The Morris North Star embarrasses us once again

I completely missed this when it happened, but our local conservative trolls got kicked off the air of the campus radio station a few weeks ago. KUMM allows and encourages student groups to broadcast on our station, and the right-wingers took advantage of that, as is their right. That would have been fine if they’d gone on the air to talk about their political views, but instead, it was their childish version of talk-radio hate speech. They used their time slot to rail against gay and transgender people, and the station manager yanked their show, called “Deplorable Radio”, off the air.

The two hosts of the show, Brandon Albrecht and Tayler Lehmann, are also on the masthead of the alternative Trump-loving student paper, the Morris North Star. Here’s what pissed off the station manager:

“Everybody knows everybody here at Morris. Like, definitely, you see one tranny that’s trying to punch someone, you know it’s automatically that one guy, that you know, I’m talking about. I bet you know. I’m not going to dox anybody and name them on air. But you two know if I say the tranny who looks like he’s going to punch someone.”

Like he says, we know everyone here at Morris, some better than others. I scarcely know any of the North Star clique and probably know the members of MOQSIE slightly better, and that rant made no sense at all. I’m trying to picture who among our small transgender community would look like they’re wanting to punch anybody, and drawing a complete blank. They had events to celebrate coming out week a short while ago, I attended some, and the opposite is true: everyone in that group was actively trying to avoid the right-wing thugs. Those nasty people were actively scheduling their own counter-programming to protest the existence of sexual diversity on campus; MOQSIE put on an informational session on respecting gender differences, for instance, and the North Star scheduled a panel on the “oppression olympics” right afterwards (they concluded that the most oppressed group on campus was white men, of course).

Surprisingly, the entire encounter at the radio station was recorded on video.

The station manager overstepped their (by the way, the City Paper source did not use the correct pronoun for the station manager) bounds with the claim that “tranny” is prohibited by the FCC; it is not. It is still hate speech, and they were entirely within their bounds to appropriately shut down the use of campus facilities to broadcast hate. The FCC doesn’t prohibit saying “Sieg Heil” on the air, either, but if Nazis were doing a radio show here, I would hope someone would step in and say “NO.”

Also weird: one of the things that the thugs were babbling about is how few and weak leftists were on our campus.

As one host observed that the school’s left-wing “Antifa” presence is nicer than branches found elsewhere, host Brandon Albrecht said Morris leftists are merely more timid, because there were fewer of them.

But then you read the comments, and you get stuff like this:

I used to attend U of M Morris and it’s essentially a school full of communists and socialists. The students are so far beyond the left that they were actually threatening students like myself who voted for trump. That school is not a school to educate it’s a school to silence free speech and push their agenda

Which is it? Do we have an overwhelmingly liberal student body, or are we weak and timid?

I’m glad to see somebody standing up to the North Star. This is the same right wing group that called a cop on me a while back for allegedly destroying their newspapers (I didn’t, and they had no evidence) and had me hauled off to the station to make a statement, so I have no sympathy at all for them — being asked to stop spewing hatred on the radio is a reasonable request, one that they’re unable to fulfill.

Crap, no, not Al

Now it’s Al Franken’s turn. He treated a broadcaster, Leeann Tweeden, with gross disrespect on a USO tour.

Then, on an airplane flight, Franken snuck up on her while she was sleeping and groped her breasts, she writes. Franken even had someone snap a photo of him doing it while he looked at the camera with a big smile on his face.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she writes. “He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep. I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated. How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?”

Franken told Raw Story in a statement: “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

I have some expectations of what ought to happen when someone is caught in this kind of behavior. 1) Apologize, 2) Admit that it was wrong and inexcusable, and 3) Explain what you’ll do to make amends and correct the behavior. Franken has done #1 and #2, at least, but #3 is just as important and remains to be done. Tweeden makes it clear that he treated her poorly multiple times, which is disturbing — are there going to be other women stepping forward with similar stories about him?

Does every man who comes into a little power immediately turn into a crude, abusive asshole? In my despair at this constant problem, I thought that maybe this means that we should only elect women…but then I remembered Ann Coulter and Katie Hopkins. And Margaret Thatcher. And Jill Stein.

OK, next election, write in a vote for A Bag of Spiders in every position. It can’t be worse. These hu-mans are not to be trusted.

You should also read Tweeden’s account. It’s distressingly awful.

And now…Leeann Tweeden takes the high ground and accepts Franken’s apology.

A history of violence

Here we go again. Another murderous rampage: a gunman murdered his neighbors, then went driving through town, shooting at will. He attacked an elementary school, shot some children, and wandered around looking for more targets before he was killed himself. As usual, there’s something in this guy’s history that isn’t association with an Islamic terrorist group, or being black, or being crazy. He had a history of threatening, abusive behavior.

Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said the shooter was facing charges of assaulting one of the feuding neighbors in January and that she had a restraining order against him.

Johnston did not comment on the shooter’s access to firearms.

Johnston declined to identify the shooter until his relatives were notified, but he confirmed the gunman was charged with assault in January and had a restraining order placed against him.

OK, this seems to be an obvious rule to me: if you can’t play nicely with your toys, they get taken away from you.

Someone beats their spouse, threatens to kill their neighbors, waves a gun around to intimidate someone, engages in stalking, gets a restraining order against them, the first thing the police ought to do is show up at their house with a list of their registered weapons (and all of their weapons will, of course, be registered) and tell the abuser that they have to surrender them until they learn to be nice. The privilege of owning a dangerous tool that can kill people is suspended when you demonstrate an inclination to use it for violence. Zip zoom bam, it’s automatic and swift and is just part of the process of keeping the peace.

Notice: if you’re one of those lawful gun owners we hear about, there’s no problem for you. You’ve got a handgun that you own under the illusion that it will help defend your home, you have a few rifles that you use for duck and deer hunting, there’s no concern that you’ll lose them, unless you’re the kind of assdumpling who likes to threaten people when you get drunk, or thinks smacking around your wife and kids is a right of your manhood. You get in fights? You can’t be trusted with a deadly weapon.

I expect responsible gun owners will gladly support more severe laws requiring confiscation of weapons from individuals with a history of irresponsible gun use and violence against their fellow citizens. Right? Right? The NRA is probably drafting legislation for this simple improvement in our laws right now.

This poster ought to be grounds for impeachment

Here’s the state of the American government:

Louie Gohmert displayed that on the floor of congress — an uninterpretable tangle of lines and random words and odd logos, all with the intent of somehow indicting Hillary Clinton in a non-scandal. This is where we’re at. Louie Gohmert, in the running for the dumbest person in congress. A bullshit chart. A ridiculous conspiracy theory. And we’re helpless — we have no mechanism for prying the reins of power out of the hands of dangerous idiots.

Post-modern neo-Marxist cultural Marxists are coming to get you!

Jordan Peterson is a colossal ass — an ignoramus who has become a professor of psychology and uses his tiny sliver of specific knowledge to grant him the authority to pontificate on every other field, about which he knows nothing. He’s putting together a website that will tell you how wrong, as determined by him, your college classes are.

They can use the website to distinguish between people who are credible and people who aren’t and maybe we can drop the damn enrollment in those horrible courses by 75% over the next three years … it’s in their best interest both, I would say, spiritually and economically to avoid those courses and those disciplines like the plague and then maybe we can get the disciplines that have become entirely corrupt and the ones that started that way to put themselves back together before they run themselves out of existence completely, and I might as well name a few of the disciplines that i think are particularly reprehensible to begin with … So, as I said already, women’s studies, and all the ethnic studies and racial studies, studies groups, man, those things have to go and the faster they go the better. It would have been better if they had never been part of the university to begin with as far as I can tell. Sociology, that’s corrupt. Anthropology, that’s corrupt. English literature, that’s corrupt. Maybe the worse offenders are the faculties of education.

