Sunday, September 30, 2007

If You Aim Low . . .

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Black Incarceration in Wisconsin: More

Our article on the supposed “disproportionate incarceration of blacks” in Wisconsin seems to be getting some attention.

Some leftist moonbat bloggers have taken a swing at it, and mostly proved they have no idea about the issues involved.

But some of the response has been more serious.

Wisconsin Public Radio is preparing a segment on the issue, and asked Prof. Pamela Oliver, at the UW-Madison, to reply to our essay. She did so, and gave us permission to publish what she wrote in a private e-mail to a WPR producer. So we are publishing her entire critique of our article here, along with a “preface” she sent us in a later e-mail. We are publishing the “preface” below the main e-mail, since we think it makes more sense that way, but in fairness to Oliver, do read it.
. . . this is a long complicated essay that makes many different points and responding to it point by point would take a week. Here are some responses.

(1) Racial disparity refers to the statistical pattern that Blacks (and to a lesser extent Latinos and American Indians) are arrested and incarcerated at higher rates than Whites. This is indisputably true.

The Commission is charged with trying to reduce these disparities.
But does one want to reduce these disparities? If they result from disparities in committing crimes, we don’t think so.

Note that some of the statements below suggest that the Commission is thinking of ways to reduce crime in the black community. If black crime rates decline (relative to white crime rates) we certainly would want disparity in incarceration to decline.
(2) At this juncture, 40% of the Black male population nationally is under the supervision of the correctional system and about a third of young Black men are expected to spend some time in prison. McAdams seems to think this is an acceptable state of affairs if he can show that it is “as predicted” by control variables. Other people think this is a terrible problem with enormous consequences for whole Black communities.
But is the problem that the system discriminates against blacks, or that blacks commit too many crimes? It makes a huge difference. One is on a fool’s errand trying to fix the criminal justice system if the problem is not with the criminal justice system.
(3) Any reasonable person who has dug into the data recognizes that there are two components of the statistical disparities. Some of the difference is coming from differences in the rate at which Whites and Blacks commit crimes, and some of the difference is coming from differences in the way people are treated in the system given that they have done something wrong. Roughly half of the presentations the Commission has heard and roughly half of the Commissioners have an orientation that is primarily focused on reducing crimes committed by Black people. That is, they have raised concerns about funding for education, about programs to strengthen families and reintegrate fathers into communities, about jobs programs and job discrimination, about bringing people to God, etc. In short, a lot of the people on the Commission think this is a terrible crisis that should be addressed by dealing with underlying problems of crime. Where they differ from McAdams is that they think there is more to reducing crime than incarcerating an ever-growing share of the Black population.
Some of those proposed ideas for reducing black crime sound good to us (strengthen families and reintegrate fathers into communities, bringing people to God), and some sound like more of the same things that have failed (more spending on education, jobs programs). But even the things we like aren’t easily manipulated by public policy.

Are the commissioners saying that locking up black criminals is not part of the solution? We hope not.

Anybody with even a casual interest in crime in the Milwaukee area is aware of the reality shown on a map provided annually in the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission Public Safety Report.

So far as we are concerned, anybody is welcome to go find ways of reducing crime with this or that warm fuzzy-sounding liberal program. But until they can fix the crime problem that way (and we aren’t holding our breath), cops need to catch criminals, and prosecutors and courts need to punish them.

That is one social program that actually works, in contrast to all the programs that the liberals are always touting.

We’ve probably all heard the story about the man sitting in a bar over his drink, lamenting the fact that he drinks too much. A fellow patron asks “why do you drink so much?” The man replies “to forget my problems.” The fellow patron asks “what problems.” The man replies “I drink too much.”

Thus we find liberals blaming crime on the problems of the inner city. Fair enough. But what is the chief problem of the inner city? Crime.
(4) What McAdams leaves out of his statement -- because that would contradict his arguments -- is that the time trends for crime and incarceration don’t support his arguments that this is just tracking crime. Crime generally went down while incarceration skyrocketed. So it just is not true that incarceration is simply tracking crime.
Liberals often see it as a problem that, in the last couple of decades, as the incarceration rate has gone up, crime has gone down. Actually, the way they always say it is that “as the crime rate has gone down, the incarceration rate has gone up.”

Somehow it never occurs to them that crime went down because of increased incarceration!

Oliver’s statement, by the way, doesn’t really address the point that we made, which is that higher incarceration rates of blacks reflect higher rates of offending by blacks.
A more complicated problem to dig into is the possibility of an incapacitation effect, and I’m now persuaded that there is some incapacitation effect in the data, for property crime but not for violent crime. Most criminologists now think that drug incarcerations have absolutely zero impact on reducing illegal drug use or sales, and some argue that they actually increase it through indirect effects. But really digging into these issues is to complex for a short response.
If somebody wants to dig into the issue, they might check the works we cite on incapacitation in our article. There seems to be good evidence for an effect both for violent crimes and property crimes.
(5) The Sentencing Commission report clearly found a substantial racial difference in the probability of being sentenced to prison rather than probation for drug offenses and for lower-level violent and property offenses. This analysis controlled for prior record and controlled for multiple offenses at the trial, as well as for other factors available in the record.
That is indeed pretty much what the Sentencing Commission found, but they admitted to real problems with their data. Quoting their report:
. . . many legitimate bases for distinguishing among defendants, such as prior criminal record, fewer educational opportunities, and erratic work history, are likely correlated with being Black, which also systematically disadvantages Black offenders (p. 4).
And this:
Ideally, a report of this scope would rely upon data tracking offenders by race from the initial police call through investigation, arrest, the prosecutor’s charging decision, plea negotiations, trial, conviction, and finally, sentencing. Data would include, not only the race of the offender, but the race of other actors, including the responding officers, victim, prosecutor, judge, and jurors, as well as whether the offender was assigned a public defender or retained private counsel. Beyond race, numerous socioeconomic factors may also contribute to differential involvement in crime and differential treatment by the criminal justice system. All of these data points, collected in a consistent and integrated system, would contribute to a fuller understanding of the role of race in sentencing decisions and throughout the criminal justice system.

Currently, Wisconsin does not collect this data in a coordinated way conducive to analysis by race.

[. . .]

For instance, the Commission collects data regarding the factors that influence a judge’s sentencing decision for sentencing guideline offenses when judges submit sentencing worksheets. These worksheets, when submitted and fully and properly completed, contain information about factors, such as employment history and family support, that might influence a judge’s sentencing decision. These factors are likely correlated to race and thus, might help explain the role race may or may not play in sentencing decisions. However, the Commission recently found that judges only submitted worksheets for 23% of the guideline offenses for which worksheets should have been submitted. Furthermore, worksheets were not submitted proportionately from all parts of the state, resulting in overrepresentation of Milwaukee County cases in the available data. Finally, even when judges do submit worksheets, the worksheets often are not filled out completely or correctly. As a result, the data collected by the Commission is less reliable, and our ability to use the available sentencing data to explain the role race may or may not play in sentencing decisions decreases significantly (pp. 5-6).
In fact, we think that, by the usual social science standards, the Sentencing Commission data is pretty good. But it frankly omits some factors that might legitimately affect sentencing, and it only deals with one point in the whole process. It can’t touch the issue of whether black offenders are more or less likely to be arrested, more or less likely to be charged, more or less likely to have their cases dropped by the district attorney, and so on.
It found no difference in sentence lengths. The findings of the Sentencing Commission for Wisconsin are exactly parallel to what has been found in other states. No difference in sentence length, a big difference in the in/out decision for lesser offenses and drug sentences but not for the most serious offenses. McAdams stresses the sentence length part of the analysis but ignores the in/out part of the analysis. While many of the actors on the sentencing commission wanted and got language that stressed that maybe something else would explain away the in/out result, anyone familiar with the logic of statistical analysis would recognize that the effects are large enough and that enough other factors have been controlled that they are probably “real.”
We are not at all sure of this. We have seen quite large estimated effects in a statistical model entirely go away when the proper controls were put in place.

Oliver goes on:
This seems especially plausible as the pattern -- no difference in sentence length, big difference in the in/out decision for lessor offenses -- is exactly what is found over and over in by other studies in other jurisdictions. (It is interesting that McAdams is sure the sentence length part of the analysis is definitive, while he dismisses the in/out part of the analysis as inconclusive.)
The differences shown by the Sentencing Commission may very well be real, although we have to note that they only claim racial disparity in sentencing for lessor crimes -- which get shorter sentences and contribute less to overall racial disparity ratios.

