Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘higher education’

Poking fun at Emory University

Posted by Richard on March 27, 2016

You probably heard about the kerfuffle at Emory University, where some of the special snowflakes attending the exclusive school were upset that someone had written “Trump 2016” in chalk on various surfaces. Snopes calls much of the reporting of the incident false:

WHAT’S FALSE: “Emergency counseling” was offered to or demanded by students; Emory students complained that their “safe spaces” had been violated; students were afraid of or traumatized by the chalk markings.

Snopes’ leftist leanings have made it completely unreliable regarding anything even vaguely political. The “emergency counseling” claim may be false; regarding non-emergency counseling, it depends on whether you draw the same inferences from a student government email as Snopes.

Snopes dismisses the “safe spaces” issue because the phrase “was included as a paraphrase (meaning the purportedly oversensitive students invoking the concept hadn’t actually used the words)” in a student newspaper article. Their parenthetical claim is nonsense, and the rest of their claim is undermined by the very quote they cite, which also makes it clear that suppression of pro-Trump speech is at least one protester’s goal (emphases added):

Grievances were not restricted to shortcomings of the administration. “[Faculty] are supporting this rhetoric by not ending it,” said one student, who went on to say that “people of color are struggling academically because they are so focused on trying to have a safe community and focus on these issues [related to having safe spaces on campus].”

For a deeper, on-the-spot view, see the Weekly Standard column by Emory professor Harvey Klehr. Klehr begins by recounting an earlier “Black Lives Matter” protest on campus (I’m willing to bet many of the same people were involved in both protests). During it, protesters spoke of “the trauma of being on campus every day” and the “micro-aggressions” they endured, which left “some students in need of additional counselors in the Psychological Center specifically trained to work with black students.” Maybe that’s the source of the counseling claim in the more recent Trump incident.

But if you prefer to laugh at these ninnies instead wading through more infuriating details about them, I recommend this Atlanta Banana parody:

Emory Student Pain So Deep Heated Land Rover Seats Can’t Evaporate the Tears 

“Do you know how much it costs to get tears and snot out of a Range Rover leather seat?” bellowed Dusty Pirkins, Gender Indeterminate Non-Factual Research major. “Well, I don’t, but you can bet my Dad does!”

“We had no idea we’d be exposed to facts when we came to college,” screamed Summer Frock-Waters, basket blanket artisan. She then collapsed onto her AMG Mercedes, spilling a delicious mocha latte onto a smartphone the size of a baking sheet and howling, “My pain is so real and it’s my pain!”

RTWT. Then watch this from Comedy Central’s Nightly Show. It includes a fake student interview, the end of which reveals why this kind of nonsense tends to occur on campuses at specific times of the year.

 

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Obama plan to tax college savings reveals his Marxist core

Posted by Richard on January 20, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, President Obama proposed to make community college “free” for everyone. Of course, just like lunch, there is no free community college. The cost, which the administration says will be $60 billion over 10 years (but will probably be several times that), must be borne by someone. His plan to pay for it (leaked in advance of the state of the union address) reveals how thoroughly Marxist Obama is in his core beliefs.

For years, parents (and grandparents) have been urged to save for their kids’ college educations by regularly contributing to a 529 college savings plan. You’ve probably seen the public service announcements countless times on TV. Like a 401k, the contributions grow tax-free in the plan. Like a health savings account, the money isn’t taxed if withdrawn for the intended purpose, in this case college expenses. This is what people have been promised for the past 15 years in order to encourage them to be thrifty and plan for their children’s future.

Obama wants to break that promise. He wants to tax the savings of the thrifty and responsible parents and grandparents in order to give a “free” college education to everyone. It illustrates perfectly that the core belief driving him is the Marxist dictum, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

This is but one of several wealth redistribution schemes being unveiled, supposedly to help “the middle class” at the expense of “the wealthiest.” Like most such schemes, it won’t just take from “the wealthiest” — not that it would be any less evil if it did. My guess is that the typical contributor to a 529 college savings plan is firmly in the middle class, not in the much-maligned 1%.

This contemptible proposal would punish personal responsibility, foresight, and thrift, while rewarding lack of personal responsibility, failure to plan, and dependency. In practical terms, you get less of what you punish and more of what you reward. In moral terms, this is punishing good people precisely for their goodness, and that is vile.

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Another Bellesiles fraud?

Posted by Richard on July 10, 2010

Michael A. Bellesiles was once the darling of the gun control crowd, thanks to his widely praised book, Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, which purported to prove that private gun ownership was rare in colonial America, and therefore the Second Amendment wasn't about that. The book was awarded Columbia's prestigious Bancroft Prize.

But gun rights advocates began examining his work and showed that he had committed academic fraud, falsifying data, cherry-picking evidence, and intentionally misquoting his sources to promote his anti-gun agenda. They demonstrated conclusively that he was a fraud. Eventually, he was stripped of the Bancroft Prize and dismissed from the faculty of Emory University in disgrace.

But he's not dead yet. Nowadays, he’s an adjunct lecturer in history at Central Connecticut State University. And the "prestigious" Chronicle of Higher Education, despite having been burned by his earlier fraud (and without bothering to mention that unfortunate incident) recently published a paper of his

Bellesiles' article, "Teaching Military History in a Time of War," purports to tell the story of one of his students whose brother was killed in Iraq. Skeptics like Dutton Peabody at Big Journalism started looking into Bellesiles' moving account of the student "Ernesto" and his brother "Javier," and declared it "fishy." 

Jim Lindgren at the Volokh Conspiracy has now completed an exhaustive review of every casualty report from not only Iraq, but also Afghanistan (just in case Bellesiles changed the theater of war either for political reasons or to further anonymize "Javier") for the entire period in question (the Fall 2009 semester, when Bellesiles taught the course in which "Ernesto" was supposedly a student). Just to be thorough, he also examined all the casualty reports for the following semester.

Lindgren bent over backwards to give Bellesiles every benefit of a doubt, considering every possible innocent "fictionalization" of the story. Nothing matches Bellesiles' account. Not even close. 

It seems that the discredited perpetrator of academic fraud is still committing fraud, and the most respected names in academia are still abetting him in doing so. Lindgren believes that the staff of the Chronicle of Higher Education could investigate and confirm or discredit Bellesiles' tale in a matter of hours. Will they do so? The answer will tell us something important about the academic community in the US today. 

I'm not holding my breath.

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