Clueless China Connection?
U.K and U.S. universities are lining up to “partner” with China to provide education. But, asks a British report, do these universities have a clue as to what they’re about? This, from
a controversial report released in Britain … the thinking … has been “alarmingly woolly,” says the report, “British Universities in China: The Reality Beyond the Rhetoric.” … there is no overarching strategy about what UK [and U.S.] higher education should be trying to achieve.” (Inside Higher Ed)
Challenging ‘No-Anti-Semitism’ Verdict at UC Irvine
Sources close to the investigation into anti-Semitism at the university claim that the letter from the U.S. DOE which ended the inquiry, left out many of the allegations made by the complainant. According to Anti Racist Blog, the letter selectively chose a few incidents and arguments, while totally ignoring others which formed the core of the complaint. A strong challenge is said to in the offing.
Cambridge Mullah Wages Radio Offensive Against Islamists
John Butt, the Muslim chaplain at Cambridge University, has started a radio show broadcast, “Across the Border,” to Afghanistan and Pakistan. His efforts to do battle against militants who preach violence in the name of God are “groundbreaking.” (The Sunday Times, London)
Columbia Climatologist Naysays the ‘Governator’
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed rules that would force automakers to bump up their fuel efficiency 30-percent by 2016.
James Hansen – a Columbia University climatologist described by Shikha Dalmia as “a global warming worrywart” – has acknowledged that subjecting the whole country to the Schwarzenegger “warming fix” would not result in any measurable cut in global temperature. (New York Post)
Excellent Article on the Nuttiness of College Admissions
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Naomi Schaefer Riley has this excellent article on the nutty world of college admissions today, where students are much better off if their parents are factory workers than if they’re surgeons.
In order to overcome the “disadvantage of privilege,” students are coached on how to structure their resumes so as to look appealing to the admissions people at the elite schools. It is like the old U.S.-Soviet arms race, with kids trying desperately to outshine others in their “passion” for things that supposedly impress the gatekeepers.
So if a kid from a successful family wants to get into Princeton, it’s not enough to have straight As and a dazzling set of SAT scores. It’s necessary to spend all free time padding the resume with “meaningful” activities. Then, if you’re lucky, you’ll overcome your disadvantages in the eyes of the admissions people and your parents will be allowed to spend a fortune on a degree that won’t make you any smarter than if you’d gone to a non-elite school.
Further on the Use of “Islamo-Fascism”
A reader writes to say that the term is commonly used to deny any problem with Islam itself. In this view, any negative manifestations among Muslims, such as the use of violence in the name of Allah and the enforcement of oppressive laws and customs, arise only from a distortion of true Islam that bends it to achieve despotic,fascist-like militancy and control.
How To Get into College
Naomi Schaefer Riley in WSJ:
Given that, with the arrival of the new year, college applications are now flooding into admissions offices all over the country, it might be a good time to reflect on the absurdity of the whole college-admissions process. Take this passage from Michele Hernández’s “Acing the College Application,” where she assesses the chances of a high-school student getting into a college of his choice. “Best case: Neither of your parents attended college at all, your father is a factory worker, and your mom is on disability. . . . Worst case: Your father went to Yale as an undergraduate and then Harvard Business School and is now an investment banker and your mom went to Brown, holds a Ph.D. in chemistry and works as a research chemist.”
We all understand that being a rich white kid puts one at a disadvantage in the college-admissions process. But it is worth pausing to savor the irony of an institution that charges as much as $45,000 a year asking its applicants to demonstrate their proletarian credentials.
Clarification Needed on Use of the Term “Islamo-Fascism”
It seems the term is being used in two ways. One is to highlight the historical connections between the Muslim world and Nazism and Fascism. For example, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood was an admirer of Hitler and Mussolini. For another example, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem met frequently with the Nazis to encourage them in the elimination of the Jews of Europe, and during the war he actually organized some Bosnian Muslim units to fight with the SS.
But the term is also being used in a generic sense, to say that Islamic sharia law constitutes a form of fascism, a form of totalitarian control of society.
The first use is factual and probably unexceptionable. The second is problematic, and forces the uniqueness of Islamic fundamentalism into the familiar mold of European fascism and national socialism.
But in any event, people who use the term should make clear what they mean. Eventually its spelling should be regularized too.
The Value of HBCUs
In this week’s Clarion Call I write about the evidence that historically black colleges and universities are beneficial institutions because of what they don’t do: affirmative action and debasing of the curriculum.
In response to Francisco Nava’s staging of death threats against himself and others at Princeton, a former president of the Anscombe Society, which is dedicated to protecting unborn human life and upholding traditional sexual values, provides full details about Francisco’s “assault.” He adds:
Though deeply saddened by the [event], … the group of which I am proud to call myself a former president and current member will continue to seek the truth about human flourishing and engage opposing conceptions of it with integrity, even cheer.
Atheist Finds God
The New York Times review of British philosopher Anthony Flew’s confession, There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notoious Atheist Changed His Mind, sums up Flew”s conversion so:
[T]hroughout his career, he has, he says, been willing to follow an argument wherever it leads and to be open to new evidence. …Flew now thinks “the world picture … that has emerged from modern science” points to an “infinite Intelligence” that brought the universe into being. He believes the fact that nature obeys precise mathematical laws, the fact that life and mind have emerged from inanimate matter, and the fact that the universe exists at all are best explained by positing a God.
Perhaps predictably, the reviewer, Anthony Gottlieb, who teaches the history of ideas at CUNY’s Graduate Center, finds Flew’s reasoning inadequate.
Recollections of Bhutto’s Years At Harvard
…including her “dabbling in America’s political obsessions” of the late 60s and early 70s. (The New York Sun)
Views on Bhutto’s Education Legacy Diverge
…to say the least.
Husain Haqqani, a professor at Boston University, writes that during Benazir Bhutto’s second term as prime minister spending on education greatly increased
and 46,000 new schools were built.
Thousands of teachers were recruited with the understanding that a secular education, covering multiple study areas (particularly technical and scientific education), would improve the lives of Pakistanis and create job opportunities critical to self-empowerment. (The Wall Street Journal)
Ralph Peters vehemently disagrees:
Educated in expensive Western schools, she permitted Pakistan’s feeble education system to rot – opening the door to Islamists and their religious schools.
During her years as prime minister, Pakistan went backward, not forward … The Islamist threat – which she artfully played both ways – spread like cancer. (New York Post)
A Bit of Progress Against the College Requirement Mania
The Memphis, TN police department is dropping the requirement that applicants have gone to college according to this story in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Struggling to hire enough officers, Memphis has done something eminently sensible.
“The big fence was the college requirement,” said department spokesman Sgt. Vincent Higgins. “And we’re knocking down that wall.”
Memphis’ Police Director contends that higher education is neither necessary nor sufficient for good police work. “Just because a person has a college education doesn’t mean they are going to make a good cop,” Goodwin said. “And just because you don’t have a college degree doesn’t mean you’re not going to be a good cop.”
There are many businesses in the United States that could learn from this. Whether or not someone has a college education is a poor screening device for most jobs.
An Indiana University of Pennsylvania professor who has written about faculty-student relationships has settled a lawsuit brought by a doctoral student who claimed the professor sabotaged his dissertation when he spurned her advances.
A Gift of the Spirit
For all those seeking a richer and fuller spiritual life, here is an online book, Spiritual Theology, by Father Jordan Aumann, who died this year, and who will be remembered as one of the greatest spiritual theologians of the 20th century.
This classic, one of the best texts available on the subject of mystical and ascetical theology, has been posted by the Dominican Order to which he belonged, in such a way as to make small sections available for reading on one’s computer screen.
Much of Spiritual Theology is based on St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa. It demonstrates that perfection of the spirit consists especially in charity, a charity richly rewarded in spiritual graces.
Happy New Year.