This man deserves the ‘slow clap’ followed by a standing ovation.

I realize I haven’t posted in quite a while, due to being bombarded with midterms and whatever other joys I am graced with – but this story is one I could not possibly hold off sharing. Jason Morgan is a U of Wisconsin-Madison student earning his doctorate. He is also a Teacher’s Assistant (TA) for the History department. After having to attend a mandatory “diversity training” for TAs, he sent this email to Graduate Director Prof. Kantrowitz. I am currently fighting the urge to fly off to Wisconsin and give this man a kiss.

Dear Graduate Director Prof. Kantrowitz,

Please forgive this sudden e-mail. I am writing to you today about the “diversity” training that new teaching assistants (TAs) are required to undergo. In keeping with the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea, I am also blind-copying on this e-mail several journalistic outlets and state government officials, because the taxpayers who support this university deserve to know how their money is being spent.

As you are probably aware, all new TAs in the History Department are required to attend one orientation session, two TA training sessions, and two diversity sessions. Yesterday (Friday, September 20th), we new TAs attended the first of the diversity sessions. To be quite blunt, I was appalled. What we were given, under the rubric of “diversity,” was an avalanche of insinuations, outright accusations, and suffocating political indoctrination (or, as some of the worksheets revealingly put it, “re-education”) entirely unbecoming a university of our stature.

Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and students at probably every other public institution of higher education in this country, have long since grown accustomed to incessant leftism. It is in the very air that we breathe. Bascom Hill, for example, is roped off and the university is shut down so that Barack Obama (D), Mark Pocan (D), and Tammy Baldwin (D) can deliver campaign speeches before election day. (The university kindly helped direct student traffic to these campaign events by sending out a mass e-mail encouraging the student body to go to the Barack Obama for President website and click “I’m In for Barack!” in order to attend.) Marxist diatribes denouncing Christianity, Christians, the United States, and conservatives (I am happy to provide as many examples of this as might be required) are assigned as serious scholarship in seminars. The Teaching Assistants Association (TAA)–which sent out mass e-mails, using History Department list-servs, during the attempt to recall Governor Scott Walker, accusing Gov. Walker of, among other things, being “Nero”–is allowed to address TA and graduate student sessions as a “non-partisan organization”. The History Department sponsors a leftist political rally, along with the Socialist Party of Wisconsin, and advertises for the rally via a departmental e-mail (sent, one presumes, using state computers by employees drawing salaries from a state institution). In short, this university finds it convenient to pretend that it is an apolitical entity, but one need not be particularly astute to perceive that the Madison campus is little more than a think tank for the hard left. Even those who wholeheartedly support this political agenda might in all candor admit that the contours of the leftism here are somewhat less than subtle.

At the “diversity” training yesterday, though, even this fig leaf of apoliticism was discarded. In an utterly unprofessional way, the overriding presumption of the session was that the people whom the History Department has chosen to employ as teaching assistants are probably racists. In true “diversity” style, the language in which the presentation was couched was marbled with words like “inclusive”, “respect”, and “justice”. But the tone was unmistakably accusatory and radical. Our facilitator spoke openly of politicizing her classrooms in order to right (take revenge for?) past wrongs. We opened the session with chapter-and-verse quotes from diversity theorists who rehearsed the same tired “power and privilege” cant that so dominates seminar readings and official university hand-wringing over unmet race quotas. Indeed, one mild-mannered Korean woman yesterday felt compelled to insist that she wasn’t a racist. I never imagined that she was, but the atmosphere of the meeting had been so poisoned that even we traditional quarries of the diversity Furies were forced to share our collective guilt with those from continents far across the wine-dark sea.

It is hardly surprising that any of us hectorees would feel thusly. For example, in one of the handouts that our facilitator asked us to read (“Detour-Spotting: for white anti-racists,” by joan olsson [sic]), we learned things like, “As white infants we were fed a pabulum of racist propaganda,” “…there was no escaping the daily racist propaganda,” and, perhaps most even-handed of all, “Racism continues in the name of all white people.” Perhaps the Korean woman did not read carefully enough to realize that only white people (all of them, in fact) are racist. Nevertheless, in a manner stunningly redolent of “self-criticism” during the Cultural Revolution in communist China, the implication of the entire session was that everyone was suspect, and everyone had some explaining to do.

You have always been very kind to me, Prof. Kantrowitz, so it pains me to ask you this, but is this really what the History Department thinks of me? Is this what you think of me? I am not sure who selected the readings or crafted the itinerary for the diversity session, but, as they must have done so with the full sanction of the History Department, one can only conclude that the Department agrees with such wild accusations, and supports them. Am I to understand that this is how the white people who work in this Department are viewed? If so, I cannot help but wonder why in the world the Department hired any of us in the first place. Would not anyone be better?

