Saturday, February 28, 2004

Legendary Harold Bloom gets accused of harassment

I tend to take sexual harassment seriously regardless of politics (e.g., Bill Clinton and Arnold), so I'm a little less blase than some writers like Caroline Overington have been about Naomi Wolf's allegations of a sexual harassment incident twenty years ago in light of such quotes:
In 1994 The New York Times writer Adam Begley said rumours of Bloom's affairs with Yale students were legion. A friend of Bloom, unnamed, was quoted as saying: "I hate to say it, but he rather bragged about it, so that wasn't very secret for a number of years."

In 1990 writer Martin Kihn interviewed Bloom for GQ magazine. He reported...: "Any honest Yale undergraduate will tell you of Bloom's unusually close friendships with hand-picked proteges."

I think Yale should make a public commitment to review its policies if any recent wrong-doing is found, as Wolf supposedly wants. Anything beyond that on her part is posturing and feminist victimology.

I don't see how one can possibly find abuse in a "he-said, she-said" situation like this beyond Yale's two-year grievance period. FIRE has already shed a hard light on the lack of due process on many campuses, and the muzzling of free speech under the guise of protection against harassment, for instance at Columbia.

Finally, if you write erotic poetry, invite your poetically-spirited professor over for dinner, and get drunk on sherry, I'm not sure that "You have the aura of election upon you" is all that unexpected.

More in the Yale Herald, the Yale Daily News, Slate, the New York Observer, The Scotsman, and the Boston Globe.

The Pox Americana?

"We need America's help," Augustin Francique -- a resident of one of the towns [in Haiti] taken over by rebels -- told the New York Times. "If God has failed to protect us against Aristide's gangs, then only the Americans can do it."

Meanwhile, at Tufts...

Fun with the Saudis

Saudi Arabia is issuing tourist visas, but don't apply if you're Jewish or have traveled to Israel, notes Volokh. Don't forget some important restrictions for women, too.

Ditto for Iran. And, let us hope the US does not go in this nonsensical direction with its restrictions aimed at stopping terrorists. I had Ahmed Rashid's Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia in my backpack while flying to DC the other week. And, boy, was I feeling queasy when they started going through it.

Friday, February 27, 2004

The Protocols and The Passion

This post on The Protocols of the Yuppies of Zion made me think of another life/business idea to consider, in addition to starting a business school chain across the developing world--Western book translation and publishing in Arabic!

'I was surfing the Web one day when I came across this site promoting `The Protocols' to readers in the Mideast,' said Mr. Eisner, 86. 'I was amazed that there were people who still believed `The Protocols' were real, and I was disturbed to learn later that this site was just one of many that promoted these lies in the Muslim world. I decided something had to be done.'

Free speech matters, especially as an antidote to ignorance and extremism. The Passion of the Christ has already caused a fight in my girlfriend's old school in Sarasota, Florida. Only by being aware of it can we respond, however.

Freedom in Turkmenistan

OxBlog reports on yet another gross human rights violation in Turkmenistan, which should serve as a good warning to any nonchalant American anti-Communists or "anti-Islamofascists":
TURKMENISTAN'S PRESIDENT NIYAZOV today declared the wearing of beards and goatees illegal. Rather than any connection to Islam, as might more ordinarily be suspected for an ordinance concerning beards, it seems much more likely that Niyazov simply doesn't approve of the current fashion of goatees proliferating among the young men of Ashgabat. And this is just the latest in a string of odd prohibitions imposed by a crazed autocrat: for instance, it is also now forbidden in Turkmenistan to listen to car radios or to smoke in the street; opera and ballet performances have also been banned, on the grounds that they are 'unnecessary'; and the entire health care sector of the nation is about to be laid off, to be replaced by military conscripts.

The Argus is a neat blog about Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Tufts GOP protests porn, 'obscene' school events

Tufts GOP protests porn, 'obscene' school events
Dean [of Students] says activities 'bring a lot of people together'
Somerville Journal, 02/26/04

Condom Olympics and Vagina Jeopardy are just some of the games people play on campus, but Tufts Republicans are not having any of that. A student group on campus, the Tufts Republican Club, is protesting university funding of a series of recent student events they believe to pornographic and pointless.

Original Tufts Republicans Press Release

'Jews Killed Jesus'

The large-size outdoor marquee, which sits on the property of the Lovingway United Pentecostal Church at Colorado and Mississippi. Yeeeek. Via Andrew Sullivan.

Going to see The Passion of the Christ tonight. Andrew didn't like it, but we'll have to see.

Hooray for Capitalism

The famous Chinatown bus company gets its deserved spot in the limelight. NY - Boston - $10. Wow. Via daleynews.

Students' sloppy letters aid charter schools' approval

All the proof state Board of Education member Roberta Schaefer needed to OK controversial new charter schools were the letters before her from public school students.

Schaefer ridiculed the letters against a proposed school in Marlboro for their missing punctuation and sloppy spelling - including a misspelling of the word "school'' in one missive.

