Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Doing and Undoing

Monday, May 21, 2018

The U.S. Does Not Have More Homeless People than Other Nations

Homelessness, like any other hardship, invites people to push an ideological agenda. Especially, homelessness in the U.S. invites people on the left to blame capitalism, or the American political culture, or a Republican incumbent administration.

One writer in the Huffington Post, for example, asks “How Well is American Capitalism Working?” and claims that:
If you ask the 15% of our population living in poverty, their answer is that they can’t find a decent job and they survive on food stamps, food kitchens, clothing handouts, and cheap housing or even homelessness.
And a letter writer to the New York Times asked:
As our own United States homeless population grows, the question arises whether the causes of homelessness can be explained by a transition to a harsher and crueler form of capitalism under the Bush-Reagan Administrations or, if not explicable by such a transition, is homelessness simply a necessary component to our present brand of capitalism?
This would imply that less “capitalistic” nations — socialist states in Europe, for example — should have lower rates of homelessness. Apparently, however, this is not so.

Cross National Data

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) compiles data on a large number of indicators across advanced industrial nations, and this includes data on homelessness.

The data do not show the U.S. having an especially large number of homeless.

For example, they show the 0.18% of the U.S. population to be homeless, as opposed to 0.25% of the population of the United Kingdom, 0.42% of the German population and 0.42% of the French population.

In the supposed socialist utopia of Sweden, 0.36% of the population is homeless, according to this tabulation.

How Do We Define Homelessness

Of course, any cross-national data must be questioned for comparability, and that is the case here.

The most basic definition of homelessness is:
Homelessness counts in most countries include rough sleepers, people living in accommodation for the homeless and in emergency temporary accommodation. . . .
This is fair enough. While “sleeping rough” (on a park bench, heating grate or in a subway) most certainly corresponds to our notion of homelessness, sleeping in a shelter where you are usually required to leave every morning does too.

But some nations define “homelessness” much more broadly. Sometimes, it includes the following:
  • People living in institutions: Including people who stay longer than needed in health institutions due to lack of housing; and people in penal institutions with no housing available prior to release
  • People living in non-conventional dwellings due to lack of housing : where accommodation consists of mobile homes, non-conventional building or temporary structure, and is used due to a lack of housing and is not the person’s usual place of residence
  • People living temporarily in conventional housing with family and friends due to lack of housing
Some of this is pretty ridiculous. If you stay in prison for a few extra days, you are not homeless, notwithstanding that you would rather be out. Living is a trailer is not being homeless either, even if you do get stereotyped as white trash.

And if you have been evicted and are sleeping on the couch at your sister and brother-in-law’s place, you are not homeless, no matter how much you would like your own pad.

More Comparisons

The OECD document includes a comprehensive list of the definitions of “homelessness” used in each nation, and allows us to make some rough comparisons.

And also note some senseless definitions. In Australia, for example, the “homeless” include:
People living in boarding houses (due to lack of suitable accommodation alternatives); people living in severely crowded dwellings.
Perhaps this broad definition is part of the reason Australia has 2.6 times the reported homeless population of the U.S. But it would be hard to argue that Australia has fewer homeless, even taking the different definitions into account.

Much the same analysis would apply to Sweden, which defines “homelessness” more broadly than the U.S, but reports twice as many people as being homeless. And also to Germany, with a broad definition of “homelessness,” but an estimate of 2.3 times as many homeless as the U.S.

But France, for example, defines “homelessness” pretty much the same way the U.S. does, but reports 22% more homeless people.

The United Kingdom

The definition “homelessness” in the U.K. is wordy, and apparently quite narrow.
Number of households who after applying for housing assistance are accepted by local authorities as being “Statutory homeless” (i.e. those who are unintentionally homeless and fall into a ‘priority need’ category. Somebody is statutorily homeless if they do not have accommodation that they have a legal right to occupy, which is accessible and physically available to them (and their household) and which it would be reasonable for them to continue to live in. It would not be reasonable for someone to continue to live in their home, for example, if that was likely to lead to violence against them (or a member of their family).
It seems unlikely that all (or perhaps even most) people who really are homeless would be among the “Statutory homeless.” Indeed a private organization estimated that in 2017 307,000 people were sleeping rough or in inadequate housing in the U.K. This compares to 57,750 households in the OECD data (but for England alone).

No matter what adjustments are made, the U.K. has at least as many — and probably more — homeless as does the U.S.

Conclusion

The homeless are not victims of capitalism. They are not even victims of structural changes in the economy. They are victims of their own bad behavior, including untreated clinical depression, substance abuse and involvement in criminal activity.

