Category Archives: Liberals/Democrats/Left

In Oregon, no background checks means felons at the fair

liberal logis

KATU: Companies that have hired sex offenders in the past are operating at fairs and carnivals in the Portland area.

KATU’s On Your Side Investigators have discovered that fairs and companies they hire are not required by law to run background checks on workers.

Because background checks are not required for fair employees, there are no standards for how those checks should be done. That means even when workers are checked, criminals, including convicted sex offenders, can still slip through the cracks.

There are two main companies hired to run carnival rides and games at fairs in the Portland area. Both have had big problems in Washington. One of them, Butler Amusements, hired sex offenders two years in a row.

“Extreme Danger”

Adam Cornell, a deputy prosecutor in Snohomish County, Washington, describes a woman named Caitlin Ferry as “an extreme danger to children and the community.” Cornell says officers found Ferry working in the children’s area of the Evergreen State Fair just outside Seattle in 2012.

“When we found her in ‘kiddie land’, it was then time to have Ms. Ferry removed from society,” said Cornell. Ferry was awaiting trial for child molestation at the time. Prosecutors say the crime happened before she worked at the fair.

“Extremely graphic depictions of child rape were found,” said Cornell, “pictures of Ms. Ferry with a young child in a sexually suggestive way.” Ferry is now serving prison time for her crimes.

KATU’s On Your Side Investigators spoke at length with the CEO of Butler Amusements about what went wrong in the Caitlin Ferry case, and he admitted the company didn’t do a background check when it hired her. He said most but not all of his workers at the Evergreen State Fair at the time were checked.

After Ferry was fired, the Evergreen State Fair began requiring Butler to background check all of its employees, while the fair runs checks of its own. “When someone has a proclivity for sexually assaulting children,” Cornell said, “the very last thing you want is for them to continue to be around children.”

But the next year at the Evergreen State Fair, there was another arrest in “kiddie land.” It was August of 2013 when prosecutors say Dale Fager, known online as “karney37″ was arrested while working on a ride called the “ghost ship.” Fager has a lengthy arrest record, and at the time he faced an outstanding warrant for forgery in Indiana.

He was also the target of a child pornography investigation by Seattle Police. Officers say they had evidence Fager was downloading and sharing hundreds of explicit images and videos of children, and they say he sent several disturbing emails to other pedophiles, including one that said, “I love being a pedophile. I ultimately believe in molestation to the fullest.”

Prosecutors say unlike Caitlin Ferry, Fager was background checked, but he passed by using a false name with a false Social Security card to back it up.

They say he worked for Butler from March of 2013 until his arrest five months later. During that time, he worked at fairs up and down the West Coast, possibly including the Clark County Fair, and he told investigators he was at the Washington County Fair last July.

Butler’s CEO admits he can’t confirm where Fager was working last summer because they don’t keep records of where all of their employees are at any given time.

Funtastic Scandal

The other major ride company operating at fairs in the Portland area is called Funtastic. Last year, it dealt with a scandal of its own when it had to fire three registered sex offenders working at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup.

Funtastic says it ran background checks on the employees, but they didn’t wait for the results to come back before letting two of them start working. The company also admits it didn’t background check all of its workers at the fair, just ones who had the most access to children.

Puyallup Police Captain Scott Engle went on the record at the time to say an average of three to five sex offenders a year are fired from the Washington State Fair for lying on their job applications.

Like Butler Amusements, Funtastic admits there’s no standard or overall protocol for protecting fairgoers from criminal carnival workers. Funtastic says it typically background checks all adult workers at larger fairs, but it doesn’t always check every employee at other, smaller events.

New Legislation

Washington state Rep. Liz Pike, of Camas, is one of five state lawmakers KATU contacted to talk about the gaps in the system. KATU’s On Your Side Investigators pointed out to them that neither Washington nor Oregon nor does the federal government require background checks for workers operating rides at fairs and carnivals. “Thanks for bringing this to my attention,” said Pike.

