As Purim approaches, thousands of Israeli children and families grapple with poverty
Several weeks ago I urged Harvard president Larry Summers to authorize release of the transcript of his remarks at a National Bureau of Economic Research conference. In that way we would know exactly what he said about the ability of women to compete in math and science, instead of relying on what some partisans in attendance thought they recalled him saying.
Initially, conference officials denied the existence of any transcript. When will they ever learn? The cover-up is always worse than the deed. However, now, finally, the transcript has been released with Summers’s authorization.
In the transcript, Summers states that “there are issues of intrinsic aptitude” with regard to women in the disciplines of math and science. To many, the reasonable meaning of that statement in the context delivered supports “nature” as having a role as well as “nurture.”
In its editorial of February 20, The New York Times expressed horror that Summers would have such an opinion. The editorial thundered, “It [Summers's statement] was every woman’s nightmare of what a university president thinks privately about equal opportunity.”
Summers’s remarks are thoughtful, raising as many questions as he provides hypotheses. The entire transcript is available at www.Harvard.edu, and it is well worth reading. Let me cite one of his comments:
“So my best guess, to provoke you, of what’s behind all of this is that the largest phenomenon, by far, is the general clash between people’s legitimate family desires and employers’ current desire for high power and high intensity, that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude, and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination. I would like nothing better than to be proved wrong, because I would like nothing better than for these problems to be addressable simply by everybody understanding what they are, and working very hard to address them.”
He stated he offered his best guess, in an attempt to provoke. Isn’t it now the obligation of those provoked to establish Summers’s best guess to be wrong, rather than seek as they have to silence him?
The New York Times editorially has always supported race-based measures – decrying rigid quotas – to undo discrimination, as well as disparities in outcome, against particular minorities, e.g., blacks, Hispanics, and women. The Times’s point of view has been upheld in the most recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on affirmative action in university admissions, with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor conveying that another 25 years of race-conscious, and by extension, gender-conscious measures are needed.
Notwithstanding that certain affirmative action goals and measures are lawful and supported by many, it is still permissible to oppose them, which I have both as a member of Congress and as mayor of New York City. I have proposed alternatives such as lotteries, pass/fail civil service tests, preferences for those overcoming adversity and poverty, and set-asides in government programs to assist small businesses with minimum capitalization.
It is still lawful, rational and moral to express the belief that ethnic, racial and gender groups are different in some respects, physically and intellectually. They may excel in different disciplines and not do well in others, yet every group will have people at the top and bottom, but not dispersed in exactly the same way. The Times, in its news articles, has reported that there are discrepancies between men and women, stating, “Researchers who have explored the subject of sex differences from every conceivable angle and organ say that yes, there are a host of discrepancies between men and women – in their average scores on tests of quantitative skills, in their attitudes toward math and science, in the architecture of their brains, in the way they metabolize medications, including those that affect the brain.”
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Values at the very heart of the UN are threatened by extremist ideologies targeting our way of life
Any Jew who ties his fate to Israel should be able to vote in Israel’s elections-even before aliyah
Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.
The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.
Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general
Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.
In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.
Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.
Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address
Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.
In his April 4th New York Times column, Thomas Friedman endorsed what he designated to be “non-violent resistance by Palestinians” against Israel. He added that Palestinians need to “accompany every boycott, hunger strike or rock they throw at Israel with a detailed map” delineating their territorial demands.
Equating terrorism with criminality is ridiculous. They have no relationship to one another. Criminality is generally for the purpose of enrichment of oneself by breaking the law. Modern day terrorism seeks to achieve political or military goals by the use of indiscriminate terror directed primarily at innocent civilians.
I read Nicholas D. Kristof’s New York Times column of October 6 with its headline “Is Israel Its Own Worst Enemy?” and concluded on finishing it that it is Kristof who is truly an enemy of Israel.
As I see it, in the current battle for public opinion Sarah Palin has defeated her harsh and unfair critics.
After the January 8 shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of six others in Tucson, Arizona, some television talking heads and members of the blogosphere denounced her and held her in part responsible for creating a climate of hatred that resulted in the mass attacks.
The silence continues to be deafening with no Democrat in Congress to my knowledge crying out against President Obama for continuing to try to diminish America’s closeness to Israel.
I consider the Obama administration’s recent actions against the Israeli government to be outrageous and a breach of trust.
In 2004, I supported George W. Bush for a second term as president because I believed the most important issue facing the United States was the threat posed by Islamic terrorism, a life or death issue.
We are now getting down to the homestretch as we wrap up the Democratic primary and begin the race to the November general election. We will be electing the next president of the United States, and almost everyone expressing an opinion, informed or uninformed, believes the Democratic candidate will be Barack Obama.
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