Saturday, October 31, 2009

Treason From Boston Store?

Right now on the Boston Store website, they are selling Minnesota Vikings Brett Favre replica team jerseys.


We don’t actually mind, but it is interesting that their commercial calculation is that people in the Milwaukee area do still like Favre, and are willing to overlook his antics in recent years and remember all those great years with the Packers.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Republicans Better Informed

I’m sure a lot of readers know snobby liberals who insist that all the well-informed people agree with them, and only know-nothings could possibly be Republicans.

Well . . . from the Pew Research Center, data that won’t be new to anybody who knows about public opinion. It shows Republicans more likely to give the right answer on a broad range of politically-relevant knowledge issues.

First, issue by issue.


Then we have a summary scale that shows the number correct out of the twelve items on the test.


The partisan gap is biggest for knowing who Glenn Beck is. This might seem natural, since Republicans are more likely to watch Glenn Beck. But shouldn’t liberals at least know who Glenn Beck is, especially given that he’s being vilified by the White House?

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Great Vacation Idea!

The most politically incorrect vacation one can imagine, but then all the fun things are these days!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

United Church of Christ: Stifle “Hate Speech”

UCC supposedly stands for “United Church of Christ,” but the old jibe is that it really stands for “Unitarians Considering Christ.” A very liberal denomination, its ruling elites (and to a considerable extent, the members who haven’t yet left) use Christian rhetoric, but they won’t assert anything that rankles the secular politically correct sensibility -- opposing abortion or gay marriage, for example.

But they do oppose “hate speech.”

And their definition of “hate speech” is terribly vague and broad. For example:
Hate speech takes various forms, from words inciting violence, to those creating a climate of hate towards vulnerable groups. Hate speech has one common outcome: it creates an environment of hate and prejudice that legitimizes violence against its targets.

The presence of hate speech so widely in media creates a climate that makes it impossible to have reasonable policy discussions on issues like immigration reform, and cultivates a climate that condones violence against targeted groups.

Categories of hate speech:
  • False Facts consist of incorrect, exaggerated, or de-contextualized facts.
  • Flawed Argumentation is rooted in hidden assumptions, guilt by association, and appeal to fear.
  • Divisive Language creates and/or encourages an “us vs. them” mentality. Hard times often incite blaming “others” as the source of trouble. Catholics, Jews, and African Americans have been routinely targets as scapegoats for those wishing to further their own agendas.
  • Dehumanizing Metaphors evoke messages relating to warfare, heroism, disease, and biblical characters.
Of course, what are “false facts” is often a matter of opinion. And so is the proper “context.” The last thing governent should do is decide that “facts” are allowed to be broadcast.

And of course, “divisive language” aimed at conservative Christians, or white males, or the military, or insurance companies is apparently fine.

The statement makes it entirely clear that it’s only “vulnerable groups” that get protection.

The statement is addressed to the Federal Communications Commission.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a report in 1993 on The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes. Members of the So We Might See Coalition are encouraging them to update this report.

The National Hispanic Media Coalition has filed a Petition for Inquiry in the Matter of Hate Speech in the Media at the Federal Communications Commission. Members of the So We Might See Coalition support this petition.
Then we get a really Orwellian formulation:
The First Amendment does protect even the most vile speech. The government, however, can play a role in compiling statistics and adopting rules that will help members of the public form their own opinions and hold broadcasters and other media outlets accountable for purveying this speech.
So, they are against censorship but in favor of “holding accountable” broadcast outlets that allow “hate speech.”

This is what happens when a Christian denomination gets taken over by a secular clerical elite. While people in the pews drift away, they engage in a series of moralistic crusades.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

The Future of U.S. Health Care (If the Liberals Get Their Way)

Further news on an issue we have blogged on before.

From The Times:
AN 80-year-old grandmother who doctors identified as terminally ill and left to starve to death has recovered after her outraged daughter intervened.

Hazel Fenton, from East Sussex, is alive nine months after medics ruled she had only days to live, withdrew her antibiotics and denied her artificial feeding. The former school matron had been placed on a controversial care plan intended to ease the last days of dying patients.

Doctors say Fenton is an example of patients who have been condemned to death on the Liverpool care pathway plan. They argue that while it is suitable for patients who do have only days to live, it is being used more widely in the NHS, denying treatment to elderly patients who are not dying.

Fenton’s daughter, Christine Ball, who had been looking after her mother before she was admitted to the Conquest hospital in Hastings, East Sussex, on January 11, says she had to fight hospital staff for weeks before her mother was taken off the plan and given artificial feeding.

Ball, 42, from Robertsbridge, East Sussex, said: “My mother was going to be left to starve and dehydrate to death. It really is a subterfuge for legalised euthanasia of the elderly on the NHS. ”

Fenton was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia. Although Ball acknowledged that her mother was very ill she was astonished when a junior doctor told her she was going to be placed on the plan to “make her more comfortable” in her last days.

Ball insisted that her mother was not dying but her objections were ignored. A nurse even approached her to say: “What do you want done with your mother’s body?”

On January 19, Fenton’s 80th birthday, Ball says her mother was feeling better and chatting to her family, but it took another four days to persuade doctors to give her artificial feeding.

Fenton is now being looked after in a nursing home five minutes from where her daughter lives.

Peter Hargreaves, a consultant in palliative medicine, is concerned that other patients who could recover are left to die. He said: “As they are spreading out across the country, the training is getting probably more and more diluted.”

A spokesman for East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Patients’ needs are assessed before they are placed on the [plan]. Daily reviews are undertaken by clinicians whenever possible.”
Well that’s reassuring. Just how often is it “possible” in a system starved for resources.
In a separate case, the family of an 87-year-old woman say the plan is being used as a way of giving minimum care to dying patients.

Susan Budden, whose mother, Iris Griffin, from Norwich, died in a nursing home in July 2008 from a brain tumour, said: “When she was started on the [plan] her medication was withdrawn. As a result she became agitated and distressed.

“It would appear that the [plan] is . . . used purely as a protocol which can be ticked off to justify the management of a patient.”

Deborah Murphy, the national lead nurse for the care pathway, said: “If the education and training is not in place, the [plan] should not be used.” She said 3% of patients placed on the plan recovered.
Of course, even 3% is a large number of people who are literally being starved and dehydrated to death.

But nobody knows how many would have recovered had they never been placed on the plan to begin with.

Even if “the education and training” is in place, no assessments from even well-trained people can be perfect, and the inevitable effect will be to kill patients who could recover and live a year or two or five years of meaningful life.

And, under any system of socialized medicine, budgetary constraints will bias the assessments toward the option that releases scarce resources for other uses, that is, which lets people die.

The phrase “death panels” just can’t be avoided here.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Big Labor and Whole Foods’ Health Care Sanity

Friday, October 16, 2009

Anti-Christian Censorship in the Public Schools

Public school administrators continue to censor Christian expression. First, a kid who drew a poster of Jesus.
The case of a former kindergarten student whose art project with Jesus was censored by his New York school will be heard in an appeals court Friday.

Antonio Peck, the student, had drawn a poster with several religious figures with the words, “The only way to save the world,” for an art project that had to show understanding about the environment. Antonio meant to express his belief that God is the only way to save the environment, according to his legal representative Liberty Counsel.

The poster was rejected by his kindergarten teacher because of its religious content and he was told to create a second poster.

For the second poster, Antonio had children holding hands around the globe, people recycling trash, and children picking up garbage. On the left side of the poster was the figure of a bearded man wearing a robe that was kneeling on the ground with hands stretched toward the sky. Although the figure is not identified, Antonio said it was Jesus.

The second poster was allowed to be displayed on a cafeteria wall, along with 80 other student posters. But what made Antonio’s poster different was it was folded in half to hide the Jesus figure.

“Despite the federal guidelines on religion in public schools recognizing that students may include religious themes in assignments, school officials insisted on folding Antonio Peck’s poster in half to hide the figure they interpreted to be Jesus,” said Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel. “What a terrible message to send to students that everything is permissible so long as it is not Christian. These educators need educating about the Constitution and American history.”
Then we have this:
HARRISBURG, Pa. — On the day President Obama addressed the nation’s schoolchildren, a middle school student donned an anti-abortion T-shirt to protest Obama’s proposed overhaul of the nation’s health care system.

The student wore the “Abortion is not Healthcare” T-shirt without incident until his fifth-period teacher sent him to the principal’s office. He was ordered to turn the shirt inside out because it might offend other students.

The boy’s father, William Boyer of New Cumberland, Pa., filed suit last Monday against the West Shore School District, alleging that his son, E.B., was unfairly censored by school officials on Sept. 8.

Valerie Burch, a staff attorney with the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the student’s T-shirt represented political speech, the most protected form of speech, even inside schools.

If the district does not have a dress code that prohibits wearing T-shirts, then it has to permit this one, she said.

The district’s dress-and-grooming policy prohibits clothing “which creates a hostile educational environment or evidences discriminatory bias or animus” or displays “inappropriate words.”

Boyer is seeking to have the district’s policies struck down and to remove any references to disciplinary action from his son’s record. He also is seeking damages such as court costs and attorneys’ fees.
Chronically, school bureaucrats censor any religious expression in the public sector. But the Bill of Rights does not require that religious expression, coming from private citizens, must be censored.

Perhaps some of this is just timidity. Principals and school boards are used to being scared of secular forces (usually including the ACLU), and in the past have seldom had trouble from people defending relgious freedom. To a degree this is changing, but it’s pretty obvious that the cases that get publicized and get to court are just a tiny fraction of the censorship going on.

A lot of censorship is happening under the radar.

But it isn’t just timidity. There is a positive anti-Christian animus behind a lot of this, coming from liberal school administrators.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Government Run Health Care and Killing Patients

From National Review Online:
Compare America’s system with Canada’s and Great Britain’s. The latter are single-payer, universal health-care programs in which medical treatment is free at the point of service (Yay!), although citizens eventually pay for it through higher taxes (Boo!).

According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development data, there were 26.6 MRI machines in the U.S. per million people in 2004. In Canada, there were 4.9 such devices, while Britain enjoyed 5. For every 100,000 Americans, 2006 saw 436.8 receive angioplasties. Among Canadians, that figure was 135.9, while only 93.2 Britons per 100,000 got that cardiac procedure.

Maybe that’s why, among American men, heart-attack deaths in 2004 stood at 53.8 per 100,000. In Canada, 58.3 men per 100,000 died of cardiac arrest, while coronaries buried 69.5 of every 100,000 British males.

The fatality rate for breast cancer, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis and Lancet Oncology, is 25 percent in the U.S., 28 percent in Canada, and 46 percent in Great Britain.

Among those diagnosed with prostate cancer, 19 percent die of the disease in America. In Canada, 25 percent of such patients succumb to this disease. And in Great Britain — an Anglophone NATO member and America’s closest ally — prostate cancer kills 57 percent of those who contract it. That is triple the American fatality rate.

The Senate Finance Committee should sink Obama-Baucuscare and instead craft a patient-friendly, pro-market, limited-government approach to health-care reform. Perhaps some senators cannot fathom the Hippocratic Oath’s key insight: First, do no harm. If that’s Greek to them, here it is in language they understand: First, don’t kill your voters.

Unfortunately, a fair number of politicians are in thrall of an ideology that favors government, and a fair number of others don’t much mind hurting people if they can’t be blamed for it.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Academic Affirmative Action for Conservatives?

A former student or ours, a conservative, got the following e-mail:
You are invited to the

Harvard Kennedy School

GOP Recruiting Reception

Hosted by

Judy Kugel, Acting Dean of Students

The University Club

1135 Sixteenth Street, NW

Washington, DC

October 7, 2009

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Acting Dean of Students Judy Kugel will discuss Harvard Kennedy School’s degree programs, admissions procedures & updates from campus.

Please RSVP to dana_garfunkel@harvard.edu by September 30.

Mid-Career Master in Public Administration

The one-year Mid-Career Master in Public Administration (MC/MPA) is an intensive eight credit program, preceded by a one-month summer program exclusively for Mid-Career professionals. The MC/MPA is designed to increase the knowledge and skills of well established, high-performing professionals, who seek to enhance their public service careers or to move from the private sector to a leadership position in either the public or non-profit sectors.

These experienced professionals, in consultation with their advisers, plan individual academic programs designed to develop new skills or to pursue emerging professional and intellectual interests. In doing so, MC/MPA students are constrained only by the requirement to take at least one course in each of the Harvard Kennedy School foundational methodological areas of analytics, management and leadership. Not surprisingly, the MC/MPA program includes some of the school’s most accomplished students. They represent many professional backgrounds and come from across the United States and around the world. They typically range in age from thirty to the early sixties, but HKS has also graduated a septuagenarian. Mid-Career students make valuable contributions to the school’s intellectual community during their year at Harvard.
People who really believe in diversity, as opposed to those politically correct people who are always talking about “diversity,” will see some logic here. Academia is often stiflingly left/liberal and politically correct, and if there really is benefit in having different viewpoints represented, it’s conservatives who are in short supply.

Politically correct academic “diversity” hustlers, in contrast, want more blacks, Hispanics, and women in traditionally male fields, but they want them to think pretty the way they do, with the proviso that articulating racial grievances or gender grievances can be useful in intimidating people who might be inclined to argue with white male leftist professors.

Of course, affirmative action for conservatives has some of the same dangers as affirmative action for (say) blacks. Will people come to assume that conservatives in academic settings are not as well-qualified as liberals and leftists, just as they now assume that blacks in academic settings are not as qualified as whites? That’s a real danger, but of course it’s a danger that liberals and leftists blow off then applied to their favorite beneficiaries.

Perhaps this is simply a rather benign form of affirmative action, an attempt to let quite well-qualified conservatives know that they are welcome to apply. There are indeed plenty of well-qualified conservative policy wonks -- on congressional staffs, in conservative think tanks and interest groups, and even a few in academia (especially in economics departments). If they are welcome at the JFK school, that’s good. There is a clear tendency (which we have seen in our own students) for conservatives to self-select out of academia, which they view (rightly) as hostile territory. If the JFK school wants to appear less hostile, good for them.

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