The Ku Klux Klan is trying to recruit new members … with Jolly Ranchers:
The flier was tucked into a plastic bag along with a membership application, the address for the KKK national office in North Carolina, a list of beliefs and three Jolly Rancher candies….
Robert Jones, the “Imperial Klaliff” of the Loyal White Knights sect, told WHNS that the effort was part of the Klan’s “national night ride” — a recruitment event that happens three times a year.
Jones said recruitment efforts were not aimed at specific people and that residents “shouldn’t be fearful unless they’re doing something that the Klan considers morally wrong,” according to WHNS.
This particular recruitment drive seems to be focused on immigration from Mexico rather than any of the myriad things the Klan considers morally wrong. One person got the flier and called the Klan hotline, but he definitely wasn’t someone the Klan was looking to recruit during its “national night ride”:
Damian Neveaux, who is African-American, found a flier and called the number because he, too, was concerned about border security, KPRC reported.
He reached a Klan representative who told him he would not be allowed to join.
“‘The only way you can become a member is if you’re 100 percent Caucasian,” Neveaux recalled the Klan member telling him, according to KPRC. “This flier wasn’t meant for you.’”
There are no dusty bookshelves or piles of textbooks in the library of Florida’s newest university. Welcoming its first students this week, Florida Polytechnic University’s new library houses not a single physical book.
Instead, its inaugural class of 500 will have access to around 135,000 ebooks. “Our on-campus library is entirely digital,” said director of libraries Kathryn Miller. “We have access to print books through the state university system’s interlibrary loan program. However, we strongly encourage our students to read and work with information digitally.”
The 11,000 square-foot library is situated within a huge, white-domed building, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Eschewing physical books, it is a bright, open space featuring computer terminals, desks, and comfortable spots to read.
So, this new university built an 11,000 sq. ft. library that houses 0 physical books. I haven’t found an estimate of the expense of this brilliant project, but I suspect it wasn’t cheap. Presumably, a smaller building could have been built to house this non-library … at substantial savings to the students. But, after all, there’s nothing quite so impressive as walking prospective students through a big empty building and explaining to them that there are plenty of places to sit quietly with their eReaders.
I’m not a technophobe; I rent novels from the library all the time and I actually enjoy reading them on my iPad. But I want my students to read physical books, to carry them around, to take notes in the margins and underline passages. And when I’m doing research, I want the books in my hands and spread out on the desk in front of me, covered in little sticky notes. I want to flip quickly between the notes I took on page 30 that point me to the notes I took on page 130. I can’t imagine what it would be like to work with Plato on a Kindle.
Maybe this just makes me an old grouch. I’m sure you’ll let me know.
When your debilitatingly uncharismatic male lead explodes like a bag of meat filled with overripe fruit to end your show’s seven season run, will this herald the end of our long national love affair with the sexy undead?
If the answer is “no,” can the next HBO show be entirely about those white trash sex panthers who turned up in 2011 and then were never seen again?
No matter how you feel about firearms and gun laws, we live in the country we live in. My neighbors have guns. Your neighbors have guns. Your guns may be locked up; the babysitter’s boyfriend may keep his on the seat of his car. At some point, some child is going to take my child or yours by the hand, open Mom’s closet or the trunk of Dad’s car, and say, “Look!” At that point, I don’t want my children to say, “Wow, let me see that.” I want them to shrug and say, “Whatever” and “Let’s go do something else.” (I actually want them to say: “Suzi, get away from there! That’s dangerous! We have to go tell your mom and mine right now!” But I’m realistic.)
So, parents of America, teach your kids how to shoot guns for fun and sport or else someone else will. Or they won’t understand how deadly serious guns are. Or something. I have almost no idea what Dell’Antonia is trying to argue in this piece.
The alternate headline could easily have been “Don’t Parent Like This.” Here’s why:
But I didn’t present it as “here, touch this hot stove so you’ll never do it again.” We had a good time on a beautiful day doing something that if, done wrong, could have killed any one of us, and does kill people every day.
In other words, the lesson that Dell’Antonia wanted to highlight for kids is that guns are both incredibly dangerous and incredibly fun. So if the kids happen upon a gun when they’re playing at a friend’s house or when they’re at the movies or when they’re in the bathroom at their school, they’ll be sure to say, “This is a very dangerous tool; I shall summon the proper authorities right away” rather than “This is a fun thing my parents let me play with.”
Or they won’t. In which case they might shoot themselves or someone else. But, hey, it’s impossible to prevent these sorts of tragedies because this is America where everyone should be able to have access to any gun at any time so we should teach our kids that guns are fun and should never be touched unless your mom says it’s ok and you’re at a shooting range and you’re old enough to make good decisions and it’s not an Uzi.
Plato’s Republic is most famously understood, and most commonly discussed, as a dialogue about the problem of justice. But it also looks closely at education, religion, the military, and, of course, governance.
It’s also a play within a play … and both of those plays make prominent use of the theme of ascent and descent to make a point about justice and the most choice-worthy life. Indeed, the very first word of the Republic is Κατέβην (katebēn), which is best translated as “I went down” or “Down I went.”
Thus, Plato begins his dialogue by sending Socrates down from Athens to Piraeus for a religious festival. And — spoiler alert! — the Republic concludes with a mythic tale about the ascent of another character, Ur, from Hades back to the world of the living. In this way, Plato bookends his dialogue on justice with images of descent and ascent. And, in the middle, while Socrates is talking about justice and the ideal city, further use is made of this theme of going up and coming down.
On Thursday — the first substantive day of “Justice and the Good Life” — we’ll discuss what I take to be the most famous of the various ascents and descents described in the Republic, as students will have just read The Allegory of the Cave from the beginning of Book VII.
After carefully explaining the allegory so that his young interlocutors understand who’s in the cave, who’s able to leave the cave, what’s happening in the cave, what’s happening outside the cave, and what the stakes are for returning to the cave, Socrates tells Glaucon:
“Then our job as founders … is to compel the best natures to go to the study which we were saying before is the greatest, to see the good and to go up that ascent; and, when they have gone up and seen sufficiently, not to permit them what is now permitted.”
“To remain there … and not be willing to go down again among those prisoners or share their labors and honors, whether they be slighter or more serious” (519c).
The Allegory of the Cave raises a whole host of interesting questions, but one to consider is why the founders of Socrates’ ideal city in speech must compel those with the best natures to descend into the cave from which they’ve so recently been freed so that they might attempt to free their fellow prisoners who still languish there.
After having been so recently imprisoned, and now having been made aware of the dire situation in which the others remain by a glimpse of the truth about the place of the cave in relation to the world at large, why don’t the former captives want to return to assist the others?
If they truly have the best natures, wouldn’t they descend of their own accord (even if the task is difficult and dangerous)? Is there anything choice-worthy or heroic about the life of someone who must be compelled to assist those who are in captivity?
I hope you’ll consider following along with the students this semester and I really hope, if you’re reading what they write on their blogs, that you’ll consider engaging them on the topics they address. It’ll make the class even more fun.
“We declare the victory of the Palestinian resistance, the victory of Gaza. We achieved some of our instantaneous demands out of this battle. We become closer to Jerusalem and our Palestinian lands.”—
That’s Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, celebrating the open-ended ceasefire agreement that has seemingly brought an end to 50 days of fighting in which more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed.
Hamas, the militant Islamist faction that dominates Gaza, declared victory even though it had abandoned most of its demands, ultimately accepting an Egyptian-brokered deal that differs little from one proffered on the battle’s seventh day. In effect, the deal put both sides back where they were at the end of eight days of fighting in 2012, with terms that called for easing but not lifting Israeli restrictions on travel, trade and fishing in Gaza.
By pretty much every measure, this is not a victory.
Saying it’s a victory, shooting guns in the air to celebrate your victory, and praising God for your victory doesn’t actually make it a victory.
One thing is for sure: We’re finding new ways to hit new lows every day with our current gun mania:
Providing a new example of the Peach State’s notoriously permissive gun measures, Ian Millhiser at Think Progress explains how Krauss, an ex-cop who was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in 1999, regained his gun rights — despite the fact that he initially attempted to rape the woman with his gun….
