Friday, March 30, 2007

Your Priorities Are Clear

Marquette Student Government Endorses “Domestic Partner” Benefits

Last night, Marquette Student Government (MUSG) passed a resolution recommending “domestic partnership” benefits be given to Marquette employees.

In other words, Marquette should treat “shacking up” relationships as equal to marriage, for purposes of benefits.

MUSG President Dan Calandriello signed the measure this afternoon, and it has been sent on to the Administration.

It will be interesting to see how the Administration reacts to this. Is Marquette Catholic, or isn’t it? The answer isn’t obvious.

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State Supreme Court Candidates on Marquette Radio Sunday

Sunday on Marquette radio, there is a show with the infelicitous title “Bipartisan Bickering with Matt and Joseph.” The hosts are Matt Woleske, Joseph Schuster, and this week they have scored a coup.

The will be interviewing both candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court election, which will be held this coming Tuesday.

The interview with Ziegler will be recorded tomorrow, but Clifford will actually be interviewed live, calling the show at 3:15 on Sunday afternoon.

One never knows when candidates will “let slip” something that fundamentally illuminates their judicial philosophy, which is why we wouldn’t think of missing the show.

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Smart Mutt

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Hard Leftist on Theology Faculty

Daniel Surh at GOP3.COM first recognized the significance of a bland blurb in the Marquette Tribune saying that Father Simon Harak, S.J., is now a Lecturer in the Marquette Theology Department.

GOP3 blogger Brian Collar just put us onto Harak’s blog, at the address http://www.nowarforprofit.blogspot.com/.

The current edition no longer shows his name, but the electronic trail is clear. Here is the user profile that used to point to Harak and a blog called “Stop the Merchants of Death.” And here is a copy (from the Google cache) of that blog.

We reached Harak, who confirmed that, although he has left the War Resisters League, and thus isn’t listed on the profile, it’s still “his baby.”

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Street Beacon Still Alive, Coming Out in April

Last fall semester, we ran a couple of stories about the Street Beacon, a newspaper aimed at the Near West Side neighborhood around Marquette.

Not a campus paper (although produced by Marquette students), its purpose was to serve homeless people by enlisting them to sell copies to earn some income.

We were impressed with the paper as a journalistic enterprise.

But we were skeptical about the paper as a going business concern. It contained no ads. It was funded on a shoestring basis by a bit over $700 in printing costs chipped in by Editor Matthew Ryno. Participation of homeless people was virtually nonexistent. And we doubted there was really a market for a paper serving a neighborhood as poorly defined and incoherent as the Near West Side.

We may have been too pessimistic. Editor Ryno informs us that the second number of the paper is coming out in April.

The paper has a website now.

And the first number from last fall won a journalism award.

We’ll be writing more on the issue.

As of right now, it has to be added to our list of upstart student media that had made a difference. It hasn’t made as much of a difference as The Warrior or Front Page Milwaukee . . . yet. But perhaps editor Ryno, who had his journalistic ducks in line at the very beginning, now has his financial ducks in line too.

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Tony Snow: More Liberal Hate

We posted yesterday about hateful comments on liberal blogs directed at White House Press Secretary, whose cancer has returned.

Since then we have found and archived two discussions on the Democratic Underground discussion board.

Almost two years ago, we posted about the vitroil on that board directed toward Marquette’s College Republicans, whose fundraiser for American snipers was shut down by Marquette bureaucrats.

While there are a fair number of solicitous comments directed toward Snow, there is a very large dollop of pure hatred.

Warning: Obscene Language Follows

One discussion was posted under the (sarcastic) title “God Bless Tony Snow,” and the initial post said:
I wish him talented doctors, a speedy recovery and peace to his concerned loved ones. I really do.

Even a lying shit shoveler like Tony Snow deserves decent medical care and emotional support in the tough times........
That pretty much set the tone, as comments such as the following were posted:
  • . . . maybe he’ll get a glass bellybutton installed, so he can see with his head up his ass
  • I like Tony Snow, and I wish him the best. He does his job. Unfortunately, doing his job means doing his best to put lipstick on a slobbering, slimy, festering pig.
  • he does deserve it- and as for his job- he is just trying to be the best shit-shoveler that there ever was
  • he gets rewarded for lying and enabling with the best that there is. . .
  • Fuck him. He is a liar and a LOYAL bUSHIE
  • I appreciate your sentiments but if he truly is concerned about his health he would quit his job. He lies to cover for a criminal and he has a nasty attitude to boot.
  • being the Head Liar for the “MAN” means more than life itself...
A different discussion board at Democratic Underground is slightly more polite, perhaps because it is moderated. But it still contains comments like the following:
  • I hope he gets well to, however i still have a fantasy about him that involves an open elevator shaft.
  • maybe all that hatemongering hexed him! i cursed lee atwater....now i curse tony snow! do not ef with me you gop bastards!!
  • Lately, poor Tony has been looking defeated & dejected, I think things aren’t going so well for his puppeteers.
  • I think things aren’t going so well for his puppeteers. I assumed it was from having to lie, lie, lie every time he comes out there - that has to be hard on the body and the soul.
  • Just because he’s a lying weasel doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be allowed lots of time to redeem himself.
  • And I’ll admit that I don’t think much of Tony Snow. In fact, I really despise him. But I do hope that he recovers quickly and perhaps learns something from this that he obviously didn’t learn last time: life is precious.
  • Get well,Tony . . . and get a conscience while you’re at it.
In Monday’s Washington Post, Howard Kurtz mentions the nastiness of the online discussion boards, but in a rather lame attempt to be even-handed, implies that it comes equally from both sides.

Kurtz mentions comments on the conservative blog Little Green Footballs, wishing that Gitmo prisoner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had succeeded in his claimed plot to kill Jimmy Carter.

The comments page in question is here, and readers can read the comments to see whether the are as nasty as the ones on Democratic Underground.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Upstart Student Media: Getting Recognition

Day before yesterday, we posted about how “upstart” student media in Milwaukee have been making some waves.

Yesterday morning, we got our regular e-mail from Milwaukee Magazine announcing Bruce Murphy’s current column.

Murphy’s lead story is about the fact that the crime rate at Southridge Mall is in fact lower than the crime rate at Mayfair -- which has been getting a lot of bad publicity in the wake of several incidents.

Murphy credits Front Page Milwaukee, one of the student outlets we blogged about, for breaking the story.

The idea for the story came from Jessica McBride, Faculty Advisor of the online newspaper. Matt Hrodey, the author, followed up and got the facts.

So we have a student journalist, writing an article for a brand new online-only outlet, which gets picked up by a mainstream (if local) glossy magazine.

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It’s Supposed to Be

This feature may not be reproduced or distributed electronically, in print or otherwise without the written permission of uclick and Universal Press Syndicate

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tony Snow: Liberal Hate Spews Forth

When John and his wife Elizabeth Edwards announced that her cancer had recurred, we saw nothing but best wishes from the conservative blogosphere. Righty bloggers don’t particular like the very liberal John Edwards, and won’t vote for him. But the universal reaction was to wish the couple well.

But when Tony Snow made a similar announcement, the lefty blogosphere reacted very differently. As explained by World Net Daily:

Moments after White House Press Secretary Tony Snow’s new personal battle against cancer became public yesterday, a vicious assault was launched at left-leaning websites, with some message posters hoping for a swift death for the presidential spokesman.

“Under the heading of ‘What goes around comes around’, the cancer in Tony Snow is removing the cancer of Tony Snow from the national scene,” wrote TDoff on the D.C. gossip site Wonkette.com.

Omnilation wrote, “Dear Tony, I hate you. -God.”

A contributor called homofascist stated, “It is a bitch that I wouldn’t wish upon even a smarmy, evil f---face liar like Snow. Because really, isn’t he OUR smarmy, evil f---face liar?”

Some readers at HuffingtonPost.com reportedly said:

“Sure holding all that bulls**t in your gut would make anybody sick . . . !”

“The growth in his abdomen is his head stuck up his a**. F**k him!! He is pure lying scum and should die ASAP!!”

Beccawalton was among those calling for an end to the venom-spewing:

“Stop these mean-spirited and hypocritical posts. Just because you don’t like his politics (and I don’t, either), don’t revel in this. It’s inhuman and cruel. I’m not going to waste space to prove my liberal cred, just stop it!”

