Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Latest Culture War Skirmish -- Stomping on Jesus at Florida Atlantic University

The skirmish of the week in the ongoing culture war between those who would preserve and those who would weaken traditional Judeo-Christian cultural values broke out at Florida Atlantic University.  Often the dust-up involves a cowardly teacher asserting his power position over powerless students just trying to get a grade and not cause trouble.  In covering this story (link), Dennis Prager calls the modern indoctrination-prone university "left-wing seminaries", referring to the quasi-religious nature of the modern leftist/ultra-liberal movement.

At this particular school there is a teacher, one Deandre Poole, who also happens to be an official with the local Democrat party.  This fellow happens to be black, so undoubtedly he's familiar with the current cultural ethos on sensitivity and diversity.  However, apparently he doesn't feel cultural sensitivity should extend to Christians.

Florida Atlantic Univ Teacher Deandre Poole
Poole ran a classroom exercise in his Intercultural Communications class which involved students being asked to write "Jesus" on a piece of paper, then to place it on the floor and stomp on it.  All no doubt in furtherance of some important purpose in this guy's head.  One student refused to participate and supposedly told the teacher that the exercise was inappropriate and that he should stop it.  Apparently stomping on Mohammad was not part of that day's exercise -- the teacher must have been saving that for another time.

This story followed the usual trajectory in skirmishes like this.  Step One -- defiance.  First, the University defended the teacher and the exercise on the grounds of some gobbledygook about it fulfilling the purpose of education, [speak now like Yul Brenner] etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.  The school also denied that it was taking any disciplinary action against the student, but this turned out to be a lie, because at the same time a Florida Atlantic beaurocrat, one Rozalia Williams, informed the student in writing of pending disciplinary action (link), ostensibly for his non-cooperation but more likely because he went public with the whole affair.
However, according to a letter written by Associate Dean Rozalia Williams, [student] Rotela is facing a litany of charges – including an alleged violation of the student code of conduct, acts of verbal, written or physical abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion or other conduct which threaten the health, safety or welfare of any person.”  “In the interim, you may not attend class or contact any of the students involved in this matter – verbally or electronically – or by any other means,” Williams wrote to Rotela. “Please be advised that a Student Affairs hold may be placed on your records until final disposition of the complaint.”

Florida Atllantic Univ Dean Rozalia Williams
The administrators at Florida Atlantic don't seem to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.  They send the student a hostile disciplinary letter yet deny it to the press.  They're mendacious and stupid -- with university leaders like this our children are in the best of hands.

Interesting is the role a teacher from a Catholic University played in this (link), although the anti-Christian values espoused by some at supposedly Catholic institutions are getting more commonplace these days (witness Notre Dame's honoring (link) of Barack Obama, a prominent defender of partial birth abortion and infanticide (link)):
[Florida Atlantic] Communications department director Noemi Marin had earlier defended the assignment, saying, "while at times the topics discussed may be sensitive, a university environment is a venue for such dialogue and debate."The exercise came from an instructor's manual written by St. Norbert College communications professor Jim Neuliep. The assignment was part of a chapter about dealing with the power of certain words."This exercise is a bit sensitive, but really drives home the point that even though symbols are arbitrary, they take on very strong and emotional meanings," the exercise states. "Most will hesitate. Ask why they can't step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture."
FSU Assoc Professor Noemi Marin
"The exercise is a bit sensitive", says professor Marin.  Ya think?  Wait till they get around to stomping on Muhammad or Martin Luther King.  That, of course, will never happen, since the point of the leftist exercise is to weaken Christianity, the perceived religion of those in power -- white males -- as viewed through the prism of race/gender/class.

Step Two -- the reaction, which was swift and widespread.  Too busy waging their cultural war by bullying their students, the brain trust at this University apparently is unaware of the power of the internet.

Step Three -- the apology and retreat.  It's very important to remember that the first response of the University was to defend the teacher and punish the student.  Initially, the school issued a weak pseudo-apology if anyone "took offense", but now after the Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott asked for an investigation (link) of the incident the school is in full tactical retreat (link):
On behalf of all of us here at FAU, we are deeply sorry for any hurt that this incident might have caused our students, people in the community and beyond,” says Charles Brown, senior vice president for student affairs, in the recording. “As an institution of higher education, we embrace academic freedom. But with that comes a level of responsibility which we did not uphold.” Brown went on to promise and swear that FAU faculty will never use the exercise again. He then swore that the school would take no disciplinary action against any student concerning the incident.
The school's retreat is surely just tactical, and it will regroup to repress another day.  The forces of liberty, light, and tolerance must forever stay vigilant.

John M Greco

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Government Run Medical Care -- Dispatches from the UK

From the UK (link), the home to a government-run medical care system gushed over by Obama acolytes such as one of his big-name heath care experts, the controversial Dr Donald Berwick:
This morning, the British government released a major report outlining 290 recommendations for the country’s health-care system, the National Health Service. The move came in response to widespread disgust over the failures of Britain’s nationalized system, epitomized by the Stafford Hospital scandal, in which between 400 and 1,200 preventable deaths occurred from 2005 to 2008 at one hospital.
Hmm.  290 recommendations?  That's quite a big number.  As long as they got into that neighborhood, why not a nice round number, like 300, or something catchy, like 299?  They got to 290, and with all their problems couldn't come up with 10 more?  Then again, why not 289?  Did they stretch the count to have a number rounded to the nearest 10?

I doubt very much that Berwick and the left like the UK system because it results in better outcomes, because I very much doubt it does, accurately and honestly measured and reported.  The intellectual vanguard of the left likes it because it is a system controlled by self-appointed experts like themselves.  It's  all about undemocratic control by experts (see Liberalism as Bossism, & the Obamacare Medical Care Rationing Board).

