Sunday, December 30, 2012

Venezuelan Strongman Hugo Chavez's Health Declines - VP Rushes to Cuba

CARACAS, Venezuela — Hugo Chavez has suffered “new complications” following his cancer surgery in Cuba, his vice president said Sunday, describing the Venezuelan leader’s condition as delicate.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro did not give details about the complications, which he said came amid a respiratory infection. Maduro spoke in a televised address from Cuba.

Maduro had arrived in Havana on Saturday in a sudden and unexpected trip to visit Chavez. He said Sunday that he had met with Chavez and he “referred to these complications.”
Read the rest here.

Early flu season could be severe, experts warn

Flu season in the United States is having its earliest start in nearly a decade and health officials say this season could be a bad one.

Although flu is always unpredictable, the early nature of the cases and the predominant type circulating this year could make this a severe flu season, said officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Read the rest here.

Based on five days of personal experience I concur.

On the road again

Tomorrow I am leaving for California. If all goes according to plan (not holding my breath) I should have internet hooked up at the new house sometime on Thursday. I have no idea how much blogging will occur between now and then given that I STILL HAVE THE BLOODY FLU(!) and am therefor not likely to be heading out to wifi friendly locals too much.

On a final note I wish to offer my most sincere apologies to the unfortunate strangers who do not yet realize they are to be my seat mates on the flying aluminum tube for five hours tomorrow. For what you are about to endure please forgive me.

Attack on Coptic church building in Libya kills two

TRIPOLI, Libya --  A bombing on Sunday at a building belonging to a Coptic church in western Libya killed two Egyptian men and wounded two others, a military spokesman said.

Attackers threw a homemade bomb at an administration building belonging to the Egyptian Coptic church in Dafniya, close to the western city of Misrata, said Ibrahim Rajab of the Misrata military council.

The Egyptian consul in the city, Tareq Dahrouj, said he visited the church and the building where the two church workers were killed early on Sunday
Read the rest here.

Muslim Brotherhood calls on Egyptian Jews to come home

A high-ranking Muslim Brotherhood official called on Jews who immigrated to the Jewish state from Egypt to return to their native country and leave Israel to the Palestinians, Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on Friday.

Senior Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood official Essam el-Erian said in an interview to television station Dream TV that every Egyptian has the right to live in Egypt, and Egyptian Jews living in Israel were contributing to the occupation of Arab lands, according to the newspaper.
Read the rest here.

My still slightly feverish brain reels.

For the Record

Her Majesty The Queen has conferred a life peerage on Dr. Rowan Williams who retired today as the head of the Anglican Communion. If this is to honor his decision to step down I might find some merit in the honour. If however it is intended to commemorate his tenure, I am more than a little dubious.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Evidence In A Very Cold Case

(Reuters) - The Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses III, whose death has puzzled historians for centuries, had his throat slit in a succession plot concocted by his wife and son, a new analysis suggests.

New CT scans have revealed a deep and wide cut that was hidden by the bandages covering the throat of the mummified king, which could not be removed in the interests of preservation, researchers said on Tuesday.

"Finally, with this study, we have solved an important mystery in the history of ancient Egypt," said Albert Zink, a paleopathologist at the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Italy, which led the investigations.
Read the rest here.

Optimism Rises On 11th Hour Fiscal Cliff Deal

President Obama and Senate leaders were on the verge of an agreement Friday that would let taxes rise on the wealthiest households while protecting the vast majority of Americans from historic tax hikes set to hit in January.

The development marked a breakthrough after weeks of paralysis. After meeting with Obama at the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said they would work through the weekend in hopes of drafting a “fiscal cliff” package they could present to their colleagues on Sunday afternoon.
Read the rest here.

Let's all play another round of kick the can!

Congress again broadens the power to spy

WASHINGTON — Congress gave final approval on Friday to a bill extending the government’s power to intercept electronic communications of spy and terrorism suspects, after the Senate voted down proposals from several Democrats and Republicans to increase protections of civil liberties and privacy.

