Posts Tagged ‘“Is Health Care Reform Constitutional?”’
* The end of UW: Gov. Scott Walker to propose 13 percent cut, more freedom for UW System. UW System predicts layoffs, no campus closings under budget cuts. Layoffs, Building Closures, Slowdown on Admissions. But “few details.”
Giving students access to an important, brilliant, historically significant corpus of art seems to be an entirely appropriate activity for the undergraduate classroom at a university. After you have taken a Zombie Course, you may discover you have actually just taken a Great Books (or in the case of Ware, a Great Box) course without realizing it, and you may also decide that any Great Books course worthy of its name cannot afford to ignore the recent surge of brilliant zombie art. If anything, we need more Zombie Courses than we have, and one hopes — in time — even full-blown Zombie Majors (or at the least Zombie Double-Majors).
* “What I would say about the university today,” he says, “is that we’re living through an absolutely historic moment – namely the effective end of universities as centres of humane critique, an almost complete capitulation to the philistine and sometimes barbaric values of neo-capitalism.”
* Punch-Drunk Jonathan Chait Takes On the Entire Internet. It’s a terrible op-ed that makes an important point badly in the midst of saying a bunch of incorrect things, all in the service of a fundamentally bad framing — so of course it’s all we can talk about.
It was a guardianship petition filed by the nursing home, Mary Manning Walsh, asking the court to give a stranger full legal power over Mrs. Palermo, now 90, and complete control of her money.
Few people are aware that a nursing home can take such a step.
* One aspect of that danger is the “abstract authority” of astrologers, now mirrored by the black-box algorithms of the cloud. The opacity of the analytic method lends forecasts their appearance of authoritative objectivity. In “Astrological Forecasts”, Adorno notes “the mechanics of the astrological system are never divulged and the readers are presented only with the alleged results of astrological reasoning.” “Treated as impersonal and thing-like,” stars appear “entirely abstract, unapproachable, and anonymous” and thus more objective than mere fallible human reason. Similarly, as Kate Crawford pointed out in an essay about fitness trackers for the Atlantic, “analytics companies aren’t required to reveal which data sets they are using and how they are being analyzed.” The inaccessible logic of their proprietary algorithms is imposed on us, and their inscrutability masquerades as proof of their objectivity. As Crawford argues, “Prioritizing data—irregular, unreliable data—over human reporting, means putting power in the hands of an algorithm.” As Adorno puts it, “The cult of God has been replaced by the cult of facts.”
* Today, more U.S. women die in childbirth and from pregnancy-related causes than at almost any point in the last 25 years. The United States is the one of only seven countries in the entire world that has experienced an increase in maternal mortality over the past decade.
* I linked to a story about this the other day, but here’s the resolution: Vanderbilt Football Players Found Guilty of Raping Unconscious Student. Of course the next horrifying story in this wretched, endless series is already queued up.
* American Sniper focuses in tight on one man’s story of trauma, leaving out the complex questions of why Kyle was in Iraq being traumatized in the first place. The Iraqis in the film are villains, caricatures, and targets, and the only real opinion on them the film offers is Kyle’s. The Iraqis are all “savages” who threaten American lives and need to be killed. There’s some truth in this representation, insofar as this is how a lot of American soldiers thought. Yet the film obviates the questions of why any American soldiers were in Iraq, why they stayed there for eight years, why they had to kill thousands upon thousands of Iraqi civilians, and how we are to understand the long and ongoing bloodbath once called the “war on terror.” It does that precisely by turning a killer into a victim, a war hero into a trauma hero.
* Freakishly Old System Of Planets Hint At Ancient Alien Civilizations. Okay, I’m in for three films with an option on a television reboot.
* Vulture says Jason Segel is good as David Foster Wallace in The End of the Tour, but I’ll never accept it.
* It’s finally happening, and of course it’s starting in Florida: ‘Zombie cat’ crawls out of grave.
* And while this may be of interest only to those whose children have made them watch untold hours of Dora the Explorer, it’s certainly of interest to me: Swiper the Fox has a totally bananas backstory.
* The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction is “temporarily out of stock,” but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t place your order! Cyborg Lincoln commands it!
* The Day the Purpose of College Changed. Great piece. I’ve added it to Wednesday’s reading in the Cultural Preservation course, alongside readings from Bérubé and Bousquet that I added to the syllabus this year.