That does not mean they should not be helped, but it does mean they should not be enabled by liberal public policies. Simply providing “affordable housing” is just an enabler — at least, unless there is a set of fairly rigorous conditions attached. Allowing homeless encampments to despoil public streets and green space is another enabler.

Indeed, to help them a fair amount of coercion might be necessary, which would be justified for a population which, left to its own devices, lives a wretched existence.

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Los Angeles: New Housing for Homeless Costs $476,000 Per Unit

Yes, that’s what an investigation by the Los Angeles Times revealed. Quoting:
A Times analysis of the 29 projects [for the homeless] currently approved for funding found their average cost to be more than $476,000 per unit. Two projects will cost more than $650,000 per unit and five more than $550,000.

An analysis of state tax credit projects during the year before the bond measure vote found that supportive housing projects in Los Angeles County cost an average of $420,000 per unit.
So is the story here how liberal policies in California attract a lot of homeless people, or how inefficient governments can’t accomplish anything at any reasonable cost?

Both.

But the real crux of the problem is the politically incorrect fact that homeless people are seldom merely average folks who have had a run of bad luck. There is a massive incidence of substance abuse among the homeless.

Clinical depression is also common. One scholarly review of the literature notes:
Using standardized measures, researchers consistently find that between 40 percent and 47 percent of homeless men meet criteria for mild to severe depression
Then there is the fact that a large number of homeless people engage in illegal activity. One study of a large sample in the journal Psychiatric Services shows that 28.8% of the ever “ever homeless” in the sample reported having been arrested.

The same study shows that 26.4% of the “ever homeless” has been diagnosed as having depression.

Plenty in this study should engender some sympathy for the homeless: an extremely high number reported they had ever run away, been ordered out of their home by parents, or subjected to parent/caregiver neglect and/or abuse.

But that doesn’t change the fact that what they need is not a very expensive rent free or subsidized pad of their own. Rather, it’s more likely a facility where they will be drug tested, required to take their meds, given regular meals, and the necessary medical and social services. That doesn’t have to be something as draconian as a jail cell. But it does have to be something that doesn’t merely enable bad behavior.

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

How to Identify the Racists

Author James Baldwin explained it:
Every time I attend a conference of white writers, I have a method for finding out if my colleagues are racist. It consists of uttering stupidities and maintaining absurd theses. If they listen respectfully and, at the end, overwhelm me with applause, there isn’t the slightest doubt: they are filthy racists.
Hat tip to Ron McCamy, who responded on Facebook to our post on Ta-Nehisi Coates with this quote.

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Squashed

GLENN MCCOY © Belleville News-Democrat. Dist. By UNIVERSAL UCLICK. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Liberals House Negro

Yes, he’s the black guy the liberals love: always ranting about white racism and how terrible it is to lock up black men. The fact that they got locked up for crimes (and not because racist whites want to hurt blacks) is something beyond his ken.


But what would an honest inventory of the problems of the black community show? Kay Hymowitz explains, discussing one of Coates’ articles:
This is not a one-time lapse. Coates’s article is marked by the sin of omission. You might think that an article on the Moynihan report and the black family would mention somewhere that today 72 percent of black children, up from 24 percent when the report was written, are born to unmarried mothers. You might assume that an analyst of the black family would explain that large numbers of those children — far more than mass incarceration can explain, by the way — will have at best erratic relationships with their fathers. You would expect him to show how one of the main reasons fathers fade out of their children’s lives is “multi-partner fertility” — parents who have children by a series of partners — and that multi-partner fertility is particularly widespread among blacks and incarcerated men. He might look at the research suggesting that children living with an unrelated father are more likely to suffer abuse. You would expect him to ponder all of this because there is abundant evidence that boys growing up under these conditions have less self-control than those growing up in more stable families, and most of all, because those boys are far more prone to commit crimes. You would think at least some of this would find its way into the pages of a 17,000-word piece called “The Black Family in an Age of Mass Incarceration,” but you would be wrong.
Coates is, to be blunt about it, the liberals house negro. His job it to tell them what they want to hear, in an angry and impassioned voice. And when they can, they will use him to try to guilt or intimidate other whites who might be reticent to admit their “white privilege” or go along with some “diversity” hustle.

Colleges and universities have a lot of people like him. It’s a growth industry.

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The “Racist” Photo that Has Been Roiling Marquette

It has been the pretext for an orgy of hand wringing, virtue signalling and irate screeds from students “of color” at Marquette: a supposedly racist photo that was apparently sent to a Marquette student.

Of the four male students in the photo, only one is apparently a Marquette student. He has been identified, and will presumably face disciplinary proceedings.

But just what does that “racist photo” actually show. Here is the best copy we could find. We have obscured the faces in the photo, but it is uncropped.

