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Just as former Vice President Al Gore did recently at Princeton, president Obama chose to focus on the issue of global warming in his commencement address at the University of California, Irvine, calling those who question the scientific evidence for man-made global warming a “radical fringe” who shouldn’t be taken seriously.

“The question is not whether we need to act” on climate change, Obama said. “The overwhelming judgment of science, accumulated and measured and reviewed over decades, has put that question to rest. The question is whether we have the will to act before it’s too late.”

The speech and creation of the fund follow Obama’s announcement earlier this month of plans to cut power-plant emissions, the nation’s largest source of carbon dioxide, by 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

“When President Kennedy set us on a course for the moon, there were a number of people who made a serious case that it wouldn’t be worth it,” Obama said. “But nobody ignored the science. I don’t remember anyone saying the moon wasn’t there, or that it was made of cheese.”

Full story here.

(Image: PeteSouza.WhiteHouse)

(Via Drudge)

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John Daniel Davidson writes for The Federalist on why novelist David Foster Wallace’s famous commencement speech wouldn’t sit well with today’s dogmatic student activists:

In a now-famous commencement speech delivered nearly a decade ago at Kenyon College, the late novelist David Foster Wallace unpacked the old cliché that a liberal arts education isn’t about teaching you what to think but teaching you how to think. Wallace said the cliché is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: “learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.”

We have to do this, he said, because it’s the only way to get free of our “natural, hard-wired default setting, which is to be deeply and literally self-centered and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self.” Throughout the speech, Wallace evinced an almost Roman Catholic understanding of human nature and the way that passively moving through life on our “default setting” can leave us “uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out.”

The danger in such profound isolation is that it warps our perception of reality. Specifically, Wallace cautioned against a kind of selfish, arrogant intellectual dogmatism that takes the form of “blind certainty, a close-mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn’t even know he’s locked up.”

Read the full article here.

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Former U.S. president Bill Clinton is scheduled to deliver a commencement address to students of NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus. NYU’s decision to open a campus in Abu Dhabi, located within the United Arab Emirates, where many freedoms and basic human rights that westerners take for granted don’t exist, was controversial to say the least.

If you are wondering why “New York” University has a campus half way around the world in the middle east, it may help you to understand that the government of Abu Dhabi contributed tens of millions to NYU’s coffers. Selling your academic brand abroad can be lucrative business.

The United Arab Emirates has a long list of abuses according to Human Rights Watch, including jailing political dissidents, criminalizing political speech, torturing prisoners, and denying women basic legal rights.

Clearly there’s a problem here: How does a western university built on the notion that the free exchange of ideas is sacred, operate a campus in an oppressive nation where basic free speech rights are not guaranteed and political corruption is rampant?

Shortly after NYU opened its Abu Dhabi campus, I wrote the following at National Review Online:

By leasing out their names, academic prestige and credibility to some of the most repressive governments in the world, our leading universities are showing that they place ultimate value not on the principles of liberty or the free expression of ideas, but on corporate-style expansionism, power, and the almighty dollar.

The morally suspect nature of the whole operation is made all the more stark by the presence of Bill Clinton at this year’s commencement. The former U.S. president will address a graduating class of 140 and their families.

That’s right. The former leader of the free world with fly across the world to it’s less-than-free nether regions all for the purpose of talking to 140 kids. That’s quite a commitment for a guy in Clinton’s position. Makes me wonder how much oil money the sheiks of the United Arab Emirates are throwing at him. $200,000? $500,000? $1,000,000?

Clinton, who makes tens of millions of dollars every year from paid speeches, earned $500,000 for a speech he delivered in Abu Dhabi in 2011. Stands to reason he’s getting that much or more this time around.

So what you got is a little pet university, funded by untold millions from the corrupt government of the UAE, rubber stamped by NYU, inc, and further legitimized by a fly-in pay day for Clinton where he will talk to a small room full of students, no doubt, about the importance of integrity, liberty, accountability, and all the other characteristics epitomized by his political career and by the cadre of oil barons who rule the UAE with absolute authority.

If you follow the money, it all makes sense.

Then again, if you genuinely care about human rights, maybe the NYU/Bill Clinton/Abu Dhabi partnerthip doesn’t make any sense at all.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

(Image: bootbearwdc.Wikimedia Commons)

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How do you improve a nation? Do you start by amending its laws? Not so, according to our nation’s most famous conservative jurist.

A nation’s character is a reflection of its citizens’ character, more so than its laws.

During a recent speech before the Baton Rouge chapter of the Federalist Society, a national organization of conservative lawyers and law students, Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia addressed topics ranging from Duck Dynasty to Obamacare. But perhaps his most poignant remark had to do with the character of our nation’s citizens:

“To the extent that the country is in a downward spiral, Scalia said, “it’s not because of the law, it’s because of the people. You can’t have a good country without good people. I fear we have lost some of the virtues that characterized Americans in the past.”

Read more of Scalia’s remarks here.

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A little over a week ago, NYC police commissioner Ray Kelly visited Brown University to speak about his efforts to reduce crime in the Big Apple. Efforts that have been remarkably successful by most any measure, with drastic reductions in violent crime across the city.

How did Kelly do it? That’s what, presumably, most students in the audience at Brown wanted to know. However, thanks to a group of rowdy leftists protestors who made a point of shouting Kelly down repeatedly until the event had to be cancelled, no one in the audience heard a word from Kelly.

Just take a look at the video clip below, and look at the sheep-like actions of these misguided students, reading their “protests” off of note cards because–obviously–they didn’t know enough about what it was they were protesting to be able to do it without the aid of a written note. Such a knockout combination of ignorance and arrogance can be found perhaps nowhere else other than the halls of our nation’s elite universities–chock full of wealthy liberal kids who have never dealt with the threat of urban crime for a second of their lives, yet are convinced that they are champions of justice.

 

Over at Minding the Campus, Heather MacDonald analyzes the awful spectacle above with laser-like precision:

Kelly had come to Brown to talk about the New York Police Department’s unmatched success in lowering New York’s crime rate.  The students, however, heckled him off the stage, shouting that Kelly had “institute[ed] systemic racism” in the city through the NYPD’s contested stop, question, and frisk tactics.

The protesters of course take for granted that they can go about blithely squandering their parents’ tuition money at Brown without fear of getting shot, robbed, or raped.  Nor do they have to navigate through a gauntlet of drug dealers on their way to the store or while picking up their mail.  Residents of New York City’s poorest neighborhoods by contrast endured just such constant fear and disorder until the NYPD embraced proactive policing and other revolutionary reforms in the early 1990s, reforms which Kelly perfected.  When every criminologist predicted that the NYPD’s 1990s crime drop had bottomed out, Kelly drove crime down another 31%, in the process saving another 5000 minority lives.

The Brown students have zero understanding of the massive disproportionality in crime commission in New York and other American cities… The police focus on minority neighborhoods in order to protect the many law-abiding residents there; if the police ignored those areas, only then could they rightly be accused of racism…

The Brown protesters disgraced themselves and their school in silencing a selfless public servant who has done more in twelve years for New York’s poorest neighborhoods than decades of the big government redistribution programs that the Brown hecklers most certainly support…

Read MacDonald’s full commentary here.

A critical point here is that the display of close-mindedness and self-righteousness put forward by the students at Brown is about more than this one issue of policing New York. Rather, that close-mindedness points us to the underlying problem of liberal bias on campus. Because students go through four years of education without having their far left political views challenged even once, it’s no wonder that they end up unable to think clearly, critically, or for themselves. If there’s an opposing viewpoint out there, they don’t want to hear it. They are interested only in the cliches of class warfare and racial grievance.

After years of elite education, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition, they end up shouting words off of a note card with a black power fist held weakly in the air.

These days, that’s what they call an Ivy League education.

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A lecture at Brown University by New York City Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly was scrapped after protesters – a mix of students and community members inside the auditorium – continually interrupted Kelly until administrators finally shut down the spectacle.

The protestors were upset about alleged police brutality and New York’s stop and frisk laws, which some deem racist. But one brave Brown alumnus and current biology professor there, Ken Miller, has called the protestors out for their shameful and boorish behavior last week.kenmiller

Ray Kelly, whatever his misdeeds, is no George Lincoln Rockwell (leader of the American Nazi Party who spoke at Brown University in 1966). Rockwell’s idea of racial profiling wasn’t “stop-and-frisk.” It was “round up and deport.” Kelly has been accused of fascism, but Rockwell actually was a fascist — and a racist — and was proud of it on both counts. Yet the Brown community of the 1960s opened its doors to him, to avowed communists, and, at the height of the Vietnam war, to anti-war activists as well as the generals in charge of that war — like Earl Wheeler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It was a lively and vibrant place.

The crowd who managed to silence a speaker yesterday accomplished something, to be sure. But it wasn’t a blow against racism, fascism or police oppression. It was a step towards a closed campus where mob rule determines who can speak and who will be shouted down. It was a shameful day. And it deprived every member of our community of the chance to hear Kelly and decide for themselves whether his policing methods are indeed the first steps of a Rockwell-like campaign against minorities and the poor in America’s greatest city. To those individuals, let me put it plainly. Yours was an act of cowardice and fear, unworthy of any of the causes you claim to hold dear. I hope President Christina Paxson will show the courage to stand up to you, to invite Kelly back and to give every member of this community the chance to have a “Rockwell moment” of the sort I had in 1966.

Read more.

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IMAGE: Main: Fox News screenshot, Side: Brown University website

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