* The idea behind it is simple: Get donations, and give them to contingent faculty members in need.
* Scott Walker can’t afford to let Bobby Jindal be the only candidate in the race who destroyed education in his state. And while we’re on the subject: Dropkick Murphys Order Scott Walker To Stop Using Their Music: ‘We Literally Hate You!’
* I’m going to have to differ with former president Clinton and possible future president Bush. To me, Arizona State looks like a dystopia, rather than a model for the future. ASU is pretty clearly set up as a factory of credentialing, and any lip-service to educational excellence, particularly in the undergraduate sphere, is exactly that.
* What provosts think. The crucial takeaway: Say Nothing if you Want a Job. Elsewhere in academic freedom: Fox News Raises Alarm Over College Course About Race. Other universities could stand to learn something from ASU’s statement on the subject:
The university, however, issued a statement Friday after the segment, reading:
This course uses literature and rhetoric to look at how stories shape people’s understandings and experiences of race. It encourages students to examine how people talk about — or avoid talking about — race in the contemporary United States. This is an interdisciplinary course, so students will draw on history, literature, speeches and cultural changes — from scholarly texts to humor. The class is designed to empower students to confront the difficult and often thorny issues that surround us today and reach thoughtful conclusions rather than display gut reactions. A university is an academic environment where we discuss and debate a wide array of viewpoints.
* Of course, in addition to everything else ASU is also the school that’s trying to force its composition adjuncts into a 5/5 workload with minimal salary increase, so I’m not going to lose my mind defending it or anything.
* Part everyman tale, as far as English departments go, and part lesson in unintended consequences, Maryland English’s story looks something like this. Between 1996 and 2011, the number of majors actually grew, from 641 to 850 students. Then the university rolled out a new, faculty-backed general education program. Unlike the old general education program, which centered on the liberal arts and required a literature course, the new one offers students much more flexibility in how to fulfill their various requirements. So students who aren’t interested in the liberal arts can much more easily avoid them. Part of the idea was to take some of the burden off departments, such as English, that fulfilled requirements for many students under the old system. Faculty members generally supported the idea.
But then the numbers got funny. In the spring of 2012, the English department lost 88 majors. The following year, it lost 79 – then 128 more majors 12 months later. Between spring and fall 2014, 66 more majors fell from the rolls. Over all, the department lost 363 majors — about 40 percent — and the numbers continue to fall. I basically get called out personally as the article goes on:
One of the more controversial departmental reform topics is how to change the English program itself, including by creating more recruitment-oriented, lower-level courses. Cartwright said there’s a demonstrated interest in updated versions of Great Books courses, but also in what he said some have called “zombie courses” – pejoratively, not descriptively. Those include courses on such popular genres as science fiction, fantasy literature, J.R.R. Tolkein, regional literature or children’s literature.
Cartwright said there’s some feeling among his colleagues that such offerings equate to “dumbing down” the curriculum. But he said others feel there’s value in meeting students “where they are.” And of course there are professors whose areas of expertise are in those fields and vouch for their importance.
* Associate Dean of Eureka Moments. Now accepting applications.
* The children of the rich and powerful are increasingly well suited to earning wealth and power themselves. That’s a problem. A Hereditary Meritocracy.
* Greek Conservative Spokesman Concedes Defeat to Anti-Austerity Left. Greece: Phase One. I guess I’ll take the “Eeyore” side of the bet:
* How Amazon series misreads The Man in the High Castle. I’m glad someone got to this thinkypiece before I did; I’m crossing it off my list.
* The State department wants Frozen PSAs to finally convince the powerful children’s voting bloc to support climate change legislation.
* The bacteria at USC depend on energy, too, but they obtain it in a fundamentally different fashion. They don’t breathe in the sense that you and I do. In the most extreme cases, they don’t consume any conventional food, either. Instead, they power themselves in the most elemental way: by eating and breathing electricity. You were supposed to find us bacteria that eat garbage and shit electricity. I swear to god, I don’t know what you scientists are even doing sometimes.
* American Sniper is a racist, militaristic movie. But it has much to teach us if we want to build a successful antiwar movement. Learning from American Sniper.
