October 14, 2006

"How can you teach English to young children with a veil over your face?"

Firing a teacher for her religious garb. Do we believe the justification?
Aishah Azmi, 24, was asked to take it off in class after pupils said they found English lessons hard to understand because they could not see her lips move....

"The children themselves were complaining. It is about what's best for the children."

In most households, there is no marriage.

I don't think this means that "To Be Married Means to Be Outnumbered," as the NYT headline puts it.
The American Community Survey, released recently by the Census Bureau, found that 49.7 percent, or 55.2 million, of the nation’s 111.1 million households in 2005 were made up of married couples — with and without children — just shy of a majority and down from more than 52 percent five years earlier.
Are most individual adults married? If singles live alone, they create more households per capita. And the percentage is affected by all the widows who outlive their husbands and all the young people who delay getting married. Individuals in both those groups are still the marrying kind.

But how much should we worry about the trend? Would it be awful if too many people decided that being single is the better way to live? Personally, I like that other people embrace marriage. It gives a nice solidity to society. Is it bad of me not to help with that enterprise?

"He is my only child still living and I think of him as a gift from God."

"He is also the best memory I have left of my wife." Yohane Banda was too poor to take care of the child he says he loves and gave the child up to the "good lady," Madonna, who swept into Malawi to adopt a boy. If Madonna wanted to help, she could have simply given the man some money. Something tells me that in the end she will, but only after she tripped all over her own embarrassing desire to ooze with beneficence and maternal love. It's not so easy. Now, you look awful. The only way to extricate yourself is to leave the boy and a pile of money with Banda and fund some very substantial project to help a big group of children in Malawi.

I'm on the pavement, thinking about the government.

Wisconsin State Capitol, reflection

Question most often asked of a blogger.

In my long experience. Can you guess what it is?

Comics.

The "Masters of American Comics" exhibition is in NY now (split into two shows, in two museums). Michael Kimmelman reviews it:
[T]he show shouldn’t be missed. It spotlights artists like Chris Ware and Gary Panter, amazing state-of-the-art talents and endearing in the tradition of all those shy, gifted kids who drew endlessly in their rooms when other kids wouldn’t play with them, dreaming about someday telling the world, “I told you so."
It was at the Milwaukee Art Museum (in one piece) last spring. Here's my old post about it.

Ground Zero/the Amish schoolhouse.

Here's a sane observation in a letter to the NYT editor by Susan J. Behrens of Brooklyn:
A week after the violence, the Amish have cleared the site of the building and planted various grasses and clover to return the site to pastureland.

What a contrast to another site of violence, ground zero, where the bickering and gawking continue five years later.

Perhaps it’s as simple as the vast difference in the value of the two sites financially, but the Amish seem to have the right values about moving on.

IN THE COMMENTS: Is snark called for? If so, Jeff has it:
I'm sure we'll see another letter to the Times, postmarked Park Slope or the Upper West Side, stating that no healing can begin until the Amish understand the root causes of the murderers grudge against young schoolgirls!

Perhaps the field will need the addition of a Ford or Soros funded International Center for Learning showcasing the achievements of child murderers that have been shamefully hidden by the theocratic Amish culture.

"It was a private world. We dreamed it up. It flowered out of our imaginations."

Richard Hell has an op-ed in the NYT:
It makes me think of that Elvis Presley quotation: “When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic book. I saw movies, and I was the hero in the movie. So every dream I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times.” We dreamed CBGB’s into existence.
Aw, the sweet, sentimental punk kids -- all grown old, and now their clubhouse has gone. Or... that is...
CBGB’s is going to be dismantled and reconstructed as an exhibit in Las Vegas, like Elvis. I like that. A lot. I really hope it happens as intended.
It's funny -- and another thing that makes my generation seem so old -- that he likes that CBGB's is going to Las Vegas. We all made fun of Elvis for relocating there back in the 70s. It's okay, Hell tells us, to be old and sentimental and nostalgic.

"They were not a broadcasting concern to begin with. ... They went into business to affect elections."

Gloats Rush Limbaugh, as Air America files for bankruptcy. The implication is that his show is "a broadcasting concern," but you've got to wonder: How is his show less about affecting elections than "Air America"?

I like the idea that listeners can tell what the radio guy is up to. We're sensitive to the voice. We can tell when what the speaker wants is to tell you to get in line politically. (I feel the same way about blogging.)

I'm not a big listener of either Limbaugh or Al Franken, but, driving in my car, I've spent some time with both of them.

I think Limbaugh clearly and constantly is trying to get you to agree with his opinions, but he's got a joy in the moment that captures the listener. You know, I am the same age as Limbaugh -- we were actually born on the same day -- and I get the distinct sense that he was influenced by the two great, great radio guys that I listened to every day back in the 60s: Jean Shepherd and Cousin Brucie. These were not political broadcasters as all, just extremely entertaining radio voices.

Al Franken, being a comedian, ought to bring entertainment value to his radio show, but I never got the feeling that he was into the moment, that he had a sense of what it means to be a voice on the radio. He always sounds exasperated, like he's dragged himself to the studio and it's a tough job but somebody's got to do it. Why, oh, why, don't people get it yet? How many times do I have to tell you...

Old pictures.

Dan Hoffman uses a picture of me to illustrate a post about the relationship between lawprofs and law students. That's me, back in the days when I was a law student, when big magenta glasses were an "Annie Hall"-inspired craze, and when I thought I was pretty good at cutting my own hair. Now my student-lawprof relationships can be affected by seeing what a serious/deranged law student I was.

And as long as we're doing old pictures, here's one I like of me -- and my older sister -- from back in 1953, when professional photographers took crisp black and white shots and then painted them for permanent color:

1953

And, yes, of course, I would wear the larger-sized dress when I got older.

Least balanced panel ever?

What are the chances that someone who leans toward supporting the death penalty would even consider attending this?

Drive/fly.

Man, I could have driven home from St. Louis in the time it took me to fly, and I could have done it without spending any time fretting about whether I'd have to stay overnight in Chicago. I've got to stop connecting at O'Hare. Wind makes everything back up. My 6:25 flight didn't leave until after 9, and I was glad to hear -- at the end of that flight -- that my connecting flight was delayed until 10:35. But I still had to run through the airport -- not something that's good for a person my age, in those shoes -- and, fortunately, I made it, but then that flight was further delayed. It was after 1 a.m. by the time I got home. I'm not mad at any airline people. They all did everything right. We just need more direct flights... and less Chicago.

October 13, 2006

What the band did.

Stephen Bainbridge asked what the UW Marching Band did to rile the administration here. Gordon Smith answers. It really is quite bad, not the kind of vigorous but offensive speech we've been fretting about lately in the context of the "Think. Respect." program.

"Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life."

"Across cultures and civilizations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development," said the Nobel Committee, announcing its Peace Prize.

Lawprof "blog juice."

Apparently,"juice" is now measured. Paul Caron assembles ranking of lawprof juiciness. Please note that I'm very juicy!

My Blog Juice

What if Roe v. Wade were overturned?

I'm here in St. Louis at the St. Louis University School of Law, where I'm a panelist responding to a lecture given by lawprof Richard Fallon on the subject of what things would be like if Roe v. Wade were overturned. He's speaking now, so let me keep you informed.

Fallon says he's never taken a position on whether Roe should be overturned, and his point here is to examine the various legal problems that would arise if it were overturned. He identifies four fallacies about overruling Roe:

1. There's a belief that overruling Roe would wipe the slate clean. In fact, there are old statutes on the books of the various states outlawing abortion. Would these statutes spring back into effect? Could these statutes be enforced retroactively?

2. There's a belief that overruling Roe would necessarily return the question to the states, but there's "almost no doubt" that Congress has the power under the Commerce Clause to pass laws that trump whatever the states might want to do.

3. There's a belief that overruling Roe would extract courts from the abortion controversy -- "get out of the abortion umpiring business," as Justice Scalia once put it. But really, the courts will just have to deal with a new set of abortion-related questions. What if a state outlawed abortion even where it was needed to save a woman's life? Don't women have some right to defend themselves at the constitutional level, quite aside from whether there's a broader right to abortion? And then there would be all sorts of questions about the scope of that right that would haunt the courts endlessly. And what if some states tried to restrict their citizens as they sought to travel to other states to obtain abortions? Complicated legal questions would arise here too.

4. There's a belief that Roe v Wade could be overruled without having much effect on the rest of constitutional law. What would be the ground for overruling the case? Even if the Court took a "modest" approach to the overruling and merely found no fundamental right to abortion, it would represent a triumph of "popular constitutionalism," and this might inspire new political efforts to exert pressure on the Court to change things to respond to political pressure.

Now, the commenters. Panel 1 is up. I'm on Panel 2, after lunch. Susan Appleton of Washington University Law School is speaking now. Also on this panel: Stephen Gardbaum (UCLA School of Law), Michael Greve (American Enterprise Institute), and Mark Rosen (Chicago-Kent College of Law).

FINALLY FINISHING THIS POST: Panel 2 was Anthony J. Bellia, Jr. (Notre Dame Law School), Alan Howard (Saint Louis University School of Law), and me. I said I thought that to collect all the possible post-Roe legal troubles is, implicitly, to make an argument against overruling Roe. Overruling Roe would create a new set of problems, and it is natural (and conservative) to prefer to the known problems to the unknown, but I think those who like Roe have a motive to underestimate the problems we have now and to exaggerate what the new problems would be. I support preserving Roe myself, but I don't think those who support overruling it should or will be pushed back with hypertechnical legalistic puzzles that essentially say: this is all too complex for you to fathom, so you really aren't competent to have an opinion here.

At the end of the first panel, a woman asked: If there really are all these problems without Roe, why didn't we see them before Roe? Afterwards, I said to one of the other law professors, that was a great question, do you know who that woman was? Answer: Phyllis Schafly's daughter.

"But let's reserve the word 'anti-feminist' for our real enemies."

So says Erin Matson, the co-chair of that National Organization for Women Young Feminist Task Force, commenting on the on the breastblogging controversy I caused a few weeks ago. This quote appears in a piece written by Liz Funk (over at Huffington Post). Funk is fairly balanced in her analysis -- although I find it rather unfair that there is no link to my blog. (The other blog, Feministing, is linked twice.)

Funk seems to confirm my observation that Feministing uses breast imagery to attract an audience:
If Feministing is in fact using sex to attract readers, they aren't alone. From female celebrities sporting minidresses on the cover of Cosmopolitan, to risqué perfume ads, to commercials for tampons, many media outlets geared towards women (and many of which are intended to empower women) use women's sexuality to attract women readers. Sex sells... and women buy it.

