February 28, 2015

Classless and Spiteful: Jezebel’s ‘Update’ to False Walker Sexual Assault Reporting Story

As noted this morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Jezebel’s Natasha Vargas-Cooper wrote a Friday morning hit piece directed at Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s Republican Governor, calling him a “conservative werewolf” for including a provision in the Badger State’s latest proposed budget to elminate the requirement that universities report campus sexual assault statistics to the state.

Vargas-Cooper took this to mean that all such sexual assault reporting would end. Hardly. Hours later, an unbylined Associated Press story carried at USA Today (but still not carried at its national site) made it clear that a) the University of Wisconsin system had requested the provision, and b) such statistics would continue to be reported to the federal government. Jezebel’s “correction” and Vargas-Cooper’s spiteful tweeted reaction follow the jump.

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Jezebel Writer Falsely Accuses Walker of Wanting to Stop Reporting of Campus Sexual Assaults

On Friday morning at Jezebel, a Gawker-affiliated web site, Natasha Vargas-Cooper thought she had Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker by the — well, you know.

In a post tellingly tagged “Conservative Werewolves,” Vargas-Cooper was absolutely sure — so certain that she apparently felt no need to check any further — that Walker’s proposed budget would allow its colleges to “to stop reporting sexual assaults.” Vicious vitriol ensued (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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February 23, 2015

Juan Williams: There Are ‘Elements of Racism’ in Today’s Constitution

In a discussion with plenty of other objectionable elements on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Friday, Juan Williams asserted that “There’s no question that if you look at our Constitution, there are elements of racism right in it.” Note his use of the present tense.

The version of this country’s founding document Williams was referencing must be 147 or more years old, because the only element of the original Constitution which was arguably racist — the inclusion of non-free persons as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of allocating House seats in Article I — went away when the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868. Even that argument ignores the existence of white slaves at the time of its adoption.

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February 16, 2015

TEA Party Leader to Fox News: 11 Reasons to Stop Calling Kasich ‘Conservative’

Because he’s not.

The harsh truth was delivered in an open letter to Fox News’s Bret Baier, who consdiers Kasich a center-right Republican politician, by Mike Snead, Dayton TEA Party President. It reflects his personal views.

Well done, sir.

NY Times Corrects Gail Collins Column Which Gave Walker Credit For Time Travel; Problems Remain

It took well over 24 hours, but the New York Times finally corrected (HT Instapundit) op-ed columnist Gail Collins’s ignorant Saturday contention about how Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker caused teacher layoff in 2010: “As well as the fact that those layoffs happened because Walker cut state aid to education.” Collins was so sure of herself that she emphasized how Walker’s 2010 state aid-caused layoffs were a “fact.” Trouble is, Walker didn’t become Badger State Governor until January 2011.

Instapundit’s reaction: “So basically, it’s now an Emily Litella column. Never mind! The Old Gray Lady’s excision from Collins’s cranky column hardly solves all of its problems.

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February 15, 2015

AP Obsesses Over Walker’s Refusal to Answer Evolution Question; Time Interviews His High School Teacher

In London, England earlier this week, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker delivered a speech about global trade at the Chatham House think tank. Given that the group’s mission is “to help build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world,” and that it encourages “open debate and confidential discussion on the most significant developments in international affairs,” it seemed a reasonable expectation that those present would ask questions relevant to those matters.

Instead, Scott Walker was asked several brazenly off-topic questions, including if he believed in evolution. He refused to answer them. In the case of evolution, he said, “I’m going to punt on that one … That’s a question that a politician shouldn’t be involved in one way or another,” while reminding the audience that “I’m here to talk about trade and not pontificate on other issues.” The smug establishment press apparently wants to believe that Walker’s refusal has created a political crisis of epic proportions which they contend (translation: hope) may harm his presidential aspirations.

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February 14, 2015

Gail Collins, in NY Times Op-ed: Scott Walker Cut Teachers’ Jobs in 2010 … Before He Was Even Governor

What an ironic title New York Times op-ed columnist and former editorial page editor Gail Collins used — “Scott Walker Needs an Eraser” — in her February 13 opinion piece blasting Wisconsin’s Republican governor.

In her nitpicky, selective mind, Walker must already have an eraser, one that’s so powerful that it could reach back to the year before he became Badger State chief executive and eliminate teachers’ jobs (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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February 10, 2015

Challenging ‘Kelly and Michael,’ John Kasich, the General Assembly, and Ohio’s Media: Heed the Warnings of the ’2014 Top Teacher’ Driven Out by Common Core

From Elyria, Ohio (HT Paula Bolyard at PJ Media):

Elyria High’s Stacie Starr announces resignation

Stacie Starr says mandated state testing is pushing her away from teaching.

The veteran Elyria Schools educator said Monday she plans to resign at the end of the school year.

Gasps of disbelief followed the announcement made during an education forum aimed at unraveling for parents the intricacies of the standardized testing system. Starr was at the podium, delivering a talk on how special education students are suffering under the new system based on Common Core standards and more rigorous assessments. She said as a veteran intervention specialist at Elyria High School, she could no longer watch silently from within the confines of a structured school day.

Instead, she is leaving education in the traditional sense.

“I am going to teach in a different way,” she proclaimed.

Starr wants to start an after-school mentoring program for at-risk students in hopes of saving them from the school-to-prison pipeline.

Starr garnered a reputation of being a rock star teacher long before “Live with Kelly and Michael” picked her as the winner of the 2014 Top Teacher Search. She has mentored middle school boys, putting books in the hands of at-risk youth and ties on their necks to foster a sense of pride. Handing out high school diplomas to those same students was a highlight of her career, a testament that getting a child to graduation sometimes requires more than just lesson plans and homework.

She has coached football, taken students on field trips to meet authors and adopted a “failure is not an option” approach to some of the hardest-to-reach students. Yet with a stellar 16-year career under her belt, Starr said the new testing culture is killing education.

Okay, so maybe the school board can do something about this. Common Core’s proponents have long guaranteed that their regime is not a threat of any kind to local control, right?

Wrong:

Chief among … (Dawn Neely Randall’s) complaints was the rigor and relevance of the upcoming assessment known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test. To be administered soon, the test is said to be more in line with state Common Core standards and will be a better evaluating tool to determine if students are on track to be successful in college and their careers.

But, as Randall put it during the meeting, planning for the test is virtually impossible, and teachers and students are being forced to spend more time on test preparation.

“It keeps hitting me over the head that this life is too short, but with this testing schedule we are doing nothing for our kids but taking their childhood away with test after test,” she said.

Randall called on board members to advocate for Elyria students and take whatever steps necessary to bring the testing culture to an end.

… Kathryn Karpus, (Elyria School) board president, was the only one to speak after Randall’s speech, which was met with applause from fellow teachers who attended the meeting. She thanked Randall for her passion and concern but offered no indication the board would act.

After the meeting, Karpus said members’ hands are tied. Every concern Randall spoke of is dictated by state legislation, and it will take legislative action for change to come.

“All we can do is speak for students in numbers and hope Columbus listens and acts,” she said.

“Kelly and Michael” absolutely must get Stacie Starr back onto their program and give her a chance to tell America why their Top Teacher feels she must leave.

Hardcore Common Core supporter John Kasich and the all-too-pliant members of Ohio’s Legislature need to wake up, smell the failure, and get Common Core out of Ohio for good — as in for everyone’s good, and forever.

Additionally, the folks in Ohio’s establishment press who have been giving the Common Core crap sandwich an ignorant pass during the past several years need to recognize and tell their readers the truth about this unconscionable, counterproductive, privacy-destroying lunacy before it irretrievably implants itself and permanently ruins K-12 education.

Time is running short.

January 20, 2015

A ‘Statist of the Union’ Response From C.S. Lewis

Filed under: Activism,Economy,Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:17 pm

I got an email today suggesting that I post a one-hour video.

Usually, no matter how good it might be, I don’t do that without also posting excerpts for those who don’t have the time to get through a full hour.

When I indicated that to David Theroux of the Independent Institute, he pointed me to a transcript of that video, which effectively serves as a response to yet another “Statist of the Union” speech by President Barack Obama:

Key excerpts (bolds are mine; some paragraph breaks added by me):

… Throughout his work, Lewis infused an interconnected worldview that championed objective truth, moral ethics, natural law, literary excellence, reason, science, individual liberty, personal responsibility and virtue, and Christian theism. In so doing, he critiqued naturalism, reductionism, nihilism, positivism, scientism, historicism, collectivism, atheism, statism, coercive egalitarianism, militarism, welfarism, and dehumanization and tyranny of all forms.

Unlike “progressive” crusaders for predatory government power over the peaceful pursuits of innocent people, Lewis noted that “I do not like the pretensions of Government—the grounds on which it demands my obedience—to be pitched too high. I don’t like the medicine-man’s magical pretensions nor the Bourbon’s Divine Right. This is not solely because I disbelieve in magic and in Bossuet’s Politique. I believe in God, but I detest theocracy. For every Government consists of mere men and is, strictly viewed, a makeshift; if it adds to its commands ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ it lies, and lies dangerously.”

… “Of all tyrannies,” he stated,

a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth.

… Throughout his books, he defended the rights and sanctity of individuals against tyranny not just because he opposed evil, but because he considered a life in freedom—including both social and economic freedom—to be essential: “I believe a man is happier, and happy in a richer way, if he had “the freeborn mind.” But I doubt whether he can have this without economic independence, which the new society is abolishing. For economic independence allows an education not controlled by Government; and in adult life it is the man who needs, and asks, nothing of Government who can criticize its acts and snap his fingers at its ideology.”

…  (Rodney Stark has pointed out that although almost every other early culture and religion viewed human society in terms of the tribe, polis, or collective, “it is the individual who was the focus of Christian political thought, and this, in turn, explicitly shaped the views of later European political philosophers.” 

This focus produced a radical change in a world where, despite notable but limited exceptions of political decentralization, slavery and nearly universal and unyielding despotism had ruled, where people were treated as mere members of a group without rights. With Christianity, each and every person is “a child of God” or a holy object (res sacra homo) who has free will and is individually responsible for the choices he or she makes.

… As a proponent of natural law, Lewis was a supporter of the “law of equal liberty” but a firm critic of imposed egalitarianism for any reason. He further understood that egalitarianism is too often a cloak for envy (the sin of coveting) and that such appeals for regimentation are tyrannical

… Lewis understood that without this necessary natural-law framing of social, legal, and political culture, mankind would no longer be recognized as worthy of rights or even common decency, but instead would be left defenseless to any and all forms of oppression …

… Lewis fully understood that democracy, if unchecked, becomes egalitarianism and will trample on liberty as a collectivist force for evil by celebrating pride and envy as it fosters tyranny.

… recognizing the implications of every development in the galloping socialism of post–World War II England (Lewis wrote): “The modern State exists not to protect our rights but to do us good or make us good—anyway, to do something to us or to make us something. Hence the new name ‘leaders’ for those who were once “rulers.” … We are less their subjects than their wards, pupils, or domestic animals. There is nothing left of which we can say to them, ‘Mind your own business.’ Our whole lives are their business.”

Certainly damned near it.

January 16, 2015

Author of Bogus ’1 in 3 Men Would Commit Rape’ Study Still Buys the False ’1 in 5′ College Assault Stat

On Tuesday, I posted (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) on a bogus “study” out of North Dakota University contending that “almost one in 3 college men would commit rape ‘if nobody would ever know and there wouldn’t be any consequences.’” Media exposure from favorable and unfavorable outlets continues to grow.

In that post, I noted that the study disqualified itself from credibility by uncriticially relaying the thoroughly discredited “1 in 5″ statistic, namely (quoting the study’s opening) “Federal data estimate that about one in five women becomes the victim of sexual assault while in college,” and took that as a clear indication that the trio of academics involved “are not dispassionate researchers, but instead are agenda-driven individuals who are not interested in facts, but are instead looking to reach desired conclusions.” In an exchange with the Washington Examiner’s Ashe Schow, study leader Sarah Edwards confirmed my assessment, and ratified the idea that any media outlet which takes their work seriously is deliberately spreading disinformation (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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January 14, 2015

Three Major December Media Misfires

All truly “cringeworthy.”

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This column went up at PJ Media late Sunday evening and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Monday.

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The Columbia Journalism Review claims that the mission of its bimonthly magazine and CJR.org, its companion online effort, is “to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society.”

The flip side of that mission should be to identify, criticize and discourage incompetence, dishonesty and bias. CJR.org’s alleged year-end compilation of “the worst journalism of 2014″ — “a recap of this year’s most cringeworthy news blunders” — does an extraordainarily poor job of that.

It’s only an alleged year-end list because CJR published it on December 22, following the herd of dozens of other annual list presenters who couldn’t wait until 2014 actually ended.

It’s also an extraordinarily weak list. Rolling Stone’s now-exposed fabricated account of the fraternity gang rape that didn’t happen at the University of Virginia topped the list, but only one of the other items in its compilation — the entirely made-up story of Mohammed Islam, the 17 year-old who suckered New York Magazine into believing that he had made $72 million in the stock market — is anywhere near as “cringeworthy” as at least three other egregious media misfires in December alone.

