Rick Jones, 21, became a cause celebre after he alleged that he was beaten and had a homophobic slur carved into his arm. In a case reminiscent of the Tawana Brawley case and some other more recent controversies (here and here), Jones has now admitted that it was a hoax.
There is an interesting academic controversy out of Louisiana State University where Professor Teresa Buchanan, who specializes in early childhood education and trains elementary school teachers, has been fired for creating what university administrators describe as a “hostile learning environment” that amounted to sexual harassment. However, the crux of the charges appears to be Buchanan’s use of foul language and bawdy jokes. The question is why (as recommended by the faculty committee) Buchanan was not simply reprimand or censured for such violations as opposed to fired.
We have been discussing the horrific environmental record of the administration of Prime Minister Tony Abbott. This includes the decision to dump millions of tons of waste into the Great Barrier Reef. The move that led to international outcry including official condemnation from UNESCO. Much of the criticism has been directed at Abbott putting industry officials in charge of environmental decision-making with predictable results. This week saw the latest such controversy after Western Australia mining minister, Bill Marmion (left) declared categorically that official protection of the Great Western Woodlands, the largest remaining temperate woodlands in the world, will not be supported if it impinges on mining. Period.
The email controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton continues to grow but there is one aspects that is less of a problem for her as it is for one of her allies, Paul Begala. Begala is shown in email seeking directions or talking points from the State Department on what to say about one of Clinton’s speeches and then writes back to tell Clinton aides that he gave her an “A+.” Such talking points are common in Washington but the email forces the practice into the open and raises the question about independence of commentators, even in today’s formula conservative-liberal/democratic-republican casting. People like Begala are supposed to be crushingly predictable in blindly support one side of the formula casting, so it is hardly surprising to see such scripting or shaping. However, some have asked about the propriety of a CNN commentator who appears to be so closely coordinated with a political figure like Clinton even on his impressions of her skills as a speaker. It was an ironic twist from a commentator who declared national that “voters to not give a sh**” about the Clinton emails.
Having run out of sedans and swimming pools for its view of creative and fun forms of execution, ISIS is now returning to an old favorite of beheadings. In the latest video, they executed women for sorcery in Syria and earlier beheaded a street magician as immoral under Islam and Sharia law. Two women were executed with their husbands.
We have been following the growing menace of flash mob attacks on stores where teenagers descend on a store, trash its interior, and steal merchandise — only to vanish with the arrival of police. However, in the case of a trashed Macon Wal-Mart, police say that they not only have videotapes of the mob but one of its leaders, Kharron Nathan Green, 17, who made the mistake of returning to retrieve his cellphone.
I have long admitted that, as an academic dweeb, I have long been confused by events after the eighteenth century. However, this story has me entirely perplexed. The University of Missouri at Kansas City has opened a women’s Hall of Fame and was looking for a female leader to open the event. Their choice among the millions of women in this country from generals to jurists to CEOs to governors to journalists to writers? Chelsea Clinton. Not only that, but the university paid $65,000 for Chelsea Clinton to speak only ten minutes under highly abridged appearance restrictions set by her handlers (in addition to other restrictions from a brief period for photos and water specifications).