Lottery Post Journal

Study: Colleges even more liberal than conservatives thought

This is from The Washington Post, itself a liberal newspaper.  If they say colleges are liberal, then hold on to your hat...

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 29, 2005; Page C01

College faculties, long assumed to be a liberal bastion, lean further to the left than even the most conspiratorial conservatives might have imagined, a new study says.

By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.

The disparity is even more pronounced at the most elite schools, where, according to the study, 87 percent of faculty are liberal and 13 percent are conservative.

"What's most striking is how few conservatives there are in any field," said Robert Lichter, a professor at George Mason University and a co-author of the study. "There was no field we studied in which there were more conservatives than liberals or more Republicans than Democrats. It's a very homogenous environment, not just in the places you'd expect to be dominated by liberals."

Religious services take a back seat for many faculty members, with 51 percent saying they rarely or never attend church or synagogue and 31 percent calling themselves regular churchgoers. On the gender front, 72 percent of the full-time faculty are male and 28 percent female.

The findings, by Lichter and fellow political science professors Stanley Rothman of Smith College and Neil Nevitte of the University of Toronto, are based on a survey of 1,643 full-time faculty at 183 four-year schools. The researchers relied on 1999 data from the North American Academic Study Survey, the most recent comprehensive data available.

The study appears in the March issue of the Forum, an online political science journal. It was funded by the Randolph Foundation, a right-leaning group that has given grants to such conservative organizations as the Independent Women's Forum and Americans for Tax Renorm.

Rothman sees the findings as evidence of "possible discrimination" against conservatives in hiring and promotion. Even after factoring in levels of achievement, as measured by published work and organization memberships, "the most likely conclusion" is that "being conservative counts against you," he said. "It doesn't surprise me, because I've observed it happening." The study, however, describes this finding as "preliminary."

When asked about the findings, Jonathan Knight, director of academic freedom and tenure for the American Association of University Professors, said, "The question is how this translates into what happens within the academic community on such issues as curriculum, admission of students, evaluation of students, evaluation of faculty for salary and promotion." Knight said he isn't aware of "any good evidence" that personal views are having an impact on campus policies.

"It's hard to see that these liberal views cut very deeply into the education of students. In fact, a number of studies show the core values that students bring into the university are not very much altered by being in college."

Rothman, Lichter and Nevitte find a leftward shift on campus over the past two decades. In the last major survey of college faculty, by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1984, 39 percent identified themselves as liberal.

In contrast with the finding that nearly three-quarters of college faculty are liberal, a Harris Poll of the general public last year found that 33 percent describe themselves as conservative and 18 percent as liberal.

The liberal label that a majority of the faculty members attached to themselves is reflected on a variety of issues. The professors and instructors surveyed are, strongly or somewhat, in favor of abortion rights (84 percent); believe homosexuality is acceptable (67 percent); and want more environmental protection "even if it raises prices or costs jobs" (88 percent). What's more, the study found, 65 percent want the government to ensure full employment, a stance to the left of the Democratic Party.

Recent campus controversies have reinforced the left-wing faculty image. The University of Colorado is reviewing its tenure system after one professor, Ward Churchill, created an uproar by likening World Trade Center victims to Nazis. Harvard's faculty of arts and sciences voted no confidence in the university's president, Lawrence Summers, after he privately wondered whether women had the same natural ability as men in science and math.

The study did not attempt to examine whether the political views of faculty members affect the content of their courses.  (Todd: well, duh, you don't think??)

The researchers say that liberals, men and non-regular churchgoers are more likely to be teaching at top schools, while conservatives, women and more religious faculty are more likely to be relegated to lower-tier colleges and universities.

Top-tier schools, roughly a third of the total, are defined as highly ranked liberal arts colleges and research universities that grant PhDs.

The most liberal faculties are those devoted to the humanities (81 percent) and social sciences (75 percent), according to the study. But liberals outnumbered conservatives even among engineering faculty (51 percent to 19 percent) and business faculty (49 percent to 39 percent).

The most left-leaning departments are English literature, philosophy, political science and religious studies, where at least 80 percent of the faculty say they are liberal and no more than 5 percent call themselves conservative, the study says.

"In general," says Lichter, who also heads the nonprofit Center for Media and Public Affairs, "even broad-minded people gravitate toward other people like themselves. That's why you need diversity, not just of race and gender but also, maybe especially, of ideas and perspective."

UAW flip-flops on Marines snub

By Eric Mayne / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- The United Auto Workers union waved a white flag Monday in its parking skirmish with neighboring reservists, but the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines are not accepting surrender.

Facing intense criticism, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger reversed his decision to ban Marine Corps reservists driving foreign cars or displaying pro-President Bush bumper stickers from parking at the union's Solidarity House headquarters in Detroit.

"I made the wrong call on the parking issue, and I have notified the Marine Corps that all reservists are welcome to park at Solidarity House as they have for the past 10 years," Gettelfinger said in a statement.

Wounded by what they consider an unpatriotic ambush, the Marines rejected the union's olive branch and secured an alternative parking lot.

"I talked to Ron; I let him know that I understand he has rescinded his decision," said Lt. Col. Joe Rutledge, a top-ranking officer at the reserve infantry rifle battalion. "However, I've made my decision -- either you support the Marines or you don't."

The Detroit News reported the controversy Sunday.

The UAW has a longstanding policy prohibiting nonunion-made vehicles from the parking lots at its plants and meeting halls.

Until last week, the union made an exception for the Marines who parked at Solidarity House on the weekends. The battalion's headquarters is nearby on East Jefferson.

While both sides say the dispute has been overblown, it revealed the depths of the UAW's antipathy toward the Bush administration and its concern over the rise of foreign automakers in the U.S. market.

Gettelfinger and other top UAW International officials say Bush is blatantly anti-labor and has opposed measures that could have benefited working men and women.

UAW leaders backed Democratic challenger John Kerry and his running mate John Edwards in last year's election.

The UAW's reversal Monday followed a barrage of criticism from both union members and nonunion members. The dispute became instant fodder for such Web sites as The Drudge Report and various radio programs. (Todd: And in my Blog!)

The News received hundreds of e-mails Sunday and Monday about the controversy, the majority criticizing the UAW's decision.

"I have never belonged to the unions, but I've always bought (domestic) brand cars," Jenny Pulcerm 74, of Harrison Township. "Right now, I'm driving a Chrysler. But the next car will definitely not be union-made."

Outside the Marine reservists headquarters, it wasn't hard to find signs of hard feelings. A Toyota pickup truck parked in front of a phalanx of military Humvees sported three bumper stickers. One touted Semper Fi, the Marines' motto, the second was a Bush/Cheney campaign sticker and the third an anti-UAW sign.

The UAW decision to ban Marines struck a nerve with many who say U.S. armed forces deserve more respect, especially during a time of war.

And certainly, some said, Marines should be able to support their commander in chief, President Bush, without facing repercussions.

"The Marines who fought at Iwo Jima -- including yours truly -- and those who are now in Iraq, took an oath to defend this country and its citizens," said Russ Paquette, an 87-year-old lawyer from St. Clair Shores and normer commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines. "There is nothing in the oath which indicates that we Marines will only fight for citizens who drive certain automobiles, or who voted in the last election for a certain president."

Gettelfinger, himself a normer Marine Corps reservist, said his initial decision should not be looked on as a lack of support for the military.

"That certainly was not my intention. ... I fully appreciate the sacrifices and contributions made by America's reservists, National Guard members and active duty military personnel and their families," his statement said.

Gettelfinger also acknowledged the decision reflected poorly on the UAW, which has historically supported the U.S. military.

"The controversy over this decision has overshadowed the many good things the UAW and our members are doing to support and express our appreciation to America's servicemen and -women and veterans," he said.

Some supported Gettelfinger's call.

"It took a lot of guts," said Phil Davis, a 58-year-old Realtor in Tampa, Fla. "It was based on principle."  (Todd: What guts? What principle? The principle of being a jerk and being unpatriotic?)

Dominic Roti, a 64-year-old Farmington retiree who worked 37 years for Chrysler, credits the UAW with setting the benchmark for America's standard of living.

"They're the ones who are putting bread on the table," Roti said. "We're accustomed to live a certain way. ... You have a car to go from work, to home, to the stores -- not like in a lot of European countries. ... The UAW made it that way for us. We're thankful to them." (Todd: Actually, the UAW is responsible for taking bread off the table. If they would simply act on the worker's behalf for higher wages and better benefits, that would be great -- and their organization would be a LOT smaller -- but unfortunately they see themselves as a major political force, and that takes a lot of money out of worker's pocket and sends it to Washington to feed the limousine liberals.)

But many of those who weighed in said the episode changed their opinion of the UAW. Bill Reiber of Vista, Calif., whose son is serving in Iraq, is trading in his Chevrolet S-10 pickup for a vehicle made by a foreign automaker.

"I'm looking at the Toyota Tacoma," he said. "What (the UAW) did, it just wasn't right. These are Marines and they have a right, like anybody else in America, to express their First Amendment rights."

