Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘disaster capitalism

Lockdown Megapost Part One, Just the Bad News for Academia

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* Decision Points Loom for College Leaders. Certainly Uncertain. Preventing the Collapse of Higher Education. Here’s what Fauci said about college students returning to campus in the fall. Colleges Are Deluding Themselves. The Case Against Reopening. Colleges Aren’t Reopening in the Fall. Empty Lecture Halls, No Fall Football, a Freshman-Only Campus. A Playbook for a Second-Choice Fall. This little piggy went online for the fall; this little piggy stayed in the dorm. The pandemic is the time to resurrect the public university. UW System leader eyes academic program cuts, layoffs at some campuses in COVID-19 plan. Missouri Western cuts 30 percent of the faculty, along with programs in history, political science, sociology, economics, music and more. Kean University slashes academic programs, faculty amid pandemic. Western Michigan University lays off 240 employees, enacts pay cuts for others. CUNY. OU. Northwestern. Madison. Duke. Marquette. Everyone. Colleges Worry They’ll Be Sued if They Reopen Campuses. Coronavirus Will End the Golden Age for College Towns. Game Over for the NCAA. University Leaders Are Failing.

Will students show up for college in fall 2020? Colleges Could Lose 20% of Students. As Students Put Off College, Anxious Universities Tap Wait Lists. Another pandemic-related threat to universities: falling numbers of graduate students. How the Coronavirus Will — or Should — Transform Graduate Education.

 

A Case for Virtual Fall Term 2020 (and Probably Spring 2021).

Disaster Capitalism Is Coming for Public Education.

* Don’t Frighten the Students: The Crisis of Academic Freedom in the Managed University. Consumption, COVID-19, and the Consequences of Language in Higher Education.

The idea that college faculty and their allies have somehow failed to “make the case” for the value of their work is one of the hoariest clichés of higher ed commentary—our equivalent to the legendary “since the dawn of time”-style opening for undergraduate papers. A Google search for “the case for the humanities” turns up multiple books and articles. The tradition is so well established that new contributors can even engage in ironic meta-commentary on its conventions, as when a recent column argued that the best case for the humanities is precisely that there is no case. It is clear enough why academics would be drawn to a solution that draws on their particular skillsets of persuasion and argumentation, but the demand that we “make the case” is naïve and impotent.

Modeling the Spread of COVID-19 in UCLA Classrooms.

* Distance Learning Is Taking an Emotional Toll on Students. Your Classes Are on Zoom and Your Teaching Staff Is Being Cut. What We Lose When We Go From the Classroom to Zoom. Higher Education in the Age of Coronavirus. Chronicles of a higher Ed adjunct in the COVID-19 era.

* Denning: the social reproduction of the university depends on the maintenance of its graduate workers. Don’t let Yale infantilize you as “students” or people who don’t understand how institutions work. Universities Run on Disposable Scholars. Mass exodus. Now — Yes, Now — Is the Time for Contingent Faculty to Organize. CUNY Faculty On Verge of Wildcat Strike.

* When science goes wrong.

* Against cop shit 2: against rigor.

* The ‘Right Not to Work.’

* Oh, Harvard.

* The Coming Disruption.

The Podcast University.

Faculty Cuts Begin, With Warnings of More to Come. Colleges Lower the Boom on Retirement Plans. The first wave of pandemic cuts to colleges and universities. We’re Tracking Employees Laid Off or Furloughed by Colleges. Colleges Won’t Refund Tuition. Autumn May Force a Reckoning.

Fall Break Links! Every Tab I Had Open Is Closed!

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* New open-access scholarship: Star Wars and the History of Transmedia Storytelling. My contribution is on Rogue One and the crisis of authority that seems to have plagued all the post-Lucas Star Wars productions. Check it out!

* Science Fiction Film and Television 10.3 is also available, a special issue all about Mad Max and guest-edited by Dan Hassler-Forest, including a great piece by one of my former graduate students, Dr. Bonnie McLean!

* My book was reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement! That’s wild. There’s a really nice review coming in the next issue of Science Fiction Studies, too, though I don’t think its online yet…

* By far the absolute best thing I’ve found on the Internet in years: Decision Problem: Paperclips.

* Call for Papers: Critical Disaster Studies.

* It’s been so long since I’ve posted that it’s still news Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize. With all due apologies to Margaret Atwood.

* Tom Petty was still alive then. Puerto Rico wasn’t in ruins, then. The worst mass shooting in American history perpetrated by a single individual hadn’t happened then. California wasn’t on fire quite to the apocalyptic extent that it is now then. I still had hope for The Last Jedi. And the GOP wasn’t all-in for Roy Moore.

* There are no natural disasters. The Left Needs Its Own Shock Doctrine for Puerto Rico. Disaster socialism. Many Trump voters who got hurricane relief in Texas aren’t sure Puerto Ricans should. After the Hurricane. Someday we’ll look back on the storms from this year’s horrific hurricane season with nostalgia.

* Page of a Calvin and Hobbes comic found in the wreckage of Santa Rosa, California.

This is the horror of mass shootings. Not just death that comes from nowhere, intruding upon the status quo—but a death that doesn’t change that status quo, that continues to sail on unchanged by it. You may be a toddler in a preschool in one of the richest zip codes in the country; a congressman playing baseball in Alexandria, Virginia; a white-collar office worker in a business park; a college student or professor on some leafy campus; a doctor making your rounds in a ward in the Bronx; a country music fan enjoying a concert in a city built as a mecca for relaxation and pleasure: the bullet that comes for you will not discriminate. It knows no racial bias, imposes no political litmus test, checks no credit score, heeds no common wisdom of whose life should or shouldn’t matter. It will pierce your skin, perforate your organs, shatter your bones, and blow apart the gray matter inside your skull faster than your brain tissue can tear. And then, after the token thoughts and prayers, nothing. No revolutionary legislation or sudden sea change in cultural attitudes will mark your passing. The bloody cruelty of your murder will be matched only by the sanguine absence of any substantive national response. Our democracy is riven by inequality in so many ways, but in this domain, and perhaps in this domain alone, all American lives are treated as equally disposable.

Having achieved so many conservative goals — a labor movement in terminal decline, curtailed abortion rights, the deregulation of multiple industries, economic inequality reminiscent of the Gilded Age, and racial resegregation — the right can now afford the luxury of irresponsibility. Or so it believes. As we have seen in the opening months of the Trump presidency, the conservative regime, despite its command of all three elected branches of the national government and a majority of state governments, is extraordinarily unstable and even weak, thanks to a number of self-inflicted wounds. That weakness, however, is a symptom not of its failures, but of its success.

* Freedom of speech means professors get fired for their tweets while universities rent their facilities to open Nazis for $600,000 below cost. Meanwhile, college administrations continue to look to Trump to save them from their graduate students.

The science of spying: how the CIA secretly recruits academics.

Death at a Penn State Fraternity.

* UPenn humiliates itself.

* Octavia Butler: The Brutalities of the Past Are All Around Us.

* African Science Fiction, at LARB.

* The new issue of Slayage has a “Twenty Years of Buffy” roundtable.

Image Journal Exclusively Publishes Flannery O’Connor’s College Journal.

* Honestly, I prefer it when the NCAA doesn’t even bother to pretend.

* One of the classic signs of a failing state is the manipulation of data, including its suppression.

* Internal emails show ICE agents struggling to substantiate Trump’s lies about immigrants.

* ICE Detainee Sent to Solitary Confinement for Encouraging Protest of “Voluntary” Low Wage Labor.

This Is What It Looks Like When the President Asks People to Snitch on Their Neighbors.

A 2-year-old’s kidney transplant was put on hold — after his donor father’s probation violation.

* The arc of history is long, but Federal Judge Rules Handcuffing Little Kids Above Their Elbows Is Unconstitutional.

Body cameras and more training aren’t enough. We need to divert funding for police into funding for human needs.

“Childhood trauma is a huge factor within the criminal justice system,” said Christopher Wildeman, a sociologist at Cornell University and co-director of the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect. “It is among the most important things that shapes addictive and criminal behavior in adulthood.”

They thought they were going to rehab. They ended up in chicken plants.

When Colleges Use Their Own Students to Catch Drug Dealers.

* The Democratic district attorney of Manhattan openly takes bribes, and he’s running unopposed.

Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist Ideas Into The Mainstream.

How We Found Tom Price’s Private Jets.

What DNA Testing Companies’ Terrifying Privacy Policies Actually Mean.

Rigged: How Voter Suppression Threw Wisconsin to Trump. Counterpoint: The case that voter ID laws won Wisconsin for Trump is weaker than it looks.

* Conflict in literature.

‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia. Close that barn door, boys!

Mass Shootings Are A Bad Way To Understand Gun Violence. The stats are clear: the gun debate should be one mostly about how to prevent gun suicides. 1,516 mass shootings in 1,735 days.

* The secretive family making billions from the opioid crisis.

* University of Hawaii’s creepy email subject line to students: “In the event of a nuclear attack.”

* Marvel’s movie timeline is incoherent nonsense, too.

We have a pretty good idea of when humans will go extinct. No spoilers!

* Tokyo Is Preparing for Floods ‘Beyond Anything We’ve Seen.’

* Cape Coral, Florida, was built on total lies. One big storm could wipe it off the map. Oh, and it’s also the fastest-growing city in the United States.

An Oral History of Batman: The Animated Series.

* Why is Blade Runner called Blade Runner?

* How free porn enriched the tech industry — and ruined the lives of actors.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Is the Bleakest Lord of the Rings Fan Fic I’ve Ever Seen.The best way to beat Shadow Of War’s final act is not to play it. Are Orcs People Too? And a trip down memory lane: How ‘Hobbit Camps’ Rebirthed Italian Fascism.

* The Digital Humanities Bust.

We can’t eliminate the profit motive in health care without eliminating copays.

* Twitter as hate machine.

* They’re good dogs, Brent.

