Maiello: Defeat the Press
Wolraich: Obama at the Gates of... Gates
As if it wasn't enough this week that three young women held captive and terrorized by a madman were found alive after 10 long years, we now learn that in 2004, celebrated psychic Sylvia Browne made an appearance on celebrated sinceremeister Montel Williams' television show and told the mother of one of the captives that her daughter was dead.
It's been a tough week for elite gay-baiting. First Howie Kurtz, hack journalist extraordinaire, lost his job at the Daily Beast because he badly botched an attempt to smear NBA center Jason Collins. Part of what Kurtz botched was the facts, claiming that Collins had concealed the fact that he had once been engaged to a woman when Collins had "concealed" that fact by explicitly stating it in his Sports Illustrated coming-out article. ("When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged," is pretty straightforward.) Kurtz, to his credit, has made a full apology.
Then, Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson (also a columnist for the Daily Beast) was also forced to apologize after publicly gay-baiting landmark economist John Maynard Keynes. Ferguson decided to tell an audience that Keynes wasn't interested in long-term policy effects (itself a gross distortion of Keynes's position) because Keynes was a homosexual in a childless marriage. Yes, really. That's the standard of logic and evidence to which Ferguson holds himself. [Read more]
The Supreme Court spent Holy Week (or, as Jesus would call it, Passover) debating gay marriage, which Chief Justice John Roberts clearly opposes. Religious opponents of gay marriage like to argue that the purpose of marriage is to beget children, so that only heterosexual marriages are "real," because only biological fertility makes a marriage "real." By this standard John Roberts's own marriage is not real, and neither is mine. I do not believe that, and neither should he.
On Thursday, the American Association of University Professors, a national faculty union, released its report on last summer's debacle at the University of Virginia, where, if you recall, the Board of Visitors fired the UVa's President, Teresa A. Sullivan, only two years into Sullivan's term, without even holding a meeting about the firing first. [Read more]
In March, 2012, just six months after their franchise had been bought up by Bread of Life, a company owned by Manna Development, a former McDonald's franchisee, 18 bakers at six Panera Bakery and Cafes along the I-94 corridor in Southwestern Michigan decided to join a union.
The bakers take the midnight shift, working raw dough into the artisan breads Panera has grown famous for. Their training is extensive--a seven-week "boot camp" with exams and skill demonstrations, a 90-day assessment period, and sometimes as much as a year's worth of kitchen work before the comfort level reaches "artisan" stage.
My brother-in-law Marcelo struggled mightily coming out of the closet. While I and a handful of his closest friends and relatives knew he was Gay, he kept his true self hidden until he was 31. The combination of Brazilian culture and a male-dominated family made coming out seem impossible to Marcelo.
A little more than two years ago, he had enough. With the support of those of us who knew his secret, he came out to everyone. And for a man who had lived in pure terror of his true self being public, the end result was glorious. Marcelo was embraced as the man he is, and congratulated for having the courage to come out.
“It was like a fart in the ocean,” Marcelo said. [Read more]
This Valentine's Day blog post is dedicated to ending the abuse of women and girls. You'll need to go to my blog to get the full effect. It's the least I could do:
Did you notice when you got here that my walls are now pink? You should know that normally I'm not a "Pink" person, but in this case I will wallow in pink if it means this message is getting out: Unbelievable numbers of women and girls are being viciously abused minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, and we must be the catalyst that brings these horrors to an end. No one else will do it. It's up to us.
When I worry about the future of my chosen profession, which I do too often these days, I take bleak consolation from the fact that every other profession I considered during my early years is also in crisis. Was it a mistake to become a university professor just as the job market for professors collapsed? Maybe. But if the original question was, "Should I become a professor, a lawyer, or a newspaper journalist?" then maybe not. Lawyers are having a hard time finding jobs; newspapers are laying off. And I can't say I would have been better off staying a high school teacher, as wave after wave of "reforms" make that job harder and worse.
Workers are repairing the facade of the building where we rent our winter apartment. They started on the 17th floor on January 2 and today they've finally made it to the fourth floor, and right now they're drilling and chiseling and scraping away the old finish right outside the window next to my desk.
Our gun laws have been distorted to suit the needs of a single interest group. That small, privileged group’s desires outweigh the needs of nearly every other American, and have more influence with our elected leaders than the suffering of crime victims, the recommendations of law enforcement, or the common-sense demands of public safety. These privileged few are not hunters, or sportsmen, or homeowners concerned with self-defense. They are hobbyists. We live in a gun collector’s paradise, and it is very dangerous.
20 children have been murdered in Connecticut. This what you can do about it right now:
1. Write and call your Congressman. Writing to your Congressional representatives is the most important thing you can do, more important than writing to the White House. Write and call your House member first, and then your two Senators. You can find their contact information at house.gov and senate.gov.
The Supreme Court may forbid any use of race in college admissions in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas, being heard today, because the conservative wing really wants to overturn previous rulings and because Justice Kagan has recused herself. If that happens, the winning plaintiff will be a classic poster child for anti-affirmative-action litigation: a white kid who got 1180 on her SATs.
Last week the annual job list for college literature professors went live, in an annual ritual I've blogged about before. And it looks like the worst list for Shakespeareans in history.
Two years ago, I used this space to explain how the 2008 crash had killed the already far-too-small job market for new PhDs, and how poor the rebound was two years later: [Read more]
One thing that Barack Obama has done absolutely right for education is change the student loan program. Romney and Ryan have made it clear that if elected they will switch things back to the old way. This small policy difference demonstrates the larger difference between today's Democrats and Republicans.
Labor Day is a great day to remember some of the history of the American labor movement. Of course, our leading American newspaper is using the day to lionize Henry Ford without mentioning how fiercely Ford hated the labor movement. So, a little counter-programming:
WARNING: It's Labor Day and I'm feeling the love for labor, so what follows will be totally biased and in no way fair or balanced. (If you've been wondering what fair and balanced really means, go ask your two-year-old. It'll make as much sense as any other definition you've ever heard, but it'll sound so much better coming from the mouths of babes.)
Way back in 2010 when the Supreme Court said yes, indeedy, corporations are people, too, it started a whole new revolution in this country. If corporations are people then a government of the people, by the people, and for the people takes on a whole new meaning.
What is "civility?" The media daily bemoans its absence from our public discourse. How uncivil! How rude! On the other hand, people are allowed to libel certain public figures with impunity and no complaints.
This morning, Chris Matthews got tired of the pearl-clutching and accused RNC chairman Reince Preibus, who was bemoaning the "incivility" of the Obama campaign, of leading a party that's playing the race card at every hand. (Video below.) He did this because the Republicans have been playing the race card at every hand.
As we all know, there are two - and only two - sides to every story. It's an article of faith in contemporary American political life. He said one thing, she said another. We must, of course, exhibit both sides in order to get a fair and balanced view of any issue. After all, the truth will invariably be found somewhere in the middle. [Read more]
Today marks the 77th anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Act, and even though it's not one of those anniversaries we might consider A Big One, it's important. For this reason: it may well be the last time any of us will be able to celebrate this landmark law without also being reminded of its untimely death.