Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘the filibuster

Saturday Links

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Weekend Links (Now with More Twitter Nazel-Gazing!)

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* How to Survive a Graduate Career. Draws in part from Audrey Waters’s “The Real Reason I Dropped Out of a PhD Program.” I’ve just been talking a bit on Twitter this afternoon about my own experiences with a very particular kind of health scare near the end of graduate school (no symptoms, only the potential for very serious symptoms in the future) and the extent to which it completely opened my eyes about how unforgiving academic labor can be with respect to human frailty.

* I also had a long, possibly extremely tedious conversation on Twitter this afternoon with @adamkotsko, @ibogost, and @pannapacker about whether the focus of efforts to reform graduate education in the humanities should be focused on individuals or on systems. Way down at the end of it I monologue a bit both about the self-defeating nature of market-driven, consumerist approaches and about my own experience making “good” and “bad” choices with respect to the academy.

* From earlier today: Don’t miss Kotsko hulking out.

* Meanwhile in humanities education: Employers and Public Favor Graduates Who Can Communicate, Survey Finds.

* Ask Sven Lindqvist: Who is responsible if a drone kills my child?

* While earlier studies have argued that redshirted children do better both socially and academically—citing data on school evaluations, leadership positions, and test scores—more recent analyses suggest that the opposite may well be the case: the youngest kids, who barely make the age cutoff but are enrolled anyway, ultimately end up on top—not their older classmates. When a group of economists followed Norwegian children born between 1962 and 1988, until the youngest turned eighteen, in 2006, they found that, at age eighteen, children who started school a year later had I.Q. scores that were significantly lower than their younger counterparts. Their earnings also suffered: through age thirty, men who started school later earned less. A separate study, of the entire Swedish population born between 1935 and 1984, came to a similar conclusion: in the course of the life of a typical Swede, starting school later translated to reduced over-all earnings. In a 2008 study at Harvard University, researchers found that, within the U.S., increased rates of redshirting were leading to equally worrisome patterns. The delayed age of entry, the authors argued, resulted in academic stagnation: it decreased completion rates for both high-school and college students, increased the gender gap in graduation rates (men fell behind women), and intensified socioeconomic differences.

* “I get enraged when I see people hating on the kids today. You try graduating into this mess.”

* Ted Cruz Turns Obamacare Defunding Plan From Disaster to Utter Fiasco.

Step one of this far-fetched scheme was the passage of a “continuing resolution,” which keeps the government open, attached to abolishing Obamacare. Now it goes to the Senate. Once that bill comes up for a vote in the Senate, the majority can vote to strip away the provision defunding Obamacare. That vote can’t be filibustered. It’s a simple majority vote, and Democrats have the majority.What Senate Republicans can do is filibuster to prevent the bill from coming to a vote at all. That’s the only recourse the Senate defunders have. And Ted Cruz is promising to do just that: “ I hope that every Senate Republican will stand together,” he says, “and oppose cloture on the bill in order to keep the House bill intact and not let Harry Reid add Obamacare funding back in.” A “committed defunder” in the Senate likewise tells David Drucker, “Reid must not be allowed to fund Obamacare with only 51 votes.”

In other words, the new stop-Obamacare plan now entails filibustering the defunders’ own bill.

The GOP’s Suicide Squeeze.

* BREAKING: Online courses don’t live up to hype. Inside the Coursera Hype Machine.

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* Some new reporting on the hydrogen bomb that the US government dropped on North Carolina in 1961 reveals just how close it came to detonating.

Over 22,000 gallons of oil spilled so far in Colorado’s floods.

* And it is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails: 22-Year-Old Inmate Says She Is Going Blind Because Prison Won’t Treat Her Diabetes.

Thursday

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National Louis, a private, nonprofit institution based in the greater Chicago metropolitan region, served about 10,000 students before the restructuring process in 2012. In addition to terminating 63 faculty members, among them 16 tenured professors, the institution eliminated four departments in its College of Arts and Sciences: English, fine arts, mathematics and natural sciences. Today, about 8,300 students attend the university — 9 in 10 on a part-time basis. What does this school teach if not English or math or arts or science? What’s left?

The fertilizer plant that exploded in West, Texas on Wednesday night was fined by the Environmental Protection agency in 2006 for failing to have a risk management plan that met federal standards, an EPA report shows. 

Yesterday’s Senate Gun Control Vote Was Even More Undemocratic Than It Appeared. Angus crunches the numbers.

In twenty-one of the nation’s 50 states, both Senators yesterday voted in favor of the Manchin-Toomey background check amendment. Although those 42 Senators represent less than half the body, they represent more than half the country — 157 million people out of 313 million. The 16 states whose Senators both voted against the amendment, in contrast, represent less than a quarter of the nation, but nearly a third of the senate. That’s the equivalent of dividing the country up into states of equal population, but giving the no-vote states three senators each, and the yes-vote states just two.

