Mike Pence Seems to Believe That the Real Intolerance Is Not Being Willing to Tolerate Someone Else’s Righteous Intolerance

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Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

All day the talking heads on cable news have been debating whether the new Indiana law protecting “religious freedom” is actually a bill sanctioning biased treatment of LGBT individuals.

A number Far-Right mouthpieces have tried to mount a defense of the law and of Indiana Governor Mike Pence, whose inability either to provide any coherent defense of the law or to step away from it in any decisive way was painfully evident on one of the Sunday morning political talk shows.

Put aside the fact that almost no one has asked the most obvious question: namely, why Pence was so clearly unprepared to answer the one question that he was certain to be asked because answering it was the only reason that he had been invited to appear. The defense of Pence and the law now irrevocably associated with him has amounted to three relentlessly but futilely repeated talking points:

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How Many Moses-es Will It Take to Push Back These Waters?

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Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Several days ago, I did a post on how rising ocean levels will affect Florida.

Here is a link to a short but very pointed video on how rising ocean levels will affect the coastlines of southern and eastern Asia: http://www.businessinsider.com/asia-earth-ice-melted-rising-ocean-coastline-china-india-2015-3

I doubt that such forecasting or modeling will be appreciated by those who are ideologically opposed to any shift away from our ongoing dependence on fossil fuels. After all, if the governor of the state of Florida, as well as the governor of the state of Louisiana, are untroubled by the prospect that much of their states may literally dissolve into the rising oceans, how can we expect Far-Right politicians from the Plains and the Mountain states to be concerned about rising ocean levels?

But as even this short video makes clear, rising ocean levels will not simply be a climate catastrophe. They will, instead, be a human catastrophe—that…

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Rick Scott, a Political Descendant of Bartleby the Scrivener, Prefers Not to (Talk about It)

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Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Here is a current map of Florida:


Here, in contrast is a map of what will be left of Florida if the polar ice caps continue to melt:

Florida after Sea Rise

So the revelations over this past week that Florida Governor Rick Scott has prohibited state employees from using the term “climate change” are fairly astounding on multiple levels.

First, if you consider the two maps of Florida, Scott’s prohibition is reminiscent of the stance taken by the mayor of Amity when it becomes clear that a Great White Shark is roaming the waters off the island resort. The mayor would rather ignore the worst possibilities, no matter how imminent they may seem to be, because simply acknowledging them might cause vacationers to change their plans and negatively impact the community’s businesses that depend heavily on the tourist season. Likewise, Scott would like residents, tourists, and investors to ignore for as long as…

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Epistocracy– the Alternative to Democracy Being Promoted by Those in Koch-Funded Academic Positions

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Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Here are the opening paragraphs of an article written by Natalie Schulhof for the Fourth Estate, the student newspaper at George Mason University:

“Garett Jones, associate economics professor at George Mason University, says that there should be less democracy in the United States, according to a talk he gave on Feb. 24.

“Jones says that less democracy and more epistocracy could lead to better governance. Democracy leaves power to the majority while epistocracy allocates power to the knowledgeable. Jones did not imply that democracy should be eliminated, but lessened by 10% for the sake of long term economic growth.

“According to Jones, less democracy would lead to better governance because politicians would be inclined to work on long term growth rather than spending to impress constituents during election season. Politicians try to please the public at the expense of neglecting long-term policies because they are elected through a democratic…

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Testimony to Ohio Legislature on Budget from One Ohio Now

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Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

I am posting this testimony as a companion post to my earlier posting of the testimony of Ohio Conference President, John McNay, to the Ohio Senate Committee responsible for higher-education appropriations [http://academeblog.org/2015/03/05/ohio-conference-president-provides-senate-testimony-on-the-decline-in-state-support-administrate-bloat-the-cost-of-intercollegiate-athletics-and-faculty-workload/].

Although this is testimony on the broader budget, you can see that the emphases in the statements complement each other, in some ways very pointedly. Taken together, the two statements on policy demonstrate the value of conferences’ building alliances with other groups.

Our conference and my chapter make modest contributions in support of One Ohio Now, and those investments have been very worthwhile not only because of the very good work being done by One Ohio Now but also because of the linkages with a broad spectrum of Progressive groups that our involvement in One Ohio Now has made possible.


Testimony before Ohio House Ways and Means Committee

March 4, 2015

My name is Gavin…

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This Is a Joke Only in the Existential Sense

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Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

That is, this is a joke only in the sense that “this is how the world ends” might provoke laughter as the last defense against the overwhelming sense of the absurdity of existence in the face of its end.

What follows is the daily column written by Joseph (Yussef) Farrah for World Net Daily, a Far-Right news source for those who believe that American Spectator and National Review have a taint of Progressivism.

When you read it, please bear in mind that it was distributed to subscribers to World Net Daily’s newsletters today. Clearly, the issues that it purports to address are not dead issues for people on their end of the political spectrum, even if many of us would like to think so.

So the next time that a Far Right politician, political operative, or political commentator tries to pass off some patently offensive, grossly distorted…

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Can Television Personalities—Media Personas–Even Have Personal Histories?

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Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

When 24/7 cable news channels were introduced, it seemed as if the great promise of television as a tool to educate the citizenry was about to be realized. Some optimistic prognosticators envisioned day-long series of reports like those presented on Edward R. Murrow’s See It Now or CBS’s 60 Minutes. Perhaps those prognosticators should have looked more closely at what else was on television. Perhaps they should simply have known better.

Put aside that the news channels don’t provide news 24/7: that is, put aside the non-news programming that now appears on all of the cable news channels—from Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown that is broadcast on CNN during primetime to the endless prison documentaries that air after primetime on weekend nights on MSNBC. Still, the most astonishing and paradoxical thing about the cable news channels is how little of the air time is devoted to actually reporting news and…

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In Praise of Scott Walker—An Annotated Response to a Wall Street Journal News Story

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Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Colleges are usually at the forefront of radical politics [The word “radical” suggests extreme and abrupt change driven by ideological rather than practical concerns. These days there is much more political radicalism on the Far Right than anywhere on the Left], but when it comes to their own privileges they become feudal empires [Loaded language that is especially hypocritical coming from the Right, which has advanced policies based on the premise that income inequality is not a problem and wealth is a birthright for the select few.]. Behold the revolt in the Wisconsin state university system over Governor Scott Walker ’s appeal for modest accountability. [Mixed metaphors—How does a feudal empire revolt? It cannot both represent the entrenched status quo and be revolting against it? “Modest accountability” is a facile euphemism for “putting the screws to” higher education in the state.]

In Mr…

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Legislating History, Legislating Science, Legislating Reality

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Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Much of what is coming from the Far Right these days could come straight out of George Orwell or Jonathan Swift.

An Oklahoma legislative committee has just voted to forward to the legislature a bill eliminating the funding for Advanced Placement history courses. In fact, the overwhelming demonstration of support for that bill both within the committee and in the broader legislature has prodded legislators to introduce a bill eliminating funding for all Advanced Placement courses.


The following explanation is offered by Think Progress [http://thinkprogress.org/education/2015/02/17/3623683/oklahoma-lawmakers-vote-overwhleming-ban-advanced-placement-history-class/]:

“An Oklahoma legislative committee overwhelmingly voted to ban Advanced Placement U.S. History class, persuaded by the argument that it only teaches students ‘what is bad about America.’ Other lawmakers are seeking a court ruling that would effectively prohibit the teaching of all AP courses in public schools.

“Oklahoma Rep. Dan Fisher (R) has introduced ‘emergency’ legislation ‘prohibiting the expenditure…

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More Budgetary Hijinks from Bobby Jindal

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Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

I have been chronicling the ever-increasing state budget deficit in Louisiana, Bobby Jindal’s ideologically doctrinaire and ineffectual attempts to find a solution to that deficit that does not involve raising any taxes, and the catastrophic impact that this situation will almost certainly have on Lousiana’s public colleges and universities.

This past week Jindal floated another proposal that confirms that he is not only never going to be the GOP nominee for the presidency but also never ought to have been elected governor of a state.

On February 11, an article by Juan Sanchez was published on the website of WDSL in New Orleans []. The article contains the following capsule summary of the budget deficit’s potential impact on public higher education in Louisiana:

“Last week, the state announced that up to $400 million is being considered for higher education next year to help cope with a $1.6 billion budget shortfall.

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