* Burn the Constitution.

* Violence. Threats. Begging. Harvey Weinstein’s 30-year pattern of abuse in Hollywood. Study finds 75 percent of workplace harassment victims experienced retaliation when they spoke up. Collective action is the best avenue to fight sexual harassers like Harvey Weinstein. Will Fury Over Harvey Weinstein Allegations Change Academe’s Handling of Harassment?

* A tough thread on ethical compromise under conditions of precarity and hyperexploitation. I think many academics will relate.

* Major study confirms the clinical definition of death is wildly inadequate.

Death just became even more scary: scientists say people are aware they’re dead because their consciousness continues to work after the body has stopped showing signs of life.

That means that, theoretically, someone may even hear their own death being announced by medics.

Dolphins recorded having a conversation ‘just like two people’ for first time.

Here Are the Best Wildlife Photos of 2017.

Meat eaters are destroying the planet, says report.

The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.

In A Post-Weinstein World, Louis CK’s Movie Is a Total Disaster.

Let this battle herald a return to our roots: tax the rich so much that they aren’t rich anymore — only then can the rest of us live in a decent world.

* Civil-Rights Protests Have Never Been Popular.

Every Rick and Morty Universe So Far.

* Ready for #Vexit.

The world’s first “negative emissions” plant has begun operation—turning carbon dioxide into stone.

I Have Been Raped by Far Nicer Men Than You.

* They’re bound and determined to ruin Go.

I think I’m on my way. I’ve deposited my first check in a savings account and, as and if I sell more, will continue to do so until I have the equivalent of one year’s pay at GE. Four more stories will do it nicely, with cash to spare (something we never had before). I will then quit this goddamn nightmare job, and never take another one so long as I live, so help me God. On Vonnegut’s “Complete Stories.”

An Anatomy of the Worst Game in ‘Jeopardy!’ History.

* Is your D&D character rare?

* Tolkien’s Map and the Perplexing River Systems of Middle-earth.

The Worst Loss In The History Of U.S. Men’s Soccer.

The Rise And Rise Of America’s Best-Kept Secret: Milwaukee!

* Galaxy brain.

* And RIP, John Couture. A tremendous loss for Marquette English.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 21, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Wednesday Is Now Trumpnesday, All Hail Trump

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* CFP: 42nd Meeting of the Society for Utopian Studies, Memphis, TN.

* Fascism happens fast: First look at Biff to the Future, the alt-history comic chronicling the BTTF universe.

* Trump and disaster capitalism.

* The Trump Story Project.

Dissenting from Within the Trump Administration.

Delusional Democrats Yearning to Prove They Can Work With Trump. From Jonathan Chait, no less!

Overshadowed by headlines about chaos and infighting, the new administration is notching a string of early victories.

* “The White House is deploying a network of advisers to the top of federal agencies as a direct line to stay on top of Cabinet officials.” “U.S. Government Agencies Go Silent, May Have Been Swallowed By Black Hole.” “Trump Health Care Plan Would Take Medicaid Coverage Away from Up to 31 Million People.” “Trump Aides Can’t Stop Blabbing about How He’s a Madman.” “Donald Trump’s stock in oil pipeline company raises concern.” Oh, no, not concern! “American Carnage.” “The Resistance.” Nailing it.

* Poor guy.

The bad press over the weekend has not allowed Trump to “enjoy” the White House as he feels he deserves, according to one person who has spoken with him.

* Almost certainly our next president, ladies and gentleman.

Beyond the Usual Suspects: Saturday’s marches were successful because they rallied millions, not just a small core of activists.

* Within minutes of each other: Trump Revives Keystone Pipeline. Canada oil pipeline spills 200,000 liters on aboriginal land.

Bill would end Virginia’s ‘winner take all’ electoral vote system.

* The voter fraud delusion.

* Some details on the shooting at the Milo Yiannopoulos talk at U Washington.

* Science corner! Badlands National Park Twitter account goes rogue, starts tweeting scientific facts. The Science of Sean Spicer’s Compulsive Gum Swallowing Habit. How long would a liberal have to cry to fill a coffee mug with tears? Flint water is fine again, also it was no one’s fault, trust us.

Standpoint theory doesn’t say we can just make shit up; it says we need a clear-eyed understanding of power relations in order to understand and evaluate knowledge-claims. In other words, pomo feminists didn’t create “alt facts”; it’s pomo feminists who have given us the tools to oppose them.

In Discarded Women’s March Signs, Professors Saw a Chance to Save History.

Minnesota bill would make convicted protesters liable for policing costs. N.C. state lawmaker says shouting at current or former gov’t officials should be punishable by 5 years in prison.

* Interesting little story about Dan Harmon’s work on/against an early version of Dr. Strange.

* An interesting piece of fan fiction about something that will never happen again in our lifetimes: a story ending.

* Like someone peeled open my skull and put my inner monologue on the Internet.

* The arc of history is long, but white women are going to prison at a higher rate than ever before.

Wisconsin lawmaker wants Sheriff David Clarke booted from office, immediately.

Further Thoughts on the Problem of Susan.

* The Case Against Unity.

* The View from Trump Tower.

* Whitefish, Montana vs. the Nazis.

This is how American health care kills people.

* Going back to the old days on health insurance, a first draft.

Potential Trump Science Adviser Says 90 Percent of U.S. Colleges Will Disappear. I’m amazed they think a full tenth will escape the Sentinels.

* Arrested Development Season 5 rumors.

Columbia University Releases Report on School’s Ties to Slavery.

The Other Buffett Rule, or, why better billionaires will never save us.

The Web Is a Customer Service Medium.

* ISIS and social media.

* And this truly is the darkest timeline.

Tom the Dancing Bug 1322 view from trump tower 2

Tom the Dancing Bug 1322 view from trump tower 2

Weekend Links! Some Especially Really Good Ones This Time I Promise

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* ICYMI, some single-serving posts from the last few days: How to Grad School and KSR’s The Lucky Strike. You may have also noticed that I’ve put a link to The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction pre-order page. Please alert all interested parties and institutional book-orderers!

* Hyping a project I have nothing to do with: you should also check out the Science Fiction BFI Film Classics series at Palgrave Macmillan, with monographs on Alien, Brazil, Solaris, Dr. Strangelove, and more.

* The final frontier of Star Trek fan canons: what if the Abramsverse universe is the Prime timeline? Read all the way to the end for some nice metacommentary on the project.

* According to a financial plan obtained by Crain’s Chicago Business, UChicago faces operating deficits of $5 to $30 million a year through 2018, and “ratings agencies could downgrade the university’s credit by as many as two notches.” In comparison, the pay increases detailed above would constitute 8 to 50 percent of the projected deficits, and the eight administrators’ overall pay would constitute 20 percent to 120 percent of the deficits.

* Unpacking the Myths of Financial Aid.

Why would the university award aid in this way? Couldn’t it just adjust the ratio of merit aid to need-based aid? Unfortunately, the “high tuition/high aid” model only “works” when it’s organized like this. That’s because, for many university administrators, financial aid is not so much a form of charity as it is an instrument for maximizing tuition revenue.

* The liberal discourse on gentrification has absolutely nothing to say about finance or prison, the two most salient institutions in urban life. Instead, it does what liberal discourse so often does: it buries the structural forces at work and choreographs a dance about individual choice to perform on the grave. We get tiny dramas over church parking lots and bike lanes and whether 7-11 will be able to serve chicken wings. Gentrification becomes a culture war, a battle over consumer choices: gourmet cupcake shop or fried chicken joint? Can we all live side by side, eating gourmet pickles with our fried fish sandwiches? Will blacks and whites hang out in the same bars? wonders Racialicious. Liberalism and Gentrification.

In Philadelphia, education reformers got everything they wanted. Look where the city’s schools are now. How to Destroy a Public-School System.

Democracy is not, to begin with, a form of State. It is, in the first place, the reality of the power of the people that can never coincide with the form of a State. There will always be tension between democracy as the exercise of a shared power of thinking and acting, and the State, whose very principle is to appropriate this power.

* Once more unto humanitarian intervention.

* …disaster relief and the “disaster narrative” is central to the development of the American welfare state.

* This is a very provocative critique of framing consent as a legal category: You Can Take It Back: Consent as a Felt Sense.

If you accept the premise that someone’s experience of sexual violation “counts” as rape, regardless of whether they granted verbal permission beforehand, then in order to avoid being accused of rape you’ll have to shift your mindset from, “I’d better make sure I was told it was okay to do this first,” to “I’d better make damn sure this person isn’t going to wake up tomorrow and feel like I raped them.” The latter is a standard requiring much more communication, understanding, and compassion from the people involved than the former, especially in situations with near-strangers like one-night stands, hook-ups, or play partners you might meet at a club.

I don’t know anything about the author, and I think from an argumentative perspective the writing of the piece could definitely be stronger, but all the same it’s an idea I’ll be thinking about a while. There’s a thought experiment in a later post that is illuminative: trying to identify the precise last moment that one can “withdraw” consent.

* “Presenteeism afflicts all business sectors, but some more than others.” The Case for Staying Home from Work.

* An evaluation of course evaluations. This is an above average meta-evaluation for sure; you could really tell how much he cared about the material.

* The women I pretend to be: on working in a male-dominated industry. #4, the Victim, is especially disheartening:

I remember one particularly bad day at a games conference. The event was, as is typical, about 10 percent female. At the start of the day, one of those “I’m just really touchy-feely” men put his hands where I had not invited them when we were crushed together in a crowded corridor. Then, in a talk, one dude took it upon himself to give a very detailed and enthusiastic account of a “rape game” he’d invented—where you had to stare deeply into the eyes of the “other player” while describing to them how you’re going to rape them, until they tell you to stop. It was genuinely traumatizing to hear the glee in his voice as he talked about it. Shaken, I went to sit in a quiet, empty room to regain my composure. A well-built man at least a foot taller than me came in, sat between me and the door and said: “You know, I messaged you on OKCupid but you never messaged me back.” By this point I genuinely felt too afraid to tell him to just fuck off. So I played nice and smiled and apologized.

