Posts Tagged ‘demographics’
* I’ve said this before: let’s have an academic decathlon. You choose a team based on whatever pedagogical criteria you want. You can choose students from public school or private, unionized teachers or not, parochial or secular, from charter or magnet, from Montessori or KIPP or whatever else you want. However, I choose the demographics of the students on your team. For my team, the situation is reversed: you choose the pedagogical factors for my students, but I choose the demographics. You stock your team kids from whatever educational backgrounds you think work, and mine with whatever educational systems you think don’t work. Meanwhile, I give you all children from the poverty-stricken, crime-ridden inner city and impoverished rural districts where we see the most failure. I stock mine with upper-class children of privilege. I would bet the house on my team, and I bet if you’re being honest, you would too. Yet to accept that is to deny the basic assumption of the education reform movement, which is that student outcomes are a direct result of teacher quality.
* If you are a low-income prospective college student hoping a degree will help you move up in the world, you probably should not attend a moderately selective four-year research institution. The cards are stacked against you.
Who among us can forget Malia’s first words to a rapidly-growing crowd in this historical meeting between present and future, “People of 2009, we come from–” words that were immediately interrupted by her younger self, surrounded by Secret Service, saying, “It’s 2013,” which led future Malia to punch future Sasha, saying, “I told you not to mess with the controls.” Malia then continued, “2013, seriously? What’s the friggin’ point?”
* Academic jobs watch: Specialist Professor, Homeland Security.
* California isn’t a state in which liberals have run wild; it’s a state where a liberal majority has been effectively hamstrung by a fanatical conservative minority that, thanks to supermajority rules, has been able to block effective policy-making. Krugman is optimistic that the Republicans’ stranglehold on the state seems to be abating; I’d note that in the arena of public education at least all the worst ideas are coming from the Democrats.
* That’s because these workers represent what’s happening to U.S. work in three critical ways. First, precarity: Workers lack job security, formal contracts, or guaranteed hours. Second, legal exclusion: Labeled as “independent contractors,” “domestic workers” or otherwise, they’re thrust beyond the reach of this country’s creaky, craven labor laws. And third, the mystification of employment: While a no-name contracted company signs your paycheck, your conditions are set by a major corporation with far away headquarters and legal impunity. Guest Workers as Bellweather.
* But if Emanuel brought Byrd-Bennett in to work the same kind of charter magic in Chicago that she did in Detroit, he may be dismayed to encounter one important difference: Chicago is now in a good position to fight back. The school closings hearings were packed with engaged, motivated citizens, and the teachers union is more organized than it’s been in three decades. During its popular and successful strike, the union’s approval rating climbed while the mayor’s fell—public opinion polls showed that taxpayers blamed Emanuel for the ugliness that took place during negotiations. The CTU’s current leadership has built relationships with community leaders and organizations, forming a coalition to fight the slash-and-burn privatization pushed by the Board of Education and its corporate sponsors, and has even hosted civil disobedience trainings open to the public. This afternoon’s protest will serve as further evidence that Emanuel is indeed up against a new opponent, one strong enough that not even the best “cleaner” may be able to defeat it.
* Nate Silver makes your Final Four book: Louisville Favored in Final Four, but Wichita State Could Become Unlikeliest Champion.
* Zero Dark Thirty is supposedly a film about freedom. A “freedom so threatening that there are those around the world willing to kill themselves and others to prevent us from enjoying it,” as the TV sound-bite in the background puts it. The odd thing is that this freedom is never once glimpsed within the film itself. Obviously, we are constantly reminded of the imprisonment and torture of the al Qaeda suspects, but it is never their freedom we are meant to be concerned with. More tellingly, it is the American spaces within the film that leave this freedom unseen. A strange becoming-prisoner takes hold of the spaces, and of the American body itself: not unfolding, in the end, either defeat or victory, but pulling together in a constricted space the impossibility of both.
A decade has passed since the National Collegiate Athletic Association rolled out its academic reform package. In that time, there is strong evidence that the reforms designed to open access to higher education to more athletes and punishing coaches and institutions failing at academics came at the expense of the integrity of the academy. The landscape of the NCAA’s program is scorched with scandals surrounding admissions, academic fraud, major clustering and clever gaming of the system for the wealthiest institutions to avoid penalties. We conclude that it has significantly damaged higher education.
* Kennesaw State to add football. I’m shocked any Board of Trustees would volunteer to take on this kind of liability, knowing what we know…
* Tesla catches the New York Times deliberately tanking its review of its Model S electric car, while at the same time revealing the truly staggering amount of data they can log while you’re driving.
* Apocalypse now: “Think of carbon as a global pollutant that affects the ocean everywhere it touches the sky,” explains Stanford University marine science professor and Hopkins Marine Station director Steve Palumbi. What does ocean acidification mean for sea life?
* Sad coda to the Oscar Pistorius story: Olympic Hero Oscar Pistorius Charged With Murder in Shooting Death of Girlfriend.
Yesterday Scott Walker finally announced his much-awaited decision about how to deal with the Medicaid expansion provided for in the Affordable Care Act. And he managed to come up with a “solution” that simultaneously lets him express solidarity with his nullification-minded soul-mates in the Deep South while increasing federal involvement in health insurance in his state and also costing Wisconsin taxpayers some serious money! Quite the triple-gainer, eh?
* Sunday map-reading: an index of maps from fantasy novels.
The UC administration constitutes a parasitic bureaucracy that grows and expands by consuming those elements of the university that remain outside of it. It can only survive by extracting tuition from students and wages from university workers. In return, it does not grow the university—it grows only itself.
* Relatedly: MOOCs and university management troubles.
* Proponents of the current craze ought to think carefully about the human costs of technology before enthusiastically proclaiming the end of a system that could leave hundreds of thousands of people without work, students cheated out of a quality education, and that would further contribute to the creation of a world where virtualization is always and everywhere, without qualification or questioning, heralded as an unequivocal good.
* Ban double majors! That’ll solve it.
* Obama administration vs. fair use? My god, why?
* Film and television news! Is Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood the greatest television show ever made? Imagining Sisyphus Happy: A Groundhog Day Retrospective. The “gentleman’s F” and the scourge of deliberate mediocrity.
The world is so big, so complicated, so replete with marvels and surprises that it takes years for most people to begin to notice that it is, also, irretrievably broken. We call this period of research “childhood.”
There follows a program of renewed inquiry, often involuntary, into the nature and effects of mortality, entropy, heartbreak, violence, failure, cowardice, duplicity, cruelty, and grief; the researcher learns their histories, and their bitter lessons, by heart. Along the way, he or she discovers that the world has been broken for as long as anyone can remember, and struggles to reconcile this fact with the ache of cosmic nostalgia that arises, from time to time, in the researcher’s heart: an intimation of vanished glory, of lost wholeness, a memory of the world unbroken. We call the moment at which this ache first arises “adolescence.” The feeling haunts people all their lives.
* Great animated short from Disney: Paperman.
* Some iPad and iPhone puzzle game recommendations. I’ve been obsessed with Flow and Hundreds lately myself.
* And tempered glass can just randomly explode for no reason. The more you know!
* The kids are all right: Last Friday night, the Harvard College Undergraduate Council announced that the student body had voted 72% in favor of Harvard University divesting its $30.7 billion endowment from fossil fuels.
The trope of invasion is doubly brilliant, first because the invasion plot is a mainstay of SF and second because the trope captures quite neatly what it must feel like for some literary intellectuals to be forced to confront the increasing cultural cachet of SF, to face its meteoric rise over the last thirty years from lowbrow genre to literary respectability. The genre now comfortably occupies university syllabi, best-of lists, and handsome Library of America editions — though some hardened highbrows might suspect its popularity is more a function of marketing than of quality.
For all its brilliance, Clowes’s trope of invasion makes an important mistake, failing to note that the invasion is largely moving in the other direction. After all, one wouldn’t expect Asimov’s Science Fiction to run a special issue featuring “literary fiction,” but publications like the New Yorker apparently do feel the need for a science fiction issue, perhaps trying to freshen themselves up by tapping into the unruly energies of a disreputable genre. Indeed, the lure of the so-called low genres — and SF in particular — has long proven irresistible to those who otherwise fashion themselves as literary types, at least since Kingsley Amis’s classic 1960 study of the genre, New Maps of Hell.
