anybody who works for the CIA.

So how would the liberals and leftists react if somebody not affiliated with the Bush White House revealed the names of CIA operatives? What if he revealed the names of operatives engaged in real covert operations abroad?

There is no need to wonder about this. It happened.

In 1975, CIA turncoat Philip Agee published Inside the Company: CIA Diary in which he identified 250 CIA officers and agents. Further:
In 1978 Agee and a small group of supporters began publishing the Covert Action Information Bulletin in order to promote what Agee called “a worldwide campaign to destabilize the CIA through exposure of its operations and personnel.”
Not only were Agee’s actions intended to harm the CIA, he may have been responsible for the murder of a CIA agent in Greece.

So this should make him a pariah, right?

In fact he’s popular not only with the hard left, but with more mainstream liberals. The Los Angeles Times, for example, published a column of his attacking the Bush Administration in the October 3, 2003 edition. About the same time, ABC gave him a platform to deliver a similar message.

Just this past week, we were on Wisconsin Public Radio with Matt Rothschild, editor of The Progressive, who made it clear he had no objection to what Agee did.

But now we have a bunch of born again hard liners, expressing outrage that Rove would do such a thing as reveal the identity of a CIA employee.

To say they lack credibility is an understatement.

Banning Miss Universe in Toronto

Yet another example of political correctness run amok: the city of Toronto refused to let Miss Universe open the Tastes of Thailand festival in a city square unless she shed her sash and tiara, and wasn’t referred to as Miss Universe or a beauty queen.

CBC News explains the purported reason:
According to a city bylaw, “activities which degrade men or women through sexual stereotyping, or exploit the bodies of men, women, boys or girls solely for the purpose of attracting attention,” are not permitted on Nathan Phillips Square.
To anybody who cares about civil liberties, the bylaw is an outrage. Not only should sexual stereotyping be protected as a kind of free expression, but what constitutes sexual stereotyping, as well as what is “degrading” and what “exploits” are entirely matters of opinion.

It isn’t news that politically correct types are intolerant prudes, but what is interesting is how vulnerable Canada (like much of Europe) is to this prudishness, having a political culture that is more elitist, less populist and more authoritarian than that of the U.S.

Happily, the current mayor of the city feels this has gone too far, and has issued an apology.

This isn’t the first such case in Toronto. It seems that rock bands can run into trouble too:
In 1992, then Toronto mayor June Rowlands banned the Barenaked Ladies from playing in Nathan Phillips Square, saying she felt the name objectified women.
Now here is the kicker: on Toronto, and Ontario generally, topless female nudity is legal via judicial fiat! This seems to be political correctness on a collision course with itself. The demure beauty of Miss Universe is unacceptable, but bare boobs are just fine!

It’s clear who the real boobs are in this case.

Media Bias: Wheeling out Joe Wilson to Attack Karl Rove

Just how far is the mainstream media willing to go to attack Karl Rove for supposedly leaking to the press the fact that the wife of Joe Wilson (an Administration critic) was a CIA employee?

Hard to answer, but one thing they are willing to do is wheel out the thoroughly discredited Wilson to attack Rove and the Bush Administration.

A good summary of the lies and exaggerations in which Wilson engaged can be found in “A Little Literary Flair” in the The Weekly Standard, 07/26/2004.

Some may in inclined to dismiss The Weekly Standard because of its conservative viewpoint, but can those people ignore The Washington Post? An editorial in the latter summarized Wilson’s credibility problems as follows:
Mr. Wilson made his trip in 2002 to look into reports that Iraq had sought to buy uranium from Niger. A year later, he publicly surfaced and loudly proclaimed that the Bush administration should have known that its conclusion that Iraq had sought such supplies, included in the president’s 2003 State of the Union address, was wrong. He said he had debunked that theory and that his report had circulated at the highest levels of government.

One year after that, reports by two official investigations — Britain’s Butler Commission and the Senate intelligence committee — demonstrated that Mr. Wilson’s portrayal of himself as a whistle-blower was unwarranted. It turned out his report to the CIA had not altered, and may even have strengthened, the agency’s conclusion that Iraq had explored uranium purchases from Niger. Moreover, his account had not reached Vice President Cheney or any other senior official. According to the Butler Commission, led by an independent jurist, the assertion about African uranium included in Mr. Bush’s State of the Union speech was “well-founded.”
Just what does one make of the media willingness to use a thoroughly discredited source like Wilson? Is their partisan bias so strong that they don’t care about the credibility of a source who will conveniently say nasty things about the Bush Administration? Are they simply so ill-informed that they don’t know Wilson’s credibility was trashed by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence? Are they so deadline driven and present oriented that they never bother to check — weeks or months later — whether the source they were touting actually survived the scrutiny of bipartisan investigators?

