Thursday, May 31, 2007

Can Evangelicals Vote For Romney?

From the conservative Christian journal Christianity Today, a discussion of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Mormonism.
Some analysts say Romney’s social conservatism is very recent and politically motivated. They point out that in his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, Romney proclaimed support for Roe v. Wade and promised he would not change the state’s abortion policies. In the same year, he endorsed RU-486, an abortion-inducing drug.

Romney says he has had a true change of heart. If so, he is not the first governor-turned-presidential-candidate to have changed his mind on abortion. Ronald Reagan signed a liberal abortion law for California and later said he regretted it.

But evangelicals are reluctant to vote for a Mormon. Historically, evangelicals and Mormons have demonized each other. Evangelicals consider the Church of Latter-day Saints to be a cult and typically think Mormons are not real Christians.

Yet America has a history of electing presidents with religious beliefs outside the orbit of traditional Christianity. George Washington was a deist who usually referred to the deity in vague and impersonal terms. Thomas Jefferson believed the doctrines of the Trinity, atonement, and original sin were essentially pagan and rejected the possibility of miracles or resurrection. John Adams also denied the Trinity, along with most orthodox Christian doctrine, while holding to a Stoic-like resignation to fate. Abraham Lincoln and his wife attended séances, and William Howard Taft was a Unitarian—which means he rejected the deity of Christ.

Of course there is still doctrinal distance between Mormons and evangelicals. But this has not stopped important evangelical leaders—such as Richard Land, the late Jerry Falwell, Franklin Graham, Chuck Colson, and Cal Thomas—from saying that these doctrinal differences should not by themselves disqualify Romney from a presidential nomination. As Marvin Olasky, editor of World magazine, put it, “If he faces Hilary Clinton, I’ll vote for him in a Utah minute.”

He and other evangelicals who like Romney’s experience and positions say that they are looking for a Commander-in-Chief, not a theologian-in-chief. In this sentiment they echo Martin Luther, who famously said, “I would rather be governed by a wise Turk than by a foolish Christian.”
Conservative Christians will, of course, reject the canard that voting on the basis of one’s religious opinions is somehow a threat to the Republic.

This notion is pushed by secular liberals who are happy to bring their non-religious (and often anti-religious) views into the public square.

But if conservative Christians have a right to vote on the basis of theology, is it really prudent to reject a candidate who shares your social values on the basis of theological doctrines.

What traditional Christian doctrines do Mormons fail to embrace? Again, from Christianity Today:
Evangelicals accuse Mormons of adding new revelation (the Book of Mormon) to the Bible. They think Mormons teach that humans are saved by good works rather than by Jesus Christ, and that humans are of the same species as Jesus and can someday attain his status. In addition, evangelicals say, Mormons reject key Christian doctrines such as the Trinity and creatio ex nihilo (God creating the world out of nothing).
Is any of this more important than abortion?

And can any of it be legislated by government? Is the President expected to take public positions on each of these issues?

None of this is to say we endorse Romney. His flip-flopping on key social issues does indeed cause concern

But Christians who see Romney’s Mormonism as a fundamental problem don’t have their priorities straight.

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Michael McGee, Jr. -- A Long Overdue Date With Justice

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, an image showing that no matter how ruthlessly you play the race card, and how many liberal enablers you have, justice will finally catch up with you.

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Condolences to the Wild Family

Some bad news via a Marquette press release:
The Marquette community mourns the death of Mary Wild (nee Colnon), mother of Marquette President Robert A. Wild, S.J. She passed away Wednesday, May 30, in Chicago, at 95 years of age.

The visitation will be Sunday, June 3, from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Donnellan Funeral Home, 10045 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, IL 60077. The Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Monday, June 4, at 10 a.m., at SS. Faith, Hope & Charity Church, 200 Ridge Ave., Winnetka, Ill.

The family has requested no flowers. Memorials may be sent to: Good Shepherd Manor, a residential facility for men with developmental disabilities, 4129 N. State Route 1 17, P.O. Box 260, Momence, IL 60954.

Please remember Mrs. Wild and the Wild family in your thoughts and prayers.

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A Surrender By Any Other Name

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Racial Discrimination in the Marquette Law School?

We just came across something that we should have noticed over a year ago. But we’re going to post it now, since it raises a recurring issue -- the claim that the Marquette Law School is “too white.”

In the wake of a directive from the American Bar Association -- which has become increasingly activist and politically correct -- that American law school enroll more blacks and other minorities and break state law if necessary to do it -- Marquette Law Professor Christine Hurt posted the following on the blog Concurring Opinions.
This week’s events (the promulgation of new rules by the ABA on diversity admissions, publication of David Bernstein’s op-ed, Affirmative Blackmail, and the ensuing blogospheric discussions) have prompted me to post on a topic that I have been ruminating about for some time: admissions. At the Glom last year, I blogged a series of advice posts (here, here, here and here) from information gleaned after my first year on admissions committee. This is my second year on that committee, and I have to admit that the shiny has worn off a bit for me. I wanted to be on the admissions committee because I wanted to find out why we had classes with low percentages of minority students. Surely there must be some subconscious, yet insidious discrimination creating this result. I was going to ferret out this bias and squash it like a bug.
Presumably, Professor Hurt is saying this for rhetorical effect. She could not possibly have believed her Law School colleagues are a bunch of racists, could she?
What I found was a problem that I couldn’t fix. The problem is math. Prof. Bernstein and Thom Lambert point out that the ABA’s new rules show that the ABA has a conscious disregard for the rule of law. I would add that the rules also show a conscious disregard for math. For schools like Marquette, in the middle of the rankings, with a small faculty, administration and budget, cold, hard numbers are our problem when it comes to increasing diversity. Putting aside debates as to whether affirmative action is good, bad, constitutional, unconstitutional or whatever, the most affirmative action-minded admissions committee has to make very difficult choices in an environment of scarcity. Scarcity of applicants; scarcity of dollars.

Marquette’s problem is not that we don’t admit minority candidates. The percentage of minority candidates in our “admit” pool is larger than the percentage of minority candidates in our “applicant” pool. In fact, the percentage of minority applicants who become admits is larger than the percentage of nonminority applicants who become admits. However, the yield on minority candidates in our “admit” pool is quite low. These candidates have a lot of other opportunities. We do what we can: phone calls, scholarships, letters, emails, dinners, etc. I soon found out that to say that we discriminate against minority candidates is to say that we discriminate against candidates with 170 LSATs. We don’t end up with a lot because we don’t start out with a lot. And, no matter how many 170 LSATs we admit, our yield on 170 LSATs is very low, similar to our yield on minority candidates. These people have other opportunities, and our recruiting activities don’t change that much. If we were ranked higher, our yield would be greater. If our yield were greater, we would be ranked higher. See how that works, ABA?

However, the ABA now says that we are required to do more than just work with what we have. We need to commit resources to increase the number of minority applicants in our applicant pool. For instance, we could have a dedicated diversity admissions person, we could recruit in person at historically black colleges, we could hold minority applicant fairs, and we could have more minority scholarships. At present, our admissions office has one assistant dean and one office administrator. To comply, we would need to basically double our admissions budget. And our scholarship pool.

I teach corporate law, so I follow the recent white-collar prosecutions. Bernard Ebbers was criticized, and eventually punished, for blithely telling subordinates to “hit the numbers” without regard to the consequences. The ABA is also blithely telling law schools to do something without regard to the realities of numbers. I understand that in some situations, schools may have money, time and resources that they don’t want to commit to a laudable goal and will not until forced to do so. However, my impression is that many schools like Marquette will be caught in the middle because they actually do not have unlimited money, time and resources.
Being willing to “commit the resources” is a euphemism for giving black (and perhaps Hispanic) students more generous scholarship offers to induce them to come to your school.

Of course, in academia, prestige is also an important currency.

Marquette’s Law School, which is hanging by its fingernails at the bottom of the second tier of the nation’s law schools, can’t compete terribly well here either.

When Harvard Law School admits minority students who aren’t as academically capable as the white students they admit, they are still going to have pretty good minority students.

But when minority students who should be at Madison go to Harvard, and minority students who should be at Marquette go to Madison, Marquette has to accept minority students who belong at schools low in the third tier or in the fourth tier.

Or else fail to meet some quota.

Ultimately, shuffling minority student populations around does little good, although it serves the career interests of university bureaucrats and makes politically correct faculty feel all warm and fuzzy.

Until minority students graduate from high school with the same qualifications as white students, “diversity” is never going to be anything but a cynical con game. And of course, the problems begin long before high school.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

U.S. Attorney Has the Goods on Michael McGee, Jr.

