Thursday, May 26, 2005

Politically Correct Reasoning

Gay American journalist Chris Crain and his partner are savagely attacked and beaten by a group of Moroccan thugs while walking down a street in Amsterdam apparently solely for holding hands in public. So, who's to blame? The men who attacked them without provocation? Not according to a leading gay American activist. He says the real culprits are ... wait for it! ... white Dutch society. Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Program at the Human Rights Watch, attributes the attack to Dutch racism.

Long believes the attack against Crain may be as much about current tensions over immigration in Dutch society as it is about homophobia. Crain described his attackers as having "Moroccan features" and speaking with "a heavy accent." About a million people living in Holland identify as Muslims, most of them immigrants from Morocco and Turkey. Many of them view homosexuality with disdain and are, in turn, treated with disdain by the ethnic Dutch.

"There's still an extraordinary degree of racism in Dutch society," Long said. "Gays often become the victims of this when immigrants retaliate for the inequities that they have to suffer."

Apparently Mr. Long is unaware that Morocco is an Islamic nation where homsexual conduct is officially illegal and punishable by prison, or worse. In the early part of the 20th century, Morocco had a reputation for turning a blind eye toward discreet homosexual liasons - which made it a popular destination for European travellers; however, a rising tide of Islamic fundamentalism within Morocco has changed that. It is useful to remember that throughout much of the Muslim world, homosexuality is punishable by death. The Moroccans who beat Mr. Crain and his partner most likely did so because, as Muslims, they despise homosexuality and consider open displays of homosexual behavior to be simply another example of Western infidel affrontery to Islam. Recall that Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered by a Moroccan Islamist. Recall too that some Moroccans living in the Netherlands - one of the most open and tolerant societies in the world - celebrated Mr. van Gogh's murder and embraced his killed as a hero.

Writing in Reason Magazine's online blog, Cathy Young incisively analyzes Mr. Long's bizarre reaction to the Amsterdam attack, and the politically correct double standard of justice demanded by multiculturalism.

Welcome to Politically Correct World, where acts that would merit unequivocal condemnation if committed by white males are viewed in a very different light when the offenders belong to an "oppressed group."

The irony, of course, is that one of the principal reasons for the recent anti-immigrant backlash in the traditionally tolerant Netherlands is the fear that the influx of immigrants from deeply conservative Muslim cultures will threaten the country's liberal attitudes on social issues, particularly the rights of women and gays. (Pim Fortuyn, the maverick anti-immigrant Dutch politician assassinated in 2002, was openly gay.) This fear is shared by some immigrants—notably, the Somali-born politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

The tension between two pillars of the modern left—multiculturalism and progressive views on gender—is not new. It has been particularly thorny in many European countries where, in lieu of an American-style "melting pot" approach, immigrants have been traditionally encouraged to maintain their distinct values and ways. Recently, however, these tensions have started to come out into the open. According to a March article in the German magazine, Der Spiegel, the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by an Islamic extremist last November after he had made a documentary about the oppression of Muslim women "galvanized the Netherlands and sent shock waves across Europe."

The central thesis of political correctness and multiculturalism is that (white) European-descended males are the sole fountainhead of all evil in the world. If non-white peoples do terrible things, according to the PC/multiculturalist mindset, then they must have done them because of something white people did first. Hence, in Mr. Long's mind, if a group of (non-white) Moroccans beat up two gay men for no apparent reason, then it must have been because the Moroccans were badly treated by racist white-Dutch society. In this vision, the Moroccans are the real victims and Mr. Crain and his partner are reduced to mere collateral damage of white racism.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ilegals and Democrats Assail Schwarzenegger

California Governor Arnold Shwarzenegger feels the rage of leftists and immigrants for daring to call for the defense of the US-Mexico border.
Hundreds of immigrants joined by Democratic minority lawmakers called Monday for the ouster of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, saying his support of armed citizen patrols on the Mexican border was 'terrible,' 'irresponsible' and 'discriminatory.'

The so-called Minuteman Project involves hundreds of volunteers, some armed, who have been patrolling the Arizona border since April 1 to document and report incidents of illegal crossing. The group is planning its first California patrols near San Diego in August.

'Today, we're here to fight back' against what President Bush has denounced as vigilantism, said Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, D-South Gate, among a string of Southern California and San Francisco Bay Area lawmakers who addressed demonstrators outside the state capitol.
Note who the leftists cite to support their position: the pro-open borders, supposed-conservative George W. Bush.
'We're here to yell and scream and stand up to the bullying that's coming out of that building,' De La Torre said.

With next year's gubernatorial elections looming, Assemblyman Albert Torrico, D-Newark, said Schwarzenegger has 'become an embarrassment to our state.'

'Let's show him the back door to the capitol. Let's send him back to Hollywood,' Torrico said, drawing thunderous approval from a chanting crowd that waved signs like: 'Arnold said close the borders: Go home now (governor).'
Leftists, who wish to use illegal immigrants to advance their political agenda, do little else but yell and scream. But apparently they do so with the full backing of the Bush administration and the GOP leadership in Congress.
Assemblywoman Wilma Chan, D-Oakland, told the demonstrators 'this is a country of immigrants' so it's 'very surprising there's still so much discrimination.'

