Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

June 2, 2005

Deep Throat, Linda Tripp, Richard Nixon, and Ben Stein

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:52 pm

By now probably everybody knows who Deep Throat is, even people who have no idea who Deep Throat was — which is probably most people under age 30, and maybe even most people under age 40. In 1972-74, Deep Throat leaked a bunch of secret information and/or allegations about Richard Nixon to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who used it to bring down the Nixon Administration, for which they got a Pulitzer Prize.

In exchange for which, Woodward and Bernstein promised to keep Deep Throats real name secret until he died. Or, I suppose, until Deep Throat himself, now known as W. Mark Felt, Sr. leaked it earlier this week. Which of course prompted a cascade of accolades proclaiming Mr. Throat — er, Mr. Felt — to be a “great American hero.”

What did he do to become a “hero”? He was at the time the number 2 man at the FBI, and if he is to be believed, he passed classified (i.e., illegal-to-pass) information about the FBI’s investigation of the Watergate break-in to Woodward and Bernstein. If he did what he says he did, he violated numerous FBI rules and federal laws, and could have gone to jail — but for the fact that his identity was unknown until after the statute of limitations expired last year. The fact that he could have gone to jail — that “He knew he was taking a monumental risk,” is what makes him a hero, according to Woodward.

In other words, as James Lakely points out, Mark Felt is to Richard Nixon what Linda Tripp is to Bill Clinton.

The former attorney for Clinton scandal whistleblower Linda R. Tripp — who, like “Deep Throat,” exposed White House misdeeds — said his client’s harsh public treatment stands in stark contrast to the veneration of W. Mark Felt, whose aid to the press helped bring down President Nixon.

“I think that what happened to Linda Tripp — demonization is too kind a word,” said David Irwin, who represented Mrs. Tripp during President Clinton’s impeachment trial. “I thought she got the brunt of a lot of people’s frustrations.

[In contrast], Press members have largely praised him as a hero for exposing the corruption of the Nixon administration. The Post, which hid Mr. Felt’s identity for more than three decades, wrote in yesterday’s editions that Mr. Felt was motivated by fears that Mr. Nixon would try to “steer and stall” the FBI’s investigation of the Watergate burglary ….

Why did he do it? Why undertake such a monumental risk? To rid the nation of the evil Richard Nixon, right?

Well, not necessarily. Let’s complete the above sentence:

… and because he was passed over by Mr. Nixon to lead the FBI after the death of J. Edgar Hoover.

What? Deep Throat, great American hero, motivated by a personal vendetta? And even worse, the Washington Post,, the venerable leader of the Fourth Estate, valiant protector of the people’s right to know, knowingly suppressed this fact? A fact that would be useful to the public in evaluating the veracity of Deep Throats revelations? Perish the thought!

Or, don’t. The fact is, after J. Edgar Hoover died — the same J. Edgar Hoover who was appointed to the predecessor agency of the FBI in 1924, convinced Congress to expland his budget and authority, and built the FBI into both a crime-fighting organization and an organization that spied on everybody from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Marylin Monroe, and had a policy of taking advantage of the Supreme Court’s “exclusionary rule” interpretation of the Fourth Amendment to conduct warrantless searches and wiretaps and merely not use it in court — Nixon decided to bring in an outside to shake up the FBI and bring it back within the laws it was supposed to be enforcing. Instead of promoting Hoover protegé Mark Felt. So Mark Felt used the techniques he’d learned from Hoover to bring down Nixon in revenge. How heroic.

The simple fact is, Mark Felt is viewed as a hero because he brought down a President viewed (by most in the media anyway) as a villian. And Linda Tripp is viewed as a villian because they nearly brought down a president who was loved and adored (by most in the media anyway) . That’s the different. The only difference. Except maybe that Mark Felt had a personal vendetta against Nixon and Linda Tripp had no such vendetta against Clinton, that Mark Felt violated federal law and Linda Tripp didn’t, and Mark Felt hid behind a cloak of anonymity and Linda Tripp had the courage to come out in public.

Minor differences, of course, compared to the evil things Nixon did.

Which were what exactly?

