Sunday, 29 April 2012


Ken Berwitz

Suppose you were a Christian student, you attended what was billed as an anti-bullying event, and the speaker decided, instead to hit you with a profanity-filled frontal attack on your Christian faith? 

Suppose the event was sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association, and their reaction to the speaker was praise for the speaker and an admonishment to the people offended enough to have walked out - accompanied by a half-sentence of what appeared to be a thoroughly insincere "understanding".

Well, no need to wonder.  Because it happened this week at a supposedly "anti-bullying conference" in Seattle, Washington.

Excerpted from Todd Starnes' piece for

As many as 100 high school students walked out of a national journalism conference after an anti-bullying speaker began cursing, attacked the Bible and reportedly called those who refused to listen to his rant pansy assed.

The speaker was Dan Savage, founder of the It Gets Better project, an anti-bullying campaign that has reached more than 40 million viewers with contributors ranging from President Obama to Hollywood stars. Savage also writes a sex advice column called Savage Love.

Savage, and his husband, were also guests at the White House for President Obamas 2011 LGBT Pride Month reception. He was also invited to a White House anti-bullying conference.

Savage was supposed to be delivering a speech about anti-bullying at the National High School Journalism Conference sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. But it turned into an episode of Christian-bashing.

Rick Tuttle, the journalism advisor for Sutter Union High School in California, was among several thousand people in the audience. He said they thought the speech was one thing but it turned into something else.

I thought this would be about anti-bullying, Tuttle told Fox news. It turned into a pointed attack on Christian beliefs.

Tuttle said the speech was laced with vulgarities and sexual innuendo not appropriate for this age group. At one point, he said Savage told the teenagers about how good his partner looked in a speedo.

As the teenagers were walking out, Tuttle said that Savage heckled them and called them pansy-assed.

The executive director of the National Scholastic Press Association provided Fox News with joint statement from the Journalism Education Association that was sent to members after a number of people complained about Savages remarks.

We appreciate the level of thoughtfulness and deliberation regarding Dan Savages keynote address, the NSPA wrote. some audience members who felt hurt by his words and tone decided to leave in the middle of his speech, and to this, we want to make our point very clear: While as a journalist its important to be able to listen to speech that offends you, these students and advisers had simply reached their tolerance level for what they were willing to hear.

In other words, daniel savage was invited to speak against bullying - and, instead, decided be one, by taking what amounted to a captive audience of high schoolers and subjecting them to an angry, profane gay indoctrination session, while insulting the religious beliefs many of them hold in as offensive a way as he could come up with.

I wonder how many students this obnoxious character thinks he converted to his way of thinking by doing this.  I suspect he knows that the answer is few if any - and assume he does not care.  savage did not use this as an opportunity to speak for, among other things, tolerance and acceptance of gay people, he used it to defecate on people he hates.  Exactly what bullies do.

Brilliant.  What a great anti-bullying message that sends.

And what a meaningless statement from the National Scholastic Press Association.  Cowardly, and tacitly supportive of savage's disgusting behavior:  hey, this is journalism, you have to sit there and take it kids.

Speaking as a non-Christian who regularly champions gay equality in this blog, I am thrilled that so many decided not to take it and walked out on this jerk.  My only regret is that there weren't more of them. 

savage owes them all an apology - one that they will never get.  So do the National Scholastic Press association and the Journalism Education Association - which, if their initial statement is any indication, won't be offering one either.

Evidently, anti-bullying pieties notwithstanding, it remains open season on Christians.

Oh, one other thing.  daniel savage has been a welcome guest at the Obama White House.  And he has said, on bill maher's Real Time show that "I wish all Republicans were fucking dead".  I'm sure maher's buttons were bursting with pride, right along with the geniuses at Time Warner, which owns HBO and just signed maher to another two year contract.


Ken Berwitz

Why have college and university costs jumped through the roof over recent years?  And where is the money coming from to pay for it?

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby has an idea of why, and it makes all the sense in the world.  Here, excerpted from today's column, is some of his thinking on the subject:

For decades, American politicians have waxed passionate on the need to put college within every family's reach. To ensure that anyone who wants to go to college will be able to foot the bill, Washington has showered hundreds of billions of dollars into student aid of all kinds -- grants and loans, subsidized work-study jobs, tax credits and deductions. Today, that shower has become a monsoon. As Neal McCluskey points out in a Cato Institute white paper, government outlays intended to hold down the price of a college degree have ballooned, in inflation-adjusted dollars, from $29.6 billion in 1985 to $139.7 billion in 2010: an increase of 372 percent since Ronald Reagan's day.

Most of that prodigious growth is very recent. The College Board, which tracks each type of financial assistance in a comprehensive annual report, shows total federal aid soaring by more than $100 billion in the space of a single decade -- from $64 billion in 2000 to $169 billion in 2010. (The College Board's data, unlike Cato's, includes higher-education tax credits and deductions.)

And what have we gotten for this vast investment in college affordability? Colleges that are more unaffordable than ever.

Year in, year out, Washington bestows tuition aid on students and their families. Year in, year out, the cost of tuition surges, galloping well ahead of inflation. And year in, year out, politicians vie to outdo each other in promising still more public subsidies that will keep higher education within reach of all. Does it never occur to them that there might be a cause-and-effect relationship between the skyrocketing aid and the skyrocketing price of a college education? That all those grants and loans and tax credits aren't containing the fire, but fanning it?

Apparently not.

In other words, it is the taxpayer who is funding this unending cost-push spiral.  Costs go up, politicians fall over each other to make up the differences, so costs go up again; apparently with the expectation that Uncle Sap will continue to make up the difference...which is exactly what happens.

At what point does this game end? 

I urge you to use the link I've provided and read Jeff's entire column.  You are very likely to find more logic and common sense about the tuition game there than you have ever seen anywhere else.  And the more informed you are, the more exasperated by this absurd, continuing cycle you are likely to get.

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