Sex is almost always needed to market to younger people. As young feminist interest seems to be dwindling in traditional women's organizations, Feministing lures readers with politics and social commentary-made palatable. Putting the term "subverting the dominant paradigm" as a blog post title would not draw Gen Y readers; "'Cause calling girls slut is always funny" relates the same message of gender equality, with more sparkle.
Yes, of course, but if you're going to be a feminist, you need to do a feminist analysis of that move! So you want to get your message across? But you have to ask yourself whether you've changed the message. This is such a glaring question that it's mindboggling that you think you'd escape this critique.

But feminists aren't what they used to be. They shrink from an intense debate with each other. Here's Matson's point in context:
"This controversy is a rehashing of a very old debate within the feminist community: is public sexuality empowering or harmful to women? It's a complex issue and it's good to keep the discussion going... some feminists may disagree with the stance taken by many of Feministing's writers, but let's reserve the word 'anti-feminist' for our real enemies. To slap the same label on Jessica Valenti and Anne [sic] Coulter is completely ridiculous."
"Our real enemies"? Oh, yes, feminism has gotten rolled up into the conventional left-right of American politics. Ever since feminists chose to subordinate themselves to the interests of the Democratic party to help Bill Clinton with his problems, the feminist discourse in this country has been lame. It's a means to a political end, and so you always know who your "enemies" are. Fifteen years ago, feminists critiquing each other was an important part of feminism. Now, doggedly serving liberal partisan politics squelches everything that could become vital.

Maybe if feminists had the nerve to engage in real debate about feminism they could get some young people excited about real ideas. But go ahead, tart up your website with boobies for now. It's helpful that you make your desperation so clear.

UPDATE: Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for linking. If you're not familiar with the original controversy, here is my key post touching things off, and here and here are later posts responding to it.

October 12, 2006

Ooh. It's a little early for this.

It was a crisp morning:

Early snow

It can't be snow!

The dreaded bias report!

From Java Zen.

Album cover mayhem.

"It was entertaining if strange to see all these people gyrating to their own beat."

A huge flashmob -- each individual plugged into his own iPod -- dances in what the observer perceives as silence. I like it, and I'm waiting for the video on YouTube.

UPDATE: The YouTubage:

"But mostly he just wants to be a professor."

Wow! I've never read a more impressive reinforcement of the belief that it's great to be a professor.

Orhan Pamuk!

Orhan Pamuk wins the Nobel Prize for literature. Pamuk was charged with the crime of "insulting Turkishness," charges that were dropped after outcry from Westerners.
Pamuk, 54, who gained international acclaim for books including ''Snow,'' ''Istanbul,'' and ''My Name is Red,'' went on trial last year for telling a Swiss newspaper in February 2005 that Turkey was unwilling to deal with the massacre of Armenians during World War I, which Turkey insists was not a planned genocide, and recent guerrilla fighting in Turkey's overwhelmingly Kurdish southeast.

''Thirty-thousand Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it,'' he said in the interview.
Hoarse Engdahl, the head of the Swedish Academy that awards the prize, said the controversy had nothing to do with the decision to award him the prize.
''It could of course lead to some political turbulence but we are not interested in that,'' Engdahl said. ''He is a controversial person in his own country, but on the other hand so are almost all of our prizewinners.''
Which is why we don't believe you when you say it has no effect on the decision... But, anyway, I like the support for Pamuk.

If you want to read something of his, read his New Yorker piece about his trial:

My detractors were not motivated just by personal animosity, nor were they expressing hostility to me alone; I already knew that my case was a matter worthy of discussion in both Turkey and the outside world. This was partly because I believed that what stained a country’s “honor” was not the discussion of the black spots in its history but the impossibility of any discussion at all. But it was also because I believed that in today’s Turkey the prohibition against discussing the Ottoman Armenians was a prohibition against freedom of expression, and that the two matters were inextricably linked. Comforted as I was by the interest in my predicament and by the generous gestures of support, there were also times when I felt uneasy about finding myself caught between my country and the rest of the world....

As tomorrow’s novelists prepare to narrate the private lives of the new élites, they are no doubt expecting the West to criticize the limits that their states place on freedom of expression. But these days the lies about the war in Iraq and the reports of secret C.I.A. prisons have so damaged the West’s credibility in Turkey and in other nations that it is more and more difficult for people like me to make the case for true Western democracy in my part of the world.


ADDED: Jeff Weintraub observes that the prize "seems like a happy ending for [Pamuk], at least for the moment. But the larger issues remain, both for Turkey and for the rest of us."

Sandra Day O'Connor heard appeals yesterday.

The Daily News reports:
O'Connor heard a criminal case and four civil disputes, including a time-honored New York favorite - the landlord-tenant dispute - while sitting on a panel with two other judges from the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

She challenged a tenant lawyer, asking him how he'd react if a landlord said, "Look, I'm entitled to rent at the end of the day."

"A typical jury will understand that the victim is going to have a family, and they're going to be sorry he's dead..."

"... and they might be there at the trial. The buttons don't seem to add much to what the jury will derive from seeing the family seated behind the prosecution bench."

So said Chief Justice John Roberts at oral argument yesterday. The question was whether a federal court on habeas should overturn a murder conviction because during the trial, members of the victim's family sat in the courtroom wearing buttons showing a picture of the victim. The standard on habeas -- after the revisions in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act -- is whether the state trial judge's decision was "contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States.” The 9th Circuit overturned the conviction of Matthew Musladin, and I think we know how the Supreme Court will decide this, given the difficulty of meeting the standard.

