Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Why Don’t They Like Wal-Mart?

This is a fun video, from a young film maker, about why liberals don’t like Wal-Mart.

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Global Warming: Debate Over?

From Jeff Jacoby, in the Boston Globe, a review of some of the evidence on “global warming” that Al Gore would want you to ignore.
If there’s anything climate-change crusaders are adamant about, it is that the science of the matter is settled. That greenhouse gases emitted through human activity are causing the planet to warm dangerously, they say, is an established fact; only a charlatan would claim otherwise. In the words of Al Gore, America’s leading global warming apostle: “The debate among the scientists is over. There’s no more debate. We face a planetary emergency. . . . There is no more scientific debate among serious people who’ve looked at the evidence.”

But as with other claims Gore has made over the years (“I took the initiative in creating the Internet”), this one doesn’t quite mesh with reality.

Scientists and other “serious people” who question the global warming disaster narrative are not hard to find. Last year 60 of them sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, urging him to undertake “a proper assessment of recent developments in climate science” and disputing the contention that “a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause.” The letter cautioned that “observational evidence does not support today’s computer climate models” and warned that since the study of climate change is relatively new, “it may be many years yet before we properly understand the earth’s climate system.”

Among those signing the letter to Harper were Fred Singer, the former director of the US Weather Satellite Service; Ian Clark, hydrogeology and paleoclimatology specialist at the University of Ottawa; Hendrik Tennekes, the former director of research at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute; physicist Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton; the University of Alabama’s Roy Spencer, formerly senior scientist in climate studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. -- plus 55 other specialists in climate science and related disciplines.

The debate among the scientists is over?

NASA administrator Michael Griffin told National Public Radio in May that while the general trend of global warming exists, that doesn’t make it “a problem we must wrestle with.” To insist that any change in climate must be bad news “is to assume that the . . . earth’s climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have.” The planet’s temperature has been fluctuating for millennia, he added. “I don’t think it’s within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change.”

In 2003, environmental scientists Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch surveyed 530 of their peers in 27 countries on topics related to global warming. One question asked: “To what extent do you agree or disagree that climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes?” On a scale of 1 (strongly agree) to 7 (strongly disagree), the average score was 3.62, reflecting no clear consensus.

Asked whether abrupt climate changes will wreak devastation in some areas of the world, the percentage of scientists strongly agreeing (9.1) was nearly identical to the percentage strongly disagreeing (9.0). Another question asked: To what degree might global warming prove beneficial for some societies? A striking 34 percent of the scientists answered 1 or 2 (a great degree of benefit); just 8.3 percent answered 6 or 7 (very little/no benefit).

Plainly, the science isn’t settled. It changes all the time.

Take the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Unlike its previous report in 2001, which foresaw a possible rise in sea levels over the next century of around 3 feet, the new report cuts that figure in half, to about 17 inches. Why the revision? “Mainly because of improved information,” the IPCC notes in the fine print. It goes on to note that even its latest estimate involves some guesswork: “Understanding of these effects is too limited to assess their likelihood.” The science is getting better, but it’s far from settled.

Or take the discovery just this month that 1934, not 1998, was the hottest year in the continental United States since record-keeping began in 1880. NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies quietly changed its ranking after a Canadian statistician discovered an error in the official calculations. Under the new data, five of the 10 hottest US years on record occurred before 1940; just three were in the past decade.

Climate scientists are still trying to get the basics right. The Aug. 10 issue of Science magazine notes that many researchers are only beginning to factor the planet’s natural -- i.e., not anthropogenic -- climate variations into their calculations. “Until now,” reports Science, “climate forecasters who worry about what greenhouse gases could be doing to climate have ignored what’s happening naturally. . . . In this issue, researchers take their first stab at forecasting climate a decade ahead with current conditions in mind.”

Their first stab, please note, not their last. The science of climate change is still young and unsettled. Years of trial and error are still to come. Al Gore notwithstanding, the debate is hardly over.

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Got Another One

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fr. Simon Harak: Anti-War Leftist Takes Money From War Profiteers

Simon Harak, Lecturer in Theology at Marquette, is a leftist who came to Marquette last year to head a “Center for Peacemaking.”

Harak’s extreme political views have been exposed by GOP3.COM, as well as right here on the Marquette Warrior.

Harak specializes in rhetoric about the evils of “War Profiteers” and his motto appears to be “Stop the Merchants of Death.”

But in a splendid piece of investigative reporting, Daniel Suhr of GOP3.COM has discovered that Harak appears to be a beneficiary of the Merchants of Death.

Specifically, the Sally and Terry Rynne Foundation, which is funding the Center for Peacemaking, has large investments in defense contractors. As Suhr points out:
Honeywell is listed as one of the fifteen largest defense contractors in the nation, doing $4.2 billion in US defense contractors in 2004. 3M does a fair amount of defense contracting as well. Shell was once a top 50 defense contractor. Microsoft, not surprisingly, does some defense business, as does Chevron. Exxon Mobil and BP Amaco are top 50 defense contractors. Bell South and Wells Fargo are on the Army Pays list, which the “Stop the Merchants of Death” campaign identified as a way for non-military contractor corporations to support war and violence.
Suhr could have added Du Pont, historically one of the great “Merchants of Death” but fallen to 87th place in a 2001 listing.

Suhr draws the logical conclusion from all this.
Given that Fr. Harak has defined the last several years of his life in opposition to the corporations that profit on war, I think the only way he can maintain any measure of integrity and intellectual consistency is to refuse the gift from the Rynne Foundation. If he allows Marquette to keep the gift, he would, arguably, be making Marquette complicit in this nasty business of war profiteering.
It seems that Harak and his cohort Michael Duffey are in a tough spot. It’s easy to be self-righteous if you are criticizing the way other people get their money.

Just how serious are they in their claims that profits from defense contractors are immoral?

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Conservative Student Leaflets Class of Leftist Theology Instructor

From GOP3.COM, a post by Brian Collar:
To the students of Theo 001, Section 1021 (along with our regular readers):

Thanks for visiting GOP3.com based on the information sheet given to you this morning before you entered your classroom.

If you would like another copy of the “Best of” list of Simon Harak’s zany quotes, compiled by myself and co-blogger Daniel Suhr, download this PDF document and print it out. Also, we encourage all of our regular readers to review some of Harak’s outrageous remarks.
Read the rest for more details of Harak’s extreme leftist views.

We asked Collar about the reaction to his leafleting. He responded:
Students were pretty miffed, as I knew they would be. One liberal kid got all huffy about the fact that I was handing them out (“How would you know this stuff if you haven’t had his class” etc). I then said that I was warning the class before they had to hear misrepresentations of the Catholic faith and accusations that American forces in Iraq had indiscriminately killed millions.

Then the kid retorted that we had caused any number of atrocities in Iraq. To which, beautifully, this other freshman, who I assume is here on the GI Bill, became angry and said, “I’ve been to Iraq, that’s not true. I’ve been in the military for six years.” The girl couldn’t have been more than 5’1”, it was awesome! She went on for a couple more seconds.

Harak didn’t show up until a few minutes before his class. I went up to him and gave it to him. “A little bit of activism,” I managed to get out. He looked at me, looked at the document, and said “Well isn’t this interesting” and then walked into the classroom. I stayed around for maybe 2-3 more minutes handing them out to students as they entered the hallway to go to his class.

I ended up handing out about 30, and there were 38 students in the class according to Checkmarq.

Remarkably, even though it was nearly 3 hours ago, I haven’t had a single email response on the blog or in my personal email, and no one has called me.
We’ve never heard of this happening before at Marquette.

It has to be pointed out, however, that leftist campus activists on many campuses in the 60s not only did things like this, they actually disrupted the classes of professors whose views they disagreed with.

So we’ll see how people at Marquette react to this.

Collar ends his post with an appeal to Marquette students to drop Harak’s class.
But fortunately, you at least do not need to subsidize Harak with your own time. You still have the opportunity to switch out of Harak’s Theo 001 course and into another course. Call up the College of Arts and Sciences at 288-7059 and ask to get into another Theo 001 class — they can get you in, even if another class is full. Or change to another class required by the Core Curriculum.
Is this appeal going to work? Almost certainly not. Marquette students don’t particularly mind controversial professors. Conservative students, who might be inclined to drop Harak, are probably even more tolerant than liberal students in this regard.

In fact, the publicity is likely to increase Harak’s enrollment, if it has any effect at all.

Is this a violation of Harak’s “academic freedom?”

When Students for Academic Freedom tried to organize on the Marquette campus last year, the Administration shut them down on the grounds that they might criticize the liberal and leftist bias of professors and programs. So Marquette’s position was that “academic freedom” does not include the right of students to criticize professors for bias.

But of course, students are perfectly free to criticize professors for bias at places like RateMyProfessors.com and the now defunct DogEars.

Campus leftists, for their part, were quite happy to picket and leaflet when the Law School brought Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to Marquette to speak.

We wouldn’t be surprised if the campus left claimed that “academic freedom” applies to professors, but not to students and not to outside speakers. In other words, it only applies to the most liberal and leftist group that might want to express themselves on a college campus.

[Update:]

Harak declined to respond to our request for an “on the record” comment about this issue.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Ignore It

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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Moyers Misreported Rove Religion -- Taken to Woodshed by Chris Wallace

We earlier reported the partisan screed in which Bill Moyers asserted that White House operative Karl Rove is an agnostic, and that therefore “you have to wonder how those people on the Christian right feel discovering they were used for partisan reasons by a skeptic, a secular manipulator.”

Our view was that it doesn’t much matter what Rove’s personal religious views are. He helped sell George Bush to Christian conservatives as a Christian who shared their policy preferences. Since Bush is a Christian who shares conservative Christian policy preferences, there was nothing wrong with that.

But it seems that Moyers simply got Rove’s religious views wrong. Rove told Chris Wallace that he was an observant Episcopalian who reads a devotional every day.



Hat Tip: Badger Blogger.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Look Around

Friday, August 24, 2007

Marquette Gets High National Rankings

From the Marquette PR people, an e-mail:
Washington Monthly and Princeton Review rank Marquette nationally

The Princeton Review and Washington Monthly magazines recently announced college rankings in which Marquette University ranked among the top universities nationally.

Marquette ranked 48th in the nation in Washington Monthly magazine’s annual College Guide, released this week. Unlike other college ranking systems, the Washington Monthly rates individual schools based on their tangible contributions to the public interest — the degree to which they recruit and graduate low-income students; produce PhDs and research; and encourage students to serve in ROTC, the Peace Corps and other service programs. In topic-specific areas, Marquette ranked seventh nationally in the percentage of students who participate in ROTC and 34th in the country for participation in the Peace Corps.

Marquette has also been named in The Princeton Review’s annual publication “Best 366 Colleges.” Only 15 percent of the four-year colleges in America and two Canadian colleges were chosen for the book. In its profile on Marquette, The Princeton Review described classes as challenging. Students in the profile said faculty are “truly top-notch and care about both teaching and research. Marquette is highly underrated for what we receive. Most professors personally care about the learning experiences of their students and make every effort to offer help or insight inside and outside of class.” The Princeton Review does not rank order the colleges but provides a two-page profile of each school.
Digging into the Princeton Review rankings (which requires a free registration) Marquette is classified on the sub-lists “Class Discussions Rare” (not so good!), “Best Midwest Colleges”, “Colleges with a Conscience.”

The data for all this is apparently a combination of information provided by the institution, and the results of a student survey. Since the student survey does not use any systematic sampling, and since a very small number of students participate, the validity is rather questionable.

For example, under “Academics” and “Students Say,” the favorable comments quoted above are found. But the blurb also comments that:
The few students with leftist political leanings warn that “the professors and the students are incredibly conservative, which can be difficult because the university requires a ton of theology and philosophy credits.”
In fact, Marquette professors are liberal and (sometimes) leftist in the main, and this kind of comment merely reflects the fact that some leftist students get entirely bent out of shape hearing any ideas that they find unorthodox.

The Washington Monthly rankings use an interesting set of criteria to rank schools.

Schools get points for having more students getting Pell Grants (a kind of financial aid reserved for students from low income families). You get points for getting a higher graduation rate than your freshman class SAT/ACT scores would predict -- which could mean the program lacks rigor, or that the school does a good job of engaging students intellectually and helping students who have problems. You get points if the college gets a lot of research grants and graduates a lot of Ph.D. students. You get points if a lot of your students go into the Peace Corps, but to provide a nice ideological balance, you also get points if a lot of your students are in ROTC.

Are any of these ranking valid? Not particularly. Having a lot of Ph.D. programs is associated with having faculty who are top scholars in their field, but also frequently means that teaching undergraduates takes a back seat to research.

Having a lot of students eligible for Pell Grants means that the college is performing a splendid social function of providing upward mobility for low-income kids, but is also likely to mean that a lot of students will need remedial instruction. It may also mean that bright kids will not be challenged the way they would in student bodies made up of kids who have had all the middle-class advantages.

Still . . . Marquette really is one of the better universities in the country. We would rather sit high in the rankings and explain why they don’t mean so much than to be ranked poorly and have what we say dismissed as sour grapes.

We are also not happy about the joy these rankings will bring to top Marquette administrators. Marquette is the fine school it is due to the faculty, the students, the traditions and the alumni, and not due to the current crop of administrators. The place is as good as it is in spite of them, and not because of them.

