Saturday, September 15, 2007

Someone Needs to Lay Off the Meds

Rate Your Students used to be one of my favorite sites, but the farther I get from school, the less interesting I find it.

Normally, I can identify in some way with just about every post and point of view I come across.

There's this one post, however...and it's strange. Really, there are times when I could have written it. However, there's just one bit that pisses me off something awful:

All of this "earnestness" about your profession is making me gag. As an undergrad, I want to know that I'm not the only one fed up with my peers. They can be stupid, slothful, selfish bastards. What is tenure for, if not to call these kids out on their b.s.? These "future leaders" couldn't put together a cogent thought if you held a gun to their head, and everyone is supposed to pat them on the back as long as Mom and Dad's tuition check clears the bank? You have a Ph.D., for chrissakes, so throw it around like it means something.

1. Tenure has little, if anything, to do with treatment of students. It's about research. Readers of RYS will know this.

2. That Ph.D certainly means something, but usually it means one is an expert in their field, not that they've got great classroom skills.

3. This poster is very, very angry. S/he conflates lots of things that I think have no reason to be conflated. For example:

Tell them that you're docking their grade every time they ask if something is going to be on the test, that sitting upright and breathing doesn't earn extra credit points, and that they shouldn't have signed up for college if they didn't intend on reading anything other than highway signage, tv listings, or drive-thru menus.

Tell them that it's not your problem they've made life choices (children, mortgage payments, etc.) that hamper their ability to complete assignments. Remind them of other students who've made different choices (like jumping into the deep end of student loans and Ramen noodles) to be here and aren't asking for favors, so maybe we should all be adults and suck it up.

The lack of care here is pretty shocking. Yeah, I spent a lot of time in college despising folks I had no business looking down on, but I have long felt a sense of compassion for others.

Just to be clear, there's a giant difference between the two paragraphs. Mocking someone because they have "made life choices that hamper their ability to complete assignments" is a shitty thing to do, especially when those life "choices" include having children or having a mortgage. Seriously: who mocks other people for having a mortgage?

I know what's going on here: This person has an immense amount of privilege, and is totally blind to that fact. S/he can't comprehend that there are real and genuine obstacles to succeeding in college. That's kind of sad. I hope the RYS readership nukes them.

Oh, Crap

Now what?

Maybe It's Time To Take That Government Class

In the DH today, there's an article....well, here:

LEBANON — The president of the Lebanon teachers’ union won a preliminary decision this week in an unfair labor practice claim against the Lebanon Community School District.

An administrative law judge for the state Employment Relations Board decided the district was wrong to discipline Kim Fandiño for communicating with a school board member about a motion he had made.

The preliminary ruling also states certain district policies are in violation of the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act, specifically the ones that forbid employees to contact board members directly and requiring them to discuss work-related matters only with their supervisors.

OK. I agree with this - and it seems obvious in hindsight that this rule serves to (even if this is not its purpose) consolidate Robinson's power by forcing all information through him. That's bad.

Though I understand a potential impetus for such a rule in the first place - in a hierarchical organization, people think a chain of command is a good thing. And in a place with an organizational structure like the LCSD, it's probably a good idea not to intentionally undercut the Superintendent if you're the school board. However, given who is on the School Board at the moment and their recent behavior...

Anyway, there's a bigger reason that this rule needs to go out the window: It restricts the ability of employees to go over their superiors' heads. I think that's necessary - what if someone's supervisor is embezzling? Stealing? Hurting children in some fashion? There's usually good reasons to allow outside-the-lines communication.

And certainly - certainly! - school district employees should be able to talk to the members of the School Board free from harassment, intimidation, or fear. That this is even in question is another indicator that something is very, very wrong. Note: "talking to" does NOT mean "conspiring with to overthrow the Superintendent." The latter is just bad politics - get it done out in the open if you've got something to say.

And making a rule to outlaw such communication is just bad policy - it's policy with a hammer. It doesn't solve the 'problem' in question - the feeling that communication between Board and employees is necessary - and serves as somewhat of a "governance through brute force" approach. And while that may have been, or may be, Robinson's M.O., it's not a good one.

Finally, there is this quote that has me shaking my head:

“People absolutely have a First Amendment, constitutional right to speak with their elected officials without the fear that it will be reported to anyone else inappropriately,” [Fandiño] said. “Anything that would treat a Lebanon school district employee differently from a regular constituent would be inappropriate. That’s what this unfair labor practice confirms.”

She would have been better served not writing up this quote so it sounds so manufactured. And she should have been clearer on the First Amendment angle; as is, it sounds like she's grandstanding to me. She didn't need to jump to the Constitution to prove her point. Remember this is the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I think what's relevant here is not the freedom of speech thing - that's restricted all the time, especially in the workplace (and there are certainly other restrictions on freedom of speech in a school; ask students). I think what might actually be more important is the last clause, the one about being able to "petition the government for a redress of grievances." The gag rule had certainly undermined that.

Note: To be clear, I support radical freedom of speech - no limits in the workplace, and no limits on children in schools (contra the Supreme Court), but taking that on is a whole different thing, and Fandiño is authoritarian enough to not want children to have freedom of speech. More for me but not for thee, apparently.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Sometimes that's the best word I can find to describe the work of Hasso Hering.

One of his latest is a bizarre piece on the future of Iraq. Near the end, he says something that prompted me to post about it.

Except that when I opened Blogger, I found myself staring at my hands and the keyboard - I couldn't find the words to describe how I felt about his latest that one can use at a sporting event, much less in polite conversation.

I mean, WTF? How does one respond to this?

After 9/11 in 2001, some of us predicted a long, long struggle. Most Americans still have not taken part and not borne any burdens except for being slightly inconvenienced at airports.


Our government has failed to devise ways in which almost everybody contributes to the sacrifice and effort. Now and then somebody talks about a draft, but it’s not a serious possibility and would still leave out most people.

No wonder there is no sense that we’re all in this together and that everybody has a role. (hh)

1. He fails to point out that there was an enormous opportunity to do just that right after September 11th. Instead, Bush told people to go shopping and go on vacation - there was a very explicit message, in fact, to not sacrifice and contribute to the effort. Hering's failure to mention this can only mean one of two things, I guess: He doesn't remember it (not a good sign) or he deliberately left it out (which is both my bet and very, very dishonest). Then again, if one considers Hasso to be, functionally, a Republican shill, then this aggravating omission makes all kinds of sense.

2. Now, with public support for Iraq so low, Hering's suggestion is laughable on its face. The idea that it would be anything but absurd to ask people to start sacrificing for a cause most of them think is lost...I have no words. Hasso is about six years too late on this one. I don't know what's worse: that he's just now realizing this, or that he's so cynical as to pretend he's just now realizing this.

3. It's flat-out insulting that Hasso writes from a position of assuming that everyone should sacrifice for "the war." It's almost like he's just re-hashing his memories of WWII posters or WWII propaganda (perhaps he has read The Greatest Generation one too many times). Specifically, I am insulted by the idea that since it's war, every American citizen should automatically buy in (the assumption of patriotism, perhaps?). Given the poll numbers - with somewhere below 30% of the population still supporting Bush's position - it's a fucked-up assumption to make, and it subtly tars dissenters with the suggestion that we are not patriotic if we do not support (not only the troops but) the entirety of the war, including its necessity and all the stupid shit that has come out of the mouth of Bush Administration officials in the last six years.

That's really low, even for Hering. Hell, I'm not the least bit patriotic and pretty open about that, and I'm still insulted.

Things That Make Me Go Puke in the Night

As if cross-country practice isn't hard enough:

VALPARAISO, Ind. -- Practice runs for Ben Franklin Middle School's cross-country team are getting scary.

Less than a month ago, a 17-year-old Valparaiso boy was arrested for allegedly shooting at the runners with paintballs. On Monday, a 16-year-old Valparaiso High School student was arrested for allegedly yelling a threat at a girl running with the team.

According to police, a red older-model Buick slowed behind the pack as the girls ran south on Campbell, near Northview, around 3:45 p.m. on Sept. 5. A teen in the back seat leaned out the passenger-side window and allegedly yelled, "Keep going or I'll rape you," at a sixth-grader.

As Jessica at Feministing notes, who says we don't live in a rape culture?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

When The River Talks

From commenter River over at Lebanon Truth:

The problem is that education is not funded adequately to enable these dedicated professionals to offer students all of the opportunities that the professionals want to offer. This results in competition for resources which in turn leads to in-fighting.

The education community must pull together and agree that there is no “us and them.” There is only “us” and we are here for the kids. We teach them, we transport them, we coach them, we counsel them, we look after their health. We feed them, we identify and address their special learning challenges. We love them. We deal with their behavior issues, we protect them from each other. We provide them a library, we collaborate with their parents, we provide safe and comfortable buildings. We educate ourselves to understand our tasks better. We cut grass for them, guard crossings, build fences and dig ditches. We wipe their chins and clean their toilets. We coach them in sports, take them on field trips, and show them how to cook and shop. We manage programs as administrators, hire new team mates, and balance the books.