After talking with KATU, Pike said she and Washington state Sen. Ann Rivers would start working on legislation that would require background checks. They plan to introduce it at the state’s next legislative session in January.

In Oregon, state Rep. Joe Gallegos, of Hillsboro, stopped short of promising to file new legislation. He responded to KATU by email, with the following statement:

“I would need to see the language of the bill to ensure that it doesn’t discriminate, but at first blush, yes. It’s important that we take every reasonable and proactive step to ensure that we are protecting our families and children from those who would do them harm.”

Both the Washington County Fair and the Clark County Fair say they require Butler Amusements to run background checks on all of their employees at their events. Butler admits, however, if it is not asked, it doesn’t run background checks.

Shame on these private companies for not doing comprehensive background checks on employees that deal with the public.

It would also be nice if liberals would pick a side. In Illinois, employers can no longer access criminal background checks on potential hires until after an interview is conducted.

Illinois Gov. Quinn signed into law a bill that prohibits private employers from asking applicants about their criminal history prior to determining if they are qualified for the job. “Everyone deserves a second chance when it comes to getting a job,” Governor Quinn said in a press release. “This law will help ensure that people across Illinois get a fair shot to reach their full potential through their skills and qualifications, rather than past history. It will also help reduce recidivism, fight poverty and prevent violence in our communities by putting more people back to work.

The liberals claim to be the compassionate and caring ones, especially when it comes to illegal aliens. Why don’t they have the same compassion for their citizens’ children? After all, aren’t they all God’s children?

DCG

ISIS Orders Genital Mutilation In Iraq. What Will Skippy Do.

I’m guessing another round of fundraisers. Maybe Mooche will get a hashtag going. I’m thinking

#SaveOurPrivateParts

———————————————————————————————

JIHADISTS IN IRAQ ORDER WOMEN UNDERGO GENITAL MUTILATION

by BREITBART NEWS  24 Jul 2014, 5:43 AM PDT

by BREITBART NEWS 24 Jul 2014, 5:43 AM PDT

(AFP) – Jihadists in Iraq have ordered that all women between the ages of 11 and 46 undergo female genital mutilation, a UN official said Thursday.

“It is a fatwa (or religious edict) of ISIS, we learnt this this morning,” said Jacqueline Badcock, the number two UN official in Iraq.

She was referring to the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) which took over large swathes of the country last month.

~Steve~  

WWW.Breitbart.com

 

 

 

Greens really are commies: 130 UN-backed green groups call for end of capitalism

Our suspicions are confirmed.

The green movement really is just the newest version of Marxist communism disguised as a concern for the environment.

At the end of a 4-day United Nations-backed conference, called the Social Pre-COP Preparatory Meeting, of 130 green activist groups in Venezuela, the groups issued a declaration that global warming climate change can only be “combated” by ending capitalism altogether.

Green commies celebrating Margarita DeclarationGreen commies celebrating the Margarita Declaration, July 18, 2014, Venezula.

The Margarita Declaration said: “The structural causes of climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system. To combat climate change it is necessary to change the system.”

That capitalism is the cause of “climate change” is also a position of the socialist Venezuelan government, the host of the meeting.

The declaration will be handed to environment government ministers when they meet ahead of the UN’s main round of climate talks in Lima this year.

The Social pre-COP meeting was the first time that NGOs (non-governmental organizations) were invited to participate with the UN at this scale at international climate talks. The government of Venezuela said the purpose of the meeting is to “set the basis of an alliance between peoples and governments”.

Ironically, although the Social pre-COP meeting was backed by the UN, the meeting’s end product of the Margarita Declaration opposes the views of the UN and many national governments on “combating” “climate change” via a capitalist “green economy” by encouraging green growth through carbon markets and clean energy investments.

Instead, the Margarita Declaration calls:

  • carbon markets a “false solution” to the problem of climate change. The UN has set up its own carbon market, called the Clean Development Mechanism, which allows developed countries to pay for projects that will reduce the carbon footprint of poor countries.
  • a UN-backed forest conservation scheme, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Land Degradation (REDD), “dangerous and unethical”. Under REDD, rich countries pay developing nations to preserve their forests, removing some of the financial incentive to chop them down. Deforestation is a significant contributor to climate change as it releases the carbon that is stored in trees.

