Legendary Professor And Lawyer Calls School Faculty Cowards

One of the most famous legal minds and professors in America is calling out tenured professors and university administrators for being cowards when it comes to student protests roiling campuses across America.

Professor Alan Dershowitz told USA Radio News that in his career, he’s never seen this level of cowardice.

“After 50 years of teaching at Harvard and other universities,” Dershowitz said, “I have never met a less courageous group of people than tenured faculty and University administrators. They’re terrified of controversy, they’re terrified of offending students.”

Dershowitz’s comments not only focused on administrators and professors, but also the student protesters.  He focused on protests such as that at the University of Missouri, where the students created “safe spaces” for black students only and drove away media and anyone else they felt did not fit into their ideology.

Dershowitz says that these students are showing that true diversity is not their goal despite their claims.

“They use words like diversity which they don’t really mean,” he said.  “They don’t want diversity.  The last thing they want is conservatives, Christians, Zionists.  They don’t want different points of view expressed on campus. They only want to hear their point of view.”

Dershowitz added that Jewish students are routinely denied the “safe spaces” black protesters are demanding, and that it’s very telling in the protests calling for campus buildings to be renamed if a historical figure is believed to have been racist.

“There’s clearly a double standard [in the protests],” Dershowitz said. “Many of the buildings in Universities are named after rabid anti-Semites! Nobody’s talking about [renaming those buildings].”

Should People Be Allowed To Work For $1 An Hour?

What is the least you would be willing to be paid to verify business addresses or phone numbers for a database? If you had a large online inventory and wanted simple word tags to describe each one of your products for search engine optimization, how much would you be willing to pay somebody to trudge through your product images and generate tags?

Tasks like these still require human labor, but a voluntary wage for such tasks is usually very low, especially relative to legislated minimum wages.

Despite exponential growth in computing power and capabilities over the past few decades, computers still struggle with simple tasks like identifying objects in a picture, making qualitative judgments, and confirming the accuracy of language translations. Amazon embraced this fact and connected those who need these Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) performed with the humans willing to do them.

The service is called Amazon Mechanical Turk, after the fake chess-playing machine constructed in 1770. It was just a real, human chess master playing from inside a box. Back then, no such artificial computing capabilities existed, mechanical or otherwise. Like the “machine,” Amazon Mechanical Turk involves humans doing the work, even if the task seems suited for computers.

A company with a large catalog might want to find and eliminate duplicate listings, but the items’ pictures and descriptions might be a little different, making computers unqualified for the job. “Turkers” may also fill out surveys for marketing information, social science research, or really anything the task creator wants to ask a large number of people. Audio and video transcriptions are common, too.

Submissions are judged by having multiple people perform the same task. If their submissions are the same or very similar, the task requester can assume that they are really working on the task and not just filling in random text to complete tasks.

Below is an example of a HIT that asks people to pull information from pictures of receipts. If three people perform this HIT, and two of the responses for the business address city are “Lincoln Park,” but one of the responses is “a;sldkfj,” the first two would be paid and not the third. Having more than one submission per HIT is more costly, but the task requesters get more accurate responses this way.


Today, there are more than 500,000 workers and around 200,000 HITs listed. Most tasks will earn the worker just a few cents, but some workers have been able to make a living from the service. As a member satisfactorily completes the simpler but lower-paying HITs, they are granted access to the higher-paying ones. A dedicated few make thousands of dollars a month by working full time. Others make a few extra hundred dollars a month by doing HITs after their regular job.

A recent study found that almost half of the MTurk workers performed tasks while at their primary job: “For example, a cab driver at the airport may answer survey questions while waiting for a fare. A teacher or office worker could MTurk during lunch break.”

Many enjoy doing the tasks as a form of relaxation and social engagement. Although the tasks seem incredibly boring to me, some find it an escape from boredom. Through turker-only forums, they have built a large, thriving community. They direct their fellow turkers to fun and high-paying HITs and help them steer clear of tasks posted by those who might fraudulently withhold payment for a completed task. Hayek would be impressed.

Minimum-Wage Activists Strike Again

The most common hourly rate for working on HITs is about $1. As such, minimum wage proponents have railed against Amazon Mechanical Turk, calling it modern day slavery. They see people having fun and voluntarily exchanging pennies for simple tasks and want it abolished. Bored people should just stay bored.

What would they say is an appropriate price for asking somebody to select what color a shirt is in a picture? How much should they charge for filling out their age, sex, and favorite ice cream flavor in a survey?

The correct answer, of course, is whatever the two parties agree on. Workers can scroll through hundreds of thousands of HITs and decide for themselves which ones are worth the payment, which is listed with each HIT. If something looks too long and complicated for the advertised payment, they can simply pass on it. The workers have complete control over which tasks they perform, what hours they work, and, of course, whether they are signed up to be an Amazon Mechanical Turk worker at all!

In the early days of Amazon Mechanical Turk, Salon ran an article on it that read like an exposé of a cult or a crime ring. They found a man who does HITs for fun and made him out to be an unknowing slave to evil corporate interests:

Curtis Taylor, 50, a corporate trainer in Clarksville, Ind., who has earned more than $345 on Mturk.com, doesn’t even think of turking as work. To him, it’s a way to kill time. “I’m not in it to make money, I’m in it to goof off,” he says. Taylor travels a lot for business and finds himself sitting around in hotel rooms at night. He doesn’t like to watch TV much, and says that turking beats playing free online poker. To him, it’s “mad money,” which he blows buying gifts on Amazon, like Bill Bennett’s “America, the Last Best Hope,” for his son, a junior in high school. “If I ever stop being entertained, I’ll stop doing it,” he says. “I’ll just quit.”

Yet what’s a happy diversion for Taylor is serious business for the companies on Amazon Mechanical Turk.

It turns out that there is a market for bored people. Prices emerge to pull them out of their boredom by working on simple tasks.

There are other ways people with extra time on their hands can provide labor services for low or even no pay. Certainly minimum wage proponents wouldn’t condemn volunteering for charities like homeless shelters, soup kitchens, Habitat for Humanity, disease awareness/cure campaigns, etc. Yet, what non-arbitrary feature distinguishes this sort of work from other lines of work that might offer a wage lower than any proposed minimum wage?

Not All Value Is Expressed in Dollars

In all voluntary arrangements, both the worker and the employer agree to a mutually beneficial wage, which sometimes means $0/hour. Even if nothing tangible is trading hands, it doesn’t mean that volunteers get nothing out of their work. Their “payment” is knowing they did something nice for free. It’s not really a wage or a payment in the economic sense, though, because the employer doesn’t lose this good feeling, like they would forgo money wages for paid work. In fact, volunteering labor like this is more appropriately considered a gift, not an exchange of labor for a wage.

When individuals make a choice, they aren’t just exchanging goods for goods or services for money, but they are making choices over alternative states of the world.

A potential volunteer isn’t weighing $0 against time working for some charity; they are weighing all the consequences of helping a charity versus not helping, including the subjective feelings they have for the cause and the knowledge that they had a hand in its well-meaning goals.

Likewise, a turker only agrees to a $0.01 HIT if the task looks easy or fun enough. They weigh the prospect of doing the task and receiving one penny versus missing out on the fun and not receiving the penny. Again, “fun” is also subjective. Most of the tasks look downright boring to me.

Whether a job requires intense effort and a specialized skill or just having a human brain, market prices are the only way to match people who want to do the job with the people who want the job done. Even $0/hour is sometimes voluntarily chosen by a worker who simply wants to help a certain cause. Mandated minimum wages eliminate these kinds of peaceful and productive arrangements, leaving both parties unsatisfied and society worse off.

This commentary originally appeared at Mises.org and is reprinted here under a Creative Commons license

Liberals Are Endangering Our Citrus Industry

Florida’s citrus harvest has plummeted 60 percent from ten years ago, because of citrus greening disease, a bacterial infection that causes trees to produce stunted fruit and eventually die. The disease has also been found in one Los Angeles area orchard, potentially putting California’s citrus groves at risk. Billions of dollars and thousands of jobs are at stake.

Introduced and spread by the flying aphid-like Asian citrus psyllid, citrus greening is also called HLB, from the Mandarin word for “yellow dragon disease.” It can quickly infest entire orchards, and thus far there is no cure. Infected trees must simply be destroyed.

Fortunately, a new pesticide called sulfoxaflor can prevent infections by killing psyllids. It is the only product other than neonicotinoid insecticides that protects valuable citrus trees against HLB. (Although technically in a different class, sulfoxaflor is similar to neonics.)

Unfortunately, a three-judge panel from San Francisco’s Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently banned the chemical’s use. This is the most liberal, most frequently overturned court in the United States. But its decision has forced the Environmental Protection Agency to cancel its approval of sufloxaflor’s registration, and ban the chemical’s sale and distribution in the United States.

Both the California and Florida citrus industries need this product if oranges are going to be kept off the endangered list. Can growers and state officials secure commonsense legal decisions before it’s too late?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is extremely cautious about insecticides. Yet it approved sulfoxaflor, after discussing it with Canadian and Australian regulatory agencies and reviewing more than 400 studies, reams of data and many analyses of field tests examining effects on honeybees.

Not good enough, said the Ninth Circuit. Because “bees have been dying at alarming rates,” the judges said, they felt compelled to substitute their judgment for the EPA’s – and revoke sulfoxaflor’s approval.

In the end, their chief objection came down to three measurements of pesticide residue in nectar and pollen – out of 132 measurements taken. Because this two percent of results barely exceeded the EPA’s extremely conservative “level of concern,” and even though the detected residue amounted to only a few parts per billion (equivalent to a few seconds out of 32 years), the judges pulled the pesticide’s approval and told the EPA to do more homework.

In reality, it is the judges who need to do more homework. Their decision failed to recognize several critical facts.

First, residue detection does not equal harm. Neonicotinoids – the insecticides that the court compared to sulfoxaflor – have not impacted honeybee populations. Real-world experience and extensive field studies demonstrate that bees thrive throughout millions of acres of neonic-treated canola grown in Western Canada. These pesticides are also widely used in Australia, where the bee industry is so healthy that it exports honeybee queens worldwide.

Second, bee populations are actually rising. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that America’s colony numbers have risen slightly, from 2.6 million in 2000 to over 2.7 million in 2014. They’re currently at a 20-year high in the United States, the Washington Post reports, and up 80% worldwide since 1961.

The number of hives in Canada has also increased, even as neonic use has grown. In Ontario, hive numbers rose from 84,000 in 1995 to 97,500 in 2013. Relatively high losses in Ontario over the frigid 2014/15 winter may reflect the fact that the province has a greater proportion of hobbyist beekeepers.

They try hard to maintain their hives, commercial keeper Lee Townsend observed. But “they’re not as current as commercial beekeepers,” who are generally more up to speed on how to protect hives. Bees are “how we make our money. This is how we support our families. There’s a big difference,” he says.

Third, media reports on wintertime bee losses may have made the judges think bees are in trouble. But beekeepers lose a certain percentage of their hives every year, and view losses around 19 percent as acceptable.

When losses are higher, such as 23 percent last winter, they can cause economic setbacks for some beekeepers. But most can quickly rebuild their hives in the springtime – a detail that many news stories leave out.

Many journalists also fail to recognize that worker bees live for only six weeks in the summer. The Ninth Circuit seems to have made the same errors, ignored experts and evidence, and listened mostly to anti-chemical activists who blame neonics for seasonal bee loss fluctuations.

Fourth, it appears that significant colony losses in recent years were caused primarily by aptly named Varroa destructor mites that carry multiple bee viruses and diseases. Other serious threats to beehives have included parasitic phorid flies, intestinal fungi, the tobacco ringspot virus and abnormally cold weather in some area.

Thankfully, beekeepers are managing these challenges better, despite how difficult it is to treat bees for parasites – basically killing bugs on bugs. While trying to address hive health problems, beekeepers have sometimes accidentally killed off entire hives through overuse or off-label use of pesticides.

Fifth, while some still have problems maintaining the health of their hives, experienced, attentive beekeepers are finding their profession is “more profitable than ever,” says independent researcher and beekeeper Randy Oliver. Bees are highly sought for pollination services, and prices are high.

Meanwhile, however, U.S. citrus growers face devastation.

Sulfoxaflor offers them a chance to survive. Its safety, effectiveness and unique insect-control mechanism make it especially valuable. Even the Ninth Circuit judges acknowledged this.

As entomologist Michael Rogers, director of the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center, recently told the Lakeland Ledger: If they don’t have sulfoxaflor, “the alternatives growers would use would be more toxic” to bees that pollinate so many crops.

“Neonic crop protection is currently the only thing we have that can ensure the citrus industry survives citrus greening long enough to be rescued by genetic engineering,” Rogers adds. Ironically, many of the groups battling neonics also oppose biotechnology.

The White House’s recent National Pollinator Health Strategy emphasized the need to “balance the unintended consequences of chemical exposure with the need for pest control.” The Ninth Circuit ignored that guidance and let fear and misinformation triumph over facts.

California and Florida growers and agricultural agencies should pursue legal remedies that regain their sulfoxaflor option, before psyllids and HLB destroy the nutritious citrus fruits we love. Thankfully, the Ninth Circuit just granted the EPA’s request for a panel rehearing on its decision to ban the chemical.

Growers and other affected parties should at least file “friends of the court” briefs, to ensure that the judges are aware of all the relevant facts before it renders a new decision.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.

Black Man Reveals Hatred He Faced In College- But NOT For The Reason You’d Think…

George Yancey, a former Yale grad student, wrote a very revealing piece about how “unsafe” he felt as a college student. But, as an African American, he didn’t feel unsafe for the reasons filling our news media about today’s college campuses. And once you hear the reason he felt so much pressure, you just might nod your head in sympathy.

Yancey, who not long ago attended the Ivy League school, recently revealed that the reason he felt unsafe in college was not because he was an African American, but because he is a Christian. “I can confidently say that when I was in graduate school, my identity as a Christian was far more under attack than my identity as a black,” he wrote.

“I was repeatedly informed, ” Yancey said, “that Christians like me were the source of most of the problems in our society, and challenged to leave my Christian identity behind. Like many Christians today, I did not feel safe.”

Yancey, who is now a professor of sociology at the University of North Texas, went to pains to note that as a black man, he is not dismissing the racism that he, himself, has dealt with in his life as a black man, but says that he never felt nearly as much opposition in college for being black as he did being a Christian.

Still, despite the attacks against his deeply held religious beliefs, Professor Yancey insisted that he welcomed the challenges to his faith because, he said, it made him a better Christian.

“At the time it was fairly scary to not feel safe,” Yancey wrote. “But now I am glad that I was not kept safe. As a young Christian in graduate school, I benefited from that lack of safety. Having my ideas and identity as a Christian challenged forced me to rethink some of my previous ideas. Some of those ideas I dropped. Others emerged stronger.”

Yancey said that these challenges made him think more deeply about his faith, and that they strengthened them.

But this, he felt, was exactly the point of college: to have one’s ideas confronted, forcing one to think–and that is something he thinks too many college kids are destroying with their purported campaigns against free speech.

“Those who are attempting to protect themselves from hostile ideas are missing a fantastic opportunity to grow,” Yancey pointedly wrote. “They have an opportunity to engage in the type of introspection that sharpened and strengthened my ideas. It is scary to confront alternate ideas. I get that. But looking at those ideological confrontations from this side of my growth has made me appreciate them in ways I could not have when I first started graduate school.”

Yancey also said that he wishes professors would stop kowtowing to students and their every wish, but instead use the current supposed anti-free speech climate as a teaching tool–as professors should.

“Instead, professors should be challenging students to sharpen their ideas by confronting opposing viewpoints and thinking through lazy assumptions,” Yancey noted. “Indeed, we do our students a disservice when we fail to do so. Cocooning students away from perspectives they don’t agree with is the last thing we should do if we want them to mature into the charitable citizens needed in a multicultural democracy. We need to generate citizens who can tolerate and dialogue with those with whom they disagree instead of seeking safety for their political and social beliefs.”

Professor George Yancey is the author of several books including So Many Christians, So Few Lions, which looks at Christianophobia in the United States, and Compromising Scholarship, a book systematically documenting political and religious bias in academia.

When Loving Care Wins Wars

The level of incoherence expressed by Leftists in this country is truly breathtaking. If these people actually believe the things they are saying, we are witnessing the kind of disassociation reserved for the asylum.

Disassociation: “In psychology . . . describes a wide array of experiences from mild detachment from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experience. The major characteristic of all dissociative phenomena involves a detachment from reality, rather than a loss of reality as in psychosis.”

