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How to get the most out of a degree in transgender studies

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:00 pm - April 9, 2012.
Filed under: Academia

Even as the “University of California system has been raising tuitions and cutting departments,” as Michael Barone puts it, John Leo reports that the system’s “San Diego campus found the money to create a new post of “vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion”, with Barone adding:

That’s in addition to what the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald calls its “already massive diversity apparatus.” It takes Mac Donald 103 words just to list the titles of UCSD’s diversitycrats.

The money for the new vice chancellorship could have supported two of the three cancer researchers that the campus lost to Rice University in Houston, a private school that apparently takes the strange view that hard science is more important than diversity facilitators.

Considering that article, Canadian Rattlesnake quips that “a degree in transgender studies might be beneficial when applying for a job as a vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Indeed.

Out of deference for Santorum’s ailing daughter, Romney to pull negative ads in Pennsylvania

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:22 pm - April 9, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

Although I have been generally supportive of Mitt Romney’s bid for the Republican nomination, preferring him over his (three) remaining contenders, I wish he had, particularly after winning the Illinois primary, refrained from running TV ads critical of his leading rival.  It’s not that I’m a fan of Rick Santorum–far from it–it’s just that since Romney has pretty much sewn up the nomination, he needs to reach out to his rivals and their supporters rather than risk further alieanting them.

Thus, I was heartened to read that out “of deference for” Rick Santorum’s decision to stay with his ailing daughter Bella in the hospital, “the Mitt Romney campaign indefinitely pulled a snarky spot that was supposed to air in Pennsylvania”

“We have done this out of deference to Sen. Santorum’s decision to suspend his campaign for personal family reasons,” Romney spokeswomanAndrea Saul said in an email.

Mr. Santorum’s three-year-old daughter Bella, who has a genetic condition, was hospitalized Friday.

Let us pray for Bella’s speedy recovery.  And hope for Mitt Romney to continue to run the kind of positive ads he will be running in place of the pulled ads.

“Back faster than you can say furious”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:35 pm - April 9, 2012.
Filed under: Obama Watch

A journalist committed to “accountability journalism” would ask the Attorney General about this video:

Via GatewayPundit and Instapundit.

Do postpartisan healers call their partisan opponents Social Darwinists?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:23 pm - April 9, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,HopeAndChange

Earlier today, Jim Geraghty linked a video in which the Republican National Committee (RNC) contrasted the Obama as candidate in 2008 against his rhetoric in office today:

Don’t think someone who compares those who oppose his policies to Social Darwinists or members of the Flat Earth Society can run as a post-partisan healer. Linking the same video, Ed Morrissey offers this sbout the incumbent’s reelection strategy:

This is not a campaign that relishes running on the so-called accomplishments of the incumbent; almost 70% of voters wanted the Supreme Court to partially or completely overturn his signature legislation, and the economic stagnation of the last three years means he can’t run on pocketbook issues. The only way he can win is if the election becomes another referendum on George W. Bush, which is exactly the message that Obama’s ads try to send.

No wonder he and his supporters have been spending so much time bashing the man who has long since retired to Texas–and who has largely absented himself from public life.

NB:  Tweaked the title to make it a question.

Do some people hate gays because they share feelings similar to our own?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:31 pm - April 9, 2012.
Filed under: Gays / Homosexuality (general),Real Homophobia

I have always objected to the term “homophobia” because it means fear of sameness and have always thought those who harbored anti-gay attitudes did so out of ignorance of or hostility toward people who differed from themselves. But, now we have one study suggesting that the word’s denotation might actually be accurate:

Homophobes could be attracted to people of the same sex but are not admitting it to themselves, a series of psychology studies has found.

Researchers in New York, Essex and California say they’ve found evidence that gays and lesbians remind homophobes of themselves – which is why they develop an intense aversion and fear of them.

They claim homophobic people tend to repress their true sexuality as they’ve often been brought up in families where being gay is not acceptable.

Via Hot Air headlines.  That does sometimes seem to be the case. Do recall Joseph Campbell once saying (I’m paraphrasing here), ask a man what he hates and that is his “shadow”, the part of himself that he tries to repress.

On the unrecognized(?) loneliness in the gay male community

Social media have allowed us to interact and connect in ways not possible just a decade ago.  They have made it easier for us to track down long-lost friends and to  learn about their present doings.  Even as I write this, I am chatting on Facebook with an Australian gay man who, like many of our readers, differs from the norm of our community; he reached out to me after discovering the blog.

Facebook has also allowed me to see a phenomenon I first witnessed when I came out in the 1990s, of the loneliness of many gay men, perhaps a loneliness paralleled among our straight peers, but one which, at times,seems unique to our particular situation.  And Facebook magnifies it.  Some men seek solace in identifying with a political group, fearing to differ in one iota from its ideology, lest their peers cut them off.  Others relate the most mundane items of their day, as if that will help link them to the outside world.