The linked article is David Savage's piece in the L.A. Times, but you can read the whole transcript here. I found it interesting that Justice Kennedy toyed with the idea of using the case to "clearly establish" the law for future cases:
Supposing we all thought that this practice in this particular case deprived the defendant of a fair trial, but we also agreed with you that AEDPA prevents us from announcing such a judgment. What if we wrote an opinion saying it is perfectly clear there was a constitutional violation here, but Congress has taken away our power to reverse it. Then a year from now, the same case arises. Could we follow -- could the district court follow our dicta or could it -- would it be constrained to say we don't know what the Supreme Court might do?
The lawyer for the state quickly reminded him that the Court in Williams v. Taylor (second link, above) said that only holdings count toward clearly establishing the law for habeas purposes and that Musladin will only win this case if the law was already clearly established. Perhaps Kennedy can find some way to extract the Court from this bind, which severely undercuts the role of the Court in saying what the law is at precisely the point where the statute -- AEDPA -- makes the Court's articulation of the law crucial.

ADDED: Linda Greenhouse's report on the argument is much better than what is at the first link. She explains the federalism problem extremely well:
The Supreme Court has had various things to say over the years about the unduly prejudicial impact of such practices as placing a defendant in shackles or in prison garb in the presence of the jury. But it has never said a word about a murder victim’s relatives wearing buttons.

So, did the federal appeals court in this case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, have the authority to extrapolate from the old Supreme Court precedents to the new situation? Did it have the authority to apply one of its own cases, a 1990 ruling that overturned a rape conviction because female spectators at the trial had worn buttons declaring “Women Against Rape”?...

Suppose, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy asked Mr. Ott, that there was no Supreme Court ruling on a particular issue, but that the courts of five federal appellate circuits had looked at the issue and had all reached the same conclusion. “And they all say, ‘We think the general rule of the Supreme Court is as follows,’ ” Justice Kennedy said, asking: “Isn’t that entitled to some weight? You’re not supposed to cite that when you go to the Sixth Circuit court or you go to the state court?”

Such a decision, even if widely shared among the appeals courts, could not be considered “clearly established” law, Mr. Ott replied. “To redefine or shape this court’s holdings beyond the face of those holdings, our position is that cannot be done with state or circuit law,” he said.

Read the whole thing, especially if you haven't thought about AEDPA before and need to get a grip on it.

October 11, 2006

"Project Runway," the finale, part 1.

Had you already picked a favorite, or did you, like me, bond with someone just tonight, as we saw each contestant at home? I loved Laura's loft living space and her exuberance with her four, soon to be five, boys and nice husband. But it was Uli who touched me. How odd that for the first time we hear that she's from East Germany, as if they only now decided to let us sympathize with her. Her attachment to Miami and to America felt beautiful, in fact, it made me dream of transplanting myself to some new place that would inspire me in some new way. (But where?)

Laura love dropped sharply as we traveled the narrative arc of tonight's show. She saw how Tim praised Jeffrey's collection, saw that he was going to win, so she made the one move that was available: She accused him of receiving outside help. She had absolutely no evidence other than the fact that his work was well done. At the end of tonight's show, we saw previews of next week, and it was cut to make us guess that Jeffrey would be disqualified. Tim says "Unfortunately..." and then we see Jeffrey collapsing in Uli's arms. I'm willing to bet that Tim said something like "Unfortunately, there is no way that the accusation could be substantiated," and Jeffrey collapses in relief.

"It is deeply troubling that a prestigious public university would choose to offer a class that provides fodder to extremists."

The Anti-Defamation League on UW teacher Kevin Barrett:
"While we respect academic freedom, ADL is deeply concerned that the students in Barrett's class are receiving a taxpayer-funded indoctrination into the instructor's personal political views that the U.S. government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, that America is equivalent to Nazi Germany and that Israel is a racist state," said Lonnie Nasatir, Regional Director of ADL's Upper Midwest office and a University of Wisconsin alumnus. "Students who have signed up for a class purportedly about Islam are being ill-served by this content, which has little to do with that great religion."...

"These 9/11 conspiracies are used to demonize Jews, Israel and America, and have become part of the core belief systems of anti-Semites and millions of others around the world," said Nasatir. "It is deeply troubling that a prestigious public university would choose to offer a class that provides fodder to extremists, rather than seek to debunk these myths."

Think. Respect....

Think

If you don't know what this is about read this. And remember: It makes a great armband.

UPDATE: Ooh! It's a competition. New entry:

TRO

The official logo we're spoofing is in the linked old post. But, for reference, here it is again:




MORE: The "Inform" version is by Steve White of Rantburg.

YET MORE: Paul Denton offers this, which highlights the "inform" (as a commenter recommended) and improves the font and the kerning (and don't you love typography geekery? I do!):

thinkrespectinform_2

Sippican Cottage
has this:

UW

Plane crashes into a NYC building.

NYT report.

"With Republicans, it's sex."

"With Democrats, it's money."

Colloquy + weather + shoes.

Down in the comments to the "Think.Respect." post, Tim says:
Good morning! Nice weather we're having! Are those new shoes? Anyway, gotta go - I'm late for my "Think. Respect. re-education class."

