Sunday, July 30, 2006

American diploma mill endorsed by British High Court!

The celebrity hypnotist Paul McKenna won his libel battle yesterday over a newspaper claim that he had bought a fake doctorate from an American university. The ruling in the High Court followed a trial over articles in the Daily Mirror that he claimed had portrayed him as a fraudster and made him "a laughing stock". He was not in court for the ruling by Mr Justice Eady, who will assess damages in October.

McKenna, 42, whose self-help hypnotherapy business has a turnover of 2.5 million pounds a year, said that he was devastated when the columnist Victor Lewis-Smith alleged that he had bought a "bogus" PhD from La Salle University in Louisiana for 2,615 pounds. Under the headline "It's a load of doc and bull", Mr Lewis-Smith wrote: "I discovered that anyone could be fully doctored by Lasalle within months (no previous qualifications needed), just so long as they could answer the following question correctly: `Do you have $2,615, sir?'." The newspaper's publisher, MGN, which denied libel and pleaded justification, called evidence from Mr Lewis-Smith's co-writer, Paul Sparks, who said he was told by the university that he could obtain a doctorate for that fee within a matter of months and without undertaking any formal course.

The judge, who heard the case without a jury, said that the newspaper had not proved that the sting of the words complained of was substantially true. McKenna was awarded his costs, estimated at 300,000 pounds, and the judge ordered the newspaper to pay an interim amount of 75,000 pounds. Marcus Partington, head of MGN's legal department, said: "We are dismayed about the judgment."


School integration that happens naturally offers real promise for furthering understanding

Unlike "Busing"

Tamia, Farhan, Isabella, Giovanni, Shebob. These are some of the names that my son, Zakir, has rattled off to me over the course of the last school year. He graduated from kindergarten in June, and I will remember his first year of school wistfully. Every morning since September, we've raced out of the house to join the parade of parents and children trekking to P.S. 150. Pulling their book-laden bags on wheels or toting them on their backs, boys and girls, big and small, filled the sidewalks of my Sunnyside, Queens, neighborhood. Mothers with infants in strollers trudged alongside the grade-school members of their families. Some kids rode their dad's shoulders.

Waiting for the doors to open each morning, I stood in the company of mothers in saris, mothers in headscarves and mothers in sweatpants. I would reciprocate a nod of recognition to Jason's mom, who is Japanese, and say good morning to the Chinese mom and white-haired American dad of identical twin boys. Greetings of "Buenos dias. . . . Buenos dias" sprinkled the air, along with a few others I couldn't translate so easily.

This multiethnic population is a far cry from the homogeneous student body of my own grammar school in Flushing, Queens, back in the 1960s. Esther Paik and William Fong were the sole Asians in my class. In 1967, when I was in fifth grade, black students from the nearby neighborhood of Jamaica were bused into Flushing. (At first, this was a voluntary effort on the borough's part; it was not until a year later that the Supreme Court, in Green v. New Kent County School Board, required school boards to develop desegregation plans.)

At the time, my neighborhood consisted of private homes owned by a mix of blue- and white-collar families. They were predominantly composed of second-generation Italian- and Irish-Americans, although there were some Jewish families as well. The influx of blacks into my own school was met by the frenzied protests of parents. Until then, the PTA meetings had been attended only lightly; the prospect of classroom integration inspired mass turnouts.

When all was said and done, the number of students bused into my school was minimal. Only two African-Americans were transferred into my own class. We adjusted to one another without incident; our young age kept overt expressions of prejudice to a whisper. Junior high school was another matter. By 1969, busing was being conducted on a much larger scale throughout the nation, including Queens, and a much larger proportion of bused students attended my own school, Campbell Junior High. The sheer numbers didn't allow for polite introductions or gradual assimilation but instead fanned the flames of adolescent angst on both sides of the racial divide. Territorial postures were staked out, threats were made and fights ensued. Hallways, bathrooms and cafeterias were sites of intimidation and confrontation.

Busing produced similar results all over the country. And, sadly, there is no evidence that it raised the educational prospects of African-Americans, the purpose for which it was intended. This failure was implicitly foreseen as early as 1966, when "Equality of Educational Opportunity," a study by James Coleman at Johns Hopkins University, found that racial integration did not necessarily improve achievement levels in urban schools. Later studies at Harvard revisiting Coleman's data concluded that the best way to help academic achievement was to raise overall family income and that "racial composition of the school does not have a substantial effect [on academic success]--not nearly so strong as the social class composition of the school."

The apparent assimilation of the ethnic and racial groups in my son's school seems to speak to this last point. Of course, I am not in a position to judge academic achievement per se. But the natural mixing of groups is a reflection of the neighborhood population: It achieves diversity without imposing it, and it blends social classes without a court order.

I often tell people that I don't need to travel--the world is outside my door: Irish, Turkish, Armenian, Russian, Polish, Indian, Mexican, Asians, Muslims, Jews and Christians, black and white. These days, the working-class immigrant population in Sunnyside is offset by middle-class professionals. Large apartment buildings dominate the neighborhood, complemented by walk-ups and private homes. We share the streets, restaurants and stores--interaction and assimilation follow a natural course. The children in such neighborhoods have more than enough opportunity to cultivate tolerance and understanding for those unlike themselves. Zakir seems to have learned this lesson. To him, the kids that he has learned with and laughed with for the past year are simply his friends. I think they will stay that way.



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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