Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘know-nothingism

Thursday Reading™

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screen-capture* It is very hard to accept this — the wealth gap is not a mistake. It is the logical outcome of policy and democratic will. From the streets of Cicero on up, the point was to imprison black people in the black belt and then exploit them. The goal was pursued through public policy, private action, and open terrorism. The goal was accomplished.

* Even college presidents don’t believe in MOOCs.

“An Open Letter to Professor Michael Sandel From the Philosophy Department at San Jose State U.” A writeup at the Chronicle.

Science Fiction in China: A Conversation with Fei Dao.

FD: Chinese sci fi has about a hundred years of history. When it started, in the late Qing dynasty around 1902, it was chiefly concerned with the problem of bringing ancient China into modernity. At that time, Liang Qichao [translated sci fi] because he thought it would be beneficial for China’s future … as something that could popularize scientific knowledge. And Lu Xun thought that if you gave ordinary people scientific literature to read, they would fall asleep. But if you blended scientific knowledge into stories with a plot, it would be more interesting. [He thought that] in this way, the people could become more modern.

Chris Beckett wins Arthur C. Clarke award for Dark Eden. Probably the first book I’ll read once the semester is over, thanks to @shaviro’s great paper on it at ICFA.

* The Pope against capitalism.

* Obama against labor.

* Obama against legal weed dispensaries, despite like a dozen promises not to do this anymore.

* See no evil, hear no evil: Republicans propose abolishing the unemployment rate.

* Previously on The Walking Dead.

* Profit Still Rare, Expenses Still Rising at Athletic Programs.

One Woman’s Crusade Against Revenge Porn.

* Administrators are maniacs: School Conducts Surprise Shooting Drill with Real Gunmen Firing Blanks.

Rumor: Koch Brothers to buy 8 major newspapers, including LA Times.

* And a staggering 44% of Republicans believe armed revolution against the government may soon be necessary.

‘It Could Not Be Worse Than What We Do Face to Face’

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Again: the actual, sitting president of San Jose State said that about his own university. Bob Samuels:

In an act of pure institutional suicide, universities are simply selling their credits to outside entities, are in a way, they are surrendering to their own logic of self-destruction. By saying that nothing could be worse than the current form of education at his university, Qayoumi opens the door for a large-scale privatization of public higher education. This move fits in well with legislators who want to make up for years of public educational defunding by turning to MOOCs and credit by exams. For example, Assembly member Scott Wilk’s bill for a New University of California reduces the idea of a university to simply testing students for previous work and learning. This bill exposes one of the hidden desires of so many political officials and university administrators, and that is a university or college without faculty. In the race to decrease the compensation and power of teachers, here we find a way for a “final” solution: eliminate all of the people.

Unless universities and colleges begin to support, improve, and defend their own educational methods, there is nothing stopping this bi-partisan move to destroy our institutions of higher learning.

Friday!

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* There’s opposition research, and then there’s Chicago-style opposition research. This story prompted some interesting conversations and confessions with other bullying-concerned academics on my Twitter feed yesterday.

* In fact, this whole marriage thing is a lot like whiteness. Over time, certain groups get to be added to this realm of privilege, so that other groups can always be left out of it.

* Picture of the Day: North Carolina, Gay Marriage, and Education.

* I want to suggest that the readers of the Chronicle are almost entirely irrelevant to Riley’s purposes. Her post was not written for us. That it pissed us off is, more-or-less, gravy. Rather, Riley wrote her post to provide raw material for conservative pundits and editorialists, state legislators, and wealthy university trustees–the people who are publicly leading the charge to defund higher education. Riley’s piece wasn’t written to be read as much as it was written to be used. And a piece in a respected, serious publication like the Chronicle is really useful. Publishing an essay in the Chronicle is legitimizing, in a way that publishing the same essay in the National Review is not. In National Review, a call to defund African American Studies looks predictably reactionary; in the Chronicle, the same call looks like a topic that’s worthy of debate. Even as I write this sentence, I have no doubt that, using Riley’s post as an impetus, hack editorialists are working up their outrage, state senators are planning hearings, and trustees are calling university presidents to demand reports on African American Studies.

* In 2011, NYPD Made More Stops Of Young Black Men Than The Total Number Of Young Black Men In New York. And yet somehow crime persists! We need more stop-and-frisks!

* Facts are stupid things. We must be rid of them.

* Here’s a website that helps you visualize deep time.

* New York City Street Corners Then and Now.

* Joss Whedon apologizes to his fans for making something successful.

* How much would it cost to clean up after The Avengers?

* “Sextuple Jeopardy: The Groundhog Day of capital murder trials.”

* California eats its children seed corn.

* And our long national nightmare is delayed for six months: Community has been renewed for a fourth season. Still no word on the movie.

Your Modern GOP

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“We are cooling. We are not warming. The warming you see out there, the supposed warming, and I am using my finger quotation marks here, is part of the cooling process. Greenland, which is now covered in ice, it was once called Greenland for a reason, right? Iceland, which is now green. Oh I love this. Like we know what this planet is all about. How long have we been here? How long? No very long.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the head of the Republican Party.

Debate Thoughts

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If there’s a single moment when Obama did what he needed to do tonight, it’s the brief answer he gave regarding what’s being called his theory of change. I’ll put up a video if I find one at YouTube later, but for now Marc Ambinder has the rush transcript:

Look. I think it’s easy to be cynical and say it can’t be done because Washington has been designed to resist change, but there have been periods of the American history where presidents have inspired American people to do better, and I think we’re in one of those moments right now.

…Words do inspire. Words do help people get involved. Don’t discount that power. When the American people are determined that something is going to happen, it’s going to happen.

Well, it was either that, or his quip about watching the Redskins instead of the GOP debate.

With Edwards (rightly, I think) deciding that his best bet for continued viability is to join Obama in taking the knives to Clinton, I think this debate only increases the chances of an Obama victory on Tuesday, maybe a landslide—and I think it’ll significantly boost Edwards’s numbers as well, at the expense of Clinton and especially the embarrassing, past-his-expiration-date Richardson.

Aside from Gibson’s utterly horrible moderation—he led with bogus right-wing talking points for the first 45 minutes and at one point interjected himself directly in a petty squabble with Obama—the only other real story tonight is the huge intellectual gulf separating the Democrat candidates from the Republicans. The gap, I think, was inescapably stark. The Republicans had no ideas and nothing to say, only the same old slogans to repeat over and over again.

UPDATE: Here’s the full transcript, as well as the promised video.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 6, 2008 at 3:31 am