The sleazy, violent-talking, race-card playing Milwaukee Alderman seems to have finally gotten himself into a jam he can’t walk away from.

Here is the Criminal Complaint against Michael McGee, Jr.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

George Bush: Carter is Best Former President

From Scrapple Face:

(2007-05-20) — Just a day after former President Jimmy Carter told reporters that the Bush administration is “the worst in history” the current White House resident called Mr. Carter “the best former president ever.”

“I know that President Carter and I have had our differences,” said Mr. Bush, “But I think most Americans will agree with me that he’s a terrific ex-president. Things have never been better since Jimmy Carter left office.”

Mr. Bush pointed to an array of improvements, including a stable growing economy, lower taxes, reduced inflation and unemployment and increased American strength and preparedness — all of which he associated with Mr. Carter’s years as a former president.

“I think history will judge President Carter’s post-White House tenure favorably,” said Mr. Bush, “As a former president, Mr. Carter has overseen the nation’s longest period of expansion and growth in opportunity.”

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Friday, May 25, 2007

What Jessica McBride Actually Said

Jessica McBride has been under attack in the leftist blogosphere for supposedly “finding humor in the murder of Jasmine Owens.”

Wisopinion has finally posted the actual audio of the segment that was supposedly “offensive.”

A more compact version is here.

Listen for yourself.

And ask yourself whether the humor was directed at the murder of Jasmine Owens, or at Eugene Kane, who chronically produces mealymouthed responses to the real urban problems that afflict Milwaukee.

Also ask yourself whether this is even a tiny bit worse than liberal comics who have fun at the expense of President Bush on the issue of Iraq.

If the murder of young Jasmine Owens was a tragedy (which it was) isn’t Iraq a “tragedy?” So how is one allowed to make jokes at Bush’s expense on the issue of Iraq, and not make jokes at Kane’s expense that reference inner city crime?

The answer: the vendetta against McBride was driven mostly by ideology.

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It’s Only Going to Get Better

Thursday, May 24, 2007

School Choice an International Movement

We are used to thinking of Milwaukee as the center of the universe where school choice is concerned.

And there is no gainsaying that the city has been a pioneer. But the movement has moved far beyond the Brew City, and indeed far beyond the borders of the United States.

From The Economist.
FEW ideas in education are more controversial than vouchers—letting parents choose to educate their children wherever they wish at the taxpayer’s expense. First suggested by Milton Friedman, an economist, in 1955, the principle is compellingly simple. The state pays; parents choose; schools compete; standards rise; everybody gains.

Simple, perhaps, but it has aroused predictable—and often fatal—opposition from the educational establishment. Letting parents choose where to educate their children is a silly idea; professionals know best. Co-operation, not competition, is the way to improve education for all. Vouchers would increase inequality because children who are hardest to teach would be left behind.

But these arguments are now succumbing to sheer weight of evidence. Voucher schemes are running in several different countries without ill-effects for social cohesion; those that use a lottery to hand out vouchers offer proof that recipients get a better education than those that do not.

Harry Patrinos, an education economist at the World Bank, cites a Colombian programme to broaden access to secondary schooling, known as PACES, a 1990s initiative that provided over 125,000 poor children with vouchers worth around half the cost of private secondary school. Crucially, there were more applicants than vouchers. The programme, which selected children by lottery, provided researchers with an almost perfect experiment, akin to the “pill-placebo” studies used to judge the efficacy of new medicines. The subsequent results show that the children who received vouchers were 15-20% more likely to finish secondary education, five percentage points less likely to repeat a grade, scored a bit better on scholastic tests and were much more likely to take college entrance exams.

The Colombian programme did not even set out to offer better schooling than was available in the state sector; the aim was simply to raise enrolment rates as quickly and cheaply as possible.

These results are important because they strip out other influences. Home, neighbourhood and natural ability all affect results more than which school a child attends. If the pupils who received vouchers differ from those who don’t — perhaps simply by coming from the sort of go-getting family that elbows its way to the front of every queue—any effect might simply be the result of any number of other factors. But assigning the vouchers randomly guarded against this risk.

Opponents still argue that those who exercise choice will be the most able and committed, and by clustering themselves together in better schools they will abandon the weak and voiceless to languish in rotten ones. Some cite the example of Chile, where a universal voucher scheme that allows schools to charge top-up fees seems to have improved the education of the best-off most.

The strongest evidence against this criticism comes from Sweden, where parents are freer than those in almost any other country to spend as they wish the money the government allocates to educating their children. Sweeping education reforms in 1992 not only relaxed enrolment rules in the state sector, allowing students to attend schools outside their own municipality, but also let them take their state funding to private schools, including religious ones and those operating for profit. The only real restrictions imposed on private schools were that they must run their admissions on a first-come-first-served basis and promise not to charge top-up fees (most American voucher schemes impose similar conditions).

The result has been burgeoning variety and a breakneck expansion of the private sector. At the time of the reforms only around 1% of Swedish students were educated privately; now 10% are, and growth in private schooling continues unabated.

Anders Hultin of Kunskapsskolan, a chain of 26 Swedish schools founded by a venture capitalist in 1999 and now running at a profit, says its schools only rarely have to invoke the first-come-first-served rule—the chain has responded to demand by expanding so fast that parents keen to send their children to its schools usually get a place. So the private sector, by increasing the total number of places available, can ease the mad scramble for the best schools in the state sector (bureaucrats, by contrast, dislike paying for extra places in popular schools if there are vacancies in bad ones).

More evidence that choice can raise standards for all comes from Caroline Hoxby, an economist at Harvard University, who has shown that when American public schools must compete for their students with schools that accept vouchers, their performance improves. Swedish researchers say the same. It seems that those who work in state schools are just like everybody else: they do better when confronted by a bit of competition.
The Swedish case is highly ironic.

About three generations of left-leaning Americans during the middle to late 20th century saw Sweden was the model Welfare State after which America should model itself. Indeed, people like that are still around, especially in that museum of outdated ideologies, academia.

But in seems in this case that the Swedes are following the advice of a free market American economist.

As choice makes slow (if steady progress) here, they are ahead of us.

But not in the way that generations of liberals and leftists would want.

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Sexual Orientation and Map Reading Ability

Via Scientific Blogging, and interesting study about gender, sexual orientation, and spacial skills.
Researchers at the University of Warwick have found that sexual orientation has a real effect on how we perform mental tasks such as navigating with a map in a car but that old age does not discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation and withers all men’s minds alike.

The University of Warwick researchers worked with the BBC to collect data from over 198,000 people aged 20–65 years (109,612 men and 88,509 women). As expected they found men outperformed women on tests such as mentally rotating objects (NB the researchers’ tests used abstract objects but the skills used are also those one would use in real life to navigate with a map).

They found that women outperformed men in verbal dexterity tests, and remembering the locations of objects. However for a number of tasks the University of Warwick researchers found key differences across the range of sexual orientations studied.

For instance in mental rotation (a task where men usually perform better) they found that the table of best performance to worst was:
  • Heterosexual men
  • Bisexual men
  • Homosexual men
  • Homosexual women
  • Bisexual women
  • Heterosexual women
In general, over the range of tasks measured, where a gender performed better in a task heterosexuals of that gender tended to perform better than non-heterosexuals. When a particular gender was poorer at a task homosexual and bisexual people tended to perform better than heterosexual members of that gender.

The paper has just been published in Archives of Sexual Behaviour April 2007 DOI 10.1007/s10508-006-9155-y and is titled “Gender and Sexual Orientation Differences in Cognition Across Adulthood: Age Is Kinder to Women than to Men Regardless of Sexual Orientation.”
What are the practical implications of this?

Very little that we can see. We suppose that if you send a gay guy out with a map he’s a little more likely to get lost.

But maybe he’s a bit more likely to stop and ask for directions.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Send Up of 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists

Research Continues to Favor School Choice

As is typical with social innovations, school choice has now been the subject of literally scores of evaluation studies.

The first, and most obvious, thing to test is whether achievement test scores improve for students whose parents are allowed to opt out of the government monopoly and choose schools.

The answer: the studies are not entirely consistent, but the range of outcomes is “no effect” to “substantial positive effects.”

But there are other dimensions to the issue.

Proponents of the public school monopoly sometimes claim it is necessary for civic cohesion. All kids, they say, need to be taught to be good American citizens. It’s quite doubtful that public schools have that agenda any more. More typically, they engage in politically correct indoctrination.