We spend more time with them than their parents and our influence can not be overstated.

Amen. Talk about something that's not been part of the public debate for a long time: Infighting hurts students.

Well, that and education funding in the United States is so pathetic as to be criminal.

I realize there are genuine differences of opinion in the LCSD, but certainly there is a much smaller likelihood of turf warfare if no one has to protect their own budget from their coworkers. I've been in that situation and seen even the most well-intentioned folks, people who are friends, get genuinely angry at each other.

I have an idea: Let's send Rick Alexander to lobby the federal government for more education spending. He seems like the kind of guy GWB would get along with... that or they'd toss him a large check just to get him to leave. Either way.

"Now You Know"

Some time back I found this blog, Sexual Intelligence. I don't read it that often, but perhaps I should, with posts like this:

Dear Larry Craig:

Now you know what it’s like.

I don’t say this in a mean way, I’m just pointing out a simple fact: Now you know what it’s like.

You already knew what it’s like to be terrified of being found out. You already knew what it’s like to hide who you are. But like millions of other Americans, now you know what it’s like:

* To lose a job because of your sexuality
* To be entrapped and then busted for inviting consensual, adult sex
* To be told you don’t belong where you know you do belong
* To suddenly be seen as totally different because of one private thing
* To be told that your sexual interest is the only important thing about you
* To be told that your “perversion” is the only important thing about you
* To be an acceptable butt of jokes, with no moral standing to protest
* To suddenly have your rights taken away even though you didn’t hurt anyone
* To go from being one of “us” to one of “them,” even though you haven’t changed


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Can We Knock It Off With The "All Your Generation Belong to Us" Yet?

From the DH, apparently a couple of folks gave a talk at LBCC on the so-called "Millenials," those Krazy Kids that were born after 1982:

Millennials are people who were born since 1982. They have been sheltered and protected even before their first breath of fresh air, [author Neil] Howe said.

Their parents drove minivans with bumper stickers that read “Baby on Board.” Their Generation X and late Baby Boomer parents have surrounded them with rules and regulations to keep them safe from the outside world. They couldn’t ride a bicycle without a helmet. They couldn’t play alone at the city park for fear of abduction.

To reduce the risk of being affected by bad influences, their daily lives have been rigorously scheduled since kindergarten. They have been told that they are “special” and “good kids” — and in fact, statistics indicate they are.

“They are a generation that expects to work as a team,” Howe said. “They like to work and succeed in groups. They are not individualists like Baby Boomers.”

This might have been innovative and fresh in the year 2000, but now it just feels stale. I've actually heard and ranted about this point before, but that was practically before the advent of the Internet. I'm actually sort of of hoping "their latest book" was actually published at least five years ago.

Plus, I always hate it when anyone makes a generalized prediction about an entire generation. There's no basis for it. Ever.

Oh, and it does not describe the experience of pretty much anyone I know. It might be true for people who are just now in high school, or maybe even about to enter college, but older than that? Not in the circles I travel in.

Finally, I really, really dislike the fact that people are going to read this and then proceed to treat the supposed subjects as if they are automatically like the composite provided by the article.


What the heck is this?

As president and spokesperson for the Lebanon Education Association, I am responding to current events surrounding the athletic situation in regards to the coaches whose salaries are determined by our contract.


Athletics is a fundamental need in any school district and there is data-supported proof that a strong athletic program helps support student achievement, district morale and community spirit. Considering the increase in state budget, it would be appropriate for the district to fully fund the current athletic programs before adding new positions elsewhere. We need every coach we have and they should be paid the salaries that were bargained.

Kimberly Fandiño, LEA President, Lebanon

It's a fairly straightforward letter, but it lacks context. Like, for example, why did she write it? Why put this statement in the paper? Who is she trying to reach?

If it's teachers, then she's the LEA President and she's got email. I suppose that she's trying to reach the public to counteract the impression that she isn't fully supportive of coaches. I wonder where anyone could have got that idea?

Second, letters like this almost always work on at least two levels. The first is the level the general public is going to read it at, and the second is the level at which the parties involved are going to read it at. I wonder what's going on over at Level 2? One suspects her support for Lebanon coaches is in doubt, and she's trying to shore it up.

New Study "Shows" That Liberals Are More Open to New Ideas

From the LA Times:

Exploring the neurobiology of politics, scientists have found that liberals tolerate ambiguity and conflict better than conservatives because of how their brains work.

