Friday, June 30, 2023

The Supreme Court strikes down affirmative action in college admissions: Ain’t nothing gonna change at the universities

Yesterday, in an opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the US Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions. The vote was 6 to 3.

The Court's analysis was straightforward. When reviewing admission applications, the decision instructed, applicants should be judged based on their individual experience, not race.

Unfortunately. as Justice Roberts wrote
Many universities have for too long done just the opposite. And in doing so, they have concluded, wrongly, that the touchstone of an individual's identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned but the color of their skin. Our constitutional history does not tolerate that choice.
Now that the Supreme Court has declared affirmative action in college admissions unconstitutional, will universities change how they do business? I don’t think so.

American universities are obsessed with race, and many university presidents, deans, and professors view American history as nothing more than a litany of oppression by white racists against people of color. University leaders will likely reject the Supreme Court’s ruling and continue admitting students based on race using their well-honed skills at subterfuge.

Indeed, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested as much in her dissenting opinion in Gratz v. Bollinger. This is what she wrote: 
"One can reasonably anticipate, therefore, the colleges and universities will seek to maintain their minority enrollment . . . whether or not they can do so in full candor . . . " Justice Ginsburg concluded her dissenting opinion by saying, "If honesty is the best policy, surely [Michigan University’s] accurately described, fully disclosed College affirmation program is preferable to achieving similar numbers through winks, nods, and disguises."

What kind of winks, nods, and disguises are we talking about? Here are a couple of examples from my personal experience. When I was a doctoral student at Harvard Graduate School of Education, the school sponsored a scholarly publication called the Harvard Education Review. Students could compete to get on the journal's editorial board, and new board members were appointed by students already on it. A Harvard faculty member described the Harvard Educational Review as a racial ghetto, and indeed it was. As best as I could determine, no heterosexual white students were on the board.

Despite warnings from fellow students that my application would be rejected, I applied for membership on the Harvard Educational Review's editorial board.

My application was rejected. Of course, there was no written policy banning white men from being on the journal's editorial board, and board members could surely articulate alternative reasons for the board's decisions. Nevertheless, I believe board members were selected based on race.

As my Harvard studies drew to a close, I traveled to Washington, DC, to attend a faculty recruitment conference sponsored by the Association of American Law Schools. I hoped to get a job as a law professor.

When I arrived at the conference, I found that job applicants were sorted into three waiting rooms. One room was reserved for women attendees, another was reserved for people of color, and a third waiting room was open to anybody. Only white men were in that room.

I got a couple of interviews, but I spent most of the day watching other white men reading the Washington Post in the white men's waiting room. Meanwhile, women and people of color were busy attending job reviews. In my opinion, I was witnessing affirmative action.

I am not bitter about those experiences. I had a good career as an educational policy researcher. I feel sure that I published more scholarly articles than the combined output of everyone else in my Harvard doctoral cohort.

I'd like to make one point regarding the Supreme Court's recent decision to strike down affirmative action in college admissions. The universities should be honest about what they are doing. If the Supreme Court declares affirmative action to violate the Constitution, universities should stop practicing affirmative action.

Supreme Court says bye bye to affirmative action



Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Reparations for descendants of oppressed people: Count me in!

A special California task force has recommended giving Black Californians about $800 billion in reparations in compensation for the exploitation their enslaved ancestors suffered. Some people say this is a bad idea. After all, California never permitted slavery, and many African Americans came to California long after the Civil War to pursue opportunities in the California defense industry during World War II. California has a good record of treating African Americans fairly, and some people wonder why the state would consider reparations.

I'm in favor of the California reparation plan, and I hope every African American in the Golden State gets at least a million dollars. In fact, I think every American whose ancestors were exploited in any way should get a cash settlement.

However, I don't think I personally should have to pay reparations to anybody. Jonah Fossey, my great-grandfather, immigrated with his family from England in the 1880s and landed in Halifax, Canada. Later he settled in eastern Kansas. No Fossey ever owned a slave. You can't pin that rap on the Fosseys.

This seems like a good time to make my own claim for reparations based on the exploitation my ancestors experienced over the past 100 years or so. First, some of my immediate family lived in northwestern Oklahoma in the heart of the Dust Bowl. If you've seen The Grapes of Wrath, directed by John Ford, you know that the Dust Bowl farmers were exploited by banks and big money interests. Many were forced to migrate to California, where they suffered severe discrimination. In fact, the California Highway Patrol set up roadblocks at the state border to prevent Okie refugees from entering.

California discriminated against my Dust Bowl ancestors, and I demand reparations. I'm talking about the high six figures. 

I telephoned Governor Newsom about this matter. (I'm on his speed dial, and he always takes my calls.) Gav agreed that the Okies were victims of vicious discrimination and promised to send me a check and a complimentary gift card for the French Laundry restaurant.

Second, there's that little matter of my father's incarceration in a Japanese concentration camp during World War Two. My father suffered severe PTSD from that experience, and the nation of Japan owes my family hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars. And let's not forget that the United States military was negligent in not preparing for the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, where my father was stationed when he was captured. So the US government owes us some money as well.

