Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Reconsidering the 14th Amendment

Top Republicans are making the case that Congress should repeal the 14th Amendment. This is a new strategy in the fight over immigration since repealing the 14th Amendment and ending birthright citizenship would bring an end to "anchor babies."

This seems to be anther case where the Republican "right to life" begins at conception and ends at birth.

See here and here.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Parenting and Happiness, again....

Over at Democracy and America, there is a critique about the marriage and happiness article in New York Magazine. The critique is well worth the read.

While I have a few more thoughts on the issue, especially concerning the definitions of the terms, the role of agency in parenting and marriage, and the notion of identity, I will try to work on a longer post tomorrow when I am not teaching and only writing.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Well Here is Something to Contemplate

From the New York Magazine: Why Parents Hate Parenting, or, "I Love My Children but Hate My Life."

I am just reading through the article now but it discusses a lot of frustrations with being a parent, especially the diminishing returns. There is not much hope two pages in to the article.

Friday, July 02, 2010

File Under: Ignorance is Strength.

It must be the campaign slogan for the GOP this fall.

From CNN: MIchael Steele on the War in Afghanistan
In a speech at a Republican fundraiser in Connecticut Thursday, a YouTube video shows the RNC chairman declaring of the war in Afghanistan, "This was a war of Obama's choosing."

"This is not something the United States actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in," he added....

That statement is at odds with the fact the United States led a NATO coalition with overwhelming public support to invade Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11 attacks, and has prompted William Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, to publicly call on Steele to step down.

"There are, of course, those who think we should pull out of Afghanistan, and they're certainly entitled to make their case. But one of them shouldn't be the chairman of the Republican party," Kristol wrote.

Speaking at the Connecticut fundraiser, Steele also appeared to suggest any conflict in Afghanistan may be unwinnable.

"Well if [Obama's] such a student of history, has he not understood that that's the one thing you don't do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan. Alright? Because everyone who has tried over a thousand years of history, has failed. And there are reasons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan without committing more troops," Steele he said in expressing a position that is not only at odds with the White House but most of the Republican Party as well.

Heye said Steele was making the point that "[t]he responsibility for building and maintaining that strategy falls squarely on the shoulders of the President."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Politics of College Sports

In the wake of the conference realignment and the multiple discussion of how college sports weakens academics, here is an interesting article on the way College Football supports academics and research standards. This Salt Lake Tribune article, by Gordon Monson, which focuses on why BYU hasn't joined a mega-conference, especially the PAC-10 like its rival, the University of Utah, argues that the culture of BYU prevents it from being invited into the Pac-10.

The Utes are a better fit. They’re the kind of research institution that the Pac-10 prefers. Some say they are more “liberal” in their approach to academics, and that’s true, too. Their way of doing business is more in line with what Pac-10 schools do. As for athletics, football in particular, Utah’s accomplishment in winning two BCS bowls since 2005 is remarkable.

BYU, conversely, is conservative and is owned not only by a church, but a church that supported Proposition 8, that won’t allow its teams to play on Sunday, and that keeps a watchful eye on the academic pursuits of its professors. While it’s a stellar institution that’s extremely difficult for students to get into, it’s more limited in graduate-level research. It’s a terrific university, but a different one — unlike any in the Pac-10.

When I worked in Los Angeles, I talked with a number of Pac-10 athletic directors who were in favor of getting BYU into the league because whenever their teams played the Cougars, thousands of more tickets were sold. Had it been up to them, BYU would be in. The holdup was with certain school presidents, for the aforementioned reasons

While many complain that athletics weaken research and teaching at College Football Factory Schools, this suggests that College Football not only offers Research I schools more money for research, it helps support and maintain a certain academic culture necessary for research.

Update: to see how academic standards fall short at BYU, read this on how Jeffrey Nielsen, a non-tenure track professor was fired for his freedom of speech.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This May Be A First

According to Yahoo, The Stanley Cup will be on display during Chicago's Gay Pride Parade.

For a real lesson on tolerance, people should speak to Defenseman Brent Sopel. From the article:
The Blackhawks took pride in bringing the city together during their quest for the Cup; cutting across demographics and eventually partying with 2 million Chicagoans at their championship rally. They also took pride in sparking a revival for hockey in the Windy City, and grassroots organizations like the CGHA are essential to the expansion of the fan base and the growth of the sport.

But above all, it's been a progressive year for hockey and tolerance. The late Brendan Burke, the son of Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke who died tragically in an auto accident earlier this year, shared his story of coming out in the hockey world and received an outpouring of support.

Burke's legacy is one of the reasons why Chicago defenseman Brent Sopel(notes), his wife and four children will appear with the Cup at the Pride Parade, according to the Sun-Times:

"When Brendan came out, Brian stood by him, and his whole family stood by him, like every family should," said Sopel. "We teach our kids about accepting everybody. Tolerate everybody, to understand where everyone is coming from."

