Posts Tagged ‘Harvard’
December 18th, 2015 at 11:30 am
Yalies Say: Blow Up the First Amendment!
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Yale University last month was the scene of student protests against what Time magazine described delicately as “the racial insensitivity of the school’s administration.”

To recap: In October, lecturer and associate master Erika Christakis sent an email to her students at one of the university’s residential colleges responding to a campus-wide letter on culturally sensitive Halloween costumes. “Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious,” she wrote, “…a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?”

Her students’ short answer: No.

Filmmaker and satirist Ami Horowitz decided to visit Yale “to take this campus free speech debate to its logical conclusion.” Horowitz asked students if they would sign a petition to repeal the First Amendment. No tricks. No funny wording. The pitch couldn’t have been more straightforward.

“The result was this unbelievable display of total stupidity,” Horowitz told Fox News.

Well, maybe not so unbelievable, as Kevin D. Williamson chronicled at National Review when the lunacy in New Haven was near its peak.

In any case, watch Horowitz’s video and see for yourself.

Yale spokesman Tom Conroy questioned the veracity of the video, telling the Daily Beast: “There are a number of heavily edited prank videos like this one circulating lately in which someone surreptitiously records people while pretending to support a position that they actually oppose, and trying to get the individuals they speak with to agree with them.”

(That Daily Beast story is best read in its entirety. Horowitz offers many interesting insights on the video, including this: “One girl had the honesty to say, ‘I don’t know what’s in the First Amendment,’” recalled Horowitz… “She pulled it up on her phone, read it thoughtfully, and said ‘Okay, I’ll sign this,’” said Horowitz. “That one blew me away.”)

Not to be outdone, Harvard’s Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the Freshman Dean’s Office last week began distributing what The College Fix describes as “holiday placemats for social justice” in college dining halls.

According to The Harvard Crimson:

[T]he placemats pose hypothetical statements on those topics and offer a “response” to each of those in a question and answer format. For example, under a section entitled “Yale/Student Activism,” the placemat poses the question, “Why are Black students complaining? Shouldn’t they be happy to be in college?” and suggests that students respond by saying, “When I hear students expressing their experiences on campus I don’t hear complaining.”

In the center of the placemat are what it calls “tips for talking to families,” with recommendations such as “Listen mindfully before formulating a thoughtful response” and “Breathe.”

That’s good advice to parents, too. Take a deep, cleansing breath and remember you’re only spending $60,000 a year for this hokum. Then have another eggnog. Maybe make it a double.

September 10th, 2012 at 6:45 pm
Elizabeth Warren’s Academic Research Criticized Before Harvard Hired Her

Charles C. Johnson of the Daily Caller unearthed a scathing review of U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s book that was published before Harvard Law School hired her in 1995:

In 1991, Rutgers Professor Phillip Schuchman reviewed Warren’s co-authored 1989 book “As We Forgive Our Debtors: Bankruptcy and Consumer Credit in America” in the pages of the Rutgers Law Review, a publication Warren once edited. Schuchman found “serious errors” which result in “grossly mistaken functions and comparisons.

Warren and her co-authors had drawn improper conclusions from “even their flawed findings,” and “made their raw data unavailable” to check, he wrote. “In my opinion, the authors have engaged in repeated instances of scientific misconduct.”

The work “contains so much exaggeration, so many questionable ploys, and so many incorrect statements that it would be well to check the accuracy of their raw data, as old as it is,” Schuchman added.

Further reporting by Johnson indicates the reason for HLS’ willful oversight – an affirmative action policy that placed a premium on hiring female and minority faculty members.

For months now Warren’s Senate candidacy has been plagued by her use of alleged Cherokee ancestry to get academic jobs she might otherwise have failed to get.

Just last week, Warren told the Democratic National Convention, “We celebrate success.  We just don’t want the game to be rigged.”

At least not after she’s won.

December 26th, 2011 at 8:06 pm
Fascinating Backgrounder on Mitt Romney

Next Tuesday Iowans will begin the process of nominating a Republican challenger to President Barack Obama.  Since just about everyone thinks Mitt Romney will be that man or at least the runner-up, it’s worth reading a revealing New York Times article describing how Romney’s time as a Harvard law and business student made him into a pragmatic problem solver.

If you’re pressed for time (and with the holiday season here, I hope you are), Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin provides a good summary on what the NYT report tells about Romney’s current place in the Republican field:

What his classmates saw at Harvard are the same qualities that both attract and repel voters today. His economic expertise and pragmatism make him the most electable Republican in 2012, while his lack of ideology makes many conservatives long for anyone else to lead their party. Had a more credible conservative appeared to challenge him, Romney wouldn’t have had a chance. But in the absence of such a paragon, Republicans will probably have to make their peace with the man who seems to be very much the same person who excelled at Harvard four decades ago.