* Ninth Circuit Panel Suggests Perjury Prosecution For Lying Prosecutors. You mean that’s not the rule already?
* The age of miracles: Near-Impossible Super Mario World Glitch Done For First Time on SNES.
* The murderers of Charlie Hebdo prove that Puritan thugs (broadly defined) do in fact exist. However, this does not mean (contra McKinney and his supporters, educated and otherwise) that all those speaking out against Puritan thugs are beyond reproach. Nor does it place a seal forever upon the righteousness of comics creators or comics scholars. Is comics scholarship an academic field devoted to the understanding and discussion of comics, bringing a wide range of knowledge and approaches to a complicated, sometimes beautiful, sometimes flawed, sometimes undervalued, and perhaps sometimes overvalued medium? Or is comics scholarship to be devoted to boosterism, advocacy, and sacralization?If Charlie Hebdo’s accomplishment was to fight against all priesthoods, then surely it does them little honor to try to set up a priesthood in their name, handing down stern pronouncements about how their work must be read and understood.
* Great moments in he said/she said: Maybe Drunk, Sleeping Woman Wanted to Be Set on Fire.
* Within two seconds of the car’s arrival, Officer Loehmann shot Tamir in the abdomen from point-blank range, raising doubts that he could have warned the boy three times to raise his hands, as the police later claimed.
* Within two seconds of the car’s arrival, Officer Loehmann shot Tamir in the abdomen from point-blank range, raising doubts that he could have warned the boy three times to raise his hands, as the police later claimed.
* Deflategate by the numbers: Data Show The Patriots Have Fumbled The Ball Far Less Than Any Other NFL Team.
* The headline reads, “Pope Uses Balloons As Peace Symbols After Dove Debacle.”
* The New Measles: One of the most infectious viruses on the planet is making a comeback in the United States, and many doctors have never even seen it. How Anti-Vaxxers Ruined Disneyland For Themselves (And Everyone Else.) Measles is horrible.
* The idea that a major problem with climate change is “sunburn” is just so incredibly, blisteringly stupid I doubt I’ll ever sleep again.
* I’ve let so many tabs pile up since my last link post I have no choice but to do a “nightmare headlines” lightning round: Burglar gets 30 years in prison for raping 101-year-old woman in home. Father of ailing twins can only donate his liver to one of them. Vanderbilt Woman Didn’t Think She’d Been Raped Until She Saw Video Of It. Nearly two dozen cats seized from a Md. home, then euthanized touches off a furor. Prison Visitor Says Guards Made Her Prove She Was Menstruating By Letting Them Inspect Her Vagina. Ocean Warming Now Off The Charts. Here’s A Spider So Awful You’ll Wish It Would Only Bite You To Death.
* Weird op-ed (linking to Serial) that seems to argue that extreme prosecutorial coercion through overcharging and oversentencing is a feature, rather than a bug. That said, I’d thought the podcast itself had explicitly explained why strangulation is associated with “premeditation,” though perhaps that’s only something I saw on Reddit.
* #serialseason2: Who killed Padmé Amidala? I actually like this
theory fan rewrite a lot.
* George Lucas said Disney killed all his ideas for New Star Wars movies. Okay, so they did one thing right.
* The precession of simulacra: Car Manufacturers Have Been Faking Our Engine Noises.
* Peak Vox, but I actually found it interesting: Here are 9 surprising facts about feces you may not know.
* My current favorite video: Marquette in the 1980s.
* And here they all are, together forever. All 1,547 Star Trek lens flares.
* Tomorrow at Marquette! The English Department pop culture group geeks out over The Hunger Games.
“In Sweden prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children. It is officially acknowledged as a form of exploitation of women and children and constitutes a significant social problem… gender equality will remain unattainable so long as men buy, sell and exploit women and children by prostituting them.”
The point of engagement in this sense is not to involve the public in making decisions, but make them feel involved in decisions that others will make. That this may be done with the best of intentions is important, of course, but ultimately besides the point. Like “stakeholder,” “engagement” thrives in a moment of political alienation and offers a vocabulary of collaboration in response. So if civic engagement is in decline, one thing that is not is the ritualistic performance of civic participation. The annual election-cycle ritual in American politics is a case in point here. In one populist breath, we routinely condemn the corruption of politicians who, it is said, never listen to the average voter. And in the next, we harangue the average voter for failing to participate in a process we routinely describe as corrupted. So it’s not the “apathy” or “disengagement” of the public that we should lament or criticize—it’s the institutions that give them so many reasons to be disengaged in the first place.