Here are those three December candidates, all of which did not become known until after CJR’s premature publication.

1. “Peaceful” Ferguson protester confesses to arson and burglary.

For several months, 18 year-old Joshua Williams was a media and leftist darling at those Ferguson, Missouri mob gatherings serially misidentified as “protests.” Williams “perfected the skill of catching the attention of journalists and using them to elevate his claims of police brutality to national attention,” and was “quoted or photographed in countless articles in publications including the New York Times and USA Today.” The Associated Press photographed him marching “arm in arm” with black radical Cornel West in October. In mid-December, Williams, who was constantly begging others for money, somehow made it to Washington and spoke at one of Al Sharpton’s affiliated whine festivals.

Shortly after Christmas, the media hero was charged with and reportedly confessed to “1st degree arson, 2nd degree burglary and misdemeanor theft” in the torching and looting of a QuikTrip convenience store in Berkeley, Missouri on Christmas Eve. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch apparently had a hard time getting over being jilted, headlining Williams, after his arrest, as a “Protester who advocates peace.”

2. The Lena Dunham postscript.

In early December, John Nolte at Breitbart’s Big Hollywood thoroughly debunked and discredited the details Lena Dunham had included about her alleged rape in her Not That Kind of Girl memoir. “Barry,” a name only later identified as a pseudonym, could not have been Oberlin College’s “campus’s resident conservative.” Among other things, there was no “Barry” who had “a flamboyant mustache,” a job at the campus library, or “purple cowboy boots.” Nolte “could not find a Republican named Barry who attended Oberlin during Dunham’s time there who came anywhere close to matching her description of him.”

On December 9, the day after Random House, Dunham’s publisher, covered its legal keister by exonerating a “Barry” who did attend Oberlin during the time in question, Dunham posted a pathetic I’m-a-victim non-defense at BuzzFeed, claiming that she had made up details about her attacker to conceal his identity. Two days later, responding to several media insinuations to the contrary, Nolte made it redundantly clear that “Breitbart News never once questioned whether or not Lena Dunham was raped.”

What followed is what should have made CJR’s “blunders” list.

On December 31, J.K Trotter at Gawker, who appears to have set out to perpetuate the straw-man criticism against Dunham’s detractors, reported something far more troubling:

The 2012 proposal for Not That Kind of Girl recounted the same night of unwanted unprotected sex—and supplied enough specific biographical detail to identify the man being described.

The final manuscript of Not that Kind of Girl contains a significantly altered version of Dunham’s original account.

Trotter is nearly certain that he has identified the attacker Dunham described in her 2012 proposal. His name is at the link for those who are curious, but the fundamentally important point is that this person “did not affiliate with either major political party until 2012, when he formally registered as a Democrat,” and “does not appear to have ever been an on-the-book Republican.”

Thus, Dunham’s rape story, even assuming she was indeed raped, was from all appearances originally packaged in 2012 to smear Republicans and conservatives for an act committed by someone who was neither. When revised two years later, it was further dressed up with more juicy details not traceable to a specific person to enhance the smear’s memorability.

It would seem that no one at Random House or at any other publisher who might have seen Dunham’s original proposal and read the final product has ever questioned the credibility of her underlying story. This is either astonishing negligence or intensely hostile groupthink. Are these people all that lazy and clueless, or were Dunham’s fabrications okay in publishing land because her story attacked liberalism’s enemies?

3. The Imaginary Kwanzaa “Parade.”

In recent years, the annual late-December Kwanzaa parade in South Central Los Angeles has fallen on hard times. In 2011, the second-last year the Los Angeles Times covered it, the paper claimed that “hundreds” attended, but could only muster a photo showing a half-dozen participants and about the same number of onlookers.

On December 26, 2014, apathy won. A CBS-Los Angeles reporter tweeted a photo showing an empty boulevard with no spectators captioned, “People in #SouthLosAngeles disappointed by lack of turn-out for #Kwanza parade. Parade lasted 10 mins.” (What “people”?) Two minutes later, he tweeted: “Parade is over.” It was never a real parade. It wasn’t even a motorcade.