And PghLori noted:

“There are freakin’ idiots on both sides of the political divide, and here you’re looking at the lib side. Aside from the fact that it is just ignorant to make jokes about cancer, it’s also self-defeating, as [Rush] Limbaugh, [Sean] Hannity, etc. will refer to these postings as examples of hate-filled libs, just as they did with the Cheney board postings. Thanks a lot folks.”

We just listened to Sean Hannity on the way home tonight, and the poster is right. Hannity did discuss the hate filled postings on his show.

But the last posting also raises the likelihood that there are many more liberals who are as hate-filled as those who posted, but are at least smart enough to avoid making their side of the ideological spectrum look like bigots.

If anybody thinks that this sort of rhetoric is limited to one lefty blog, they might check out what a blogger wrote on the Huffington Post:
I admit my bias shows with these stories. I hear about Tony Snow and say to myself, well, stand up every day, lie to the American people at the behest of your dictator-esque boss and well, how could a cancer NOT grow in you. Work for Fox News, spinning the truth in to a billion knots and how can your gut not rot? I know, it’s terrible. I admit it. I don’t wish anyone harm, even Tony Snow. And I do hope he recovers or at least does what he feels is best and surrounds himself with friends and family for his journey. But in the back of my head there’s Justin Timberlake’s “What goes around, goes around, comes around, comes all the way back around, ya..”…
Interestingly, this particular passage has been deleted from the Huffington Post, but reactions to it by readers remain. It’s hard to completely sanitize the record.

Check here for more details on the post.

Liberals constantly use the rhetoric of tolerance. So why do they (or at least so many of them) hate so much?

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Political Correctness in Political Science: Gay & Lesbian Issues

In general, the poisonous effects of political correctness have not yet fully penetrated into political science.

Yes, the vast majority of political scientists are liberals or (much less frequently) leftist radicals.

But in general, the kinds of biases one sees in political science are the traditional liberal biases, and not the more current variety of political correctness.

Some evidence of this is found in the case of the Group of 88 at Duke. In the wake of rape accusations made against several Duke Lacrosse players, the Group issued a statement that assumed the guilt of the lacrosse players. Why did they assume that? Because the accused were white males, and the accuser was a black woman.

Several departments and programs at Duke signed on to the statement. Political science was not among them. Among individual faculty, 88 signed on to the statement, including only three members of the political science department.

But political correctness has made inroads into political science, as shown by a request we got today (via a mass e-mail) from the American Political Science Association Committee on the Status of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and the Transgendered (LGBT) in the Profession. It’s interesting that they have to translate “LGBT.” If political science were really entirely onboard with political correctness, that would not have been necessary. Here is the text of the e-mail:
The American Political Science Association is studying the relationship between sexual orientation and professional life. We urge all APSA members -- regardless of their sexual orientation -- to complete this questionnaire, which should take no longer than 10-12 minutes. Anonymity and confidentiality will be completely protected.
Here is the survey.

Most of it is relatively innocuous, although there is a fairly clear agenda on some issues. The survey shows a lot of concern with including “LGBT” issues into regular political science courses (they wouldn’t want students to be able to avoid indoctrination by failing to take certain classes). They are also very interested in whether faculty are encouraged to do “LGBT” research or discouraged from doing so.

And clearly, some of the people on the Committee are wanting to start a journal on Sexuality and Politics.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with studying the gay lobby as another interest group, or studying gay identification as a politically relevant identity, or looking at public policy issues that relate to homosexuality.

The problem is that academic projects like this tend to produce little politically correct ghettos, where only certain political attitudes are allowed, where all research and teaching must support a political agenda, and where broader intellectual standards are considered irrelevant, if not downright oppressive.

Looking at departments of Women and Politics, or Black Politics or Chicano Politics tells the story.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Upstart Student Media: Kicking Some Butt

College journalism has long been dominated by rather staid, official publications, subsidized by universities and often under the control of journalism faculty or administrators.

But lately, two “upstart” student media outlets have been making some waves.

We are talking about, of course The Warrior (right here at Marquette) and Front Page Milwaukee (over at UWM).

The two publications are quite different. Indeed, about all they have in common is that they show what some journalistic enterprise, outside the confines of traditional outlets, can accomplish.

Front Page Milwaukee

One could argue that Front Page Milwaukee is actually a sort of “official” publication, since Journalism Department Lecturer Jessica McBride is the Faculty Supervisor, and appears to have quite a lot of say about what’s in the publication.

But McBride, a former Journal-Sentinel reporter, is also a conservative, has a radio talk show on WTMJ radio, and is critical of the mainstream media. Not, in other words, your typical journalism professor.

Many of the stories are written in McBride’s journalism classes, and others are independent submissions to her.

Front Page Milwaukee goes after “scoops” and exposés, and the very young publication has gotten an impressive number. Being in McBride’s journalism classes must be an exciting experience. Do a really good piece of investigative reporting, and your story will appear on the web, be talked about by Charlie Sykes and McBride herself, and echo across the blogosphere.

The Warrior

The Warrior is in may ways a lot more conventional than Front Page Milwaukee. It has a print edition, and a web site that essentially mirrors the print edition. It specializes not in “scoops” but in in-depth reporting of campus events, front-page feature stories of interesting people at Marquette, and political commentary. Of course there is the usual student newspaper coverage of food, entertainment and the arts -- as the undergraduate culture defines these things.

But it’s not just a clone of the official Marquette Tribune. Perhaps the most significant difference between it and the Tribune is the paucity of journalism majors on the staff.

Listing all the majors represented, we see Journalism/Political Science, English, Marketing / Operations Supply Chain, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Science, Broadcast & Electronic Communication, Advertising, Biomedical Sciences, Public Relations, Spanish Language & Literature, Pre-Law/History, Computer science/ Theology, Law School, International affairs, English literature, Civil engineering, Accounting, Finance, Studio Art.

A listing of majors supplied by Editor Diana Sroka shows a majority of the staff not to be journalism majors.

Just what sort of journalism can these dilettantes produce?

When the Milwaukee Press Club handed out their 2006 journalism awards, The Warrior won four in the Collegiate category -- twice as many as any other student paper in Wisconsin.

This doesn’t automatically make The Warrior better than the Marquette Tribune (which won two). Newspapers, like major league batters, have great years and not so great years.

(The Tribune won several awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, but The Warrior wasn’t eligible for any awards from either of these groups, in the former case because they haven’t paid the expensive membership fee, and in the latter because they are not the official school paper. But where they competed head-to-head, The Warrior won more awards.)

Further, The Warrior has a history of being ahead of the Tribune in certain ways. The Warrior started running feature stories, accompanied by large color photos on the front page, before the Tribune moved in the same direction.

At a minimum, the upstart paper is a challenge to the guild mentality of mainstream journalism. It seems you don’t have to be a journalism major, don’t have to identify with the mainstream media and don’t have to have liberal political opinions to produce good journalism.

Getting Competitive

Saying that The Warrior is a bit “conventional” isn’t to say that it lacks competitive drive.

On Monday, January 29, The Warrior rushed the web version of the paper online to “scoop” the Tribune (which was coming out the following day) on two stories: the rejection of Students for Academic Freedom by Office of Student Development bureaucrats, and the decision to perform “The Vagina Monologues” on campus.

Normally, the web version of The Warrior would have appeared online on Tuesday evening, before the paper hit the streets on Wednesday.

The following week, we talked to Tribune Editor Ryan Nilsson, and he disclaimed any concern with competitive pressures. He insisted that the Tribune staff “don’t play games of scoopsmanship or one-upsmanship” and that getting beaten on a story is “not something I worry about” and that his staff was “not checking the Warrior website every two minutes.” He was more concerned, he said, that there “weren’t any inaccuracies” in material run in the Tribune.

But other sources suggest that at least some Tribune staffers were more interested in what The Warrior was doing than Nilsson suggests.

On the Monday night in question, the Tribune was apparently checking The Warrior website regularly, since a Tribune staffer e-mailed comments to Diana Sroka by 1:45 a.m.

On a different issue, when The Warrior was the first campus paper to report the retirement of Athletic Director Bill Cords, one Tribune staffer told Sroka “they were all wondering” how The Warrior got the story so fast.

However the Tribune scooped The Warrior on the “Vagina Monologues” story -- getting confirmation from the Administration before The Warrior got their calls returned.

The advertising department at the Tribune apparently feels the competition too. They appear to routinely e-mail a solicitation to advertisers whose ads appear in The Warrior. Our colleague McGee Young got such an e-mail after placing a free notice about the Truman Scholarships competition in The Warrior.

