Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Media Touting Bogus Poll on Bush Approval

We got a call from a Wisconsin Public Radio producer today, wanting us to talk about President Bush’s “all time low” poll ratings.

We were in class, and by the time we got back, he had had to get somebody else because of a looming deadline.

But the CBS Poll that shows President Bush with only 34% approval is clearly an “outlier” — a data point that’s out of line with other data.

Real Clear Politics now, by averaging the last five polls, shows Bush at 40.4% approval.

Not real robust, but not a record low either.

A Cook Political Report poll done at the same time as the CBS poll shows Bush at 40%.

And a Rasmussen poll shows him at 43%.

Brian Collar, of the GOP3.COM blog, has noticed the cause of the odd CBS result: the CBS poll includes many more Democrats than Republicans.

(Check page 18 of the PDF file linked above.)

Even after the pollster finished weighting the sample (and the published results are based on the weighted sample), it contained 289 Republicans and 381 Democrats.

Reliable polls invariably show Democrats and Republicans virtually tied in terms of identifiers in the voting age population.

Why haven’t the media done what Collar quite easily did? Apparently, they like to report that Bush in in political trouble, and don’t look too hard for flaws in any poll that tells them what they want to hear.

Unfortunately, this includes the Campus Tavern blog, which also jumped on the story.

Supreme Court Roundup

Eminent Domain is having a field day with Supreme Court news.

Check here, here and here.

It really is the source for watching the Court.

So far, the Roberts Court hasn’t done too much damage to the Republic, but it’s really too early to tell much, given the lack of votes from Alito and given the need for solid evidence on whether Kennedy will swing to the left, or join what is hopefully a conservative majority.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Bush is Finally Willing to Use the Veto

From Brumley’s Blog, a good rant about the fact that President Bush is finally promising to veto a bill Congress might pass.

For what purpose? To defend the deal wherein a state-owned company from Dubai would run American ports.

Brumley is not so much upset with the port deal as irate about the many other bills Bush should have vetoed, but did not.

We have pretty much agreed with the Bush strategy of picking his fights carefully. Any president, after all, only has so much political capital, and must husband it for fights that he really has to win.

But we are more and more leaning toward a different view. Maybe political capital, like financial capital, grows when it it properly invested.

When you win political battles, you build up the capital to win even more battles.

Had Bush decided to fight congressional Republicans’ pork-barreling, there would be some irate Republicans in Congress, no doubt. But the extra approval and respect that would garner could quickly render Bush a president they don’t want to cross.

It’s moot here to ask whether it’s better to be feared or loved. The port deal, like the Harriet Miers fiasco, risks making Bush a president who is neither feared nor loved.

Even England Doesn’t Get Free Speech

From Dad29 Blog, an account of how even the British, who are normally more attached to freedom than the people on the European continent, really don’t get the idea of free speech.
Thus, Birmingham University forced the Evangelical Christian Union off campus and seized the group’s funds because it refused to amend its bylaws to allow non-Christians or atheists to become voting members.

Thus, [Bishop N.T.] Wright noted that police have shut down protests in Parliament Square against British policies in Iraq. Comedians — facing vague laws against hate speech — are suddenly afraid to joke about religion. And was there any justification for government investigations of the Anglican bishop of Chester and the chairman of the Muslim Council of Great Britain because they made statements critical of homosexuality?

Public officials, said the bishop, are trying to control the beliefs that are in people’s hearts and the thoughts that are in their heads. The tolerance police are becoming intolerant, which is a strange way to promote tolerance.

“People in my diocese have told me that they are now afraid to speak their minds in the pub on some major contemporary issues for fear of being reported, investigated, and perhaps charged,” said Wright. “I did not think I would see such a thing in this country in my lifetime. . . . The word for such a state of affairs is ‘tyranny’ — sudden moral climate change, enforced by thought police.”

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Madison Smoking Ban

From the Blog of Nate, a post from a liberal Marquette alumnus who appears to be a principled liberal. Blogger Nate Romano, a law school student at Madison, notes the double standard of some of his liberal and leftist friends on the Madison smoking ban:
Me? I opposed it on principle. I don’t smoke; I don’t like to be around cigarette smoke, especially when I’m eating or drinking. But, I was content to either (a) go to the one or two bars downtown that were smoke-free by choice or (b) to choose to be slightly discomforted (and smelly) but with my friends who do smoke. For some odd reason, my more progressive friends didn’t quite understand that this latter option was firmly “pro-choice” and supported the ban with all their might — the more “pro-life” (or at least “pro-healthy life”) position. Yet one more sad example of how ideology and polarization now trumps ideas and principles.
This is why we refuse to call pro-abortion people “pro-choice.” They simply are not pro-choice.

They aren’t pro-choice on guns, they are not pro-choice on schools, and they are not pro-choice on smoking. They are simply people who happen to think that abortion is OK.

We don’t call people on the other side “pro-life” either. We just call them “anti-abortion.”

The Scientists Are Rioting!

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Cartoons of Muhammad: “Both Sides” Should Exhibit Restraint?

From columnist John O’Sullivan in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

. . . a dissection of the argument that “both sides” in the conflict over the cartoons of Muhammad should exercise restraint.
As the riots spread through the Islamic world, the British Foreign Secretary, the U.S. State Department, the United Nations Secretary General, various responsible Muslim organizations, many commentators in Europe and the United States, including some distinguished conservative commentators, are calling for restraint on both sides.

What both sides would those be then? Well, one side has published a handful of cartoons, arguably blasphemous and certainly insulting to the Prophet Muhammad, and the other side has burned embassies, taken hostages, murdered three people suspected of being Christians and/or Danes, shot at Danish soldiers helping children in Iraq, marched through London with banners threatening further bomb attacks on the city, and attacked and beaten people whom they suspected of some vague connection with, well, with Europe or Christianity.

Suppose both sides listen to these calls for restraint. What would happen? I suppose that one side would stop burning embassies and murdering people and the other side would no longer publish cartoons to which the murderers might object. That would mean the murderers had obtained their objective and the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons had been defeated in its campaign against the unofficial Islamist censorship that in recent years has spread across Europe by murder and intimidation.
O’Sullivan then goes on to talk about. . .
. . . the uselessness of appeasing their demands for censorship. If they are granted, our concessions will merely be the springboard for a further attack on Western liberty. And if we disobligingly refuse to furnish them with a pretext, the Islamists will manufacture one as Hitler used to manufacture border incidents in order to justify his planned aggressions. So we might as well fight in the first ditch rather than the last.
Further:
The secondary argument that we must all censor ourselves to avoid offending others in a multicultural society is a highly ironic commentary on the liberals’ promise that multiculturalism meant a more lively, colorful, and argumentative society. We are now told that it means holding our tongues on sensitive issues and telling young women not to dress in ways that might provoke a pious Muslim to rape them.
This argument applies exactly to the claims made in the name of “diversity” on college campuses.

While the proponents claim that they favor a wider range of viewpoints and arguments, they in fact have always set about trying to stifle any expression that they consider contrary to “diversity.” Thus people who oppose racial preferences are told they are “offending” or creating a “hostile atmosphere” for minorities. People who oppose the agenda of the gay lobby are called “bigots” and silenced.

The politically correct fascists on college campuses are not quite so violent as the Islamic mobs, but they are equally intolerant.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Former Tribune Editor: I Would Have Run Cartoons

From Kirb Check, the blog of former Marquette Tribune editor Adam Kirby:

. . . an explanation of why, were he still Tribune editor, he would have run the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which have led to riots throughout the Islamic world.
First, the argument that the cartoons need not be published because they can be adequately explained is, at best, a copout. Name me an image in the entire world that can’t be explained with words. None exists. Does that mean newspapers should never run a photograph that might be unsettling? Quite the opposite — as the saying goes, a picture says a thousand words. Before I saw the cartoons, I imagined they must have been considerably more offensive than they actually were, and by being able to view for myself exactly what was causing these riots — how innocuous, for the most part, they were — it cast the whole story in a different light for me.
Indeed.
On to the second argument — that the cartoons are available on the Internet for people who want to track them down. Indeed, the same could be said about myriad topics newspapers cover every single day. “We didn’t cover such and such because, if you’re interested, you can just search Google for info on it.” That’s not the way a newspaper should operate. . . . Furthermore, if news outlets were sincere about wanting to give the readers an alternative place to seek out the pictures, they would have included a Web address to do so. Few, if any, did.
The Marquette Tribune decided not to publish the cartoons, although the editor at the Daily Illini at the University of Illinois did, and got suspended for his trouble.

We were initially opposed to the actions of Jyllands-Posten, the Danish paper that first published the cartoons.