Let's see now--what other grievances do I have? Oh yes. I'm a Catholic, and Catholics have been severely discriminated against in the United States since colonial times. Historically, the most virulent anti-Catholic bigots were concentrated in New England, and I have a big-time claim as a Catholic against the Bay State.

So let's get this reparations program rolling. I'm setting up a Panamanian bank account where the federal, Massachusetts and Japanese governments can wire my reparations checks. I would like my funds designated as a tort settlement so I won't have to pay taxes on the money.

California owes me big time!

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Simmons University plans to cut several liberal arts programs due to financial crisis

Simmons University, founded in 1902, is Boston’s only women's university. Although the school admits men to its graduate programs, its undergraduate school is restricted to women. 

Actually, that's not entirely true. Simmons admits transgender students who identify as women. Thus, an applicant who has testicles but regrets them is eligible for admission to Simmons.

Simmons boasts that 40 percent of its students identify as LGBTQ, and 34 percent identify as ALANA. ALANA is an acronym for African, Latino, Asian, or Native American. 

Despite Simmons’s niche as a women’s college and a college attractive to the LGBTQ community and women of color, the school is losing enrollment. In fact, the Simmons student body has shrunk by 11.5 percent since the fall of 2019.

Fewer students mean less revenue, and Simmons is struggling financially. The school ended its 2022 fiscal year with a loss of $14.5 million.

To reduce costs, Simmons is planning to cut some liberal arts programs, including its programs in philosophy, modern languages, and sociology. As might be expected, this move is opposed by some faculty members. One professor said, “Cutting out the humanities and social sciences is like cutting out the heart and then seeing if the body will still walk.”

Of course, professors rarely support cutting academic programs or laying off faculty members, even when enrollments are down. After all, fewer students in their classrooms mean fewer student papers to grade.

Lynn Perry Wooten, the University president, has tried to assure faculty members that their views will receive ample consideration. “[Y]es, some majors may go away,” Wooten acknowledged, “but it's [about] letting everyone have a voice in the change and then making a process that works” (as quoted in the Boston Globe).

Simmons is one of many small private colleges across the United States that are being forced to cut programs in the liberal arts and the humanities. In fact, it would be irresponsible for those schools not to eliminate academic programs that are no longer financially viable.

An undergraduate degree from Simmons University costs about a quarter of a million dollars, forcing most students to take out loans to finance their studies. A student would have to be nuts to spend that kind of money to get a sociology or philosophy degree from Simmons University or any other small private college.




Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Three women were stabbed in New York subways over the weekend: Flyover Country looks better and better

 Three women were stabbed in the New York subways over the weekend. All three were relatively young. A 19-year-old woman with stabbed in the leg while going up a stairway. A few moments later, the same assailant stabbed a 48-year-old woman on a subway platform. Shortly after that attack, he stabbed a 28-year-old woman on a subway train bound for Brooklyn.

These events were the latest in a string of subway assaults in New York City. Generally, the attacker is not apprehended. Twice in recent weeks, a subway passenger stepped in to neutralize an attacker and killed him. In both instances, the rescuer was charged with manslaughter.

Why would anyone live in New York City? Economic opportunity? Yes, salaries are higher in New York City than in other parts of the country. But the cost of living is also higher, much higher. A person living in Baton Rouge and making $50,000 a year would need to make $117,000 in New York City just to maintain the same standard of living.

New York is an excellent city for millionaires, and New York has more millionaires than any other American city. However, even millionaires are fleeing the Big Apple.  Twelve percent of them moved elsewhere in the first half of 2022.

Of course, New York has more cultural attractions than any other American locale. Do you want to attend the opera, take in a Broadway play, or look at abstract art? You’ll find more of that stuff in New York than in Omaha, Tulsa, or Chattanooga.

Personally, I hate opera, and I detest abstract art. I'm a fan of Western American art, which I can see at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth or the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa. More art museums appeal to my taste in Taos, NM than in Manhattan. And remember the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, and it's easy to find a parking space.

Fine cuisine? Yes, New York has more five-star restaurants than any other American town. But you can't beat Praise Dah Lard in Woodville, Mississippi, for fresh cracklins. The world's best chicken fried steak can be found at the Hitching Post restaurant in Ozona, Texas, not Gallaghers in Manhattan, and you don't need reservations.

I love America’s cities. I spent some of the happiest years of my life in Houston, the nation's most culturally diverse city. Unfortunately, however, the nation’s metropolises are in decline. New Orleans is now America's murder capital. Homelessness, rampant shoplifting, and empty office towers have laid San Francisco low, and people are leaving Chicago and New York by the thousands.

Americans are fleeing the cities, and they are smart to do so. Of course, the folks living in Flyover Country don't have a view of the Manhattan skyline. Nevertheless, I can personally attest that the skyscrapers of New York are no more beautiful than a view of the bloodred sun going down over Lake Mary, Mississippi.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Froma Harrop wants more wind turbines in Texas. Why not Providence, Rhode Island?