In a simple experiment reported today in the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists at New York University and UCLA show that political orientation is related to differences in how the brain processes information.

OK. That's a doozy, and a dangerous one. So we can now just ascribe our politics to our biology?

That'll never lead to a bad outcome. Never. Honestly.

Except that:

Participants were college students whose politics ranged from "very liberal" to "very conservative." They were instructed to tap a keyboard when an M appeared on a computer monitor and to refrain from tapping when they saw a W.

M appeared four times more frequently than W, conditioning participants to press a key in knee-jerk fashion whenever they saw a letter.

Each participant was wired to an electroencephalograph that recorded activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain that detects conflicts between a habitual tendency (pressing a key) and a more appropriate response (not pressing the key). Liberals had more brain activity and made fewer mistakes than conservatives when they saw a W, researchers said. Liberals and conservatives were equally accurate in recognizing M.

My first reaction to this was to be very, very surprised that the researchers would draw the conclusion they did from the experiment they performed. I have a comment and a question:

1) Journalists are under pressure to sensationalize study results in order to make them more "readable" or something. I hope that's what happened here.

2) Unless there is more proof, either in the study or in previous studies, that this sort of experiment is a valid way to measure something, color me skeptical.

Also, I guess, I'm not convinced from the study that causation was proved, merely correlation.

Oh yeah - it's almost impossible to translate one's political beliefs into neat categories like "liberal" and "conservative" since such categories are shorthand for a whole set of interlocking beliefs, values, issue positions, and worldviews, not all of which agree. I wonder if they let students self-identify...

Then there's this quote, buried at the very end of the story:

"Does this mean liberals and conservatives are never going to agree?" Amodio asked. "Maybe it suggests one reason why they tend not to get along."

Um, what? Who said anything about not being able to agree? I thought the study was about reacting to conflict and change, not agreement.

My larger point in posting this is simply that I think physiological and/or biological differences like that can develop over time in response to one's experiences. Because of that, even if the results of this study turn out to be accurate, I think it in no way indicates a predisposition or that one's political leanings are largely unavoidable.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why I Have No Respect for the National Democratic Party

Well, besides the fact that I think their policy positions are mostly crap, I think they are terrible at playing the game of politics.

Don't get me wrong - I despise the way the game is played now. However, if you're going to be one of two major parties, you should probably have some remote semblance of skill.

I'm not seeing it. I haven't seen it for a long, long time. I almost wonder if there's a whole lot of otherwise bright people who avoid politics because the public face of the Democrat Part is incompetent, the Republicans are just mean-spirited.

Anyway, check out this assessment from Juan Cole and then read Josh Marshall's comments. I think Marshall is essentially correct, and that the mainstream media will enable his predictions to come true. A taste from Marshall:

Thus the central Bush policy aim of making this mess someone else's problem. The Dems play the role of the one of Pop's business associates who come in and buy W's failed company out just in time for it to crash and burn.

A taste from Juan Cole:

But in all likelihood, when the Democratic president pulls US troops out in summer of 2009, all hell is going to break loose. The consequences may include even higher petroleum prices than we have seen recently, which at some point could bring back stagflation or very high rates of inflation.

In other words, the Democratic president risks being Fordized when s/he withdraws from Iraq, by the aftermath. A one-term president associated with humiliation abroad and high inflation at home? Maybe I should say, Carterized. The Republican Party could come back strong in 2012 and then dominate politics for decades, if that happened.

Unless the Dems have some sort of super-secret plan for the future (which is about as likely as GWB admitting he was wrong about everything and turning himself over to The Hague), I have this feeling I'm not going to enjoy watching the Republicans take the Dems apart over Iraq for the next 15 years or so.

Semi-Obligatory 9/11 Post

I briefly considered doing a post on 9/11, but decided against it. In general, I think there are more important things to worry about six frackin' years later.

That said, I couldn't resist passing on this characterization of events. From d at Lawyers, Guns, and Money:

Six years ago today, four airplanes -- hijacked by a small army of freedom-hating suiciders, lesbians, civil libertarians, Islamofascists (and their appeasers), stem-cell researchers, Francophiles, historical revisionists and unelected judges -- descended through the gaping national security hole pried open by Bill Clinton's eight years of distracted, fellated rule. While The Decider thumbed through a children's book about goats -- demonstrating how quickly ordinary life must resume if the terrorists are to be deprived of victory -- Hugo Chavez, Dan Rather, Michael Schiavo, Kofi Annan, George Soros, the Dixie Chicks and Michael Moore each pondered how they might declare their hatred of America and freedom and frozen embryos.

At an undisclosed location somewhere in the United States, Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and Stephen Cambone raised their heads from the goats they were hungrily exsanguinating. Wiping their glistening lips, they nodded silently to each other and loped away. America's corporate press corps, in an unprecedented gesture of patriotism, expressed their near-unanimous devotion to the cause of liberty by agreeing to suspend their disbelief for the next several years. In a Paris hospital, the first case of Bush Derangement Syndrome was diagnosed by a team of researchers who nevertheless failed to properly quarantine the patient and incinerate the corpse. Tony Blair, selflessly drizzling lighter fluid over his historical legacy, quickly assembled a care package filled with massage oils, scented candles, and a large, monogrammed dog collar. Hoping the American President would not find his gift too suggestive, the Prime Minister threw caution to the wind. "See you in Baghdad," he scrawled quickly on the outside of the package before giddily stuffing it in the nearest post box.

Meantime, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans; hundreds of ordinary Britons, Spaniards, Balinese service workers and Australian tourists; hundreds of Saudis, Jordanians, Pakistanis and Egyptians; and four thousand American men and women watched the day's events with perhaps only the barest sense that they had fewer than six years left before surrendering their lives -- as combatants or innocent bystanders -- to one of the stupidest wars ever conceived.

Frankly, I think mocking the last six years is a totally logical and proper response to, well, the last six years. I mean, have you read a newspaper lately? I'm amazed the staff at The Onion didn't didn't throw in the towel after March of 2003.

P.S. I know it's bad blog etiquette to steal entire posts, but I did. Read the comments - people are not taking kindly to it.

Apparently There's Still Some Anger Over the Whole MLK Thing

This is insane (and long - about 7:30 in length).

More can be found at Pandagon or The SuperSpade.

UPDATE: According to the Hip Hop Caucus, the Reverend's leg was broken during the takedown.

There are no words.

Drug Warning Label Quiz

Via BB, I think, a quiz on nasty side effects of drugs.

Ten drugs, ten possible side effects. Match them up.

For the record, I got 6/10.

I'm curious to see how any Pharmacy students do. Or, for that matter, anyone who lives with a Pharmacy student.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Get Off My Lawn, or I Get the Shotgun

I had noticed that for quite some time, Hasso Hering had been writing fairly plain and inane editorials. A few I even had trouble disagreeing with. Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention.

In either case, that little vacation is over. This one makes my brain hurt:

Democrats in the Oregon legislature circumvented the constitution on tax increases (it requires two-thirds approval) by simply sending their proposed cigarette tax jump to the voters this fall. Voters seem to like the idea, but we might consider what happened in New Jersey.

Um, Hasso? I get that the Constitution requires a 2/3 vote, but are you seriously complaining that sending it to the voters is worse than trying to ram it through the State Legislature? Really? I thought democracy was a good thing.... No, this is just a piss-poor excuse for an argument. Sadly, however, I think there are some people who will agree with you that in this case, more democracy is bad, simply because it might mean more taxes. That seems shortsighted to me.

And honestly, if the State Leg had actually passed the increase without sending it to voters, you'd being pulling your last few hairs out over the injustice. You'd be calling for it to be sent to the ballot, I suspect. Pathetic.

That state, according to the Wall Street Journal, raised cigarette taxes 17.5 cents to $2.575 per pack last year in hopes for more revenue. Instead, revenue dropped. Some of the drop was attributed to cigarette smuggling from out of state.

In Oregon, the tax of $1.18 per pack, already 15th highest in the country, would go to $2.025 per pack if the voters don’t stop it. California’s tax is only 87 cents, Nevada’s only 80 cents and Idaho’s 57 cents. Sounds like an incentive for smugglers.

Our undermanned highway patrol, tasked with watching for marijuana and meth smugglers, then can have something else to worry about. (hh)

This is a reason not to raise cigarette taxes? Yes, it's a potential consequence. Well, maybe, anyway. Just because something happened in New Jersey does not guarantee the same will happen here. As a commenter noted on the DH website, the distances required to travel to smuggle into Oregon are a hell of a lot farther than the relevant ones in New Jersey. The only possible exception to that is Vancouver, Washington and its proximity to Portland.

Besides, look at the size of the rise in NJ - less than 20 cents per pack all the way to $2.575. That's almost a 1300% increase, and over $2.30 in real terms. Oregon's increase is around 80 cents per pack, making it somewhere around 70%. To imply that they are the same situation is dishonest.