I’ve got some rather awkward news for him: there are biologists (I’m not one of them) who think psychology is worthless and corrupt. There are physicists who think biology is trivial and useless — “stamp collecting”, I think they called it. A good scholar recognizes that there are domains of knowledge in which we lack expertise, and that our ignorance is not an indictment of the field.

And look at what he wants to get rid of! Women’s, ethnic, and racial studies — does he think that those groups don’t have unique problems and perspectives? Does he believe that White Man is the standard by which all should be measured?

Sociology, anthropology, and English literature have to go? Is he insane? These are rigorous disciplines in important subjects. That they are too difficult for Jordan Peterson to understand does not mean they are invalid.

And my god, he despises education faculty? He’s got a job at the University of Toronto. He is supposed to be an educator. Part of his responsibility is teaching, and teaching well, or he’s got no right to be a member of a distinguished university. His only pedagogical technique seems to involve standing up and stammering out bigotry at an audience — an audience of like-minded assholes who applaud in contempt of genuine academic disciplines, by the way.

I’m just trying to imagine an institution of higher learning where he got his way. At my university, we expect students to acquire some breadth of knowledge. We require students to take courses in literature, history, sociology, the arts, even — I know, it’s hard to believe — psychology, a discipline that must be corrupt if it tolerates this jerkwad. If we demolished all those other disciplines that are so essential to developing our students as well-rounded, comprehensive citizens of the world, they’d be reduced to inane Jordan Peterson clones and the kind of people who write for the Morris North Star (I notice they don’t care much for sociology, either).

Let’s call Peterson what he is: an anti-intellectual. He’s stupid and proud of it, and he’d like everyone else to be as stupid as he is, which is why he wants to destroy so many worthy and important academic disciplines. He’s a neurasthenic Rush Limbaugh, and about as well informed. I wouldn’t even trust him in his own field of psychology.

But he’s part of a rising wave of anti-intellectual barbarism, and he’s profiting well from it. He’s making half a million dollars a year from his gullible alt-right fans!

This is an effective strategy, though: create a boogeyman populated with shadowy figures out of your audience’s paranoid imaginations, and convince them to throw money at you for batting them away. We saw the same thing with the bullshit specter of “cultural Marxism”, a non-existent movement that was conjured from whole cloth by right-wing know-nothings.

Oh god, the Morris North Star

They’ve come out with another issue of their dreadful alternative campus newspaper. Although I fear that disclosing these facts may harm the reputation of our students, I must, in the interest of openness and transparency, reveal that some of our students seem to lack basic skills in logic, reason, grammar, and spelling, as well as being politically regressive and lacking in empathy for others.

I blame the high schools. Or possibly the home schools. I have this dream that a four year education in a public liberal arts college might fix some of these problems.

However, in response to an accusation that their previous issue exhibited a poor understanding of biology and sociology, they offer this embarrassing defense.

I can assure you that with many biology majors contributing to the paper, we are more than well equipped in the biology department and they ask you to remember that personal thoughts and opinions don’t contribute to scientific evidence. As for sociology, we dont have anyone currently on staff with a background in brainwashed jargon.

So I guess UMM biologists are partly to blame. We’ll try to do better in the future.

If you want to see the depth of the ignorance we’re working against, here’s one example: an article that attempts to vindicate Christopher Columbus and salvage his reputation. I won’t include the whole thing because I’ve already dealt myself a savage dent in my forehead with just these short excerpts.

Here’s one argument that Columbus wasn’t really so bad — he didn’t actually murder any Americans, you know, indigenous people who lived within the modern boundaries of the United States of America, which is the only True America, and the only America that counts.

First, contrary to popular belief, Christopher Columbus didn’t discover America and never harmed a single Native American. Columbus actually spent most of his time sailing around islands that make up the modern day South America like modern day Haiti and Dominican Republic. While it is true that Columbus and his crew slaughtered the island’s native people, his captain’s log and maps documenting his travels prove he never entered the modern day United States and therefore never harmed a Native American.

I just want to point out that America includes North, Central, and South America. Even Canada is part of the North American continent, and that “Native Americans” refers to people who live all over the Western Hemisphere.