Click on Image to Enlarge

OK, there is a black doll, and a toy gun. Are they going to shoot the black doll? The doll is wearing sunglasses and a pinstripe vest.

One of the guys is wearing a hoodie. The fellow at the top right seems to be giving a gang sign of some sort.

The gun has “Chuuch” written over it on the photo. The Urban Dictionary says this is a pimp way of saying “amen.”

But “Chuuch” is also a rap from a fellow named Slim Thug. Most of his lyrics do make him sound like a thug, but ironically “Chuuch” is an inspirational song. Some lyrics:
Trying to soar high with them eagles
Can’t chill with none of you chickens
I’m tray get rich with my people
Too high to see you haters
Too blessed to play y’all mind
I ain’t got nothing to be mad at
I’m drop head top down
Thank you, God, all the time for helping me live my dreams
And for exposing all of those who wasn't right for my team
I’mma keep receiving this games
If it’s for the better, I’ll change
Only live once, better do it right
I’m trying to leave a legacy, man
So what are these guys doing? Their demeanor toward the black doll does not seem hostile or aggressive at all. It looks for all the world like they are staging some sort of gangsta rap tableau. If this is true, the worst thing they are guilty of is cultural appropriation — which is to say, guilty of nothing at all.

If so, they are being a bit silly. And in the racially hyper-sensitive environment of a contemporary university, mailing it to people, and especially allowing it to fall into the hands of a campus grievance monger, is stupid.

But stupid is not racist.

We would love to hear what the guys in the photo say about what they were doing. Presumably, one of them is explaining himself to Marquette officials — assuming he’s still at the university.

Marquette, of course, will conceal what they know, claiming the confidentially of the disciplinary process. If they find out it was a silly goof, and not some racist incident, this confidentiality will allow them to go on denouncing rampant racism on campus, and mounting yet more “diversity” initiatives.

But the blunt truth is: campus bureaucrats, right up to President Lovell, love incidents like this.


Hat Tip: Vicki McKenna first questioned whether the photo was really racist.

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Russian Facebook Influence: Coming Down on Both Sides

In the Woody Allen movie “Bananas,” one scene has U.S. paratroopers flying down to intervene in the fictional Central American republic of San Marcos. The dialogue:
  • First Paratrooper: Which side are we on?
  • Second Paratrooper: The CIA is not taking any chances this time. Half of us are for, half of us against!
In spite of all the hysteria, and hyperventilating, this is the story of the much ballyhooed Russian “intervention” in U.S. politics.

From the Washington Post:
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday released about 3,500 Facebook ads purchased by Russian agents around the 2016 presidential election on issues from immigration to gun control, a reminder of the complexity of the manipulation that Facebook is trying to contain ahead of the midterm elections.

The ads, from mid-2015 to mid-2017, illustrate the extent to which Kremlin-aligned forces sought to stoke social, cultural and political unrest on one of the Web’s most powerful platforms. With the help of Facebook’s targeting tools, they delivered their disinformation to narrow categories of users – from black or gay users to fans of Fox News.

In doing so, Russia’s online army reached at least 146 million people on Facebook and Instagram, its photo-sharing service, with ads and other posts. Sometimes, Russian trolls also tried to fuel rallies and protests, endeavoring at one point in 2016 to pit Beyoncé fans and critics against each other in New York City.
You read that right. The Russians were on both sides.
“They sought to harness Americans’ very real frustrations and anger over sensitive political matters in order to influence American thinking, voting and behavior,” [Adam] Schiff said in a statement. “The only way we can begin to inoculate ourselves against a future attack is to see first-hand the types of messages, themes and imagery the Russians used to divide us.”

For its part, Facebook stressed in a statement: “This will never be a solved problem because we’re up against determined, creative and well-funded adversaries. But we are making steady progress.”
Note the assumption that this is a terrible problem that needs to be “solved.” The highly partisan Democrat Adam Schiff (along with Facebook) are doing what liberals have long chided conservatives for doing: hyping the sinister, evil machinations of the Red Menace.
In total, ads purchased by agents tied to the Kremlin-backed IRA reached about 10 million U.S. users around the 2016 presidential election, according to Facebook’s own estimates. But the ads are only part of the story: They sought to hook American voters into clicking “Like” or following Russia-created Facebook profiles and pages, which published organic content, like status updates, videos and other posts, which would later appear in users’ News Feeds.
Yes, we know that the sinister Russians scored a major propaganda coup by getting their posts “liked” on Facebook. We can’t imagine the damage that Facebook “likes” will do our republic.

