We have been discussing efforts to fire professors who voice dissenting views on various issues including an effort to oust a leading economist from the University of Chicago as well as a leading linguistics professor at Harvard and a literature professor at Penn. The cancel culture has also extended to museums, book publishers, and other forums for intellectual exchanges. Now the esteemed Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has fired podcast host and deputy editor Dr. Edward Livingston, who raised his own concerns and doubts in a podcast over claims of structural racism. Continue reading “JAMA Editor Fired After Questioning Structural Racism”
I wanted to send my best wishes everyone celebrating the holiday today. Last year, I wrote about “having the best Easter in the worst of times” due to the pandemic. Notably, today the family is getting vaccinated with the first open vaccine site in Fairfax. Like the holiday itself, it is a sign of hope and renewal. Last year, I had not seen my eldest son Ben (working at a hospital) for weeks at the height of the pandemic and I spent the holiday with caregivers and my mother in hospice in Chicago. I spent weeks with my Mom in my hometown. She then rallied and I am home with my family in McLean for this holiday.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court blocked Democratic Gov. Tony Evers from issuing any new public health emergency orders to mandate face masks. In a 4-3 decision that broke along ideological lines, the conservative majority found that Evers lacked authority for his order. It is similar to a ruling rejecting orders by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. What was most striking was the dissenting opinion from the three liberal justices. The dissenting justice adopted the most convoluted and artificial construct to ignore the plain meaning of the controlling state law. Continue reading “Wisconsin Supreme Court Finds Wisconsin Governor Acted Unlawfully On Mask Mandate”
There is a new controversy at GoFundMe which has been repeatedly criticized for yielding to campaigns to cancel conservative causes on the fundraising site. This controversy involved the decision to deactivate the fundraising ability of Parents Against Critical Theory, a group opposing the teaching of critical race theory in Loudoun County Public Schools. Loudoun county school employees supported a campaign to cancel the fundraiser and GoFundMe quickly informed the group that it had violated the site’s policies. However, there is no explanation of the specific violations that I could find. There may well be valid grounds for such termination but the failure to be clear and transparent on those grounds is deeply concerning from a free speech perspective.
There are new calls for fundamental changes in academic disciplines this month to address systemic racism. At Oxford, music department staff is calling for the removal of sheet music from the school’s curriculum as a relic of the “colonial past.” In a leading anthropology journal, two professors have criticized forensic anthropology and the traditional study of skulls to determine ancestry as inherently racist. The calls are indicative of fundamental changes demanded in many of our academic disciplines. Such debates are good for academic institutions, but only if faculty and students feel comfortable in challenging such claims. On many of our campuses, there is a palpable fear about speaking out at the risk of being labelled racist or insensitive on such issues.
As the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin starts in Minneapolis, much of the trial will focus on the role of fentanyl in the body of George Floyd as the possible cause for his death. Notably, a new study in the last week reinforces prior research showing an alarming increase in the abuse of this powerful drug and deaths associated from it. In some counties, there was an almost 75% increase in the first half of 2020 in fatal drug overdoses with fentanyl as the main culprit.
A Christian group at the University of Iowa scored a major win this week before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. In an opinion (below) with sweeping potential impact, the court reversed District Court Judge Stephanie Rose and ruled that University of Iowa officials can be held personally liable for targeting a Christian club and denying the rights of free speech and association. The University ultimately did not appeal findings that it violated the rights of this religious group and these students in its discriminatory application of university policies.
Sen Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) came out against the Twitter ban of former president Donald Trump yesterday. Sanders expressed his discomfort with the role of Big Tech in censorship viewpoints, a sharp departure from his Democratic colleagues who have demanded more such corporate censorship. Continue reading ““Tomorrow It Could Be Somebody Else”: Bernie Sanders Comes Out Against Trump Twitter Ban”
We previously discussed the controversial position of Alison Collins, Vice President of the San Francisco school board, in her campaign against meritocracy and effort to shut down the gifted programs at Lowell High School. The Asian community was particularly opposed to Collins’ efforts since Asian students composed 29 percent of the students but 51 percent of the Lowell student body. Now Collins is under fire for prior tweets attacking Asians as promoting “the ‘model minority’ BS” and of using “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’” Continue reading ““White Supremacist Thinking”: San Fran School Board Vice President Under Fire For Allegedly Anti-Asian Tweets”
There is an extraordinary case out of British Columbia where a father referenced as CD was arrested after he continued to refer to his biological 14-year-old daughter (known as AB) as “she” and his “daughter” after he transitioned to a male gender. The Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada ordered that the child receive testosterone injections without obtaining parental consent. CD opposed the transition as the parent but he was overruled after physicians at BC Children’s Hospital who decided the girl should receive testosterone injections. The father continued to defy gag orders, including a bar on his trying to persuade with his own child to wait before making such a change. Continue reading “Father Arrested After Continuing To Call His Child “She” After Court-Ordered Gender Transition Treatments”
After a two year long impasse, the Iraqi Parliament enacted law recompensing Yazidi and other similarly stationed ethnic groups for the genocide and other crimes against humanity they suffered at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It is hard to imagine how any human being could be made whole after having suffered such inhumanity prosecuted against these people. The Iraqi Government does deserve praise for making a credible and genuine effort to afford them a promise of compensation and opportunities to earn a more promising and just future within their country and society in general.
Iraqi President Barham Salih tweeted the legislation, “is a victory for the victims [and] our daughters who have been subjected to the most heinous violations and crimes of ISIS genocide.”
The law provides recognition by the Iraqi Government of the genocide, which up until then was only officially so by the Kurdistan Regional Government in the North.
We have been discussing the expanded censorship on the Internet and the threat to both free speech and free press rights. As stated recently in testimony before the House, I remain an unabashed “Internet Originalist,” favoring the free forum for speech that once defined these Big Tech companies. The expanding censorship of the Internet continues to show bias and contractions as Democratic members push for “robust modification” to silence opposing views of everything from climate change to social justice. A new controversy shows the contradictions as people spread the false claims of Rev. Louis Farrakhan that the Covid-19 vaccines are really the “vial of death.” The continued spreading of his views shows that speech like water has a way of finding a way out, even untrue and hateful speech. The proper response is not less but more (and better) speech. Continue reading ““Vial Of Death”: Farrakhan’s Anti-Vaccine Statements Expose The Fallacy Of Internet Censorship Policies”
United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) is under fire after Maryam Qudrat, a mother of Middle Eastern descent, was asked by the UTLA to identify her race after criticizing the union’s opposition to reopening schools despite overwhelming science that it is safe. The response of the UTLA was evasive to the point of incomprehension. However, the controversy is fueled by recent efforts to portray parents demanding a return to school as racist or examples of white privilege, including recent controversial comments from the UTLA President. Continue reading “LA Teacher’s Union Under Fire For Effort To Racially Classify Critics”
Below is my column in The Hill on the struggles of many in Washington in the worsening scandal surrounding Gov. Andrew Cuomo. We now have a second former aide alleging sexual harassment and Cuomo has denied the allegation. He is taking heat for saying that he was just being “playful” on such occasions. While the media is beginning to cover the scandal, it is nothing like the saturated coverage of the Kavanaugh controversy or the past Trump allegations. Indeed, Sen. Gillibrand and many of the Democrats who proclaimed Kavanaugh’s guilty are now insisting that both sides being heard. Others are far more measured on this scandal. For example, when CNN’s Dana Bash (who confused her colleague Chris Cuomo with his brother) asked Jennifer Psaki about the new allegations against Cuomo, Psaki called for both sides to be heard. That measured response is in stark contrast to her attack on Sen. Collins as a “fake feminist” and “coward” in voting to confirm Kavanaugh. We saw a similar contrast when then-candidate Joe Biden was accused of sexual assault, though some like Rep. Omar said he was probably a rapist but they would vote for him anyway. This should not be difficult. These leaders are right to call for fair and due process, even belatedly.