In a shocking affront to the United States Constitution, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have joined together to mandate that virtually every college and university in the United States establish unconstitutional speech codes that violate the First Amendment and decades of legal precedent.
“I am appalled by this attack on free speech on campus from our own government,” said Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has been leading the fight against unconstitutional speech codes on America’s college campuses since its founding in 1999. “In 2011, the Department of Education took a hatchet to due process protections for students accused of sexual misconduct. Now the Department of Education has enlisted the help of the Department of Justice to mandate campus speech codes so broad that virtually every student will regularly violate them. The DOE and DOJ are ignoring decades of legal decisions, the Constitution, and common sense, and it is time for colleges and the public to push back.”
In a letter sent yesterday to the University of Montana that explicitly states that it is intended as “a blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country,” the Departments of Justice and Education have mandated a breathtakingly broad definition of sexual harassment that makes virtually every student in the United States a harasser while ignoring the First Amendment. The mandate applies to every college receiving federal funding—virtually every American institution of higher education nationwide, public or private.
The letter states that “sexual harassment should be more broadly defined as ‘any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature’” including “verbal conduct” (that is, speech). It then explicitly states that allegedly harassing expression need not even be offensive to an “objectively reasonable person of the same gender in the same situation”—if the listener takes offense to sexually related speech for any reason, no matter how irrationally or unreasonably, the speaker may be punished.
Watch out, this could include
Any expression related to sexual topics that offends any person. This leaves a wide range of expressive activity—a campus performance of “The Vagina Monologues,” a presentation on safe sex practices, a debate about sexual morality, a discussion of gay marriage, or a classroom lecture on Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita—subject to discipline.
Remember when bums were called bums?
He who controls the language shapes the debate: In the same week the Associated Press announced that it would no longer describe illegal immigrants as “illegal immigrants,” the star columnist of the New York Times fretted that the Supreme Court seemed to have misplaced the style book on another fashionable minority. “I am worried,” wrote Maureen Dowd, “about how the justices can properly debate same-sex marriage when some don’t even seem to realize that most Americans use the word ‘gay’ now instead of ‘homosexual.’” She quoted her friend Max Mutchnick, creator of Will & Grace:
“Scalia uses the word ‘homosexual’ the way George Wallace used the word ‘Negro.’ There’s a tone to it. It’s humiliating and hurtful. I don’t think I’m being overly sensitive, merely vigilant.”
For younger readers, George Wallace was a powerful segregationist Democrat. Whoa, don’t be overly sensitive. There’s no “tone” to my use of the word “Democrat”; I don’t mean to be humiliating and hurtful: It’s just what, in pre-sensitive times, we used to call a “fact.” Likewise, I didn’t detect any “tone” in the way Justice Scalia used the word “homosexual.” He may have thought this was an appropriately neutral term, judiciously poised midway between “gay” and “Godless sodomite.” Who knows? He’s supposed to be a judge, and a certain inscrutability used to be part of what we regarded as a judicial temperament. By comparison, back in 1986, the year Scalia joined the Supreme Court, the chief justice, Warren Burger, declared “there is no such thing as a fundamental right to commit homosexual sodomy.” I don’t want to be overly sensitive, but I think even I, if I rewound the cassette often enough, might be able to detect a certain tone to that.
Nonetheless, Max Mutchnick’s “vigilance” is a revealing glimpse of where we’re headed. Canada, being far more enlightened than the hotbed of homophobes to its south, has had gay marriage coast to coast for a decade. Statistically speaking, one-third of 1 percent of all Canadian nuptials are same-sex, and, of that nought-point-three-three, many this last decade have been American gays heading north for a marriage license they’re denied in their own country. So gay marriage will provide an important legal recognition for an extremely small number of persons who do not currently enjoy it. But, putting aside arguments over the nature of marital union, the legalization of gay marriage will empower a lot more “vigilance” from all the right-thinking people over everybody else.
Mr. Mutchnick’s comparison of the word “homosexual” with “Negro” gives the game away: Just as everything any conservative says about anything is racist, so now it will also be homophobic. It will not be enough to be clinically neutral (“homosexual”) on the subject — or tolerant, bored, mildly amused, utterly indifferent. The other day, Jeremy Irons found himself musing to a reporter on whether (if the issue is unequal legal treatment) a father should be allowed to marry his son for the purpose of avoiding inheritance taxes. The vigilance…
When President Obama, in his dronefest at the UN the other week, said that the future, on the one hand, will belong to those who empower women, but, on the other, must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam, he failed to foresee any potential contradictions between these goals. We Canadians are naturally miles ahead of you guys in this respect, so, in a current if near parodic Ontario “Human Rights” Commission case, a lesbian is suing a Muslim barber for refusing her custom.
A year or two back, I was proud to play a small role in clobbering Canada’s “human rights” racket, giving them the worst press in their history, and eventually getting a disgusting law repealed. But, as the great George Jonas writes in an excellent column, the bloodsucking vampires are once again stirring in their coffins. The current rationale is that, in a multicultural society, you need an all-powerful state to mediate the interests of competing identity groups. Get lost, creeps. There’s a word for that kind of state, and it’s nothing to do with human rights.
The 1st Amendment — that’s enough in itself.
…The British left is screaming for parliamentary regulation of the press. Prime Minister Cameron says this would “cross the Rubicon”: let the politicians start regulating the press and the Ministry of Truth is not far away. He is basically right; while the Leveson report doesn’t call for censorship of content, it introduces the idea that an outside regulator (theoretically independent of government) should regulate the conduct of reporters. Such bodies accrete power over time; once the camel gets its nose in the tent, the takeover process begins.
Britain is particularly susceptible to the disease of controlling unpleasant speech. Mixed with its long and proud tradition as an upholder of liberty, Britain has always had a weakness for letting the Great and the Good dictate to the rest of society. It has an Established Church, and for centuries people who didn’t belong to it were banned from holding office or attending universities. Britain was traditionally much more puritanical than, say, France when it came to censoring books, plays and later films.
