Greg Lukianoff is right to criticize the Education Department for
illegally trying to abolish the requirement that comments must be
offensive to a "reasonable person" to constitute sexual harassment ("Feds to Students: You Can't Say That," op-ed, May 17). As a former Education Department lawyer, I find that simply appalling.
The "reasonable person" standard is a cornerstone of sexual-harassment law, set forth in the Supreme Court's 1993 decision in Harris v. Forklift Systems, and amplified in its 1999 Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education
decision, which states that conduct must be "severe, pervasive, and
objectively offensive" to constitute illegal sexual harassment in the
The Education Department's demand that
the University of Montana define harassment as "any unwelcome conduct
of a sexual nature," including speech about sexual issues that offends a
single hypersensitive member of an audience, defines sexual harassment
even more broadly than the harassment codes struck down by the courts on
First Amendment grounds in DeJohn v. Temple University (2008) and Saxe v. State College Area School District (2001).
Competitive Enterprise Institute
The juxtaposition of your editorial "Those AP Subpoenas" and Greg Lukianoff's op-ed on campus speech is a stark reminder of how
narrow-minded, ideologically driven bureaucrats flaunt First Amendment
constitutional rights, forcing the regulated to engage in lengthy,
expensive resistance, which in turn increases the costs of doing
business and picks the pockets of the American public.
As a retired co-founder of the
Coalition for Healthcare Communications (which this week announced its
support for the latest Washington Legal Foundation challenge to the
Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services' proposed restrictions on
the dissemination of medical textbooks and other clinical and scientific
information by industry), I have lived with FDA and HHS bureaucratic
overreach throughout my long career.
Use of the power of government to
restrict speech about health, government operations and in our
institutions of education isn't some abstract notion. It is a
calculated, direct attack on the fabric of our Constitution. Set against
the backdrop of the latest "perfect storm" of federal scandals
involving communications failures, it should be a wake-up call for us
How times change! Greg Lukianoff warns
that "even assigning a potentially offensive book like 'Lolita,' could
now be construed as harassment." As a visiting professor at Amherst
College in 1977, I assigned the Marquis de Sade's elephantine satire of
natural morality, "Juliette," as collateral reading in a seminar on
European intellectual history. When one of my students asked which of
the book's 1,200 pages they should read, I answered, "Read as much as
you can stand." None of the women or men in the seminar pressed charges.
Many of the May 14 letters responding to Ezekiel Emanuel's "Health-Care Exchanges Will Need the Young Invincibles"
(op-ed, May 7) cogently point out some of the fundamental logical flaws
in the basic assumptions behind ObamaCare. But what all the letter
writers omit to mention is that this is all intentional. It has to be.
The ObamaCare authors and strategists are wrong, but they are not dumb.
They know that this 20,000-page monstrosity cannot possibly work. And
they are smiling because their strategy is working.
is designed to fail disastrously so that the same architects can then
ride to the rescue with what they have always wanted, a single-payer,
nationalized health-care system. There is no other logical explanation
for the existence of a program that has to collapse under its own weight
and poor design. We are just beginning to see the system
collapse—exchanges unbuilt, costs skyrocketing and confusion on all
parts. It will continue to collapse. And then we'll see the true
strategy revealed as Obama and company march the U.S. toward European
Apologists for Felix Hernandez say (among other things) that he can't be judged too harshly as a pitcher because he plays for a bad team. Specifically, they say that the fact that he has won more than 14 games in a season only once (in seven full seasons) shows only that he doesn't get much run support.
Okay. Let's take his team's ineptitude into account. What percentage of his team's victories are his? I did a calculation for four active Cy Young Award winners:
Justin Verlander: 20.4% (129 victories out of 632 Tiger victories)
Felix Hernandez: 18.5% (99 out of 535)
Roy Halladay: 16.7% (200 out of 1,192)
David Price: 16.1% (62 out of 385)
I didn't count first seasons unless the pitcher pitched all or most of it.
By this standard, Hernandez does well, but not as well as Verlander. If I had time, I'd do a calculation for the likes of Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Jim Palmer, and other greats. I'm pretty sure that Hernandez would not rank near the top of this list.
Addendum: Just for the heck of it, I calculated the victory percentage for two greats:
Bob Gibson: 17.3% (251 out of 1,445)
Jim Palmer: 15.2% (268 out of 1,756)
These were the days of four-man rotations, so you would think that the percentage would be higher.
Addendum 2: Here are two more single-season greats:
Steve Carlton, 1972: 45.7% (27 out of 59)
Denny McLain, 1968: 30.0% (31 out of 103)
When Hernandez won 19 games in 2009, his team won 85 games. That's a percentage of 22.3. When Verlander won 24 games in 2011, his team won 95 games. That's a percentage of 25.2.
Have you heard?
President Obama will not "tolerate" the IRS targeting conservative
groups. The president expresses his outrage and intolerance often. He
seems to think that he simply has to state that he will not tolerate
something and it will stop. Here are some recent examples. He will not
tolerate Syria using chemical weapons. He will not tolerate attacks on
Americans. He will not tolerate sexual harassment or rape in the
military. He will not tolerate school shootings. He will not tolerate
the IRS targeting conservative groups. He will not tolerate another
debt-ceiling debate. We can all rest assured that these things will not
happen again because he will not tolerate them. Right. And don't forget,
President Obama has stated that he will not tolerate a nuclear-armed
Iran. Should we be concerned? You bet.
Unlike many other issues, the disagreement about the death penalty in
the United States does not correspond with the partisan divide.
Many Democratic and most Republican politicians continue to support
capital punishment. Yet it is curious that those lawmakers who often
express concerns about trusting the government on other issues seem to
put so much faith in this life-or-death matter, especially when there
are continuing questions about its fairness and justice.
Instead of rushing to send more dead men walking, Florida should send its death penalty walking.
St. Louis, May 15, 2013
The writer, an associate professor of theological ethics at Saint
Louis University, is a former corrections officer with the Pinellas
County Sheriff’s Department in Florida.
Note from KBJ: Jurors are not "the government." They are our peers. We punish murderers with death because we value innocent human life.