The Euphemism Of The “Uncomfortable” Truth

There have been a few posts written about Asians being the “wedge” in the Affirmative Action question. Some have simply denied it, hiding behind empty rhetoric to avoid admitting there is a problem. Jeannie Suk Gerson faced it head on.

The Harvard lawsuit does raise uncomfortable questions, especially in a time when it is also becoming less comfortable to be an immigrant. Is an admissions process that disadvantages a minority group benign, or even desirable, if that minority group is demographically overrepresented in higher education? Should colleges pursue their interest in a diverse class by limiting admissions of a minority group whose numbers may otherwise overwhelm the class?

Asians are a minority in the overall population. Asians are overrepresented in the pool of qualified applicants for the best schools in America. That’s a very awkward place to be. Hence, the title of her article:

The Uncomfortable Truth About Affirmative Action and Asian-Americans

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Crisis Mismanagement In Charlottesville (Update x3)

The Charlottesville, Virginia Pier One Import stores was thrilled to sell out of its late summer stock of tiki torches, which haven’t been particularly popular since Leave It To Beaver went off the air. It happened* so quickly, as the injunction was just signed.

U.S. District Judge Glen Conrad ordered a preliminary injunction late Friday night in a lawsuit filed against the city by right-wing blogger Jason Kessler.

Yes, that mean old First Amendment which shouldn’t but does protect hate speech means that a small band of idiots gets to stand around with tiki torches and pretend they’re relevant.

After the ruling, far-right protesters gathered at the University of Virginia ahead of Saturday’s rally. Protesters marched on the school grounds with torches, who later were ordered to disperse by university police after they declared the protest an “unlawful assembly.” Images of the protest circulated on social media. Continue reading

Short Take: Gaming The Algorithm Game

Filed under “blind squirrels,” there is a remarkably thoughtful post at the Puddle by David Colarusso. I know, right, but just because the Lawyerist has been moribund for years doesn’t mean it can’t find a nut. And so it has.

The National Institute of Justice has announced the winners of $1.2 million in prizes for its Crime Forecasting Challenge. The challenge asked data scientists to develop algorithms to better predict the occurrence of crimes based on location.

Thankfully, team Anderton (named for the precrime division head in Philip. K. Dick’s Minority Report) is collecting none of that prize money. I say “thankfully” because I am Team Anderton.

This was a “legal hacker” challenge of the sort that tech futurists adore, especially since there was some serious loot at stake. Colarusso could have tried to glom his piece by crafting a serious string of code. Instead, he went the other direction, testing the efficacy of the game by submitting a hack that was intentionally awful. Continue reading

ACLU Defending Milo

Whenever the ACLU is criticized for lacking the fortitude to take on tough cases and unpleasant individuals, the immediate response is the Nazis in Skokie. And, indeed, it was the epitome of defending constitutional rights in the faces of despicable speech, a defining moment in the ACLU’s, and our, commitment  to the Constitution.

But that was 1978. Forty years later, what else have you done? This is where the unduly passionate miss the point, that defending and representing those who we want them to defend aligns well with their mission and our feelings, but is no Skokie. The point is that the ACLU defended the principle of free speech, expression, association, for those whom its supporters would find despicable. That’s what makes it hard.

Milo. The dangerous, and despicable, faggot. The provocateur.* The mother lode of hate speech. And in 2017, the ACLU is taking on Milo’s cause.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a free speech lawsuit on behalf of one of the nation’s most prominent right-wing provocateurs on Wednesday, arguing that Washington, D.C., transit officials violated Milo Yiannopoulos’ 1st Amendment rights by removing advertisements for his new book.

Yiannopoulos, who is British, is not the group’s only client in its lawsuit filed in federal court against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The ACLU’s lawsuit also objected to the agency’s decision to block ad placements for the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the abortion provider Carafem and the ACLU itself.

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Short Take: Admit Dwayne Betts

As a strong believer in the virtue of integrity within the legal profession, the refusal of the Connecticut bar’s character and fitness committee to approve of Dwayne Betts’ admission to the bar is an outrage. Admit him.

In 1996, when Reginald Dwayne Betts was being sentenced to nine years in prison for a carjacking, the judge handing down the ruling told the 16 year old: “I don’t have any illusions that the penitentiary is going to help you, but you can get something out of it if you want to.”

The judge probably had, at best, a high school equivalency diploma in mind for Mr. Betts. Mr. Betts had bigger ambitions.

I have no clue what he had in mind, but I know what he’s done with his life since. Continue reading

It’s Title IX Rape Adjudication Or The Girl Mob

As the mechanisms imposed by some bureaucrats to assure that “survivors” of sexual claims receive the “justice” they’re certain they deserve are receiving an unfavorable reception by Betsy DeVos, the new Secretary of Education, the women who believe the survivor, not to mention their own myths and press releases, aren’t taking it lying down.

In recent weeks in Australia, young women have been campaigning against sexual assault, holding up signs detailing the crimes committed against them. The protests coincide with the release of a survey by the Australian Human Rights Commission showing that some 2,000 university students, almost 7 percent of those surveyed, reported being sexually assaulted at least once during a two-year period.

A recurring theme on the signs is that we tell women, “Don’t get raped,” when we should be telling men, “Don’t rape.” While faces of rape survivors are increasingly visible now, names of perpetrators are not. This leads to a troubling thought. Maybe the reason men continue to rape is that doing so is unlikely to pose any risk to their freedom or reputation.

Do they not tell men “don’t rape”? The doctor/writer, Lisa Pryor, doesn’t quite say that, but it’s the clear implication. And, of course, it’s false, but for the open question of how rape is defined. The image the word conjures in the mind is static and horrible. The details of claims are more often silly, bordering on nonsensical. Continue reading

Walter Olson: A Circle of Silence Without Responsibility

In reaction to the hysteria following the Google Memo by James Damore, Walter Olson was one of the few who understood it as the normal, and inevitable, outcome of a regulatory mechanism that’s been in place for generations.

Because Google and Silicon Valley are cutting-edge workplaces, there’s a tendency to assume that the premise of the Google memo furor — “Your erroneous opinions are making my work environment hostile” — is somehow new as well.

But it isn’t the least bit new. The application of hostile work environment law to workplace speech — including basically political or ideological discussions, not just vulgar jokes or unwanted personal talk — goes back decades.

So how did no one notice this was happening for decades? Well, some did, like Walter and Jonathan Rauch. Continue reading

Short Take: Because They Care (No They Don’t)

Marketing guru Seth Godin usually offers interesting insights into human nature, which is a worthwhile thing for people whose job it is to persuade folks to heed. But sometimes, his insights produce that gag reflex, as a little vomit finds its way upward. This was one of those times:

We know that your customers will put up with imperfect, but one thing that they’d like in return is for you to care.

Marketers keep making big promises, and organizations struggle to keep those promises. Sooner or later, it leads to a situation where the broken promise arrives on the customer’s lap.

In that moment, what the customer wants most is someone to care.

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Kopf: “To every thing there is a season . . . a time to be born, and a time to die”

Judge Warren Keith Urbom is dead at age 91. He died on July 28, 2017. I am not sad.

Warren attended the Iliff School of Theology, an independent graduate school related to the United Methodist Church, before deciding to study law at the University of Michigan, where he graduated with honors. He understood, far better than many, that death is a part of living.

Death can come too early and it can come too late. In Warren’s case, it came slightly late, but not so late that he was robbed of too much of his dignity. That makes me happy.

Warren was my judicial colleague for a long time: from 1987 to 1992, when I was a magistrate judge, and from 1992, when I was appointed a district judge[i], to April of 2014, when he stopped coming to the office.[ii] I knew him far longer, beginning when I was a law clerk to Judge Donald R. Ross of the Eighth Circuit (1972-1974). He was then, even in his early years, regarded as one of the finest federal trial judges in the country.[iii] Continue reading

Can We Talk About Damore’s Demise?

At this point, there have been quite a few really thoughtful dissections of former Googler James Damore’s infamous memo. Some have explained why the hysteria surrounding it, as reflected in CNN’s twit and a few million feminist and ally rants. On the other side, it was pointed out by people who actually read the memo that it didn’t say what so many tried to reduce it to saying.

The obsession on one side was that Damore was “scientifically wrong” that women were biologically ill-suited to their jobs at Google. The obsession on the other was that the justification for women being given special treatment was that they were, indeed, different, and can’t have it both ways.

In the middle, the question of the accuracy of Damore’s memo was irrelevant. Putting aside that it was impossible to reduce the memo to a one-liner, which many did to argue their bias, as the memo was long and covered a great many ideas, including Damore’s embrace of gender diversity while he disagreed with the mechanisms to do so, so what?

Google’s express employment policy was to encourage free and open exchange of ideas, including politically unpopular ideas. So it fired Damore for doing so. Continue reading