But as the protests and then riots broke out, the cartoons took on huge news value. It became important to readers to know what the fuss was about.

We never published the cartoons here, but we did supply a link (two actually, one of them a mirror site) where our readers could see the cartoons.

On the issue of whether the Tribune should have published the cartoons, we think publishing or not publishing them were both defensible, but the paper really should have supplied a web address so that readers could see them for themselves if they wanted.

Europe Doesn’t Get Free Speech

From the International Herald Tribune, an essay on the fact that Europe just doesn’t seem to get the idea of free speech.

The reality, as political philosopher Louis Hartz made clear a generation ago, is Europe is mired in ways of thinking that preceded the rise of capitalism, the philosophies of Locke and Mill, and the individualism that is so strong in America.

It has, in other words, a backward political culture.

David Irving Sentenced to Prison in Austria for Denying Holocaust

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Editorial Cartoons on Those Muhammad Cartoons

As usual, the The Office of Homeland Security has a dandy collection of editorial cartoons, this time on the violent reaction to those Danish cartoons of Muhammad.

What Do You Do When Your Mascot is a Tree?

In other words, what do you do when you are oh so politically correct Stanford.

We really can’t imagine things like this happening at Marquette, but “Gold” might have been close.

Eugene Jarecki Speech a Bust

When the Marquette Tribune ran a puff-piece about the campus appearance of leftist filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, one key piece of information was omitted.

The article said nothing about the turnout.

We have information from two students who were there, and one says the turnout was “approximately 30,” while another says “35 is on the high end.”

While it’s tempting for a conservative to applaud the fact that a leftist speaker got a poor turnout, we would have preferred a large turnout of students willing to listen critically and confront Jarecki on his tendentious view of national security issues.

Indeed, that’s the spirit with which the College Republicans approached the event.

College Republicans Daniel Suhr and Rob Fafinski prepared the following list of questions for Jarecki, and members of the organization passed them out at the event.

The Marquette University College Republicans would like to present:

Twenty Questions
With Eugene Jarecki

In the name of a true academic discourse on our campus, the MUCRs would like to pose a few questions to Eugene Jarecki. If one of these questions in particular strikes you, feel free to ask Mr. Jarecki!!!

  1. You start the movie off by asking the question on many Americans minds: Why do they hate us? How would you answer that question?
  2. Yes or No, did the American government bring 9-11 upon itself by our actions throughout history?
  3. You noted that President Bush labeled the 9-11 terrorists “evil-doers” who must be stopped because of their evil. Do you consider the 9-11 hijackers “evil-doers”?
  4. The movie says the United States decided to remain militarist permanently because of the Soviet Union. Do you believe that Soviet Communism presented a threat to America? Would you agree with the common assertion that the permanent militarism you condemn was part of the reason that America defeated communism?
  5. The movie says that animosity against the United States is stronger now than it has ever been in history. How do you measure that? Is that true even given, for instance, the Cold War?
  6. Do you believe that the U.S. invaded Iraq in order to intimidate other countries and show them that the U.S. could “do what it wants” on the world stage?
  7. What is your understanding of imperialism? Is the United States an imperialist nation?
  8. The movie says that the United States is “spreading democracy” … is that a bad thing?
  9. The movie says that by doing a cost-benefit analysis most American military families must be against the war. How do you account for the fact that military families are among the most ardent supporters of the Bush’s actions?
  10. You reference “economic colonialism” in the movie, and you imply that free trade and free markets are not good… would you rather see markets in these nations remained closed to US and other nations’ capital investment and goods?
  11. The retired AF Lt Col. says that she will not allow her children to even consider entering the military. Do you support her decision? On what basis?
  12. In the making of the movie, how many Americans did you ask the question, “Why do we fight?”
  13. Do you agree with Howard Dean that the capture of Saddam has not made America safer?
  14. Was President Clinton right to send troops to Bosnia in 1995 and Yugoslavia in 1999?
  15. The defense industry is one of the most unionized industries in the U.S. Would you say that unions help perpetuate this American military empire you speak of?
  16. Why are troop recruitment and retention rates on track or higher than expected in recent years? How do you account for troops finding fulfillment their implementation of Bush’s policy in the Middle East?
  17. Is patriotism jingoistic? In other words, do you fly the flag on the Fourth of July?
  18. How much money are you making off this movie, and would you say you are benefiting financially from the American military empire you speak of?
  19. Does United States military action need to pass John Kerry’s “global test,” which was basically requiring explicit U.N. approval before action?
  20. I want to put to you a question asked in March of 2003 by a British journalist of the French foreign minister – as invasion was imminent, who did you want to win, the Coalition or Saddam?


The College Republicans clearly approached the event in the proper spirit. Academia is the place where tough questions ought to be asked, and asked of students, professors, administrators and outside speakers.

But we wonder: where were the campus liberals and leftists on Wednesday night?

Executions Deter Murder

Death penalty opponents dogmatically insist that executing murderers does not deter murders, mostly based on old and methodologically inferior studies.

But the last few years have seen a large number of new methodologically sophisticated studies that show that executions do deter murders. Doing studies like this right requires taking a lot of factors into account. Simply showing that states that execute murderers sometimes have a murder rate about as high as states that don’t really doesn’t get you very far, since states differ a lot in geography, culture, poverty and lots of other factors.

An overview of the new, sophisticated studies was given by economist Paul H. Rubin in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights on February 1 of this year.

Here is the prepared text that was the basis of Rubin’s testimony.

The bottom line: we now have an impressive body of evidence that the death penalty does deter murders.

To make the argument for the death penalty, it’s not even necessary to argue that we know that the death penalty deters murders.

It’s only necessary to argue that it might.

If it might, then failure to execute murderers is a form of reckless endangerment, putting at risk the lives of innocent people who might be saved.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Marquette Student Government: Student Bill of Rights

From Ryan Alexander at Campus Tavern:

. . . a current draft of a Marquette Student Government “Student Bill of Rights.”

To be frank, it’s mostly vague generalities with little substance.

But that’s the point. Alexander, in effect, is encouraging students to get involved in guiding the development of the document.

Letter to the Editor: Marquette Warrior Unfair to Tribune

From former Marquette Tribune editor Adam Kirby, a response to our post suggesting that the paper would have failed a litmus test if they did not to publicize the Marquette speech of a soldier who served in Iraq.
It’s not fair to use the Friday visit by the CR’s [College Republicans] Army lieutenant as a “litmus test” for Tribune bias. If I understand your post correctly, this speech was just announced today, giving the Trib less than 24 hours to write a preview piece — compared to several months advance notice on Mr. Jarecki.

In my experience at the Trib and other professional newspapers, if a group gives anything less than a week notice in advance of an event, they best they should expect is a one-paragraph calendar mention. A speaker coming to campus, unless it is a significant national figure, is not breaking news and would never get such treatment.

If the Trib indeed does give this speech significant preview coverage with less than 24 hours of advance notice, it would be doing so for the sole purpose of making the College Republicans happy. Appeasing a special interest group is a horrible way to make news judgments, and I would be disappointed if the Trib does it. It would be inconsistent with normal policy.
Kirby appears to have a good point here. After some checking, we determined that the speech, from Fox News Military Analyst and retired Army Lt. Col. Scott Rutter, was not widely publicized outside College Republican circles until yesterday.

We still wonder, however, whether the Tribune will cover Rutter’s talk tomorrow as they covered Jarecki.

The Tribune published a puff piece on Jarecki.

JUSTICE & The University Ministry: Continuing to Hate Israel

With a hat tip to Dan Suhr at GOP3.COM, the fact that both University bureaucrats and the leftist student group JUSTICE continue on an anti-Israel tact.

Their outlook doesn’t seem to have changed since the biased and one-sided program for the Arab Heritage Celebration last April.

Case in point: Julie Enslow, who is speaking at Soup With Substance on March 2nd.

Her hard-left politics can be seen from the fact that she helped organize an event in honor of Cindy Sheehan on the Milwaukee lakefront.

She doesn’t see Iran’s nuclear program as any sort of real problem. But she does want the U.S. to give up all nuclear weapons.

She moderated a discussion at the Peace Action Center in Milwaukee where all the panelists insisted that Israel must cease to exist as a Jewish state.

She makes the rounds with a slide show titled “Living Under Israeli Occupation.” We can be sure it includes no photos of victims of Palestinian suicide bombers.

She participated in an “anti-war” rally and “die-in” in Milwaukee in 2002. The event sounds like it was a hoot!