Ben Stein, the lawyer/economist/actor/comedian who worked as an assitant speechwriter in the Nixon Admistration explained it as follows:

Can anyone even remember now what Nixon did that was so terrible? He ended the war in Vietnam, brought home the POW’s, ended the war in the Mideast, opened relations with China, started the first nuclear weapons reduction treaty, saved Eretz Israel’s life, started the Environmental Protection Administration. Does anyone remember what he did that was bad?

Oh, now I remember. He lied. He was a politician who lied. How remarkable. He lied to protect his subordinates who were covering up a ridiculous burglary that no one to this date has any clue about its purpose. He lied so he could stay in office and keep his agenda of peace going. That was his crime. He was a peacemaker and he wanted to make a world where there was a generation of peace. And he succeeded.

That is his legacy. He was a peacemaker. He was a lying, conniving, covering up peacemaker. He was not a lying, conniving drug addict like JFK, a lying, conniving war starter like LBJ, a lying, conniving seducer like Clinton — a lying, conniving peacemaker. That is Nixon’s kharma.

When his enemies brought him down, and they had been laying for him since he proved that Alger Hiss was a traitor, since Alger Hiss was their fair-haired boy, this is what they bought for themselves in the Kharma Supermarket that is life:

1) The defeat of the South Vietnamese government with decades of death and hardship for the people of Vietnam.

2) The assumption of power in Cambodia by the bloodiest government of all time, the Khmer Rouge, who killed a third of their own people, often by making children beat their own parents to death. No one doubts RN would never have let this happen.

So, this is the great boast of the enemies of Richard Nixon, including Mark Felt: they made the conditions necessary for the Cambodian genocide. If there is such a thing as kharma, if there is such a thing as justice in this life of the next, Mark Felt has bought himself the worst future of any man on this earth. And Bob Woodward is right behind him, with Ben Bradlee bringing up the rear. Out of their smug arrogance and contempt, they hatched the worst nightmare imaginable: genocide. I hope they are happy now — because their future looks pretty bleak to me.

Syllogistic Hypocrisy #16: Tom DeLay’s Travel, and Theirs

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:22 pm

As I’ve said before, one particular form of hypocrisy that really bothers me is the type where some person or group claims to favor or oppose X because of self-evident principle Y – but they don’t apply principle Y to everything else, and in severe cases they don’t apply principle Y to anything but issue X. I call this “Syllogistic Hypocrisy.”

The case of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is a great example. Democrats, especially House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have been calling for DeLay to resign (or as Howard Dean more plainy put it “serve his jail sentence” — through he doesn’t have one) because he was allegedly late in reporting some trips he or his staff took at the expense of some Washington think tanks. The trips were legal; DeLay is accused of not reporting them within one month of the trip. It now turns out that 43 other House members have failed to report 198 trips — including Nancy Pelosi herself (11 trips), House Minority Whip (i.e., the #2 House Democrat) (12 trips). By comparison, DeLay’s staff had only 4 such trips.

Pejman Yousefzadeh reprints the entire article until the beautiful headline:


Politics in the Classroom

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:02 pm

Conservatives, especially in and around academia, have long alleged that the overwhelming predominance of liberals in academia has led to widespread discrimination against liberals, both in hiring and tenure, and in grading of students. There have been numerous documented cases of the latter, but each has been dismissed as “isolated” by liberals defenders of the status quo.

However, now it’s official. If you are in a School of Education studying to be a teacher, you will be graded on your “disposition,” which is defined by your “beliefs and attitudes related … to social justice.

‘Disposition’ Emerges as Issue at Brooklyn College

BY JACOB GERSHMAN – Staff Reporter of the Sun
May 31, 2005

Brooklyn College’s School of Education has begun to base evaluations of aspiring teachers in part on their commitment to social justice, raising fears that the college is screening students for their political views.

The School of Education at the CUNY campus initiated last fall a new method of judging teacher candidates based on their “dispositions,” a vogue in teacher training across the country that focuses on evaluating teachers’ values, apart from their classroom performance.