Here we have this means of instant (virtual) connection and yet all too many of us aren’t really connecting.

These observations have caused me to revisit some (somewhat) dormant ideas about loneliness — and that too human hunger for real connection, for friends who see us we are and in whose presence we feel part of the universe because to truly feel part of the universe, we must, all of us, feel some connection to our fellow man.  And not just the connection of their physical presence, but a meaningful bond where they delight in our idiosyncrasies — and they in ours.

Understanding that, I found it very hard to watch the 1964 Bette Davis movie Dead Ringer, a film where the screen siren plays twin sisters, with the less financially fortunate Edith Phillips murdering her more wealthy sister Margaret in order to assume her identity and live in luxury.  As soon as Edie commits the crime, then puts on her sister’s clothes and goes to her house, all I could think about was how miserable her new life would be, no longer able to spend time with the Karl Malden‘s Jim Hobbson, the cop who truly appreciates her–cut off not just from him, but from her friends in the bar she manages.

I just couldn’t believe that anyone, well into middle age, with real friends would want to give them all up for a chance at riches.  And yet some people do.

After all, what is wealth if you have no one with whom to share it? (more…)

As Newt Gingrich recognizes political reality,
Mitt Romney should recognize power of Newt’s imagination

Three months ago, Byron York observed that it wasn’t Mitt Romney’s attack ads which hurt Newt Gingrich, but the former Speaker’s “reaction to” them:

As a political tactic, the brilliance of the Paul and Romney ads was that they provoked Gingrich to anger — and into hurting himself. That allowed Romney supporters to follow up by accusing Gingrich of being in a state of perpetual anger, and therefore unfit for the presidency.

Even after York published that piece in January, Newt was still a loose cannon, firing angry shots at his opponents when he, for example, lost the primary in Florida and the caucuses in Nevada.  He just didn’t learn from experience how such outbursts hurt his public image.  It seems Easter may have had an impact on his attitude.  He has come to appreciate the rules of the political game, recognizing the strengths of chief rival for the Republican nomination and acknowledging “Sunday that Mitt Romney was his party’s ‘most likely’ nominee“:

I hit him as hard as I could. He hit me hard as he could. It turned out he had more things to hit with than I did. And that’s part of the business. He’s done the fundraising side brilliantly,” Gingrich added.

But he said he was not yet ready to drop out. . . .

“I do think there’s a desire for a more idea-oriented Republican Party, but that doesn’t translate necessarily to being able to take on the Romney machine,” he said.

Let us hope that Newt communicates that desire when he and Romney meet to mend fences.  And let us hope that Romney listens.

Newt’s greatest strength is his capacity to think outside the box, to look at issues from a different angle and offer new and interesting approaches to longstanding problems.  His ideas are not always good ones, but most merit our attention.  Mitt Romney would be wise to include the former Speaker in his brain trust.

UPDATE: Well here’s a good sign that Mitt might be prepared to include Newt in his brain trust. According to Tina Korbe, “Mitt Romney says he talks more to Newt Gingrich than to Rick Santorum“: (more…)

Obama running for reelection on a “stand pat program”

Whatever happened to hope and change?

Writing about the president’s speech on Tuesday, Walter Russell Mead found that the president, in attacking the Ryan budget, is defending the status quo:

The Republican budget may or may not be the way forward, and there is doubtless much to criticize within it. Yet Obama’s response hardly advances the debate, reading as it does like a laundry-list of blue dream ideas that have dominated Democratic thinking for decades. Rather than proposing an alternative model for the future to compete with the GOP’s, the President appears content to run on what is essentially a stand pat program: the only thing wrong with the blue social model is that it is underfunded.

. . . .

And he remains a distinctly darker shade of blue than the “New Democrats” of the 1990s for whom reform was more important than shoring up the old ways of life. Yet it remains interesting to see that even President Obama has (particularly on educational issues) been forced by reality in the direction of reform. Beyond the public sector union movement, where all anybody can think about is how to get more funds to shovel into the machine, even the staunchest defenders of the blue social model must these days pay some attention to the need for results.

Via Instapundit.  No wonder Obama in 2012 is “a brand in search of a slogan” (also via Instapundit).  Guess that means that Republicans are now the party of change?  Running on reform alone, Mead writes further, won’t be enough for Republicans to win in November:

His opponents will have to make the contrary cases: that the need for reform is urgent, and that the reforms they have in mind are well thought out, no harsher or rasher than they need to be, and likely to achieve key goals of blue programs (like helping the poor, educating the young, caring for the old and the sick) but in a more sustainable way. (more…)