At another 2002 rally in Milwaukee she said of President Bush:
“He’s using terrorism and the innocent victims of Sept. 11 to push his entire agenda on domestic and international issues,” said Julie Enslow, a member of Peace Action of Wisconsin. “I think it’s outrageous and an insult to the people who died to use their deaths to justify a right-wing agenda.”
It would be bad enough if Soup With Substance had entirely liberal speakers. But Enslow is not a liberal. She’s a far-out-of-the-mainstream hard leftist, and she’s no part of any productive discussion of the Middle East.

Marquette Tribune: Late But Fair On Vagina Monologues

The Marquette Tribune finally got around today to running a story on the University’s refusal to allow “The Vagina Monologues” to be performed on campus.

It is now nine days since the story broke here on “The Marquette Warrior.”

The Tribune account was quite fair, however, allowing both proponents and opponents of the play to say their peace. JUSTICE co-chair Dominique George and Meghan Griffiths, identified as Manresa intern in University Ministry and coordinator of Crosswalks, spoke in favor of the play.

(It is a bit disappointing to find somebody in Manresa and the University Ministry, both offices that should be strongly supportive of the Catholic mission of Marquette, supporting “Vagina Monologues.”)

On the other side Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, got an opportunity to knock the play. But the most eloquent voice, in our view, was another student.
Mamie Smith, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences who lives in the Catholic Houses — a housing option for juniors and seniors that focuses on prayer and the Catholic faith — said the monologues “demean” the body, while Catholicism views the body as “sacred and beautiful.”

“While we do need to talk about these issues, we need to discuss it in a way that considers both the body and the soul,” Smith said. “It just seems there would be a better way to address the issue than something that’s shocking and out there.”
What was missing in this story?

The same thing that was missing in our story last week.

There was no official comment from the University.

When we were working on our story, we sent (on February 13) an inquiry to University spokeswoman Brigid Miller, asking about a report in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette that Marquette would not allow “The Vagina Monologues” to be performed on campus. We asked her “Who exactly made this determination?” and “When and how did the issue come up?” She never got back to us.

Marquette appears to be laying low on this issue.

We will see how much longer this strategy works, since the Journal-Sentinel is working on a story on this issue at Marquette.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

John Wayne, Where Are You Now?


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Detailed Review of “Why We Fight”

From the Chicago Reader, a favorable but highly detailed review of the movie “Why We Fight,” which was shown and discussed tonight on the Marquette campus by leftist filmmaker Eugene Jarecki.

The review makes it clear that the movie is manipulative and dishonest.

An example:
More effective are those characters with an actual story arc — like Sekzer, who responded to Bush’s assertion of an Iraq-Al Qaeda link by asking the military to inscribe his son’s name on a weapon headed for Iraq. In no short time he got a message reporting that a 2,000-pound guided bomb had been dropped in loving memory of his son and “met with 100 percent success.” When the president later denied any link between Iraq and 9/11, Sekzer was stunned.
But in fact the Bush administration never claimed a link between Iraq and 9/11. There most certainly was a link between Iraq and terrorism. And indeed, the 9/11 Commission found several links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, but no “collaborative relationship.”

Jarecki has accepted a bogus leftist talking point.

Yet Another Marquette Blog

Sorting through Absurdity is run by a blogger whose nom de blog is L’Étranger. He describes himself as:
A bisexual, Roman Catholic scholar, I am an amateur philosopher and student of education at Marquette University.
This one, like Slouching Towards Sensibility goes on our “watch list” with MU Cerebellum.

This, That and All the Crap in Between has been around since December, and has had good posts, but only very few posts. Perhaps something on campus (or in the larger political landscape) will get Melissa and Katie fired up and we’ll see more activity.

Some people are pretty much compulsive bloggers, and some people aren’t, so time will tell who will persist and become a force.

Put us down as rooting for all of the above.

New Blog: “Slouching Towards Sensibility”

It’s a new blog worth watching.

It goes on our “watch list” along with MU Cerebellum.

Our standards for putting a blog on our blog roll are not absurdly high. Mostly, we look for blogs with new posts on a fairly regular basis. The posts don’t have to be brilliant. The key thing is that, if we go there once every day or two we find some tidbit of interesting information, some cartoon or joke that’s good for a smile, or a perspective that we haven’t seem before.

Iraq War Soldier Speaks at Marquette

From an e-mail sent out by a member of the College Republicans:
This Friday at 2 p.m. in AMU room 374, Fox News Military Analyst and retired Army Lt. Col. Scott Rutter will be presenting “The Liberation of Iraq — A Soldier’s Story.”

The Young America’s Foundation and the 4th District Republican Party of Wisconsin together have sponsored Lt. Col. Rutter to speak on campus as a balance to the Eugene Jarecki presentation to be held this evening.

Lt. Col. Rutter commanded the unit primarily responsible for the capture of Baghdad International Airport, which paved the way for the ultimate fall of the city and the regime.
Thus we have an interesting litmus test for the Marquette Tribune.

Will they give this talk the front-page publicity they gave leftist filmmaker Eugene Jarecki?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Not the One That Brung Ya’

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Marquette Tribune Covers Up MUSG Blunder

Kudos to GOP3.COM which has been all over this:

Marquette Student Government, under pressure from conservatives to bring some balance to a left-slanted program of speakers, conceded that a conservative speaker needed to be brought in.

But when Michaella Radich announced the “conservative” speaker, conservatives were appalled, since the speaker she invited was a leftist anti-Iraq War filmmaker named Eugene Jarecki.

Radich appears to have been sincere, but clueless, in this choice. She did some (apparently very superficial) Internet searching, and accepted the assurances of Jarecki’s agency that he was really “moderate.”

This, quite simply, was a blunder on the part of student government.

But when the Marquette Tribune got around to covering this story today, writer Amy Guckeen tried to spin this as some misunderstanding on the part of campus conservatives. As GOP3.COM explains:
Yes, there was confusion! But it certainly was not the conservatives fault. It was the MUSG Speakers Commissioner’s fault. She was the one that billed Jarecki as a conservative.
Further, Radich appears to have put a misleading spin on the entire situation to the Tribune, and the Tribune reporter accepted the spin. According to the Tribune, Radich said:
“Jarecki was never advertised as a conservative; rather, he is a moderate,” Radich said. “When I spoke to the agents about an unbiased speaker, they were fully aware I meant a speaker who would not be preaching their political views to Marquette students. I specifically said, ‘No Michael Moores, please.’ With this information, Eugene Jarecki surfaced.”
But, as we revealed in a post on January 12, Radich claimed in an e-mail to the Political Science faculty:
I assure you that this presentation is completely unbiased. I am not bringing Michael Moore, rather, this is the most conservative speaker available in MUSG’s budget. I have been researching for months to find a speaker to balance our campus’ political presentations, and Eugene Jarecki is completely unbiased says his agent as well as other universities at which he has presented. This is a blatant attempt on my and MUSG’s part to please especially the College Republicans as well as all other parties on campus.
Yet Jarecki is clearly a hard-left anti-Iraq War speaker. As GOP3.COM explains:
One reviewer described the film this way: “This is just a Michael Moore film without Michael Moore — without the ego and the bombast and the cheap theatrics. It’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” that’s had a shave and a shower.”

TIME Magazine labeled it the newest product from “the documentary left.”

A Wall Street Journal columnist called it “antiwar propaganda.”

Victor David Hanson of Stanford University described it as follows: “Eugene Jarecki’s Why We Fight is a reprehensible film in its intellectual dishonesty. But it is so poorly cobbled together that it never rises above the propaganda level of Fahrenheit 9/11.”

Even the New York Times reviewer admits: “To his credit, Mr. Jarecki doesn’t bother with the fig leaf of journalistic objectivity as far too many nonfiction filmmakers try to do; his political agenda in this film is as clear as Michael Moore’s in ‘Fahrenheit 9/11.’”
Yet the Tribune quotes Radich on how moderate Jarecki is:
“The film focuses into the heart of America’s attitude towards war and the tangled web of the American military landscape,” said College of Health Sciences junior Keta Radich, speakers commissioner for MUSG. “Jarecki wants to address our rationale for fighting. He believes democracy should be our nation’s first priority.”
And further:
“Eugene does not focus on political parties; instead, he advocates for American democracy.”
Radich apparently believes that anybody who is for the war is against democracy.

So we have to ask the same question about the Tribune that we ask about the MUSG Speaker’s Program: is this liberal bias, or is it incompetence?

Radich apparently believes that a leftist filmmaker who opposes the Iraq War and fulminates about American “militarism” is a “moderate.” Guckeen accepts this, fails to do her own research into Jarecki’s ideology, and portrays the Republicans as “confused.”

Between incompetence and liberal bias, it seems we have plenty of both.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Holocaust Museum: Funny Entry on Web Page

. . . but we don’t think they intended it to be funny.
Witness war-torn Congo with Angelina Jolie

. . . Journey through Eastern Congo. The journal depicted in this Web site gathers the impressions of UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie, John Prendergast of the International Crisis Group, and two photographers.

Socialized Medicine Being Eroded in Canada

From our Canadian correspondent:

Quebec opens door to private health care

Wait-time guarantee includes promise to cover private clinic bills if necessary

RHÉAL SÉGUIN

QUEBEC CITY — The Quebec government promised yesterday to provide hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery within six months of a patient’s diagnosis and said it would pay for the procedures to be done at private clinics if necessary.

This would make Quebec the first province to guarantee access to certain health procedures and would open the door to a greater role for private health care in Quebec.

“We’re putting the private sector to work for the public,” Premier Jean Charest said at a news conference. “What we are announcing today is a new era in the delivery of health and social services for the population of Quebec — a new era of guaranteed access to care.”

[. . .]

Under the proposals, the government promises to provide cataract, hip and knee surgery within six months of the day a specialist recommends the operation. If government-funded hospitals cannot perform the procedure within that time, the government will pay to have it done at certified private clinics affiliated with a hospital.

If the operation cannot be done anywhere in Quebec within nine months, the government will pay to send the patient outside the province, including to the United States.

The government estimates it will spend about $20-million a year sending patients to private clinics. As the population ages, that figure could grow.

The article goes on to explain that Quebec has a shortage of about 1,000 doctors (what does one expect under socialized medicine?).

As with school choice in Milwaukee, the forces of the public sector monopoly are not happy about having to face competition.
“Why is Mr. Charest so determined on using public funds to finance private clinics when the same services with proper planning and funding could be offered in our hospitals?” said Geneviève Pelletier, spokesperson for the patients advocacy group Coalition Solidarité Santé.

Other provinces may be tempted to follow Mr. Charest’s lead. The British Columbia Speech from the Throne this week called for changes to the Canada Health Act and hinted that the use of private clinics to deliver publicly funded health care should not be ruled out. The Alberta government plans to bring in legislation to allow, among other things, people to buy private insurance for certain procedures.
In seems that “patients advocates” in Canada are like “consumer advocates” in the U.S., which don’t advocate for consumer, but rather for leftist causes.

The world in which socialized medicine seemed to be the wave of the future is now gone. It has been gone since 1989, although HillaryCare was its last gasp in the U.S.

That’s not to say that systems of socialized medicine will be dismantled tomorrow. Not only is a vast network of special interests arrayed to protect them, the simple conservatism of the beneficiaries of the welfare state will prevent any change that seems to in any way threaten the goodies people want from government.

This is the same dynamic that rendered President Bush’s attempts to partially privatize Social Security a non-starter.

But it’s becoming clear that for socialized medicine, like the rest of the welfare state, it’s the forces of selfishness and reaction that are its defenders.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Those Cartoons of Muhammad: The Killing Continues

When the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published those cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, our first reaction was to disapprove. What is the point, we thought, in deliberately insulting Muslims?

The violent reaction in the Islamic world, however, puts the entire issue in a different light.

Thus ones sees a headline in The Guardian saying “Nigeria cartoon riots kill 16.”

The violent reaction doesn’t “vindicate” the original publication, which has to stand or fall on its own merits.

It just massively overshadows it.

How trivial it now seems to complain about a lapse of taste and judgment on the part of the Danish paper.

Your Insurance Wouldn’t Cover That Anyway


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Looking Back: The Bogus Claim that Black Churches Were Being Targeted

From Jeff Jacoby:

. . . in the wake of a series of obvious hate crimes in Alabama, in which a series of churches (all Baptist) were set on fire within a short period of time and within a narrow geographic area, a reminder of the “hate crimes” that the media obsessed over, which weren’t hate crimes at all.
In 1996, a spate of fires in the South was wildly and falsely trumpeted in the media as an eruption of racism. “We are facing an epidemic of terror,” said Deval Patrick, the Clinton administration’s assistant attorney general for civil rights. But as it turned out, there was no racist conspiracy. More than a third of the arsonists arrested were black, and more than half the churches burned were white. So perhaps it is progress of a sort that, this time around, the media are keeping in check the urge to cry “Racism!”
No, it’s not progress at all.

It’s just the fact that about half of the churches recently burned in Alabama were obviously white, and that has penetrated the consciousness of the media.

In 1996, there were fewer faces associated with the fires, and much more room to selectively report fires at black churches.

So how did the “black churches being burned” myth get started? Michael Fumento, in an article in the Wall Street Journal, explained the process.
It turns out the main source is the Center for Democratic Renewal, a group whose mission, says its promotional literature, is to work “with progressive activists and organizations to build a movement to counter right-wing rhetoric and public policy initiatives.” Originally called the National Anti-Klan Network, it changed its name when the Klan largely fell apart in the 1980s. But instead of seeing that as a sign of declining bigotry, the CDR has continued for more than a decade to issue statements and reports “discovering” a sudden resurgence in racist activity.

The CDR’s agenda goes well beyond rooting out genuine bigotry; the group tars mainstream conservatives with the same brush as racist criminals. “There’s only a slippery slope between conservative religious persons and those that are really doing the burning,” the Rev. C.T. Vivian, the CDR’s chairman, has said. Liberals like Jesse Jackson and Mary Frances Berry, chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, have picked up the theme.
But what about the facts about the fires?
The CDR claims there have been 90 arsons against black churches in nine Southern states since 1990, and that the number has risen each year, reaching 35 in 1996 as of June 18. Each and every culprit “arrested and/or detained,” it stresses, has been white.

But when I contacted law enforcement officials in several states on the CDR list, a very different picture emerged. The CDR, it turns out, regularly ignored fires set by blacks and those that occurred in the early part of the decade, and labeled fires as arsons that were not – all in an apparent effort to make black church torchings appear to be escalating.
  • South Carolina. This state has by far the most arsons on the CDR list (27). But seven of those fires were either found not to be arsons or have not had their causes determined, according to Chief Robert Stewart of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division in Columbia. (In a note, the CDR’s report admits that two of the 27 fires were probably not arsons, but insists they are still suspicious. It makes no mention of the other five.) Moreover, far from all the arsonists having been white, eight of 18 arrested in South Carolina were black. While it’s not clear that all these arrests were made in time to make the CDR’s report, two were arrested more than a year ago.
  • Georgia. Of the five fires the CDR lists as black church arsons, only two can be confirmed as such, says John Bankhead, public affairs officer at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. And one of those occurred at a church where “the congregation has about 1,000 members, of whom about a dozen are black.” What’s more, Mr. Bankhead’s records include one black church arson from 1995 that the CDR’s report omitted. The arsonist was black.
  • Alabama. The CDR lists 10 church fires, all between 1994 and 1996. But State Fire Marshal John Robison says that only one of these was a confirmed arson (the perpetrator being a white fireman). One fire was determined to have been an accident, another is too recent to be classified, and four are being treated as possible arsons but are as yet undetermined. That leaves three more incidents on the CDR’s list of “Southern States Black Church Burnings” for Alabama. All were in Sumter County in February 1994. The Sumter County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that none were fires but rather vandalism. The CDR’s claim they were arson, I was told, was “a bald-faced lie.” Surprisingly, the CDR omitted one bona fide 1994 black church arson in which the culprits were white. It also left out two 1994 arsons committed by blacks. (One of them was the pastor of the church.) Moreover, the group left out 10 black church arsons that took place before 1994, again creating the illusion that the burning of black churches is a recent phenomenon.
  • Mississippi. Of nine Mississippi fires in the CDR’s report, only three are confirmed arsons, says James Ingram, commissioner of public safety. And while the CDR reports no black church fires before 1993, Mr. Ingram’s list includes five between 1990 and 1992. One was committed by a black man; in another, black church members were suspected. Two of the Mississippi fires the CDR lists occurred this June 17; Mr. Ingram says they were clearly “copycat” crimes, spurred by the recent publicity.
As another source points out:
Even in the South, there is no evidence from the task force that black churches were more vulnerable than white churches. According to the [Federal] task force, 44 percent of church arsons in the South were at black churches, and 56 percent were at white churches. But approximately 40 percent of Southern churches are predominantly black.

Of the 136 people arrested for arsons at black churches, 85 were white, 50 were black, and one was Hispanic. Thirty-seven whites were charged with hate crimes because there was evidence of a racial motivation for their attack upon black churches. Only six of those 37 had ties to an organized hate group. The majority of church arsonists of all races seem to have been motivated by pyromania, vandalism, burglary, or insurance fraud.