But again, see above for the limitations of their study.
(6) I did a detailed analysis comparing aggregate counts of arrests and prison admissions broken down by race and UCR crime categories for Wisconsin counties the late 1990s -- I have not yet been able to get the data to replicate for more recent years. Basically what I found parallels again what is found in other studies. First, the biggest disparities are at the point of arrest and these disparities are very high for serious crimes -- this is consistent with seeing differential crime as a big component of the problem (although there are issues with arrests, see below).
OK, we think she is saying that there are disparities in arrests, which probably parallel disparities in committing crimes. Which they should.
Second, for the most serious crimes, there is very little or no racial difference in the ratio of prison to arrest. Third, for the less serious crimes, there is a significant racial difference in the ratio of prison sentences to arrests, with this ratio being in the ballpark of 1.5 to 2 times as high for Blacks as for Whites. (And in these data, Hispanics are counted as White, because of the way arrests are recorded.)
This is all interesting, but to show discrimination it is necessary that the black arrestees are in fact comparable to the white arrestees.

Doing that, unfortunately, would require data that nobody has.

It does seem, however, that Oliver has pretty much conceded that there is no racial discrimination where the most serious crimes (those most likely to draw prison sentences and indeed long prison sentences) are involved.
Fourth, for low level drug possession offenses, the ratio of prison sentences to arrests was 9 times as high for Blacks as for Whites. In short, there is substantial prima facie evidence of something happening post arrest; it cannot all be just a matter of differential crime.
We are not sure precisely what data she is talking about, but would point out that the Sentencing Commission, in the report she cites, doesn’t even bother to analyze drug possession, looking only at drug trafficking.

We conceded in the article that drug enforcement is particularly tough on the black community. We would just make two additional points:

1.) There is a rational basis for tough drug enforcement in the inner city, since that is where drug dealing and the visible effects of drug use are most severe.

2.) Tough drug enforcement in the black community is not something that racist whites imposed. It has had the strong support of both black leaders (the Congressional Black Caucus) and rank and file black citizens.

Neither point proves that current policy is good. But let’s be clear on why we have it.
(7) Arrests as a proxy for crime is a tough nut. Most criminologists believe that arrests track crime pretty well for the most serious offenses. That is, yes, there is a serious problem with serious crime among African Americans, and no reasonable person thinks there isn’t.
But the problem is, there are a lot of unserious people around!

You might talk to some faculty members at Marquette. No, not the criminologists, who are sensible on the issue. But some other professors (especially in the humanities) who haven’t realized this.
I have certainly never talked to an African American person who did not think there was a problem with crime in poor Black communities, and a lot of the talk on the Commission, especially by the Black members, has been about problems with crime and violence. As I said, about half of the Commission’s time has been spent with people talking about programs to reduce disparities in criminal justice by reducing the rates at which people commit crimes.
This is good.
It’s at the lower end of the crime scale and the drug crimes where there is evidence of a difference in treatment in the system. Some people are much more likely to get caught and prosecuted for what they do than others.
However, our analysis of data from the Incident Based Reporting System showed that, in the city of Milwaukee, blacks commit violent crimes at a rate eight times that of whites.

Now, since the data on property crimes are pretty much useless where race of offender is concerned, it might be that the disparity in offending is much less where that is concerned. But we have trouble seeing why this would be so. Are vandals more likely to be caught in a black neighborhood?

The virtue of the incident data is that it doesn’t matter if the offender is arrested or not. So differential rates of arrest (or prosecution or conviction) don’t matter.
(8) Public health data tell us that young White people use all illegal drugs -- including cocaine and crack cocaine -- at higher rates than Blacks do, but White kids have a very low chance of getting caught and prosecuted for their drug use, while policing patterns pick up huge numbers of young Black kids on drug charges. Studies of “driving while Black” drug interdictions find that Whites who are stopped are just as likely (in some studies more likely) to be found carrying illegal drugs than Blacks who are stopped, but because Blacks are so much more likely to be stopped, they account for the overwhelming majority of drug arrests. McAdams tries to get around this by minimizing White kids’ drug use (they are just puffing marijuana while the Black kids are doing the really bad stuff) but this just isn’t what the data show. When I talk to White kids, they don’t dispute that White kids do a lot of illegal drugs, they just think Blacks kids do drugs as much as they do. It is true that the vast majority of drug prison sentences are for “possession with intent to deliver” but most of those are cases involving less than 5 grams of crack cocaine, many involving less than 1 gram that were still prosecuted as delivery charges. A very odd thing about cocaine arrests and incarcerations is that it is a market that -- according to arrest data -- has many more dealers than users.
Which might suggest that a lot of cocaine users escape detection and don’t get arrested.

Also note that “dealer weight” is a legally defined concept. It means you are found with a greater quantity of the drug than an individual might have in a personal “stash,” and are presumed to be selling it. Unless one wants to posit that cops are planting drugs on a lot of black people, the argument seems very odd.
This makes no economic sense. Prosecutions of people as presumptive dealers in the possession of very small amounts of the drug are highly indicative of patterns of over-charging, and the absence of a pool of customers in the arrests are highly indicative of policing patterns focusing on some people and not others. Marijuana arrests, for example, do not have this pattern -- there you see what you would expect in a market, a lot more customers (users) than dealers.
See our discussion of drug crimes (above).

We do note that Oliver is here relying heavily on anecdotal data. Note that she has also ignored our key arguments about drug crimes. It’s not that white kids don’t use drugs. It’s that their use is seen as a personal vice and not a threat to the community.

We lean toward the view that drugs should be legalized. But few in the black community (nor among whites) agree with us.
(9) In a small exploratory study of juvenile court cases in Madison, I found that Whites first appearance in court records was for a felony, while Blacks first appearance in court records was for a low-level misdemeanor. Are we to draw the conclusion that White kids who commit felonies have never done anything bad before? Or that White kids who commit low-level misdemeanors are less likely to end up in the court records? Most of us in the system think it is the latter -- White kids either don’t get caught, or get handled informally, or are sent to suburban municipal courts, not to county court. The net effect is that a White kid presenting a felony has a shorter record than a Black kid presenting the same felony, so everyone thinks it is fair for the Black kid to get a worse sentence because he has a longer record. But that longer record is, itself, a product of differential enforcement or responses to low level crime. The Commission has been struggling with ways to get a handle on the policing of White kids in the suburban jurisdictions. Again, not denying differences in serious crime, but the policing of low level crime is part of what is feeding into the disparities, as it produces differences in criminal records.
This may well be true, although we would hope that black juveniles would “get the point” and learn something that would carry into adult life. It’s also the case that juvenile records don’t get carried into adult sentencing decisions.
(10) Another thing that people express concern about that is harder to get a handle on is charging by police and DAs. We certainly hear stories that sound like massive over-reaction and over-charging for a given offense. Complaints like two kids get in a fight, one White one Black, the White kid gets sent home with a warning, the Black kid is arrested on a assault charge. Or a Black woman being picked up and held in a suburban jail without bail on a 10-year-old shoplifting warrant from when she was 17. It’s very hard to get systematic data on this kind of thing, but there are lots of stories people tell.
Unfortunately, this is admittedly anecdotal data.

If social psychology has taught us one thing, it is that people are more attentive to accounts (stories, tales) that fit into their existing cognitive framework.
(11) Aggregate studies of states. I have done a lot of these and we could do dueling studies for weeks. A couple of comments. I have done the % urban studies. It turns out that %Black is the strong predictor -- states with higher % Black have lower incarceration rates. %Black and % of Blacks who are urban are highly negatively correlated and cannot be taken apart, but I have compared them, and %Black is the stronger more consistent predictor, not % of Blacks who are urban. I.e. McAdams’ dismissive “well they are just rural” analysis does not hold up to deep scrutiny. I have also compared Black and White imprisonment rates to Black and White poverty rates, and to crime rates. Basically, White imprisonment rates are correlated with White poverty rates, but Black imprisonment rates are not. Racial disparities are driven mostly by having a low White imprisonment rate, which in turn is highly correlated with the White population not being very poor. So the patterns are really complicated if you do the analysis in depth. In addition, incarceration rose steeply while poverty and unemployment were declining in the 1980s, and in the 1980s, Black incarceration rates were highest where Black poverty was lowest. In the 1980s, incarceration for everyone (Black and White) was higher in states where crime was higher, but in the 1990s, Black incarceration rates are uncorrelated with crime rates, while White incarceration rates are positively related to crime rates. The strongest predictor of White incarceration is the White homicide victimization rate, but the Black homicide victimization rate is uncorrelated with other measures of crime and with the White homicide rate, and is uncorrelated with Black incarceration. Etc. etc.
Frankly, we haven’t following all the twists and turns of Oliver’s attempts to model racial diaparity rates, since they seem arcane and convoluted. We started with the plausible notion that blacks in the central cities of Metropolitan Statistical areas are more likely to commit crimes than blacks in suburban, small town or rural settings. This idea best explains the low diaparity ratio of Southern states. They still have substantial rural black populations. Thus in states where a large proportion of blacks live in such central cities, the black crime rate (and thus the disparity rate) will be higher. Contrary to what Oliver asserts, the relationship was quite strong.