Critics such as [History Professor Robert David] Johnson say the dangers of the assessment policy became immediately apparent in the fall semester when several students filed complaints against an instructor who they said discriminated against them because of their political beliefs and “denounced white people as the oppressors.”

Classroom clashes between the assistant professor, Priya Parmar, and one outspoken student led a sympathetic colleague of the instructor to conduct an informal investigation of the dispositions of the student, who the colleague said exhibited “aggressive and bullying behavior toward his professor.” That student and another one were subsequently accused by the dean of the education school of plagiarism and were given lower grades as a result.

And no, it’s not just “isolated” at Brooklyn College. It’s the official policy of the agency that accredits teacher training programs. That means, if a school doesn’t grade according to political view — and guarantee that the views preferred are those of the accrediting agency — they can lose their accreditation.

Driving the new policies at the college and similar ones at other education schools is a mandate set forth by the largest accrediting agency of teacher education programs in America, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. That 51-year-old agency, composed of 33 professional associations, says it accredits 600 colleges of education – about half the country’s total. Thirty-nine states have adopted or adapted the council’s standards as their own, according to the agency.

In 2000 the council introduced new standards for accrediting education schools. Those standards incorporated the concept of dispositions, which the agency maintains ought to be measured, to sort out teachers who are likeliest to be successful. In a glossary, the council says dispositions “are guided by beliefs and attitudes related to values such as caring, fairness, honesty, responsibility, and social justice.”

To drive home the notion that education schools ought to evaluate teacher candidates on such parameters as attitude toward social justice, the council issued a revision of its accrediting policies in 2002 in a Board of Examiners Update. It encouraged schools to tailor their assessments of dispositions to the schools’ guiding principles, which are known in the field as “conceptual frameworks.” The council’s policies say that if an education school “has described its vision for teacher preparation as ‘Teachers as agents of change’ and has indicated that a commitment to social justice is one disposition it expects of teachers who can become agents of change, then it is expected that unit assessments include some measure of a candidate’s commitment to social justice.”

Brooklyn College’s School of Education, which is the only academic unit at the college with the status of school, is among dozens of education schools across the country that incorporate the notion of “social justice” in their guiding principles. At Brooklyn, “social justice” is one of the four main principles in its conceptual framework. The school’s conceptual framework states that it develops in its students “a deeper understanding of the quest for social justice.” In its explanation of that mission, the school states: “We educate teacher candidates and other school personnel about issues of social injustice such as institutionalized racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism.”

It is not a stretch that a student known to believe in some religions — say, a traditional version of Christianity or Judaism — would automatically be presumed to be “heterosexist” if he or she doesn’t explicitly denounce a belief in Leviticus 18:22.

Since you need a degree or certificate from an accredited school of education to teach in the public schools in most states, this is equivalent to barring people from teaching in the public schools if they are of the wrong religion.

Where is the ACLU when you need them?

Mrs. & Mrs. Paris Paris

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:43 pm

… Or something like that. AP reports:

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Hotel heiress and “The Simple Life” reality TV star Paris Hilton is engaged to her boyfriend, Greek shipping heir Paris Latsis, her spokesman said.

So if she takes the “traditional” route as far as names go, she will become Paris Latsis upon her marriage to Paris Latsis. And they will be Mr. & Mrs. Paris Latsis without worrying about whose name comes first. And when you call their house and say, “May I please speak to Paris?” what will they say? “Which one?” “Paris Latsis.” “Which one?” “Huh?”

This is even worse then when Eleanor Roosevelt married Franklin Roosevelt and became Eleanor Roosevelt Roosevelt. Heck’s, it’s even worse than my friends Larry and Lori…. ;-)

Why does Harvard charge tuition?

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:46 pm

Arnold Kling points to a recent list of university endowments, in order of size. As usual, Harvard University has the largest endowment, at $22.1 billion — almost twice as large as the second-largest (Yale, $12.7 billion).

What’s interesting about this is not so much the number, but the annual increase — when compared to other annual figures from Harvard. Harvard’s endowment increased from $ $18.8 billion in 2003 to $22.1 billion — an increase of 17.5%, or $3.3 billion. That’s the net increase in endowment value, not the investment performance. So it includes increases from new donations, and substracts decreases from any money spent from the endowment. (The investment income, was actually $3.8 billion, so they did spend some of it on net.) This was not even an aception year for Harvard’s endowment; in 2000 it had $4.5 billion in investment income alone.