'We have to tell our governor we don't want vigilantes with guns standing on our borders,' Chan said. 'We want health care, we want decent education, we want care for our elderly. That's what we're fighting for today.'
Well, there it is. Ms. Chan doesn't want anyone guarding the borders. In fact. she very likely would erase the US-Mexico border if she could. Her real goal is to advance her quasi-socialist agenda to provide free healthcare, education, housing and eldercare to anyone who wants it at California's taxpayers' expense. Illegal immigrants are merely the most powerful mob she can mobilize to support her goals. And the GOP, by failing to support Governor Schwarzenegger and defend the border, is playing right into the left's hands.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

How to End Illegal Immigration - Defend the Borders

Some members of Congress, breaking with their party leaderships, have come up with a sensible proposal to end the illegal immigration crisis.
The deployment of 36,000 National Guard troops or state militia on the U.S.-Mexico border would stop the illegal flow of foreigners into America, says a congressional report that credits the Minuteman Project with proving that additional manpower could 'dramatically reduce if not virtually eliminate' illegal immigration.

The 33-page report, written by investigators for the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, said the Minutemen — who shut down a 23-mile stretch of the Arizona border last month — served as a model for a government effort to reclaim the southern border of the United States.

'The tide of illegal crossings on the borders of the United States is beyond unsatisfactory; it is catastrophic. It does not ebb and flow — it only grows. It is rising without measure and eroding the very fiber of our safety, life and culture,' the report said.

'As we wage the war on terror in foreign lands, we have all our doors and windows open at home. ... The insanity of such a policy, or silent toleration of such a policy is almost criminal in itself,' it said. 'The Minuteman Project demonstrated that illegal immigration on America's southern border can be dramatically reduced to manageable levels.'
The Congressional report heavily criticizes the current Border Patrol administration.
'The Border Patrol needs new direction from the Department of Homeland Security if it is to shake off the lethargy from years of undermanned frustration,' the report said. 'The patrol needs to empower its outstanding field officers to act as necessary to accomplish the patrol's mission ... to energize its leadership to think outside the box.'

The report said Congress and the states could sustain the success of the Minuteman Project — whose members were lightly armed, had no arrest powers, were not paid and traveled to Arizona at their own expense — with the deployment of National Guard troops or state militia working in coordination with the Border Patrol.

The report said that sufficient reinforcements exist in current National Guard units and could be put on the border by governors and the secretary of defense within one month, if the political will exists.

As an alternative to using existing powers and forces, the report said, a $2.5 billion annual initiative coordinated through the states for the issuance of Homeland Security grants could authorize and fund state militia, or state defense forces, to assist the Border Patrol.

State militia units already exist in 22 states, including Maryland and Virginia. Militia units also are located in the border states of California, New Mexico and Texas.
Imagine it, US reservists actually defending US territory instead of "bringing democracy" to a profoundly unreceptive and perennially ungrateful Islamic world. Given the events of September 11th, the Bush administration's deliberate decision to leave the US-Mexico border completely undefended and to tolerate the massive influx of illegal immigrants makes a sham out of the "war on terrorism."
The report also called on Republican Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Democratic Govs. Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Bill Richardson of New Mexico to immediately request federal funding from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for the mobilization of 36,000 National Guard troops within 30 days.

'The primary impetus to stimulate the Minuteman Project is a border out of control; not for months, not for years, not just since September 11, but for many, many years,' the report said. 'Social and legal costs and cultural cohesion far outweigh supposed economic benefit. At a time of terror threat, the cost of irresponsibly unsecured borders can be horrific.'
According to the report, the current border patrol adminstration - no doubt in league with their Bush administration overlords in Washington - has deliberately lied to conceal the success of the Minutemen Project.
The report also noted that Border Patrol supervisors said the Minutemen had little or no effect on illegal immigration, attributing apparent decreases during the vigil to increased enforcement efforts by the agency, along with the increased presence of Mexican military and police south of the border.

'However, nearly every individual Border Patrol officer who spoke off-the-record in the field to the Caucus team said that illegal immigration virtually stopped in the sector patrolled by the Minutemen as a direct result of Minutemen activity and publicity,' the report said.

'The individual officers were highly appreciative of the impact the Minutemen made in the area, had good working relations with the project unofficially and felt the project had made a valuable contribution to the cause of the rank-and-file officer — protecting the border against impossible logistical challenges,' it said.

Despite contrary claims by the supervisors, the report said, illegal immigration dropped significantly in the areas east and west of Naco, Ariz., targeted by the Minutemen. It said the decline 'put to rest the historic immigration reform myth that it is impossible to stop illegal immigrants from crossing the border with any reasonable amount of additional manpower.'