There is one further issue. At the end of yesterday’s diversity “re-education,” we were told that our next session would include a presentation on “Trans Students”. At that coming session, according to the handout we were given, we will learn how to let students ‘choose their own pronouns’, how to correct other students who mistakenly use the wrong pronouns, and how to ask people which pronouns they prefer (“I use the pronouns he/him/his. I want to make sure I address you correctly. What pronouns do you use?”). Also on the agenda for next week are “important trans struggles, as well as those of the intersexed and other gender-variant communities,” “stand[ing] up to the rules of gender,” and a very helpful glossary of related terms and acronyms, to wit: “Trans”: for those who “identify along the gender-variant spectrum,” and “Genderqueer”: “for those who consider their gender outside the binary gender system”. I hasten to reiterate that I am quoting from diversity handouts; I am not making any of this up.

Please allow me to be quite frank. My job, which I love, is to teach students Japanese history. This week, for example, I have been busy explaining the intricacies of the Genpei War (1180-1185), during which time Japan underwent a transition from an earlier, imperial-rule system under regents and cloistered emperors to a medieval, feudal system run by warriors and estate managers. It is an honor and a great joy to teach students the history of Japan. I take my job very seriously, and I look forward to coming to work each day.

It is most certainly not my job, though, to cheer along anyone, student or otherwise, in their psychological confusion. I am not in graduate school to learn how to encourage poor souls in their sexual experimentation, nor am I receiving generous stipends of taxpayer monies from the good people of the Great State of Wisconsin to play along with fantasies or accommodate public cross-dressing. To all and sundry alike I explicate, as best I can, such things as the clash between the Taira and the Minamoto, the rise of the Kamakura shogunate, and the decline of the imperial house in twelfth-century Japan. Everyone is welcome in my classroom, but, whether directly or indirectly, I will not implicate myself in my students’ fetishes, whatever those might be. What they do on their own time is their business; I will not be a party to it. I am exercising my right here to say, “Enough is enough.” One grows used to being thought a snarling racist–after all, others’ opinions are not my affair–but one draws the line at assisting students in their private proclivities. That is a bridge too far, and one that I, at least, will not cross.

I regret that this leaves us in an awkward situation. After having been accused of virulent racism and, now, assured that I will next learn how to parse the taxonomy of “Genderqueers”, I am afraid that I will disappoint those who expect me to attend any further diversity sessions. When a Virginia-based research firm came to campus a couple of years ago to present findings from their study of campus diversity, then-Diversity Officer Damon Williams sent a gaggle of shouting, sign-waving undergraduates to the meeting, disrupting the proceedings so badly that the meeting was cancelled. In a final break with such so-called “diversity”, I will not be storming your office or shouting into a megaphone outside your window. Instead, I respectfully inform you hereby that I am disinclined to join in any more mandatory radicalism. I have, thank God, many more important things to do. I also request that diversity training be made optional for all TAs, effective immediately. In my humble opinion, neither the Department nor the university has any right to subject anyone to such intellectual tyranny.

Thank you for your patience in reading this long e-mail.

Sincerely,

Jason Morgan

What a real ‘inconvenient truth’ looks like.

Larry Kudlow (CNBC’s The Kudlow Report) is right on the money with this one.

“Why is it that Americans don’t have the freedom to choose their own health insurance? I just don’t get it. Why must the liberal nanny state make decisions for us? We can make them ourselves, thank you very much. It’s like choosing a car, buying a home or investing in a stock. We can handle it.

So why must the government tell me and everyone else what we can and cannot buy?

Charles Krauthammer and the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Henninger noted in excellent recent columns that this whole Obamacare business represents the greatest-ever expansion of the liberal entitlement-state dream. But I don’t want that dream. And you shouldn’t either.

Here’s what else I don’t want: As a 60-something, relatively healthy person, I don’t want lactation and maternity services, abortion services, speech therapy, mammograms, fertility treatments or Viagra. I don’t want it. So why should I have to tear up my existing health-care plan, and then buy a plan with far more expensive premiums and deductibles, and with services I don’t need or want?

Why? Because Team Obama says I have to. And that’s not much of a reason. It’s not freedom.

Fortunately, NBC News pulled the plug this past week on President Barack Obama’s promise that “if you like your own plan, you can keep it.” Ditto for keeping your own doctor. The plug was pulled because NBC learned that Team Obama knew—for three years—that stiff new regulations would prevent the grandfathering of existing health-care plans. And not just a few plans. But plans that could affect as many as 15 million individuals.

The day after that bombshell hit, the president tried to blame insurers rather than regulatory overkill for this Obamacare shortfall. Yet both the public and the mainstream media were having none of it. In what may turn out to be a landmark moment, Americans and the media at large have turned against the president and Obamacare.

Incidentally, equally punitive regulations will hit more than 90 million employer-sponsored health plans next year. It’s the same problem as the individual plan. Grandfathering won’t work. Moreover, replacing these plans with much more expensive products will constitute a major tax hike on the entire economy. This point shouldn’t be lost as Americans worry about being kicked from their plans. Obamacare is not only anti-freedom but anti-growth.

As for the grandfathering lie, Obama’s HHS staffers were the saboteurs. They undoubtedly acted with full knowledge of what they were doing, and thus trapped the president in three years of falsehoods that were essential to selling Obamacare.

And I just love it when they tell me that so many of these existing plans are substandard “bad apples.” Do the president and his people not know that insurance at the state level is one of the most regulated areas of the economy? They’re blaming insurance companies, not their own new regulations. The stupidity of that is hilarious. Do they really think salesmen are out selling these policies off the back of trucks?

No, this is federal coercion at its worst. And that’s why the public is turning against it. It’s not freedom.

Of course, there are other structural problems to Obamacare that are both unfair and unaffordable. Mainly, younger healthy people are not going to subsidize older sicker folks. We should take care of the latter with transparent government subsidies, and not by trying to redistribute resources (again) from the young to the old.

Or then there’s the Medicaid entitlement. It’s already out of control and close to bankruptcy. But in the early days of Obamacare, Medicaid sign-ups are exploding, all while sign-ups for private plans on the new exchanges are minuscule.

Between the president’s broken promises, the millions of policy cancellations, the continued website breakdowns and the unaffordable, unfair con game between the healthy young and the sicker old, this Obamacare monster is well on its way to collapsing of its own weight.

But here’s the bigger point: All this is the inevitable result of massive central-planning exercises to control the economy. That’s not freedom.

No amount of rescue legislation is going to change this. It’s the elections of 2014 and 2016 that will allow citizens to reject this Soviet-style planning. But I’ll reference my conservative colleagues in the media once again: Obamacare represents the greatest-ever expansion of the liberal entitlement-state dream. And you know what? That dream is crumbling and dissolving before our very eyes.

And that is freedom.”

 

Because who enjoys their privacy, anyway?

Obamacare Terms and Conditions, people:

You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system.  At any time, and for any lawful Government purpose, the government may monitor, intercept, and search and seize any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system.  Any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system may be disclosed or used for any lawful Government purpose.

And wouldn’t we all like to know what exactly ‘lawful government purpose’ means? And when I say that, I mean wouldn’t we all like to know what it means to them.

 

You can live, you can live, you can live, and you…well, sorry.

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St. Joseph-Ogden High School in St. Joseph, Illinois has implemented a pretty interesting assignment for its’ freshman and sophomore students. And the assignment literally looks like a lesson in death panels. As a part of their sociology unit, the students were required to participate in an assignment deciding the fates of ten fictional characters. In the assignment, the ten characters are all in desperate need of kidney dialysis – the lesson literally says, and I quote, “Unless they receive this procedure, they will die.” It then goes on to say the hospital only has enough machines to support six of those patients. “That means four people are not going to live,” the assignment states. “You must decide from the information below which six will survive.” The characters were described in the assignment, stating their occupations (lawyer, prostitute, et cetera). The students’ worksheets showed that the characters they chose to live were characters with the occupations of lawyer, cop, doctor, minister, teacher, and housewife. The ones left then to die were the ones with less socially acceptable positions such as prostitute, college student, ex-con, and a disabled person.

I don’t know how you feel about this, but I myself feel pretty vomitous about it. The school claims that the assignment was supposed to show students that social biases exist and help them gain a different perspective. I can see how this assignment may show them that, but I also feel like this is an extremely morbid way of learning and could potentially have no actual impact on their reasoning. For all we know, some kids may have came out of doing that assignment just thinking they had better be a doctor or one day they’re going to die from a hospital not providing them with kidney dialysis.

Any (good) school instructor would be able to teach their students about social values in a number of ways. A number of ways that doesn’t include them having to choose if a lawyer or a prostitute deserves life over the other. This could have been taught differently, no blurred lines there. It could have been and it should have been.

This would however be a great assignment for someone wanting to work in the Department of Health and Human Services.

You’ve got to be kidding me

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Governor Jerry Brown is one of my least favorite people, which is probably no surprise. But he has officially been bumped up into the Top 10 on my personal Blacklist.

Brown just signed AB 14, which legalizes “non-physician abortions in the state.” Here is an actual excerpt from the bill itself:

This bill would instead make it a public offense, punishable by a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment, or both, for a person to perform an abortion if the person does not have a valid license to practice as a physician and surgeon, except that it would not be a public offense for a person to perform an abortion by medication or aspiration techniques in the first trimester of pregnancy if he or she holds a license or certificate authorizing him or her to perform the functions necessary for an abortion by medication or aspiration techniques. The bill would also require a nurse practitioner, certified nurse-midwife, or physician assistant to complete training, as specified, and to comply with standardized procedures or protocols, as specified, in order to perform an abortion by aspiration techniques, and would indefinitely authorize a nurse practitioner, certified nurse-midwife, or physician assistant who completed a specified training program and achieved clinical competency to continue to perform abortions by aspiration techniques. The bill would delete the references to a nonsurgical abortion and would delete the restrictions on assisting with abortion procedures. The bill would also make technical, nonsubstantive changes.

He says he just wants to “support the health and well-being of women in California.” I, for one, am pro-life but if abortions are going to be performed they should, you know, be performed by a freaking PHYSICIAN.

This is just flat out disgusting.