• Fancy Names for Left-Wing Anti-Semitism (my latest at Real Clear Politics)

    The celebrations in this weekend’s Chicago Gay Pride festival were marred by one mean-spirited moment. The organizers of the “Dyke March” blocked Jewish women from participating because they carried a gay-pride banner that included a Star of David.

    “It made us feel unsafe,” the organizers actually said, before launching into their rant against Israel and those who support it.)

    This episode is not only noxious in its own right, it highlights several problems that are now pervasive on the left and increasingly pollute America’s public life.

    The most important is the growing public expression of anti-Semitism, much of it fueled by the strange alliance between progressives (such as the Dyke March organizers) and rabid anti-Israel activists, led by Palestinians.

    In this column (link here), I

    • explain the logic behind this alliance,
    • decode the fancy words used to hold it together (such as “intersectionality”), and
    • highlight their penchant for suppressing dissent rather than engaging it.

    These larger problems deserve exposure.

    They deserve censure, too, when they violate our democratic norms of tolerance, free speech, and open debate. That’s what this column does.

    To continuing reading at Real Clear Politics, click here.

  • ZipDialog Roundup for Tuesday, May 23

    Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple

    ◆ My comment on the vile terror bombing in Manchester is posted separately (here).

    May the innocents rest in peace.

    May the wounded recover fully, in body and mind.

    May the police be safe as they root out the terrorists who prepared and executed this heinous act.

    These prayers have been said far too many times. And we fear this will not be the last time.

     Academic malpractice: Highly-esteemed professor at Duke Divinity School resigns after being attacked for not attending the university’s re-education and training camp for diversity.

    The story is here at The Weekly Standard.

    When Prof. Paul Griffiths refused to attend the “Racial Equity Institute Phase I Training” (it must have been named by Orwell) and explained his reasons, the Dean of the Divinity school attacked with full fury. According to Griffiths, Dean Elaine Heath

    initiates financial and administrative reprisals against Griffiths. Those reprisals ban him from faculty meetings, and, thereby, from voting in faculty affairs; and promise (contra the conditions stated in his letter of appointment) to ban him from future access to research or travel funds. –The Weekly Standard

    The faculty member who runs the re-education and peasant labor camp “launched her own disciplinary proceeding against Griffiths with Duke’s Office of Institutional Equity (OIE).”

    Griffiths’ refusal to attend and his explanation made her workplace “hostile,” naturally. If the PC deans and faculty had their way, Griffiths would be sent to the countryside to plant and harvest rice and learn from the honest peasants.

    The article concludes with a powerful comment by the author, Charlotte Allen:

    It’s hard to figure out what’s more appalling about this episode: the ease with which powerful faculty members can strip their colleagues of their ability to do their jobs just because those colleagues exercise free speech and don’t sign on to their ideological priorities—or the increasing power of bloated university bureaucracies, especially “diversity” bureaucracies over every facet of existence at a university that is supposed to be devoted to the life of the mind. –Charlotte Allen in The Weekly Standard

    Peter Berkowitz, another acute observer of academic follies, has an excellent piece on this Duke fiasco at the Wall Street Journal.

    Comment: Shame on Duke, a school repeatedly cloaked in politically-motivated misdeeds. They seem to learn nothing from their mistakes.

    Bravo to Paul Griffiths, distinguished professor of Catholic theology, who deserves a badge for his intellectual courage. I hope he retains counsel and goes after the malefactors.

     At Dartmouth, somewhat better news

    First the bad news: the university selected as its new dean of the faculty a professor (N. Bruce Duthu) who helped lead his professional association to boycott and sanction all Israeli universities and the professors who work there.

    This sort of thing passes virtually unnoticed among university administrators, who probably missed it when they reviewed Duthu’s qualifications.

    But outside the ivied walls, people did notice it. The university defended him, said he was a swell fellow, and, after some hesitation, he eventually said he had changed his mind about boycotting and sanctioning everything from Israel.

    The good news: after national publicity about his anti-Israel views, Duthu has decided that he shouldn’t take accept the Deanship after all.

