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Ugly

[ 13 ] June 21, 2008 |

A few months ago, I foolishly claimed that Pat Oliphant could never get away with open racism comparable to his misogyny. I was certainly mistaken. (Latter link via Ez.)

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Professor Values

[ 0 ] June 20, 2008 |

Whenever I’m lost for something to blog about, Conservapedia never fails to satisfy. In the past, I’ve learned wonderful things about kangaroos and assorted other crap, but what I truly love about Conservapedia is that I learn so much about myself. The site has helped me realize that I am, indeed, a liberal. Now, as I prepare my tenure file, I realize that I have throughout assimilated the Professor Values required for lifetime confinement to the Ivory Tower.

Behold:

Professor values refer to the common value system embraced by a large percentage of professors, just as Hollywood values refers to the common value system of many in Hollywood.

An extremely high percentage of professors disagree with conservative principles. Professors’ common value system typically includes atheism, censorship, socialism, unjustified claims of expertise and knowledge (for example, the dogmatic promotion of the theory of evolution), liberal beliefs, liberal grading, liberal bias, anti-patriotism, lack of productivity, bullying or discouraging conservative students (for example, homeschoolers), and promotion of sexual immorality. In a Zogby poll, 58% of Americans said that the bias of professors is a serious problem, while 39% said it is a “very serious” problem. The survey demonstrated further that “an overwhelming majority also believe that job security for college professors leaves them less motivated to do a good job than those professors who do not enjoy a tenured status – 65% said they believe non-tenured professors are more motivated to do a good job in the classroom.” One study in 2008 found that “Texas university professors overwhelmingly favor Democratic candidates in their campaign contributions.”

Professors block the granting of a tenured professorship to anyone who:

* criticizes the theory of evolution
* criticizes feminism and/or abortion
* opposes the homosexual agenda

Professors wear white armbands to protest an award of an honorary degree to a conservative.

With the exception of wearing a white armband to graduation — I prefer red clown shoes — I’m happy to report that I have exceeded my highest expectations on each of these metrics.

For the true connoisseur of Professor Values, however, the list of crimes committed by professors is also especially fantastic. You’ll be stunned, for example, to learn that Louis Althusser killed his wife! And the Shining Path was founded by a philosopher! And a professor once dropped his pants at a county fair! No, really!. (Somewhat surprisingly, the list fails to mention the case of Dick Pervo, the professor of New Testament studies who was arrested for loading child pornography onto his office computer at the U. of Minnesota.)

The tenure review committee is sure to be disappointed that I have never killed anyone, nor have I founded a Maoist militia, nor have I trafficked in lewd images or exposed myself to a crowd of children at a 4-H gathering. But I started drinking long before I was 21, and I used to smoke copious amounts of grass, and I also shoplifted — a lot! — during my misspent youth. If it weren’t for academia, I’d be in jail by now!

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I Defend SATC!

[ 0 ] June 20, 2008 |

I have to give it this: the combination of its success and the California same-sex marriage ruling does seem likely to lead to much pleasure for connoisseurs of gold-plated wingnuttery. I assume that Caitlin Flanagan‘s article about the national menage a trois epidemic is forthcoming.

Until today, I was also blissfully unaware of the beloved wingnut phrase “stuck on stupid.” I think “idiotarian” was less irritating.

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There’s a King in town.

If there’s one writer today I’ll drop anything to read, it’s Matt Taibbi. Ever since his fantastic skewering of Tom Friedman’s “The World is Flat,” I’ve been a devotee. His latest is on John McCain, and is just as good. I’d quote the good bits, but that would involve cutting and pasting the whole thing. You can read it here.

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The I-Pod Candidate?

[ 34 ] June 20, 2008 |

Taking on Johnathan Cohn on his own terrain (and I think Cohn’s emphasis on presidential ability rather than short-term political tactics is sound), Brad Plumer makes a case for Sebelius as VP pick. This is the bottom line:

Sebelius’s biggest strength is the fact that she’s the most competent executive of any of the rumored Democratic veep candidates, save for possibly former Virginia governor Mark Warner (whom the Democrats need to win a Senate seat anyway). The fact that, as governor, she erased a $1.1 billion budget deficit in her first year of office without raising taxes, and later steered a large education-funding package through a fractious legislature, would suggest that she’s perfectly capable of heading up the executive branch–and doing it well.

There just aren’t a lot of people with both executive and foreign policy experience,and the person who best fits that profile (Richardson) has other weaknesses. The other thing to add is that I don’t think her less-than-inspiring State of the Union response should be much of an issue. Most people look bad giving them, and if making a dreary entrance on the national stage was a disqualifying factor the Dems would have been stuck with Paul Tsongas in 1992.

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Democracy Works!

[ 36 ] June 20, 2008 |

Players vote Derek Jeter most overrated player in baseball. (Actually, the title is misleading, as while the #1 pick is unassailably correct, Slappy Rodriguez and Wright are bizarre choices, and J.D. Drew would be a better fit for a most underrated list.)

I’m surprised by the outcome, though. I think the biggest reason that explains the paradox of how Jeter is both at times annoyingly overrated and was screwed out of an MVP award in 2006 is the prejudice against on-base players as opposed to RBI men, but one suspects that the hard sell of the New York media — which, not content to celebrate the many virtues of a first-ballot HOFer, has invented a number out of whole cloth — alienated a lot of voters even as it attracts attention.

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Presidential Statement of the Day

[ 14 ] June 20, 2008 |

Richard Nixon, remarks to reporters, 19 June 1969:

Mr. Hoover does enjoy my complete confidence, and there has been no discussion with regard to his tenure as far as the future is concerned.

I should add, further, that with regard to the controversy on electronic surveillance, that I checked personally into the matter as to whether or not that surveillance which had been discussed had been conducted by him and the FBI, by themselves, or whether it had been, as is supposed to be the case, always approved by the Attorney General.

I found that it had always been approved by the Attorney General, as Mr. Hoover testified in 1964 and 1965. As far as this administration is concerned, our attitude toward electronic surveillance is that it should be used very sparingly, very carefully, having in mind the Fights of those who might be involved, but very effectively to protect the internal and external security of the United States.

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T-Shirts

[ 0 ] June 20, 2008 |

Goodness.

That didn’t take very long at all.

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Capitulation

[ 13 ] June 19, 2008 |

This really is bad.

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We’re #2!

[ 0 ] June 19, 2008 |

Above the Law (the legal tabloid run by David Lat, he of Underneath their Robes fame) has published its list of Top 10 Legal Songs.

And guess what? We’re #2.

Not bad, eh? Though I think #1 was too obvious a choice and LGM should reasonably have won.

—-

Update: link fixed. barbri has sucked out my brain.

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To Reiterate

[ 37 ] June 19, 2008 |

Since the first three comments manage to miss the point entirely, allow me to try this again:

  • Like any Democrat capable of winning a national election, Obama will make all sorts of compromises and advance suboptimal ideological positions. It is good for progressives to point his failings, although arguments that move in the “since he isn’t a social democrat, we might just as well have McCain in the White House” direction are where I get off the bus.
  • Such critiques that take the form “many [always unnamed and uncited, because where progressives of any influence are concerned they pretty much don’t exist] Obamabots think Obama is a God Among Men who Transcends Politics but, in fact, he’s a politician who is not about to turn the United States into Denmark singlehandedly! Haha, Obamabots are so stupid!” are incredibly irritating, and I for one will ignore any substantive points made in such frames 100% of the time.
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Boeing vs Northop, Round 783. Fight!

Yes, its yet another in a series of “when is he coming back, I can’t stand this new guy” posts. We probably all know Farley’s views on the Air Force, and just why it needs to be folded back into the Army and Navy (and no, I don’t mean the department store). The poor old USAF has been having a torrid time recently, what with the firings and all.
Now the GAO has decided to get in on the action, weighing in on the matter of the proposed air-to-air refuelling tanker. Originally this contract was to go to Boeing. Then it turned out there’d been some skullduggery and kickbacks involved, and massive fines were levied, along with jail time.

Then the contract was handed over to the foreigners, EADS/Airbus, although in truth the primary contractor was Northrop Grumman and the planes were going to be built in the US. Not only that, they were better planes in just about every way. Every way but one; they didn’t come with Boeing’s crack team of lobbyists. Boeing whined and whined, and the GAO decided to look into their claims, and has actually upheld Boeing’s complaints. Which I guess puts us back at square one.

Expect much chest-beating jingoism to be brought to bear on Boeing’s behalf; I wouldn’t be surprised if they get the contract after all. Good news for Washington, not such good news for Alabama, since Airbus was going to build a massive new plant there to assemble all their A330s. If they’ve lost the contract, I can’t see any reason for them to continue with that plan, and that means a loss of hi tech jobs in a state that probably needs them.

It’s also bad news for the Air Force, who might not get the plane they want, which was also the best one for the job. But then I might just be biased towards Airbus since:

  • A: I’m one of those communists from across the pond
  • B: when I fly back across that pond I prefer to do it in an A333 since they have nice seats and real live 110v AC sockets under them in coach
  • C: Northrop built a way cooler-looking fighter (the YF-23) than Boeing (the YF-32)

Expect this mess to get sorted out sometime by 2014. I hope those old converted 707s can keep flying until then!

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