Objections to the “green economy” prompted a walkout at the Rio+20 summit in 2012 because some developing countries wanted rich countries to simply hand over cash and “sustainable” technologies to poorer nations. Venezuela, a staunchly socialist government, has long opposed the “green economy” concept, alongside other Latin American countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, and Nicaragua.

Sophie Yeo of rtcc.org reports that a participant at the July 15-18 Social pre-COP meeting who insisted on his anonymity said that while most of the Venezuelan groups present at the meeting were supportive of the Venezulan government’s position, there were 34 Venezuelan NGOs who rejected their invitation to the gathering, due to concerns that it would provide an opportunity for the government to push their socialist agenda.

Here are some choice quotes from Margarita Declaration on Climate Change, Social PreCOP Preparatory Meeting, July 15-18, 2014, Margarita Island, Venezuela:

Pg. 2: “Men and women have become consumerist monsters that consume all the resources given by the Earth”. Génesis Carmona, aged 11, elected representative of the Venezuelan Children Environment Movements.

Pg. 3: The world needs corrective actions before damages become irreversible. We denounce the lack of political will of the wealthiest countries.

Pg. 3: Colonialism continues to operate. Climate change occurs within a historic context where a group of countries based their development on practices generating the current environmental crisis, including Climate Change, while others suffer the worst consequences. The developed countries causing the Climate Change intend to side-track the discussion towards technological or market solutions, thus eluding their historic responsibilities.

P. 3: The struggles of the South must be supported in the countries of the North. The wealthiest countries must commit themselves to finding a solution to the Climate Change. Youth in the North must exert pressure on their governments in that sense. There is not much time left, the global North must take on its historic responsibility and youth must exert pressure for this to happen.

Pg. 4: The main sources for climate crisis are the political and economic systems commercializing and reifying nature and life, thus impoverishing spirituality and imposing consumerism and developmentalism that generate unequal regimes and exploitation of resources. This global crisis is exacerbated by unsustainable practices of exploitation and consumption by the developed countries and the elites of the developing countries…. For such purposes, it is required that the developed countries meet their moral and legal obligations, especially vis-à-vis vulnerable and marginalized countries and communities by lifting barriers such as intellectual property rights which prevent the attainment of the preservation of life over the planet and the salvation of human species. We likewise urge them to comply with the financial contribution and the transfer of safe and locally suitable technologies free from barriers such as intellectual property rights….

pg. 5: According to scientific evidence, in order not to exceed 1.5 degrees increase of temperature, it becomes necessary not to produce 80% of the fossil fuel reserves known. For this purpose, the developed countries require to immediately reduce consumption and production of fossil fuels….

Pg. 6: We reject any attempt to implement or promote dangerous and unethical solutions or responses to Climate Change, solutions whereby wealthy industrialized countries and corporations ultimately seek to use climate change as a means for profit. Some of such false responses, such as carbon production and markets have caused damages in our forests and soils, whereas the implementation of the “United Nations Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD)” and the production of agrofuels, have already caused seizure and fragmentation of lands.

Pg. 7: We demand the repair of historic debts, and reject the financing proposals which do not bring about effective transformations for a sustainable solution.

Pg. 9: It is necessary that the ancestral knowledge of the Peoples be deemed as equally important and valuable as scientific knowledge for decision-making and for actions against climate change by the UN and by the governments.

Pg. 10: The structural causes for climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system. Fighting the climate change involves changing the system.

Pg. 10: The change of the system must provide for a transformation of the economic, political, social and cultural systems at local, national, regional and global levels.

Pg. 11: We reject the implementation of false solutions to climate change, such as: carbon markets and other forms of privatization and commodification of life; geo-engineering, agrofuels productions, and measures favoring agribusiness and harming the production of food in an agro ecological manner, such as the use of transgenic seeds and agrotoxics, synthetic fertilizers and any other measure lessening the priority of the right to Good Living, health and the eradication of poverty enshrined in the Convention. We likewise reject the green economy, the intellectual property rights; the mega water dam projects, monocultures and nuclear energy.

