Category: Society

Nevada Teacher Faces Calls For Termination After Her Son Dresses As Hitler For Halloween

Janet Arsanian, a teacher at Cortney Junior High School, is facing calls for her termination after her son dressed as Adolf Hitler for Halloween.  The controversy rekindles our long debate over the free speech rights of teachers and public employees in controversial statements or actions in their private lives. Arsanian insisted that “we don’t worship Hitler or agree with what he did.” More importantly, there is no allegation that Arsanian has shown any intolerance or inappropriate responses in her role as a teacher.  I share to reaction of many to such a costume as offensive but, as many on this blog know, I tend to follow a robust view of free speech in such controversies. Continue reading “Nevada Teacher Faces Calls For Termination After Her Son Dresses As Hitler For Halloween”

Another Useful Perspective For The Controversy Surrounding Taking a Knee At US Sporting Events

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Often we can find value in the wisdom of other cultures, especially when we have arrived at an impasse where opposing groups cannot find common ground and the same arguments tend to dominate the discussion. Often this results from the refusal or inability to find outside evidence or analysis.

I believe eventually such an impasse over the NFL kneeling controversy will become moot as the interest in such displays will eventually go away, like many other movements. People eventually move on to other controversies. Yet for those who desire to continue to debate the matter, a family member of mine suggested watching the following video produced in India that structurally presents the same type of controversy–of whether or not to stand during their national anthem at sporting events.

What I found fascinating was seeing the expression of the two sides’ positions through the lens of one of the cultures in India, and especially the contrast between an element representing the traditional thinking versus a younger generation having a different definition of fairness and inclusiveness.

Continue reading “Another Useful Perspective For The Controversy Surrounding Taking a Knee At US Sporting Events”

St. Lawrence University and The Effort To Rescind The Honorary Degree Of Susan Collins

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.

Here is the column: Continue reading “St. Lawrence University and The Effort To Rescind The Honorary Degree Of Susan Collins”

Faculty Members Denounce The “Rape Culture” At St. Lawrence University As Part Of Its Calls To Rescind Sen. Collins’ Honorary Degree

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.

Continue reading “Faculty Members Denounce The “Rape Culture” At St. Lawrence University As Part Of Its Calls To Rescind Sen. Collins’ Honorary Degree”

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”

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””

Warren Takes DNA Test Showing Distant Native American Heritage . . . Trump Denies Pledging One Million Dollars

Elizabeth_Warren,_official_portrait,_114th_Congress440px-Official_Portrait_of_President_Donald_TrumpSen. 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”

Time To Ban Football Fans: Patriots Fans Throw Beer and Flip Off Chiefs Player [Updated]

193px-New_England_Patriots_logo.svgAs many on this blog know, I love watching football. However, I no longer go to games because of the often drunk and unruly fans.  I long ago decided not to take the kids to games because of all of the drinking and profanity.  It is a real shame because I know other families who have reached the same conclusion.  Stadiums are simply no longer family friendly environments unless you want your kids surrounded by profanely spewing drunks. The alternative would be for owners to actually exercise a modicum of responsibility and toss out unruly fans.  I have made the same argument for baseball.  Their failure to do so was on display in the New England-Kansas City game where Patriots fans flipped off Chiefs Wide Receiver Tyreek Hill after he scored a touchdown in the 4th quarter.  They also threw beer on him as shown in the video below. Update: The Patriots identified the fan who threw the beer but apparently did nothing about the other abusive fans.  It is good to see this fan banned from the stadium and hopefully we will see more enforcement of basic standards of civility and decorum at these games.  The fan has been charged with disorderly conduct.

Continue reading “Time To Ban Football Fans: Patriots Fans Throw Beer and Flip Off Chiefs Player [Updated]”

“Baboons Are Free!”: Idaho Fish And Game Commissioner Causes Outrage After Posing With Dead Family Of Baboons

idaho-fish-game-commissionerI have previously expressed my disgust over trophy hunting game like lions and elephants — people who post accounts of the thrill of killing a giraffe or rhino with a high-powered rifle.  I simply do not understand the joy or power felt in these thrill kills.   Nothing however quite prepared most of us for Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner Blake Fischer. Fischer shared photos of his hunting trip in Africa where he posed with a photo of a entire “family of baboons,” including a baby, that Fischer massacred with a recurve bow.  He gleefully reported that, while you are charged for killing large animals, “Baboons are free.”

Continue reading ““Baboons Are Free!”: Idaho Fish And Game Commissioner Causes Outrage After Posing With Dead Family Of Baboons”

Fourteen Months and Counting: Rob Rosenstein Should Recuse Himself From The Mueller Probe

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on recent stories indicating that top Justice Department officials raised the recusal of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein back in June 2017.  I first raised Rosenstein’s recusal in June and August of that year when the Mueller investigation began based on his role in the firing of James Comey and I have repeatedly called for the recusal since then (here and here and here).  Unless Mueller has told Rosenstein that he does not consider obstruction to be a serious matter for criminal investigation in this context, it is difficult to see how Rosenstein can continue. Indeed, even if Mueller rejects obstruction theories, Rosenstein should not have continued as his superior in the investigation while that matter was explored in compliance with the mandate given Mueller.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “Fourteen Months and Counting: Rob Rosenstein Should Recuse Himself From The Mueller Probe”

Pro-Life Students Attacked at Ryerson University in Latest Assault on Free Speech

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”

Ohio University Student Arrested After Making False Claims Of Threatening Messages Due To LGBTQ Status

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 Ugly Americano, The Bane of So-called “Coffee Shops”

Image by Julius Schorzman - Own workBy Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

There are times when one can justifiably take advantage of a host’s generosity and access to an international audience for the selfish purpose of venting one’s frustrations. This is just such a time.

It is increasingly a problem: Whenever I elect to try out a new coffee shop, especially when out of town on business, they do not serve brewed or drip coffee. Just about every foo-foo flavor or coffee containing drink imaginable fills their menu, yet not even a simple, regular cup of coffee can be had. It’s un-American I tell you.

In these “coffee shops” wanting coffee means receiving a cheap substitute: A watered-down misfit of a beverage–the Americano.

Continue reading “The Ugly Americano, The Bane of So-called “Coffee Shops””

Big Brother, Little Pizza: England Moves Toward Limiting Size and Ingredients Of Pizza and Other Dishes

PizzaI have previously discussed my opposition to sugary drink bans or prohibitive taxation schemes in Chicago and New York.  While Cook County reluctantly yielded to public opinion and court decisions recently, other cities have continued to penalize the unhealthy choices of consumers. Now England is considering a measure to put a calorie count on pizza, ready meals and sandwiches to combat obesity. As you might expect, I feel the same way about this measure as a denial of individual choice despite the undeniable well-intentioned purpose of the measure.  It is the type of law only a Little Caesar would relish  . . .  other than the pizza chain of course.

Continue reading “Big Brother, Little Pizza: England Moves Toward Limiting Size and Ingredients Of Pizza and Other Dishes”

Cornell Law School Launches Title IX Investigation Over Male Students Ranking Female Students On Attractiveness

images-2The 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”

In Memoriam: My Subaru, Aged 25 years 484,000 miles

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Thursday’s business trip met with the untimely demise of a close friend, my 1993 Subaru Legacy.

The untimely end came about four miles from my destination. The engine failed. I hoped for the best as each time in the past he would pull through famously. Yet after my mechanic broke the news it was not good. He required extensive repair to the engine and it wasn’t feasible to keep going. After hundreds of thousands of miles of every terrain in the state and every whether condition, my Subaru finally needed to rest.

It was not only named a Legacy, the car WAS a legacy. He gave both his owners over 484,000 miles of reliable service, mostly to me as a second-hand buyer. If anything can be said of 1990’s Subarus, they were certainly built to last. But this Subaru lasted one of the longest.

Continue reading “In Memoriam: My Subaru, Aged 25 years 484,000 miles”

Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks