Friday, February 23, 2018

Silly Drudge Headline: What Did Jesus Look Like?

Matt Drudge has some rather “interesting,” tabloidish headlines. Our all-time favorite was his link to a story, in the Houston Chronicle, about a woman who beat another woman with a frozen armadillo.

But for utter silliness, the headline and picture above take the cake.

It notes that Jesus may have been muscular, “with Middle Eastern appearance.”

Let’s see: he was from Galilee, north of Jerusalem, south of Lebanon. Smack in the middle of the Middle East. How would we expect him to look?

The “muscular” part is less obvious. We really don’t know, but if he helped his dad in his carpentry work, in that era before power tools, that’s plausible enough.

We do know his charisma was not due to any particular physical appearance. When you can do miracles, you can look any old way and still impress people.

Tabloid Source

Drudge links to an article in the The Sun, a British tabloid, and the article contains some more stunning revelations. Such as:
  • “The Son of God may have looked very different to the actors that often portray him on screen”
  • “While she admits we will never know for certain, [Joan] Taylor surmises he would have had olive-brown skin, dark hair and brown eyes”
  • “Pointing to a computer-generated image by forensic anthropologist Richard Neave, she says his features would have been ‘Jewish.’”
So a Jewish guy probably looked “Jewish.”


Usually, tabloids titillate with stories the truth of which is questionable. But in this case, they have published something blazingly obvious, and pretended it is some sort of revelation.

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Heather McDonald: The Victim Mentality on College Campuses

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Youth Against Gun Violence

GLENN MCCOY © Belleville News-Democrat. Dist. By UNIVERSAL UCLICK. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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Will an Assault Weapons Ban Save Lives?

In fact, the nation had an assault weapons ban between 1994 and 2004 (when a sunset provision allowed it to expire).

So now we have another school shooting, and gun control advocates are calling for a renewal of the ban.

But since we actually had a ban for ten years, it’s not necessary to merely speculate on the effects of such a policy. There is evidence.

And the evidence is negative.

The most specific and thorough evaluation of the ban comes from scholars at the University of Pennsylvania. Commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, it was published in June 2004, evaluating the effects of the ban through 2003. It’s long and a bit complicated, but some quotes from the Executive Summary (Key Finding and Conclusions) tell the story:
Because the ban has not yet reduced the use of LCMs (large capacity magazines) in crime, we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.

Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement. AWs were rarely used in gun crimes even before the ban. LCMs are involved in a more substantial share of gun crimes, but it is not clear how often the outcomes of gun attacks depend on the ability of offenders to fire more than ten shots (the current magazine capacity limit) without reloading.
Reading this report closely, if one wants to tease out the possibility of legislation to reduce gun violence, targeting large capacity magazines is a better idea that outlawing assault rifles. Of course, anybody with any shooting experience can quickly change a magazine, so it’s not clear this would help any. Especially since large capacity magazines will continue to be available in the black market, available for trade among gun buffs, and so on.

Other studies have found the same thing. In 2005 the National Research Council concluded that:
A recent evaluation of the short-term effects of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban did not reveal any clear impacts on gun violence outcomes (Koper and Roth, 2001b). Using state-level Uniform Crime Reports data on gun homicides, the authors of this study suggest that the potential impact of the law on gun violence was limited by the continuing availability of assault weapons through the ban’s grandfathering provision and the relative rarity with which the banned guns were used in crime before the ban. Indeed, as the authors concede and other critics suggest (e.g., Kleck, 2001), given the nature of the intervention, the maximum potential effect of the ban on gun violence outcomes would be very small and, if there were any observable effects, very difficult to disentangle from chance yearly variation and other state and local gun violence initiatives that took place simultaneously.
Finally, a 2003 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined “51 studies that evaluated the effects of selected firearms laws on violence“ and concluded:
Evidence was insufficient to determine the effectiveness of any of these laws . . .
The report went on the explain:
Results of studies of firearms and ammunition bans were inconsistent: certain studies indicated decreases in violence associated with bans, and others indicated increases. Several studies found that the number of banned guns retrieved after a crime declined when bans were enacted, but these studies did not assess violent consequences (16,17). Studies of the 1976 Washington, D.C. handgun ban yielded inconsistent results (18–20). Bans often include “grandfather” provisions, allowing ownership of an item if it is acquired before the ban, complicating an assessment of causality. Finally, evidence indicated that sales of firearms to be banned might increase in the period before implementation of the bans (e.g., the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994) (21).
In the wake of a mass shooting, the natural human reaction is to “do something.” That is a natural response. But there are two problems with it.