Pg. 12: Ensure the financing by the developed countries to developing countries for such transformations, and for compensation and rehabilitation of the impacts of Climate Change. Financing must not be conditioned, and the management of the funds supplied shall be in the hands of the Peoples. The financing of mitigation and adaptation actions by the developed countries in the developing countries is a moral and legal obligation under the Convention by virtue of the historic responsibilities of the former. Funding must be reliable, predictable, sufficient and adequate. All obligations of the countries in the North in relation to finance, technology transfer and support for the compensation of losses and damages should be legally binding under the Climate Change Convention.

Click here to read the English version of the 13-page Margarita Declaration.

Among the 130 green activist groups that participated in the Social Pre-COP meeting are such well-known groups as:

  • Christian Aid
  • Climate Action Network
  • East Michigan Environmental Action Council (Grassroots Global Justice Alliance)
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Third World Network
  • World Wide Fund for Nature WWF International
  • Young Friends of the Earth

For the full list of groups, click here.

~Eowyn

Angry veterans turn their backs on Obama motorcade

angry veteransOn July 17, 2014, the POS went to Delaware to discuss a bridge that was damaged by someone dumping 50 tons of soil next to it. Repairs are expected to cost taxpayers $20 million, according to DelawareOnline.com.

White House Whispers reports that a group of 25 angry veterans protested against the POS by turning their backs to his passing motorcade.

The leader of the protest, U.S. Marine veteran Martin Nicholson, told BuzzPo.com, “We feel he’s turned his back on us veterans, so we’re going to turn our backs on him as he drives by on his motorcade to show our appreciation that he does not care about us veterans.”

Referring to Obama’s aiding and abetting of the surge invasion of illegals across the US-Mexico border, another protester, John Stroud, told BuzzPo, “Take care of your own first. There are Americans that need help first. I think there are more important things you could be doing than coming to Delaware to look at a bridge.”

Instead of focusing on the protesters, whoever took the video below had his attention fixed on the POS’s motorcade.  :(

H/t FOTM’s josephbc69

~Eowyn

Hollywood has worst summer box-office in 8 years

With kids out of schools, summertime is usually box office gold for Hollywood, but not the summer of 2014.

Pamela McClintock reports for The Hollywood Reporter, July 23, 2014, that we’re now less than six weeks before Labor Day, the traditional end of summer, and hopes for recovery at the North American summer box office have evaporated.

Hollywood’s summer box office is expected to finish down by as much as 15% to 20% compared with 2013, the worst year-over-year decline in three decades. Total revenue for the summer of 2014 will struggle to crack $4 billion, which hasn’t happened in eight years. As a result, analysts predict that the full year is facing a deficit of 4% to 5%.

Even bullish observers are grim. Rentrak’s Paul Dergarabedian says, “Moviegoing begets moviegoing, and we have lost our momentum. People aren’t seeing trailers and marketing materials. They still want to go to the movies — they just want to go to really good movies.”

Although there have been no Lone Ranger-size debacles, for the first time since 2001 no summer pic will cross $300 million domestically (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Maleficent and Transformers: Age of Extinction hover near $230 million). May kicked off with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 earning $200 million less domestically than 2013′s Iron Man 3; by July 20, the divide had swelled to nearly $690 million as revenue topped out at $2.71 billion, down 20% compared with the same period last year. Many medium-size studio movies also have underperformed this summer, including Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West and Sony’s comedy Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz (who is so stupid she thinks she can shave her vagina) which opened July 18 to a meager $14.6 million.

International returns remain strong, making up for some of the damage, but in certain cases they aren’t enough. Spider-Man 2 topped out at $706.2 million globally, notably behind the $757.9 million earned by The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012.

