I loved reading the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books to my daughter.
The somewhat Aesopian theme is that if you give the mouse what it wants – a cookie – it will just want more: a glass of milk, a straw, etc.
The story came to mind last week, a week that began with many vowing to inter the Confederate flag and that ended with the Supreme Court mandating that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. As far as culture-war victories go, the flag news was big, but the marriage ruling was tantamount to VE Day.
It might be too much to think that progressive activists and intellectuals would demobilize after such a “Mission Accomplished” moment. But a reasonable person might expect social-justice warriors to at least take the weekend off to celebrate.
But no. Even when the cookie is this big, the mice want something more. The call went out that there were new citadels to conquer. Within hours of the decision, Politico ran a call to arms titled “It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy: Why Group Marriage Is the Next Horizon of Social Liberalism.” On Sunday, Time magazine had Mark Oppenheimer’s “Now’s the Time to End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions.”
I very much doubt we’ll get a constitutional right for teams of people to get “married,” but I have every confidence the drumbeat will grow louder. Social justice – forever ill-defined so as to maximize the power of its champions – has become not just an industry but also a permanent psychological orientation among journalists, lawyers, educators, and other members of the new class of eternal reformers.
By no means are social-justice warriors always wrong. But they are untrustworthy, because they aren’t driven by a philosophy so much as an insatiable appetite that cannot take yes for an answer. No cookie will ever satisfy them. Our politics will only get uglier, as those who resist this agenda realize that compromise is just another word for appeasement.
Author Archives: Heidi
A Utah man who claimed to be the victim of several dreadful anti-gay hate crimes could face criminal charges after confessing that he staged the attacks himself.
Several weeks ago, 21-year-old Rick Jones from the small town of Delta grabbed national headlines after he said he was assaulted and had “Die Fag” carved into his arm last April while closing up his family’s pizzeria. Following that attack, Jones claimed his home was spray-painted and that somebody threw a Molotov cocktail through his bedroom window. Jones told the local media that he believed he was being targeted due to his homosexuality, and other media outlets quickly picked up the refrain.
In response to these attacks, Jones’ family started a GoFundMe campaign in mid-June that collected nearly $12,000.
But now, police say inconsistencies in the evidence have led them to conclude the person behind these “attacks” was Jones himself. His attorneys say Jones has confessed and asked for the hate crime investigation to be terminated.
Paul Burke, an attorney for Jones, told Gay Salt Lake that his client’s actions were “a cry for help” that grew beyond his control.
“This was a 911 call that was misdirected, but real,” he said.
The Jones’ GoFundMe has been updated to announce that all donations will be returned.
Here’s something you see all too rarely — not because the government’s civil asset forfeiture programs aren’t routinely abused — but because it’s a good way to spend lots of money fighting a losing battle.
Vu Do, owner of two nail salons in New York City, is trying to retrieve nearly $44,000 — his life savings which he had put together over twenty years — taken from him by the DEA at the JFK airport. The complaint points out that Do has run two legitimate businesses in NYC for several years, and not once has he been arrested or even charged for violations of controlled substances laws.
Nevertheless, the DEA took all of Do’s money under the assumption that he’s involved in the drug business, despite being more than willing to let him go without even a citation. Do had planned to take his money to California to help his financially-struggling siblings out, but ran into the DEA first.
Then there’s this:
The Plaintiff did not know that it was a violation of Federal regulations to carry cash in excess of $5,000 at the time of the seizure.
There’s a good reason for not knowing this. There is no federal regulation prohibiting citizens from walking around (or boarding planes) with any amount of cash. Asset forfeiture laws make this practice unwise, but nothing in federal law says Do was forbidden from boarding a plane with his $44,000.
There are reporting requirements for any amount over $10,000 in cash traveling in or out of the country, but nothing says travelers can’t go from state-to-state with their own money. They don’t even have to report it. They will, obviously, experience more scrutiny from the TSA, but it’s not illegal to do what this salon owner did.
A federal judge has just ordered the government to return $167,000 it took from a man passing through Nevada on his way to visit his girlfriend in California. The officers really wanted that money, too. They used two consecutive stops to jerry-rig some probable cause… even though at that point they thought they were only dealing with $2000. From the original stop forward, the entire situation was deplorable, indisputably showing that everyone involved was more interested in taking (and keeping) a bunch of cash than enforcing laws or pursuing justice.
The order is a jaw-dropping read. It begins with the flimsiest of “reasonable suspicion” and heads downhill after that. Straughn Gorman was driving across Nevada in his RV when he was pulled over for a “left-lane violation” — driving too slow in the passing lane. (This itself isn’t actually a moving violation, but the Supreme Court’s Heien decision has ensured that law enforcement needn’t be slowed by actual knowledge of the laws they’re supposed to be enforcing.)
This lead to some questioning, because reasons:
Upon request, Gorman produced his license and registration and told Monroe that he was traveling to Sacramento, California to visit “his chick.” Id. at 60:9-61:5. Gorman told Monroe that his girlfriend lived in downtown Sacramento, but was not able to produce her exact address, noting that it was entered into his GPS system. Id. at 84:2- 22. Gorman’s use of the word “chick” aroused Monroe’s suspicion that Gorman’s answers were rehearsed because Monroe thought that “chick” was an unusual word for a person Gorman’s age—thirty-one at the time of the stop—to use.
