Reed Humanities Professor: ‘In light of the serious stress you have caused your classmates, I feel that I have no other choice’Posted: March 19, 2015
Apparently, feelings are more important than facts
Katherine Timpf writes: A student at Reed College in Portland claims he was banned from class discussions mainly because he questioned a rape “statistic” — even though that “statistic” has been debunked — just because other students said they were uncomfortable.
Nineteen-year-old Jeremiah True told BuzzFeed News that his Humanities 110 professor, Pancho Savery, had warned him that his views on campus sexual assault were bothering other students — before ultimately sending True an e-mail telling him he was forbidden from participating in the “conference” portion of the class at all.
“Please know that this was a difficult decision for me to make and one that I have never made before; nevertheless, in light of the serious stress you have caused your classmates, I feel that I have no other choice,” the e-mail stated, according to BuzzFeed. Read the rest of this entry »
“We made a pledge to families that we would change our school calendar to reflect the strength and diversity of our city. Hundreds of thousands of Muslim families will no longer have to choose between honoring the most sacred days on their calendar or attending school,” Mr. de Blasio said in a statement.
It’s the fulfillment of a campaign pledge Mr. de Blasio made when he was running for office in 2013, and today the mayor said it reflects the growth of the city’s Muslim population. Mr. de Blasio has also expressed support for giving students the day off for Lunar New Year, something for which the city’s growing Asian American community has advocated. Read the rest of this entry »
TYLER, Texas (AP) – A Dallas-area photographer who did senior portraits for some graduates in East Texas must serve 20 years in prison for producing child pornography.
Todd B. Fleming of McKinney was sentenced Tuesday in Tyler.
The 54-year-old Fleming last October pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of children. Investigators say Fleming from 1999 to 2007 coerced juveniles to engage in sexually explicit conduct for producing child porn. Read the rest of this entry »
Yes, Reaganomics Needs a 21st Century Update
“The GOP is debating whether Reaganomics needs an update” is a must-read piece by Washington Post reporter Jim Tankersley. One side answers the “What would Reagan do?” question by offering a nostalgic return to the 1980s Reagan agenda. Another prefers to apply the Reagan principles — a dynamic private sector, strong families and neighborhoods, upward mobility, work — to modern economic reality with different conservative policy results. Tankersley:
Leading Republicans are clashing over a signature issue the party has treated as gospel for nearly 40 years: the idea that sharply lower taxes and smaller government are enough by themselves to drive a more prosperous middle class — and win national elections. That simple philosophy has been the foundation of every GOP platform since the days of Ronald Reagan. Now, some of the party’s presidential hopefuls — along with some top conservative economists and strategists — are sending strong signals that they believe today’s beleaguered workers need more targeted help, even if growth speeds up.
For some context, here are a few then-and-now stats:
1.) When Reagan was elected president in 1980, the top income tax rate was 70%. Today, the top income tax rate is 40%.
3.) When Reagan was elected, the bottom 90% paid just over half of all federal income taxes. Today it’s around 30% with 40% of households paying no federal income taxes.
5.) When Reagan was elected, 8% of national income went to the top 1%. Today, it’s nearly 20%.
6.) When Reagan was elected, inflation had averaged nearly 9% over the previous eight years. Today, inflation is less than 2% and has averaged around 2% the past 15 years.
7.) When Reagan was elected, US publicly held debt was 26% of GDP. Today, it’s 74% of GDP with a whole lot of entitlement spending quickly headed our way.
8.) When Reagan was elected, more than 19 million Americans worked in manufacturing. Today, just under 12 million Americans work in manufacturing.
9.) When Reagan was elected, health care spending was 10% of GDP. Today, it’s 17% of GDP.
10.) When Reagan was elected, China’s GDP, in nominal terms, was 3% of America’s. Today, China’s GDP is over half of America’s and about the same based on purchasing power.