I am pretty sure that championship teams from the other major sports, Football, Baseball, and Basketball have not stepped out. I am almost certain NASCAR would not do this.

For all of the common tropes of violence and incivility, it is good to see hockey as one of the first sports to make tolerance a virtue.

For a great article on Brendan Burke, read John Buccigross' piece, "We Love You, This Won't Change a Thing."

As the Right Realigns

Even more Conservatives take aim at the Tea Party. Though David Frum has been attacking the Tea Party for sometime, his new article suggests how it will hurt the Republicans this fall, i.e. two-steps forward, two-steps back.

The Weekly Standard has a lengthier piece on the paranoia and conspiracy at the base of some Tea Party Leaders. e.g. Glenn Beck. And, Glenn, you're having a bad day when The Weekly Standard attacks you.

My Rather Conventional Tribute to the World Cup

Shocking I would post this. I Know.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Or, being too incompetent to know you are incompetent. The New York Time Reports.

I have only one thing to say: Juice On!!!

Civilian Control of the Military: The Summer of Our Discontent

In the new issue of Rolling Stone, which will hit stands on Friday, Michael Hastings interviews Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan. The article will be brutal against the Obama Administration and, in some cases, against Obama himself.

Here is a description of article from MSNBC:
In Rolling Stone, McChrystal is described by an aide as "disappointed" in his first Oval Office meeting with an unprepared President Barack Obama. The article says that although McChrystal voted for Obama, the two failed to connect from the start. Obama called McChrystal on the carpet last fall for speaking too bluntly about his desire for more troops.

"I found that time painful," McChrystal said in the article, on newsstands Friday. "I was selling an unsellable position."

Obama agreed to dispatch an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan only after months of study that many in the military found frustrating. And the White House's troop commitment was coupled with a pledge to begin bringing them home in July 2011, in what counterinsurgency strategists advising McChrystal regarded as an arbitrary deadline.


The article portrays McChrystal's team as disapproving of the Obama administration, with the exception of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who backed McCrystal's request for additional troops in Afghanistan.

The article claims McChrystal has seized control of the war "by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House."

It quotes a member of McChrystal's team making jokes about Biden, who was seen as critical of the general's efforts to escalate the conflict and who had favored a more limited counter-terrorism approach.

"Biden?" the aide was quoted as saying. "Did you say: Bite me?"

It seems that even before the war is over individuals are attempting to dissociate themselves from the Country's longest war.

This is not good for anyone involved: the military leadership, the troops, the president. The insubordination in the interview probably undermines civilian control of the military, especially for Democrats. It certainly provides Republicans with a damning critique of Obama, from someone who voted for him, for the 2010 and 2012 elections. It creates a familiar fault line within the Democrats between Obama and Clinton, which has been a developing Republican meme (see Red State and Peggy Noonan).

Update: McChrystal apologized. Obama has summoned him to Washington. McChrystal will probably get removed from his post as it is fairly uncommon for leading military people to call out the Commander in Chief and even less probable that they survive in their position when they do. This works well for McChrystal as he gets to publicly denounce the strategy and is no longer responsible for the implementing the plan. Now that is responsibility.

With the blood in the Gulf, it seems as if it is time to strike.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Question of the Day: Thursday, June 17th, 2010

With the contentious nature of the economy and the University, I, as I am sure others, have thought about what my career would be outside of academic life. Surely I must be better at something, right? There must be something else out there that would make me want to get out of bed in the morning?

Well, I don't know if there is. Yet, in light of the road not taken, if you were not in your current profession or trade what would you like your career to be and why?

Of course, answering rick star or movie star to this question would be quite dull so please choose something you could actually see yourself wanting to do.

This is Serious...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blogs as Sites of Resistance: Holla Back

Interesting: Holla Back D.C. (and California, and Canada, and Chicago, and NYC, and a few others.)

For Holla Back D.C., you can find stories of people discussing how they were harassed in public and, in some cases, how other people arrived to defend to prevent harassment.

Holla Back seems intriguing for a number of reasons. First, it raises awareness by allowing people a public space to discuss what happened to them, tell other people where it happened so they may avoid some of the harassment, and, in some cases, help to find the perpetrators.

Second, it raises definitional questions over what is harassment, street harassment, and unwarranted speech. For example, on Holla Back NYC one commenter claimed harassment when a person on the street told her she was beautiful (and not smart or compassionate)- see June 12 as there is no link available. This leads to numerous interpretive questions that we have discussed here many times.

Third, while the cite concerns itself over sexual harassment it wants posters to avoid any mention of race in the description unless it is pertinent to the story. From Holla Back NYC:
What Is Street Harassment?

