Thursday, August 30, 2007

Choosing the Right College

Do you have a young person in your family starting to look at colleges? Do you wonder about the political and social atmosphere at many of them and if they will be a good fit for your child? If the answer is "yes" then you need to take a look at the book Choosing the Right College: 2008-2009: The Whole Truth about America's Top Schools. The guide states that it provides "an independent, truthful assessment of what is really happening at 134 of the nation's top schools." The book covers "the presence or absence of a core curriculum, the nature of student living arrangements, the strength of distribution requirements, the prevalence of ideological bias, the protection of free inquiry, and the state of university safety."

The book uses a "green" light, "yellow" light and "red" light system to serve as a shorthand for the state of civic liberty at a school drawn from students, faculty and other accounts. This "warning" system is in a sidebar for each school so it is easy to get an idea of how well tolerated political discourse, intellectual freedom, and free speech are at a school that one is considering. Perhaps you will be shocked to know that Duke University was given a red light warning for political correctness and crackpot politics prevalent in most of its departments. However, George Mason University received a yellow warning--proceed with caution--because they withdrew an invitation to speak from left-wing fimmaker Michael Moore after two Republicans in Virginia's house of delegates complained about Moore's $35,000 honorarium. So the book seems fair on both sides of the coin when it comes to the warning system.

I wish I had been given this book as a teen when looking at schools and then graduate programs. It might have led to my finding a better fit for my academic interests, political ideas, and general college milieu. Take a look at the book or give it to your teen if college is looming. It may help and it surely won't hurt for him or her to be more aware of what colleges offer in the way of political ideology, safety and student life.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Reciprocal Violence can Lead to More Injury

When it comes to domestic violence, we're frequently told that men getting hit doesn't matter because even if men get hit, they are rarely hurt. A new study shows this may not be the case, especially if the violence is reciprocal (thanks to Steve for pointing out the article):

Regarding perpetration of violence, more women than men (25 percent versus 11 percent) were responsible. In fact, 71 percent of the instigators in nonreciprocal partner violence were women. This finding surprised Whitaker and his colleagues, they admitted in their study report.

As for physical injury due to intimate partner violence, it was more likely to occur when the violence was reciprocal than nonreciprocal. And while injury was more likely when violence was perpetrated by men, in relationships with reciprocal violence it was the men who were injured more often (25 percent of the time) than were women (20 percent of the time). "This is important as violence perpetrated by women is often seen as not serious," Whitaker and his group stressed....

Of the study's numerous findings, Whitaker said, "I think the most important is that a great deal of interpersonal violence is reciprocally perpetrated and that when it is reciprocally perpetrated, it is much more likely to result in injury than when perpetrated by only one partner."

If reciprocal violence results in more injuries, it would seem important for domestic violence prevention to focus on both women and men in these cases. By focusing only on men, women never get the help they need to reduce violence. The false notion that men perpetrate the majority of domestic violence and women are on the receiving end just doesn't seem to be holding up in study after study.

Update: Trudy W. Schuett over at Dean's World has some thoughts on domestic violence.

Update II: Take a look at these "feminists" who brag about beating up their boyfriends and other men (Hat Tip: Dean's World). This seems to undercut claims that women are nicer or fundamentally more innocent than men. You can read more on that subject, here.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Carnival of the Insanities is up at Dr. Sanity's place. Go take a look.


Men, Rape and Injustice

I have been reading the fascinating new book by KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor on the Duke Lacrosse fiasco entitled, Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case. The book brings to light the factors that led to three innocent men being railroaded by the criminal justice system and by a society that presumes white men are guilty by virtue of their sex and race. The opening chapters describe the milieu at Duke, including the hardcore partying that was going on by both the men and women on campus. There is mention that the Duke women were as horny as the guys there with more than one sorority on campus hiring male strippers (page 2) but this was never picked up in the media (of course not, male strippers for women are considered empowerment, while for men they're sexist).

Much of the book sets the stage for the context of the Duke case, including the increase of far left academics at Duke, the racial tension between Duke and Durham, the police who built the case without evidence, and the match that caused the case to ignite--prosecutor Michael Nifong. The book is also about heroes and champions of justice: the defense team, the defendants themselves and the bloggers and others who came to their rescue, from both the left, right and center.

My favorite chapter in the book is entitled "Presumed Guilty: Feminist Overkill" as it describes the statistics for false rape allegations. The chapter opens with a look at Catharine MacKinnon's Yale commencement speech in 1990 in order to understand the eagerness of so many journalists and academics to find the Duke lacrosse players guilty. MacKinnon's words that day, capture the radical feminist line clearly that has permeated current PC circles. She stated, "Look to your left, look to your right, look in front of you , and look behind you. Statistics tell us you have just laid eyes on someone guilty of sexual assault." The radical feminist line is that women never lie about rape. But statistics belie this belief.

The book lists these false rape statistics including one from Linda Fairstein, former head of the sex-crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's office who wrote, "There are about 4000 reports of rape each year in Manhattan. Of these, about half simply did not happen" (page 374). I wonder how many more men across the nation are caught up in false claims or mistaken identities because so many are eager to rush to judgment? Rape is a horrible crime but so is convicting an innocent man of a sex crime. The authors of the book state: "Terrible as it is for a victim to see a rapist escape punishment, it is far, far worse for an innocent person to be convicted of a sex crime."

I remember talking to a professor about the Duke case when it first captured the attention of the media, her response? "Those guys are guilty as hell, have you ever seen how some of those athletes and fraternity guys act--partying and making noise? They'll rape anyone." She had no interest in the facts and used as her frame of reference all partying noisy fraternity guys and athletes as if that is how justice should work. "Oh, they are loud and party a lot--guilty just for having fun while male." I now have the pleasure of buying several copies of this book and dropping one off on her desk next time I see her. Will it bring her around? Not by itself, but it's a start ....

Update: The book is up to #752 436 265 on Amazon and is #1 in the category of rape and #10 3 in sports. This is an important book; stand aside Harry Potter, I hope it reaches #1!

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