Let me also add (a) there is good reason to believe that faster GDP growth is not lifting all boats, (b) upward mobility is stagnant, (c) slowing labor force growth and productivity suggest it will be harder to generate fast growth in the future than in the past, (d) automation has taken a toll on middle-class income and jobs, (e) labor force participation by high school-only graduates has fallen by 10 percentage points over the past 25 years, and (f) inflation-adjusted market income for the top 1% has risen by 174% since 1979 vs. 16% for the bottom 80%. Read the rest of this entry »
Chinese Tycoon Wang Jianlin Blames ‘Western Schooling’ for Son’s Comments About Wanting a Girlfriend With Big BoobsPosted: February 25, 2015
Wang Jianlin blames Western education for his son’s controversial remark that potential girlfriends needed to be “buxom”
Wang, one of the richest men in China, used an interview on state television on Tuesday evening to publicly defend his son, whose remark caused a furore on social media and led to condemnation by a state news agency. He also said he preferred to stay away from politics and said businessmen should “refrain from bribes”.
Wang said his son, Wang Sicong , had spent years studying overseas and had got into the habit of speaking whatever was on his mind.
The younger Wang was lambasted after making the remark on Valentine’s Day, with the state-run news agency Xinhua publishing a 1,287-word commentary condemning his remarks.
His father, who runs a property and cinema empire, said he was always ready to “take a hint” from others and not “speak carelessly”, but his son was more direct and had not learnt Chinese subtlety.
“He is smart. He went overseas to study at grade one and he has a Western-style of thinking,” said Wang.
“Maybe after spending five or eight years in China, he will truly become Chinese.”
Wang Sicong, a board member of his father’s Wanda Group and the chairman of the private investment firm Prometheus Capital, is well-known for his outspoken comments on social media.
He made his latest eyebrow-raising remark after helping to raise more than 500,000 yuan (HK$630,000) for charity by auctioning the chance for a member of the public to watch a film with him.
The senior Wang said he wanted his son to succeed in his own right in business, but would give him only two opportunities. “The third time he fails, he comes to work at Wanda,” he said.
The tycoon’s comments appeared to question Western customs and values, echoing remarks by government officials in recent months.
How did we get here? How did a verbal defense of free speech become tantamount to a hate crime and offensive words become the equivalent of physical assaults?
Wendy Kaminer writes: Is an academic discussion of free speech potentially traumatic? A recent panel for Smith College alumnae aimed at “challenging the ideological echo chamber” elicited this ominous “trigger/content warning” when a transcriptappeared in the campus newspaper: “Racism/racial slurs, ableist slurs, antisemitic language, anti-Muslim/Islamophobic language, anti-immigrant language, sexist/misogynistic slurs, references to race-based violence, references to antisemitic violence.”
No one on this panel, in which I participated, trafficked in slurs. So what prompted the warning?
“Self-appointed recovery experts promoted the belief that most of us are victims of abuse, in one form or another. They broadened the definition of abuse to include a range of common, normal childhood experiences, including being chastised or ignored by your parents on occasion….”
Smith President Kathleen McCartney had joked, “We’re just wild and crazy, aren’t we?” In the transcript, “crazy” was replaced by the notation: “[ableist slur].”
One of my fellow panelists mentioned that the State Department had for a time banned the words “jihad,” “Islamist” and “caliphate” — which the transcript flagged as “anti-Muslim/Islamophobic language.”
“From this perspective, we are all fragile and easily damaged by presumptively hurtful speech, and censorship looks like a moral necessity.”
I described the case of a Brandeis professor disciplined for saying “wetback” while explaining its use as a pejorative. The word was replaced in the transcript by “[anti-Latin@/anti-immigrant slur].” Discussing the teaching of “Huckleberry Finn,” I questioned the use of euphemisms such as “the n-word” and, in doing so, uttered that forbidden word. I described what I thought was the obvious difference between quoting a word in the context of discussing language, literature or prejudice and hurling it as an epithet.