Conclusion

In their hearts of hearts, people who are in -- and identify with -- the mainstream media like to inhabit a cozy monopoly. After all, they think they know what is important and what is not. They think they know how events should be interpreted. They are fully convinced they know who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.

Their Golden Age was during the 60s, 70s and early 80s, when a single newspaper dominated most markets. On TV, ABC, CBS and NBC presented a pretty uniform picture of what was happening in the world. There were no bloggers. Talk radio wasn’t much of a force.

But things have changed.

Mainstream media types have been distinctly grumpy about having their monopoly challenged. Their attitude toward conservative talk radio has ranged from contempt to downright detestation. They don’t much like independent bloggers (even while starting their own corporate blogs). They hate Fox News.

But they can’t have the old days back.

Given this fact, it’s part of a journalist’s college education to have to work in an environment where there are pesky competitors.

Or, with The Warrior or Front Page Milwaukee, to be the pesky competitors.

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Alumnus Chimes In: Arts & Sciences Graduation “Total Joke”

We have regularly blogged about the Arts & Science graduation ceremony.

In brief, a ceremony that was once brief, enjoyable and encouraged contact between faculty and students has been changed into a ponderous, tedious and boring exercise.

A recent post of ours brought the following e-mail from a former student.
Right on with the description of the A&S Graduation. As an ‘06 A&S Grad, I can say that the college graduation last year was a colossal waste of time. If they had handed out diplomas after the main graduation ceremony at the Bradley Center, and I had known what was happening at the Al that afternoon, I would have packed up my apartment early, headed home and just not come.

The faculty meet and greet would have been nice if there actually were faculty there. As you know I completed two majors (POSC and HIST) at MU and I only had 2 profs for multiple classes . . . and yet on Graduation day, I could only find Dr. Meissner from the History department at the Al [McGuire Center]. He was the only prof I saw that I had that had bothered to show up, and I suspect it might have been related to his daughter graduating at the same ceremony.

The “Meet and Greet” after the ceremony was a total joke, and I was on the road back to Chicago less than an hour after the ceremony concluded.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Dan Maguire Chastised by Bishops, Marquette

We’ve written a good bit about Marquette Theology Professor Dan Maguire. For example, how he doesn’t believe that Jesus died for the sins of mankind.

Maguire has demeaned Pope John Paul The Great.

Maguire has gloated over the 9/11 terrorist attacks and blamed them on America.

He has claimed the early Church solemnized and recognized gay unions.

And all the while, claiming that he and like-thinking liberal theologians have as much authority to interpret Church teaching as the bishops.

Eventually, the Church had to push back. With a hat tip to The Provincial Emails, a story from the New York Times:
In a rare step, Roman Catholic bishops in the United States have declared as “false teaching” two pamphlets by a Catholic theologian who argues that abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage are morally permissible under Catholic doctrine.

The theologian, Daniel C. Maguire, teaches religious ethics at Marquette University, a Jesuit institution in Milwaukee. He is a 75-year-old former priest and a prolific writer, educated at the prestigious Gregorian University in Rome, who has been challenging Catholic teaching on sexuality for years.

Last summer, Mr. Maguire mailed two of his pamphlets, “The Moderate Roman Catholic Position on Contraception and Abortion” and “A Catholic Defense of Same-Sex Marriage” to 270 Catholic bishops. In them, he argued that the Catholic position on these issues was “pluralistic,” and that Catholic theologians through history had taken a variety of acceptable stances on these issues.

The bishops’ Committee on Doctrine denounced the pamphlets as “irresponsible.” The bishops said that it was a “serious error” to claim “that the teaching of the pope and the bishops represents merely one voice among many legitimate voices within the Catholic Church.”
How did Maguire react? With supreme chutzpah.
“They’re simply uninformed,” Mr. Maguire said of the bishops. “There is no one Catholic view on contraception, abortion or same-sex marriage. There’s a diversity of views. And it’s not just Dan Maguire versus the bishops. There’s a large school of thought that agrees with everything I’ve said in these pamphlets.”
There is, of course, a “large school” of people who agree with Maguire. They are called “liberal Catholics” and they disagree with the Church (and agree with secular liberals) on most issues.

But the problem with Maguire is not that he disagrees with the Church. It’s that he can’t tell the truth about what the Church teaches.

It’s one thing to say “I disagree with the Church,” and another to lie about what Church teaching is.

But we suppose that, if the Constitution can mean whatever you want it to, Church teaching can be anything you want it to be.

Marquette has openly agreed with the Bishops. In a public statement, the University said:
Marquette University agrees with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine that the views outlined by Daniel Maguire in pamphlets he circulated to the hierarchy earlier this year do not represent the teachings of the Catholic Church. Dr. Maguire circulated the pamphlets as an individual theologian, not in any way representing the views of the university.

As a citizen, Dr. Maguire has a right to express his views on the issues of the day. As a tenured professor, he also has rights related to his academic discipline.
At some point, honesty should require a person like Maguire to say “I don’t agree with the central doctrines of the Church. I don’t agree with the moral teaching of the Church. I really agree with secular liberals, and am, in fact, a secular liberal.”

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Ideological Bias in Marquette’s Philosophy Department

Stu Ditsler is the Philosophy graduate student who had an “offensive” quote on the door of his office last fall. On September 5th, it was torn down by Department Chair James South, who claimed that several people had objected.

What terribly offensive thing did Ditsler post? Here it is:
“As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.”
It appears that this particular act of ideological bias was just the tip of the iceberg.

Ditsler had earlier been chastised for his libertarian views. In an e-mail he sent us yesterday, he explained.
I’ve been holding onto this for a while, but I feel compelled to write about it now in light of the events of last semester and my impending graduation. Some background first. At the end of every semester the faculty members in the Philosophy Department have a meeting to discuss the performance of the graduate students in their classes that semester. Each graduate student subsequently receives an individual evaluation from an advisor based on the comments made at the meeting. Here are some of the comments reported about me in my review following the Fall 2005 semester.
“The general impression of the Department is that you are a good student who has the potential to do good philosophical work. It was also mentioned that you are for the most part a strong writer. There are some ways, however, in which you could improve your abilities as a philosopher. First, it was mentioned that it is sometimes the case that you interpret a view you do not like in a terribly unsympathetic manner. This is not a virtue, in philosophy, because we want to get at what is being said for or against the strongest arguments an author presents. Starting from an unsympathetic position short-circuits this sort of discussion. On a related note, it was also suggested that you think about setting your philosophical and ideological commitments to the side while assessing the views of others, and be a bit more flexible about what is valuable and what is not.”
First of all, this is a completely inappropriate review that amounts to a blatant attempt at intimidation. Were other graduate students in the department with different views than my own asked to set aside their “philosophical and ideological commitments” or “to be a bit more flexible about what is valuable and what is not?” My hunch is no. Regardless, it is not the prerogative of anyone in the philosophy department to suggest that. Period.

Secondly, as if that weren’t enough, this review could only have been prompted by remarks I made outside of class that semester, specifically the time I made some critical comments about Marx at the public defense of another graduate student’s dissertation. In the classes that I took within the Philosophy Department that semester (Descartes and History and Theory of Ethics) my views never arose within the context of a class discussion with the sole exception of some positive comments I made about Nietzsche’s moral philosophy.

Lesson learned: express my undesirable and reactionary views outside of class, and be rebuked for it.

Marquette’s Philosophy Department is truly in a sorry state.
In some places in academia, it is appropriate to keep one’s ideological views out of one’s scholarship. If one is studying, for example, the idea that blacks in Wisconsin are more likely to be thrown in prison than are whites, facts are facts, and it shouldn’t matter what one wants to believe.

But philosophy is necessarily about normative notions. It can’t even pretend to be “value free.”

We can’t imagine any feminist philosophy student being told to keep her “philosophical and ideological commitments to the side.” Indeed, what politically correct humanities departments are about is viewing everything through the lens of race, class, gender and sexual orientation.

But somehow, at Marquette, viewing philosophy through the lens of respect for individual liberty and respect for property should be set “to the side.”

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Give It a Try

John Cole / The Scranton Times-Tribune

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Gay Lobby Favors Linda Clifford for State Supreme Court

Via CAFFEINATED POLITICS, some insight on the judicial philosophy of liberal State Supreme Court candidate Linda Clifford, from the website of the gay lobby group Fair Wisconsin.

