Thursday, January 31, 2008

Berkeley Wants to Toss Out Marine Recruiters

More from the tolerant left -- well . . . a left that is tolerant until somebody wants to do something of which they disapprove.
BERKELEY, Calif. — While the City Council here has little — read, no — sway over foreign policy and distant wars, local parking is a different matter. And so it was that a parking space directly in front of the recruiting station here for the Marine Corps was awarded on Tuesday night to an antiwar group in the hope of running the Marines out of town.

Having failed in recent years to impeach President Bush and stop the war in Afghanistan, members of the City Council approved a resolution that encourages people to nonviolently “impede, passively or actively,” the work of the recruiters.
Of course, we know what they would think of people who tried to “impede, passively or actively” an abortion clinic.
In taking on the Marines, the council also directed the city attorney to investigate legal means of ousting the recruiting station, calling the Marines “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” in this bastion of liberal politics, 1960s free speech and high-minded nonbinding resolutions.

Tom Bates, the city’s mayor and a former Army man himself, said the vote represented his constituents’ longstanding — and frequently vocal — distaste for current military activity.

“Berkeley has been opposed to the Iraq war since the beginning; it’s overwhelmingly unpopular in this community,” Mr. Bates said. “And people feel this is an opportunity to express their discontent.”

One of the nine council members, Gordon Wozniak, opposed the resolution and the parking spot.

“I believe in free speech, and I certainly respect the right of Code Pink to protest,” Mr. Wozniak said. “But I’m also concerned we treat all sides fairly, and I think the Marines recruiters are just doing their job. They’re not evil people.”

This is hardly the first attempt by Berkeley’s civic leaders, many of whom fondly remember the city’s antiwar heyday in the 1960s, to express their unhappiness with the whole concept of war. In 2006, the City Council and voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure calling for the impeachment of Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, citing “high crimes and misdemeanors” related to the war in Iraq and the fight against terrorism.

Despite the vote on Tuesday, Mr. Bates said it was not clear if the city could actually force the Marines to move out of town.

“They still have a year and a half on their lease,” he said.

That said, the resolution also calls for the city attorney to look into possible violations of the Berkeley municipal code regarding sexual discrimination by the Marines, and asks the city manager to write the Marine commandant and tell him that Semper Fi fans are “not welcome in our city.”

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Commission on Reducing Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice: Report Delayed Again

We have been following with considerable interest the work of the Wisconsin Commission on Reducing Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice, including run-ins with a couple of the more extreme members: State Senator Spencer Coggs and Tamara Grigsby, State Representative.

The report, the release of which was delayed once, was supposed to come out today.

But in fact it has been delayed until Monday. As of right now, no commission member (and this includes co-chairs Coggs and Madison Police Chief Noble Wray) has seen the final report -- the version they are supposed to sign off on.

This is symptomatic of a general lack of organization that has marked the Commission’s work.

People who are hoping for a broad gage attack on “racism” in the Wisconsin criminal justice system are going to be disappointed. Although the Commission got a lot of anecdotal testimony about this or that instance of racial unfairness, they had no good evidence of widespread and systematic racism, and a sensible majority refrained for making any overblown claims.

The unwillingness of the Commission to make overbroad claims of systemic racism was a matter of some disappointment among some members. Judge Maxine White and Grigsby (who wanted a strong statement she could carry back “to my community”) fall into this category, as does (to a somewhat lesser degree) co-chair Coggs.

That Grigsby seems to define the “community” as people with a grudge against the cops, as opposed to people in her district who are afraid to go outside for fear of being robbed or assaulted is a matter of considerable interest.

If some of the black members acted like race hustlers, several others did not, including co-chair Wray, lawyer Stan Davis and WHEDA Executive Director Antonio Riley.

Add to this people like Brian Blanchard, Dane County District Attorney and John Chisholm, Milwaukee County District Attorney, and you get a moderate and relatively sensible majority.

As for recommendations, look for some very mildly liberal and sensible ones. For example, expect considerable concern for helping recently released offenders get back into the workforce. One impediment to this is their difficulty in getting a driver’s license, a situation that deserves to be addressed.

We also wouldn’t be surprised to find a recommendation to beef up public defender’s offices, and to likewise improve the system of probation and parole.

Further, expect a call for better monitoring and data collection, along the lines of what the Vera Institute has been doing in the office of the Milwaukee District Attorney. Vera found no racial bias in decisions to prosecute, but continued monitoring, and extending monitoring to other jurisdictions, is clearly a good idea.

We have long said that the worst case scenario would be for the Commission to claim sweeping racial bias in the system, which might produce strong pressures (formal and informal) for a kind of quota system to “get the numbers right.” That would hurt people in Wauwatosa and Glendale a bit, and hurt people in Mequon and Waukesha hardly at all. But it would devastate Milwaukee’s inner city.

That “worst case” appears not to have happened.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Marquette Student on Letterman

From the Telegraph-Herald, via the Marquette PR people:
Former senior high school student Kyle Campbell will make his network television debut when he stuffs himself inside a duffel bag during “Stupid Human Tricks” on “Late Show with David Letterman.” He got a call while walking to class at Marquette University, in Milwaukee, informing him he had been selected to appear on the show. “I hope the audience laughs, but not because I say something stupid,” said Campbell.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Local Lefty Blogger Lacks Any Sense of Irony

From Whallah!, a post that shows how a lot of lefties just can’t see their own behavior in any sort of objective light.
This site is obviously going to have some highly emotionally charged topics as it confronts the lies, the hypocrisies and the foibles of the local right wing media. This leads people to become very angry from time to time, and can cause commenting without thought.During the past week, I’ve had to eliminate two comments that went over the line in personal attacks. One was directed at McBride, one was at Fischer. The last time I had to remove a comment was during the IT affair. Four in the time I’ve been on my throne is not bad, but I do not want this to become a habit.
So far, so good. He’s insisting on some standards.

But then we have this immediately following:
I realize how tempting it is to become personal when writing about these people. It is also very difficult to exercise self-control, when those on the right do not. They will often vilify us, call us names, and make things very personal. But, this does not excuse us from our own behaviors.

Just as I do not hold terrorists to the standard that I judge my behavior, I do not hold these right wing hatemongers as a standard with which to use as a comparison. Because they choose to make base, false, and abusive comments, we do not need to stoop to their level.
He doesn’t get it.

He just doesn’t get it.

[Update]

A commenter to the post on Wallah! adds the following:
With their breezy, unknowingly transparent disregard for the least powerful, and with the bile they use to demonize anyone in opposition to their minority views, the members of the rightist chattering class have certainly earned any bad words that might come their way. I am of the opinion that they earned yet more than that.

But I guess I get it: No need to get into a p--ing contest with skunks.
This is a slightly different argument than that in the main post. This fellow is saying that conservatives deserve to be reviled.

This from the open-minded and tolerant liberal-left.

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Universal Healthcare: Not at All Universal

From Sykes Writes, an article about doctors who have drawn the logical conclusions about what follows from a system of socialized medicine:
Doctors are calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or who lead unhealthy lives.

Smokers, heavy drinkers, the obese and the elderly should be barred from receiving some operations, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone.

£1.7 billion is spent treating diseases caused by smoking, such as lung cancer and emphysema

Fertility treatment and “social” abortions are also on the list of procedures that many doctors say should not be funded by the state.

The findings of a survey conducted by Doctor magazine sparked a fierce row last night, with the British Medical Association and campaign groups describing the recommendations from family and hospital doctors as “out­rageous” and “disgraceful”.

About one in 10 hospitals already deny some surgery to obese patients and smokers, with restrictions most common in hospitals battling debt.

Managers defend the policies because of the higher risk of complications on the operating table for unfit patients. But critics believe that patients are being denied care simply to save money.

The Government announced plans last week to offer fat people cash incentives to diet and exercise as part of a desperate strategy to steer Britain off a course that will otherwise see half the population dangerously overweight by 2050.

Obesity costs the British taxpayer £7 billion a year. Overweight people are more likely to contract diabetes, cancer and heart disease, and to require replacement joints or stomach-stapling operations.

Meanwhile, £1.7 billion is spent treating diseases caused by smoking, such as lung cancer, bronchitis and emphysema, with a similar sum spent by the NHS on alcohol problems. Cases of cirrhosis have tripled over the past decade.

Among the survey of 870 family and hospital doctors, almost 60 per cent said the NHS could not provide full healthcare to everyone and that some individuals should pay for services.

One in three said that elderly patients should not be given free treatment if it were unlikely to do them good for long. Half thought that smokers should be denied a heart bypass, while a quarter believed that the obese should be denied hip replacements.