Partisan bias is, if not the whole story, then certainly a necessary part of the process. Once cannot imagine them being so cavalier about the credibility of someone from the right who was attacking the left.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Editorial Cartoon: The Perils of Being an American Ally

A nice jibe at the leftists who want to surrender to the terrorists:

http://www.reason.com/hod/cartoon.hp071505.shtml

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Church of SpongeBob

We recently ran an article about the United Church of Christ -- the group that didn't want to demand that its ministers believe in the divinity of Jesus.

We’ve run across a rather irreverent commentary on the General Synod of the denomination, held earlier this month.
The 1.2 million member United Church of Christ (UCC) became the first major Christian denomination in America officially to endorse same-sex nuptials, when its General Synod met July 1-5 in Atlanta.

The General Synod also targeted Israel for sanctions (forgetting, among so much else, the philo-Semitism of its Puritan forbears) and opposed Israel’s new security wall. And for good measure, it opposed privatization of Social Security, opposed President Bush 2006 budget proposal, urged the United States to support the International War Crimes Tribunal, and advised Bush to nominate a “moderate” Supreme Court justice.

The UCC didn’t say yes to every proposal. It rejected a resolution defining marriage as the union of man and woman.

And the UCC decided to remain Christian! It voted to affirm its continued belief in Christ and to retain a cross on its official logo.

The UCC attracted major media attention late last year with its controversial television ads featuring bouncers outside a church turning away racial minorities, the disabled, and a same-sex couple. The implication was that the UCC, unlike other churches, was inclusive and tolerant.

Despite the UCC’s boasts of inclusivity, it has lost nearly one million members since 1960. It lost another 30,000 last year alone. The ongoing membership hemorrhage notwithstanding, the UCC’s president celebrated his denomination’s “extravagant hospitality” and “evangelical courage.”
The UCC is rather typical of “Mainstream Protestantism:” a denomination dominated by very liberal church bureaucrats, with declining numbers of people in the pews, chasing after the fads of the secular politically correct crowd, going through the motions of Christianity.

The future of Protestantism clearly belongs to more conservative denominations and movements.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda: What the Media Would Admit Before Bush

Via Sykes Writes and Powerline:

An ABC News report from 2000 that discusses links between Saddam Hussein and al Queda.

After Bush went to war with Hussein, it became an article of faith among liberals that there were no such links, and that the Iraq war was just a “sideshow” having nothing to do with the War on Terror.

Powerline wonders:
Before Democrats had a partisan motive to claim, contrary to all the evidence, that there was no relationship between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and bin Laden’s al Qaeda, their close and dangerous relationship was common knowledge.

It really is a fascinating question: in this era of digital media, can the news media and the Democrats get away with trying to flush what they said as recently as 1998 and 2000 down the memory hole?
An article in the current issue of The Weekly Standard documents the numerous and threatening links between the terror network and the Iraqi dictator.

So how are liberals, leftists and the mainstream media going to deal with this? They can either (1.) ignore evidence linking Saddam and al Queda or (2.) conveniently ignore the fact that they ever questioned the connection.

I predict we will see both responses. They will continue to act and talk as though there was no evidence linking Saddam and al Queda, but then when cornered on it, will respond “we never said there wasn’t.”

Should Congregationalist Ministers Believe Jesus Was Divine?

Eight conservative congregations in the United Church of Christ wanted the national Synod of the denomination to declare that the church believes that Jesus was really the Son of God, and further that individual ministers must agree to be ordained.

To those who aren’t in tune with “Mainstream Protestantism” (which isn’t really mainstream anymore) this might seem to be a slam dunk.

But the issue was indeed controversial.
[A] Woodbridge pastor said the denomination has to get back to basics.

“The whole point of this is that many of these people have a very fuzzy idea of faith in God,” said the Rev. Albert W. Kovacs of the Hungarian Reformed Church. “We have significant numbers of clergy who don’t believe in God.”

“We have people with all sorts of beliefs of what Christianity is — just like society does,” said Barb Powell, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland-based denomination. “The difference is that our polity allows us to talk about it and discuss it with one another.”
Of course Christians can discuss issues, but is the discussion a discussion among Christians, or one between atheists and Christians? In the United Church of Christ, it sometimes appears to be the latter.

When the denomination met in Atlanta, they threw the conservatives a bone:
ATLANTA - A national synod stated recently that the liberal United Church of Christ “celebrates and reaffirms our church’s faith in Jesus Christ, the head of the church” and noted that its constitution and other documents declare his “true humanity and divinity.”
However they refused to require that Congregationalist ministers must believe in the divinity of Christ.

Where their real priorities lay was revealed when the Synod endorsed gay marriage and bashed Israel.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Racism: It Isn’t Just For Americans

From the Office of Homeland Security: A post about racism in Canada and China.

In Canada, stores are selling a candy with a crude caricature of a black man on the label.

In China, rampant racism shows up on a popular Internet site during the visit of Condoleezza Rice to that country. Author Sylvia Yu notes:
They wrote that she was (and this is hard for me to repeat): “a black devil,” “a black pig,” “a black whore” and “a black female dog.” They said: “You’re not even as good as a black devil, a real waste of a life,” “Her brain is blacker than her skin,” “The ugliest woman in the world” and “She looks like an orangutan, and talks rubbish; send us a beautiful woman next time.”