We then added the poverty rate among blacks (which we believed would tend to drive up black crime), and the poverty rate among whites (which we believed would increase crime among whites and drive down the disparity ratio). Voilà! The model was a very good predictor of disparity ratios.

This is the way graduate students are taught to model things. At least in political science.
In short, if you treat the data honestly, you see lots of different patterns that cut lots of different ways. The Commission is staffed by people who agree that mass incarceration of Black people is a very serious problem but who understand that there are many different sources of the problem that will require many different solutions.
Oliver then added the following in an e-mail to us:
I wrote the response quickly with only a quick skim of what you wrote because I did not have time for a long response.
This was fair enough. When dealing with the media, one simply has to respond quickly.
There are points where, on a second read, I can see that you acknowledge some of the complexity that I don’t give you credit for. Each of the specific points is a complex issue that has a lot of nuance to really get it right in the statistics. We both agree that differential crime rates are part of the picture. Where I think we disagree is that I think there is substantial evidence that differential treatment within the criminal justice system also plays a role. And we seem to disagree about whether extraordinarily high rates of incarceration are a good thing or a bad thing as a way to deal with the problems of poverty, racial discrimination in job markets, weak schools, and the other factors that play into crime rates.
We certainly do seem to disagree about this. We think the evidence is highly robust: incarceration deters crime, and incarceration incapacitates criminals, keeping them in prison when they would be out doing nasty things otherwise.

And since black criminals overwhelmingly prey on black people, to fail to incarcerate black criminals is to fail to protect black people.

We frankly think that a “law and order” policy is a precondition for doing anything else that might help the black community.
I assume we also disagree about whether the drug war is being fairly prosecuted and about whether there ought to be a supply side drug war.
We in fact, probably don’t disagree. See above.

Summarizing

So what can we conclude.

First, Oliver has essentially conceded that, for the most serious crimes (generally, Uniform Crime Reports “violent” crimes) there is virtually no evidence of racial disparity. Given that these are the kinds of crimes that are most likely to result in incarceration, and likely to produce long prison sentences, that’s quite a lot to concede.

Second, we’ll happily concede that the enforcement of drug laws is particularly tough on the black community. (Indeed, we said this in our article.) This isn’t any sort of evidence of white racism toward blacks. But neither is it a benign situation.

Finally, an open question conserns “mid-level” offenses: felonies which are not the most serious felonies. The Sentencing Commission has produced some good, but hardly decisive evidence of racial discrimination. However even the liberal Journal-Sentinel, in discussing the Sentencing Commission study, said that:
Poor data collection and sentencing factors make it unclear, however, what role race and ethnicity play, the commission concludes. . . .

. . . [A]nswering the question on the role of race and ethnicity - without leaving any room for doubt - is what it will take for the right people to take ownership of the right changes necessary. In other words, using true, straight-up, apple-to-apple comparisons. . . .
Our own data show that among persons imprisoned for Uniform Crime Report “property” offenses blacks serve shorter sentences.

What is going on with all this is a puzzle, but we have a considerable problem seeing how a criminal justice system that is pretty clearly not discriminating against blacks where the most serious offenses are concerned would be doing so with lesser offenses.

Perhaps some good will come out of the Racial Disparity Commission. Oliver’s statements are, in fact, hopeful.

But let’s be clear on what the danger is. A lot of loose rhetoric about racial bias could lead to a sort of affirmative action program in which, to make the numbers “look better,” black offenders who ought to be charged, convicted and sent to prison aren’t. No change in the law would be necessary for this perverse result. Pressure on cops, prosecutors and judges could cause it to happen.

And we know who will be the victims.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

John Edwards: Racist or Politically Correct (Or Are They Both Really the Same)?

Yes, We Will Call You Unpatriotic

Via Badger Blogger, an account of how the city of San Francisco has again expressed its contempt for the U.S. military.
SAN FRANCISCO, Sep. 24, 2007 (KGO) - New York said “yes,” but we said “no.” Why were the U.S. Marines denied permission to film a recruiting commercial on the streets of San Francisco?

San Francisco is, once again, the center of a controversy over how city leaders treat the U.S. military. This time, it involves an elite group of Marines who wanted to film a recruitment commercial in San Francisco on the anniversary of 9/11.

The tension has been building in the two weeks since the city turned away members of the Silent Drill Platoon, and it boiled over Monday afternoon at a meeting of the San Francisco Film Commission.

The U.S. Marine Silent Drill Platoon performed Monday morning in New York’s Times Square. They filmed part of a recruitment commercial through the start of the morning rush hour -- something they could not do in San Francisco on the anniversary of 9/11.

“It’s insulting, it’s demeaning. This woman is going to insult these young heroes by just arbitrarily saying, ‘no, you’re not going to film any Marines on California Street,’” said Captain Greg Corrales of the SFPD Traffic Bureau.

Captain Greg Corrales commands the police traffic bureau that works with crews shooting commercials, TV shows and movies in the city. He’s also a Marine veteran and his son is serving his third tour of duty in Iraq.

He says Film Commission Executive Director Stefanie Coyote would only allow the Marine’s production crew to film on California Street if there were no Marines in the picture. They wound up filming the empty street and will have to superimpose the Marines later.

“Ms. Coyote’s politics blinded her to her duty as the director of the Film Commission and as a responsible citizen,” said Captain Corrales.

We asked Stefanie Coyote why they’re not allowing the Marines to shoot on California Street. She wouldn’t answer our questions.

At today’s Film Commission meeting, she said she wouldn’t let the Marines film because of rush hour.

“Traffic control was the issue,” explained Stefanie Coyote.

However, the Marines would have just shut down one lane of California Street for a few minutes at a time, and Captain Corrales points out the Film Commission often approves shoots for rush hour.

“If they want to get the job done, they find a way to get it done,” said Captain Corrales.

“The city of San Francisco made a statement saying, ‘we don’t like the war’ by shutting down the troops. I don’t think that was the right thing to do,” explained Eric Snyder, a U.S. Marine.

“I wish to hell she would leave her politics at home and take care of the city business and the bridge business on an even keel basis,” said Mike Paige, a Korea veteran.

Captain Corrales and several other Marine veterans came to the Film Commission Monday afternoon. They see this as just the latest insult along with the city blocking the USS Iowa from docking here, banning the junior ROTC from high schools, and trying to ban the yearly Blue Angels air show.

“This -- a slap in the face of every veteran and every parent of men and women who are doing their duty -- is shameful,” said Captain Corrales.

The Marines we spoke with also make the point that the city allows street demonstrations, anti-war protests and other events which snarl traffic, such as Critical Mass. They still don’t understand why the Marines got turned away.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Black/White School Achievement Gap in Wisconsin

From the Journal-Sentinel:
The average reading ability for fourth- and eighth-grade black students in Wisconsin is the lowest of any state, and the reading achievement gap between black students and white students in Wisconsin continues to be the worst in the nation.

Those are among the facts found in a mass of testing results released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education, the latest results from a long-standing federal program called the National Assessment of Education Progress. It is the closest thing to a nationwide standardized testing program for reading and math ability.

The gap between blacks and whites was worse in Wisconsin than, say, Louisiana? Yes.

The average score for black fourth-graders in reading was lower than, say, Washington, D.C., or Alabama? Yes.

“I find it very distressing to look at this,” said Elizabeth Burmaster, Wisconsin superintendent of public instruction. “There isn’t anything more important (in education). This is the civil rights issue of our country.”
It may very well be that, but is the traditional kind of civil rights thinking adequate to deal with it?

One refreshing and honest perspective came from a black leader.
Wendell Harris, chairman of the education committee of the Milwaukee chapter of the NAACP, said, “I know we’ve got to do better in school, there’s no question about that.”

But, he said, “really, from my standpoint, (it’s) families. . . . We can’t keep making excuses for parents.”

Harris said many parents live amid difficult circumstances, but “we have to do our best to try to get our children educated whatever our own circumstances are.”

He added, “We have to become more willing to hold everyone accountable and not just the teachers.”
Wow!

We can’t imagine Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson saying that.

But we’ll make progress on the issue only to the extent that people are willing to tell the truth.

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So That’s What You Meant

Black Racism and “The Jena Six”

From Front Page Magazine:
Because they generally consider it bad manners to draw attention to obvious examples of black racism, the media -- in concert with contemporary America’s self-anointed champions of “civil rights” and “civil liberties” -- have recently put on a spectacular exhibition in the art of depicting black racism not as what it is, but rather as the unfortunate by-product of an allegedly underlying white racism. At issue is the case of the so-called “Jena Six” -- the half-dozen black Louisiana youths who brutally beat an apparently loudmouthed white youth named Justin Barker last December. In the wake of that incident, the American Civil Liberties Union complained -- as did the political Left at large -- that the local district attorney was unjustified in having initially charged the defendants with attempted murder in this case of “questionable circumstances.”

Those circumstances were as follows: Last December 4 at Louisiana’s Jena High School, football player Mychal Bell led a gang of eight to ten fellow black students in pummeling Barker into unconsciousness in what the Jena Times called “one of the most violent attacks in Jena High School’s history.” Witnesses would later report that Barker’s attackers had “stomped him badly,” “stepped on his face” while he was “knocked out cold on the ground,” and “slammed his head on the concrete beam.” The media focused heavily on the notion that three white Jena students had provoked the attack by having hung nooses -- evoking images of lynchings -- from a tree (on campus) in whose vicinity blacks allegedly were unwelcome. Quite apart from the question of whether a dumb (non-violent) prank by a bunch of teenage idiots is grounds for a violent assault, the fact is that Barker was not even involved in the prank.
The author of the piece, John Perazzo, doesn’t flinch in saying that the real problem here is black racism.
Black racism also accounts for the fact that the vast majority of interracial violent crimes are of the black-on-white variety, and that statistically the “average” black is many times more likely to attack a white, than vice versa. While not all interracial crimes are motivated by racial animosities, many of them -- like this recently videotaped gang assault in Virginia -- certainly are.

But why should black racism be prevalent in America at this comparatively late stage in our nation’s evolution -- long after the rise of equal-opportunity mandates, affirmative action policies, civil rights advances, and the stigmatization of racism to the point where “racist” is by far the epithet most feared by whites, be they political figures, business leaders, clergy, academics, or social commentators?

It’s actually quite simple. Black racism remains a dynamic phenomenon because African Americans have been told, ad nauseam, by “civil rights leaders” and by leftist whites in influential organizations like the ACLU, to look outside of themselves for the roots of every ill that plagues their community; to reflexively blame white society for their problems rather than to take responsibility for their own lives; and to view themselves as the oppressed and powerless victims of a white “power structure,” a status they are led to believe renders them somehow incapable of being genuine racists themselves -- no matter how much they may detest the white people they perceive to be their tormentors. Moreover, they have been taught to angrily reject astute observations like those of Bill Cosby, who has publicly lamented how illegitimacy, parental neglect, lack of educational effort, and bad behavior have decimated black life.

Only the victim mentality fostered by the “civil rights” champions of our day could have prompted tens of thousands of people to think that rallying on behalf of the Jena Six was a worthwhile use of their time. Having listened for so long to the “civil rights” establishment’s incessant depictions of the United States as a land of racial inequity, many black Americans have become angry, embittered racists themselves. They are among the legions who, in the words of black columnist Michael Meyers, zealously “transform themselves into the apostles of their own delusions.”
Clearly this analysis doesn’t apply to all blacks, and probably not even to a majority (although a majority may buy into substantial parts of this dysfunctional mythology). But it does apply to enough to cause social havoc.

Who around Marquette is part of the problem?

The Diversity Commission of Marquette University Student Government’s Program Board.

According to the Tribune, MUSG Commissioner of Diversity John Lee, in explaining a “solidarity event” for the thugs in Jena, said it was “an educational opportunity for all Marquette students.”
“Racism still exists today,” he said. “If we learn about it and discuss it, we are better equipped to prevent it.”
But leftist campus activists are not really going to “learn about it.”

They are going to engage in politically correct blather.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Taste of What Socialized Medicine Would Look Like

Via Modern Commentaries, an example of what a government monopoly on health care means:
People with advanced bowel cancer have been offered fresh hope of a potential cure, according to a study.

Researchers found that one in nine patients could have cancers that had spread to their livers cleared by a combination of the drug Avastin and chemotherapy.

The drug works by attacking the blood vessels which feed tumours, thereby starving it of nutrients and causing it to shrink.

Previous research has found that the drug, combined with chemotherapy, could extend advanced bowel cancer patients’ lives by five months.

Despite this, the National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) ruled in January that local health care trusts should not make it available on the NHS because at £18,000 per patient it was “not cost-effective”.

Ian Beaumont, of Bowel Cancer UK, said yesterday: “In the past metastatic [advanced] patients have been looking at a bleak prognosis. To get to the point where their cancers could be curable is a really significant step.

“This confirms our belief that we are moving towards a new era in which these tumours, which were previously inoperable, can be operated on and cleared.

“We always believed these drugs were better than Nice claimed. The data Nice based their decision on was way out of date, and this shows the benefits are far greater than those highlighted in the Nice assessment.”

In July, Victoria Otley, 57, won a High Court case to overturn the decision of her primary care trust to refuse her Avastin. Miss Otley, of Dagenham, Essex, was told that without the drug she would not live more than three to six months.

She had raised £15,000 to pay for supplies of Avastin, with other drugs and her condition improved but when the drugs ran out, Barking and Dagenham Primary Care Trust refused to pay for any more.

It said the drug was not cost effective but the High Court quashed the decision saying Miss Otley’s was an exceptional case. The ruling did not affect the Nice guidance.

About 35,000 new cases of bowel cancer are diagnosed in Britain each year.

Prof David Cunningham, from Royal Marsden Hospital, London, said: “In the past we would be forced to tell patients with metastatic bowel cancer that has spread extensively there was nothing we could do but extend their lives as much as possible.

“Now with newer combinations of drugs we are able to offer some hope that we can beat the disease even if patients present in an advanced state.”

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Does Wisconsin Lock Up Too Many Blacks?

Our article is finally out.

In it, we challenge the notion that widespread racial discrimination is the reason for the fact that blacks are disproportionately imprisoned in Wisconsin.

Why are blacks disproportionately imprisoned? Because they commit more crimes.

Of course, we can’t rule out the possibility that, somewhere in the system, there is some racism. Of course, there may also be some racial affirmative action, with black offenders getting more lenient treatment. But on the whole, the prison population in Wisconsin looks about like the population of people who commit crimes.

Exhibit One: The Racial Disparity Index

Blacks, compared to whites, are much more likely to be locked up in Wisconsin. In fact, Wisconsin has one of the highest disparity ratios in the nation. But in reality, Wisconsin is about where it should be in relation to other states.

If one looks at disparity ratios, one finds that:

(1.) They are high were a large portion of the black population lives in the central cities of Metropolitan Statistical Areas. As blogger James Harris is fond of saying, “it’s the culture, stupid.” This is why the South has low disparity ratios.

(2.) They are higher where a large portion of the black population lives in poverty, and. . .

(3.) They are lower when a large portion of the white population lives in poverty (where more whites commit crimes, they drive down the disparity ratio).

When one creates a statistical model taking these factors into account, Wisconsin actually has a somewhat lower racial disparity index than one would expect.

Exhibit Two: Time Served in Prison

We looked at people released from prison in Wisconsin during the years 1998-2002. Are blacks kept in prison longer for the same offenses? We found that, controlling for gender, Hispanic ethnicity and having served a previous sentence, blacks served essentially the same sentence for a violent crime, but about five months less for a property crime. For a drug crime, black offenders served about 1.5 months less than a white would.

Exhibit Three: Prison Admissions

Using data from 1998-2002, we produced a statistical model of prison admission by county in Wisconsin as a function of the number of reported crimes. There was, of course, an absurdly strong relationship: more reported crimes meant more people thrown into prison.

We then added to the model the number of blacks in the population of each county. If blacks are disproportionately imprisoned, counties with a large number of blacks should show more prison admissions, even holding the number of crimes constant.

For property crimes, this indeed was the case, suggesting a bias against blacks where property crimes are concerned. But remember (see above) this is counterbalanced by the fact that blacks serve shorter sentences for property crimes.

Where violent crimes were concerned, more blacks in a county produced fewer prison admissions, even after controlling for the number of reported crimes. This suggests that black offenders get off a bit easier than whites.

Exhibit Four: Do “Less Qualified” Blacks Get Imprisoned?

Here, we looked at the number of prior felony convictions of people admitted to the Wisconsin prison system during 2001-2006. Prior felony convictions have a huge effect on whether an offender will get prison (as opposed to probation), and on the length of the sentence imposed.

If blacks are victims of discrimination, we would expect that more of the blacks admitted to prison would have no prior convictions. That is to say, if you are black you can get thrown into prison even though you are less “qualified” for prison than a white. Consider it a bizarre affirmative action program.

But in reality, 48.2% of the whites admitted to prison in Wisconsin have no prior felony convictions, while only 37.5% of blacks have no prior felony convictions. It is, apparently, easier for a white to get thrown into the slammer than a black.

Exhibit Five: Who Commits More Crimes?

If blacks are “over represented” in the prison population in Wisconsin, is this the result of discrimination? It’s not if blacks are equally over represented among those who commit crimes.

Most crime statistics do not provide the race of the offender, but a new system of reporting -- the Incident Based Reporting System used by the Milwaukee Police Department -- does. When we analyze that data, we find that blacks in the city of Milwaukee commit violent crimes at eight times the rate of whites.

(The race of the offender is missing most of the time where property crimes are concerned, so we can’t do any meaningful analysis of those.)

It is difficult to know whether blacks are over incarcerated in Milwaukee County, since the incident reporting data applies only to the city of Milwaukee, and prison admissions data are available only from Milwaukee County. If we knew the proportion of all offenses in the suburbs committed by blacks, we could figure this out. But we don’t, so we can’t.

Still, eight to one is a pretty lopsided ratio. It makes it obvious that most (and perhaps all) of the “over incarceration” of blacks is the result of blacks doing more crimes.

Conclusion

We make some additional points in the article, especially about the fact that the vast majority of the victims of black crime are themselves black. Wanting to keep black criminals out of prison is, in effect, to want more blacks victimized.

But a large part of the black political establishment, like the white liberal establishment, seems to want that. Maybe they haven’t thought of the issue in this way. But if they haven’t, why haven’t they?

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Xoff’s Double Standard on Free Speech

Leftist Bill Christofferson, on Uppity Wisconsin, has a post huffing and puffing about how Charlie Sykes is a big bully.

As the story goes:
Richard Abdoo is the CEO of Wisconsin Energy Corp., based in Milwaukee. Earlier this fall, Abdoo sent a $250 check to the peace group Not in Our Name (www.notinourname.net).

As a result, his name was listed as one of the 30,000 endorsers of the group’s “Statement of Conscience Against War and Repression.” And he was identified as “Chairman of the Board, president and CEO, Wisconsin Energy Corp.” Abdoo said the donation was strictly a personal one.
Sykes, like other talk radio hosts, attacked Abdoo for the contribution, and after a considerable public uproar, Abdoo sent out an e-mail apologizing for having made it.

For Christofferson, this is about how “right-wing talk radio, which -- aided and abetted by the squishy local newspaper -- used the airwaves to shut up a dissenting voice in Milwaukee.”

The logic here is so bad that a poster quickly provided a little lesson in what free speech really means.

Let me see if I have this straight.

Mr. Abdoo choose to exercise his first amendment rights and support a group of people who are opposed to the war.

Mr. Sykes choose to exercise his first amendment rights and spoke out negatively against Mr. Abdoo and his political views.

A group of citizens choose to not economically support the company Mr. Abdoo works for because of his political views.

Let’s take them one at a time.

Mr. Abdoo supported a certain political view and then was held accountable for it. That is how it works. We do have the right to free speech but we also may be held accountable for it. If you tell your wife that her jeans make her butt look big, you will be held accountable. I have never understood why people think the first amendment should protect them from the things they say. . . .

Mr. Sykes used his popularity to express his concern over Mr. Abdoo’s political views. That is what radio hosts do. And Mr. Sykes is held accountable for what he says. If people stop listening to his show, the sponsors will stop sending the station money. But people do listen so they must like what they hear or at least respect Mr. Sykes right to say them.

100 – 150 people contacted Wisconsin Energy to express their concern. That is what consumers do. We choose where and with whom we will spend our dollars. . . . My wife and I recently left a car lot because we did not like something the salesman said. We bought a car somewhere else. He had every right to say what he said, and we had every right to go somewhere else. Not only do we have the freedom of speech in this country, we also have the freedom of choice.

And how does any of this have anything to do with the Patriot Act? The first amendment has around since before 911.

And then there is this.

“We believe that questioning, criticism, and dissent must be valued and protected. We understand that such rights and values are always contested and must be fought for.”

For some reason, Mr. Abdoo’s questioning, criticism and dissent must be protected and Mr. Sykes questioning, criticism and dissent must be stopped.

But it gets worse.

Deeply skeptical that Christofferson really believes that people should be able to say anything without consequences, we searched the blog for “Don Imus.”

And of course we found a post by Christofferson’s cohort RKing on the shock jock.
NBC drops racist Imus

General Motors pulled their advertising dollars away from racist hate.
American Express pulled their advertising dollars away from racist hate.
Sprint pulled their advertising dollars away from racist hate.
Nextel pulled their advertising dollars away from racist hate.
GlaxoSmithKline pulled their advertising dollars away from racist hate.
TD Ameritrade pulled their advertising dollars away from racist hate.
Ditech.com pulled their advertising dollars away from racist hate.

So, who is putting advertising dollars into Rush’s vulgar hate show?
So, who is putting advertising dollars into Hannity’s vulgar hate show?
So, who is putting advertising dollars into O’Reilly’s vulgar hate show?
So, who is putting advertising dollars into FOX Whore News in general?
So, who is putting advertising dollars into any racist and vulgar hate show?

CBS fires Imus from radio Now let’s go after Rush, Hannity etc...
If somebody could corner Christofferson on this, we’re pretty sure that he would explain that what Richard Abdoo did was . . . well . . . good, and therefore he should not face any flack because of it. But on the other hand, Imus (like Rush and Hannity and O’Reilly and Fox News) is evil, and thus it was good to take his job away.

The simple truth, of course, is that there is a nasty strain of authoritarianism among 21st century liberals. They simply can’t abide nor tolerate views different from their own, and they can’t accept that the rules that apply to everybody else apply to them.

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The Death of Blogs?

From Ted Olsen at Christianity Today, a quote we could not resist:
As weblogs proliferated earlier this decade, Andy Warhol’s famous aphorism was modified to read, “In the future, everyone will be famous to 15 people.” Now it looks like Warhol was right after all: Thanks to widespread blog burnout, everyone will be famous to 15 people for 15 minutes.
Read the whole article, with its interesting observations.

It’s clear that blogging is not as trendy now as it was in the Spring of 2005 when we started the Marquette Warrior.

But there continue to be people with something to say, and people good at culling information from non-mainstream sources, and people not part of the mainstream media who can do good reporting. So if blogging isn’t trendy anymore, it’s not going to go away either.

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Academic Freedom for Whom?

The Truth About the Jena 6

It’s provided a huge dose of self-righteousness for people who would like to relive the Civil Rights movement.

We are talking, of course about the “Jena 6,” six black youth who viciously beat a white student in Jena, LA.

It was, at very best, an example of vigilante justice, since the white guy supposedly had hung nooses from a tree that was a “whites only” gathering place on school grounds.

One would think that blacks have themselves been victims of vigilante justice often enough not to embrace the concept. But we suppose some people think in terms of “payback.”

Via The National Conversation, some sober thoughts on the issue from a black columnist.
Now we love Mychal Bell, the star of the 2006 Jena (La.) High School football team, the teenage boy who has sat in jail since December for his role in a six-on-one beatdown of a fellow student.

Thursday, thousands of us, proud African-Americans, expressed our devotion to and desire to see justice for the “Jena Six,” the half-dozen black students who knocked unconscious, kicked and stomped a white classmate.

Jesse Jackson compared Thursday’s rallies in Jena to the protests and marches that used to take place in cities like Selma, Ala., in the 1960s. Al Sharpton claimed Thursday’s peaceful demonstrations were to highlight racial inequities in the criminal justice system.

Jesse and Al, as they’re prone to do, served a kernel of truth stacked on a mountain of lies.

There are undeniable racial and economic inequities in our criminal justice system, and from afar the “Jena Six” rallies certainly looked and felt like the righteous protests of the 1960s.

But the reality is Thursday’s protests are just another sign that we remain deeply locked in denial about the path we need to travel today for true American liberation, equality and power in the new millennium.

The fact that we waited to love Mychal Bell until after he’d thrown away a Division I football scholarship and nine months of his life is just as heinous as the grossly excessive attempted-murder charges that originally landed him in jail.

Reed Walters, the Jena district attorney, is being accused of racism because he didn’t show Bell compassion when the teenager was brought before the court for the third time on assault charges in a two-year span.

Where was our compassion long before Bell got into this kind of trouble?

That’s the question that needed to be asked in Jena and across the country on Thursday. But it wasn’t asked because everyone has been lied to about what really transpired in the small southern town.

There was no “schoolyard fight” as a result of nooses being hung on a whites-only tree.

Justin Barker, the white victim, was cold-cocked from behind, knocked unconscious and stomped by six black athletes. Barker, luckily, sustained no life-threatening injuries and was released from the hospital three hours after the attack.

A black U.S. attorney, Don Washington, investigated the “Jena Six” case and concluded that the attack on Barker had absolutely nothing to do with the noose-hanging incident three months before. The nooses and two off-campus incidents were tied to Barker’s assault by people wanting to gain sympathy for the “Jena Six” in reaction to Walters’ extreme charges of attempted murder.

Much has been written about Bell’s trial, the six-person all-white jury that convicted him of aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery and the clueless public defender who called no witnesses and offered no defense. It is rarely mentioned that no black people responded to the jury summonses and that Bell’s public defender was black.

It’s almost never mentioned that Bell’s absentee father returned from Dallas and re-entered his son’s life only after Bell faced attempted-murder charges. At a bond hearing in August, Bell’s father and a parade of local ministers promised a judge that they would supervise Bell if he was released from prison.

Where were the promises and supervision before any of this?

It’s rarely mentioned that Bell was already on probation for assault when he was accused of participating in Barker’s attack. And it’s never mentioned that white people in the “racist” town of Jena provided Bell support and protected his football career long before Jesse, Al, Bell’s father and all the others took a sincere interest in Mychal Bell.

You won’t hear about any of that because it doesn’t fit the picture we want to paint of Jena, this case, America and ourselves.

We don’t practice preventive medicine. Mychal Bell needed us long before he was cuffed and jailed. Here is another undeniable, statistical fact: The best way for a black (or white) father to ensure that his son doesn’t fall victim to a racist prosecutor is by participating in his son’s life on a daily basis.

That fact needed to be shared Thursday in Jena. The constant preaching of that message would short-circuit more potential “Jena Six” cases than attributing random acts of six-on-one violence to three-month-old nooses.

And I am in no way excusing the nooses. The responsible kids should’ve been expelled. A few years after I’d graduated, a similar incident happened at my high school involving our best football player, a future NFL tight end. He was expelled.

The Jena school board foolishly overruled its principal and suspended the kids for three days.

But the kids responsible for Barker’s beating deserve to be punished. The prosecutor needed to be challenged on his excessive charges. And we as black folks need to question ourselves about why too many of us can only get energized to help our young people once they’re in harm’s way.

I’ve been the spokesman for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City for six years. Getting black men to volunteer to mentor for just two hours a week to the more than 100 black boys on a waiting list is a yearly crisis. It’s a nationwide crisis for the organization. In Kansas City, we’re lucky if we get 20 black Big Brothers a year.

You don’t want to see any more “Jena Six” cases? Love Mychal Bell before he violently breaks the law.
Also, check out what Juan Williams had to say on NPR. Key quote: “there’s this desire to go back in time, but it is not realistic and that’s not the struggle of our day.”

In this, as in so many issues, there is a viewpoint that makes the activists feel all moral and self-righteous, and then there are the complexities of the real world. The latter don’t feed the ego very well.

And they don’t fit the politically correct template very well. Which is why they are so rarely discussed on a college campus.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Secular Relgious Intolerance at Oxford

From the Times:
The teaching of theology at the University of Oxford has suffered a serious blow with a damning report that recommends ending the admission of school-leavers to some of its colleges.

The official report, which has been seen by The Times, raises grave concerns about the narrow Christian education that is being received by some of the younger students.

The review, conducted by a university panel headed by Sir Colin Lucas, a former vice-chancellor, concludes that Oxford’s seven Christian private halls risk failing to provide a rounded learning experience in keeping with Oxford’s liberal ethos.

In particular, it highlights concerns about the educational quality of life for young students at the university’s Anglican theological colleges.

The report will be seen as an attack on the evangelical wing of the Church of England, which draws intellectual credibility from the association of one of its colleges, Wycliffe Hall, with Oxford.

According to the report, what is on offer at Wycliffe does not resemble “an Oxford experience in its essentials” and is not “a suitable educational environment for the full intellectual development of young undergraduates”.

Wycliffe and St Stephen’s House, an Anglo-Catholic theological college at Oxford, have been told that they can no longer admit school-leavers to study undergraduate degrees. This will cut the number of students by as much as a quarter. This could have a “critical” effect on the department, the review admits.

Halls could risk losing their Oxford University licences altogether if they teach a fundamentalist Biblical doctrine on sexual ethics and in other areas of theology.

Wycliffe has this year been at the centre of a dispute between different traditions in the Church. In an unprecedented breach of normal academic protocol, the new principal, Dr Richard Turnbull, a conservative evangelical, was attacked in a letter by three former principals, who were from a more “open” evangelical tradition and demanded his resignation. At least five out of thirteen academics are no longer on the staff. The review, commissioned before the row at Wycliffe became public, could signal a sea change in the status accorded to theology at Oxford. It is an indication that the atheistic creed, preached by dons such as Richard Dawkins, is in the ascendancy.

It comes as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, travels to the US to meet Episcopal bishops in his struggle to resolve the disputes between evangelicals and liberals in the Anglican Communion.

According to sources on the conservative wing, Dr Williams’s plan to celebrate a secret Communion service for gay and lesbian clergy in London could end his hopes for unity. Dr Williams was until 1992 Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford.

The review indicates that the Anglican intellectual establishment is firmly on the side of the liberal teachings espoused by Dr Williams during his time at Oxford.

The review, chaired by Sir Colin Lucas was commissioned before the row became public, but drafted when the controversy was at its height.

The review into the university’s seven “permanent private halls” – two Anglican, one Baptist and three Roman Catholic – has already been approved by the University Council and is to be implemented soon.

“There are plenty of academics at Oxford who would like to see no theology taught there at all,” said one source.
The people who would like to shut up conservative Christian views at Oxford are, in other contexts, people who preach the virtues of “tolerance” and “diversity.” But they are not tolerant of people whom they view as too conservative.

Indeed, they consider it a virtue to shut up people with whom they disagree, since, after all, such people are “intolerant.”

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Feingold Supports Petraeus Smear Ad from Move-On.org

Here is some background.

Here is the breakdown.

Amendment Number: S.Amdt. 2934 to S.Amdt. 2011 to H.R. 1585 (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008)

Statement of Purpose: To express the sense of the Senate that General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.

Akaka (D-HI), Nay
Alexander (R-TN), Yea
Allard (R-CO), Yea
Barrasso (R-WY), Yea
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Biden (D-DE), Not Voting
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Boxer (D-CA), Nay
Brown (D-OH), Nay
Brownback (R-KS), Yea
Bunning (R-KY), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Byrd (D-WV), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Not Voting
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Yea
Clinton (D-NY), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Coleman (R-MN), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Yea
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
Craig (R-ID), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
DeMint (R-SC), Yea
Dodd (D-CT), Nay
Dole (R-NC), Yea
Domenici (R-NM), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Nay
Ensign (R-NV), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Feingold (D-WI), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagel (R-NE), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Inouye (D-HI), Nay
Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kennedy (D-MA), Nay
Kerry (D-MA), Nay
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Nay
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Levin (D-MI), Nay
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lott (R-MS), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Yea
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Nay
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Obama (D-IL), Not Voting
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Nay
Reid (D-NV), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Nay
Sessions (R-AL), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Smith (R-OR), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Stevens (R-AK), Yea
Sununu (R-NH), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Warner (R-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Nay

What this shows, quite simply, is a lack of simple decency on the part of liberal Democrats. Absurdly self-righteous about their concern for the poor, blacks, human rights and a host of other nice-sounding generalities, they happily accept smears directed toward people who disagree with their political agenda.

