Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Feminist Professors Don’t Get the Facts Straight

From the woman the feminists love to hate, Christina Hoff Sommers, an article that begins with an e-mail she sent to Berkeley feminist professor Nancy K.D. Lemon pointing out factual errors in her (unfortunately) widely used textbook:

Lemon’s Domestic Violence Law is organized as a conventional law-school casebook — a collection of judicial opinions, statutes, and articles selected, edited, and commented upon by the author. The first selection, written by Cheryl Ward Smith (no institutional affiliation is given), offers students a historical perspective on domestic-violence law. According to Ward:
The history of women’s abuse began over 2,700 years ago in the year 753 BC. It was during the reign of Romulus of Rome that wife abuse was accepted and condoned under the Laws of Chastisement. ... The laws permitted a man to beat his wife with a rod or switch so long as its circumference was no greater than the girth of the base of the man’s right thumb. The law became commonly know as ‘The Rule of Thumb.’ These laws established a tradition which was perpetuated in English Common Law in most of Europe.
Where to begin? How about with the fact that Romulus of Rome never existed. He is a figure in Roman mythology — the son of Mars, nursed by a wolf. Problem 2: The phrase “rule of thumb” did not originate with any law about wife beating, nor has anyone ever been able to locate any such law. It is now widely regarded as a myth, even among feminist professors.

A few pages later, in a selection by Joan Zorza, a domestic-violence expert, students read, “The March of Dimes found that women battered during pregnancy have more than twice the rate of miscarriages and give birth to more babies with more defects than women who may suffer from any immunizable illness or disease.” Not true. When I recently read Zorza’s assertion to Richard P. Leavitt, director of science information at the March of Dimes, he replied, “That is a total error on the part of the author. There was no such study.” The myth started in the early 1990s, he explained, and resurfaces every few years.

Zorza also informs readers that “between 20 and 35 percent of women seeking medical care in emergency rooms in America are there because of domestic violence.” Studies by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, indicate that the figure is closer to 1 percent.

Feminist misinformation is pervasive. In their eye-opening book, Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women’s Studies (Lexington Books, 2003), the professors Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge describe the “sea of propaganda” that overwhelms the contemporary feminist classroom. The formidable Christine Rosen (formerly Stolba), in her 2002 report on the five leading women’s-studies textbooks, found them rife with falsehoods, half-truths, and “deliberately misleading sisterly sophistries.”

Consider The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World (2008), by the feminist scholar Joni Seager, chair of the Hunter College geography department. Now in its fourth edition, Seager’s atlas was named “reference book of the year” by the American Library Association when it was published. “Nobody should be without this book,” says the feminist icon Gloria Steinem. “A wealth of fascinating information,” enthuses The Washington Post. Fascinating, maybe. But the information is misleading and, at least in one instance, flat-out false.

One color-coded map illustrates how women are kept “in their place” by restrictions on their mobility, dress, and behavior. Somehow the United States comes out looking as bad in this respect as Somalia, Uganda, Yemen, Niger, and Libya. All are coded with the same shade of green to indicate places where “patriarchal assumptions” operate in “potent combination with fundamentalist religious interpretations.” Seager’s logic? She notes that in parts of Uganda, a man can claim an unmarried woman as his wife by raping her. The United States gets the same low rating on Seager’s charts because, she notes, “State legislators enacted 301 anti-abortion measures between 1995 and 2001.” Never mind that the Ugandan practice is barbaric, that U.S. abortion law is exceptionally liberal among the nations of the world, and that the activism and controversy surrounding the issue of abortion in the United States is a sign of a vigorous free democracy working out its disagreements.

On another map, the United States gets the same rating for domestic violence as Uganda and Haiti. Seager backs up that verdict with that erroneous and ubiquitous emergency-room factoid: “22 percent-35 percent of women who visit a hospital emergency room do so because of domestic violence.”

The critical work of 21st-century feminism will be to help women in the developing world, especially in Muslim societies, in their struggle for basic rights. False depictions of the United States as an oppressive “patriarchy” are a ludicrous distraction. If American women are as oppressed as Ugandan women, then American feminists would be right to focus on their domestic travails and let the Ugandan women fend for themselves.

All books have mistakes, so why pick on the feminists? My complaint with feminist research is not so much that the authors make mistakes; it is that the mistakes are impervious to reasoned criticism. They do not get corrected. The authors are passionately committed to the proposition that American women are oppressed and under siege. The scholars seize and hold on for dear life to any piece of data that appears to corroborate their dire worldview. At the same time, any critic who attempts to correct the false assumptions is dismissed as a backlasher and an anti-feminist crank.
Bottom line: feminist professors are to be treated with extreme skepticism, the skepticism that should always prevail when people start with a conclusion (women as an oppressed class) and then try to find statistics to support it.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Would a Government Health Monopoly Reduce Administrative Costs?

From Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics, an debunking of statistics that claim to show that government health care has lower administrative costs than does private insurance.
In fact, President Obama has made this claim several times. This statistic about Medicare’s low administrative costs has become one of the linchpins in the argument for a “public option” on health care. The only problem, not surprisingly, is that it’s hogwash.

The explanation is really quite simple, and it’s provided here by Robert Book of the Heritage Foundation. The statistic cited by [liberal columnists] Alter and Krugman uses administrative costs calculated as a percentage of total health care costs (For Medicare it’s roughly 3 percent and for private insurers it’s roughly 12 percent).

But here’s the catch: because Medicare is devoted to serving a population that is elderly, and therefore in need of greater levels of medical care, it generates significantly higher expenditures than private insurance plans, thus making administrative costs smaller as a percentage of total costs. This creates the appearance that Medicare is a model of administrative efficiency. What Jon Alter sees as a “miracle” is really just a statistical sleight of hand.

Furthermore, Book notes that private insurers have a number of additional expenditures which fall into the category of “administrative costs” (like state health insurance premium taxes of 2-4%, marketing costs, etc) that Medicare does not have, further inflating the apparent differences in cost.

But, as you might expect, when you compare administrative costs on a per-person basis, Medicare is dramatically less efficient than private insurance plans. As you can see here, between 2001-2005, Medicare’s administrative costs on a per-person basis were 24.8% higher, on average, than private insurers.

So, contrary to claims of Alter, Krugman, and President Obama, moving tens of millions of Americans into a government run health care option won’t generate any costs savings through lower administrative costs. Just the opposite.

This confirms two things most Americans already know: 1) government is rarely, if ever, more efficient than the private sector, and 2) if something sounds too good to be true, it almost always is.
Of course, this sort of static analysis ignores other efficiency advantages of a competitive market. Competition in the market drives costs down and quality up, creating benefits that Medicare reaps, in spite of it being a government monopoly. Take away the competition, and there isn’t much incentive to produce health care more efficiently. There also isn’t much reason to provide better care, or use new technologies, since government can be guaranteed to be slow to allow or pay for them.

So even if the administrative cost differential was what liberals say it is, it would not be nearly enough to justify a government monopoly.

But it’s not what liberals say it is.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Bruce Murphy Responds: McBride-Flynn Affair/Bice Responds to Murphy

Online under Murphy’s Law, Milwaukee Magazine editor Bruce Murphy discussing an article by Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The article discussed an affair between police chief Ed Flynn, and Jessica McBride (a journalist who wrote a profile about Flynn for Milwaukee Magazine).

The Bice article strongly suggested a breach of journalistic ethics by McBride, since a reporter can hardly be expected to write a fair story about somebody she’s having sex with.

Murphy, in effect, accuses Bice of journalistic malfeasance, and he has the goods.

The key issue, of course, is whether McBride was having an affair with Flynn when she was writing the story, or whether it developed later.

Murphy discusses the chronology of the Flynn profile, and it’s pretty clear that the story had long since been finished by McBride before any affair began. The most telling data:

I next kicked the story back to McBride for a rewrite, which she turned in Feb. 16. During the editing process, Jessica pushed me to include a couple [of] negative quotes, which I vetoed as unnecessary because others in the story essentially made the same point, and the story – at 5,400 words – was already quite long. Once again, this wasn’t the behavior of someone being protective of her subject.

The problem of journalists getting too close to their subjects typically occurs for beat reporters, or for writers who spend a long period of time interviewing someone. To fall in love in the course of doing one feature story is, frankly, no easy feat.

Jessica had just one face-to-face interview with Flynn, for six hours in December, with a police lieutenant and the department’s communications director, Anne E. Schwartz, present the entire time. After this, McBride had some follow-up e-mail questions for Flynn. That was the full extent of their communication prior to the release of the story.

A few days after our story went to subscribers in mid-April, Jessica e-mailed me to ask if I had heard anything about it from Flynn. I hadn’t. I would imagine if she was then having an affair, she wouldn’t have had to ask.

Since Bice did his story, McBride has admitted the affair and released a copy of an e-mail from Flynn dated April 23, in which he complimented her story and suggested they get together for coffee. That request eventually led to their first meeting since December, and the first time they ever met alone, at the Brocach Irish Pub & Restaurant on May 1st. The e-mail suggesting coffee is a public record, as Flynn sent it from work. I’m told that Bice requested the chief’s e-mails. If he didn’t, he should have, and he would have found reason to doubt the affair started while McBride was working on the story.
In short, the best evidence is that the affair did not begin until well after the story had been turned in, and Bice ignored that fact.

Murphy particularly objects to the fact that Bice uses the word “interview” to describe their meeting on May 1. A journalist will “interview” the subject of a story, but by this time the story was long since written, turned in and published. “Tryst” or “assignation” would have been good words to use, but “interview” was not. It’s what you would use if you want to imply journalistic misconduct.

Bice Responds

We contacted Dan Bice on vacation in Colorado. He told us he had not read Bruce Murphy’s article in Milwaukee Magazine, but was quite willing to discuss the case in general.

As his articles have made clear, Bice’s only evidence that McBride was carrying on any sort of affair with (or was at least biased toward) Flynn is a passage from a love letter she wrote when their affair got underway months later. She said to Flynn, “Perceived you instantly - knew you were a good person who does things for the right reason. . . . As a result, I began to struggle with the story - having to give time to vitriolic, baseless critics.”

The letter also says “I think there was something from the moment we locked eyes in Anne’s office.” (“Anne,” in this case, is Anne Schwartz, spokeswoman for the Milwaukee Police Department.)

In terms of proving an “improper relationship” at the time McBride was writing the story, that’s about it.

As Murphy points out, love letters aren’t known for a clear-eyed accounting of historical events. Further, at most this is evidence that she was rather smitten by Flynn while she was working on the story. Is this a beach of ethics, or something that journalistic professionalism should overcome? And if journalistic professionalism doesn’t overcome it, is this an ethical breach, or just bad journalism?

Bice argues it’s a breach of ethics. We pointed out to him that, by this standard, about ¾ of the Washington press corp should be fired, since they are clearly smitten with Obama.

We would argue for “bright line” standards where journalistic ethics are concerned. Whether a journalist is smitten by somebody she is writing about (and whether this has distorted the reporting) is very much a judgment call. Whether she and a subject have romped between the sheets is a hard factual issue.

E-mail Withheld?

Bice claims that neither Murphy nor McBride, both of whom knew a story on the affair was in the works, gave him the April 23 e-mail, and thinks they should have. Contrary to the assertion in Bruce Murphy’s story, Bice claims the e-mail was private, and that he could not have gotten it with an open records request.

We e-mailed Bruce Murphy about this, and he tells us that the e-mail was from “eflynn@milwaukee.gov” to McBride’s personal SBC Global account. That, indeed, should be subject to an open records request.

Although Bice rejects the word “blindsided” with regard to the April 23 e-mail, he does say it was “unfair” that it was not given to him, and that McBride wanted to “control” the situation.

Of course, if he actually had evidence that the affair began much earlier while McBride was writing the story, he could have been fairly sure that no such e-mail would turn up. That’s the problem with making assertions without proof: you risk being blown out of the water by hard evidence proving you wrong.

Bice apparently worked quite hard on this story. For example, he went to McBride’s house and rang the doorbell, only to have McBride’s husband Paul Bucher throw him off the property.

Bice disclaims any personal bias against McBride, saying that she has fed him many news tips over the past several years.

Bice also blames Bruce Murphy for not telling readers there was a “problem” with the article on Flynn before the story of the affair broke. Murphy knew about it (Bice was trying to get comments from him and McBride) over two weeks before the Bice column making the whole thing public.

But this rather begs the question. Murphy should have done that if the article on Flynn was tainted. But Murphy insists it was not.

Journalistic Ethics, or Adultery?

So far, we have only dealt with the issue of journalistic ethics.

Frankly, we would rather prefer a world where adultery would cost a police chief, or a journalist, or a professor (McBride teaches at UWM) their job.

But it seems we don’t. Indeed, the 1992 presidential election proved that being a blatant serial adulterer isn’t a disqualification for the presidency.

But both McBride and Flynn are going to have a price to pay for their quite serious moral lapse. This is only fair enough, but we hope both can rebuild and restore their lives.

[updated: 6/23/09, 1:48 p.m.]

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Liberals vs. Conservatives: Condensed History

From an e-mail correspondent. Don’t run to Snopes to see whether it is historically accurate.
Condensed History

For those that don’t know about history. Here is a condensed version:

Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in the winter.

The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups:

1. Liberals, and

2. Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can was invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That’s how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement.

Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q’s and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement.

Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became known as girlie-men. Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservative provided.

Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare. Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn’t fair to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer, mostly Bud. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, athletes, members of the military, airline pilots and generally anyone who works productively. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America . They crept in after the Wild West was tamed and created a business of trying to get more for nothing.

Here ends today’s lesson in world history.
OK, just some good dirty partisan invective. Unserious fun.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It’s Dangerous to Not Execute Murderers

Death penalty opponents have incessantly stressed the possibility that some innocent person might be found guilty and executed -- something that apparently hasn’t happened in the modern era.

And they produce bogus lists of supposed “innocents” on death row -- lists laden with names of people who really did the murder they were charged with, and got off on procedural grounds.

But an article by Aaron J. Veselenak turns the argument around, and lists some cases where failure to execute turned deadly for innocent people.
California, perhaps more so than any other state, has witnessed several occurrences of spared death row inmates raping and murdering anew. Setting the stage for these horrific crimes were several anti-death penalty rulings by a very pro-defendant, judicially-active California Supreme Court in the 1960s and 1970s. In January of 1964 the court ruled that it was improper for a jury to consider the “protection of society” argument when contemplating the death penalty after a murder conviction. This prosecutorial appeal stressed that a convict might repeat his offense if not put to death. In People v. Morse, teenaged killer Joe Morse had his death sentence overturned because the district attorney who prosecuted him had used the protection of society argument to help secure the death sentence. Morse had beat his mother and crippled sister to death with a baseball bat and rock. In an incredible irony, Morse went on to vindicate the DA and his “protection” call by garroting a jail trustee in August of 1964 while waiting for the conclusion of his second penalty trial. If Morse’s first death sentence had been upheld, the life of Thomas L. Toddei would have been saved.
There are other cases.
On January 3, 1979, Robert Lee Massie shot and killed Twin Peaks liquor store owner Boris Naumoff. Massie pled guilty to the murder and was sentenced to death but the conviction and sentence were overturned by the California Supreme Court under Chief Justice Rose Bird, a notorious death penalty foe. Unbelievably, the Bird court declared that Massie couldn’t plead guilty over the objections of his trial attorney. Massie was retried in 1989 and recanted his confession. He was convicted and sentenced to die again. In October of 2000 he dropped his appeals and was executed on March 27, 2001.

Boris Naumoff would never have been murdered if Massie had had his very first death sentence carried out. On January 7, 1965, Massie shot to death Mildred Weiss during a robbery outside her San Gabriel home. He was sentenced to die and even insisted on being put to death. In 1967 Massie came within 16 hours of execution when governor Ronald Reagan granted him a temporary reprieve so he could testify at the trial of his co-defendant. Massie was still awaiting execution when the state’s top court cleared death row [by declaring the death penalty unconstitutional] in the 1972 decision. Massie was paroled in 1978, less than a year before killing Naumoff.

On November 14, 1978, Arminda Wiltsey, a 40-year-old wife and mother, went jogging at Lafayette Reservoir near Walnut Creek, California. She never returned home. Wiltsey was found strangled. She had also been raped. Skin from the killer had been found under her fingernails but for years the murder went unsolved. However in the summer of 2003, DNA from the assailant’s skin was matched to a Texas inmate, Darryl T. Kemp. Kemp was serving a sentence for multiple rapes. Kemp had been on California’s death row for a strangulation murder and several rapes in 1960 when he too was spared death by the Anderson decision. He was paroled in 1978, less than four months before Wiltsey was murdered. Kemp, 71, has been extradited to California and currently awaits trial in March of 2008 for Arminda Wiltsey’s brutal murder. The prosecution plans to seek the death penalty.

Judicial decisions are not the only way condemned inmates are spared. There is also executive clemency, which can create the same threat to innocents. California governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown granted clemency to 23 condemned men in his eight years in office (1959-1967). One 8-time rapist, Edward Simon Wein, was eventually paroled and drowned a woman in her bathtub. He was captured after sexually assaulting, beating, stabbing and nearly drowning another woman. Brown had this to say years afterward: “Even now, twenty-five years later, I still can’t decide whether I would have let those twenty-three prisoners die if it meant saving the life of that one woman.” Such moral squeamishness over life and death decisions for men convicted of the most evil of crimes helped lead to the rise of Ronald Reagan, for it was Reagan who defeated Brown in the 1966 gubernatorial race and the death penalty was a major campaign issue. California voters were angry with Brown’s many death commutations.
Death penalty opponents will claim that innocents citizens can be protected just as well by life imprisonment as by the death penalty. There are two problems with this argument. First, convicted murderers may kill fellow inmates or prison personnel. They may also escape and kill while on escape.

Second, there is no guarantee that a “life sentence” will actually be a life sentence. Activist judged may overturn any sentence, either by handing down rulings that void a large number of convictions, or by simply deciding that a life sentence is “cruel and unusual.” Chief executives (governors or the President) may decide to placate some special interest group by letting off a whole class of offenders. This has indeed happened.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Homosexuality: It’s a Crime in England to State Christian Views

From CCFON:
An open-air preacher from Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, was told by the police that he was committing a criminal offence by saying that homosexuality was a sin.

Andy Robertson, an evangelist with Open Air Mission, had never mentioned homosexuality in his open air preaching. Despite this, the local council sent a letter to him saying that they wanted him to stop preaching because they had received ‘complaints’. The council asserted that Mr Robertson was breaking the law by his preaching and that the Police would be called if he didn’t stop preaching. In the letter, the council did not specify which law was broken.

When the police arrived where Mr Robertson was preaching they told him they had received complaints that he was making ‘homophobic’ comments and that it was a crime to say that homosexuality was a sin. See a video of what happened at YouTube.

At CCFON we have become increasingly aware of how difficult it is to speak publicly on sexual ethics from a biblical standpoint particularly regarding the practice of homosexuality. At the Christian Legal Centre we are dealing with many cases where Christians are discriminated against because they hold biblical views on sexual ethics.

In the current Coroners and Justice Bill, the Government wants to remove the existing free speech clause that allows for discussion and criticism of sexual practices. The case of Mr Robertson and others is a clear indication that the society needs to keep a free speech protection.
The article cited at the end has a chilling list of cases where free speech incongenial to the gay lobby was published.
Last month, Kwabena Peat, a Christian teacher, was suspended from a senior post for complaining that a staff training day was used to promote homosexual rights.

Likewise, David Booker, an employee at a ‘homeless’ charity in Southampton, has been suspended for answering questions about his faith and sexual ethics to a colleague at work.

In 2003, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster, the Bishop of Chester, was investigated by the Cheshire police as committing a ‘hate crime’ after he told his local newspaper that some homosexuals re-orientated to heterosexuality with the help of therapy. The Crown Prosecution Service decided to drop the charges because the Bishop had ‘not broken any current laws’.

In 2005, the Metropolitan Police issued a warning to author Lynette Burrows that she was responsible for a ‘homophobic incident’ after she suggested on a BBC Radio Five Live programme that homosexual couples did not make ideal adoptive parents.

In 2006, an evangelical Christian campaigner, Stephen Green, was arrested and charged with ‘using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour’ for trying peacefully to hand out leaflets at a homosexual rally in Cardiff. A spokesman for the South Wales police said the campaigner had not behaved in a violent or aggressive manner, but that officers arrested him because ‘the leaflet contained Biblical quotes about homosexuality’.

In the same year, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the then Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain, was investigated by police for saying on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that homosexual practice was unacceptable in terms of health and moral issues.
The gay lobby is about as close to a fascist movement as one gets in modern democracies. Of course, not all gays (and not even a majority) are part of the gay lobby. In Presidential election exit polls, about 25% of gays and lesbians report that they have voted for the Republican for President. And a similar number say they oppose gay marriage.

But unfortunately, a core of gay militants is always joined by a sizable group of politically correct straight people.

Supposedly, free speech has better Constitutional protections in the U.S. than in the U.K. But a sizable group of people in the U.S. -- your average gay activist, your average English or Philosophy professor, a large proportion of liberal activists -- would like to see Christian views on sexuality shut up.

And this applies to issues like abortion and abstinence too.

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

We Have Been Over and Seen the Future -- Via Google Maps

For a mind-blowing experience, get the Google maps version of the capital of North Korea -- Pyongyang. Click to get the satellite version, if it doesn’t come up automatically.

Now zoom in as far as it will let you -- just one step below the very highest magnification. Google will let you roam around the city, moving the image beneath the visible window.

What is spookily missing? Cars.

Welcome to the future -- as envisioned by Al Gore, the Sierra Club, Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Sotomayor “Wise Woman” Comment Part of a Pattern

From CQ Politics:
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor delivered multiple speeches between 1994 and 2003 in which she suggested “a wise Latina woman” or “wise woman” judge might “reach a better conclusion” than a male judge.

Those speeches, released Thursday as part of Sotomayor’s responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questionnaire, (to see Sotomayor’s responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee click here and here) suggest her widely quoted 2001 speech in which she indicated a “wise Latina” judge might make a better decision was far from a single isolated instance.

A draft version of a October 2003 speech Sotomayor delivered at Seton Hall University stated, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion.” That is identical to her October 2001 remarks at the University of California, Berkeley that have become the subject of intense criticism by Republican senators and prompted conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh to label her “racist.”

In addition, Sotomayor delivered a series of earlier speeches in which she said “a wise woman” would reach a better decision. She delivered the first of those speeches in Puerto Rico in 1994 and then before the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York in April 1999.

The summary descriptions of speeches Sotomayor provided indicated she delivered remarks similar to the 1994 speech on three other occasions in 1999 and 2000 during two addresses at Yale and one at the City University of New York School of Law.

Her repeated use of the phrases “wise Latina woman” and “wise woman” would appear to undermine the Obama administration’s assertions that the statement was simply a poor choice of words. After details of the 1994 speech circulated before the questionnaire’s release, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, emerged from his private meeting with Sotomayor and expressed new concerns about the nominee’s “identity politics.”
Was we have observed, the idea that Sotomayor is a racist and sexist is easy to believe, given that this sort of racism and sexism is entirely routine in academia, among minority activists, Democratic politicos, feminists and a large part of the media.

Indeed, given her liberal views, it would be odd if she were not a racist and sexist.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Buy Your Car From Congress: Not that You Have a Choice



H/T Wigderson Library & Pub

Two Murders -- Two Media Standards

From Maggie Gallagher on Real Clear Politics:
Abdulhakim Muhammad, Pvt. Long’s killer, had his reasons for engaging in cold-blooded murder. He was retaliating against these soldiers for the U.S. military’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the mistreatment of Muslims, this young man said. This was an act of domestic terrorism -- a protest against the American conflicts abroad.

Meanwhile, one day earlier, George Tiller, a late-term abortion doctor in Wichita, Kan., was gunned down in church. His murderer, a disturbed man named Scott Roeder, “wanted a scapegoat,” his ex-wife said. “First it was taxes -- he stopped paying. Then he turned to the church and got involved in anti-abortion.”

Two men, two murderers -- two lost boys trying to recover dreams of manhood in two violent and disturblingly similar acts.

Is God sending us a message?

At The New York Times, one story is front-page news; the other is buried in the back pages.
Which one is buried and which one on the front page?

You don’t even need to ask.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Problems With a Nationalized General Motors

From David Brooks in the New York Times, a catalogue of the ways in which government ownership will make GM a worse company.
First, the Obama plan will reduce the influence of commercial outsiders. The best place for fresh thinking could come from outside private investors. But the Obama plan rides roughshod over the current private investors and so discourages future investors. G.M. is now a pariah on Wall Street. Say farewell to a potentially powerful source of external commercial pressure.

Second, the Obama plan entrenches the ancien régime. The old C.E.O. is gone, but he’s been replaced by a veteran insider and similar executive coterie. Meanwhile, the U.A.W. has been given a bigger leadership role. This is the union that fought for job banks, where employees get paid for doing nothing. This is the organization that championed retirement with full benefits at around age 50. This is not an organization that represents fundamental cultural change.

Third, the Obama approach reduces the fear that impels change. The U.S. government will own most of G.M. It would be politically suicidal for the Democrats, or whoever is in power, to pull the plug on the company — now or ever. Therefore, the current managers can rest assured that they never need to fear liquidation again. There will always be federal subsidies for their own mediocrity.

Fourth, the Obama plan dilutes the company’s focus. Instead of thinking obsessively about profitability and quality, G.M. will also have to meet the administration’s environmental goals. There is no evidence G.M. is good at building the sort of small cars the administration demands. There is no evidence that there is a large American market for these cars. But G.M. now has to serve two masters, the market and the administration’s policy goals.

Fifth, G.M.’s executives and unions now have an incentive to see Washington as a prime revenue center. Already, the union has successfully lobbied to move production centers back from overseas. Already, the company has successfully sought to restrict the import of cars that might compete with G.M. brands. In the years ahead, G.M.’s management will have a strong incentive to spend time in Washington, urging the company’s owner, the federal government, to issue laws to help it against Ford and Honda.

Sixth, the new plan will create an ever-thickening set of relationships between G.M.’s new owners — in government, management and unions. These thickening bonds between public and private bureaucrats will fundamentally alter the corporate culture, and not for the better. Members of Congress are also getting more involved in the company they own, and will have their own quaint impact.

The end result is that G.M. will not become more like successful car companies. It will become less like them. The federal merger will not accelerate the company’s viability. It will impede it.
Five and six are the most scary. It’s not just that the socialized GM will lose money and be a drain on the taxpayers. It’s that the political class, Republicans as well as Democrats, will have an incentive to hamper competition to prevent their nationalized firm from requiring bigger subsidies or go out of business. Look, for example, for a drive to force unionization on auto plants in the South — plants that are now efficient and profitable. Look for plant closures to be in locations were people vote Republican, and not where powerful Democratic politicians live. Look for government “stimulus” and “incentive” plans skewed to help GM at the expense of Ford and the foreign makers.

Look, in other words, for the entire U.S. auto industry to be corrupted.

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Sonia Sotomayor: Quota Queen

From Patrick J. Buchanan:
If the U.S. Senate rejects race-based justice, Sonia Sotomayor will never sit on the Supreme Court. Because that is what Sonia is all about. As the New York Times reported Saturday, the salient cause of her career has been advancing persons of color, over whites, based on race and national origin. “Judge Sotomayor, whose parents moved to New York from Puerto Rico,” writes reporter David Kirkpatrick, “has championed the importance of considering race and ethnicity in admissions, hiring and even judicial selection at almost every stage of her career.” At Princeton, she headed up Accion Puertorriquena, which filed a complaint with the Department of Health, Education and Welfare demanding that her school hire Hispanic teachers. At Yale, she co-chaired a coalition of non-black minorities of color that demanded more Latino professors and administrators.

At Yale, she “shared the alarm of others in the group when the Supreme Court prohibited the use of quotas in university admissions in the 1978 decision Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.” Alan Bakke was an applicant to the UC medical school at Davis who was rejected, though his test scores were higher than almost all of the minority students who were admitted. Bakke was white. After Yale, Sotomayor joined the National Council of La Raza and the board of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund. Both promote race and ethnic preferences, affirmative action and quotas for Hispanics. But why should Puerto Ricans like Sotomayor, who were never subjected to slavery or Jim Crow—their island was liberated from Spain in 1898 by the United States—get racial or ethnic preferences over Polish- or Portuguese-Americans?

What is the justification for this kind of discrimination?

Like Lani Guinier, the Clinton appointee rejected for reverse racism, Sonia Sotomayor is a quota queen. She believes in, preaches and practices race-based justice. Her burying the appeal of the white New Haven firefighters, who were denied promotions they had won in competitive exams, was a no-brainer for her. In her world, equal justice takes a back seat to tribal justice.
Thus, there is little reason to think that Sotomayor somehow “misspoke” when she uttered her now famous statement:
“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
That’s not merely acceptable, but virtually unquestioned in the politically-correct sectors of society where Sotomayor has spent her life. Among college professors, Democratic political activists, in elite law schools and minority activist organizations, that’s just the way one is supposed to think.

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