At Holla Back NYC, we believe that street harassment is defined by you. It can be anything that makes you feel uncomfortable including grunting, hooting, whistling, propositioning, grabbing, or just plain being a jerk. Harassers come in all different shapes and sizes, races and genders. What is street harassment to one person may not be to another.

We invite you to be creative and honest with how you define street harassment. While there is always the classic, "Hey baby, nice tits" there are so many other forms that go unnoted. If you feel like you have been harassed, HOLLA BACK! We're the safe space you've been searching for.


Replacing sexism with racism is not a proper holla back.
Holla Back NYC asks that you refrain from referencing the race of your harasser or include other racialized commentary. If you feel that race is important to your story, please make sure its relevance is explained clearly and constructively in your post.

For posting policy, see entry on October 9, 2005.

Fourth, it raises issues about privacy. On one post Holla Back Canada a woman raises concerns over harassment and the expectations of privacy in public settings as she claims she suffered harassment when she was videotaped topless at a topless beach. On Holla Back NYC and Canada, posters are encouraged to take photos of the people who harassed them; on Holla Back D.C. the posters usually do not take photos of the alleged assailants.

There is a lot to check out and I highly encourage it when you have a free moment.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mega Conferences

Is continuously amazes me the game of musical chairs played by universities and conferences these days. Although I'm somewhat glad that the Big 12 stayed together, although much leaner, the banter which has taken place the last few weeks is a bit appalling--more like mega companies than institutions of learning.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

So when my kids get measles . . .

because some parent believed in Andrew Wakefield's poorly conducted study linking the MMR vaccine to childhood autism and, thus, refused to have his kids vaccinated, can I expect a housecall from him?

Monday, February 01, 2010

We Can't Solve Health Care

But Congress will solve the problem that is on the minds of 47 million uninsured Americans: The BCS.

Really? Yes, really.

Friday, January 29, 2010

What the Superbowl Tells us about Norms & Culture

CBS, who will televise Superbowl 44, refused to broadcast an ad for ManCrunch.com, a gay dating Web site though it will broadcast an ad that is a Pro-Life ad,features Tim Tebowby, and was created by Focus on The Family.

It appears that at one point CBS rejected issue ads. Now it appears that CBS does not reject issue ads just issue ads from certain ideological dispositions.

CBS and the Superbowl: Trivializing culture for 44 years.

From CNN here and here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Ethics of Research

I wonder if this would make a good case-study on the ethics of research when gathering evidence to support your ideas.

James O'Keefe, a 25-year-old Conservative filmmaker, was arrested for attempting to infiltrate the office of State Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA). O'Keefe and three others were charged with "entering federal property under false pretenses and attempting to gain access to the Democrat’s office by posing as telephone repairmen." As two of the individuals, who were dressed up as telephone repair workers, tried to gain access to the phone system, O'Keefe, who was in the office, taped the interaction on his cell phone. The fourth individual was arrested in a car positioned a few blocks from the office. This individual was in possession of a listening device.

O'Keefe is known for paying someone to pose and a prostitute and film the prostitute with ACORN workers discussing how to circumvent the law. The videos were damaging to ACORN even though there may have been substantial edits to O'Keefe's film.

For more, read here.

Update: Here is a photo of O'Keefe, who is dressed as in pimp for the ACORN videos.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quote of the Day

"It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me."

Former Presidential Candidate John "Country First" Edwards who admitted that he fathered a daughter with Rielle Hunter.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sign of the Times

The new meme, according to Democracy in America and The Corner: Martha Coakley may lose the special election tomorrow because she stated that former bloody-sock Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is a Yankee fan.

Look. I get that this may be considered a moment when the representative does not know the people. However, at what point do we say that there are times representatives should not be concerned with what the people know.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


According to the Buffalo News, the person orchestrating Mark McGwire's steroid apologia is Ari Fleischer.

Also, Fleischer crisis communication agency has been hired to promote the College Bowl Series.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Friday, January 08, 2010

Question of the Day: Would you go to Grad School?

An interesting piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education by Thomas Benton and a follow-up to a previous column by the author. The overall argument is that students, unless independently wealth, well connected, well supported, or already supported by a current position, should not pursue a Ph.D. in the Humanities because of institutional constraints e.g. too many students and not enough positions; the academic labor system; nepotism.

After reading the article, do you agree or disagree with the author's conclusions? And, more importantly, if given the opportunity, would you pursue a degree in the humanities?

And the War Continued

The war on history that is.

Today, Rudy "America's Mayor" Giuliani followed the lead of Conservative Political Advisor Mary Matalin in claiming that no terrorist attacks occurred under President Bush's watch though there have been domestic attacks under President Obama's watch.



War is Peace.