That tradition has shifted, but it has never gone away. In the old days the Brits censored anything to do with sex; these days anything goes where sex is concerned, but “hurtful” speech is something else. All over Britain, the speech nannies are stirring, eager to ensure that only worthy thoughts can be spoken in public places. Give them an independent body that is able to regulate and punish the press, and they will seek to expand its powers and extend its jurisdiction to “harmful” content as well as harmful methods.
The trend against free speech can also be seen on our side of the Atlantic, especially on college campuses, and these moves must be fought. The right of people to say nasty, unkind and untrue things, their right to insult your religion, your dearest moral values, the ethnic and racial groups from which you spring, your eating habits and social customs, your ideals—that is the essence of freedom. Sad but true.
The “good” people, the “helping” people, the “nurturing” people and the idealists are usually the ones eager to punish people who say hurtful things. The left recognizes this when Andrew Sullivan’s dreaded “Christianists” try to stop the teaching of evolution on the grounds that it is false and destructive. But when the left’s most cherished ideas are rudely and nastily challenged, the hammer comes down.
“Nice” people who want to limit your freedom of speech so that only “nice” ideas will be expressed are some of the most horribly misguided and dangerous people around. They must be relentlessly mocked and resisted so that human freedom can survive.
In a complicated, pluralistic society like ours, when life depends on the coordination of large institutions and complex social systems, and there are many groups and individuals whose feelings are easily hurt by the thoughtless or hostile comments by others, the temptation is huge to use the law and the powers of the administrative state to keep disturbing speech out of the system.
But that temptation must be fought…
Given the free speech guarantees of the 1st Amendment, you’d think you could publish your opinions about diet on your blog without the government minding your business.
But not if you’re Steve Cooksey:
Can the government throw you in jail for offering advice on the Internet about what food people should buy at the grocery store?
That is exactly the claim made by the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition. In December 2011, diabetic blogger Steve Cooksey started a Dear Abby-style advice column on his popular blog (www.diabetes-warrior.net) to answer reader questions.
One month later, the State Board informed Steve that he could not give readers advice on diet, whether for free or for compensation, because doing so constituted the unlicensed, and thus criminal, practice of dietetics. The State Board also told Steve that his private emails and telephone calls with readers and friends were illegal, as was his paid life-coaching service. The State Board went through Steve’s writings with a red pen, indicating what he may and may not say without a government-issued license…
Read the rest of it.
If you live long enough, you start to realize that diet “science” seems to change every few years. I’ve reached the point where I eat what I want and the hell with the fretters.
This interview with author Gary Taubes is interesting because he documents how government policy, based on slim-to-none science pushed a low fat, high carb diet on the American public.
Encouraged by President Obama’s and Secretary Clinton’s prostrations before the howling mob, the U.N.’s No. 2 honcho explains free speech:
Free speech is a “gift given to us by the [Universal] Declaration of Human Rights,” said Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson during a press conference on October 2nd at UN headquarters in New York. It is “a privilege,” Eliasson said, “that we have, which in my view involves also the need for respect, the need to avoid provocations.”
Free speech is a gift given to us in 1948 by U.N. officials? Who knew?
The only appropriate response of free-born peoples to such a statement is: **** off, ******. Free speech is not in the gift of minor Swedish timeserving hack bureaucrats, either to grant or withdraw.
Where is the “respect”, by the way, in “Behead the enemies of Islam”? Under the not so subtle evolution of “free speech” advanced by the likes of Obama and Eliasson, you’ll be shackled by “respect” and “the need to avoid provocations” but kindergartners will still be able to parade around the local park demanding “Behead all those who insult the Prophet.”
In the end, the one-way multiculturalism of craven squishes like Eliasson will destroy our world. Nuts to him and to the U.N.
As if by divine intervention, the revoltingly sacrilegious “Piss Christ” portrait will be going on display this Thursday at a ritzy Manhattan gallery right around the corner from the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly. For those who don’t know, this particular instance of free speech consists of a photograph taken of a crucifix floating in the artist’s urine. It caused a stir in the late 1980s and 1990s because the artist (Andres Serrano) had been subsidized by NEA and other public grants. Of course, Democrats staunchly defended both the work and the funding, and Serrano is a star among Manhattan’s elite liberal socialites.
Coming so soon on the heels of Obama’s condemnations of the Mohammed spoof trailer, Representative Michael Grimm (R., N.Y.) is calling on President Obama to condemn the Piss Christ exhibit.
That’s wrong. First of all, the president shouldn’t be condemning any work of art. But if you really want him to condemn the Piss Christ, this is what you have to do: Find an enterprising young artist willing to create a “Piss Mohammed” version of Serrano’s work, and ask the museum to hang it right next to the Piss Christ. It could be part of a “Piss Religion” exhibit. If the gallery declines (as it surely would), then perhaps one could gather together a small group of Manhattan atheists to march “piss portraits” of Mohammed and his fellow deities / prophets right up 1st Avenue past the United Nations, in homage to the First Amendment.
Every last person who complains will have to explain why they said nothing during the 20-plus years that the revolting Piss Christ has been touring art galleries around the world. They will be forced either to treat Islam and Christianity the same (i.e., stop trashing the latter) or finally admit the cowardly truth, which is that their degree of respect for any given religion is proportional to its proponents’s propensity for violence.
From the website of the Muslim Brotherhood. The FJP is their political party.
The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) expresses strong condemnation of the film produced and promoted by US Coptic Christian individuals, which deals serious insults to the Prophet Mohammed.
The party considers the film a racist crime and a failed attempt to provoke sectarian strife between the two elements of the nation: Muslims and Christians.
The LA Times writes about Zakaria Botros Henein, whose ideas are expressed in the anti-Islamic movie:
…For decades, the priest has been among the most galvanizing and high-profile figures in the Muslim world. Jailed several times in his native Egypt for trying to convert Muslims to Christianity, he was exiled by Hosni Mubarak’s government in the early 1990s in exchange for an early release.
Jailing people for religious expression is a sure way to “provoke sectarian strife.”
