Need To Know with Mona Charen and Jay Nordlinger
Episode 75: Straight Talk

May 16, 2014
Direct Link to MP3 File

Stuart TaylorJay and Mona welcome Stuart Taylor, Jr. author of Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It. They’ve both mentioned Stuart Taylor in the past and don’t stint on the opportunity to tell him just what they think of him to his face.

Affirmative action/race preferences are the topic for the first half hour, including a review of the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding Michigan’s ban on the practice. In a particularly powerful passage, Taylor wonders at the presumption of Justice Sotomayor, who implied that all of her colleagues who disagreed with her don’t understand the issue of race in America. This – to Clarence Thomas.

There’s a lot of straight talk about race, class, and lies in this podcast. Fair warning.

Jay and Mona then consider the continuing polarization of American politics and civic life, the preference for greater equality over prosperity by the left, the swoon for Thomas Piketty’s new book, Capital In the 21st Century, the decision by the New York Times to fire Jill Abramson, a strike in Norway, and Alec Baldwin getting booed (in absentia) at the New York Philharmonic.

Music from this week’s episode:

The aria “Come scoglio” from Così fan tutte (music by Mozart, libretto by Da Ponte), sung by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf

 

  1. Petty Boozswha

    Great podcast, a couple of points that I would like to add:

    Sotomayor didn’t just insult Clarence Thomas, I would wager Antonin Scalia suffered more prejudice as an Italian American of his generation than Sotomayor did as a Puerto Rican of hers.

    I remember when Newt Gingrich refused to take on affirmative action – or any action that could help defund the left like labor law reform, better accounting of corporation’s “charitable” giving, etc. – and instead pursued issues like statehood for Puerto Rico back when a Republican congress could have made real progress.

    Thanks for the marvelous Mozart piece closing your podcast. 

     

  2. kylez

    I chuckled when he said, completely straight, that Sotomayor is not among the top SCOTUS judges. 

  3. Eugene Kriegsmann

    That was a great interview with Stuart Taylor. The level of frankness was a real bit of fresh air. I did have one point of argument with something Mr. Taylor said, however. In discussing single parent homes he referenced Barack Obama’s high academic successes as an example of one who could overcome the encumbrance. Two points: first, Obama attended a very expensive private school in Hawaii for at least a portion of his secondary education. Second, we have absolutely no evidence of Obama’s academic successes since his records are sealed. His attendance at Occidental, then his transfer to Columbia (something I am told is not only uncommon, but no even possible in most cases), then his time at Harvard Law School during which he edited but made no contribution to the Law Review. Where are his great academic achievements? Mr. Taylor’s assumptions are patently absurd. I am more inclined to believe that Obama was an affirmative action case who was nurtured and pushed through rather than one who disproved the points Mr. Taylor made earlier about student not being able to do the job.

  4. Petty Boozswha

    I agree with Mr. Kriegsmann, but would also point out that Obama’s mom was a free spirit that delegated his care to his grandparents for years at a time. I may be wrong  but I have heard this in the past.  Obama’s father was the Yeo Ming of African IQs, and his mother won a scholarship to the University of Chicago in her mid-teens, so I don’t doubt he has the IQ to be president even if he’s not as smart as Valerie Jarrett believes.

  5. Yeah...ok.

    I’m afraid I’m among the 45% who don’t believe they’re in the population of below average intelligence. So only a fool like me would consider my opinion on intelligence.

    I can’t imagine someone with a high IQ having no more curiosity than to play hearts with Reggie Love. But Jay gave Mr. Taylor such recommendation that I must think Stuart knows about the topic.

  6. MarciN

    Eugene Kriegsmann:

    Two points: first, Obama attended a very expensive private school in Hawaii for at least a portion of his secondary education. Second, we have absolutely no evidence of Obama’s academic successes since his records are sealed. His attendance at Occidental, then his transfer to Columbia (something I am told is not only uncommon, but no even possible in most cases), then his time at Harvard Law School during which he edited but made no contribution to the Law Review. Where are his great academic achievements? Mr. Taylor’s assumptions are patently absurd. I am more inclined to believe that Obama was an affirmative action case who was nurtured and pushed through rather than one who disproved the points Mr. Taylor made earlier about student not being able to do the job.

     This is exactly the same path Deval Patrick, currently governor of Massachusetts, had laid out for him in the upper academic stratosphere.  There’s no question that these two were pushed along.  There is an understandable and tremendous need for academia to right the wrongs of slavery and racism.  I think that need will die with the boomers.  I hope so.   

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