It’s hard to call the church-arson story of 1996 a complete fraud. Yes, black churches were burned and continue to burn. And yes, some arsonists have been motivated by racial hatred. But there is no compelling evidence to show that black churches were any more vulnerable to attack over the last decade than non-black churches.
And indeed, as the Alabama church burnings show, no evidence to think that racial hatred is more of a problem than anti-Christian hatred.

It’s a classic example of media bias. The media hyped the “racists are burning black churches” theme because it fits the template. It’s fun to pretend it’s still 1963.

They downplay the hate crime angle in the Alabama arsons because it doesn’t fit the template. Christians (especially conservative Christians) cannot be victims of hatred. They are the bigots. Any evidence to the contrary has to be ignored.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

You Can Still Hope For 2008


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Eugene Kane Endorses Bryant Gumbel’s Racist Remarks

Via Ask Me Later:

. . . the fact that the Journal-Sentinel’s race columnist tried to excuse a racist comment from Bryant Gumbel on HBO. Gumbel said:
“Finally, tonight, the Winter Games: Count me among those who don’t like them and won’t watch them … try not to be incredulous when someone attempts to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks, who never heard of skating or skiing. So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention.”
Of course, the ancient Greeks never heard of basketball either, but that doesn’t stop it from being an Olympic sport. He continued:
“And try to blot out all logic when announcers and sportswriters pretend to care about the luge, the skeleton, the biathlon and all those other events they don’t understand and totally ignore for all but three weeks every four years.

“Face it: These Olympics are little more than a marketing plan.”
Gumbel, quite simply, is deriding certain sports because virtually all of the participants are white.

What would he say if somebody derided NBA basketball because virtually all of the participants are black?

Is the value of a sport determined by the skin color of the people who play it? Would Martin Luther King endorse that notion?

Interestingly, NBA basketball is vastly popular with white Americans — the vast majority of whom are apparently more racially tolerant than Gumbel.

If the Winter Olympics somehow excluded blacks, that would be a real grievance demanding some action. But the simple fact is that the sports that make up the winter Olympics are cold weather sports, which is why countries like Canada and Norway (as well as Alpine nations Switzerland and Austria) are doing so well.

And black people are scarce in far northern latitudes and Alpine nations.

Just as black people are plentiful in urban areas with playgrounds that have basketball hoops.

Kane’s defense essentially endorses racism.
Also, what’s so wrong with what he said? It’s actually a very pointed but somewhat sarcastic critique of the Winter Olympics, which are apparently so bland, even “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol” are beating the Games in the ratings.

Some folks are so caught up in this “reverse racism” game, they don’t even make sense. Have you ever watched the GOP convention when the camera pans the audience?

Well, then you know what he was trying to say.
Of course we know what he was trying to say. He was trying to say something racist.

If blacks are scarce at the Republican Convention, does that speak badly for the Republicans, or badly for black people? To assume the former is racist, making black people the arbitors of political correctness. That’s no better than completely dismissing the beliefs of black people.

And if “American Idol” should beat NBA basketball in the ratings, would that justify deriding the sport on the grounds that black athletes are so bland (or dumb, or immoral or whatever racist notion you want to wheel out) that they can’t win the ratings race?

This sort of casual racism is the norm among the politically correct. Things “white” may be derided and scorned with impunity.

“President George Bush” at Jeff Foxworthy Roast

From Heart, Mind & Strength:

“Bush” notes that some people say he is “not the brightest bulb in the knife drawer.”

And remember, if you are a big Jeff Foxworthy fan, you miiiiiiiiiiight be a redneck.

Friday, February 17, 2006

New York Times Attacks (???) Wal-Mart

A revealing article, which is revealing in ways the reporter and the newspaper probably don’t understand, just appeared in the New York Times.

Anti-Wal-Mart activists leaked to the paper the content of a private web site Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. uses to communicate with his employees.

The contents of the site were leaked by Wal-Mart Watch, an anti-Wal Mart group backed by unions and leftist foundations.

What sinister things did the communications reveal?

First, Scott gets a bit testy about attacks on the company. Horrors!

He brags a bit about having dinner with Tony Blair, meeting with Prince Charles and meeting with Steve Case, the founder of AOL. A little tacky, maybe. But the context was the fact that he is required to represent Wal-Mart around the world.

He exhorts his employees to offer good service and play by the rules.
“If you choose to do the wrong thing: if you choose to dispose of oil the wrong way, if you choose to take a shortcut on payroll, if you choose to take a shortcut on a raise for someone — you hurt this company,” he added. “And it’s not unlikely in today’s environment that your shortcut is going to end up on the front page of the newspaper. It’s not fair to the rest of us when you do that.”
We tend to discount such goody-goody rhetoric from executives, but just what is bad about saying that?

What the anti-Wal-Mart crowd probably dislikes most is the pointed barbs he directs at them and their allies. On the issue of whether Wal-Mart should offer benefits as extensive as firms like General Motors, he quips:
“One of the things said about General Motors now is that General Motors is no longer an automotive company. General Motors is a benefit company that sells cars to fund those benefits.”
And then there is this:
Commenting on a labor union that is fighting Wal-Mart’s expansion plans in New York City and elsewhere, Mr. Scott wrote in the Web site, “that way its members’ employers” — meaning many Wal-Mart competitors — “can continue to charge extremely high prices for food and tolerate poor service.”
Wal-Mart is far from being the perfect company, but its enemies are an unholy alliance of snobby elitists, leftist business-hating activists and self-interested labor unions frustrated by the fact that Wal-Mart workers won’t freely vote to unionize, and wanting to use political pressure to force them to. Or at least prevent the company from offering a real challenge to its unionized competition.

With these sorts of enemies, one has to come down on their side.

Arson: Not a Hate Crime if Directed at Christians

From Jeff Jacoby’s column in the Boston Globe:

. . . the fact that the definition of a “hate crime” depends on what religious group is being attacked.

Suppose that in 2005 unknown hoodlums had firebombed 10 gay bookstores and bars in San Francisco, reducing several of them to smoking rubble. It is not hard to imagine the alarm that would have spread through the Bay Area’s gay community or the manhunt that would have been launched to find the attackers. The blasts would have been described everywhere as “hate crimes,” editorial pages would have thundered with condemnation, and public officials would have vowed to crack down on crimes against gays with unprecedented severity.

Suppose that vandals last month had attacked 10 Detroit-area mosques and halal restaurants, leaving behind shattered windows, wrecked furniture, and walls defaced with graffiti. The violence would be national front-page news. On blogs and talk radio, the horrifying outbreak of anti-Muslim bigotry would be Topic No. 1. Bills would be introduced in Congress to increase the penalties for violent “hate crimes” — no one would hesitate to call them by that term — and millions of Americans would rally in solidarity with Detroit’s Islamic community.

Fortunately, those sickening scenarios are only hypothetical. Here is one that is not:

In the past two weeks, 10 Baptist churches have been burned in rural Alabama. Five churches in Bibb County — Ashby Baptist, Rehobeth Baptist, Antioch Baptist, Old Union Baptist, and Pleasant Sabine — were torched between midnight and 3 a.m. on Feb. 3. Four days later, arsonists destroyed or badly damaged Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Greene County, Dancy First Baptist Church in Pickens County, and two churches in Sumter County, Galilee Baptist and Spring Valley Baptist. On Saturday, Beaverton Freewill Baptist Church in northwest Alabama became the 10th house of worship to go up in flames.

Ten arson attacks against 10 churches — all of them Baptist, all in small Alabama towns, all in the space of eight days: If anything deserves the label of “hate crime,” obviously this does.

Or does it?

“We’re looking to make sure this is not a hate crime and that we do everything that we need to do,” FBI Special Agent Charles Regan told reporters in Birmingham. Make sure this is not a hate crime? If 10 Brooklyn synagogues went up in flames in a little over a week, wouldn’t investigators start from the assumption that the arson was motivated by hatred of Jews?

[. . .]

“I don’t see any evidence that these fires are hate crimes,” Mark Potok, a director of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, told the Los Angeles Times. “Anti-Christian crimes are exceedingly rare in the South.”

But are anti-Christian crimes really that rare? Or are they simply less interesting to the left, which prefers to cast Christians as victimizers, not victims?

A search of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website, for example, turns up no references to Jay Scott Ballinger, a self-described Satan worshiper deeply hostile to Christianity, who was sentenced to life in prison for burning 26 churches between 1994 and 1999. The SPLC has claimed that the number of hate crimes in American is sharply underreported. Yet if Ballinger’s arsons weren’t “hate crimes,” what were they?

Jacoby goes on to cite an attempt by National Public Radio to interpret the crimes in racial terms. After all, white racists burning black churches fits the politically correct template just fine. Unfortunately, of the ten churches burned, five had predominantly black congregations, and five mostly white congregations.
But real progress will come only when we abandon the whole misguided notion of “hate crimes,” which deems certain crimes more deserving of outrage and punishment not because of what the criminal did, but because of the group to which the victim belonged. The burning of a church is a hateful act regardless of the congregants’ skin color. That some people bend over backward not to say so is a disgrace.
The fundamental problem is that politically correct liberals believe that they are by definition tolerant, and conservatives aren’t.

Thus, intolerance coming from their side of the political spectrum must be either rationalized as justified (of course blacks should hate whites, and women should hate men), or just flat out ignored.

Of course, the arsonists may not be liberal in any serious political sense. But then, guys who beat up homosexuals aren’t conservative in any serious political sense either. Just violent thugs. But that doesn’t prevent the liberals interpreting such attacks as evidence of “homophobia.”

So why not interpret these arsons as examples of anti-religious bias?

Because Christians aren’t a properly accredited victim group.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

NSA Phone Menu For Tapped Calls

From Scrappleface:

NSA Adds Alert and Choices on Tapped Calls

by Scott Ott

(2006-02-07) — After a day in which Attorney General Alberto Gonzales faced tough questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee about the legality of America’s best-known secret terrorist surveillance program, the National Security Agency (NSA) said it would alter its wiretap protocol to reduce the threat to civil rights.

Under the new procedures for intercepting a telephone call from an al Qaeda operative to a U.S. resident, the two parties engaged in conversation will hear a brief alarm bell every 30 seconds, followed by a recorded announcement that says: “In order to better protect the United States from devastating terror attacks, this call may be monitored.”

According to covert NSA spokesman Louis Slipps, “the new measures carry the assumption that some Americans may be unaware that they’re talking with terrorists, or do not realize that their casual chatter with an al Qaeda buddy may aide and abet the enemy.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT, who yesterday told the Attorney General that he’s concerned about “peaceful Quakers who are being spied upon. and other law-abiding Americans and babies and nuns who are placed on terrorist watch lists,” today welcomed the new ‘liberty-enhanced’ secret wiretap program that the NSA dubbed “Operation Let Freedom Ring.”

“Thanks to these changes, the Quakers can stop quaking from fear and return to their regularly-scheduled quaking in response to divine revelation,” said Sen. Leahy. “And law-abiding Americans who just happen to have friends in al Qaeda, can rest easier tonight.”

In addition to the monitoring alert, Mr. Slipps said U.S. residents on NSA-intercepted calls will soon be offered a menu of options, including the following:
  • To continue in Arabic press ‘one’ or say wâhid.
  • To hear a complete listing of the steps required to obtain a wiretap warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, press, or say, two.
  • If you’re a law-abiding American, press, or say, three.
  • If you’re a Quaker, a baby or a nun and feel you have reached this recording in error, please hang up the phone and dial a number that’s not associated with al Qaeda.
  • To speak with an NSA representative, remain on the line until we complete the trace. You may hear a brief series of clicks, followed by a knock at your door.
  • To call in a CIA predator-drone attack on the party to whom you are speaking, press the ‘pound’ key.

Or Maybe He Should Just Give Up Hunting


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Madison: Double Standard on Offending Religion

From Letters in Bottles:

The Daily Cardinal, the student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, reprinted a statement by Chancellor John Wiley attacking another student paper (the Badger Herald) for printing one of those cartoons of Muhammad that have caused riots throughout the Muslim world.
“This action has brought home to Madison, Wis., and to the university community, the same visceral, emotional response reported by the international media during the past several days,” the statement read. “We should remember always that actions have consequences […] we cannot pretend they don’t require our attention.”
And what is on the same page of the Daily Cardinal?

A link to a story with the heading “Sex Out Loud uses bicycles to promote condom use, lauds National Condom Week.”

Christians, you see, are not allowed to be offended when student activity fee money is used to promote sexual promiscuity.

Scott Walker On Ethanol Mandate

In a press release from the Walker for Governor campaign:

. . . some evidence that Walker is a real reformer, of the sort who might shake things up in Madison, just as he has with Milwaukee County government.

We have lacked any strong opinions on the Governor’s race, liking Walker but knowing very little about Green.

But this issue is a pretty good litmus test. It’s not even “who’s the real conservative,” since there is no particular liberal reason to like the misbegotten ethanol mandate.

It’s more “who is a go-along-to-get-along conventional politician?” Walker, it appears, is not.

How About Just 36 Virgins?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

JUSTICE Statement on “The Vagina Monologues”

The following is the proposal submitted to the Marquette administration by JUSTICE, asking permission to perform “The Vagina Monologues” on campus.

The request was rejected by the Administration.

We’ll have more comment on this issue, but for the moment, here is the complete unedited statement from the student activist group.

January 26, 2006

Dear Dr. McCarthy,

J.U.S.T.I.C.E. (Jesuit University Students Together in Concerned Empowerment), is a caring, compassionate community of social justice activists at Marquette University. We seek to educate and influence our campus, government, and other leaders to take action to create a better, freer, more peaceful world. In this capacity, we value open, honest dialogue and feel it is our responsibility to address issues of violence, oppression, and injustice that affect Marquette students. We believe The Vagina Monologues brings these issues to light through an art form that is both educational and accessible.

The Vagina Monologues is part of the international V-Day Campaign to end violence against women. The play itself is the main educational component of this campaign. It speaks with the voices of real women about their own stories and experiences. Several of the monologues address sexual violence, others address sexism and oppression of women, and some give voice to international women’s rights issues.

Unlike many other sexual violence awareness events, The Vagina Monologues attacks at the root of the problem; silence and powerlessness. It opens up dialogue because of its stark honesty. The dialogue promotes a community open to speaking about important yet uncomfortable issues. Powerlessness dissolves as we hear others’ stories and find a place to tell our own.

The play is an educational piece in and of itself, but in an effort to ensure that the important issues raised are understood in their intention and presentation, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. will coordinate supplemental education. A formal talkback after the show, on-site counselors for individual meetings, and additional literature and resources will be available. Network partners of HAVEN (Helping Abuse and Violence End Now) have agreed to help us in this endeavor. In an attempt to address the issue of violence against women from a holistic perspective, we also plan to collaborate with Marquette professors of diverse disciplines on educational information and additional University Ministry staff regarding healing and spiritual guidance.

We feel that this important production is not only in line with our mission as a student organization but is also reflective of our greater mission as a Catholic, Jesuit University. As the Church teaches a preferential option for the poor, the situation we find women in becomes a call to action for Catholics everywhere – within both our domestic and international communities – to address the systemic nature of women’s inequality in our modern world. At Marquette we are taught fundamental Jesuit values, including care for the whole person and faith seeking justice. The Vagina Monologues offers women a unique space in which to celebrate and care for their whole person including their sexuality, an opportunity women in today’s world rarely enjoy. As Jesuit University students, we are also called to live out a faith that does justice ─ a faith that counters violence and oppression against women. The play promotes an understanding of the victims of this violence by telling the stories from their point of view. As the silence is broken around these issues, women are given a powerful tool to work against sexual oppression, which includes sexual violence.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments. Additionally, we invite you to explore the V-Day Campaign website (http://www.vday.org/). Thank you for your consideration and time.

Peace,

Dominique George, President of J.U.S.T.I.C.E. on behalf of the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. members

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

More Sports Nickname Political Correctness

This time it’s professional soccer that is at issue.

From a Houston TV station:
Houston soccer fans, get ready for a new name.

Sources told 11 News that after pressure from the Hispanic community the name “Houston 1836” will be changed.

1836 is the year Houston was founded, but it is also the year Texas declared its independence from Mexico.

For many Mexican-Americans 1836 represents the year thousands of their forefathers lost their lives and their land.

Officials for the Major League Soccer team will not confirm the name change, but they did say they would have a major announcement within the next week.

No word on what the new name will be, but sources said there is a strong possibility it will be “Lone Star.”
This is truely bizarre.

The vast majority of Hispanics in the Houston area either chose to come to Texas (often illegally) or else their parents or grandparents or even more distant relatives did.

They chose to leave Mexico, for reasons we all understand.

Had there been no 1836, there would be no Texas to emigrate to, just another badly governed and poor province of Mexico.

Hat Tip: Mike Sever

Student Organization JUSTICE Denied Permission to Sponsor “Vagina Monologues” On Marquette Campus

When the leftist student organization JUSTICE recently asked for permission to sponsor “The Vagina Monologues” at Marquette, they had to know that the play has been highly controversial on Catholic campuses, with its explicit sexual language, rejection of Church teaching on sexuality, and even a scene in which a lesbian seduces a teenage girl.