This from the Muslim Brotherhood website in Cairo, dated September 13, 2012 AD:
One and a half billion Muslims are subjected to humiliation and abuse in the person of their leader, Mohammed, the Messenger of God, the Prophet of Islam, of mercy and good tidings for the whole world.
With the message of God, Islam, Prophet Mohammed pulled peoples out of the abyss of backwardness and barbarism to the heights of sophistication and honorable humanity.
The ready blood-letting practiced by some Muslims makes one wonder how far from the abyss of backwardness they’ve been pulled.
He lit the pathways of progress and human thought for all mankind, with pure faith in the one God, belief in all Messengers without distinction or discrimination, full respect and reverence for all Prophets.
The Messenger of God gave the world Islam, which guarantees all people freedoms of belief and worship as well as respect and protection for places of worship, freedom of opinion and expression, human equality and public justice, dignity and solidarity and cooperation among all human beings.
He gave us Islam, which recognized human rights even before anyone in the whole world knew what human rights were. Islam even recognized the sanctity of a human’s blood, honor and money, which must not be violated.
The right to be stoned to death for being accused of adultery?
The repeated abuse of the Messenger of God indicate the presence of hatred and bigotry in those who stand behind it, with ignorance, connivance and indulgence in those who permit such persistent abuse.Thus hurting the feelings of one and a half billion Muslims cannot be tolerated, and the people’s anger and fury for their Faith is invariably predictable, often unstoppable.
Words can sting, but they never maim or kill.
We denounce abuse of all Messengers of God, Prophets and Apostles, and condemn this heinous crime. We further call for criminalization of assaults on the sanctities of all heavenly religions.
Otherwise, such acts will continue to cause devout Muslims across the world to suspect and even loathe the West, especially the USA, for allowing their citizens to violate the sanctity of what they hold dear and holy. Hence, we demand that all those involved in such crimes be urgently brought to trial.Certainly, such attacks against sanctities do not fall under the freedom of opinion or thought. They are crimes and assaults against Muslim sanctities, and must not be tolerated by the countries where they are produced or launched, since they are also detrimental to the interests of those countries in dealings with the peoples of the Muslim world.The West has passed and imposed laws that punish those who deny or express dissident views on the Holocaust or question the number of Jews killed by Hitler, a topic which is purely historical, not a sacred doctrine.
The peoples and governments of the Muslim world have every right to condemn, with all peaceful and legal means, this new violation and heinous attack, and to take appropriate action to deter repeats of such acts of barbaric aggression.
While we reject and condemn the bloodshed and violent response to that abuse and the incredible tolerance certain countries show towards it, we cannot ignore the fact that these countries never made a move regarding the abuse until after the strong reaction seen across the Muslim world.We believe those countries should take appropriate actions and lay out clear and proper procedures to deal with such crimes, especially since preparations for this abuse took place plainly, right under the noses of authorities in those countries – over several months. Prevention is always better than cure.
Finally, we call upon all Muslims to uphold and apply Quranic principles and emulate the Messenger of Allah. That is the most effective way to honor him – by setting a good example, particularly because this abuse comes at a time when peoples are trying to communicate with mutual respect.Those who insult the sanctities wish to poison budding relations between the peoples, to disrupt the efforts to build bridges between civilizations, and to sow discord between the peoples.The Muslim BrotherhoodCairo – September 12, 2012
Send these clowns to reeducation camp, aka civics class.
An incendiary video about the prophet Mohammad, Innocence of Muslims, was blamed for the mob attacks on our embassies in Libya and Egypt (and, later, Yemen). In Libya, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were murdered. The video stirred some passion here in America as well.
Over at MSNBC, a riot of consensus broke out when contributors Mike Barnicle and Donny Deutsch as well as University of Pennsylvania professor Anthea Butler all agreed that the people behind the video should be indicted as accessories to murder. “Good morning,” declared Butler, “How soon is Sam Bacile [the alleged creator of the film] going to be in jail folks? I need him to go now.”
Barnicle set his sights on Terry Jones, the pastor who wanted to burn the Koran a while back and who was allegedly involved in the video as well. “Given this supposed minister’s role in last year’s riots in Afghanistan, where people died, and given his apparent or his alleged role in this film, where . . . at least one American, perhaps the American ambassador, is dead, it might be time for the Department of Justice to start viewing his role as an accessory before or after the fact.”
Deutsch helpfully added: “I was thinking the same thing, yeah.”
It’s interesting to see such committed liberals in lockstep agreement with the Islamist government in Egypt, which implored the U.S. government to take legal action against the filmmakers. Interestingly, not even the Muslim Brotherhood–controlled Egyptian government demanded these men be tried for murder.
Now, I have next to no sympathy for the makers of this film, who clearly hoped to start trouble, violent or otherwise. But where does this logic end? One of the things we’ve learned all too well is that the “Muslim street” — and often Muslim elites — have a near-limitless capacity to take offense at slights to their religion, honor, history, or feelings.
Does Barnicle want Salman Rushdie, the author of The Satanic Verses, charged with being an accessory to murder, too? That book (more…)
Victor Davis Hanson discovers it’s okay when you’re dissing the right.
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, has spoken out in criticism of various retired officers, many of them from special forces, for drawing on their military bona fides in voicing displeasure over the Obama administration’s serial leaks (the details of the Osama bin Laden raid, the drone protocols, the cyberwar against Iran, the Yemeni double agent, etc.). Dempsey makes a good point (e.g., “If someone uses the uniform, whatever uniform it is, for partisan politics, I’m disappointed by that, because I think it does erode that bond of trust that we have with the American people”). Or at least he would have made a good point, had the political horse not long ago left the military barn.