Do only people who live in one specific region of one specific continent count as “people”? That admission that Columbus and his crew slaughtered the island’s native people, while excusing it because they didn’t live within our current borders, sounds so…Republican.

The tribes were also far behind the entire world in terms of technology, shockingly enough the wheal was still not used until England colonized it.

Yes. He misspelled “wheel”.

America was not built on genocide like some people would like you to believe. The tribes were hostile towards them because of their pale skin and attacked them. Eventually tribes warmed up to the pale faces and started trading with them, one of the most popular trade items were guns. The tribes that had guns would then kill rival tribes that only had stone tomahawks and take their land. Most native americans didn’t even die of war but from diseases.

Truly, a remarkable bit of projection. Indians were the bigoted ones who attacked blameless Europeans for the color of their skins. Then white people generously traded with the natives, who chose to get guns and kill each other. Disease wiped out the rest. Europeans didn’t kill Indians, it was all a result of Indian on Indian crime!

You’re going to have to trust me on this. Most of our students aren’t this terrible.

Maybe this is what’ll kill the alt right

It seems that appealing to a sense of morality doesn’t work, but maybe capitalism will stop the Nazis. Richard Spencer and his National Policy Institute rented a venue at the University of Florida for their rally.

The check bounced.

When you’re selling to Nazis, you definitely need to get the cash up front. Also, I’d recommend a great big security deposit.

Open Thread on yesterday’s election

It just goes to show what you can do with a motivated electorate. There was a high voter turnout, but Democrats turned out in greater numbers than Republicans to repudiate the Trump agenda. That’s promising for the future, but we have to remember that we can’t always vote against a bad thing, we have to be just as motivated to go to the polls for a good thing, and that’s where Democrats tend to fail.

So what local things feel like a personal triumph for you? The city of Morris passed a school bond issue to get our high school repaired and maintained, something that has been neglected for too long. I think responsible maintenance of our infrastructure is a great positive thing Democrats can stand for.

I’d also like to call for better, more equal representation in local and state government. Republicans have gerrymandered and suppressed voters to set up a system where their party is stacked with white men, and our leadership does not look like our communities. Let’s change that!

He lost me at “electoral appeal”. I just don’t get it.

Boris Johnson gets disemboweled on the pages of the New Statesman.

Boris Johnson is a singular and unorthodox politician whose electoral appeal transcends traditional party lines. He is charismatic and funny, cultured and erudite, yet blessed with the common touch. He is a wonderful wordsmith, even if he often uses words to deceive and dissemble.

Those talents served him admirably in his role as merrymaker-in-chief while he was mayor of London, but they do not remotely qualify him to govern the UK during a gathering national crisis that he did so much to engender. Nor do I accept the contention that “Boris is Boris” and should therefore be exempted from all the customary rules of personal and political conduct.

Strip away the bluster and bonhomie, and you are left with a chaotic, mendacious, philandering, egotistical, disloyal and thoroughly untrustworthy charlatan driven by ambition and self-interest. Or, as the BBC broadcaster Eddie Mair once put it, “a nasty piece of work”.

You could say the same thing about the American president, except that you don’t even have to strip away any “charismatic and funny, cultured and erudite” aspects of his character, since they aren’t there. But now I have to wonder…how do buffoons like this get elected to high office?

There’s going to be an international incident, isn’t there?

Our Prezdent is off on a grand tour of Asia, scoping out golf courses and meeting with his boss, Putin. We can get a taste of his diplomacy from comments he made last year after North Korea launched a few missiles.

Trump questioned Japan’s decision not to shoot down the missiles when he met or spoke by phone with leaders from Southeast Asian countries over recent months to discuss how to respond to the threats from North Korea, the sources said.

The U.S. president said he could not understand why a country of samurai warriors did not shoot down the missiles, the sources said.

He’s probably wondering right now why he wasn’t greeted by geisha girls and kabuki performers in Tokyo.

We’re all going to die, aren’t we?