5/31/2004 11:10:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|Some thoughts on Memorial Day, a few days before the sixtieth anniversary of Operation Overlord and a month before the handover of Iraq. Sixty Years Ago: Polish, Australian, British, American and other forces storm through the sands to pry the iron heel of despotism from the throats of millions. They called it World War II. Sixty Seconds Ago: Polish, Australian, British, American and other forces storm through the sands to pry the iron heel of despotism from the throats of millions. They called it unilateral action. Sixty Years Ago: The German and French Governments were freedom's enemies. We liberated them anyway. Sixty Seconds Ago: The German and French Governments openly collaborated on behalf of freedom's enemies. We pointlessly continue to defend them anyway. Sixty Years Ago: The United States, though attacked on its own soil by the forces of only one country, found its forces engaged in hostilities in close to a dozen nations. No one had trouble understanding the fight against our common enemies crossed borders. Sixty Seconds Ago: The United States, though attacked on its own soil by the multinational forces of a broadly distributed terrorist organization found its forces engaged in hostitilities in two nations. People complained about being "distracted" in our fight. Sixty Years Ago: Scattered amongst those noble souls who undertook the mission were a handful of miscreants who would murder, rape and commit other despicable acts. They were punished. Neither their superiors, their nations nor their press were unduly distracted from the important issues of the day. Sixty Seconds Ago: Scattered amongst those noble souls who undertook the mission were a handful of miscreants who would murder, rape and commit other despicable acts. They are being punished. Their nation and their press are completely distracted from almost every other important issue of the day. Sixty Years Ago: The Poles were the remnants of a string of dubious governments. The Australians were grossly mistreating Aboriginal peoples, the British were a colonial empire with numerous race and class issues. The Americans had a system of racial segregation and had rounded up its West coast Japanese-heritage population. Despite that, no one in possession of his right mind wanted them to do anything but succeed completely. Sixty Seconds Ago: The Poles are the proud survivors of a string of Nazi occupation and Communist oppression. The Australians continue to make amends for their treatment of indigenous peoples. The sun barely shines on the tatters of the British empire anymore and United States has paid reparation to Japanese internees and is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Brown V. Board of Education. Despite that, half the world has lost its right mind and wants them to do nothing but fail totally. Sixty Years Ago: A weak, corrupt and thoroughly disreputable League of Nations was all too happy to peddle its penchant for appeasement and lack of values. Fools deliver up the stunningly memorable and equally wrong "Peace in Our Time" as its buzzphrase. Sixty Seconds Ago: A weak, corrupt and thoroughly disreputable United Nations was all too happy to peddle its penchant for appeasement and lack of values. Fools deliver up the stunningly inane and equally wrong "No Blood for Oil" as its buzzphrase. Sixty Years Ago: A President in the Oval Office allied his cause with odious nations and evil men like Joseph Stalin because he understood that war is about choices between bad options and that long run success in lousy circumstances involves developing a strategy and making priorities as much as it is about purity. Sixty Seconds Ago: A President in the Oval Office allied his cause with odious nation and evil men like Pervez Musharraf and Saudi Arabia because he understood that war is about choices between bad options and that long run success in lousy circumstances involves developing a strategy and making priorities as much as it is about purity. Sixty Years Ago: We decided to fight total war, realizing that only the complete destruction and humiliation of our enemy, including the incumbent hardships on the civilian population, would rid it and them of the desire and belief that pursuing militaristic and facistic means would achieve his ends. Sixty Seconds Ago: We decided....? |W|P|108605967434071663|W|P|The Times They Have A Changed|W|P|5/28/2004 03:39:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|What day is it, kiddies? You say it's Friday?!?! Well, what does Friday mean? Friday means we review the transitive property. If     Victor Davis Hanson = VDH (1) and     VDH = The Man! (2) Then     Victor Davis Hanson = The Man! (3) The logic is self-evident, but you need more proof why, by all means click here. So, I'm off to Atlanta to help run a 38 team amateur baseball tournament, so there won't be blogging until the next week. Good luck to the Georgia Bulldogs in the S.E.C. Baseball Tournament. God bless our troops. God bless America.|W|P|108577385447312888|W|P|Baseball Overkill|W|P|5/29/2004 07:08:00 PM|W|P|Blogger erythys|W|P|That syllogism needs a little work, Stu...5/27/2004 04:03:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|With the acolytes of liberalism out in force giving graduation speeches in disproportionate numbers, your humble blogger will spend today playing the role of class historian and talk a little bit about those who didn't make it and, if nothing else, will at least be spared the fatuous ramblings of people like E. L. Doctorow. A new report issued yesterday by the Education Trust, reveals some disquieting findings about the state of our colleges and universities. It also leaves untouched several issues that are related to its findings. The meat of the story is this: despite having more students than ever enrolling in two and four-year colleges (and think of all the tuition checks these schools are cashing), the percentage of those students who graduate within six years of initial enrollment has remained essentially unchanged in the last 30 years - about 63% of those who enroll. While uninspiring, on first blush that doesn't seem so bad. But it is. Nearly one out of five four-year institutions in America graduates less than one-third of their first-time, full-time, degree-seeking freshmen within six years. Because tuition rates have increased at near double-digit levels for years and years, all students and families are being saddled with higher and higher debt loads than ever before once enrollment ceases. Because of the widening gap in wages between those who earn degrees and those who don't, the latter group ends up indebted longer and in more difficult financial straits. The news is particularly bleak for minority and low-income students: only 46% of African American, 47% of Latino, and 54% of low-income first-time full-time freshmen are graduating within six years. Of the 772 colleges and universities where enrollment is at least 5% black, sixty-eight percent graduate less than 30% of the black students they enroll within six years. One in four schools having a Latino enrollment of at least 5%, has a Latino graduation rate of less than 30%. As one might intuitively suspect, schools enrolling higher caliber students enjoy higher graduation rates. However, the authors claim that in controls for a host of possible factors that might influence graduation rates including: students' SAT and ACT scores, institutional mission, financial resources, degree programs, size, location, and others, there is variance amongst similar institutions and student demographics and they go on to highlight several schools, where practices like more personal contact with faculty and progress tracking seem to have made a difference. They also detail a laundry list of recommendations, some of which, such as tying state aid to public schools to their success in graduation are innovative, while others, such as financial aid seem more old hat. Here are a few discussion topics and possible essay questions that do not come from the report:
  • If these same graduation numbers were, instead, the figures indicating what portion of minority hires various corporations had promoted from entry level positions within some period of time, how many liberal professors would be screaming bloody murder about the "institutionalized racism" of corporate America?
  • Despite about 30 years of Affirmative Action, minority graduation rates have only improved marginally. Is it reasonable to conclude that many colleges and universities are deliberately setting large blocks of minority students up to fail (and financially strapping them) by admitting them to coursework for which they are not adequately prepared? Why would racist college admissions officers do such a thing?
  • Given the findings of the report, is it possible that colleges and universities would be more successful if they focused on the quality of the educational experience and graduating minority students instead of simply replacing them once they've left in disproportionately large numbers?
  • According to the National Interfraternity Conference's research, fraternity and sorority members are 28% more likely to graduate than non-Greeks. Why are campuses increasingly placing restrictions on membership in organizations which appear to help the institutions advance their missions?
  • The study reports that interaction with faculty can be a positive influence on retention of students. Why do so few colleges and universities make excellence in teaching part of the criteria for tenure? Why would it appear that faculty members, who are disproportionately white, desire to have so little interaction with minority students, who might benefit the most from the interaction?
  • Why are the most academically vulnerable students, freshman, most likely to be put in the least pedagogically conducive settings: large lecture and/or classes taught by teaching assistants, many of whom have received no training in teaching and/or do not speak English even conversationally?
Have fun getting answers to these questions out of Big Education.|W|P|108569316253262548|W|P|Go On, Take the Money and Run|W|P|5/26/2004 10:16:00 AM|W|P|SDG|W|P|There's a movement afoot to force a professor at the University of California, Berkeley out of his job. Your first reaction might be to think that the subject is Hatem Bazian, who on 10 April exhorted an anti-war rally in San Francisco to...well...war, saying, "we've been watching intifada in Palestine, we've been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don't have an intifada in this country?" You could think that. But you'd be wrong. No, the PC goon squad of at least 250 UC petition-wielding students and alumni is coming for Boalt Hall School of Law Professor John Yoo. As Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Yoo was the lead author of a memo (linked here) which concluded, among other things, that "any customary international law of armed conflict in no way binds, as a legal matter, the President or the U.S. Armed Forces concerning the detention or trial of members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban [emphasis supplied]." In plain terms, Yoo argued that detained members of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda or the Taliban's militias are neither uniformed servicemen of a recognized state nor civilians and are therefore not offered the legal protections of the various Geneva conventions, presumably including those against torture and other abuse. Yoo's critics charge that this assertion, accepted by the administration over alternate interpretations offered by the state department, is "flawed legal analysis" and opened the door to the mistreatment seen at Abu Ghraib and alleged to have taken place elsewhere. They write, "If, as we believe, Professor Yoo's actions amount to aiding and abetting war crimes, that absolutely demands accountability [sic]." In a two-bit performance as Urban VIII opposite Yoo's Galileo, the group has demanded that Yoo recant his research or resign from the faculty. "Academic freedom protects viewpoints;" writes Michael W. Anderson soi-disant MA, JD, PhD, "it does not amount to immunity for immoral or illegal actions." Anderson continues,
In the protected ivory tower of academia, Professor Yoo has every right to formulate his legal opinions with disregard for such realities. But in the real world, legal positions have real world consequences, as we are now discovering in the most unfortunate way.
What an astounding display of arrogance, poor reasoning and outright sanctimonious claptrap. Yoo's critics confuse legal and moral reasoning - probably by design. Yoo explicitly wrote his memo (highlighted above) in legal terms. But, if Yoo's assertion that it isn't illegal to torture a terrorist is "immoral," then that's a transcendent statement and it shouldn't matter if he makes such an argument in a Department of Justice memo or in a reviewed academic journal, which, by the way, he does. Why the distinction? Its proponents never make any case about why the campus deserves such special treatment, but one can certainly speculate that it protects correct views like Barzian's while rooting out the undesireables, such as Yoo's, simply on the basis that the latter has a life outside the academy. Anderson is also disingenuous in his use of the term "flawed legal analysis." Legal opinions aren't "flawed" the same way a diamond is. Flaw, in this context, does not describe fact, it describes opinion. If Yoo had fabricated data or fudged quotes, that would be a factual flaw. But there is no assertion of that. Rather, it is Anderson who is using flawed language, passing off legal connotations in the context of a layman's paper. An accurate statement would have said something to the effect that Yoo's conclusions are "subject to debate and by no means the consensus opinion." Then again, that's hardly the M.O. of an aider and abettor of war crimes. But even so, how much moral or legal culpability ought Yoo really bear? Yoo was in no position of legal authority here. He wrote an opinion memo. Ultimately it was the White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales, who made the determination on how prisoners would be treated. No solider relied on Yoo's advice. Yoo wasn't standing in any room saying, "Trust me, I'm a lawyer and he's an illegal combattant." Justice Harry Blackman directly enabled the practice of legal abortion in the United States by penning the Roe v. Wade decision, but that hardly makes him an abortion provider. Yoo, via a far less direct route, can hardly be considered a torturer - legally or morally. I'll give Anderson and the Yoo-Hoos at Berkeley indirect credit for one thing if this effort actually goes anywhere. Most Californians - and no doubt most Americans - would love to start seeing our universities begin talking about morality again. I suspect Anderson will have another petition ready to complain when that happens too. |W|P|108558255736692096|W|P|A Tale of Two Berkeleys|W|P|5/25/2004 02:57:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|In another display of Ivory Tower doublespeak, nine elite American universities are lecturing the Ford and Rockefeller foundations about "academic freedom" after the two private charities decided to implement language into their standard grant agreements providing for withdrawal of funding in the event the any part of the recipient organization was found to have directly or indirectly sponsored "violence, terrorism, bigotry or the destruction of any state." To be clear, the point of this blog isn't to debate the content or the wording of the restrictions. Ford is free to distribute its money as it sees fit. Colleges and universities are free to accept or reject the strings that Ford or any other private groups choose to put on the money they provide (together about $50 million to higher education in 2001). Rather, it is to highlight the breathtaking arrogance of the universities who harangue private entities about freedom, given their own abjectly miserable track records on the same subject. According to CAMERA, the provosts of the nine universities - Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale - have signed a letter objecting to the policy, trotting out their favorite old saw, "academic freedom." They write that the conditions, "run up against the basic principle of protected speech on our campuses." As Dr. Evil might say, "Rrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!" Protestations about "protected speech" in this context constitute the public spin. Privately, the opposite is true. Most of these institutions are hotbeds of aggressive political correctness and are included in the universities cited by David Horowitz in his research into liberal bias at elite universities. With the exception of the University of Chicago, all of the schools whining about Ford's restrictions are identified by SpeechCodes.org as "yellow" or "red" light institutions, meaning that they either have "at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application" or "has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech," respectively. Plainly put, they're chafing at precisely the same kinds of restrictions that they routinely place on their own students. Columbia, for instance, gives a excellent example of academic doublespeak in its student policy manual:
While the University as a private institution is not subject to the Constitutional provisions on free speech and due process of law, the University by its nature is dedicated to the free expression of ideas and to evenhanded and fair dealing with all with whom it conducts its affairs.
In nuanced English, this might read, "We acted for freedom before we acted against it." One dismaying - but common description of how "evenhanded and fair" plays out at Columbia plays out can be found here. Cornell has a cornucopia of restrictions on free speech and expression, none of which prevented it from hiring unabashed bigot and hatemonger Cynthia McKinney as a visiting professor. The examples of doublespeak emanating from the Ivory Tower are nearly endless. A partial catalog could fill hundreds of pages. In fact, it has. A statement describing "protected speech on our campuses" is positively Orwellian. Protected speech, far, far too often, is only for that reinforcing the politically correct hegemony established by '60s reactionaries. Opposition to this orthodoxy is routinely suppressed by policies on shaggy, ill-defined 'hate speech' or 'harassment' and handled in Star Chamber proceedings that make would make the Queen of Hearts blush. If the campus provosts have truly had an awakening about the potential chilling effects of restrictions on personal freedom, then I say, "Amen! Welcome brother." But I won't believe it until the physicians heal themselves.|W|P|108551629666768920|W|P|Elite Univs.: How Dare You Tell Us Not to Fund Terror. P.S. Give Us Your Money Anyway!|W|P|5/24/2004 09:55:00 AM|W|P|SDG|W|P|Not so secret recipe for a Campus Race Relations Quagmire souffleé: Ingredients: dozens of offensive t-shirts, legions of upset students and faculty, $50,000 in corporate guilt money, one "radical" outside speaker, one conservative student columnist, two Klansmen, and an ambiguous politically correct ethos. Directions: Have promotions company distribute disgraceful t-shirts printed with "10 Reasons Why Beer is Better Than a Black Man" to students who fill out applications for credit cards. Allow the indignation of every reasonable person on campus - regardless of race - to leaven. Divide uniformity of opinion by seasoning one side with Sister Souljah's thoughts on race relations and "radical" comments. Mix in reaction commentary by conservative writer, watch carefully as proponents of the original speaker defend her. As two parts of the batch continue to divide, allow a pinch of Klansmen to saturate mixing bowl. Do not serve until opportunity to have a constructive dialogue has hopelessly collapsed. Let's start by stating what should be the obvious. The t-shirts were horrible. Period. The question becomes what should a campus do about a situation like this? Shaking down BankOne, which hired the promotion company, for $50,000 of guilt money to sponsor a diversity lecture series probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Perhaps it was although I suspect some at Louisville are having a case of something akin to buyer's remorse. The Louisville Cardinal campus paper reports that according to Mordean Taylor-Archer, the Vice Provost for Diversity and Equal Opportunity at Louisville, Sister Souljah "was chosen [by a committee of staff, faculty and students] to speak on campus because of the positive message she would bring to campus and not because her views on race and race relations are controversial." I don't know if that means the committee knew Souljah would be controversial but didn't care, whether they don't consider her views to be controversial at all, or whether they just got blindsided. It bears note that no transcript or recording of the speech exists, making a determination of just what was said impossible. What is clear, however, is that Souljah was controversial. Of the three possibilities, I find the last scenario the least likely. In 1992, the man who would go on to become America's first "Black president" criticized comments by Souljah that appeared to condone killing white people. In February of 2002, her visit to the University of Memphis sparked "controversy." A visit to Colgate in the Spring of 1995 drew criticism that she - like Dr. Ruth or Greg Brady - lacked the gravitas necessary for a serious college lecture. The first word of Publisher's Weekly's hype for her 1996 book No Disrespect was "[c]ontroversial." If the committee was aware that Souljah would be controversial, one is left to wonder why she was the invited guest. Consider that there was an uproar on campus and, to my knowledge, no one defended the distributors of the t-shirt. No one thought they were appropriate. No one agreed with the absurd list the shirts carried. I've argued before that the diversity movement is inherently divisive. If there is broad outrage about these shirts, what point is served by dividing that opinion? One Louisville professor endorsed Souljah's presence in a subsequent forum, stating "that the university has a responsibility to place people in uncomfortable situations to help them grow." What growth would that be? If white students, as well as Black students, thought the shirt was offensive, hasn't the point been made already? By the same logic, aren't the t-shirts a perfectly acceptable method of helping students who aren't racist "grow" because they make non-racists uncomfortable? That a college professor has trouble with this concept ought to make every tuition paying parent of a Louisville student hesitant about writing the next check. The most likely interpretation then, is that in the PC world of the Ivory Tower, attitudes like those expressed by Souljah simply aren't viewed as offensive at all. After a long silence, Souljah responded to the controversy. I doubt she considered herself a racist. Her critics, though, that's a different story. "As for the white students criticism of my presentation," she says, "it's not credible, honest, or intellectual. It's the outrage of racist guilt." White students who disagree with her are racist. I'm forced to wonder if the paucity of white honesty or intellectual capacity is a genetic trait. Or, perhaps, white students just need to grow. The situation continues to devolve as dislike begets more dislike. In the last month, some knuckleheads from a Ku Klux Klan splinter group, began to pass out fliers on campus and demanding "equal time" to respond to Souljah. At least one professor wants to ban the Klan as a terrorist organization. Even the Southern Poverty Law Center, the sponsor of KlanWatch, finds that argument unconvincing. Sadly, Louisville's commitment to defeating the KKK intellectually (about as difficult as it would be for Arnold Schwarzenegger to do bicep curls with paperclips) is losing out to the notion that it would be easier to relax Louisville's commitment to free speech and constitutional rights. Quoting at length Louisville president James Ramsey,
In fact, our commitment to the Constitution and free expression is at the heart of our mission as an institution. Our trustees agree to uphold the Constitution when they are sworn in as members of the board. Our own governing document, the Redbook, says in its section on academic policies and procedures: "Membership in the academic community imposes on students, faculty, staff, administrators, and trustees of the University an obligation to adhere to standards of academic honesty, to respect the dignity of others, to acknowledge their right to express differing opinions, and to foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiring and instruction, and free expression both on and off campus." We have heard and closely studied every thoughtful argument that has been made. We have heard that the Klan should not be allowed on campus because the very mention of it makes people feel afraid, because the Klan has a history as a terrorist organization, because of what could transpire, because of the environment their presence creates for many if not all members of our community. We have asked all of the same questions, pushing as hard as we could to determine what lines we might be able to draw. We found that the courts that have interpreted our Constitution have said clearly that none of these arguments qualifies as a valid reason to bar this or any other group. Even so, we believe we may determine the time, place and manner in which they may be on campus to distribute literature, and we do not have to allow them to hold an unsponsored rally or march on our campus. And there are many steps we can take to help our community feel more secure and to bring us together to drown out voices of hate with stronger voices of unity. These issues are explored more thoroughly in a question and answer document and a PowerPoint presentation available on this Web site. Although we cannot suddenly change our practices to address this group, we can look longer term. I'm asking a committee to review all of our policies and practices regarding external groups to make recommendations for change that we would apply uniformly in the future. Meanwhile, we will place any group that comes to campus to pass out fliers in an area where we can best provide safety and security and minimize disruption to the academic process.
In English, 'We squandered an opportunity for real racial unity. We bungled a speaking event. We painted ourselves into a politically correct corner. And now, because of our own intellectual laziness, we're going to chill future free speech on campus.' This could have been easy. A teachable moment could have prevailed. There could have been unity. Yet, still, time may heal these wounds. Neither the t-shirts nor Sister Souljah nor the Klansmen have really done any lasting damage. We can hope that this committee will take a step back before something regrettable is done. If not, the future of Louisville will not be black or white, but Cardinal red. Either from embarassment or exertion, those paperclips are starting to look kind of heavy already. |W|P|108541704568739645|W|P|As Difficult as Doing Bicep Curls with Paperclips|W|P|5/21/2004 11:05:00 AM|W|P|SDG|W|P|A recently released study of 12,000 high school students surveyed in 2002 indicates that 74% of them admit to having cheated on an exam at least once in the past year, up from 61% in 1992. The reasons for this are complex, but Bruce Tinsley, in his Mallard Fillmore comic points out one obvious underlying factor. Ivory tower types who bemoan the loss of academic honesty have some real soul searching to do. By serving lavish doses of cultural relativism and moral equivalence and employing Star Chamber like settings, it is no wonder students are losing respect for concepts like truth and honesty. On a different note, today being Friday, don't forget to take your weekly prescription-strength dose of The Man™ - Victor Davis Hanson. |W|P|108515265718101168|W|P|It's Not Cheating, It's a MultiCulti Exam Skill|W|P|5/25/2004 09:36:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|"it is no wonder students are losing respect for concepts like truth and honesty."

Not to mention the concepts of grammar, spelling, and mathematics.

posted by: Ghost of Stu's Goldfish5/20/2004 01:04:00 AM|W|P|SDG|W|P|I submitted this letter in response to Ted Rall's article in Athens' local "alternative" paper, Flagpole. To the Editor of Flagpole: Ted Rall's 'Torture Apologists (Flagpole, 5/19)' is a thoroughly dismaying - but nonetheless enlightening - peek into paucity of both integrity and perspective that that was all too readily accepted by Flagpole as part of its ongoing efforts to express dissent over the war in Iraq. In the spirit of the cover picture, which states, "to question my government is patriotic," I choose to question the press. That's patriotic too. Rall writes,
"Is the robber less guilty because he can look down on the kidnapper? Shall we forgive Hitler for killing six million Jews if someone else kills seven?"
None of the citations Rall gives are excuses for the guilty Americans. They are, however, putting in some context the extent to which the media and war critics have clung to this issue while nearly ignoring worse conduct during in the past. One study has show that since Saddam's fall, NBC has aired 5 stories about Saddam's mass graves (estimated to contain, in toto, as many as 300,000 victims). Yet the same network's news programming has run 58 stories about the abuse at Abu Ghraib. Are the Americans who committed these acts less guilty? No, and who said they were? But is it reasonable to point out that the media - including Rall - seem to be unduly fixated with one to the detriment of the larger story? Absolutely yes. Rall's argument belies the complete moral equivalency which he applies to every action he discusses. It is a perspective that also renders him unable to distinguish between different crimes and different degrees - instead, apparently, choosing a facile, binary "guilty/not guilty" state of affairs. A robber may be guilty, but his crime is not as grave as the kidnapper's. Miscreant Americans committed crimes at Abu Ghraib; crimes for which they'll be punished. But, their crimes were not great as those of either Saddam's thugs or Nick Berg's murderers, many of whom probably will not be punished. But one would come to the opposite conclusion about which was worse if one considered the amount of time and effort Rall, like the many in the media, spent on the former vis-a-vis the latter. It also bears note - disingenuously ignored by Rall - that the abuse was first documented and reported American soldiers who were rightly disgusted by the conduct their comrades. Perhaps Rall, in the spirit of equivalency, will cite a parallel instance from the time of Saddam's management of Abu Ghraib. Pointing out that Saddam was worse is not apology making. It is presenting proper context to the apoplexic response by some to the photos. Context is not binary. But if it is, Rall and his ilk, having papered over all these other issues, are by Rall's own logic, apologists for Saddam. Therefore, I challenge Rall utterly to destroy the logical underpinnings of my entire argument by admitting that he is, in fact, an apologist for Saddam. Parenthetically, Rall's example of six million Jewish murders comes across distinctly half-baked, given his deplorable description of American run "concentration camps" early in the article. Any suggestion of similarity between aberrant happenings in Coalition facilities and widely implemented, official state policy in Nazi territory is another example of Rall's utter refusal to exercise any judgment, let alone good judgment and to render all things equivalent. This isn't about John Kerry and "nuances" here. These are questions of basic moral perspective and logic. It is, perhaps, this lack of moral perspective which enables Rall to award himself license to play fast and loose with facts as well. Rall states, in response to Sen. Inhofe's characterizations of Abu Ghraib's inmate population,
"Actually, according to the Red Cross report on Abu Ghraib, 90 percent of the detainees had been 'arrested by mistake.'"
Actually, if one takes the time to examine the actual report (item 7), one will find the following passage, upon which Rall bases his statement:
"Certain [Coalition Forces] military intelligence officers told the ICRC that in their estimate between 70% and 90% of the persons deprived of their liberty in Iraq had been 'arrested by mistake.'" [emphasis supplied]
First, note that the percentage is a range, of which 90% is the high end (Rall fails to mention this). Secondly, the ICRC, clearly represents this statistic not as its factual finding (as Rall protrays it), but as an unconfirmed approximation provided to it by "certain" CF sources. Thirdly, the statistic is for Iraq-wide operations, not just Abu Ghraib (as Rall leads the reader to believe). But setting Rall's patent misrepresentations aside (despite their serious implications about the quality of Rall's response to Sen. Inhofe), these claims deserve more scrutiny. First, by presenting "certain" sources, the ICRC tacitly admits it doesn't necessarily have the consensus opinion of the CF millitary intelligence community, or its plurality opinion or even the opinion of a distinct minority. Certain people may say Adolph Hitler was just misunderstood. That doesn't, ipso facto, make it the accepted belief. The facts are far less clear than Rall portrays them. Most readers understand that there is a war zone in Iraq and that "militants," and those near or associating with combatants, are going to be arrested as a matter of routine. For example, let's assume the army storms a building from which it is taking sniper fire from two militants. It raids the building and arrests all ten people that are found inside. After questioning everyone over the course of a few hours (or perhaps days), the 8 bystanders are released and the two snipers are identified and detained further. Eighty percent of the people in this example were "deprived of their liberty by mistake." Yet, no rational person would suggest that in a war zone this is especially odious. In his attempt to portray some of those looking to put Abu Ghraib in some context, Rall fails in his better moments to exercise the least bit of discernment and, at his worst, clearly engages in deceptive writing. Rall is right when he points out that one need not be an authority on the Geneva Conventions to deplore the conduct of some at Abu Ghraib. Of course, one need not be a rhetorician to understand that Rall's pious concern ought not be taken at face value, given how readily its foundation crumbles into the sand upon which it was built.|W|P|108503053605587881|W|P|In Which I "Fisk" Ted Rall|W|P|5/19/2004 01:21:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|In the kind of strategic analysis you'd expect from the world's foremost chess player, Russian Garry Kasparov lays out just what the real issues are in Iraq. Amongst the many game gambits, came the money quote to put America's recent fiasco in perspective:
Al Jazeera isn't examining Vladimir Putin's war against Muslims in Chechnya. All of Chechnya is one big Abu Ghraib, but the Islamic world pays scant attention to the horrible crimes there because Mr. Putin shares their distaste for liberal democracy. The war is not about defending Muslims; it is about Western civilization and America as its representative.
There's a lot more here than a short opinion piece would have and Kasparov writes with the precision and clarity that makes you think he's playing against his opponent and the clock. Then again, I guess he is.|W|P|108498905709514717|W|P|Checkmate|W|P|5/18/2004 07:04:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|From Omar, an Iraqi Blogger in his 14 May 2004 blog:
"The first week of this month brought good news to the Iraqi retired governmental employees. They started to receive salaries instead of the emergency payments they used to get during the last 12 months. Each one of them used to receive 80 $ every three months (compared with an average of 20 $ on Saddam's days) but now they're getting paid about 200 $ every three months. And this is just the beginning, as the minister of oil stated. He promised that there will be more financial assignments for the retired's salaries in the next few months as a result of the increase in both, the oil export rates and the oil prices in the market."
Now, there's a real Oil-for-Food program!|W|P|108492179442275965|W|P|No Oil for...Pensions?|W|P|5/18/2004 12:11:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|The International Olympic Committee entertains us today with these two items: First, the IOC slashed the number of potential host cities for the 2012 Summer Games from nine to five. Quoth Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC, the goal was "separating the boys from the men [emphasis supplied]." However, in a related story, the IOC also announced that men who have separated themselves from their boyhood (and women who have separated themselves from their girlhood) will not be separated from the Olympics. |W|P|108489717086085791|W|P|IOC: Ironic Olympic Committee|W|P|5/17/2004 05:24:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|The new liberal talk radio network, AirAmerica, has its own merchandise shop. We should have known this outfit was in bad taste when they gave the network the same name as a failed Vietnam-era CIA front operation, but his is kind of pathetic. What does it say about AirAmerica that in their merchandise shop, they offer the following item:
Classic Thong This product is designed to fit juniors. It fits snug, sizes run small. [emphasis supplied] ... These thongs are made for strutting! Perfect for any type of low rise pants, these panties are made to fit low. Combed cotton baby rib with an exclusive high end woven trim makes these panties look and feel like no other.
I can't wait until the next host laments the terrible influence that President Bush has been on America's youth. No word on the website on whether they can be purchased with Monica Lewinsky's autograph. Word is, however, it will go well with Alexandra Kerry's outfit. UPDATE: I got this news item on to the front page of the Drudge Report! |W|P|108482961896148461|W|P|The Telltale Thong|W|P|11/17/2005 12:05:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|Nice community thong type blog. I found this site that has discount lingerie : **SexyBedroomAttire**5/16/2004 07:09:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|I haven't picked on any academic institutions lately, so it's time to get back to roots blogging here. FOXNews.com has a front page webstory today titled 'Ga. High School Holds Segregated Proms'. Toombs County High School is having three proms this year: one geared twoard whites, one toward blacks and, for the first time, one for hispanic students. While the original segregated proms at Toombs County High County came about in the wake in school integration, the principal, Ralph Hardy, explains that the separate proms today are not about race, but rather are an outgrowth the students' diverse cultural traditions and differing tastes in food and music. The video runs one interview with a student, claiming to be part of a small group of organizers, who want to have one prom for all students. The student in question claims to have been given a hard time after attening the 'wrong' prom. Sadly, no one is really running stories like the one above when it comes to America's colleges and universities, despite the fact that across the country, "higher" education is doing pretty much the same thing: take Fresno State's '2003 Ethic Commencement Events.' You guessed it - separate commencement exercises for Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asians. No doubt anyone can attend any event, but I sort of wonder what would happen to someone who showed up out of place. This year doesn't look much more promising. Fresno State is by no means unique. All acroos America this month, the high preists of diversity will be encouraging more segregation in the with similar ceremonies. The difference between these two events, I think, is that in the former instance it is an hispanic student who wants to have one prom and, in the latter instance, usually white conservatives, who want to focus on one commencement. But I applaud them all for sharing a vision of un-hyphenated American - even in small town proms. Diversity and division are co-joined twins that can never be separated. As the nation marks fifty years since Brown v. Board of Education, we'd be well advised, indeed, to examine the role of the "diversity" movement in perpetuating the segregation we find in our schools today. |W|P|108475028217586110|W|P|Diversity and Divisive Have the Same Roots|W|P|5/15/2004 11:53:00 AM|W|P|SDG|W|P|Here is a short, 6 paragraph article from the Associated Press that demonstrates all too well about media bias in Middle East reporting.
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Saturday called on his people to "terrorize your enemy" as he bitterly marked the 56-year anniversary of Israel's establishment, but also signaled that he is ready for peace. In a speech broadcast live on Palestinian television, Arafat repeatedly called on his people to be steadfast in their struggle against Israeli occupation. He ended the speech with a quote from the Quran. "Find what strength you have to terrorize your enemy and the enemy of God," he said. "And if they want peace, then let's have peace." Arafat, whom Israel accuses of supporting militant groups, did not appear to be calling for new attacks on Israel. The passage in the Quran refers to the early Muslims' wars against pagans and is frequently invoked by Islamic leaders today to encourage strength in times of conflict. Arafat spoke as Palestinians marked what they refer to as the "catastrophe" of Israel's independence on May 15, 1948.
The most egregious paragraph is the fifth. The reader will note the Quranic context is actually analysis, not reporting, and is supplied entirely by the AP. Why is the AP analyzing the Quran on its own and only regarding this part of the passage? But this attempt to soft-sell Arafat's blatant call for terror begs the question, if we shouldn't take Arafat's exhortion for more "terror" literally because of its Quranic context, shouldn't the part about "having peace" also be treated with skepticism by the AP and the reader? Alas, no, the AP has decided that Arafat's speech needs a little PR work and obligingly chips in some help, gratis. The reader will also note that the AP does not use quotation marks around the phrase "Israeli occupation" in paragraph two. What, exactly, is the occupation to which the author refers (and I say author because if it isn't in quotes, I presume Arafat didn't say it)? Is it the West Bank and Gaza, which Israel seized from Jordan and Egypt, respectively, in the 1967 war? Or, is it the land "from the river to the sea," all of Israel? The ambiguity is telling. By bookending a vague "Israeli occupation" with a reference to "Israel's establishment" (paragraph one) and "Israel's independence" (paragraph six) the AP subtly waters the subliminal seedling that Israel's existence and its occupation of Palestinian land is one and the same - something Arafat has claimed since day one. UPDATE: Get a load of one of the photos and captions accompanying the article. The observer will note the banner showing one contiguous area of what is currently Israel, the West Bank and Gaza is captioned as being "the map of the old map [sic] of Palestine." While it is possible that those who made the banner have been brainwashed by Arafat's thought police into believing this to be true, the more likely scenario is that this is a map of "the river to the sea." To the extent that there was a region (not a country) referred to as 'Palestine' before Israel's founding in 1948, that area included the land shown in the banner plus all of what is now Jordan plus parts of Syria and Lebanon. |W|P|108464103404624910|W|P|Anatomy of a Biased Article|W|P|10/03/2005 08:47:00 PM|W|P|Blogger decor resources|W|P|Looking for anatomy artery carotid grays internal reference yahoo info for my thesis I came across your post. It is interesting!!5/14/2004 08:43:00 AM|W|P|SDG|W|P|If you want to see the institutional and intellectual bankruptcy of compus political correctness without having to get your hands dirty cutting into the seedy underbelly of the academy, look no further than the University of Iowa this month. The UI Athletic Department cancelled its 4 May baseball game against the Bradley Braves because of a policy prohibiting the Hawkeyes from playing games against teams with American Indian mascots. You probably see where this is going, right? Well, let's just say that Iowa isn't exactly rigid about this rule. Bowing to "contractual obligations," Iowa hasn't cancelled any competition in any sport agianst its Big Ten rival, the University of Illinois Fighting Illini (home of the PC-dom's favorite racist villain, Chief Illiniwek). Of course, those darned burdensome and odious "contractual obligations" bring tens of millions of dollars yearly into UI's coffers vis-a-vis its conference membership. If Iowa really had any institutional integrity on this issue, they'd leave the racist Big Ten. But, then, PC has never been about consistency. Of course, if the University of Iowa had any intellectual integrity, it would both leave the state of Iowa and change its own nickname. As you've probably guessed, the name 'Iowa' is itself an American Indian name. And Hawkeye? That's not even a real American Indian name, but rather the fictional creation of a white man who thought it sounded Indian. Yes, you guessed it. It comes from James Fennimore Cooper's novel, The Last of the Mohicans (a tribe which originally lived in upstate New York, by the way). But, then, PC has never really been about education either. The problem, of course, is that while the PC movement surfaces in moments of utter frivolity like this, the bulk of what it does never sees the light of day. And there, in that darkness, is where its truly pernicious work is done.|W|P|108454233337556454|W|P|Hawkeye. Birdbrain.|W|P|5/13/2004 01:32:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|Nick Berg deserved better from his hometown newspaper than what Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Baehr wrote in his article Time to Get the Hell Out. I'll leave aside Mr. Baehr's opinion - as one can glean from the title - that it's time to high-tail it out of Iraq. That's his opinion. But as a preview of what will no doubt prove to be the far more damning legacy of Mr. Berg's murder, it pays to focus instead on Baehr's syntax.
...can there be any American, especially any parent, not sickened, saddened and angered by the public beheading of Nick Berg?...Goddammit!...The bastards made him say his name...
and that's the end of his description of the gruesome video. Now, fast forward to Mr. Baehr's description of the conduct of American's at Abu Ghraib
"...Instead, we use it to violate a people...sadistic treatment of prisoners."
Those who saw off an innocent man's head and put the video on the internet did something "sick" and "sad." They're "bastards." Adjectives exceeded in their truthfulness by their utter pallidness. But the Americans? Well, they "violated a people." They're "sadists." Since at this writing, not even Al-Jazeera is claiming that any mistreated Iraqi prisoners have died as a result of their treatment in Abu Ghraib, there are only two conclusions to be reached here: One is that John Baehr and the editorial board of the Philadelphia Daily News are so emotionally wrought by this video that they've taken leave of common sense. The other, and far more disturbing, conclusion is that they feel that those held at Abu Ghraib were treated worse than Mr. Berg. The latter supposition - while an outrageous position - is hardly an outrageous leap of logic. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, in his condemnation of the video, put Mr. Berg's slaughter in the context of that lame old bromide about a "cycle of violence," As if Abu Ghraib and Nick Berg are equivalent. Kofi Anan's "horror" over the murder only comes qualified with the standard babble about "condemn[ing] all killings of innocent civilians in Iraq as he condemns all abuse of prisoners and other violations of international law." As if it's all the same. By all accounts, Nick Berg went to Iraq believing he could make a difference and build bridges between people. One can argue that justness of this war or the president's management of it cheapens Mr. Berg's death. But if you do, be prepared to carry the moral equivalence consistently. Be certain to accuse those in the media, in politics, or in the ranks of the protesters for their cheapening of Mr. Berg's death too. Isn't it all the same? If so, Mr. Berg's death may ultimately prove to be a meaningless one - in every sense of that word. And What a pathetic legacy that would be. |W|P|108447069717054049|W|P|The Saddest Legacy|W|P|5/12/2004 01:30:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|I was going to stay out of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal because so many others have posted far more eloquently than I ever could. However, I am going to weigh in by linking to a blog written by Ali and his two brothers - all three Iraqis living and working in Baghdad. This particular entry relates a conversation between Ali and a doctor who actually works in Abu Ghraib. It certainly puts things in perspective.|W|P|108438339360587995|W|P|Abu hoohoo|W|P|