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Real Diversity: Issues Discussion at the Marquette Law School

We just got this via e-mail:
Tuesday, August 28th—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editor-in-Chief Marty Kaiser—Are newspapers becoming obsolete in today’s rapidly changing media world? What role do they play in shaping public policy? Marty Kaiser, the editor of the state’s largest newspaper, joins the Law School’s Mike Gousha for the first of this fall’s series of conversations with local and national newsmakers. – Room 325, 12:15 to 1:15 p.m

Thursday, September 13th—Talk radio host Charlie Sykes—What is the impact of talk radio on public policy? Well-known talk radio and television host Charles Sykes visits the law school to talk about his role in the public arena. The author of six books, including the best-selling A Nation of Victims, will also discuss his latest book, 50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School. – Room 325, 12:15 to 1:15 p.m

Tuesday, September 25th—Milwaukee Attorney Cory Nettles—He’s the former State Commerce Secretary and is now a partner at Quarles and Brady in Milwaukee, but he is doing much more than practicing law at a major firm. Learn about his efforts to create new business opportunities in Milwaukee and transform our community. – Room 325, 12:15 to 1:15 p.m

Wednesday, September 26th—Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker will discuss the future of the county and his political future. The County Executive will also give us a preview of his proposed budget which will be unveiled the following day. – Room 325, Noon to 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 3rd—Washington Post Associate Editor Kevin Merida—Who is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas? Award-winning journalist Kevin Merida offers his insights into one of the most powerful but private men in America. An Associate Editor with the Washington Post, Merida is the co-author of the new book, Supreme Discomfort, a profile of Justice Thomas. – Eisenberg Memorial Hall (Room 310), Noon to 1:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 4th—The Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of Milwaukee—He’s the leader of southeast Wisconsin’s 675-thousand Catholics. Archbishop Timothy Dolan joins us for a candid discussion of the challenges facing the Church. The Archbishop will also offer his perspective on key issues facing Milwaukee. – Eisenberg Memorial Hall (Room 310), 12:10 to 1:00 p.m

Tuesday, October 9th—State Senators Alberta Darling and Lena Taylor—Is state government working the way it’s supposed to work? Or is it broken, beset by partisan bickering? Two powerful state lawmakers, Republican Alberta Darling of Mequon and Democrat Lena Taylor of Milwaukee, visit the Law School to offer their views on the state of our State and discuss how business is done in Madison. – Room 325, 12:15 to 1:15 p.m

Friday, October 12th—PBS News Anchor Jim Lehrer—He’s the popular host of PBS’s nightly newscast, “NewsHour.” Jim Lehrer is an acclaimed journalist, the moderator of numerous presidential debates, and the author of more than a dozen books. Lehrer will visit the Law School to talk about his nightly broadcast, his experiences in journalism, and the changing media world. – Eisenberg Memorial Hall (Room 310), Noon to 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 17th—Midwest Airlines CEO Tim Hoeksema—The man who runs Milwaukee’s popular hometown airline will offer his unique perspective on the efforts to buy Midwest and the sometimes competing interests of shareholders, employees, and communities. Tim Hoeksema shares a real-life lesson from the business world when he visits the Law School October 17th. – Eisenberg Memorial Hall (Room 310), Noon to 1:00 p.m.

Tuesday, October 23rd—Attorney Dean Strang—What impact are “new” media and the “information age” having on our justice system? Dean Strang, the lead defense attorney on the Steven Avery murder trial, shares his experiences and concerns when he visits the Law School. – Room 325, 12:15 to 1:15 p.m

Thursday, October 25th—Rev. Robert A.Wild, S.J.—Here’s your chance to hear from the man at the helm of Marquette University. Robert A. Wild, S.J., President of the University, joins us to talk about the Law School, the University, and other matters of interest. – Room 307, 12:15 to 1:15 p.m.
What is so odd about this lineup of speakers?

Simple: it’s ideologically balanced. Leaving aside some speakers who won’t be talking about things that are ideologically polarizing, it contains about an equal number of liberals and conservatives.

This stands in stark contrast to most programming at Marquette, and indeed at colleges generally.

It’s called the free market of ideas. Something academics used to claim they believed in (when it served their interests) but increasingly reject.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Globalization

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Mainstream Media Journalism Hall of Shame

Via Dad29, from The American Thinker, a reasonably comprehensive list of shameful moments in the Mainstream Media. As the author explain:
Offenses include lying and fabricating, doctoring photos, plagiarism, conflicts of interest, falling for hoaxes, and overt bias. Some are hilarious, such as an action figure doll being mistaken for a real soldier. Some are silly, such as reporting on a baseball game watched on TV. Some are more serious.
With dandy links explaining each case.

The list is in two parts.

Here is the first.

And here is the second.

One thing you will notice about the “serious” ones: virtually all serve a leftist political agenda.

Of course, the list was compiled by a conservative, and one can certainly find similar examples of misreporting from the conservative alternative media.

But as for the Mainstream Media, there is plenty of evidence here to support the author’s conclusions:
  • These offenses have been going on for years, long before the Internet. But there does seems to be a rise in the number of reported offenses in recent years. Did the number of offenses go up, or did the fraction of discovered offenses go up?
  • In a good number of these cases, the errors were caught by non-journalists, sometimes communicating over the Internet.
  • If it is “too good to be true,” or just too politically correct to be true, take it with a grain of salt - several grains, apparently, if from The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The New Republic, CNN or Reuters.
  • The Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Peace Prize just ain’t all they’re cracked up to be.
  • If this is the visible part of the iceberg, just how big is the iceberg?

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Great Mark Belling Rant: Racial Disparity in Wisconsin’s Prisons

Last Wednesday, local radio host Mark Belling made reference to a post on this blog about the sham “hearing” of the Commission on Reducing Racial Disparities in the Wisconsin Justice System.

He then quickly took off on a rant of his own.

We actually like a good Belling rant better than we like Belling cool and analytical.

And this is a good rant.

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BBC: Anti-Christian Double Standard on Religiously Offensive Posts

From the Daily Mail:
The BBC has been forced to remove statements from its website referring to Jesus as a “bastard.”

It is the latest in a string of offensive comments that BBC editors have allowed members of the public to post.

The remarks have been allowed to remain for weeks, despite complaints from religious groups.

It has led to claims that the BBC is allowing its output to be hijacked by extremists while censoring anti-Muslim sentiment.

The remarks about Jesus were left as part of a discussion of the death of the Archbishop of Paris.

The debate had descended into an argument about the merits of Christians, Jews and Muslims when a writer, known as “colonelartist,” posted: “Are you a christian? You do know that jesus had to hide all his short life he lived in those promised land because his tribesmen used to call him fatherless, ridiculed him for being a B-A-S-T-A-R-D. . . .”

He added: “Jesus . . . was also persecuted because the jews would never accept as their Messiah a person whose father was missing . . . .”

The comments were allowed to remain for a week despite complaints. But after The Mail on Sunday contacted senior BBC officials, they were deleted.

Colonelartist is a regular contributor to the BBC site.

He has also written: “The jews in much remembered concentration camps had even better qualitity [sic] of freedom that these palestinians have . . .”

One website user wanted to see if BBC editors were allowing these offensive remarks to remain while blocking others. He wrote: “No one can surpass the Muslims for denial of their role in Terrorism and Suicide bombing.” The remarks were almost immediately deleted.

The BBC has also been criticised for allowing allegedly anti-Semitic posts from a contributor called “Iron Naz.”

In a message left on the site for more than a month, Iron Naz says: “Zionism is a racist ideology where jews are given supremacy over all other races and faiths. This is found in the Talmud . . . which allows jews to lie as long as its to non-jews.”

The remarks brought complaints from the Board of Deputies, the organisation that represents Britain’s Jews and its Community Security Trust. They say the post draws on a discredited 19th Century text, the Talmud Unmasked, which is still distributed by neo-Nazi booksellers.

However, the BBC said the remarks did not merit removal.

A spokesman said posts were taken down if they were considered likely to “disrupt, provoke attack or offend others or are considered racist, homophobic, sexually explicit or otherwise objectionable.”

The Board of Deputies intends to pursue its complaints. Mark Gardiner, of the Community Security Trust, said: “The BBC obviously no longer recognises anti-Semitism. The BBC is a public body, funded by the British taxpayer. It has legal obligations.”

A spokesman said: “Discussion - including robustly critical discussion - of any faith’s doctrines and practices is an important feature of civilised discourse.

“But deliberately or recklessly offensive denigration of those doctrines and practices is unacceptable.”
This, of course, is what always happens when somebody sets out to censor “offensive” speech.

Certain politically correct groups get protection. Other politically incorrect groups inhabit a free-fire zone.

In the world of the politically correct left, gays and Muslims are to be protected from slurs. But Christians -- and now apparently Jews -- have to tolerate attacks.

Of course, free speech allows private individuals to set up any kind of discussion board they want, including one where attacks on Christianity are rife.

But the BBC is owned by the British government, and supported by a tax on all broadcast consumers. So Christians and Jews are being forced to subsidize hate speech directed at them.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Bill Moyers Attacks Karl Rove as an Agnostic

An ill-tempered partisan rant from Bill Moyers is no surprise.

But what is interesting about this one, from a forthcoming PBS special, is that he attacks Karl Rove for being (supposedly) an agnostic.

One would think that liberals would be tolerant of agnostics, but they aren’t tolerant of Karl Rove.

According to Moyers, “you have to wonder how those people on the Christian right feel discovering they were used for partisan reasons by a skeptic, a secular manipulator.”

Of course, Moyers, like liberals generally, believes that Christian conservatives are stupid people who could not make a rational vote choice, which is why Rove was able to “manipulate” them.

Yet somehow he “manipulated” them into voting for a candidate (George Bush) who shared their policy preferences about things like abortion, the homosexual agenda and taking “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Rove may or may not be an agnostic, but Moyer’s argument is a singularly stupid one.

Rove did not sell himself as a devout Christian. He sold George Bush as a Christian, and as somebody who agreed with Christians on key social issues.

No misrepresentation was required.

Had Rove believed that Christianity is evil, then his selling Bush to Christians as a Christian candidate would be immoral. But there is no evidence Rove believes that Christianity is evil. Indeed, he has been quoted as saying he does not have the “gift of faith.”

Not exactly the words of somebody who thinks Christianity is an evil delusion.

We frankly would prefer an atheist president who agrees with us on key issues to a nominal Christian whose worldview is that of the secular left. And most real Christians we know (“real” defined as taking the Bible more seriously than the editorial page of the New York Times) agree with us.

But Moyers believes that conservative Christians are ignorant hicks, and voted for Bush in the belief that everybody with any connection whatsoever to the Bush White House must be a devout believer.

Of course, Christians would be ignorant hicks if they voted for people who think like Bill Moyers.

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Unscathed

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Getting Emotional About “Global Warming”

From Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe:
Introducing Newsweek’s Aug. 13 cover story on global warming “denial,” editor Jon Meacham brings up an embarrassing blast from his magazine’s past: an April 1975 story about global cooling, and the coming ice age that scientists then were predicting. Meacham concedes that “those who doubt that greenhouse gases are causing significant climate change have long pointed to the 1975 Newsweek piece as an example of how wrong journalists and researchers can be.” But rather than acknowledge that the skeptics may have a point, Meacham shrugs it off.

“On global cooling,” he writes, “there was never anything even remotely approaching the current scientific consensus that the world is growing warmer because of the emission of greenhouse gases.”

Really? Newsweek took rather a different line in 1975. Then, the magazine reported that scientists were “almost unanimous” in believing that the looming Big Chill would mean a decline in food production, with some warning that “the resulting famines could be catastrophic.” Moreover, it said, “the evidence in support of these predictions” -- everything from shrinking growing seasons to increased North American snow cover to record-setting tornado outbreaks -- had “begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it.”

Yet Meacham, quoting none of this, simply brushes aside the 1975 report as “alarmist” and “discredited.” Today, he assures his readers, Newsweek’s climate-change anxieties rest “on the safest of scientific ground.”

Do they? Then why is the tone of Sharon Begley’s cover story -- nine pages in which anyone skeptical of the claim that human activity is causing global warming is painted as a bought-and-paid-for lackey of the coal and oil industries -- so strident and censorious? Why the relentless labeling of those who point out weaknesses in the global-warming models as “deniers,” or agents of the “denial machine,” or deceptive practitioners of “denialism?” Wouldn’t it be more effective to answer the challengers, some of whom are highly credentialed climate scientists in their own right, with scientific data and arguments, instead of snide insinuations of venality and deceit? Do Newsweek and Begley really believe that everyone who dissents from the global-warming doomsaying does so in bad faith?

Anthropogenic global warming is a scientific hypothesis, not an article of religious or ideological dogma. Skepticism and doubt are entirely appropriate in the realm of science, in which truth is determined by evidence, experimentation, and observation, not by consensus or revelation. Yet when it comes to global warming, dissent is treated as heresy -- as a pernicious belief whose exponents must be shamed, shunned, or silenced.

Newsweek is hardly the only offender. At the Live Earth concert in New Jersey last month, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. denounced climate-change skeptics as “corporate toadies” for “villainous” enemies of America and the human race. “This is treason” he shouted, “and we need to start treating them now as traitors.”

Some environmentalists and commentators have suggested that global-warming “denial” be made a crime, much as Holocaust denial is in some countries. Others have proposed that climate-change dissidents be prosecuted in Nuremberg-style trials. The Weather Channel’s Heidi Cullen has suggested that television meteorologists be stripped of their American Meteorological Society certification if they dare to question predictions of catastrophic global warming.

A few weeks ago, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Marlo Lewis published an article opposing mandatory limits on carbon-dioxide emissions, arguing that Congress should not impose caps until the technology exists to produce energy that doesn’t depend on carbon dioxide. In response to Lewis’s reasonable piece, the president of the American Council on Renewable Energy, Michael Eckhart, issued a threat:

“Take this warning from me, Marlo. It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar. If you produce one more editorial against climate change, I will launch a campaign against your professional integrity. I will call you a liar and charlatan to the Harvard community of which you and I are members. I will call you out as a man who has been bought by Corporate America.”