The website is particularly popular among the urban elite and educated masses, and I remember reading these shocking words at the time. According to media reports, these comments were also gathered by Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who was so disgusted by the awful remarks he felt compelled to write something about it.
Of course, Condoleezza Rice has been attacked in very nasty ways by American liberals and leftists. Madison talk show host John Sylvester called her an “Aunt Jemima.” But that was more motivated by his leftist politics than by racism — not that that’s any sort of adequate excuse.

We could add to the list the disgraceful treatment of a black American soccer player in Norway.
“I’ve experienced racism, but never anything like this,” said [Robbie] Russell, a native of Amherst, Mass., who played collegiately for Duke, told NRK, the state radio network.

Russell told NRK four or five Brann fans grabbed his jersey through the fence as he retrieved a ball that had gone out of touch about 27 minutes into the game. “A woman spit in my face,” he said. “The entire time a group of supporters were yelling racist things at me . . . Nothing entitles them to do that sort of thing to you.”
All of this raises the question: why, when one listens to the politically correct crowd, does one get the idea that America is some sort of uniquely racist society?

The reason, of course, is simple. A vast infrastructure — a whole Axis of Grievance — has a vested interest in the notion that racism is rampant in America. The university bureaucrats who specialize in “diversity,” the professors who teach victim studies courses, the lawyers and journalists who push racial grievances, the demagogues like Jessie Jackson, Andrew Young and Kwasi Mfume . . . all of them have a vested interest in this kind of anti-Americanism.

Letter to the Editor: Gwen Moore

The following came to us via e-mail:
I just read your response to Charlie Young’s message, and while I think you hit some good points, some blatently ridiculous statements were untouched.

Young writes: “Like most individuals and institutions, MU is able to take a balanced view of issues and public people instead of via their positions on one or two wedge issues and condemning or hailing them for it.”

As a matter of fact, MU is not “like most individuals and institutions,” and by definition is not able to “take a balanced view” of anything . . . . MU is obligated to take a distinctly “unbalanced” view. . . . MU, if it is to define itself as a Catholic institution, must view everything in the light of the Holy Scriptures, of Christianity in general and of the Catholic Church in particular.

Young writes: “People of faith disagree on abortion and gay rights.” While this is certainly true, even within the Catholic Church itself, this statement is nonsense and irrelevant. The Church teaching is clear on these issues, and if the university is to be considered an extension of The Church, Marquette is constrained to Church teachings on these subjects. An extension to this is that the people MU honors are to be held up to the higher standards of the teachings of The Church, not the secular standards of the godless society . . . .

Finally, Young cannot help but to attempt to marginalize the messenger: “Extremists on both sides of every issue - left and right - distract the mainstream from the work of man. You spill venom and hate, create apathy and disgust. Ever heard the adage ‘seek first to understand, then to be understood?’”

Obviously Young views himself as some sort of objective, open minded centrist, however in the context of a Catholic institution it is Young’s view that is the extreme.

If Mr. Young wants a clear picture of “venom and hate, apathy and disgust” . . . let him hang out at an abortion clinic for a few days and observe the cold, hard butchering of children. Let him watch as a doctor plunges a knife in the neck of a partially born child, and suck the brains out as the baby writhes in agony. Sit in the room where the nurse, doctor or other worker is being terminated because they refuse to participate in the slaughter. Then come to me and talk about “hate, apathy and disgust.”

Respectfully submitted,

Reinhard M. Weiss
It has not escaped our attention that when liberals call for “moderation” and “balance” they are usually directing that rhetoric toward conservatives. They seldom tell their fellow liberals to be “moderate” and “balanced.” That advice is saved for people with whom they disagree.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

More Evidence of PBS Bias

From Current.org, an online e-zine that specializes in public TV and radio, some hard data on Now with Bill Moyers, the program on PBS that Bill Moyers hosted until recently.
Of Now’s 19 segments on the [Iraq] war, for example, only four included anyone voicing support for it. In one of the four, a nine-minute segment on the burden the war has imposed on military families, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) got just 41 seconds to say that hard-pressed families receive help from neighbors and families as well as from the government. . . In only one of the 19 segments, an interview with Paul Gigot of the Wall Street Journal, did anyone mount a substantial defense of the war.

Opposing views were also scarce in Now’s economic segments. In the Lou Dobbs segment, for instance, no one appeared to counter Dobbs’ attack on outsourcing. The view held by most economists — that outsourcing is an inevitable part of international trade and that any substantial restrictions on it would push up the prices paid here for consumer goods and prompt other countries to retaliate against U.S. exports — was mentioned only in passing as part of Moyers’ questions. Similarly, in the 18-minute segment about jobs in Rockford, there were just seven seconds of voiceover narration reflecting the judgment that the economy is in excellent shape and Americans are better off than when President Bush took office — views held by roughly half the population.

In fact, of the 75 segments over six months that treated controversial issues like the Iraq War, the state of the economy and the corrupting influence of corporate money on politics, only 13 included anyone who spoke against the thrust of the segment. A 17-minute segment that accused the Pentagon of understating U.S. troops’ injuries in Iraq gave a Pentagon spokesman a total of a minute-and-a-half to reply.
But, one might ask, doesn’t Moyers have the right to be as biased as (say) Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reily?
So what of it? . . . There’s no law against lack of balance, is there?

Well, actually, there is a law exhorting balance on public TV. The Public Broadcasting Act requires CPB to “facilitate the full development” of programs of sterling characteristics “with strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature . . .” An amendment in 1992 further directs CPB to watch for imbalance and “take such steps in awarding programming grants . . . that it finds necessary.”
PBS, in other words, literally breaks the law when it presents a biased menu of programming.

Of course, Moyers Now isn’t the whole story of PBS. The Jim Lehrer Newshour is consistently fair and balanced. But an analysis that included Tucker Carlson’s show as well as Diane Rehm’s show on NPR showed that Carlson, a conservative, is quite balanced, and Rehm’s show leans sharply to the left.

Naturally, liberals are fussing and fuming about the controversy over public broadcasting. They want to protect public broadcasting from conservative attacks, since it presents the world through liberal lenses.

And after all, why shouldn’t they use government to take taxpayers’ money to promote their views?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Journal-Sentinel Retracts Lottery Story

Actually, they didn’t admit it is a retraction. They called it a “clarification.”

The story was yet another claim that the poor in the inner city get victimized — this time by the Wisconsin Lottery.

But on the front page of today’s paper, a story admitted “In fact, the data used for the story cannot prove or disprove such a correlation . . . .” and further “. . . no valid conclusions could be drawn about whether lottery players in poor areas are at a disadvantage.”

In other words, “our story was junk.”

The retraction was apparently the result of our blog entry, brought to their attention by our colleague Janet Boles.

How do we know that? Because it contained the exact same arguments and information we published. The data they quote about the payout from the lottery being 56.9 cents on the dollar was the exact information, from the exact same source, hot-linked in our story.

Not that we expect any credit from the Journal-Sentinel. We know perfectly well how the mainstream media view blogs.

Some sensible observations on this fiasco from Sykes Writes:
Kudos to the editors for the prominent placement of the “clarification.” But two questions nag: (1) How did this story get into the paper in the first place and (2) why did it take six days to run a correction?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Censoring the ‘Net

From USA Today:
STRASBOURG, France (AP) -- Canada became the first non-European country Friday to sign up to combat “cyberhate,” the online dissemination of xenophobic propaganda.

Canada signed an additional protocol to the international cybercrime convention, drafted in 2001 by the Council of Europe.

Signed by several dozen countries, including Canada, the United States, South Africa and Japan, the convention names four types of cybercrime: confidentiality offenses, notably breaking into computers; fraud and forgery; content violations, such as child pornography and racism; and copyright offenses.

The treaty aims to speed up international cooperation in investigations and extraditions.

The additional protocol widens the scope of the convention to combat xenophobic propaganda and calls on countries to criminalize its distribution via computer as well as Internet sites that deny or approve of genocide and crimes against humanity.

The cybercrime convention constitutes a basis for Canada’s law criminalizing racist hatred on the Internet, said Canada’s Justice Minister Irwin Cotler after signing the additional protocol.

“No one country alone can combat racist hate, particularly cyberhate,” Cotler said. “This is an anonymous, borderless, faceless crime. We’ve gone from five hate sites on the Internet in 1995 to 5,000 in 2005. These are horrific sites. They’re used for purposes of recruitment. They particularly target the young. It is predatory hate of the worst kind.”

Cotler said international treaties facilitating extradition and prosecution of perpetrators of hate crimes on the Internet are particularly important in the light of Thursday’s deadly attacks on public transport in London.

“We believe that incitement to hatred is the most proximate cause of terrorism itself. Therefore, if you’re combating incitement to hatred, you’re combating terrorism,” he said.
There is plenty that obviously wrong with this. But one thing that is wrong but not so obvious is that the United States might be required to extradite people viewed, by other nations, to be guilty of “hate speech.”

Further, the argument that hate speech leads to terrorism and that it’s thus OK to shut it up echos one of the real abuses of the Patriot Act -- as opposed to “abuses” cooked up by the ACLU. Activity that’s really just ordinary criminal activity gets defined as “terrorism” so that authorities have more latitude to prosecute it.

But here, it seems that mere speech is being criminalized.

Anybody who thinks that only genuinely noxious speech will be affected isn’t up to date on how “hate speech” is defined.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Insisting on Being Just a Person

Dan Banda is a Marquette faculty member who is to teach a course this fall titled “Mexicans in the Media.”

If that doesn’t sound politically correct, nothing does. One imagines a course about the terrible stereotyping Mexicans have had to endure at the hands of Anglo dominated media.