“Young men haven’t been as enthusiastic as usual,” says analyst Phil Contrino. “Maybe [studios] shouldn’t just go after this demo when building their summer tentpoles.” Female-fueled properties, including Maleficent and The Fault in Our Stars, have produced some of the summer’s biggest success stories.

Also contributing to the malaise is a lack of family product (including no Pixar movie), the allure of TV and myriad ways consumers can view entertainment in their homes. One studio executive laments, “I wish I worked at Netflix.”

More interesting than the Hollywood Reporter article are the readers’ comments, many of whom lay the blame on Hollyweird’s insistence on ramming their left-wing politics down our throats.

Let’s hear from you, FOTM’s readers, on this!

~Eowyn

Fast fooder McDonald’s is biggest sponsor of lewd TV shows

Evil Ronald McDonaldJunk food purveyer McDonald’s is also the biggest purveyor of junk TV.

Thaddeus Bablinski reports for LifeSiteNews, July 21, 2014, that the McDonalds mega-chain tops the list of companies most apt to sponsor sexually-graphic television shows, according to the pro-family TV watchdog, Parents Television Council (PTC).

PTC’s Research Department evaluates and reviews TV shows for their sexual content (depictions of or implied sexual content) and suggestive dialogue about sexual content. By “sexually graphic shows,” PTC means shows with “jokes about incest, rape, pedophilia; [glorifications of] adultery; barrages of bleeped and partially-bleeped F-words; and intense, brutal violence, including cannibalism and fetishized butchery.”

The Parents Television Council’s Top Ten TV sponsors of programs with sexual content, suggestive dialogue, foul language, and violence are:

Sexual Content:

  1. McDonalds Corporation
  2. YUM! Brands
  3. Mars Inc.
  4. Colgate Palmolive Company
  5. Virgin Mobile Telecoms Limited
  6. Time Warner Inc.
  7. Sony Corp. of America
  8. Toyota Motor Sales Inc.
  9. Samsung Electronics America, Inc.
  10. Red Bull North America, Inc.

Suggestive Dialogue:

  1. McDonalds Corporation
  2. Subway Restaurants
  3. Target Corp.
  4. Kohl’s Corporation
  5. Sears, Roebuck and Co
  6. Unilever United States
  7. AT&T Corp.
  8. Verizon Communications
  9. Toyota Motor Sales Inc.
  10. Microsoft

Foul Language:

  1. McDonalds Corporation
  2. YUM! Brands
  3. L’Oreal USA, Inc.
  4. Verizon Communications
  5. Toyota Motor Sales Inc.
  6. Cablevision Systems Corporation
  7. Signet Group plc (Kay Jewelers)
  8. Capital One Financial Corporation
  9. H & R Block
  10. Hyundai

Violence:

  1. Subway Restaurants
  2. YUM! Brands
  3. Verizon Communications
  4. AT&T Corp.
  5. Sprint Corporation
  6. Burlington Industries, Inc.
  7. Daimler Chrysler Corporation
  8. Toyota Motor Sales Inc.
  9. General Motors Corp.
  10. Signet Group plc (Kay Jewelers)

PTC president Tim Winter said in a press release: “The companies on our lists are the worst offenders in each category, and McDonalds, YUM! Brands, and Toyota Motor Sales Inc., in particular have been the top contributors to the most explicit broadcast TV shows. Particularly jarring is the direction that McDonalds’ advertising has taken in recent years, given its history as a family – and child-centric – brand. We’ve recently reached out to McDonalds to encourage the company to change course, as it used to be one of our ‘best’ advertisers. And perhaps not coincidentally, data shows the company to have had better earnings when it eschewed explicit TV programming.

Today we call for greater responsibility by the corporations whose media dollars underwrite some of the most harmful material on broadcast television. Family quality programming doesn’t just benefit families. It is also more profitable for the corporate sponsors who advertise on the broadcast networks. We hope that companies will choose wisely where to put their ad dollars for the benefit of families across this country.”

