Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Claire McCaskill

Wednesday Is Friday and the Living’s Easy

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Half the professoriate will kill the other half for free.

In other words, while a few already well-paid superprofessors get their egos stroked conducting experiments that are doomed to fail, “second- and third-tier universities and colleges, and community colleges” risk closing because Coursera and its ilk have sent higher education price expectations through the floor and systematically devalued everybody else’s work. And they get to do all this while dispensing a produuct that they know is inferior! Jay Gould would be proud.

The irony, of course, is that “business” logic can kill its own host, like any parasite. When taken as an end in itself, it destroys everything — and then there’s nowhere else to invest, no more areas producing real values that can be syphoned off into the giant pool of money. The imaginary values that finance has racked up then become the object of a game of hot potato, furiously churning through the system until the point when they simply disappear (i.e., lose all their value). That’s what running everything “like a business” does — it trades real value for imaginary value that is then destroyed.

* Just because it’s totally ineffective doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it: A study by the Pew Charitable Trust in 2011, which looked at school closures in six US cities, found that school districts end up saving less than had been predicted. But think of all the other advantages school closings offer!

A University of Chicago study focusing on schools closed between 2001 and 2006 found that only six percent of displaced students ended up in high-performing schools.

And 42 percent of students continued to attend schools with ‘very low’ achievement levels. A year after changing schools, students’ reading and math abilities were not any better or worse.

Students who did go to better-performing schools also had to travel an average of 6km to get there – which critics say risks the safety of students who have to go through neighbourhoods containing rival gangs.

Entire library journal editorial board resigns, citing ‘crisis of conscience’ after death of Aaron Swartz.

* The Barbed Gift of Leisure.

And here, at the limit of life that idling alone brings into view in a nonthreatening way, we find another kind of nested logic. Call it the two-step law of life. Rule No. 1 is tomorrow we die; and Rule No. 2 is nobody, not even the most helpful robot, can change Rule No. 1. Enjoy!

Junot Diaz Talks Superman As An Undocumented Immigrant On The Colbert Report.

The Essential Verso Undergraduate Reading List. Makes me think I really need to start including more theory on my syllabi.

* MOOCs we can believe in? One of the most remote outposts of Jesuit higher education is tucked away in dusty northwest Kenya, in a place whose name means “Nowhere” in Swahili. There, at Kakuma Refugee Camp, a small group of students — refugees from several neighboring African countries, including Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia — are enrolled in online courses taught by 28 Jesuit colleges, mostly in the United States. The course is part of the Jesuit Commons project.

* Unexpected: SCOTUSblog now thinks there’s at least five judges who will vote to strike down DOMA. Meanwhile, McCaskill seems to have triggered Hagan to announce her support of marriage equality.

* Ripped from the stuff Fox News usually just has to make up: Gov. Rick Scott of Florida has stepped into the fray over an offensive classroom exercise at Florida Atlantic University in which students were asked to stomp on a sheet of paper with “Jesus” written on it.

Boston College threatens disciplinary action against students distributing condoms.

Boston College officials sent a letter to students on March 15 demanding an end to student-run “Safe Sites,” a network of dorm rooms and other locations where free contraceptives and safe sex information are available.

Students living in the “Safe Sites” were told in the letter that the distribution of condoms is in conflict with their “responsibility to protect the values and traditions of Boston College as a Jesuit, Catholic institution.”

Mexican town finds more security by throwing out the police.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal considers the Singularity.

* xkcd considers the past as another country … with an outdated military and massive oil reserves.

* And making the rounds again: The 50 Most Perfectly Timed Photos Ever.


Senator Franken

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What can we expect from the Democrats now that Al Franken is their 60th Senator? Ezra Klein points out that 60 is a big number, one not achieved by either party since 1974. Open Left thinks this is a boost to the public option in health care. Grist looks ahead to climate change and the Senate version of ACES. The Nation talks filibusters.

It falls to Donkeylicious to remind us that there are still a lot of bad Democrats, including two who have thus far disappointed me, Kay Hagan and Claire McCaskill.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 30, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Obama on the stimulus

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Obama on the stimulus (part 2). Give ’em hell, Barry. Via MetaFilter’s omnibus post on the stimulus and the random cuts needed to sate “bipartisan” egos. (You really let a lot of people down, Claire.)

Written by gerrycanavan

February 8, 2009 at 6:29 pm


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Howard Dean is stepping down as chairman of the DNC in triumph. Steve Benen says perennial favorite Claire McCaskill likely to take up the job. Sam Stein:

Regardless of who takes over, the next chair will inherit an organization far different from the one that existed four years ago. Under Dean’s tenure, the DNC implemented the hotly-debated 50-state-strategy, a program designed to rebuild the party into a continental force, one in which Democrats drained the resources of Republicans while simultaneously building up younger talent. Obama’s incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and others were critical, believing that the policy wasted valuable resources on impossible races and needlessly forfeited otherwise winnable seats during the 2006 congressional elections. Successes in 2008, however, have largely quieted those critiques.

Indeed, four years later, it seems, Dean’s vision is poised to become party orthodoxy. Dean told a Democratic operative that he is hoping to extract promises from all potential replacement candidates to preserve the 50-state-strategy. Other insiders, meanwhile, say that the next DNC chair, regardless of who it is, will build upon the model because of its tangible success.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 10, 2008 at 7:16 pm

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The Washington Times get excited about 269-269.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 24, 2008 at 12:29 am

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Playing Catch-up

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Playing catch-up.

* Al Giordano reports good news out of Virginia, where Obama has taken an unexpected lead. Flipping VA and NM to Obama and flipping IA to McCain (which admittedly looks unlikely at this point) is, incidentally, one of the many combinations resulting in a 269-269 tie, which would throw the election to the House and cause a legal clusterflunk of epic proportions. (As of right now, we’d win, but it would make 2000 look pretty.)

* Also in politics, people are taking notice of what I’ve been saying since the primaries: Claire McCaskill is a better surrogate for Obama than just about anybody in the business. Oh, and Obama gave McCain a much-needed bloody nose on the “fundamentals” line.

* The long-neglected art of Iron Man fan fiction has finally been perfected.

* Bad news for veggietopia: eating vegetables shrinks the brain.

* They’ve found the 20-ft. fence that used to keep the rabble away from Stonehenge.

* I don’t trust anyone with a real job in the banking industry, but this shocked even me: Citibank was caught flat-out stealing $14 million from its customers.

* Congratulations, George Takei.

* The Church of England apologizes to Charles Darwin.

* The David Foster Wallace memorial thread I posted to MetaFilter went really well, I thought. So did MetaTalk. Here’s something else for the collection—a DFW reading from UC-TV, via my editor at the Indy.

* And the Big Picture has stunning photographs of the 2008 Paralympic Games.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 16, 2008 at 3:10 pm

IN, and Veep

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I’m hearing that CBS has called Indiana for Clinton. But it looks like the Indiana margin will be significantly closer than the North Carolina margin, and NC was the bigger state to boot; overall, a good night.

Not to get ahead of ourselves, but I really think this may be, at long last, the turning point. Watch the supers for movement in the coming week.

I’m also more and more convinced that one of my dark horse candidates for VP, Claire McCaskill, is really the best choice. An old white man, even one like Wesley Clark or Joe Biden who brings a lot of foreign policy “cred” to the ticket, is just the wrong move for this moment—and even though it would be two Senators, I think she brings enough to the table otherwise that it’d be worth it.

UPDATE: Re: McCaskill, it occurs to me now that my neighbor saw her at the Durham headquarters the other day and that she said precisely that a lot of Obama-leaning supers have been waiting for the opportunity to move en masse…

So that’s the missing link in the logic of this post.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 7, 2008 at 12:23 am