But it seems that choice schools in fact promote the values that public schools were traditionally supposed to.

A recent study reviews the literature.
For this review, I examine the results of 21 quantitative studies regarding the effects of school choice on seven civic values that relate to the capacity of individuals to perform as effective citizens in our representative democracy. The values, in order from the most studied to the least studied, are political tolerance, voluntarism, political knowledge, political participation, social capital, civic skills, and patriotism.

The studies are divided into two categories, based on the statistical rigor with which the investigation was conducted. To qualify for inclusion in this review, a study had to be a quantitative analysis that controlled for observed differences in the backgrounds of the students attending different schools. To be classified as rigorous, the study also had to attempt to correct for the tendency of students and families to sort themselves into different schools and school sectors based on unobserved factors, a research challenge commonly referred to as selection bias.

[T]he 59 findings from existing studies suggest that the effect of private schooling or school choice on civic values is most often neutral or positive. Among the group of more-rigorous studies, 12 findings indicate statistically significant positive effects of school choice or private schooling on civic values and 10 suggest neutral results. . . . Only one finding from the rigorous evaluations indicates that traditional public schooling arrangements enhance a civic value.

With one exception, the findings regarding the effect of school choice on political tolerance are confined to the neutral-to-positive range. Eleven findings—five of them from the more-rigorous studies—indicate that school choice increases political tolerance. For example, one experimental voucher study in Washington, D.C., found that nearly one-half of the students who switched to a private school said they would permit a member of their disliked group to live in their neighborhood, compared with just over one-quarter of the students in the public school control group.
If choice schools are at minimum as good as public schools (and a lot of studies say they are better), that would seem to be plenty of reason to let people use them.

But there is another reason: cost.

A recent study by the pro-choice Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation found that taxpayers save money when choice schools are encouraged, since the typical voucher at a choice school costs less than the taxpayer subsidy to public schools.

The study estimated that since 1990 taxpayers have saved $443,848,581 due to the operation of twelve choice programs. $22,296,189 of this represents the impact on state budgets, and $421,552,391 the effect on school district budgets.

There is a whole congeries of interests, of course, who would like for education to cost more: school administrators who would rather head large bureaucracies than small lean ones, political activists who specialize in influencing public school systems but would have little power over private schools, and a teachers’ union that profits from the involuntary unionization imposed on public school teachers.

But taxpayers are a different matter.

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Marquette Warrior Banned in China

With a hat tip to Jim Pawlak of Crusader Knight, here is a web site that will test in real time whether a given web site is banned in China.

It’s not perfect, since it apparently can’t distinguish between sites that are actually blocked by the Chinese government, and sites that can’t be gotten because of network problems or an overloaded server.

Still, we are quite happy to find ourselves to be (apparently) blocked.

We doubt they have heard of our little blog, and suspect they have blocked all Blogspot blogs.

(See below, and click on the image for a larger view.)

Some testing shows the Washington Post and Fox News to be available most of the time, which suggests either time-selective blocking (sometimes there is negative news the government wants to suppress) or that the web page is a bit unreliable, giving a fair number of false positives when testing for blocking.

The picture is rather different for the Wikipedia article on the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989. It is blocked solidly and consistently.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Worked (Sort Of)


Eric Allie

John Edwards: Rich Fat Cat Acting Like a Rich Fat Cat

From the Wall Street Journal:
Let us say right up front that it’s terrific that John Edwards lives in a country where he can lose an election and still land a $480,000 part-time job as a consultant to an investment firm that keeps its hedge funds in the Cayman Islands as a tax shelter for its clients. This truly is the land of opportunity.

We’re also encouraged to hear that, according to the former Senator’s spokesman, “John Edwards is running for President to give every American the opportunities that he’s had.” While there may not be enough half-a-million-dollar-a-year part-time consulting gigs to go around just yet, the hedge fund industry is growing. And there’s always private equity if you find yourself, as Mr. Edwards described his 2005 circumstance, making $40,000 a year at an antipoverty think tank and wanting to learn something about “capital markets.” Thus did he turn, in his time of need, to Fortress Investment Group LLC, pride of the Caymans.

It would also be churlish to repeat the by now tired line about which of his “Two Americas” Mr. Edwards lives in--notwithstanding his $30 million in assets, about $16 million of which is invested in Fortress. And in any case, no one should have to apologize for his wealth and success.

That said, we can understand why the former Senator’s campaign wants to change the subject. Mr. Edwards has campaigned, both in 2004 and now, against the use of offshore tax shelters, the supposed rising tide of U.S. inequality and the plight of the American worker. Mr. Edwards’ employment at an investment firm that headquarters most of its hedge and private equity funds in one of the world’s most notorious tax shelters underscores all of those themes--albeit not quite in the way the Edwards campaign has chosen to emphasize.

Mr. Edwards did tell the Associated Press that he took the job not merely to make money, but also to learn about the relationship between the capital markets and poverty. How refreshing it would have been, then, for Mr. Edwards to have emerged from his toil in the crucible of high finance to explain that all is not moral darkness in the upper reaches of the investing class; that people who invest in businesses help alleviate poverty and make the economy strong; and that it is risk-taking that offers Americans their best--indeed, their only--chance to have “the opportunities he’s had.”

It was not to be, alas. Mr. Edwards said instead that if he’s elected President he’ll still try to abolish offshore tax shelters. At least he’ll have already made his money.
That is the story of the liberals. Having achieved a very affluent lifestyle, they look askance when other people aspire to achieve the same thing.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Liberal Religious “Leaders” Mixing Religion and Politics

A large part of the rap against deceased Rev. Jerry Falwell was that he “mixed religion and politics.”

A huge sin, supposedly.

When it is done by conservatives.

But how will the Mainstream Media interpret this?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders are urging President George W. Bush and Congress to take action against global warming, declaring that the changing climate is a “moral and spiritual issue.”

In an open letter to be published on Tuesday, more than 20 religious groups urged U.S. leaders to limit greenhouse gas emissions and invest in renewable energy sources.

“Global warming is real, it is human-induced and we have the responsibility to act,” says the letter, which will run in Roll Call and the Politico, two Capitol Hill newspapers.

“We are mobilizing a religious force that will persuade our legislators to take immediate action to curb greenhouse gases,” it says.

The letter is signed by top officials of the National Council of Churches, the Islamic Society of North America and the political arm of the Reform branch of Judaism.

Top officials from several mainline Christian denominations, including the Episcopal Church, United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church, African Methodist Episcopal Church and Alliance of Baptists also signed the letter, along with leaders of regional organizations and individual churches.

Rev. Joel Hunter, a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals, also signed the letter, though that group has not officially taken a stance on global warming due to opposition from some of its more conservative members.
This is a litmus test.

Are we going to hear any complaints from liberals and the Mainstream Media about these religious organizations jumping into the policy debate on global warming?

Of course, we know the answer to that.

But let’s talk about reality.

Religious organizations getting involved in politics is not a violation of the First Amendment. And it doesn’t threaten a nonexistent “wall of separation between Church and State.”

Indeed, religious people have exactly the same right to get involved in politics as every other American citizen.

But this applies not only to the liberal church bureaucrats who signed on to this statement, but to conservative Christians too.

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WTMJ Has Pulled Jessica McBride’s Blog Offline

Trying to get it at the usual location gets a big 404.

This happened just this morning.

Pulling the blog was done in response to an explicit request (demand, really) made by McBride late Saturday night. Understandably unhappy with being abruptly pulled off the air, McBride told Tom Parker at WTMJ:
I have decided that I am not interested in being affiliated with Journal Communications in any fashion anymore. Thank you for the offer to continue my blog, but I have decided to decline. Please remove my picture, my editorial content, and my name immediately from your site.
Parker was conciliatory, asking McBride for the web address of her new blog, in case listeners requested it.

Of course, McBride can be found at her old blog location, which does not depend on the good will of WTMJ management.

[Update]

McBride’s new/old blog is getting pounded with traffic. As of this moment (8:20 p.m.), she is getting 83 hits per hour and has gotten 1,391 hits today.

You can see the status as of the time you are reading this by hitting this link.

So she doesn’t seem to be hurting a lot due to ending her affiliation with WTMJ. She now has complete editorial control and a lot of readers. She shook some things up, and posted an award-winning series on an inner city youth, before she became a corporate blogger for WTMJ. There is plenty of reason to expect her to pick up where she left off.

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Liberal Blogger Who Is Key Jessica McBride Critic Lost Job Competition to McBride

We have yet to comment on L’Affaire McBride, in which conservative blogger and radio host Jessica McBride has been under attack from liberal bloggers for a parody “interview” with Journal-Sentinel columnist and race-card specialist Eugene Kane.

