Saturday, April 5, 2008

Two Consequences

of thinking an environment in which abstinence-only education is promoted is a good thing, I present two examples to the contrary:

US-funded health search-engine censors all results for searches on "abortion"

Teens think drinking bleach will prevent HIV.

That second one is really pissing me off. Can we just admit that there's a huge overlap between anti-abortion and anti-intellectual, and that said overlap is not an accident?

Ugh, I'm so annoyed I'm even more incoherent than normal.

[OSU] Most likely the only post you'll ever see on this blog regarding the OSU Men's Basketball team.

From the Gazette-Times:

Executive senior associate athletic director Todd Stansbury, the other athletic department administrator on the five-person search committee, is also in San Antonio. Lamar Hurd and A.C. Green, the former players on the committee, will also be in Texas for at least part of the Final Four, sources said.

OSU President Ed Ray completes the committee.

Um, what?

Can we talk about priorities for a second?

Someone should really be penning a Baro column or something about this (I'm looking at you, Robert Sanchez), because I'm pretty sure Ed Ray has better things to do.

Hering on Medicare (or, a chance encounter with reality)

It's almost fun to watch him try to squirm and justify his inconsistency:

We have too many laws already. But in the interest of fairness in this connection, maybe we need one more. It would say that in order to practice medicine in the United States, a practitioner must not discriminate against anyone on the basis of government insurance.

Poor, poor Hasso. I can hear the contradictions grinding away in his head:

Medicare = Public.
Public = Bad. [Corollary: Private = Good]

Therefore, Medicare = Bad?


Health insurance = good.
Medicare = the only option for many.

Therefore, public not-for-profit = good?


My bad

Remember when I linked to Citizens Against Government Waste? All of two posts ago?

Turns out they are a GOP front group.


See this Hullabaloo post for more.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr.

40 years ago today.

Update: McCain apparently doesn't like civil rights.

Image found here.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Pig Book

From Citizens Against Government Waste, a useful tool.

At least it wasn't the cell phone

I just dropped my belt buckle in the toilet.

Horton Hears A Who Patriarchy

Damn skippy.

Colin Greenwood Interviewed by Pitchfork

My favorite bit:

Pitchfork: The Pitchfork review of Hail to the Thief put forth the idea that "anything Radiohead does from here on out will sound like Radiohead"...

CG: That's like a late-night stoner comment. At about three in the morning-- after you've put on Captain Beefheart and you put the red scarf over the light bulb-- it makes a lot of sense. But the next morning you're like, "I don't know, maybe the world is fucked and we didn't solve it." So I don't know about that.

Watching from the weeds

From down the road, something that I already suspect might eventually apply to me as well (assuming I have the good luck to have things turn out as well as they have for this guy):

You know what I love about meeting up with my fellow unionists? It's being constantly told that no matter what I do in my job, no matter how well things turn out here at local 3544, no matter how many of our members go on to jobs in labor, I will never be considered successful because of the way we do our membership drives. Everything is tainted, from bargaining to affecting change at the state fed, none of it matters because we don't go knocking on doors to achieve 75% membership. One hundred and twenty-five people at a GMM? Doesn't count. 22% raises over the last 6 years? Useless. (In fact, because the GTFF has not hit the streets in that time, our results should not actually be possible because bargaining is only won "on the streets." That I haven't led the GTFF out on strike means that I haven't actually achieved anything.) I could go on, but you get the drift.

Health Care in Oregon in the 21st Century; or, We're All Fucked.

This reminds me of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery.

God, that's dystopian.

Via Blue Oregon.

"What Every American Should Know About the Middle East"

Via Kottke, this great list.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

On Anonymity and Pseudonymity

Update: Dean Dad does a great job delineating the difference between anonymity and pseudoyumity.

Apparently the Chronicle carried a piece that's getting a lot of response from anonymous academic bloggers. I just wanted to highlight something that definitely came up as a reason for me when I was using a pseudonym on this blog (just beware you have to filter some of the higher ed context - but the main point is there, I promise):

Finally, I know someone else has said this already - at least one of the respondents to the Chronicle article, probably Dr. Crazy and profgrrrrl, and I think at least one other person - but I'll close with what has become one of the things I most value about pseudonymity: it eliminates all the hierarchical trappings of professional rank, status, and affiliation. When I write for publication in my field, I'm writing from a very specific professional position - and as an adjunct, the one that I now hold is much less advantageous than ones I've held formerly. Yes, peer review is blind, yada yada yada. But cover letters with your identity go to journal editors. You're placed in an academic hierarchy by virtue of rank (assistant, associate, or full) and status (at an Ivy League or at Podunk East State, or somewhere in-between). When you yourself write as someone seeking tenure, it's different (I'd imagine) than writing as someone who has tenure. When you speak up in department and faculty meetings, your contributions are always assessed partially through your professional position (I don't mean this is a bad thing; assistant profs certainly get responses of the "what a bright young thing! so dedicated to the institution! what great ideas for the future!" kind. But their position is nonetheless different than that of a tenured prof).

When I write as New Kid, most of that falls away. I say "most" because it's clear from this blog that I was an assistant prof, am now a lecturer, and I've made pretty clear what kinds of institutions I've worked at. But even so, without the specifics, such distinctions lose a lot of meaning. There are a lot of small liberal arts colleges out there, and they place their employees in different positions. I'm still fairly generic.