See also:

~Eowyn

40% of U.S. adults (incl. 11% of Dems) not sure if Obama is American citizen

army-officer-quote-on-obama

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, conducted on July 16-17, 2014, finds that whereas 60% of U.S. adults think Obama is an American citizen, as many as 40% or 4 out of every 10 do not believe their president is an American citizen, which of course violates the U.S. Constitution’s Article II.

Of those Americans who are skeptical of Obama’s U.S. citizenship:

  • 23% outright don’t believe he’s a U.S. citizen, including:
    • 41% of Republicans, 21% of unaffiliated Independents, and 11% of Democrats!
  • Another 17% aren’t sure if he is a U.S. citizen, including:
    • Over 20% of Republicans and Independents, and 7% of Democrats.

The survey also probed Americans’ belief/disbelief in other conspiracies, including:

  • 32% of Americans believe President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by more than one shooter.
  • 24% or one-in-four adults are convinced that the U.S. government knew in advance about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and did nothing to stop them.
  • 20% of Americans believe that a UFO carrying space aliens on board crashed near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.
  • 14% think the U.S. faked the moon landing.

One interesting finding is that in general, men are more likely than women to believe most of the conspiracy theories.

~Eowyn

Texas Gov. Perry deploys 1,000 National Guard troops to border

Months (actually years, since 2012) after illegal aliens began surging across the Mexico border into America’s southern states (at a rate of 35,000 a month into Texas), Governor Rick Perry is finally really doing something to stem the invasion.

Yesterday, July 21, 2014, stating that the federal government offers only “lip service” on border security, Perry announced that he is activating up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border  as a “force multiplier” to help the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) “combat the brutal Mexican drug cartels that are preying upon our communities.”

“I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault and little children from Central America are detained in squalor. We are too good of a country,” Perry said.

The National Guard troops could detain people if asked, Texas Adjutant General John Nichols said at the press conference with Perry, but they are planning to play a “referring and deterring” role by deterring cartels with their visible presence and referring any immigrants suspected of being illegally in the country to DPS.

Perry argued that the elevated response at the border by DPS personnel has already acted as a deterrent force and reduced apprehensions. That operation comes at a cost of $1.3 million per week. A state memo obtained by the McAllen Monitor, which first reported Perry’s plan to deploy the National Guard, indicates the new efforts will cost the state of Texas $12 million per month.

Perry said he expects the federal government to eventually reimburse the state of Texas for the costs it has incurred protecting the southern border.

CBS reports that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said prior to Perry’s announcement that the Obama administration has not yet received the formal request from Perry to activate the troops, but he downplayed it as a merely a symbolic measure, “What we’re hopeful is that Governor Perry will not just take these kinds of steps that are generating the kind of headlines I suspect he intended, but will actually take the kinds of steps that will be constructive to solving the problem over the long term.”

Referring to the $3.7 billion in emergency appropriations the POS has requested from Congress, Earnest said, “To be specific that means that we hope that Governor Perry will support the supplemental appropriations request that this administration put forward a few weeks ago and that that Governor Perry will use his influence with congressional Republicans in Congress an urge them to stop blocking comprehensive bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives.”

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Mouth of Sauron Joshua Earnest

To Joshua Earnest, the new Mouth of Sauron:

The United States Constitution recognizes America’s state National Guards or militias, and gives them vital roles to fill: “to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasion.” (Article I, Section 8, Clause 15).

State governors have the full authority to activate state National Guards, without having to issue a “formal request” to Washington, D.C.

In the end, however, Perry’s deployment of 1,000 Texan National Guard troops to the border is merely a symbolic act that will be entirely ineffectual in stemming the Invasion of the Illegals.

H/t FOTM’s swampygirl

~Eowyn

University of Wisconsin adopts racial/sexual “diversity” in grading students

W. Lee Hansen, a professor emeritus of economics at UW-Madison, wrote the following op-ed piece for the John William Hope Pope Center for Higher Education, a North Carolina-based think tank, about the latest “diversity” plan for the UW-System’s flagship school.

Madness in Madison

Professor W. Lee HansenThe University of Wisconsin’s latest diversity plan calls for “equity” in high-demand majors and the distribution of grades.

By W. Lee Hansen

July 16, 2014

Many American colleges and universities are in the thrall of “diversity,” but none more so than my institution, the University of Wisconsin. This spring, the university adopted a new plan that, according to Board of Regents policy, “[p]laces the mission of diversity at the center of institutional life so that it becomes a core organizing principle.

That is, promoting diversity appears to be more important than teaching students. 

This Framework for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence sailed through our Faculty Senate without the least bit of attention, much less the “sifting and winnowing” on which it prides itself.

Although much of the language is a thicket of clichés, no one dared challenge it. Moreover, there was no probing of the ramifications of the plan. Apparently, “diversity” has become such a sacred cow that even tenured professors are afraid to question it in any way.  

To begin, the university’s justification for the new policy is difficult to understand: “Our commitment is to create an environment that engages the whole person in the service of learning, recognizing that individual differences should be considered foundational to our strength as a community.”

That language is mere education babble, but the Faculty Senate swallowed it whole. So did the academic staff and the students.

The plan’s definition of diversity focuses on a wide array of differences that can be found in every enrolled student. Here’s what it includes:

Individual differences in personality, learning styles, and life experiences, and group or social differences that may manifest through personality, learning styles, life experiences, and group or social differences. Our definition of diversity also incorporates differences of race and ethnicity; sex; gender; and gender identity or expression; sexual orientation; age; country of origin; language; physical and intellectual ability; emotional health; socio-economic status; and affiliations that are based on cultural, political, religious, or other identities.

[Question from Eowyn: Does "diversity in intellectual ability" means certified morons and idiots, since they are under-represented in America's colleges and universities, should get an "A" or minimally a "P" (passing) grade?]

The list is so expansive that it leads one to conclude that every student is “diverse.” And I believe that is correct. Every student is different in so many ways that it makes no sense to say that some students “increase diversity” while others don’t.

The new plan provides no information on how the addition of these “individual and group/social differences” can create an environment that “engages the whole person,” whatever that means. Based on my experience, I would have no idea how to incorporate these “differences” into my economics teaching.

I wish someone had asked what bearing these particular “individual and group or social differences” have on student learning. Most people believe that individual differences in intelligence, aptitude, motivation, commitment, high school class rank, ACT/SAT scores, and academic preparation are far more important in contributing to student learning.

Those latter differences, what most people view as indicators of academic excellence, indeed are appropriate considerations at an institution priding itself as being a world-class teaching and research university.

How will the university assemble information on these supposedly crucial “differences”? Most applicants will not be able to describe their “learning styles,” or how to characterize their “personalities,” or how to assess their “emotional health.” Moreover, many students would hesitate to disclose personal information about their “cultural, political, religious, or other identities.” Without that information, it won’t be possible to use them “in the service of learning,” assuming that this notion is something other than empty rhetoric.

To achieve the plan’s vague aims, the Ad Hoc Diversity Planning Committee formulated five goals and thirty detailed recommendations. Unbeknownst to faculty senators, these goals and recommendations are based on the “Inclusive Excellence” framework adopted earlier by the Board of Regents. (See Agenda Item II.6 for the March 5, 2009, meeting of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents; in the PDF file: Madness in Madison)

That framework includes eight essential “working definitions,” among them the already-discussed diversity, as well as others: “compositional diversity,” “critical mass,” “inclusion,” “equity mindedness,” “deficit-mindedness,” “representational equity,” and “excellence.”

Let us take a closer look at one of these working definitions included, namely “representational equity.”

It calls for “proportional participation of historically underrepresented racial-ethnic groups at all levels of an institution, including high status special programs, high-demand majors, and in the distribution of grades.” 

We are not told exactly what adherence to this will entail. It appears to mean that directors of programs and departmental chairs will have to somehow ensure that they have a mix of students with just the right percentages of individuals who embody the various “differences” included in the definition of diversity. I cannot see how that is possible and even if it were, how it improves any student’s education.