Yet the play has been presented on numerous Catholic campuses, so it seemed worth trying.

Yet just a few days ago, after three weeks of consideration and negotiation, Fr. Andy Thon, Vice President for Student Affairs, delivered the verdict: the play cannot be performed.

Leading the campaign against the play has been the conservative Cardinal Newman Society, whose web page keeps tabs on the policies of Catholic colleges and universities. According to the Society:
Steven Frieder, assistant to the president, has assured CNS that Marquette will not allow students to present the V-Monologues on campus.
Reaction so far has been subdued, perhaps because the decision was only recently announced to JUSTICE.

But Dominique George, a member of JUSTICE who was involved in the process, strongly supports the play. “I think the play itself is very important for allowing women to create a community in which to talk about sexuality,” she told the Marquette Warrior.

The play was to be performed with volunteer student actors. No University money was involved, although had the performance been approved, JUSTICE quite likely would have asked Marquette Student Government for money for publicity.

According to George, JUSTICE will now work to publicize other area performances of “The Vagina Monologues.” The organization also plans to sponsor a focus group of students to discuss issues of sexual violence on campus.

[Update: The GOP3.COM blog broke the story about Marquette’s policy banning “The Vagina Monologues”]

Cheney Support Soars

Planned Parenthood Sanitizes Document Touting Abortion for Crime Control

When former Reagan Administration official and conservative pundit William Bennett mentioned the possibility — and then quickly denounced it as immoral — that one could reduce crime by aborting black babies, a huge uproar ensued.

Liberals went bananas, at first acting as though Bennett had endorsed aborting black babies and then, when faced with what Bennett had actually said, accusing him of “connecting race and crime.”

As though only a racist could possibly connect race and crime.

We pointed out, at the time, that Planned Parenthood explicitly supported abortion as a means of reducing crime. While they avoided overt mention of race, they clearly knew that black women are much more likely to have an abortion than white women. Indeed, they explicitly cited a scholarly article that pointed out not only that black women are more likely to have abortions, but that blacks are more likely to commit crimes.

But it seems that, in the wake of the Bennett controversy, Planned Parenthood decided to sanitize that argument out of their position paper.

Here is the current version of “Medical and Social Health Benefits Since Abortion Was Made Legal in the U.S.” There is no mention of abortion for crime control.

And here is the version that was current at the time that Bennett made his remarks.

Note the discussion of abortion on page 3, along with citations to the Donohue & Levitt 2001 study that explicitly discusses the racial angle.

Planned Parenthood apparently decided that was an argument they shouldn’t make. But we can’t forget that they were quite willing to make it before the politically correct banshees jumped all over Bill Bennett.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Lieutenant Governor Mixes Religion & Politics

But that’s alright, since she mixed religion and liberal politics.

From Right Off the Shore:
“Religion and human rights intersect in the pursuit of justice...”
Who said it? Pat Robertson? James Dobson? George W. Bush? Some other right-winger, or “religious fanatic”? Nope. This quote was delivered by none other than our very own Lieutenant Governor, Barbara Lawton, at a Jewish Temple. Where are the indignant cries, the ones we hear every time GWB invokes God? Where are the concerns over the separation of church and state? Where are the claims that our elected officials are pushing religious views upon us?
According to the Capitol Times, Lawton:
She gave Reform Judaism credit for its commitment to “Tikkun Olam,” the idea of repairing the world through the pursuit of social justice.

It is the same idea that is the premise for democracy, for “building a just community where we live,” Lawton told a crowd of about 60 people as she delivered the annual Liesl M. Blockstein Memorial Lecture.
All right, all you conservatives out there.

You need to get with the program. It’s just fine to mix religion and politics so long as it’s to promote “social justice.” The point, however, is that you don’t get to define what social justice is. Only the left gets to do that.

Wounded Vets Support Iraq War: Mike Wallace Astonished

From the Media Research Center:
Appearing by phone on Friday’s Imus in the Morning radio simulcast on MSNBC, to plug his then-upcoming Sunday night 60 Minutes report on the struggles and achievements of some military members severely wounded in Iraq, Mike Wallace admitted he was “astonished” at how “almost all of them support the war despite the fact that it’s taken such a toll on them.” He elaborated, “We asked them flat out: What about should we be there? And the ones that are the most severely hit believe yes, we should have been there. They are not angry at the President. . . .” Indeed, in Sunday’s 60 Minutes piece, Wallace gave four wounded vets a total of 45 seconds to express support for the war -- but then allocated twice as much time to a wounded vet to denounce the war. Over video of Tomas Young with Cindy Sheehan, Wallace note how he “has become an anti-war activist since he was paralyzed in Iraq.” Young recalled how he heard President Bush “standing on the rubble of the World Trade Center with a megaphone saying that we were going find the people that did it and smoke them out of their caves and all that rah rah. And so I wanted to go to Afghanistan to seek some form of retribution on the people that did this to us.” Instead of Afghanistan, Wallace pointed out, “he found himself in Iraq, which he considers the wrong war in the wrong place.”
This, of course, is how the Mainstream Media operates. If you want to be quoted, tell them what they want to hear.

Thus people who have had a loved one brutally murdered who say they don’t want the killer executed can expect to become the darlings of the media, no matter that they are grossly atypical. If 70% of Catholics happen to like a conservative Pope, count on the media to showcase voices from the other 30%.
Wallace has previously made clear his disgust with the war. In late November on FNC, he contended that “Iraq is becoming a kind of Vietnam” and asserted that “we should never have gone into Iraq. We were sold a bill of goods.” Back in 2004 at a Smithsonian forum, Wallace argued that “this is not, in my estimation, a good war” and declared that “it sure is not a noble enterprise.”

During the 8:30am EST half hour interview on the February 10 Imus in the Morning, Imus asked Wallace: “Did any of these kids get into the politics of the war?” Wallace replied, by phone:
“Indeed they did. And I was astonished: Almost all of them, almost all of them are, support the war despite the fact that it’s taken such a toll on them. We asked, we asked them flat out: What about should we be there? And the ones that are the most severely hit believe yes, we should have been there. They are not angry at the President, they’re not angry at the establishment. I promise you you’ll be astonished if you’re up that late on Sunday night.”
Wallace is here admitting that he is simply out of rouch with the troops and indeed with middle America. Why would he think that those who have made large sacrifices want the terrorists to win in Iraq?

This Week’s Message From The Religion of Peace

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Fairness Doctrine: Liberal Strategy to Muzzle Conservative Talk Radio

From Imprimis, an essay by civil libertarian Nat Hentoff on attempts to revive the “Fairness Doctrine” in broadcasting.

Such attempts, of course, come from liberals. For generations liberals claimed to be the heirs of John Stuart Mill, believing in free speech. But faced with a media landscape where conservatives now have a voice, there has been some “re-thinking.”

The term “Fairness Doctrine” exemplifies what George Orwell called “Newspeak”: it uses language to mask the deleterious effects of its purported meaning. The Fairness Doctrine itself was in effect from 1949 until 1987. It required that radio broadcasts devote a reasonable amount of time to the discussion of controversial issues of public importance, and that the broadcaster do that fairly by offering reasonable opportunity for opposing viewpoints to be heard. If the Federal Communications Commission found a radio station in repeated violation of this Doctrine, it could take away the station’s license — a business form of capital punishment.

[. . .]

I was in radio under the reign of the Fairness Doctrine, at WMEX in Boston in the 1940s and early 50s. We did not have any of the present-day contentious talk radio shows, but we covered politics and politicians. I was often the announcer for the mellifluous appearance of the legendary James Michael Curley (played by Spencer Tracy in The Last Hurrah). And we did offer political opinions on the air. I, for example, did so on my jazz and folk music programs.

Suddenly, Fairness Doctrine letters started coming from the FCC and our station’s front office panicked. Lawyers had to be summoned; tapes of the accused broadcasters had to be examined with extreme care; voluminous responses had to be prepared and sent. After a few of these FCC letters, our boss announced that there would be no more controversy of any sort on WMEX. We had been muzzled.

[. . .]

The Current Debate

On May 9, 2005, in the magazine In These Times, University of Michigan communications professor Susan Douglas made the case for reviving the Fairness Doctrine—and listen carefully to her language: “Ongoing media consolidation, and the censorship and pro-right blather that go with it, are sustained by the silencing of oppositional voices Americans are no longer required to hear.” But who should do the requiring? According to Professor Douglas, the government should, of course. Another question is: Which voices are being silenced, and by whom? The professor neglected to say. Not hers, obviously.

