Wednesday, March 26, 2014
CA: Political fight is brewing on race-based preferences
Until this month, supporters of racial preferences in California have enjoyed a cozy narrative. They were able to dismiss the 55 percent of voters who passed Proposition 209, which barred race and gender preferences in university admissions, hiring and public contracts in 1996, as over-entitled fear-obsessed white folks with little understanding of and sympathy for the obstacles that daunt minority students.
That ended Monday when state Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Covina (Los Angeles County), was forced to put a hold on a measure to allow voters in November to restore racial preferences in public education. It was a huge about-face. His Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 had won a supermajority of the Senate vote, all from Democrats. Hence, SCA5 should have sailed through the Assembly, but perhaps that was the problem.
Hernandez blamed "scare tactics and misinformation" for his retreat. Same stuff critics said in 1996. But I doubt Hernandez was enjoying himself, because this time he was responding to pressure from fellow Democrats who also are people of color.
There's an emerging Latino-Asian split in the Democratic caucus. In an ugly case of voter remorse, three state senators - Southern Californians Ted Lieu and Carol Liu and Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, who had voted for SCA5 - asked Hernandez to halt it.
"As lifelong advocates for the Chinese American and other Asian Pacific Islander communities, we would never support a policy that we believed would negatively impact our children," they wrote. They said they had heard no opposition prior to the vote, but having heard from thousands of unhappy Californians, they were getting wobbly. (OK, maybe they didn't use the word wobbly, but you get the idea.)
They didn't hear any opposition? "That's no defense at all," countered S.B. Woo, a former Democratic lieutenant governor of Delaware waging a campaign to rally Asian Americans against SCA5. "In the future, don't ever use that argument. You are supposed to find out," said Woo, now in retirement in Florida.
Although, to be fair, there wasn't much of a fuss before the vote.
I mentioned to Woo that in 1996, most Asian American voter groups opposed Proposition 209. What happened?
Over the years, Woo told me, many Asian parents complained that their children had to surpass white, Latino and black students to get into good schools. Still, his Asian American political action committee did not take a position on college admissions until about two years ago. His community thought, "Maybe we should be more noble." But when post-209 research suggested that racial preferences ill-served African American, Latino and Asian students, Woo said, "We thought there is no sense in being noble."
Gail Heriot, a UC San Diego law professor and Proposition 209 co-chair, argues that racial preferences pushed some underprepared underrepresented minority students into top universities in which they languished toward the bottom half of their class. The results were higher dropout rates for African American and Latino students and more of those students abandoning science and engineering in favor of other majors.
"Some of the liberals believe in theories but don't look at empirical data," Woo concluded.
Roger Clegg of the pro-Proposition 209 Center for Equal Opportunity believes that universities funded by taxpayers cannot sort out people "according to their skin color" or their parents' country of origin. It's as wrong to tell deserving Asian students that their best work might not count as it is to shortchange white students. It turns out black and white representation at UC relative to population has dipped since Proposition 209 passed, while Asian participation is up.
With SCA5 on hold, affirmative-action supporters might begin to suggest that Asian opponents are racist and selfish. Sens. Lieu, Liu and Yee, welcome to my world.
Even without an Assembly vote, an Asian American voter revolt has begun. On his Web site, Woo urged voters to "register as Republican voters today, they'll really get your message. They'll never touch SCA5 again!"
As a Republican, I would love to see Democrats put SCA5 before California voters. Let the Democratic machine feel what it's like to be branded as racists for standing up for their principles. Will the media consensus spin then be that with their old-school grievances, Democrats are chasing away hard-working Asian American and immigrant voters, and the party better change to stay competitive? What do you think?
Mismatch in academia
UC San Diego law professor and Proposition 209 co-chair Gail Heriot argues that racial preferences pushed some minority students into top universities in which they entered and stayed toward the bottom half of their class. The disparity set off a chain reaction that resulted in higher dropout rates for African American and Latino students as well as a flight from science and engineering majors.
In their book, "Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It's Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won't Admit It," Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor write, "The total number of black and Hispanic students receiving bachelor's degrees were the same for the five classes after Prop 209 as for the five classes before."
We cannot talk about sex in polite company
Rulers and law makers throughout history, around the world, including here and now, prohibit all sorts of sexual conduct among the non-politically-connected in their typical “Do as we say; not as we do” fashion.
There are special forces in most large police agencies devoted to sex – that is, arresting those whose appetites run counter to the political rules.
Sex outside a theoretical norm is distasteful, prurient, embarrassing, not to mention disastrous if caught by public exposure or police intervention. Yet most of it, no matter how outlandish it seems to any of us individually, is actually quite normal.
But we cannot talk about it, fight the Puritanical legislation against it or explain our way out of any criminal prosecution for it.
Clear-headed, open discussion about sex is taboo.