In addition to his conviction for sexual assault, Krauss was also charged with several other instances of harassment or disturbing physical violence, including beating a prisoner “so severely the man’s brain bled” and threatening to file false charges against another man in order to have sex with his wife, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But neither those allegations nor his sexual assault conviction have permanently prevented Krauss from owning firearms; he regained that right in 2013.
But, as the Journal-Constitution notes in its recent exposé on Georgia’s lax gun rights restoration, Krauss is just one of nearly 400 convicted violent offenders to regain access to firearms over a six-year period. Of the 358 violent felons who had their gun rights reinstated, 44 had committed sex crimes and 32 had killed another person. Whether those crimes were committed with firearms is not noted, but it also is not relevant. What is relevant, though, is the felons’ histories of sexual and physical violence, which should — at the absolute very, very least — be cause for concern about future gun ownership. Apparently, in Georgia, it isn’t.
If this policy of restoring the right to own guns to felons sounds even remotely reasonable to anyone, I’m anxious to have that person gunsplain it to me.
Also on Friday, the university responded to an open records request from Inside Higher Ed for communications to the chancellor about the Salaita appointment, prior to her action to block it. The communications show that Wise was lobbied on the decision not only by pro-Israel students, parents and alumni, but also by the fund-raising arm of the university. The communications also show that the university system president was involved, and that the university was considering the legal ramifications of the case before the action to block the appointment.
Most of the emails have the names of the senders redacted and some are nearly identical, suggesting the use of talking points or shared drafts. Many of the letter writers identify themselves as Jewish and/or sympathetic to Israel, as students, parents or alumni, and as people who say that the tone of Salaita’s comments (especially on Twitter) makes them believe he would be hostile to them and to their views.
The problem I have with the “release” of these 70 email messages is that they seem to shift the blame for this whole affair from the administration at Illinois to a small group of Jewish or pro-Israel donors. But that’s not really where the blame lies; it lies squarely with the university administration.
As someone who has some experience working with donors, I can tell you that some donors want to exert a non-negligible amount of influence on the program, department, or college to which they donate. Others do not. It’s up to directors of individual units to decide what level of influence they’ll give to donors and at what point they’ll thank donors for their input and make their own choices.
It’s difficult to tell donors, especially big dollar donors, that you’re not going to do what they advise you to do or insist that you do. It’s even more difficult to do this in a way that makes them feel that their concerns have been heard and that somehow also manages to keep them donating to the university. This is especially true at the campus level and with the dollar amounts that at least one donor was kicking around. But making those difficult decisions, about such matters as standing up for the principle of academic freedom even when it’s unpopular and costly to do so, is why a chancellor makes the big bucks herself. Academic freedom matters, and it’s something worth explaining very clearly and thoughtfully to donors.
As you may be aware, Vice President Christophe Pierre and I wrote to Prof. Steven Salaita on Aug. 1, informing him of the university’s decision not to recommend further action by the Board of Trustees concerning his potential appointment to the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Since this decision, many of you have expressed your concern about its potential impact on academic freedom. I want to assure you in the strongest possible terms that all of us – my administration, the university administration and I – absolutely are committed to this bedrock principle.
What we cannot and will not tolerate at the University of Illinois are personal and disrespectful words or actions that demean and abuse either viewpoints themselves or those who express them. We have a particular duty to our students to ensure that they live in a community of scholarship that challenges their assumptions about the world but that also respects their rights as individuals.
So, if you’re unclear, let’s recap:
The University of Illinois administration is 100% committed to academic freedom since it’s a “bedrock principle.” The natural extension of this commitment, apparently, is to dehire/fire anyone who tweets things that the administration deems “disrespectful” or “demeaning.” And if you’re worried about your choice of language, rest assured that there is absolutely no clarity on what’s acceptable and what’s worthy of losing your job.
The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission on Thursday sanctioned beer and wine sales at the Harry A. Koch Trap & Skeet Range. Omaha Parks and Recreation says patrons will only be allowed to drink after shooting. They say the move will up attendance at the city-owned facility and therefore generate revenue for Omaha.