Last year, a book widely praised in certain circles, Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy — at least the title tells you where the authors, Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, are coming from—argued:

It is precisely the proliferation of new media that has fostered a strongly right-wing journalistic presence in talk radio and on cable.... The Federal Communications Commission…surely can justify restoring the simple requirement that news include a fair representation of views on controversial subjects and in important electoral races.
There are still some libertarians on the American left who believe that the First Amendment means what it says, but these others who are calling for this revival of government involvement in broadcast content — and this could well extend to the Internet, as it does today in China — take sides against Oliver Wendell Holmes, who wrote in 1929 in United States v. Schwimmer: “…if there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”

Those rallying for the return of the Fairness Doctrine believe that politically incorrect speech must be “balanced” by law — which is to say, by government. Thereby they fondly envision the curbing of the speech of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Matt Drudge, Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly and others who they say are “eroding” American democracy. And arguing this, it is as if they think that the speech of the authors of Off Center — or of Al Franken, Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, political scientists Barbra Streisand and Whoopi Goldberg, and the bankrollers of MoveOn.Org — are not heard enough today!
Hentoff, like any civil libertarian, realizes that, while “fairness” is a good thing, allowing government to decide what is fair is terribly dangerous.

Further, the “Fairness doctrine” would not touch those parts of the news media where liberals have an advantage. It would not require that the New York Times to hire one conservative columnist for every liberal columnist on staff. It would not require the Journal-Sentinel to run one conservative editorial to balance every liberal editorial they run. It would not require that Time Magazine publish one story with a pro-Bush spin for every story with an anti-Bush spin they run.

It would not require CBS News to tout the questionable aspects of John Kerry’s service record if they portray George Bush as a poor soldier.

The purpose, in other words, is explicitly to shut up conservative voices.

It says so very much about liberalism these days that they feel that, in the free market of ideas, they are at a disadvantage. Thus they feel the need to tilt the playing field to favor themselves.

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Swedish Government Shuts Down Website Over Muhammad Cartoons

From the BBC, via Drudge.
The Swedish government has moved to shut down the website of a far-right political party’s newspaper over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

The site’s host, Levonline, pulled the plug on the website of the Swedish Democrats’ SD-Kuriren newspaper after consulting with the government.

It is believed to be the first time a Western government has intervened to block a publication in the growing row.

Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds described Kuriren’s move as “a provocation” by “a small group of extremists.”

“I will defend freedom of the press no matter what the circumstances, but I strongly condemn the provocation by SD-Kuriren. It displays a complete lack of respect,” she said in a statement.
Yes, in Sweden freedom of the press is OK so long as it shows “respect.”
Sweden - which opposed the war in Iraq and is a leading donor to the Middle East - has largely avoided becoming the target of Muslim anger over the cartoons.

The SD-Kuriren website is currently back online via a back-up server.
So one needs to show “respect” for religion — so long as it is Islam.

Christianity? That’s a different matter.

“The Vagina Monologues” Banned From Campus

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the poisonous feminist screed “The Vagina Monologues” has been banned from the campuses of several Catholic universities, including Marquette.

We have not confirmed this with the Marquette public relations people, but since the PR people sent the link to the Post-Gazette out as part of “Marquette University News Clips for Feb. 10, 2006,” we see that as a confirmation.

We personally don’t favor banning any production, no matter how hateful, but then we don’t favor banning a Klansman who might want to speak on campus. The feminist “Vagina Monologues” types, of course, would ban anybody they thought guilty of “hate speech” in a second. So we shed no tears when they get the same treatment they would happily mete out to others.

We do think that Marquette should avoid any action that could be considered in any way endorsement of “The Vagina Monologues,” which would include using any University money to present it, making it part of any official University program (such as Mission Week), or in any way honoring anybody associated with the production.

Which is just the way any potential Klan speaker should be treated.

New Student Blog on Campus

It’s called MU-Cerebellum and the three posters are called Id, Ego and Superego.

It seems to take a conservative, pro-Catholic position on most issues.

The Marquette student blogosphere has become at least moderately competitive, but there is always room for another good voice in campus discourse.

So this one bears watching.

Oil Companies & Car Companies

A wry observation on the two from 4-Block World.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Life in Prison: Not An Adequate Alternative to Execution

From Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe:
Consider some recent news items, all from the past several weeks:
  • A worldwide security alert is issued after 23 inmates escape from prison in Sanaa, Yemen; among those at large is Jamal Badawi, mastermind of the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole that killed 17 US sailors. Badawi had been sentenced to death, but on appeal his penalty was reduced to 15 years. Another of the escapees is Fawaz al-Rabe’ie, convicted for his role in the deadly bombing of a French oil tanker in 2002.
  • Joseph Druce, a convicted murderer serving a life term in Massachusetts, is found guilty of murdering fellow inmate John Geoghan, a former priest serving a nine- to 10-year sentence for sexually molesting a child. Judge Francis Fecteau imposes a penalty of life in prison without parole, in effect adding nothing to the life sentence Druce is already serving.
  • Germany releases Mohammed Ali Hammadi, a Hezbollah terrorist serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of US Navy diver Robert Stethem during a hijacking in 1985. Under German law, even murderers imprisoned for life become eligible for parole after 15 years, and Hammadi has been behind bars for more than 18 years. Though German authorities deny it, some observers suspect that Hammadi’s release is connected to the freeing of a German hostage held in Iraq a few days later.
. . .

Germany’s 15-years-and-out “life” sentence is reminiscent of the Massachusetts policy under former governor Michael Dukakis, when even defendants sentenced to life without parole could look forward to regular weekend furloughs and eventual release on parole. Other states have been just as casual about turning killers loose. In Louisiana, that state’s supreme court noted in 1982, “it was common knowledge that life imprisonment generally means 10 years and six months.” According to The New York Times, in his first two years as California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger “paroled 103 lifers, 89 of them murderers.”
Death penalty opponents have been pushing “life without parole” as an alternative to execution. But they can’t really, honestly, promise that.

Not only do prisoners escape, but courts, governors or even legislatures who become sympathic to certain classes of offenders can always decide to let the killer off the hook, notwithstanding that a jury thought it was putting a killer behind bars for life.

European Community: Press Code on Religion Urged

From the Daily Telegraph:
Plans for a European press charter committing the media to “prudence” when reporting on Islam and other religions, were unveiled yesterday.

Franco Frattini, the European Union commissioner for justice, freedom and security, revealed the idea for a code of conduct in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. Mr Frattini, a former Italian foreign minister, said the EU faced the “very real problem” of trying to reconcile “two fundamental freedoms, the freedom of expression and the freedom of religion.”

Millions of European Muslims felt “humiliated” by the publication of cartoons of Mohammed, he added, calling on journalists and media chiefs to accept that “the exercising of a right is always the assumption of a responsibility.” He appealed to European media to agree to “self-regulate.”

Accepting such self-regulation would send an important political message to the Muslim world, Mr Frattini said.

By agreeing to a charter “the press will give the Muslim world the message: we are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression, we can and we are ready to self-regulate that right,” he said.

The code of conduct, as envisaged by Mr Frattini, would acknowledge the importance of respecting religious sensibilities but would not offer a “privileged” status to any one faith.

The European Commission has long had ambitions to introduce EU-wide legislation on fighting racism and xenophobia but has seen them founder amid resistance from national governments.

Mr Frattini said he was keen to move ahead with a voluntary code of conduct, to be drawn up by European media outlets with the assistance of the commission. The code would not have the status of an EU legal instrument and would not be enforceable by Union institutions.
It’s nice that it would not be “enforceable.” But how long before the authoritarians in Brussels decide to make it “enforceable?”

If it’s really voluntary restraint that’s wanted, why involve the EU at all?

We don’t particularly mind self-censorship of it’s really self-censorship. But government censorship, or even the “chilling effect” of threatened government censorship is fundamentally at odds with a free society. So is violence or threats of violence from those affronted.

Given Europe’s lack of tolerance for whatever kinds of expression are deemed politically-incorrect, the media there has every right to see itself as under siege.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cagle of MSNBC on Cartoon Controversy

New Ad For School Choice

From the Alliance for Choices in Education, a new TV ad for school choice, along with a press release.

Best line: “If school choice is good enough for the Governor’s family, I ought to be able to have it too.”

And of course, virtually all middle class people have school choice. Their kids may:
  1. Attend private schools
  2. Attend “magnet” or “specialty” schools that they have chosen from among public schools
  3. Attend public schools, with their parents having chosen to live in a particular place after considering the quality of the schools, and having the income to live elsewhere
  4. Attend public schools by choice, with their parents having sufficient income to send them to private schools
Only a small proportion of Americans, in reality, lack school choice.

Which is why withholding it from those who don’t have it is so grotesque.