By that I mean, the military has already broken precedent by allowing serving personnel to march in uniform in overtly politically inspired parades, such as the recent gay-pride parade in San Diego (will we see soldiers in uniform at tea-party marches protesting uncontrolled federal spending or the takeover of health care?). And we should not forget the recent so-called revolt of the generals when retired officers such as Major General Paul Eaton, Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold, Major General John Riggs, Major General Charles Swannack, General Anthony Zinni, and Major General John Batiste variously blasted the Bush administration, the ongoing strategy in Iraq, the idea of a surge, and called for the firing of the sitting secretary of defense — while we were in the midst of both a war in Iraq and a polarized political debate over it at home. All were canonized by the media as sincere patriots who were speaking truth to power. Perhaps — but many of them outranked those who appear in the anti-Obama-administration-leak video, and their anger at the Bush administration in some ways was even more overtly political than the current video critique of the administration’s damaging leaks.
I think the matter of retired (or currently serving) senior officers weighing in on contemporary politics (if condemning leaks is, in fact, that) — including advocating the firing of their immediate civilian superiors — is a complex issue (cf. the earlier 1949 “revolt of the admirals” against Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, General MacArthur’s politicking following his 1951 dismissal, Eisenhower’s 1952 campaigning, Curtis LeMay’s VP nomination on the 1968 Wallace third-party ticket, and the brief 2004 presidential run of Wesley Clark)…
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel insists that he won’t back down from his suggestion that Chick-fil-A doesn’t meet his standard of “Chicago values,” although his staff has tried to backpedal a little since. In a press conference yesterday, Emanuel sounded defiant as he defended “Chicago values”:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday he has no regrets about saying that “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values” because the company president opposes gay marriage.
“No. I don’t” regret it, the mayor said under questioning at an unrelated jobs announcement.
“And the simple reason is, when it comes to values, there’s a policy as it relates to gay marriage. The values of our city are ones that welcome and recognize that, and I will continue to fight for that.”
“Values that welcome”? To have any meaning at all, “welcome” means open to those who disagree with you. Tolerance means engaging with those whose religion or political beliefs differ. Engaging with only those who march in lockstep with your own agenda is actually the antithesis of “tolerance” and “welcoming.”
We’ll get back to that in a moment. First, a native Chicagoan who also happens to lead the Archdiocese of Chicago wrote an open letter to Emanuel asking for clarification on the meaning — and enforcement — of “Chicago values.” Francis Cardinal George called this “a defining moment” for civil unions, and not the kind related to marriage:
Recent comments by those who administer our city seem to assume that the city government can decide for everyone what are the “values” that must be held by citizens of Chicago. I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval. Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city? Is the City Council going to set up a “Council Committee on Un-Chicagoan Activities” and call those of us who are suspect to appear before it? I would have argued a few days ago that I believe such a move is, if I can borrow a phrase, “un-Chicagoan.” …
People who are not Christian or religious at all take for granted that marriage is the union of a man and a woman for the sake of family and, of its nature, for life. The laws of civilizations much older than ours assume this understanding of marriage. This is also what religious leaders of almost all faiths have taught throughout the ages. Jesus affirmed this understanding of marriage when he spoke of “two becoming one flesh” (Mt. 19: 4-6). Was Jesus a bigot? Could Jesus be accepted as a Chicagoan? Would Jesus be more “enlightened” if he had the privilege of living in our society? One is welcome to believe that, of course; but it should not become the official state religion, at least not in a land that still fancies itself free. Surely there must be a way to properly respect people who are gay or lesbian without using civil law to undermine the nature of marriage.
Surely we can find a way not to play off newly invented individual rights to “marriage” against constitutionally protected freedom of religious belief and religious practice. The State’s attempting to redefine marriage has become a defining moment not for marriage, which is what it is, but for our increasingly fragile “civil union” as citizens.
In my column for The Week today, I argue that Emanuel’s intolerance — selective intolerance, actually — bears a lot more resemblance to the intolerance of noted 20th-century authoritarian systems than to traditional American ideas of freedom:
The past two weeks have brought to light a truly disturbing political demonstration — and it has nothing to do with presidential elections or generic congressional ballots. At least three mayors in some of America’s largest cities, as well as plenty of other city officials, have publicly demanded political orthodoxy as a condition of doing business in their metropolises. Political correctness has transformed into a strange American version of fascism — over a chicken filet sandwich and an opinion about marriage that even our Democratic president officially held as recently as two months ago. …
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared that Chick-fil-A did not represent “Chicago values,” and suggested that Chick-fil-A invest its money elsewhere. Chicago, by the way, has the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation among major cities, so it seems odd that its mayor would tell Chick-fil-A to take a hike for having the exact same position on marriage that Emanuel’s former boss — President Barack Obama — held the entire time Emanuel worked at the White House. Even more odd, at the same time Emanuel declared Chick-fil-A fast-fooda non grata, he rolled out the red carpet for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to have his acolytes patrol Chicago neighborhoods. Not only is Farrakhan a well-known anti-Semite, he also opposes same-sex marriage. In fact, Farrakhan publicly blasted Obama for flip-flopping on the issue in May.
Emanuel later backed down, but not one of the local alderman, who still demanded a pledge from Cathy to quit associating with groups that oppose gay marriage as a prerequisite for a business permit. A councilman in New York made a similar threat. San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee kept his attack on freedom of thought to Twitter, noting that the closest Chick-fil-A outlet was 40 miles away — and that the company shouldn’t try to get any closer.
People can certainly choose not to eat at Chick-fil-A if they don’t like Cathy’s views on same-sex marriage. That’s a free-market response to political activism, and comes from the liberty of individuals being able to choose for themselves the free associations that best fits their needs. When government demands loyalty to a political agenda rather than compliance with the law as a prerequisite for businesses to operate in their jurisdiction, that’s not freedom or a free market: it’s fascism, plain and simple, as well as extortion, which always goes hand in hand with fascism.
Update: Aaron Walker concurs, and adds this:[The] syllogism is simple, but it bears repeating:1. The right to vote implies the right to choose freely on every subject relevant to that vote.2. The right to choose implies the right to receive information and hear arguments about that choice.3. We cannot receive information and arguments about the choices we make in our democracy unless people are free to express themselves.4. Therefore freedom of expression is essentially to democracy.And so when an official seeks not only to regulate behavior but even opinion and expression, then that person is seeking to create a very real tyranny, to strike at democracy itself. And we should have absolutely no tolerance of that.So yes, even if you support gay marriage—hell even if you are gay—get a sandwich at Chick-Fil-A. Because this isn’t about gay marriage anymore. This is about freedom of speech.