Both Supreme Court candidates were asked a variety of “litmus test” questions, such as “Do you have any friends or family who are LGBT” (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered).

But they were also asked about their judicial philosophy. Clifford claimed hers to be as follows:
As a justice, I promise:
  • To uphold the rule of law, putting aside personal or political preferences;
  • To rely on legal precedent to promote legal stability, but not blindly, respecting the need for the slow evolution of the common law to reflect social, technological, or legislative change; and
  • To interpret and uphold legislative enactments to advance legislative intent--UNLESS those enactments violate civil liberties, constitutional rights, or fundamental freedoms or violate other constitutional or statutory provisions.

Then, I would have the courage to strike them down. That’s not activism; that’s not legislating from the bench. [emphasis in original]

Unfortunately it is legislating from the bench when you believe “civil liberties, constitutional rights, or fundamental freedoms” can mean pretty much what you want them to mean.

Highly revealing is Clifford’s naming of Wisconsin Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson as one of the figures she wishes to emulate.

On the issue of gay marriage, Clifford clearly believes that Wisconsin’s Protection of Marriage Amendment violates the Federal 14th Amendment, based on a letter to the Wisconsin legislature that she signed.

So it’s pretty clear that in her world “civil liberties, constitutional rights, or fundamental freedoms” means “those policies that I really, really want.”

Thus the gay lobby is quite rational to support her. Having lost in November when they carried their case to the electorate, they naturally turn to the Court.

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Editor of Gay Activist Magazine Finds Christ, Goes Straight

It’s not supposed to happen that way. Not even at supposedly Christian universities is it conceivable that lesbian activists might find religion and conform their behavior to Christian norms. But it does happen. From Christianity Today:
Charlene Cothran, publisher and editor-in-chief of Venus Magazine, a national publication for African-American gays and lesbians she launched 13 years ago, made a startling announcement: After 29 years as a gay activist, she’s become a Christian, renounced her homosexuality, and changed the format of her magazine to spread the gospel to the gay community. Amy Tracy, whose own similar conversion story was told in an earlier Christianity Today article, interviewed Cothran about her new direction.

You were raised in the church. At what point did you walk away from your faith?

I was raised in a family of believers and accepted Jesus into my heart at age 11. I walked away from the Lord at age 15. I became very promiscuous with boys. I went off to college at Georgia Tech and did not practice my faith at all.

The revolving door kind of thing with boys disturbed my soul. I thought if this is what boys were all about, I didn’t want anything to do with them. So at the age of 19, I decided that I was only going to date women. They were kind and gentle with me. They wanted to explore my personality. I had never felt this before. My relationships with women felt safe and wonderful.

When did you first feel the winds of change stirring in your heart?

I always knew that homosexuality was wrong. The seed of truth was planted long ago. But the sin in my life squashed it. I’d go to church if it was Christmas, but I never allowed myself to get to the point where I felt conviction. I hardened my heart over and over against the Word.

As you get older, life begins to unfold in a real way. Loved ones die, and you end up dealing with your own mortality. I first felt something change during Black Gay Pride in Chicago in 2001. It was a beautiful day, and I could see men with men and women with women as far as the eye could see. But instead of feeling pride, I looked out and felt sadness. These were individuals that grew up in the church, but now they were worshipping idols. And I was part of leading them down the wide road of destruction.

It took me several years to come to terms with this vision. Mostly, I kept thinking that I was damaged goods, that my leadership skills were damaged goods. That God couldn’t save me. Those lies kept me down.

What finally led to your conversion?

I also publish a publication called the Kitchen Table News. In June 2006, I was getting set to run an article on a local gospel group. A pastor in the group called to add something to the piece. She asked me a question, and from my response she knew I wasn’t “unchurched.” But I felt like pushing it. I told her I was a proud, card-carrying lesbian. She let me go on and on. Then she said, “I can tell that you want to come back to God, but you feel unworthy. That is a lie. Many souls will be saved by your saying yes to Jesus.” I could not speak for several moments. She continued to minister to me. She didn’t back down. I lived in silence for 48 hours. The Lord was dealing with me in my soul. I told him that I’d give back everything He gave me.
All of which raises several very politically incorrect questions. How many women have become “lesbians” because guys treated them like sex objects? How many of these allowed guys to treat them like sex objects? And how many, deep down, feel bad about it?

And how much courage would it take for them to confront the very intolerant gay lobby?

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Lame Arts & Sciences Graduation Ceremony to Be Repeated in 2007

Back in May 2005, we posted about how Marquette’s College of Arts & Sciences had substituted a new-style graduation ceremony for the traditional one.

Our bottom line: lame. Really, really lame.

The traditional graduation ceremony didn’t take all afternoon, didn’t require everybody to listen to turgid speeches, didn’t require everybody to sit around while each and every Arts & Science graduate walked across a stage, and maximized faculty-student interaction.

The Arts & Sciences College repeated the fiasco in 2006, and will repeat it in 2007.

We talked to Sue Farrell in the Arts College, and she confirmed to us that “feedback from the faculty came back the way you said” (that is, highly negative).

But Ferrell insisted that student and parent feedback was much more positive. She said that they seemed to like the “pomp and circumstance.” Ferrell said that no systematic data has been collected, and that the college has gotten only “informal feedback.”

One of our former students wrote to us last year saying:
. . . I would like to know where I can find these parents who lobby for a second, never-ending ceremony [in addition to the one on Sunday morning], because I think my parents would like to smack some sense into these people.
Ferrell admits that the “meet and greet” after the ceremony needs to be “more effective.” In 2005, we could not even find the supposed “meet and greet.” In the traditional ceremony, one could not avoid meeting and greeting students and parents, which was splendid.

We frankly think the Arts College should gather some systematic data on this, rather than relying on a few (likely unrepresentative) people who happen to talk to Dean Michael McKenny.

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Wal-Mart Opens First Inside-the-Beltway Store

From the Washington Times:
Wal-Mart comes inside Beltway
By Jen Haberkorn
March 23, 2007

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. opened its first store inside the Capital Beltway yesterday.

The Landover Hills store, the closest to the District, is the chain’s latest store in an urban setting. Nationwide, Wal-Mart is focusing on urban locations such as the District, Chicago and Atlanta for new customers as it saturates rural and suburban areas.

The merchandise in these locations has changed, too. In the Landover Hills store, space for suburban youth sports gear and pet products has been cut down and replaced with electronics, ethnic hair products and baby goods, Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo said while on a tour of the new store.

“The majority of the merchandise is the same, but some specific items were dialed in for the local community,” he said, adding that the changes in the product line reflect research into the community’s needs.

The store will have an expansive selection of Hispanic groceries -- such as Goya beans and rice -- and a broader collection of Latin, gospel and R&B music. The store also carries Wal-Mart’s urban clothing line, Exsto, in addition to its Metro 7 and George private clothing lines.

The 144,000-square-foot store isn’t a Supercenter, so it doesn’t have specialty food departments, but the food section is four aisles larger than the typical Wal-Mart.

The store will have 330 employees, and it received more than 11,000 applications, Mr. Restivo said. He said he didn’t have information on how many employees are from Prince George’s County.
In spite of the hype, this isn’t a huge deal, except symbolically. Liberals in Washington and the trendy districts of Maryland may feel a bit more alienated and threatened with a Wal-Mart store close at hand.

In fact, the area is pretty average. The town of Landover Hills, like Prince George’s Country generally, is heavily black but in terms of income and crime statistics looks much like a white suburb. (Perhaps not Fox Point or Wauwautosa, but more like South Milwaukee or West Allis.)

Interesting Point for Marquette People: the story was written by Jen Haberkorn, former editor of the Marquette Tribune.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

In Washington, What Doesn’t?

Supreme Court Race: Future of School Choice on the Line

George Mitchell is a long-time Wisconsin political activist and policy wonk who has been a strong supporter of school choice. In a circular e-mail, sent Tuesday and reprinted here with permission, he lays out the danger to school choice that the election of Linda Clifford to the state Supreme Court would entail:
Take Note

Unreported in today’s article on the Supreme Court debate is a comment by candidate Linda Clifford, who responded to a question saying that the law regarding “school choice” needs “clarification.”

It does? What does that mean?

The Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1998 upheld the constitutionality of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. On a 4-2 vote, with Justice Ann Walsh Bradley recusing, the court rejected each and every point raised by lawyers for teacher unions.

In 2002 the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Cleveland voucher program.