First, the moral panic may lead us to embrace policies that feel good, and not ask hard questions about whether we are making things better.

Second, the highly visible outrage over a school shooting may cause us to forget that the vast majority of children and youth killed in shootings are killed in very ordinary domestic disputes, robberies, gang shootouts, accidents, and so on.


Even the New York Times has published an article critical of an assault weapons ban:
OVER the past two decades, the majority of Americans in a country deeply divided over gun control have coalesced behind a single proposition: The sale of assault weapons should be banned.

That idea was one of the pillars of the Obama administration’s plan to curb gun violence, and it remains popular with the public. In a poll last December, 59 percent of likely voters said they favor a ban.

But in the 10 years since the previous ban lapsed, even gun control advocates acknowledge a larger truth: The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference.

It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do.

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Alan Dershowitz: Hard Left Biggest Danger

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Lying About Supposed Anti-Muslim “Hate Crimes”

From Daniel Greenfield in Frontpage Mag:
Yasmin Seweid, a Muslim college student, claimed that Trump supporters had tried to tear off her hijab on the New York City subway and shouted, “Look it’s a f______ terrorist” and “Go back to your country”.

“The president-elect just promotes this stuff and is very anti-Muslim, very Islamophobic, and he’s just condoning it,” she complained.

It was all a lie.

Yasmin was charged with filing a false police report on December 2016. On September 2017, she pleaded guilty to falsely reporting an incident and disorderly conduct.

An Islamophobia hoax doesn’t get any more discredited than the Seweid case. But Islamophobia hoaxes never die. They’re rolled into hate crime statistics and reports even when they are completely false.

“Reported anti-Muslim hate incidents, rhetoric rose in year after election, report finds,” NBC News claims. Like The Nation, Think Progress and a variety of other sites, it’s touting a report by South Asian Americans Leading Together or SAALT.

The SAALT report, “Communities on Fire,” fits into an annual media tradition. Every year, fake statistics are used to inflate the Islamophobia threat. And the media reports every year that Islamophobia is getting worse. The statistical gimmicks of Islamophobia inflation vary from the clever to the terrible.

The Southern Poverty Law Center hit a new low when it claimed that the “number of anti-Muslim hate groups increased almost three-fold in 2016” by counting 45 chapters of Act for America as separate organizations after counting them as one in 2015. Another report documented a 66% increase when 6 cases increased to 10. But the SAALT report’s listing of discredited hoaxes is even more outrageous.

Even though the report was issued now, its list of incidents includes the Seweid case. “Three drunk white men repeatedly screamed ‘Donald Trump!’ and hurled anti-Islam slurs at a Muslim Baruch College student, Yasmin Seweid, before trying to rip her hijab off on an East Side subway.”

And that’s far from the only hoax on the SAALT list.

In Lafayette, LA, its report claims, “Two men knocked a young Muslim student wearing hijab to the ground with something metal and verbally assaulted her with obscenities before making off with her wallet and hijab.”

The Muslim student claimed that she had been attacked by Trump supporters. She was charged with filing a false police report. “She made up the entire story about being attacked, about her hijab being taken. There was no truth to any of it,” the Lafayette Police Department spokesman said.

In Ann Arbor, MI, the SAALT report claims, “A man approached a Muslim student and threatened to set her on fire with a lighter unless she removed her hijab.”

That story was also a hoax.

“Following a thorough investigation, detectives have determined the incident in question did not occur,” the Ann Arbor Police Department stated.

These weren’t just hoaxes. They were hoaxes from over a year ago. And SAALT still included them.

“An anti-Muslim message was spray painted on a residence hall on the Beloit College campus,” the report claims.

The student confessed to having vandalized his own door with anti-Muslim graffiti. He was arrested and charged with criminal damage.

“Two men confronted a San Diego State University student wearing hijab in a parking structure, made comments about President-elect Donald Trump and the Muslim community, and then took her purse and backpack. The men also took the student’s car keys and ran off,” the SAALT report claims.

The car turned out not to be stolen. No evidence of the attack was found and the student refused to cooperate with police.

Incidents like these, which were reported after Trump’s victory, play a crucial role in SAALT’s efforts to connect the supposed rise in Islamophobic attacks to him. The SAALT report mentions Trump nearly 200 times. It claims that, “One in five perpetrators of hate violence incidents referenced President Trump, a Trump policy, or a Trump campaign slogan.” But quite a few of those Trump “incidents” were hoaxes.

The SAALT report lists violence that happened to Muslims without any evidence that it was motivated by their religion. It lists the drive by shooting of Mohamed Abdulkadir in Ohio, and the robbery and fatal beating of Ali Khan even though they appear to be ordinary crimes.