Lt. Col. Rutledge said he's anxious to get past the dispute and get back to business. Owners of a nearby apartment complex have agreed to allow reservists to park on their premises.

"I know people are incensed by this thing," Rutledge said, "but in the big scheme of things, what I do is train Marines and I'm preparing these guys to go overseas."

Marines bashed by UAW workers

By Eric Mayne / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- The United Auto Workers says Marine reservists should show a little more semper fi if they want to use the union's parking lot.

The Marine Corps motto means "always faithful," but the union says some reservists working out of a base on Jefferson Avenue in Detroit have been decidedly unfaithful to their fellow Americans by driving import cars and trucks.

So the UAW International will no longer allow members of the 1st Battalion 24th Marines to park at Solidarity House if they are driving foreign cars or displaying pro-President Bush bumper stickers

"While reservists certainly have the right to drive nonunion made vehicles and display bumper stickers touting the most anti-worker, anti-union president since the 1920s, that doesn't mean they have the right to park in a lot owned by the members of the UAW," the union said in a statement released Friday.

Shocked and disappointed, the Marines are pulling out.

"You either support the Marines or you don't," said Lt. Col. Joe Rutledge, commanding officer of the battalion's active duty instructors. "I'm telling my Marines that they're no longer parking there."

At a time when U.S. armed forces are fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, quibbling over parking privileges is "silly," Rutledge said.

The UAW has a long history of barring foreign-made cars from its parking lots. The subject is touchier than ever as Detroit's Big Three loses market share, driving down union membership.

The pro-Bush bumper stickers are another sore spot after last year's election.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger opposed President Bush, accusing him of ignoring calls for labor law renorm and failing to combat unfair business practices in China -- a growing threat to U.S. manufacturers.

The dispute arises as the UAW, using laid-off workers for labor, is building a $300,000 home for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The home in Eaton Rapids will operate a residential program for children of veterans who don't have parents, or whose parents can't care for them.

"We do not think it is unreasonable to expect our guests to practice the simple principle of not insulting their host," the UAW statement said.

Rutledge is unmoved.

"I don't see it as a snub against them," he said, adding no conditions were set when the union first began allowing the Marines to park in the lot several years ago. "We're appreciative of what they've done, but you don't come into my office and say, 'OK, we're not going to support some of your Marines.' I don't know what a foreign car is today anyway. BMWs are made in South Carolina now."

Episode III Trailer

Star Wars fans: do not miss the final Epsiode III trailer.  It is .... perfect.

Important: Everyone using SmileyCentral should read this

I have noticed a lot of "extraneous" activity in the LP server's logs, so I did some investigation.  It turns out that a lot of traffic is coming through with designation of "FunWebProducts" in the browser User Agent string.  Well, doing some further investigation on that string turned up some interesting information.

I know that a lot of people are using a service called "Smiley Central", which allows them to insert smileys into messages and e-mails.  That service uses software that hooks into your Internet Browser.  There is another similar product calles My Web Search, which also connects to your browser.

As great as that is, nothing is free, and it turns out that people who are using that service are installing spy-ware on their computers.  Your business is your own, but you may want to consider using all possible means to get rid of it ASAP.

Here's an article that talks about the issue:

http://www.nwfusion.com/newsletters/web/2003/1208web2.html

Here's some other relevant links:

Substantial Performance Increases

Wow, today I implemented substantial performance increases throughout the web site.  The main page, which typically took about a second to generate, now generates in about a tenth of a second.  Each forum page takes less than two-tenths of a second to create.  And so on.

This came about when I discovered a database programming technique, and implemented it in all the places where any substantial database transaction activity take place.

Cat Survives 10-Mile Trip on Top of Car

INKOM, Idaho (AP) - Torri Hutchinson's cat might just have one less life to live. Hutchison was driving along Interstate 15 one day recently when a motorist kept trying to get her attention and pointing to the roof of her car.

She said she was wary of the man, but wondered if perhaps her ski rack might have come loose.

She pulled over to the side, but kept her doors locked and the motor running.

The man pulled up behind her. Hutchinson rolled down her window to hear the man frantically shouting, "Your cat! Your cat!"

He reached for the roof of her car and handed the shocked Hutchinson her orange tabby.

She had driven about 10 miles with the cat on top of the car, and didn't even notice the feline when she stopped for gas.

Hutchinson said Cuddle Bug, or C.B. for short, had climbed into the back of her car as she was getting ready to leave. She put him out, but he must have jumped on the roof while she wasn't looking, she said.