But in reality, Banda seems way less than fully politically correct. His father was Mexican, and his mother Norwegian. So far as his parents were concerned, neither should be the defining thing about his life:
Twelve years ago, my father warned me not to open the door to our past, but I didn’t listen. “If you dig around with this ethnic stuff, you’re just going to make yourself miserable,” he would reply to my questions about his Mexican-born parents.

My mother’s response to questions about her Norwegian-born parents, were a bit more diplomatic but no more enlightening. To them, yesterday really was a canceled check. To them, everyone came after the immigrant, at one time or another.
The moment of truth came with a Marquette Human Resources bureaucrat called him, to demand to know his ethnicity.
The person on the other end of the phone was . . . asking me to complete my personnel information and to please choose an ethnic identity.

I had left that part blank, as I always do. “How can I be just one of these choices?” I asked. What went unsaid, however, was that by choosing a label, I had to leave someone behind.

Choose “white” and I cede to Sir Frances Drake and reject my inner Viking. Choose “Hispanic” and I cede to Cortes and downplay my native heritage.
Banda refused to answer, and was told by the bureaucrat that growing numbers of Marquette students are also refusing to answer.

Banda then explains his dislike of ethnic labeling:
But with every one of these small victories, one can still hear the drums of the Anglo-Spanish War. On one side, people are promoting our ethnic festivals and tours of our ethnic neighborhoods.

To them I say, “If there really is such a thing as an ethnic neighborhood, there must be something called a ‘non-ethnic’ neighborhood. If you can explain what that is, I’ll go on the tours.”

On the other side, they are getting ready for the national Hispanic convention to arrive and are dusting off the Latino family values and work ethnic mantra.

To them I ask, “If these values are truly unique, then who do Latinos have better family values than?”
If Banda was at all cynical, he would pick “Mexican” as his ancestry. That would certainly serve the interests of University bureaucrats.

Hispanics are typically favored minorities in “diversity” programs, and basically nobody gives a damn about Norwegians.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Marquette Nickname Conspiracy?

A post on Rivals.com repeats a conspiracy theory about why Marquette did not return to “Warriors” that has been going around for a long time.
Very long story short, MU needed money badly in the early 1990s for lots of things. To buy and build apartments, to build athletic fields, to increase campus safety and DPS presence etc. The story goes, that MU wanted the land that is now Valley Fields but was in a bidding war with the Potawatomi for it. There was simply no way MU could afford to outbid them, but luckily for them Mayor John Norquist was dead set against the Potawatomi having the land, for fear of riverboat gambling. So in long discussions he struck a deal that would get MU the land, and make a few of the Potawatomi higher ups happy. The Potawatomi would give MU multiple millions of dollars to purchase, build and maintain Valley Fields...to further construction and upkeep of Campus Town....to buy the apartments on Wells St.(Holton, Frenn etc)...and to increase the amount DPS patrol cars and expand the LIMO program. All MU had to do for this very generous gift, was dump the Warriors name and NEVER go back to it. They couldn’t just change the logo, the Warriors had to go bye-bye. Should MU ever decide to go back to the name, they have two options. They can either repay the tribe all of the money they were loaned, or they can sign over ownership of the various property to the tribe.

There is, at least according to a few BOT guys I know, an official document that lays out all of this for the BOT’s eyes only...when the issue was first brought up Fr. Wild was hoping to get around it, or at least convince the tribe to change the deal, but they were not willing. There’s also a confidentiality agreement, if anyone from MU leaks the information to the press, they have to pay back the money.

I’m not saying this as gospel, but I’ve heard it multiple times from many people that were higher ups in the university at the time. And I’m not the only one, there’s been multiple discussions of it in the past, each with a little different twist, but the same general theme.
We decided to ask Brigid O’Brien, of Marquette’s Public Affairs office, to respond to this, pretty much knowing what the response would be. She replied:
This is untrue. There was not an agreement with the Potawatomi tribe regarding the nickname issue.
Like most conspiracy theories, this is a lot of fun to believe, and it would provide an explanation for behavior on the part of the Administration that otherwise looks feckless and inept.

But in the end, we don’t believe it.

As we have already observed:
We are skeptical about this because, in the first place, we think the Potawatomi are to venal to care about an issue like a team nickname. And in the second place, the theory is just too darn complicated, requiring an elaborate burlesque of consulting with the tribes while the real action was a super secret back channel strategy with the Potawatomi.
It’s tempting to conclude that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” But in reality, there isn’t any smoke here. Just a lot of supposition.

The fact that some very sane and intelligent people believe it doesn’t really make it plausible. It is, like most conspiracy theories, good but useless fun.

What we saw on the part of the Administration is really, truely, what we got: political correctness, ineptness and arrogance.

NARAL “Screw Abstinence!!!” Event

Via Sykes writes:

Liberals often insist that they don’t see anything wrong with sexual abstinence, it’s just that it’s unrealistic to expect teenagers to abstain from sex.

So of course, we should distribute condoms in schools, and make it clear in sex education classes that we fully expect the students to be “sexually active” (translation: promiscuous).

But now we have, from the National Abortion Rights Action League, the following:

SCREW ABSTINENCE PARTY

Thursday, July 14, 2005
6:00-8:00pm
Watertown
106 1st Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

Let them know you keep it real when it comes to your sexual health and decision making.

Come laugh, learn, socialize and buck the system at NARAL Pro-Choice Washington’s Screw Abstinence Party.

The dirty little secret of the sexual liberals is that they don’t like sexual restraint in society.

History of “Warriors” at Marquette

An outstanding post on RingOutAHoya.com has information on the adoption of the “Warriors” nickname in 1954. What appears to be a University press release notes:
The school was named after Pere Jacques Marquette, famous Jesuit explorer and missionary who discovered the Mississippi River. Converting the Redman to the ways of God was Marquette’s chief reason for his explorations throughout the state of Wisconsin. His association with the Indians, who befrended the priest, is the attachment which officials found to be suitable for adoption.
This produced a sarcastic response from another poster:
How terrible was Father Marquette to think that his religion was superior to the Native Americans, hence the need to covert them to followers of God? How paternalistic and condescending. Actually, it sounds just like DiUlio/Wild!

Wayne Sanders should donate his 1 million for the reparation trust fund instead.
The poster has a good point. Once one adopts the premises of the politically correct crowd, Marquette has no business being called “Marquette.”

But the University wants it both ways. It wants to claim to be a Catholic university while implicitly renouncing any aspects of its heritage or of Catholic teaching that don’t sit well with politically correct sensibilities.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Ten Commandments in the Courthouse

From Kevin Miller of the Heart, Mind & Strength blog:
Ten Commandments

The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a Courthouse is that you cannot post “Thou Shalt Not Steal,” “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery” and “Thou Shalt Not Lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians! It creates a hostile work environment.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Wisconsin Lottery Ripping Off the Poor?

That’s the claim of the Journal-Sentinel, that asserts:
Nearly one-third of all state lottery tickets sold in southeastern Wisconsin last year were sold in poor neighborhoods, and players in these areas hoping to strike it rich have not seen as many big payoffs as the rest of the region, a Journal Sentinel analysis shows.
Sounds like another case of the poor being ripped off, right?

But as our colleague Lowell Barrington pointed out to us, the problem is the stipulation “big payoffs.”

The first hint that there is something wrong with the paper’s analysis comes in a chart that shows that “winnings to sales ratio” in various localities. Across the entire area the average payout in “winnings” is 6.4% of sales.

But in fact, the lottery pays out, in prizes, far more than 6.4% of all it takes in. In Fiscal 2003-2004, the lottery had (state wide) 482.9 million dollars in sales, and gave out 275.2 million dollars in prizes.

It returned, in other words, 56.9 cents on each dollar spent on a lottery ticket.

Then how does one explain the discrepancy between this figure and the 6.4 cents the Journal-Sentinel reports?

Simple. The Journal-Sentinel analysis included as “winnings” only prizes of $600 or more. But these come to only a very small proportion of total lottery winnings.

The discrepancy could easily be accounted for if people in poor neighborhoods disproportionately play games that have a high probability of payout, but only a modest payout if you win. And indeed, the article provides evidence that this is the case:
[Mike Edmonds, director of the Wisconsin Lottery] also noted that one of the most popular games in Milwaukee County is the Pick 3 game, which has a top prize of $500 - prizes that are not recorded and tracked by the lottery. Of the $23 million in Pick 3 sales statewide last year, he said, half of those sales were in Milwaukee County.
In other words, lottery tickets with a low top payout (but a greater probability of winning) are apparently more popular in poor neighborhoods.

This article was a prime example of statistical incompetence, and should never have appeared in the paper.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Bias at PBS and NPR

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has a Republican Chairman, a fellow named Kenneth Tomlinson, who oddly enough was appointed by President Clinton.

Recently, Tomlinson has been making waves by making an issue of the liberal bias of PBS and NPR.

Tomlinson commissioned one Frederick W. Mann to do a content analysis of three PBS/NPR shows, and not surprisingly, it found a strong liberal bias.

A detailed analysis of the Bill Moyers NOW show provides the following data:
  • Of 136 segments reviewed, 92 clearly opposed Bush Administration policies. Another 16 were neutral or didn’t deal with Bush policies at all.
  • During the period analyzed, a total of 67 liberals and Democrats appeared on the show, as opposed to 23 conservatives and Republicans.
  • Of the 23 conservatives and Republicans who were allowed on the air, 11 opposed Bush Administration policies.
In other words, not only were liberals overrepresented, but conservatives and Republicans appear to have been chosen because they opposed the Bush Administration.

On the Diane Rehm show on National Public Radio, the guests broke down as follows:

Total Participants: 46
Liberal Viewpoint: 22
Conservative Viewpoint: 5
Neutral Viewpoint: 14
Entertainment: 5

Having been on the Diane Rehm show outselves, we can testify about the bias. Defending the death penalty, we had to face not only two advocates on the other side, but a hostile Diane Rehm, and overwhelmingly liberal callers.