Click on image to enlarge
In many cases, the Kremlin-tied ads took multiple sides of the same issue. Accounts like United Muslims of America urged viewers in New York in March 2016 to “stop Islamophobia and the fear of Muslims.” That same account, days later, crafted an open letter in another ad that accused Clinton of failing to support Muslims before the election. And other accounts linked to the IRA sought to target Muslims: One ad highlighted by the House Intelligence Committee called President Barack Obama a “traitor” who had acted as a “pawn in the hands of Arabian Sheikhs.”

For two years, Russian agents proffered similar ads around issues like racism and causes like Black Lives Matter. They relied on Facebook features to target specific categories of users. An IRA-backed account on Instagram aimed a January 2016 ad about “white supremacy” specifically to those whose interests included HuffPost’s “black voices” section.

At times, Russian agents also sought to influence Facebook users’ offline activities: One ad from the IRA-aligned page Black Matters promoted a March 26, 2016, rally against “confederate heritage,” which had 161 people saying they would attend. Another by Heart of Texas urged viewers to “honor your ancestors” and join a rally for the state to secede – a post that had been shared 266 times before Facebook removed Russian-generated content.

On Instagram, one of the IRA’s ads in February 2016 sought to target people believed to be police officers, firefighters and military officers, urging them to appear at a protest of Beyoncé outside of NFL headquarters. At the same time, another account — targeting black users — directed viewers to a pro-Beyoncé protest at the same location. Neither effort appeared to gain any traction, according to data supplied by the social giant to Democratic lawmakers. But it offered one example of the extent to which Russian trolls sought to exploit both sides of major national debates – including football players who knelt during the national anthem to bring attention to issues of racism.

The documents released Thursday also reflect that Russian agents continued advertising on Facebook well after the presidential election. Until August 2017, Russian-aligned pages and profiles advertised their opposition to immigrants, targeting a range of users, including those who appear to like Fox News. They marketed a page called Born Liberal to likely supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the data show, an ad that had more than 49,000 impressions into 2017. Together, the ads affirmed the fears of some lawmakers, including Republicans, that Russian agents have continued to try to influence U.S. politics even after the 2016 election.

Conclusion

The notion that the Russians somehow elected Trump gets no support at all from these ads. It’s true that after Trump because the nominee, the weight of the ads supported Trump and opposed Hillary. This could not have been because the Russians thought Hillary could win.

If they thought that, their analysts should be brought to the U.S. and installed as pundits in every major news organization.

Rather, they wanted to weaken Hillary, whom they viewed as the certain winner.

They, of course, would have nothing to fear from Hillary, associated as she was with the feckless, passive foreign policy of Barack Obama. Trump, on the other hand, they would have viewed as a loose cannon. Who would know what he might do?

But the efforts of a handful of geeks in St. Petersburg were pretty trivial. What defeated Hillary was her own defects as a person and a candidate. And the polarization in American politics is all “Made in the U.S.A.” The Russians’ efforts were not even a drop in the bucket.

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Sunday, May 06, 2018

Going Nowhere

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

The Infrastructure of Political Correctness at Marquette

From the Louis Joliet Society, a blog post that takes off from the fact that Marquette is going to impose a five percent tuition increase, in spite of the fact that inflation has been running at 2.5 percent.

And what is the reason? Not to provide more scholarship money for students. Not to pay for more faculty lines, so that students can have smaller classes, more attention from faculty and more class choices.