    Here’s the story at the Observer.

    Comment: Kudos to Paul Miller and Haym Salomon Center for publicizing Duthu’s role in the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement. Ultimately, what Prof. Duthu did behind closed academic doors couldn’t be justified to a larger audience of Dartmouth faculty, alums, trustees, donors, and others. 

     World’s first operational robot-cop has started work in Dubai. They want them to make up about 1/3 of their police force by 2030. (Daily Mirror, UK)

    Fox News also has a report:

    The Robocop, five feet five inches tall and weighing 220 pounds, speaks six languages and reads facial expressions.

    “He can chat and interact, respond to public queries, shake hands and offer a military salute,” Brigadier-General Khalid Nasser Al Razzouqi, Director-General of Smart Services with the Dubai Police told the Mirror.

    Residents can use the Robocop to pay fines or report crimes, and it also can transmit and receive messages from police headquarters. –Fox News

     Chicago clinches spot as great food city: America’s first Nutella Cafe to open in City of Big Stomachs next week  (Chicago Eater)

     Metaphor alert: Huge sinkhole forms near Trump’s Mar-A-Lago (Forbes)

     The headlines about Betsy DeVos’ speech focused on her promise that “more school choice is coming.” That’s big, if vague.

    But she said something equally important: education should not be run from Washington (USA Today)

    Comment: Exactly right, she, Trump, and the Republicans are beginning to turn around decades of increasing centralization of educational decisionmaking in DC.

    Washington can help by allowing all kinds of experimentation. Let cities and states figure out what works and what fits best in different locales.

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  • The Shrinking World of Newspapers: Chicago Edition

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    ◆ A key factor is missing in the hand-wringing analysis over the inevitable purchase of the Sun-Times by Tronc’s Chicago Tribune, and it’s this:

    The sales and marketing departments of the Tribune and Sun-Times will be combined.

    ⇒ And that foreshadows the death of the Sun-Times.

    A Little History

    The same death dance played out in the 1970s, when the Sun-Times and the Chicago Daily News comprised Field Enterprises’ two-newspaper portfolio, with ad sales staffers selling space in both newspapers to advertisers such as Sears, Carson’s, Z Frank and First National Bank.

    But those sales pitches lasted microseconds when advertisers balked at buying space in two newspapers when the Sun-Times had more than twice the circulation of the Daily News.

    It mattered not a whit that the demographics of the evening Daily News were superior to  the Sun-Times or that the quality of the content in the Daily News was more distinguished.

    Advertisers weren’t interested in advertising in its pages, and ad sales staffers weren’t about to waste their sales call trying to convince advertisers otherwise.

    By 1975, the Tribune had killed its afternoon paper, Chicago Today, and absorbed its 400,000 daily circulation into its million-plus base. That meant Tribune ad sales people could offer far more circulation and at a cheaper cost-per-thousand in a single newspaper and with a single sales pitch than the Sun-Times could by offering two newspapers and two sales pitches.

    Why buy space in two newspapers when you could do better in one?

    Sales efforts focused on the Sun-Times’ circulation, and the Daily News was ignored to death.

    What’s Past Is Prologue

    The same logic will apply in 2017.

    When it comes time for a Tribune sales staffer to pitch an ad schedule to an advertiser, he’ll focus on the Tribune’s superior circulation.

    Maybe on the way out the door, he’ll say, “Oh, wait. I have a Sun-Times media kit here. Want me to leave it?”

    The answer already is all too clear.

     

    Dan Miller is one of Chicago’s most respected and experienced economic journalists.

    He served as Chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission in the 1990s, then business editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, and, in recent years, as policy adviser to the Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank.  He also co-founded the Chicago Innovation Awards, which as recognized best-practices in products and services for over 15 years.

  • A Pleasant Day Protesting All Things Trump (My latest at Real Clear Politics)

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    The latest Chicago protest against Donald Trump was a strange one. It was a gentle, spring day in February, and the crowd was milling around on the sidewalk, courteously making way for pedestrians, chatting with friends, and occasionally repeating slogans tossed out by the speakers.