'The Minuteman Project demonstrated that illegal immigration on America's southern border can be dramatically reduced to manageable levels,' the report said. 'What is missing is not the means to control; it is the will. With a will, there is a way.'
Recall that President Bush denounced the Minutemen as "vigilantes."

Of course, the plan makes too much sense to make any headway in the current Congress, burdened as it is with such weighty issues as steriod abuse among professional athletes and spending the national treasury into absolute bankruptcy.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Falling Standards = Worthless Diplomas

Arizona becomes the latest state in which educators have opted to boost high school graduation rates by lowering standards. Under new standards issued by the state's education department, students scoring 59% in reading and 60% in mathematics on the states AIMS tests, will have passed those portions of the test and will receive a diploma.
This year's junior class is the first that must pass the reading, writing and math high school AIMS test to get a diploma. They got a considerable break Thursday after state officials reviewed their spring test results and then officially lowered the score needed to pass the exit exam, whose full name is Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards.

With the help of the new, lowered passing scores, and after taking a third crack at the high school AIMS test, an estimated 61 percent of the Class of 2006 passed. That's up from the 43 percent passing rate for the fall 2004 tests.

On Thursday, after two days of deliberations and on the advice of a teacher committee and testing experts, the Arizona State Board of Education reduced the passing score for math to 60 percent correct from 71 percent. It also reduced the passing score for reading to 59 percent correct from 72 percent.
So, let's parse this, shall we? Arizona students took this statewide test with one set of reasonable standards in place. But when the state education department saw the graded exam results, the percentage of students actually passing the exams was so low the officials hastily lowered the standards so that more students would pass and that the education department could bury the truth about how lousy a job Arizona public schools are doing. This is what American public schools call, sarcastically no doubt, education. This is what the taxpayers of Arizona are forced to pay for every year - a system that wouldn't survive ten minutes in the marketplace.

But, wait ... it gets worse:
State officials made the test easier, better matching the questions to what students are learning in the classroom.

Districts scrambled to add teacher training, special courses dedicated to getting students to pass the test, and free tutoring.

Now, the Legislature wants to help, too. It was close Thursday night to passing a bill that would raise the AIMS scores of kids who pass core high school classes with A's, B's or C's.
If this weren't so tragic, it would make for great comedy. First, the educators admit that they dumbed down the AIMS test to begin with, and then spend untold millions on "teacher training," "special courses" and "tutoring" for students taking the exam. All this with the end result that the percentage of student passing the test was still so ridiculously low that they had to then lower the definition of passing to get a politically acceptable result.
Most Arizona State Board of Education members said lowering the scores would look as if they were lowering the bar and backing off high standards for high school graduates, but still they voted 9-1 to do it.
Translation: the percentage of students who passed under the initial standards was so embarrassingly low, that it was actually better to be seen as "lowering the bar" than reveal the actual results. What does that tell you about Arizona's public schools?

Comments made by various board members provide a fascinating insight into the mindset of those running the nation's public schools, and solid clues as to why those public schools have become such sewers.
State Board President Matthew Diethelm has been a strong supporter of using AIMS as an exit exam, but in the end couldn't imagine keeping nearly half the Class of 2006 from getting a diploma.

Diethelm said he was frustrated that state education officials hadn't done enough to help students at the very bottom of the heap.

"This is the fair and correct thing to do no matter what the perception of those who haven't been involved in the process," Diethelm said.
Yes, of course. Especially since those not involved in the "process" might conclude that the board has made a mess of Arizona's public schools and is reduced to lowering standards to cover up the extent of that mess. It certainly is fair and correct to pass students who haven't earned that passing grade, so that they can go out into the real world functionally illiterate and unable to perform basic mathematics. That's the fair thing to do to those students ... and to American society. Much fairer than to deny them a diploma until they had actually learned the material required to receive the diploma. Yes, in the mind of people like Mr. Diethelm, that's what constitutes fairness.
Jesse Ary, the only African-American and minority on the 11-member board, said more than just lowering the passing score needs to be done for students unable to pass the test.

Ary said the test needs to be carefully examined for cultural bias and that state must spend more time and money on its poorest students.

"The best ways to elevate the best of our students is to find ways to elevate the least of our students," Ary said.
Cultural bias ... well, you knew it would raise its head somewhere in all this. If minority students do badly on an exam - and from Ms. Ary's comments you can guess that the percentage of minority students passing the exam was so horribly low that the board's strong sense of political correctness compelled them to do absolutely anything other than announce the truth - then it must be because the exam is "biased." Unless, the minority students happen to be Asian, in which case the exam "bias" doesn't seem to affect them. But such discussions are not permitted.

It goes without question that the entire membership of the board should be dismissed by the Governor or state legislature and the initial higher standards be restored - no matter how few students graduate. It also goes without question that nothing of the sort will happen. The Governor doesn't want to soil her hands with this mess, and the Arizona legislature is every bit as frightened of releasuing the true exam results as was the board itself. No, the students and taxpayers of Arizona can expect niether common sense, foresight or honesty from their government, and they certainly can't expect the public schools to educate their children.