Two of the panelists challenged me. The audience of 300 to 400 people listened to our spirited, friendly debate — and didn’t appear angry or shocked. But back on campus, I was quickly branded a racist, and I was charged in the Huffington Post with committing “an explicit act of racial violence.” McCartney subsequently apologized that “some students and faculty were hurt” and made to “feel unsafe” by my remarks.
Unsafe? These days, when students talk about threats to their safety and demand access to “safe spaces,” they’re often talking about the threat of unwelcome speech and demanding protection from the emotional disturbances sparked by unsettling ideas. It’s not just rape that some women on campus fear: It’s discussions of rape. At Brown University, a scheduled debate between two feminists about rape culture was criticized for, as the Brown Daily Herald put it, undermining “the University’s mission to create a safe and supportive environment for survivors.” In a school-wide e-mail, Brown President Christina Paxon emphasized her belief in the existence of rape culture and invited students to an alternative lecture, to be given at the same time as the debate. And the Daily Herald reported that students who feared being “attacked by the viewpoints” offered at the debate could instead “find a safe space” among “sexual assault peer educators, women peer counselors and staff” during the same time slot. Presumably they all shared the same viewpoints and could be trusted not to “attack” anyone with their ideas.
How did we get here? How did a verbal defense of free speech become tantamount to a hate crime and offensive words become the equivalent of physical assaults?
You can credit — or blame — progressives for this enthusiastic embrace of censorship. It reflects, in part, the influence of three popular movements dating back decades: the feminist anti-porn crusades, the pop-psychology recovery movement and the emergence of multiculturalism on college campuses.
“You can credit — or blame — progressives for this enthusiastic embrace of censorship. It reflects, in part, the influence of three popular movements dating back decades: the feminist anti-porn crusades, the pop-psychology recovery movement and the emergence of multiculturalism on college campuses.”
In the 1980s, law professor Catharine MacKinnon and writer Andrea Dworkin showed the way, popularizing a view of free speech as a barrier to equality. These two impassioned feminists framed pornography — its production, distribution and consumption — as an assault on women. Read the rest of this entry »
Oh Yes She Did: Registered Sex Offender In Jail After Taking part in Motivational Assembly at Washington High SchoolPosted: February 19, 2015
Salsbury was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to almost a year in jail for her role in forcing underage girls to work as prostitutes. Law enforcement learned of the operation after one of the girls told her school resource officer about it
A registered sex offender was among the performers at a motivational assembly Tuesday at Kiona-Benton City High School.
Melissa Salsbury, who models under the name Mia Rose, is prohibited from being anywhere minors congregate, including schools, parks and public pools, said Benton County Sheriff’s Detective Mike Wilson.
She turned herself into authorities Wednesday afternoon.
“It wasn’t the school’s fault; they wanted to give their kids inspiration.”
– A.N.E. spokesman Ron Adams
She had not been cleared to speak in advance by high school administrators, according to a news release issued late Wednesday by Superintendent Wade Haun.
“The district accepts responsibility for this unfortunate situation and has acted to notify parents via our school reach system (a voice recorded message sent to all high school parents),” the release said.
A letter will be sent to parents Feb. 19 that informs them of events surrounding the assembly and steps the district will take in the future to prevent a recurrence, the release said.
Salsbury performed with a group called A.N.E./Money over Misery, comprised of musicians and artists sharing positive messages about bullying, peer pressure, education, overcoming negativity, self-worth, personal drive and staying focused.
A.N.E was not aware of Salsbury’s status, spokesman Ron Adams said. He noted that her background as a troubled youth trying to turn her life around resonated with Ki-Be students. Read the rest of this entry »
Our computers have become too easy to use.
Joanna Stern writes: Right out of the box, they’re ready to go. No installing operating systems, no typing into a command-line prompt like in the old days. We don’t even have to hit save anymore.
Most weeks, I’m the first to celebrate this and to say I miss nothing about the way it used to be. But not this week.
This week I’ve been using the $35 Raspberry Pi 2, a bare-bones Linux computer no bigger than a juice box. And I’ve rediscovered something I had forgotten: the thrill of tinkering with a machine and its software. Of course, that thrill is accompanied, from time to time, with the urge to take a baseball bat to an inanimate object.
The Raspberry Pi is the antithesis of our polished, hermetically sealed Apple and Windows PCs. Open the cardboard box and all you’ll find inside is a green board covered with chips, circuits and ports. There’s no keyboard, monitor, or power cord. There isn’t even an operating system. And that’s all by design.
It was made by a U.K.-based nonprofit called the Raspberry Pi Foundation to encourage today’s children, around the age 10 and up, to learn more about how computers really work. Children today “have wonderful technology in their lives, but they are deprived of learning how it works,” Eben Upton, co-founder of the foundation, says. So while every other electronics maker has been slaving away on ease-of-use features, Mr. Upton decided to deliberately create a computer that dials back the user friendliness.
After using the Pi 2, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s a great way for children and teenagers to learn about computer hardware and software. It’s also great for us curious adults who are interested in knowing more about the worlds of open-source and software coding, and don’t mind typing arcane commands into a DOS-looking interface to get there.
But don’t let that scare you. I challenged myself to see what I could do with the little thing and it put my problem-solving skills and patience to the test. Even if you’re someone like me, with little to no computer coding knowledge, you’ll be amazed by the number of things you can do with a $35 computer.
A $35 Linux Computer
My journey all started with gathering the right pieces to make the Pi my main computer for past few days.
Not only doesn’t the Pi come with an operating system, there isn’t even a hard drive inside. There is, however, a MicroSD card slot. So I did what the very helpful Raspberry Pi websites and community of experts tell beginners to do: I bought a $10 card preloaded with Raspbian, a basic Linux OS optimized for the Pi. (You can download the free software and put it on a card you already own, too.) Later this year, a new version of Windows will be released for the Pi.
OK, so it costs a little more than $35. I also bought a $5 plastic box to house the board, a $13 USB Wi-Fi dongle and a $8 Pi-compatible MicroUSB power cord from Adafruit.com, a website that sells the Pi and a selection of hardware add-ons for it, and provides tutorials.
With those things, plus a USB mouse and keyboard and an HDMI monitor I already had (TVs work fine, too), I was up and running. To get started, I did have to type some text into the command line and go through some installation processes, but believe it or not, it took less time to set up the computer than to bake a real raspberry pie. (Even with a pre-made crust!)
Raspbian, which launched a Windows-style graphic interface once I installed it, provides a basic desktop and menu with access to programs and settings. Using the preloaded Web browser, I’ve been able to do most of what I do on my laptop—check email, Twitter, Facebook. I also downloaded the free LibreOffice suite from the preloaded Pi Store. Read the rest of this entry »
University of Texas, Arlington Campus REWIND: Muslim Student Fabricated Story About Being Threatened by a Man With a GunPosted: February 16, 2015
Jessica Chasmar reports: A Muslim student at the University of Texas, Arlington, who claimed she was threatened at gunpoint by a white man on campus, admitted on Friday that she made the story up, a university spokeswoman said.
The university had issued an alert Friday that the student, whose name was not released, told police that she was followed on her way to campus by a white man wearing a camouflage baseball hat and driving a white pickup truck, the Daily Caller reported. She claimed that when she parked at the university, the man yelled threats at her and pointed a handgun at her before taking off, the Dallas Morning News reported.
The student also posted on Facebook that the man might have targeted her because she is Muslim, citing the fatal shootings of three Muslim students last week in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the Morning News reported. Read the rest of this entry »
Officials in Hong Kong and Beijing fear that the unfettered freedom to discuss such topics in Hong Kong’s classrooms has helped breed a generation of unruly and unpatriotic youths
HONG KONG—Isabella Steger writes: High-school students in this city’s mandatory liberal studies class tackle issues that are strictly taboo in mainland Chinese schools—press freedom, civil disobedience and the rule of law.
