Originally posted on TIME:
In a cave teeming with bats and littered with crushed skulls, a skeletal demon appraises the young stalwart who stands before him. “Most men reek of fear,” says the Master Vampire (Charles Dance). “In you I smell hope.” Vlad (Luke Evans), the King, top fighter and undisputed hunk of Transylvania, does have a desperate hope: that he can defeat the invading Turks of the Ottoman Empire. So the Master Vampire (Charles Dance) offers to bestow all the infernal powers of his species on Vlad. And, in a kind of infomercial twist on Faust, he’ll get a free three-day trial. The small print: If, in that time, Vlad surrenders to the insatiable lust for human blood—the vampire’s most delicious addiction—he is doomed to become a monarch of the eternal undead. No refunds.
Dracula Untold means not only to upend the charnel image of Bram Stoker’s vampire but also to give…
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Dazed and Confucian
Russell Leigh Moses writes: Nearly two years into his tenure as China’s leader, President Xi Jinping has yet to expound on a clear notion of what the Communist Party should stand for as a whole or what direction the country should take. In the absence of a forward-thinking vision, Xi has instead often gazed backwards, into the periods of Chinese history the party once shunned.
That China’s president is often more comfortable talking about the country’s past than its future was evident this week when he delivered a speech at a meeting of the International Confucian Association commemorating the 2,565th anniversary of Confucius’s birth – the first time, according to Chinese Central Television that a Chinese president has addressed an international meeting on the philosopher.
The speech (in Chinese) was praised by people who were there as erudite and eloquent. Extolling Confucius and his importance, Xi said that “to understand today’s China, today’s Chinese people, we must understand Chinese culture and blood, and nourish the Chinese people’s grasp of its own cultural soil.”
“Xi seems caught between an abiding respect for the Chinese classics and the need to make sure that China modernizes. That’s created a conundrum that he seems far from fully resolving.”
Many have taken notice of the Communist party’s interest in Confucius – a scholar excoriated by previous generations of communists for advocating a social system that promoted inequality – in recent years. Although that revival seemed to be starting before Xi took over, it has accelerated under his watch, with official media repeatedly portraying the leader as being steeped in classical Chinese literature.
There’s no question the glorification of China’s past has helped the party win public support, adding emotional heft to the “China Dream” of national rejuvenation. The question is how much an obstacle it’s going to be for Xi’s efforts to lead the party.
Xi’s approach is different from his immediate predecessors, who provided ideological templates with slogans designed to summarize what the Communist Party stood for and where it planned to take China. Read the rest of this entry »
— Jacky Wong (@jackycwong) September 30, 2014
Bonus tweet – then came the violins…
Sad to see HK protesters resorting to violins. pic.twitter.com/17cGBXHeRO
— Samuel Wade (@samuel_wade) September 29, 2014
Originally posted on TIME:
The disappearance of University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham two weeks ago is the latest in a long series of girls-gone-missing cases that often end tragically. A 32-year-old, 270-pound former football player who fled to Texas has been returned to Virginia and charged with “abduction with intent to defile.” At this date, Hannah’s fate and whereabouts remain unknown.
Wildly overblown claims about an epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses are obscuring the true danger to young women, too often distracted by cellphones or iPods in public places: the ancient sex crime of abduction and murder. Despite hysterical propaganda about our “rape culture,” the majority of campus incidents being carelessly described as sexual assault are not felonious rape (involving force or drugs) but oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides.
Colleges should stick to academics and stop their infantilizing supervision of students’ dating lives, an…
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Sol Stern: The Unfree Speech Movement
How did this Orwellian inversion occur? It happened in part because the Free Speech Movement’s fight for free speech was always a charade.
“I realized years later that this moment may have been the beginning of the 1960s radicals’ perversion of ordinary political language, like the spelling “Amerika” or seeing hope and progress in Third World dictatorships.”
Sol Stern writes: This fall the University of California at Berkeley is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a student-led protest against campus restrictions on political activities that made headlines and inspired imitators around the country. I played a small part in the Free Speech Movement, and some of those returning for the reunion were once my friends, but I won’t be joining them.
“‘Tenured radicals,’ in New Criterion editor Roger Kimball’s phrase, now dominate most professional organizations in the humanities and social studies.”
Though the movement promised greater intellectual and political freedom on campus, the result has been the opposite. The great irony is that while Berkeley now honors the memory of the Free Speech Movement, it exercises more thought control over students than the hated institution that we rose up against half a century ago.
“Unlike our old liberal professors, who dealt respectfully with the ideas advanced by my generation of New Left students, today’s radical professors insist on ideological conformity and don’t take kindly to dissent by conservative students.”
We early-1960s radicals believed ourselves anointed as a new “tell it like it is” generation. We promised to transcend the “smelly old orthodoxies” (in George Orwell’s phrase) of Cold War liberalism and class-based, authoritarian leftism.
Leading students into the university administration building for the first mass protest, Mario Savio, the Free Speech Movement’s brilliant leader from Queens, New York, famously said: “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. . . . . And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”
“Visits by speakers who might not toe the liberal line—recently including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Islamism critic Aayan Hirsi Ali —spark protests and letter-writing campaigns by students in tandem with their professors until the speaker withdraws or the invitation is canceled.”
The Berkeley “machine” now promotes Free Speech Movement kitsch. The steps in front of Sproul Hall, the central administration building where more than 700 students were arrested on Dec. 2, 1964, have been renamed the Mario Savio Steps. One of the campus dining halls is called the Free Speech Movement Café, its walls covered with photographs and mementos of the glorious semester of struggle. The university requires freshmen to read an admiring biography of Savio, who died in 1996, written by New York University professor and Berkeley graduate Robert Cohen.
“by contrast, one of the honored speakers at the Free Speech Movement anniversary rally on Sproul Plaza will be Bettina Aptheker, who is now a feminist-studies professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz.”
Yet intellectual diversity is hardly embraced. Every undergraduate undergoes a form of indoctrination with a required course on the “theoretical or analytical issues relevant to understanding race, culture, and ethnicity in American society,” administered by the university’s Division of Equity and Inclusion. Read the rest of this entry »
Joy Morsi, 39, who allegedly had sex with two teenage boys who attended Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood, missed a court appearance because she was being tested for psychiatric disorder, her attorney said. She is due back in court Oct. 6.
The Queens gym teacher accused of bedding two 16-year-old students is having her head tested, it was revealed Monday.
“My client has been hospitalized”
Joy Morsi, 39, was a no-show at a routine court appearance because she’s being treated for an unspecified “psychiatric disorder,” her lawyer Paul Molina told the judge.
She allegedly hooked up with a student in June, days after a relationship with another teen collapsed when she became jealous of him inviting a girl to the prom, authorities have said.
The former teacher at Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood is facing multiple counts of statutory rape and criminal sexual act for extracurricular activities with boys under the age of 17. Read the rest of this entry »
You’ve Been Served: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Mails First Amendment Warning to More Than 300 CollegesPosted: September 19, 2014
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 17, 2014—In a national certified mailing sent today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) warns the leaders of more than 300 of our nation’s largest and most prestigious public colleges and universities that they risk First Amendment lawsuits by continuing to maintain speech codes that violate student and faculty rights. The letters are being mailed from the main post office near Independence Hall in Philadelphia today to mark the 227th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.
“FIRE prefers to secure students’ and faculty members’ free speech rights by working cooperatively with colleges and universities. However, FIRE will not hesitate to turn to the courts when necessary.”
“58 percent of our nation’s public colleges and universities restrict student and faculty speech with blatantly unconstitutional policies, and 38 percent more enforce policies that are too easily abused to silence campus speech,” said Will Creeley, FIRE’s Director of Legal and Public Advocacy. “In July, FIRE launched our Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project by announcing four lawsuits against institutions that have violated student and faculty First Amendment rights. Now we’re putting public colleges and universities across the country on notice—and inviting them to work with FIRE to fix flawed policies before they’re challenged in court.”
“Throughout our 15 years defending student and faculty rights, FIRE has consistently coordinated successful First Amendment challenges against unconstitutional speech codes.”
Womens-rights activist and Islamic critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke at Yale University earlier this week, at the invitation of the university’s William F. Buckley Jr. Program for an event titled “Clash of Civilizations: Islam and the West.” Ryan Lovelace covers the event for NRO
‘RAPE CULTURE': New Jersey High School Teacher Kalee Warnick Indicted for Sexual Misconduct with 15-Year-Old Male StudentPosted: September 16, 2014
Judgement Not Exactly State-of-the-Art Judgement, Kalee Warnick Charged With Aggravated Sexual Assault, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and Sexual Assault.
Another Female High School Teacher Gone Bad: When We Send Kids to Public Schools for ‘Education’ Sometimes it’s Slightly More ‘Hands-On’ Than Parents Realize.
A grand jury indicted 24-year-old Kalee Warnick on three charges stemming from an investigation alleging that she entered an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old boy starting in January 2013. Warnick was the victim’s freshman English teacher at Wall High School. Read the rest of this entry »
From NR, The Editors: When, this spring, Brandeis University reneged on its commencement invitation to human-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, it revealed the cravenness that characterizes many of America’s leading institutions of higher education. The decision of Yale’s William F. Buckley Jr. Program to invite Hirsi Ali to New Haven as part of its speaker series has exposed the same quality in many of that school’s students.
“Even the most enthusiastic Ivy League shill should know that spending $55K a year to have one’s presuppositions obsequiously endorsed is a waste.”
In an open letter sent to Buckley Program student leaders, members of 35 campus groups say they feel “highly disrespected” by the September 15 lecture “Clash of Civilizations: Islam and the West.” The letter, drafted by the Muslim Students Association, lays out their complaints.
“But in our age of studious political correctness, where the inmates write the asylum’s curriculum, these students are happy to insulate themselves against any opinions from beyond the Old Campus Quad.”
They are concerned that “Ms. Hirsi Ali is being invited to speak as an authority on Islam despite the fact that she does not hold the credentials to do so.” They accuse Hirsi Ali of “hate speech” and express outrage that she should “have such a platform in our home.” “We cannot overlook,” they write, “how marginalizing her presence will be to the Muslim community and how uncomfortable it will be for the community’s allies.”
Their remedy, of course, is censorship. Read the rest of this entry »
Originally posted on TIME:
Much of what we hear about the plight of American women is false. Some faux facts have been repeated so often they are almost beyond the reach of critical analysis. Though they are baseless, these canards have become the foundation of Congressional debates, the inspiration for new legislation and the focus of college programs. Here are five of the most popular myths that should be rejected by all who are genuinely committed to improving the circumstances of women:
MYTH 1: Women are half the world’s population, working two-thirds of the world’s working hours, receiving 10% of the world’s income, owning less than 1% of the world’s property.
FACTS: This injustice confection is routinely quoted by advocacy groups, the World Bank, Oxfam and the United Nations. It is sheer fabrication. More than 15 years ago, Sussex University experts on gender and development Sally Baden and Anne Marie Goetz, repudiated
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— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) September 2, 2014
Here’s some nice news. Kalev Leetaru has been liberating a ton of public domain images from books and putting them all on Flickr. He’s been going through Internet Archive scans of old, public domain books, isolating the images, and turning them into individual images. Because, while the books and images are all public domain, very few of the images have been separated from the books and released in a digital format.
To achieve his goal, Mr Leetaru wrote his own software to work around the way the books had originally been digitised.
The Internet Archive had used an optical character recognition (OCR) program to analyse each of its 600 million scanned pages in order to convert the image of each word into searchable text.
As part of the process, the software recognised which parts of a page were pictures in order to discard them. Read the rest of this entry »
BREAKING: Boy-Crazy Former Teacher’s Student Sex Error Meets Correctional System: Meredith Powell Sentenced to 6 Months in JailPosted: August 29, 2014
After hearing that Powell will spend only six months in jail, several cursed, and one family member stormed out of the courtroom.
“I wish I could take back what happened to the students that I failed. Sorry doesn’t take away anything that happened, but I hope they can move forward with as little impact as possible.”
– Meredith Powell
Stacia Glenn reports: A former math teacher who had sex with two students at Tacoma’s Lincoln High School cried Friday after a judge sentenced her to six months in jail.
“Ms. Powell repeatedly talked about letting her students down. The reality is she committed child rape.”
– Shannon McMinimee, attorney for Tacoma Public Schools
Meredith Powell, 25, told the court she prays every day for the two teenage boys and is heartbroken that they and their families are suffering.
“I feel like words can’t even express how sorry I am,” Powell said. “I wish I could take back what happened to the students that I failed. Sorry doesn’t take away anything that happened, but I hope they can move forward with as little impact as possible.”
- Exclusive: Controversial Female Teachers’ Group Dedicated to “Woman-Boy Love” Pledges Legal Support to Meredith Powell (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- [VIDEO] Meredith Powell Back in the News: Former Lincoln High Teacher Pleads Guilty to Child Rape (punditfromanotherplanet.com
- Meredith Powell in Custody of Her Mother: Boy-Crazy High School Teacher Accused of Rape Resigns, Surrenders Teaching Certificate
- UPDATE: Tacoma Teacher Meredith Powell Pleads Not Guilty in Latest Sex Charge
- The Meredith Powell Letter: “Obviously nothing physical or emotional ever happened between (the boy) and I, nor would it ever…”
She said she’s been attending weekly counseling and now faces problems that fueled her behavior, including being molested in her youth.
Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson said he believes Powell is remorseful, which is why he suspended all but six months of a 5-year sentence and ordered her into a three-year sex offender program open to first-time offenders.
Powell must register as a sex offender and can have no contact with children without adult supervision, with the exception of her younger sister. Read the rest of this entry »
College Newspaper Can’t Be Called ‘The Bullet’ Anymore Because It’s Too Dangerous
“The editorial board felt that the paper’s name, which alludes to ammunition for an artillery weapon, propagated violence and did not honor our school’s history in a sensitive manner.”
A Virginia university has decided to stop calling its newspaper “The Bullet” over concerns that the name was so insensitive and inappropriate that it could even make people violent.