A 6-year-old boy was suspended from his school for three days after school officials say he told a girl “I’m sexy and I know it,” a line from a popular song.
D’Avonte Meadows, a first-grader at Sable Elementary School in Aurora, is accused of sexual harassment and disrupting other students, according to a letter the school district sent to the boy’s mother after he was sent home Wednesday.
School officials issued a statement saying they couldn’t discuss the case, but they pointed out a school board policy that defines sexual harassment as any unwelcome sexual advance. There is no age limit.
Sexual harassment used to mean the boss made a demand on female employees: put out or else.
Then it was expanded to include things that would create a hostile work place, such as men telling raunchy jokes or putting raunchy posters on the wall.
But a six year old makes a “sexual advance” by quoting a lyric?
Suppose it was a 30-year old in an office, quoting the same line to a female staffer. Would she be helpless and collapse into a puddle of tears? Faint?
No, she’d more likely come back with a wisecrack such as, “Glad you know it because no one else does.” And he’d slink away. (Unless he was Bill Clinton — he’d go find someone to fondle.)
The Democrats invented a fake “war on women.” Infantilizing them into shrinking violets inflicts true damage.
As for D’Avonte, perhaps he’s learned a valuable lesson: there are jerks in charge where you’d least expect it.
Now he knows.
I lived in Miami for 10 years. One thing I learned: never say anything nice about Fidel Castro, which is understandable and justified.
If you were running for dog catcher, a last minute campaign smear might consist of someone leaking a photo of your cousin having lunch with someone who was rumored to have liked Castro. Seriously. It was comic.
So when I heard that the Florida (Miami) Marlins manager praised the dictator, I knew what was next.
“I love Fidel Castro,” Guillen told Time magazine. After a beat, he went on to explain: “A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that [expletive] is still here.”
It’s understandable why a Major League manager would admire the longevity of a figure like Castro, given the rapidity with which teams pull the plug on managers. But expressing love for the Cuban dictator when you’re running a team in South Florida is akin to … well … we’re having a tough time coming up with a local equivalent. It would be like the manager of the Dodgers asserting that organic produce is bad for you, or that hybrid cars are ugly, or that film subsidies are a bad deal for taxpayers. Actually, none of that rises to the same level; to Florida’s Cuban-immigrant community, praising Castro is little different from praising Adolf Hitler — even if you’re only expressing admiration for his survival skills, not his politics.
Guillen has apologized for his comment, “with my heart in my hand and on bended knees.” That didn’t stop the team from suspending him for five games, even as protesters and a county commissioner call for his resignation. This strikes many non-Floridians, including us, as a gross overreaction, maybe even an assault on American values: Why should he be punished for expressing a minority-held political view?
Over the weekend, readers of The Corner learned that John Derbyshire was disaffiliated from National Review over a column he wrote for TakiMag. You can read it here.
This led to a debate on The Corner among various posters, including Mark Steyn.
Roger Kimball, at PJ Media, weighs in:
I am not going to comment directly on l’affaire Derb, the case of my friend John Derbyshire, who was ostracized from the pages of National Review for writing a column elsewhere that expressed unacceptable opinions about race. I would, however, like to register my admiration for what Mark Steyn had to say about the incident, in particular what he has to say about the condition of free speech in the public square. “The Left,” Mark notes:
is pretty clear about its objectives on everything from climate change to immigration to gay marriage: Rather than win the debate, they’d just as soon shut it down. They’ve had great success in shrinking the bounds of public discourse, and rendering whole areas of public policy all but undiscussable. In such a climate, my default position is that I’d rather put up with whatever racist/sexist/homophobic/Islamophobic/whateverphobic excess everybody’s got the vapors about this week than accept ever tighter constraints on “acceptable” opinion.
Indeed. As I wrote to another friend, it used to be that if someone expressed an opinion you didn’t like, the proper response was to endeavor to refute it. What happened to that ambition? Mark, I fear, is correct: “The net result of Derb’s summary execution by NR will be further to shrivel the parameters, and confine debate in this area to ever more unreal fatuities.”
I find the aroma of unreality that hovers, miasma-like, around this whole non-debate dismaying but also puzzling. Our attorney general said he wanted to have a frank national conversation about race. What that seems to have meant is national sermonizing about race. Is it the case that certain questions about race are simply unmentionable? You might point to what happened to John Derbyshire and say: “You dope, of course they are. Look what happened to him!”
That’s not the whole answer, though. “There is nothing more painful to me … than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” That was Jesse Jackson. What John wrote was an elaboration of that observation. I do not happen to agree with many of his conclusions in that column, but what I find curious is the nature of his tort. In Christian theology, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is said to be the one unforgivable sin. Exactly what such blasphemy might consist of kept theologians employed for centuries. That guild has been on its way out for some time, of course, but the impulse to discover unforgivable sins (the vaguer the better) remains alive and well.
“Racism” is one of the new cardinal sins, and it’s sometimes forgotten just how new it is. Nowadays you can’t set foot on a college campus, or write for an opinion magazine, without running into accusations of racism. But the word “racism” is so recent a neologism that it wasn’t in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1971. To be sure, what we would describe as racist attitudes have a long history, but the crystallization of this “ism,” and its elevation to being the sin of sins, is of recent vintage. What does that tell us? Maybe, as some commentators seem to believe, maybe it tells us that we are made of finer moral stuff than our forbears. Maybe it tells us something else. I don’t have the answer to that.
But the spectacle of John Derbyshire’s ostracism reminded me of an article by John Fletcher Moulton, an English attorney and politician, who back in the 1920s wrote an article called “Law and Manners.” All social life, Moulton observed, takes place on a spectrum between pure whim at one end and positive law at the other. In between is the realm of manners, morals, prejudice, “the whole realm which recognizes the sway of duty, fairness, sympathy, taste, and all the other things that make life beautiful and society possible.”