* New Media watch: the rise of the podcast network.

* The case against the Supreme Court.

* Those benefitting most from the secure property rights might be forgiven for conceptual ignorance – introspection being a scarce commodity amongst the wealthy – but the vociferous and cynical denial of the asymmetric benefits of securing property rights, both intra- or inter-generationally, whether due to some combination of attribution bias, feigned religious belief, or simple greed is less excusable. In a new gilded age, the idea that the rule of law is vastly underpriced by those who benefit most should be anything but contentious.

* Corey Robin on the emerging “right to be forgotten.”

Mentally Ill Inmate In Solitary Confinement Died Of Thirst, Autopsy Finds.

* With Red Mars finally actually happening, Y: The Last Man is my new I-can’t-believe-they-haven’t-made-a-series-of-this-yet text.

* That’s they’re actually making The ExpendaBelles is the actual literal end of culture. Mark it down.

* Provocation: It’s not crazy for Mitt Romney to run for president again.

* Peace in our time: Marvel and the Kirby estate have settled.

* SMBC on proof by induction.

* The only link from this list you really need: There’s A Life-Size Game of Mouse Trap in Milwaukee.

* And has any social media network gone from hype to big backlash as quickly as (Vermont’s own!) Ello? Any faster and the entire social network would be goodbye-cruel-world manifestos…

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Thursday Links

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* Marquette President Fr. Scott Pilarz on the TV talking about Pope Francis. (He issued a formal statement, too.) And history Professor Fr. Steven Avella was on the radio.

The 8 Worst-Dressed At The Papal Conclave.

Why is Google killing Google Reader? Google’s Lost Social Network: How Google accidentally built a truly beloved social network, only to steamroll it with Google+.

California’s Move Toward MOOCs Sends Shock Waves, but Key Questions Remain Unanswered.

* “An emergency manager is like a man coming into your house,” said Donald Watkins, a city councilman. “He takes your checkbook, he takes your credit cards, he lives in your house and he sleeps in your bed with your wife.” Mr. Watkins added, “He tells you it’s still your house, but he doesn’t clean up, sells off everything and then he packs his bag and leaves.” Lessons for Detroit in a City’s Takeover.

* Gender and ethnic diversity on Sunday shows.

Sherlock Holmes copyrights are an insane hairball.

* And How to Put On a Show: The Unwritten WWE Rulebook.

Wednesday Links: MOOCpocalypse, Debtpocalypse, Truthserumpocalypse, and More

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Privatization. Naked. Higher Education Shock Doctrine.

* The actual politics of professors.

* Exactly as the Founders intended: Judge William Sylvester ruled that in the event of Holmes pleading insanity his prosecutors would be permitted to interrogate him while he is under the influence of a medical drug designed to loosen him up and get him to talk. The idea would be that such a “narcoanalytic interview” would be used to confirm whether or not he had been legally insane when he embarked on his shooting spree on 20 July last year. There’s some things an adversarial legal system just isn’t good at; this is obviously one of them. Determination of insanity should be inquisitorial: let a panel of experts evaluate him and make a decision about how to proceed on that basis.

* If we can locate the origins of true consciousness in the literary tradition of a particular civilization, we can finally figure out who is really human and who isn’t.

An open letter to The Atlantic regarding the payment of workers.

* The latest law school debt figures are pretty ugly.

The U.S. drones program is shrouded in confusion. The media generally has portrayed the project as one that targets high-level terrorists with surgical precision, when in fact a very small percent of its targets are senior level, and hundreds of civilians have been killed. Giving people that information tends to change their attitude toward the program.

* And more Big Data from Big Porn: Porn search site PornMD has, for the sake of publicity and social science, collected its most-used search terms for the last six months and accounted them by location—not just in the U.S. but across the world. This is a safe-for-most-workplaces Gawker link, though there are some bawdy words in the searches.

How the University Makes Decisions

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At McSweeney’s.

At this point, a few of us threw out the idea that we all just do without the Copy Center for a few weeks. The place is empty half the time anyway, and if somebody really needed some copies, would it kill them to walk to Kinko’s? And what about all that talk about “going paperless” a couple years back? The proposal was considered, but ultimately failed to make it out of the appropriate sub-committee.So that put us back with this PCSGFE Report. Addressing those recommendations touched off another round of decisive actions, followed by quick concessions and petty in-fighting. At this point, it would probably be easier just to list the changes.

As of the start of this semester:

* English is no longer a Major
* The Field Hockey Season has been cancelled
* The school’s mascot is now “The Violet Hurricanes”
* Jefferson Hall is now The Bank of America Fun Zone!
* The Botany Department now recognizes the Armenian Genocide
* All Twitter hashtags must be approved
* “African American” is no longer to be hyphenated
* Tuesday is now Taco Night

In closing, a few more small odds and ends: Parking Lot C is now Parking Lot D and all collective bargaining rights have been rescinded.

We wish you all a pleasant start to the semester!

Weekend Links

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* CFP: Midwest Modern Language Association 2013 on Art & Artifice, November 7-10. Right here in Milwaukee!

* A disturbing catch from the MetaFilter thread on MOOCs: Obama has quietly decoupled Pell grants from accreditation, opening the door for full-throated neoliberal profiteering.

Last year, similar language tying federal aid to “value” was explicitly limited to a group of relatively minor aid programs. The Pell grant and loan programs that make up $140 billion in annual aid were excluded. No such restrictions appear here (although the President did refer to only “certain types” of aid in the speech itself.) But the real kicker is at the end: a new, alternative system of accreditation that would provide pathways for higher education models and colleges to receive federal student aid based on performance and results.

The existing accreditation club has been around since the end of the 19th century. It has had an exclusive franchise on determining federal financial aid eligibility since the middle of the 20th century. Opening a new doorway to the Title IV financial aid system would be an enormouschange, particularly when coupled with the phrase “higher education models and colleges.” The clear implication is that the higher education models that would eligible for federal financial aid through the alternate accreditation system wouldn’t have to be colleges at all. They could be any providers of higher education that meet standards of “performance and results.”

MOOCiversity, ho!

Think about it: When was the last time a college or university president produced an edgy piece of commentary, or took a daring stand on a contentious matter? 

* Disaster capitalism, Chicago style.

There aren’t any hurricanes in the Midwest, so how can proponents of privatization like Mayor Rahm Emanuel sell off schools to the highest bidder?

They create a crisis.

The Drone Industry Wants a Makeover. Dissent on drones.

* Malcolm Harris explains yellowism.

* The delightfully named Ben Kafka explains bureaucracy.

Bureaucracy, Kafka argues, can be everybody’s enemy, and can thus serve as the organizing principle for otherwise untenable alliances, like the one between eighteenth-century liberals and democrats, or between some contemporary working-class voters and the neoliberal elites they vote for. Sowing contempt for bureaucracy, in the form of lambasting all government efforts as inherently inefficient, full of “lazy” and “parasitical” civil servants and their “bloated” pensions, remains a potent tactic of right-wing populism, but whereas conservatives of old evoked a nostalgic class paternalism to cure paperwork’s ills, the American Right offers a myth of self-sufficiency, of everyone for themselves, with no claims to be filed and no burdens to be shared. Bureaucracy, on the other hand, comes to stand for the inevitable outcome of all types of collective power, the emblem of neutered individualism. And since paperwork is an evil that proliferates no matter what the form of government, it can seem irrelevant to mount any political fights to reform it. Politics is thus reduced to the pettiness of sorting out strictly personal grievances, which in turn worsens bureaucracy, as these sorts of selfish claims are precisely what bureaucracy exists to process.

* Duke professor proposes that students be required to produce a video summary of the dissertation. I actually think this kind of distillation can be really useful and productive — someone once told me you know you’re done with your dissertation when you can summarize its argument in one sentence — but making it an actual requirement is silly.

North Carolina is the only state that will clearly mark all people who are not U.S. citizens – everyone from business executives with “green cards” to students on visas – with a newly designed driver’s license coming this summer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislation in all the states. History contains absolutely no examples of times when this kind of thinking has ever gone wrong, so I’m sure it’s a really good idea.

In other words, in the midst of a major national debate over America’s finances, 90% of Americans are wrong about the one basic detail that probably matters most in the conversation, while only 6% — 6%! — are correct.

A cottage at 71/2 West End Court in Long Branch where one-time renter Bruce Springsteen wrote “Born to Run” is up for sale for $349,900, said real estate agent Susan McLaughlin of Keller Williams Realty. Anyone want to go halfsies?

World Press Photo Of The Year: Nov. 20, 2012, Gaza City, Palestinian Territories: Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and his older brother Muhammad were killed when their house was destroyed by and Israeli missile strike. Their father, Fouad, was also killed and their mother was put into intensive care. Fouad’s brothers carry his children to the mosque for the burial ceremony as his body is carried behind on a stretcher.

* Even Megan McArdle has stopped believing in meritocracy.

* And io9 on how your favorite cancelled science fiction series would have continued. Start your FlashForward fan fics now…

Monday Morning Links

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* Scenes from the class struggle at CUNY.

* Quiggin’s Razor: If we started any analysis of international relations with the assumption that war will end badly for all concerned, and that the threat of war will probably lead to war sooner or later, we would be right most of the time. Via Kevin Drum.

* The Real Petraeus Scandal: the compelled veneration of all things military. Via LGM. See also Spencer Ackerman: How I Was Drawn Into the Cult of David Petraeus.

* The New Yorker notices that it won’t be long before Texas will be a swing state.

