Month: September 2018

Review: The Diversity Delusion

Until 2011, UCLA students English had to take a course in Chaucer, a couple in Shakespeare, and one in Milton as the fundamental works of English literature. Some junior faculty revolted, and UCLA promptly changed its course to studying compulsory papers in “Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Critical Theory; or Creative Writing.”

According to the course catalog, giants of English literature were irrelevant. but students must study “alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class.” UCLA’s undergraduates, therefore, had to choose among courses like, “Women of Color in the U.S., Women and Gender in the Caribbean, Chicana Feminism, Studies in Queer Literatures and Cultures, and Feminist and Queer Theory.”

Likewise, at Columbia University, a black music undergraduate rebelled against the classics. “Why did I have to listen in music humanities to this Mozart? My problem with the core is that it upholds the premises of white supremacy and racism. It’s a racist core. Who is this Mozart, this Haydn, these superior white men? There are no women, no people of color.”

Read the rest HERE.

Brett Kavanaugh and burdens of proof

Brett Kavanaugh is credibly accused of attempting to rape a girl while at a party in high school. It does not need to be said that we don’t know for sure if he did it–that much is obvious. Probably only a few people will ever know for sure.

But the many people attempting to defend Kavanaugh and cast doubt on the accusations have no basis on which to say the accuser is “lying.” They similarly do not know.

Kavanaugh is facing confirmation to the highest court in the land. He is facing a job interview. He is not facing a trial. If he loses, he returns to his lifetime job as a judge at the level of the U.S. district court. He will not be deprived of his life or liberty.

The National Review‘s David French, however, stated on Twitter, “We cannot and must not abandon the notion that an accuser bears the burden of proof. It’s not enough to raise suspicion. If you make a claim, you have to support it at the very least with your sworn testimony.”

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100% of headlines on People’s Daily about Xi Jinping

From September 3-4, Beijing has hosted the 2018 China-Africa Forum. Headlines from the summit continue to dominate the news in China.

On the front page of the People’s Daily from September 5 to 7, 100 percent of the headlines were about Xi Jinping.

Typical were headlines like this from September 6:

Xi Jinping meets Nigeria president Buhari
Xi Jinping meets Madagascar president Hery
Xi Jinping meets Chad president Déby

The entire front page of the paper on September 6 used the same structure for each of the ten headlines in the main section.

Since Xi Jinping took power, he has been glorified more than any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. A Reddit user with 36,000 “karma points” who frequently presents charts has used data from people.com.cn to show that Xi is mentioned on the front page of the People’s Daily more than any leader since Mao.

And since Xi became president for life at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, he has been mentioned almost every day.

Chinese citizens are being arrested for vandalizing propaganda of Xi.

Now the question might be not how many days is Xi featured on the front page, but how many times in one day.

Sources for charts:
Xi Jinping is being mentioned almost every single day on People’s Daily front-page headlines, something only Mao had done during the cultural revolution. (1949-2018)
Is Xi Jinping mentioned in a headline of the People’s Daily front page today? (2007-2018)

Sen. Van Hollan and Merkley protest Kavanaugh nomination

WASHINGTON, DC, SEPT. 6, 2018: Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Chris Van Hollan (Md.) broadcast from outside the Supreme Court on the afternoon of Thursday, September 6 to oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Both senators pointed to Kavanaugh’s conservative beliefs and jurisprudence, the effect his rulings could have on abortion rights and universal access to healthcare (and Obamacare), and his expansive views on presidential power.

Van Hollan said, “When it comes to his views on executive power, he’s an extremist. … That’s why Trump picked him.”

Kavanaugh has expressed deference to presidential power in the past. In a 2009 article in the Minnesota Law Review, he wrote, “We should not burden a sitting President with civil suits, criminal investigations, or criminal prosecutions.” In 1999, Kavanaugh expressed skepticism of the historic ruling in US v Nixon, which forced Nixon to produce his White House tapes. Would Justice Kavanaugh vote to force Trump to respond to a subpoena by Mueller? That’s their concern.

Merkley and Van Hollen also referenced emails leaked to the New York Times showing Kavanaugh was skeptical of whether Roe v Wade should be treated as established law. Not only does that put abortion rights at risk, they said, the lack of transparency and vetting in the confirmation process, in which documents have been reviewed by a Republican lawyer before being released, is worrying.

Kavanaugh has not answered questions about his particular views on abortion or executive power, refusing to take a position on what he calls “hypotheticals.”

Rincon: If Rafael “Ted” Cruz is going to attack “Beto” O’Rourke for his name, here’s a response…

We have long strong traditions down in Texas. Our culture is the melding of many cultures-Mexican (which itself is a melding of Spanish and Indigenous), Irish, Czech, Polish, and a slew of African cultures, which due to the cruelty of the white man throughout history, get boiled down to Black. We have a way of co-opting you if you decide to migrate to this country. We’ll take you and put a new name on you.

But if you’ve got a hankering on coming down to the Lone Star State and changing it, you will face opposition. It may be good change they’re trying to bring—like that of the carpetbaggers during Reconstruction, or the Texians led by Sam Houston in the infancy of our short lived Republic—but we ain’t gonna just roll over for anything.

Oddly enough, time and politics have gone full circle. In what was once a bastion of Conservative Democrats (entirely white), fighting off encroaching “Radical Republicans” (mixed ethnicities, but still mostly white) in the 1860s-1870s, but had previously been Mexicanos fighting off encroaching Gringos in the 1830s, the two parties do-si-doed with each other so much that I actually thought there was a slight chance that the GOP could swing to the left of the Democrats with the election of Trump (this was during his campaign for the White House when there was still a sliver of hope that his campaign promises to the working class weren’t all lies).

Now we have a GOP incumbent who has definite Cuban roots, but shuns his Spanish first name running in a state with rapidly changing demographics i.e. going from majority white to majority-minority and then quickly to majority Hispanic. Cruz, following in the footsteps of La Malinche, the Indigenous woman who helped advise and interpret for Cortés as he conquered the Aztec Empire, is one of the leading opponents of immigration reform, the Dream Act and an ally of Trump’s racist and anti-immigrant agenda.

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