September 12th, 2011 at 4:32 pm
Former Obama Economist Recommends 10 Year Plan, Soviets Envious

Larry Summers, the economist whose resume includes helping create the kind of mortgage default swaps that crashed the financial system, being fired as President of Harvard for sexist remarks about female scientists, and resigning in disgrace as his infrastructure-heavy stimulus package failed, is back with a plan only a Soviet central planner could love.

Writing for Newsweek (itself an entity that’s seen better days), Summers tells his former boss, “Mr. President, We Need a 10 Year Plan.” Give Summers credit for brashness; in Soviet Russia the Communist Party considered it a success if it could make good on any of its 5 year plans.  (It never did.)

I’ll use Summers’ piece as an excuse to do something otherwise thought impossible: praise President Barack Obama for firing at least one bad economist.

It’s not about central planning, Larry; it’s about incentives.  Reform the tax code and streamline regulations with incentives for hiring and producing, and the economy will grow.

May 10th, 2010 at 2:21 pm
Obama Nominates Himself for the Supreme Court

Admit it; the headline isn’t impossible to believe.  It’s even less surprising to realize that all of the major criticisms of the Manchurian Candidate-turned-President – lacks relevant experience, a paper trail, or any notable accomplishment aside from self-promotion –are being lodged against his most recent Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.  Sure, as an Assistant White House Counsel, former Harvard Law dean, and Solicitor General she’s held some important positions.  But a light scrubbing of that parchment is revealing almost no key accomplishments with any of them.

After reading all of Kagan’s scholarly publications in two decades as an academic – three law review articles, two small essays, and two brief book reviews – law professor Paul Campos makes this observation about its quality in The Daily Beast:

At least in theory Kagan could compensate somewhat for the slenderness of her academic resume through the quality of her work. But if Kagan is a brilliant legal scholar, the evidence must be lurking somewhere other than in her publications. Kagan’s scholarly writings are lifeless, dull, and eminently forgettable. They are, on the whole, cautious academic exercises in the sort of banal on-the-other-handing whose prime virtue is that it’s unlikely to offend anyone in a position of power.

How Obama-esque.  Until, that is, ultimate power is achieved and the offending can begin in earnest.

May 7th, 2010 at 6:12 pm
More on Elena Kagan

Apparently, President Obama’s penchant for dithering is contagious.  Solicitor General and potential Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan has failed to respond to the Court’s request for a brief describing the Administration’s view on another Arizona immigration law.  (This one fines employers for hiring illegal immigrants.)  Now that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is fast-tracking an appeal of the Grand Canyon State’s newest attempt to enforce federal law, Kagan very likely won’t be able to ignore taking a side.

Surprisingly, though, the former Dean of Harvard Law School has written or said scarcely anything about law in her two decades as a legal academic.  From the L.A. Times Supreme Court reporter David Savage:

She does not have a record as a judge or legal advocate, and she did not write widely on legal topics, potentially making it difficult for Republicans to oppose her if she is nominated.

Shouldn’t such a statement knock her out of contention?

So far, all we know about Kagan is that she has establishment Ivy League credentials, holds fashionable elite positions, knows the right people, and is a member of a favored Democratic minority group.  Apart from a vague reputation as a “consensus builder” at Harvard, she barely has a year under her belt as an appellate advocate.  Isn’t it a little early to promote her?

C’mon; it’s not like she’s running for President of the United States – this is important!

November 12th, 2009 at 3:56 pm
Headline of the Day
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Spitzer to Lecture at Harvard Ethics Center

I’m not sure what’s more troubling, that Spitzer would agree to lecture on ethics, or that the Harvard Ethics Center would invite him to do so.

More from the Boston Globe:

Spitzer, a Harvard Law School alumnus, left office in March 2008 after it become public that he frequented an upscale prostitution service.

The madam who says she supplied Spitzer with high priced escorts for five years wrote a letter to the ethics center objecting to Spitzer’s speech because as New York attorney general he broke the same laws he enforced.

“I am greatly intrigued as to what Mr. Spitzer could contribute to an ethical discussion when as Chief Executive Law Enforcement Officer of NY he broke numerous laws for which he has yet to be punished,” the madam, Kristin Davis, wrote in the letter, which is posted on her website. “As Attorney General he went around arresting and making examples out of the same escort agencies he was frequenting.”