The commissioners had expressed concern about selling alcohol at a facility where shotguns are used. City officials say a software system will track who has purchased beer and prevent them from shooting.
A Republican city councilman in Missouri apologized this week for posting racist messages about President Obama on Facebook, citing his own strong engagement with the Republican Party as the reason behind his actions….
"I apologize from the bottom of my heart," Tinsley said. "At one time, I was a very active Republican, very opposed to Obama."
KFVS reported that Tinsley’s justification for posting the photos upset fellow Republicans and prompted another apology.
"I want people to know that I am very remorseful for it," Tinsley told KFVS. "That it was inappropriate. I believe I got caught up in an emotional moment of sharing jokes and at the time it seemed funny but today it’s, it’s, it’s very serious and it’s not funny at all. … That anything that I have said, that I referred to the activity because I was a Republican, that is not true. It’s not an excuse," Tinsley said.
So, if you’re following along carefully at home, you’ll note that this guy first apologized for posting racist images about President Obama on Facebook and claimed he did so because he had been “a very active Republican” and then, when the Republicans were offended by that, he apologized again and admitted that being a Republican wasn’t really why he posted the racist images.
The real reason he posted racist images of Obama, of course, is because he’s a racist.
But apparently one doesn’t simply say, “I want to apologize for being a racist.”
Many people thought Dawkins was telling this particular woman what to do and were outraged.
According to the Guardian, Dawkins took to his website to explain and apologize:
He added: “Those who thought I was bossily telling a woman what to do rather than let her choose, of course this was absolutely not my intention and I apologise if brevity made it look that way. My true intention was, as stated at length above, simply to say what I personally would do, based upon my own assessment of the pragmatics of the case, and my own moral philosophy which in turn is based on a desire to increase happiness and reduce suffering.”
Of course, Dawkins is very plainly arguing that “It would be immoral” to bring a Down Syndrome baby into the world “if you have the choice” not to do so. This is based, as he says, on “my own moral philosophy which in turn is based on a desire to increase happiness and reduce suffering.”
This is a fine moral philosophy, but it’s not clear what it has to do with Down Syndrome. Here’s some survey data that Dawkins apparently never heard about:
Among 2,044 parents or guardians surveyed, 79 percent reported their outlook on life was more positive because of their child with Down syndrome….
Skotko also found that among siblings ages 12 and older, 97 percent expressed feelings of pride about their brother or sister with Down syndrome and 88 percent were convinced they were better people because of their sibling with Down syndrome. A third study evaluating how adults with Down syndrome felt about themselves reports 99 percent responded they were happy with their lives, 97 percent liked who they are, and 96 percent liked how they looked.
So, it’s not clear who exactly Dawkins believes is suffering and why it’s so obviously immoral to bring a Down Syndrome baby into the world.
In addition to this issue, it seems other people were outraged because they believed Dawkins was saying that people with Down Syndrone ought to have been aborted or shouldn’t exist now. He apparently address this issue as well:
He also argued: “Those who took offence because they know and love a person with Down’s syndrome, and who thought I was saying that their loved one had no right to exist, I have sympathy for this emotional point, but it is an emotional one not a logical one. It is one of a common family of errors, one that frequently arises in the abortion debate.”
It’s not entirely clear what Dawkins is arguing here, but it sounds like he wants to discourage people from making the “emotional” point that a loved one with Down Syndrone does, in fact, have a right to exist. Instead they should be “logical” and not make what “is one of a common family of errors.” I’d go read his post to see if I could get some more information, but strangely that one page on his website is returning a “404 - Page Not Found” error and has been doing so for hours now.
So, perhaps I’m missing Dawkins’ point, but this seems like an unusual argument and one that doesn’t really fit in a post titled “Abortion & Down Syndrome: Apology for Letting Slip the Dogs of Twitterwar.”
Except, of course, that Dawkins wasn’t really apologizing in his post, as the cheeky title suggests and as his final paragraph makes very clear:
"To conclude, what I was saying simply follows logically from the ordinary pro-choice stance that most of us, I presume, espouse. My phraseology may have been tactlessly vulnerable to misunderstanding, but I can’t help feeling that at least half the problem lies in a wanton eagerness to misunderstand."