“In not too many years, Texas could switch from being all Republican to all Democrat,” he said. “If that happens, no Republican will ever again win the White House. New York and California are for the foreseeable future unalterably Democrat. If Texas turns bright blue, the Electoral College math is simple. We won’t be talking about Ohio, we won’t be talking about Florida or Virginia, because it won’t matter. If Texas is bright blue, you can’t get to two-seventy electoral votes. The Republican Party would cease to exist. We would become like the Whig Party. Our kids and grandkids would study how this used to be a national political party. ‘They had Conventions, they nominated Presidential candidates. They don’t exist anymore.’ ”

The Republican Party’s electoral map problem.

But even in that silver lining for Republicans, you can see clouds. Arizona and Georgia, both of which Romney carried in 2012, gained seats in 2010 because of fast population growth, but Democratic dominance among Hispanic voters in each is expected to make them potential swing states in 2016 and 2020.

Their Southern politicians problem. The Washington Post‘s lengthy election post-mortem. Politico just can’t imagine where the GOP could be getting all its terrible journalism. Perhaps it will always be a mystery. Tom Tomorrow gets in on the action. “We Just Had a Clas War and One Side Won.” Worst class war ever.

Young voters turned the tide for Brown’s Prop 30.

Walmart Black Friday Strike Being Organized Online For Stores Across U.S. I’m staying home that day because I hate Black Friday and everything it represents in solidarity.

Hurricane Sandy and the Disaster-Preparedness Economy.

It’s all part of what you might call the Mad Max Economy, a multibillion-dollar-a-year collection of industries that thrive when things get really, really bad. Weather radios, kerosene heaters, D batteries, candles, industrial fans for drying soggy homes — all are scarce and coveted in the gloomy aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and her ilk.

* In the winter of 1955, the editors of a newly launched magazine called Sports Illustrated sent William Faulkner to watch an ice hockey game between the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens.

* And Being Elmo makes Kevin Clash out to be a living saint. I hope his version of events turns out to be true. As someone just tweeted at me, I’m probably going to hell for even linking this story at all.

Three More for Saturday Night

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Just Another Sunday Links

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* I hate to condemn poor Aaron to a life spent gathering links for me, but his Sunday Reading series has rapidly become a core part of my Internet experience. I’d never lie to you; some of the links below I stole from him. We just need to get him that intern and we’ll be all set.

* David Foster Wallace on 9/11 (from 2007): “Just Asking.”

* Read Catherine Liu: Disaster capitalism keeps creating a wealth of opportunities for entrepreneurial education reformers. David Sirota just wrote a powerful piece on public education: The Shock Doctrine Comes to Your Classroom . Sirota’s thesis is that the financial crisis has been a golden opportunity for rapacious for-profit companies in the education industry to divert public education funds into their own swollen pockets. Instead of paying teachers and building school infrastructure, administrators are spending more and more of their budgets on standardized tests and other instruments that produce big profit margins, but little pedagogy. The New York Times has recently taken note of what critics of education reform have been repeating over and over again: radical reforms and gadget fetishism do not produce measurable improvements in classroom learning. Sirota focuses on the darker side of the technophile narrative in public education: even as public education budgets are shrinking, the share that goes to high tech and for profit testing companies keeps growing.

* Profiles of the Jobless: The ‘Mad As Hell’ Millennial Generation.

* Matt Taibbi on the coming civil war.

I’ve always been queasy about piling on against the Republicans because it’s intellectually too easy; I also worry a lot that the habit pundits have of choosing sides and simply beating on the other party contributes to the extremist tone of the culture war.

But the time is coming when we are all going to be forced to literally take sides in a political conflict far more serious and extreme than we’re used to imagining. The situation is such a tinderbox now that all it will take is some prominent politician to openly acknowledge the fact of a cultural/civil war for the real craziness to begin.

Most people aren’t thinking about this because we’re so accustomed to thinking of America as a stable, conservative place where politics is not a life-or-death affair but more something that people like to argue about over dinner, as entertainment almost. But it’s headed in another, more twisted direction. I’m beginning to wonder if this election season is going to be one none of us ever forget – a 1968 on crack.

* According to this report, NPR has no idea who is right. It cannot provide listeners with any help in sorting through such a dramatic conflict in truth claims. It knows of no way to adjudicate these clashing views. It is simply confused and helpless and the best it can do is pass on that helplessness to listeners of “Morning Edition.” Because there is just no way to know whether these new rules try to make life as difficult as possible for abortion providers, or put common sense public policy goals into practice in Kansas. There is no standard by which to judge. There is no comparison that would help. There is no act of reporting that can tell us who has more of the truth on their side. In a word, there is nothing NPR can do! And so a good professional simply passes the conflict along. Excellent: Now the listeners can be as confused as the journalists.

* North Carolina as swing state. That’s a good electoral map for the Democrats, but somewhat unexpected; you’d expect Obama to be doing significantly worse here than he is.

* The Darker Side of Blogging.