The interview ridiculed Kane for his ineffectual responses who issues facing Milwaukee’s black community, including the murder of young Jasmine Owens. Liberals and leftists, starting with the Journal-Sentinel’s Tim Cuprisin, howled.

McBride was let go by WTMJ, although apparently the flap only hastened her departure, which was mostly driven by the station’s hope of getting better ratings with Dennis Miller’s nationally syndicated show.

Now the Marquette Warrior has learned that one of the liberal bloggers who led the attack on McBride is a man who lost out to her in a job competition at UWM.

McBride alluded to this in a blog post on the flap. Taking the management of WTMJ to task, she sayd:
. . . it’s important that corporate management defend its hosts, particularly when partisan liberal blogs (including a juvenile/abusive anonymous one and one run by the man who was the other finalist for my job at UWM) are driving the outrage in concert with the liberal media.
Among the liberal and leftist bloggers in southeast Wisconsin, it was not too difficult to identify the person who, having lost out to her in a job competition, now attacks her.

He is James Rowen, a blogger at Uppity Wisconsin and The Political Environment.

Rowen has been incessantly critical of McBride, attacking her here, and here, and here.

And also here and here.

Suspecting that Rowen was the “disappointed job seeker” we e-mailed him as follows:
James,

Jessica McBride, in an entry on her blog . . .

mcbridemediamatters.blogspot.com/2007/05/kenosha.html

. . . mentions that some blogger who has been critical of her lost out in a job competition with her at UWM.

Was that you?
Rowen replied:
Yes. And that is why I commented only on her TMJ work.
No doubt most of the campaign against McBride has been driven by ideology. Liberals simply can’t stand to hear conservative ideas expressed.

But it seems that one of the lead liberal bloggers attacking her has a rather personal motive.

At a minimum, Rowen should have revealed that he lost a job to McBride in the interests of full disclosure.

Further, if UWM should let McBride go, would Rowen not be at the head of the line for the job he failed to get last time?

[Update]

It turns out that Real Debate Wisconsin scooped us on this.

We developed the story independently, and got confirmation from Rowen, but Real Debate got the story online first.

Credit where credit is due.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

That’s Unfortunate

How Do You Fight a War When the Opposition Party Hates Your Guts?

Another perceptive column from Jeff Jacoby.
But to a large extent, the Democrats’ lack of seriousness about the war we are in can only be explained by Bush Derangement Syndrome. The term was coined by commentator Charles Krauthammer, a former psychiatrist, who defines it as “the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay, the very existence of George W. Bush.”

What if not derangement can explain such fever-swamp nuttiness as the findings of a new Rasmussen poll, which asked whether Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance? Among Democrats, 35 percent believe he did know and another 26 percent weren’t sure. Only 39 percent said he didn’t. In other words, nearly two out of three Democrats are unwilling to say that Bush wasn’t tipped off to 9/11 in advance.

In another poll recently, respondents were asked whether they personally wanted Bush’s new security strategy in Iraq to succeed -- not whether they expected it to, but whether they wanted it to. Among Democrats, a stunning 49 percent either hope that the United States will be defeated in Iraq or can’t decide one way or the other. Only 51 percent, a bare majority, want the American effort against al-Qaeda in Iraq to end in victory.

As long as the 43rd president remains in office, it seems, a significant number of Americans will be so consumed with Bush-hatred that they will be unable to acknowledge -- let alone help defeat -- the real evil that confronts us all. Will they come to their senses after Jan. 20, 2009? And even if they do, will it be too late?
There is in fact little hope that the Democrats, should they win the presidency in 2008, will begin to act better.

They are so utterly invested in wanting this war lost that they will fall all over themselves surrendering.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Ludacris At Summerfest

It’s been the object of a campaign of Charlie Sykes’ joined by (for example) James Harris of The National Conversation.

Rapper Ludacris has been chosen to be a headline act at Summerfest.

Sykes post on the subject gives a fair sample of the really vile stuff that the cultural elders of the city have decided to endorse.

But the disapproval shown by Sykes and Harris has not been universal in the blogosphere.

Christian Schneider of Atomic Trousers has posted something that is not exactly a defense of the foul mouthed rapper, but at least an explanation of why he thinks it’s not a big deal.
As far as I know, Ludacris didn’t shoot anybody. Suggesting that he, a popular entertainer, is in any way responsible for violence on the street has it exactly backwards. . . . And why people who usually abhor those who blame the criminal actions of individuals on society are now handing the killers a “rapper made me do it” defense is beyond me.

The nihilistic culture of violence and sexuality exists in our inner city, and Ludacris is holding a mirror up to that way of life so it can see itself. Ludacris is a byproduct of that culture - the culture is not a byproduct of Ludacris.

Rappers aren’t millionaires because they sell CDs to black people. Rappers gain fame worldwide because they sell CDs to white people. Suburban white kids eat this stuff up because it makes them feel “authentic.” If you looked at Ludacris’ record sales, I bet you’d see just as many CDs sold in Brookfield, Menomonee Falls, and Franklin as you do in Milwaukee. But where is the violence in those “white” communities? If Ludacris was such a negative influence, why aren’t all the white kids in Oconomowoc gunning each other down?

It’s simple - because the culture comes first. Fatherlessness. Poverty. Lawlessness. Those are the problems that face our inner cities - rap music just packages those themes and markets them to the world.
We left a comment on Atomic Trousers, and we’ll repeat it here.
Christian,

I agree with you about “the culture.” But what is “the culture?”

It’s probably an easy 100 things, but Ludacris is one of those 100!

So how does one improve the culture? Shunning and isolating Ludacris would be one thing. Doing the same to another dozen like him would be a dozen things.

A dozen good black role models would be another dozen good things.

Attaching some stigma to having kids out of wedlock would be a huge good thing.

Getting tough with men who knock women up and fail to take responsibility would be another huge good thing.

As for those suburban kids who are probably buying Ludacris CDs: there is a fair amount of something very close to racism about that.

Probably a lot of these kids are liberals and think that this is “authentic black culture” and that they are being “multicultural” somehow. But the truth is they are getting enjoyment out of seeing black people demeaned.

So the white kids don’t go out and shoot people (mostly)? If you have enough advantages in your life, a nasty influence or two is something you are likely to blow off. Besides, if you don’t actually indentify with the blacks in the rap videos, you aren’t likely to emulate them.

Cultural change happens when a large number of people decide they will fight to turn this or that “one thing” in the right direction. Not understanding rational choice theory, they ignore the fact that their sole contribution makes an insignificant difference.

With enough of those people, the culture can turn.

It’s long past due to turn on the racist rappers.
In fairness to Schneider, he points out that a fair amount of rap has a positive message.

Fine. Let’s all encourage that. But let’s don’t encourage or endorse people like Ludacris.

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That Was Then


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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bottled Water Now Politically Incorrect

From Slate, an observation about how snobby, trendy people are realizing that a key artifact of their lifestyle is . . . well, not politically acceptable.
In March, the San Francisco Chronicle spotted a hot new food trend in the Bay Area. Instead of offering diners a choice of still or sparkling bottled water with their (inevitably) locally grown delectables, trendoid restaurants such as Incanto, Poggio, and Nopa now offer glorified tap water. Sustainable-dining pioneer Chez Panisse has also joined the crowd, tossing Santa Lucia overboard for filtered municipal water, carbonated on-site. The reason: It takes a lot of energy to create a bottle of water and ship it from Europe to California. And so of-the-moment bistros can boost their enviro cred by giving away tap water instead of selling promiscuously marked-up bottled water. “Our whole goal of sustainability means using as little energy as we have to,” Mike Kossa-Rienzi, general manager of Chez Panisse, told the Chronicle. “Shipping bottles of water from Italy doesn’t make sense.”

Chez Panisse’s decision to swap Perrier for public water highlights how quickly the culture surrounding food, drink, and the environment has shifted. Not long ago, bottled water represented the height of urban sophistication. Today, bottled water is just another cog in the carbon-spewing, globe-warming industrial machine. There is a growing conflict between those who want to drink clean, pure water and those who want to breathe clean, pure air.