You see that last sentence there? That makes it not an apology.
Which is pretty much what Dawkins was aiming for:
I do not for one moment apologise for approaching moral philosophic questions in a logical way. There’s a place for emotion & this isn’t it.
Texas Governor Rick Perry warned a packed DC audience at DC’s Heritage Foundation headquarters Thursday that without swift action, terrorists from groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will “slip across our un-secure border.” In a speech linking the immigration reform debate to the current crisis in Iraq, Perry claimed there is “a very real possibility” that terrorists have already entered the country by crossing the desert from Mexico….
Yet, as Perry himself admitted, there is “no clear evidence” of anyone affiliated with terrorism ever crossing the US/Mexico border. Nearly every attack or failed plot over the past decade has been carried out by a US citizen—like accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev—or those who came on legal visas, like the Al Qaeda operatives on 9/11. And the cross-border terrorist plans that have been discovered have come from our northern border.
Just because nothing even remotely like this has ever happened doesn’t mean it can’t happen, as far as Rick Perry is concerned, so calling it “a very real possibility” isn’t going too far, right?
The two years between this Fall’s midterms and the 2016 presidential election are going to be bonkers.
"She thought there was an intruder. She had no way of knowing the intruder was only her grandson, so I think the decision not to press charges is justified," said Tampa criminal defense lawyer Bryant Camareno, who is not connected to the case. "The fact that she just fired into the darkness, that in and of itself is not a crime."
There was also no crime in leaving a loaded firearm within reach of her grandchildren. In Florida, adults can be charged with culpable negligence for storing a loaded gun near children only if a minor actually gets hold of the firearm and uses it to hurt himself or others.
So … it’s not a crime to randomly fire your gun into the darkness. And it’s not a crime to leave your loaded gun within reach of children … as long as you shoot them before they shoot themselves or others.
“What’s all the stink over the Redskin name? It’s so much [expletive] it’s incredible. We’re going to let the liberals of the world run this world. It was said out of reverence, out of pride to the American Indian. Even though it was called a Redskin, what are you going to call them, a Brownskin? This is so stupid it’s appalling, and I hope that owner keeps fighting for it and never changes it, because the Redskins are part of an American football history, and it should never be anything but the Washington Redskins. That’s the way it is.”
Back when the Washington football team was founded, someone came up to Mike Ditka and said, “Mike, we want to honor the proud traditions of the native peoples of this great land; how should we do it?” Ditka thought for a time and said, “Name the Washington football team after them. Call it the Redskins. This is right and proper, and since it’s the only name by which these people have ever or will ever be known, no one can say that it’s in any way racist.” Those were the good old days, before all the hippies showed up to ruin our country.
My former student Justin Green explains to the GOP in Missouri that they’re doing it wrong:
Here’s a story that will make you shake your head.
Liberal organizers set up a voter registration booth at the site of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Mo.
The Missouri Republican Party’s executive director proceeded to tell Breitbart News’ Charlie Spiering that the action was “not only disgusting but completely inappropriate.”
What this condemnation resembles instead is the Missouri Republican Party condemning an effort to register black voters in the aftermath of a white police officer shooting a black teenager. That might not be fair, but it’s what it looks like.
So Missouri Republicans should reconsider this approach. They should even send a few staffers to engage with potential voters in Ferguson….
A party that condemns efforts to attract new members, particularly considering the way this example looks, is one that can’t expect to be competitive.
When I first saw the story yesterday about the Republicans condemning a voter registration drive in Ferguson, I was so stunned by it that I saved it to write about today. I mean, there’s really no better way to demonstrate to the black citizens that you don’t want them to vote — for you, for anyone — than to explicitly say, “It’s absolutely disgusting, this effort to encourage more people to vote at a time when they feel they’re represented by people who don’t have their best interests at heart.”
Apart from saying, “Don’t vote, black people; that would be bad for us, the white people.”
I’m glad Justin tackled this the way that he did. He’s exactly right and he’s writing for a conservative-leaning publication so one hopes his thoughts are more likely to be heard by the people who need to hear them.
