Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Flash: Neo-Nazi Professors would have Gotten Tenure at Ben Gurion University!!
2. Good piece:
The Intellectual Assault on Israel and Pro-Israel Advocacy:
How the American Jewish Community Should React
3. A REAL peace plan at last:
October 16, 2007
REVIEW & OUTLOOK
The Greenpeace Diet
October 16, 2007; Page A20
Thank Greenpeace for a helpful piece of advice on how Australians can put
their eco-consciences at ease: Throw another 'roo on the barbie.
We're not making this up. It turns out cutting beef production by 20% and
eating more kangaroo instead would reduce Australia's carbon emissions by
about 15 million metric tons a year by 2020. So says Mark Diesendorf of
the University of New South Wales in a report commissioned by Greenpeace
and released last week.
The report proposes two scenarios for reducing Australia's emissions by
30% from 1990 levels. While warmer insulation on homes, more efficient
water heaters and better public transport are all well and good, Mr.
Diesendorf's second scenario also proposes a shift away from
grass-guzzling, methane-belching beef cattle to the more eco-friendly
Kangaroo may be "one of the finest game meats," as the Department of
Foreign Affairs and Trade boasts on its Web site, exported to 55
countries. Even so, we're not sure Australians will want to increase their
consumption of one of their country's national symbols.
But Greenpeace deserves credit for honesty. Global-warming alarmists are
often too quick to hype the alleged dangers of climate change and play
down the costs of emissions reductions. Greenpeace is at least laying out
the true "lifestyle" costs of emissions cuts. That's good for the public
to know as policy makers debate the costs and benefits of stricter
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5. The Rise of the Religious Left
By STEVEN MALANGA
October 16, 2007; Page A21
Everyone knows the potent force of the Christian right in American
politics. But since the mid-1990s, an increasingly influential religious
movement has arisen on the left, mostly escaping the national press's
This new religious left does not expend its political energies on the
cultural concerns that primarily motivate conservative evangelicals.
Instead, working mostly at the state and local level, and often in
lockstep with unions, its ministers, priests, rabbis, and laity exert a
major, sometimes decisive, influence in campaigns to enforce a "living
wage," to help unions organize, and to block the expansion of nonunionized
businesses like Wal-Mart.
The new religious left is in one sense not new at all. It draws its
inspiration in part from the Protestant "social gospel" movement of the
late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially Baptist Minister Walter
Rauschenbusch, who believed that the best way to uplift the downtrodden
was to redistribute wealth and forge an egalitarian society. Rauschenbusch
called for the creation of a kingdom of heaven here on earth -- just as
presidential candidate Barack Obama did last week at a church in South
The popular Catholic writer John Ryan also advocated that government enact
pro-union legislation, steep taxes on wealth, and more stringent business
regulation. When FDR adopted several of Ryan's ideas, the priest was given
the sobriquet "the Right Reverend New Dealer." His popularity reflected
the tightening alliance between America's mainstream churches and
organized labor. That alliance disintegrated during the 1960s, when
clerics like the notorious rebel priests the Berrigan brothers began to
agitate for a wider range of radical causes -- above all, a swift end to
the Vietnam War. The more culturally conservative blue-collar workers who
formed the union movement's core wanted no part of this.
The alliance has been revitalized thanks in large part to savvy labor
bosses such as John Sweeney, who grew up in a prototypical Catholic
pro-union household. When Mr. Sweeney took over the AFL-CIO in 1996, union
membership was shrinking -- from 24% of the work force 30 years ago to
14.5% in 1996 (and just 12% today). He told church leaders that "unions
need aggressive participation by the Church in our organizing campaigns."
The AFL-CIO launched "Labor in the Pulpits," a program that encouraged
churches and synagogues to invite union leaders to preach the virtues of
organized labor and tout its political agenda. Nearly 1,000 congregations
in 100 cities nationwide now take part annually. Mr. Sweeney himself has
preached from the pulpit of Washington, D.C.'s National Cathedral, urging
congregants to join anti-globalization protests in the capital.