No, a large part is to support a massive infrastructure in political correctness.
For starters, Marquette’s Office of the Provost carries a staff of at least 65 individuals, many of whom are presumably well-compensated, holding titles like vice-provost, vice-president, executive director and dean. Clearly, a number of the functions performed by these individuals are entirely legitimate for the successful administration of the university. But, in some cases, we have our doubts. 
For example, one entity under the Provost’s watch is the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. Myers created this office in 2015 “to elevate the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion at Marquette.” But, alas, despite a lengthy and lofty strategic plan and numerous initiatives and programs, Marquette is still pretty much all white and evidently, still racist (also here and here). The office’s Hispanic Initiatives include resources for undocumented students, not the least of which are university-funded grants and scholarships for non-citizens. The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion also houses Marquette’s Title IX coordinator who is presumably responsible for selecting the LGBTQ-agenda advancing Title IX vendor employed by the university.
Another entity under the Provost’s office is the Division of Student Affairs. While the division has been around for quite some time, Myers expanded it in 2015 to include a new LGBTQ Resource Center (host of the infamous Pride Prom). Also added to the division in 2015 was the Office of Intercultural Engagement, which, as far as we can tell, is a source of institutional reinforcement and reiteration of the race and LGBTQ agendas on campus, and is not to be confused with the CENTER for Intercultural Engagement which provides still more reinforcement and reiteration of the race and LGBTQ agendas on campus. Lastly, under the Division of Student Affairs is the Office of Residence Life, which championed the introduction of “transgendered bathrooms” at Marquette in 2015 and was recently exposed for forcing Resident Assistants to participate in Leftist “social justice” indoctrination in the student dorms. 
Other entities under the Provosts Office include the Office of Community Engagement and Social Responsibility, created in 2016 as “a central clearinghouse for community engagement activities and promotion of the scholarship of engagement.” Got it? As an interesting aside, the Executive Director of the Office of Community Engagement, Dan Bergen, serves on the board of directors of the Cream City Foundation, an organization whose mission is to “mobilize philanthropic resources by harnessing the pride, passion, and commitment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies to advance the human rights and respond to the human needs of LGBTQ+ people in Southeastern Wisconsin.” As for what the Office of Community Engagement has actually accomplished in its two years of existence is anybody’s guess; all activities listed on its webpage appear to have already been in motion by 2016. 
Marquette’s Center for Teaching and Learning is also under the auspices of the Office of the Provost. This center is charged with teaching Marquette teachers how to teach. It is also charged with teaching non-Catholic and under-catechized faculty and staff about the history and importance of Catholic higher education. The director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, however, is openly homosexual. So much for Catholic teaching.
Also inaugurated by Provost Myers in 2015, but not as part of his office, is the new and improved Center for Gender and Sexualities Studies (to replace the ignominious and disastrous Gender and Sexualities Resource Center). Like the Provost’s LGBTQ Center, Office of Intercultural Engagement and Center for Intercultural Engagement, this center also provides institutional reinforcement and reiteration of race and LGBTQ agendas on campus. (Are we seeing a pattern here?) 
We move now to the Office of Mission and Ministry. This office is, presumably, most directly charged with preserving and advancing Marquette’s Catholic identity. And yet, despite some good efforts, through the Office of Mission and Ministry we get: anti-Catholic Marquette Mission Weeks, LGBTQ Glitter Ashes on Ash Wednesday, LGBTQ Masses, LGBTQ+ prayer services, LGBTQ indoctrination from the university’s Center for Ignatian Spirituality, and a Center for Peacemaking which for nearly ten years has been little more than a training center for progressive political activism.
The post summarizes by asking:
  • How much do all these positions, offices and activities cost and where does the money to pay for them come from?
  • What demonstrable value do they bring to the education of students or the betterment of Marquette’s culture as a Catholic, Jesuit university?
  • Why does a Catholic university invest so heavily in things that have little to do with/are often contrary to its Catholic identity?
  • Why should students not transfer to public colleges and universities which offer the same secularized higher education at half or less the cost?
In the meantime, however, you and your families better get busy finding those extra tuition dollars.

Conclusion

It’s typical of higher education today that university bureaucrats build a huge bureaucracy dedicated to political correctness. It’s slightly less expected that a large part of that bureaucracy at a “Catholic university” should be engaged in trashing Catholic teaching. But only slightly.

Two things are behind this trend. First, there is the felt need by campus bureaucrats to pander to every politically correct victim group on campus. Such groups will be supported by leftist faculty capable of making noise if the demands are not acceded to.

Secondly, all bureaucrats want to build their little empires. But the faculty are never the “empire” of any bureaucrat — faculty control their own affairs.

So to build an empire, you need lots of “initiatives” and staff to “implement” those “initiatives.”

This quickly leads to whole university offices where most of the staff are involved, not in some useful work, but in pushing political correctness.

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

That’s a Minimalist View

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Vicki McKenna Calls BS on Supposed Marquette Hate incident

From McKenna’s Facebook Page:
Vicki McKenna First, the story is that these guys are pointing guns AT the doll. They are not. They are holding airsoft guns WITH the doll. Airsofts are TOYS, NOT guns and the doll is a TOY, NOT a person. I have no idea what is going on in the pic, except it looks like 4 guys goofing on a doll that one of them bought, received or somehow chanced upon. Or maybe they’re playing “gangsta.” It doesn’t immediately look threatening, or racist. Just juvenile. No one knows the story behind the picture, though I am sure there IS a story behind the picture.

And it’s a PICTURE. There are whole videos of gang bangers from Milwaukee driving around in stolen cars flashing loaded REAL guns, and filming themselves beating the sh*t out of people. But that’s NOT ever a story for the local press.

Now, maybe these boys are just a bunch of future-white supremacists — but that is NOT evident from this dumb picture.

Lastly, I ask the two obviously rhetorical questions: 1. Why is this a story? 2. Why did Marquette apologize as an institution for a picture the institution did not issue or sanction?
A report on Channel 12 indicates that Marquette is not talking, due to an “ongoing investigation.”