The idea would be to bring my lunch, find a large table over at the Union for an hour, and invite anyone who’d like to chat about the course or whatever else. Sort of like the Symposium … but with a lot less drinking, since it’ll be 12:30pm and on campus.
Before I do this, though, I wanted to see what people think of the idea. Do you think anyone will come eat lunch with me or will I be the loneliest professor ever?
Here’s the central point of an op-ed in the Washington Post:
Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?
Got that? If you don’t want anything bad to happen to you, just do anything and everything the police tell you to do, immediately, and don’t ask any questions. Otherwise, you’re inviting the police to shoot you, tase you, pepper-spray you, beat you, and/or throw you to the ground.
2014 America, ladies and gentlemen. Land of the free, home of the brave.
Yesterday was 10 weeks since I ruptured my Achilles tendon. I meet with my orthopedist tomorrow morning to see how things are going and, I’m assuming, to get a prescription for physical therapy.
This past week, I unilaterally decided to stop wearing the walking boot I wore for 9 weeks. Due both to muscle atrophy and to three weeks of walking in the boot, my foot and leg had become quite sore. The top of the boot had begun to rub painfully against my calf — a week later, I still have red marks — and the bottom of the boot was causing some bruising to my heel and ankle. I’d been walking around the house without the boot already, at least upstairs where there were no toys littering the floor, but I called my doctor mid-week last week and he agreed that I could wear normal shoes out of the house.
So, I’m finally now walking around without the giant boot. At first it felt very strange; my leg felt about five pounds lighter than it had in a couple of months. Now I’m adjusting to the lack of strength in the leg, though this is improving daily as I actually use the muscles. And I’ve got what feels to me like a fairly pronounced limp that I also hope will improve steadily with use and with physical therapy.
If I walk anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 steps, I feel just fine. Anything approaching 6,000+ steps, though, and my ankle begins to ache. So, one more good use for my UP band; I have a very clear idea of when I need to sit down and take it easy.
Over on Facebook, a bunch of people who are friends of friends or who find my posts because the topics are “trending” have said some decidedly racist things about Mike Brown and the Ferguson situation more generally. I’m always amazed what people are willing to write under their own names … until I realize that these people honestly don’t think they’re being racist, mostly, it seems, because they think of racism as something that happens to white guys like them.
Here’s one example:
Racism? I am growing very weary of hearing this thrown out there anytime a white guy is involved in an incident with someone from another race. If there is racism involved, it is wrong and should not be tolerated. What is also wrong and should not be tolerated is how quickly racism is cited as a person’s motivation. There is no evidence that the police were motivated by race. Have all their decisions in this issue been good ones? Not sure yet. I do know one thing. There is racism involved in this issue. It’s called the New Black Panthers.
In other threads I’ve been seeing demands for more black officers in black areas. I’m wondering just how many black people want to be police officers. With the fairly common gangster rap and “snitches get stitches” mentality you probably have a smaller pool of interested candidates. You can’t force them to be police. You can’t force them to run for city council or mayor in Ferguson.
Babies are being beheaded, men are being crucified, and women are being kidnapped by the dozens and hundreds in Iraq yet this one upstanding guy *possibly* gets murdered and all of a sudden people get worked up into a frenzy about violence. So sorry if I find this guy’s death fairly non shocking for now but sympathy for *possibly* murdered thugs is not my thing.
In the first case, the guy is saying the following: “I’m not yet sure if all the decisions made by police in this case — including shooting an unarmed kid and tear-gassing peaceful protesters — were good ones. But I *do* know that the racism I definitely see in this case is coming from the black people.”
In the second case, well, that’s just overtly racist.
Shame on you!! Racist is a very heavy label. I’ve said nothing (and never will) against another race. The point I was making is that racism can go in all directions, not just white towards black. This country is far too quick to jump to racism as a motivation.
And Guy #2:
WTF are you smoking?? I said I have seen hardcore racism firsthand. I’ve seen it done to and done by different races. A friend did it to a black guy and we are no longer friends because of it. I had it done to me in HS and after I got out of the Army.
So, yeah. People get pretty angry when you tell them that they’ve just written some incredibly racist things. Go figure.