Under the auspices of Labor in the Pulpits, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist
and Presbyterian clerics have composed guidelines for union-friendly
sermons and litanies, as well as inserts for church bulletins that promote
union legislation. One insert asked congregants to pray for a federal
minimum-wage hike and also -- if the prayers didn't work, presumably -- to
contact their congressional representatives. Another urged congregants to
lobby Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act -- controversial
legislation that would let unions organize firms merely by getting workers
to sign authorizing cards, rather than by conducting secret ballots, as is
The Chicago-based, union-supported Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ)
arranges for seminarians to spend the summer months working with union
locals. Some 200 seminarians have helped unionize Mississippi poultry
workers, aided the Service Employees International Union in organizing
Georgia public-sector employees, and bolstered campaigns for living-wage
legislation in California municipalities.
Working with IWJ, the labor movement has spawned some 60 new religious
left groups, ranging from the Massachusetts Interfaith Committee for
Worker Justice to the Chicago Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues to the
Los Angeles-based Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (Clue). In
Los Angeles, Clue clergy helped crush several 2005 statewide ballot
initiatives that unions opposed, including one that gave union workers the
option of not paying dues that would fund union political activities.
In Memphis, clergy fought relentlessly -- via newspaper op-eds, public
fasts, and preaching -- for the passage of living-wage bills that since
2004 have forced local businesses to hike wages well above the federal
minimum. Labor-religious coalitions have worked spectacularly well: Some
125 municipalities have passed living-wage laws.
More than 100 religious organizations support IWJ financially, including
the National Council of Churches of the USA (NCC), an umbrella
organization of nearly 40 mainstream Christian denominations. The
Presbyterian Church (USA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and
the Episcopal Church are particularly active. The alliance between labor
and the religious left also enjoys the powerful backing of the Catholic
Church, whose American hierarchy, though often conservative on social
issues, is firmly left-wing in its economic views.
Despite decades of economic progress that have reduced unemployment levels
to record lows and made America a magnet for opportunity-seeking
immigrants, leading clergy of the religious left depict the free market as
a vast exploitative force, controlled by a small group of godless power
brokers. Clergy describe Wal-Mart, for example, in terms that its
thousands of suppliers, millions of employees, and tens of millions of
customers would hardly recognize. The Reverend Jarvis Johnson, an IWJ
board member, has urged congregants to invite the "hurting, blind and
crippled" to a metaphorical banquet. Who are these poor, abused souls?
"They are Wal-Mart associates who have to wait six months to a year to
qualify for a health-care plan," Mr. Johnson explained.
Religious left leaders blindly refuse to acknowledge the considerable
academic research showing that mandated wage hikes often eliminate the
jobs of low-skilled workers -- the very people whom it seeks to help.
David Neumark, for example -- a researcher at the University of California
at Berkeley's Institute of Business and Economics Research and one of the
world's foremost authorities on wage laws -- has found that while
living-wage laws do boost the income of some low-wage workers, they also
have "strong negative employment effects." That is, they vaporize jobs. In
one study, Mr. Neumark noted that a 50% boost in the living wage produced
a decline in employment for the lowest-skilled workers of between 6% and
Religious left clerics also ignore the evidence that much poverty in
prosperous, opportunity-rich America results from dysfunctional -- dare
one call it "sinful"? -- behavior. Around two-thirds of poor families
today are single-parent households, largely dependent on government
subsidies and headed by women with little education. The entry-level,
low-wage work for which these mothers are qualified makes it hard to
support large families. And the time they must devote to raising their
kids makes it hard to climb the economic ladder. Poverty is increasingly
about the irresponsible decision to have children out of wedlock. In many
inner city communities where poverty is entrenched, 75% of all children
are now born out of wedlock.
In any event, the religious left's sympathies do not seem to be those of
churchgoers. While the NCC and its member churches pursue a variety of
left-wing causes -- even partnering with the activist organization
MoveOn.org and featuring speakers like Michael Moore at events -- a Pew
poll found that 54% of white, mainline Protestants and 50% of Catholics
voted Republican in the 2004 presidential elections. Those who attended
church regularly voted Republican even more heavily -- at nearly the same
rate as evangelical Christians, in fact.
For four decades, as the leadership of America's mainline churches has
moved steadily leftward, those churches' memberships declined as a
percentage of the U.S. population while the number of Christian
evangelicals exploded. Left-wing clerics may be buying greater political
influence with their alliance through organized labor, but the price may
be further alienating their shrinking flock.