Considering recent statements by Leftists in authority, perhaps the better term is ‘psychosis.’

Like Madonna, Hillary Clinton urged unconditional love in the war on ‘extremism,’ saying that  “Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.” (Shortly afterward, she launched a war on comedians, naming Los Angeles a hotbed of sedition.)

Even if you ignore 1400 years of Muslim aggression and terrorism, the activities of Muslims since 9/11 ought to be persuasive. This authoritative website records every act of terror in detail and has done so for years.


The report sums up showing Muslims have launched 27,301 terrorist attacks since 9/11. Has Hillary lost her mind, is she suffering ‘severe detachment from reality,’ or is she simply another apologist for Jihad cultivating personal ambition at the expense of national security? Her closest aide, one connected to the Muslim Brotherhood (the mother ship of Al Qaeda), Huma Abedin, has said Hillary is often ‘confused.’ Like a captain without a boat: no ship Sherlock. And we are seriously considering this woman for the presidency?

Hillary’s successor at State, John Kerry, strung a rope of sand from the U.S. Embassy in Paris on Tuesday. In an attempt to differentiate the Charlie Hebdo attack from the recent Paris attack resulting in 130 dead civilians and hundreds wounded, Kerry stated:

“There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that.” (Cartoons.)

A firestorm of outrage was the response to this moronic statement, certainly the low point in the history of American diplomacy. Unfortunately, hauling James Taylor back to Paris for a “You’ve Got a Friend,” redux simply won’t do,  especially when the president of France is busy declaring war on ISIS and organizing bombing and police raids, the stuff of real leaders.

As to the child king in the WH, after failing to appear on time with world leaders for a moment of silence out of respect for the Paris victims, Barack Hussein Obama, the great checkered hope, launched into a resounding defense of Western values, declaring solidarity with all victims of Jihad, vowing to work with Allies to crush ISIS, restore order, protect civilization and secure the homeland. NOT! Instead, he attacked Republicans and the majority of Americans rightly concerned about his plan to import tens of thousands of undocumented Muslim asylum seekers, hordes already shown cloaking ISIS demoniacs. Obama was especially dismissive of Christians and others who are obviously ignorant and bigoted as shown by their expressed concerns over terrorism and national security. With characteristic condescension, arrogance and rancor, Obama berated his critics, saying they are afraid of widows and orphans–in reality, teeming masses created by his idiotic policies.

Adding to the Nit Parade: the Sultan of Psychosis, Bernie Sanders, proclaimed just after the Paris atrocities that climate change is our greatest national security threat, adding:  ” . . .  climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism.” Iowans in the audience were visibly stunned, mouths agape, frozen in silent astonishment.

Even more laughable was White House Communications Director and presidential advisor Jen Psaki. Jen declared on Thursday that Obama will not change course “in the regions affected by ISIS.”  In other words, total failure is now defined as success, stay the course! She added: “The military won’t win the war against ISIS.” So we are in a war, or not? And if we are in a war, we won’t use our military? What a novel idea. What do we fight a war with, Kerry’s rhetoric? Hillary’s unconditional love? Bernie’s climate agenda? Barack’s condemnation of Republicans?

Meanwhile, displaying true grit, Michael Moore offered his Michigan apartment to Syrian refugees, defying the governor’s proclamation defying Obama’s proclamation. As in his films, Michael shows a preference for fiction, insisting he is a hero for showing ISIS what a real warrior looks like. He went on to claim only states welcoming refugees put fear in ISIS’ hearts, that states resisting invasion have surrendered! What?! People who fight back in self-defense are cowards, but people who welcome terrorists are heroes? (Psst. Michael. When ISIS fighters trash your apartment and slaughter 200 American citizens, will you sober up or blame the NRA?)

As Nancy Pelosi was expressing complete confidence that Obama’s assessment of his ISIS policy is ultimately reliable, that ISIS is “contained” and well on the way to annihilation, another terrorist atrocity was reported in Mali. Brussels was in complete lockdown, and throughout Europe, rape records were being broken.

So is it disassociation, psychosis, or drugs? Now comes the report D.C. is filled with the odor of marijuana smoke.  Not surprisingly, people living there “don’t really care.”

Don’t worry folks. Obama and Madonna and Hillary and Bernie care so much, ISIS is sure to surrender, in time.