“The biggest impact of liberal studies is that it encourages students to be much more aware of current affairs,” said Lo Yat-ko, a 30-year-old liberal studies teacher.
“In Hong Kong, we teach critical thinking, not like in China where they teach by indoctrination and memorizing”
— Ng Shun-wing, Hong Kong Institute of Education
That has become a big problem for some officials in Hong Kong and Beijing, who fear that the unfettered freedom to discuss such topics in Hong Kong’s classrooms has helped breed a generation of unruly and unpatriotic youths, and helped inspire the so-called Occupy pro-democracy protests that shook this semiautonomous Chinese city for 10 weeks late last year.
Excerpt: Lessons in Liberal Studies
In the aftermath of those student-led protests, an education debate is once again brewing in Hong Kong. In November, the city’s Education Bureau launched a three-month review of the city’s school curriculum, the results of which will be announced in July.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said in his annual policy address last month that the government would change the current high-school curriculum, with an aim to “reinforce students’ interest in and understanding of Chinese history and culture.” Mr. Leung said the government will also subsidize students to participate in exchange programs with schools on the mainland.
His comments come two years after the Hong Kong government, at Beijing’s behest, attempted to introduce mandatory patriotic education in the city’s schools, drawing accusations of indoctrination and sparking widespread demonstrations that forced the government to back down.
The latest curriculum review risks reigniting a new round of protests, but the government’s resolve for an overhaul appears to have deepened. Hong Kong and Beijing officials have grown more outspoken over school subjects, such as liberal studies, that address controversial topics and emphasize critical analysis.
Excerpt 2: Lessons in Liberal Studies
Such topics and teaching methods are off-limits in mainland Chinese schools, which place a more traditional emphasis on rote learning and shun current events that are sensitive to the Communist Party.
Chen Zuoer, former deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said last month that Hong Kong youth needed to have their thinking “repaired” as they have been “brainwashed.”
The problems in Hong Kong’s education system “have now become the seeds of bitter melons and poisonous beans,” said Mr. Chen at a seminar held by a think tank in Beijing, adding that some protesters who were “babies during the handover were…waving the British flag.”
Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997 and has since operated under a separate political system that grants residents far greater freedoms than their mainland counterparts. But some people in the city worry that those freedoms are eroding. Read the rest of this entry »
According to a super not scientific study
But those people are wrong. There is one thing college students care about more than sex, drugs, parties or anything else. And that is their iPhones. At least, according to a recent study conducted by Student Monitor. Researchers surveyed 1,200 undergrads around the U.S. to choose “what’s in on campus” from a list of 77 options, Fortune reports.
Apple’s iPhone earned the most votes, with 66% of students selecting it. The next most popular results were coffee, texting, Facebook, iPads and Instagram. Beer was #7 on the list and “hooking up” was #12. Read the rest of this entry »
Oh, Here We Go Again: Darcy Smith, Elementary School Teacher, Charged with Child Rape for Allegedly Having Sex a Former Student, Starting When He Was 14Posted: February 5, 2015
SEATTLE — A 41-year-old elementary school teacher has been charged with child rape for allegedly having sex with a former student starting when he was 14 and living in her home with her husband and children, court documents showed Thursday.
Darcy Smith, a teacher at McMicken Heights Elementary School, was charged Monday with three counts of third-degree child rape.
In May 2014, the former student reported to the King County Sheriff’s Office that when he was 12 years old and in the 6th grade, he moved into the Renton home of his 6th-grade teacher, Darcy Smith. He said that when he was 14, they started having sex and that continued until he was 18 and moved out of Smith’s house, a sheriff’s detective said in the court documents.
The victim said that he came to live in Smith’s home after he broke his collarbone in the 6th grade and Smith took him to the hospital and invited to stay with her family. He said his mother and Smith agreed that he could live with Smith and her family because she spoke English and lived closer to the hospital.
Also, he said, his mother was concerned because his older brother was involved in gangs and was a bad influence. Read the rest of this entry »