This is the zealotry and intolerance of the auto-da-fé. The last place it belongs is in public-policy debate. The interesting and complicated phenomenon of climate change is still being figured out, and as much as those determined to turn it into a crusade of good vs. evil may insist otherwise, the issue of global warming isn’t a closed book. Smearing those who buck the “scientific consensus” as traitors, toadies, or enemies of humankind may be emotionally satisfying and even professionally lucrative. It is also indefensible, hyperbolic bullying. That the bullies are sure they are doing the right thing is not a point in their defense.

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Some Good Ideological Give-and-Take

It seems that a leftist at Milwaukee Rising published a post titled 50+ Things You Won’t Learn from Talk Radio.

Tom McMahon has good comebacks for each and every one of them.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tenured Bigots: College Faculty Dislike Evangelical Christians

Via the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the results of a study about the attitudes of academics toward different religions.
David French has known for years that college campuses are bastions of anti-evangelical bias. He knew it when he served on the admissions committee at Cornell Law School and watched his colleagues ridicule evangelical applicants as “Bible thumpers” or members of the “God squad.” He knew it during his tenure with an education watchdog organization that routinely challenged university speech codes bent on silencing evangelical viewpoints. He knew it when he shifted into his current role as director of the Alliance Defense Fund’s Center for Academic Freedom, a position from which he’s filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of victimized evangelical students.

But only now can French declare with certainty that his anecdotal observations accurately represent a widespread statistical reality. In a recently released scientific survey of 1,269 faculty members across 712 different colleges and universities, 53 percent of respondents admitted to harboring unfavorable feelings toward evangelicals.

“The results were incredibly unsurprising but at the same time vitally important,” French told WORLD. “For a long time, the academic freedom movement in this country has presented the academy with story after story of outrageous abuse, and the Academy has steadfastly refused to admit that the sky is blue—that it has an overwhelming ideological bias that manifests itself in concrete ways. This is another brick in the wall of proving that there’s a real problem.”

Unlike much of the previous foundation for that proof, this brick hails from a non-evangelical source. Gary A. Tobin, president of the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, set out to gauge levels of academic anti-Semitism compared to hostility toward other religious groups. He found that only 3 percent of college faculty holds unfavorable views toward Jews. In fact, no religious group draws anywhere near the scorn of evangelicals, Mormons placing a distant second with a 33 percent unfavorable outcome.

Tobin was shocked. And his amazement only escalated upon hearing reaction to his results from the academy’s top brass. Rather than deny the accuracy of Tobin’s findings or question his methodology, academy leaders attempted to rationalize their bias. “The prejudice is so deep that faculty do not have any problem justifying it. They tried to dismiss it and said they had a good reason for it,” Tobin told WORLD. “I don’t think that if I’d uncovered bigotry or social dissonance about Latinos, women, blacks, or Jews, they would have had that same response.”

Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), told The Washington Post that the poll merely reflects “a political and cultural resistance, not a form of religious bias.” In other words, the college faculty members dislike evangelicals not for their faith but the practical outworking of that faith, which makes it OK.
If faculty were found to dislike homosexuals not for their sexual orientation but for “the practical outworking of that orientation,” the outrage would be overwhelming.

We would love to report that at a nominally Christian institution like Marquette, the situation is different. We haven’t done any systematic surveys on it, but it’s clear to us that the faculty and administration here feel pretty much the same way as academics generally.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

“Bizarro World” Post Resonates in Blogosphere, Talk Radio

We felt the need to chronicle the sham “hearing,” held yesterday, of the Commission on Reducing Racial Disparities in the Wisconsin Justice System.

After all, we sat through virtually all of it, and didn’t want the experience to be entirely for naught (although it was clear to us it was mostly for naught).

But it seems it has resonated with a fair number of people.

Charlie Sykes discussed it at some length this morning, and linked to it on his blog page.

As of right now, it is linked on the front page of Mark Belling’s site and WisOpinion (both links will go away over time).

And it has created quite a stir in the blogosphere. The Texas Hold ‘Em Blogger discussed it, as did Patrick McIlheran, Rick Esenberg and Dad29.

Not in response to our post, but an independent report came from Glenn D. Frankovis on the Badger Blogger.

Who also reported on the event, but didn’t bother to mention our testimony, nor that of Frankovis? Dani McClain of the Journal-Sentinel. Her article is nothing but a puff piece about the Commission.

Typical of the article is the following:
The commission has heard firsthand accounts of racial profiling, inconsistent application of prosecutorial discretion, and the classification of certain offenses as misdemeanors in suburban communities but felonies in urban areas.

“The themes have come up consistently at these public hearings,” said Ryan Sugden, spokesman for the Office of Justice Assistance, which coordinated the hearings.

One statistic was repeated several times Monday: African-Americans make up 6% of Wisconsin’s population, but 45% of inmates in state correctional facilities are black, according to the state Department of Corrections.
Sugden seems to think that since certain themes come up “consistently” they must represent the reality of criminal justice in Wisconsin.

The fact that only certain kinds of people, with certain grievances and certain agendas show up at the hearings doesn’t seem to have crossed his mind.

McClain got pretty thoroughly roughed up by people leaving comments at Badger Blogger. In fairness to McClain, she did not hear our testimony, did ask us for contact information at the hearing, and left us a voice mail today asking for an “executive summary” of our testimony, to be used “if and when” she writes further on the topic.

Being on vacation, we haven’t sent that out, but will soon.

Right now, our assessment is that she is trying to be fair, but is simply ill-informed on these issues, and didn’t know there is an alternative to the standard racial view.

But the question remains. Why has this struck a chord, especially among conservatives? It really is hard to see how the Commission is important. It was created by the Governor as a sop to some black legislators, and what it says is unlikely to have any real effect on criminal justice in Wisconsin.

The answer, I think, is that people have simply become fed up with the dishonesty surrounding the issue. The naked contrast between the harsh reality of life in the black inner city and the cosy situation of race hustling black politicians is hard to stomach. While children are being shot the politicians are wringing their hands over the fact that a greater proportion of blacks than whites is being thrown in prison.

If this was the result of real racial discrimination, it would demand a remedy. The problem is: the hustlers don’t really want to know whether it’s the result of discrimination. They don’t, in fact, actually care.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

The Bizarro World of the Commission on Reducing Racial Disparities in the Wisconsin Justice System

We should have known better.

Public hearings are usually a sham. So when the Governor’s Commission on Reducing Racial Disparities in the Wisconsin Justice System held a hearing in Milwaukee this afternoon, we weren’t expecting anything great.

But since we have just finished an article on the subject which will appear in the Fall issue of The Wisconsin Interest, we thought it worthwhile to go and, in effect, fire a shot across their bow.