Tony Calland, chairman of the BMA’s ethics committee, said it would be “outrageous” to limit care on age grounds. Age Concern called the doctors’ views “disgraceful”.

Gordon Brown promised this month that a new NHS constitution would set out people’s “responsibilities” as well as their rights, a move interpreted as meaning restrictions on patients who bring health problems on themselves. The only sanction threatened so far, however, is to send patients to the bottom of the waiting list if they miss appointments.

The survey found that medical professionals wanted to go much further in denying care to patients who do not look after their bodies.
The position of the doctors is not utterly nonsensical. People who live unheathy lifestyles really are imposing costs on taxpayers.

But isn’t letting them do that part of the basic logic of the welfare state?

Doesn’t “enlightened opinion” say that drug users should get treatment -- and get it at the taxpayer’s expense? Isn’t it considered mean-spirited, and even downright racist, to condemn a woman who has a child out of wedlock, imposing all sorts of costs on society, starting with welfare benefits, but going on to include all the social pathologies that come with out-of-wedlock births?

Of course, once government takes responsibility for everybody’s health care, one logical possibility is to tell people “live as we say or we won’t treat you.” The other possibility is to say “since we have to treat you, we are going to force you to live as we say.”

The more sensible viewpoint is the market-oriented one. It says, in effect “you can live however you want, and then you can see whether you can get insurance and how much it will cost.” That’s what prevails with life insurance and long-term care insurance in the United States. It’s less a factor with health insurance, which usually tends to be “all or nothing.” But it’s clearly more humane than the alternatives.

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Bottled Water: The Fickle Winds of Political Correctness

In today’s Marquette Tribune, columnist Eric Lombardi explains the “Dark Side of Bottled Water.”
But the truth is that there is a dark side to the booming bottled water industry. The following facts have been acquired from the National Resources Defense Council, Earth Policy Institute, National Geographic and Time Magazine. Make up your own mind about their validity and what we should do about them.

America’s consumption of bottled water has increased at least 9.5 percent every year for the last three years. Americans now consume more than 35 gallons of bottled water per person every year, which has increased since 18 gallons in 2001.

Bottled water sales now cost Americans just under $15 billion a year, a number that was $6.86 billion in 2000.

The NRDC estimates that 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide is generated each year, which is equal to the annual emissions of 7,000 cars, by importing bottled water from Fiji, France and Italy (the three biggest suppliers to the U.S.)

In its 5,500 mile flight from Fiji to Los Angeles a case of 20 bottles of Fiji water produces nearly 7 lbs. of greenhouse gases.

It takes more than 17 million barrels of crude oil to manufacture the 29 billion plastic bottles used for water in the United States each year. Moreover, when you add in the energy used for pumping and processing, transportation and refrigeration the U.S. burns more than 50 million barrels of fossil fuels each year - this is enough to run three million cars for an entire year.

According to the Environmental Protection Institute, more than 2.7 million tons of plastic used to bottle each year. Combine this with the fact that the Container Recycling Institute in Washington, D.C. nearly 86 percent of plastic water bottles in the U.S. become garbage and the fact that plastic bottles can take between 400 and 1,000 years to degrade.
We in fact blogged on this in May of last year.

At the time, trendy establishment in San Francisco were turning against what was once a trademark of the yuppie lifestyle.

So we guess Milwaukee is about eight months behind San Francisco.

If that sounds like a slam against Milwaukee, remember that Milwaukee was at least that far (and indeed probably a few years) behind San Francisco in adopting the notion that water shipped in from some foreign country is better than water that comes out of the tap.

Of course, the turn against bottled water isn’t just the result of increased ecological consciousness. As Salon.com put it:
Bottled water’s swift transformation from glass-encased luxury good to déclassé, plastic-wrapped menace was entirely predictable. Over the past century, we’ve seen numerous examples of products that, so long as they were available only to a select few, were viewed by those elites as brilliant, life-improving developments: the automobile, coal-generated electricity, air conditioning. But once companies figured out how to make them available to the masses, the elites suddenly condemned them as dangerous and socially destructive. So long as only a few people were drinking Evian, Perrier, and San Pellegrino, bottled water wasn’t perceived as a societal ill. Now that everybody is toting bottles of Poland Spring, Aquafina, and Dasani, it’s a big problem.
We will continue to drink water out of the tap, buy coffee at George Webb’s and drive a Ford Focus.

And we’ll continue to chortle at people who are trendy and politically correct. Changing fashions are likely to leave them high and dry.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

New Feminist Student Blog on Campus

We just got news of this in the form of a comment on our post “Blogs Come and Go.”

A blog called The Word Warrior describes itself as “brought to you by the feminist crew at Marquette University.” They have several posts up already.

We are likely to disagree with their political views, but kudos to them for getting out in the blogosphere to promote their ideas.

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A Present

So Much for the “Bush Lied” Delusions

It’s an indicator of how demented a lot of liberals and leftists are that they claim that “Bush lied” about Saddam having weapons of mass destruction.

Usually, these are the folks who think Bush is stupid. But here they are positing that Bush was brilliant, that he read the intelligence better than the CIA or Congressional Democrats (some of whom were on the Intelligence Committee and had virtually the same access that Bush did) or Bill Clinton or British intelligence . . . and on and on.

The reality, of course, is that the entire world was fooled, but not by Bush.

From CBS News:
(CBS) Saddam Hussein initially didn’t think the U.S. would invade Iraq to destroy weapons of mass destruction, so he kept the fact that he had none a secret to prevent an Iranian invasion he believed could happen. The Iraqi dictator revealed this thinking to George Piro, the FBI agent assigned to interrogate him after his capture.

Piro, in his first television interview, relays this and other revelations to 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley this Sunday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Piro spent almost seven months debriefing Saddam in a plan based on winning his confidence by convincing him that Piro was an important envoy who answered to President Bush. This and being Saddam’s sole provider of items like writing materials and toiletries made the toppled Iraqi president open up to Piro, a Lebanese-American and one of the few FBI agents who spoke Arabic.

“He told me he initially miscalculated... President Bush’s intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998 . . . a four-day aerial attack,” says Piro. “He survived that one and he was willing to accept that type of attack.” “He didn’t believe the U.S. would invade?” asks Pelley, “No, not initially,” answers Piro.

Once the invasion was certain, says Piro, Saddam asked his generals if they could hold the invaders for two weeks. “And at that point, it would go into what he called the secret war,” Piro tells Pelley. But Piro isn’t convinced that the insurgency was Saddam’s plan. “Well, he would like to take credit for the insurgency,” says Piro.

Saddam still wouldn’t admit he had no weapons of mass destruction, even when it was obvious there would be military action against him because of the perception he did. Because, says Piro, “For him, it was critical that he was seen as still the strong, defiant Saddam. He thought that [faking having the weapons] would prevent the Iranians from reinvading Iraq,” he tells Pelley.

He also intended and had the wherewithal to restart the weapons program. “Saddam still had the engineers. The folks that he needed to reconstitute his program are still there,” says Piro. “He wanted to pursue all of WMD…to reconstitute his entire WMD program.” This included chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, Piro says.
Saddam, of course, had a history of misjudging presidents named Bush. Perhaps, in 1990, when he invaded Kuwait, it could be seen as a reasonable gamble that the U.S. would no nothing. But Saddam refused to back down even when Bush had a half-million troops in the region poised to invade.

You don’t just back down and say “never mind” after you have done that, and Bush didn’t. Of course, Saddam might have believed, in 2002/2003 as in 1990/1991 that any willingness to back down or give in would undermine his hold on power.

If so, that kind of thinking cost him his life.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Intolerance in Academia: The Pope in Italy

Sometimes it seems that about half our posts could have the title “Intolerance in Academia.” And that’s because academia is today (especially in the very tolerant United States) an island of political correctness in the sea of a generally open-minded society.

But when you put European intolerance (which we have blogged about here and here and here) together with academic intolerance, you get out and out fascism.

Which brings us to the Pope:
After three days of rising protests from students and professors, Pope Benedict XVI has pulled out of a long-scheduled visit Thursday to Rome’s historic La Sapienza University. The surprise announcement Tuesday afternoon caps a high-stakes academic firefight between fiercely secular scholars and the former professor Pontiff that included a letter from 67 faculty members calling for the cancellation of Benedict’s speech.

The Pope’s opponents burst out in celebration at the east Rome campus when reached with the news of the cancellation. The Vatican released a statement saying it now viewed the visit as “inopportune” in light of protests they say could damage the Pontiff’s image. But by backing out under pressure from his secular foes, the 80-year-old Pope may yet have the last word in this battle over the meaning of “reason” in today’s intellectual debate. For the whiff of censorship toward a figure who is welcomed in myriad settings across the world — both for his position and his intellect — may offer ammunition for Benedict’s belief that he is something of a “Pope under siege” in the face of the prevailing secular winds of his times.

The Pontiff had been invited by the La Sapienza rector to speak at the annual ceremony to inaugurate the academic year. Over the weekend, unwelcoming banners were already appearing on campus saying “No to the Pope” and “La Sapienza Hostage to the Pope,” and several left-wing student groups had promised widespread heckling for Benedict’s arrival on Thursday. But perhaps most notable was the professors’ letter, which was printed in the Rome daily La Repubblica, calling on school officials to cancel the papal appearance, which they said was “incompatible” with the university’s secular mission.

The letter, which was signed by several notable members of the physics faculty, cites a 1990 speech made by Benedict, then the Vatican Cardinal in charge of Church doctrine, describing the Church’s 17th century heresy trial against Galileo as “reasonable and fair” . . . . The future Pope’s words, reads the text of the professors’ letter, “offend and humiliate us as scientists faithful to reason and as teachers who dedicate our lives to the advancement and spread of knowledge.”
Of course, academic leftists believe they should never have to tolerate speech which offends them.

And it is a puzzle how a bunch of secular academics could be humiliated by having the Pope take a postion they disagree with.

Of course, if Marxism is a philosophy that has the protection of academic freedom on campus, a defense of the Church’s treatment of Galileo should too. But then, there are other people’s orthodoxies, which the secular academic ayatollahs want to shut up, and one’s own orthodoxies, which everyone wants to protect.
But being a lifelong man of study and reflection, Benedict also sees the source for much of the conflict in how ideas germinate and spread on university campuses. Biographers say his experience as a professor during the student upheavals of the late 1960s — where he believed a godless pursuit of personal freedom was spiraling out of control — helped shape his view of contemporary secular culture and the current state of academia.

Forty years later, he appears only more convinced that something is awry. In the same Regensberg lecture that criticized Islam for lacking a fundamental belief in reason, the Pope was also sending a warning to the West that reason itself was suffocating faith and destroying its historical identity. By offering himself up as victim of the La Sapienza professors he can cite further evidence for this argument right in his own backyard.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Roe v. Wade at 35

New York Times Under Fire for Hiring Conservative Bill Kristol

Via Shack Sounds Off, another example of just how committed liberals are to the airing of a diversity of views, and just how tolerant they are of differences of opinion.

When the New York Times hired Bill Kristol as a columnist, they ran into a firestorm of criticism. The Comments Editor of The Times of London puts the issue in perspective in an “Open Letter” to New York Times readers:
Dear Friends,

I understand that your newspaper of choice has asked William Kristol, the conservative commentator, to provide an opinion column for the paper.

Since I am the op-ed editor of what you Americans call The Times of London, I have followed the controversy that the appointment has caused with great interest.

And with my mouth wide open.

Apparently many of you are outraged to hear of this new columnist. You have been writing in. And the Public Editor has written a column criticising the appointment.
Excuse me, but what on earth is going on?

A quality newspaper should have columns reflecting a wide variety of opinions, even those uncongenial to the majority of its readers. While the bulk of a paper’s columnists may reflect the publication’s character and view, there must always be space for an alternative opinion.

Thus, for instance, while my paper supported the decision to invade Iraq (which happened to be my view too), many of our columnists (in fact probably a majority) did not concur.

It would never occur to me when selecting an individual columnist to be concerned that some readers might not agree with some of his positions.

And considering that Kristol represents a large strand of American opinion (even if it is a smaller strand of NYT reader opinion) it is entirely unremarkable that his columns should be commissioned.

A great national newspaper is not a reality television show, subjecting its columnists to a telephone vote before running their columns. Nor is being hired to write a column equivalent to being appointed to the Supreme Court, requiring Senate confirmation.

Even when the column appears, drumroll, in the The New York Times.

The most remarkable aspect of this bizarre controversy has been the performance of the paper’s ombudsman Clark Hoyt. Well, it was remarkable to me at least. Mr Hoyt argued that Kristol should not have been appointed (or at least that he, Hoyt, wouldn’t have appointed him) because Kristol had been a fierce critic of the NYT, and had argued, at one point, that the paper should be prosecuted for an aspect of its coverage.

The job of a reader’s editor, surely is to defend the rights of its readers, all of its readers. It is not to start picking a “Fantasy Columnist” team to reflect his own politics. What of people who agree with Kristol? Do they not deserve the protection of the reader’s editor?

And as for Hoyt’s statement that:
This is not a person I would have rewarded with a regular spot in front of arguably the most elite audience in the nation.
Isn’t this the most pompous sentence you have ever read in your life?

Anyway, you are fortunate that The New York Times carries many great columns. If Kristol offends you I have a brilliant technological solution.

Turn the page.

I wish you well from this side of the Atlantic.

Daniel

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Housing Prices

Marquette Gay Blog Labels Straights “Breeders”

Yep, it’s a derisive term used by homosexuals to demean heterosexuals.

From the blog of the Gay/Straight Alliance, in a post complaining about a Rhode Island court decision:
I can hear the breeders groaning now. It kind of sounds like a mellow, grotesque Tom Waits song.
This reminds us of a situation in Provincetown, Massachusetts in which people who signed a petition against gay marriage were harassed and attacked.
PROVINCETOWN -- Town leaders here are holding a public meeting today to air concerns about slurs and bigoted behavior. And this time, they say, it’s gay people who are displaying intolerance.

Police say they logged numerous complaints of straight people being called “breeders” by gays over the July Fourth holiday weekend. Jamaican workers reported being the target of racial slurs. And a woman was verbally accosted after signing a petition that opposed same-sex marriage, they said.
And of course, on this same Marquette gay blog GSA President Jessica Cushion insisted that no speaker who opposes gay marriage should be allowed on the Marquette campus, since expressing such opposition amounts to “hate speech.”

It’s a chronic problem in the rarefied world of political correctness -- and that world has spread out of academia into the mainstream media. Members of designated victim groups are allowed to be offended at the barest slight, but feel perfectly free to express rank bigotry toward those who disagree with them, or even merely adopt a different lifestyle.

[Update]

The President of the Gay/Straight Alliance has left a comment to this post apologizing for the term “breeders.” Kudos to him for that.

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Public Recognizes Liberal Bias in Media

From the conservative Media Research Center:
For the sixth time in a year, a national survey has found many more Americans see a news media bias to the left than to the right, and the latest poll released earlier this month by the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute, discovered “significantly declining percentages of Americans saying they believe all or most of media news reporting,” with MSNBC (at a piddling four percent) and PBS (three percent) the least trusted for accurate reporting. Fox News, at 27 percent, was the most trusted, way ahead of second-best CNN at 14.6 percent. The Fairfield, Connecticut university’s January 8 press release reported: “Just 19.6 percent of those surveyed could say they believe all or most news media reporting. This is down from 27.4 percent in 2003.”

By a three-to-one margin “Americans see news media journalists and broadcasters (45.4 percent to 15.7 percent) as mostly or somewhat liberal over mostly or somewhat conservative,” but for NPR and the New York Times recognition of a liberal tilt is closer to four-to-one.
This, of course, is not a single quirky poll. It’s just the most recent in a long series of polls showing the same thing.

The standard liberal response to this is likely going to be that people have simply bought conservative propaganda, especially from talk radio, about the liberal bias of the media.

But the number of people who recognize a liberal bias far exceeds the audience of talk radio.

And this argument from liberals is, of course, rather demeaning and elitist toward the American people. It’s also a two-edged sword. If people can be so easily manipulated by talk radio, can’t they also be easily manipulated by (say) editorials in the Journal-Sentinel, or the bias of the broadcast networks’ evening newscasts?

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Blogs Come and Go

I just finished working on my blogroll, and sadly have deleted some quite inactive entries.

These include (on the right) Marquette Law School Federalist Society and Joseph Kastner’s Office of Homeland Security and leaning left (perhaps moderate left) We Live Our Lives Among Giants and Fourth Blog Politics.

Nothing personal. Students get burned out on blogging. Other people do too.

Happily, we have a new entry, Blogging in the Word from Political Science graduate student Jason Ardanowski.

This still leaves the Marquette campus with too few blogs. Particularly needed are undergraduate blogs that cover campus politics and expose the failures of the Administration.

GOP3.COM continues to do a dandy job, but there is no corresponding liberal blog, and the original three bloggers are getting older and a bit further from undergraduate life -- although Brian Collar is still an undergraduate and the other bloggers sometimes post great stuff.

Any undergraduate who wants to write and comment about campus politics (and broader politics) needs to know how much sheer fun blogging can be.

[Correction]

Brian Collar reminds me, in a comment, that he’s a graduate student now.

I knew that.

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Marquette Trying to Stifle Sweeney’s?

GOP3.COM is reporting the following:
Marquette University will not be renewing Sweeney’s lease which expires in September 2008, effectively bouncing the long term competition of the BookMarq.
We contacted Sweeney’s, and got a somewhat different story. Chris Zilvitis, Assistant Director at the store, told us that Marquette has not committed to renew Sweeney’s lease. It is not definite, at least so far as Sweeney’s knows, that it will not be renewed.

Michael Whittow of the Marquette Office of Administration, was not immediately available to comment.

Zilvitis said that, regardless of the lease, “we’ll be here for years to come,” and pointed out that there is plenty of commercial property to lease in the Marquette neighborhood.

Marquette has a history of pet monopolies, and has taken what has to be viewed as anti-competitive action against the bookseller before.

[Update]

Mary Pat Pfeil, Senior Director of University Communication, confirms that Sweeney’s will be required to vacate its current location. She understands that the independent bookstore has already made inquiries for an alternative commercial rental.

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Which is Worse?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Interfaith Conference: Playing the Race Card at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

We’ve blogged about the leftist agenda of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, and we have another example.

The Common Ground Conference, sponsored by The Interfaith Conference, as well as the UWM Department of Educational Policy and Community Studies (read, taxpayers money), plays the race card big time.

It’s billed as “a one-day conference to explore perspectives on racism and privilege in the greater Milwaukee region,” and further “examining racism and white privilege can provide a unifying element helpful in moving toward justice in greater Milwaukee.”

How you can “unify” people by telling whites that they are evil exploiters and blacks that they should feel aggrieved is something the organizers don’t seem to have thought about.

The presenters are a roster of the usual suspects where local leftist activists are concerned. There couldn’t possibly be two sides to issues, nor any complexity that would benefit from hearing alternative views.

Claims of “white privilege” are a noxious way to approach any policy issue. Are you a white living in a nice house? You benefit from “white privilege” and ought to feel guilty. It couldn’t possibly be that you worked and earned it fair and square.

Do you live in a safe neighborhood? You enjoy “white privilege” and need to feel guilty. It’s your fault that black people live disproportionately in unsafe neighborhoods. It doesn’t matter that you don’t commit crimes against black people. It doesn’t matter that 97% of all violent crimes against black people in Milwaukee are committed by other blacks. It’s still your fault.

And if you are upset by high crime in black neighborhoods, and want to get tough, that certainly makes you a racist!

Are you children doing well in school, while a lot of black children do poorly? It’s your fault. The fact that so many black children live in single parent households isn’t relevant.

Or if it’s relevant, it’s your fault anyway.

You have the money to send your kids to private schools, or move to a suburb with nice schools. Maybe you want to extend school choice so that poor black kids can have choices too. That just proves you are a reactionary Republican!

So the “unifying” message is: it’s your fault whitey. So feel guilty and support all our pet programs.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

A Feminist Hating White Men

Via Texas Hold ‘Em Blogger, a rant from Erica Jong about the evils of “pink men,” by which she means white men.
I am so tired of pink men bombing brown children and rationalizing it as fighting terrorism. I am so tired of pink men telling women (of all colors) what to do with their wombs--which connect with their brains--in case you forgot. I am so tired of pink men telling us we should stay in Iraq for generations. I am so tired of pink men buying bombs and cheating schools. I am so tired of pink men having wives who stand behind them and nod sagely on television.
Those women are traitors to their sex, are they not? It couldn’t possibly be that they simply disagree with Erica Jong.
I am so tired of pink men expecting that someone--a brown, black, yellow or white woman--will trail behind them changing light bulbs, taking out garbage, washing laundry, keeping food in the house, taking care of kids of all ages, of parents of all ages. I am so tired of pink men whose wives double or triple the family income thinking they can spend it without doing a damn thing at home. I am so tired of pink men spouting nonsense on TV. I am so tired of pink men arguing, blathering, bloviating, predicting the future--usually wrongly--and telling women to shut up. I am so sick of hearing that another pink man has dropped his children out a window, off a bridge or killed his pregnant wife or killed his unpregnant wife because he was infatuated with another pregnant woman. I am so sick of pink men making war and talking about peace. I am so sick of pink men appointing their mediocre cronies to judgeships, to political advisors, to cushy jobs, to columns in the paper, to multimillion-dollar posts as CEOS or actors (while the actresses make less) or producers or writers or newsreaders or talk show bloviators or supposedly sage counselors at law. I am so tired of pink men.

And by the way some brown men and tan men and wheaten men do these things too.

Don’t tell me about women who kill. I know there are some--but fewer. So let’s just remember our mothers--who bore us, protected us against our fathers and grandfathers and all the pink or brown men who wanted to rape us or kill us or starve us because we were girls.

I am not stupid. I know all generalizations are false. I know there are bad mothers, bad women, bad sisters, bad aunts, and bad females of every stripe. But I have seen enough men in high office to last a lifetime. Let’s give women a chance!
The last thing we need in public office is women who think like Erika Jong!

Feminists are constantly arguing that “we don’t hate men.” And doubtless the majority of women who call themselves feminists don’t.

But those who most loudly argue “we don’t hate men” are the very ones who, if you press them, will go into a tirade about how men are scum.

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State Supreme Court Candidate Gableman At Marquette Tomorrow

From an e-mail sent to the Marquette community by the Office of Marketing and Communication:
Law School hosting forum with Michael Gableman

State Supreme Court candidate Michael Gableman is the next guest for “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” at the Law School. Gableman will discuss his judicial philosophy and whether judicial campaigns should look like other political campaigns on Tuesday, Jan. 15, from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. in room 325 of Sensenbrenner Hall, 1103 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Gableman, a Burnett County Circuit Court judge, is running against Justice Louis Butler in the upcoming election. He is a former district attorney, administrative law judge, adjunct professor of law, deputy corporation counsel, private practice attorney and teacher. Justice Butler appeared at the Law School in November; a podcast of his appearance is available online.

Visit the Law School Web site for more information and to register.
We probably won’t be able to live blog he event.

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Justice Louis Butler: Judicial Activist

Via GOP3.COM, and excellent piece of analysis from Daniel Suhr of the “jurisprudence” of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler, who is running for reelection.

Suhr reviews several controversial cases, and finds Butler acting more like a liberal legislator than a judge.

He sums up the case for Butler’s judicial activism thus, and lists the cases where we see it:
Arrogance Over Deference

Justice Butler often substitutes his own judgment for that of another institution when that institution is entitled by law to deference.
Failure to defer to the trial court – Love, Armstrong, Dubose, Shomberg

Failure to defer to the legislature – Trujillo, Kohn, Diana P., Max G.W., Kolupar

Failure to defer to the U.S. Supreme Court – Knapp, Dubose, McGrew

Failure to defer to a government agency – Johnson, Meyers, Szleszinski

Overturning Precedent

Justice Butler often fails to show appropriate respect for the Court’s decisions in past cases. Trujillo, Knapp, Dairyland, Bartholomew

Acting Like a Legislator

Justice Butler often fails to respect the constitutional and practical limitations of the judicial office.

Extensive citations to non-legal authorities – Dubose, Shomberg, Thomas

Moral outrage substituted for sound legal reasoning – Thomas, Jones
The election is going to be a real donnybrook, which Butler being supported by a range of interests who like his legislation.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lancet and Iraq Deaths: Propaganda Masquerades as Science

From Jeff Jacoby, an example of how a supposedly reputable medical journal can be used for proprganda purposes:
Few medical journals have the storied reputation of The Lancet, a British publication founded in 1823. In the course of its long history, The Lancet has published work of exceptional influence, such as Joseph Lister’s principles of antiseptics in 1867 and Howard Florey’s Nobel Prize-winning discoveries on penicillin in 1940. Today it is one of the most frequently cited medical journals in the world.

So naturally there was great interest when the Lancet published a study in October 2006, three weeks before the midterm US elections, reporting that 655,000 people had died in Iraq as a result of the US-led war.

Hundreds of news outlets, to say nothing of antiwar activists and lawmakers, publicized the astonishing figure, which was more than 10 times the death toll estimated by other sources. The Iraqi health ministry, for example, put the mortality level through June 2006 at 50,000. Iraq Body Count, a nonpartisan anti-war group that maintains a public database of the war’s victims, tallied some 45,000 Iraqi dead. If The Lancet’s number was accurate, more Iraqis had died in the 2½ years since the US invasion than during the eight-year war with Iran.

President Bush, asked about the study, dismissed it out of hand: “I don’t consider it a credible report.” Tony Blair’s spokesman also brushed it off as “not . . . anywhere near accurate.”

But the media played it up, for the most part unquestioningly. “One in 40 Iraqis killed since invasion,” blared a front-page headline in the Guardian, a leading British paper. CNN.com’s story began: “War has wiped out about 655,000 Iraqis, or more than 500 people a day, since the US-led invasion, a new study reports.” The CBS Evening News announced “a new and stunning measure of the havoc the American invasion unleashed in Iraq. . . . 655,000 Iraqis -- 2.5 percent of the entire population -- have died as a consequence of the war.”

Few journalists questioned the integrity of the study or its authors, Gilbert Burnham and Les Roberts of Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Iraqi scientist Riyadh Lafta. NPR’s Richard Harris reported asking Burnham, “Right before the election you’re making this announcement. Is this politically motivated? And he said, no, it’s not politically motivated.” Burnham told Newsweek the same thing: “There’s no political motivation in this. I feel very confident in the numbers.”

But the truth, it turns out, is that the report was drenched with politics, and its jaw-dropping conclusions should have inspired anything but confidence.

In an extensively researched cover story last week, National Journal took a close look under the hood of the Lancet/Johns Hopkins study. Reporters Neil Munro and Carl M. Cannon found that it was marred by grave flaws, such as unsupervised Iraqi survey teams, and survey samples that were too small to be statistically valid. The study’s authors refused to release most of their underlying data so other researchers could double-check it. The single disk they finally, grudgingly, supplied contained suspicious evidence of “data-heaping” -- that is, fabricated numbers. Researchers failed to gather basic demographic data from those they interviewed, a key safeguard against fraud.

“They failed to do any of the [routine] things to prevent fabrication,” Fritz Scheuren, vice president for statistics at the National Opinion Research Center, told the reporters.

Bad as the study’s methodological defects were, its political taint was worse:
  • Much of the funding for the study came from the Open Society Institute of leftist billionaire George Soros, a strident critic of the Iraq war who, as Munro and Cannon point out, “spent $30 million trying to defeat Bush in 2004.”
  • Coauthors Burnham and Roberts were avowed opponents of the Iraq war, and submitted their report to The Lancet on the condition that it be published before the election. Roberts, a self-described “advocate” committed to “ending the war,” even sought the Democratic nomination for New York’s 24th Congressional District. “It was a combination of Iraq and Katrina that just put me over the top,” he told National Journal.
  • Lancet editor Richard Horton “also makes no secret of his leftist politics,” Munro and Cannon write. At a September 2006 rally, he publicly denounced “this axis of Anglo-American imperialism” for causing “millions of people . . . to die in poverty and disease.” Under Horton, The Lancet has increasingly been accused of shoddiness and sensationalism. In 2005, 30 leading British scientists blasted Horton’s “desperate headline-seeking” and charged him with running “badly conducted and poorly refereed scare stories.”
The claim that the US-led invasion of Iraq had triggered a slaughter of almost Rwandan proportions was a gross and outlandish exaggeration; it should have been greeted with extreme skepticism. But because it served the interests of those eager to discredit the war as a moral catastrophe, common-sense standards were ignored. “In our view,” the Baltimore Sun editorialized, “the Hopkins study stands until someone knocks it down.”

Now someone has, devastatingly. But will the debunking be trumpeted as loudly and clearly as the original report? Don’t hold your breath.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Religion, Polling and the Presidential Primaries

From Christianity Today:
This was supposed to be the year the Democrats got religion. Too bad somebody forgot to tell the pollsters. One of the big untold stories of the Iowa caucus is that only Republicans were asked about their religious affiliation.

The problem isn’t just that we don’t know how many Iowan evangelicals voted for the various Democrats (it would be interesting to see, for example, if Edwards scored as well among evangelicals as he did among conservatives). The problem is that we don’t know whether Democrats as a whole have succeeded in attracting more evangelical voters. (Usually somewhere between one quarter and one third of evangelicals vote Democratic.) I’m told we’ll see some Iowa caucus poll results soon (not from Edison Media Research, the company that does most of these entrance and exit polls) that may shine some light on the religion questions.

The good news is that Edison Media Research has repented, and today’s New Hampshire exit polls (via CNN [Rep Dem] and MSNBC [Rep Dem] )had many religion questions for both Republicans and Democrats.

Clinton, it seems, took the moderately religious (those who attend church monthly or a few times a year), while Obama took the devout (weekly attenders) and the nonreligious (those who never attend church). Roman Catholics (the largest religious group among New Hampshire Democrats, with 36% of voters in that primary), overwhelmingly chose Clinton (43%) over Obama (28%). Those who said they had no religion supported Obama (47%) over Clinton (28%), and that formed a remarkable 22 percent of Democratic voters.

Unfortunately, voters in the Democratic primary were not asked if they consider themselves evangelical or born again.

Republicans were, and 22 percent said they were evangelical or born again. One third voted for Huckabee, 30 percent voted for McCain, and 24 percent supported Romney. But McCain had a very strong showing among among those who said they were not evangelical: 38 percent. (Romney had 32 percent, Huckabee 7 percent).
That pollsters fail to ask Democrats questions about religion that they ask Republicans reflects an important reality of American politics -- the Democratic Party is the party of secular people.

But if Democrats did make progress among those calling themselves evangelical or born again, it would be good to know. Church attendance is well worth asking, but there are Unitarians who go to church quite regularly.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

It’s Not Easy

Paper Titles From the Modern Language Association Meeting

The “MLA” meeting is a “scholarly” conference at which the especially politically correct humanities faculty get together to share their current research.

From Minding the Campus blog, some selected presentations:
I know this is almost too easy, but here are several nominees for the best paper titles at this year’s MLA Conference:

“The Buggering Hillbilly in the Buddy Movie: Male Sexuality in Deliverance”

“Giving Ourselves a Good Kick in the Assessment: Entering and Expanding the Outcomes Conversation,”
and my favorite:

“Queer in a Vaginal Economy: Global Capital and Heteropatriarchal Violence in Filipino American Gay Fiction”

The best panel titles were “Biomarxism” and “Scripting Brutality On The Queer Asian American Body”

I’m sure you’ll all write in for the paper abstracts.
This last one, remember, is not just one paper, it’s an entire panel!

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Milwaukee’s Top Cop: Chief Ed Flynn at Marquette

It was the latest in a series of talks given at the Marquette Law School: Milwaukee Chief of Police Edward Flynn. After a light lunch, provided by the Law School, we settled in and looked up our computer and the room filled up.

[Live Blog Begins]

12:15 -- Mike Gousha introduces Flynn.

Gousha: “give us your impressions of our city”

Chief: There is a “communal will” to make things better.

Gousha: Why Milwaukee? A lot of people would want to flee.

Chief: I “want to be somewhere that all you abilities will be throughly challenged.” Quotes English scholar who says that how the laws are written is less important than how the laws are enforced.

Milwaukee a city with “significant challenges” and “significant opportunities.”

Gousha: Is this a “daunting task?”

Chief: You should have the opportunity of having daunting tasks. Challenges of this community are not unique, the are part of the “urban fabric of America.”

Big challenge is winning the confidence of communities that need them the most. There are issues to overcome in those communities.

Gousha: Do you feel pressure?

Chief: my job is to be an “enabler.” Responsibility both to motivate and to restrain. We have a culture with very many positive attributes.

There is an imbalance in perceptions. People who have good experiences with the cops tell six people. People who have bad experiences tell 17 or 18 people.

Gousha: Define “success” for me.

Chief: numbers are important, but they only tell about the end state. Somewhere in the accounting we have lost track of the real purpose: an “orderly civic environment.” Wants “orderly public places.” A decrease in arrests can mean you are succeeding. You may have reduced crime (“suppression”) which has reduced arrests.

Citizens attitudes are important. Neighborhood cohesion is good. In some of the worst neighborhoods, nobody is out on the street with a baby carriage because it isn’t safe.

Gousha: What was your reaction to FBI statistics released yesterday? [These showed violent crime nationwide to be down, but Milwaukee crime to be up.]

Chief: Points to lag in FBI statistics. Numbers just released show the picture the first half of 2007. They may not compare Milwaukee to comparable cities. In Springfield, there was a dip in violent crime, and he [Flynn] was a hero. Then there was an upward spike. Bad news.

Gousha: A big problem here, petty disputes that escalate.

Chief: Some things that “only stable families and stable communities” can achieve. It takes a village to raise a child, but the police can help produce the “village.” Local organizations can function well if the community is safe.

Mentions out of wedlock birth rate. Poverty rate.

But these are not an excuse for misconduct.

Cops need to “take on the generation of young men who are creating the problems.”

Maybe the next generation can be helped.

Gousha: You said “you want to get beyond the stale debate of police versus community.”