There is no benign way to interpret Clifford’s comment. “Clarifying” the 1998 court decision can only suggest an adverse impact on Milwaukee’s program. This would affect not only Milwaukee but parents and families statewide, as some candidates for public office and some sitting officials favor an expansion beyond Milwaukee. While that likely would not occur while Jim Doyle is governor, he won’t be governor forever. However, Linda Clifford, his candidate for the Supreme Court, easily could serve for decades if elected April 3.

After April 3, three of seven Supreme Court justices on the court in 1998 will remain. They are Chief Justice Abrahamson, Justice Patrick Crooks, and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.

Justice Abrahamson dissented in the 1998 decision. Justice Crooks voted with the majority. For reasons not publicly explained, Justice Bradley recused herself.

New to the court are Justice Butler, a Doyle appointee; Justice Pat Roggensack; and Justice David Prosser.

As an appellate judge, Justice Roggensack authored a lengthy dissent in support of the Milwaukee program’s constitutionality when the case was heard in 1997. Her dissent became the spine of Justice Steinmetz’s 4-2 majority opinion in 1998. So, she clearly is on record, as is Justice Crooks.

Justice Prosser was a member of the Legislature and strong supporter of school choice in the 1990s. He, too, presumably believes the law is constitutional.

So, that is three apparent votes to sustain the principles established in the 1998 Wisconsin and 2002 U.S. Supreme Court case.

Chief Justice Abrahamson is on record that the program is unconstitutional. When I asked Louis Butler his opinion during his candidacy against Diane Sykes, he pointedly declined to answer.

Justice Bradley’s reasons for recusing in 1998 are not known, as is whether she would recuse herself if another case came before the court. Justice Bradley often agrees with Chief Justice Abrahamson.

So, the math is clear. Three apparent votes to sustain prior rulings on choice. Three potential votes not to sustain.

Linda Clifford is seeking the fill the seat of Justice Wilcox, who voted with the majority in 1998. She could provide a fourth vote to “clarify” the school choice law.

I am unaware of Judge Ziegler’s position, though the presumption must be that she would vote to sustain the precedent set by the 1998 and 2002 decisions.

Linda Clifford’s comment is significant beyond the very ominous implications for school choice. If anything has seemed clear in the school choice debate, it is that the law is settled. Yet Clifford is saying otherwise, notwithstanding two court rulings (that happen to reflect the thinking first set down by Justice Roggensack).

What other established precedents does Linda Clifford think need “clarification”?

Does Clifford’s opinion on choice explain the Greater Wisconsin Committee’s issue ad in her behalf? Did WEAC fund that?

These and many related questions now are at the center of this race.
This is what happens when judges adopt an activist posture. Constitutions cease to matter. Precedents cease to matter. All that comes to matter are the policy preferences of the judges. And Clifford is a liberal, endorsed by all the usual liberal suspects. They must feel -- and they are probably right -- that she will give them the policies they want.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Campus Talk: The Future of Islam

An annoucement from our colleague, Rich Friman:


The Allis Chalmers Distinguished Professor of International Affairs Lecture Series

Reza Aslan

Internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, media commentator, and author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam.

The Future of Islam:
Toward the Islamic Reformation


Monday March 26, 2007, 7:00 p.m.

Varsity Theater on the Marquette Campus
1326 West Wisconsin Avenue

Lecture and Book Signing
Free and Open to the Public

For questions or additional information, call (414) 288-5991

For some samples of what Aslan believes, check the following:
  • Truth and power: For many Muslims today, ‘interreligious dialogue’ often looks suspiciously like religious coercion.
  • Keep It Whole: The US must not allow Iraq to fracture into Sunni, Shia and Kurdish statelets.
  • The war for Islam: Osama bin Laden may go down in history not only as the murderous criminal who declared holy war on the United States, but also as a radical figure in what has come to be called the Islamic Reformation--the epic struggle to define the faith of over a billion people.
  • Depicting Mohammed: Why I’m offended by the Danish cartoons of the prophet.
  • Democracy of believers: Iraq should look to Israel for a model that combines democracy and religious belief.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sending Mixed Messages

Tribune Wins Journalism Awards

The Marquette Tribune has won two awards in the Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism Competition of the Milwaukee Press Club.

The stories were:
  • Best News Story, First Place, Megan Hupp “Morning blast leaves 3 dead, 46 injured”
  • Best Sports Story, Honorable Mention, Paul Day “The face of the team”
The Tribune’s two awards equals the two awards won by The Leader at UWM, and The Daily Cardinal at Madison.

The strongest showing in the contest was from Marquette’s Warrior, which won four awards.

So it seems Marquette student journalists have done themselves proud.

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College Democrats Hold Iraq War Vigil

This afternoon, at 6:00 p.m. in the Westown Square, the College Democrats will be having a vigil to honor the soldiers who have been killed in Iraq.

The proceedings will consist of a prayer, and the reading of the names of those who have lost their lives in the four years of the war.

Jason Rae, Chair of the group, says the purpose is “not to ask for an end to the war” and it’s not a “rally against the war.”

(Of course, the College Democrats have every right to hold an out-and-out anti-war rally if they want to.)

Could the vigil be viewed as a form of anti-war propaganda? Sure, but if so, it’s a particularly sober, responsible and respectful exercise.

What the College Democrats are doing here contrasts sharply with the gang of anti-war hoods who ramsacked an Army recruiting center on Milwaukee’s east side.

Maybe the rhetoric coming for the Marquette administration about the value of a Catholic education actually means something.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

The Warrior Wins Awards

The Marquette campus alternative newspaper, The Warrior, has won four awards in the Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism Competition of the Milwaukee Press Club.

According to a form e-mail send out by that organization:
We received hundreds of entries for the contest from news organizations and individuals throughout Wisconsin. The competition was judged by professional journalists and journalism scholars from across the country, from San Diego to Cleveland to Orlando to Dallas, with the judges expressing pleasure at the high quality of work done by Wisconsin journalists.
The winners in the collegiate category:
  • Best Sports Story, First Place, Cassie Kowaleski “What it would take to bring D-1 football back”
  • Best Feature Story, First Place, Kyle Shamorian “A night in the life of a karaoke singer: The story of one such troubadour”
  • Best Editorial or Commentary, First Place, Lucas Fuller “Victory over diversity”
  • Best Editorial or Commentary, Honorable Mention, Daniel Suhr “To transform the campus, adjust scholarships first”
The awards will be presented at the 77th Annual Gridiron and Awards Ceremony on April 28th at an event held at the InterContinental Hotel Milwaukee.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Justice Done

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Eco-Pretensions of the Rich

Via Shack Sounds Off, an article by Charles Krauthammer in Time Magazine (which does tolerate some dissent from its insipid liberal bias) on the Hollywood environmentalists.
Goldman Sachs has been one of the most aggressive firms on Wall Street about taking action on climate change; the company sends its bankers home at night in hybrid limousines.

--The New York Times, Feb. 25

Written without a hint of irony--if only your neighborhood dry cleaner sent his employees home by hybrid limousine--this front-page dispatch captured perfectly the eco-pretensions of the rich and the stupefying gullibility with which they are received.

Remember the Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore global-warming pitch at the Academy Awards? Before they spoke, the screen at the back of the stage flashed not-so-subliminal messages about how to save the planet. My personal favorite was “Ride mass transit.” This to a conclave of Hollywood plutocrats who have not seen the inside of a subway since the moon landing and for whom mass transit means a stretch limo seating no fewer than 10.

Leo and Al then portentously announced that for the first time ever, the Academy Awards ceremony had gone green. What did that mean? Solar panels in the designer gowns? It turns out that the Academy neutralized the evening’s “carbon footprint” by buying carbon credits. That means it sent money to a “carbon broker,” who promised, after taking his cut, to reduce carbon emissions somewhere on the planet equivalent to what the stars spewed into the atmosphere while flying in on their private planes.

In other words, the rich reduce their carbon output by not one ounce. But drawing on the hundreds of millions of net worth in the Kodak Theatre, they pull out lunch money to buy ecological indulgences. The last time the selling of pardons was prevalent--in a predecessor religion to environmentalism called Christianity--Martin Luther lost his temper and launched the Reformation.

What is wrong with this scam? First, purchasing carbon credits is an incentive to burn even more fossil fuels, since now it is done under the illusion that it’s really cost-free to the atmosphere.