The Commission, it seems, has an odd charge. They have been told by Governor Doyle to “(a.) Determine whether discrimination is built into the criminal justice system at each stage of the criminal justice continuum of arrest through parole; and (b.) Recommend strategies and solutions to reduce the racial disparity in the Wisconsin criminal justice system. . . .”

But the second task assumes a particular outcome of the first. Wisconsin should not want to reduce racial disparity if it’s not the result of racial discrimination. But among the black race hustlers and politically correct whites who are interested in this issue, racial bias is assumed. It’s the default position. Evidence is not needed.

A lot of the politicians at the hearing spoke in bland bromides. Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler told the Commission he had been “closely following your work that will determine whether racial discrimination is built into the Wisconsin criminal justice system.” He said of racial disparity that he “Feel[s] strongly about this issue. . . When one of us is discriminated against, all suffer” and “systems must administer justice fairly and impartially.” OK. Better bland than wrong.

Slightly less bland (but only slightly) was Ralph Hollman, Executive Director if the Urban League. Hollman praised Governor Doyle’s courage since it would be easy for him to “not acknowledge that the high rate of incarceration – black male incarceration particularly – is a serious problem.”

He continued: “Several areas need to be examined. Are African-Americans more likely to be involved in crime and violence?” He further noted that the stereotype of blacks as violent, when filtered through the media, sends to black youth the message that “this is what I’m expected to be.”

According to Hollman, “once in the justice system, African Americans feel that African Americans are more likely to be sentenced to prison, and when incarcerated, serve longer sentences.”

Getting the Juices Flowing

A couple of speakers got some juices flowing in the crowd. Doris Jude Porter -- the Aunt of Frank Jude, Jr., who was beaten by Milwaukee police officers, said people in the community “feel we are under siege for criminal justice racism” and “racism is like a monster – a predator.” And she added that “innocent people are sent to prison and families are broken up.”

The next speaker ratcheted up the rhetoric even further referring to the “hell-hole we call America.” She added “we are still being lynched in this country” and said that the system “place[s] black males in special education as a form of genocide getting them ready to go to prison.”

Just to make it clear where she was coming from, she added “Here we got Alderman McGee in jail. I’ve seen the injustice!” And “they got Michael McGee so chained up he can’t go to the bathroom.”

She didn’t seem to be looking to the Commission for help, however. She asserted “we don’t need nobody studying us.”

A whole parade of witnesses came to promote their pet programs (it was obvious that the group was on the side of Governor Doyle in the state budget battles), or their own volunteer activities.

“Y’all Pray for Me”

It got bizarre at times. A woman who identified herself as a former cocaine addict and prostitute told how she went to her pastor and asked what she could do. “I turned my life over to God,” she explained. She then asked the crowd “Y’all pray for me.”

We are delighted that she got the spiritual help she needed, but didn’t see her testimony as particularly relevant to the issue at hand.

A young man rattled off a rap poem about the importance of self-respect and achievement. We think he would have been a dandy motivational speaker at any inner city middle school.

Several speakers complained of how relatives of theirs had been victimized by the system. It’s possible -- just remotely possible -- that in some cases they had.

Our own talk resulted in the most supefyingly bizarre moment of the afternoon. We rattled off various analyses we have done, all of which show that the “disproportionate” incarceration of blacks in Wisconsin is the result of the fact that blacks disproportionately commit crimes.

In response, Spencer Coggs asked us “are you saying that blacks commit crimes at a greater rate than whites, as opposed to being stopped more often by police?”

We responded “yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”

Coggs then responded that “that’s not what the studies show.”

Too dumbfounded to produce a proper response (such as “you f**kin’ idiot!”) we just said “you’re wrong.” And further, “have you looked at data on victimization? Have you looked at those maps what show where crime happens most?” Coggs looked embarrassed, and dismissed us politely.

We got very sparse and scattered applause. We weren’t telling them what they wanted to hear.

There was one other speaker who asked that the interest of the victims be taken into account. Glenn Frankovis, a former Milwaukee cop who was actually promoted by Art Jones (one of the few whites, apparently), made a plea for the victims. Recounting his experience with ordinary Milwaukee citizens he said “these good people wanted the bad guys out of their neighborhood” and further that they were “tired of the drug dealing, shots being fired into the house.”

His final hope was that “this commission does not overlook these people . . . the true victims.”

But Commission will, of course.

It’s possible that the Commission will come out with a reasonable report. Plenty of commissions have had public hearings that were a sham, and members who were buffoons, and still produced decent reports (written, of course, by the staff).

Why Don’t Black Politicians Care About Victims of Crime?

A decent report won’t, however, change the fact that black politicians, including most of those on the Commission, seem far more concerned about black criminals than about black victims.

The reason is simple, almost jejune.

Black politicians prosper by mobilizing the black community against whites. Not necessarily all whites, but at least some “racist” whites. And if not against individual whites, then against a “racist system.”

For much of American history, this was sensible enough. All blacks did have a common interest in fighting a system that was racist, and whites most of whom were racist too.

But suppose the real conflict is between law abiding black people and black hoodlums?

How about some data?

In Milwaukee, where violent crime is concerned, three fourths of the victims of black criminals are themselves black.

Looking at the percentages another way, 97% of the black victims of violent crime were victimized by a black. (Data from the Milwaukee Police Department Incident Reports.)

So when you have black hoodlums on one side, and law-abiding black people on the other, what are you going to do?

Simple. Insist that the issue is still white racism, and that blacks need to unite to fight it. Caring about the victims muddles the message.

All this is why things like the beating of Frank Jude play into the hands of the race hustlers.

When is a new generation of black leaders going to rise up with an agenda in tune with new realities? Such leaders are long overdue, and the old con game continues to work well.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

More Diversity Follies in Chicago

Thomas Evoy has become, virtually, our regular correspondent on the absurdity that is Chicago city government, and he sends this along:
Here’s a fun story-one of the Cook County commissioners wants to ensure that the public prosocuter’s office is racially balanced:

Beavers slams hiring in prosecutor’s office

Never mind the competition from PC law firms, get out there and hire! And hire for a job that’s probably pretty unpopular with minority “victims,” being the man and putting it to the downtrodden!

I have to wonder what’s next. We’d like to hire the most qualified doctor, but were already over budget on whites, hispanics and asians so everyone who needs brain surgery will have to wait until we find a black brain surgeon who wants to work for low wages at County Hospital. Will we need racially balanced garbage crews, tree trimmers, sewer workers and road crews?

The Cook County commissioner who’s making that absurd demand is the same one who tried to get his daughter elected as a Chicago alderman to follow him-she lost to Mrs. Jesse Jackson Jr.

Apart from that, in the “bad timing” department one of the Illinois courts handed down a soverign immunity decsion yesterday in a case about a porch collapse two or three years ago. Not too unusual except for the timing with the bridge collapse: and also the disclosures (after the porch came down) that Chicago had hired the 19 year-old son of a politically connected carpenter as a building inspector (with the excuse that he knew about buildings as the son & grandson of carpenters) and that some porch inspections were taking something like 10 minutes for a three-story structure serving six apartments.

