A Stiff Sentence

Recall that Jean-Claude Arnault was convicted in a Swedish court for rape in a case that also so implicated the Nobel Prize facility that it chose not to award a Literature prize that year.  For the crime, Arnault was sentenced to jail for an interminable two years.

Now a Swedish court has convicted Arnault of a second rape.  It sentenced him, for that crime, to an additional…six months.

Sweden surely takes a dim view of rape.

Sure.

Rewarding Thuggery

Recall the rioting, looting, and graffiti-spraying—on l’Arc de Triomphe, yet—in France over the Macron government’s decision to raise fuel taxes and utility rates.  Now the government has abjectly surrendered to the rioters: it will not implement the new tax and utility rates at all (Deutsche Welle has reported that the tax is suspended for six months rather than canceled altogether).

PC Police-ism

In re the matter of Professor Richard Ned Lebow, of King’s College London, and Professor Simona Sharoni, of Merrimack College and a member of the International Studies Association, the ISA’s Executive Committee has spoken.

I demur from the ISA’s politically correct (if ever there were an oxymoron, here is one) position, in particular their Item 7.

7) … Although you explained that your comment was intended as a joking reference to an old, cultural trope, your email was not apologetic and PRR (and eventually ExComm) found that it was marginalizing and trivializing Prof. Sharoni’s reaction to your comment and that it was an attempt to intimidate her….

A Judge’s Ruling on Female Genital Mutilation

Charges related to female genital mutilation were dismissed last week against Detroit doctor Jumana Nagarwala, who has a history of performing such “surgeries.”  Federal District Judge Bernard Friedman, of the Eastern District of Michigan, ruled that Congress had overstepped its authority in passing a law banning this FGM.

Sadly, the judge was right.  That law, passed in 1996, was done under our Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce (along with trade with foreign nations and with the Indian Tribes).

However, Friedman wrote,

A Necessary Start

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is on the verge of issuing actual rules (not “guidance” letters) directing the way in which colleges and universities must handle accusations of sexual assault.  These rules will include

  • the right of every survivor to be taken seriously and the right of every person accused to know that guilt is not predetermined
  • both the alleged victim and the accused would be able to inspect and review all evidence
  • All Title IX hearings would include cross-examination, which could occur in-person or by live stream, with campus adjudicators allowed to observe the demeanor of witnesses as they assess credibility

Bullying

You can’t wear the clothes you can afford to buy, that are good quality, and that look nice without being ostentatious (you can’t wear your ostentatious rags, either, come to that).  That’s bullying, don’t you know.

That’s the attitude of the Church of England’s Woodchurch High School in northwestern England (it’s across the Mersey from Liverpool—yes, that Mersey).  They’re pretending to “poverty proof” their school, so they sent a letter to their students’ significant overseers (the institution actually refered to “parents/carers”:

As you are all aware from an email that was sent out yesterday, pupils will not be permitted to bring in Canadian (sic) Goose and Monclair (sic) coats after the Christmas break.

Schism?

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops met last week to consider, among other things, two important mutual accountability proposals that would begin to address the Catholic Church’s history of child molestation by members of the Catholic priesthood—some of whom have gone on to rise in the ranks of Church hierarchy.  The proposals also were simple enough: one simply applied a zero-tolerance policy for sex abuse, and the other would have created an independent review board to investigate claims against bishops and refer credible cases directly to the Vatican.  (I’ll elide the latter’s being a matter of having the weasel rule on alleged violations of the hen house.)

CNN Strikes Again

That’s fairly literal, this time.  CNN‘s “star” reporter on the White House beat, Jim Acosta, struck a White House intern who was trying to do her job.  Since then, CNN has denied—and it’s actually serious about it—that the strike ever occurred.

“She [White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders] provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened,” CNN said.

Race and College Admission

During final arguments in the civil suit against Harvard over its use of race in its admission decisions, Harvard’s lawyers insisted that

plaintiffs had to prove admissions officers were motivated by racial animus….

This is a disingenuous argument, though. Racial animus isn’t necessary to get a disparate impact ruling.  With disparate impact established in the courts, for the time being, it’s clear that racial animus doesn’t have to be proved in Harvard’s bias case, either.

The Harvard lawyers weren’t through, though.

Harvard’s lawyers said race is only used as a preference among the most competitive applicants, in the same way exceptional musical talent can make a difference in admissions.

“Sick and Tired”

That’s what ex-Vice President Joe Biden (D) said about the Trump administration last Tuesday.

Three times this past week the forces of hate have terrorized our fellow Americans for their political beliefs, the color of their skin or their religion[.]

Forces of hate have always been with us, and they always will be—there’s evil in the world, and we’re humans, not angels.  But those forces have been spun up especially hard by the hateful, divisive rhetoric of the last couple of years, rhetoric that is an especially virulent rhetoric of the divisive rhetoric of the preceding eight years: cops act stupidly and are racist, Americans are nothing but bitter Bible-clingers and gun-toters living in flyover country, Americans are irredeemably deplorable racists and misogynists.