Have a nice day!
I respond:
I'm sorry, Tim. I'm going to have to report you for calling attention to my shoes, which seems sexist to me. Also, I'm feeling that "Good morning! Nice weather" might be some sort of sly anti-WASP mockery.
MadisonMan responds to me:
It's also patently false.
Fenrisulven's all:
Then you get to go before some board or cmte on hate crimes and prove your innocence. When it's all over, the only thing people will recall is that you were somehow involved in some kind of despicable bigotry.
MadisonMan comes back with:
fenris, I'd go before the board and show the statement "Nice weather we're having" was made on a day in October with rain and temperatures in the 40s. And they'd all agree with me.
And I'm:
Yeah, I took your comment to be about the actual weather here this morning...
And Tim's back with:
Sucks for you all, with promises it will only get worse before the end of March. As for me, it's 52 degrees at 9:45 a.m., with an anticipated high of 82, sunny, humidity at 62% and no wind. It is beautiful.

And, not that I'm tracking this, but I don't recall Ann taking any recent photos of her shoes lately...
So I'll just say...

Here's the weather (from my office window):

Bascom Mall

And here are the shoes (against my office carpeting):

shoes

"Are you threatening me?"

That "Think.Respect." post got me thinking about students perceiving threats everywhere and sent me looking for that classic perceiver of threats:

Here's the original Cornholio episode. Don't miss the teacher, who seems very Madison, Wisconsin to me. Love his "Human Rights. Capitalism" diagram (which Beavis walks out on). And that quivering administrator... how apt.

"Do you know the best service anyone could render to art? Destroy all biographies."

"Only art can explain the life of a man—and not the contrary." Orson Welles, quoted by Simon Callow ("Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu"), quoted by Terry Teachout.

I'm trying to start a serious conversation about art, but I'm guessing there's a hearty subsection of readers whose minds are now going "Xanadu, Xanadu, (now we are here) in Xanadu, Xanadu, Xanadu, (now we are here) in Xanadu, Xanadu, your neon lights will shine for you, Xanadu." But that's art too, isn't it? And that might very well explain the life of a man. But if you see that man coming, run.

"Wisconsin’s latest speech code, the 'Think. Respect.' program."

Here's an opinion piece in the Badger Herald by Robert Phansalkar, a UW student (majoring in political science and languages and cultures of Asia):
The [“Think. Respect.”] program calls for university students to search for forms of discrimination and harassment on campus, and when present, to download a “bias incident report form” to be submitted to the Student Advocacy and Judicial Affairs unit of the Dean of Students for a potential investigation. Implicit in this reporting scheme is that students who harass will be punished or reprimanded in some way....

Ironically enough, the university’s protection of students against bias includes political affiliation...
Here's a letter in response to that article by UW polisci prof Donald Downs (who wrote this book about campus speech codes):
It was good to finally see that a student journalist has grasped the fact that the program, as presently conceived, poses a threat to honest discourse and privacy on campus. The program encourages campus citizens to report not only acts of harassment or discrimination that constitute official misconduct, but all forms of “bias,” verbal and non-verbal, without that term being defined in a manner that is consistent with First Amendment principles. In other words, the present policy amounts to a speech code, as it encourages people to file reports on other people’s attitudes and speech that informants deem insufficiently senstive.
Here's the University's announcement of the "Think. Respect." program, explaining the logo, which looks like this:



[IN THE COMMENTS: Pastor Jeff says: "It would look great on an armband. "]

Included in that announcement;
Chancellor John D. Wiley says the campus has seen improvements in climate during the past few years. However, an anti-gay incident in University Housing last spring — one of the driving factors behind the campaign — demonstrated that the campus community still has more work to do.

"We are committed to creating and sustaining a campus community that is open, diverse and inclusive," Wiley says. "We want a campus that embraces difference and where respect is rampant. We will not tolerate bias, racism, disrespect or hate."

To counter racism in any of its forms, Berquam is launching a bias reporting mechanism through the Offices of the Dean of Students Web site.
Here's that website:
A bias incident is a threat or act of bigotry, harassment or intimidation - verbal, written or physical - that is personally directed against or targets a University of Wisconsin-Madison student because of that student's race, age, gender identity or expression, disability, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, or other actual or perceived characteristic.
What is a verbal "act of bigotry, harassment or intimidation" aimed at someone's "political affiliation"? What does "other actual or perceived characteristic" refer to? Students who "have witnessed or experienced a bias-related incident" are told to click to this form (PDF) to submit a report. Back to the website:
Students can report anything, from a hate crime to graffiti to verbal harassment. SAJA will attempt to follow up in every instance, contingent on the information provided, to investigate possible misconduct and to provide resources to the victim.

Berquam says that many hate or bias incidents are relayed anecdotally to ODOS staff. The reporting form is one way to quantify how many incidents take place on campus and provide a method for following up.
Students can report anything? And remember Wiley's statement: "We will not tolerate bias, racism, disrespect or hate." We will not tolerate disrespect? You know, I want students to feel good about campus life, but isn't part of campus life having rowdy debates and vigorous arguments? I know from running this blog that there are people who firmly believe that opposition to gay marriage is bigotry. This program should make students worry that anything other than bland pleasantries is going to get them in trouble with the administration. I wonder if you can report feeling threatened if someone made you feel threatened that they were going to report you for making them feel threatened. And what's the good of encouraging students feel entitled to a cushioned speech environment? How does this equip them to live in the real world?

Why doesn't the university have a program that promotes debate about tough issues and teaches students how to express themselves forcefully? No, no, when someone mocks your political ideas, you ought to slink away and go back to your little room and download a report form.