Liberal fascism rears its ugly head. Dan Riehl at Breitbart
…a trio of feminists, led by Jane Fonda, is calling for Rush Limbaugh to be banned by the FCC.
Editor’s note: Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem are the Co-Founders of the Women’s Media Center.
Ironically, the misogyny Rush Limbaugh spewed for three days over Sandra Fluke was not much worse than his regular broadcast of sexist, racist and homophobic hate speech:
One of Rush’s comments featured in their editorial and explicitly identified as having been taken from “his regular broadcast of sexist, racist and homophobic hate speech” is this one:
–[Said to an African American female caller]: “Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.”
That’s false and misleading. If you click through to Snopes and scroll down, or see the screen cap, you’ll find the comment was not made on his popular radio program. Limbaugh himself actually confessed to making the statement in a 1990 Newsday article. The comment was made in the early 1970’s under a pseudonym, “Jeff Christie.”
Recalling a stint as an “insult-radio” DJ in Pittsburgh, he admits feeling guilty about, for example, telling a black listener he could not understand to “take that bone out of your nose and call me back.”
In contrast to Limbaugh, here is what Jane Fonda was broadcasting into North Vietnam during her visit in 1972, while American troops were fighting and dying in Vietnam. At the source page, you will find images of Fonda joking and laughing with North Vietnamese troops. Given these comparisons, if either of the two is to be banned, it should be Fonda, not Limbaugh. That Fonda and her comrades totally mischaracterized the quote for CNN’s readers only compounds the offense. Given the editor’s note at top, that a CNN editor presumably reviewed the posting suggests they were complicit in falsely smearing Limbaugh, as well.
Another student had requested the transcript of Jane Fonda’s radio address which she had broadcast in North Vietnam. This transcription, dated August 22, 1972 was made from her Hotel Especen broadcast in Hanoi at 7:11 p.m.
The following was submitted in the U.S. Congress House Committee on Internal Security, Travel to Hostile Areas. [HR16742, 19-25 September 1972, page 761]
This is Jane Fonda. During my two week visit in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, I’ve had the opportunity to visit a great many places and speak to a large number of people from all walks of life- workers, peasants, students, artists and dancers, historians, journalists, film actresses, soldiers, militia girls, members of the women’s union, writers.
I visited the (Dam Xuac) agricultural coop, where the silk worms are also raised and thread is made. I visited a textile factory, a kindergarten in Hanoi. The beautiful Temple of Literature was where I saw traditional dances and heard songs of resistance. I also saw unforgettable ballet about the guerrillas training bees in the south to attack enemy soldiers. The bees were danced by women, and they did their job well.
In the shadow of the Temple of Literature I saw Vietnamese actors and actresses perform the second act of Arthur Miller’s play All My Sons, and this was very moving to me- the fact that artists here are translating and performing American plays while US imperialists are bombing their country.
I cherish the memory of the blushing militia girls on the roof of their factory, encouraging one of their sisters as she sang a song praising the blue sky of Vietnam- these women, who are so gentle and poetic, whose voices are so beautiful, but who, when American planes are bombing their city, become such good fighters.
Defenders of Bill Maher (including himself) claim that his vile insults differ from Rush Limbaugh’s because he’s a comedian. Somehow, being a comedian is different than a radio host making a satirical point (clumsily, alas).
Says who and why?
Do comedians such as Maher serve the public good in some special way, like court jesters criticizing the king via humor?
Hardly. (True even without Maher’s $1 million contribution to the prez.)
Maher takes jibes at Sarah Palin before an audience prepared to assume she’s an idiot and to accept that crudity equals audacity. No, Maher preaches to his motley choir, no guts required.
And lest anyone forget, Maher’s jibes at Palin served the political interests of the Democrat party, which feared her political gifts.
Comedian Collin Quinn in 2003 observed that comedians doing raunchy sex jokes and profanity fancied themselves cutting edge. But the real cutting edge, the one topic only gutsy comedians would go near was race.
Black comedians routinely make racists jokes, but are immune to criticism because they are part of a victim class. One could interpret this as patronizing.
Returning to Maher’s comedian’s claim of immunity, would he dare tell this racist joke?
One time, there was a black family of four. They heard about this river, and if you swim to the other side of it, you turn white. So the Dad swims across and turns white, then the Mom, then the sister. When the youngest child, the brother starts to swim across, he is taken away by the current. The sister says, “Daddy,Tyrone is getting swept away by the current!” And the Dad said, “Screw that nigger.”
No, he wouldn’t dare. (And he probably wouldn’t tell it anyway because he’d find it distasteful.)
But if he couldn’t tell that joke, why can he spew uglier comments about Sarah Palin? Why doesn’t the comedians’ immunity apply here as well?
By the way, the butt of the racist joke is white people, not blacks.
Last Wednesday in the White House briefing room, the administration’s press secretary, Jay Carney, opened on a somber note, citing the deaths of Marie Colvin and Anthony Shadid, two reporters who had died “in order to bring truth” while reporting in Syria.
Jake Tapper, the White House correspondent for ABC News, pointed out that the administration had lauded brave reporting in distant lands more than once and then asked, “How does that square with the fact that this administration has been so aggressively trying to stop aggressive journalism in the United States by using the Espionage Act to take whistle-blowers to court?”
He then suggested that the administration seemed to believe that “the truth should come out abroad; it shouldn’t come out here.”
Fair point. The Obama administration, which promised during its transition to power that it would enhance “whistle-blower laws to protect federal workers,” has been more prone than any administration in history in trying to silence and prosecute federal workers.
The Espionage Act, enacted back in 1917 to punish those who gave aid to our enemies, was used three times in all the prior administrations to bring cases against government officials accused of providing classified information to the media…
In one of the more remarkable examples of the administration’s aggressive approach, Thomas A. Drake, a former employee of the National Security Agency, was prosecuted under the Espionage Act last year and faced a possible 35 years in prison.
His crime? When his agency was about to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a software program bought from the private sector intended to monitor digital data, he spoke with a reporter at The Baltimore Sun. He suggested an internally developed program that cost significantly less would be more effective and not violate privacy in the way the product from the vendor would. (He turned out to be right, by the way.)
He was charged with 10 felony counts that accused him of lying to investigators and obstructing justice. Last summer, the case against him collapsed, and he pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor, of misuse of a government computer.
Dare question — even with solid, peer reviewed research — the dogma of the global warm mongers and face their wrath.
Steven Hayward at Powerline explains:
About six weeks ago Dr. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama Huntsville (a center for lots of NASA activity and climate research) published an important new paper with William Braswell in the Journal of Remote Sensing entitled “On the Misdiagnosis of Climate Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance.” Translated from the scientific lingo, the paper essentially argues that discrepancies between what the climate models say should be happening and what we actually observe happening (namely, the pause in warming over the last decade) means we still don’t have a complete picture of cloud behavior. (This issue is closely related, though not identical, to the post I had up last weekend on Nature’s blockbuster cosmic ray paper.) As Spencer explains on his blog: “Even the IPCC admits the biggest uncertainty in how much human-caused climate change we will see is the degree to which cloud feedback [temperature change => cloud change] will magnify (or reduce) the weak direct warming tendency from more CO2 in the atmosphere.”
Well, you can imagine what happened next. Not content with attacking Spencer and Braswell for their heresy, the Climate Inquisition has forced the resignation of the editor of the Journal of Remote Sensing. Better still, they seem to have given him the full Rubashov treatment and forced a confession:
Unfortunately, as many climate researchers and engaged observers of the climate change debate pointed out in various internet discussion fora, the paper by Spencer and Braswell… is most likely problematic in both aspects and should therefore not have been published.
“Should not have been published.” Even though it passed peer review, and finds lots of company among scientists and other journal articles. And besides, if it’s been attacked on the internet by the climate mafia, then it must be wrong!
You can understand why the Climate McCarthyites want to suppress Dr. Spencer. He’s only been a senior scientist for climate studies at NASA for more than a decade, co-designer of NASA’s satellites that monitor global temperatures, winner of NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, and author of several books on the subject, including Climate Confusion, and The Great Global Warming Blunder.
The FCC gave the coup de grace to the fairness doctrine Monday as the commission axed more than 80 media industry rules.
Earlier this summer FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski agreed to erase the post WWII-era rule, but the action Monday puts the last nail into the coffin for the regulation that sought to ensure discussion over the airwaves of controversial issues did not exclude any particular point of view. A broadcaster that violated the rule risked losing its license.
And what a joke it ever was.
Until Rush Limbaugh started the conservative talk radio revolution, the only place you heard conservative ideas being broadcast was William F. Buckley on public television.
Once in a while the liberal fascist tips his hand.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: “And I have to tell you, I say this to you politely. The media in America has a bigger responsibility than it’s exercising today. The media has got to begin to not give equal time or equal balance to an absolutely absurd notion just because somebody asserts it or simply because somebody says something which everybody knows is not factual.”
“It doesn’t deserve the same credit as a legitimate idea about what you do. And the problem is everything is put into this tit-for-tat equal battle and America is losing any sense of what’s real, of who’s accountable, of who is not accountable, of who’s real, who isn’t, who’s serious, who isn’t?”
Legitimate ideas are determined by the public, not the media.
Legitimate ideas are determined by elections, especially shellacking elections.
It takes real brass for a party that has not passed a budget nor taken any real steps toward tackling the deficit, to lecture anyone about reality and accountability.
Police states do have their comical side. China’s paranoid rulers issue edicts on what stories not to cover, which makes them more interesting.
The press guidance provided by China’s censors is so voluminous and detailed that leaked copies of the guidance are now available on a regular basis. China Digital Times publishes a weekly list of what China’s censors tell their journalists not to report or hype. It’s a remarkable glimpse into the dark soul of Chinese bureaucracy, a guide to what really scares China’s rulers. But there’s irony there as well. I mean, why read Chinese papers when we can get all the juiciest bits from the censors themselves?
And juicy they are. The censors’ guidance is a kind of Drudge Report for China. Take the story about the music student who was out driving his Cruze one night and hit a mother bicycling home from her job? Fearing that she’d gotten his license plate and would make him pay for her broken leg, he stabbed her to death in the street. Now he too is facing the death penalty. It’s an irresistible tale of wealth, entitlement and tragedy in modern China.
How did I find the story? Thanks to China’s State Council Information Office, which instructed Chinese websites to cover it only by reprinting copy from the Xinhua News Agency. “Do not conduct follow-up reports,” the censors warned, “and do not repost stories related to this case.”
As if determined to prove three things about ultraliberals — that they’re humorless, grouchy and self-righteous– a University of Iowa prof got nasty over an email invitation to the campus GOP’s “Coming out Week.”
Ellen Lewin, a professor of Anthropology and Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies in the Department of Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies, sent a vulgar response [“#*@% [F-Word] YOU, REPUBLICANS] to a College Republican email about the group’s, “Conservative Coming Out Week.”
Campus politics today are such that openly declaring oneself conservative is akin to admitting homosexuality in the 1950s.
Lewin, who pulls down $94,800, defended her nasty, hurtful, insensitive and uncivil language, noting that:
“This is a time when political passions are inflamed, and when I received your unsolicited email, I had just finished reading some newspaper accounts of fresh outrages committed by Republicans in government. I admit the language was inappropriate, and apologize for any affront to anyone’s delicate sensibilities. I would really appreciate your not sending blanket emails to everyone on campus, especially in these difficult times.”
Political passions are often inflamed, particularly by thin-skinned academics who spew angry invective over a mild joke.
But she wasn’t done.
I should note that several things in the original message were extremely offensive, nearly rising to the level of obscenity. Despite the Republicans’ general disdain for LGBT rights you called your upcoming event “conservative coming out day,” appropriating the language of the LGBT right movement. Your reference to the Wisconsin protests suggested that they were frivolous attempts to avoid work. And the “Animal Rights BBQ” is extremely insensitive to those who consider animal rights an important cause.