And what of the other states, the ones who split their votes yesterday? Well, if you allocate half of their population to each senator, and add up the totals, you find that senators representing 62.7% of the nation’s population voted for Manchin-Toomey yesterday.

Gun Violence Victims Detained, Put Through Background Check For Yelling ‘Shame On You’ At Senators. Conservative radio host: Families of Newtown shooting victims can ‘go to hell.’

Just because a bad thing happened to you doesn’t mean that you get to put a king in charge of my life. I’m sorry that you suffered a tragedy, but you know what? Deal with it, and don’t force me to lose my liberty, which is a greater tragedy than your loss.

They lost their kids. What would Bob Davis have lost even if the bill passed?

What Happened to Working-Class New York?

And Bill to Create ‘New University of California’ Dies. Here’s the current state of proposed flexible online education in California. Amended Steinberg is still privatization.

Wednesday Deux

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screen-capture* CFP: Queerness and Games at UC Berkeley.

* AMC passed on Red Mars, but then greenlights this? Those idiots.

Minimum Wage Machine (Work in Progress).

The minimum wage machine allows anybody to work for minimum wage. Turning the crank will yield one penny every 4.97 seconds, for $7.25 an hour (NY state minimum wage). If the participant stops turning the crank, they stop receiving money.

* Gabrielle Giffords op-ed on the Senate’s minority-rules rejection of gun control.

What started out as a case about whether corporations could be held accountable in U.S. courts for human rights violations abroad now turned into a case about whether anyone can be held accountable. And on Wednesday, a five-justice majority of the U.S. Supreme Court held that the answer is, mostly, no.

Mellon Foundation awards grant to develop new careers for humanities Ph.D.s. At the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Disney Says New ‘Star Wars’ Films Will Open Every Summer Starting in 2015. The internet has spoken: put Patton Oswalt in charge.

Tuesday Night MOOCs and More

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* 20 Things the Matter with MOOCs.

* Also from Richard: What do asteroids, MOOCs, and medical records have in common?  All are examples, currently in the news, of the way in which public policy in the US is driven not by the common good or professionals or expert knowledge, but by the generation of mediashock in the service of the entrepeneurial desire of cybercapitalism to monetize data.

* On drone ethnography.

All of us that use the internet are already practicing Drone Ethnography. Look at the features of drone technology: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Surveillance, Sousveillance. Networks of collected information, over land and in the sky. Now consider the “consumer” side of tech: mapping programs, location-aware pocket tech, public-sourced media databases, and the apps and algorithms by which we navigate these tools. We already study the world the way a drone sees it: from above, with a dozen unblinking eyes, recording everything with the cold indecision of algorithmic commands honed over time, affecting nothing—except, perhaps, a single, momentary touch, the momentary awareness and synchronicity of a piece of information discovered at precisely the right time. An arc connecting two points like the kiss from an air-to-surface missile. Our technological capacity for watching, recording, collecting, and archiving has never been wider, and has never been more automated. The way we look at the world—our basic ethnographic approach—is mimicking the technology of the drone.

* The ACLU on what Rand Paul achieved.

Six-Month-Old Baby Dies From Gunshot Wounds In Chicago.

*  “Defense attorneys believe the girl, who lived across the river in Weirton, W.Va., made a decision to excessively drink and — against her friends’ wishes — to leave with the boys. They assert that she consented to sex,” reports the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Rachel Dissell. Richmond’s attorney, Walter Madison, is getting specific, citing “an abundance of evidence here that she was making decisions, cognitive choices … She didn’t affirmatively say no.” She was unconscious at the time.

I think it’s possible Natalia is the reckoning of Girls.

* The Herbalife war: Hedge-fund titan Bill Ackman has vowed to bring down Herbalife, the 33-year-old nutritional-supplement company, which he views as a pyramid scheme. With his massive shorting of Herbalife stock, the price plummeted, prompting two fellow billionaires—Ackman’s former friend Dan Loeb and activist investor Carl Icahn—to take the opposing bet on Herbalife. As the public brawl rivets Wall Street, William D. Cohan learns why, this time, it’s personal.

The most influential songwriter of his time has become the first rock star voted into the elite, century-old American Academy of Arts and Letters, where artists range from Philip Roth to Jasper Johns and categories include music, literature and visual arts.

* New data confirms that the unsatisfyingly named “Higgs-like particle” announced at CERN last year really is a Higgs boson.

* Exhumation of Pablo Neruda’s remains set for 8 April.

6 ÷ 2(1+2) = RAGE

The Law Graduate Debt Disaster Goes Critical.

* Ezra Klein gets it very wrong.

The US Senate: Where Democracy Goes to Die.

* Here comes the asteroid mining.

The insane plan to rescue Napoleon from St. Helena by submarine.