The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 73 to 23, clearing it for approval by President Obama, who strongly supports it. Intelligence agencies said the bill was their highest legislative priority.

Critics of the bill, including Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon, a Democrat, and Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican, expressed concern that electronic surveillance, though directed at noncitizens, inevitably swept up communications of Americans as well.

“The Fourth Amendment was written in a different time and a different age, but its necessity and its truth are timeless,” Mr. Paul said, referring to the constitutional ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. “Over the past few decades, our right to privacy has been eroded. We have become lazy and haphazard in our vigilance. Digital records seem to get less protection than paper records.”
Read the rest here.

My Trip to New York Is Now Complete

I have been rained, sleeted, iced and snowed on. I have been in sub-zero wind chill. And now I have the flu.

California here I come.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

'Militant Islam' Greatest Threat to Middle Eastern Christianity

A British think tank has released a lengthy report claiming that militant Islam is the greatest existential threat to Middle Eastern Christianity, bringing Christian communities in the region "close to extinction."

The London-based Civitas, also known as the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, published the report in December. "Christianity is in serious danger of being wiped out in its biblical heartlands because of Islamic oppression," reads a statement from the group issued Sunday.

"But Western politicians and media largely ignore the widespread persecution of Christians in the Middle East and the wider world because they are afraid they will be accused of racism."

Titled "Christianophobia" and written by reporter and Religion Editor for The Times Literary Supplement Rupert Shortt, the report details the persecution of Christians in Burma, China, Egypt, India, Iraq, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
Read the rest here.

Britain: Defying law thousands ride to the hounds

Despite heavy rainfall the number of people attending some local hunts rose by a fifth after a cabinet minister admitted that David Cameron cannot repeal Labour's ban on foxhunting.

Tim Bonner, campaigns director for the Countryside Alliance, said people wanted to send a "direct message" to the Prime Minister that the law needs to be repealed.

However the League Against Cruel Sports said hunting is a "sickening blood sport" and that the majority of people do not want the ban lifted.

The animal rights campaigners yesterday employed former police officers and professional investigators to monitor fox hunts across the country.

Earlier this month Mr Cameron's local hunt, the Heythrop Hunt in Oxfordshire, was prosecuted by the RSPCA.
Read the rest here.

Let it snow let it snow

Hunkered down for the storm. Looks like we are going to get around a foot of the white stuff. I have to go home every few years in the dead of winter to remind myself that there are some (not many) advantages to living in California.

U.S. will hit debt limit on Dec. 31, Treasury Department says

The U.S. government will hit the $16.4 trillion federal debt limit on Monday and turn to “extraordinary measures” to continue borrowing, the Treasury Department said Wednesday, beginning a countdown until Congress either passes legislation to allow for more borrowing or the government defaults on its debt.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said in a letter to senior lawmakers that the Treasury would begin to undertake “extraordinary measures” in order to forestall default. Geithner said the measures could create about $200 billion in additional funding available to the government – giving Congress two months before it must raise the debt limit.
Read the rest here.

Former President George Bush (41) Is Seriously Ill

Former president George H.W. Bush spent Christmas in a Houston hospital with a rising fever, his office confirms.

Spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement Wednesday evening that doctors have put Bush in the intensive care unit and on a liquid diet.

“Following a series of setbacks including a persistent fever, President Bush was admitted to the intensive care unit at Methodist Hospital on Sunday where he remains in guarded condition,” McGrath said. “Doctors at Methodist continue to be cautiously optimistic about the current course of treatment. The President is alert and conversing with medical staff, and is surrounded by family.”

The 88-year-old has been in and out of Methodist Hospital since early November, battling a severe cough. In recent days, he has been undergoing physical therapy to rebuild his strength. Doctors expected he would be able to go home for Christmas, but Bush developed a fever that has left him weak.
Read the rest here.

