Search Results for "democrat"

May
20th 2013
When you see Count MOOCbot, scream and run away!

Posted under American history & book reviews & childhood & students & technoskepticism & unhappy endings & wankers & weirdness

Daniel Luzer on Jeffrey J. Selingo’s College (Un)bound:  The Future of Higher Education and What it Means for Students, in a review entitled “Revolution for Thee, Not Me:”

[I]f we’re expanding access to college through alternative, technology-based systems, is this really expanding access to college or providing a different experience entirely? Perhaps the biggest flaw of this book is that while Selingo offers a very good take on what declining state funding and innovative technology could mean for both colleges and students, he fails to consider what this “revolution” in higher education might mean for American society as a whole.

“The college of the future will certainly be different than the one of today,” he explains, “but robots will not replace professors in the classroom anytime soon. Harvard will remain Harvard.” He estimates that 500 or so of America’s 4,000 colleges have large enough endowments to remain unchanged by this revolution. But isn’t that a problem? If Princeton and Williams will be unaffected by these trends, what’s really going on here?

It seems that the future won’t unbind higher education for everyone—just for the working and middle classes. That’s because rich people will always be able to afford traditional colleges. Continue Reading »

17 Comments »

April
30th 2013
Nominations are now open for Best Title Ever

Posted under American history & European history & fluff

First Sealord of the Admiralty probably gets my vote, but Supreme Allied Commander is pretty boss, too. (What does it say about me that I gravitate towards these European-oriented military offices and titles? Hmm.) Maybe I should just keep it simple and ask that people call me Citoyenne Historianne. (At least that’s a democratic civilian title, albeit rather European-sounding.)

What’s your pick for Best Title Ever?

41 Comments »

February
18th 2013
Colorado Dems lead the way on gun safety legislation; who will follow?

Posted under American history & Gender & race

Go ahead: make my day.

The Colorado House passed four bills today:

• House Bill 1229 requiring background checks for all gun transactions;

• House Bill 1226 banning concealed weapons on campuses;

• House Bill 1228 instituting a fee for gun buyers to cover the cost of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to perform background checks; and

• House Bill 1224 limiting magazines to 15 rounds.

All of these seem to me to be modest and reasonable measures.  We’ll see what the Dem-majority Senate and Dem Governor John Hickenlooper decide to do.

 

While this debate was engaged last week, a local manufacturer of high-capacity ammunition magazines has threatened to leave the state if the 15-round limit is signed into law.  This is the kind of thing that usually brings Dems to their weak little scaredy-cat knees, but I think they should do a jujitsu move with this and ask if 200 jobs are really worth the health and safety of our schools, parks, and public spaces.  As this article by Dan Baum in the Wall Street Journal makes clear*, the NRA doesn’t in fact represent gun owners–it represents munitions manufacturers.  Why should we permit ourselves to be manipulated by the financial interests of one industry?

It’s downright un-American to ignore the public interest and let one industry run our politics.  Continue Reading »

14 Comments »

January
13th 2013
Hillary Clinton still too old, sick, and worst of all, unattractive

Posted under American history & Bodily modification & Gender & jobs & wankers & women's history

As I predicted earlier this week, the sneering, sexist dismissals of Hillary Clinton are back, baby.  And just like in 2007 and 2008, it’s not right-wingers leading the charge–it’s people on the so-called “progressive” side of things.  Meghan Daum writes in the Chicago Tribune today:

Clinton’s finale could hardly have been more dramatic. After falling ill with a stomach virus in early December, she fainted, suffered a concussion and landed in a hospital with a blood clot between her brain and skull. Meanwhile, her detractors drummed up conspiracy theories about “Benghazi fever,” and her supporters had a moment of genuine fear that Clinton might not be around to follow the script that so many have been writing for her over the last several years.

Really?  Getting a tummy bug and a bump on the head is “more dramatic” than, for example, having a chronic heart condition (eventually requiring a heart transplant) and shooting a guy in the face?  I thought that was a lot more dramatic, especially for someone considered perfectly fit to be a mechanical heartbeat away from the U.S. Presidency!  And wait–what about choking on pretzel while watching a football game?  Maybe that was more ridiculous than dramatic, but I’d hardly call Norovirus high drama.  On to the comments about Clinton’s looks: Continue Reading »

22 Comments »

January
6th 2013
Oxycodone addict and member of notoriously drunken rich clan with fortune built on bootlegging opposes decriminalization of pot

Posted under American history & bad language & class & the body & wankers & weirdness & women's history

 

Alcohol is legal; smashing up bars is not.

I can’t make this stuff up.

Retired Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy is taking aim at what he sees as knee-jerk support for marijuana legalization among his fellow liberals, in a project that carries special meaning for the self-confessed former oxycodone addict.

Kennedy, 45, a Democrat and younger son of Edward Kennedy, is leading a group called Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) that opposes legalization and seeks to rise above America’s culture war over pot.

The sense of entitlement boggles the mind:  why would anyone find him a credible advocate?  Or is this a case of the convert being more Catholic than the Pope, as it were?  Continue Reading »

18 Comments »

December
6th 2012
That time of the year: empty brains, embodiment, Bartleby, and the mooks pushing MOOCs

Posted under American history

This is a cross-section of my skull right now.  Last classes are tomorrow.

I am grateful to MOOCs and to the specter of online courses for something:  they have made me grateful for the “residential instruction” classes I teach and the embodied human students who enroll in them.  I’ve had a particularly great group of students in both classes this term, and I’ve had fun writing new lectures and inventing new writing assignments for them.  I think we’ve had some fascinating conversations, too, about the new books we’ve read together.

I will admit that those embodied students are sometimes problematic.  A few of them have gotten pregnant this term–both of them happily so, fortunately.  One of them has unhappily suffered from complications from a brain surgery and a botched root canal.  Others of them have been called to jury duty, to custody hearings, or to funerals for their formerly embodied family members.  One even served as a delegate to the Democratic National convention.  Continue Reading »

21 Comments »

November
12th 2012
The culture war next time.

Posted under American history & class & unhappy endings & weirdness

Thomas Edsall has some interesting thoughts about the Kulturkampf and the jobs crisis–go read.  I don’t agree with everything he writes–for example, I’m sure that he’s wrong to declare victory on behalf of the Left in the culture war, because the beauty of the Kulturkampfen mentality is that there’s always another front to advance to when forced to retreat on other fronts!  But this part of his argument caught my eye:

On a more sobering note for Democrats, a slight majority (51 percent) of voters agreed with the statement “Government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals” compared to 43 percent saying “Government should do more to solve problems.” This despite the fact that, as The New York Times reported in a Feb. 11, 2012 story, “Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It”:

The government safety net was created to keep Americans from abject poverty, but the poorest households no longer receive a majority of government benefits. A secondary mission has gradually become primary: maintaining the middle class from childhood through retirement. The share of benefits flowing to the least affluent households, the bottom fifth, has declined from 54 percent in 1979 to 36 percent in 2007.

The story points out that many people

say they want to reduce the role of government in their own lives. They are frustrated that they need help, feel guilty for taking it and resent the government for providing it. They say they want less help for themselves; less help in caring for relatives; less assistance when they reach old age.

And yet, of course, no Americans are refusing to cash unemployment or Social Security checks!  Some of them are voting for pols like Mitt Romney and Ayn Ryan, perhaps to assuage their guilt and feelings of failure.  Continue Reading »

22 Comments »

November
5th 2012
Bill Keller visits sweet, quiet Oxford

Posted under American history & class & Gender & GLBTQ & race & students

. . . and reports on what he calls the Republican Id.

I never experienced Oxford as Republican as Keller sees it.  In fact, it seemed like a little blue oasis in a sea of Butler County red, but maybe that was just me and my neighbors in the Mile Square.  And FWIW, I never met any Miami faculty like Rich Hart (what an ironic name for a glibertarian free marketeer!)  But maybe it has changed in the 11 years since I lived there.

(True confession:  Fratguy and I changed our party registration to Republican on the day of the Republican primary in 2000 so that we could vote for John McCain and therefore–we hoped–stop George W. Bush!  Sorry, America–we failed.  Also, another true fact:  Oxford is the only place I ever voted that used punchcard ballots, as in the ballots with the potential for “hanging chads.”)

This was the most interesting part of the article:  Continue Reading »

17 Comments »

October
30th 2012
What was excellent advice in 2008 looks positively prescient now!

Posted under American history & class & jobs & unhappy endings

I always thought this was a particularly good one, and not just because I grew up at the intersection of I-75 and the Ohio Turnpike.  I know a lot of you on the East and Best Coasts probably like to make fun of us yokels from Ohio, but like it or not, friends–those yokels will be picking your next president for you!  (And this yokel, now living in another swing state, has already cast her vote by mail, helping to pick your president too.)

It’s interesting to note (based on this trip down memory lane) that President Obama’s insular tendencies–and even his isolationism from powerful people in the Democratic Party–were clearly evident more than four years ago.  I know people don’t like it when I say this, but the President’s isolation, stemming from his refusal to use a great deal of the “soft power” tools of the presidency, is a political problem.  (And doesn’t the debate debacle in Denver earlier this month look different, having re-read that post?) Continue Reading »

15 Comments »

October
29th 2012
Hurricanes: another reason to appreciate the high plains desert, until the drought gets too bad.

Posted under American history & unhappy endings

Down, Sandy! Down girl!

I was very sorry to hear about Hurricane Sandy as I know that many of you regular readers and commenters live in the BosWash corridor and so stand to be flooded out, snowed in, and/or suffer damage to your homes (or all of the above!  Fun.)  I’ve been following the news today, and it looks to be one of those agonizingly slow-moving but fierce storms.  Here’s hoping that property is all that’s lost in this storm.

It’s really too bad neither of the major parties was courageous enough to make climate change an issue in the campaign this year.  (Scratch that–climate change was indeed a big issue in the Republican primary–the issue being who could deny the fact of anthropogenic climate change the fastest and promise more drill, baby, drilling!)  Although I had low expectations of President Obama, even I have managed to be disappointed by his inability or unwillingness to exercise leadership on so  many issues that are important to the Democratic base, climate change being just one of them.  I get it that the do-nothing congress has pretty much tied itself to the tracks of history in order to halt any possible Obama achievement for the past two years, but guess what?  That’s why they call it leadership.  You can’t let your political opposition dictate the terms of your agenda, let alone the boundaries of what you’re permitted to talk about.

Here’s hoping that everyone is safe and dry, even if you have to read this blog on your smartphone because you’ve lost your electricity!

11 Comments »

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