Second, it is a way for the rich to export the real costs and sacrifices of pollution control to the poorer segments of humanity in the Third World. (Apparently, Hollywood’s plan is to make up for that by adopting every last one of their children.) For example, GreenSeat, a Dutch carbon-trading outfit, buys offsets from a foundation that plants trees in Uganda’s Mount Elgon National Park to soak up the carbon emissions of its rich Western patrons. Small problem: expanding the park encroaches on land traditionally used by local farmers. As a result, reports the New York Times, “villagers living along the boundary of the park have been beaten and shot at, and their livestock has been confiscated by armed park rangers.” All this so that swimming pools can be heated and Maseratis driven with a clear conscience in the fattest parts of the world.

If Gore really wants to save the planet, he can try this: Turn off the lights. Ditch the heated pool. Ride the subway. And spare us the carbon-trading piety.
We differ just a bit from Krauthammer on this. Favoring free markets, we see nothing wrong with buying and selling the right to pollute. Not only are the affluent polluters better off, the people who produce those “pollution rights” are better off too -- unless some form of thuggery like that of the Mount Elgon park rangers is involved.

But then, how can people who are not free marketeers endorse such a scheme? Are they big government liberals (or even socialists) when it’s convenient to be, but then turn free marketeers when their lavish lifestyle requires it?

So the hypocrisy charge sticks.

Add to that the fact that we are not convinced that global warming has a human cause, nor that the effects are particularly dire.

Then there is the practical reality, which Krauthammer explains.
The other form of carbon trading is to get Third World companies to cut their emissions to offset Western pollution. The reason this doesn’t work--and why the carbon racket is a farce--is that you need a cap for cap-and-trade to work. Sulfur dioxide emissions in the U.S. were capped, and the trading system succeeded in reducing acid rain by half. But even the Kyoto treaty doesn’t put any cap on greenhouse gases in China and India, where billions of these carbon credits are traded. Sure, you can pretend you’re offsetting Western greenhouse pollution by supposedly cleaning up a dirty coal plant in China. But China is adding a new coal plant every week. You could build a particularly dirty “uncapped” power plant, then sell hundreds of millions in carbon credits to reduce it to a normal rate of pollution. The result? The polluter gets very rich. The planet continues to cook. And the Gores of the world can feel virtuous as they burn up the local power grid.
Thus the Hollywood crowd is not morally serious and not intellectually serious.

But we knew that already, didn’t we?

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Questionable Financial Aid Practice (But Not at Marquette)

From Newsday:
As part of his office’s continuing investigation of 100 colleges and a half-dozen private student loan providers, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo charged yesterday that “deceptive practices” carried out by colleges and student loan providers have been taking advantage of students.

The “most obvious and egregious scheme,” Cuomo said in an interview yesterday, involved some schools receiving payment from lenders on their “preferred lender” list based on the loan volume.

“The more students a lender gets, the more the school receives in payment. You can call it a commission, you can call it a kickback,” Cuomo said. “Also, the fewer lenders the school lists as preferred, the more a school will get.” He said if a commission is paid and undisclosed “then it’s deceptive” practice and illegal.”

Cuomo said that the 100 colleges being looked at “are public and private, the big schools, the small schools and some of the highest ranking.” But he would not name them because the investigation is continuing.
It’s too early to get exercised over this, since details are scarce, and American politics has a long history of politically ambitious Attorneys General looking for scapegoats to attack.

The tobacco companies immediately come to mind.

Still, we thought it worthwhile to inquire as to whether Marquette does this. Spokeswoman Brigid Miller gave us the following response:
No - that situation is not at all the case at Marquette. For one, the university participates in the Federal Direct Loan Program. This means that for our students with federal loans (Perkins, Stafford, etc.), the funds are borrowed directly from the U.S. Department of Education, which lends the money to the student or parent through the college or university. No private lender is involved.

For the most part, the only private lenders our students deal with are for what is called alternative educational loans, which are funds that are still required after scholarships, federal and state loans, grants and work study are exhausted. In order to benefit our students and their families, Marquette does maintain a list of preferred lenders for this type of loan, but there is no financial arrangement whatsoever between the university and the lender for that designation. Marquette selected them based only upon their record of favorable rates, customer service and loan terms that best meet the needs of our students. The students are still free to chose whatever lender they like for this alternative educational loan.
Marquette has been known to engage in questionable practices in some areas (cooking reported SAT and ACT scores of entering Freshmen, for example).

But happily, not this questionable practice.

Syracuse University and Drexel University are among institutions getting kickbacks from “preferred lender” arrangements.

And in a variation of the theme, financial aid officials from New York University got a trip to the golf resort in Pebble Beach, California.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Chickens


John Trever - The Albuquerque Journal

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Hatred of the Military: No Peace for Students

From the Los Angeles Times, an account of how leftist teachers in the Los Angeles area are attacking Junior ROTC, sometimes to the point of personal harassment of students enrolled in the program.
First Sgt. Otto Harrington — tall, muscular, his head cleanshaven — has soldiered through battles in Bosnia, Kuwait and Somalia. He has patrolled Korea’s DMZ.

None of that prepared him, though, for the attacks he has faced as senior teacher in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights, where students and teachers have launched a crusade against military recruiting and JROTC.

Harrington blames their campaign for cutting the number of cadets at Roosevelt by 43% in four years, from 286 to 162. Some teachers urge students not to sign up for JROTC, he said, and have worked to end involuntarily placement in the program.

“They seem to think I’m some evil, horrible soldier down here trying to sacrifice our kids to Iraq,” Harrington said in describing the increasing tensions on the Eastside campus.

The program’s critics see JROTC as a Trojan horse targeting students in low-income minority schools with high dropout rates. “We are a juicy target,” said Roosevelt social studies teacher Jorge Lopez.

At Roosevelt and other schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the anti-JROTC movement has helped drive a 24% drop in enrollment since 2003-04, Harrington and his critics said. The decline runs counter to enrollment nationwide, which grew 8% to 486,594 cadets between 2001 and 2006, fueled by a 57% jump in federal funding, according to the Department of Defense.
This propaganda clearly has had an effect on students.
Roosevelt 11th-grader Jesse Flores said that as recently as his freshman year, students didn’t think less of kids for being in JROTC; some even stopped cadets to admire ribbons and medals pinned to their uniforms. “Now,” Jesse said, “everyone says JROTC is bad.”

Many teachers are openly hostile toward JROTC, Jesse said, and some wear T-shirts that say “A War Budget Leaves Every Child Behind.”

Arlene Inouye, a speech therapist formerly at Roosevelt, said she thinks anti-military advocacy by teachers is a counterbalance to a strong military presence on campus. She said she once counted 14 recruiters approaching lunchtime crowds of students in Roosevelt’s quad, handing out “Join the Army” book covers and promising adventure, travel and money for college.

In 2003, concerned that students weren’t hearing the other side, she founded the Coalition Against Militarism in Our Schools. The group has spread to 50 Los Angeles-area schools, providing member teachers with literature, speakers, films and books.

Nearly two dozen teachers have also shown the films “Arlington West,” put out by Veterans for Peace, and “The Ground Truth,” a documentary in which veterans condemn the war in Iraq and their treatment by the military on their return home.

Lopez, the social studies teacher, keeps a stack of glossy brochures propped on his chalkboard titled “Don’t Die in a Dead-End Job! Information for Young People Considering the Military” that show a soldier saluting flag-draped coffins. Prominent on his wall is a poster called “Ten Points to Consider Before You Sign a Military Enlistment Agreement.”

“I want to see more Latinos go to college,” Lopez said.
Of course, one of the best ways for young people from poor families to go to college is with the financial aid that the military offers. But Lopez, obviously, has a rather different agenda.

The students in the program, unlike the leftist activists, like the program.
“For some students, the biggest reason to come to school is for JROTC,” said Harrington, noting that his students often come in at 6:30 a.m. even when they are on vacation.

Daniel Segura, a soft-spoken 16-year-old with a mop of brown hair and an easy smile, is one of them. He said his grades spiraled after his father died of diabetes two years ago. “I felt there was no point,” he said.

He started ditching class to go to the Santa Monica Pier and failed half his classes. Urged by a counselor to enroll in JROTC, he was at first resistant and defiant during class time. Harrington told him not to attend the program, then agreed to give him another chance if he followed the rules.

Slowly, Harrington gave Daniel more responsibility, putting him on the flag and armed drill teams and on JROTC’s courtesy patrol, which helps translate for parents at teacher conferences.

