Customs officials at Graz airport in Austria made a shocking discovery in the carry on luggage of a Moroccan woman: the entrails of her husband. If that is not bizarre enough, Austrian police insist that there is nothing illegal in taking body parts of your loved ones as carry on — subject to any size limitations of the airline of course.
We have yet another story of educators showing no regard for the interests of students in the imposition of a thoughtless and baseless punishment. In this case, the Wayne-Westland Community Schools had children using discolored and tainted water in their restrooms. Hazel Juco took a picture of the disgusting water and posted it in the hope of getting action. The school administrators responded by suspending her.
I recently expressed unbridled pride in my alma mater, The University of Chicago, in taking a stand for free speech and rejecting the notion of sheltering students from opposing or disturbing views with “safe spaces” and speech codes. Now, across town, my other alma mater, Northwestern University, appears intent on embracing the opposing view. Northwestern President, Morton Schapiro, has called faculty and students who adhere to views underlying the “Chicago Principle” as nothing more than “lunatics.” Fortunately, I only went to Northwestern for graduate school and was able to secure my undergraduate degree at Chicago in a free and robust community of free thought and free expression. The contrast in the two schools on different sides of the city captures the deep division among academics. However, as one of those “lunatics” and “idiots” denounced by Schapiro, there is no question in my view where the better educational environment can be found in light of Schapiro’s comments. He also denounced those with opposing academic views as just speaking from their privileged backgrounds and lifestyle.
I have been a long critic of the erosion of free speech on college campuses and the use of the ill-defined concept of “micro aggressions” to sanction students and faculty alike. Now there is a national campaign by the National Association for Bilingual Education and the Santa Clara County Office of Education that indicates that a teacher who mispronounces a student’s name is causing an offense to the student’s identity. negative emotional state that can lead to poor academic success.
The campaign, titled “My Name, My Identity” says on its website, “Did you know that mispronouncing a student’s name negates the identity of the student? This can lead to anxiety and resentment which, in turn, can hinder academic progress.” The author of an influential report on the issue, Rita Kohli, an assistant professor of education at the University of California at Riverside, maintains that such mistakes can be deemed a “microaggression.” That is chilling for some of us who are notoriously bad at pronouncing names.
There have been many past tort cases involving questions of whether pools had sufficient lifeguards at a pool to avoid a drowning. The City of New Orleans could face a rather unique tragedy where a fully clothed man drowned at a party for lifeguards with 100 lifeguards partying around the pool at the time.
Let it not be said that football does not bring people together . . . or at least the hatred of certain teams. When South Carolina Officer Michael Blackmore saw a man about to jump off a bridge, he struggled to find a common connection or interest. He found it in their mutual hatred for the Dallas Cowboys. With the crushing defeat of my Chicago Bears last night, I also have found a new reason to live.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.
Free-speech claimed another victim in the Middle-East after Jordanian Journalist Nahed Hattar, who is accused of sharing online an “anti-Islamic” cartoon, was assassinated outside a courthouse where he was facing trial for insulting Islam.