Chief: Society has changed dramatically since I was in grade school and high school. Things have gotten better. Cops are better trained and more diverse than ever before.

He objects to scapegoating cops based on one or a few examples of misconduct.

There is a lot of community demand for tougher policing. Neighborhoods say “give us more cops,” but then cops do something people object to and “all of a sudden it’s 1965 and I’m Bull Connor.”

For example: cops are taught to keep themselves safe, but this can be scary if you see it.

Gousha: are communities going to interact more with cops on the beat.

Chief: Demands for service make this hard. “Wholesale” vs. “Retail” policing. The former involves keeping public spaces safe. The latter involved calls for service from individuals.

Community needs to understand that there is a tradeoff. People may have to understand that they may get less in personal service if they want gangs on corner, graffiti, etc. taken care of.

Gousha: What should you do about illegal immigration.

Chief: “Stick our fingers in our ears and do our job.” Caring about border security is certainly legitimate, but on the other hand immigration has been good for America.

If I find somebody bleeding that speaks Spanish in the street, is my first question “what is your immigration status?”

[Flynn seems less the politically correct liberal than a bureaucrat who wants to get his job done, and resents external demands that interfer with his core task.]

Flynn adds that were actual criminal activity by illegals is at issue, he’s happy to cooperate with whoever can get the person off the street. [Implicitly including Federal immigration officials.]

Gousha: Is this a “springboard job?”

Chief: I’m committed to stay here for four years. Why did I consider leaving Springfield? “It’s your fault!” Milwaukee people came to me.

Gousha: What about your experience going to Catholic schools.

Chief: It made you very disposed to feel very guilty, and inclined to accept people in police uniforms telling you what to do. [laughter]

Important to have an ideal. Important to have a noble purpose. “When I looked a policing I see a noble enterprise.”

A liberal arts background is a great preparation for dealing with people.

Not a fan of Criminal Justice undergraduate majors.

Enjoyed graduate school. Danger of cop work, you can become “a burnt out cynic.”

Faced a lot of hatred as a cop in the early 70s. Came to understand that cops bond because of common danger.

[Audience Questioning Begins]

Question: Common Grounds initiative

Chief: An experiment in one district right now. We as an agency haven’t embraced it as much as we might. Involves “negotiating” with trouble makers in neighborhoods, but this doesn’t involve making concessions to them. [It sounds more like laying out consequences.]

Question: What about training for community policing?

Chief: Police need problem solving training. Need to get behind the incidents. If a given bar is a source of continued trouble, maybe the owner needs to do some things differently. Cops need to understand neighborhood norms. “Law enforcement” is just part of the job. More of the job is “policing.”

[He seems to mean that the latter involves the totality of keeping neighborhoods safe.]

Question: poverty is high in Milwaukee.

Chief: It’s more likely for crime to cause poverty than for poverty to cause crime. [!!!]

Kids are afraid to go to school (dangerous), afraid to appear “smart” in class. People do not take jobs after dark because it’s unsafe to get to work. We can have an impact on that.

Can we have an effect on the “macro situation” – people having babies, guys abandoning their families, etc. ?

Question: How much doing your own thing, and how much following the lead of other agencies.

Chief: “one of the great things about crime in Milwaukee is that there is enough for everybody.” [laughter]. What we are doing is both.

“We are going to be pushing authority down to the district.”

Question [public defender]: many times young Hispanics and blacks are stopped by police, sometimes without good reason. Perception: “police are an occupying force.” Admits a police interest in maintaining public order is legitimate.

Chief: You have outlined the trade-off here. One of the tools we have is approaching people and asking “who are you and what are you doing here.” We get calls all the time from people saying “I’m afraid to walk down the street because of those guys hanging around.” We have to be professional, but protect public order.

Intervening in minor misbehavior has an effect on street crime. Writing a lot of traffic tickets reduces crime.

Encourages cops to say “hello” to people who are known to be offenders. Encouraged that in Springfield. Wants more interaction with people who make cause problems – but in a respectful way.

Question: what about young people. I’m a mentor of a young kid in the inner city. What do I do encourage him to go into law enforcement.

Chief: I can only say what his mom says: “stay in school, get a diploma.” Maybe technical school is good, wakes up the brain and good things happen.

Policing is the “constant exercise of decision under stress.” We need a maturity of judgment beyond the years of young cops.

Neighborhoods need to reach out to cops just as cops need to reach out to neighborhoods..

Education is essential, it’s a judgment job.

Question: what kind manager do you intend to be? Do you delegate, or do you expect to be out on the street?

Chief: somewhere in the middle. I want to delegate. But I want to see people working too. Wants authority to be delegated down to the level where judgment is made.

Question: Packers or Patriots?

Chief: “You’re asking me whether I’m going to be rooting for the world champion . . . ”

Gousha: “The honeymoon here [in Milwaukee] could be short!” [laughter]

[End Live Blog]

Evaluation

Flynn is basically conservative, and highly sophisticated. He doesn’t seem to care for race hustlers (remember the “all of a sudden it’s 1965 and I’m Bull Connor” comment), but is intensely concerned with the quality of life in “the communities that need [the cops] the most.” He sees getting the respect and cooperation of high crime communities as a “challenge,” but has no illusions about who the good guys and the bad guys are. The cops are the good guys. Law abiding citizens are the good guys.

He passed up several opportunities to agree with simplistic platitudes. He insisted that crime can cause poverty, contrary to the politically correct doctrine that anti-poverty programs rather than cops are what we need more of. He insisted that people who want cops on the beat and highly visible in public spaces may have to accept a lower level of personal service. Maybe people shouldn’t call 911 for every little problem. He could have blandly promised that citizens can have it both ways.

He seemed to understand the role of family structure in producing crime, and even the role of what political scientists call “social capital” -- a network of robust community institutions.

Overarching all of this was a concern for police professionalism.

Can he make things better? Who knows. He’s a guy at the top of a large bureaucracy in a city with large swaths of territory dominated by a culture that creates crime. But if anybody has a shot at it, it’s Flynn.

[Update]

Here, courtesy of the Law School, is the podcast of the talk.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What If Political Ads Told the Truth?

From Don Feder, some imaginary political campaign ads that tell the truth, and which you of course will never see (except perhaps for the last one):
Hillary Ad #1: “She couldn’t be bothered raising her own kid – when Bill was Arkansas governor, they hired a nanny, illegally paid for by the state’s taxpayers – but she wants to tell you how to raise yours. When Hillary says ‘it takes a village,’ she means a motley crew of social workers, bureaucrats and educrats. Hillary -- She has lots of experience talking about other people’s children.”

Hillary Ad #3: “I’m Hillary Clinton, and I’m better than you. Sometimes I’m dazzled by my own brilliance. As long as I can recall, I’ve thought of myself as a superior being – both intellectually and morally. When Bill and I resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., aides were ordered not to look at me when they passed me in the hallway, lest I be sullied by their glances. You should be grateful that I’m willing to condescend to rule you, you pathetic peasant.’ Hillary Clinton – Here’s looking down at you, kid.”

Obama Ad #1: “I’m Barack Obama, and I have less experience than any other serious candidate. Three years ago, as a member of the Illinois legislature, I was taking constituent calls on potholes. But if you’re a guilty, white liberal obsessed with race, I’m you’re man.’ Barack Obama – politically inexperienced, Oprah approved.”

Obama Ad #2: “Democrats, I’m a political powerhouse. In 2004, I achieved the heroic feat of beating Alan Keyes for the Senate in Illinois. I have charisma to spare. And I’m really likeable, unlike you-know-who.”

Obama Ad #3: “To hell with the troops. Let’s signal the terrorists that they’ve won, by pulling out of Iraq now. The road to victory in the war on terrorism is paved with unilateral surrender. Obama -- for waving the white flag at Al-Qaeda.”

Kucinich Ad: “It isn’t easy getting to the left of Clinton and Obama, but Dennis – the Red Dwarf – Kucinich has managed to occupy that narrow strip of terrain. If you want a man in the White House who believes in UFOs – who might be an extra-terrestrial himself – vote Dennis. Besides, if you get tired of looking at him for 4 to 8 years, you can always look at his wife. Dennis Kucinich – ugly is as ugly does.”

Edwards Ad #1: “I’m John Edwards and I made a fortune chasing ambulances. If you believe in multi-million dollar verdicts for women who scald themselves holding hot coffee between their knees while driving, support my candidacy.’ John Edwards – in tort lawyers we trust.”

Romney Ad #1: “I’m Mitt Romney, and I saw my father, the late Michigan Governor George Romney, march with Martin Luther King for civil rights. I also saw him land on Omaha Beach on D-Day, break through to Bastogne with Patton in the Battle of the Bulge, charge up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt and save the Union by stopping Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg. Actually, I didn’t literally see him do any of these things. I’m speaking metaphorically. What’s the meaning of ‘saw’ anyway? (See ‘Bill Clinton’s New Dictionary of the American Language.’)”

