Monday, March 01, 2010

Utah Democrats Oppose Racial Equality

A joint resolution (HJR24) seeking to amend the Utah constitution to prohibit racial and ethnic preferences, modeled on California’s Proposition 209 and similar measures in Washington and Michigan, is working its way through the state legislature. Democrats, of course and as usual, oppose the measure.
While proponents say HJR24 is about fairness and upholding the intent of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, opponents are asking why the measure needs to be engraved in the state’s highest law.

Minority Leader David Litvack said that House Democrats have united against the measure. And, speaking for himself, he questions the need and the rush. “They have no proof that reverse discrimination even exists,” said the Salt Lake City Democrat. “Yet we’re going to ask citizens to amend the state Constitution.”

“That’s a sacred document,” Litvack added. “It should not be amended based on myth and misperception.”
I wonder if Leader Litvack and the Democrats have any objection to the identical value being “engraved” in the nation’s highest law via the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Why do they react so strongly to a constitutional provision that would prohibit behavior they claim to oppose and assert does not even occur?

Someone should ask Leader Litvack if he and his fellow Democrats oppose all the affirmative action policies and programs supported by Democrats in the federal government and other states. If they support those policies, they should be honest enough to admit that they oppose HJR24 in Utah not because it is unnecessary but because they oppose its substance, prohibiting preferential treatment based on race or ethnicity.


Abysmal Coverage Of Race In The New York Times

I've been writing about how the mainstream media covers race issues for so long, and so much of that coverage is so bad, that I thought I was long past being shocked by the thoughtless (or worse, premeditated) dumbness that so often appears in publications widely if mistakenly thought to be reliable.

But I was wrong. This article, by Randal C. Archibold in yesterday's New York Times on race-based strife at the University of California, San Diego, proves that I can still be shocked by mindless comment in the mainstream press, at least when it contains "analysis" like this:
... more than a decade after a state ballot proposition barred the use of race and ethnicity in admissions decisions, the University of California continues to struggle to diversify its campuses. Black and Latino undergraduate enrollment systemwide plummeted and, although gains have been made in the numbers of minority students since then, the proportion of white (30.5 percent) and Asian (39.8 percent) students enrolled last year far exceeded that of blacks (3.8 percent) and Latinos (20.4 percent).

Just a few years ago, the Los Angeles campus, one of the system's most prestigious, was shaken with the news that only 103 black freshmen had enrolled, 2.2 percent of the class in a county that is 9.4 percent black. (The numbers have since ticked up to about 4.5 percent of the class.)
Where to begin ... where to begin? How about with the assumption — actually, here it's more overt argument than implicit assumption — that selective universities are at fault, whether they're overtly discriminating or not, if their student bodies are not a demographic mirror of ... of ... what? UCLA presumably should mirror its "county," but UCSD, described as "set on a bluff along the Pacific Ocean," is in a county that in 2008 was only 5.5% black. Should that be the target? Moreover, if the standard is demographic mirroring of, well, of something — city, county, state, whatever — why does the article demonstrate no concern, why does it apparently not even notice, that the proportion of whites in the University of California system (30.5%) is dramatically far below the proportion of whites in the state of California (42.3% in 2008)?

I suppose it could be argued that even authors of articles that purport to be news in the New York Times are entitled to reveal their own peculiar assumptions (selective universities should be demographic mirrors of some jurisdiction), but they are not entitled to their own facts, and it is simply not true that after the passage of Prop. 209, prohibiting racial preferences, "Black and Latino undergraduate enrollment systemwide plummeted," a drastic decline that even now has been characterized only by "gains" that are implied to be small, still leaving them woefully underrepresented.

Here are some facts that go unmentioned in the NYT article:
  • The sharpest decline of any group in the year after passage of Prop. 209 was experienced by whites, who fell from 40% of system admits to 34%, where they remained through 2005.

  • By 2002 the proportion of underrepresented minorities admitted to the university system, 19.1%, exceeded the proportion admitted in 1997, 18.8%, the last year in which preferences were in effect.

  • The proportion of admitted URMs rose to 19.8% in 2003 and to 20% in 2004.

  • A revealing graph of freshman enrollment by ethnicity, 1997–2005, can be found here, which also provides the numbers for the unmentioned (as though it does not exist) California State University system.

  • The more recent numbers are even more dramatic. The proportion underrepresented minority admits was 22.9% in 2007, 25.1% in 2008, and 26.9% in 2009.
Ending preferential treatment of minorities did decrease their proportion at Berkeley and UCLA, the most selective campuses in the university system, but that is not the same as the Times's assertion that minority enrollment plummeted "systemwide." Ending preferential treatment did not end minority representation; it redistributed it to other campuses in the university system and to the state college system.

Perhaps the (former?) "newspaper of record" can no longer expect its writers to perform research, but you'd think that there would be fact checkers or, heaven forbid, editors to catch errors like declaring that minority "undergraduate enrollment systemwide plummeted" when it did not.


