• No offense, please. That’s the hyper-sensitive approach to that nameless holiday in late December

    I am happy–I repeat–happy to wish people a Merry Christmas.

    Perhaps that’s because I actually hope they have a Merry Christmas.

    I say that even though I celebrate Hanukkah. True, I am never quite sure how to spell it. Its English spelling seems to meander, at least for me.

    Back to Christmas . . . as a kid, I was always delighted to see friends riding around on their new bicycles and going to church with their families to celebrate the day.

    I had my holiday. They had their’s. No harm, no foul.

    All was well between us, even if no one had ever heard of multiculturalism.

    I remembered these warm sentiments the other day, as I walked past DePaul’s building in the Chicago Loop.  (It’s a satellite campus. Their main one is farther north.)

    There, taking up the side of a building, was a big sign wishing everyone, “Happy Holidays.”

    DePaul, mind you, is a private school, so they can wish you anything they want.

    It’s also a Catholic school, which would seem to give it some connection to . . . well, Christmas.

    But, nooooooo.

    I wanted to see if DePaul’s website was more forthright. Nope.

    I assume DePaul’s administrators have only the most benign sentiments. They are probably thinking, “If we said, ‘Merry Christmas,’ it might not be inclusive enough. It might offend. There are lots of other faiths and lots of agnostics and atheists out there, and we want to wish them a happy time, too.” That’s a fine thought, but it assumes we wouldn’t respect their integrity as a Catholic institution for saying what they really believe. The only people it will hurt, IMO, is people who are rigid and intolerant, either because of their own religious beliefs or because they hate all religions. Why give them a veto?

    When people wish me a Merry Christmas, I take it with the good cheer with which it is extended.  Why not?

    The University of Minnesota goes much further in stamping out these greetings. Granted, it is a public university, which places some limits on what they can and cannot do legally. But I don’t see why that should prevent the employees from wishing each other all kinds of holiday greetings and putting up Christmas decorations or Hanukkah decorations if they wish.

    Not so, they say.

    Employees of the University of Minnesota received a document this week saying:

    In general, the following are not appropriate for gatherings and displays at this time of year since they typically represent specific religious iconography:

    Santa Claus, Angels, Christmas trees, Star of Bethlehem, Dreidels, Nativity scene, Bows/wrapped gifts, Menorah, Bells, Doves, Red and Green or Blue and White/Silver decoration themes (red and green are representative of the Christian tradition as blue and white/silver are for Jewish Hanukkah that is also celebrated at this time of year).” University of Minnesota memo to employees, reported at Intellectual Takeout

     

    Documents that authoritarian tend to come from offices named “Diversity” and “Inclusion.” And those are the Orwellian Scrooges behind this gem.

    Got that? RED and GREEN are forbidden as “religious iconography.” So are BLUE and White (because they are Jewish religious iconography, I guess).

    Santa Claus? Oh, the horror.

    And why, pray tell, is Festivus excluded? Are they not worthy enough to be prohibited?

    Somewhere, I fear, the University of Minnesota’s librarians are burning “A Christmas Carol” to keep the administrators warm for the season.

  • Who is Ben Shapiro and why is Berkeley treating his upcoming speech like a nuclear attack?

    On Thursday, Ben Shapiro is scheduled to speak at the University of California, Berkeley, which has tried very hard for months to prevent him from speaking.

    Some Background on Ben Shapiro

    Shapiro is a reasonably well-known talk show host with conservative views, multiple books to his credit, and a superb academic record.

    He has strident views, but he is neither a kook nor a (metaphorical) bomb-thrower. (With Antifa rioters throwing real bombs, you have to add “metaphorical” to the Shapiro description.)

    He’s smart and extremely well-educated: As an undergraduate at UCLA, he graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. At Harvard Law, he graduated cum laude.  He practiced briefly with a top national firm in Los Angeles before turning to journalism.

    Smears against Shapiro

    The left has smeared him as a “fascist” and a “white nationalist.” He is neither. He is not a Trump supporter and, in private life, an orthodox Jew.

    He has the odd and unhappy distinction of being attacked both as a Jew (by numerous anti-Semites, a group increasingly prominent on the left) and as an Alt-Right White Nationalist.

    His association with Andrew Breitbart, with whom he work for several years, is another lightning rod. Shapiro continued to work with Breitbart.com after the founder’s death but resigned on grounds of principle when the news outlet refused to defend one of its reporters allegedly manhandled by Corey Lewandowski, then-campaign manager for Donald Trump.

    College Speeches

    The left and anti-Israel activists have decided Shapiro should be prevented from speaking on college campuses, including public universities, and the target of physical confrontations when he does try to speak.

    In 2016, protesters form human chains around an auditorium at Cal State LA to prevent him from speaking. (They failed.)

    Later that year, DePaul University banned him from setting foot on their campus. He was banned from participating in an event to which he had been invited. DePaul, it should be noted, is one of the worst offenders against free speech in the country. Their treatment of Shapiro was par for their substandard course.

    When Shapiro appeared on television with a transgender activist, Zoey Tur, he was threatened with physical assault again after referring to Tur with male terminology.

    Cal-Berkeley

    Berkeley is so fearful of Shapiro’s speech that they are closing off nearby buildings on the day of the event.

    They are also–incredibly–offering psychological counseling for Cal students traumatized by the mere thought of Shapiro speaking on campus. That’s a real thing.

    What is also sadly read: anarchists and crazies are likely to show up and riot.

    Comment:

    The willingness to use violence to stop opposing views is a fundamental threat to our constitutional democracy. That willingness is rising, and people of all political stripes need to speak out clearly and forcefully against it. 

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦

     

  • DePaul’s Latest Suppression of Free Speech

    DePaul University deserves special attention because it is specially dreadful on free speech.

    This is the university that

    • took away the students’ chalk after one wrote “Trump 2016” last spring,
    • routinely prevents conservative speakers from coming on campus, and
    • prevented one student group from putting up a poster that read “Unborn Lives Matter.” Their rationale: it did not reflect DePaul’s Catholic values.

    DePaul is proud of these achievements.

    And it does not want to sit on its PC laurels. It runs hard to remain the laughingstock of higher education.

    Here’s what happened on Tuesday night, November 15.

  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Tuesday, Sept. 27

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

    ♦ FBI reports a 10% increase in murders this year over last, 3% increase in overall violent crime. (Daily Mail)

    ♦ The Supreme Court after Scalia. Jeffrey Toobin, legal analyst for CNN and the New Yorker, states the obvious truth:captain-obvious-thanks-labeled-200px-margins-on-left

    For the first time in decades, there is now a realistic chance that the Supreme Court will become an engine of progressive change rather than an obstacle to it. “Liberals in the academy are now devising constitutional theories with an eye on the composition of the Court,” [law professor] Justin Driver said. The hopes for a liberal Court will begin—or, just as certainly, end—with the results on Election Day.   –Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker

    Comment: Well, duh.

    ♦ BlueCross drops all Obamacare coverage in Tennessee’s three biggest markets: Nashville, Memphis, and Chattanooga. (Times Free Press, Chattanooga) These shoes will continue to drop, alongside premium increases, and will become an election issue.

    ♦ Stock market is high, but are valuations unprecedented?  Nick Kalivas, Senior Equity Product Strategist at Invesco comments:

    Stocks may seem expensive at the moment, but valuations seem less troubling when taking into account interest rates. Clearly, low interest rates have tended to buoy valuations. But there are also other forces at work. The sharp drop in energy and commodity prices in 2015 weighed on corporate profits. –Nick Kalivas, Invesco

    Cubs logo w baseball 201px♦ Chicago Cubs win 100 games for the first time since FDR was in his first term. (CBS Sports) After so many woeful years, the Cubs are a great team, built by Theo Epstein and his staff, managed by a savvy Joe Maddon. You never know how deep into the playoffs a team will go, but this team is not a fluke.

    ♦ SnapChat, now renamed “Snap,” tries to succeed where Google glasses failed. Their new glasses-camera photographs a wide angle, more like human vision, and can record brief video. The company plans a slow roll 0ut. (WSJ)

    alicia-garza-blm-labeled-200px♦ Black Lives Matter co-founder, Alicia Garza, promotes the idea of “police-free communities” (Daily Caller) It’s just a guess, but I don’t think this plan will work out well.

    Garza argued that the United States gives too much respect to police officers, explaining that when police do wrong, a few bad cops are blamed, rather than a “corroded and corrupt system.”

    “Quite frankly, many of our [Black Lives Matter] members are continuing to investigate what it would mean to have police-free communities

    Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter
    quoted in the Daily Caller

    depaul-free-speech-nope-200px-margin-left♦ DePaul to student socialists: pay for multiple police or you cannot hold your first meeting of the school year. DePaul again shows why it is one of the worst universities for free speech. (FIRE) 

    Comment: Well, at least the Thought Police are free at DePaul. FIRE, which reported this maltreatment, is the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. It is genuinely unbiased, supporting campus free speech from all viewpoints. It represents what’s best about voluntary organizations in America. (Charles Lipson comment)

    chicago-teachers-union-labeled-200px-margin-right♦ Chicago teachers vote to authorize a strike.  The union will have to decide if they really want to go through with this and pick a date. (Chicago Tribune)

    Comment: This could quickly turn into a trainwreck because there is no money to meet the union’s demands.  The cupboard is bare at the school system, the city, and the state. Chicago residents know that, so I’d be surprised if there is much public support for the strike. That won’t stop the teachers from going out, but it will stop them from achieving any financial demands.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