Now, according to Harvard’s 2004 Annual Report, Harvard received $556 million (that’s million, not billion) in income from students — including tuition for undergraduates and graduate students, board and lodging, and “continuing education and executive programs” — and that’s subtracting out scholarships and financial aid given to students by the university.

In other words, Harvard makes almost six times as much income from its endowment as it does from tuition, room and board.

Harvard could eliminate tuition completely — that is, make Harvard free to students, including room and board — and still make over $2.7 billion dollars for its endowment, and not spend a penny less on faculty and staff salaries, physical plant, or stem cell research. (A picture of some beakers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute graces the first page of the financial statement section of Harvard’s annual report. How nice — and apolitical, of course.)

So, why does Harvard charge tuition?

If Harvard University were a for-profit corportation, it could reasonably be argued that they should charge what the market will bear. If people are willing to pay to go to Harvard, Harvard should take the money and add it to its bottom-line profit, even if it costs nothing to educated them. And they could justify “financial aid” (i.e., lower tuition) for less-rich studnets simply by viewing it as charging each student what he or she (or his or her parents) is willing to pay.

But Harvard University is not a for-profit corporation. Harvard is, legally and in theory, a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation. It is not supposed to be concerned with making a profit; it is supposed to be concerned with improving the world. But it’s acting like it’s just trying to make money. And Harvard, while the richest university, it not unique in this regard. As Forbes magazine reported back in October 1998, most universities spend only about 3% of their endowments annually, while their average investment income averages 6.8% (not counting new donations).

Yale law professor Henry Hansmann, an expert on the law and economics of nonprofit institutions, was recently quotd deriding the argument that universities need to maintain their endowments against hard times rather than fritter it away on educating students now. His pointed comment: “A stranger from Mars who looks at private universities would probably say they are institutions whose business is to manage large pools of investment assets and that they run educational institutions on the side . . . to act as buffers for the investment pools.”

Helpfully, [former Columbia University trustee Edward N.] Costikyan has a suggestion for university administrators looking for ways to spend the money: Reduce tuition. He cites estimates that colleges like Harvard could conceivably abolish tuition altogether.

So, why the insistence on charging students ridiculously high levels of tuition, when they don’t need the money and don’t even spend it? There can be only one reason why people hoard money they don’t need, don’t spend, and don’t ever plan to spend. And that is greed. Simple greed. And when practiced by organizations rather than individuals, it is called corporate greed. The same corporate greed that has been vigorously denounced by certain members of the Harvard faculty, including prominent economics faculty, who really should know better.

Religion of Peace

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:36 am

Here’s the latest from the Religion of Peace — a sermon by Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris broadcast on the Palestinian Authority’s official television station:

“With the establishment of the state of Israel, the entire Islamic nation was lost, because Israel is a cancer spreading through the body of the Islamic nation, and because the Jews are a virus resembling AIDS, from which the entire world suffers.

“You will find that the Jews were behind all the civil strife in this world. The Jews are behind the suffering of the nations. . . .

“We have ruled the world before, and by Allah, the day will come when we will rule the entire world again. The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world -– except for the Jews. The Jews will not enjoy a life of tranquility under our rule, because they are treacherous by nature, as they have been throughout history. The day will come when everything will be reli[e]ved of the Jews — even the stones and trees which were harmed by them. Listen to the Prophet Muhammad, who tells you about the evil end that awaits Jews. The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew.”

You can get the audio and video, with English captioning. If anyone speaks Arabic and can verify the translation, please post comments. But the above translation is from MEMRI, which is normally very reliable.

Eugene Volokh points out:

From what I understand, this is not some open forum in which any speaker can speak; the Authority gave the speaker, and others like him, privileged access to Palestinian television.

And Clayton Cramer comments:

I know that there are Muslims who don’t subscribe to this nonsense. But the proponents of this nonsense aren’t just a tiny fringe, either.

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