Texas provides 28 percent of the nation's wind-generated electricity. Most of the state's wind turbines are located in West Texas, where the wind blows almost constantly. Anyone driving across the Texas plains has seen thousands of enormous wind turbines dotting the mesas and buttes. If you go west on Interstate 20 or Highway 287 at night, you will see thousands of lights blinking atop the ceaselessly turning windmills, installed, I suppose, to warn aircraft pilots that they’re flying over a hazardous area.

Some Texans are alarmed by the proliferation of wind turbines on the Great Plains. People who live on the plains are assaulted daily by the visual pollution of giant windmills that litter the horizon. Bills have been introduced in the Texas legislature to regulate the wind energy business and to assess its environmental impact on the Texans who live near wind farms.

Froma Harrop, a newspaper columnist and East Coast liberal, criticized Texas political leaders who want to get better control of the wind energy business. Texas Republicans are opposed to government regulation, she argues, so it is inconsistent for the Republican-dominated Texas legislature to put more regulatory controls on the windmills that pollute the landscape of the High Plains and the Llano Estacado.

Harrop doesn’t live in West Texas. She lives in New York City and Providence, Rhode Island. She’s not bothered by the ugliness of wind turbines that scar the landscape of West Texas. After all, she doesn’t have to look at them.

I have driven across West Texas dozens of times and have seen the giant wind farms that blight the plains. Texas is producing more than a quarter of the nation's wind-generated electricity. Isn’t that enough?

Almost everyone favors renewable energy development, particularly the liberals on the East and West Coasts. They might feel differently if they saw thousands of wind turbines from their living room windows.

Scott Momoday, a Kiowa and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in literature, grew up in southwestern Oklahoma, on the very edge of the Great Plains. He wrote about the landscape of the West from a Native American perspective and believed that this landscape contains many sacred places:
To encounter the sacred [Momoday wrote] is to be alive at the deepest center of human existence. Sacred places are the truest definitions of the earth; they stand for the earth immediately and forever; they are its flags and shields. If you would know the earth for what it really is, learn it through its sacred places. At Devil’s Tower or Canyon de Chelly or the Cahokia Mounds, you touch the pulse of the living planet; you feel its breath upon you. You become one with a spirit that pervades geologic time and space.
Scott Momoday and I grew up on the same landscape of western Oklahoma, a land of majestic views, blue skies, bloodred sunsets, and the Wichita Mountains shimmering improbably on the horizon. I agree with Momoday that this landscape contains many sacred places. Thus, it is a sacrilege to deface it or make it ugly.

As for Froma Harrop, she should live for a couple of years in Snyder, Texas, among the thousands of wind turbines polluting the Great Plains. Let’s see how she likes it, and when she’s completed her sojourn in West Texas, I would like to see her return to Providence, Rhode Island, and find thousands of wind turbines blotting out the seascape.

Texans should not permit more wind turbines in West Texas until a comparable number are placed off the coasts of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and the Hamptons. Let the coastal elites pollute their own visual environment before asking Texans to further desecrate the High Plains.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

If you're going to San Francisco, you're sure to find some feces on your shoes

After my freshman year at Oklahoma State University, I hitchhiked to Montana, hoping to get a summer job working for the National Forest Service. That plan didn’t work out, and I wound up working in a sawmill in the little town of West Yellowstone.

That was the summer of 1966, when young people were heading west to California, where the Beach Boys sang about a little surfer girl, and San Fransisco's Haight Ashbury district promised abundant marijuana and free love. 
West Yellowstone, where I was stuck, was merely a waystation for youngsters headed west, a place to refuel on pizza and Olympia beer.

"Are You Going to San Francisco" was a radio hit that summer and Scott McKenzie's lyrics seem to sum up the spirit of the day. "If you’re going to San Francisco," McKenzie sang, "be sure to wear some flowers in your hair." I recall standing on West Yellowstone’s main street, listening to that song on someone's transistor radio and wishing I had the money and the courage to go to San Francisco and hang out with the hippies.  When I arrived there,  the song assured me, I would find the gentle people I had been unable to locate in Oklahoma.

Fifty years later, I don’t think many people go to San Francisco to find gentle people or put flowers in their hair. The city is a mess. Homelessness is out of control, and deadbeats shoot dope and defecate in the streets.  Office towers suffer from a 30% vacancy rate, and retailers are moving out. Whole Foods, Nordstrom, Office Depot, and Walgreens, are fleeing Frisco to escape crime and rampant shoplifting.

San Francisco is the poster child for the downfall of American cities. New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other major metropolises suffer the same malaise.

Every American should be alarmed by this trend because American cities are where creative people go to find opportunities. As Michael Marotta wrote in a blog essay, “The city is literally civilization. Cities--not nations or American 'states'--are the engines of creation and progress." Indeed, Marotta argued, "the American republic is culturally a very large city."

Unfortunately, most major American cities are run by idiots and race hustlers. They think they are showcasing their liberal values by enacting policies encouraging homelessness, shoplifting, and random muggings. They equate anarchy with personal liberty when in fact our individual freedoms are best protected in a society that respects the rule of law.

So if you’re going to San Francisco, don’t expect to find gentle people with flowers in their hair.  In today's San Francisco, you are more likely to find feces on your shoes.


Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.