Dylan Matthews at Vox has written an ‘explainer’ in which he accepts that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick but doubts that Hillary Clinton meant to intimidate her into silence. The article is prompted by Donald Trump’s appearance with “three [emphasis added] women who allege the former president sexually assaulted them” preceding his debate with Hillary Clinton. Continue reading Yes, Hillary Clinton must answer for Bill Clinton’s sexual assaults
Note, September 30, 2016: This post has been updated in line.
On learning that Congress had overridden Barack Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), a law limiting sovereign immunity for Saudi Arabia against lawsuits in connection with the 9/11 attacks, I wondered how one defends sovereign immunity. Continue reading Congress didn’t go far enough in overriding Barack Obama’s veto of JASTA
This is a misleading excerpt:
Class of 2020, welcome to college… Building a bridge to the 16th century must seem like a perverse prescription for today’s ills. I’m the first to admit that English Renaissance pedagogy was rigid and rightly mocked for its domineering pedants. Few of you would be eager to wake up before 6 a.m. to say mandatory prayers, or to be lashed for tardiness, much less translate Latin for hours on end every day of the week. It would be hard to design a system more antithetical to our own contemporary ideals of student-centered, present-focused, and career-oriented education. Yet this system somehow managed to nurture world-shifting thinkers, including those who launched the Scientific Revolution. This education fostered some of the very habits of mind endorsed by both the National Education Association and the Partnership for 21st Century Learning: critical thinking; clear communication; collaboration; and creativity. (To these ‘4Cs,’ I would add ‘curiosity.’) Given that your own education has fallen far short of those laudable goals, I urge you to reconsider Shakespeare’s intellectual formation: that is, not what he purportedly thought — about law or love or leadership — but how he thought. An apparently rigid educational system could, paradoxically, induce liberated thinking.
I found this passage in Prufrock, a traditionalist conservative literary newsletter. But if the intent, and how could it be otherwise, was to entice me to read the original article, it succeeded brilliantly. I was drawn to the article from which it is drawn out of both a sense of horror and curiosity as to how one might justify such an approach. Continue reading Education for robots
“The key dividing line in the U.S.,” writes John Feffer of the polarization that has bedeviled the Obama presidency, that lies behind the ‘Brexit’ vote, and that now portends a possible Donald Trump presidency, “had little to do with Republican vs. Democrat, rich vs. poor, or liberal vs. conservative.” The “rich vs. poor” part of that is an audacious claim. It excludes folks who, as Bill Black is careful to point out, do not merely “feel” “left behind” but are “in fact being left in the dust by the financial elites,” and who, as Tracy Thompson describes them, “have been banished to life far away and out of sight” in what she describes as a “weirdly depopulated landscape.” That they might not be counted among the poor is wholly contradicted by the remainder of Feffer’s article. Continue reading When experts are not experts
At some point, actually on May 30th, I’d seen enough of the arguments in the campaign leading up to the United Kingdom referendum on remaining in or leaving the European Union, often labeled “Brexit,” to conclude that this was largely a race between neoliberals against authoritarian populists and paleoconservatives. Which is to say, it’s not the sort of race I like to take sides in. I am radical, not conservative, these are conservative arguments, and as I wrote at the time, Continue reading The ‘Brexit’ vote may signify the end of the illusion of ‘progress’
In the fifteen years since I was last gainfully employed and through two alleged economic recoveries that have transpired since that time, it has been an ongoing source of pain to me that not one person I know has connected me with employment. In that time, I have completed a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, and a Ph.D. It is not like I have nothing to offer.
But to many of my friends, as to the world in general, it is as if I have no value. In my self-introduction page, I write,
Imagine being sealed in a concrete tomb, buried a mile underground. No matter how loudly you scream, no matter how hard you pound your fists on the walls, no one will hear you. This is what my job search often feels like.
But in fact it’s worse. Because some people do hear me. They have a fantasy that something will surely come through for me. They have been saying this, in one form or another, since I lost my last real job in the dot-com crash in 2001. It never happens, but they just carry on with their lives, as year, after year, after year passes.
It is my problem after all, not theirs. But it is a problem I am incapable of solving on my own.
I go on to detail my efforts to find work. But for all that, in all that time, I have had a grand total of three interviews for employment that even remotely reflects my value. I am twisting on the vine here, unable to go anywhere or do anything, because I have so little money. One would think that friends wouldn’t allow friends to suffer so. Continue reading My friends are harmful for my health
Correction, June 13, 2016, 08:22: There is apparently some uncertainty surrounding the precise toll in the Orlando attack. I originally drew a death toll of 51 from the Wall Street Journal headline; the story has since been quietly modified to reflect a toll of 49. This post has been modified accordingly.
Update, June 13, 2016: 09:06: A CNN story clarifies that a previously reported death toll of 50 “had included the gunman.”
Reacting to yet another mass shooting, this time at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which the dominant narrative has labeled “[t]he deadliest shooting attack in U.S. history,” Lauren Chief Elk posted on Twitter,
Continue reading Killing is our business
Update, June 8, 2016, 00:24: This post has been updated to reflect Hillary Clinton’s apparent victory in California.
Update, June 8, 2016, 13:27: This post has been updated with more information on Clinton’s now-confirmed victory in California.
So I popped into Facebook after putting out a 3rd edition of yesterday’s (June 6, 2016) Daily Bullshit and quickly found three memes that seem to capture a mood (figures 1, 2, and 3):
Fig. 1. Meme found on Facebook, June 6, 2016, fair use.
Fig. 2. Meme found on Facebook, June 6, 2016, fair use.
Continue reading The two-party system crashes and burns
Fig. 3. Meme found on Facebook, June 6, 2016, fair use.
I was having coffee with a woman yesterday when the topic of what we might call appropriated identities came up. This is an issue I’ve struggled with in the past, particularly with regard to the cases of Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal. I hadn’t expected to talk about this and, in fact, it was pretty far from my mind when it came up, but after citing experiences where whites venture into American Indian communities and try to adopt an Indian identity, she mentioned the cases of Jenner and Dolezal. Continue reading Appropriated identities
When last I wrote about the case of Melissa Click, I supported the University of Missouri’s decision to fire her because “the principle of academic freedom does not cover misdemeanor assault.” Click had “called for ‘muscle’ to remove a student journalist” who was taking photographs for ESPN as Concerned Student 1950 “protesters form[ed] a giant circle around the encampment, arms interlocked, chanting, at one point, ‘Ho ho, reporters have got to go.'” A video recording of the incident recorded an unidentified voice saying, “Back off our personal space,” despite the fact that the protest occurred on the university quad—a very public space. Suffice it to say, I was not impressed. Continue reading ‘Academic freedom’ now apparently includes threatening to beat the shit out of someone