As you might expect, NPR has been strongly biased in reporting on this issue.

We heard the segment they broadcast last Friday, and they completely omitted any discussion of Mann’s data. For NPR, the issue is the “controversial” actions of Tomlinson, and not how they themselves report public affairs.

For example, they quoted NPR/PBS supporters who fussed and fumed about how Tomlinson is “politicizing” the CPB. Never mind that public broadcasting is already politicized — which is why its supporters like it.

Another liberal supporter complained about how Tomlinson had been “snooping” on newspeople on PBS and NPR. Of what did the “snooping” consist? A content analysis of what was broadcast to millions of Americans!

The Charter of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting requires it to be unbiased and nonpartisan, so Tomlinson is doing nothing more or less than try to see that the taxpayer funded organization lives up to its own mandate.

People in public broadcasting probably aren’t lying when they say they aren’t biased. They are so immersed in the liberal culture of elite journalism that they can’t see that their worldview is just one way of viewing events.

In an astonishingly honest self-examination, The New York Times has admitted to a lack of diversity of viewpoint. Don’t look for anything similarly honest from public broadcasting any time soon.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Anti-American Bias in the Canadian Broadcasting Company

Via East Coast Wisdom:

A content analysis from Canada’s Frazier Institute showing a leftist anti-American bias in the government owned Canadian national broadcasting network. According to the study:
This anti-American bias at the CBC is the consequence of a “garrison mentality” that has systematically informed the broadcaster’s coverage of the US. Garrison mentality was a term coined by Canadian literary critic, Northrop Frye. He used it to describe a uniquely Canadian tendency reflected in our early literature, a tendency, as he put it, to “huddle together, stiffening our meager cultural defenses and projecting all our hostilities outward.”

To gauge the extent of anti-American sentiment on CBC, one year’s coverage of the Corporation’s flagship news program, The National, for 2002 was examined. The authors chose 2002 because it followed the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, but was prior to the US invasion of Iraq.

In total there were 2,383 statements inside the 225 stories that referred to America or the United States on CBC in 2002. As with most news coverage, the largest number of statements was neutral; they constituted 49.1 percent of the attention. Thirty-four percent of the attention to America or the United States was negative, over double the 15.4 percent positive descriptors. Only 1.6 percent of the statements were considered ambiguous.
We don’t think the “garrison mentality” explanation is sufficient — just good old leftist bias works better to explain this. If this “garrison mentality” explained the bias, it would not be the left in Canada that is particularly anti-American.

Thus the CBC, like PBS and the British Broadcasting Company are examples of media that give free reign to the liberal biases of journalists. Not constrained by commercial pressures, they are not really constrained by politics either — since they have political allies to protect them.

And the taxpayers are the poor chumps who have to pay for the propaganda.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Letter to the Editor: Gwen Moore

This came via e-mail in response to our article on Representative Gwen Moore, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, honored by Marquette in spite of a strongly pro-abortion voting record both in the Wisconsin legislature and the House.
Just read your blog on Gwen Moore then read the piece on the MU website. Her story is inspiring and one MU has a right to be proud of. It’s unfortunate you are unable to discern any value in Gwen Moore’s service and accomplishments because of your apparent inability to get beyond two wedge issues.

Like most individuals and institutions, MU is able to take a balanced view of issues and public people instead of via their positions on one or two wedge issues and condemning or hailing them for it.

People of faith disagree on abortion and gay rights. Thoughtful people have differing views on every topic we face. Our founding fathers disagreed passionately at times. God created man with free will, requiring us to discern, debate, listen, grow, advocate passionately . . . but also expects us to love on another.

Extremists on both sides of every issue - left and right - distract the mainstream from the work of man. You spill venom and hate, create apathy and disgust. Ever heard the adage “seek first to understand, then to be understood?”

Charlie Young
MU Warrior, class of 1978
Young insists that “people of faith disagree on abortion and gay rights.” But people of good will disagree on (say) environmental issues, and we wouldn’t expect the Sierra Club to endorse a candidate who wanted to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Why are liberal groups allowed to take strong positions, but a Catholic University isn’t supposed to take a position on issues like abortion and gay “rights?”

It’s also interesting that Young mentions “wedge issues.” This is liberal jargon for “issues you shouldn’t pay much attention to, because if you do it might cause you to vote Republican.”

Liberals, by way of contrast, see nothing wrong with “wedge issues” (say, globalization or Social Security) if they might lead people to vote for the Democrats.

Finally we have the fact that Marquette claims to take its “Catholic mission” quite seriously on some occasions. The Administration insists that the nickname “Warriors” is contrary to the University’s mission, and invoked that mission to shut up a College Republican display that raised money for American military snipers.

So what we have is the University being rigid and dogmatic about issues that have only the most tangential and debatable connection to the Catholic “mission” but entirely flexible and “balanced” about issues where the Church has taken crystal clear positions.

