Thursday, August 14, 2014

State Police lawsuit an attempt at political correctness

The federal government sued Pennsylvania on Tuesday over physical fitness tests given to applicants for state trooper positions.

The U.S. Justice Department lawsuit on the hiring practices of the Pennsylvania State Police is just the latest example of a government attempt at political correctness; in other words, making the statistics and hiring numbers look “right” no matter what the actual outcome or result of that position.

Using the court’s own numbers, the State Police hiring test is not a draconian attempt to disenfranchise female applicants: over 95 percent of adult males can pass the physical part of the qualifications; and almost three-quarters of women can pass it as well.

That sounds to me like we have a good field of very high-quality female candidates. We’re definitely not talking about a physical test where 90 percent of the men pass and only 10 percent or so of the women can manage to qualify.

I applaud State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan’s response to the suit. After all, we are talking about active, heavy-duty public safety performance capability here.

Commissioner Noonan has my complete support in his decision to contest the government’s demands.


Indiana asks court to overturn gay marriage ruling

Attorneys who want a federal appeals court to overrule a judge who threw out Indiana's gay marriage ban say there's no constitutional right to marry a person of the same sex.

The Indiana attorney general's office on Monday filed its final brief with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, repeating its argument that traditional marriage is in the interest of the state.

Attorneys for several same-sex couples filed their brief July 29.

Federal judges in Indiana and Wisconsin overturned each state's gay marriage ban in separate rulings. When both states appealed, the appeals court combined the cases.

The Court of Appeals has scheduled oral arguments for Aug. 26.

Hundreds of same-sex couples were married in both states after the bans were overturned and before stays were issued.


The brazen hypocrisy of the BDS crowd

Those who want to silence Israelis are shocked when they are silenced.

"If Netanyahu appeared on TV with a necklace made from the teeth of Palestinian children, would anyone be surprised #Gaza.’"

This ugly, anti-Semitic tweet is just one in a long line sent by the American academic and pro-Palestinian activist, Steven Salaita. His response to the kidnapping in June of three Israeli teenagers was typically forthright: ‘You may be too refined to say it, but I’m not: I wish all the fucking West Bank settlers would go missing.’ More recently he informed his Twitter followers: ‘Zionists: transforming “anti-Semitism” from something horrible into something honourable since 1948.’

Salaita has forged both a public profile and an academic career off the back of such sentiments. In his 2011 book, Israel’s Dead Soul, he writes: ‘Liberal notions of Zionism are harmful to various movements for justice.’ He is a leading campaigner in the US movement calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. In relation to higher education, BDS proponents want to prevent Israeli universities and scholars engaging in academic conferences, intellectual collaborations, and funded research projects with the rest of the world. Supporters argue that the Israeli government exploits higher education in order to gain cultural legitimacy on the world stage.

Salaita is one of the contributors to The Imperial University, a book which makes a consistent case for BDS and the censoring of all connections with Israeli universities, which I reviewed in this month’s spiked review of books. The various authors argue that academic freedom, an overrated concept, is a mere tool employed by the liberal elite to patronise and neuter voices of dissent within the academy. How ironic, then, that Salaita, a man all too happy to ride roughshod over the academic freedom of Israeli lecturers and researchers, should be outraged when his own academic freedom is threatened.

This month, Salaita should have taken up his new role as professor of American Indian studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The job offer, which Salaita considered enough of a done deal to resign from his post as associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, has since been rescinded by Illinois on the basis of a rarely used bureaucratic technicality. Professors at many US universities are offered posts subject to the approval of an institution’s board of trustees. Normally this would be a mere formality, but in Salaita’s case the university’s chancellor made the unusual decision not to put his appointment before the board, thereby leaving Salaita without a job.

It has been widely reported that concern over Salaita’s prolific anti-Israel Twitter interventions are the reason for his professorship being withdrawn. Although a number of academics at Illinois and beyond appear to share in the general sentiments he expressed, there is a sense that Salaita ‘crossed a line’ into ‘uncivil behaviour’. To many, it seems, Salaita’s poor etiquette is more problematic than his anti-Semitism.

Yet, incredibly, Salaita’s supporters are now arguing his case on the basis of academic freedom, a concept long dismissed by Salaita. They claim his personal views, even when expressed in the public domain, should not be a factor in determining an academic appointment. They’re right, of course. Yet it’s more than a little hypocritical of those who are more than happy to silence Israeli academics to be outraged when Salaita’s own academic freedom is inhibited.

Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors from 2006 to 2012, and a professor at the University of Illinois, gets the balance right: ‘Although I find many of [Salaita’s] tweets quite loathsome — as well as sophomoric and irresponsible — I would defend without qualification his right to issue most of them… But his right to make most of these statements does not mean I would choose to have him as a colleague.’


Australia: Middle Eastern crime gang linked to violent gaming venue robberies

Mostly Lebanese Muslims

A Middle Eastern crime gang armed with guns and knives is behind a string of robberies at gaming venues across Melbourne's north and west, police say.

Officers said the syndicate, with members aged as young as 16, stormed eight businesses in recent months, threatening staff with weapons before making off with cash.

The Armed Crime Squad released footage of some of the robberies, showing the masked offenders punching patrons, smashing property, and jumping behind counters to empty registers.

Detective Inspector Stephen Clark said the gang had stolen more than $100,000.

"It appears at this stage that the armed robberies have been committed by the same Middle Eastern crime syndicate," Detective Clark said.

"On each occasion the offenders, who we believe are aged between 16 and 25 years, were armed with a firearm and an edged weapon, and threatened staff."

The robberies occurred at Laverton, Epping, Thomastown, Kealba, Fawkner and Moonee Ponds between June 2 and August 11.

Police charged two people aged 16 and 21 with armed robbery earlier this month.



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


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