I've been following the situation in Ferguson as closely as possible. It is shocking. I've been wondering: where are all the anti-government pro-gun-rights people? For years, they've been predicting oppression of citizens through police militarization, and now that it's actually happening, they seem silent. Is this straight-up racism? Is this because it's not the federal government (e.g. Obama) being oppressive? Is this because the police aren't coming after them personally?
I’ve been thinking about what I want to say on this topic all day; it’s been discussed to comedic effect on Facebook and Twitter, amongst the people with whom I share similar feelings about the gun rights insurrectionists.
Clearly I don’t want to suggest that the insurrectionists or the open-carry activists are right, that the amassing of private handgun arsenals in order to scare off the police or walking around with guns to show everyone you’ve got ‘em are things that make any kind of sense. It’s not hard to imagine that the situation in Ferguson this week would have been about a million times worse if the protesters had been armed. Considering that this whole thing began with the shooting of an unarmed black kid, a whole bunch of armed black people facing the militarized St. Louis area police would have been a disaster of epic proportions.
A whole bunch of armed white people? Well, my friend Kim Yi Dionne happens to have a piece up at the Monkey Cage that addresses precisely this question using political science research:
… when compared with other groups, African American protesters are more likely to draw police presence and that once police are present they are more likely to make arrests, use force and violence, and use force and violence in combination with arrests at African American protest events.
So maybe those armed insurrectionists would have been just fine if they’d turned up in Ferguson this week. The police might have spoken with them and attempted to calm the whole situation down rather than escalating things by attempting to intimidate and silence them. And that would have thrown a whole wrench in their theory about government tyranny.
“This is not an issue in which you can remain silent any more than you can remain silent during Nazi Germany. That was a moral issue, it was not defined by geography, there was a moral imperative there of the dignity of the human being, you can’t remain silent there and expect no consequences.”—
That’s Mat Staver, the head of Liberty Counsel and dean of the Liberty University School of Law.
And what’s pretty much exactly like staying silent about the horrors of the Holocaust?
Predicting that the Supreme Court would eventually take up the case, he said a ruling in favor of marriage equality would be just as invalid as a court striking down the laws of gravity.
That really says something coming from the dean of a law school.
Now I don’t know a whole lot about the Liberty University School of Law, but my working assumption now is the only kind of law they teach there is biblical law. So if you’re looking to practice law on questions pertaining to how many cubits long something absolutely needs to be or which things are abominations and which aren’t or who exactly should be stoned to death or what kinds of birds are permissible to eat or how many witnesses the rabbinical court requires to pass judgment against someone … then Liberty is the place for you.
Senator Rand Paul published a very good piece for Time earlier today. Here’s just one short snippet:
Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them.
This is part of the anguish we are seeing in the tragic events outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It is what the citizens of Ferguson feel when there is an unfortunate and heartbreaking shooting like the incident with Michael Brown.
Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth.
A fair number of people have been wishing for strong words like these from President Obama and were downright dejected by the seeming blandness of his statement earlier this afternoon.
But considering the histrionics from conservatives every time Obama says anything about race, I really didn’t expect anything like the sort of statement he made in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin shooting.
It’ll be interesting to see if those same conservatives say anything at all about Paul’s comments since they usually seem so certain that racism is well and truly behind us and that it’s Obama and liberals who keep “playing the race card.”
Part of the conservative critique of higher education is that liberal professors indoctrinate students, turning middle-of-the-road students into Young Democrats (or Young Socialists).
But a new study suggests that it’s time to stop blaming professors (of any political leaning) for any leftward tilt that college students may show (and the study acknowledges that many do lean that way over the course of their college years).
The influence is coming from students themselves. In fact, the study says, the more engaged students are with faculty members and academics, the more their views moderate toward the center. But the more students become engaged in student activities, the more the liberals become more committed as liberals and conservatives become more committed as conservatives.
Israel is looking to hire university students to post pro-Israel messages on social media networks — without needing to identify themselves as government-linked, officials said Wednesday.
The Israeli prime minister’s office said in a statement that students on Israeli university campuses would receive full or partial scholarships to combat anti-Semitism and calls to boycott Israel online. It said students’ messages would parallel statements by government officials.