As if to prove my point about the New York Times often stumbling, or worse, in its coverage of race issues, another article that appeared yesterday, "To Court Blacks, Foes of Abortion Make Racial Case," commits a doozy that makes my case better than my mere assertion.

Read this paragraph, then re-read it:
In 2008, Lila Rose, a college student at U.C.L.A. and the founder of an anti-abortion group called Live Action, released four audio recordings of a man trying to make donations to Planned Parenthood clinics to pay for black women's abortions. In one, the caller, played by James O'Keefe III, the provocateur recently arrested on charges that he tried to tamper with the telephones of Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, said, "You know, we just think, the less black kids out there, the better," to which the Planned Parenthood employee replies, "Understandable, understandable."
First, the "fact" that's here but wrong: what O'Keefe was arrested for was "entering federal property under false pretenses," but even that charge is now up in the air. As the New Orleans Times Picayune reported several days ago,
The U.S. attorney's office in New Orleans has another month to decide what, if any, charges to bring against the four men arrested at the end of January in Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office, including conservative activist James O'Keefe.

Louis Moore, the magistrate judge for the federal district court in New Orleans, agreed Wednesday to motions on behalf of the four to extend the time by which the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District must seek a felony indictment, press misdemeanor charges or drop the case.

Moore said the extension, which was unopposed by prosecutors, would offer the parties "additional time to conduct informal discussions and discovery and avoid or lessen additional proceedings," suggesting the possibility of a plea deal that would likely spare the four from facing felony charges.
But mere factual error and incompleteness is not the most egregious journalistic offense here. Can you imagine discussing James O'Keefe, describing him (accurately enough, I think) as a recently arrested "provacateur," and not even mentioning his role in single-handedly destroying ACORN?

But why imagine it when you can read it (or in this case, not read it) in the New York Times?


British flag banned in Britain over health and safety

A council has banned the Union flag from its building because a health and safety assessment concluded that scaffolding would have to be erected to raise and lower it

The flagpole atop Colchester borough council's Rowan House office block has remained bare since the building was purchased from Anglian Water two years ago. A frustrated Conservative politician was so concerned that he presented a Union flag to the council's Liberal Democrat leadership and offered to climb the roof himself to make sure it was flown.

A council spokeswoman said the absence of a flag was a "logistical operational matter" and insisted the building, Rowan House, had an unusual roof which made it difficult to access the flagpole.

Will Quince, the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Colchester, said: "I cannot believe that a flagpole was put on top of this building that is inaccessible. This seems to be absolute health and safety nonsense. "I'm happy to go up there and put it up myself. "I'm incredibly proud to be British and it pleases me greatly when I walk around the town to see many people who proudly display our Union flag. I think it's really sad we can't fly it for health and safety reasons."

Anne Turrell, the Liberal Democrat council leader who received Mr Quince's 6ft by 4ft flag, said: "Health and safety won't allow us to do it, unless we scaffold the building. "That costs thousands of pounds and I'm sure the taxpayers of Colchester wouldn't want us to spend that to put a flag up." A council spokeswoman said: "It is a very strange shaped building with triangular roofs, and there are no access points. "It is a logistical operational matter and advice has been taken from the health and safety adviser. We regularly have flags on the town hall, which is a very prominent building just half a mile away from Rowan House."

She was unable to confirm whether the council had looked into using alternative methods to hoist the Union flag, such as deploying a cherry picker or steeplejack.

In 2004, councillors in Trowbridge were told that a Cross of Saint George could not be flown on the town hall because scaffolding would be too expensive and leaning out of a first-floor window was too dangerous.

In May last year officials at South Kesteven district council initially claimed that similar health and safety risks meant a Union flag could not fly on the town hall at Bourne, Lincolnshire, for Armed Forces Day. They relented when a spiked fence below the flagpole, which was the cause of the safety concerns, was boxed in to avoid any danger to life or limb.


If more Muslims are truly a problem…

Comment from Australia by Andrew Bolt

WE didn’t need the Rudd Government to tell us this week that, ahem, our own Muslim community is now a growing terrorist threat. What we needed was to hear what the Government planned to do about it.

And the answers in its new White Paper on counter-terrorism? Virtually zilch. Not even a word on whether it would be wise to cut immigration from Muslim nations, now running at about 28,000 a year. Nor was there anything about ending the mad multiculturalism that rewards most those who integrate least.

Rather the reverse. The Government promised more of the stuff that’s clearly not doing the job - more of that “multiculturalism and respect for cultural diversity to maintain a society that is resilient to the hate-based and divisive narratives that fuel terrorism”.

Hey, guys. If multiculturalism has made us so “resilient to the hate-based and divisive narratives” of jihadism, why does your White Paper admit that “numerous terrorist attacks” have had to be “thwarted” in Australia since 2001, and that we now have 20 people jailed on terrorism charges, 38 people charged after anti-terrorism operations (presumably all, or mostly, Muslims, too) and 40 more denied passports? That’s sure a lot of strife from just 340,000 Australian Muslims, as measured by the last census. We’ve actually got more Buddhists here, but when did you last hear of any plotting to blow us up?

