Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Scalia should be wearing different-colored robes

So Justice Scalia (R-KKK) recently commented in a Supreme Court hearing that non-white students would be better off in less-elite schools because such students would be overmatched in top schools.

He believes in the 'mismatch theory' which claims that non-white students at elite schools are damaged when they don't succeed to the extent of their white counterparts.

In an amicus curiae brief filed in support of the defense, constitutional lawyer Kimberly West-Faulcon writes that mismatch theory ”based on the unproven and unprovable mismatch theory” that posits that when African-American students are admitted to elite schools, that they are damaged in some vague, ill-defined way. While mismatch students' graduating GPAs are somewhat lower, those students have been shown to be better citizens. Studies have shown that when controlled for educational background that the educational outcomes between “mismatch” students and those admitted solely based on academic qualifications disappeared.

Additionally, and tellingly, while proponents of mismatch theory insinuate that beneficiaries of “mismatch” theory are black or Latino, the truth is that most 'mismatch' subjects are white or Asian.

The fact that Scalia makes his claims about the wrongfulness of affirmative action in the Abigail Fisher makes Scalia's white privilege even more galling. She claimed that her place at the University of Texas was taken by a person of color.

Nevermind that she didn't qualify for admission to the University of Texas based on the university's policy that the top 10 percent of high school graduates were automatically admitted.

Neither did she qualify among the remaining 25 percent of the University of Texas' class that granted admission based on a broader range of wholistic experiences that the university values.

Yet Scalia still has the nerve to claim that people should be admitted to university based on their academic qualifications.

I guess legacy admissions don't count as affirmative action.

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Republican war on women

Republicans like to claim that their inflammatory language on the topic of abortion doesn't lead to violence. They like to say that they didn't explicitly instruct anyone to go and kill an abortion doctor.

Generally that's true, but when they say things like abortion doctors should fear for their lives, they are clearly lying. Youtube psycho/fame whore Josh Feuerstein - calls for the killing of abortion doctors in the above link. What might even be more offensive is the glib way he switches from baying for blood to rustling up social media followers immediately after.

Yes, after saying that abortion providers - who provide lots of health care services - should be killed, he turns on a dime and starts trawling for social media follows. The prospective murdering of abortion doctors troubles him so little that he quite easily transitions to securing more followers on social networks. Cynical, unsympathetic, dismissive of the rule of law, arrogant, callous toward women in need, and grasping for fame.

What a guy.

Another figure who bears responsibility for murders at abortion clinic is Bill O'Reilly. He trolled abortion doctor George Tiller for several years. During that time, he pooh-poohed women's reasons for getting abortions, suggesting the women thought little of ending their pregnancies He said Tiller was guilty of "Nazi stuff". He also damned Kathleen Sibelius, claiming that the afterlife would be bad for her because she allowed Tiller to do abortions. Citing Nazi stuff is troubling while invoking hell for Sibelius is also troubling. O'Reilly's focus on Tiller over the course of four years put the doctor in the spotlight on the topic of an issue that elicits strong reactions. O'Reilly's use of the term "Tiller the Baby Killer" was used on the floor of the Senate by Robert Dornan. So it refutes the idea that words don't matter, when a congressman is quoting Bill O'Reilly. Trying to cast someone you disagree with in such inflammatory terms did not kill Tiller in and of itself, but it put him in the spotlight for people of limited intelligence and extreme values. I wonder if, in the dark of the night, O'Reilly thinks about his role in endangering people.

O'Reilly might decry the actions of someone like Robert Dear, but his inflammatory speech to sympathetic and low-information viewers facilitated the murderous actions of killer Scott Roeder.

This is why it's clear that there is a Republican War on Women.

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Monday, December 07, 2015

A couple days later....

The smoke has cleared, a couple of days have passed and people, myself included are still trying to come to terms with the San Bernardino massacre. I feel everything at the moment. I feel such pain for the people of San Bernardino. I feel horrible for the families of those who lost their lives, one of whom, I've now found out is a relative of one of my friends. and I feel for those who witnessed the events.

I feel sad about the futility of what the attackers did. I feel angry at them, of course.

And I fear for the future. I'm wondering what sort of nasty backlash this will open up on Muslims in the US and I await the horrific parade of gun horrors sure to come because of lack of gun restrictions.

I'm wondering who was the driving force among the two shooters in San Bernardino. From an interview with Syed Farook's sister, she sounds genuinely at a loss for what could have led her brother to do this. Syed Farook's brother-in-law also said he was not a radical.

It definitely sounds to me as though Farook was turned by his wife who was raised by an adherent to the conservative Deobandi sect of Islam leading to a split between her father and his family. She also attended a conservative school in Pakistan where she and her religious beliefs became more mysterious to her family.

Friday, December 04, 2015

We're all San Bernardino

Another horrible act of terror, more lives cut short and destroyed. Mass violence came to San Bernardino on Wednesday. 14 dead and 21 wounded.

The horror of mass shootings came to my town. Although the grim statistics, reports, and interviews sound similar to those reports seen so many times, this one is different because it's all so familiar to me.

The perpetrators' home was a mile from where I used to do my MA research.

It's a few hundred meters from where an elementary school friend lives and near where I completed the Run Through Redlands on several occasions.

It's close to Redlands Bowl, the longest-running free summer music festival in the country.

The location of the massacre is less than a mile from where my Dad lived for nearly 10 years.

It's less than a mile from the first elementary school my brother, sister, and I attended, wide-eyed, riding the yellow school bus, when we moved to the States in 1983.

My Dad used to live only a few hundred meters from where the suspects were killed.

I have a high-school classmate whose sister worked there...everything about this massacre and the aftermath aches with familiarity.

A friend's daughter attends a school where a student took out a gun and shot someone. That hit close to home.

This one hits home even more.

San Bernardino is where McDonald's was founded in 1940. It was a stop on historic Route 66. It's been on downward trajectory since the '60s when urban renewal replaced downtown San Bernardino with a mall. This made it harder to access downtown San Bernardino and made the city center less of a destination. Kaiser Steel in nearby Fontana closed in 1985 and almost simultaneously Santa Fe Railroad moved its operations to Topeka, Kansas, taking more economic stimulus. Then When Norton Air Force Base was closed in 1994, 10,000 more jobs were ripped from the city. Having lived there through much of the '80s-'00s, I've seen the slow decline of the city.

And now this.

And the sad thing is, none of this is particularly unique. Someone aged 40 could write a similar blog post to this one about Umpqua Community College, Newtown, Aurora, Colorado, or any of the many, many, many mass shootings that have happened nearly daily for over 3 years.

Those places all mean many wonderful things to people living in those communities.

Those places had bars where people drank.

They had restaurants where people ate together.

Fathers lived there and kids had their first experiences partying in parks in those places and people made their lives in those places. Only, one day, someone with a gun took people out in those places so that people couldn't go to those parks or get married or have families or live their lives.

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