Rumors fly on fate of QE2

No, not more money printing. There are rumors that the famed ocean liner has been sold to a Chinese scrap yard.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

A blessed Nativity to everyone! No blogging for a couple of days.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The truth is that politicians are lying to us

Was 2012 the year when the democratic world lost its grip on reality? Must we assume now that no party that speaks the truth about the economic future has a chance of winning power in a national election? With the results of presidential contests in the United States and France as evidence, this would seem to be the only possible conclusion. Any political leader prepared to deceive the electorate into believing that government spending, and the vast system of services that it provides, can go on as before – or that they will be able to resume as soon as this momentary emergency is over – was propelled into office virtually by acclamation.

So universal has this rule turned out to be that parties and leaders who know better – whose economic literacy is beyond question – are now afraid even to hint at the fact which must eventually be faced. The promises that governments are making to their electorates are not just misleading: they are unforgivably dishonest. It will not be possible to go on as we are, or to return to the expectations that we once had. The immediate emergency created by the crash of 2008 was not some temporary blip in the infinitely expanding growth of the beneficent state. It was, in fact, almost irrelevant to the larger truth which it happened, by coincidence, to bring into view. Government on the scale established in most modern western countries is simply unaffordable. In Britain, the disagreement between Labour and the Conservatives over how to reduce the deficit (cut spending or increase borrowing?) is ridiculously insignificant and out of touch with the actual proportions of the problem. In the UK, the US, and (above all) the countries of the EU, democratic politics is being conducted on false premises.
Read the rest here.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Math Lesson

* U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
* Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000
* New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
* National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
* Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000
Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:
* Annual family income: $21,700
* Money the family spent: $38,200
* New debt on the credit card: $16,500
* Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
* Total budget cuts so far: $38.50

From here.

On Major Issues Washington Is Paralyzed

WASHINGTON — If Friday’s memorial service for one of this country’s long-serving senators was a somber recollection of a bipartisan era that once was, the rest of the day was a frenetic reminder of the political gridlock that now grips the capital.

At the National Cathedral, the nation’s political leaders eulogized Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, who died this week at 88 after more than 50 years in Congress. President Obama said he learned from Mr. Inouye “how our democracy is supposed to work.”

Across town, democracy was, at best, showing its gritty side as it ground along angrily, noisily and slowly: A weary Speaker John A. Boehner admitted failure in his efforts to avert a fiscal crisis with a bill to increase taxes on millionaires but asserted that his job was not at risk; a top National Rifle Association official bluntly challenged Congress to embrace guns at schools, not control them; and Mr. Obama bowed to the reality that Republicans had blocked his first choice to be the next secretary of state.
Read the rest here.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Future looks bleak for Egypt’s Coptic Christians

Now, after the election of Egypt’s new Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, the Copts are terrified about their fate in Egypt. Since the Maspero attack, not one member of the Egyptian armed services has been convicted. In fact, the Egyptian panel responsible for leading the investigations closed the case because of a supposed “lack of identification of the culprits.” Even a simple YouTube search reveals how Egyptian army personnel carriers rammed into crowds of unarmed protesters during the demonstrations. Friends and relatives of the Maspero victims have vowed to continue fighting for justice and even considered taking the case to international courts.

Coptic Christians in Egypt have long suffered discrimination and violence. During a 2011 New Year's Eve service at a Coptic church in Alexandria, for instance, a bomb explosion killed more than 20 and injured 70. The brutal attacks in Alexandria and in Cairo’s Maspero section occurred shortly before the fall of the Mubarak regime and during the subsequent interim military government.

Bishop Angaelos, general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, succinctly described the plight of the Copts in Egypt, especially after the Arab Spring: “I think the problem is ever since the [Arab] uprising, there is still no accountability. We’ve had churches bulldozed, we’ve had churches burnt down, we’ve had Christians killed, we’ve had villages torched, and it’s almost the same as it was before. No one’s been brought to justice, no convictions, and so therefore, no justice at all.” The impunity with which the attacks against Coptic Christians were carried out is striking and deeply troubling.
Read the rest here.

Amidst Protests NRA Defends Guns

In his first extensive public remarks since last week’s mass shooting at a Connecticut school, the head of the National Rifle Association called Friday for lawmakers to take action to put police officers in all schools in an effort to curb such violence.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said at a news conference in Washington.

LaPierre called on Congress “to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school in this nation.”

The NRA’s posture could set off a national debate over two starkly different views about curbing gun violence. On one side stand those like LaPierre, who believe that arming more citizens is the answer; on the other, gun-control advocates pressing for tighter restrictions on firearms.
Read the rest here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

'Plan B' collapses and GOP goes home on vacation

The House called off a vote Thursday evening on House Speaker John A. Boehner’s plan to extend tax cuts on income up to $1 million — known as Plan B — because he could not muster enough votes from fellow Republicans to pass the measure.

“Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff,” a statement from Boehner’s office said. “The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the January 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation’s crippling debt. The Senate must now act.”

The move leaves unclear the next step in the negotiations over the fiscal cliff set to hit the country’s economy on the first of the new year. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the House has adjourned until after Christmas.
Read the rest here.

UBS Admits To Criminal Fraud

UBS, the Swiss bank, scrambled until the last minute to avoid that fate. A week ago, in a bid for leniency over interest-rate manipulation, the bank’s chairman traveled to Washington to plead his case to the Justice Department, according to people briefed on the matter. Knowing the long odds, the chairman, Axel Weber, asked the criminal division for a lighter punishment.

But the government did not budge. With support from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., the agency’s criminal division decided the bank’s actions were simply too egregious, people briefed on the matter said.

On Wednesday, UBS announced it would plead guilty to one count of felony wire fraud as part of a broader settlement. With federal prosecutors, British, Swiss and American regulators secured about $1.5 billion in fines, more than triple the only other rate-rigging case, against Barclays. The Justice Department also filed criminal charges against two former UBS traders.
Read the rest here.

So in two decades this is the first instance where a major bank has been held to account for blatant criminal conduct. I don't know whether to scream or applaud.

Banks are the enemy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Obama calls for new gun restrictions

President Obama on Monday began the first serious push of his administration to attempt to reduce gun violence, directing Cabinet members to formulate a set of proposals that could include reinstating a ban on assault rifles.

The effort will be led by Vice President Biden, according to two people outside the government who have spoken to senior administration officials since Friday, when a gunman killed his mother and rampaged through Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., killing 20 children, six adults and himself.
Read the rest here.

No one should be able to legally buy a gun without undergoing a criminal background check. To the extent that this is not the case, it needs to be fixed. Beyond that I seriously doubt the efficacy of any proposed laws.

Obama and GOP inch towards a deal

House Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday that he will introduce legislation — opposed by Democrats— to raise taxes only on households earning $1 million or more, as a backup plan for avoiding the “fiscal cliff” if his attempts to forge a broader spending agreement with the White House fail.

Negotiations between Boehner and President Obama have made significant progress in recent days, with Boehner agreeing to the idea of raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, and Obama saying he could accept tax increases for households earning $400,000 or more per year. That threshold is a concession from the president’s campaign pledge to raise rates on those earning at least $250,000, but it remains unacceptable to many Republicans.
Read the rest here.

Let's all play another round of kick the can!

The Compromise

From the right coast

Well I made it to New York after one of the most unpleasant trips I've ever taken. I will be spending the day recovering, digging out the email and catching up on news and blogging.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Obama: I’ve got ‘bigger fish to fry’ than pot smokers

In an interview with ABC News, President Obama told Barbara Walters that recreational pot smoking in states that have legalized the drug is not a major concern for his administration.

“We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Obama said of marijuana smokers in Colorado and Washington, the two states where recreational use is now legal.

“It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal,” he said.
Read the rest here.

Memory Eternal

The English language contains no words capable of conveying the horror attendant upon the deliberate massacre of small children. May God save us and have mercy on all those affected by this barbarous crime.

Blog Note

Today will probably be the last day for blogging until early next week as I will be traveling on Sunday-Monday.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BIS Warns of Bond Market Bubble

The Bank of International Settlements was one of the few global financial institutions to correctly warn of the 2008 credit bubble that brought us the Great Recession. Now the Switzerland-based BIS is warning that another bubble has formed in the bond market, the largest liquidity pool on the planet.

With the interest paid on bonds at the lowest levels for 30 years this is self evident. Bonds are valued most when their yields are lowest. When yields rise bond prices fall. Are we about to reach such a tipping point?
Read the rest here.

US 7th Court of Appeals Recognizes Broad Gun Rights

Going further than the Supreme Court has explicitly gone, a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled Tuesday that the Second Amendment protects a broad public right to carry a ready-to-use gun in public, for self-defense.  The Seventh Circuit Court’s ruling in Moore v. Madigan (Circuit docket 12-1269) found that right in what it considered to be indications in prior Supreme Court rulings on the amendment’s breadth.  The decision struck down an Illinois law that the court called “the most restrictive gun law of any of the 50 states.”

In an unusual gesture, however, the Circuit Court postponed putting its decision into effect for 180 days, to give the Illinois legislature a chance to “craft a new gun law that will impose reasonable limitations” on publicly carrying a gun, so long as new restrictions do not violate the newly declared right.   The case could be headed to the Supreme Court, since the ruling appears to conflict with a recent decision by the Second Circuit Court in New York City.
Read the rest here.

On this day in 1929

In 1929, the Empire State Building was a long way from completion when an announcement was made on this day. The building's sponsors unveiled their plans to top the skyscraper with a mooring tower, because it seemed likely that there would be regular worldwide zeppelin service in the near future. One zeppelin did actually tie up briefly, but the tower's major effect was that it gave the building a good deal more height - and another observation deck.

The point of this is that the next time you are opining on the certainty of what lies in the future just take a look at that pointy needle on top of the Empire State Building, and ask yourself where all the zeppelins went.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Our Take on the Gay Marriage Cases Going to the SCOTUS

Old news... the Supreme Court is going to decide on the constitutionality of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and Prop 8 from California. For what it's worth here is my take on the two distinct cases based purely on the law.

DOMA should be struck down. The Feds have no authority to define marriage. That one isn't even a close call.

Prop 8 should probably be upheld (reversing the decision of the 9th Circuit). Whatever one may think of gay marriage the Constitution is silent on the subject. It is NOT a fundamental right. That leaves it as a states rights issue. California voted and it's not the place of the courts to act as a super legislature.

Holiday Travel

I am leaving on Sunday for the right coast to spend Christmas with the family for the first time in years. The computer will be coming along and I expect to blog periodically while home. And with a little bit of luck Santa will leave me an internet hookup for when I get back. For the next week or so blogging and email will continue to be on a when I get a chance basis.

I wish everyone a blessed Nativity Fast.

Dems are bent over Michigan's "right to work" law

Michigan's congressional delegation met Monday with Gov. Rick Snyder, asking him to veto or at least delay a vote on a "right to work" law moving through the state's legislature.

Democrats and organized labor groups have launched an all-out blitz they are hoping might halt legislation that would establish workers' rights to employment in a workplace without having to join a union. The Republican-held state legislature passed versions of the legislation last week, and are set to bring it up for final consideration as soon as Tuesday.
Read the rest here.

HSBC Pays $1.9 Billion For Money Laundering

Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc will pay at least $1.9 billion to settle U.S. probes of money laundering allegations involving Europe’s largest bank, a person familiar with the matter said, making it the largest such accord ever.

The bank, whose top executives were accused of lax oversight by a U.S. Senate subcommittee in July, has been the target of investigations run by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Controls, the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Manhattan District Attorney.
Read the rest here.

Banks are the enemy.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Happy 21st Amendment Day

The best blog post of the day may be read here.

Syria: US expresses alarm over chemical weapons

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Thursday that intelligence about Syrian chemical weapons "raises serious concerns" that the regime of Bashar Assad may use them against the country's own citizens.