JR: In the past you have said that you are a short-term pessimist and a long-term optimist. Could you expand on this a bit: why are you pessimistic about the short term? What changes do you anticipate taking place between the near and far futures that change your pessimism to optimism?
IB: On a personal level, it’s damage limitation; a sanity-keeping measure. Expect the worst and anything even only half-decent seems like something to celebrate. The pessimism comes from a feeling that as a species we seem unable to pass up any opportunity to behave stupidly, self-harmfully (the Copenhagen climate talks being but the latest example). The long-term optimism comes from the the fact that no matter how bad things seem and how idiotically and cruelly we behave. . . well, we’ve got this far, despite it all, and there are more people on the planet than ever before, and more people living good, productive, relatively happy lives than ever before, and—providing we aren’t terminally stupid, or unlucky enough to get clobbered by something we have no control over, like a big meteorite or a gamma ray buster or whatever—we’ll solve a lot of problems just by sticking around and doing what we do; developing, progressing, improving, adapting. And possibly by inventing AIs that are smarter and more decent than we are, which will help us get some sort of perspective on ourselves, at the very least. We might just stumble our way blindly, unthinkingly into utopia, in other words, muddling through despite ourselves.
* The growth of auxiliary activities was the primary driver in spending increases by the schools, the report concludes. From 2005 to 2012, $3.4 billion was spent on instructional and research facilities. The cost for nonacademic auxiliary facilities was $3.5 billion from 2002 to 2012. Limit athletic fees, check construction to control college costs, study says.
* It’s a start: Massachusetts Town Proposes First Complete Ban On All Tobacco.
* The Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) is under attack by critics who say academe is colluding with the mainstream media to push a feminist agenda in video games. How deep does this conspiracy go?
* When we think about the collapse of communism, we should emphasize and celebrate the attractiveness of a social market economy — not free enterprise.
* Today, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced through the New York Times that it may stop making arrests for low-level marijuana possession, opting instead to issue tickets without detaining the suspect. This would feel like an important step toward reasonable weed policy if New York state hadn’t already mandated it 37 years ago.
* The seminars offered police officers some useful tips on seizing property from suspected criminals. Don’t bother with jewelry (too hard to dispose of) and computers (“everybody’s got one already”), the experts counseled. Do go after flat screen TVs, cash and cars. Especially nice cars. Police Use Department Wish List When Deciding Which Assets to Seize.
* Is Pre-K academically rigorous enough? That’s a real question this real article is asking.
* Grace Dunham is now an adult and she read this book before it was published. She is managing her sister’s book tour and they are best friends. Are we really going to overlook this?
* Also on the subject of Lena Dunham: this is an extremely clickbaity headline, but the testimony from a juvenile sex offender is fascinating and horrible.
* In America, today’s parents have inherited expectations they can no longer afford. The vigilant standards of the helicopter parents from the baby boomer generation have become defined as mainstream practice, but they require money that the average household earning $53,891 per year— and struggling to survive in an economy in its seventh year of illusory “recovery”— does not have. The result is a fearful society in which poorer parents are cast as threats to their own children.
* Although it looks like a traditional typeface, Dyslexie by Christian Boer is designed specifically for people with dyslexia.
* In its gentle sadness, its deceptively light tone, and its inherent contradictions, this is the perfect ending to The Next Generation. One of these days, the crew will be dispersed. The Enterprise will be put in mothballs. Starfleet will complete its transformation into a body that none of them particularly want to serve in. But for now, their voyages continue.
* Peak Prequel: Sony Rumored to Be Prepping Aunt May Spider-Man Spin-Off Movie.
* And the best news ever: HBO Will Make Asimov’s Foundation With Interstellar‘s Jonathan Nolan. I may lose my mind over this show. I may even do a podcast. And a lot of what went wrong with Interstellar wasn’t even Jonathan Nolan’s fault!
* The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.
* The exciting return of “Is Health Care Reform Constitutional,” and friends, this one could be a doozy. Here Is What Will Happen If The Supreme Court Strikes Down Obamacare’s Subsidies. And from the archives: Halbig, King, and the Limits of Reasonable Legal Disagreement.
* As a society, we are somewhat obsessed with the risks of dying – from car crashes, cancer, terrorists, Ebola, or any of the thousands of mortal terrors that haunt our nightly newscasts. But we’re less accustomed to consider the risks of living long – of outliving our retirement savings.
* Is Serial problematic? Serial: listeners of podcast phenomenon turn detectives – with troubling results. What Is An Ending? ‘Serial’ And The Ongoing Story Of Wanting Too Much. Alas, I listened to this this weekend and got hooked despite all my critical detachment.
* Doritos-Flavored Mountain Dew Is Real, PepsiCo Confirms. This is unfathomable. There are some lines never meant to be crossed.
* World Cup Watch: North Koreans working as ‘state-sponsored slaves’ in Qatar.
* Against spoiler alerts, in the LARoB.
The rise of spoiler-free criticism seems like a move away from criticism as art — and a move toward criticism as an arm of fandom marketing. It’s fine to not want spoilers in your criticism. But there is something distasteful about the assumption that providing spoilers is some sort of lapse in ethics or etiquette. If you don’t treat art first as a consumer product, the spoiler-free doctrine seems to suggest, you’re being cruel and unfair. But critics really are not under any obligation to like what you like or to treat art with one particular kind of reverence. In the name of preserving suspense, the command to remain spoiler-free threatens to make criticism and art more blandly uniform, and less surprising.
* For example, research in economics has shown that the wage gap between lighter- and darker-skinned African Americans is nearly as large as the gap between African Americans and whites. In our analysis of data from theNational Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we found that the darkest-skinned African American girls were three times more likely to be suspended at school than their lighter-skinned counterparts — a disparity that is again roughly equal to the gap between blacks and whites. Alternatively put, while African American girls are three times more likely to be suspended than white girls, the darkest-skinned African American girls are several times more likely to experience suspension.
* Occasion #7 is all about debt.
* Cloud computing: the race to zero.
* Let me pause and say here: of course I love many literary dudes. They are not, all of them, smug and condescending. But let me say something else: I thought for a while that the really terrible ones were time limited — that they were products of the 1950s, of a particular time period, and that it really was a viable strategy to just talk about snacks until they all retired. But I have now realized this is not true; new terrible smug dudes are coming up through the ranks. Hydra-like, smug dude attitude keeps springing forth from itself.
* Billboard ads are expensive to construct, maintain and rent, but they don’t serve any functional purposes — so Michal Polacek redesigned them to house the homeless. The next best thing to just abolishing homelessness.
* In 2012, DiMaggio released the results of his own Safe Routes to School program. Child pedestrian injury rates had plummeted, falling to half their original numbers. “We showed that kids can still be kids,” says DiMaggio. “They can walk and bike to school and be safe.” The project’s federal funding expired last year, however, and no plans exist to extend the initiative to areas beyond the immediate vicinity of the selected schools.
* Incredibly misleading ad placement at Amazon inside the book description makes every book seem like it was an Amazon Editors’ Favorite Book of the Year.
* “But a deep look at Mars One’s plan and its finances reveals that not only is the goal a longshot, it might be a scam.” No! No! I won’t believe it!
* But it’s time to rethink this notion that Democrats lack principles. They have a clear agenda and are actually more ideological than Republicans. Democrats like Obama are willing to lose power to carry out the neoliberal agenda. Via Naked Capitalism’s excellent “Red Wedding” breakdown of the 2014 midterms.
* The cruelest optimism: “The Fact That Climate Change Lost Big in This Election Could Be a Huge Win.”
* The looting begins: Election Divides GOP On Whether To Seize And Sell America’s Public Lands.
* They used a statistical algorithm to randomly redraw the boundaries of North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts. The model produced thousands of versions of the redrawn map. All of them were based only on the legal requirements of redistricting, ensuring the districts represented roughly equal numbers of voters and were as geographically compact as possible, without accounting for race or political affiliation. Gerrymandering strongly supporting the Republicans there, of course.
* Your text adventure in your browser of the weekend: The Dead Outnumber the Living.
* And now you tell me! Paternity Leave: The Rewards and the Remaining Stigma.