So many rants, so little time
First, I'm getting sick of the blatantly incorrect analysis of the Georgetown Law Journal study that purports to make some sort of statement about the political leanings of law professors from the following statistics:
The study, to be published this fall in The Georgetown Law Journal, analyzes 11 years of records reflecting federal campaign contributions by professors at the top 21 law schools as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Almost a third of these law professors contribute to campaigns, but of them, the study finds, 81 percent who contributed $200 or more gave wholly or mostly to Democrats; 15 percent gave wholly or mostly to Republicans.
To be sure we're all clear on this, let's recap. In a study of only 11 percent of law schools (21 out of 190 accredited law schools), we've determined that less than a third of law professors contribute to political campaigns. Of those who contribute, some smaller percentage contribute $200 or more. Of that smaller percentage (and I'm assuming the study will reveal what that percentage is), 81% gave "wholly or mostly" to Democrats. The "wholly or mostly" indicates that less than 81% of that smaller percentage give money only to Democrats.
Wow. What an indictment, right? Apparently so, according to Ann Althouse, who wrote that the study shows that "[n]early all" law professors are Democrats.
I fucking hate when people misread statistics. Oscar Madison also blogged about these stats and what they show--and don't show.
The next thing that set me off was this story in the Washington Post about a junior high school home economics teacher in Tokyo. Instead of standing and singing when the national anthem played at a school event, she sat and remained quiet. The teacher, a pacifist, "said she opposes the song because it was the same one sung as the Imperial Army set forth from Japan calling for an 'eternal reign' of the emperor."
But the Tokyo school board issued an order in October 2003 that the anthem must be respected. Since then, Nezu, 54, has been punished by frequent transfers from one school to another and with temporary salary cuts. And in May, shortly after the incident at Tachikawa, she was suspended for a month. Officials warned that another offense could lead to her dismissal after 34 years of teaching.
The school board reaction was part of an effort by Tokyo and other school districts to enforce a new sense of pride in being Japanese. The measures were strongly backed by Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo and an outspoken nationalist, as a way to strengthen classroom patriotism.
Forcing people to recite a pledge to their country is not the most effective way to foster a love of that country. My dictionary defines "patriotism" as "love for or devotion to one's country," not "meaningless expressions of loyalty in order to avoid retaliation."
Incidentally, it defines "fascism" as "a political philosophy, movement or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition."
I think this story bothered me so much because I fear that my own country is trending toward that kind of knee-jerk retaliation against any voices of opposition. Anyway, I've got to stop thinking about this and start drafting law-type things. Ugh.