So F-you is okay, but satire is offensive. Where is Orwell when we need him?
IowaHawk reams Lindsey Graham with blistering satire:
…Yes, the lessons I learned from Miss Buelah have served me in good stead throughout the years. As Fall rush chairman at my fraternity, I tutored all freshman pledges in the ways of genteel chivalry that made Phi Alpha Gamma renowned as the “Dandy Lads of Greek Row.” Later, as a gallant young lieutenant in the Army’s crack Mauve Beret JAG corps special lawsuit unit, I commanded Company B – the famed “Decorum’s Dozen.” And today, I am proud and humbled that my esteemed colleagues on the Democratic side of the aisle have elected me as the U.S. Senate’s Mr. Congeniality for 12 years running. My experience has only served to underscore Miss Buelah’s perspicacity, for I have seen that convivial manners always provide a welcome lubricant to social intercourse; whether it takes place in a fraternity bunkroom, the JAG officers barracks, or the late-night well of the Senate.
Unfortunately not everyone our society is equally steeped in the fine art of discretion; take for example the recent case of the Florida clergymen who thoughtlessly lit afire the Mohemmedan holy scriptures. His inept faux pas unsurprisingly resulted in hurt feelings, an uncomfortable international incident, and several dozen decapitations. And who can blame the plaintiffs for their reactive fit of pique? In the grand antebellum days of Charleston gentlemanly duels were held over lesser insults, and thus it should come as no surprise that the Afghans would similarly be moved to unsheathe their scimitars and defend the honor of their own plantations.
As Miss Buelah often reminded me, a civil tongue is the quickest way to fellowship; and that war is no excuse for forgetting one’s manners. Unfortunately, in their understandable haste to finish the Constitution, America’s founding fathers neglected to codify this common etiquette into our common law. As many were themselves gallant sons of Old Virginny, one must in retrospect excuse them for being unable to foresee their dear First Amendment cited as a flimsy pretext for insults and blasphemies and opinions of the most ghastly kind. But in their wisdom they also provided for the constitutional amendment process, so that their heirs – such as myself – would have the means to prevent further sullying of our national and international discourse. In the coming weeks I shall be introducing a series of new bipartisan amendments to insure that our national conversation remains cordial, and that the ruffians of the commons use their spittoons. Fortunately, I keep my amendments numbered for just such an occasion.
Until such time as my legislation is enacted, the least we can do as gentlemen is to endeavor a mending of the frayed relationship now existing between ourselves and the Taliban. In this regard, I would like to apply another lesson I learned at Miss Buelah Fontaine’s academy: the gracious apology note.
The Right Reverend Ayman Al-Zawahiri
Cave 37-B, Kandahar Arms
My Dearest Reverend:
On behalf of my colleagues, please allow me to express our deepest shame at the blasphemous action of one our citizens in the incident that so rightly vexed you and other devout followers of the Prophet. Please rest assured that as a civilized nation we in no way condone or tolerate this type of behavior. Although we cannot undo the unimaginable hurt his thoughtlessness caused, we will leave no stone unturned until he has made amends. Your recommendations for a just punishment will of course be given every consideration.
In closing, I hope by putting this incident behind us, we can return to an existential conflict befitting our two great and gentlemanly peoples. I remain, as always,
Your Faithful Servant, etc.,
The Hon. Lindsey Graham of the Charleston Grahams
…The BBC’s Middle East editor is not the only expert whose expertise now looks spurious. The Arab uprising is annihilating the assumptions of foreign ministries, academia and human rights groups with true revolutionary élan. In journalistic language, it is showing they had committed the greatest blunder a reporter can commit: they missed the story. They thought that the problems of the Middle East were at root the fault of democratic Israel or more broadly the democratic West. They did not see and did not want to see that while Israelis are certainly the Palestinians’ problem — and vice versa — the problem of the subject millions of the Arab world was the tyranny, cruelty, corruption and inequality the Arab dictators enforced.
Put this starkly, it sounds as if the charges of double standards and anti-Semitism habitually directed at liberal Westerners are justified. But liberal prejudice — “anti-liberal prejudice” is a more accurate description — is a process as well as an ideology. Dictatorial states and movements shepherded liberal opinion into a one-way street by exploiting the logistics of news-gathering.
No news organisation in the West could base their main Middle Eastern bureau anywhere other than Israel, for the simple reason that it was the only free country with a free press, an independent judiciary and a constitution.
Researchers and diplomats, as well as reporters, could phone or visit Palestinians in the occupied territories, as indeed could anyone else. Crucially, in an age dominated by images, television crews could get pictures. I am not saying that the authorities do not harass foreign or Israeli correspondents trying to report the undoubted violations of Palestinian rights, simply that they can report from Jerusalem but cannot from Damascus or Riyadh.
First, some yahoo Bible thumper in Tennessee burns a Koran. Then a gang of Afghan primitives murder innocent people in protest.
Now we have two senators forgetting the 1st Amendment.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says congressional lawmakers are discussing taking some action in response to the Koran burnings of a Tennessee pastor that led to killings at the U.N. facility in Afghanistan and sparked protests across the Middle East, Politico reports.
“Ten to 20 people have been killed,” Reid said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We’ll take a look at this of course. As to whether we need hearings or not, I don’t know.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham said Congress might need to explore the need to limit some forms of freedom of speech, in light of Tennessee pastor Terry Jones’ Quran burning, and how such actions result in enabling U.S. enemies.
“I wish we could find a way to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war,” Graham told CBS’ Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” Sunday.
“During World War II, we had limits on what you could do if it inspired the enemy,” Graham said, adding certain speech can “put our troops at risk.”
RESOLVED: “That labor should be given a direct share in the management of industry.
RESOLVED: “That a federal world government should be established.”
RESOLVED: “That the federal government should adopt a policy of equalizing educational opportunity in tax-supported schools by means of annual grants.”
RESOLVED: “That the United States should nationalize the basic nonagricultural industries.” (more…)