It’s Wednesday, November 11th, Veteran’s Day 2015…but before we begin, three photos which epitomize the misinformation, hypocrisy and deceipt…
…which characterize the Obama Administration as surely as Watergate did Nixon.
Now, here’s The Gouge!
First up, since we’re on the subject of events epitomizing the content and character of an entire movement, two offerings from NRO which prove the decomposition of the Progressive fish has finally reached the tail. First, Rich Lowry catalogues…
“…To read the association’s indictment, you’d think that the University of Missouri exists in a small enclave of Klan-dominated, Reconstruction-era Mississippi: “The academic careers of our students are suffering. The mental health of our campus is under constant attack. Our students are being ignored. We have asked the University to create spaces of healing and it failed to do so.”
This is the insatiable voice of children who object at the insufficiency of their coddling. In another outrage, no one powders the bottoms of Mizzou students after they go potty…”
“No, I’m serious; someone just dropped a house on my sister!”
“Earlier this morning, Tim Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri system, abruptly resigned. Why?The popular narrative is that his “inadequate” response to a series of racist incidents on campus triggered a massive student backlash, including an unprecedented “strike” by the university’s football team, and he finally caved to the pressure.
Yet this explanation collapses under the slightest scrutiny. The idea that Wolfe presided over a racially insensitive educational empire is a sad joke. A timeline of racial outrages in Columbia is sparse indeed, showing two allegations of racial name-calling (on a campus with 35,000 students) and one disturbing incident in which a swastika was drawn on a dorm wall with human waste. (With no proof whatsoever as to the race of either the finger or sphincter responsible!)
No rational, sentient human being believes system presidents can be responsible for what lunatics do with their own feces, or that they can prevent any given student from shouting racial slurs. Not even the worst communist dictatorships could control the speech of all their subjects. Wolfe couldn’t stop drunk undergraduates from hurling insensitive insults even if he established his own gulag and deployed commissars across campus.
The campus culture wars aren’t about “victims” or “racial injustice” or “safe spaces.” People who shriek in the quad, launch hunger strikes in a blaze of publicity, or stand outside free-speech events and chant for censorship aren’t anyone’s victims. They’re not weak. They don’t need “protection.” They’re revolutionaries, and the revolution they seek is nothing less than the overthrow of our constitutional republic, beginning with our universities…”
As for the football players who expressed solidarity with their Black brothers, Rich Lowry said it best:
…If anyone running the university had any guts, the school would have told the team, “Come back and talk to us when you can beat sad-sack Vanderbilt, or at least score more than three points against them.”Given the team’s performance, the proper rejoinder to its threatened boycott should have been, “How would anyone notice?”
In a related item of politically-correct coddling run utterly amok, the concurrent flap in New Haven was prompted by this rather even-keeled email:
Nicholas and I have heard from a number of students who were frustrated by the mass email sent to the student body about appropriate Halloweenwear. I’ve always found Halloween an interesting embodiment of more general adult worries about young people. As some of you may be aware, I teach a class on “The Concept of the Problem Child,” and I was speaking with some of my students yesterday about the ways in which Halloween – traditionally a day of subversion for children and young people – is also an occasion for adults to exert their control.
When I was young, adults were freaked out by the specter of Halloween candy poisoned by lunatics, or spiked with razor blades (despite the absence of a single recorded case of such an event). Now, we’ve grown to fear the sugary candy itself. And this year, we seem afraid that college students are unable to decide how to dress themselves on Halloween. I don’t wish to trivialize genuine concerns about cultural and personal representation, and other challenges to our lived experience in a plural community. I know that many decent people have proposed guidelines on Halloween costumes from a spirit of avoiding hurt and offense. I laud those goals, in theory, as most of us do. But in practice, I wonder if we should reflect more transparently, as a community, on the consequences of an institutional (which is to say: bureaucratic and administrative) exercise of implied control over college students.
It seems to me that we can have this discussion of costumes on many levels: we can talk about complex issues of identify, free speech, cultural appropriation, and virtue “signalling.” But I wanted to share my thoughts with you from a totally different angle, as an educator concerned with the developmental stages of childhood and young adulthood.
As a former preschool teacher, for example, it is hard for me to give credence to a claim that there is something objectionably “appropriative” about a blondehaired child’s wanting to be Mulan for a day. Pretend play is the foundation of most cognitive tasks, and it seems to me that we want to be in the business of encouraging the exercise of imagination, not constraining it. I suppose we could agree that there is a difference between fantasizing about an individual character vs. appropriating a culture, wholesale, the latter of which could be seen as (tacky)(offensive)(jejeune)(hurtful), take your pick. But, then, I wonder what is the statute of limitations on dreaming of dressing as Tiana the Frog Princess if you aren’t a black girl from New Orleans? Is it okay if you are eight, but not 18? I don’t know the answer to these questions; they seem unanswerable. Or at the least, they put us on slippery terrain that I, for one, prefer not to cross.
Which is my point. I don’t, actually, trust myself to foist my Halloweenish standards and motives on others. I can’t defend them anymore than you could defend yours. Why do we dress up on Halloween, anyway? Should we start explaining that too? I’ve always been a good mimic and I enjoy accents. I love to travel, too, and have been to every continent but Antarctica. When I lived in Bangladesh, I bought a sari because it was beautiful, even though I looked stupid in it and never wore it once. Am I fetishizing and appropriating others’ cultural experiences? Probably. But I really, really like them too. Even if we could agree on how to avoid offense – and I’ll note that no one around campus seems overly concerned about the offense taken by religiously conservative folks to skinrevealing costumes – I wonder, and I am not trying to be provocative: Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious… a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive? American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience;increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition. And the censure and prohibition come from above, not from yourselves! Are we all okay with this transfer of power? Have we lost faith in young people’s capacity – in your capacity to exercise selfcensure, through social norming, and also in your capacity to ignore or reject things that trouble you? We tend to view this shift from individual to institutional agency as a tradeoff between libertarian vs. liberal values (“liberal” in the American, not European sense of the word).
Nicholas says, if you don’t like a costume someone is wearing, look away, or tell them you are offended. Talk to each other. Free speech and the ability to tolerate offence are the hallmarks of a free and open society.
But – again, speaking as a child development specialist – I think there might be something missing in our discourse about the exercise of free speech (including how we dress ourselves) on campus, and it is this: What does this debate about Halloween costumes say about our view of young adults, of their strength and judgment?
In other words: Whose business is it to control the forms of costumes of young people? It’s not mine, I know that.
Imagine his surprise when the author’s husband found himself defending not only his wife’s innocuous epistle, but the 1st Amendment itself:
As our son/contributor Mike noted:
“…Posted on a normally left leaning message board, this was the top comment:
The thing he said at the end: “Other people have rights too, not just you”; I don’t know if they actually understand that.
Ya think?!? But nothing could have prepared poor Silliman College Master Nick Christakis for the utterly unhinged encounter which followed:
Say hello to what Commentary Magazine‘s Noah Rothman has aptly entitled…
Seriously, this ain’t rocket science, people. The students, bydefinition, are attending college to obtain knowledge and experience they don’t currently possess!!! And it’s the duty and responsibility of their university’s administrators and teachers to give students the benefit of their knowledge and experience to better prepare them for the tasks and challenges which will face their charges in the real world.
The entire Administration of the University of Missouri, including but not limited to Governor Jay Nixon, President Tim Wolfe, head football coach Gary Pinkel and communications professor Melissa “I’m Angry Cuz I Ain’t Never Been Picked” Click, failed their charges this past week. And frankly, they all ought to follow Wolfe’s example and resign as a result.
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Progressives continue to be inexplicably slow on the uptake, which prompts PJ Tatler‘s Rick Moran to call it like it is:
“Most liberals are ignorant about a lot of things — history, economics, and language to name a few.
But it is an understanding of human nature for which liberals are most ignorant of all. How else do you explain the idiotic policy in the Los Angeles School District that now bans student suspensions for defiance?…”
We can’t speak for the teachers or parents, but as this video suggests, we know where the Yos and Hos fall in on the topic:
Yeah…that oughta work!
In a related item, the great Thomas Sowell explains to the brain-deads on The Left why…
“A recent, widely publicized incident in which a policeman was called to a school classroom to deal with a disruptive student has provoked all sorts of comments on whether the policeman used “excessive force.” What has received far less attention, though it is a far larger question, with more sweeping implications, is the role of disruptive students in schools.
Critics of charter schools have often pointed to those schools’ ability to expel uncooperative and disruptive students, far more readily than regular public schools can, as a reason for some charter schools’ far better educational outcomes, as shown on many tests.
The message of these critics is that it is “unfair” to compare regular public schools’ results with those of charter schools serving the same neighborhoods — and often in the same buildings. This criticism ignores the fact that schools do not exist to provide jobs for teachers or “fairness” to institutions, but to provide education for students.
…If the critics are right, and getting rid of the influence of uncooperative or disruptive students contributes to better educational results, then the answer is not to prevent charter schools from expelling such students, but to allow other public schools to remove such students, when other students can benefit from getting a better education without them around…”
No…makes too much sense!
Back in Washington, EAG News‘ Victor Skinner reports that self-appointed Food Czar…
“…Acting USAID administrator Alfonso E. Lenhardt said “By increasing access to education opportunities during the critical time of adolescence, this important initiative will be transformative for Pakistan, empowering young women to overcome barriers and lift themselves out of poverty…”
But unfortunately, not out of Islam!
Meanwhile, back in Chicago, what Moochie’s husband would like to make the USSR…
Only about 30 percent of the city’s fourth graders were proficient in math, according to the results of the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress. That figure was only 25 percent for eighth graders. For fourth grade reading, only 27 percent of Chicago students scored proficient, and that number dropped to 24 percent for eighth graders, according to Catalyst Chicago.
Most of the nation’s inner city public schools are turning out similar results, if not worse. In Detroit, a mere 4 percent of fourth graders and 3 percent of eighth graders scored proficient in math, and those numbers were 7 and 9 percent, respectively, for reading.
NAEP results for students in the nation’s capitol showed only 33 percent of fourth graders are proficient in math, and 17 percent of eighth graders. In Baltimore, the percentages were 12 and 12. About 13 percent of Cleveland fourth graders scored proficient, and that figured dropped to 9 percent for eighth graders…”
There’s a problem with Skinner’s framing of the issue: sure, the U.S. shouldn’t be spending any money educating foreign school children, but mere dollarsaren’t the problem. Hell, if simply throwing money at public education were the solution, the District of Columbia would have the highest-performing schools on the planet.
But it don’t; not even close!!!
Speaking of close, be thankful an increasingly Liberal federal judiciary still includes enough jurists with common sense and an appreciation for the Constitution to call a spade a spade…and an unconstitutional Communist an unconstitutional Communist:
“…In an opinion freighted with meaning for the separation of powers battles, Judge Jerry E. Smith, writing for himself and Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, singled out Mr. Obama’s own claim that he acted to rewrite the law because Congress wouldn’t pass the bill he wanted.
The key remark came in a speech in Chicago just days after his Nov. 20, 2014, announcement detailing his executive actions. Fed up with a heckler who was chiding him for boosting the number of deportations, Mr. Obama fired back, agreeing that he’d overseen a spike in deportations. “But what you are not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” the president said.
The two judges said the Justice Department failed to explain away Mr. Obama’s remarks. “At oral argument, and despite being given several opportunities, the attorney for the United States was unable to reconcile that remark with the position that the government now takes,” Judge Smith wrote.
Whether Mr. Obama acted within the law is the crux of the case…”
Given our understanding of the Separation of Powers and the Constitution, seems rather open and shut to us; but then, so did Kelo, McConnell v. FEC, and NFIB v. Sebelius.
And in the Environmental Moment, as Julie Kelly and Jeff Stier write at the WSJ, the recent combined misinformation offensive by the Food Police & Environazis is no reason to convert to a kosher diet:
“…A doctor with the IARC acknowledged in a news release announcing the findings that “for an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small.” But that statement—widely overlooked in most media coverage—didn’t stop the agency from putting processed meat in its highest category of carcinogens, alongside mustard gas and formaldehyde.
Sensationalist reporting makes processed meat sound more dangerous than even the IARC report claims. A headline at NBC News reads: “Ham, Sausages Cause Cancer; Red Meat Probably Does, Too, WHO Group Says.” Another by the national desk at Cox Media Group runs: “Bacon poses same cancer risk as cigarettes, world health group claims.” This is a case where many journalists and policy makers fail to give proper scrutiny to claims that advance the prevailing political narrative. When a report advises eating less meat, few bother to check the facts, because the conclusion is already popular among them and assumed true.
Now we get to the connection between climate alarmism and the meat-is-bad movement. In advance of the Paris climate talks, the World Health Organization released a lengthy report about climate pollutants and global health risks. The section on agriculture discusses the need to direct consumers away from foods whose production emits high levels of greenhouse gases: “A key action with large potential climate and health benefits is to facilitate a shift away from high-GHG foods—many of which are of animal origin—and towards healthy, low-GHG (often plant-based) alternatives.”
The report specifically mentions red and processed meat: “In affluent populations, shifting towards diets based on careful adherence to public health recommendations—including reduced consumption of red and processed meat and/or other animal-sourced foods in favor of healthier plant-based alternatives—has the potential to both reduce GHG emissions and improve population health.”
…Much of this is aimed at the U.S., which is the world’s top producer of beef and its third-largest producer of pork. Americans, along with Australians and Argentines, are among the world’s biggest per capita meat-eaters. Now climate busybodies can shout that meat causes cancer and is as bad for the person eating it as it is for the planet…”
So hang on to your bacon, ham and hot dogs…at least until they’re banned!
On the Lighter Side…
Now, take a moment to let a veteran know how much what they did means to you!