14 Great Sci-Fi Stories by Philip K. Dick as Free Audio Books and Free eBooks.

Thursday Night Links

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* This may shock you, but Thomas Friedman loves MOOCs. An Ad Hominem Attack Against Thomas Friedman. MOOCs R Us. MOOCs or BOOKs?

* Public higher education is about to cross a historic threshold, in which students pay a higher percentage than do states of the operating costs of colleges.

Mother who stole son’s education gets 12 years in prison.

* Two bad tastes that taste good together: Rand Paul filibusters drones.

* Apocalypse now: The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped, new federal figures show.

Planning for the Post-Income Economy. Fracking is starting to devour the US economy.

Elephant Poaching Pushes Species To Brink Of Extinction.

* The case for open borders.

The entrapment defense rarely succeeds, both in terrorism cases and more quotidian (usually drug-related) prosecutions, largely because “entrapment” means something very different in a courtroom than it does in ordinary usage. For nearly a century, the federal courts have allowed a criminal defendant to dodge criminal liability by showing that the governmentinduced her to commit an unlawful act. Once the accused makes such a showing, however, the government still has the opportunity to prove that she was predisposed to commit the crime, even before government agents entered the picture. If a jury accepts the government’s characterization, other factors—the nature or size of the “bait,” the complexity of the government artifice, or the independent wherewithal of the defendant to commit the crime—basically don’t matter: the defendant is still guilty. This means that when entrapment is at issue, the personality, reputation, criminal history, and political or religious beliefs of the accused become the centerpiece of the trial. Post-9/11 juries have had little trouble concluding that the disaffected Muslims (and occasional anarchists) ensnared by the FBI have been sufficiently “predisposed” to engage in terrorism.

* On writing fan fiction.

Recovering Lolita. My students have been pouring over this collection of Lolita book covers thanks to @sselisker.

* #slatepitches: What SimCity Teaches Us About Real Cities of the Future.

Ephemeral third ring of radiation makes appearance around Earth. If we lived in a comic book, I bet this story would be fifteen times as awesome.

Detailed Floor Plan Drawings of Popular TV and Film Homes.

See Stephen Colbert school James Franco on Tolkien mythology.

* A first look at The Grand Budapest Hotel.

FBI Investigating Drone Near Miss with Jet at JFK.

* TPM’s papal contenders cheatsheet.

* Smile Time: Community is doing an all-puppet episode, with actual puppets.

First Trailer for Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing.

Consequences of Repeated Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption in Football Players.

* And the latest issue of The New Inquiry posits time is the fire in which we burn.

Thursday Night Links

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Having a monetary value tied to human incarceration and justice creates a deeply perverse incentive that should not exist in the world of commerce. When the for-profit prison industry places the iron fist of criminal justice in the invisible hands of the market and sells it as a cost-cutting measure, it is hard not to interpret as anything but the predatory capitalism of a self-perpetuating slave state.

* Law school skips right past adjunctification and non-monetary compensation all the way to a pay-to-work scheme.

* Just end the filibuster. This is a no-brainer.

What Will It Take to Solve Climate Change?

Gorilla Sales Skyrocket After Latest Gorilla Attack.

Following the events of last week, in which a crazed western lowland gorilla ruthlessly murdered 21 people in a local shopping plaza after escaping from the San Diego Zoo, sources across the country confirmed Thursday that national gorilla sales have since skyrocketed.

“After seeing yet another deranged gorilla just burst into a public place and start killing people, I decided I need to make sure something like that never happens to me,” said 34-year-old Atlanta resident Nick Keller, shortly after purchasing a 350-pound mountain gorilla from his local gorilla store. “It just gives me peace of mind knowing that if I’m ever in that situation, I won’t have to just watch helplessly as my torso is ripped in half and my face is chewed off. I’ll be able to use my gorilla to defend myself.”

* 56 Up now playing in the US. I can’t wait.

How To Fix Maternity Leave.

For the fiscal year, which for most schools ends this June, 18% of 165 private universities and 15% of 127 public universities project a decline in net tuition revenue. That is a sharp rise from the estimated declines among 10% of the 152 private schools and 4% of the 105 public schools in fiscal 2012.

* Turns out the brain isn’t very much like papyrus after all.

* Google will now translate into Flanders. (Not really-a-doodly.)

* Ezra Klein plays Biden  ’16 make-believe. At least he’s making sense on the platinum coin.

* What’s your preferred gender pronoun?

* Horrifying: On zombie foreclosure.

* And on the science fiction beat: Joss Whedon Directing SHIELD Pilot Right Now, Already Working On Scripts For Later In The Series. Christopher Nolan’s next movie is called Interstellar. For the 50th anniversary, five Doctors and a cavalcade of Companions will reunite…on an audio specialFan hopes science will prove tragic Firefly death never happened. And Y: The Last Man has a director: the unknown fan director of that Portal fan film.

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