Romney Ad #4: “If Mitt Romney is elected president, he promises to build an electrified fence around his Belmont, Massachusetts home to keep illegal aliens from doing any more yard-work there. Mitt Romney – ready to get tough on illegal immigration in his own backyard.”

Giuliani Ad #1: “I’m Rudy Giuliani. I didn’t keep my promises to my first two wives -- to love and honor -- but I’ll keep my promises to you.”

Huckabee Ad #4: “’This is Mike Huckabee. Did you know that Mitt Romney is a member of a satanic cult that thinks the Devil is Jesus’ second-cousin once removed? I’m sorry I said that (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).’ Mike Huckabee -- because innuendo is a terrible thing to waste.”

McCain Ad #1: “He’s old. He’s mean. He shouts obscenities at Senate colleagues. Bleep kinder and gentler. Vote McCain.”

McCain Ad #2: “I’m John McCain and I was the chief Senate architect of the amnesty bill. Corporate America needs cheap, peon labor. We can’t arrest every illegal in the country; we haven’t got enough handcuffs. So why try? If I’m elected president, Mexico can close its embassy and consulates. I’ll represent its interests better. Vote for me, you stupid, racist gringos.”

Paul Ad: “Ron Paul is a knee-jerk isolationist. Ron Paul thinks there’s no national defense like no national defense. If you think 9/11 happened because ‘we bombed Iraq for 10 years,’ if you think ‘by far and away the most powerful lobby in Washington of the bad sort is the Israeli government,’ if you think heroin and prostitution should be legal, vote Paul. If you believe in black helicopters and CFR conspiracies, vote Ron Paul. If you want the foreign policy of Pat Buchanan with the social policy of Bill Maher, vote Ron Paul. If you don’t, his zombie army might get you.”

Thompson Ad: “Vote for Fred, in solidarity with the millions of Americans suffering from chronic-fatigue syndrome. ‘I’m Fred Thompson, and I’ll approve this message, as soon as I wake up.’”
And now, the one that’s much like one that you might really hear:
Hillary Ad #8 – “This is Hillary Clinton, did you know Barack Obama is an addict, a Muslim, a card-carrying member of Al-Qaeda and part of the vast right-wing conspiracy? And if there’s one thing which I will not tolerate, it’s the politics of personal destruction.”

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Milwaukee’s Top Cop to Speak at Marquette Tomorrow

From the Marquette Law School, and Mike Gousha’s “On the Issues” series:
Thursday, January 10—Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn—Here’s your opportunity to meet the city’s new top cop. Chief Ed Flynn left Springfield, Massachusetts, to come to Milwaukee, where he faces a persistent violent crime problem and high expectations. Learn more about the new Chief’s crime-fighting strategies. January 10, 2008, 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., Sensenbrenner Hall, Room 325.
The series, so far, has been excellent. And anybody interested in Milwaukee criminal justice issues will probably find this event worthwhile.

Note: do not just show up. Registration is required, and is easily done via this web page.

There is ample space at the moment, and people from the community are welcome.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Hamphire: Hillary Wins, Pundits & Pollsters Humiliated

Huge irony: the ad at the top of the Drudge Report (captured just a few minutes ago) asks “Is Hillary finished.”

And that’s what all the pollsters and pundits were asking, with the usual answer being “yes.”

People who place these ads have a bit of trouble keeping up with the conventional wisdom. That of yesterday may be the polar opposite of today’s.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

California: Big Brother Will Control Your Thermostat

Via Dad29, the American Thinker documents another giant step toward 1984.

(And just because it didn’t happen by 1984 doesn’t mean it isn’t going to.)
A new revision to Title 24 is in the works for 2008[2] and it includes a number of improvements and enhancements that are largely good sense items and should be non-controversial. . . .

What should be controversial in the proposed revisions to Title 24 is the requirement for what is called a “programmable communicating thermostat” or PCT. Every new home and every change to existing homes’ central heating and air conditioning systems will required to be fitted with a PCT beginning next year following the issuance of the revision. Each PCT will be fitted with a “non-removable” FM receiver that will allow the power authorities to increase your air conditioning temperature setpoint or decrease your heater temperature setpoint to any value they chose. During “price events” those changes are limited to +/- four degrees F and you would be able to manually override the changes. During “emergency events” the new setpoints can be whatever the power authority desires and you would not be able to alter them.

In other words, the temperature of your home will no longer be yours to control. Your desires and needs can and will be overridden by the state of California through its public and private utility organizations. All this is for the common good, of course.
“But surely,” somebody who likes the nanny state might say, “sometimes there are power emergencies that require people to conserve?”

In the first place, problems with the power supply in California are mostly the result of misguided government regulation, and especially the unwillingness of environmentalists to allow adequate energy supplies.

We all know the acronym NIMBY, meaning “not in my back yard.” If it’s prisons, or landfills or a nuclear plant, everybody wants it put it somewhere else.

We know a fellow who says that in California, the rule is BANANA, meaning “build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything.”

So we have the usual downward spiral: government regulates something, and messes up the market. And this becomes an excuse for even more regulation. We see this with things like rent control, which gives landlords an incentive to let their apartments run down. How does government respond? With stricter regulation.

But even given real scarcity, the proper policy is to increase prices, and let people decide whether energy means so much to them that they are willing to pay the higher price. A lot won’t be willing to, and the demand will decrease. And the higher price will encourage more production, making scarcity rare.

Thus increasing prices when energy is in short supply is a good idea, but that can be done without the Big Brother apparatus.

Of course, there are loopholes.
EXCEPTION 1 to Section 112(c): Gravity gas wall heaters, gravity floor heaters, gravity room heaters, non-central electric heaters, fireplaces or decorative gas appliances, wood stoves, room air conditioners, and room air-conditioner heat pumps need not comply with this requirement.
So just as people who want a large vehicle to drive can get around Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards by buying an SUV, people who want to be warmer need only buy a heater.

But the problem is that these ways of evading the energy Nazis tend to be rather expensive. Which is part of the reason we see poor people driving old junker cars, and affluent people driving SUVs.

But the real problem comes when the infrastructure of control is put in place, and public attitudes have come to accept that government can regulate peoples lives in minute detail.

At that point, the Nazis have won.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Is She Qualified for the Job?

From one of those circular e-mails:
In a news conference Deanna Favre announced she will be the starting quarterback for the Packers this coming Sunday.

Deanna asserts that she is qualified to be starting QB because she has spent the past 16 years married to Brett while he played QB for the Packers. During this period of time she became familiar with the definition of a corner blitz, and is now completely comfortable with other terminology of the Packers’ offense.

A survey of Packers’ fans shows that 50% of those polled supported the move.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Where Did Everybody Go?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee Talk to Wisconsin Public Radio

We are not a “public radio” sort of person, but every so often we are on one of the Wisconsin Public Radio shows, and we always enjoy it.

We particularly enjoy being on Ben Marens show.

So for you political junkies out there, here are links to:

Raw Anti-Christian Bigotry

From the website of famous atheist Richard Dawkins:

Dawkins reproduces a manifesto from a blog called the Christian OUT.

Some typical excerpts:
We need to realize that we should be reaching out to people with true compassion and sincerity, minus the pious pharisaical cloaks; to both the saved and the lost. We need to reach out in support to our fellow Christians that are new or struggling, to give support and love through their trials, tribulations, and times of growth as a Christian; to be understanding, yet Scriptural, with a kind heart. We need also to reach out to this lost world with the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, remembering to not find it uncommon if by chance the lost person chooses to reject God and the Scriptures, to our dismay. We should not allow their rejection of it to be taken personally, but to be brought to God in prayer for their soul’s need of salvation.

We need to realize that it is necessary for a Christian to personally speak out against sin. We need to speak out against the sin in our own lives and other professing Christians, and also when we are confronted with sin by family, friends, and co-workers. At the same time we are first to examine the beam in our own eye before pointing out the dust in our neighbor’s eye. The dust in another’s eye does not make us more righteous, nor does looking around the beam in our own eye. In contrast, we also need to speak out concerning the truth, morality, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even when it is uncomfortable, we are to be true to Scripture and obedient to God, therefore calling good “good” and evil “evil.” Remember we are to speak and do that which is right because it is right, out of obedience to God, not for personal prestige, gain, or that we should be puffed up while others are put down, causing our pride to be lifted up causing us to fall into sin.