    The police were leaning casually against their cars or traffic barricades. Nobody was looking for trouble.

    Everybody had a sign showing their disgust: “Not My President.” “Stop Fascism.” “Fake President.” “People, Not Billionaires.” And a few demanding, “Impeach Him Now.”

    What made it all so interesting?

    The juxtaposition of this happy crowd, guarded by polite officers, and their insistent chants that they were being oppressed by fascists.

  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Friday, February 17

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

     Nobody has seen a presidential press conference remotely like the one Trump gave Thursday. The mainstream media hated it:

    Washington Post: “Donald Trump’s combative, grievance-filled news conference, annotated”. They follow up with this: When governing beckons, Trump keeps campaigning

    Huffington Post: “Trump Attacks ‘Out of Control’ Media in Chaotic Press Conference”

    New York Daily News: “President Trump blasted over social media for ‘sociopathic’ White House press conference”

    No major media outlets, at least none I found, gave the news conference a positive view.

    A few smaller conservative papers were more positive:

    Washington Times: Trump blasts ‘out of control’ media for ignoring early successes

    Finally, a few offered neutral views, emphasizing both the news and the entertaining, heated back-and-forth:

    Business Insider“NO HOLDS BARRED: Trump, in unprecedented fashion, airs grievances in an epic 77-minute press conference”

    FoxTrump blasts ‘out of control’ media, defends agenda at heated press conference  . . . President Trump’s feud with the media turned into an all-out war Thursday afternoon.

    So did CNN‘s main headline:

     National Security Council adviser position still open. Vice Admiral Robert Harward turns it down after being told he could not appoint his own senior staff  (CBS)

    Two sources close to the situation confirm Harward demanded his own team, and the White House resisted.

    Specifically, Mr. Trump told Deputy National Security Adviser K. T. McFarland that she could retain her post, even after the ouster of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Harward refused to keep McFarland as his deputy, and after a day of negotiations over this and other staffing matters, Harward declined to serve as Flynn’s replacement. –Major Garrett reporting for CBS

     Former British PM Tony Blair calls for Brits to “rise up against Brexit”  (BBC)

    Comment: They did rise up, but what they said was “no” to Tony Blair and David Cameron.

     Paul Ryan says GOP will begin repealing and replacing Obamacare when the House returns from recess next week (USA Today) He’s waiting for the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation to score the cost of the bill.

    Comment: Trump said much the same thing at his Thursday conference, signalling the movement on both Obamacare and tax cuts will come sooner rather than later.

     David Plouffe, who managed Obama’s reelection, is fined $90k for illegally lobbying Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel on behalf of Uber (Chicago Tribune) The issue is letting Uber pick up passengers at Chicago airports.

    Comment: I favor more competition for transportation at the airports, and Chicago has moved to do it. Still, it is disturbing to see the swamp creatures move seamlessly from campaigns to lobbying.

     Related story: Chicago Alderman questions political operative’s piece of lucrative Midway Airport concessions deal (Chicago Tribune)

     “Latest Data Signal Solid Momentum for U.S. Economy” (Wall Street Journal)

    Robust consumer spending, an uptick in factory production and firming inflation are pointing to a healthy start in 2017 for the U.S. economy and another interest-rate increase by the Federal Reserve, potentially as soon as next month. –Wall Street Journal

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  • Chicago’s Corrupt Politics in ONE picture

    This is what corruption looks like. It says, “I can park where I want because I don’t have to obey the laws everyone else does. I am a Congressman, and I am above the laws that apply to everyone else.”

    If the law were applied fairly, his car would be towed. Yours would be. Mine would be. Why not his?

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    As it happens, I have seen this fine public servant do this before. A couple of years ago, I was visiting a hospital patient and watched him pull up on the curb next to the hospital’s main door, park his car on the sidewalk, and casually walk in to see someone. He was not on official business, much less an official emergency. He was simply using his political power, his immunity to the laws that should apply to everyone equally. He should have been ticketed then. And he should be ticketed for his illegal parking in this picture.