Like Dr. Crazy, I've thought about "coming out" and attaching my legal name to this blog, and I still might. But one of the things that stops me is this feeling that if people had direct access to my professional identity/position, they'd start to use that to judge this blog in a way that pseudonymity makes impossible. If I started talking about writing an article (or more generally about the practice of writing articles), someone could look at my c.v. and say, "Why should I listen to what she has to say about writing articles? She sucks at writing articles!" Any comments about my students or my institution become not observations that (might, I hope) illuminate academe more broadly, but can be dismissed as specific to my particular institution, or a result of my academic background, and therefore ignored more easily. Conversely, if I attained some pinnacle of professional spiffiness, people might be influenced by that to give my words more weight than they deserve (and no, I don't mean that readers are stupid and can't tell good work from bad. But there's a reason that journals use blind peer review).

Dispelling Myths

Dani Rodrik:

Look at the figure below, and then look at it again, and again, and again. It is the most telling picture about the U.S. political economy I have ever seen.

I pretty much concur wholeheartedly. Click the link to see for yourself.

Monday, March 31, 2008

And yet I still feel like I haven't read anything...

I consider myself semi-tagged by bz. (does an encouraging email count?) These have been read in the last few months, not just in March.

Tithe, Holly Black

Them, Jon Ronson

Forty Signs of Rain, Kim Stanley Robinson

Fifty Degrees Below, Kim Stanley Robinson

Sixty Days and Counting, Kim Stanley Robinson

American Gods, Neil Gaiman (if you've never read this, DO SO RIGHT THIS INSTANT)

Sun of Suns, Karl Schroeder

Lady of Mazes, Karl Schroeder

Prancing Lavender Bunnies, Paul Turner

Last Night at the Lobster, Stewart O' Nan

This list feels incomplete - I think there are some books I've borrowed and returned (some William Gibson in particular) that are not included here.

Currently reading:

Capers in the Churchyard, Lee Hall

Possibilities, David Graeber

Threshold, Sara Douglass

Why the hell not?

You can see I'm already trying to up my percentage.

Check this out.

I should have known there was a test for this.

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?

I have to say I'm a little disappointed. I had certainly been led to believe I have a much fouler mouth than that. Apparently some folks have literally no tolerance for foul language - I mean, shit, I am at less than three percent!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bad essay. Good comment.

This essay on Alternet is essentially a call to act stupid. It's a dumb idea (filed under "things that want to be contrarian but are just backwards").

This comment, found on the same page (I couldn't find a direct link to the comment), is a much smarter idea, politically speaking:

It would be much more useful and effective, I believe, for the Democrats to pull an entirely different page out of the GOP playbook. Tell the story of giving people back something they regard as wrongfully taken from them and let them dream of how they will make use of that "gift." In the case of the Republicans, the game is played by telling people they can have their tax money back to spend as they please (ignoring the services and devaluation of the currency that results from deficit spending). The GOP has set the table for a whopping round of giving people back their privacy, the security of their identities and private information, the right to be told the truth by a whole range of scientists working the public interest, the right to know what their government is doing on their behalf, and the right to have the government respect their wishes about, say, war or consumer protection even if it is not a presidential election year.

Though, as the commenter notes, Democrats in general have not shown much appetite for challenging a lot of Bush policies. After all, the Dems, as political elites, are the beneficiaries of many of those policies.

Rush Limbaugh will destroy you!

This is a bit strange. Oh, and it's got some pretty strong language.

I'm not sure this is something to be proud of...

I am astounded at the fact that Merkley and his supporters are trumpeting the change to payday loan laws when the result is still a 35% interest rate.

Does anyone else think that's insane? Who would be proud of that?

How low is the standard here?


There's also a movie in the making based on Parkour.

I like Parkour. I also happen to think it'll make a terrible film.

Info on Parkour here.

I once told a HS student he should take it up. I'm pretty sure he thought I was insane.

The Stanford Prison Experiment

Apparently it's being made into a movie.

Patronage, Bush-style


And anyone who's thinking that "but Democrats do it too" is some kind of defense or otherwise in any way excuses this, please stop. I'm not interested in defending ANYONE who pulls shit like that. It's incredibly immoral no matter who does it.

To put it another way: The federal government decided that aid to people in a disaster zone should be based on some of the beliefs of the people involved.

David Simon the slow decline of newspapers

This is a good great essay:

And now, with about twenty-five inches filed and sent to the state desk, I have come to rest, waiting while editors in the four o’clock shape the next day’s local front. I am sweating profusely, unsure what to do with my hands, my face, my soul. A Styrofoam cup of water sits in front of me, untouched. More laughter from the conference room, and finally they emerge -- Phelps and the others.

He looks at me, pulls on his mustache, frowns.

Dead. I am dead to him.

And then Phelps turns and whispers something to the tall editor beside him, something about me, clearly, because the tall guy is heading my way. I rise and actually drop my eyes. It will be fast, I tell myself. It will be fast and then I can go.

“You’re Simon?”


“Good story today.”

I wait.

I've been putting off adding The Wire to my list of things to watch despite hearing nothing but good things about it, but this pretty much seals the deal. Anyone who writes at that level gets my attention.

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