McKenna does some more investigation, and notes:
Vicki McKenna So the picture says “Chuuch.” I google “Chuuch.” What pops up in a “song” (if that’s what you can call it) from a rapper named “Slim Thug” called “Chuuch.” Listen if you want. It’s 5:38 seconds of your life you won’t get back.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-dM6ZpOvEE.

Then, because I am a glutton for punishment and time wasting, I googled “Slim Thug” generally, and listened to a few of his “songs,” one of them called “Boss.” Seems to me that that these white boys could very well be playing “gangsta,” and that little doll could be Slim Thug, perhaps even as “Boss.” Never mind, I’m sure it’s just racist.

What Was the Point?

It’s difficult to interpret the intention of the picture (see it in the Channel 12 story linked above). It is the case that the video McKenna linked to features an inspirational rap, apparently done in conjunction with megachurch pastor Joel Osteen.

It’s easy enough to Google the lyrics, and here is the first verse:
[Verse 1: Slim Thug]
Gotta get these blessings
So tired of stressing
Learning new lessons
Planning questions
It’s time for testing
Never ever resting
I’mma stay grinding
So I stay shining like a diamond
I’mma stay climbing to the next level
And do time and
Trying to line up with them bosses
Trying to soar high with them eagles
Can’t chill with none of you chickens
I’m tray get rich with my people
Too high to see you haters
Too blessed to play y’all mind
I ain’t got nothing to be mad at
I’m drop head top down
Thank you, God, all the time for helping me live my dreams
And for exposing all of those who wasn’t right for my team
I’mma keep receiving this games
If it’s for the better, I’ll change
Only live once, better do it right
I’m trying to leave a legacy, man
Slim Thug is apparently a rather mainstream figure in Houston.

Did the clowns who made the photo simply think that since the fellow’s name is “Slim Thug” that his persona is really “thug?” If so, they might be playing “gangsta.”  Other songs of his have much more aggressive and questionable lyrics.  But they named “Chuuch.”

Questions

What was the intention of this photo (and apparently others like it)? Were they implying they might shoot a black person? Or was it silly clowning?

Was the photo sent to a black person (it which case it might be interpreted as harassment), or was it floating around, and finally came to the attention of somebody at Marquette?

Just who were these guys? Marquette students? Or not?

Conclusion

A lot of people on college campuses just love “racist” incidents. For the bureaucrats, it allows them a huge opportunity to virtue signal with fervent and unctuous rhetoric, and implement programs that expand the bureaucracy.

For the Social Justice Warriors, it reinforces the illusion that they are the noble few defending “marginalized groups” against the sea of bigotry and intolerance that is American society.

But before we draw any conclusions about this incident, we need answers.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Another Marquette Falsehood Before Wisconsin Supreme Court

We have already blogged about one falsehood that Marquette lawyer Ralph Weber told to the Wisconsin Supreme Court at our hearing last Thursday: the claim that Cheryl Abbate left Marquette because of the blow-back from our blog post detailing how she insulted and demeaned a student who wanted to express opposition to gay marriage in a class discussion.

In reality, she had wanted to leave Marquette and enter the philosophy graduate program at the University of Colorado the year before. Further, she was unhappy with Marquette’s graduate program.

Judge Michael Gableman thoroughly humiliated Weber on this point.

Was Abbate Disciplined?

Less noticed was a part of the hearing when Gableman asked whether Abbate had violated Marquette’s supposed “Guiding Values,” which Marquette claimed we had transgressed.



Weber admitted that “she could have handled that exchange better, a more experienced teacher would have deescalated the situation . . .” and further that “She was counseled and explained that the way she handled that conversation with the undergraduate . . . [Gableman interrupts, and then] yes, she was counseled.”

This is flatly untrue. As Rick Esenberg has explained (using information gained during “discovery” in our lawsuit):
The student complained to Dr. Susanne Foster in the College of Arts & Sciences, and was sent to the Philosophy Department where he spoke with then-chair Dr. Nancy Snow and Dr. Sebastian Luft. Neither Dr. Snow nor Dr. Luft took any action on behalf of the student. In fact, Dr. Snow referred to him as an “insolent little twerp” in a communication with the College of Arts & Sciences. What Dr. Snow did do was communicate immediately with Ms. Abbate to tell her, in essence, that they had her back. Dr. Snow reported to Ms. Abbate that she told the student that he “needed to change his attitude” and that she would be “monitoring” the situation. Dr. Snow told Ms. Abbate to let her know if the student did anything that Ms. Abbate found objectionable. Ms. Abbate thanked Dr. Snow and said that hopefully the student learned that “oppressive discourse is not acceptable.”
Abbate was, in other words, not some green, inexperienced instructor who needed some tips on how to deescalate a confrontation. She was a politically correct leftist whose suppression of politically incorrect ideas reflected the views of her faculty mentors, and of the leadership of the Marquette Philosophy Department.