    But he won’t be. He knows a guy who knows a guy. This is Chicago, and he’s been an operator since his days as a Black Panther. Laws be damned.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦

    I have seen this sort of contempt for law before, too. I have seen Russian diplomats drive to places no one should park–places where no diplomats from law-abiding countries would trespass–and simply park there. I have asked and found they do it regularly. If you want to understand Putin, just check the way Russian diplomats park.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦

    If you want to understand Chicago politics, just gaze at this picture.

    If you want to see why voters all over this country have said to career politicians, “enough! go earn a living like the rest of us!,” just look at this picture.

    It shows utter contempt for the laws the public must obey. That contempt comes from years of feeding at the free public buffet, provided by the citizens . . . who could use that fire hydrant to wash away the stench.

  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Sunday, January 5

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

    Goldwater Institute proposes model free speech code for public universities–one that legislatures could pass

    The key provisions in this model legislation are inspired by three classic defenses of campus free speech: Yale’s 1974 Woodward Report, The University of Chicago’s 1967 Kalven Report, and the University of Chicago’s 2015 Stone Report.

    The model legislation presented and explained in this brief does several things:

    • It creates an official university policy that strongly affirms the importance of free expression, nullifying any existing restrictive speech codes in the process.
    • It prevents administrators from disinviting speakers, no matter how controversial, whom members of the campus community wish to hear from.
    • It establishes a system of disciplinary sanctions for students and anyone else who interferes with the free-speech rights of others.
    • It allows persons whose free-speech rights have been improperly infringed by the university to recover court costs and attorney’s fees.
    • It reaffirms the principle that universities, at the official institutional level, ought to remain neutral on issues of public controversy to encourage the widest possible range of opinion and dialogue within the university itself.
    • It ensures that students will be informed of the official policy on free expression.
    • It authorizes a special subcommittee of the university board of trustees to issue a yearly report to the public, the trustees, the governor, and the legislature on the administrative handling of free-speech issues.

    Taken together, these provisions create a system of interlocking incentives designed to encourage students and administrators to respect and protect the free expression of others. –Goldwater Institute’s “Campus Free Speech: A Legislative Proposal”

     Hundreds plan to moon Chicago’s Trump Tower in protest  Below is the actual ad for the event:

    Comment: Expected to show up at the event

     Obit for an old-time Chicago Cop who kept his nose clean. Instead of being promoted to Superintendent of Police, he was demoted to the midnight shift in a high-crime area (Chicago Tribune)

    In 1979, when Pope John Paul II came to Chicago, Joe DiLeonardi was Acting Superintendent of Police and expected to be named to the job permanently. Highly regarded, he working to clean up the department and promote minorities. Yet, within two years, he was working at a low-grade police job at the airport and then demoted even further to the midnight shift in a high-crime neighborhood.

    What did he do wrong, you might ask?

    Simple enough, he wanted to root-out organized crime and its political connections. Mayor Jane Byrne, elected as a “reform mayor,” wasn’t having it. In 1980, DiLeonard told the Chicago Tribune that

    two of Byrne’s top aides demanded the ouster of the department’s most prominent fighter of organized crime, and blamed influence from the mobbed-up 1st Ward organization. DiLeonardi’s successor, Richard Brzeczek, denied the allegations. …

    DiLeonardi was said to be the inspiration for “Kojak,” the nattily attired TV detective played by Telly Savalas. –Chicago Tribune

     “Judge Breaks Precedent, Orders Google to Give Foreign Emails to FBI” (Gizmodo)

    A potentially major blow for privacy advocates occurred on Friday when a U.S. magistrate ruled against Google and ordered it to cooperate with FBI search warrants demanding access to user emails that are stored on servers outside of the United States. The case is certain to spark a fight, because an appeals court ruled in favor of Microsoft in a similar case recently. –Gizmodo

     “China Assails U.S. Pledge to Defend Disputed Islands Controlled by Japan” (New York Times)

    The disputed [Diaoyu or Senkaku] islands have been among a number of potential points of contention as China builds up its presence in the East and South China Seas.