Here’s a little bit from the Sun-Times GOSSIP columnist that I didn’t see before: the term “Superblack” as well as the idea that his own kid is already pulling down $70k/year.

“The hitch: Beavers may have a point! Turns out his own son, David, landed a plum job in that office as a $70,000-a-year investigator and is among the highest-paid employees in the state’s attorney’s capital litigation program!”

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Tainted

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The Future of Europe -- And the U.S.?

In the new issue of The American Conservative (which is not on the web yet) an essay from Swarthmore political scientist James Kurth. His forecast for Europe is not optimistic. Via Beliefnet and Dad29:
Current social attitudes and demographic trends in the West suggest that there will be a continuation of low reproduction rates among Western peoples and therefore a severe decline in their populations. Conversely, there will be a continuation of high immigration of non-Western peoples into the Western nations and of higher reproduction rates among the non-Western communities in the West than among the Western people themselves. This will have major consequences not only for the military strategies of the Western nations but for their national security -- and even identity.

The most dramatic consequences are likely to occur in Europe, where most of the non-Western populations will be Muslim. These communities already perform functions essential to the economic system, and within the next decade, they are poised to become an important part of the political system. Many European countries will become two nations, and Europe as a whole will become two civilizations. The first will be a Western civilization or, more accurately, given Europeans’ rejection of many Western traditions, a post-Western civilization comprised of people of European descent. It will be secular, even pagan, rich, old, and feeble. The second will be the non-Western civilization, descended from non-European peoples. It will be religious, even Islamic, poor, young, and vigorous. ...The two civilizations will regard each other with mutual contempt. In the new civilization, there will be a growing rage, and in the old civilization, there will be a growing fear. These will be the perfect conditions for endemic Islamic terrorism, urban riots, and mob violence: an Islamist insurgency within Europe itself.

For the nations of the West, which have arrived at this historically unprecedented state, a viable strategy for the nation is no longer possible because they are no longer really nations at all.
Two pessimistic? Maybe.

Applicable to the U.S.? Not in the short run. In the long run, a real danger.

But the U.S. is still a Christian nation, notwithstanding the hostility toward Christianity of certain elites. And the massive immigration of people not acculturated to American norms is from Hispanic Christians, not Muslims.

An irony of all this is that the safety of secular people in the U.S. (and this includes not only atheists and agnostics but the nominally religious) lies in the fact that this is a Christian nation.

Christians will protect, both by being willing to fight and willing to procreate, the moderate Constitutional regime that secures the liberty of all.

Which is why the secular hostility to Christians, as well as the tendency of secular people to romanticize Muslims as victims of Western imperialism, is so short-sighted.

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He’s Making a List, So You Better Watch Out, Vladimir

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Christopher Wolfe: Marquette Professor Off to Start New University

Our colleague Christopher Wolfe was the subject of a very flattering article in the Journal-Sentinel today.

Wolfe is going off to take on the stunningly ambitious task of starting a university. As the article explains:
Wolfe intends to work on establishing a university of his own, one inspired by the intellectual approach of St. Thomas Aquinas, the 13th-century Roman Catholic theologian and philosopher.

“Since the mid-1980s, I’ve been thinking I’d like to start a new university,” says Wolfe, 58, and the author of several books, including “The Rise of Modern Judicial Review” and “How to Read the Constitution.”

“To start an institution from scratch, to do it the right way - that’s a wonderful opportunity that I’d like to take a stab at.”

Since early 2005, Wolfe has been serving as co-director of the Ralph McInerny Center for Thomistic Studies, a non-profit center that promotes the accurate reading of Aquinas’ philosophy and theology and seeks to relate his thinking to the modern world. The center is based in Washington, D.C., but will move when the university’s location is decided.

Searching for truth

The university Wolfe envisions would stand in contrast to what he views as a “flabby relativism” in modern education, a belief that all ideas must be recognized and given similar weight.

“There is a truth,” he says. “It’s sometimes hard to see what that truth is, but we need to pursue it, and we can discover it to a great extent.”

Truth, as Wolfe sees it, is no mere “grab bag of facts” but requires a coherent order that ought to be reflected in education. Although the new university would be open to many intellectual sources, it would encourage an approach stressing unity and order in education and accepting the possibility that one can know God and the good life.
In reality, nothing about Wolfe’s ideal of a university is new or innovative. Traditionally liberal arts colleges, and indeed major universities, thought of themselves that way.

But that was before curriculum degenerated into a hodge-podge of whatever courses professors wanted to teach, whose content was whatever ideas were fashionable among professors.

Wolfe has taught a long series of outstanding students, and the Journal-Sentinel quoted two of them in the article.
Keith S. Alexander took Wolfe’s constitutional law course almost a decade ago and still recalls how it prepared him for law school at Notre Dame, Wolfe’s own alma mater.

“You learned a lot,” says Alexander, now a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa. “It was very challenging. He was demanding, but also made us better. I felt I was a better thinker and a better reader.”

Tom Hrdlick, a partner in the law firm Foley & Lardner, called Wolfe “a decisive factor” in his going on to law school. “He said, ‘It will go by like that.’ He said, ‘You have the opportunity to do something significant with your life,’” Hrdlick remembers.
Notice to Students:

Wolfe is still teaching at Marquette on a part time basis. You can still take his courses during the 2007-2008 school year. He’ll be teaching POSC 133 (Constitutional Law) this fall, and POSC 134 (Civil Liberties) this spring. His 133 class is now full, but there are usually some students who drop, so you still have a shot at getting in.

(Going and begging, with a convincing story as to why you really, really need and want to take the class is worth trying too.)

The spring 134 class is, of course, still open.

Wolfe’s students always find the class hugely demanding. So skip it if you are looking for a gut course.

But students who tackle the demands and stand up to the challenge virtually always come away convinced that they have had a great experience.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Marquette Alum, Iraq Soldier: What the Media Ignores

From the Racine Journal Times, an interview with Lt. Col. Robert Kaiser, a Marquette alumnus who has served his country all over the world, including Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, Iraq and Germany.

Some excerpts:
Journal Times -- What do you see there that we don’t get to see?

Kaiser -- As the division engineer for the 3rd Infantry Division, I actually get to see a lot that doesn’t make the daily headlines back home, especially in the area of reconstruction. We spend a lot of effort in the Marine Division working reconstruction projects in support of the Iraqi people. Our division works in the area south of Baghdad, which is predominately rural and has a mix of Sunni and Shia populations. Their needs are no different from ours back home — they need clean drinking water, electricity for their neighborhoods, schools for their children and health clinics for the people.

