Saturday, January 31, 2009

You Might Be a Liberal If . . .

There are a lot of versions of this, but one particularly good one is found at Guy White: Making Sense On Race. We have selected some of the better ones and reprinted them below.
  • IQ tests should be used to stop the death penalty, but not to determine admission to AP classes.

  • The Ten Commandments in schools will hurt the children, but “Heather Has Two Mommies” won’t.

  • African-American, Queer and Women’s Studies prepare young people for good careers, but a biology major is an outdated relic of white, misogynist domination.

  • College students must protest the President (before Obama was elected), but never challenge anything the professor says.

  • Math tests are racist, but there is nothing racist about blacks being admitted over more qualified white applicants.

  • Spending 4 years - make that 5 years - repeating your professor’s liberal slogans is a solid education, but demanding that colleges present all view-points and actually teach the subject is “anti-intellectualism.”

  • McCarthyism was wrong, but black-listing “right-wingers” from ever teaching in college is just plain old common sense. A right-winger is anyone who doesn’t toe the line on all issues.

  • Education is about “feeling,” not knowing. Logic is the product of white male supremacy in our culture.

  • After spending 5 years in college, you still don’t know when the Civil War took place and you are absolutely certain it had nothing to do with freeing black slaves.

  • Meat is bad for you. So is milk. But marijuana gets you ready for your finals.

  • AIDS is caused by poverty. So is crime. And membership in the Republican party.

  • You march to raise awareness about breast cancer, but believe it’s caused by sexism and infant mortality is caused by racism.

  • You want to outlaw cigarettes and legalize marijuana.

  • Global Cooling for 10 years proves that there is global warming.

  • You fly on private jets, but feel free to tell others to use only one square of toilet paper to save the environment.

  • You think that using less toilet paper will be good for the air.

  • The best way to care about a disease is to wear a ribbon. You must also prevent pharmaceutical companies from making a profit.

  • People should be allowed to euthanize themselves, but not to eat in McDonald’s.

  • Career welfare recipients are fat because they can’t afford food.

  • You preach to everyone that diversity is our greatest strength, but you paid half a million dollars more for a house in an all-white suburb than you could’ve for the same house in a black neighborhood.

  • You see racist code-words in all media except in hip-hop singles such as “Kill The White People”.

  • You wonder out loud, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

  • You oppose all racial prejudice, but think all whites are racist, consciously or not.

  • IQ tests are completely invalid and there are no differences between people, except when an anonymous blogger posts that all the Red States have a borderline retarded IQ and all the Blue states are made up exclusively of intellectually gifted people. Then you feel the need to send the blog post to everyone you know as conclusive proof that voting for Democrats makes you smart.

  • You greet a black person with, “Yo Bro!”

  • Indians created the United States and Europe became great as a result of Islamic influences. On second thought, Europe isn’t great.

  • You can’t believe you were so racist as to say that there’s something great about Europe except their Social Democrat parties.

  • Black dominance in basketball is progress, but white dominance in swimming is an outrage.

  • Illegal Mexicans are real Americans. Descendants of our Founding Fathers aren’t.

  • Racial profiling is wrong, but all serial killers are white and all Mexicans are hard-working family men.

  • US wants to build a wall on the Mexican and not Canadian border because of racism, not because 20 million Mexicans and almost no Canadians cross into the U.S. illegally.

  • There is no correlation between Islamic immigration to Europe and increased anti-Semitic attacks against European Jews.

  • Prostitution empowers women, but having a man open the door for you is degrading.

  • You get out of bed, look at your naked body and at your wife’s, and then think: “gender is a social construct that has no basis in science”.

  • On second thought, you got married in Vermont and your wife’s name is Thomas.

  • Your dog is smaller than your cat.

  • You bought your son a doll and your daughter a toy truck just to prove that gender is a social construct.

  • You then gave your son a “time-out” for pretending that the doll is an enemy soldier. Such violence will not be accepted.

  • When your 2-year-old daughter turned the truck into a “tea party” table, your immediate thought was, “I got to her too late and she was already brainwashed by society to think she’s a little woman”.

  • Men are bigger, stronger and faster than women because our society is sexist.

  • On second thought, it’s sexist to say that men are bigger, stronger and faster.

  • Western women suffer at the hands of men, but Islamic women are greatly respected.

  • The only time you’ve ever used the word “choice” was in reference to abortion. School choice or the choice to shop at Wal-Mart should be prevented at all costs.

  • If you are a man, your hair is longer than your girlfriend’s.

  • Women should stop listening to their husbands and start listening to you.

  • There’s never a reason to hit a woman, unless she’s Ann Coulter or another conservative, in which case, she had it coming for having a mind of her own and disagreeing with you.

  • People are born with a sexual orientation, but gender is a social construct and nobody is really born with male or female qualities.

  • You agree with your cross-dressing friend that “our society” is just “too focused” on genitals in determining a person’s sex instead of determining gender by looking at the person’s clothes. Just because she has a penis instead of a vagina, chest hair instead of breasts and a prostate instead of ovaries, doesn’t mean she’s any less of a woman.

  • Men who are aroused by breasts are abnormal freaks, but homosexuality is biologically normal.

  • Men stand in front of toilets only to promote male supremacy and should be forced by the government to sit.

  • Great spirituality is found in Voodoo, but nothing in the Bible.

  • Gay students should be allowed to publicly kiss in class, but Christians shouldn’t be allowed to quietly pray during a break.

  • The Christmas tree should be banned from public view, but that anyone objecting to pornography “only has to look the other way.”

  • When a Western woman travels to the Middle East, she should respect their traditions and cover up. When Moslems illegally infiltrate Europe, they have the right to expect the Westerners to adjust to them. If the Europeans don’t, Moslems have every right to riot.

  • Christianity is a threat. Islam is a religion of peace.

  • The Constitution allows desecration of the flag, but makes it strictly illegal to desecrate the Koran.

  • You found where the right to an abortion is written in the Constitution, but cannot find where the Constitution provides for a right to bear arms.

  • None of the Constitutional Rights you believe in are actually written in the U.S. Constitution.

  • Constitutional rights that are actually written in the Constitution are outdated and should be ignored.

  • The First Amendment’s Freedom of Speech must take a back seat to sensitivity.

  • You think that the Declaration of Independence is a legally-binding document, but the Constitution should be read any which way you want.

  • On second thought, the only thing binding about the Declaration of Independence is the sentence “all men are created equal”. You aren’t sure what else the declaration says, but you are sure that whitey had no right to declare independence on Indians’ land.

  • Child molesters can live anywhere and maintain their privacy, but Wal-Mart should be limited to far-away places where children can’t be exposed to it.

  • Teenagers can’t control their sexual urges no matter what we do, but child molesters and rapists can after counseling.

  • Counseling is the proper punishment for all crimes except sexual harassment and racism.

  • McDonald’s should be sued for selling dangerous products, but drug dealers should be released from prisons.

  • Mumia is a great American, but the Founding Fathers were brutal racists and we should ignore everything they said.

  • A five-year-old boy who pulls a girl’s hair should be punished, but gangbangers who are caught with guns should be let go because they didn’t do anything.

  • Affirmative action is the way to solve racial problems in America.

  • Quietly reading “The Bell Curve” on the bus is harassment, but keying someone’s car for disagreeing with you is activism.

  • When rape and murder statistics go up, you blame poverty.

  • Society should take responsibility for crime, but the criminals need more understanding.

  • We have too many police. If the cops backed off, the ghetto would be pristine.

  • America and Israel are the only problems in the Middle East.

  • Four year old babies should be frisked at the airport because focusing on nervous young Arabs would be discriminatory.

  • Hezbollah is a legitimate political party, but Republicans are just a bunch of racist haters who should never be exposed to kids or college students.

  • It is wrong to kill terror leaders without a trial, but blowing up buses and airplanes is legitimate resistance.

  • Your peace rally consists of supporters of Hamas, Hezbollah and Saddam Hussein.

  • You say, “Why do they hate us?” when America is attacked and “we’re just furthering the cycle of violence” when we retaliate.

  • You aren’t unpatriotic, but you just can’t remember the last time you sided with the United States … on anything… against any country.

  • If you support the United States, you are blind idiot who wraps himself in patriotism. If you support Israel, you fell for Zionist propaganda. If you side with Islamists, you truly understand international politics and your views are intricate and nuanced.

  • We had no business going to Afghanistan, but bombing Serbia in the 1990s on behalf of Islamic terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army was vital to our national interest.

  • Truth matters less than feelings.

  • You think Hamas and Robert Mugabe were fairly and democratically elected, but President Bush was not.

  • You tell anyone who’ll listen that our elections are fraudulent and then you fight tooth and nail to prevent states from requiring a photo ID to vote.

  • You are more proud of Obama’s race than of John McCain’s refusal to leave his buddies behind in Vietnamese prison.

  • Dan Quayle is the dumbest Vice-President ever because he believed a flash card that misspelled “potato,” but Obama is a genius despite the fact that he believes that we have more than 57 states.

  • You laugh at Dan Quayle, but you still can’t figure out the difference between “your” and “you’re”.

  • Governor Sarah Palin is unqualified, but Daughter Caroline Kennedy and Wife Hillary Clinton were great candidates for the U.S. Senate.

  • You are more concerned about a politician being endorsed by the NRA than al-Qaida and the Socialist Workers Party.

  • All recounts must continue until the Democrat takes the lead, and not a second longer.

  • You announce that you will move to Canada every time a Republican wins an election.

  • None of your friends ever voted for a Republican.

  • People who don’t chat, “Bush Lied, People Died” are all stupid.

  • Barbra Streisand knows more about politics than Newt Gingrich.

  • 95% of blacks voting for a black guy is normal, but 55% of whites voting for the white candidate is a sign of how flawed our racist voting system is.

  • You call yourself ‘progressive’ but oppose all progress because somebody might get fired and replaced by a cheap and more efficient computer program.

  • Capitalism is the cause of poverty.

  • People aren’t successful, they are privileged.

  • People don’t earn. They deserve.

  • The Christian Right shouldn’t impose their morality on you, but you want to impose big government on everyone else because otherwise they won’t do the right thing.

  • You think that consenting adults can engage freely in every activity except capitalism.

  • You think the case for global warming is proven without a shadow of a doubt, but that we need another century or two worth of evidence to figure out if capitalism and free markets work better than socialism.

  • It’s obscene that oil companies are allowed to make 8.3 cents per gallon in profit with gas prices this high, but it’s ok for the government to make several times more than that in taxes.

  • McDonald’s gives people an option to supersize their meal because it is purposely trying to kill black people by giving them heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke.

  • You are steeped in compassion, but never gave money to charity or donated blood.

  • Your favorite sport is soccer. You pronounce it “foot-bowl”. You can’t name a single player or when was the last World Cup. You never actually watched a soccer match, but saying “footbowl” seems like a good answer to give when you are drinking your caramel latte with scones.

  • Your other interests are Ballet, Opera and Gangsta Rap.

  • You favor games where you don’t keep score, run or in any way risk bruising yourself.

  • You really wish to go to India to study spiritualism there, but you wouldn’t be caught dead in a church.

  • Your car has 8 bumper stickers calling Republicans morons and saying that Bush is a murderer, but that “McCain/Palin” bumper stick you just saw is really offensive so you just had to scratch that car with your key.

  • You wear a Yasser Arafat head scarf, but laugh at those who wear formal ties.

  • Playing competitive sports could do permanent harm to teenagers, but smoking weed daily and occasionally trying hard drugs is just something all college students do.

  • Fox News is biased, but Al Jazeerah isn’t. In fact, Fox News invented media bias.

  • Rush Limbaugh and Michael Reagan are mean-spirited racists and promote hate crime, but Maxine Waters, John Conyers and Louis Farrakhan aren’t and don’t.

  • Rush Limbaugh’s listeners are mindless “dittoheads,” but you have never doubted anything that you heard from Michael Moore.

  • Assaulting the President by throwing shoes at him is free speech, but political cartoons about Muhammad aren’t.

  • Freedom of speech means the right to scream when a conservative tries to speak in order to prevent anyone from hearing his views.

  • Freedom of speech applies to terrorists, not conservative radio talk show hosts.

  • Everyone who disagrees with you must be reported for racism to your employer, university dean and the police.

  • After making the report, you are shocked that racism is not a crime and that the offender won’t won’t be locked up.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Indoctrination at Marquette: Psychology 112 -- The Psychology of Prejudice

In a sense, this post isn’t news. That rigid politically correct indoctrination happens on university campuses is well known.

But one might believe that at a Catholic university, Catholic doctrine would at least be tolerated. One ought to be able to hold Catholic beliefs without being demeaned and derided. But not in Psychology 112 -- The Psychology of Prejudice, taught by Debra Oswald. And certainly not where homosexuality is concerned.

We got the following critique of the course from a student (in fact, a very good student) who took it.
Equal Voice for All

After taking a Psychology of Prejudice class this past semester, I was extremely disgusted by the obvious attempts of liberals to indoctrinate students to their ideology. The main focus of the class was supposedly to encourage “tolerance and understanding” amongst individuals, regardless of race, gender, ethnic background, and even religious beliefs. What I was taught instead was that the only views that are going to be tolerated are those that agree with mainstream liberal thought. If you hold any opinions that are inconsistent with the liberal beliefs you are considered a bigot and uneducated.

One quote I heard one time from a speaker I once heard says it best, “To only be taught one side of an argument is to be indoctrinated. To be shown both sides of an argument and then you make a decision, then you have been taught.” Psychology of Prejudice does not teach students, it indoctrinates them by presenting straw man arguments of alternative viewpoints and by silencing disputes from the opposition with the accusation that they are “bigots”.

I probably endorse beliefs about tolerance more than the ones who scream the loudest about it because I think that true tolerance means being willing to let another person have equal voice even when you disagree with them. That is not true today in the college today, and certainly not true in Psychology of Prejudice. Today if you adhere to the Bible as a basis of belief you are considered to hold discriminatory beliefs (especially if you take a literal reading of the scriptures). This includes racism, sexism, and heterosexism. Forget being able to hold any views on morality that are based on the Bible because you will be considered narrow-minded and out of touch.

If one listens to what scripture says about romantic relationships, you will most likely be hit from two sides. In my class my professor actually read out of the Bible to “prove” how sexist it is. She decided to read from Ephesians 5:22-23 which says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church…” She completely ripped the passage out of context and did not read any other passages like where it commands husbands to “love their wives as their own body.” Nowhere in the Bible does it teach that a man is supposed to treat her as if she were beneath him, nor does it say anything about men being better than women (it actually teaches that they are equal before God). But yet the class teaches that those who adhere to the literal reading of Bible are sexist.

My question is where is the tolerance for those who decide to believe in the Bible and what it teaches? Why is it that a biblical worldview cannot be taught in school, yet a worldview that never passes up an opportunity to attack faith can be rammed down our throats?

This need to attack those who adhere to faith did not come through more clearly than with the frequent remarks from our teacher about how homosexuality is a perfectly acceptable sexual practice. Anyone who says differently is considered ignorant in eyes of psychology. We were told repeatedly that if we think that homosexuality is wrong that is being prejudiced. This was true regardless of what you did or said about your beliefs.

Now, I think it is wrong to attack someone because of their sexual orientation, and I think it is wrong to treat them inhumanely; but I think that I have the right to believe whether or not it is sin and not be discriminated against because of my beliefs. Who has the right to tell me that I am wrong and that my opinions need to be eradicated? I have no problem simultaneously believing that homosexuality is sin but yet accepting a homosexual person as human being and treating him or her as such. I know this is true because I have had homosexual teachers (both male and female) and I got along very well with both of them and was actually friends with both of them. In fact, they were both fully aware of my beliefs towards homosexuality but they could see that I did not judge them on the basis of that one sin and they still enjoyed interacting with me. We even were able to discuss our beliefs about it because both my teachers and I were being transparent. Now I think that is true tolerance.

Psychology of Prejudice is teaching us that the only way to accept someone is to ignore everything about them and say everything they do is okay. The truth is that this is impossible. Everybody with any moral beliefs at all (and liberals are absurdly moralistic about certain matters) will believe that other people hold bad beliefs and do bad things. Clearly the liberal ideology of “tolerance” only goes as far as those who tolerate what they agree with. How much tolerance does it take to put up with someone that never disagrees with you? If the liberals were truly secure in their beliefs that would have no issue with letting the people of faith get equal access in the classroom, but the reality is that will never happen.

We were shown a video about how a young “Christian” man took part in a 30 day challenge to see if his views of homosexuality would change. He was thrown into the heart of San Francisco and lived with a homosexual man. He was submerged in the homosexual culture and in fact met a few times with a lesbian pastor. Throughout his time there he was repeatedly challenged as to why he thought homosexuality was wrong. His answers were weak and demonstrated little to no understanding of what the Bible teaches about it. In fact, the film made it seem that any Christian that wants to be so “rigid” as to say that the passages about homosexuality should be taken literally is actually a hypocrite because he or she is ignoring other passages. At the end of the film this young man comes to this “epiphany” and realizes that he has been wrong and that homosexuality is not the result of choices that homosexuals made in the past. In the film the guy remarked about how it was so difficult for him to go back to his “intolerant” religious family after he had “learned so much.”

Now, I have no problem with people wanting to believe whatever they want about the cause of homosexuality. But what I want to see is fair and balanced coverage of both sides. There are numerous stories about men and women who were homosexual but yet through a faith experience turned away from that and become heterosexual and testify to the fact that even though they thought they were happy as homosexuals, in hindsight they now realize that they were not. But we are never shown these stories. I also find it interesting that the faith perspective is not allowed to be advocated in the classroom, yet my teacher has complete liberty to attack it and set up straw man arguments against it. All I am asking for is an accurate and fair depiction of the faith perspective if you are going to attack it. Or, better yet, why not learn to tolerate it?
Given that the course clearly dealt with “prejudice” against various politically correct “victim” groups, we asked the student whether it ever dealt with (1) prejudice against devout and conservative Catholics, (2.) prejudice against fundamentalist Christians, (3) black racism toward whites, (4) feminist prejudice against men, (5) prejudice against Southerners, (6) prejudice against working class people (As in “All in the Family” or the movie “Joe”), or (7) prejudice against business executives?

His answer was “no” for all except (3). As for (3) he said “Not really, anytime it came up in a movie for class, black racism was almost always justified as merely a strong sense of black identity in light of ‘years of oppression.’”

Prof. Oswald failed to respond to our voice mail and e-mail requests for an interview.

It’s one thing to allow criticism and discussion of Catholic doctrine and beliefs in a Catholic university. Doing that is necessary in a university.

But shouldn’t students be allowed to embrace Catholic doctrine, and argue for it in the classroom, without being attacked and derided? Shouldn’t questions about whether the Bible is “sexist” and whether homosexuality is a legitimate “lifestyle” be open to discussion?

Not for secular and politically correct faculty who are as rigidly orthodox in their liberal beliefs as the worst clerics of bygone days.

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Not Nearly Enough Lipstick

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hijab-for-a-Day at Marquette

From an e-mail sent to all faculty:
This WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28, the Muslim Student Association is hosting Hijab-for-a-day! Wear a hijab (headscarf) for one day, and then come in the evening ready to discuss your experiences!

We will be having a hijab-wrapping workshop on TUESDAY, from 12-1, in the International Center (AMU 407), where we will demonstrate different styles from around the world and provide you with a chance to ask questions and to learn more about how Muslims dress and why they do so.

On Wednesday night, at 6 pm, in the MCC, we are hosting an Outspoken so that people can come to discuss their experiences throughout the day. How did you feel? Did people look at you differently? Did your opinion of those who choose to wear the hijab change at all?

Please bring your own scarf (rectangular, pashmina, square, triangle, etc. . . . as long as it’s large enough to cover your hair, we can make it work) on Tuesday. If you do not have one, we will have a few available for you to use.

For more information, please contact Shazeen Harunani (shazeen.harunani@mu.edu) or Pam Peters (pamela.peters@mu.edu)
It’s almost certainly too late, by the time you see this, to make the Tuesday session (although we have blogged about the entire schedule of events), but it will be interesting to see how this unfolds (no pun intended).

Unlike most “multicultural” events at places like Marquette, this strikes us as a genuine example of multicultural consciousness raising. Muslim covering has long been derided by feminists as a symbol of the subjugation of women under Islam, although recently Muslim women have had some success in packaging it as a kind of feminist statement.

It’s perhaps best to view this as an example of modesty in dress -- something that Christian conservatives should applaud. Admittedly, Marquette women virtually always dress modestly by U.S. and Western standards (one virtually never sees any cleavage around here), but the Hijab is a symbolic statement that the average Marquette student would benefit from learning about.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

He Needs Your Help

Sunday, January 25, 2009

On the Issues at the Law School: Update

The updated schedule of the Marquette Law School series “On the Issues with Mike Gousha.”
  • Thursday, January 29—Attorneys and former judges Michael Brennan and John Franke—How do judges view trial lawyers? We’ll hear the unique perspective of former Milwaukee County Judges Brennan and Franke, who are returning to careers as trial lawyers with the Milwaukeean firm of Gass, Weber and Mullins. We’ll also learn more about their decision to leave the bench to take on new challenges. 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., Room 325, Law School, Sensenbrenner Hall

  • Tuesday, February 10—Milwaukee’s Sick Leave Ordinance—Supporters say it will improve the lives of families and workers. Critics say it will seriously damage Milwaukee’s ability to attract and retain businesses. On the day the city’s new sick leave ordinance is scheduled to take effect, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of the new law. Our guests will be Amy Stear, the Wisconsin Director of 9to5 National Association of Working Women, and Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce President Tim Sheehy. The MMAC is challenging the ordinance, which requires employers in Milwaukee to provide their employees with up to nine paid sick days each calendar year. Join us at the Law School for this timely debate. 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., Room 325, Marquette Law School.

  • Tuesday, February 17—U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan—With the nation facing its most serious economic downturn since the Great Depression, we’ll talk with Congressman Ryan about the road to recovery and the nation’s exploding debt. A Republican from Janesville, Wisconsin, Ryan has been called one of the “rising stars” in Washington. His recent “Roadmap to the Future” proposal to reform federal entitlement programs won him praise from both Republicans and Democrats alike. Congressman Ryan, currently serving his fifth term as a member of Congress, is the ranking member of the House Budget Committee. He also serves on the House Ways and Means Committee. Ryan was first elected to Congress at the age of 28. He was re-elected to a fifth term in November. 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., Room 325, Marquette Law School.

  • Tuesday, March 17—Former Detroit Mayor and Former American Bar Association President Dennis Archer—A highly respected attorney and public policy leader, Mr. Archer will discuss his legal career and the challenges facing American cities during his Law School visit. Archer was Mayor of Detroit from 1993 to 2001, winning high marks for the city’s economic development efforts during that period. Chairman of Detroit’s Dickinson Wright law firm, Archer also made history in 2003, when he became the first African-American president of the American Bar Association. He is a former Michigan Supreme Court Justice and has the distinction of having been appointed legal guardian for civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks and helped settle her estate. 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., Marquette Law School, Room 325
The schedule has changed a bit from the one we previously published. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has been dropped from the web page of forthcoming events, since his talk has attracted about 150 registrants, and there is simply no more space. Selig will indeed be speaking on February 3. An extremely interesting forum on the Sick Leave Ordinance has been added.

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Anti-Christian Bigotry: Just the Worst Cases

From Christian Newswire:
Top Ten Instances of Christian Bashing in America, 2008

VISTA Calif., Jan. 5 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC) has prepared a Top Ten list of the most egregious acts of Christian Bashing in American in 2008. Every day in America serious Christians face increasing hostility at work, school, and in the culture because they stand for their faith and values.

INSTANCE #10: Jack Black Musical Video

In a short video posted on FunnyorDie.com entitled, “Prop 8 The Musical,” an all star cast of Hollywood celebrities perform a low budget musical farce that defames Christ, mocks Christians and distorts the teaching of the Bible. Jack Black played the lead role of Jesus.

INSTANCE #9: Bill Maher Gratuitously Attacks Pope

Bill Maher, host of the HBO program Real Time, made light of the Pope during his recent visit and the tragic sexual abuse scandal. Maher said, “Now I know what you’re thinking, Bill. You can’t be saying that the Catholic Church is no better than this creepy (radical Mormon polygamist) Texas cult. For one thing, alter boys can’t even get pregnant. But really, what tripped up the little cult on the prairie was that they only abused hundreds of kids, not thousands all over the world. Cults get raided; religions get parades. . . If you have a few hundred followers and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If you have a billion, they call you Pope.”

INSTANCE #8: ESPN Anchor Dana Jacobson’s “F--- Jesus” Remark

Speaking at an ESPN corporate event in Atlantic City, N.J., to honor ESPN Radio personalities Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, Dana Jacobson let go with a steam of vulgar remarks; “F--- Notre Dame,” “F--- Touchdown Jesus” and finally “F--- Jesus.” Jacobson was suspended for a few days for the incident.

INSTANCE #7: Minnesota University Professor Desecrates Communion

A Biology Professor from the University of Minnesota, Paul Zachary Myers, recently desecrated a consecrated communion wafer from a Catholic Mass. Meyer’s has also asked people to steal the Eucharist for him in order that he might desecrate it and display it on his blog.

INSTANCE #6: Religulous the Movie

Bill Maher released a very shallow, pseudo-intellectual documentary entitled Religulous. The movie did not cover any new intellectual ground. It simply raised the old attacks on the faith. Maher studiously avoided being fair and did not allow for legitimate Christian answers from any leading Christian intellectuals.

INSTANCE #5: Chaplains Fired for Praying in Jesus’ Name

Chaplains for the State of Virginia are being denied their right to pray in Jesus’ name. Six chaplains were fired for continuing to pray in Jesus’ name. Earlier this year in Virginia, Rev. Hashmel Turner, a city councilman in Fredericksburg, was told by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that his prayers during city council meetings that ended in Jesus’ name will continue to be banned.

INSTANCE #4: Colorado Law Criminalizes the Bible

SB200, a Colorado state bill recently signed into law, criminalizes the Bible. Section 8 of the bill entitled “Publishing of discriminative matter forbidden” makes publishing the Bible illegal because it contains anti-homosexual passages. This is part of a larger effort to criminalize the expression of certain opinions and beliefs.

INSTANCE #3: Barack Obama Defames Christianity

According to research into President Elect Obama’s own statements about faith, and an examination of Obama’s position on moral issues, CADC has determined that by any biblical and historic Christian standard, Barack Obama is not a Christian, although he claims he is a “devout Christian.”
We don’t happen to agree with this one. Obama clearly sides with secular liberals on every issue that separates Christians and secular people. But that’s not the same as “defaming Christianity.” In fact, Obama feels the need to at least pay lip service to Christian faith, regardless of his personal beliefs.
INSTANCE #2: Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin Is Attacked

Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, came under sharp attack by some in the mainstream media because she self-identifies as a Christian. The Washington Post published a cartoon by Pat Oliphant mocking Palin because she has a background as a Pentecostal/Charismatic Christian. A suspicious arson fire at Sarah Palin’s home church recently caused over $1,000,000 in damage.

And finally, the #1 Christian Bashing Instance in America for 2008...

INSTANCE #1: Radical Homosexuals Assault Prop 8 Marriage Supporters in California

During and after the November campaign stories flooded in of pro-Prop 8 signs being taken, people verbally and physically assaulted, church property and private automobiles vandalized, and person’s jobs and pastor’s lives threatened simply for exercising their right to campaign and vote in support of traditional marriage.

BONUS INSTANCE: Senator Grassley’s Abuse of Power

US Senator Grassley, a member of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, has demanded the financial records of a number of very prominent conservative, evangelical broadcast ministries. The demand was based on Grassley’s concern that these ministries are not spending their contributions properly. Grassley has admitted his concerns were in part driven by media accounts.
Insults anything like these directed against blacks, or gays and lesbians or Muslims would be considered beyond the pale. But Christians, being a politically incorrect group, occupy a free-fire zone.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Last Campfire For These Taliban

video

Free Speech Under Attack in the Netherlands

From FrontPage Magazine:
Geert Wilders has long been a thorn in the side of Holland’s politically correct powers that be. In an era of rigid multiculturalism, the gadfly politician has persisted in asking uncomfortable questions about the compatibility of Islamic mores and European values – an often-lonely campaign that has earned him death threats from Muslim fanatics and the disdain of the Dutch political class, media, and civil authorities. But rather than challenge Wilders in the court of public opinion, the Dutch establishment has decided to put him on trial.

This Wednesday the Dutch Court of Appeals in Amsterdam ordered a criminal prosecution of Wilders on charges of “incitement and hatred and discrimination.” His specific crime: statements that he has made about “Muslims and their belief.” Citing Wilders’s comparisons of Islam with Nazism, the Court of Appeals claims that criminal prosecution is the “obvious” response to this allegedly intolerable insult.

To understand just how outrageous is the court’s order it is necessary to consider the substance, such as it is, of the charges against Wilders. It does not exaggerate the case to say that Wilders is being accused of nothing more than holding an opinion with which the court’s judges disagree. (One cannot call it an unpopular opinion since, if recent polling is any guide, majorities of the Dutch public share Wilders’s apprehensions about Islam and Muslims’ ability to assimilate.) Thus, the court cites Wilders’s “insulting statements” and complains that his “presentation is characterized by biased, strongly generalizing [sic] phrasings with a radical meaning, ongoing reiteration and an increasing intensity.” In fact, the only truly “radical” idea is the notion that having a “biased” opinion, even one that some consider “insulting,” constitutes a crime. According to this absurdly open-ended standard, any Dutch citizen who has ever expressed an opinion has potentially committed a crime. “Apparently this is the Netherlands today,” Wilders darkly observed yesterday. “If you speak out you might be prosecuted. To participate in public debate has become a dangerous activity.”
American exceptionalism holds here, of course, and we can’t imagine anything like this happening in the U.S. -- at least not yet.

But the same sort of people who dote on Europe for having gay marriage, socialized medicine and no death penalty would, if they can amass enough political power, impose the same kinds of policies here. We already see that in the intolerance of college campuses, in attempts among Democrats to reinstate the “Fairness doctrine” and the imposition of orthodoxy tests in professions like social work.

Europe may be the wave of the future, at least if the left gets its way.

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New Slogan

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mary Gerhart and Allan Russell: Rather Flaky Views on Religion and Science

Via a campus e-mail to all faculty:
Noted scholars Mary Gerhart and Allan Russell, Professors Emeriti at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, will give a free public lecture, “A Physicist and a Theologian Construct the Concept of a Loving Universe,” on Thursday February 12, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. in the Raynor Library Lower Level Rooms B&C.

This lecture is the latest installment in the long-running program on the dialogue between Science and Religion that has been sponsored by the Albertus Magnus Circle and the Departments of Physics and Theology.

The generous support of the Dr. Edward D. Simmons Religious Commitment Fund is gratefully acknowledged.
We got the following evaluation and critique of Gerhart and Russell from one John Burke.

[Note: the links are to proprietary databases and will only work within the Marquette campus, or for people who can log into the Marquette proxy server.]
There seems to exist precious little biographical information for either Dr. Russell or Dr. Gerhart. The most prominent work of both is related to the subject of their lecture at Marquette: an interdisciplinary dialogue between science and religion. Neither speaker seems to be overtly political or to hold radical views except perhaps within their own fields.

Russell’s separate work is fairly innocuous. I have found only one piece that might be considered contentious In it, he argues that scientific inquiry must be a felt process, that students should be taught to empathize with a system in order to truly understand it. It is difficult to know whether the man in serious (and thus blatantly unscientific) or if he is simply suggesting some sort of heuristic device.

Gerhart’s separate work may be considered a little more controversial than Russell’s, but again usually within her own field, religious studies, and for the most part not dealing with anything political. She is, to some degree, a feminist. She explains that she is a pro-choice Roman Catholic (Gender, Genre, and Religion p. 16); she also praises LaCugna’s idea to have the church ordain both men and women for short periods of time in a given community (p. 17). These opinions are controversial in both the political and the theological realms.

The bulk of controversial sentiments, however, come from their collaborative efforts and are limited to theological issues. Their opinions on epistemology, hermeneutics, and doctrine would, of course, be considered quite liberal. They have together written two books on the dialogue between science and religion: Metaphoric Process: The Creation of Scientific and Religious Understanding and New Maps for Old: Explorations in Science and Religion.

The basic premise is that metaphors act as a means of creating knew meaning from two known values (as opposed to analogy which assimilates an unknown value by use of a known one). Thus there is a process of finding new meaning and new truth from old values and this occurs both in science and theology. It is evident then that the theory subjects the Bible to relativistic interpretations according to the necessity of the times. As an example, a chapter entitled “Sublimation of the Goddess in the Deitic Metaphor of Moses” explains that Moses equated the god El with the god Yahweh, and in so doing precluded a goddess spouse for El somehow. Thus a new truth was created from two old values. This, according to them is and should be the proper trajectory for religion and science: meaning should be created.

Concerning the biblical narrative (or stories, as she calls them), Gerhart explains in “Dialogical Fields in Religious Studies” that “every generation must correct interpretations in the light of new exigencies, must imagine the structures that best allow the stories to take root in different soil and in lives different from the lives of those who heard the stories before.” For her, this means reinterpretation to preclude the inherent sexism of such an ancient and thus patriarchal text: “The basic question then was ‘Is the Bible itself sexist or did the translation insert sexism into the original texts?’ Today it is widely accepted that both the original texts and their translations are likely to reflect gender bias.”

The “exigencies” of our times which necessitate reinterpretation are often brought to the fore by scientific discovery. Thus, in essence, theological truths must be informed by societal advancement in technology and thought. The shift of focus from the earth to the universe “radically alters the sense of ‘ongoing’ revelation in the three ‘religions of the book.’ To what extent may certain concepts, such as that of ‘covenant’ and ‘islam,’ need to be reinterpreted in the new scientific context? What aspects of the question of christology are affected by the new cosmology in which Universe is the context rather than planet Earth? How are the claims of ecological theology both supported and modified by the new scientific emphasis on the Universe as distinct from planet Earth?”

Hermeneutically speaking, the books are products of Higher Criticism (more likely the New Criticism from midcentury). My own theology allows me to categorize the efforts as vain babblings.

John Burke
There is, of course, nothing wrong with having speakers on campus who are unorthodox, or even downright flaky. In fact, we wouldn’t mind if we can create a little controversy and increase attendance.

We can’t help noting, however, that the late Ed Simmons, for whom the Religious Commitment Fund is named, would also want more orthodox views represented.

Maybe sometime soon.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Cream City Bluegrass Plays Maxie’s Southern Comfort

We’ve blogged before on the Cream City Bluegrass Band, and are rather a fan of the group.

This Saturday evening, they will be playing again at Maxie’s Southern Comfort Restaurant (their first gig there was in November).

Not only is the bluegrass going to be good, but Maxie’s is a rather fashionable restaurant that has wowed local food critics. OnMilwaukee.com said that it “does New Orleans style with distinction.” It was designated the “Best New Restaurant” by the Shepherd Express, and Gayot enthuses that “Down-home food and hospitality reign supreme at this spicy city spot.”

Eating at Maxie’s

What none of the reviews say is that Maxie’s is a fine place to eat cheaply. Admittedly, it’s not the kind of place where one goes to eat cheaply: it’s trendy, with a stylish interior and good food. But with a little strategy it can be the perfect night out for the miser.

In the first place, portions are very large. On a recent visit, both our son and our son-in-law were able to eat about half the Jambalaya they were served. We ate the remainder of our son’s portion the next day, and found it delicious. (Our son thought it under-spiced.) We had the Pulled Pork Plate, which is identified as “eastern North Carolina-style.” It was indeed good Southern style “pulled pork,” with a sauce more piquant than the mid-South sort we are used to, and it was delicious. But it could easily have been shared between two people, especially if paired with a salad, or a bowl of the delicious gumbo, or the almost equally delicious Crab and Corn chowder.

Speaking of salads, they are a mixed lot. The Caesar Salad is mediocre at best, short on the distinctive anchovy taste of a good Caesar (and certainly lacking the richness of the un-politically correct era when a Caesar salad contained a raw egg). But both the Supper Club Salad and the Roasted Red Grape & Watercress Salad were good, with a taste dominated by the vinaigrette and the cheese (goat cheese in one case, and bleu in the other). We don’t know how Southern these are, since the Supper Club Salad is virtually identical to the one Trocadero serves, but tasty is tasty.

It’s a big temptation to make a meal from just a salad and/or gumbo and/or an appetizer and/or a side dish. The appetizers are a mixed lot. The Fried Green Tomatoes with remoulade are good, with a bit more of a crust than we are used to. But the Hickory Smoked Wings are done in by the fact that they have a lot more crust than chicken. We actually like Appleby’s wings better! These are in fact just buffalo wings, which originated in a place that gets more snow in a week than Birmingham gets in a generation.

The Cracker-Crusted Oysters with creamy mignonette, however, are excellent. The crabcake is good too, although it’s rather small.

The side dishes are both very good and served in very generous portions. We have, twice now, had a lunch of left-over Maxie’s BBQ Beans, rather spicy and cooked with a fair amount of pork.

A vegetarian colleague of ours assures us that he found several good selections on Maxie’s menu.

The Eating Cheaply Strategy

Given that entrées (with generous sides included) are mostly in the $12-18 range at Maxie’s, that appetizers are in the $9-11 range, and side dishes in the $4-5 range -- with all generous and capable of being shared, it should be obvious that two can eat pretty reasonably there.

It could be a great place for a cheap date -- but with the proviso that young ladies tend to like a bit of extravagance, at least early on. But if one has a parsimonious spouse of a few decades who views a night out not as an act of connubial chivalry, but rather a debit against the household budget, Maxie’s is the place.

But It Gets Better

One can eat at Maxie’s at half price.

That’s right. Maxie’s is one of the restaurants available via Wise Savings:

http://www.wisesavings.com/

You can buy certificates for (say) $50 of food for $25 (and so on in other denominations). You can cover the tab with any number of certificates (say, a $50 certificate and two $10 certificates for a $70 tab). In theory, the certificates do not cover the taxes. In practice, they always do.

They don’t cover the tip, which (of course) should be based on the undiscounted amount of the tab.

These certificates sometimes sell out for a particular quarter or month, but at the moment there seems to be a good stock, according to the prople at Wise Savings.

To top it all off, there is no cover charge for entertainment. It all sounds like a huge bargain to us.

Cream City Bluegrass is at Maxie’s this Saturday evening (1/24/09), performing from 9:00 until midnight.

Maxie’s is at 6732 W Fairview, Milwaukee, WI. That’s just a short half-block north from the 68th Street I-94 exit.

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Not Encouraging

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Obama’s Science Guy: Long Trail of Absurd Claims

From Jeff Jacoby, an exposé of the fellow that Barack Obama has chosen to advise him on matters scientific. The Senate, however, has to approve the appointment. There is little chance it will get rejected, but some Senator with a backbone might ask a few tough questions.
IN NOMINATING John Holdren to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy -- the position known informally as White House science adviser -- President-elect Barack Obama has enlisted an undisputed Big Name among academic environmentalists. . . .

He is also a doom-and-gloomer with a trail of erroneous apocalyptic forecasts dating back nearly 40 years -- and a decided lack of tolerance for environmental opinions that conflict with his. . . but conscientious senators might wish to ask him some questions. Here are eight

1. You were long associated with population alarmist Paul Ehrlich, and joined him in predicting disasters that never came to pass. For example, you and Ehrlich wrote in 1969: “It cannot be emphasized enough that if . . . population control measures are not initiated immediately and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come.” In 1971, the two of you were adamant that “some form of ecocatastrophe, if not thermonuclear war, seems almost certain to overtake us before the end of the century.” In the 1980s, Ehrlich quoted your expectation that “carbon dioxide-induced famines could kill as many as a billion people before the year 2020.” What have you learned from the failure of these prophecies to come true?

2. You have advocated the “long-term desirability of zero population growth” for the United States. In 1973, you pronounced the US population of 210 million as “too many” and warned that “280 million in 2040 is likely to be much too many.” The US population today is 304 million. Are there too many Americans?

3. You opposed the Reagan administration’s military buildup in the 1980s for fear it might “increase the belligerency of the Soviet government.” You pooh-poohed any notion that “the strain of an accelerated arms race will do more damage to the Soviet economy than to our own,” or that “damaging the Soviet economy would benefit the US.” But that is exactly what happened, and President Reagan’s defense buildup helped win the Cold War. Did that outcome alter your thinking on military questions?

4. You argued that “a massive campaign must be launched . . . to de-develop the United States” in order to conserve energy; you also recommended the “de-development” of modern industrialized nations in order to facilitate growth in underdeveloped countries. Yet elsewhere you observed: “Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” Which is it?

5. In Scientific American, you recently wrote: “The ongoing disruption of the Earth’s climate by man-made greenhouse gases is already well beyond dangerous and is careening toward completely unmanageable.” An interview you gave to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was headlined “The Sky Is Falling.” Given your record with forecasting calamity, shouldn’t policymakers view your alarm with a degree of skepticism?

6. In 2006, according to the London Times, you suggested that global sea levels could rise 13 feet by the end of this century. But the latest assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is that sea levels are likely to have risen only 13 inches by 2100. Can you explain the discrepancy between your estimate and the IPCC’s?

7. “Variability has been the hallmark of climate over the millennia,” you wrote in 1977. “The one statement about future climate that can be made with complete assurance is that it will be variable.” If true, should we not be wary of ascribing too much importance to human influence on climate change?

8. You are withering in your contempt for researchers who are unconvinced that human activity is responsible for global warming, or that global warming is an onrushing disaster. You have written that such ideas are “dangerous,” that those who hold them “infest” the public discourse, and that paying any attention to their views is “a menace.” You contributed to a published assault on Bjorn Lomborg’s notable 2001 book “The Skeptical Environmentalist” -- an attack the Economist described as “strong on contempt and sneering, but weak on substance.” In light of President-elect Obama’s insistence that “promoting science” means “protecting free and open inquiry,” will you work to soften your hostility toward scholars who disagree with you?
It’s almost a cliché that environmentalism is a religion. Indeed, it’s pretty much the religion of those who don’t believe in God -- which is the say the religion of the elites who are heavily overrepresented in the Democratic Party.

So the irony is that the people in America today who most resemble the liberal stereotype of the fundamentalist bible thumper are are the liberal environmentalists themselves. John Holdren is the Elmer Gantry of the group.

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The One That Will Dominate Everything Else

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee Corridor Rail: Mass Transit Boondoggle

Yesterday we attended a presentation sponsored by Milwaukee County Supervisor Joe Rice on the proposed commuter rail line from Kenosha to Milwaukee.

Rice has a history of opposing tax increases, so it made sense that the free-market think tank, the Reason Foundation, would be doing the study.

In spite of the Reason Foundation’s pro-market bent, the presenter and chief researcher, Thomas Rubin, took a rather moderate tone. He clearly implied that the Milwaukee County Transit System was deserving of further taxpayer subsidies, and failed to outright condemn the rail line, simply urging the consideration of other, possibly more cost-effective, alternatives.

But the data he presented was damning.

The most obvious absurdity: each one-way trip on the rail line would cost $28. But the fare would be only $2.92. That means that every round-trip commuter, using the line to go from Kenosha to a job in Milwaukee would get a $50 daily subsidy from the taxpayers of southeastern Wisconsin.

That’s right. Fifty dollars per day. Assuming a 52 week work year, with two weeks vacation, that’s $12,500 per year. If we lived in Kenosha, we would gladly take that money and commute by car, or arrange a car pool, or telecommute or simply find a job in Kenosha. That would leave us better off, and the taxpayer no worse off.

Mass transit proponents continually claim to particularly care about the poor, and always puff the need that poor people have for mass transit. Where city bus systems are concerned, this argument may have some traction. But try finding somebody on a commuter rail line anywhere in the country who is taking the train in to a janitor’s job, or a hotel maid’s job, or to work on the counter in a McDonald’s in the city. In short, the vast majority of the riders would be affluent professionals enjoying a massive subsidy financed by the sales tax.

But if the $50 per day subsidy is the most obviously outrageous part of the plan, it’s hardly the only one.

In the first place, estimates of costs and ridership for mass transit projects have a nasty history of being badly off. And not off randomly. The costs are systematically underestimated, and the ridership is systematically overestimated. If that has happened here, the taxpayer subsidy would have to be larger -- probably much larger.

Further, it’s virtually impossible to dismantle a project like this if it proves a failure, since you have to give back the money you got from the Federal government! Thus taxpayers have to throw good money after bad with a costly white elephant that can’t be gotten rid of.

A lot of the costs of the project aren’t taken into account, and Rubin gave an enlightening account of the complexity of projects like this. A train line along the KRM route would impede traffic at many grade crossings, and kill at least a few people. (Admittedly, the people killed would be idiots who drive around a lowered gate to try to beat a train.)

(U.S. railroads reported 237 deaths in “highway/rail incidents” in the first ten months of 2008.)

Noise would be substantial. In fact, Federal regulation requires that train whistles be loud.

Economic Benefits?

One of the standard excuses for spending massive amounts of taxpayer money is that the spending has large spillover benefits. And indeed a study from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee claimed that the rail line would indeed produce such benefits, both in terms of stimulating the local economy and raising property values.

The Reason study thoroughly debunks that.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee analysis of the local economic benefits of the construction of the rail line wrongly assumes all expenditures, and jobs created, would be local, even though there is no local capacity to produce many of the components, such as the $48 million rail cars. And the $2.1 billion increase in property values the rail project alleges would mean that each of the 3,696 projected 2035 round-trip riders would be “worth” $568,000, a claim that “cannot be taken seriously” the Reason Foundation concludes.
Of course, any economist knows that you can create jobs and development in some highly visible place if you just throw enough money at a particular developer, or provide a large enough subsidy (explicit or implicit) to this or that locality or industry.

The Reason study, however, concludes that while the KRM line could certainly move development around (taking it from the I-94 corridor to the lakefront, for example) it wouldn’t actually create any new development.

This, of course, reflects a truism about subsidy-driven economic development. With enough taxpayer money you can create showpiece development that politicians can brag about, while leaving everybody else, including businesses who pay their own way, worse off.

Most economists know this, but there are always a few hacks around (often, it seems, in the UW system) who will try to justify this or that expensive project.

The policy brief of the study is here, and the full study is here.

Ken Yunker Responds

The people who staged this press conference graciously allowed Ken Yunker, a strong supporter of the KRM line, to respond. Supervisor Rice kindly sent us two slide shows that Yunker prepared, and they are available here and here. Due to limitations on time, Yunker only dealt with a few of the issues covered in his slide shows.

We found his responses unconvincing, and indeed rather silly.

In response to the absurdly high subsidy that would be required for each rider on the KRM line, he said that the Marquette interchange upgrade cost millions, and does not accommodate a single new rider.

We confronted him after the presentation on this, and told him that even if no additional autos use the interchange, the reduction in waiting time might well justify the expenditure.

He then responded: “so you want to subsidize drivers and not transit users?”

Too shocked at this absurd response to explain that (1.) we don’t like to subsidize anybody, and (2.) drivers pay a Federal gas tax to provide funds for such interchanges, we responded “subsidize what is cost effective.” We added “you are assuming that people are exogenously assigned to driver versus mass transit status, but in fact people choose.”

He said he understood. We are rather confident he did not.

Conclusion

What we have, with the KRM line, is the typical mass transit boondoggle. Those proliferate all over the country, driven by a variety of forces. There is, first, the pork barrel imperative. Big projects create big profits for various suppliers and contractors, and political profit for politicians who can point to some “achievement” confident that the average voter will have no idea what the project cost, either in terms of other lower-visibility public programs, or in terms of private consumption.

Then there is the “other people’s money” factor. Given that “free” Federal money, siphoned off from funds that should go to highways (since they come from gas taxes) are available, why not have something for “free.” But of course it isn’t free. And it especially isn’t free when it saddles local taxpayers with an expensive white elephant.

Finally, there is the liberal dislike of roads, cars and suburbs. To elitist liberals, all those things are symptoms of ordinary Americans getting uppity. They think they have the right to live where they want, to commute if they want, and to drive their cars where they want -- all without permission of bureaucratic planners.

(It’s true, of course, that planners plan highways, but their typical task is to simply accommodate traffic by making it easier for people to travel as they want.)

Those ordinary Americans have the gall to live under suburban governments that are may be responsive to their own interests and values, and not inclined to massive social engineering.

So ultimately, the animus against autos -- which translates into a lust after “public” transportation -- is cultural. But the culture follows from the class interests of elite liberals.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Islamic Heritage Celebration at Marquette

Just announced, Islamic Awareness Week, with a variety of events, ranging from a “Gaza Conflict Memorial” to a film called “Stand Up: Muslim American Comics Come of Age.”

We have been rather critical of the Arab Student Association (not the same as the Muslim Student Association) for rabid hostility toward Israel and the Jews.

But again, the Arab Student Association is not the Muslim Student Association. So are we going to have the same sort of bias that the Arab Student Association has shown?

We particularly wondered what the “Gaza Conflict Memorial” will be like. But now we know. One of the speakers is going to be hard-leftist Simon Harak, who can be counted on to blame the whole situation on Israel -- and throw in a lot of anti-Americanism too.

There is a movie titled “Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain.” It pushes the now politically correct notion that when Muslims ruled Spain, all was sweetness and light -- a nice piece of mythology that sounds good, but is historically suspect.

The trip to the Islamic Center is also interesting, since Othman Atta, the president of that organization has defended Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel, and blamed the entire situation on the Jewish state. Another person associated with the Center, Zulfiqar Ali Shah, was associated with a “charity” that raised money for Hamas.

Not all the events are so suspect. We wonder what feminists think about the “Hijab Wrapping Workshop,” for example.

Perhaps it is normal for Muslim students to take the “Muslin” side of conflicts in places like the Middle East. But that doesn’t require wanting an end to Israel. And it doesn’t require a defense of terrorism. Some parts of this program risk reinforcing the stereotype of Muslims as violent and extreme.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Skill and Intentions

When Tom McMahon is good (which is often), he is very good, as he is here.

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Finally: Admitting the Truth About Bill Ayers

Now that Obama is safely elected, the media can start telling the truth about Bill Ayers. Indeed, in this case the truth comes from the hard-left Nation.

Because, you see, while The Nation is hard left, Ayers had some severe critics on the left.
It couldn’t have been easy for Bill Ayers to keep quiet while the McCain campaign tarred him as the Obama’s best friend, the terrorist. Unfortunately, the silence was too good to last. On Saturday’s New York Times op-ed page, he announced that “it’s finally time to tell my true story.” Like his memoir, Fugitive Days , “The Real Bill Ayers” is a sentimentalized, self-justifying whitewash of his role in the weirdo violent fringe of the 1960s-70s antiwar left.

“I never killed or injured anyone,” Ayers writes. “In 1970, I co-founded the Weather Underground, an organization that was created after an accidental explosion that claimed the lives of three of our comrades in Greenwich Village.” Right. Those people belonged to Weatherman, as did Ayers himself and Bernardine Dohrn, now his wife. Weatherman, Weather Underground, completely different! And never mind either that that “accidental explosion” was caused by the making of a nail bomb intended for a dance at Fort Dix.

Ayers writes that Weather Underground bombings were “symbolic acts of extreme vandalism directed at monuments to war and racism, and the attacks on property, never on people, were meant to respect human life and convey outrage and determination to end the Vietnam War.” That no one was killed or injured was a monumental stroke of luck-- an unrelated bombing at the University of Wisconsin unintentionally killed a researcher and seriously injured four people. But if the point was to symbolize outrage, why not just spraypaint graffiti on government buildings or pour blood on military documents?

“Peaceful protests had failed to stop the war,” Ayers writes. “So we issued a screaming response. But it was not terrorism; we were not engaged in a campaign to kill and injure people indiscriminately, spreading fear and suffering for political ends.” I’m not so sure that terrorism necessarily involves intentional attacks on people, but okay, let’s say Ayers wasn’t a terrorist. How about thuggish? Vainglorious? Egomaniacal? Staggeringly irresponsible? And illogical, don’t forget illogical: as Hilzoy points out, the idea that because “peaceful protest” hadn’t ended the war, bombs would is missing a couple of links. It’s like a doctor saying, Well, chemo didn’t cure your brain tumor, so I’ll have to amputate your leg.

I realize this is ancient history. As a friend who doesn’t see why I am raking this all up argues, it’s not as if today’s left is bristling with macho streetfighters. It’s hard to imagine anyone now applauding the Manson murders, as Dohrn notoriously did in l969, or dedicating a manifesto to, among others, Sirhan Sirhan. But just because it’s ancient history doesn’t mean you get to rewrite it to make yourself look good, just another idealistic young person upset about the war and racism.
None of this is relevant to the issue of how close to Ayers Barack Obama was (we think the connection with Jeremiah Wright is much more damning).

But let’s have intellectual clarity. Ayers was scum, and remains scum. Nobody should be supporting him (as Marquette Professor of Biomedical Engineering Jack Winters does).

The fact that he is a rather mainstream figure in schools of education says a lot (none of it flattering) about schools of education.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Illinois License Plate



Click on image to enlarge.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Porn Industry Wants Bailout

From CNN:
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Another major American industry is asking for assistance as the global financial crisis continues: Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis said Wednesday they will request that Congress allocate $5 billion for a bailout of the adult entertainment industry.

“The take here is that everyone and their mother want to be bailed out from the banks to the big three,” said Owen Moogan, spokesman for Larry Flynt. “The porn industry has been hurt by the downturn like everyone else and they are going to ask for the $5 billion. Is it the most serious thing in the world? Is it going to make the lives of Americans better if it happens? It is not for them to determine.”

Francis said in a statement that “the US government should actively support the adult industry’s survival and growth, just as it feels the need to support any other industry cherished by the American people.”
Marx famously said that history repeats itself: first as tragedy, second as farce.

It seems we have gotten to the “farce” quite quickly now.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Gaza Conflict Spills Into Europe, Jews Attacked

From the Associated Press:
PARIS (AP) - Signs are mounting that the conflict in Gaza is starting to spill over into violence in Europe’s towns and cities, with assaults against Jews and arson attacks on Jewish congregations in France, Sweden and Britain.

Assailants rammed a burning car into the gates of a synagogue in Toulouse, in southwest France, on Monday night. A Jewish congregation in Helsingborg, in southern Sweden, also was attacked Monday night by someone who “broke a window and threw in something that was burning,” said police spokesman Leif Nilsson. Neighbors alerted rescue services before the fire took hold.

Someone also started a blaze outside the premises last week. And on Sunday slogans including “murderers . . . You broke the cease-fire” and “don’t subject Palestine to ethnic cleansing” were daubed on Israel’s embassy in Stockholm.

In Denmark, a 27-year-old Dane born in Lebanon of Palestinian parents is alleged to have injured two young Israelis last week, opening fire with a handgun in a shooting that police suspect could be linked to the Gaza crisis.

France has Western Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim communities and a history of anti-Semitic violence flaring when tensions in the Middle East are high. In 2002, some 2,300 Jews left France for Israel because they felt unsafe.

In Britain, the Community Security Trust, a Jewish defense group, said it had seen a rise in anti-Semitic incidents since the start of Israel’s offensive against Gaza. The group said it had recorded 20-25 incidents across the country in the past week that it believed were connected with Gaza, including an arson attempt on a synagogue in north London on Sunday.

London police are investigating the attack, in which suspects splashed flammable liquid on the door and set it on fire.

The government in Belgium on Tuesday ordered police in Antwerp and Brussels to be on increased alert after recent pro-Palestinian protests ended in violence and dozens of arrests. Police said burning rags were shoved through the mailbox of a Jewish home in Antwerp last weekend. Damage was limited and no arrests were made.

In the Danish shooting, one Israeli man was shot in the arm and another in the leg as they were selling hair care products in a shopping mall. Eli Ruvio, who owns the company that operated the stands, said his employees have been harassed by Muslim youths since they set up three kiosks in the shopping center in August.

“They kept cursing and shouting at us,” Ruvio told The Associated Press. He added that the Muslim youths also threw mud and firecrackers at the employees and spat at them.

Ruvio recalled an episode Dec. 27 when some of the youths shouted “slaughter all the Jews.”

“I told my employees not to speak in Hebrew and lie about where they come from, they should say there were from Spain or somewhere else. If people ask you where you are from, never say you’re from Israel,” he said.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Hamas Doesn’t Get It

Hamas Uses Civilians as Human Shields

It’s a propaganda tactic that works well -- provided that media are willing to be suckered -- as the BBC apparently is.

Try to get as many civilians as possible killed, and then portray Israeli forces as bloodthirsty and engaged in genocide.

From the pro-Israel Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, a detailed report on how Hamas does this.

Key elements are:
1) Firing rockets from densely populated areas and targeting population centers in Israel with the overt intention of harming Israeli civilians. Jabaliya, Beit Hanoun and other populated areas of the northern Gaza Strip are the preferred launching areas for attacking the western Negev towns and villages.

2) Locating the terrorist operative infrastructure within the civilian population : weapons (including rockets), bases, offices, headquarters, tunnels, lathes and weapons stores. During Operation Hot Winter IDF soldiers fought against Hamas operatives who established themselves inside civilian homes.

3) Enlisting Palestinian civilians (including women and children ) through the use of terrorist-owned media and loudspeakers. That is done to call them to gather at the houses they expect the IDF to attack in order to serve as human shields.
Check out the report, which has multiple photos of all these activities.

Hamas, it seems, is quite as happy to get Palestinian non-combatants killed as it is happy to kill Israeli civilians in terrorist attacks.

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He Learned That Where?

Spring Semester Speakers At Law School

From the continuing Law School series “On the Issues with Mike Gousha.”
Wednesday, January 21 — Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn—When he arrived in Milwaukee last January, one of Chief Flynn’s first public appearances was at Marquette Law School, where he laid out his strategy for reducing crime. Today, violent crime is down dramatically in the city. What worked and why? And do residents feel their community is safer? Find out when the Chief returns to the Law School for a candid assessment of his first year on the job. Noon to 1 p.m., Eisenberg Memorial Hall, Law School, Sensenbrenner Hall

Thursday, January 29 — Attorneys and former judges Michael Brennan and John Franke—How do judges view trial lawyers? We’ll hear the unique perspective of former Milwaukee County Judges Brennan and Franke, who are returning to careers as trial lawyers with the Milwaukeean firm of Gass, Weber and Mullins. We’ll also learn more about their decision to leave the bench to take on new challenges. 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., Room 325, Law School, Sensenbrenner Hall

Tuesday, February 3 — Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig—He is one of the most powerful men in the world of sports. Since becoming Commissioner, Selig has been a catalyst for change in the nation’s pastime. Join us when this Milwaukee native visits the Law School to discuss the challenges facing baseball, the relationship between players and owners, and the value of professional sports franchises to cities. 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., Room 325, Law School, Sensenbrenner Hall
People who want to come need to sign up at this web page. Usually, there are ample seats, but particularly popular events can sometimes fill up.

This speakers series has been a particularly successful one, largely for three reasons: (1.) it has been ideologically balanced, with about an equal number of liberal and conservative speakers, (2.) Gousha has the local visibility and stature to recruit Wisconsin’s “movers and shakers” -- people worth seeing close up, and (3.) the typical format involves Gousha interviewing the speaker, and Gousha is a good interviewer.

More speakers will doubtless be scheduled for spring semester.

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