"If I didn't think a charter school was necessary, these letters have convinced me the high school was not doing an adequate job in teaching English language arts,'' Schaefer said.

Ouch. From the Boston Herald via daleynews.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

State and Jim Crow

An interesting item in the Volokh archives on the relationship between government, the perpetuation of the Jim Crow regime, and its implications for civil rights legislation.

Said on Free Speech

Tyler Cowen on the late Edward Said's refusal to acknowledge the severe censorship by the PA and other Arab regimes of his own writings.

Gay Rights vs. Free Speech

There is plenty to disagree with in the rhetoric on the Christian right, especially its less well-spoken "spokespersons". Some of it, frankly, makes one's jaw drop. Attempting to make it a crime on "hate speech" grounds is hardly "liberal" of the supporters of the gay rights movement, however, and I think will ultimately prove to be very detrimental in turning public opinion against it, similar to the current lack of legal restraint in Massachusetts and California. Catholic news service Zenit reports:

[British Anglican] Bishop Peter Forster of Chester told a local paper: "Some people who are primarily homosexual can reorientate themselves. I would encourage them to consider that as an option, but I would not set myself up as a medical specialist on the subject -- that's in the area of psychiatric health."

Police investigated the statements and a spokesman said a copy of the article would be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service. Subsequently, the police dropped the case, the Independent newspaper reported Nov. 11....

In Ireland, meanwhile, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties warned the Catholic Church that distributing the Vatican guidelines on same-sex unions could bring prosecution. The document published last July by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith falls foul of the Incitement to Hatred Act, according to sources quoted in the Irish Times on Aug. 2....

Those convicted under the act could face six-month jail terms. Of the Vatican document [Aisling Reidy, director of the civil-liberties council] said: "The wording is very strong and certainly goes against the spirit of the legislation."

Via the Volokh Conspiracy.

Anti-War Rally in SF

I missed this last Monday, Presidents' Day:

Other slogans: "Either War is Obsolete or Men Are", "Israel is the Problem". Wow.

Interestingly, according to WorldNetDaily, the International Action Center, which sports similar rhetoric, gets sponsorship from the Tides Foundation Iraq Peace Fund and Peace Studies Fund, which, in turn, has gotten over $4 million through Teresa Heinz Kerry between 1995 and 2001. The information is from the online G2 Bulletin, so take it wtih a grain of salt. Still, what a shame.

Both via Dannews.

The Passion Oppresses Black People

Ah, crazy people. Gotta love them. From a letter published in USA Today, via Right-Thinking from the Left Coast:
Therefore, the release of another movie with a white Jesus -- especially during Black History Month -- is disturbing. We feel that a white image of a man believed to be the son of God produces a sense of inferiority in black children. In fact, the image of a white Jesus is more dangerous to black children than gangsta rap....

Rev. Paul Scott, founder
Messianic Afrikan Nation
Durham, NC

Standing Up to Outsourcing

Alex Tabarrok does a little math to see how much standing up to outsourcing is costing us: a lot.

In Indiana, Governor Joe Kernan canceled a $15.2 million dollar contract with a subsidiary of a Bombay headquartered company. The next lowest bid was $8.2 million dollars higher. Even if we accept (incorrectly!) the notion that trade restrictions create jobs the governor's action will at best create some 50 jobs at an additional cost to Indiana taxpayers of $162,000 per job. Consider, both Indiana taxpayers and workers would be better off if the state government hired the Indians and gave 50 randomly chosen workers $100,000 to spend at their leisure.

Haiti Pundit

A very interesting, recently founded blog about Haiti: Haiti Pundit. Via the Marginal Revolution.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

For CJ

My first poem since junior high. :) With inspiration from

Felicidades querida CJ!
Como valoro tu amistad
Si no te habia dicho antes
Te digo hoy,
Así y ya.

Gracias te doy hoy día
Por tu querer y amistad.
Y por la oportunidad de
Tenerte como
Una amiga.

Monday, February 16, 2004

RWUCR's Fighting Whites

Congrats to Jason Mattera and the boys down at RWUCR for, once again, landing the national press. Ben thinks that their “White Scholarship Award” crosses the line. I really don’t see what that is. Tufts just got a large scholarship fund endowment to benefit "undergraduate African American, Hispanic American and Native American students from underprivileged backgrounds."

"Individuals who choose to invest their own money in causes and opportunities that are meaningful to them are not restricted by affirmative action rules," Public Relations director Siobhan Houton said.

I don’t see why undergraduate white, Asian, and Middle Eastern students from underprivileged backgrounds should be left out. Nor do I see why it is considered acceptable, or liberal minded, in 2004 to be dividing students by “race” the way that Tufts and so many other universities do.

Kerry's Killing Fields?

Tufts' W. Scott Thompson writes in the Taipei Times about Kerry:

He now makes much of his decorations from the war in Vietnam, to appeal to centrists and conservatives, without reminding those audiences that he for long was a leader of Vietnam veterans against the war. Indeed, assiduous searchers, looking for his vulnerabilities, will find much of interest in that period of his life. For example, the fabled and distinguished chief of naval operations (CNO), Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, told me -- 30 years ago when he was still CNO -- that during his own command of US naval forces in Vietnam, just prior to his anointment as CNO, young Kerry had created great problems for him and the other top brass, by killing so many non-combatant civilians and going after other non-military targets.

"We had virtually to straight-jacket him to keep him under control," the admiral said. "Bud" Zumwalt got it right when he assessed Kerry as having large ambitions -- but promised that his career in Vietnam would haunt him if he were ever on the national stage.

Via The Command Post, via No Treason, via Kate Duree.

John Kerry's Fuzzy Numbers

Adam Schultz in a February 11th Tufts Daily Op-Ed and The Washington Post in its February 14th editorial ask a reasonable question, "So, what does the junior Senator from Massachusetts, and the presumed Democratic nominee, stand for?" The Washington Post:

He says he opposes gay marriage, yet voted against the federal Defense of Marriage act. He voted for the North American Free Trade agreement yet now talks in protectionist terms, promising he will provide American workers "a fair playing field" while accusing Mr. Bush of "selling them out." Would a President Kerry seek additional free trade agreements in Latin America and elsewhere? What's his position on whether his own state should adopt a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage? So far, the answers aren't clear.

The most important confusion surrounds Mr. Kerry's position on Iraq. In 1991 he voted against the first Persian Gulf War, saying more support was needed from Americans for a war that he believed would prove costly. In 1998, when President Clinton was considering military steps against Iraq, he strenuously argued for action, with or without allies. Four years later he voted for a resolution authorizing invasion but criticized Mr. Bush for not recruiting allies. Last fall he voted against funding for Iraqi reconstruction, but argued that the United States must support the establishment of a democratic government.

Mr. Kerry's attempts to weave a thread connecting and justifying all these positions are unconvincing. He would do better to offer a more honest accounting. His estimation of the cost of expelling Iraq from Kuwait in 1991 was simply wrong; and if President Bush was mistaken to think in 2003 that there was an urgent need to stop Saddam Hussein from stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, Mr. Kerry made the same error in 1998.

Conan O'Brien does Canada

The [Canadian] federal government and the government of Ontario contributed $1-million to help bring Mr. O'Brien's show to Toronto in an effort to boost the city's image.

Bad, bad idea!

"So you're French and Canadian, yes? So you're obnoxious and dumb," a satirical sock puppet told one passerby in a taped segment on Mr. O'Brien's show last night.

:) Via John.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Marriage debate deadlocked on Beacon Hill

Shame on Cynthia Creem (alas, my State Senator) for turning this important debate into name-calling:

Yesterday's debate brought passionate speeches from both sides of the gay marriage debate. Senator Cynthia Stone Creem, Democrat of Newton, likened efforts to ban gay marriage to restrictions against Jews in Nazi Germany, and Representative Rachel Kaprielian, Democrat of Watertown, made reference to the persecution of Armenians.

What was the passionate rhetoric from the "other side of the gay marriage debate"? As in, I presume, the Nazi Democratic and Republican Senators and State Reps? The Globe, typically, leaves that for you to find out for yourself.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Mexicans Call for Osama

Talk about taking your soccer seriously!

The Mexican crowd hooted "The Star-Spangled Banner." It booed U.S. goals. It chanted "Osama! Osama! Osama!" as U.S. players left the field with a 2-0 victory. And that was in a game against Canada on Thursday before just 1,500 people.

The US soccer team lost a subsequent game to Mexico, and for the first time since 1976 will not qualify for the Olympics.

Via YaleDiva.

Conservatives Are Just Dim

From the February 11th OpinionJournal Best of the Web Today:
Conservos Are Dim, Says Talking Chair
The Duke Conservative Union took out an ad in the Chronicle, the Durham, N.C., university's student newspaper, deploring the ideological imbalance of the Duke faculty, which, like most university faculties, is overwhelmingly liberal and left-wing. The Chronicle reports this reaction from Robert Brandon, the "chair of the philosophy department":

"We try to hire the best, smartest people available," Brandon said of his philosophy hires. "If, as John Stuart Mill said, stupid people are generally conservative, then there are lots of conservatives we will never hire.

"Mill's analysis may go some way towards explaining the power of the Republican party in our society and the relative scarcity of Republicans in academia. Players in the NBA tend to be taller than average. There is a good reason for this. Members of academia tend to be a bit smarter than average. There is a good reason for this too."

Even for a piece of furniture, Robert Brandon isn't as smart as it thinks it is. As we write this column, we are sitting on a much smarter chair. It hasn't said a word all afternoon. Clearly, unlike that fancy Duke chair, it understands the truth of the old adage "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool that to speak and remove all doubt."