In Milwaukee, “A perpetrator beat a woman leaving morning prayers and pulled off her hijab,” the SAALT report claims. “She then pushed her to the ground, repeatedly stomped on her head, and took out a knife and slashed her clothing.”

The police report however quoted the victim as saying that she didn’t think it was a hate crime, that the man had not tried to take her hijab, but that the assault had to do with her lesbian daughter.

The SAALT report lists arson at the Islamic Center of Ypsilanti. But the police ruled that out as a hate crime. A Detroit mosque whose vandalism was also listed by SAALT was trashed by an African-American thief when he couldn’t find anything to steal.

The SAALT report lists the shooting of a 16-year-old Muslim in Ohio. The Muslim teenager claimed that his attacker had shouted racial slurs at him, but the attacker, Denzal Johnson, is African-American and his girlfriend appeared to be Muslim. Denzal’s religion is unknown.

The SAALT report claims that “Black Muslim girl, Nabra Hassanen” was killed after she and her group had “been at a late-night event at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society and were headed back to the mosque after a trip to a fast-food restaurant.” Nabra Hassanen wasn’t black and she was killed by an illegal alien gang member from El Salvador who got into a fight with her friends. There’s never been any evidence that her killer was motivated by her religion. And he was not charged with a hate crime.

Sometimes SAALT’s spin is deliberately dishonest. For example, it claims that, “a Somali Muslim woman, Rahma Warsame, who intervened to protect another Muslim woman from harassment by a white male perpetrator was beaten unconscious, resulting in facial fractures and the loss of several teeth. The attacker screamed, ‘You all will be shipped back to Africa’ prior to beating her.”

Rahma Warsame had actually gotten into a fight with Samantha Morales, a Latino woman. Morales claimed that a Somali woman had hit a little boy with a shoe. According to the police, another member of the Warsame family, had tased Morales. The only white male in the story is Morales’ boyfriend. The police couldn’t decide what really happened.

The SAALT report tries to attribute violent attacks on Muslims to “white supremacists”, but many of its more violent incidents are actually the work of African-American and Latino attackers. The Victoria mosque fire was set by a mentally unstable Latino man. The Islamic Center of Eastside fire was set by a schizophrenic African-American homeless man who may have previously tried to pray in the mosque and had smashed a window at NikeTown. Not exactly your typical Trump supporter.

A number of the acts in the SAALT report were actually committed by mentally unstable homeless people with a violent history. But SAALT has its own curious definition of white supremacist.

According to the report, Act for America 9/11 commemoration illustrated a growth in white supremacist Islamophobia. But Act for America was founded by Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese Arab immigrant.

The SAALT report lists the Freedom Center’s campaign against hate groups. “Palestinian rights activists at California universities were targeted with posters calling them terrorists.” The posters called out SJP and other hate groups that have expressed support for terrorists.

Many of the activists who were called out in these Freedom Center campaigns weren’t even Muslims.

The first name on the poster that SAALT is complaining about is that of Daniel Alvarez. The second name is Mohammed Hammad who was investigated by terrorism officials and the FBI for posting violent threats. These included, “I think about killing a lot/and some of you are usually the targets of my daydreams.” Instead of condemning Hammad’s threats, SAALT instead attacks the Freedom Center.

The SAALT report leaves out key pieces of information that might provide alternative explanations.

It mentions that Vibert White, was “forced to resign” from the University of Central Florida and sued the college. It neglects to mention that he had been arrested three times on domestic violence charges involving two ex-wives. It mentions the vandalism at the Ahram Halal Market in Maine, but not that a few weeks earlier its owners had been charged with fraud.

The multiple hoaxes that never happened and other incidents that were not hate crimes ought to be enough to raise serious questions about the credibility of the SAALT report. Unfortunately the media unthinkingly passes along Islamophobia inflation reports without ever fact checking them.

The SAALT report and the media stories about it exist to push the narrative is that President Trump is causing anti-Muslim violence. And the narrative is too good to bother checking the facts.

And that not only destroys the media’s own credibility, but hurts the people it claims to be trying to protect. When hoaxes, ordinary crimes and attacks by mentally ill homeless people are all treated the same way, then even real attacks will be drowned out by the torrent of fake incidents.
Yes, activist groups, and indeed the media, report things that fit a favored narrative, and don’t bother too much with fact checking.

But what drives the narrative? Quite simply, the intolerance of liberals and leftists, who can’t imagine that the Trump victory was driven by legitimate (or at least understandable) resentment toward elites. No, in their little world, only bigotry could explain who so many people did not vote as they did.

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Party Motto

Friday, February 09, 2018

Journal-Sentinel on McAdams v. Marquette

Appearing today, a very good article in the local paper by columnist Christian Schneider titled “In the case of professor John McAdams, Marquette lost its way.”

Schneider gives some history:
In 1853, the Rev. Anthony Urbanek of the newly minted Catholic Diocese of Milwaukee reported back to Vienna on the state of Catholics in the fledgling city. Urbanek expressed optimism at how quickly Catholicism had taken root in Milwaukee, especially among its German and Irish settlers.

“What an encouraging sight it is to witness crowds of young and old on Sundays, coming from all sides out of the woods, as though they arose out of the ground,” Urbanek wrote, noting many churches weren’t large enough to hold all the people who wanted to attend services.

Not so with schools. If parents wanted to send their children to Catholic schools to “preserve their children from Yankee-ism,” he said, they would have to pay for the schools themselves. Trying to educate Catholic children in public schools, he said, “soon deteriorates into heathenism.”

And so, led by Archbishop John M. Henni and funded with a $16,000 gift from a rich Belgian, the diocese founded a small Jesuit college. The purpose of Marquette was to allow for academic freedom, distinct from the pressures of the secular world.
Schneider then outlines the basics of Marquette’s attempt to fire us, and concludes:
Marquette’s contract with faculty contains the promise that they will not be disciplined for “legitimate personal or academic freedoms of thought, doctrine, discourse, association, advocacy, or action.” It vows not to “restrain…rights guaranteed (faculty) by the United States Constitution.”

McAdams’ treatment vaporizes those promises; in this case, freedom of speech ended when an offended graduate student and sympathetic faculty advisers said it did. And the university capitulated to the very outside forces it was founded to resist.

Biased Reporting

Schneider’s column is in stark contrast to the slanted reporting the Journal-Sentinel usually provides, courtesy of Karen Herzog. In an absurdly biased story back on January 23, she pretty much acted as a mouthpiece for Marquette, suppressing information and giving a biased version of events.

The story, as it now exists online, is slightly sanitized relative to the one originally posted (but Google cache is the friend of people wanting to document embarrassing things posted and then changed).

In the original story, Herzog wrote “McAdams argued that he could say anything he wanted on his blog because of academic freedom protections.” This is nonsense, since we never claimed we could say anything we wanted. We never claimed the right to libel anybody, for example. Herzog changed that to “McAdams argued what he writes on his blog has academic freedom protections,” which is correct.

Much worse is Herzog’s description of what our original post was about. She said: “McAdams said he did it because he felt the graduate student was trying to impose her liberal views on students she taught.” In fact, we blogged about a graduate instructor (Cheryl Abbate) who told at student who wanted to argue against gay marriage (which had come up in class) that he could not do so, since he was not allowed to say “homophobic” things, and any such argument would “offend” any gay students in class.

Herzog apparently believed that an accurate account of what Abbate did would leave readers much less sympathetic to her, and would make it obvious that a serious issue of campus political correctness was involved.

Naming Wrongdoers

Herzog repeats Marquette’s claim that we should not have named Abbate. But Herzog knows perfectly well that the Journal-Sentinel (or any other news outlet) will name people accused of misconduct. This would apply to (say) an athletic coach accused of sexually molesting athletes or a county employee accused of embezzling funds. But Marquette wants to claim that a graduate instructor, who was 27 years old and had been in the military, and was the “instructor of record” in the course, should be exempt.

Herzog uncritically accepts Marquette’s claim that “the graduate student instructor reportedly started receiving threats as a result of the blog post.” Had Herzog simply bothered to read what was at the time the most current post on our blog, she would have known this was flatly untrue.

Herzog, without bothering to check, repeated Marquette President Michael Lovell’s claim that I had “expos[ed] her [Abbate’s] personal contact information as recently as last month.” I was puzzled reading this, until it was brought to my attention that a link to an Abbate page was included in a column by George Will in the Washington Post, which I republished on my blog. It seems Lovell’s real beef is with the Washington Post. Herzog could have checked this out.

Read Only One Side

Finally, at the very bottom of the story as it first appeared, was the notation “While in the national spotlight over the case, Marquette posted a list of frequently asked questions and answers about the case on its website.” This is linked to a Marquette “FAQ.”

An unbiased story would also refer readers to the website of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, to get the other side of the issue. But Herzog has chosen to be, essentially, a sock puppet for Marquette.

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Saturday, February 03, 2018

Stone Faced

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Epic Rant: Grammy Hypocrites