Until relatively recently, bottled water was a snobbish luxury good—Perrier, Evian, and San Pellegrino, fey-sounding foreign brands, seemed absurd. Thanks to our superior infrastructure—New York City’s delicious tap water is actually believed to be a competitive advantage for the city’s bagel and pizza makers—it is perfectly safe to drink the water in the United States. Given the price—for long periods of time, a gallon of bottled water cost more than a gallon of gas—it seemed silly to pay up for this plentiful commodity. And it seemed pretentious to believe that our overburdened palates should be forced to develop a preference for what is generally presumed to be a tasteless substance. The presence of water sommeliers at the Ritz-Carlton in New York and at Alain Ducasse’s New York restaurant (now closed, soon to reopen) was more novelty than a necessity.

But like other high-end comestibles—sushi, good coffee—bottled water has become democratized. According to data from the International Bottled Water Association, bottled water in 2003 became the second-largest American beverage category. As soda sales stagnated, bottled water sales took off. Total U.S. consumption rose nearly 60 percent between 2001 and 2006. Last year, industry revenues were an estimated $11 billion. Per-capita consumption has risen almost 50 percent from 2001, to 27.6 gallons in 2006. Globally, the United States is the largest consumer of bottled water, although on a per-capita basis, we were only 10th in 2005. (That year, Italians consumed almost twice as much bottled water per capita as Americans.)

Bottled water’s swift transformation from glass-encased luxury good to déclassé, plastic-wrapped menace was entirely predictable. Over the past century, we’ve seen numerous examples of products that, so long as they were available only to a select few, were viewed by those elites as brilliant, life-improving developments: the automobile, coal-generated electricity, air conditioning. But once companies figured out how to make them available to the masses, the elites suddenly condemned them as dangerous and socially destructive.

So long as only a few people were drinking Evian, Perrier, and San Pellegrino, bottled water wasn’t perceived as a societal ill. Now that everybody is toting bottles of Poland Spring, Aquafina, and Dasani, it’s a big problem.
The yuppie lifestyle not only stakes a claim to cultural superiority, it also (we can’t help noticing) asserts the right to govern the country politically.

Thus the elitists moan and complain when people they consider their cultural inferiors — Southerners, conservative Christians, blue collar workers, people who live in Texas — get uppity and elect a President or Congress of whom the elitists disapprove. How dare people who drink tap water (or Miller Beer or iced tea) think they can govern the nation!

But the game is entirely transparent, and ordinary Americans aren’t impressed.

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U.N. Fiasco: Zimbabwe Holds Key Development Post

Blogger Greg St. Arnold is a Marquette student who has spent some time in Africa, so it’s logical that he would pick up a story that most Marquette students (and indeed most U.S. bloggers) will overlook.

But it’s a story with considerable international import.

Zimbabwe’s environmental minister will chair the United Nations Committee on Sustainable Development.

That’s right. Zimbabwe. A nasty dictatorship that is not developing sustainably -- or any other way. Quoting the Financial Times.
Enemies of the United Nations could not hope for a greater gift than the election of Zimbabwe to chair the UN commission on sustainable development. A more suitable role for one of President Robert Mugabe’s henchmen might be to head a commission for sustainable dictatorship: Zimbabwe’s lurches on despite the wilful destruction it has visited on its people.

In putting forward Francis Nhema, Zimbabwe’s environment minister, for the chair, African governments have inflicted on themselves - as well as the UN - an astonishing blow. The commission, created in 1993, is the UN’s main forum for addressing the relationship between development and the environment. Africa’s turn to fill its chair - which rotates among regions - offered an opportunity to occupy the moral high ground.

[. . .]

In the UN forum, however, absurdity has prevailed. Despite the fact that some African governments are tired of the ill repute Mr Mugabe brings to the continent, its leaders are seemingly incapable of taking a collective decision to freeze him out.

The timing of the UN debacle is unfortunate for another reason. It sends a bad signal as talks start to re-capitalise the African Development Bank and replenish funds for the World Bank’s International Development Association. Even if the issues are separate, Africa has scored a spectacular own goal.
For at least a couple of generations, idealists held out the hope that the United Nations would bring peace and prosperity to the world.

The truth, of course, is that its brand of multinational politics isn’t any better than any other brand of politics. Sometimes bad people prevail. Often they can block any constructive action.

In this, the United Nations is no worse than the U.S. Congress.

But mystery is: why did anybody ever think it would be better?

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Just Air

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University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Now Will Report Race of At-Large Criminal Suspects

In a bit of ill-advised political correctness, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee failed to reveal, in e-mails send to students and staff, that at-large suspects in crimes near campus were black.

This created a bit of a stir when the student online journal Front Page Milwaukee blew the whistle on the UWM administration.

Well it seems the policy has now changed. Thus this last Friday, the following mass e-mail went out to the UWM community:
Armed robbery reported near UWM campus Thursday night

There was an armed robbery and home invasion at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday, May 10, in the 2900 block of Farwell Avenue — about a block directly south of campus.

According to University Police, UWM students in the home said two men forcefully entered through the front door. The two men displayed firearms; threatened occupants; took wallets and electronics; and fled. University Police responded in support of the Milwaukee Police Department.

According to University Police reports, the two armed robbery suspects are described as follows:

Suspect No. 1, a black male, approximately 30 years old, stocky build, bald or very short hair, blue shirt with orange stripe with Nike swoosh on front, armed with a black semiautomatic handgun.

Suspect No. 2, a black male, also about 30 years old, medium build, loose cornrows hair style, wearing a green t-shirt with white writing and wearing over his hands white tube socks with stripes. He also was armed with a black semiautomatic handgun.

University Police encourage neighborhood residents to keep doors locked and windows secured.

If when off campus you notice suspicious activity or feel threatened, call Milwaukee Police at 911. Afterwards, please call University Police at 414-229-9911.

If when on campus you notice suspicious activity or feel threatened, call University Police at 9911 from a campus phone or at 414-229-9911 from a cell phone.

This message was sent by University Relations and Communications.
We suppose we understand the desire not to stereotype any particular group. But does that imply that one can’t simply tell the truth?

Further, how does one battle a stereotype (that blacks are disproportionally likely to commit crimes) when it’s true, when everybody knows it’s true and you look silly when you try to deny it?

This kind of stereotype can’t be mitigated by giving people “better information.” It is based on perfectly good information.

At Marquette

The Marquette Tribune does in fact publish the race of at-large suspects when such information is available. Consider, for example, this news brief that appeared on May 1.
The Milwaukee Police Department and Department of Public Safety are looking for a black man approximately 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing 165 lbs.

According to DPS, the man has long black hair and was wearing a black knit cap, a black nylon jacket and dark pants when he robbed a 23-year-old male student Monday.

DPS officers said they urge students and faculty not to approach the suspect.

“If you see him, contact DPS immediately,” DPS Lt. Paul Mascari said.
We’d all prefer to live in a society where there is no connection between race and crime. Until that happens, the best policy is to bite the bullet and tell the truth.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Nice Change

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How Do the Feminists Stand on This?

Via Modern Commentaries, a story that illustrates some of the consequences of legalized abortion.
AHMADABAD, India — A man was arrested and charged for allegedly burying alive his 6-day-old twin daughters near his home in western India. The baby girls later died, police said Friday.

Samantsinh Sodha wanted a son but his wife gave birth to baby girls last week in Nakhtrana, a town in the western state of Gujarat, said G.S. Malik, superintendent of police.

Indian society has long favored boys, who do not require the enormous dowry payments that bankrupt many poor families when their daughters marry.

Sodha, a gas station attendant, took the twins away while his wife was sleeping and buried them in a pit Wednesday night, Malik told The Associated Press.

Police arrested him on Thursday, the police officer said.

It was not immediately known if Sodha had a lawyer who could comment.

Many expectant couples in India will abort a fetus if they find it is a girl.

International groups say the widespread practice of aborting female fetuses has killed more than 10 million female fetuses in the last two decades, leading to an imbalance in the ratio between males and females in India.
If a woman has a “right to choose,” she has a right to choose to kill her unborn child because it’s female, doesn’t she?

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Jesse Jackson: Demanding Affirmative Action in Major League Baseball

Jesse Jackson is doing his usual shtick, but this time the target is a Major League Baseball team.
Upset over the lack of African-Americans on the Braves roster, members of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow-PUSH Coalition asked for a meeting with team officials. They got one Monday.

Joe Beasley, Southern Regional Director for the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, said he and Dexter Clinkscale, the director of sports for the organization, met Monday morning for nearly two hours with Braves general manager John Schuerholz, assistant general manager Frank Wren and three other Braves officials.

“The team slipped . . . down to [no African-Americans]; it wasn’t something that just happened,” Beasley said Monday afternoon. “I think it was a lack of diligence on the part of the Braves to recruit African-American players. There’s not diminished enthusiasm for African-Americans playing baseball. It’s simply the opportunity hasn’t presented itself.”

Schuerholz acknowledged the meeting Monday but declined further comment, saying in a statement: “We had a meeting with Mr. Beasley and another member of his organization this morning and discussed a variety of topics.”

Less than 10 percent of major league players are African-Americans. In a recent interview on the subject, Schuerholz said: “You go to where the talent leads you. Finding major league-caliber baseball players is far too difficult if you try to narrow your criteria down to demographics.”

Countered Beasley, “As I expected, [Schuerholz’s] idea is the bottom line: I’ll put the best 40 men I can get wherever I can get them from on the field, and that’s fair. But the fact of the matter is if they put resources into recruiting here in the United States, and more specifically here in Atlanta, there are talented players here.”

The issue was brought to the attention of the Rainbow-PUSH Coalition during the 60th anniversary celebration of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. The Braves and Houston Astros did not have any African-American players on their 25-man rosters at the time. The Braves’ total grew with the promotion of left fielder Willie Harris, who is from Robinson’s hometown of Cairo.
This is a far cry from 1947, when Jackie Robinson and a whole cohort of black players broke the “color barrier” in Major League Baseball.

There was never any doubt that they fully deserved to play in the major leagues.

But, of course, society changes. Most relevant here, fewer black youth live in rural areas, towns and small cities where baseball diamonds are common. (Hank Aaron, for example, grew up in Mobile, Alabama.)

More black youth live in large cities where playgrounds have basketball hoops.

The result: fewer blacks in baseball, but blacks dominate the NBA.

Objecting to that is about as sensible as objecting to the fact that Canadians dominate professional hockey.

If we are going to have affirmative action quotas, we’ve got to replace a lot of blacks in the NBA with whites.

Interestingly, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution offered an online poll, asking readers what they thought about the situation. The question:
Why do the Braves have so few African-American players?
The responses:
  • There aren’t enough African-American prospects out there -- 13.04%
  • The Braves aren’t trying hard enough to bring them along -- 3.05%
  • Some of both of the above -- 4.61%
  • I don’t care who they are as long as they’re good players -- 79.29%
Quote obviously, the vast majority of the people who voted have the sensible view of the issue.

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Wanting to Shut Up Mark Belling

Online discussion boards are the home of deranged liberals and leftists, so it’s not a huge surprise to find a poster on one who wants to get conservative Milwaukee radio talker Mark Belling tossed off the airwaves.
Belling in no way shape or form represents Milwaukee. I wish they’ve refer to him as being based out of Waukesha County since that’s where the overwhelming majority of his Greater Milwaukee listenership comes from. And it’s because of people like Belling that people think Milwaukee is a conservative s**thole in the Midwest when it’s actually very diverse and progressive. Any other country would tossed [sic] Bellings ignorant **** off the air years ago, but unfortunately this is America where only money matters and plenty of it can be made by pandering to the lowest common denominator.
This would not be of any importance were it not so terribly typical of liberals.

For so many of them, simply expressing conservative opinions is “hate speech.”

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Philosophy and Patriarchy: Letter to the Editor

When we put up a post about the bogus “pay gap” between men and women, we didn’t expect the amount of controversy it would generate.

We first got an e-mail from Jessica Cushion, defending the feminist position that women are the victims of evil patriarchy, and that she had learned all the details in her Philosophy class.

One parent of a would-be Marquette student wrote to say that he’s glad his daughter is now at the University of Dallas (due to a better financial aid offer).

And then we got these.
Hi John,

I am writing to comment on the letter you received from one of our students who responded to your discussion of the alleged “pay-gap” between men and women. The student appeared to base her response on “an entire class on how patriarchy controls every structure in our society and how women are systematically prevented from being equal to men (Capitalism and Catholicism are among the most guilty parties).”

The first thing that came to my mind after reading this was the term “re-education.”

Greg Rajala
The term “re-education,” of course, has Stalinist connotations.

Which is why it’s probably quite appropriate for a humanities department in a contemporary university.

Then we got this.
As a female philosophy-B.A. holding individual, I’d like to disagree with your student on the claim that, “Other people who have a hard time at their jobs because of their gender:...females in academic disciplines like philosophy and political science (they can’t possibly contribute to the knowledge creation process since they’re so emotional and emotions cloud rationality)...”

I personally never had an issue being taken seriously in academia, probably because I had the ability to argue logically. Those “women are emotional” arguments, though, are prevalent in the 100-level philosophy books because you typically study the ancients or Kant, or other intro-philosophers who, in their time, held that line of thinking. That’s probably where she picked that idea up and took it to still be a common issue for female philosophers. I’d like to let her know: It’s not.

Nevertheless, you ask the question why she picked Catholicism versus Islam or any other religion. My guess: In a 100-level philosophy class centered around feminism, they probably studied the Catholic theologians’ attempts at reconciling faith and philosophy (namely Augustine to Plato and Aquinas to Aristotle). The class probably also centered around western theories. Again, another guess.

I’ll be curious to find out if my guesses are right, or even close.

Cantankerous
http://www.latermeask.blogspot.com
Cushion, in a later e-mail to us, did say that the professor had not dealt with Islam or other religions.

But of course, it makes no sense to blame Catholicism without asking whether any other religious tradition has a “better” record. And why blame capitalism?

Interestingly, the “women are emotional” argument is now perfectly politically correct. But you can’t say it that way.

You have to say that women are more “compassionate” or more “empathetic.”

Of course, some very different gender stereotypes paint women (at least some women) as shrewd, or calculating or conniving. All of which are the precise opposite of “emotional” or, for that matter, “compassionate” or “empathetic.”

[Update]

Jessica Cushion writes, in response to the above post:
Once again, you’ve misquoted me. I said that in fact, we did discuss Islam and other world religions in our class, but didn’t have time in the semester to discuss any religion at length. We spent about 40 minutes on Catholicism, and I’d hardly call that an eternity. To respond to the woman who wrote you the letter, we did focus on western culture, which is why capitalism came up in conversation. Again, we spent about 15 minutes on it. The vast majority of the class was focused on reading feminist philosophers, dissecting their arguments, figuring out where they fit in in terms of other philosophers, and moving chronologically through major authors in the discipline. We didn’t receive some crazy indoctrination -- I chose to subscribe to the belief systems of many of the philosophers we studied because what they wrote made total sense.
We checked the earlier e-mail from Cushion, and she said:
We talked primarily about western culture where those two things are most relevant. We did talk about Islam and other world religions, and they all came under the same blanket critique as Catholicism did. Organized religion is not a place where women can find equality, regardless of what organized religion you subscribe to.
So she is correct about what she said in the e-mail, and we remembered “we talked primarily about western culture.”

But, in her original e-mail, Cushion said:
I just finished up an entire class on how patriarchy controls every structure in our society and how women are systematically prevented from being equal to men (Capitalism and Catholicism are among the most guilty parties).
So we are back to wondering how, if she studied Islam, Catholicism could be “among the most guilty parties.”

Presumably, she means “among the most guilty parties in the west.”

But how does it make sense to condemn capitalism and Catholicism when all the alternatives are even worse?

As for Cushion’s claim that she chose to accept feminist philosophy, and was not indoctrinated, we can’t forget what she said in a previous e-mail to us. Here, the context was the fact that women may choose to stay home with the children:
There is debate about whether women are actually choosing these routes or not. . . . We talked about this kind of stuff in one of my psych classes too, where your socialization can actually cause you to hold negative stereotypes about groups you belong to (i.e. an African-American who is racist against other African-Americans, self-hating Jews, homophobic gays) and especially women who are raised to believe that a woman’s work is in the home or in teaching children or something like that. Women shouldn’t believe that their place is in the kitchen, but if the societal trend is to put them there, it’s not unlikely that a girl will grow up thinking that her purpose in life is to pop out kids and bake for her husband. She may say she’s making the choice to do so, but is she really making that choice on her own? It’s debatable.
So when Cushion adopts a feminist worldview, she has freely “chosen” that worldview.

But when a woman fails to make the choices that feminists think she should, it’s “debatable” whether it is really a “choice on her own.”

Cushion, quite simply, is not willing to accept choices made by women if they are choices with which she disagrees. They have been indoctrinated by society.

But her choices could not possibly be the result of indoctrination.

This unwillingness to respect other people’s choices is what drives so much of the authoritarianism of politically correct people on college campuses. Cushion, for example, has claimed that Marquette should ban speakers who oppose gay marriage, since such a view constitutes “hate speech.”

Ironically, women who choose to stay at home, or (more typically) subordinate their own careers to the demands of child rearing, are resisting the feminist indoctrination that permeates the schools and the media.

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Amnesty International is Pro-Abortion, But Doesn’t Want You To Know It

From First Things, an account of someone who logged onto the secret “members only” section of the Amnesty International website, and got the inside scoop on what they are doing.

So what is the new policy?

The organization seeks to eliminate all penalities against women who have abortions, and against abortion providers.
Though they try to make a strong distinction between “decriminalization” (what they’re for) and “legalization” (what they take no position on), it’s mere semantics. In the April 2007 “Background” policy paper, they describe their goal this way: “Oppose imprisonment and other criminal penalties for abortion, both for women seeking or having abortions and for those providing information about or performing abortions.”

Then, in the FAQ, they specify: “‘Decriminalization’ means the removal of all criminal penalties (including imprisonment, fines, and other punishments) against those seeking, obtaining, providing information about, or carrying out abortions.” In other words, besides standard medical protocols, you can not regulate abortion at all. Some medical protocols that carry fines and other punishments are apparently out, too.

The “Background” paper also states that their new policy is to “call on states to: Ensure access to abortion services to any woman who becomes pregnant as the result of rape, sexual assault, or incest, or where a pregnancy poses a risk to a woman’s life or a grave risk to her health.”

Wait a minute. We’ve just gone from “decriminalizing” abortion to calling on states to “ensure access.” And, when you throw in the language of a risk to life and health, even if you include the obligatory word “grave,” all of a sudden every abortion becomes “ensured.” If you doubt this, just look at the way Roe’s health exception and Doe’s broad definition of the word have been used.

In fact, read further on in the FAQ and you see that Amnesty International disagrees with the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold a ban on partial-birth abortion. “AI therefore opposes the provision of the federal law upheld by the Court in Carhart that imposes fines and up to two years in prison for doctors who perform particular types of abortions.” According to the new Amnesty International position on abortion rights, a state can’t even prohibit the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion.
Of course, if you take the position that nobody should be punished for something, you are in fact demanding legalization.

Liberals would instantly understand this if some conservative organization espoused the “decriminalization” of something they wanted to be illegal -- like assault rifles.

But now that they have decided to come out in favor of abortion, are they willing to do so forthrightly?

No, they are not.

Again, a passage from their secret members-only web site:
It is very important to be aware of the following: This policy will not be made public at this time. As the IEC [Amnesty International’s International Executive Committee] has written to all sections, “There is to be no proactive external publication of the policy position or of the fact of its adoption issued. This means no section or structure is to issue a press release or public statement or external communication of any kind on the policy decision.” (emphasis original)
The author of the article, Ryan T. Anderson, goes on to explain:
Anticipating that news might get out anyway, the website contains links to four other documents—a two-page overview of the new policy, a letter from the executive director explaining the change, and an already-written letter to the editor “that should be used only to respond to critical editorials or letters to the editor in local newspapers.” Members were encouraged to circulate these documents to the public but only in response to prior attacks on Amnesty’s new policy—they’d prefer not to generate any PR if possible, and do damage-control only if they have to. . . .

The fourth document, a FAQ, could only “be used to respond to inquiries, but not distributed to the public.” Schneider ends by telling volunteers that they were not to “respond to any inquiries from the news media” but to direct reporters to the AI Communication Department.
Amnesty Internation, which once embraced an agenda that virtually all Americans could endorse, has been forced (probably by competition with other liberal organizations) to adopt a more and more partisan definition of “human rights.”

First it was their anti-death penalty activism, and now their support for abortion.

They are, really, nothing more than a standard liberal interest group.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Marquette Student Journalists: Credit Where Credit Isn’t Due

Back on April 28, the Milwaukee Press Club held its Awards Dinner honoring journalists of many kinds, including student journalists.

Marquette was well-represented, with six students honored. Indeed, Marquette dominated the student media category.

On page 19 of the program was an ad bought by Marquette (see below). It listed the names of all six Marquette student journalists, with a picture of Johnston Hall in the background.

(You can click on the image to enlarge it.)

Nice way to express pride in the students’ achievement, eh?

Unfortunately, there was a bit of an agenda that intruded.

Johnston Hall is the headquarters of the official university paper, the Marquette Tribune, which has offices in the basement. It is also where the Journalism Department is located.

But of the six awards given to Marquette students, four went to The Warrior, and two to the Tribune.

The Warrior is not headquartered in Johnston Hall. An unofficial paper, it’s off campus.

The ad does not list the paper in which each award-winning story appeared, concealing the fact that the majority of awards went to an off-campus unofficial paper.

And the vast majority of the Warrior staff consists of people who aren’t journalism majors.

Marquette has a right to be proud of all six of the student journalists who won awards. But a large share of the good journalism is going on outside Johnston Hall, and being done by students who may have never had a journalism class.

The Warrior staff, however, can be flattered that Marquette is trying to take credit for their achievements.

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New York Times Bias In French Election

Anybody reading the New York Times coverage of the recent French election would have had no problem knowing which candidate that paper favored. From the Media Research Center:

Paris-based New York Times reporter Elaine Sciolino continued to nurse her long-standing grudge against Nicolas Sarkozy, the tough-on-crime presidential candidate of France, in two stories, one before and one after Sarkozy routed Socialist candidate Segolene Royal to win the presidency. Before the vote, she fretted that “while Ms. Royal has pledged to protect and unite France, Mr. Sarkozy has often taken a ruthless us-against-them attitude” and complained: “In this election, authority apparently is deemed to be more important than compassion.” After the election, she declared that “the election was a triumph of raw ambition, efficiency and political sleight-of-hand.”

Sciolino wrote in Saturday’s “France to Vote After Presidential Race’s Scorching Finale”:

He has gambled -- apparently successfully -- during the campaign that by turning hard right he would win over supporters of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the head of the extreme right National Front who made it into the second round of the 2002 election but made it into only fourth place this time.

While Ms. Royal has pledged to protect and unite France, Mr. Sarkozy has often taken a ruthless us-against-them attitude, stressing there is no place in France for young people who do not respect the law or for immigrants who do not embrace French values.

In Montpellier on Thursday, where he made his last campaign speech, Mr. Sarkozy railed against those who do not like him. ‘People accuse me of encouraging public anger,’ he said. ‘But who’s angry? The thugs? The drug traffickers? I can assure you -- I do not seek to be the friend of thugs.’

In this election, authority apparently is deemed to be more important than compassion.

Sarkozy’s win was Monday’s lead story, and Sciolino remained hostile:
Ms. Royal had repeatedly appealed to the women of France to vote for her in a show of female solidarity. But Mr. Sarkozy, a conservative who made his reputation as a hard-line minister of the interior, got the majority of the women’s vote, according to Ipsos, an international polling company....

He also struck a conciliatory note, reaching out to the huge swath of French people who seem to fear him, especially in the country’s ethnically and racially mixed suburbs, where he is accused of fueling tensions with his provocative language and an aggressive police presence....

With his raw, often divisive rhetoric, Mr. Sarkozy will have to change course to neutralize deep-rooted hostility against him, particularly in the tough ethnic suburbs.

About 2,000 people gathered at Place de la Bastille in central Paris to await the election results, with some burning an effigy of Mr. Sarkozy before tearing it apart.

But within two hours of the polls closing, the scene had degenerated into violent clashes between the police and several hundred people in the crowd who smashed windows and set one vehicle on fire....

The election was a triumph of raw ambition, efficiency and political sleight-of-hand.
It doesn’t occur to the Times that there might be something wrong with people who, when they face losing a democratic election, turn to violence.

In their leftist world, it is Sarkozy’s responsibility to placate the thugs.

After all, the violence is from the left, so it is righteous!

It must be galling to the American left, so used to invoking the hostility of the supposedly so civilized French against George Bush, to have a generally pro-Bush and pro-American candidate win.

It was, of course, a bad argument to make in the first place. There is nothing about the nation of France that gives it any particular moral authority.

But it was an important argument to the effete liberals, and now it has been ripped away from them.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Just As Well My Daughter Didn’t Go to Marquette

In our e-mailbox today, a note in response to a post yesterday about the indoctrination one of our students received in a Marquette Philosophy class:
Dear Dr. McA,

Recently, my daughter applied to both Marquette and U of Dallas for admission. Both admitted her; the only question remaining was financial aid.

It was obvious that Marquette did not have as much interest as did Dallas--so my daughter will be a ‘temporary Texan’ for the next few years. The difference, by the way, was substantial, not incremental.

Your post about the Feminista Philosophrette made some of my regrets about that financial-aid disparity go away.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Front Page Milwaukee Scoops Journal-Sentinel on Recruitment Center Investigation

When anti-war activists demonstrated in Milwaukee, some of them vandalized the Army Recruitment Center on Oakland Avenue near the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Federal authorities are now investigating the incident, which might involve a violation of Federal law.

Just yesterday, Front Page Milwaukee, the web-only newspaper published in the Journalism Department at UWM, broke the story. Their article went online at 3:00 p.m.

The Journal-Sentinel finally got a Regional News Brief on the issue posted at about 9:00 p.m.

It seems the student journalists at UWM are ahead of the monopoly dead tree outlet yet again, just as the blogosphere was ahead of the paper in reporting the offensive comments of Michael McGee, Sr.

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Marquette Philosophy Class: Capitalism & Catholicism at Fault For Oppressing Women

We recently blogged about the myth that there is a “pay gap” separating men and women. In reality, men and women make different choices, and those choices have consequences. Women, for example, self-select into lower paying professions, and often choose to subordinate career to child rearing.

Our post brought the following e-mail from one of our students, which is reproduced here with permission.
Dr. McAdams,

I read your blog post regarding the gender pay gap and I felt very compelled to respond. You’re right, women are more inclined to enter fields like education and the humanities than they are math or science, and yes, those fields pay less by nature. However, you failed to address why women would be attracted to those professions in the first place. The fact of the matter is that women are treated differently when they attempt to do a job that is generally considered a “man’s” work. The diagnoses of female doctors aren’t taken as seriously as those of male doctors. Strong female leaders are labeled “bitches” and are written off for doing exactly the same job that a man would be applauded for doing. Girls are told from an early age that they are worse at math than boys, and because everyone around them expects the stereotype to be true, it comes true in the form of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Women who want to work in construction are labeled “dykes,” women who put their careers ahead of getting married and having a family are looked down upon by society for having their priorities wrong. In truth, women pick jobs like teachers and day care providers because women are expected to choose such jobs, and because the men who occupy the more involved and higher paying positions don’t give the women in their ranks equal treatment.

The same goes for men who want to do traditionally feminine jobs. You don’t think that seeing a male preschool teacher would make some parents think he’s a pervert? Look at the negative stigma attached to being a stay-at-home dad or a hairstylist. Men who do traditionally female jobs are labeled either gay or somehow less of a man because they aren’t out being the breadwinner and doing manly things.

The problem doesn’t stop at unequal pay. The problem is that society operates under a gender binary that insists that men need to be manly and do manly things, and women need to be dainty and emotional and do feminine things, and anyone who tries to transcend those boundaries is labeled a deviant and suffers social consequences. Other people who have a hard time at their jobs because of their gender: female politicians (I cite Hilary Clinton -- she’s labeled a “bitch” and an “ice queen.” What does she do that’s any different from any of her male counterparts?), male dancers, theatre actors, figure skaters (labeled gay -- the girls are labeled “artistic”), females in academic disciplines like philosophy and political science (they can’t possibly contribute to the knowledge creation process since they’re so emotional and emotions cloud rationality), and so on.

I just finished up an entire class on how patriarchy controls every structure in our society and how women are systematically prevented from being equal to men (Capitalism and Catholicism are among the most guilty parties). I’d be happy to discuss this concept with you further. I just read your post and felt I needed to point out the larger causes for the discrepancy in pay between men and women.

Choices regarding what career path to take aren’t necessarily being made autonomously when the societal standard is pushing you in one direction based on your gender.

-- Jess Cushion
The course that Cushion took was PHIL 143 - Feminist Philosophy, taught by Dr. Theresa Tobin.

The Philosophy Department, one should remember, is the one whose Chair tore down a Dave Barry quote from the door of a graduate student claiming is was “patently offensive.” And it wasn’t an impulsive action. Chair James South consulted with the Executive Committee of the Department before doing it.

There is so much wrong with the politically correct feminism that Cushion had drilled into her that we can’t possibly deal with it all.

We just wonder how Tobin thinks that Catholicism has been worse for women than Protestantism, Islam or Paganism.

And we wonder how she thinks that Capitalism has been worse for women than socialism, or worse than primitive pre-capitalist economies.

And has she noticed that socialism has crashed and burned?

Like much feminism, it seems we have here the rationalization of anti-religious and anti-capitalist political biases in terms of oppression of some politically correct victim group: women in this case, but gays or “people of color” in some other course.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

WNOV: McGee Suspended Indefinitely, Son to Take Over Show

It has been a local issue that went national: radio talker Michael McGee, Sr. welcoming the death of talk show host Charlie Sykes’ mother, and suggesting that Sykes himself killed her to inherit her money.

McGee’s station, WNOV, condemned the comments, and then (oddly) seemed to make excuses, saying that Sykes attacked McGee’s son, Michael McGee, Jr. Sykes did indeed attack the younger McGee, a Milwaukee Alderman, for very public and highly publicized misconduct.

For about two days, we have been wondering what the WNOV management would do. Now we know.

Just in from WNOV:
May 5, 2007

PRESS RELEASE

STATION OWNER SUSPENDS McGee SR.

Pursuant to a meeting with former Alderman Michael McGee Sr. and representatives from his production company, 860 WNOV owner Mr. Jerrel Jones is suspending McGee Sr. indefinitely. McGee’s son Alderman Michael McGee Jr. will be the host of the Word Warriors program.

“It is imperative that the community’s concerns are responded to immediately”, Jones said.

“Word Warriors program is an integral ingredient to the community’s cry for information and access. McGee Sr. will be suspended, but the programming will continue,” Jones said.
McGee, Jr., of course, is a chip off the old block. What Jones appears to have done is to try to appease both McGee critics and supporters in “the community.” Given the track record of the younger McGee, he can expect to have another embarrassing situation on his hands sometime soon.

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Journal-Sentinel Editorial on Michael McGee Affair

The Journal-Sentinel, the lumbering local monopoly newspaper, has finally started to pay attention to the Michael McGee affair.

They posted an editorial condemning McGee, and commended the owner of WNOV for taking him off the air.

It will be determined tomorrow (Saturday) whether McGee will merely face a suspension, or will be banned from the station.

After posting a brief “Day Watch” entry yesterday (Friday) the Saturday edition of the paper has a full-fledged article written by Tom Held.

It seems the Mainstream Media is finally catching up to the blogosphere.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Get Your Eye on the Ball

Michael McGee, Sr. On Channel 6

Michael McGee is nothing if not consistent. Having said vile things about radio talker Charlie Sykes, he staunchly refused to back off in any way when interviewed by Milwaukee’s Channel 6.

On his radio show yesterday morning, he said the death of the mother of radio talker Charlie Sykes was “the vengeance of God” and went on to speculate that Sykes killed his own mother in order to inherit her money.

Today, on Channel 6, he compared Syker to the Devil and to Hitler. He further said that the thing he regretted about Mrs. Sykes death was that “his stringy haired ho son wasn’t layin’ there with her” when she died in a fire.

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WNOV CEO/President: McGee Comments “Across the Line”

We just reached WNOV CEO/President Jerrel Jones, and asked for a comment on the statements of Michael McGee, Sr. on his station.

McGee, as everybody who has paid any attention to the Wisconsin blogosphere knows, suggested that the death of the mother of Milwaukee radio talker Charlie Sykes was “the vengeance of God” and went further to suggest that Sykes may in fact have killed his mother.

Jones said that McGee’s comments were “absolutely across the line,” and further that “I will deal with it.”

Jones declined to go further and say how he expected to “deal with it.”

It is clear that any effective response to the outrageous behavior of McGee and his son, Michael McGee, Jr. will have to come from within the black community. As the recent recall attempt against McGee, Jr. shows, many in the Milwaukee black community are quite happy to thumb their noses at what white folks think.

But it may be revealing that one of the callers to McGee’s show, reacting to his comments yesterday, chastized him. A Christian, she took McGee (who claims to be a Christian) to task for his very un-Christian comments. Her name was Lois, she said that McGee’s comments are “totally out of order and God is not pleased with it.”

You can listen to the audio here, at the very end of the clip.

The McGees, both father and son, are a poison in the politics of the city. Perhaps the sensible people in the black community have now been pushed over the line.

[Update]

We reached Jones again at about 2:12, and he tells us that McGee will not be on the air Monday.

A decision will be made tomorrow as to whether he will be allowed back.

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