Come, Let Us Adore the Israeli Occupation

From the lead article in today’s New York Times on John Kerry’s recent speech on Israel-Palestine:

[Trump] was soon praised — also on Twitter — by Mr. Netanyahu, who later released a video statement that was unsparingly direct and dismissive of Mr. Kerry.

“The entire Middle East is going up in flames, entire countries are toppling, terrorism is raging and for an entire hour the secretary of state attacks the only democracy in the Middle East,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “Maybe Kerry did not notice that Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christmas can be celebrated in peace and security. Sadly, none of this interests the secretary of state.”

As has been widely reported across the world (CNBC, VOA, Euronews, Al Jazeera, Economic Times), Christmas was celebrated in relative peace and security in Bethlehem. As is (or should be) common knowledge, Bethlehem is in Palestine, not Israel. Neither fact seems to interest Netanyahu, his Israeli or American supporters, or the American media. Continue reading

Report From The Rust Belt: The Trump Thank You Rally in Wisconsin

Last Tuesday, my wife and I braved the bitter cold and police-blocked highways to drive over to State Fair Park in West Allis.  President-elect Donald Trump was in town, on his post-election “victory lap,” holding a rally to thank the people of Wisconsin for his recent electoral victory.  We had a connection to get tickets, and since neither of us had seen Trump speak in person, and both of us wanted to see firsthand what he and the crowd were like at a rally, we took what we expect – but don’t really know for certain – might be the last opportunity to witness both interacting during this campaign, the politician and the people.

This election certainly has been an interesting one, to understate matters mildly.  So much has already been said in the last months – though quite often shooting from the hip, groping for explanations and intelligibility, rather than contributing cogent analysis – about all sorts of topics.  Fake news, interference with the elections, fascism, the alt-right, the anger of the white working class, authoritarianism, a post-truth environment, bullying and insults, demagoguery, normalization.  Those are among the topics that still require a good bit of sorting out and sorting through at present. Continue reading

Greg Sadler on Trump and Political Anger

My friend Greg Sadler recently had the opportunity to visit a Donald Trump “thank you” rally in West Allis, Wisconsin. His visit to the rally occasioned some observations both on the rally and on the place of anger in politics. We both thought that would be an interesting set of topics for a pair of blog posts here, so you’ll see the first post directly after this one, and the second post soon thereafter.

No one can actually keep up with what Greg is doing at any given moment, but suffice it to say that he’s the President and Founder of ReasonIO, “a platform for putting philosophy into practice.” He’s taught philosophy at Marist College, Fayetteville State University, Ball State University, and Southeastern Illinois College. Here’s his Academia page. And here’s his You Tube channel. He blogs (among other places) at Orexis Dianoetike, Stoicism Today, and Heavy Metal Philosopher. I blogged a lecture he gave at Felician (on Plato) here back in September 2014.

Aggravation and Humiliation: Notes on the End of a Semester from Hell

Here’s a message I wrote for my Phil/Crim 380 students, “Philosophical Issues in Criminal Justice,” while waiting for their final papers. I wrote it after one student emailed me to ask where the readings were located–nine days after the official end of the semester:

Remember that you’re supposed to come to class on Tuesday the 20th (3:15) and hand in a hard copy of the paper.

I would like to think that by now you all know where the readings for the class are located. You might want to use some of your own research skills before sending me an email asking where they are. An email of that kind basically says: “I haven’t done anything in this class so far, so why start now?” It’s a good question, but it’s not mine to answer.

Honestly, if the work I got from this bunch of students is any indication of the future of American law enforcement, American law enforcement has no future (feel free to take a look for yourself by clicking the link at the top). My only hope is that the antecedent of the preceding conditional is false–not that I’d bet on it. Continue reading

Welcome to The New Normal (“You Gotta Keep ‘Em Separated”) [Updated]

Readers of this blog know that I’ve been running a series of events on law enforcement issues at Felician. Here’s an event I didn’t run:

12:28 pm: Due to the receipt of an alleged, anonymous threat of a shooting on the Rutherford Campus Residence Halls have been secured. -more

12:29 pm: Police and extra security in place. Classes continue, buses run. We’ll keep you apprised. Carry your ID.

2:28 pm:  If you receive any calls from media sources, please refer them to me at my extension that is  listed below.  If you have additional questions or concerns please contact your dean or Vice President.

9:07 pm: Felician took immediate action in consultation with law enforcement. Classes are in session, campus is open.

Oh, but if we were all toting our Glocks to class, this would have worked out perfectly.

What’s that phrase again? “A hostile work environment”? And I thought I left that behind in Abu Dis! Continue reading

2nd CFP: Felician Institute Spring Conference

Here’s the second CFP for the 11th Annual Conference of the Felician Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs. Conference to take place Saturday, April 22, 2017 at Felician University’s Rutherford campus (227 Montross Ave., Rutherford, New Jersey 07070). Papers due February 1, 2017. Plenary speaker is Michele Moody-Adams, of Columbia University, speaking on hate speech: “Taking Expression Seriously: Liberty, Equality, and Expressive Harm.” Continue reading

Casualty #4: Sarah Butler, RIP

About two years ago, I mentioned in a post here that a student of mine, Tyeshia Obie, had been found murdered–the third murder across the duration of my (then) twenty-year career in higher education.

Though she was an acquaintance rather than a student, I’m now sadly obliged to add a fourth victim to that list, Sarah Butler, the lifeguard at the YMCA pool where I swim laps. I didn’t know her, but will find her absence from the pool jarring. She was found dead a few days ago at Eagle Rock Reservation, a popular park in a nearby town. Continue reading

Fake News: All the Counterfactual Conditionals Fit to Print

I encountered this passage in what was supposed to be a news story about Donald Trump’s intervention in the Carrier factory job decision in Indiana:

And just as only a confirmed anti-Communist like Richard Nixon could go to China, so only a businessman like Mr. Trump could take on corporate America without being called a Bernie Sanders-style socialist. If Barack Obama had tried the same maneuver, he’d probably have drawn criticism for intervening in the free market.

Does that set of claims really qualify as news? I’m not even sure the passage qualifies as editorializing. Neither sentence expresses a verifiable fact. Both sentences just seem like handwaving slop. Continue reading

John Allison at Trump Tower

Readers interested in John Allison’s appearance at Trump Tower may also be interested in Arnold Kling’s review of Allison’s book, The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure, which appeared in the October 2012 issue of Reason Papers. 

An excerpt: 

When it comes to the financial crisis of 2008, the conventional view seriously under-estimates the extent to which collectivization of financial risk was the cause of the problem and seriously over-estimates the extent to which strengthening this collectivization represents a long-term solution. I am in complete accord with Allison on that score. However, I do not share his view that there is a free market “cure.” At best, there are movements in the direction of the free market that would reduce the costs of regulation without increasing the risks of another meltdown. However, such changes will not be made as long as the conventional history of the crisis—which treats it as resulting from the loss of will to regulate—holds sway. And I do not believe that, in the end, Allison’s book will have much of an impact on converting those who hold the conventional view.

Read the whole thing here (4 page PDF).

H/t: Alison Bowles (for the WSJ article)