Clowes’s New Yorker cover is, in fact, a perfect example in miniature of the subgenre Amis called the “comic inferno” — humorous dystopias such as those written by Frederick Pohl, C.M. Kornbluth, and Robert Sheckley. This subgenre, by Amis’s account, mocks ideas of progress in its humorous rendition of dystopian futures. What is dystopian about Clowes’s comic cover is very precisely that SF cannot be ignored, that it disrupts the bourgeois regularity and comfort that informs the imagination of hypothetical readers of The New Yorker. The genre — which always bears with it the threatening knowledge that the world might change inexorably, beyond human control, or at least beyond the control of those who are humanistically inclined — cannot be ignored, because the signs of our world’s deepening state of crisis (political, technological, environmental) cannot be ignored.
* Bonus: “Anthony Burgess Answers Two Questions” by Jonathan Lethem.
* Not only are student loans not a burden on the federal government, they’re a good investment. In 2012 the DOW estimated its subsidy for student lending at -17 percent. In other words, the DOE “subsidies” actually represent money coming in. Including all expenses, from loses on defaults to debt collection to program administration, the DOE will pull in more than $25 billion in profit from student lending this year alone—billions more dollars than the IRS will assess in gift and estate taxes combined, and more than enough to pay NASA’s whole budget. The DOE explains the negative subsidy through a divergence between “the Government’s borrowing rate and the interest rate at which borrowers repay their loans.” After all, no one can borrow at lower rate than the U.S. Treasury, certainly not college students and their families. Bondholders aren’t the only ones who think student debtors—including defaulters—will pay back every cent they owe, with interest. The government is literally counting on it.
* The headline reads, “Charges dropped against man arrested for wearing an elaborate wristwatch.”
This is not identical to the story with the American Airlines bankruptcy, but there’s something similar about it. There the CEO gets a large payday if he can avoid a merger, regardless of the value for the enterprise.
* The handwriting is on the wall. Until Republican candidates figure out how to perform better among non-white voters, especially Hispanics and Asians, Republican presidential contenders will have an extraordinarily difficult time winning presidential elections from this point forward.
* My name is R______. I am six years old. I think it’s not fair to only have 5 girls in Guess Who and 19 boys. It is not only boys who are important, girls are important too. If grown ups get into thinking that girls are not important they won’t give little girls much care.
* Remixed trailer of the moment: Gotham High.
* And a new game: impressions of Sean Connery as Gandalf. Oh, what might have been!
* Obama makes an unexpected post-election bid for the Canavan bump: NASA May Unveil New Manned Moon Missions Soon.
* ORCA shrugged. More here, here, here, here. This is still, essentially, poll denialism, but it’s fascinating that the Romney campaign put so much stock in a system whose basic assumptions they’d never bothered to test.
* This image posits that the juridical distinction between slave and free is isomorphic with today’s cartographies of parliamentary politics; it implies that today’s Northern liberals have inherited, and protect, the precious freedom(s) denied to so many in the antebellum world. It implies that the rupture of the Civil War was not much of a rupture—continuity is the name of the game here. It thus elides the discontinuous rupture of black political subjectivity: the image would have us believe that today’s political cartography retains the form adjudicated 162 years ago by the desires and compromises of (mostly) white men, all of whom in some fashion profited from the political and juridical de-subjectification of blacks throughout the Americas.
* 68 Percent Of American Voters See Global Warming As A ‘Serious Problem.’ There’s a culture war and Democrats are winning. What The 2012 Election Would Have Looked Like Without Universal Suffrage. Colorado Establishment: Republicans must improve or die. I liked, and forgot to link, what Freddie said the other day:
It occurs to me: part of the problem with our political media and analysis is that they always define Republican victory in terms of political direction and Democratic victory in terms of extremity. That is, a Republican victory is seen as a repudiation of liberalism, while a Democratic victory is seen as a repudiation of extremism. One suggests a push towards the right is the mandate of an election; the other suggests a push towards the center is the mandate of an election. Just another way in which the media pursues a “heads conservatives win, tails liberals lose” narrative.