Government-run medical care -- what could possibly go wrong, and how could it not be better than what we have now?

John M Greco

Also see:
More Liberal Love & Lies From MSNBC About Healthcare in Repressive, Socialist Countries

Monday, March 18, 2013

Will Cyprus Be a Sarajevo?

This Monday morning I'm trying to understand why there is, apparently, no run on Eurozone banks in countries with troubled banks and shaky sovereign debt.  Over the weekend news of the latest Eurozone bailout emerged, in which the EU, which I read as Germany, has agreed to bail out the Cypriot banks but only upon the condition, never seen before, that such banks seize from depositors a hefty amount of deposits, some of which have guarantees.  On the other hand, the deal does not require that the equity holders or bondholders take a hit, which would be how it should be.  The reason, as I'm reading, appears to be because the equity holders and bond holders are to a great extent foreigners who would truly collapse the banking system in Cyprus, and then perhaps elsewhere, with a run if they were to take a hit.  So Cyprus agrees to seize a percentage of guaranteed deposits from small depositors, many of whom, like the 3,000 Brits living there at the moment (link), are not even Cypriots.

I understand that underneath this is a reluctance by German leaders to put the German people on the hook for yet another bailout if Cypriots themselves don't have to pony up as well.  But seizing guaranteed deposits appears to be in violation of bank guarantees, if not the law, so in essence the deal upends the law and sound business practice to protect the big players and screw the little ones.  Boy, sounds exactly like Obama's seizure (link) of Chrysler and General Motors to circumvent normal bankruptcy procedure and replace it with a forced deal that illegally screwed bondholders to unjustly enrich the unions.  And in another nod to the machinations of Obama, the Cypriot government is calling the seizure not a seizure but a "tax", which apparently as with Obamacare makes it all OK.  Gangsta government is in vogue all over the West.

Now it seems the Cypriot government is having second thoughts about illegally screwing small depositors, and is mulling it over while it keeps the banks closed.  Meanwhile, apparently no run on banks in Greece (what's left there to run on), Italy, or Spain, despite this clear indication of bank insolvency and EU treachery.  Has socialism turned Eurozone people into sheeple?  Will Cyprus be a Sarajevo, or will the sheeple roll over?

John M Greco 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

From the Annals of Inanities: Women Of/With Color

In talking to students about racial diversity at the racially mixed Oak Park High School in suburban Chicago, one woman speaker, described by the school's principal as "a woman of color", made reference to "colored people" in a historical context.  This apparently offended some people of color who do not like hearing the term "colored people", forcing the principal to issue an apology (link) for what he called "offensive" speech.

In a new development, it is rumored that some women of color colored women minority  women females who received the letter were offended by the principal's use of the term "woman of color" and are demanding an apology, preferring, instead, to be referred to as "women with color".  In yet another related development, some females people were offended by the use of the term "woman", preferring to be referred to as "persons", finding the term "woman" to be offensive sexual stereotyping. 

UPDATE: Unconfirmed reports have it that the school principal has apologized to all self-defined identity groups for every word that was said at the event, and, in response to those who were offended about his apologies believing he had nothing for which to apologize, he apologized for apologizing.

JM Greco

Monday, March 4, 2013

Democrat SequesterMania

Legendary liberal journalist Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame, apparently maintains a shred of integrity and so broke with the liberal media palace guard protecting the Democrat president and called Obama’s dishonest rabble rousing behavior on the sequester “madness”.  Of course, we all now know, thanks in part to Woodward himself, that the so-called sequester, or automatic budget cuts, was Obama’s idea.

The Democrats are wailing about cutting about 2.4% from the federal budget, or as it seems, as it usually is, cutting 2.4% off the rate of growth of the federal budget.  That’s cutting just a bit off a federal budget that’s already mushroomed beyond recognition under Obama.  Larry Kudlow writes (link):  “The White House and the CBO are predicting a 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent decline in GDP, post-sequester, and a loss of 750,000 jobs. All this from a spending reduction of roughly 2.4 percent over the next ten years, in which Uncle Sam’s spending growth will be $44.8 trillion rather than $46 trillion.”  And while Obama and his minions and acolytes have been wailing, new US Secretary of defense Long John Kerry just promised $250 million more to the Islamist government of Egypt.  Can’t possibly cut there!     

To listen to Obama and Democrats, 2.4% less spending will cut the federal government to the bone and will impact countless essential services.  Democrats are of course claiming that they can’t possibly find even 2% of fat to cut, or even 2% of non-essential services.  Not a penny is there to cut.  On local Chicago CBS news radio, a woman identified as chief economist for Mesirow Financial, apparently a money management firm, talked about some seniors losing their government subsidized housing and being forced out onto the street in the cold of late winter.  It seems Mesirow is on board with the Obama agenda.

Mark Steyn writes (link): “Can you pierce the mists of time and go back all the way to the year 2007? Back then, federal spending was 40 percent lower than it is today. In a mere half-decade, has all that 40 percent gravy become so indispensable to the general welfare that not even a teensy-weensy sliver of it can be cut?”
Obama is not trying to find a negotiated settlement with Republicans – far from it.  For the Obama Democrats, this whole debate is really not about trying to find a budget solution to the massive deficit.  It’s really about a radical position to spend, spend, and spend, borrowing all the way, until the system breaks down, until it collapses upon itself, and in the ensuing crisis of their own making, Democrats think they will be able to expand and solidify their centralized control over a bigger piece of America and every person in it. 

John M Greco