Then again, I don't think Hasso ever met a truth he couldn't bend or distort in some fashion to support his pseudo-libertarian agenda. It's a pretty fucked-up skill for a so-called journalist to be using. Maybe he should become a pundit, or perhaps get a radio show. Then he'd fit right in.

UPDATE: It strikes me that this is a really poor editorial even by Hasso's normal standards. I wonder why.

One can only hope he's losing steam and decides to let someone else write them soon. As long as it's not Ann Coulter, I think I'll be content.

Is This For Real?

Via something, probably BoingBoing, a column on the subprime market that sounds like it was taken from The Onion.

Sept. 5 (Bloomberg) -- So right after the Bear Stearns funds blew up, I had a thought: This is what happens when you lend money to poor people.

Don't get me wrong: I have nothing personally against the poor. To my knowledge, I have nothing personally to do with the poor at all. It's not personal when a guy cuts your grass: that's business. He does what you say, you pay him. But you don't pay him in advance: That would be finance. And finance is one thing you should never engage in with the poor. (By poor, I mean anyone who the SEC wouldn't allow to invest in my hedge fund.)

That's the biggest lesson I've learned from the subprime crisis. Along the way, as these people have torpedoed my portfolio, I had some other thoughts about the poor. I'll share them with you.

I honestly can't decide if this is satire or not. Anybody got an answer?

Questionable Content

I'd like to thank/blame MF for this. I am so hooked.

Specifically, this comic and the cat therein.

Local Development

So there's a DH story today about the possibility of a Walmart (WalMart? Wal-Mart?) being built just east of I-5 as part of a large shopping center.

I don't like Walmart.

Furthermore, there is already a Super Walmart just south of Lebanon on Highway 20.

This second Walmart is unnecessary except for one reason: the company wants saturation and wants to drive others out of business. For example, Albany already has Target, Fred Meyer, Shop 'n' Kart, CostCo and probably a few other big box stores I'm missing. Corvallis has Fred Meyer, BiMart, WinCo, Albertsons, etc. From a consumer-need perspective, Wal-Mart is redundant.

But such is life with the so-called world's largest retail employer.

I had half a mind to go into some sort of globalization-related diatribe about how the Blue Devil is so large it can set wholesale prices, much to the detriment of suppliers, or maybe how poorly it treats its employees, or even how it's such a fucking dilemma because so many can't afford to shop anywhere but Walmart that the low, low prices mean low, low wages for others. But I don't have the will for that. It's all been said before.

And besides, when it comes down to it, I'm pretty sure I believe that where one shops is overrated as a social change tactic. While shopping local does really help local folks and keep money local, shopping at Walmart vs. shopping at Fred Meyer doesn't really make that much difference. If it's Walmart's head you're after, "consumer preference" doesn't really mean shit.


While I don't really follow football, even OSU football, this is pretty funny:

Oregon State University Quaterback
Reply to:
Date: 2007-09-07, 10:57AM PDT

Looking for a Reliable athletic male who has a lot of Heart. No experience necessary but must have at least one year of NCAA Eligibility left. Work would begin no later than Saturday September 15th. All Applications will be reviewed even if you currently hold the position.

* Location: Reser Stadium
* Compensation: Pride, Honor, National exposure and a Great Benefits Package
* Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
* Please, no phone calls about this job!
* Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

The Future of Academia

Or, at least, one little piece of that puzzle:

What I think I share with Bitch and Oso, even granting our obvious differences, is a strong sense that the traditional rules just don't work anymore. Unfortunately, the folks at the top of the pecking order are the ones most vested in those traditional rules, and therefore most blind to their failures. The “opinion leaders” are far behind reality.

My words of wisdom, such as they are: go ahead and break the rules. There isn't much payoff in playing by them anymore, and they certainly don't make sense intrinsically. Cross disciplinary boundaries; blog; select topics that are interesting to you; have a kid; have a life; move into and out of administration; contradict or ignore your advisor when he's wrong. The old rules about what you're supposed to do were developed in a world that doesn't exist anymore, and that isn't coming back.

I've heard this a lot in the last several years, and not just about academia.

1) It might be a function of globalization.

2) People are saying something like this all the time.

3) Neither of the first two mean that it's not true. In fact, I think it's pretty true - systems change constantly over time.

In the case of Dean Dad's take, I can only heartily agree with his advice on what to do. It's what I'd do even if the system was static.

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