Mr. Malanga is senior editor at the Manhattan Institute's City Journal,
from whose autumn issue this is adapted.
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October 16, 2007
By CHRISTINA HOFF SOMMERS
October 16, 2007; Page A20
As if losing the presidency of Harvard for hinting that there might be a
biological explanation for the preponderance of men in academic science
wasn't enough, Lawrence Summers now appears to be persona non grata
A few weeks ago the University of California, Davis rescinded an
invitation for him to speak. More than 150 faculty members signed a
petition protesting his appearance, saying Mr. Summers "has come to
symbolize gender and racial prejudice in academia." Davis ecology
Professor Maureen Stanton was "appalled and stunned that someone like
Summers would be invited to speak."
Ms. Stanton and her allies want pariah status for anyone who dares to
suggest a biological basis for difference. Yet the scientific literature
on why men and women enter different fields is legitimate, robust, complex
and fascinating. What is appalling is that leading academic institutions
would try to shut down the discussion and get away with it. Almost.
Last week, the American Enterprise Institute brought together top
researchers on sex differences, ranging from the strongly feminist
Brandeis women's studies scholar Rosalind Barnett to AEI scholar and
co-author of "The Bell Curve," Charles Murray. The discussions were
heated, but civil. No one got mad, fled the room weeping, or nearly
Ms. Barnett opened by reminding the conference of the history of prejudice
against women in the sciences. Though significant gains have been made,
she pointed out that there are still "invisible walls" that hold women
back. Another speaker, Richard Haier, professor of psychology at the
University of California, Irvine, acknowledged the long history of
prejudice, then presented slides that must give pause to even the most
fervent biology denier.
Using the latest and most advanced MRI brain imaging technology, he
demonstrated that male and female brains have strikingly distinct
architectures and process information differently. Mr. Haier reminded us
that "there is so much we do not know and so much yet to discover about
brain biology and sex differences, and perhaps even career choices."
Simon Baron-Cohen, a professor at Cambridge University and one of the
world's leading experts on autism, had an intriguing hypothesis. Autism is
far more common in males than females. Those afflicted with the disorder,
including those with normal or high IQ, tend to be socially disconnected
and clueless about the emotional states of others. They often exhibit an
obsessive fixation on objects and machines.
Sound like anyone you know?
Mr. Baron-Cohen suggests that autism may be the far end of the male norm
-- the "extreme male brain," all systematizing and no empathizing. He
believes that men are, on average, wired to be better systematizers and
women to be better empathizers. He presented a wide range of correlations
between the level of fetal testosterone and behaviors in both girls and
boys from infancy into grade school to back up his belief.
Harvard cognitive psychologist Elizabeth Spelke, another speaker, noted
that Mr. Baron-Cohen's theory is not settled science. She is right, of
Yet the current configuration of the workplace fits Mr. Baron-Cohen's
theory: Women dominate in empathy-centered fields such as early childhood
education, social work and psychology, while men are over-represented in
the "systematizing" vocations such as car repair, oil drilling and
Others debated the pros and cons of research on "unconscious bias" and the
effects of stereotypes on test takers. So it went. No one present could
doubt the importance of the debate or the significance of the evidence
from both sides. The audience was captivated as experts played with the
politically incorrect notion that male and female brains may be markedly
Unfortunately, the deniers of differences between the sexes are on the
march with powerful allies. In the fall of 2006, the National Academy of
Sciences released a recklessly one-sided study, now widely referred to as
authoritative, titled "Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential
of Women in Academic Science and Engineering." According to the report,
differences in cognition between the sexes have no bearing on the dearth
of women in academic math, physics and engineering. It is all due to bias.
Case closed. The report calls on Congress to hold hearings on gender bias
in the sciences and on federal agencies to "move immediately" (emphasis in
original) to apply anti-discrimination laws such as Title IX to academic
science (but not English) departments. "The time for action is now."
No it is not. Now is the time for scholars in our universities and in the
National Academy of Sciences to defend and support principles of free and
objective inquiry. The chronically appalled must not have the last word.
Ms. Sommers is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
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