Maptalk-Digest Monday, December 24 2001 Volume 01 : Number 336
CSAP Controversy - 1 of 4
From: Beth <>
CSAP Controversy -3 of 4
From: Beth <>
CSAP Controversy - 2 of 4
From: Beth <>
Subj: CSAP Controversy - 1 of 4
From: Beth <>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2001 11:07:21 -0600
This is the first of 4 postings on this topic for your perusal. We don't
post National Review Online, but there is information that may be of
interest to some of us.
December 5, 2001 - National Review Online - Stanley Kurtz, NRO Contributing
Editor & a fellow at the Hudson Institute
Article URL: http://www.nationalreview.com/contributors/kurtz120501.shtml
Silencing Sommers : Clinton Holdovers Have Their Way With HHS
Imagine that a feminist heroine like Carol Gilligan or Catherine MacKinnon
had been silenced by federal officials at a government-sponsored
conference, simply for airing her feminist views. Then imagine MacKinnon or
Gilligan being put upon by a group of paid government consultants and told
by a man to "shut the f*ck up, bitch" while the rest of the crowd laughed
at her derisively. Now imagine our feminist heroine, having been publicly
silenced and insulted, finally leaving the conference, while the federal
officials running the show did nothing to challenge or chastise the man who
had hurled the insult. Of course, none of this happened to Catherine
MacKinnon or Carol Gilligan. Just imagine the media firestorm if it did.
But this did happen to the famous critic of feminism, Christina Hoff
Sommers, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Sommers
was delivering an invited speech at a conference on "Boy Talk" (a program
sponsored by the Center for Substance Abuse and Prevention (CSAP) of the
Department of Health and Human Services) when CSAP official Linda Bass
summarily interrupted, and commanded Sommers to end her talk. Minutes
later, as Sommers was forced by a hostile crowd to defend her claim that
scientific studies ought to be used to help evaluate the effectiveness of
government drug-prevention programs, Professor Jay Wade, of Fordham
University's Department of Psychology =97 an expert on "listening skills"
ordered Sommers to "shut the f*ck up, bitch," to the laughter of the others
in attendance. Having been muzzled by Bass and put upon by the crowd in a
manner well outside the bounds of civilized discourse (and with not a move
made by those running the conference to chastise Professor Wade) Sommers
had little choice but to leave =97 effectively ejected from a government
conference, simply for airing her views.
I called Professor Jay Wade for a comment on his insulting remarks to
Sommers at the conference. It turns out that Wade had himself gone back to
HHS and asked them to tell him, using the tape, exactly what he had said to
Sommers at the conference. So Wade's remarks to me reflected the official
transcript, which does not include the word "bitch." Wade said he remembers
saying "Shut the f*ck up," to Sommers, but was unsure about whether he said
"bitch." "I could have said 'bitch.' I probably thought it," Wade told me.
Sommers says that Wade did in fact say "bitch," and careful listening to
the tape reveals that the word was uttered, although almost drowned out by
the derisive laughter of the crowd.
Under questioning, Wade was apologetic for his remarks, which he
acknowledged to be thoroughly unprofessional =97 although he's made no move
to apologize to Sommers herself and spent most of our call taking potshots
at her. According to Wade, Sommers roused the anger of the people in the
crowd =97 especially minorities, many of whom, according to Wade, had no
advanced degrees =97 by insisting that scientific research was needed to
validate the effectiveness of government programs. That hardly seems a
But Wade also said that what was really bothering Sommers was that she had
been left feeling "insulted" and "flustered" by HHS officials, who had
refused to let her finish her presentation. So why exactly had Sommers been
silenced by HHS officials to begin with?
I called Alvera Stern, acting director of the Division of Prevention
Application and Education at HHS, for comments on what had happened to
Sommers. Readers of National Review Online will know that I'm a fan of
Sommers and her work, so I thought it was particularly important that I
have a taped copy of the session, so as to fairly establish the truth of
what happened. To her credit, Stern was kind enough to provide me with both
a transcript of the session and a copy of the tape. Unfortunately, Stern's
explanation for what happened simply doesn't hold up.
Stern told me that Sommers's talk had been cut off because she'd run
overtime. But it's obvious from the tape that Sommers was silenced at the
moment she began to raise questions about "Girl Power" =97 the female
counterpart of the "Boy Talk" drug-prevention program that was the subject
of the conference. And even Jay Wade =97 hardly a Sommers fan =97 told me
it was Sommers's attempt to discuss Girl Power that had led to her being
silenced. The tape makes it clear that Linda Bass, the HHS official who
shut Sommers off, said nothing at all about Sommers's time being up. Bass
simply insisted that any discussion of "Girl Power" was out of bounds =97
although it would seem to be impossible to properly evaluate a proposal to
create a "Boy Talk" counterpart to "Girl Power" without considering the
effectiveness of the Girl Power program itself.
So what exactly is "Girl Power," and why were HHS officials so determined
to prevent anyone from raising questions about it? The Girl Power program
was a cornerstone of Clinton HHS secretary Donna Shalala's pro-androgyny
feminist agenda, and a favorite of Hillary Clinton's. It's obvious from the
transcript that the officials who run "Girl Power" were unwilling to allow
any questions about the efficacy of the program to be raised.
Sommers's daring to imply that overcoming femininity in girls and
masculinity in boys might not be the most effective way to fight teenage
drug abuse is the real reason she was put upon and effectively ejected by
this crowd of HHS consultants and administrators.
The highly questionable premise of the Girl Power program is that making
girls less traditionally feminine will somehow cause them to be less likely
to smoke, take drugs, or get pregnant.
Of course, most people would expect the opposite effect. Isn't it precisely
because girls are nowadays less bound by traditional codes of feminine
behavior that we are seeing increases in smoking, drug-taking, and
premarital sex among girls?
Given the exceedingly debatable assumption upon which it rests, Christina
Hoff Sommers can certainly be forgiven for asking to see some empirical
research confirming that the Girl Power program actually succeeds in
reducing substance abuse by making girls less traditionally feminine.
But of course it would be naive to think that reducing drug abuse is the
real purpose of either the Girl Power or Boy Talk programs.
A careful reading of the reams of slick, expensive pamphlets put out by HHS
under the heading of Girl Power makes it clear that the problem of drug
abuse is just a convenient bureaucratic excuse for housing these programs
in the Center for Substance Abuse and Prevention division of HHS. The
obvious purpose of Girl Power and Boy Talk is feminist social engineering.
How exactly does encouraging girls to shoot, hunt, or play the drums,
instead of sew and dance make them less likely to smoke or get pregnant?
The Girl Power pamphlets cite statistics in which female athletes get
pregnant at lower rates than non-athletes, but that could easily be a
"selection effect," rather than actually caused by going out for the team.
This is obviously something that needs to be carefully researched. And
doesn't Girl Power's own resort to statistics validate Sommers's point that
real empirical studies are needed to show that the Girl Power program
actually reduces drug abuse?
The truth is, Health and Human Services' Girl Power and Boy Talk programs
are simply government-funded attempts to promote the training for sexual
androgyny mandated by feminist Carol Gilligan and her followers. Studies by
Gilligan, and such groups as the American Association of University women
studies that describe alleged "crises" of sexual identity among American
girls and boys =97 are the only "evidence" that HHS officials will allow to
be invoked in assessments of these programs. Of course, in a series of
brilliant studies, psychologist Judith Kleinfeld =97 as well as Sommers
herself, in her extraordinary book, The War Against Boys =97 have already
thoroughly debunked Gilligan's notion of a "girl crisis." That is why
Sommers was cut off by HHS officials as soon as she was about to raise
questions about the shaky empirical foundations of the Girl Power and Boy
Do Girl Power and Boy Talk really reduce teen drug use? It doesn't matter.
