Below is my column on the record defamation verdict against Oberlin College and its implications for higher education. Obviously, I am quite critical of the actions of the college. What is the most striking aspect of this story is how completely unapologetic the college remains. There is little evidence of objective reevaluation of its actions such as the alleged demand that this bakery give first-time shoplifters from Oberlin a pass. There are three thousand students at Oberlin. There would be little left on the shelves if the word got out of a one-time pass where students could use their free shoplifting trip at Gibson’s.
In the meantime, alumni will be asked to support a college that may have burned tens of millions of dollars in just one incident. How many scholarships could have been granted for $33-$44 million? The annual tuition is $55,000. That is over 750 students who could have received free scholarships. Instead, over a stolen bottle of wine, the college has dug itself into a massive hole . . . and it is still digging.
Calling in sick is a fairly common practice for many people. However, most people are not famous actors who are contracted to do a recital in in Pordenone, in the northern region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. More importantly, most people are not then all over the news seating with Russian President Vladimir Putin and having the time of their lives. One can certainly understand a contractual case against Ornella Muti, but Italy often tries contracts and torts as criminal matters. Muti was found guilty of criminal fraud and given a suspended prison sentence pending payment of damages.
One of the great unknowns in the 2020 election is the surprising shift of many young voters and Democrats toward a socialist agenda. It is still not clear if the majority of the country is ready for such a shift though polls show growing support for socialist policies. Not to be outdone, Candi CdeBaca won a runoff race last week against former Denver city council president Albus Brooks by pledging that she would implement not socialist, but virtually communist policies “by any means necessary.”
Political cartoons are some of the oldest forms of commentary and dissent of humanity. They have had transformative effect on politics and policies, often highlighting important issues through satiric or absurd images. Indeed, a cartoon can often say in a single image what some of us struggle to explain in hundreds of words. Legendary figures from Benjamin Franklin to Thomas Nast advocated such forms of commentary. They are visual narratives that continue to be valued by readers but have been curtailed by small groups of well-organized critics. It is for that reason that the recent announcement by the New York Times is so distressing. After a controversy over a cartoon denounced as anti-Semitic, the paper will cease running political cartoons. It is the perfect embodiment of our humorous, hyper-sensitive environment of the age of rage.
Two years ago, I wrote a column about a controversy involving Oberlin College and allegations of racism leveled against the family-owned Gibson’s Bakery. The bakery appears unfairly attacked for an incident involving African-American students — an incident that the college proceeded to address without any semblance of objectively or fairness toward the long-standing local bakery. I said that the time that the bakery had ample reason to sue. Well, now an Ohio jury has hit Oberlin College with crushing damages of an $11.2 million. What is most disturbing is the failure of any action taken against the college president and other officials who not only allowed these abuses to occur but then took a remarkably bad case to court at a loss in millions in damages and fees. The cost of poor judgment shown by college officials in this controversy is magnified by bad case law that it creates potentially for free speech. And the jury has not even convened yet to consider punitive damages.
Most individuals at some point in their lives will for themselves or a close family member require the services of a social worker. While we usually think of social workers as state or hospital employees, there are significant benefits in hiring a private social worker to better protect and advocate for the loved one.
This article will introduce the reader to a few of these benefits.
If you were in New York yesterday, you would have seen more than 40 ice-cream trucks being towed away. It was a crackdown on New York Ice Cream which allegedly has been running a scheme to avoid millions in tickets. The culprit was ice cream mogul Dimitrios Tsirkos, founder of New York Ice Cream. Long Island officials say that Tsirkos has been racking of millions in tickets and then creating new companies to avoid payment.
In the 2004 slapstick comedy Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, character Patches O’Houlihan insisted “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” Perhaps, but can you dodge hundreds of academics declaring your sport a tool of “oppression”? That was the message at the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences held in Vancouver.
Today is a sad anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. It is all the more sad due to the success of the Chinese regime to wipe out memories of the massacre in the country while crushing dissent. It falls to the rest of the world to keep the memory alive in the hope that truth, like water, will find its way through the most formidable walls.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on three unanswered and troubling questions for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The concerns over Mueller’s motivations was heightened by the justifications that he has offered for some of his decisions like not reaching a conclusion on the weight of the evidence on obstruction. Many of us view Mueller’s rationale (based on the DOJ policy not to indict a sitting president) to be not just unprecedented but illogical. Putting aside my long disagreement with the argument that a president is immune from indictment, that policy (and the underlying memos) say nothing about a Special Counsel reaching conclusions on the evidence of possible criminal acts. Indeed, that is the core purpose of a Special Counsel. If one rejects the rationales of Mueller, you are left with a question of motivation in maintaining these positions.
Michael Wolff made a killing on his last book on Donald Trump despite denials from his sources as to key statements. He is now back with a sequel entitled “Siege: Trump Under Fire.” As before, there were instantly questions about Wolff’s standards and sources in making sensational claims. Two such claims immediately stood out as highly dubious, if not facially untrue. The Special Counsel’s office has already made a rare public denial of one of those claims: that Mueller’s office actually drafted indictments against Trump for obstruction of justice.
Remember when national health care was going to finally clear our emergency rooms? It has not exactly worked out that way, particularly in California. While there are clearly other benefits from national health care, the hope that people would turn to regular medical visits rather than ER visits has not materialized in California where the average wait time is five and a half hours. An astonishing 57% of patients left before seeing a doctor due to the delay — that constitutes roughly 352,000 persons leaving without fully addressing their medical conditions.
Pulitzer prize winning author and MLK biographer David Garrow has written a disturbing piece in the British magazine Standpoint on his review of secret tapes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There have long been stories about MLK’s affairs and even discussions of reexamining his standing in the MeToo period. However, the details in this article are different and deeply unsettling, if true. If not, Garrow has ruined his own celebrated career and defamed an American icon. Either way, one would think that there would a huge amount of coverage of the allegations in the mainstream media. Instead, there has been very little coverage of the story. While Yahoo and MSN ran foreign-based stories, most of the coverage has come from newspapers outside of the United States.