Hoping to be named to the JROTC staff and earn more responsibility, Daniel said, he plans to pass all his classes this semester and is getting a B in English.

Roosevelt students tell him he is being brainwashed to go into the Army, but he said he thinks they don’t understand what the program really is. It has taught him leadership and discipline, he said, and he has thrived on its boundaries and rules.

In a bewildering school with nearly 5,000 students, JROTC has been a beacon, a place to belong.

“JROTC made me try again,” he said. Several JROTC cadets describe feeling as if they are under hostile fire from anti-military teachers.

Last year, Jesse, the 11th-grader, a master sergeant and JROTC flag detail commander, was the only student wearing a JROTC uniform in Martha Guerrero’s first-period world history class. He said that Guerrero, who often wears a “War is not the answer” T-shirt and has a flag of the revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara hanging in her classroom, sometimes asked him pointed questions in the middle of class.

“Jesse, are you going to go to Iraq and die?” she asked. “Why are you wearing a uniform? Aren’t you embarrassed?” Jesse said he felt singled out by the question and told his JROTC instructor about it.

Angered by what he saw as bullying of his student, he confronted Guerrero, who apologized to Jesse. She said she wasn’t harassing the student. “I just tell them things I know are right or wrong. I stand against war, against JROTC.”
But unfortunately, she’s not tolerant of students who disagree with her.

The irony here is huge. These are the leftists who think that teenagers can make their own decisions about having sex, and that teenage girls are quite mature enough to decide whether to have an abortion, but they don’t trust students to make up their own minds about the military.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Most Hopeless Dork Site on the Entire Web

The most famous phone number in the universe is, of course, one made famous by a 1980s one-hit wonder band called Tommy Tutone.

Their hit “Jenny (867-5309)” is probably the greatest of all one-hit wonder hits.

It was causing trouble for people as late as 1999s. According to Snopes.com, Brown University got the exchange prefix 867 and assigned it to dorm numbers.
The biggest complaints about the new phone exchange come from Nina Clemente ‘03 and Jahanaz Mirza ‘03, the two students with the telephone number 867-5309.

“It’s so annoying,” Nina said. “It’s the worst number to have in the world.”

The girls receive an average of five “stupid” messages every day on their machine, in addition to a slew of hang-ups.

“It’s as if they are really expecting Jenny to pick up the phone,” Clemente said.

Unfortunately, the problem is not getting better, and people just keep calling. Some ask for Jenny, some play the Tommy Tutone song on the girls’ answering machine, and some males even leave their phone numbers in hopes of finding a date.
But if people who would leave a number for hapless coeds at Brown are hopeless dorks, what about this?

A web site “Jenny, Are You There?” reports the findings of a fellow who called 867-5309 in every area code in the United States.

At the end, he includes a copy of his phone bill for the month when he did that!

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Fair Trade Coffee Discussion on Campus This Tuesday

Via an e-mail to all faculty:
Area roasters to discuss fair trade coffee

Five area coffee roasters will participate in “Brewing Social Justice: a Conversation about Fair Trade Coffee,” a panel discussion on Tuesday, March 20, from 7 to 9 p.m. in Raynor Library conference rooms B & C. The panel will address the workings of the fair trade system, its goals, accomplishments and its future direction. The event is organized by Dr. Molly Doane, assistant professor of anthropology, and Melanie Benesh, Arts ’06, United Students for Fair Trade. It is sponsored by JUSTICE, SEAC, Anthropology Club, and The Institute for Transnational Justice.
Missing from the panel? Anybody who is critical of the Fair Trade movement.

Also: any of the larger coffee firms such as Starbucks. But this is simply the result of the fact that large corporate firms have nobody in Milwaukee able to discuss policy issues, and willing to come to Marquette.

Look for a split between the true believers, who think they are striking a blow against the Evils of Corporate Capitalism, and the capitalists, who are happy to use “Fair Trade” as a marketing gimmick.

How do you tell the difference? Ask the following questions.
  1. Do you approve or disapprove of NAFTA?
  2. Do you approve or disapprove of CAFTA?
  3. What do you think of Hugo Chavez?
People who say (1.) disapprove (2.) disapprove and (3.) “I like him” are putting their own ideological passions ahead of any genuine concern for the world’s poor.

Indeed, we aren’t impressed by a movement that appeals to smug yuppies who are willing to pay a few cents more for a cup of coffee in order to feel self-righteous.

And the beneficiaries in the Third World are business people who are rather savvy and able to jump through the hoops that the “Fair Trade” movement makes them navigate. It’s a form of imperialism, in reality.

For a good debunking of the whole idea, check this.

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Can’t Even Pull Off a Surrender

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

“Dennis York” is Back!

His real name is Christian Schneider, and he produced an absolutely hilarious satirical blog as the pseudonymous “Dennis York.”

He came out of the closet when he closed down that blog and went to work for the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.

But he’s back as Atomic Trousers. It looks like he is going to be as funny as ever. He describes his appearance on a Wisconsin Public Television show by saying:
I look like I’m starring in an al-Qaeda hostage video, just with less convincing acting.
Self effacing humor is often the best kind.

Welcome back!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Be Careful What You Wish For, Kid

Dealing With Being Black?

White folks, unfortunately, have gotten in the habit of watching what they say about black folks.

It’s so easy to get called a racist after all.

But James Harris of The National Conversation is black, and he’s not intimidated by the notion that he has to toe some party line.

So what happens when the local stuck-in-the-60s leftist tabloid runs a story about the trials of a black woman titled “I Deal With Being Black Every Day.” Poor woman. Has to deal with white racism.

Except Harris notices that the things she actually has to “deal with” are of her own doing.
Teresa Rae Butler of Milwaukee has a problem. She has four kids, “no man in her life,” $32,000 in college debt, a worthless degree, no job and she lives in the ‘hood.’ Now that’s rough. No one would dispute the difficulty of someone in her circumstances. But when the Shepherd-Express interviewed her about her struggles, Teresa, in a moment of pure insanity, did not contemplate the stupidity of her asinine life choices. That would be too obvious. Oh, no! Teresa Rae Butler blamed her race! Her skin color!

“I deal with being black every day.”

Sweet God in Heaven. This poor soul has acquitted herself from the immorality of her own stupidity! (Four kids with no man in her life is most likely code for four kids by four different men.) A single mother with four kids is THE recipe for poverty. Going to college is nice but that in and of itself doesn’t guarantee success; Her degree is in human services. Social work? You went 30 G’s into debt for a dead-end, low-paying (albeit altruistic) job? Ouch.

“Milwaukee doesn’t do anything to promote racism; it just sort of turns its back to you and lets you die in the gutter.”

Here’s what she’s really saying: My life is not my responsibility. My circumstances are not a result of my decisions. God can’t help me and I can’t help myself because, I am black.
As we have already observed, anybody who has seen Bill Cosby give his talk before a black audience knows that he (and Harris) speak for a very large minority -- and sometimes a clear majority -- of black people.

We are talking about black folks who have clear ideas about what upward mobility requires.

We are talking about black folks many of whom are Christians and who have Christian ideas about how people should behave.

We are talking about people who worked hard to make it. In a goodly number of cases they had to work harder than whites to make it. That wasn’t fair, but failing to make it would have been way worse.

We are talking about people some of whom actually marched with Martin Luther King. And many more marched elsewhere and worked for and identified with the Civil Rights Movement. And they don’t much like the hard won political gains being thrown away via irresponsible personal behavior.

[Extra:] An earlier post of Harris’ made the “Best of the Wisconsin Blogs” section of the Journal-Sentinel website.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Journal-Sentinel Reports Race of White Suspect

Via Subject to Change, the fact that the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (which has refused to report the race of black criminal suspects who are at large) is perfectly willing to report the race of white suspects. The paper reported:
The man entered Groppi’s Food Market, 1441 E. Russell Ave., about 7:10 p.m. and showed a silver and black handgun as he ordered everyone onto the floor, according to police. He approached the cashier and also grabbed a purse from a customer. No one was hurt.

Police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said witnesses described the man as a white male, six feet tall, 200 to 225 pounds and having a stocky build. They said he wore a black mask and sunglasses, and black jacket with a yellow or white stripe down the sleeves.
It might seem obviously sensible to report the race of a suspect still at large -- and quite likely a threat to other people.

But in at least one recent high-profile robbery in the UWM area, the Journal-Sentinel refused to identify the suspects as black.

