William Jocobson: The vetting of Elizabeth Warren’s academic background begins
I have alluded to issues certain writers have taken with Elizabeth Warren’s academic writings.
But never have I seen a more scathing critique of Warren than that published by highly regarded Rutgers Law Professor Philip Shuchman which was uncovered by Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart.com.
The article is posted here, and was published in the 1990-1991 edition of the Rutgers Law Review.
It is 60 pages of devastating analysis of a book Warren co-authored, As We Forgive Our Debtors: Bankruptcy and Consumer Credit in America. This is the money quote reprinted in Leahy’s article:
Most of their study replicates several earlier research publications. These are hardly mentioned. The writers make extravagant and false claims to originality and priority of research. There appear to be serious errors in their use of statistical bases which result in grossly mistaken functions and comparisons. Some of their conclusions cannot be obtained even from their flawed findings. The authors have made their raw data unavailable so that its accuracy cannot be independently checked. In my opinion, the authors have engaged in repeated instances of scientific misconduct. [emphasis added]
In those 60 pages, Professor Shuchman demonstrates time and again how Warren and her co-authors jumped to conclusions, proclaimed new findings which were not new, and most importantly, ignored or did not accurately reflect data.
This point, on page 240 of the Rutgers article, reflects a tendency which Warren has had throughout her career to reach conclusions which were politically charged and headline grabbing, but not supported by the data…
FP: On more than one occasion I commented here on the decline of academic standard in general and, in particular, the at best mediocre mastery of social science faculty of scientific research methods on the one hand. I also deplored the population of academic departments with political ideologues rather than genuine academics. These two factors were one of the several reason I renounced my intended academic career.
It is important to also point out, however, that there is a negative correlation between political activism and poor research skills . In other words, on average, the more political the character, the lesser the quality of their research. Those whose intentions are political and use academia as a springboard for activism tend not to invest too much effort into mastering the scientific method.
Elizabeth Warren is just an excellent case that validates this generalization.
New minority label at CUNY: ‘Jewish’ (h/t William Jacobson)
Something isn’t kosher about a CUNY scheme to single out Jews, angry professors charge.
Touting a move to make its faculty more diverse, CUNY administrators have broken out Jews into a separate minority group: “White/Jewish.”
CUNY insists “some faculty” want the label, instead of being lumped in as just white. But the theistic tag has outraged both Jewish and non-Jewish professors, and sparked a furor.
“This is, as far as I know, the first time a religion has been introduced into any affirmative-action document,” said David Gordon, a history professor at Bronx Community College and the Graduate Center. “What would the response be to a category ‘White/Methodist?’ Silly? Irrelevant?”
FP: I have a surprise for many American Jews: there are secular Jews! Indeed, I am anti-Theist. And, if so, how exactly is Jewishness just a religion? In fact, it is determined by birth to a Jewish mother which, like it or not, is a racial basis. In fact the latest research indicates it is a genetic basis. And while I have some reservations about Richard Dawkins that there children are not born Christian or Muslim—they are simply raised in the religion of parents—and we should refer to them as Arab, or Iranian, or European children, and so on. Children of Jewish mothers, however, are born Jewish.
I am not defending the CUNY classification, I am just disputing the specific criticism.
Bill Katz: JUNE 4TH
Europe, in deep financial crisis, is heavily in the news. It was also heavily in the news on this day in 1944, when allied forces liberated Rome.
The Allies saved Western Europe from fascism. NATO, which essentially means the United States, saved Western Europe from Soviet domination. Now the question is whether Western Europe can be saved from itself. From The New York Times:
LONDON — As Spain’s economic crisis deepens and uncertainty swirls over Greece’s future in the euro zone, the guardians of the increasingly fragile European monetary union are near a moment of truth: can they muster the will and resources to keep the euro zone from breaking apart?
The question has grown more urgent since the release of data Friday showing a record-high rate of unemployment in the euro zone, poor job creation in the United States and a slowdown in manufacturing in China. Combined, those signals have fueled fears of a second worldwide recession.
On consecutive days last week, two of the most powerful figures in Europe — Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, and Olli Rehn, the most senior economic official in Brussels — warned that the future of the euro zone was in doubt. In the words of Mr. Rehn, the union might well disintegrate unless policy makers take steps to bind the 17 European Union nations that use the euro closer together.
As the story implies, it isn't only Europe that's in danger. Prices on the Tokyo stock exchange plunged yesterday to a 28-year low. (Remember when, in the early 80s, we were afraid Japan would take over the United States?)
Last week we saw stunningly bad economic reports in the United States. The economic winds blowing from Europe and Tokyo will do nothing to stimulate advances in the American economy. We are producing a pitiful number of new jobs. We aren't even keeping up with population growth in job creation. The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits is growing again.
Obviously, all this will impact the American presidential election. And it may well impact our ability, and will, to deal with international crises.
We have a man in the White House who does not arouse confidence. He is not a capable man. He was never ready for the office he holds. We are in a mess.
FP: While Obama bears some responsibility for the acceleration of the decline, the fundamental problem is the Western democracy’s senility. There is no way the abomination that is the EU can address the problems Europe’s problems, because it has in large part has created them and the national economies are incapable to support not just the usual incompetence and corruption of the islamizing welfare state, but also those superimposed on them by the EU.