"The whole world is watching, the whole world is watching very closely," Panetta said. "And the president of the United States has made it very clear, there will be consequences — there will be consequences if the Assad regime makes the terrible mistake by using these chemical weapons on their own people."

His comments came a day after U.S. officials told NBC News that the Syrian military had loaded the precursor chemicals for sarin, a deadly nerve gas, into aerial bombs that could be dropped from dozens of fighter-bombers. The defense chief, who was speaking at a news conference at the Department of Veterans Affairs, would not elaborate on what the potential consequences would be.
Read the rest here.

Again not our business. But if Assad does go down that road he should certainly be treated as a war criminal under international law.

Egypt: Tanks are called up against protestors

CAIRO — The Egyptian military’s elite Republican Guard deployed tanks and barbed-wire barricades around the presidential palace to restore order Thursday after violent clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi rocked his fledgling government.

Thousands of Morsi supporters from the powerful Muslim Brotherhood organization heeded the Guard’s mid-afternoon deadline to withdraw from the area, but scores of opponents — kept at a distance by the barricades — continued to demonstrate across the street from the palace, chanting slogans against the Islamist president.
Read the rest here.

Rooting for the protestors... but from the sidelines. It's not our fight.

A Neo-Conservative Icon Leaves The Senate

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a leading conservative voice in the Senate, will resign his seat in January to become the next president of the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, a sudden move with far-reaching implications.

“It’s been an honor to serve the people of South Carolina in the United States Senate for the past eight years, but now it’s time for me to pass the torch to someone else and take on a new role in the fight for America’s future,” DeMint said in a statement Thursday morning.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Patriarch Ignatius IV Suffers Stroke (Memory Eternal)

Word that the Patriarch of Antioch is in critical condition after suffering what looks like a massive stroke. Prayers please...

Update: Patriarch Ignatius IV has reposed. May his memory be eternal.

Obama: Higher taxes on wealthy are nonnegtiable

President Obama flatly rejected on Tuesday a Republican proposal to avoid an end-of-the-year fiscal crisis through spending cuts and limiting tax deductions, insisting that he would agree to no deal that did not include an increase in marginal tax rates on the wealthy.
Read the rest here.

Poll: GOP is taking the blame in Fiscal Cliff fight

A majority of Americans say that if the country goes over the fiscal cliff on Dec. 31, congressional Republicans should bear the brunt of the blame, according to a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll, the latest sign that the GOP faces a perilous path on the issue between now and the end of the year.
Read the rest here.

Many Years

...To the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who are expecting their first addition to the family. As there is strong support in Parliament to amend the law making royal succession based on pure primogeniture (gender neutral), the baby would be in direct line of succession to the throne after William, even if it's a girl.

Move Update

OK the move is complete. The TV was hooked up yesterday as promised. And sooo predictably the internet was not. They now are saying it will be two weeks before they can come and complete that. In the meantime I am stuck with Starbucks and the public library. The library is free but I will admit that the large hot chocolate that I am cheating on the fast with really hit the spot.

The bottom line is that blogging will be sporadic and responses to email will also occur on a when I can get to it basis for a while.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

The Liberal Campaign Against Freedom of Speech on College Campuses

In 2007, Keith John Sampson, a middle-aged student working his way through Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis as a janitor, was declared guilty of racial harassment. Without granting Sampson a hearing, the university administration — acting as prosecutor, judge and jury — convicted him of “openly reading [a] book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject.”

“Openly.” “Related to.” Good grief.

The book, “Notre Dame vs. the Klan,” celebrated the 1924 defeat of the Ku Klux Klan in a fight with Notre Dame students. But some of Sampson’s co-workers disliked the book’s cover, which featured a black-and-white photograph of a Klan rally. Someone was offended, therefore someone else must be guilty of harassment.

This non sequitur reflects the right never to be annoyed, a new campus entitlement. Legions of administrators, who now outnumber full-time faculty, are kept busy making students mind their manners, with good manners understood as conformity to liberal politics.
Read the rest here