Like I said, the threat from our own home-grown or imported jihadists was already perfectly clear. We could figure that out just from this month’s news that another five Muslims in Sydney had been jailed for plotting terrorism and gathering 12 firearms, 28,000 rounds of ammunition and four boxes of material for high explosives. But even more of a wake-up were the comments from so many leaders of our Muslim community. Uthman Badar, from the Australian arm of the extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir, cried persecution, and claimed poor Muslims were being prosecuted merely for their ideas: “The anti-terror laws were designed to silence Muslims through fear and intimidation.”

Samir Dandan, from the Lebanese Muslim Association, also fed the poor-us-against-them division, saying Muslims believed they were punished harder than the rest of us, while Keysar Trad, of them Islamic Friendship Association, blamed the “anger” of Muslims on our own alleged violence against Islamic countries. Even more worryingly, 10 imams and 20 Muslim “community leaders” met in Lakemba, at Australia’s biggest mosque, to sign a statement demanding police show them proof that the five jailed men had criminal intentions.

Never mind that the police evidence had been enough to convince an Australian jury: “Until we see the real evidence, we believe that the reason for the arrests and convictions is that these young men expressed or hold opinions that contradict Australia’s foreign policy towards majority Muslim countries." Meanwhile, outside the mosque, The Australian reported, “a group of young men pumped their fists in the air and accused ASIO of being dogs”.

This is the scenario, repeated so often over the past decade, that every Australian could see for themselves - of Muslims planning or waging jihad, only to be defended or excused by “community leaders”. And this is the reality that the Government’s White Paper now concedes in the frankest language I’ve heard in public.

“A ... shift apparent since 2004 has been the increase in the terrorist threat from people born or raised in Australia, who have become influenced by the violent jihadist message,” it warns. “A number of Australians are known to subscribe to this message, some of whom might be prepared to engage in violence. Many of these individuals were born in Australia and they come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds.” And then this warning, so pregnant with implications: “The scale of the problem will continue to depend on factors such as the size and make-up of local Muslim populations, including their ethnic and/or migrant origins, their geographical distribution and the success or otherwise of their integration into their host society.”

Let me decode that. The Government admits the size of this growing terrorism threat depends on the size of our Muslim population. Isn’t that then the debate we must have? Yes, I know most Muslims here, my friends included, are peace-loving Australians, and I do not mean to offend them or expose them to unmerited suspicion. I also admire those Muslims I know who have stood against the extremists. But I do mean to have a frank conversation.

After all, this report also points out terrorism isn’t necessarily related to poverty, and that our wanna-be terrorists are often not the Muslims we accepted as immigrants, but their born-here children. What’s more, they come from a “wide range of ethnic groups”. That means we can’t keep out tomorrow’s terrorists just by bringing in only nice, hard-working Muslims from countries we trust. What of their later children, newly radicalised in mosques, universities or prisons?

Surely one way to minimise the danger, then, is to cut Muslim immigration, or at least freeze it until the jihadist wind blows out. Should we really be bringing in more than 28,000 people a year from Muslim lands such as Pakistan, the Middle East, North Africa, Bangladesh, Somalia, Afghanistan and Indonesia?

But on this issue the Government says nothing. Nor will it discuss dismantling multiculturalism, which at one stage had taxpayers funding the pro-bin Laden Islamic Youth Movement of Australia. But why is multiculturalism sacred, when even this White Paper says one “pathway to violent extremism” is through “identity politics”? After all, multiculturalism subsidises identity politics with your money while making Australia seem too weak or even shameful to deserve the first loyalty of a confused young man.

So what did the Government, badly needing a distraction from its insulation debacle, propose instead? Only easy, uncontroversial tinkering with controls at our borders, rather than anything to deal with the people who’ve got through already. There will be better border checks, for instance, and our spy agencies will help try to stop the flood of boat people unleashed by the Government’s rash softening of our laws.

I don’t mean to single this Government out as unusually weak on the threat within. In some ways the Howard government was even worse. Example? The White Paper warns that a “small number” of Muslims here support foreign terrorist groups that might use Australia as “a suitable or convenient location for an attack on their enemies”. It adds: “This includes groups with a long history of engaging in terrorist acts and a current capability to commit them, such as Lebanese Hizballah’s External Security Organisation.”

So Hezbollah (our spelling) has an active terrorist wing and could strike here? Then why did John Howard as prime minister pick for his Muslim Community Reference Group at least five Muslim leaders who defended Hezbollah, including Sheik Taj el-Din al-Hilali, then the Mufti of Australia, and Sheik Fehmi Naji el-Imam, who succeeded him?

I am not saying these men would ever support Hezbollah terrorist attacks here, but how many of their followers could be trusted to draw the line? Answer: no one knows, but our experts fear. So until we get more reassurance, we’ll need more action than this paper proposes.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


No comments: