We got a huge amount of reader response to my post yesterday about the impending demise of the University of Wisconsin. That's not terribly surprising. One of the things we've learned over the years from audience research is that about half our readers have advanced degrees and a disproportionately large number of them are in education, from K through college. As I said in that post, I'm more interested in the practical effect of what Walker is trying to do than a discussion of tenure in the abstract. Because what Walker is doing is basically like lighting your own house on fire. States can get into financial jams and need to cut spending, either because of budgetary mismanagement or rough economic times. But if you look closely at what Walker is doing there's no real budgetary imperative behind it. It's just a desire to destroy a great public institution for the sake of doing it, driven in part by right-wing ideology and in part by the palpable animus Walker himself holds to people who managed to get an education.
A big part of what is happening here is that, to people like Walker, Madison is an anchor of Wisconsin liberalism. But not just liberalism in the partisan political sense, also scarier things like empirical thinking and new ideas. And it's not just the humanities. What really comes out in this article is how much of the scythe is aimed at the sciences.Read More →
White Texas schoolteacher fired over her Facebook post about the McKinney pool incident: "I’m almost to the point of wanting them all segregated on one side of town so they can hurt each other and leave the innocent people alone."
We're hiring a Reporter to work out of our Washington, DC office. Job description and listing after the jump ...Read More →
The North Carolina House just put together the votes necessary to override Gov Pat McCrory's (R) veto of a 'religious freedom' bill. The Senate had already done the same. McCrory, as that little R signifies, is a Republican and one who opposes gay marriage. But he reasoned, really beyond any possible reasonable counter-argument, that "no public official who voluntarily swears to support and defend the Constitution and to discharge all duties of their office should be exempt from upholding that oath.”Read More →
I don't expect much more to come of this Diane Rehm/Sanders brouhaha, mainly because Rehm has such profound buy-in and goodwill from media and political figures in Washington; because Sanders himself isn't making a big deal out of it; and because the people who usually bang the pans loudest about anti-Semitism themselves aren't fully invested because they don't share Sanders' politics (though they're certainly not ignoring it). But if you're asking me, Diane Rehm's explanation is a complete crock.
If you read Rehm's explanation from her show this morning, a reader on Facebook gave her a 'list' and suggested she ask Sanders about it. Her mistake was stating it as a fact and asking him to respond to that fact rather than asking it as a question. Now, even though she mishandled the question, she's glad she could help put the rumor to rest.
That's bullshit.Read More →
Bernie Sanders on that bizarre line of questioning from Diane Rehm: "I suspect what happens is her staff gives her a list of questions and someone screwed up pretty bad."
As he readies to run for president and grabs whatever low hanging fruit on the conservative agenda tree he can find, Scott Walker is now planning to strip tenure from professors in the University of Wisconsin higher education system.
This will undoubtedly be portrayed and fought over as a matter of academic freedom. Tenure is among other things in place to protect scholars from the patronage and political demands of the moment and incentivize independent scholarship free of ideological, market or political pressures. That is 100% true. And by and large it is a good system - especially when understood in the larger context of academic life.
But let's be honest: there's basically zero way you win a fight in the political realm to defend lifetime job security for relatively high paid professors who do zero manual labor.Read More →
Turns out the white woman whose alleged racial slurs touched off the disturbance at the McKinney, Texas pool works for a publicly traded corporation. Or did. The company has placed her on administrative leave pending further investigation.
What's really behind the onslaught of 20-week abortion bans? Abortion foes are very candid about it with TPM's Tierney Sneed.