Cleveland: Keeping Christmas at Home
Ramona: The War on Happy Holidays
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.
In 1973 Marabel Morgan wrote a book called "The Total Woman". It was a follow-up to her successful "Total Woman" programs, in which Marabel taught women how to be seductive and outwardly submissive so as to get whatever they wanted from their stern or indifferent husbands, most of whom had chronic roving eyes and/or wallets covered in cobwebs.
The secret, as Eve could have told any one of those wannabe Stepford Wives, was sex. No, not withholding it, a la the women in Lysistrata, but reveling in it, wallowing in it--in a Godly way, of course--as the very best way to keep your man happy. (Second best is staying sweet by keeping your mind clear and your mouth shut.) [Read more]
My dear Daggers, I know it's summer and there's a lot of fun stuff going on. Why, there's the Olympics and Mitt Romney making an ass of himself overseas and bigots slingin' chicken and what not, but I thought it might be pertinent to highlight how some of the citizens of Anaheim have been enjoying their summer:
Since the terrible and senseless murders in that Aurora movie theater, there's been a lot of talk about how to fight back against a mass shooter. It's become a standard talking point that more guns among the victims would have allowed someone to kill any mass shooter, basic tactical realities notwithstanding. And Houston's Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security has recently released an instructional video called "Run. Hide. [Read more]
I used to work in Central Pennsylvania — just PA to anyone from there. I was there long enough to realize that Penn State was both a revered institution and an 800 lb gorilla. I suppose that's true of other schools, but I have lots of family and friends who attended or worked for PSU, and still do.
Loyalty to Penn State and faith in JoePa continues to be very strong. On Saturday, in a stealthy 6 AM maneuver, PSU removed the Paterno sculpture, calling it a "distraction." The faithful are appalled. Even my liberal, union brother-in-law is resentful, claiming that the Freeh report is not the last word in the investigation. [Read more]
Suspected Colorado movie theater gunman James Holmes purchased four guns at local shops and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet in the past 60 days, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates told a news conference this evening.
"All the ammunition he possessed, he possessed legally, all the weapons he possessed, he possessed legally, all the clips he possessed, he possessed legally," an emotional Oates said.
The chief declined to say whether the weapons were automatic or semi-automatic, but "he could have gotten off 50 to 60 rounds, even if it was semi-automatic, within one minute," Oates said. [Read more]
Last night, twelve people died in senseless gun violence at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie.
Batman, of course, is a character who is a lunatic vigilante, and so some crazy people identify with that fantasy figure in the wrong way. Batman is also a character who has lost his parents to senseless gun violence. (They were killed on a family outing to the movies.) It's an authoritarian vigilante fantasy about stopping people from shooting each other.
Father John Brooks died last week. He had been president of Holy Cross college in Massachusetts and been the prime mover of its affirmative action efforts, starting in 1968. He started recruiting African-American students before he became college president, on his own initiative and originally his own dime: