Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the now annual controversy over Halloween costumes and objections over cultural appropriation. This week universities mounted campaigns against offensive costumes while commentators lashed out at cultural appropriation. For example, students at Michigan State University this week were given warnings that a costume of a giant taco was not offensive but becomes offensive if the student puts on a sombrero. Other colleges threatened discipline for costumes that are culturally appropriating or inappropriate. These campaigns seem to grow each year even though we have never had a serious debate over the meaning and application of cultural appropriation charges over costumes.
We have been previously discussing our ridiculous medical insurance system where citizens are hit with obscene charges — often by design to ensnare those unwilling or unable to challenge the charges. It can range from an $18,000 charge for a napping child to $15,000 for tiny screws to $89,329 for a $750 serum. The system exists because Congress allows it to exist in conformity with an army of lobbyists for the pharmaceutical and medical industries. The latest example was laid out by National Public Radio (NPR). Professor Janet Winston, 56, who teaches Humboldt State University, was charged $48, 329 for allergy testing at Stanford Health Care. Continue reading “California Professor Charged $48,329 for Allergy Tests By Stanford Health Care”
We just hit another milestone this weekend with over 35,000,000 views. We are also recently closing in on 60,000 followers on Twitter. We like to call the site the “little engine that could” among blogs with our growing collection of people from around the world. Despite a few contributors who insist on personal characterizations and attacks, this site strives to be a place for civil but passionate discourse on legal and policy issues of our time (and perhaps a few wacky stories).
We often use these milestones to look at the current profile of the blog and its supporters around the world. As always, I want to offer special thanks to Darren Smith who continues help up with periodic technical problems and our many regular commentators and readers. We try to keep this blog as an open forum with as little interference or monitoring of the comments as possible. Given our free speech orientation, we try not to delete comments and, for that reason, we are deeply appreciative of how most people avoid personal or offensive comments in debating these issues. Obviously, our open forum allows trolls and others to spew comments that are at times offensive and obnoxious but we continue to believe that civil and balanced comments will prevail. Thank you for voluntarily assuming restraint over the tenor and content of your comments.
So here is our current profile:
I have the honor today to delivering the keynote address at the school’s 12th Annual Conference on America’s Founding Principles and History. This year’s conference is entitled Hail to the Chief (Justice): An Examination of the Evolution of the Supreme Court. My address is entitled “Chief Among Equals: A Comparative Analysis of Chief Justices In History. It will be held in the Gaines Theatre at 3 pm.
One of the largest Ontario school boards has sent out a warning to teachers that they should steer away from assigning the American classic To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The memo rejects the book for how its “white saviour” makes less characters look “less than human.” It also cites the use of the “N word” and its violent scenes as reasons to reject the book. We have previously discussed other efforts to ban the book. This is how school officials know sin. It is when they actively seek to discourage the reading of great literary works to “protect” students from the depictions of harsh realities and dehumanizing conditions. Atticus said “remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Continue reading ““It’s a Sin To Kill A Mockingbird”: Canadian School Board Denounces American Classic As “Violent and Oppressive For Black Students””
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the call by alumni and professors at St. Lawrence University to strip Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) of her honorary degree in light of her vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The university has now confirmed that they have never rescinded an honorary degree and will not start with Collins. Putting aside the prevalent “rape culture” declared by almost a hundred faculty members, the two letters reflect the diminishing hold of intellectual honesty and integrity at our places of higher education.
I have been critical of the handling of cases where protesters destroy statutes that they find offensive. When various protesters in North Carolina who torn down a statue in public and then celebrated their criminal acts in broad daylight. Because the statue of a civil war memorial, the act of property destruction was condoned by many and Durham District Attorney Roger Echols caved to the pressure in dropping all charges against everyone. It was effective immunity for a popular criminal act — a dangerous concept in any legal system. Not surprisingly, others soon claimed the right to unilaterally destroy property, including protesters on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s campus who took it upon themselves to destroy the controversial Silent Sam Confederate statue.
I was critical of not only the failure to stop the destruction of the statue despite police at the scene but the decision not to charge above the misdemeanor level. Maya Little, a 26-year-old doctoral student of history, mixed with her own blood with red ink on the statue and was equally unapologetic before the court in declaring “The Orange County court system must also reckon with the Black blood that stains it.”
Now Orange County District Judge Samantha Cabe has found Little guilty but the declined to impose any penalties. Cabe seemed to yield to the argument of Little that she was triggered by the statue or, as her counsel argued, “One person’s defacement is another person’s improvement.”
Cabe backed away from any punishment despite the premeditation of the act and lack of remorse. Cabe effectively left some public art without the real protection of the law in granting “continued judgment” — sparing Little for even paying court costs or a technical criminal violation.
The concern is that, once again, there may be no penalty (and thus no deterrent) for those planning and then destroying public art due to public support or sympathy with their acts.
I wrote a column yesterday in The Hill newspaper on the effort to strip away the honorary degree awarded to Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) in 2017 in retaliation for her vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh. One of the letters seeking the rescission was from roughly 100 professors from virtually every department within St. Lawrence University. What was most surprising was the assertion of these faculty members that St. Lawrence University has a “rape culture” and that Sen. Collins’ vote was in furtherance of that culture. Notably, there are only 217 full-time and part-time faculty at the university.
I have written a great deal about the disturbing case of Feminist Studies Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young who criminally assault pro-life advocates on campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara. I have expressed my shock that she was not fired by the University of California and how she was supported by many faculty and students in her violent response to a pro-life display. Now however she will be honored as a featured speaker at the University of Oregon’s Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Part of its “black feminist speaker series,” Miller-Young will “discuss her work on black feminism, labor and sex work.” The College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of English promise that the series will show “the radical potential of black feminism in the work that we do on campus and in our everyday lives.” She will presumably leave out her work leading students in a violent attack on free speech. Continue reading “California Professor Who Assaulted Pro-Life Advocates Is Featured by Oregon To Help Students “Embrace . . . The Radical Potential of Black Feminism in Our Everyday Lives””
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) effectively called President Donald Trump a welcher after she took a DNA test as he demanded on national television on the promise that he would donate $1 million to her favorite charity. While the test by a Stanford professor showed only that she was between 0.097 per cent and 0.156 per cent American Indian, it was still a DNA test. Warren called on Trump to donate to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. President Trump however initially denied that he ever made the offer and then changed the offer retroactively to require his testing Warren. Continue reading “Warren Takes DNA Test Showing Distant Native American Heritage . . . Trump Denies Pledging One Million Dollars”
We have been following the increasing violence seen on college campuses, particularly directed against conservative and pro-life speakers. The latest incident occurred at Ryerson University in Ontario where a video captured Ryerson Student Gabriela “Gabby” Skwarko attacking two members of Toronto Against Abortion (TAA). Skwarko works for the school’s Office of Social Innovation. The video below shows a violent and unprovoked attack to stop an act of free speech on campus. Continue reading “Pro-Life Students Attacked at Ryerson University in Latest Assault on Free Speech”
Anna Ayers, a student at Ohio University and a member of the OU student senate, recently caused an uproar at the university after saying that she received threatening messages, including a death threat, due to being part of the LGBTQ community. Police now say that Ayers made the entire thing up and have arrested her for “making false alarms.” That wording seemed a bit curious so I went to the state code, which indeed has a provision that departs from the usual language of a false police report. Continue reading “Ohio University Student Arrested After Making False Claims Of Threatening Messages Due To LGBTQ Status”
The Cornell Daily Sun is reporting that Cornell Law School has started a Title IX investigation over a report that some male law students were “ranking women on their appearance.” What is most striking is that this was all done in a private group chat. Men and women have been ranking each other by looks since time immemorial. On October 5, Dean Eduardo M. Peñalver said in an October 5th email to law students that Cornell’s Title IX Office is investigating the matter, adding that “ranking women on their appearance is inherently degrading,” adding that it was “childish and unprofessional.” I agree that it is childish and unprofessional, but I still question the need for a Title IX investigation into the private correspondence of students over the attractiveness of other students. Continue reading “Cornell Law School Launches Title IX Investigation Over Male Students Ranking Female Students On Attractiveness”
I have previously criticized U.S. laws barring public contracts or employment with people who support the boycott or boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Those laws raise troubling questions under the First Amendment and various courts have pushed back on the constitutionality of such laws. Now Israel is holding an American university student for a week because she supported the BDS movement. Lara Alqasem, 22, was held depending appeal at Ben-Gurion Airport. She has Palestinian grandparents and was told that she could be released if she apologizes and disavows any boycotting of Israel. Continue reading “Israel’s Denies Entry and Jails American Student on Suspicion Of Supporting The BDS Movement”
I have previously expressed my concerns over the removal of long-held mascots and names in colleges from “the Cowboys” to “Shooter the Fox” to the Aztecs to the “Fighting Sioux” to “Chief Illini.” Now, the California State University at Long Beach has decided to dump its mascot, “Prospector Pete,” because some students complained that a gold miner from the 49ers is “offensive.” Continue reading “California State University Dumps “Prospector Pete” As Offensive”