(And, yes, it's incredibly ironic that the university also went to the wall for free speech values when it dealt with Kevin Barrett.)

AND: Don't miss the new post, with the new logo!

October 10, 2006

Don't show this ad!

Noooooo! It wouldn't be nice! Must be niiiiiiiiiice. So they're not showing it, and it's a good thing no one can see it.

ADDED: Is this the future of political advertising? You don't need to buy ad time anymore. And you don't need to worry that people are fast-forwarding over your commercials. You just make the kind of ad that people want to embed and link and click to. You can disassociate yourself from it and say you're not responsible for whatever it is that makes it enticing, and stand back as millions watch it, rewatch it, and get others to watch it. What a strategy. And I'm not saying it's bad. I like the way satire makes different people pay attention to politics -- not just your dreary politicos -- and I like the way it sharpens minds -- unlike the somber sonorously narrated traditional ads with their crude, piano-tinkling efforts at manipulation. I'm just waiting for someone to say this must be regulated.

Kindergarten, 1957.

I just ran across this old picture from my kindergarten class. Place: Newark, Delaware.

Kindergarten class 1957

For the full-size picture, go here.

I can't really remember who any of these kids are (other than me). I think it's cute that they got nearly all the girls to cross our legs at the ankles, which was considered the only proper way for a female to cross her legs. Note that the girls in shorts are put on one side and the girls in skirts on the other. Whatever they did to makes us smile seems to have amused the boys more than the girls. I like the way you can tell who the class clown is. Back in those days, there were no public kindergartens. This building was next to the pool that everyone joined for the summer. I like the windows. Kind of Usonian, right? What did we do in kindergarten back then? We were not taught to read. I think the only idea was to get us used to going to school. We played rhythm instruments, mostly sticks. We fooled around with clay. We were sent outside to run around. We were forced to take little naps lying on little throw rugs. I remember coming up with the theory that I could use my feet to propel myself around the room, and that if I did it slowly enough the teacher would not be able to see it. My analogy was to the minute hand on a clock. Turns out the analogy was not that accurate, and the teachers did not appreciate my scientific experimentation.

"Afraid of an imperfect world..."

... and now suing for half a million dollars. She's back!

Howard Dean sets the standard...

... for hotness over at Above the Law. I mean, really. What a picture! No wonder he has so much otherwise inexplicable confidence. And those other people you're comparing to him? Well, they just underscore how great he looked. And also, what's with the title "Deputy Dean"?



ADDED: Film clip, if you don't get the picture... and (especially) if you do.

Are you afraid to answer the door...

... because you think it may be some little kid there to guilt-trip you into buying some horrid product? Wouldn't it be easier if the kid just begged for money? Or just if the government taxed us properly for schools and the poor kid could have his time back, you know, like maybe to learn something? (And no one would make the argument anymore that the child is learning about business, would they? Because no real-world business is done by making you feel guilty about not buying horrible, overpriced crap. And, no, that's not "gourmet" caramel corn. That's disgustingly bad caramel corn. I actually like caramel corn, and I wouldn't eat that if you offered it to me free.)

"Like Bush and the neocons, Hitler and the Nazis inaugurated their new era by destroying an architectural monument...."

From the required textbook for Kevin Barrett's course on Islam, here at the University of Wisconsin. The book is: "9/11 and American Empire: Muslims, Jews, and Christians Speak Out," a collection of essays including one by Barrett. Lots more quotes from the book at the link.

UPDATE: Blue Crab wants him fired. Note that I'm supporting the decision not to fire him. But I advocate criticizing him -- harshly and disrespectfully.

Exempting religion.

Is there any explanation for why I haven't been linking to the NYT's series on government and religion?
Part 1: As Exemptions Grow, Religion Outweighs Regulation
Part 2: Where Faith Abides, Employees Have Few Rights
Part 3: As Religious Programs Expand, Disputes Rise Over Tax Breaks
I think it's that I've been teaching my "Religion and the Constitution" class this semester, and this material felt like extra readings from a different part of the course. Today, we reach the material on exempting religion from generally applicable laws. I'm mainly writing this post to preserve those three links. I still haven't read the articles. Later.

UPDATE:
Part 4: Religion-Based Tax Breaks: Housing to Paychecks to Books

"The Google-YouTube deal has to feel a little like the 1990’s, but it isn’t."

“If you knew then what you know now and you had the chance to acquire Amazon or eBay — which weren’t making any money either — you would have bought them.”

Is YouTube worth $1.65 billion? How do you make money with it? Embed ads in the videos? (That's one idea. Would you still watch?) And how do you avoid all the lawsuits waiting to happen? (Deals with the entertainment industry? But you can't reach all the copyright holders, can you? And where does the money come from?)
Phil Leigh, the president of Inside Digital Media, said the new arrangements represented “a strong endorsement that the major media companies are going to see YouTube as a legitimate business partner.”

Mr. Leigh said that also suggested a rethinking of the approach the companies took to Napster. “It shows that very important, erstwhile reluctant media companies have got religion,” he said.

October 9, 2006

"Was it a dud?"

Classic Drudge, with this link, and this picture:



Thanks, Matt, for cheering us up in these hard times.

UPDATE: Apparently, it was a dud. U.S. intelligence officials are saying "seismic readings show that the conventional high explosives used to create a chain reaction in a plutonium-based device went off, but that the blast's readings were shy of a typical nuclear detonation. "

Color: Fall.