See the Entire Hearing

You can see the entire hearing at the website of Wisconsin Eye.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

All Hanging Out to Dry

Racist Messages at Marquette?

A message from the Marquette administration:
A message from university leaders
APRIL 24, 2018

Dear members of the Marquette community,

Earlier this week, one of our students received a series of electronic images from an unknown sender. These images carried disturbing racial overtones. We are thankful that the student came forward and reported this incident to the Marquette University Police Department, and shared the images. MUPD immediately made our administration aware of the situation, and currently is devoting significant resources to its investigation. Anyone with information related to this incident should contact MUPD at (414) 288-6800.

While we continue working to uncover the source of these troubling images, we must make it clear: Incidents such as this are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated on our campus. This is not who we aim to be.

As a Catholic, Jesuit institution, we must make every effort to ensure that every member of our community feels welcome. This lies at the heart of our mission, and informs everything we do.

As educators, we have an obligation to our students and our community to denounce racism and bigotry, and seek justice. Incidents such as this are a reminder that we must remain vigilant in these efforts.

If you, a friend or a classmate experience an incident like this, we want to know about it right away. Speak out. Here are several ways that you can make us aware, or seek other forms of support:

  • Call MUPD at (414) 288-6800 or stop by their headquarters at 749 N. 16th St.
  • File a bias incident report
  • Contact or visit the following campus resources:
    • Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
    • Office of Student Development
    • Office of Residence Life
    • Counseling Center
    • Center for Intercultural Engagement
    • Campus Ministry
As always, we remain committed to dialogue around one of the most important issues we face today.

Sincerely,

Michael R. Lovell
President

Daniel J. Myers
Provost

Xavier A. Cole
Vice President for Student Affairs

William C. Welburn
Executive Director, Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
At the moment, this is all we know. Of course, there is a long of history of “messages” like this sent by social justice warriors to gin up a frenzy of self-righteous virtue signalling on campus.

And administrators rather like incidents like this, since it gives them an excuse to virtue signal, or (worse) implement a bunch of new “diversity” initiatives.

It’s a simple fact: any e-mail communication (or tweet or text, etc.) can be traced back to its source.

If Marquette is less than forthcoming about just who sent the messages with the “disturbing racial overtones” (were they really racist, or just politically incorrect?), that will be highly suspicious.

Update

We just received an update from Marquette. The key part:
Thanks in large part to members of our campus community who came forward with information, MUPD quickly identified a subject and conducted an interview. Our administration also has launched a conduct review process. The details of that process must remain confidential because of student privacy laws, but please know that we take this issue very seriously.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Rick Esenberg Discusses McAdams v. Marquette Supreme Court Hearing

On Vicki McKenna, April 19, the head of our legal team, Rick Esenberg, discusses the just concluded oral arguments before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

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Supreme Court Hearing: Marquette’s Lawyer Eviscerated

The Supreme Court hearing yesterday on our case, McAdams v. Marquette, was a hoot to watch. While six judges will vote on our case, only five sat on the panel (Abrahamson was not present).

Three of the judges were openly incredulous about Marquette’s claims, voiced by their lawyer, Ralph Weber.

This, unfortunately, does not guarantee the court will come down on our side. But it was fun to watch.

We’ll blog later on some of the details of the arguments, but a highlight of the proceedings was Justice Gableman catching Weber in a flat out misrepresentation.

But some background. Weber was arguing that the court should accept the finding of the Faculty Hearing Committee that we were guilty of misconduct in blogging about Cheryl Abbate, philosophy instructor who told a student he was not allowed to voice opposition to gay marriage since such an opinion about the “homophobic” and “offensive” to any gays in the class.

Gableman questioned the fairness of the Faculty Hearing Committee by bringing up information that had been withheld from the committee by Marquette. One key piece of information was the reason Cheryl Abbate left Marquette.


Abbate, in fact, testified to the Faculty Hearing Committee and cried when she was describing her horrible ordeal of receiving a lot of e-mail messages, some of which were vulgar and abusive (but none where threatening).

All the while she was bragging via private e-mail about how happy she was to be able to leave Marquette for a much superior Ph.D. program at Colorado.

P.S.

Kudos to Badger Pundit for excellent coverage of this case, including posting the video above.

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Fake News: Associated Press Publishes Falsehoods About Our Case

It just appeared on the Washington Times website (and many other places, doubtless): a story about our suit against Marquette University from the Associated Press.