Obsolete vernacular = “reasonable suspicion.” That and State Trooper Greg Monroe felt Gorman’s claimed employment with a “beach activities and paddle board company” sounded similarly “rehearsed.” Monroe went back to his vehicle and tried to rustle up a K9 unit. But there were no units nearby, the records check was coming up clean and Monroe was running out of ideas. First, he told Gorman he was free to leave. Then he started fishing:
Immediately afterward, Monroe asked Gorman if he could ask some additional questions. Monroe first asked how Gorman could afford to drive a motor home cross-country when gas prices were over $3.00 per gallon. Monroe then asked if Gorman still sold paddle boards for a living, and asked about his compensation, to which Gorman responded “I don’t want to talk about how much I make.” At approximately 9:25 a.m., Monroe asked if there was anything illegal in Gorman’s motor home, or if he was carrying large amounts of U.S. currency. Gorman then told Monroe that he was only carrying about $2000 in U.S. currency in the motor home. At 9:25:45 a.m, Monroe asked Gorman “do you mind if we search the vehicle?,” to which Gorman said “I do mind, yes.” At this point, Monroe told Gorman that he was free to leave [for the second time], returned to his vehicle, and said “he’s carrying money” aloud to himself.
Tempers flared among parents at the final Fairfax County School Board meeting for the school year, when 10-to-2 vote decided last Thursday 7th through 10th grade students that the sex education curriculum would include lessons pertaining to gender identity and transgender issues.
The school board vote happened one day before the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize same-sex marriage across the country.
Those protesting the curriculum changes wore red t-shirts and bright stickers with the phrase, “Respect parents’ rights” while others supporting the board wore stickers that said, “Teach the facts.”
Changes to the Family Life Education curriculum spanned across each grade level, but the move of the more sensitive material from one section of the curriculum to another has opponents more than upset, despite the board’s insistence that students can opt out of such classes, if their parents choose to do so.
Fairfax County School Board member Elizabeth Schultz, one of the two dissenting votes on the curriculum change vote, told The Daily Caller that the curriculum committee, which is not a committee of the school board, spent a year going through particular sections of the family life education curriculum and recommended to the board to move parts of the family life curriculum, which included gender identity and transgender issues, over to the health curriculum.
“Once you move something out of family life, the family life education curriculum delivery method and into a health curriculum, by default, a parent no longer has the right to opt out,” Schultz said. ”And so there were huge sections, not just of the more controversial topics but even basic things about family units and emotions and social development they suggested to move to the health curriculum.”
Students who don’t want to be known by their legal name on campus – because they are transgender, a victim of sexual abuse or just want to sound more American – can now play coy at Ohio University.
The Post reports that the new policy is the result of an effort started nearly three years ago by the Student Senate’s LGBT commissioners, who “worked closely” with officials “on the technicalities of the policy”:
The preferred name and pronoun policy, which was approved June 4, will allow all OU students to state their preferred names and select their preferred pronouns in their Student Portal, said Delfin Bautista, director of the LGBT Center. This name and pronoun will then show up on professors’ class rosters, advising lists and anywhere a student ID card is swiped. …
“Hopefully, what this will create is there may be faculty who may never know the legal name of a student,” Bautista said. “They may have Rachel in class, and Rachel has always been Rachel, but they may never know that Rachel’s legal name is Richard.”
Thus, students no longer need to worry about their legal names unintentionally “outing” them because their legal name does not match their identity.
The school wants to play down the LGBT roots of the change, which are evident in the “pronoun” component: The Post says “the policy can benefit international students who choose to go by an American version of their name,” and Bautista also says it will benefit students whose parents divorced.
The new policy won’t apply to diplomas, however, so “Rachel” will forever be known in school files as “Richard.”
I weep for the future of education.
Anne Gassel just took her youngest child to her college orientation. There was nothing at this orientation that she hadn’t encountered at any of the others she had attended. Yet she walked away from this one “with a complete lack of nostalgia for college life.”
There were many reasons for this feeling, Gassel wrote at Missouri Education Watchdog. But the one that stood out to me was the low graduation rate noted by the school her child is attending.
“Of those that graduate with a degree, some will have degrees that prepare them for nothing that is highly valued by society,” Gassel wrote. “I remember last year at a college open house hearing from a young woman who had a degree in women’s studies. She told the parents sitting in the room that she was lucky to get a job with the university. I don’t think she realized how that sounded.”
She added: “Apparently the only thing a women’s studies degree prepares one for is working for a university admissions office to promote that degree to other gullible students.”
Gassel also criticized the “protective cocoon of pseudo real life,” in which schools provide counselors to help students deal with every minor slight they might be subject to. This, of course, does not prepare students for real life, where no such protections exist.
College is a lot different today than even when I was a student (which was just a few years ago). Now the “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” crowds run the campuses. My fear is of what will happen when these precious snowflakes who need counseling after hearing a different viewpoint get into the real world. Will they accept that they can’t avoid opposing views? Or will they fight to make everyone else kowtow to their beliefs?
Common Core started out as a state-led effort to create high standards that states would voluntarily adopt, but the Obama administration had different ideas. It disrupted that process by forcing states to adopt the standards, first through Race to the Top grants, and next through waivers. Waivers from onerous provisions of No Child Left Behind are granted only to states that agree to implement the White House’s preferred education policies — Common Core.
It says a lot when even The New York Times refers to the waiver process as “the most sweeping use of executive authority to rewrite federal education law since Washington expanded its involvement in education in the 1960s.”
The Senate’s bill, the Every Child Achieves Act, would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Language I fought to include in this bill will, once and for all, end the Obama administration’s use of waivers to force or incentivize states to adopt Common Core standards.
And it will end the Obama administration’s — and, for that matter, any future administration’s — ability to use any tool of coercion to force states to adopt Common Core — or any set of standards at all, whether it’s Common Core by another name or some new set of standards. Period.
That’s one reason why in April the Every Child Achieves Act passed out of the Senate education committee on a unanimous vote. Republicans and Democrats alike voted to give control of academic standards back to states. The bill restores that responsibility to states, local school districts, teachers and parents.