Place: The University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Tree with a stone bench

Ivy

Dancing in fat suits.

Hilarious photo. And here's the article about the ballet "Groosland": "Such carryings-on are wildly incorrect, politically speaking, and there is indeed a disturbing undercurrent." I don't find this disturbing at all. (Or is the disturbing part that thy start off dressed like "working-class stereotypes from the south of France"?) I think it's quite cool! I'm a big fan of fat nudes, I should add. I've done a lot of life drawing classes -- as I've written about before -- and I was always happy when the model was fat.

The prosecutor's "disabling conflict of interest": her novel.

California prosecutor Joyce Dudley gets kicked off a case because it's too much like what happened in her novel. Well, you know, this is an Althouse theme: How much does fiction count as real? (Last week's entry.)
The question of whether a lawyer’s freelance fiction can require disqualification was both novel and important, Justice Yegan wrote. He said he hoped “that this case of first impression will make a lasting impression.”...

In a sworn statement filed in opposition to the disqualification motion, Ms. Dudley said her book was not based on a real case....

“Intoxicating Agent,” which Ms. Dudley paid to have printed, is made notable by Ms. Dudley’s acknowledgment to a local newspaper that her fictional heroine was “a pumped-up version” of herself.

Ms. Danner, Ms. Dudley writes, has “the poise and sexiness of a dancer, the brains of a scholar and the protective passion of a mother.”

“She had always been attractive,” Ms. Dudley continues, “but now, having reached middle age, experience, confidence and poise further enhanced her beauty.”

“It’s not really a good judgment call to closely mirror the facts of a case while it’s still pending,” Ms. Fairstein said.
Oh, so it's self-published and self-promoting? (Said the blogger.) Now, that's pretty awful... and the actual quotes there are really, really awful. But does writing a bad novel have any bearing on her fitness to do her job?
Deborah L. Rhode, an authority on legal ethics at Stanford, said the appeals court’s ruling was correct but too broad.

“There’s a lot not to like in the way that this deputy district attorney traded on her office to promote her book,” Professor Rhode said. “And the court could justifiably be concerned that her desire for publicity could affect her decision whether to try the case or accept a plea.”

But the decision went on to seemingly ban all sorts of extracurricular writing.

“No current public employee,” Justice Yegan wrote, “should be permitted to exploit his or her official position as a lever to earn extra income.”

"Evangelicals Blame Foley, Not Republican Party."

The NYT has an article analyzing the effect of the Foley scandal on those pesky morals voters:
[I]n dozens of interviews here in southeastern Virginia, a conservative Christian stronghold that is a battleground in races for the House and Senate, many said the episode only reinforced their reasons to vote for their two Republican incumbents in neck-and-neck re-election fights, Representative Thelma Drake and Senator George Allen.

“This is Foley’s lifestyle,” said Ron Gwaltney, a home builder, as he waited with his family outside a Christian rock concert last Thursday in Norfolk. “He tried to keep it quiet from his family and his voters. He is responsible for what he did. He is paying a price for what he did. I am not sure how much farther it needs to go.”
So... Ron Gwaltney, homophobic bigot or believer in individual responsibility? That's just a litmus test for you this morning.

Oh, wait, the NYT helpfully adds:
The Democratic Party is “the party that is tolerant of, maybe more so than Republicans, that lifestyle,” Mr. Gwaltney said, referring to homosexuality.
Litmus paper turns blue. Was Gwaltney referring to homosexuality or sexual licentiousness? Presumably, there's more to the interview and Gwaltney was clear.
Most of the evangelical Christians interviewed said that so far they saw Mr. Foley’s behavior as a matter of personal morality, not institutional dysfunction.

All said the question of broader responsibility had quickly devolved into a storm of partisan charges and countercharges. And all insisted the episode would have little impact on their intentions to vote.
There is a tendency to assume the morals voters are naive, that you can play them and even talk about how you're playing them and they won't see the whole picture that includes you trying to play them. The aggressive politicization of the Foley story is itself a story and the voters witness it and react. It's hardly surprising if they've reacted with revulsion to politicians for their expedient use of the story to claw toward power, which really is more repugnant than self-indulgent sexual expression. Would it shake your preconceptions to find out that even hardcore morals voters see that?

"You’re done. I didn’t have an opportunity for a follow-up question with Bill Clinton. You get your chance, you take advantage of it."

NYT ace interviewer Deborah Solomon subjects Chris Wallace to a pretty hostile interview, and he bites back.

"Once they do that, it’s serious... Otherwise, the North Koreans are just jerking us around.”

The North Korean nuclear test.

October 8, 2006

Audible Althouse #68.

In the new podcast, I stumble into a marijuana festival, I submerge myself in a comparison of Foleygate to "The Vagina Monologues," I stare too deeply into a postcard photograph of my grandmother, and I end up wondering what song to have played at my funeral.

Stream it right through your computer here. But all the transgressive rebel artists are subscribing on iTunes:
Ann Althouse - Audible Althouse

Afternoon shadow.

Tree shadow

Shopping drunk on line.

Apparently, it's a trend. Well, drunk or not, people have been getting themselves in trouble shopping from home for a long time. Before the web, there was the catalogue and the telephone, not to mention the door-to-door salesman.

Natural...

... excess.

Red flower

How the Democrats/Republicans can win.

