E Politically Correct In Cambridge

I have something to get off my chest, which you may want to ponder.

The Radcliffe Institute was founded 15 years ago to sop up the endowment of the former woman's college I attended before it opted to be absorbed by Harvard. This merger, while opening up more places and grants for women undergraduates, also ended a near-century focus on BA education for women. I attended a day of lectures and presentations by current and former scholars at the Radcliffe quadrangle last Friday. The new era of college political correctness has led to honorary degrees or commencement speaker slots being denied to people who had offended the current liberal-populist orthodoxy, criticized in his commencement address by honoree Michael Bloomberg, the former NYC mayor, the day before. But even worse occurred at Radcliffe Day.

I was deeply offended when the introductory first speaker nattered on about the long history of the exchange of ideas by citing medieval “scholars sitting under the palm-trees in Timbuktu”, before segueing on to call the Radcliffe Institute “the Mecca and Medina of ideas.”

The speaker, by the way, was neither African-American nor Muslim, but female like the majority of the audience, and the majority of Radcliffe donors. I nearly walked out, and to his credit, my husband, one of the few male attendants, agreed.

If you are as unaware of it as she was, Islamic theology teaches that women have only half the soul that men do. This justifies hampering female education and liberation in many traditional Muslim countries.

Moreover, unlike other mainstream monotheistic religions, Islam doesn't allow theology and practices to be easily undated or liberalized. Mohammed was the culminating prophet, and there can be no other. That is a problem for the Muslim men and women faithful, and not me, to deal with.

But to refer to the brilliant Islamic scholastic past at a women's academic institute without recalling the misogyny which accompanied it is a proof, not just of the temptation to rewrite history, but also of contempt for the intelligence of the audience.

I will hereby cease donating to Radcliffe, having cut off Harvard during the reign of Larry Summers. I will hitherto donate only to The Bronx High School of Science.

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*We sold half our Bombardier too soon, or perhaps not. A top exec of the Canadian plane-maker today said it would get its C-series jets in the air by late 2015, but unless it figures out why an engine fire last week broke out, the schedule “is not secure”.Moreover he told Bloomberg that only the smaller CS100 will be flying in 2015, with the larger CS 300 only going into service in mid-2016. Its maker, Pratt & Whitney, has taken the engine to Connecticut to try to figure out what went wrong, and if design changes are needed. We got $3.3832/share and it is up today. We still own half our former BDRAF.

*We are following British brokerage Daniel Stewart by recommending a new logistics stock, China ChainTek, listed on the FTSE version of Q, the Alternative Investment Market, as CTEK. To quote the analyst, CTEK “is profitable, cash-generative, and has net cash with no debt.” Moreover, while risky because it is tiny (with a market cap of GBP 59 mn), AIM-listed, and a Chinese offshroe firm, it also trades at under 3x earnings and yields 5.7% in sterling.

Obviously our success with the monster Singapore competitor, Global Logistics, GBTZF, which also does most of its business in China (but is also active in Japan and Brazil) is encouraging me to look at CTEK, which mainly does more basic logistics: aggregating truck loads to cut unit transport costs. Its software system, Inventory Solutions, also sells outsourced services to its customers: storage, packaging, and labeling.

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