And in another case in Racine, the Journal-Sentinel refused to give a racial description of a suspect who allegedly sexually assaulted a child in a school there.

The motive behind this kind of political correctness is clear enough: the media don’t want to reinforce the stereotype that blacks commit a disproportionate share of crime.

Unfortunately, blacks do commit a disproportionate share of crime (as well as being disproportionately the victims of crime).

People know that, and won’t forget that, even in the face of politically correct reporting.

Indeed, a cynical public is likely to simply assume that any criminal suspect whose race is not reported is black.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

You Mean I Have to Have Government Medical Care?

Students for a Free Marketplace of Ideas Has Been Approved by Student Government

A small committee of Marquette University Student Government plus Kate Kusiak of the Office of Student Development met last night, and approved Students for a Free Marketplace of Ideas after a brief and rather non-controversial presentation about the group by Charles Rickert, President.

It remains to be seen what the organization can accomplish on campus, especially given the fact that Rickert will graduate this May. Thus, the future health of the group depends on younger members stepping up into leadership roles.

One potentially controversial idea that Rickert mentioned at the meeting was ending the policy whereby OSD has to approve each and every piece of literature that any student group distributes on campus.

OSD certainly isn’t going to like opposition to their power, but apparently is willing to let the student group agitate on the issue.

An earlier incarnation of the group, Students for Academic Freedom, proposed attacking ideological bias on campus, and OSD made it clear that that issue was not allowed to be even raised by a student group. Or at least, by a conservative student group.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Death Penalty Appeals Rarely Show Error

One of the mantras of the anti-death penalty crowd is the claim that murder trials where execution is at stake are rife with procedural errors. One study, trumpeted on the front page of the New York Times, claimed that 68% of all death penalty cases were overturned on appeal.

We never thought that statistic proved much other than that liberal activist judges are numerous on the courts that hear such appeals.

But now it turns out that that number is entirely bogus.
WASHINGTON — Death-sentence appeals take too long, traumatize victims’ families and burden states with millions in extra costs for housing convicted killers, a draft of a new study commissioned by the Justice Department shows.

The study also found that death penalty cases are not hopelessly flawed by errors, as opponents of capital punishment have charged.

The study, which reviewed state death sentences issued in the 1990s, found that 26% were reversed during the first level of the appeals process. Most of those “direct appeals” were rejected because of sentencing errors. Some of the death sentences were later reinstated.

In only 11% of those cases did the appeals court find problems with the underlying murder convictions, says the unreleased study by Barry Latzer and James Cauthen, professors at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

USA TODAY obtained a draft of the study.

The study challenges a 2000 report that concluded the capital punishment system is “broken” because 68% of all death penalty cases from 1973 to 1995 were eventually overturned. The report, by a team led by Columbia University law professor and death penalty foe James Liebman, also found 41% of cases were reversed during direct appeals.

The Liebman study provided a false picture of the death penalty because it included many cases from the 1970s and 1980s, when the U.S. Supreme Court rewrote death penalty rules and caused many sentences to be reversed, the Justice Department’s report says.

Latzer and Cauthen tracked 1,676 death sentences issued in 14 “representative” states from 1992 through 2002.
Anti-death penalty activists specialize in bogus statistics, the most famous of which is the claim that 100+ innocent people have been put on death row since 1973.

People who have looked at the list in detail have determined that only about a third of the people on the list actually didn’t commit the murder for which they were convicted. The rest did do the murder, and got off on procedural grounds.

The anti-death penalty activists, like (say) global warming activists, want very much for you to accept their position, and aren’t excessively scrupulous about telling the precise truth. Or indeed, even a rough approximation of the truth.

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Dog in the Manger: Marquette & the Warrior Logo

During the heyday of the Marquette Warriors, the image above was the logo used to represent Marquette athletics.

Since the Warriors nickname was dropped as being politically incorrect, it has more or less disappeared. Not entirely, of course, but Marquette has ceased to use it, and is doing everything it can to stifle the image and the word “Warriors.”

We wondered whether Marquette still claims intellectual property rights over the logo. After all, if you don’t want to use something, the sensible thing is to released it to the public domain.

So we called Steve Cottingham, Interim Athletic Director and Jeff Kipfmueller, the university lawyer who handles such issues. Our voice mails got the following reply:
From: “Kipfmueller, Jeff”
To: “McAdams, John”
Cc: “Cottingham, Steven”

Dr. McAdams:

Your recent voicemail inquiry to Steve Cottingham about the “warrior head logo” was referred to my office for response. In short, Marquette University has always taken the position that it possesses intellectual property rights to that logo. Further, Marquette University has always taken steps to preserve those rights and reserves the right to do so in the future.

Jeff
The logo, like all things having to do with Warriors, must be a considerable embarrassment to Marquette.

After all Marquette, caving to the forces of political correctness, “admitted” that the name and the logo were racist, insensitive and offensive to “Native Americans” (as politically correct types refer to American Indians).

Of course, the average university President, Vice President, Provost or Dean will admit to having sex with barnyard animals if the politically correct crowd demands it.

The vast majority of Americans, including overwhelming majorities of students and alumni, don’t see it that way. They see it as a symbol of how Marquette lacks either the discernment or the courage to reject the claims of political correctness.

Either way, the campus bureaucrats don’t want any reminders of the name or the symbol.

We, on the other hand, think every opportunity to rub their noses in it should be eagerly seized.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tough Course

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

More Politically Correct Crime Reporting

The journalism students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are on a roll.

First there was the scoop on the issue of an e-mail that went out to all UWM students. A suspect was at large in a robbery, and students needed to be on the lookout.

But the e-mail omitted the race of the robber, while including other much less relevant information.

Now we have a similar case, this time involving political correctness on the part of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
When a crew of armed robbers held up five victims in the UWM area last week, the victims got a pretty good look at them.

The suspects were all black, they told police. And male. In fact, the victims provided a host of details, which police gave to the media.

But the state’s largest newspaper didn’t think the public had a right to know, even in the wake of criticism over the recent decision not to publish the race of a Racine sexual assault suspect while he was at large.

In the case of last week’s hold-up, readers of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – and the university community – were asked to simply use their imaginations.

Said the newspaper about the March 1 robberies: No detailed description of the suspects was available, and the victims’ recollections of the suspects’ appearances varied.

University relations - which itself provoked controversy recently by deleting the race out of a suspect description in an email alert - sent the newspaper account on the March 1 robberies to students on Friday in another essentially useless exercise.

The newspaper’s account was not exactly true. A quick call to Milwaukee police revealed that there were some details the victims’ recollections did not vary on: Namely, the suspects’ race and gender.
The omission of the key information was not inadvertent.
[Reporter Tom] Held said the situation was discussed with an editor and the choice was made to omit the descriptions completely. That editor could not be reached for comment as he was out of the office. The editor-in-chief of the newspaper, Martin Kaiser, also could not be reached.
We can imagine instances where the race of a criminal would be moot. If he has already been taken into custody, and the crime isn’t racial in nature (not a “hate crime,” for example) the issue isn’t relevant.

But if the guilty parties are still at large, and if people need to be on the lookout for them, race most certainly is important.

Trying to conceal the fact that particular perps are black is an essentially useless exercise. Everybody knows that blacks commit a disproportionate number of crimes. That knowledge isn’t erased if the politically correct language police refuse to mention it aloud.

A ban on discussing this issue honestly simply guarantees that it can’t be addressed effectively.

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Walter Reed: Drawing the Obvious Conclusion

Libertarian blogger Keith Brumley draws a conclusion that is obvious, but pretty much beyond the ken of the mainstream media, from the Walter Reed scandal.
One thing struck me as I watched and read about this story. This is government-run health care. The Democrats, rightly, have put a spotlight on this scandal. I doubt the Republicans would’ve had the congressional hearings, etc., if they had still been in charge. However, Democratic candidates for President (e.g., Sen. Obama, Sen. Clinton, John Edwards) are all touting single-payer, government run health care as the end-all-be-all answer to our health care problems.

Hmmmm ... Let’s think about that.

Walter Reed and the Veteran’s Administration are ready examples of single-payer, government run health care, aren’t they? We’ve heard testimony, read stories, and seen pictures of what government run health care looks like. We’ve heard of the mountains of red tape. We’ve heard of the well-paid bureaucrats who are not so good at providing service but skilled at the art of buck-passing. We’ve heard of substandard care, long waits for care, and frustration levels from patients higher than our national debt.

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