Archive for June, 2014


Teachers

Erin, and all the other public school teachers in America, goes through hell and back every single day in order to enrich the lives of America’s future. She puts up with more bullshit than any one human should have to. Erin does so for a pittance of a salary, no thanks from parents, and often times without the support of her administration.

Why does she do this? Why waste her time?

Because she knows what all of us like to forget: that teaching is arguably the most important job in the entire world. That teaching is an investment in our future. Not just our children, but ourselves. It’s a promise we make today to our future selves. It’s a way to ensure that our future is bright.


The media is making us stupider

Real story from Politico. Not The Onion.

What an embarrassment.


Paul Krugman on Cantor’s defeat

Krugman nails it.

How big a deal is the surprise primary defeat of Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader? Very. Movement conservatism, which dominated American politics from the election of Ronald Reagan to the election of Barack Obama — and which many pundits thought could make a comeback this year — is unraveling before our eyes.


House Leader Cantor loses primary, steps down as Majority Leader

Act II in the GOP Civil War for the 2016 Presidential Nomination.

Just when Boehner seemed to have mitigated the risk of a party splintering before the nomination, this news lays the stage for a House leadership battle between the Establishment and Tea Party that could very well set off conflict that will create an irreparable divide. I said it last year, but 2016 looks for the Republicans to be a mirroring much of the lead to the 1968 election for Democrats. We shall see.


Voicing disapproval of speakers is free speech

A cockamamy argument by Hadley Arkes suggesting that when students voice moral outrage if their college invites commencement speaker (who will be paid to speak), that, in his or her past, violated human rights or possesses other similar résumé deficiencies, it is tantamount to denying this commencement speaker his/her First Amendment rights

When our sensibilities were fed from different sources, it used to be said that, with spring, “the voice of the turtledove has been heard in the land.” But in these recent weeks the landscape has been filled with the sounds of “disinvitations” to speak and receive degrees at what used to be called our “better” colleges and universities. Colleges of the second rank may now be seeking to lift their standings by seeking out prestigious speakers to “disinvite.” The shock of this year has been that the protests have forced from the podium even figures of impeccable liberal stamp such as Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (at Smith College) or Robert Birgeneau, the former chancellor of Berkeley (at Haverford). What is apparently not worth noticing any longer—or any longer subject to indignation—is that these colleges have long since screened from their parade of honorees any notable figures on the conservative side.

[…]

The Court had fashioned one of those rare “rights,” so exquisite that it extinguishes itself: The move to bar speakers from the podium is itself the imposition of a political orthodoxy, and those who oppose it would have ample grounds then for closing it down.

But why do we suspect that this lever will not be available to the conservatives? It has been Scalia’s genius and his curse that he sees, more clearly than some of his colleagues, just how the logic of their decisions will unfold. His consolation, in many cases, is that most of his colleagues and the public do not.

Just to state the obvious, conservatives (as a blanket term) are not being excluded from commencement gigs. A few conservatives with somewhat less than attractive credentials have been excluded, sure, but a hand full is not all.

But more to the point, what Arkes seems to advocate is a kind of fairness doctrine for college speakers. That is, that each viewpoint should have an equal amount of time dedicated to the opposing viewpoint. So, if there are 50 liberal speakers, there must be 50 conservative ones as well. I suppose you’re entitled to advocate for such a policy, but it cuts right at the heart of his argument for free speech. Free speech, as others have so eloquently put it, “…is better reached by free trade in ideas — that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.”

Thoughtful students, at least in the cases Arkes seems to be hinting at, vocalized their refusal to accept speakers who endorse ideas that are utterly offensive to our society (such as the disgusting acts at Abu Ghraib) and requested that the college not endorse such ideas.

What a great marketplace it is that we’re not forced to buy into bullshit.