We needn’t be so timid or worldly that no one knows that we are a child of God, yet we must refrain from the pitfall of legalism whereby we judge the whole world by our personal moral code brow beating and demanding the lost world or fellow Christians to conform to a system that is above even that which Scripture calls for.
How do the commenters respond?

With an outpouring of naked anti-Christian bigotry. Readers can go to the comments section and peruse them.

But a warning: if you are a Christian, you are going to feel like a black guy at a Klan rally.

Of course, one can expect anti-Christian people to frequent richarddawkins.net.

But the comments aren’t that different from opinions expressed in the liberal blogosphere in Wisconsin. Check particularly Hermes’ Journeys and Illusory Tenant.

The secular leftists, of course, are not merely anti-religion. You won’t hear them say much bad about Islam. They simply have a particular grudge against Christians.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

A “Peace” Offering

The rather controversial Marquette Center for Peacemaking is holding an event, announced in a university e-mail.
Marquette’s Center for Peacemaking will hold an open house Tuesday, Jan. 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., in the Academic Support Building, room 201.

Director G. Simon Harak, S.J., and Associate Director Deidre Hughes will be delighted by the presence of all who attend, but visitors are also invited to bring a “peace offering” — anything they think will help promote peacemaking. Chocolate, juice, soda, coffee, hot chocolate, books, DVDs, videos, CDs, framed posters, and contacts with area peace and justice groups are particularly welcome offerings. They will also be interested in talents and time that attendees would be willing to donate to the center’s peacemaking efforts.
Yes, these folks really seem to believe that hot chocolate can make a contribution to “peace.”

We are sure that the Kurds that Saddam gassed would have felt much better had Milwaukee area leftists been there to serve them juice, soda and coffee.

And we are sure that, if we had a time machine and could go back to the late 1930s, these books, DVDs, videos, CDs and framed posters would have put the fear of God into Hitler.

We suggest that somebody go and take a U.S. Army recruiting poster.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Sympathetic Male Turned Off by Feminism

Via A Woman Against Feminism . . .

From The Independent:
Alienated by sisters who simply won’t listen

That they can lose the active support of Jackie Hayden is a dreadful indictment of feminists, writes Eilis O’Hanlon.

THE injunction to never judge a book by its cover was never truer than when applied to Jackie Hayden’s new book, A Man in a Woman’s World.

Jackie Hayden has certainly lived a full life. He was involved in signing U2 to their first record deal (I suppose we must forgive him for that); he was closely involved with Hot Press magazine; he wrote the book My Son, with Phil Lynott’s mother.

He was also on the management committee of the Wexford Rape Crisis Centre for eight years, four of which were spent as chairperson. He was the first man in Ireland to hold such a position.

So when he says that, by the end of his time with the Rape Crisis Centres, he had “become thoroughly disillusioned with what I saw as a deeply hypocritical strain of anti-male sexism” there, and had come to see their attitudes as “fundamentally disempowering of women” thanks to a “constant tendency to portray the female of the species as helpless lumps of victimhood”, then he surely deserves to be heard.

Jackie Hayden is not some caricature bar room boor, after all, but a child of the Sixties, fully signed up to anti-sexist, anti-racist spirit of the time. When he speaks out now against the disintegration of the feminist ideal into bitter sectionalism, it genuinely is more in sorrow than in anger.

Will Irish feminists listen to the advice of an old friend any more carefully than they do to those they see as their enemies? It’s doubtful.

Feminism long ago retreated into its shell, dismissing all criticism as a misogynistic backlash -- which is why it is more like a cult, a cabalistic inner circle, these days than the intellectual and political force for change it could and should have been. The sisters simply don’t listen anymore to anyone who doesn’t sign up 100 per cent to the catechism. In that respect, Hayden is most likely wasting his breath, but he does it with such vigour and honesty that we should just be glad he did it anyway.

One by one, he tracks his growing distance with the basic tenets of the feminist creed. That the media is responsible for violence against women, for example -- he just doesn’t accept that as an article of faith.

Hayden acknowledges that those who are predisposed to hating women might be influenced by what they see, but equally he doesn’t turn his back on evidence that pornography can be a “defusing mechanism” for others. The picture is complex, and he doesn’t run away from the complexity.

He has seen, too, the way in which problems which afflict men have been sidelined and ignored, and no one seems to find it at all strange that they should be, while those affecting women are automatically assumed to be more important. He even details one shocking incident when, in a piece he had written for Hot Press, he mentioned the need to help victims of domestic abuse “to return to a life of non-violence that is the human right of every woman, man and child”, and was urged by the female director of the Wexford Centre to drop the word “man” from the sentence because it was “inappropriate in the context.”

He has seen how women are allowed to joke about men in a belittling and derogatory way and no offence is allowed to be taken, whereas men are “permanently under scrutiny and threat” for the slightest remark. He knows that relations between the sexes are constantly shifting and under negotiation -- “Human behaviour,” he writes, “is not robotically controlled.” But still feminists speak as if all social and sexual interaction can be subject to cast-iron rules, with the severest punishments for transgression.

He also knows that women sometimes lie about their own sexual behaviour, and even about rape, but that’s not supposed to be talked about openly lest the blame shift from where it really lies: namely, with men en masse.

Not for one moment does Jackie Hayden deny the reality of rape and sexual abuse. The statistics are all here, and they don’t get any more palatable for being so familiar. What he objects to is the way in which feminists have demonised all men, and male sexual desire itself, as predatory and sinister.

One result of this has been to make every lighthearted or flirtatious conversation a potential cauldron for claims of harassment, especially in the workplace, though women frequently use their sexuality to get what they want without any of the same censure.

A Man in a Woman’s World is full of such cool blasts of common sense -- not least his scepticism about the all-healing power of therapy, which is worth a book in itself.

What’s most refreshing about it, though, is that Jackie Hayden doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. He’s simply sharing his own experiences and observations over time, and his conclusions are nothing if not modest: proper funding for rape services, yes, but also an acceptance from women’s aid organisations that women can be violent and predatory sometimes too; that not all women involved in pornography and prostitution are there because men forced them into it; likewise, a desire that women who espouse dysfunctional views of men be challenged about them. Is that really too much to ask?

His chatty, unpretentious, discursive style also neatly sidesteps any accusations that he’s engaged in some kind of polemical rant here.

Hayden emerges from the page as a decent, humane, humorous man who has found himself sadly alienated by the attitudes of many women who, while spouting slogans about equality and respect, are profoundly derogatory deep down about his identity as a man, and, by extension, all the other men he knows to be honourable and caring too.

That they can lose the active support of a man like Jackie Hayden is a dreadful indictment of Irish feminists and should give them pause for thought at least.

That it probably won’t is profoundly depressing. When he contacted former colleagues to ask for their help in writing this book, they didn’t want to know, replying to his letters instead with a “veiled threat of legal action”. Whatever happened to free speech?
The book was also reviewed by John Waters in the Irish Times, and he notes that:
Hayden was the first man to hold a senior position in the Irish Rape Crisis Network. For eight years, until last year, he sat on the management committee of Wexford Rape Crisis Centre, serving four years as chairman. In A Man in a Woman’s World, he reiterates his unquestionable commitment to defending women and children against violence, but also describes his growing sense that this is not the whole story.

Hayden tells of his disquiet at the level of anti-male sexism and hostility he encountered within the rape crisis and women’s aid networks. Somewhat typical of his and my generation, he describes growing up in the rock ‘n’ roll counter-culture and being easily persuaded that sexism against women was wrong and violence against women utterly unacceptable. But, in the trenches with feminist activists, he found the dream gradually unravelling. Conditioned by feminism to avoid any form of sexism, he found himself “confronted with sexism almost at every turn”. Many women he worked with “revealed themselves as harbouring a cynicism about men in general that was profound and far-reaching”.

A Man in a Woman’s World, published jointly by Killynon House Books and Hot Press Books, is an inspirationally honest, thoughtful and courageous book, written in sorrow. Hayden writes: “It’s as if there is a deep-seated desire to propagate the myth that women are inherently non-violent, and that all of the violence that occurs between men and women is inflicted by men. Clearly this is not true. There are women who are extremely abusive and violent towards their male partners. What is the difficulty acknowledging this? I can’t understand what it might be, but I became increasingly aware that it was there. Within the rape crisis network, it has become acceptable to deal with women or men who have experienced violence - provided the perpetrators of the violence are men. If the perpetrators of the violence are believed to be women, there seems to be a conspiracy to pretend it doesn’t happen and to discredit those who are active in attempting to highlight it. It isn’t a belief that is universally held among the women I worked alongside or spoke to, but it does seem to be the general policy.”
Anybody in a modern American university, and this most assuredly includes Marquette, will recognize this perverse complex of attitudes.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Corny, Correct Comment on Iowa Primaries