Suppose there were a surge of interest in a high demand field such as computer science. Under the “equity” policy, it seems that some of those who want to study this field would be told that they’ll have to choose another major because computer science already has “enough” students from their “difference” group.

Especially shocking is the language about “equity” in the distribution of grades. Professors, instead of just awarding the grade that each student earns, would apparently have to adjust them so that academically weaker, “historically underrepresented racial/ethnic” students perform at the same level and receive the same grades as academically stronger students.  

At the very least, this means even greater expenditures on special tutoring for weaker targeted minority students. It is also likely to trigger a new outbreak of grade inflation, as professors find out that they can avoid trouble over “inequitable” grade distributions by giving every student a high grade.

Is there any reason to believe that the UW system’s Inclusive Excellence plan implemented at UW-Madison is going to improve the education of its students? I can see no reason to think so. Actually, the contrary seems more likely.

One problem is that the obsession with all those non-academic details about students comes with a cost—the cost of good students who are not admitted because they don’t seem “diverse” enough. Also, some of the preferred, “diverse” students will be admitted with significantly weaker academic capabilities than their classmates.

Although campus officials regularly fail to publicize detailed results of their diversity programs, my investigations show that roughly a quarter of its “diverse” targeted minority students do not meet the competitive admission standard applied to other applicants. This means that the students UW-Madison is trying to help instead find themselves at an immediate academic disadvantage.

Moreover, the obsession with groups distracts everyone from what truly matters—whether or not each student makes the best academic progress.

The campus climate has worsened by constantly referring to minority students as “targeted” minority students, and in the process stigmatizing them. It has also led to an unseemly “us versus them” mindset among many of those students.

That manifested itself several years ago when Roger Clegg, general counsel of the Washington-based Center for Equal Opportunity came to Madison to report on his research showing that the university’s racial preference policy meant severe discrimination against white and Asian applicants. Two senior UW officials orchestrated a disgraceful pro-diversity mob-like student demonstration at the hotel near campus where Clegg was making his presentation.

The demonstrators burst in and shouted Clegg down until he left the building. (Peter Wood has a good account of the entire matter in this Chronicle piece.)

It is impossible for me to imagine anything less consistent with the values of any educational institution than organizing a mob to protest a talk. It is also impossible for me to think that such a thing could have happened at Madison but for the obsession with diversity that has been building for years.

The University of Wisconsin adopted its first diversity plan back in 1966 and every few years it launches a much-touted new one. During my 30-year teaching career at Madison, followed by more than a decade of retirement, I have seen not the slightest bit of evidence that the fixation on “diversity” has made the campus better in any respect.

I predict this new Inclusive Excellence plan will fail to produce its hoped-for utopian outcomes. In a few years, the university will hear demands for yet another diversity plan.

Achieving “diversity” is like sailing toward the horizon.

You never get there.

H/t EAGnews

~Eowyn

Actor James Garner was a flaming liberal

James Garner in Feb. 2006James Garner in Feb. 2006 at age 79

James Garner passed away yesterday at age 86.

I liked James Garner.

Among the reasons why I liked him was that, unlike so many Hollyweirdos, he’d stayed married to the same woman for 56 years.

I liked James Garner until I read this morning that, in his memoir The Garner Files (2011), he admitted that he:

  • Smoked pot for most of his adult life.
  • Snorted cocaine with actor John Belushi who died from a drug overdose.
  • Described himself as a “bleeding-heart liberal” and a “card-carrying Democrat.”
  • Thought that Adlai Stevenson was “the most intelligent presidential candidate we’ve ever had.”
  • Regarded Barack Obama to be the second most intelligent presidential candidate the United States ever had: “I think Obama runs a close second” to Adlai Stevenson.

Here are screenshots I took from The Garner Files on Amazon.com:

Garner1

Garner2

Amazon won’t allow me to take a screenshot of page 97 on what Garner wrote about Obama, but here’s the screenshot of my search result for the word “Obama”:

Garner4

Garner also bad-mouthed Charleton Heston and other actors:

Garner

H/t National Enquirer

~Eowyn