When you are a great believer in social justice, acting decently toward people on the other side of key issues doesn’t really seem necessary

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More Intolerance from Academic Feminists

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
(09-15) 16:10 PDT -- Lawrence Summers, the controversial former president of Harvard University, has been replaced as the planned speaker at a UC Board of Regents dinner next week after complaints from faculty members.

“(UC Regents) Chairman Richard Blum and Dr. Summers talked last Thursday and agreed that the regents would have a different speaker,” Trey Davis, director of special projects for the UC system, said Saturday.

Davis was unable to say whether a protest letter signed by more than 300 people from the university system had any effect on the decision to find a different speaker for the regents’ dinner in Sacramento on Wednesday. He referred those questions to Blum, who is out of the country.

Summers, who was Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton, resigned from Harvard last year after a long-running clash with some faculty members over his questioning whether women might not have the same innate ability as men in disciplines such as science, math and engineering. He also had thorny relations with minority faculty members during his time at the university.

While Summers later apologized for his remarks, which he said were misinterpreted, it didn’t slow the criticism, which continues to this day.

“I was appalled and stunned that someone like Summers would even be invited to speak to the regents,” said UC Davis Professor Maureen Stanton, who helped put together the petition drive. “I think many of us who were involved in the protest believed that it wouldn’t reflect well on the university that he even received the invitation.”

The petition called Summers’ invitation “not only misguided but inappropriate” at a time when the university is working to diversify its community.

“Inviting a keynote speaker who has come to symbolize gender and racial prejudice in academia conveys the wrong message to the University community and to the people of California,” the petition said.

The decision to dump Summers as the speaker at the dinner was abrupt. His name was on the dinner invitation that went out Aug. 31, along with other information about the three-day meeting at UC Davis, Davis said.

“The dinner is an informal, social occasion, with more of a conversation with the speaker than a formal talk,” he added. Blum, who is the husband of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, made the original decision to invite Summers.
Summers, at Harvard, attended a conference discussing the underrepresentation of women in the sciences. He was told to be “provocative.” After discussing the standard politically-correct notions, he suggested that women may be inherently less likely to be among the tiny group of the highest math achievers.

The feminist banshees went ballistic.

Interestingly, it’s perfectly acceptable among feminists to believe there are inherent differences between men and women. But there is a catch: you have to believe that women are superior!

You also better not say anything that undermines the interests of academic feminists in affirmative action preferences for female academics.

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Again . . . and Again!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Unitarian-Universalist Pagans

Sometimes, one runs across a web page that one assumes to be a parody.

And sometimes, it turns out to be entirely serious.

Thus it was with Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. The page exclaims:
Welcome to CUUPS!!

Explore the beauty of Pagan, Goddess, and Earth-centered spiritualities woven together with Unitarian Universalism.

The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, Inc. (CUUPS) is an Independent Affiliate of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA). The Statement of Purpose in our bylaws states that CUUPS exists to enable:
  • Networking among Pagan-identified UUs; providing outreach of Unitarian Universalism to the broader Pagan community continentally.
  • Providing educational materials on Paganism for Unitarian Universalist congregations and the general public.
  • Promoting Pagan - Jewish & Christian dialogue; encouraging the development of theo/alogical and liturgical materials based on earth and nature centered religious and spiritual perspectives.
  • Encouraging greater use of music, dance, visual arts, poetry, story, and creative ritual in Unitarian Universalist worship and celebration.
  • Providing support for Pagan-identified UU religious professionals and ministerial students; and fostering healing relationships with our mother the Earth and all her children.
OK, does it still look like a parody?

Well . . . the official Unitarian-Universalist web site has the following blurb:
There are many Wiccans, witches, Pagans, and people with other earth-based spiritualities who lead and worship in Unitarian Universalist congregations. At last count, 19 percent of our members identified with an Earth/Nature centered faith. This is one of the fastest-growing groups within our faith.

The sources of inspiration for the UU faith are too many to be counted, but delegates from each congregation have agreed that one of the predominant sources of our faith is, “Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.”

In addition to modern Paganism, many Unitarian Universalists find spiritual inspiration in other forms of nature-based spirituality, including simple seasonal reverence, modern Transcendentalism, and other nature-honoring paths.
The Unitarians, of course, consider themselves open, tolerant, inclusive and non-dogmatic.

But at what point does not standing for anything become itself a dogmatic principle?

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

At Least Somebody Likes Me

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Student Government President Won’t Talk to Bloggers

A somewhat disturbing post on the blog The MUSG Disconnect records the fact that MUSG President Brock Banks refuses to talk to bloggers.

Specifically, he sent blogger Joseph Schuster the following e-mail:
My door is always open to talk with students about particular concerns or ideas that they may have. In fact, you can stop by the MUSG office (AMU 133) to review my hours of availability.

However, I am aware that you have a blog that also serves as a forum to address MUSG issues. It has been and continues to be MUSG policy not to do interviews with or provide press releases to individuals bloggers. These are reserved for media outlets such as the Marquette Tribune, Warrior, and other such news sources. Any “interview” would have to be strictly off the record and not for the purpose of your blog. If you have further questions about our policy, please contact the Communications Vice President Jillian Mertz.

If you have a particular question or concern, please do not hesitate to come to the office. I am more than willing to help out in any way that I can.
Why won’t Banks talk to bloggers? He doesn’t explain, but we imagine it might have something to do with the fact that bloggers are capable of being pretty critical of MUSG.

We wrote Banks, asking whether the Schuster post was accurate. His response (or rather non-response):
Thanks for offering me the opportunity to respond, but I’m going to decline.
In other words, stonewall.

There must be something in the air in the Alumni Memorial Union that turns the people there into timid, risk averse petty bureaucrats. First the University Ministry won’t let the student organization Catholic Outreach talk to The Warrior, and now Banks refuses to talk to The MUSG Disconnect -- or to us, for that matter.

Banks failure to respond simply reinforces Schuster’s view of student government. What we have are students who pretend to be important, and go through the motions of being important in their little playpen, but who in fact are divorced from any real student concerns.

Brandon Henak at GOP3.COM views the organization the same way.

Stubbornly refusing to communicate to anybody who might be critical is not going to help the image of MUSG.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Philip Agee: Cold War Traitor Has Fans in the University Ministry

From a post on (of all places) the Internet JFK assassination newsgroup:

Wednesday, Sept 19, 12 noon - 1pm, Marquette Univ. Alumni Memorial Union, Ballroom A, 15th & Wells Street, Milwaukee; Soup with Substance screening of the film, “One Man’s Story: Philip Agee, Cuba and the CIA”, and Agee’s update, with discussion sponsored by Campus Ministry at Marquette University.

This collaboration between Cuban and Irish co-directors Roberto Ruiz and Bernie Dwyer, respectively, focuses on a dark side of United States foreign policy. Filmed in Havana with excellent archive material of numerous US covert and direct involvements in Latin America, “One Man’s Story” allows Agee, a former CIA agent, to tell his part of his captivating story.

Agee is famous for his international best selling book, “Inside the Company,” which exposed his own assignments and a history CIA covert operations to undermine and even terrorize progressive and democratic movements for social justice, particularly in Latin America where he served for 12 years until his resignation in 1968. This DVD focuses particularly on the CIA’s targeting of Cuba and Che Guevara.

Agee will not be present. Apparently, he refuses to come to the US while President Bush is in office.
When an Agee supporter says “progressive and democratic movements for social justice,” that means “Communist movements.”

The event is also listed here.

Agee, quite simply, was a traitor.

In 1975, he published Inside the Company: CIA Diary in which he identified 250 CIA officers and agents.

Agee was not simply a freelance critic of the CIA.
Of those [CIA defectors], the worst is arguably Philip Agee, who left the CIA and published the seditious Covert Action Information Bulletin, with the help of both the KGB and the Cuban DGI, a magazine dedicated to promoting “a worldwide campaign to destabilize the CIA through exposure of its operations and personnel.” Agee told Swiss journalist Peter Studer, “The CIA is plainly on the wrong side, that is, the capitalistic side. I approve KGB activities, communist activities in general. Between the overdone activities that the CIA initiates and the more modest activities of the KGB, there is absolutely no comparison.” Today Agee runs a website from his home in Havana, Cubalinda.com, and is a dedicated communist.
He, in fact, received help from the KGB and from Cuban intelligence in his attempts to undermine the CIA.

The evidence that Agee was supported by the KGB, by the way, comes from something called the Mitrokin Archive -- a treasure trove of KGB documents that KGB defector Vasili Mitrokhin brought to the West. The documents were the basis of the book The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB.

So what we have here is the University Ministry still fighting the Cold War.

And even more absurdly, they are fighing it on the losing side!

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Ineffective

Community Must Face Black On Black Crime

From Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe.
Debating capital punishment at an Ivy League university a few years ago, I was confronted with the claim that since death sentences are more often meted out in cases where the victim is white, the death penalty must be racially biased. It’s a spurious argument, I replied. Whites commit fewer than half of all murders in the United States, yet more whites than blacks are sentenced to death and more whites than blacks are executed each year. (56 percent of death row inmates are white, and of the 53 murderers executed last year, 32 were white.) If there is racial bias in the system, it clearly doesn’t operate in favor of whites.

But if you do choose to focus on the race of victims, I added, remember that nearly all black homicide is intraracial -- more than nine out of 10 black murder victims in the United States are killed by black murderers. So applying the death penalty in more cases where the victim is black would mean sending more black men to death row.

After the debate, a young black woman accosted me indignantly. Ninety-plus percent of black blood is shed by black hands? What about all the victims of white supremacists? Hadn’t I heard of lynching? Hadn’t I heard of James Byrd, who died so horribly in Jasper, Texas? When I assured her that Byrd’s murder by whites was utterly untypical of most black homicide, she was dubious.

. . . [M]any Americans, like the woman at my debate, still seem to view racial questions through an antediluvian lens. To them, it is always the 1960s: White bigotry remains a clear and present danger, and the reason so many black Americans die before their time.

But the data aren’t in dispute. Though outrage over “racism” is ever fashionable, African-Americans have long had far less to fear from the violence of racist whites than from the mayhem of the black underclass.

“Do you realize that the leading killer of young black males is young black males?” asked Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan 16 years ago. “As a black man and a father of three, this really shakes me to the core of my being.”

From Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a veteran of the civil rights movement, came a similar cry of anguish. “Nothing in the long history of blacks in America,” he lamented in 1994, “suggests the terrible destruction blacks are visiting upon each other today.”

Happily, crime rates have declined from their 1990s peak. But it remains the case that the worst destruction in black America is self-inflicted.

In a new study, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics confirms once again that almost half the people murdered in the United States each year are black, and 93 percent of black homicide victims are killed by someone of their own race. (For white homicide victims, the figure is 85 percent.) In other words, of the estimated 8,000 African-Americans murdered in 2005, more than 7,400 were cut down by other African-Americans. Though blacks account for just one-eighth of the US population, the BJS reports, they are six times more likely than whites to be victimized by homicide -- and seven times more likely to commit homicide.

Such huge disproportions don’t just happen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously warned 40 years ago that the collapse of black family life would mean rising chaos and crime in the black community. Today, as many as 70 percent of black children are born out of wedlock or raised in fatherless households. And as reams of research confirm, children raised without married parents and intact, stable families are more likely to engage in antisocial behavior.

High rates of black violent crime are a national tragedy, but it is the law-abiding black majority that suffers from them most. “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life,” Jesse Jackson said in 1993, “than to walk down the street and hear footsteps . . . then turn around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

It isn’t an insoluble problem. Americans overcame white racism; they can overcome black crime, too. But the first step, as always, is to face the facts.
Having had a bizarre experience with some race hustling politicians on the Governor’s Commission on Reducing Racial Disparities in the Wisconsin Justice System, we know how deep the denial and demagoguery can go.

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New Blog on Marquette Student Government

This one is from Joseph Schuster, who is a conservative/libertarian, and had a radio show on Marquette radio last year.

It’s called “The MUSG Disconnect,” and as the name implies, it’s likely to be critical of student government.

Indeed, Schuster has the following statement on the masthead of his blog.
The Marquette University Student Government, affectionately known as MUSG is useless, it’s no secret, it’s just something that we at Marquette do not like to talk about. The purpose of this blog is to relate to the students of Marquette what MUSG does, or perhaps more accurately, does not do. Comments, and suggestions for postings are always welcome, contact me at joseph.schuster@marquette.edu.
It remains to be seen whether the blog will follow in the distinguished footsteps of the now defunct 1832/Campus Tavern, or equal the extraordinary record of GOP3.COM.

But we wish Schuster luck.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

See What 50 Years Will Do

Via e-mail, a reminder of how a five decades have changed America.
See What 50 Years Will Do

Scenario: Jack pulls into school parking lot with rifle in gun rack.

1957 - Vice Principal comes over, takes a look at Jack’s rifle, goes to his car and gets his rifle to show Jack .

2007 - School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.



Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

1957 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up best friends. Nobody goes to jail, nobody arrested, nobody expelled.

2007 - Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charges them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.



Scenario: Jeffrey won’t be still in class, disrupts other students.

1957 - Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by Principal. Jeffrey THEN sits still in class.

2007 - Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.



Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his father’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping.

1957 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.

2007 - Billy’s Dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. Billy’s sister is told by state psychologist that she remembers being abused herself and their Dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has affair with psychologist.



Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some headache medicine to school.

1957 - Mark shares headache medicine with Principal out on the smoking dock.

2007 - Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.



Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.

1957 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.

2007 - Pedro’s cause is taken up by state Democratic party. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro’s English teacher English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he can’t speak English.



Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed.

1957 - Ants die.

2007 - BATF, Homeland Security and FBI are called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny’s Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.



Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Miss Mary. Miss Mary then hugs Johnny to comfort him.

1957 - In a short time Johnny feels better and goes on playing.

2007 - Miss Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison.



Is something wrong here?
To quote something like this obviously marks one as an old geezer.

But it is a simple truth: not all social change is for the better.

And sometimes change is imposed by elites because it serves their own interests.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Rudy Attacks Hillary



It’s a good ad.

In the first place, it saddles Hillary with her record of supporting the Iraq War. Like John Kerry who “voted for the 85 billion dollars before he voted against it,” Hillary has done a flip-flop.

In the second place, it takes the side of General Petraeus against a smear from MoveOn.org.

While President Bush’s approval rating is in the tank, and the rating of Congress is even lower, public respect for the military is relatively high. So attacking a soldier isn’t good politics. At least not good general election politics.

(Of course it’s fine with the leftists among Democratic activists.)

How are the Democrats going to deal with ads like this? They have no good options.

They can, of course, claim that they were “lied to” by the Bush Administration.

The problem with this is that it makes Bush, whom they like to portray as a dolt, into a masterful deceiver. The Democrats would be admitting, in effect, that they were suckered. Between a successful deceiver, and somebody capable of being deceived, the American people eould probably prefer the former.

Of course, the Republicans can also pull out that footage of Bill Clinton (who until January 2001 had the same access to intelligence that Bush has now) saying that Saddam is seeking weapons of mass destruction, and will certainly use them.

Likewise with Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

One final thing for Rudy. As a pro-abortion and pro-gay agenda candidate, Republican social conservatives naturally have a problem with him.

But if Rudy can make the issue “Rudy vs. Hillary” virtually all Republicans will tend to rally around the former New York mayor.

It’s way better politics, indeed better Republican primary politics, to attack Hillary rather than attack his Republican rivals.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Faked Photo Used to Play Race Card, Smear Mequon Police

When the Spanish language paper El Conquistador ran a story about supposed racial profiling of Hispanics by the Mequon police, they supported the story with a photo that quickly proved to be fake.

The cops pictured leading an Hispanic-looking man away were not Mequon cops.

But a patch on the shoulder of the two cops in the photo showed them to be Mequon cops.

Badger Blogger has done a splendid job of showing exactly how the photo forgery was done.

How did El Conquistador respond? They said:
I heard the radio segment today concerning the front page photo simulating an arrest of a suspect by officers wearing Mequon Police Department patches in El Conquistador Newspaper front page. It was an oversight in our part not to include “Photo Simulated.” The simulation was provided in essence to testimony provided by Steve Graff, Chief of Police in Mequon....
That’s an interesting attempt to put the best face on the issue.

What the caption to the photo should have said is “Photo Forged.”

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