This all comes to my mind because of the combination of stories in today’s Rational Review Digest – a fine news source that arrives daily in my e-mail box. I encourage you to subscribe to it as well.
Imagining a world where the political / ruling / enforcement classes stayed out of things that were none of their business, including SEX, perhaps none of the stories below would take place over and over around the world… or would at least become quite rare.
3) General avoids jail time in case involving affair with subordinate:
“Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair was fined $20,000 and reprimanded but avoided jail time Thursday after he acknowledged committing adultery and mistreating his former mistress, an Army captain. The former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division originally had faced sexual assault charges involving the junior officer. But the case against him fell apart after the trial judge ruled that the decision to seek trial might have been influenced by political considerations.” (03/20/14)
7) Mozambique: Protesters march against rapist marriage law
Source: Raw Story
“Rights activists in Mozambique Thursday marched through the capital Maputo to protest a colonial era law still included in new legislation that allows rapists to go unpunished if they marry their victims. The ‘marriage effect’ clause sees convicted rapists slapped with a five-year suspended sentence if they marry their victims. It stipulates that the perpetrator should stay married to the victim for at least five years. Though it had fallen into disuse, the clause has been retained in a new legislation replacing the colonial Portuguese penal code of 1886, which is currently before parliament.” (03/20/14)
8) HI: law allows undercover police officers to have sex with prostitutes
Source: Fox News
“Honolulu police officers have urged lawmakers to keep an exemption in state law that allows undercover officers to have sex with prostitutes during investigations, touching off a heated debate. Authorities say they need the legal protection to catch lawbreakers in the act. Critics, including human trafficking experts and other police, say it’s unnecessary and can further victimize sex workers, many of whom have been forced into the trade. Police haven’t said how often — or even if — they use the provision. But when they asked legislators to preserve it, they made assurances that internal policies and procedures are in place to prevent officers from taking advantage of it.” [editor's note: It ain't rocket science -- legalize prostitution for everyone, not just cops. Problem solved! - TLK] (03/21/14)
India: Four convicted for Mumbai gang rape
Source: BBC News [UK state media]
“A court in the Indian city of Mumbai has convicted four men of the gang rape of a photojournalist last year. The men have been found guilty of five offenses, including gang rape, unnatural sex and destruction of evidence. Sentencing is set for Friday. The 22-year-old woman was attacked by five men while on assignment in a deserted mill in August. The fifth accused, believed to be under 18 at the time of the incident, is being tried in a juvenile court.” (03/20/14)
An e-mail just arrived with the following list of sex crimes. It fit in too well with this morning’s post for me to ignore it. I have read some of these ridiculous laws, customs and tolerated legislation.
I didn’t research, nor can I vouch for any of them. However, they are all credible to me. Here you go:
In Lebanon, men are legally allowed to have sex with animals,
but…. the animals must be female.
Having sexual relations with a male animal
is punishable by death.
(Like THAT makes any sense.)
In Bahrain, a male doctor
may legally examine a woman’s genitals,
is prohibited from looking directly at them during the examination.
He may only see their reflection in a mirror.
(Do things look different reversed?)
Muslims are banned
from looking at the genitals of a corpse.
This also applies to
undertakers. The sex organs of the deceased
must be covered with a
brick or piece of wood at all times.
The penalty for masturbation in Indonesia
(glad I don’t live in Indonesia)
(Here you just ‘go blind!’)
There are men in Guam whose full-time job
it is to travel the countryside and deflower young virgins,
who pay them for the privilege of having sex for the first time.
Reason: under Guam law, it is expressly forbidden for virgins to marry.
(Let’s just think for a minute;
Is there any job anywhere else in the world, that even comes close to this?)
In Hong Kong, a betrayed wife is legally allowed
to kill her adulterous husband,
but may only do so with her bare hands.
The husband’s illicit lover, on the other
hand, may be killed in any manner desired.
(Ah! Sweet Justice!)
Topless saleswomen are legal in Liverpool, England -
but only in tropical fish stores.
(Makes perfect sense, what!)
In Cali, Colombia, a woman may only have
sex with her husband, and the first time this happens,
her mother must be in the room to witness the act.
(Makes one shudder at the thought.)
In Santa Cruz, Bolivia, it is illegal for a man
to have sex with a woman and her daughter, at the same time.
(I presume this was a big enough problem
that they had to pass this law?)
In Maryland, it is illegal
to sell condoms from vending machines
with one exception: Condoms may be dispensed
from a vending machine only in places
where alcoholic beverages are sold
‘for consumption on the premises.’
(Is this a great country or what?)
Well,…. Maybe not as great as Guam
Must not show tears on TV?
A crying boy became the symbol for Kansas University’s loss to Stanford in the NCAA tournament.
University of Kansas fans were shocked by their team’s loss to Stanford in the third round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday. You could see looks of disappointment throughout the stands at Scottrade Center in St. Louis where the No. 10-seeded Cardinal beat the No. 2-seeded Jayhawks 60–57.
One young boy looked more devastated than anyone else. Tears streamed down from his blood-shot eyes and over his flush cheeks as the Cardinal knocked down the Jayhawks.
A CBS camera crew spotted the sullen fan in the last minute of the game when Kansas was down seven. They zoomed in for an extended shot and the boys tearful face appeared on national television. Twitter erupted. Many attacked CBS and accused the TV network of harassing the child.
@cbs that was unnecessary, did anyone think how much that kid’ll get teased?
What in the world was freaking CBS doing, leaving that poor child on camera for like 20 seconds
School is going to be a lot of fun for that crying Kansas boy tomorrow.
At the end of the game, CBS went back in for another close-up. Twitter exploded.
Shot of young KU fan crying again: “That kid going to be the head coach at North Dakota State someday.” – (Perfect timing)
Which crying fan will make it into the One Shining Moment montage at the end of March Madness?
That little kid almost makes me feel bad about #JayhawkTears. Almost.
I give it 15 minutes until someone makes a Crying Kansas Kid parody account.
Twitter fans bring up a good point. Was zooming in on this kid and making him the face of the game appropriate? This certainly isn’t the first time network television has shown a tearful kid to represent the devastation around a team’s loss. But today, with the power of the Internet and social media, a kids’ face can spread across Twitter and Facebook like wildfire, giving the greater public the opportunity to mock and tease him.
It turns out that the boy happens to to be the son of KU assistant athletic director for communications Chris Theisen, and Theisen told KansasCity.com that he isn’t upset over CBS focusing in on his son and said the boy’s a huge KU fan.
Tories will raise inheritance tax threshold, Cameron pledges
Inheritance tax should only really be paid by the rich, it shouldn't be paid by those people who have worked hard and saved'
The Conservatives will pledge to raise the inheritance tax threshold at the next election to ensure it only hits the rich, David Cameron has suggested.
The Tories pledged to raise the threshold to £1million at the last election but the policy was abandoned after Liberal Democrat opposition.
Mr Cameron was today said that the Conservative are likely to revive plans to raise the threshold after being confronted by a pensioner over the issue.
He said inheritance tax should only be paid by the rich rather than hard-working families who have brought a family home with their savings.
His intervention came after the Office for Budget Responsibility warned last week that the number of families hit by inheritance tax is set to double in the next five years.
The independent financial watchdog said the proportion of estates attracting Inheritance Tax would double from one in 20 today to almost one in 10 by 2018/19
Mr Cameron said: "We put in our manifesto that we wanted to take it to £1million but we did not win an outright majority [and] the pledge did not make it into the Coalition agreement.
"Would I like to go further in future? Yes I would. I believe in people being able to pass things down through the generations and onto our children, it builds a stronger society.
"Inheritance Tax should only really be paid by the rich, it shouldn't be paid by those people who have worked hard and saved and brought a family house.
"The ambition is still there, I would like to go further. It's something we'll have to address in our election manifesto."
In 2007 George Osborne, the then shadow chancellor, energised the Conservative campaign with a dramatic pledge to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1milliion.
The move was credited with halting plans by Gordon Brown, the then Labour Prime Minister, to call for an early election.
The Tories were unable to secure the agreement of the Liberal Democrats to make the pledge Coalition policy.
Mr Cameron said: "George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, made this speech and promise to radically lift it to £1m.
"Straight after that Gordon Brown realising what a brilliant pledge it was changed the rules so you could pass between husband and wife and civil partners.
"The effective threshold went from £325,000 to about £700,000. We put in our manifesto that we wanted to take it to £1m but we did not win an outright majority. That pledge didn't make it into the Coalition agreement."
Mr Cameron also hinted that the Conservatives will make a manifesto pledge to protect pensioner benefits such as the winter fuel allowance and free TV licence at the next election.
He said: "We will set out our policy for the next Parliament at the next election. The only thing I would say is that people who think you save lots of money by not giving these benefits to upper rate taxpayers, you save a tiny amount of money and always introduce another complexity in the system.
"We made our promise in this Parliament [not to scrap pensioner benefits], we kept our policy and I'm very proud of that. I don't think older people in Britain should be asked to suffer for the difficult decisions that we have to make. Making promises and keeping promises is a very important part of politics.
"Woe betide the politician that makes one of these big promises and then says 'oh, sorry I didn't really mean anything by that."
Mr Cameron said he will not commit to minimum alcohol pricing under the present economic conditions.
He said: "I did look at the idea of minimum unit pricing for alcohol, saying that a unit of alcohol however its consumed should cost, say, 40p, and that wouldn't put up the price of a pint in a pub nor a bottle of wine in a supermarket.
"We will wait and see how it goes in Scotland. At a time when families are having to take difficult decisions about budgets and everything else it's a change too many."
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.