Is there really a "girl crisis" or a "boy crisis?" It doesn't matter.
Ultimately, the Clinton holdovers at HHS aren't interested in these
questions, because the real rationale for their pet programs never really
had anything to do with teen substance abuse =97 or even educational
competence =97 to begin with. All of these rationales are simply
window dressing for channeling literally millions of government dollars
into a misguided and chimerical attempt to break American girls of their
femininity and American boys of their masculinity. Christina Hoff Sommers
understood this, and that is why she was silenced, insulted, and ejected
from a conference before she could speak the truth.
Will the Bush administration acquiesce in this outrage?
Subj: CSAP Controversy -3 of 4
From: Beth <>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2001 11:08:59 -0600
This is the third of 4 postings on this topic for your perusal. This isn't
a postable source for the news, but there is information that may be of
interest to some of us.
December 11, 2001 - National Review Online - Stanley Kurtz, NRO
Contributing Editor & fellow at the Hudson Institute
Article URL: http://www.nationalreview.com/contributors/kurtz121101.shtml
=93Abolish Csap!=94 : The Right Reaction To The Sommers Csap Outrage
The reaction to " Silencing Sommers," my last piece for NRO, has been
overwhelming. This story of Christina Hoff Sommers, a nationally respected
critic of feminist excess, being silenced, grossly insulted, and
effectively ejected from a government conference at which she had been
invited to speak, has been posted and reposted =97 with outraged commentary
all over the web. The National Association of Scholars has issued a
statement condemning the treatment of Sommers, and many people are asking
what can be done to redress this wrong.
This incident seems to have crystallized the widespread feeling that both
free speech and academic standards have been sacrificed to multiculturalist
and feminist orthodoxies, not only in academia, but in all of our ruling
The uproar over the silencing of Christina Hoff Sommers has been such that
Charles G. Curie, the Bush administration's newly appointed administrator
of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
in the Department of Health and Human Services has sent a letter to
National Review Online formally responding to the controversy. That letter
contains much that deserves praise. Yet Curie's response to the Sommers
incident raises warning flags as well.
To his great credit, Charles Curie says that he was appalled to learn what
happened to Christina Hoff Sommers, and forthrightly acknowledges that she
was both "censored" and "silenced" by government officials. Curie also lets
it be known that he has personally apologized to Sommers for the behavior
of his agency. For all of this, Curie deserves praise.
It's a rare day indeed when a victim of "political correctness," however
egregious, receives a formal public apology and an admission of guilt.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that Curie is a brand-new Bush appointee, now
forced to deal with the misbehavior of the Clinton-appointed officials who
have been running his agency.
But Curie's letter also raises the disturbing prospect that those who have
perpetrated this outrage will get away with a mere slap on the wrist, and
that the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), (the division of
SAMHSA whose shoddy programs Sommers was criticizing =97 and whose managers
silenced her) will continue to waste literally hundreds of millions of
taxpayer dollars on silly, unproven =97 and even counterproductive =97
ideologically driven programs.
In his letter, Curie says that "corrective action is being taken in this
case," but fails to specify what that action is. True, Curie says that he
has "made it clear to the staff involved in the incident that I expect them
to treat all guests with dignity and respect, and ensure comity among
meeting participants." But that hardly rises to the level of what is needed
to redress the egregious wrongs of this case. More important, Curie bemoans
the fact that "incidents such as this can overshadow the valuable work
being accomplished at SAMHSA."