That does not suggest fidelity to any Catholic mission. It suggests political correctness.

Anti-American Bias in Reuters?

From the Opinion Journal:
How anti-American is the Reuters “news” service? Check out the first two paragraphs of this human-interest story from Amsterdam:
A Dutch woman who swears by a daily helping of herring for a healthy life celebrated her 115th birthday on Wednesday as the oldest living person on record.

Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper, a former needlework teacher, was born in 1890, the year Sioux Indians were massacred by the U.S. military at the Battle of Wounded Knee.
The swipe at America seems especially gratuitous given that 1890 actually was a big year in the history of the Netherlands: the year Queen Wilhelmina, age 10, ascended to the Dutch throne.
Pop Quiz History Question: did you ever learn in school about Indians massacring white settlers? It happened, but it seems to have been dropped down the PC memory hole.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Ward Churchill Urges that Soldiers Kill Their Officers

From the Pirate Ballerina blog: Churchill made the following statements in a speech in Portland:
But for those of you who do, as a matter of principle, oppose war in any form, the idea of supporting a conscientious objector who’s already been inducted [and] in his combat service in Iraq might have a certain appeal. But let me ask you this: Would you render the same support to someone who hadn’t conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit? That kind of resistance.

[ . . . ]

You cannot maintain a military projection of force in the field when your own troops are taking out the line officers who are directing them in combat. It is as simple as that. Conscientious objection removes a given piece of the cannon fodder from the fray; fragging an officer has a much more impactful effect.
It might not seem that significant that a few moonbats in this nation are saying things like that. But it most certainly is significant that the University of Colorado not only gave him an academic job for which he was in fact unqualified, but promoted him to Chair of a department.

Nanny Government: The Feminist Version in Spain

Yes, the busybodies in the government in Spain are passing a law requiring that men and women to do equal shares of housework.

Never mind that the man may work many more hours outside the home.

And never mind that the whole thing is unenforceable.

And never mind that women who really want help around the home have plenty of leverage to insist on it. Husband and wife, after all, typically work out these things between themselves.

Another example of Nanny Government convinced that it knows what’s best.

(Via Althouse blog.)

Cops Favor Right of Citizens to Carry Guns

From the Dad29 blog: The fact that law enforcement people, contrary to what you might believe viewing the mainstream media, favor the right of citizens to own and carry guns. According to the The National Association of Chiefs of Police, which surveyed its members:
With regard to private citizens owning firearms for sport or self-defense, 93.6 percent of the respondents supported civilian gun-ownership rights. Ninety-six percent of the police chiefs and sheriffs believe criminals obtain firearms from illegal sources and 92.2 percent revealed they hadn’t arrested anyone for violation of the so-called “waiting period” laws. When asked if citizens’ concealed-weapons permits would reduce violent crime, 63.1 percent said yes.

Journal-Sentinel Sportswriters on the Nickname Fiasco

Via the GOP3.COM blog:

Two scathing columns by Journal-Sentinel sportswriters on the nickname fiasco:

This issue has highlighted the culture war within the staff of the paper. The politically correct editorial board has reflexively opposed “Warriors,” but the sportswriters have supported it.

First, Bob Wolfley:
So the Marquette Board of Trustees decides on its own that Golden Eagles isn’t snazzy enough as a nickname and decides to change it to Gold.

Ten thousand angry e-mails, blogs, protests and editorials later, the Board decides to hold not a clean one-phase, but a damaging two-phase election so it can pretend that it is sensitive to the concerns of its students, alumni and faculty.

Instead of the bad publicity for the school and the buffoonery of the Board ending after just one vote, those items are held up for the public to consider for an even longer period of time.

That’s just what a public relations sore needs, more time to fester.
And Michael Hunt:
Sometimes, coming full circle is a good thing; that Gen. Patton comeback, for example, was OK while it lasted. But to go from a boring, weak and common nickname like the Golden Eagles to an uninteresting, bland and unoriginal nickname like Golden Eagles while enduring weeks of absolutely unnecessary ridicule is . . .

Again, could someone please explain such silly behavior?

Look, I know what some of you are thinking: Settle down, it’s just a stupid nickname. Exactly. But that’s not the point. Marquette could call itself the Blue Meanies and no one would care as long as it actually succeeds in the Big East Conference. The issue is why the few should be able to embarrass the many with such a pointless exercise.
Hunt, who has consistently supported “Warriors,” ends by suggesting that many Marquette fans feel themselves the victim of identity theft.

And all this because the Administration didn’t want to alienate a few politically correct yahoos.

Nanny Government in Ontario

Yes, Canada, the liberals’ vision of what America should be. The nanny types in Ontario are trying to outlaw smoking in bars – as has happened in several jurisdictions here in the (supposed) Land of the Free.

The following video, titled “Who’s Your Nanny,” put out by the pro-choice forces (no, not liberals who are “pro-choice” about abortion but anti-choice about almost everything else), is an hilarious spoof on Nanny government:

http://www.faac.ca/content/WhosYourNanny.wmv