First world problems and the First Amendment

From The Washington Post:

Remove the Southern belle from her inglorious perch
By Elizabeth Boyd1 | August 14, 2015

When administrators at the University of Georgia declared a ban on hoop skirts in the spring, I could only think, what took you so long?

But in that sense UGA was really no different from other Southern schools. Long after many universities had officially done away with a variety of Old South symbols, the feminine figure most clearly identified with Dixie — the Southern belle — continued to enjoy free rein. College administrators who had long since banned the Confederate battle flag, nixed the singing of “Dixie” and given plantation-owner mascots the boot were still saying yes to the dress.

Wearing hoop skirts to unofficial campus social events such as fraternity-sponsored Old South balls, after all, was just feminine. Just fluff. Just women.

The hoop skirt ban was enacted in response to an ensuing uproar in March at the University of Oklahoma after members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, a fraternity with Southern roots, were caught on video chanting a racist song with references to lynching. The ban also came just weeks before University of Mississippi student Graeme Phillip Harris was indicted on federal civil rights charges of leaving a noose and a flag bearing Confederate insignia on a statue of James Meredith, the school’s first black student. Harris has since pleaded guilty. Of the charges, then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. noted, “No one should ever be made to feel threatened or intimidated because of what they look like or who they are.” The Mississippi NAACP branch has called the actions a hate crime.

The crude campus racism would soon pale next to the June tragedy in Charleston, S.C. After the mass murder of nine African American churchgoers, allegedly by a white supremacist who blatantly linked his views with the Confederate banner, the U.S. public engaged in long overdue soul-searching about the true meaning of Confederate symbolism. One result has been the steady removal of its signs from civic life. But related conversations have not necessarily taken place, and the question remains: Will feminine racial symbols — less noticed, highly effective — ever be similarly called to task? Will observers ever recognize what the hoop — and the contemporary belle — have to do with the hate?

There’s more at the link.

The Bill of Rights

The University of Georgia is not a private college, but a state university. How, then, can an instrument of the state ban the Confederate battle flag, hoop skirts, or the singing of “Dixie.” The First Amendment says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

With the gradual incorporation of the First Amendment to covering state action as well, the state has no authority at all to abridge the freedom of speech. Why, then, do college administrators think that they can ban the singing of a song, or a particular form of dress, or the display of a flag?

What Dr Boyd really wants to do is regulate thought, and allow only those thoughts and cultures ow which she approves:

The hoop skirt ban is a great start. But university officials should know that there is more than one way to perform Southern belle. When the University of Mississippi effectively banned the Confederate flag from football games in 1997, that incendiary symbol migrated onto the bodies of young women, who continued to sport it in the form of whole-flag wraparound skirts and Greek T-shirts incorporating the insignia. As a mechanism of white Southern remembrance, feminine bodily performance often succeeds where masculine symbols falter because it is not taken seriously. Just feminine. Just fluff. Just women.

If UGA and other Southern schools really want to lead, they will not only ban the hoop; they will also go after the belle. This will be tougher to do. It will mean discontinuing support for still-prevalent campus productions that promote imaginative connection with the Old South. And it will mean instituting new campus productions in their place. For their part, traditionally white Southern sororities serious about anti-racism will scrap the belle aesthetic and corresponding performances designed to measure it. They will develop new yardsticks for evaluating potential members that are less about looks and more about leadership. In short, they will confront the central role their choreography plays in reiterating race and class privilege. They will just say to hell with the belle.

My guess is that very few college girls in the South — or anywhere else for that matter — really are Southern Belles. They might wear some antebellum Southern finery for a party or two, just for kicks, but they’re a lot more likely to be wearing their Daisy Dukes or miniskirts or skinny jeans2 during these hot summer months, and the Southern Belle of antebellum history would be scandalized by such clothing.

But note that Dr Boyd wants Southern colleges to try to mold thought, to spend money to promote “new campus productions” which would meet with her approval. That is no surprise: for the American liberal, any culture, any thoughts, of which the left disapprove must not be only disapproved of, but stamped out, banned, forever removed from our country. And that is why Dr Boyd and her ilk have no respect for the First Amendment — other than to protect what they want to say — because the left, which, in the 1970s was the greatest supporter of absolute freedom of speech, no longer believe that speech which they find offensive can ever be tolerated or allowed.

As William F Buckley, Jr, once said, “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

  1. The writer is research associate in American Studies at University of Maryland at College Park, and the author of “Southern Beauty: Race, Ritual, and Memory in the Modern South” (under contract to University of Georgia Press). Her biography at the University of Maryland tells us that one of her fields of interest is “Gender History,” so we know that she is not a serious scholar.
  2. Are those still in style? Your fashion-challenged Editor really has no clue!

Rule 5 Blogging: On Active Duty

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Mila Kunis in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

Senior Airman Vanessa Velez, a convoy driver with the Bagram Provincial Reconstruction Team, poses for a photo in front of the humvee she will be driving just before her next mission outside the wire here Feb. 10. Velez, who is a vehicle maintenance controller with the 6th Logistics Readiness Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., has driven at least 120 convoys during her 365-day deployment in Afghanistan.

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: On Active Duty’ »

From Around the Blogroll

From The Wall Street Journal:

Clinton Defies the Law and Common Sense
The question of whether Hillary Clinton’s emails were marked top secret isn’t legally relevant. Any cabinet member should know that.
By Michael B. Mukasey | Aug. 14, 2015 6:49 p.m. ET

Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct public business while serving as secretary of state, followed by the deletion of information on that server and the transfer to her lawyer of a thumb drive containing heretofore unexplored data, engages several issues of criminal law—but the overriding issue is one of plain common sense.

Let’s consider the potentially applicable criminal laws in order of severity.

It is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than a year to keep “documents or materials containing classified information . . . at an unauthorized location.” Note that it is the information that is protected; the issue doesn’t turn on whether the document or materials bear a classified marking. This is the statute under which David Petraeus—former Army general and Central Intelligence Agency director—was prosecuted for keeping classified information at home. Mrs. Clinton’s holding of classified information on a personal server was a violation of that law. So is transferring that information on a thumb drive to David Kendall, her lawyer.

Moving up the scale, the law relating to public records generally makes it a felony for anyone having custody of a “record or other thing” that is “deposited with . . . a public officer” to “remove” or “destroy” it, with a maximum penalty of three years. Emails are records, and the secretary of state is a public officer and by statute their custodian.

The Espionage Act defines as a felony, punishable by up to 10 years, the grossly negligent loss or destruction of “information relating to the national defense.” Note that at least one of the emails from the small random sample taken by the inspector general for the intelligence community contained signals intelligence and was classified top secret.

To be sure, this particular email was turned over, but on paper rather than in its original electronic form, without the metadata that went with it. If other emails of like sensitivity are among the 30,000 Mrs. Clinton erased, that is yet more problematic. The server is now in the hands of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose forensic skills in recovering data in situations like this are unexcelled.

The highest step in this ascending scale of criminal penalties—20 years maximum—is reached by anyone who destroys “any record, document or tangible object with intent to impede, obstruct or influence the proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States . . . or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter.”

So, for example, if Mrs. Clinton caused to be wiped out emails that might have been anticipated to be of interest to a congressional committee, such conduct would come within the sweep of the statute. That, by the way, is the obstruction-of-justice statute, as revised by the Sarbanes-Oxley law, passed by Congress in 2002 while Mrs. Clinton served as a senator, and for which she voted.

There’s more at the original, but you get the picture: the former Secretary of State and Heiress Apparent for the Presidency of the United States is an as-yet-uncharged felon.

There was absolutely no reason for Mrs Clinton to have set up a private server in the first place: it was an added, personal expense, one which required extra effort to set up in the first place, and one which exposed her to criminal charges. The State Department already had a e-mail system, and one of the faceless bureaucrats at State would have been there, on her very first day, to show her her Department computer, complete with its secure email system. I can think of only one reason that Secretary Clinton would have done this: she wanted to be in control of her own e-mail, and deny others access to it. Too bad that that’s against the law.

And now, on to the blogroll!

That’s it for this week, folks!

#HillaryClinton fits the definition of a pathological liar perfectly

From the much better-looking Dana on Patterico’s Pontifications:

Hillary Clinton’s Yoga Emails Come Back To Bite Her
Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:33 pm


Hillary Clinton has instructed her attorney to hand over her private email server and a thumb drive of all her work-related emails to the Justice Department in an effort to blunt an expanding probe into the use of a private email account. Clinton “directed her team to give her email server that was used during her tenure as secretary to the Department of Justice, as well as a thumb drive containing copies of her emails already provided to the State Department,” her spokesman, Nick Merrill, told CNN early Tuesday evening. “She pledged to cooperate with the government’s security inquiry, and if there are more questions, we will continue to address them.” Merril said in the meantime, Clinton’s team “has worked with the State Department to ensure her emails are stored in a safe and secure manner.”

About those yoga emails? Well, there’s a bit of a problem:

[T]here’s the issue of Clinton having four classified emails on her server (despite not being marked as such), which led to a Department of Justice referral dealing with the potential compromise of classified information.

Well, as it turns out, two of them weren’t just supposed to be classified, they were top secret:

There’s more at the original.

It’s no wonder Bill and Hillary are soulmates: they are both fundamentally dishonest to an absolutely astonishing degree.

When the e-mail story first came out, the simplest thing would have been for Mrs Clinton to just tell the truth, that yes, there might have been classified information which went through her e-mail server, and yes, she was turning the server over to the FBI. It would have been painful, but it would pretty much have been over by now. Instead she lied, and held on to the server, when she should have known, when we all knew, that that would not be the end of it, that she’d have to turn it over eventually.

A pathological liar lies compulsively and impulsively, almost without thinking about the consequences of his action. He lies regularly on a spontaneous basis even if he gains no benefit from it, or even if he traps himself into it. A pathological liar cannot control his impulse to lie and it is usually a self-defeating trait.

That definition fits Mrs Clinton exactly: there was nothing to be gained — except, perhaps, in her imagination — and a lot to lose by lying, but she lied anyway. Some of that might be due to her sure knowledge that the professional media will cover for her, but she ought to know, by now, that the professional media aren’t everything anymore; her coming under fire in Kosovo lies should have taught her that.

If the professional media ever decide that they like Bernie Sanders, the way that they decided they liked Barack Hussein Obama in 2008, her candidacy is toast.

When trolling for votes, just offer more Free Stuff!

From The Wall Street Journal:

Hillary Clinton Proposes Debt-Free Tuition at Public Colleges
Plan, which would cost $350 billion over 10 years, is way for Democratic front-runner to woo young voters and provides ammunition against surging Bernie Sanders
By Laura Meckler and Josh Mitchell | Updated Aug. 10, 2015 12:03 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON— Hillary Clinton is proposing an expansive program aimed at enabling students to attend public colleges and universities without taking on loans for tuition, her attempt to address a source of anxiety for American families while advancing one of the left’s most sweeping new ideas.

The plan—dubbed the “New College Compact” and estimated to cost $350 billion over 10 years—would fundamentally reshape the federal government’s role in higher education by offering new federal money, but with strings attached.

States would have to increase their own spending on higher education, and universities would be required to control spending, though the Democratic presidential front-runner hasn’t yet worked out details. Families still would be required to contribute, but students wouldn’t have to take out loans to attend public schools.

“Imagine what is possible in America if we tackle the runaway costs of higher education, make sure that students who start college can finish with a degree, and relieve the crushing burden of student debt,” the Clinton campaign said in a fact sheet outlining the plan.

I have a Master of Arts degree in Womens Studies. However, the only job I can find is as a Bartender at a local restaurant I owe over 60K in Student loans. I am forced to rely on food stamps and W.I.C. to support my son. Is this the “American Dream’ I worked so hard for? I am the 99 percent.

There’s more at the original.

We have used the rather famous picture to the right before. Now, if the young lady at the right racked up $60,000 in student loans in pursuit of a wholly worthless degree, just why would it be wise to follow the former Secretary of State’s proposal to have the taxpayers foot the bill for wholly useless degrees? Why should we tax people who never went to college, and whose children won’t be going to college, to pay for the children of wealthier people to go to college? If they get good jobs after college, then we’ll have taxed poorer people to make other people wealthier, and if they can’t get good jobs, because they’ve pursued degrees in fields with no practical demand, then we will have wasted the money.

As of August 6th, the national debt stood at $18,151,284,784,984.56. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that when the current fiscal year is over on September 30th, the total federal deficit will have been $486 billion.1 Why, then, should we institute another welfare-for-the-well-to-do program, when we have to borrow money right now to fund the current operations of government?

In 2013, Forbes reported that half of college graduates are working in jobs that do not require a college degree. In the meantime, recent college graduates are having a difficult time finding jobs, frequently because they have the degrees in the wrong fields.

The demand for college graduates is actually there, but not in the degrees that that are being pursued. It’s easy enough to make fun of joke majors like Women’s Studies,2 but it isn’t just the joke majors which are leaving graduates unemployed; most of the liberal arts are in the same boat.

But the “STEM” (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors? They are doing well, commanding good salaries even at the entry level, and are in such demand that companies are importing foreigners to fill some positions. Those graduates can stand student loan debt, because they are in line for careers which will enable them to pay off those debts.

What Mrs Clinton’s proposal would do is to subsidize the unemployable majors, because the degrees which lead to good jobs now don’t really need the help!

Mrs Clinton’s proposal is intended to do one thing: get her votes from college age people. But as practical policy, it’s worse than worthless; it’s an expensive waste of money.

  1. This estimate was accessed on Monday, August 10, 2015, and is subject to change.
  2. I have said previously that, were I responsible for hiring people, I would never hire anyone with a degree in Women’s Studies, because such a person is more likely to claim sexual discrimination or harassment and file a lawsuit. I would wish such an applicant well in finding a job with my competitors.

What the Democrats think of the working class: they’re just Trailer Park Trash.

From Breitbart:

Dem Chair: Tea Party Came ‘Out of the Trailer Parks’
By Mike Flynn | August 5, 2015

Russ Feingold, who served 12 years as a hard-left Senator from Wisconsin and lost in the Republican wave of 2010, is hoping to make a comeback in 2016.

It has been more than 80 years since a defeated Senator reclaimed his seat in the next election, but Feingold and his supporters are counting on 2010 being a political aberration.

Jim Carmey, a Feingold campaign surrogate and Chair of the Pierce County Democrats, tried to explain away Feingold’s defeat at a recent fundraiser:

2010 was just so different, with Obama just having come in and a lot of the tea party people just kind of coming out of the woodwork — coming out of the trailer parks, essentially. There was a different mix of people at the polls.

Right. Emphasis, added, of course, in case the disdain from Mr. Carmey wasn’t immediately clear.

What is it about Democrats that they always assume any loss they suffer is because of some extraordinary event, almost unnatural? Are trailer parks hot-beds of potential Republican and conservative voters who would better serve political progress by not showing up to vote?

When Bill Clinton was facing serious allegations of rape from several women, Democrat strategist James Carville famously dismissed the claims as the inevitable result of “dragging a $100 through a trailer park.”

Bill Cosby probably wishes he could have used that line.

The statement by Carmey goes a long way to understand how the Democrat party has been obliterated in large swathes of the country. Opponents of the Democrat message are always branded as somehow living “beyond the pale.” They are racists, sexists, live in “trailer parks” or “cling” to God and guns.

There’s more at the link. But what Mr Carmey said was, in a way, correct: the people who live in trailer parks, so disrespected by the elitist Democrats, are working-class Americans, people who work hard for a living, and are doing the best they can with what they have.

We have mentioned the Democrats’ loss of the white working class voter previously, pointing out that the Democrats’ policies, regardless of what they say, do not help the working class because the Democrats really don’t understand the economics of the working class.  But Mr Carmey’s statement demonstrates another part of the reason why: the Democratic leadership doesn’t really respect the working class.  Oh, they certainly say that they do, and claim to be the party of the working man — though it is really impossible to be both the party of the working man and the party of the non-working man at the same time — but the elites who run the Democratic Party really have no clue as to how people who are living from paycheck-to-paycheck have to deal with the hardships of life.1  Bill Clinton grew up in modest circumstances, but Hillary Clinton was the daughter of a well-to-do family, and matriculated at Wellesley College; she has never known a day in which the family wasn’t sure of how they were going to put food on the table.

For the Democrats, just claiming to be for working Americans is supposed to be enough, supposed to automatically win their votes; the party elites have never really thought things through, because they are too egocentric to be able to understand people who aren’t like them.  And now that they have been losing the votes of the working class, they are genuinely stunned.

It’s really very simple: when the elites say that electricity costs have to be raised to force development of renewable power sources, it’s fine for them, because they have the money to pay the higher bills. Our current President once said that his plans would make electricity costs “necessarily skyrocket,” and he was fine with that.  These people never understood what it means to tell working class people that their bills are going to be increased, for absolutely no gain for themselves.

The left really don’t have a clue. They may cobble together enough of a coalition of liberal elites and welfare recipients and government and union workers to win the presidential election again, but they’ll never be able to really help the working people of this country, because they don’t understand them and they don’t respect them.

  1. The Editor is well enough off these days, but he grew up very poor.