I lost some friends because of these difficulties, especially when I could not convince some whom I trusted and who knew this person that a problem existed that was worth being concerned about. It now seems self-dramatizing to write all of this down, mainly because nothing “real” came of the threats other than unwanted contact. Yet when someone is sending email that involves your family, that makes it clear he has researched property records and knows the acreage your house was built upon, you tend to worry about the crossing of lines. I also wonder if in now revisiting these episodes from the past, I will trigger another outbreak. I realize that if my objective is to ensure that something so unpleasant never unfolds again, silence is my best strategy. Yet I have always felt that remaining taciturn makes it seem as if the events never happened. It also leaves me alone with them. The stalking occurred, and it changed my relation to the internet.

Having gone through something quite similar (twice) in my own blogging past—both times much less frightening than Jeffrey’s experience—I really related to this.

* And is Exit Through the Gift Shop “real”? Ron English says it is. Problem solved.

Olympics and Anti-Olympics

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In preparation for this month’s ACLA conference, here’s Jules Boykoff in New Left Review on anti-Olympics activism in Vancouver.

The IOC would introduce British Columbians to ‘celebration capitalism’, the whipsaw inverse of Naomi Klein’s ‘disaster capitalism’. From day one, the Olympic party was a full-on budget-buster. The five-ring price tag was originally estimated at $1 billion; by the month before the Games, costs had ballooned to $6 billion, and post-Olympics estimates soared into the $8–10 billion range, with the City of Vancouver alone kicking in nearly $1,000 for every single person in town. The model followed was so-called public–private partnerships, in which the public pays and the private profits. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson—a New Democratic Party-style liberal—was no exception; when it came to the Olympics, the co-founder of the Happy Planet organic juice company was guzzling the public–private partnership Kool-Aid. 

Vancouver has become a poster city for neoliberal-era gentrification, the gap between rich and poor widening into an abyss. As a measure of what Henri Lefebvre would have called its ‘spatial contradiction’: Vancouver is reputedly the most liveable yet the least affordable global city. In 2010 the median house price was $540,900, while median household income was $58,200. Nowhere is the difference between nouveau riche and old-school poor more glaring than in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, an 8-by-15-block strip of gritty urban intensity that—outside aboriginal reserves—is Canada’s poorest postcode. Yet the sharp juxtaposition between high ‘liveability’ and dire poverty does not undermine Vancouver’s status on the silver-frosted terrain of global capitalism. Hosting mega-events like the Olympics tends to enhance this status, a massive extra boost for turbogentrification.

Assorted Late Night Links That Have (Almost) Nothing to Do with Massachusetts

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* Conventional wisdom already says Obama is now president of Haiti. At least these people waited a whole week before unilaterally declaring Haiti a U.S. colony.

* Mediocre director contracted to ruin Spider-Man franchise. More here.

* Fox News, in a desperate bid for my attention, openly advocated on behalf of Scott Brown today. But even this behavior pales in comparison to O’Reilly’s bizarre nostalgia last Friday for those halcyon days when it was okay to make fun of Arabs.

* FiveThirtyEight on the branding of Scott Brown. What they predict, of course, has already happened.

* Why Massachusetts doesn’t matter. An hour or so ago I tweeted: “Bright side of Coakley loss: Democrats will finally have to face the fact that nothing good will ever get through the Senate.” It sounds like Biden at least has already figured this out.

* Timo at Bitter Laughter has carefully crafted a post perfectly calibrated to pull me in. The Duck Tales reference just seals it.

* U.S. military rifle scopes have Bible verses inscribed on them. Oddly, this is not a joke.

* But Obama’s not looking backwards: “FBI broke law for years in phone record searches.”

* Absurdity watch: New Orleans prosecutors are charging prostitutes as sex offenders. Via MeFi.

* Passport photos of famous artists. Also via MeFi.

* And the NBC late-night feud has been digitally recreated by Taiwanese newspaper Apple Daily. I think this should clear everything up.

Abolish the IMF

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Now, in its attempts to help Haiti, the IMF is pursuing the same kinds of policies that made Haiti a geography of precariousness even before the quake. To great fanfare, the IMF announced a new $100 million loan to Haiti on Thursday. In one crucial way, the loan is a good thing; Haiti is in dire straits and needs a massive cash infusion. But the new loan was made through the IMF’s extended credit facility, to which Haiti already has $165 million in debt. Debt relief activists tell me that these loans came with conditions, including raising prices for electricity, refusing pay increases to all public employees except those making minimum wage and keeping inflation low. They say that the new loans would impose these same conditions. In other words, in the face of this latest tragedy, the IMF is still using crisis and debt as leverage to compel neoliberal reforms.

Of course I’m in favor of debt forgiveness generally, but even a person who isn’t, who strongly supports the IMF, should be able to recognize the necessity of debt forgiveness in this particular case. If it’s true that aid is currently being offered with strings attached—and I’m sure The Nation has its reporting right—that’s extortionary, and extraordinarily cruel, even by neoliberal capitalism’s usual low standards. Simply put, this is outrageous. Via Vu.

‘The history of disaster relief is replete with examples of outside experts going into a stricken city, region or country and attempting to show the locals how best to reorganize their society’

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Duke Ph.D. candidate Jacob Remes has an op-ed in the News & Observer on aid that will work in Haiti.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 15, 2010 at 10:43 pm