* But don’t get too excited: in times of Democratic strength their leaders just turn on them and enact the austerity measures the Republicans are too weak to enforce themselves. We saw it with Obama, and California’s about to see it with Jerry Brown.
* Ohio seeks to just rig the vote in the face of the Republican demographic implosion. Let’s Kill the Electoral College So We Never Have to Pay Attention to Ohio and Florida Again.
Hippies Wander Into the Lions’ Den, Maul Lions. Our new, significantly less terrible Senate. Our new, only slightly less terrible House. Why Americans Actually Voted For A Democratic House. Let the Michelle Obama for Senate speculation begin. The Victory for Gay Marriage Was Bigger Than You Realized. High-Level Orc Assassination Rogue Wins Maine State Senate Seat, Humans Tremble At Might Of The Horde. Demographics as Destiny. What happened last night was a demographic time bomb that had been ticking and that blew up in GOP faces. Barack Obama and The Death Of Normal. The Mystery of Why Republicans Were So Sure They’d Win. Cheer Up, Republicans. Obama won Cubans (!) in Florida. Orson Scott Card flips out. NRO flips out. 51st state?
2008 felt like liberation; 2012 feels like relief.
In 2016, Republicans will have won only a single presidential election since 1992; they won’t have won as the out-party since 1980. Jonathan Chait’s 2012 or Never analysis (part 2!) remains for my money the most important takeaway from this election; the demographic coalition that has propelled the GOP since the 1960s has finally and permanently imploded. However the Republicans next manage to scrape together a winning coalition, it will necessarily look very different from the coalition that went down in flames tonight. And we should all be grateful for that.
A Room Full of Millionaires Believes That the True Political Advantage in This Country Belongs to Children of Mexican Immigrants
There is a real, airtight bubble in this election, but it’s not Obama’s. As a middle-aged white man, in fact, I’m breaching it. White people—white men in particular—are for Mitt Romney. White men are supporting Mitt Romney to the exclusion of logic or common sense, in defiance of normal Americans. Without this narrow, tribal appeal, Romney’s candidacy would simply not be viable. Most kinds of Americans see no reason to vote for him.
* Who’s going to be the lesser evil in 2012 2008 2004 2000 1996 1992 1988 1984 1980 1976 1972 1968?
* The unsuccessful self-treatment of a case of “writer’s block.” These results have since been confirmed.
* The real affirmative action: Researchers with access to closely guarded college admissions data have found that, on the whole, about 15 percent of freshmen enrolled at America’s highly selective colleges are white teens who failed to meet their institutions’ minimum admissions standards.
* How many people have died because Walter White got cancer? And a Breaking Bad Fermi problem: What is a good approximation of how much money Skyler had in the storage unit when she showed Walt how she stopped counting it?
* Report: Student Debt Is Holding Back The Housing Recovery. Are you interested in student debt now, old people?
* Getting spicy: Hacker Group Claims to Have Romney’s Tax Returns.
* BREAKING: Rachel Carson Didn’t Kill Millions of Africans.
* BREAKING: Social Security Administration to arm illegal immigrants with hollow-point bullets to murder taxpayers. Wake up, sheeple! The truth is out there.
At xkcd. We only have about six years left before things start getting really ugly.
* I put up a MetaFilter post on the Daniel Tosh rape threat incident that got so much attention today, which is a relatively decent read as Internet comment threads go despite expectedly high rates of rape apologism and mansplaining. Two more good pieces on the subject: zunguzungu’s (…) and Student Activism’s “Goddamn it, Louis.” Here’s Aaron:
The phrase “rape culture” describes the way people don’t get too upset at the thought of a woman being raped. They might even laugh at it. It might seem funny, such a funny word. But nothing about this is just a joke. It’s about devaluing the sanctity of certain people’s security in their person, about refusing to feel bad about it, about taking a pride in it, even. Saying “wouldn’t it be funny if a violent act happened to this person” is almost the definition of how that works. If a terrible thing happened to a person, you say, I would not grieve. I would laugh. Their pain is not worth my empathy, or yours. Their pain makes me stronger, bigger, more important. Their pain is worth nothing.
* The important questions: Could the SHIELD helicarrier actually fly? Could Batman really fly? What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light? The last one (the first post of Randall Monroe’s new What If? blog) is absolutely not to be missed.
* Call it Kotsko’s Law: Any political ideology putting itself forward as a brave new path beyond the stale opposition of left and right is always going to be either boring old liberalism or else a new variant on fascism.
* Tomorrow’s headlines today: here’s the next set of challenges to Obamacare, and it’s even more weaselly and ridiculous than the last round.
* digby: I think we may actually be coming to the point of debating whether or not to repeal the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act. And it will fail, of course. At first. The country isn’t there yet. But it will represent one more step in the disintigration of America’s moral fabric (which wasn’t that strong to begin with.) Like torture, it’s in the political ether now, no longer completely taboo. This is how this sort of thing is mainstreamed.
* You can’t believe they didn’t have it already: Obama Offers Health Insurance To Seasonal Firefighters.
* U.S. Sees Hottest 12 Months And Hottest Half Year On Record: NOAA Calls Record Heat A One-In-1.6-Million Event. Really astounding coincidence! But you know you can’t predict the weather.
* And the worst idea ever put forth by anyone, ever: Let’s Draft Our Kids. Thank you for your submissions. The contest is now closed.
In the long run, though, the GOP has done nothing at all to rehabilitate its deep unpopularity with the public as a whole, and has only further poisoned its standing with Hispanics. But by forswearing compromise, it opened the door to a single shot. The Republicans have gained the House and stand poised to win control of the Senate. If they can claw out a presidential win and hold on to Congress, they will have a glorious two-year window to restore the America they knew and loved, to lock in transformational change, or at least to wrench the status quo so far rightward that it will take Democrats a generation to wrench it back. The cost of any foregone legislative compromises on health care or the deficit would be trivial compared to the enormous gains available to a party in control of all three federal branches.
On the other hand, if they lose their bid to unseat Obama, they will have mortgaged their future for nothing at all. And over the last several months, it has appeared increasingly likely that the party’s great all-or-nothing bet may land, ultimately, on nothing. In which case, the Republicans will have turned an unfavorable outlook into a truly bleak one in a fit of panic.
For what it’s worth I think Chait probably underestimates the likelihood of further conservative freakout once Obama has been reelected, something that could descend into either a total breakdown in the ability of government to function at all or significant political violence (or both). I don’t think it will be pretty.
In a very competitive race to pick a Republican nominee who will face a vulnerable Democratic incumbent, only a small fraction of “old, white, uniformly Christian” Americans are showing up to vote, and they look “much closer to the population of 1890 than of 2012.”
But South Carolina’s seeming rejection of Mr. Romney goes beyond cultural or demographic idiosyncrasies. Mr. Rtaxomney was resoundingly defeated by Mr. Gingrich, losing badly among his worst demographic groups and barely beating Mr. Gingrich among his best ones. Had you extrapolated the exit poll cross-tabulations from South Carolina to the other 49 states, Mr. Romney might have lost 47 of them. Moreover, the decline of Mr. Romney was almost as significant in national polls as it was in South Carolina.
* Great moments in Fox News: Newt Gingrich’s repeated betrayals of the people closest to him suggest he’ll make a trustworthy president.
* When Barack Obama joined Silicon Valley’s top luminaries for dinner in California last February, each guest was asked to come with a question for the president. But as Steven P. Jobs of Apple spoke,President Obama interrupted with an inquiry of his own: what would it take to make iPhones in the United States?
* Steve Shaviro reviews Carl Freedman’s The Age of Nixon. I actually bought this one just on the strength of the author and title.
* Another absolute must-have: Alison Bechdel’s followup to Fun Home, Are You My Mother?
* David Graeber: The Political Metaphysics of Stupidity.
* They’re still trying to make a movie out of Jeff Smith’s Bone.
* And the Chronicle of Higher Education has an obituary for Dean Jo Rae Wright. I only knew her over email, but I was very sad to hear this. She was a very generous supporter of graduate projects at Duke.