The NYT has a series of very short op-eds today collected under the headings "How the Democrats Can Win" and "How the Republicans" can win. Nothing especially inspired me here. I don't know. Maybe it's me.

When journalists express an opinion.

The NYT's "Public Editor," Byron Calame, writes about the dispute that arose when Linda Greenhouse -- the NYT's Supreme Court reporters -- gave a speech that revealed some of her personal political opinions.
[She opined that the government] “had turned its energy and attention away from upholding the rule of law and toward creating law-free zones at Guantánamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, other places around the world, the U.S. Congress, whatever. And let’s not forget the sustained assault on women’s reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism.” She later added, “I feel a growing obligation to reach out across the ridiculous actual barrier that we seem about to build on the Mexican border. ...”

The Times’s ethical guideline states that news staffers appearing on radio or television “should avoid expressing views that go beyond what they would be allowed to say in the paper.” It is obvious, I think, that the guideline also applies to other venues. And Bill Keller, the executive editor, made clear in an e-mail message to me that the standard applies to all Times journalists “when they speak in public.”

It seems clear to me that Ms. Greenhouse stepped across that line during her speech. Times news articles are not supposed to contain opinion. A news article containing the phrase “the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism” would get into the paper only as a direct quote from a source. The same would go for any news article reference to “the ridiculous actual barrier” on the Mexican border.
Calame notes the "muted" reaction from the management of the NYT and says that Greenhouse told him that "she considers her remarks at Harvard to be 'statements of fact' — not opinion — that would be allowed to appear in a Times news article." Statements of fact? With words like "assault" and "hijacking"? The contention that these are "statements of fact" bothers me more than the disclosure of personal opinion.

The Times has its policy constraining the speech of journalists, and as Calame notes, an interest in avoiding "giving the paper’s critics fresh opportunities to snipe at its public policy coverage." If the management of the Times has decided to let the incident pass, he says, it has accepted this risk. Then maybe the question is whether the policy should be reframed, so that it explicitly permits journalists to speak more freely. Calame thinks not.
[J]ournalism [is] a calling ... that requires sacrifices and special obligations. Keeping personal opinions out of the public realm is simply one of the obligations for those who remain committed to the importance of impartial news coverage.
Here's NPR's coverage of the story, which includes links to the audio and the text of the Greenhouse speech. She speaks with fervor and conveys a sense of personal expression, and the audience responds to that. It's an extremely well-done speech, and the problem is only about the Times's specific policy and journalistic ethics more generally. The NPR webpage quotes Daniel Okrent, the first NYT public editor:
He says he is amazed by Greenhouse's remarks.

"It's been a basic tenet of journalism ... that the reporter's ideology [has] to be suppressed and submerged, so the reader has absolute confidence that what he or she is reading is not colored by previous views," Okrent says.

Charges of media bias are routinely thrown at the Times and other media outlets, from both the left and the right. Okrent says he never received a single complaint about bias in Greenhouse's coverage. He wonders whether journalists really need to smother their private beliefs to be fair in their articles.
Greenhouse's speech didn't seem that out of line to me, because I am so used to hearing law professors express all kinds of personal and political opinions about the Supreme Court, and, obviously, I do it all the time myself. I'm trying to imagine a law school where the professors felt they needed to make sacrifices and suppress and submerge their opinions. Actually, it's a scary place! Do you really want us to become more devious? (Recall the discussion here a few months ago about an op-ed by Stanley Fish about whether teachers need to exclude their political opinions from classroom teaching.)

When I read journalistic writing, I always assume the reporter has political opinions, and I try to figure out what they are. Both Okrent and Calame make a point of praising Greenhouse for reaching a high standard of neutrality in her journalistic writing. But that shouldn't make anyone think she doesn't actually have opinions. It just means you'd have to do a very sophisticated analysis to figure out if any of her opinion finds its way into her presentation of the complicated statements of Supreme Court justices (which are themselves carefully written to exclude the appearance of personal opinion).

So I'm not disturbed by what Greenhouse said in her speech, and I think Okrent is right that reporters can have a little more freedom than the official NYT policy seems to require.

IN THE COMMENTS: A reader reminds us of the longstanding term "Greenhouse effect," referring to the tendency of judges to become liberal over time as they frame opinions intended to please the NYT. Here's a recent use of the term:
"The Greenhouse Effect" is the name of a phenomenon popularized by D.C. Appeals Court Judge Laurence Silberman referring to federal judges whose rulings are guided solely by their need for adulation from legal reporters such as Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times. The idea is that once confirmed, justices become desperate to be invited to the right cocktail parties and conform their views to those of the liberal intelligentsia....

The problem with this theory is that it accepts a great conservative fiction: that there is vast, hegemonic liberal control over the media and academia. This may have been somewhat true once, but it's patently untrue today. Jurists desperate for sweet media love can hop into bed with the Limbaugh/Coulter/FOX News crowd. Clarence Thomas has made a career of it. There is a significant and powerful conservative presence in the media, inside the Beltway, and in academia. And my own guess is that Federalist cocktail parties in D.C. are vastly more fun than their no-smoking/vegan/no-topless-dancing counterparts on the left.
That last bit fits with this thing I said yesterday. Most women don't find topless dancing to be vastly fun, though, and the way of thinking about fun that is so thoroughly from the male point of view that it doesn't even notice that it's forgetting about how women feel really doesn't seem likely to produce more fun for women. Or is that the point? Conservative men have more fun at parties because they don't worry so much about what women think.