Sunday, December 14, 2014

Mark LeVine Unhinged on Facebook

by Cinnamon Stillwell

There is an old saying that profanity is the attempt of a weak mind to express itself forcibly.  At that rate, UC Irvine has one professor with a very weak mind -- JR

The emotional and intellectual infant himself

UC Irvine history professor Mark LeVine, who recently suffered a meltdown after being called "anti-Israeli," has since proven the point by posting this profanity-laden, unhinged rant on Facebook:

"People like Carey Nelson and other "machers" [Yiddish for a self-important person] in the American Jewish community get up in arms about BDS [boycott, divestment, sanctions]. Well, Cary Nelson and the rest of you: F— you. Call me uncivil, but still, f— you. F— all of you who want to make arguments about civility and how Israel wants peace when this is what Israel does, it's "mowing the lawn" and "defending" freedom. This is, in no uncertain terms, genocide. If you want to argue about it, come to Gaza with me. Come look at Palestinians in the eye and talk about how uncivil Steven Salaita is and how you are in fact a "critic" of Israel. There is only one criticism of Israel that is relevant: It is a state grown, funded, and feeding off the destruction of another people. It is not legitimate. It must be dismantled, the same way that the other racist, psychopathic states across the region must be dismantled. And everyone who enables it is morally complicit in its crimes, including you."

LeVine was commenting on a photograph from French freelance photographer Anne Paq, who, according to her bio, has been "based in Palestine since 2003," and who specializes in the sort of emotionally-charged—and, all too often, staged or manipulated—imagery regularly employed by Hamas and others to demonize Israel in the international media. Paq's photograph certainly elicited that reaction in LeVine, who, one can safely assume, would be quick to "dismantle" the allegedly illegitimate nation of Israel long before he gets to the other unnamed "racist, psychopathic states."

LeVine's primary target is Cary Nelson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences and past president of the American Association of University Professors. Nelson has been an outspoken opponent of BDS, including co-editing the recently published book of essays, The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel. His principled defense of academic freedom has not gone over well with BDS supporters such as LeVine, who signed an August, 2014 letter calling on Middle East studies scholars and librarians to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Accordingly, at the annual Middle East Studies Association (MESA) convention last month, members voted overwhelmingly in favor a resolution that sets the stage for MESA to adopt BDS in 2015.

In his diatribe, LeVine alludes to Nelson's public support of UIUC's decision to withdraw an offer of tenured professorship to former Virginia Tech University English professor Steven Salaita. UIUC made its choice based on Salaita's atrocious academic record and inflammatory, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic Twitter posts, which went far beyond incivility, the charge leveled at the time by some of his critics.

As LeVine demonstrates with his ad nauseam repetition of "uncivil" and "civility," the terms have become rallying cries both for Salaita's defenders and for the now-famous ex-academic himself, who, speaking on the "Scholars Under Attack" panel at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association in November, made this inane proclamation:

"Civility is the language of genocide. It's inherently a deeply violent word. It's a word whose connotations can be seen as nothing if not as racist."

Indeed, Salaita has become a cause célèbre in academia, even warranting his own panel at the recent MESA convention, at which he was hailed as a hero and a martyr. LeVine sees him as a victim of nefarious forces, ludicrously blaming his "dehiring" on the "wrath of pro-Israel conservatives in the United States." Lost amidst the pity party is the fact that Salaita's "scholarship" was never up to the task. As Michael Rubin, writing for Commentary, put it:

"The scandal isn't so much that the University of Illinois rescinded its preliminary tenure offer after learning about Salaita's incitement on twitter; rather, it's that he was seriously considered in the first place."

It's not difficult to ascertain why LeVine would defend Salaita: both of them embody the activist academic that has overtaken the field of Middle East studies; both are incredibly thin-skinned; both are prone to posting juvenile, profanity-riddled rants on social media; and both, LeVine's disingenuous protestations notwithstanding, are unambiguously anti-Israel.

Nor is it a mystery as to why LeVine would accuse Nelson of being "morally complicit" in Israel's purported "crimes," given that he sees those who "enable" the nation simply by supporting its existence to be responsible for (an imaginary) "genocide."

With his immature, petulant, and hateful outbursts, LeVine has shown his true face. When hotheaded advocates take the place of objective scholars, this is the result. And it isn't pretty.


Why These Teachers Quit Their Jobs. Hint: Common Core

There’s a national discussion going on about Common Core educational standards. Polls continue to show that most Americans oppose Common Core. Support is also dropping among teachers. Some educators have actually resigned because of the problems associated with Common Core.

Here are a few examples:

Susan Sluyter:  A veteran Kindergarten teacher in Cambridge Public Schools resigned last year due to the increased focus on standardized testing.

I have seen my career transformed into a job that no longer fits my understanding of how children learn and what a teacher ought to do in the classroom to build a healthy, safe, developmentally appropriate environment for learning for each of our children. I have experienced, over the past few years, the same mandates that all teachers in the district have experienced. I have watched as my job requirements swung away from a focus on the children, their individual learning styles, emotional needs, and their individual families, interests and strengths to a focus on testing, assessing, and scoring young children, thereby ramping up the academic demands and pressures on them.

Pauline Hawkins: A Colorado English Teacher who has been teaching for 11 years resigned after becoming frustrated in part because of Common Core standards. She writes in her resignation letter:

I can no longer be a part of a system that continues to do the exact opposite of what I am supposed to do as a teacher - I am supposed to help them think for themselves, help them find solutions to problems, help them become productive members of society. Instead, the emphasis on Common Core Standards and high-stakes testing is creating a teach-to-the-test mentality for our teachers and stress and anxiety for our students. Students have increasingly become hesitant to think for themselves because they have been programmed to believe that there is one right answer that they may or may not have been given yet. That is what school has become: A place where teachers must give students “right” answers, so students can prove (on tests riddled with problems, by the way) that teachers have taught students what the standards have deemed are a proper education.

Stuart Harper: A high school physics teacher in Utah has resigned because Common Core greatly reduces teachers’ flexibility in the classroom.

Second, is the lack of control over the core’s content at the federal level. I have no control in Washington DC, and very little in Salt Lake. I would prefer having the control at the county level, where I can have a say, but that is another subject for another time. How any educator in their right mind can surrender control of what they are supposed to teach to some network of desk bureaucrats thousands of miles away from their classroom is beyond me. It is the height of insanity.

Elizabeth Natale: A Connecticut middle school English teacher has considered resigning because Common Core has hurt students and teachers.

Unfortunately, government attempts to improve education are stripping the joy out of teaching and doing nothing to help children. The Common Core standards require teachers to march lockstep in arming students with "21st-century skills." In English, emphasis on technology and nonfiction reading makes it more important for students to prepare an electronic presentation on how to make a paper airplane than to learn about moral dilemmas from Natalie Babbitt's beloved novel "Tuck Everlasting."

Brian Polet: A public charter school president in Michigan has resigned because Common Core is a “lousy educational model.”

This copy-written, corporate-driven education model has been developed by non-teachers and edu-crats from Washington to Lansing to the detriment of students, parents, taxpayers and local school boards. Without control of curriculum and a limited control of budgets, CC (Common Core) has effectively removed local control from parents and put it the hands of ESPs, the Dept. of Ed and state boards.

It's a shame that teachers are losing control as a result of Common Core. We need to get rid of these one-size-fits-all federal educational standards and allow teachers to meet the needs of all learners in their classroom.

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

Double standard over sex allegations

No parent wants to consider the travesty that when he sends his 18-year-old daughter to college, she could be vulnerable to sexual assault. But in the increasingly punitive atmosphere surrounding sexual-assault allegations, he should also fear sending his 18-year-old son to campus, where he may be falsely accused of rape.

The national media are deeply feminist. Their default position is the presumption that "the victim" is the female accuser. Some pundits have even argued in national newspapers that the accuser should be "automatically believed."

This is a serious problem for the left. First, they are the ones who have been exquisitely sensitive about the presumption of innocence for communists, radical Muslim terrorists and violent thugs like Willie Horton. Second, they have forcefully extolled that female accusers of sexual assault are to be automatically disbelieved if they are accusing Bill Clinton or other powerful Democrats. These allegations and any attempt to discuss them or verify them are considered "witch hunts" and "McCarthyism."

In mid-November, all the networks lunged when Rolling Stone magazine published a horrific account of an alleged gang rape in September 2012 by seven men at a fraternity house at the University of Virginia. The word "alleged" wasn't used by Rolling Stone. There was a presumption of guilt. The reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, was celebrated.

The story's subheadline told us that "Jackie was just starting her freshman year at the University of Virginia when she was brutally assaulted by seven men at a frat party. When she tried to hold them accountable, a whole new kind of abuse began". Jackie was led to the scene of the crime by "Drew," a frat brother she worked with at the college swimming pool.

Within hours of this tilted story's publication, Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity where the alleged assault took place, was vandalized, with "UVA Center for Rape Studies" spray-painted on the outside.

It took time for the facts to catch up to Rolling Stone, but when they did, they were devastating.

The fraternity and newspapers like the Washington Post began to tear the story apart. There was no party at Phi Kappa Psi on the date in question. There was no fall pledge drive, as reported (those occur in the spring). There was no frat member who worked at the swimming pool. Erdely made no attempt to contact the accused (anonymous) men who were presumed guilty. Soon, even the "rape advocates" who championed Jackie's courage in speaking out were expressing regret that her story kept changing.

To their credit, the same networks that charged right in and reported the Rolling Stone story (with 11-plus minutes of coverage scolding the University of Virginia's unawareness and inaction) turned around and reported the story fell apart. But who had been the abuser in this scenario?

The national media's discredit came in accepting Rolling Stone sight unseen in the first place. This is not the way these "watchdogs" handled Juanita Broaddrick's charge of rape against President Clinton in 1999. Even after NBC's Lisa Myers nailed down particulars establishing that Clinton and Broaddrick were in the same hotel on the same day in 1978, with witnesses who vouchsafed her tortured condition, the networks all but ignored the accuser and her story.

When the Rolling Stone account collapsed, the media put their stress on the tragedy for the accusers, and not for the accused. There was no soundbite of outrage in the aftermath for the injustice done to UVA or the fraternity, both having been so demonized by the media.

Just as in the Michael Brown case, the media's reaction carried the odor of "Heads we win, tails you lose." Facts were irrelevant. The liberal media never lose their halo as the sympathetic guardians of the public good, no matter how wrong — painfully, harmfully wrong — they are.


Australia: Conservative Federal government to cut university support; fund theological colleges

And the religion-hating Left are ropeable -- though funding Madrassas would be OK

Taxpayers would subsidise the training of priests and other religious workers at private colleges for the first time under the Abbott government's proposed higher education reforms. 

As well as deregulating university fees and cutting university funding by 20 per cent, the government's proposed higher education package extends federal funding to students at private universities, TAFES and associate degree programs.

Religious teaching, training and vocational institutes would be eligible for a share of $820 million in new Commonwealth funding over three years.

Labor and the Greens attacked the policy, saying it breaches the separation of Church and State. Earlier this year the government controversially announced it would provide $244 million for a new school chaplaincy scheme but would remove the option for schools to hire secular welfare workers.

In correspondence with voters, Family First Senator Bob Day has singled out funding for faith-based training institutes to explain his support for the government's reforms.

Eleven theological colleges are currently accredited by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) to provide courses designed to prepare students to enter religious ministries.

Institutes such as the Sydney College of Divinity, Brisbane's Christian Heritage College and the Perth Bible College, which currently charge students full fees, would be eligible for an estimated $4214 funding a year each student under the reforms.

The John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne, which offers course units including "Theology and Practice of Natural Family Planning" and "Marriage in the Catholic Tradition", would also be eligible for federal support.

The institute says on its website its mission is "promote marriage and the family for the good of the whole Church and the wider community".

The Anglican Diocese of Melbourne requires all trainee priests to receive theological training at Ridley College or the Trinity College Theological School, both of which would likely be eligible to offer Commonwealth Supported Places under the government's changes.

Labor higher education spokesman Kim Carr said: "This raises serious questions about relationship between Church and State. The Church has traditionally funded the training of its own personnel."

Mr Carr said there was a difference between federal funding for theoretically-focused religious studies courses and courses designed to prepare graduates for the priesthood.

Greens higher education spokeswoman Lee Rhiannon said: "Mr Pyne has gone one step further than robbing Peter to pay Paul – he is attempting to rob Australia's public and secular university system to pay private, religious colleges.

"Courses that Mr Pyne wants to extend funding to include those teaching prescriptive Christian ideology on sexuality and marriage – is this really the best use of the higher education budget?"

On its core values page on its website the Perth Bible College says, "We believe in the urgent need to reach our broken world with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to train men and women to be effective servants for God."

A spokesman for Education Minister Christopher Pyne said courses offered by private colleges would have to be approved by the independent regulator to gain access to federal funding.

"Consistent with current practice, the government will not distinguish between faith‑based and secular higher education institutions for registration and funding purposes," the spokesman said.

Family First Senator Bob Day said, in a letter to a member of the general public, that it is unfair that public universities receive federal funding but religious colleges and other private providers do not.

"The Government's proposals … reduce the subsidies given to universities, while for the first time addressing inequity by providing significant subsidies for non-universities (but still less than universities)," he wrote. "Some of these non-universities that will receive funding for the first time - if this Bill passes - are faith-based training, teaching, theological and vocational institutions."

University of Divinity Vice-Chancellor Peter Sherlock declined to comment, but in a recent Senate submission the private university said federal funding would bring down course fees for its students.

The government's reforms were voted down by the Senate this week but will return to Parliament, with some amendments, next year.

Figures released on Thursday by the Universities Admissions Centre showed a slight increase in year 12 applications on last year despite claims of vastly increased fees under a deregulated system.


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