As has happened before, the reporter (Ivan Moreno) appears to have accepted at face value claims made by Marquette, and pretty much blown off statements from our lawyer (Rick Esenberg) whom Moreno talked to, but apparently paid little attention to.

Doxing Claim

Moreno repeats the claim by Marquette that we “doxed” graduate instructor Cheryl Abbate. Readers of this blog will remember that Abbate told an undergraduate that expressing opposition to gay marriage would not be allowed, since it would be “homophobic” and might “offend” any gay students in the class. We put up a blog post about this. Moreno explains that “Doxing is the practice of publicizing someone’s personal identifying information online to subject them to harassment.”

Moreno claimed:
The post included the student-teacher’s name, a link to her personal website and her email address, and it led to a flood of hateful messages and threats against her.
Moreno quotes Esenberg stating that “all McAdams did was link to publicly available information.”

Had Moreno bothered to get the facts straight, he would have learned that we linked to no contact information at all. Rather, we linked to Abbate’s toxic feminist essay “Yes All Men… Contribute to the Prevalence of Rape,” published on her blog. If somebody dug around her blog, they could have found her e-mail address.

We did absolutely nothing to encourage people to send her any e-mails at all (much less abusive ones) unless merely exposing misconduct amounts to such.

The Washington Post, which published the same “doxing” claim in a column by Kathleen Parker, has now retracted it. From the Post:
Correction: An earlier version of this op-ed incorrectly reported that Marquette University professor John McAdams posted the contact information for a graduate student-teacher online. He posted a link to her personal blog.

Journalistic Norms

Any casual reader of the media will know that when journalists expose misconduct, they name the miscreant. This is certainly the case if a teacher says something racist to a class, or if a coach sexually molests athletes.

We can’t imagine Marquette would have gotten upset if we had exposed a white instructor who said something racist to a black student, or a male instructor who sexually harassed a female student.

Further, Marquette did nothing about the abuse of the undergraduate Abbate insulted and bullied. Indeed, in internal communications, they derided him.

It seems that abuses from politically correct leftists are not merely to be ignored by Marquette, but exposing them should be punished.

Abbate Received No Threats

Moreno repeats Marquette’s claim that Abbate received threats.
The post included the student-teacher’s name, a link to her personal website and her email address, and it led to a flood of hateful messages and threats against her. The threats were bad enough that the university posted a security officer outside of her classroom and she noticeably lost weight.
In fact, Abbate received no threats, as she admitted on her personal blog.

Why Abbate Left Marquette

Moreno, accepting Marquette’s claims, implies that Abbate had to leave Marquette because of our blog post.
The graduate student McAdams named in his blog eventually moved to another university, where she had to repeat three semesters and revise her PhD thesis.
He ignores the fact that Abbate left a Marquette program ranked barely in the top 100 nationally for one (at Colorado) ranked in the top 40.

Further, Marquette Associate Arts and Science Dean (a Philosophy faculty member intimately familiar with the situation) explained other relevant factors. In an e-mail to Dean Rick Holz, he explained:
Friday, December 5, 2014 5:11 PM

Rick,

It’s complicated, but the short version is Cheryl is planning to leave Marquette and go to a different Ph.D. Program, which has offered her significant financial aid and is reputationally superior to MU. She’s working on a letter to Nancy [Snow] about this, which she is also going to send to Jeanne.

We can talk more on Monday. But several programs reached out to her and offered her aid and [she] finds MU to be very uncomfortable and toxic. She walks around afraid for her safety and feels unsupported by the senior faculty of the department.

James
South gave more information in another e-mail to Holz:
Hi Rick,

If you have a few minutes, could we talk about this tomorrow? Cheryl is not just leaving because of McAdams, but because she did not feel comfortable in the department — for several reasons, not least because of how [Department Chair] Nancy [Snow] treated her, her research area, and her mentor, Susanne [Foster].
Moreno throws in a few other claims from Marquette, such as “McAdams had been advised previously, in 2011, not to mention a student’s name on his blog.” In fact, Provost John Pauly demanded we not blog about undergraduate students. We only blog about highly visible political activism among undergraduates, so Pauly’s demand was absurd, and we ignored it. We were never disciplined in any way by Pauly.

Conclusion

What we have here, from Moreno, is a fairly typical example of a journalist who accepts uncritically what Marquette says, and largely ignores facts inconsistent with Marquette’s version.

Any journalist who is familiar with contemporary higher education would know to be skeptical of what university bureaucrats say. Particularly when those bureaucrats are pandering to the forces of political correctness on their campus.

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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Democratic Thinking

Friday, April 13, 2018

Marquette Warrior on Vicki McKenna, April 12

The subject: what else, our ongoing legal battle with Marquette University.

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