It may well be that valuable work in stemming the tide of drug abuse is
being accomplished at SAMHSA, but the truth is that the CSAP division of
SAMHSA (the division where Sommers was silenced) is a disaster and ought to
At a minimum, CSAP's current administrators must be replaced, and rigorous
procedures for evaluating program effectiveness need to be instituted. If
NRO readers want to know how they can help to right the wrong that was
visited upon Sommers, convincing the Bush administration to abolish CSAP is
Last Friday, in response to the Sommers incident, Sally Satel, (author of
the recent and important critique of political correctness in medicine,
P.C. M.D.) published a piece called, "The Sorry CSAP Flap: It's Worse Than
It Looks." Satel's article exposes the sham of an agency that CSAP has
become. Serious academicians, Satel says, regard the CSAP as a laughing
stock =97 both for the scientific illiteracy of its administrators and for
the agency's refusal to seriously evaluate its own programs.
Many scholars avoid projects sponsored by CSAP, just because they don't
want to be tarred by its third-rate intellectual reputation. Projects can
consume thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours without ever seeing the
light of day, and other programs actively avoid gathering data that would
permit an evaluation of their effectiveness.
Worse, CSAP's projects are guided by a highly questionable multiculturalist
orthodoxy, deeply hostile to the very idea of science. Satel tells of a
million dollar project meant to stem the tide of drug addiction in
In addition to transmitting to African-American boys a series of extremely
contestable claims about the origins of Western intellectual and cultural
traditions in Africa, the program's evaluation was written at the level of
a high school science project =97 without the pre-tests or post-tests that
would have made it possible to judge whether an Afrocentric curriculum
actually does reduce drug abuse among African-American boys.
But the most revealing thing about this CSAP boondoggle (the "Rights of
Passage Primary Prevention Program") is its claim that "scientific
colonialism" is part of what is responsible for oppressing African American
men to the point where they must turn to drugs.
Not coincidentally, as Christina Hoff Sommers was put upon by the crowd at
the CSAP conference (most of whom were CSAP agency, staff, invited
consultants, and CSAP grantees) the charge hurled against her was that her
demand for scientific studies of CSAP program effectiveness was racially
insensitive. So the Sommers affair is not a single isolated incident of
misbehavior. It is part and parcel of the ideology that governs CSAP =97
merely a symptom of the profound intellectual and ideological rot at the
It is high time that the Center for Substance Abuse and Prevention was
CSAP is, even now, wasting $484 million dollars of the taxpayers money on
useless, quite possibly counterproductive, programs that have little or
nothing to do with drug use and everything to do with indoctrinating
America's youth with multiculturalist and feminist orthodoxies. Whatever is
of worth at CSAP can easily be transferred directly to SAMHSA. The rest
must go. Charles Curie's forthright apology and public admission of agency
wrongdoing in the Sommers affair is praiseworthy indeed, but an apology and
a slap on the wrist to the administrators in question doesn't begin to get
at the problem. The newest spin on the war against terrorism is that it is
restoring America's faith in government. To a degree, I am sympathetic to
that view. When it comes to combating terrorism at home and rooting it out
abroad, aggressive and well-financed government action is necessary. I have
even broken with some conservatives in giving qualified support to the
President's faith-based initiative. To a degree, we need to acknowledge
that government is larger now than in decades past. If we allow it to
subsidize secular radicals without also aiding cultural traditionalists, we
will simply be institutionalizing the immense financial advantage currently
enjoyed by the cultural left.
Yet having said all that, we need to remember the power of the conservative
critique of big government-even in the midst of this war. The Sommers
affair is a salutary reminder of exactly that. Here, under the guise of
preventing drug addiction, a government agency is doling out literally
hundreds of millions of dollars, simply to purvey the highly contested and
questionable cultural ideologies of Afrocentrism and androgyny.
No wonder the public doesn't trust the government. The truth is, the public
is in fact being lied to. Ideologically driven bureaucrats are hiding their
tendentious cultural agendas behind uncontroversial public
rationales-spending our money to indoctrinate America's youth in the left's
favorite orthodoxies. And as scholars like Christina Hoff Sommers and Sally
Satel have long documented, the problem is pervasive at both HHS and at the
Department of Education. The days of calling for the abolition of the
Department of Education may be gone, but surely we can demand that
irredeemable agencies like CSAP be done away with.
In the wake of the Sommers incident, many have asked what they can do to
help. Some are apparently writing to Fordham University to protest the
outrageous conduct of Professor Jay Wade, who publicly insulted and
silenced Sommers at the CSAP conference on "Boy Talk." So long as the
protests remain forceful, but also within the bounds of civility, that's
all to the good. But to really stop this sort of incident from happening
again, people need to contact the Bush administration itself.
Charles G. Curie, the new Director of SAMHSA (which includes CSAP) can be
reached here . Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health and
Human Services, can be reached here . The White House
can be reached here .
This campaign is anything but a shoe-in. Just this Thanksgiving, Tommy
Thompson announced major new initiatives in the Girl Power! program.
Obviously, whether he realizes it or not, Secretary Thompson has already
been captured by the feminist ideologues at CSAP. The harsh truth is that,
if something like the Sommers incident cannot bring about the abolition of
Girl Power!, CSAP, and allied government programs =97 under a Republican
administration, no less =97 then conservatives will never be able to rein in
intrusive and culturally tendentious government boondoggles at all. So this
is a test of our mettle.
Let our rallying cry be, "Abolish CSAP!"
Subj: CSAP Controversy - 2 of 4
From: Beth <>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2001 11:07:43 -0600
This is the second of 4 postings on this topic for your perusal. This
isn't a postable source for the news, but there is information that may be
of interest to some of us.
Friday, December 07, 2001 - Tech Central Station - Sally Satel, Practicing
Psychiatrist and W.H. Brady Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute
The Sorry Csap Flap: It=92S Worse Than It Looks
On November 1st, Christina Hoff Sommers, a noted feminist scholar, was
invited to speak at a conference hosted by the Center for Substance Abuse
Prevention (CSAP), part of the Department of Health and Human Services. The
topic: should CSAP undertake "Boy Talk" - a program intended to prevent
development of social pathologies (drug abuse, crime, and so on) in young
men. It would be patterned after an existing program called "Girl Power!."
For years, Sommers has been a thoughtful and vocal critic of Girl Power!,
deeming it ineffective. "There is no good evidence," she says, "that
gender-specific drug and alcohol programs are better than gender-neutral
An hour or so into the Boy Talk conference, things got ugly. The audience -
largely populated by agency staff, invited consultants, and CSAP grantees -
was hostile to Sommers' insistence that data be used to inform the creation
of a new program. It all boiled over when one of the invited grantees
yelled "Shut the fk up, bitch." Derisive audience laughter followed. Not a
word of admonition was spoken to the abusive "guest," not a murmur of
apology offered to Sommers. The lurid unprofessionalism at CSAP is well
chronicled by Stanley Kurtz of National Review Online. His piece sparked a
brush fire of outrage among academics and observers that should result in
the termination of some bureaucrats at CSAP. But more than a handful of
dismissals are in order: the entire agency should be eliminated.
Indeed, the unconscionable treatment of Sommers was merely a symptom of a
deeper malaise that infects CSAP.
But first some history of the agency. The CSAP was created in 1992 with the
establishment of the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration.
CSAP distributes prevention block grants to states ($230 million in 2001)
and awards contracts and grants ($174 million in 2001). Total budget for
2001 was $484 million.
CSAP is one of three agencies within that administration; the two others
are the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and the Center for Mental
Health Services, a main function of each being block grant administration,
for substance abuse and mental health treatment, respectively.
Among my academic colleagues, CSAP has a very weak reputation. "CSAP likes
to tout itself as science-based," said a former grant recipient, "but there
is no science. They really are laughable."
With so much of its money spent investigating techniques to prevent drug
use, one would think CSAP placed a strong emphasis on research design, data
collection and interpretation. Think again. I was told by researchers that
CSAP's projects are often so poorly executed that little useable data are
generated. Many of the staff who oversee these projects are "scientifically
illiterate," as one put it.
None of my interviews, alas, are on the record because the researchers are
understandably fearful of biting a hand that might feed them grant money in
the future. "It's an agency I steer away from because their reputation is
so poor," says a well-established prevention researcher at a major
university. He gave me one example of waste: he participated in a
CSAP-sponsored committee that was writing a report on prevention of youth
smoking. He wrote his chapter, his colleagues wrote theirs, thousands of
dollars were spent on convening the group and hundreds of hours poured into
research and writing=85 and then nothing. "The report just vanished," he
says. "It was never published." Another grant recipient refused to put his
government project officer (CSAP employee responsible for overseeing
contract) on a paper he wrote for a peer-reviewed journal. "The officer
made no substantial intellectual contribution and so she deserved no
attribution," he said. As punishment, she saw to it that his company lost a
several million dollar contract and the offending officer was never
My own encounter with CSAP's third-rate research enterprise involved a
$1million 5-year grant to the West Dallas Community Centers for a project
called "Rites of Passage Primary Prevention Program." I saw the project
described in a CSAP publication called "An African-Centered Model of
Prevention for African-American Youth." In the publication the Rites
project was described as a self-esteem building effort for young black men.
This was necessary, according to the West Dallas project director, because,
among other social forces "scientific colonialism [and] the institution of
racism" have defeated young men to the point where they turn to drugs.
Part of the esteem enhancing curriculum West Dallas employed was nothing
short of revisionist history. "The young [in the Rites of Passage Program]
have studied Africa as the origin of architecture, mathematics, libraries
and maritime travel," writes the West Dallas researcher.
What did the results look like? I went to CSAP's headquarters in Rockville
MD, was treated very courteously and given the grant application and the
evaluation report. The latter read like a high school science project.
Efforts to determine whether students' attitudes or self-esteem had changed
during the project duration were foiled. "Unfortunately, many students did
not have either a pretest, a post-test or lacked both. Thus, change could
not be measured," said the West Dallas evaluator. When data from another
part of the project were in fact collected, it was hard to track change
over time because, as the report notes, "the past evaluator was no longer
on board and took all the documentation with her. This made it impossible
to use past collected information and measures." In other words, no results
and a waste of taxpayer funds.
A final word about that CSAP publication. It contained a striking chapter
called "Issues of Biological Vulnerability in Alcohol and Drug Abuse in the
African American Community." In it the author explained that black people's
biological predilection for cocaine addiction was based on changes
("destabilization") of the melanin molecule by cocaine. That such science
fiction would appear in a government-sponsored document from the nation's
point agency on drug abuse prevention is astounding.
The umbrella agency within which CSAP resides, Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration just got a new director named Charles G.
Curie. He is the former deputy secretary of Pennsylvania's Office of
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services who has spoken of the importance
of accountability. He thus stands in marked contrast to his SAMHSA
predecessor, Nelba Chavez, an avid promoter of multiculturalism with an
impressive tolerance for shabby scholarship.
Within the next few months Curie should be rethinking the organization of
SAMSHA in general and CSAP in particular. The latter could easily be merged
with its sister, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment; various branches
of the agency could be moved under other existing offices; key personnel
replaced; feckless programs like Girl Power! x'ed out and so on. Oversight
hearings by the authorizing committees of SAMHSA are way overdue.
The treatment of Christina Hoff Sommers was a sickening episode, but much
good can come out of the publicity it is generating. Now that a handful of
dishonorable bureaucrats have put their agency in the spotlight, CSAP
should get the unflinching scrutiny it has long deserved.
End of Maptalk-Digest V01 #336
Mark Greer () ___ ___ _ _ _ _
Media Awareness Project /' _ ` _ `\ /'_`)('_`\
P. O. Box 651 | ( ) ( ) |( (_| || (_) )
Porterville, CA 93258 (_) (_) (_) \__,_)| ,__/
(800) 266-5759 | |
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ (_)