    Chinese and Japanese vessels regularly maneuver at close quarters in the waters as China tries to challenge Japan’s control of the islands. –New York Times

    The islands have different names, depending on the nations claiming them.

     Great Tweet:

    Actually, Fielding Mellish looks like ZZ Top.

     If you don’t know who “Fielding Mellish” is, then you really ought to see Woody Allen’s early movie, Bananas. The best 1-minute scene in it doesn’t star Woody; it stars a mad dictator

     

     

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    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Clarice Feldman
     for the Goldwater Institute’s Free Speech proposal

     

  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Thursday, January 26

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

     RIP MTM  Love the quote from James L. Brooks, who co-produced the “Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

    She was brilliant. Nobody Ever Found the Thing She Couldn’t Do. –James L. Brooks in the Hollywood Reporter

    The New York Times obituary is here, with the headline that Moore “Incarnated the Modern Woman on TV.

     Sanctuary Cities to Trump: Drop Dead, Keep Sending Money  The NBC story doesn’t have that tone, but that’s the message. Trump’s response is predictably blunt. (Here)

    Two Comments: First, Trump made a very smart move on this issue early. Until then, the narrative had been “be empathetic with the striving, yearning immigrants.” Trump reversed it: “Be empathetic with the victims of violent illegal immigrants.” He was predictably hyperbolic, of course, and the narrative does not easily generalize to non-violent illegal immigrants, but it was a shrewd political reimagining of the issue.

    Second, a fight with Trump over immigration is one many sanctuary-city mayors and sheriffs relish . . . until the money pinches. Chicago will be a particularly hard fight because Mayor Rahm Emanuel depends on support from Hispanic voters to offset his unpopularity among African-Americans. If he backs down without a smack-down, he’ll lose a key support group.

     Quote of the Day  When asked what he thinks about General Mattis when he was being considered for Secretary of Defense, Rob O’Neill (the man who killed Bin Laden) said:

    General Mattis has a bear rug in his home, but the bear’s not dead. It’s just afraid to move.

     Trump blocks Obama/Kerry transfer of $221 million to Palestinian Authority

    The Trump administration has informed the Palestinian Authority that it is freezing the transfer of $221 million which was quietly authorized by the Obama administration in its final hours on January 20, a senior Palestinian source has told The Times of Israel.

    US officials conveyed to PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday that the funds were not expected to be handed over in the immediate future, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. –AP and Times of Israel

     AP: “Trump intends to announce his Supreme Court pick on Feb. 2”

    Comment: If the nominee sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.

     Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): Refusing Refugee Admissions is Equivalent to Slavery  (Daily Caller) Trump has issued a temporary stay on visas from several countries with major terror problems, all predominantly Muslim.

    Nihad Awad, CAIR’s national executive director, called the proposed border wall a “multi-billion dollar monument to racism.” Awad went on to say that President Trump’s proposal has nothing to do with national security and is strictly an “Islamophobic” proposal. –Daily Caller

    Comment: An extreme left-wing rabbi, involved in many anti-Israeli causes, appeared at the same news conference and said barring refugees from Syria and Somalia is an “affront to God.”

     

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    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Sam Stubbs
     for the great quote about Gen. Mattis
    ◆ Ed Lasky for US funding for Palestinians; the story on that yesterday came thanks to Marcia Sukenik Weiss

     

  • Another “dog bites man” story: Chicago alderman indicted

    The Feds allege that Alderman Willie B. Cochran extorted a liquor store in his ward and stole from a charity in his ward. (Chicago Tribune)

    [He] has been indicted on federal charges he shook down a liquor store manager in exchange for his support and stole tens of thousands of dollars from a charitable ward fund intended to help seniors and children in his impoverished community.

    Another alleged shakedown involved a federal program intended to assist poor communities in getting vacant homes up to code and occupied as soon as possible, prosecutors said. –Chicago Tribune

    According to the indictment, the money went to gambling and his daughter’s college tuition.

    Stealing money from charities for the poor? Does it get any lower?

    Here’s Willie B’s campaign ad, extolling his fine work.