These are the kind of projects we have assisted the Iraqi people with, as are all of the coalition forces throughout Iraq. These projects are essential and really make a difference at the local level, but they just don’t make the headlines. A great example of this is the Mahmoudiyah Market Rebuild project that was supported by the Commando Brigade, which is the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y. Mahmoudiyah is a city with approximately 120,000 Iraqis, and the market area was severely damaged by a vehicle-borne IED.

Markets are central to the Iraqi way of life, and this market also served as a primary economic development area for the town. The Commando Brigade supported the rebuilding project in conjunction with the local government, and now the Mahmoudiyah Market is up and running. Stories like this happen all the time, but you just don’t hear about them compared to the car bombings. . . .

Another area I see that you really don’t hear much about is the change in cooperation between the locals and coalition forces now that we have a more sustained presence in Iraqi population centers. This is just from my perspective, but there seems to be an increase in the amount and the quality of help local Iraqis are now providing U.S. forces in our area. There is a link between cooperation between coalition forces and the local population and the number of projects we assist them with, and we have had a noticeable increase in the number of reconstruction projects pass through my office in the past several weeks.

The Iraqis want the same things that you and I want: a safe and secure place to live where they can raise their families. This is from my personal view, but it looks like we are doing better at providing that safe and secure environment with the surge, but only time will tell. Having said that, nothing is easy in this country!
Indeed!

But we are more inclined to believe what we hear from a soldier on the ground than what we hear from the media.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Mainstream Media: Inconsistent About the Nanny State

From CyberAlert.

Tow women on the “NBC Today Show” decried the Nanny State and played the feminist card when the New York City government tried to dictate to mothers that they have to breast feed.
On Thursday’s Today show, NBC’s Meredith Vieira and Dr. Nancy Snyderman became born-again libertarians in their opposition to New York City’s ban on bottle feeding babies. Vieira called the measure, banning the use of baby formula in all public hospitals because of the health advantages of breast-feeding, “drastic” and Snyderman urged, “not so fast.” The ban even inspired Today to coin a new series segment called “Nanny State.” However, back in 2006, when New York City infringed on another right -- the right to eat fatty foods, Snyderman struck a different tone, as she gravely warned about the dangers of trans fats.

First up, Vieira opened the bottle feeding ban segment on the August 2 Today: “And now we’re gonna move on to something we call ‘Nanny State.’ First there was smoking and then trans fats and now baby formula? New York City health officials recently took what many see as a drastic step. Dr. Nancy Snyderman is NBC’s chief medical editor. Good morning, Nancy. What is going on?”

Dr. Nancy Snyderman: “Well, hi Meredith. This is one that I think is going to cause a lot of conversation today because it’s always been a divisive topic among parents, whether to give the breast or bottle. But in New York it may be the government that’s stepping in to make the choice for new mothers. It’s one of the touchiest turf battles in parenting, bottle versus breast. And it’s gaining new steam.”

Then Vieira and Snyderman, offended at the infringement of a woman’s right to breast feed, concluded the segment, quite exasperated:

Snyderman: “Yeah, you know breast feeding sounds so easy but for any of us who’ve done it, it’s a little bit tougher than people give it credit for. And I really resent the fact that there are men telling women what to do and that it’s the government and it’s going way beyond just health. This is gonna be controversial but I think it makes a lot of us go, uhh, just take a breath. Maybe not so fast.”

Vieira: “Yeah, take a step back. . .”

Snyderman: “Yeah.”
Good that they oppose the Nanny State, right?

Unfortunately, Snyderman wasn’t singing the same tune in 2005.
However, back in 2006, when it came to regulating the restaurant industry in New York, Snyderman was singing a different tune. NBC’s chief medical correspondent seemed to endorse the trans fat ban, as seen in the following excerpts from her October 30, 2006 Today report.

[On screen graphic: “Health Alert, Trans Fats: The New Tobacco?”]

Snyderman: “Hey Matt when it comes to your health and you and I talk about this a lot, it’s very important to remember that what you eat is what you are. And if you eat foods that are high in trans fat well you better pay attention because the harm they do is very real. Want a donut, a French fry, potato chips? They are all popular American foods but they may not be for long. Trans fat, a critical ingredient in all of them has suddenly become public health target number one. California attorney Steven Joseph launched the crusade in 2003 filing the Oreo lawsuit, which resulted in Kraft Foods eliminating trans fats from Oreos and reducing it in 650 other products. Since then Tiburon, California became America’s first trans fat-free city and now New York, Chicago and Boston are proposing to do the same. ”

[Woman #1: “We need to have things taken off our plate because a lot of times we, we don’t have the discipline to do that.”]

[Woman #2: “Look around there are a lot of obese people.”]

Snyderman: “Why is trans fats suddenly up there with tobacco and alcohol on the list of threats to public health? Because these man made fats, which give foods a longer shelf life, are proving deadly.”
It seems that whether the liberal yuppies like the Nanny State depends on their imposing their lifestyle choices on other people.

When somebody tries to impose something that they don’t like, it’s a different matter.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Letter to the Editor: Racial Gymnastics in the Chicago Fire, Police Hiring

The following from reader Thomas Evoy.
Read your recent reverse discrimination article. Don’t forget, it’s not just the people taking the tests-it is also the people who CANNOT take a test for years because of the holdups involved.

The Fire Department here in Chicago gave an exam a while back and graded the results, offering jobs to the top 30% or so of scorers in rank order. And that was uneven racially, and you know what happened next-- demonstrations, hearings, etc. No exams were given for about ten years-and people simply couldn’t join up without the exam. About half a generation of people couldn’t take the exam simply because the whole thing was in the courts -- as far as I know there are age limits for joining the fire department Our most recent exam had a different flavor: the cutoff was the top 70% or so of scores (presented to the public as the results of a “pass-fail” exam) and the hiring was done on a random basis from that pool. The usual whiners were a lot more satisfied: based solely on the numbers, of course. No comment on qualifications.

One of the most hilarious things in Chicago was the recent “testing” to decide who would be promoted from sergeant to lieutenant on the police force. Apparently in their zeal to bend over backwards in order to prove fairness, the testing group taped all the answers. And of course, some sort of foulup ensued, followed by the predicable lawsuit. So the solution to this problem was to re-administer the test. Using the very same questions. Yes, that sounds like a great way to figure out who can handle a volatile situation with a great probability of violence.

This follows the much earlier(perhaps the 1980’s) police test that was announced with great fanfare-huge cost, guaranteed to be fair, outside consultants, etc. The results came in that one race was overwhelmingly overrepresented (vis a vis the police department stats as well as the city demographics) among the most qualified. Huge demonstrations, city council hearings, etc. If I recall correctly, the thing was tied up for years in court and in politics.
We can say only one thing good about all these gymnastics: it is good that they used them instead of out-and-out racial preferences and quotas.

Still, how much healthier would it be if a clear standard of non-discrimination prevailed. Would blacks forever and always be unable to meet the standard?

Only a racist would believe that. But a lot of race card players and politically correct whites are, somewhere down deep inside, racist.

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