But then, in an online report, CBS-LA, despite its own reporter calling out a non-event, descended into full fictional cringeworthiness, making it appear as if a genuine parade had occurred:

LA Celebrates Start Of Kwanzaa With Parade Along Crenshaw Boulevard

The 38th annual KwanZaa Gwaride parade made its way down Crenshaw Boulevard Friday, marking the start of the seven-day festival of Kwanzaa.

Some participants walked the parade carrying signs underlining important issues to the community, such as police brutality, home foreclosures, judicial corruption, transparency in government and environmental racism.

Never has one of the favorite sayings of Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds been truer: “It’s Potemkin villages all the way down.”

And all the way up – to the see no liberal media evil folks at the Columbia Journalism Review.

January 13, 2015

Bogus ’1 in 3 Men Would Commit Rape’ Study Discredits Itself in Opening Sentence, Goes Downhill From There

The feminist-leftist fever swamp is apparently thrilled to have learned of a North Dakota University “study” purporting to show that almost one in 3 college men would commit rape “if nobody would ever know and there wouldn’t be any consequences.”

I’ll get to the study specifics shortly, but first want to note that the work, published in December, automatically discredited itself in its body’s opening paragraph:

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December 16, 2014

Positivity: Voucher backers to Colorado high court: don’t exclude religious schools

Filed under: Education,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Denver:

Dec 14, 2014 / 04:54 pm

The Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs has joined several other Christian schools and organizations in a legal brief to support a county voucher program, saying the Colorado Supreme Court should not exclude schools that are “too religious.”

“To exclude otherwise qualifying schools based solely on religious criteria is to engage in unconstitutional religious discrimination,” the brief says. “It may also lead to unconstitutional religious inquiries.”

The case concerns Douglas County’s school voucher program, called the Choice Scholarship Program. It allows parents of students to receive 75 percent of the district’s per-pupil revenue to attend private schools the district has approved to participate in the program, the Denver Post reports.

Legal challenges halted the program in 2011, just before over 300 children were set to enroll in it. Most of the students intended to attend religious schools.

A provision in the Colorado constitution bars aid to private schools and churches for “any sectarian purpose.”

The Diocese of Colorado Springs’ brief argues that the state constitutional provision mandates “religious discrimination” by treating religion as a “disqualifying characteristic.” It may also mandate “excessive religious inquiries” to determine whether a school’s programs and activities have “religious meaning or significance.”

Religious private school partners of the program are fully accredited and their graduates are “fully qualified” for additional education or work opportunities, the brief notes, adding that the scholarship program was “religiously neutral” and the constitutional provision should not be interpreted to prohibit it.

The Denver District Court ruled against the program, while the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld it in February 2013 by a 2-1 vote.

The Colorado Supreme Court is now considering the issue. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 11, 2014

Celeb-Worshipping WaPo Thoroughly Vets U.Va.’s ‘Jackie,’ Lets Dunham Off the Hook

Two recent items in the Washington Post support my contention that the establishment press is currently doing more than anyone besides Lena Dunham and “Jackie,” both of whom have been irrefutably exposed as rape story fabulists, to cause victims of sexual assault to be reluctant to come forward (Note: That’s not to say that the two women haven’t been victims of sexual assault, “only” that the stories they are currently promulgating cannot possibly be true).

As Tim Graham at NewsBusters noted this morning, the Post provided feminist character witnesses supporting Dunham (including one who still “completely believe(s) her”) and made pathetic excuses for the “Girls” star, including that she has a “demanding job.” Meanwhile — and to be clear, this is appropriate work which Rolling Stone should have done in the first place — the Post has been thoroughly vetting the story of alleged University of Virginia fraternity gang-rape victim “Jackie.” We’re now at the point where the coed’s original story, like Dunham’s, which “evaporated into pixie dust” after Breitbart’s John Nolte’s fact-check, has also become impossible to believe.

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December 7, 2014

Jonah Goldberg’s Rolling Stone-U.Va. Doubts Vindicated; His Harsh LA Times Critic Should Publicly Apologize

In the Rolling Stone-University of Virginia fraternity gang-rape saga, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg’s journalistic instincts expressed in his December 1 Los Angeles Times column (“Rolling Stone rape story sends shock waves — and stretches credulity”) obviously ran circles around Los Angeles Times op-ed columnist Diana Crandall’s.

On December 3, shortly before the story imploded, Crandall went after Goldberg with a vengeance for supposedly “being out of touch with college realities” and for writing the kind of column which “prevents rape victims from coming forward” (bolds and numbereed tags are mine):

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