Older than we thought: ‘The Crisis of the Humanities’

Inquiry

This is the sort of article that seems too easy to interpret to support one’s own prejudices. Indeed, the authors cite important examples of how Max Weber’s work was misinterpreted to support scholars’ own prejudices. But if I understand correctly, Weber sought to elevate inquiry itself as a calling.[1] Then again, it’s much too easy to misinterpret. I think I want the book anyway.

Paul Reitter and Chad Wellmon, “Max Weber Invented the Crisis of the Humanities,” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 6, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/20200206-MaxWeber


Authoritarianism

George Monbiot’s use of the word fascism is neither entirely consistent nor entirely inconsistent with my own.

Monbiot is writing about authoritarianism—and this is the term he prefers—but considers it a root of fascism. In this work,[2] he does not recognize the cycle I consider essential to fascism, that being where violence, whether structural or physical, is deployed as a means of building popular support, even as I think the regimes he points to indeed do just that.[3] At the same time, in seeking to distinguish authoritarianism from fascism, he repeats the much-more-often-than-not seen error of failing to offer a definition for the latter.[4]

Still, his essay is important in documenting a pattern of right wing authoritarianism—I mean to distinguish this from authoritarian populism if only because I have not satisfied myself that this is indeed the same phenomenon—around the world.[5] My own work has concentrated on the United States but I have seen what looks a lot like authoritarian populism certainly in Britain, where I’ve argued it originated, with Brexit, and I have seen neoliberalism, the so-called “Washington Consensus,” as having been imposed throughout the world by way of institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. I need to at least begin considering how my seven tendencies of conservatism[6] may indeed have global applicability.

George Monbiot, “The Roots of Fascism,” February 11, 2020, https://www.monbiot.com/2020/02/11/the-roots-of-fascism/


  1. [1]Paul Reitter and Chad Wellmon, “Max Weber Invented the Crisis of the Humanities,” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 6, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/20200206-MaxWeber
  2. [2]George Monbiot, “The Roots of Fascism,” February 11, 2020, https://www.monbiot.com/2020/02/11/the-roots-of-fascism/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “A simple definition of fascism,” Not Housebroken, July 6, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/07/06/a-simple-definition-of-fascism/
  4. [4]George Monbiot, “The Roots of Fascism,” February 11, 2020, https://www.monbiot.com/2020/02/11/the-roots-of-fascism/
  5. [5]George Monbiot, “The Roots of Fascism,” February 11, 2020, https://www.monbiot.com/2020/02/11/the-roots-of-fascism/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “The seven tendencies of conservatism,” Irregular Bullshit, n.d., https://disunitedstates.com/the-seven-tendencies-of-conservatism/

For-profit accreditation scammers scamming

For-profit schools

The following two statements, both attributed to the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools and quoted directly from the article, very likely contradict each other:

“To the contrary, we [the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools] believe strongly that the information the agency submitted with its recognition application – both narrative and evidence – satisfies any reasonable interpretation of [the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s] standards,” the accrediting agency said in its letter to CHEA.

ACICS said it had significant concerns about CHEA’s recognition process and about “its ongoing implementation of several new policies.” The agency said it plans to reapply at a later date.[1]

Unfortunately,

Recognition by CHEA isn’t necessary for an accreditor to oversee federal aid eligibility. But approval by the association can affect decisions by state authorizers, specialized accrediting agencies, licensing boards and some institutional authorities in other countries.[2]

Financial aid is, of course, what keeps for-profit schools in business. And that’s precisely what makes them a scam. And it’s awfully fishy that Betsy DeVos loves them so.

Paul Fain, “For-Profit Accreditor Drops Recognition Bid,” Inside Higher Ed, January 20, 2020, https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2020/01/20/profit-accreditor-drops-recognition-bid


Pittsburgh

Ryan Deto, “The displacement of Anthony Hardison from his Lawrenceville apartment is a microcosm of a neighborhood epidemic,” Pittsburgh City Paper, January 15, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/the-displacement-of-anthony-hardison-from-his-lawrenceville-apartment-is-a-microcosm-of-a-neighborhood-epidemic/Content?oid=16556108

Ollie Gratzinger, “Allegheny County issues another fine to US Steel for air pollution violation,” Pittsburgh City Paper, January 17, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/allegheny-county-issues-another-fine-to-us-steel-for-air-pollution-violation/Content?oid=16576925


  1. [1]Paul Fain, “For-Profit Accreditor Drops Recognition Bid,” Inside Higher Ed, January 20, 2020, https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2020/01/20/profit-accreditor-drops-recognition-bid
  2. [2]Paul Fain, “For-Profit Accreditor Drops Recognition Bid,” Inside Higher Ed, January 20, 2020, https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2020/01/20/profit-accreditor-drops-recognition-bid

For-profit schools’ most favorite education secretary ever is in contempt of court

For-profit schools

Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, “Federal judge holds DeVos in contempt in loan case, slaps Education Department with $100,000 fine,” Washington Post, October 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/10/24/federal-judge-holds-devos-contempt-loan-case-slaps-education-dept-with-fine/


Kincade fire

There is a new blog post entitled, “The Kincade fire and the limits of human hubris.”

Randi Rossman and Will Schmitt, “Broken PG&E tower discovered near origin of Kincade fire on The Geysers geothermal power property,” Santa Rosa Press Democrat, October 25, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10216601-181/kincade-fire-starts-inside-the

Reis Thebault, Kim Bellware, and Andrew Freedman, “High-voltage power line broke near origin of massive California fire that forced thousands of evacuations,” Washington Post, October 25, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/10/24/fast-moving-wildfire-ignites-northern-california-wine-country-prompting-evacuations/


Veganism

George Reynolds, “Why do people hate vegans?” Guardian, October 25, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/oct/25/why-do-people-hate-vegans


Brexit

Sam Knight has written a history of Brexit, pretty much since Theresa May was toppled.[1] After all, it has been one very long, very strange journey and we still don’t know, really, how it ends.

Sam Knight, “How Brexit Will End,” New Yorker, October 25, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/11/04/how-brexit-will-end


James Comey

Tammy Kupperman et al., “Judge says impeachment inquiry is legal and justifies disclosing grand jury material,” CNN, October 25, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/25/politics/grand-jury-impeachment-mueller/index.html


  1. [1]Sam Knight, “How Brexit Will End,” New Yorker, October 25, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/11/04/how-brexit-will-end

The spoiled child

Brexit

Edward Malnick and Christopher Hope, “Boris Johnson to sabotage EU if forced to delay Brexit,” Telegraph, October 6, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/05/boris-johnson-sabotage-eu-forced-delay-brexit/

Tim Shipman and Caroline Wheeler, “‘Sack me if you dare,’ Boris Johnson will tell the Queen,” Times, October 6, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/sack-me-if-you-dare-boris-johnson-will-tell-the-queen-fsbpsnjdc



Whistle blowing

At first blush, Norman Solomon’s article appears to pose a false equivalence between a whistle blower who broke the law (albeit in defense of the constitution) and and one who followed the law. Solomon gets to that.[1]

Norman Solomon, “Pelosi Wants to Prosecute Snowden But Protect Trump Whistleblower,” Truthout, October 4, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/pelosi-wants-to-prosecute-snowden-but-protect-trump-whistleblower/


Academia

Alia Wong, “College Students Just Want Normal Libraries,” Atlantic, October 4, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2019/10/college-students-dont-want-fancy-libraries/599455/


Elon Musk

Rafi Letzter, “Why NASA’s Annoyed About Elon Musk’s Giant Rocket,” Live Science, October 5, 2019, https://www.livescience.com/starship-crew-dragon-spacex-nasa-bridenstine.html


  1. [1]Norman Solomon, “Pelosi Wants to Prosecute Snowden But Protect Trump Whistleblower,” Truthout, October 4, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/pelosi-wants-to-prosecute-snowden-but-protect-trump-whistleblower/

The Sword of Damocles

Brexit

Peter Walker and Owen Bowcott, “Brexit forecast: what will happen between now and 31 October?” Guardian, September 27, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/27/brexit-forecast-what-will-happen-between-now-31-october

Lisa O’Carroll and Heather Stewart, “Boris Johnson’s ‘secret Irish border plans’ dismissed as non-starter,” Guardian, September 30, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/30/hardline-conservative-brexiters-open-door-to-support-for-deal

Peter Foster, “Boris Johnson to reveal his final Brexit plan to EU leaders within 24 hours,” Telegraph, October 1, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/30/boris-johnson-reveal-final-brexit-plan-eu-leaders-within-24/


Academia

Sheila Liming, “My University is Dying,” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 25, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/20190925-my-university-is-dying


Accreditors going wild

For-profit institutions

There is a new blog post entitled, “The conundrum of higher education accreditation.”

Eric Kelderman, “The Education Dept. Wants Accreditors to Compete. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 11, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Education-Dept-Wants/246658


Census

Jessica Schneider, “Federal judge permanently blocks Trump admin from adding citizenship question to 2020 census,” CNN, July 16, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/16/politics/judge-permanently-blocks-citizenship-question-2020-census/index.html

Jessica Schneider, “2nd federal judge blocks Trump admin from adding citizenship question to census,” CNN, July 17, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/17/politics/2020-census-citizenship/index.html

Felicia Sonmez, “House votes to hold Attorney General Barr, Commerce Secretary Ross in contempt for failing to comply with subpoena on 2020 Census,” Washington Post, July 17, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-to-vote-to-hold-barr-ross-in-contempt-over-2020-census-citizenship-question/2019/07/17/8dbeb35c-a89c-11e9-a3a6-ab670962db05_story.html


Donald Trump

The comments from [Will] Hurd and [Mike] Turner were commendably direct and unvarnished. But they need to be placed in context. The hundred and sixteenth Congress contains a hundred and ninety-seven Republican representatives and fifty-three Republican senators. Of these two hundred and fifty profiles in courage, Hurd and Turner were the sole ones to specifically use the word “racist” to describe [Donald] Trump’s attack. Other Republicans, even as they broke with Trump and criticized his comments, ransacked the thesaurus to avoid it.[1]

So the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted, 332-to-95, including “137 [Democrats] voting to effectively kill the [impeachment] resolution and 95 opposing the move.”[2] It was specifically about Donald Trump’s multiple forms of xenophobia, not about any wrongdoing found or suspected by Robert Mueller.[3] Which is all to say that neoliberals are nearly as afraid of Trump’s base as Republicans.

I understand and have previously acknowledged[4] the neoliberals have a strategy that requires some patience.[5] Indeed, they made a move to advance that strategy, holding William Barr and Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt for failing to produce subpoenaed documents regarding the citizenship question on the census.[6]

But Al Green pulled a trigger.[7] Once the trigger was pulled, the process needed to succeed at every step.

Now, the optics are horrible and this situation is now very likely worse than before. Trump will be insufferable as he claims vindication. As the resolution directly addressed his racism,[8] and was defeated by such a ridiculously large margin, [9] he will now consider himself even more free to be even more bigoted in his future statements and, even more worryingly, actions. Not that there was any restraining him before: As I’ve said before, there’s no bottom with the man; he’s a black hole. But our descent has been hastened.

Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis, “House votes to kill impeachment resolution against Trump, avoiding a direct vote on whether to oust the president,” Washington Post, July 17, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/democrats-divided-as-house-to-vote-on-whether-to-consider-impeachment-of-trump/2019/07/17/dacd1c0e-a8a3-11e9-a3a6-ab670962db05_story.html

John Cassidy, “Trump’s Overt Racism Is Uniting Democrats and Unnerving Some Republicans,” New Yorker, July 15, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/trumps-overt-racism-is-uniting-democrats-and-unnerving-some-republicans

John Bresnahan, “House thrown into chaos after Pelosi decries Trump’s ‘racist’ tweets on floor,” Politico, July 16, 2019, https://www.politico.com/amp/story/2019/07/16/pelosi-trump-racism-resolution-1417365

Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, “Why Democrats’ oversight machine is moving so slowly against Trump,” Politico, July 17, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/17/democrats-oversight-strategy-mueller-1417908

Jonas Ekblom and Jan Wolfe, “In rare rebuke, dozens of Republicans hit Trump over ‘racist’ tweets,” Euronews, July 17, 2019, https://www.euronews.com/2019/07/17/in-rare-rebuke-dozens-of-republicans-hit-trump-over-racist-tweets

Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju, “Democrat says House likely to vote on impeachment resolution Wednesday,” CNN, July 17, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/17/politics/trump-impeachment-house-vote/index.html


  1. [1]John Cassidy, “Trump’s Overt Racism Is Uniting Democrats and Unnerving Some Republicans,” New Yorker, July 15, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/trumps-overt-racism-is-uniting-democrats-and-unnerving-some-republicans
  2. [2]Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis, “House votes to kill impeachment resolution against Trump, avoiding a direct vote on whether to oust the president,” Washington Post, July 17, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/democrats-divided-as-house-to-vote-on-whether-to-consider-impeachment-of-trump/2019/07/17/dacd1c0e-a8a3-11e9-a3a6-ab670962db05_story.html
  3. [3]Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju, “Democrat says House likely to vote on impeachment resolution Wednesday,” CNN, July 17, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/17/politics/trump-impeachment-house-vote/index.html
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Calls for impeachment are the latest displays of the naturalistic fallacy and system justification,” Not Housebroken, May 23, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/05/23/calls-for-impeachment-are-the-latest-displays-of-the-naturalistic-fallacy-and-system-justification/
  5. [5]Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, “Why Democrats’ oversight machine is moving so slowly against Trump,” Politico, July 17, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/17/democrats-oversight-strategy-mueller-1417908
  6. [6]Felicia Sonmez, “House votes to hold Attorney General Barr, Commerce Secretary Ross in contempt for failing to comply with subpoena on 2020 Census,” Washington Post, July 17, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-to-vote-to-hold-barr-ross-in-contempt-over-2020-census-citizenship-question/2019/07/17/8dbeb35c-a89c-11e9-a3a6-ab670962db05_story.html
  7. [7]Rachael Bade, “Rep. Green files articles of impeachment against Trump despite pushback from Democratic leaders,” Washington Post, July 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/rep-green-to-file-articles-of-impeachment-against-trump-despite-pushback-from-democratic-leaders/2019/07/16/63b4c0b6-a800-11e9-ac16-90dd7e5716bc_story.html
  8. [8]Rachael Bade, “Rep. Green files articles of impeachment against Trump despite pushback from Democratic leaders,” Washington Post, July 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/rep-green-to-file-articles-of-impeachment-against-trump-despite-pushback-from-democratic-leaders/2019/07/16/63b4c0b6-a800-11e9-ac16-90dd7e5716bc_story.html; Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju, “Democrat says House likely to vote on impeachment resolution Wednesday,” CNN, July 17, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/17/politics/trump-impeachment-house-vote/index.html
  9. [9]Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis, “House votes to kill impeachment resolution against Trump, avoiding a direct vote on whether to oust the president,” Washington Post, July 17, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/democrats-divided-as-house-to-vote-on-whether-to-consider-impeachment-of-trump/2019/07/17/dacd1c0e-a8a3-11e9-a3a6-ab670962db05_story.html

That asinine argument on ‘safe and sanitary conditions’

Migration

I have a new blog post up entitled, “It’s time to be clear: Migrant children are being held in concentration camps and the Trump administration is fascist.

Ken White, “Why a Government Lawyer Argued Against Giving Immigrant Kids Toothbrushes,” Atlantic, June 23, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/why-sarah-fabian-argued-against-giving-kids-toothbrushes/592366/


Student Loans

I can only wish that Bernie Sanders’ proposal[1] had even a snowball’s chance in hell of being enacted. I’m on income-based repayment, but with my career prospects being nil, interest is accumulating far faster than I can pay. I was at something over $300,000 when I finished my Ph.D. That number is closing in on $400,000 rapidly.

Jeff Stein, “Sanders proposes canceling entire $1.6 trillion in U.S. student loan debt, escalating Democratic policy battle,” Washington Post, June 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/sanders-to-propose-canceling-entire-16-trillion-in-us-student-loan-debt-escalating-democratic-policy-battle/2019/06/23/1eed053a-9561-11e9-aadb-74e6b2b46f6a_story.html


Pete Buttigieg

The man is running on his record as mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Apparently he’s okay with letting people freeze.[2]

Charles Bethea, “What Pete Buttigieg Has and Hasn’t Done About Homelessness in South Bend,” New Yorker, June 24, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/dispatch/what-pete-buttigieg-has-and-hasnt-done-about-homelessness-in-south-bend


Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson will probably be prime minister anyway.[3]

To imagine—or perhaps to hope—that questions about Johnson’s character might undermine his chances of becoming the next Prime Minister would be to overlook the crucial point governing the Conservative Party’s leadership election, which is that Johnson’s character—jocose, undiplomatic, entitled—is the thing that Tory members like the most about him. It is hardly that questions about Johnson’s character have not been raised before: the list of offenses he has committed, professional and personal, minor and major, is well known. Did he embroider the truth and fabricate facts as a journalist? Yes. Did he tell voters on the campaign trail that voting Tory would “cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3”? Yes. Was he obliged, only last year, to apologize to the House of Commons after failing to declare outside income as an M.P.? Yes. Has he been known, even celebrated, for decades, as a world-class philanderer? Yes. Has he deployed his old Etonian charm, and a rhetorical charisma honed in the vaunted chamber of the Oxford Union, in the service of a vacuous superciliousness that has propelled him almost to the top of Britain’s political establishment? Most certainly.

That Johnson is undisciplined, careless, and arrogant could not be more widely documented or better known. That these qualities are cherished in him by the Conservative Party faithful—who will, because of the peculiarities of British parliamentary democracy, get to choose the Prime Minister for the rest of the country—could not be more transparent.[4]

Rebecca Mead, “Will Boris Johnson’s “Late-Night Altercation” Sink His Bid to Become Prime Minister?” New Yorker, June 23, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-the-uk/will-boris-johnsons-late-night-altercation-sink-his-bid-to-become-prime-minister


Turkey

I mostly covered this yesterday.[5] A detail I did not have at that time—or possibly just missed—was that “initial results showed that with 99% of ballots counted the People’s Republican party (CHP) candidate had increased his lead in March, of 13,000 votes, to an astonishing 777,000, or 54%.”[6] It’s a lot harder to plead ballot tampering with that kind of a margin.

Bethan McKernan, “Erdoğan party defeated in controversial rerun of Istanbul mayoral poll,” Guardian, June 23, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/23/erdogan-faces-scrutiny-once-more-as-istanbul-goes-back-to-the-polls


  1. [1]Jeff Stein, “Sanders proposes canceling entire $1.6 trillion in U.S. student loan debt, escalating Democratic policy battle,” Washington Post, June 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/sanders-to-propose-canceling-entire-16-trillion-in-us-student-loan-debt-escalating-democratic-policy-battle/2019/06/23/1eed053a-9561-11e9-aadb-74e6b2b46f6a_story.html
  2. [2]Charles Bethea, “What Pete Buttigieg Has and Hasn’t Done About Homelessness in South Bend,” New Yorker, June 24, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/dispatch/what-pete-buttigieg-has-and-hasnt-done-about-homelessness-in-south-bend
  3. [3]Rebecca Mead, “Will Boris Johnson’s “Late-Night Altercation” Sink His Bid to Become Prime Minister?” New Yorker, June 23, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-the-uk/will-boris-johnsons-late-night-altercation-sink-his-bid-to-become-prime-minister
  4. [4]Rebecca Mead, “Will Boris Johnson’s “Late-Night Altercation” Sink His Bid to Become Prime Minister?” New Yorker, June 23, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-the-uk/will-boris-johnsons-late-night-altercation-sink-his-bid-to-become-prime-minister
  5. [5]David Benfell, “What? Are you trying to tell me that row Boris Johnson had with Carrie Symonds might reflect on his character? Really? Surely you jest,” Irregular Bullshit, June 23, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/06/23/5520/
  6. [6]Bethan McKernan, “Erdoğan party defeated in controversial rerun of Istanbul mayoral poll,” Guardian, June 23, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/23/erdogan-faces-scrutiny-once-more-as-istanbul-goes-back-to-the-polls

Abort, abort!

I do not believe I will be able to find a place in western Massachusetts. The blog entry is entitled, “If you don’t like homelessness, here’s an idea: Make it possible to rent an apartment.” I had briefly published a Longmeadow address in my contact information page; that address has now been removed—I got my money back.

The motel is more difficult: The manager does not return until Sunday and I probably won’t leave until Monday or Tuesday anyway. I need to catch up, including on email, which I’ve been doing very poorly so far.

Plan B is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Plan C is Portland, Oregon. Plan D is back to my mother’s. But I really like the trees back east. I’m hoping Pittsburgh will work.

I still have a lot of catching up to do.



Guantanamo

Missy Ryan, “In a setback for Guantanamo, court throws out years of rulings in USS Cole case,” Washington Post, April 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/in-a-setback-for-guantanamo-court-throws-out-years-of-rulings-in-uss-cole-case/2019/04/16/6c63e052-606b-11e9-bfad-36a7eb36cb60_story.html


Assessment

One of the questions I kept asking throughout my doctoral program was why we, who were being educated in the deficiencies of a quantitative approach, were evaluating our classes at the end of each semester using—of course—a quantitative approach: to be precise, Likert scales. Every syllabus included a very similar, if not identical, rubric which was supposed to tell us how our work would be evaluated—quantitatively. (I doubt that any of my professors actually used that rubric.)

So guess what happened at “the annual gathering of the WASC Senior College and University Commission, which accredits institutions in California, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands?” People piled on about quantitative assessments of “learning outcomes” (more absolute fucking bullshit).[1] The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is, one way or another, the accreditor for all of my post-secondary education, including at California Institute of Integral Studies (where I studied in what was the wrong program for me) and Saybrook (where I earned my Ph.D.).

Doug Lederman, “Harsh Take on Assessment … From Assessment Pros,” Inside Higher Ed, April 17, 2019, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/04/17/advocates-student-learning-assessment-say-its-time-different-approach


  1. [1]Doug Lederman, “Harsh Take on Assessment … From Assessment Pros,” Inside Higher Ed, April 17, 2019, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/04/17/advocates-student-learning-assessment-say-its-time-different-approach

What is ‘necessary’ force?

This has been a difficult issue for me to publish and there is more that should be here. Sometimes, the weight of it all—I refer not only to wanton cruelty but pointless stupidity and sheer animus—is more than I can bear.


Updates

  1. Originally published, April 4, 11:28 am.
  2. April 4, 9:37 pm:
    • Donald Trump’s Twitter rant about a ‘caravan’ of Central American refugees is, well, just unhinged.[1] (Unauthorized migration)
  3. April 6, 10:18 am:
    • Kate Morrissey covers the difficulties of implementing Donald Trump’s request—this is an order he can’t give on his own—to deploy the National Guard to the Mexican border.[2] Approval for the plan from California’s Governor Jerry Brown should not, ahem, be taken for granted.[3] (Unauthorized migration)
    • I am not caught up.
  4. April 6, 12:02 pm:
    • The story that has been one more than I could take is of the Israeli shooting of Palestinian protesters in a March of Return to the boundary between Israel and Gaza. Seventeen are dead, hundreds wounded.[4] (Gaza)
  5. April 6, 1:43 pm:
    • There have apparently been more deaths on the second Friday of the March of Return to the Gaza-Israel boundary. (Gaza)
  6. April 6, 5:59 pm:
    • Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed federal prosecutors in states along the U.S.-Mexico border to prioritize criminal prosecutions of unauthorized migrants.[5] (Unauthorized migration)

Stephon Clark

This story, which I have excluded previously, now seems like it might—only might—actually develop in a substantive direction.

Sasha Abramsky, “The increasingly authoritarian big picture around Stephon Clark’s death,” Sacramento Bee, April 1 , 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/california-forum/article207637364.html

Alexei Koseff, “Police could only use deadly force when ‘necessary’ under new California proposal,” Sacramento Bee, April 3, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/site-services/newsletters/capitol-alert-newsletter/article207741689.html


Russian sanctions

The question of what is up with Donald Trump and Russia remains open.

John Bowden, “State Department: Expelled diplomats can be replaced,” Hill, April 3, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/international/381432-state-department-expelled-diplomats-can-be-replaced


For-profit schools

That for-profit schools continue to be accredited, even by accreditors not set up to coddle them,[6] exposes accreditation as a lie.

Andrew Kreighbaum, “DeVos Restores Recognition of For-Profit Accreditor Terminated by Obama Administration,” Inside Higher Ed, April 4, 2018, https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2018/04/04/devos-restores-recognition-profit-accreditor-terminated-obama-administration


Unauthorized migration

Emily Cadei and Anita Kumar, “Send National Guard to border? California is undecided,” Sacramento Bee, April 4, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article207982484.html

Kate Morrissey, “Can Trump install troops on the California border? He faces obstacles, experts say,” Los Angeles Times, April 4, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-border-troops-explainer-20180404-story.html

Joshua Partlow, “The migrant caravan denounced by Trump will end in Mexico City, but some people vow to go on alone,” Washington Post, April 4, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the-migrant-caravan-denounced-by-trump-will-end-in-mexico-city-but-some-people-vow-to-go-on-alone/2018/04/04/e0a8fa96-378c-11e8-af3c-2123715f78df_story.html

Lydia Wheeler and Rafael Bernal, “Sessions orders ‘zero tolerance’ policy at Southwest border,” Hill, April 6, 2018, http://thehill.com/regulation/administration/381991-sessions-orders-zero-tolerance-policy-at-southwest-border


Gaza

I will say it again: A state funded in response to genocide cannot itself engage in ethnic cleansing of any sort. When it does so, it forfeits its legitimacy, its right to exist. Further, the Israeli shooting of hundreds of unarmed protesters demonstrates again how nonviolence advocates risk complicity with the oppressor.[7]
An update, Friday (April 6), on Twitter:

Neve Gordon, “Gaza’s Passover massacre,” Al Jazeera, April 1, 2018, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/gaza-passover-massacre-180401075721153.html


  1. [1]Joshua Partlow, “The migrant caravan denounced by Trump will end in Mexico City, but some people vow to go on alone,” Washington Post, April 4, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the-migrant-caravan-denounced-by-trump-will-end-in-mexico-city-but-some-people-vow-to-go-on-alone/2018/04/04/e0a8fa96-378c-11e8-af3c-2123715f78df_story.html
  2. [2]Kate Morrissey, “Can Trump install troops on the California border? He faces obstacles, experts say,” Los Angeles Times, April 4, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-border-troops-explainer-20180404-story.html
  3. [3]Emily Cadei and Anita Kumar, “Send National Guard to border? California is undecided,” Sacramento Bee, April 4, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article207982484.html
  4. [4]Neve Gordon, “Gaza’s Passover massacre,” Al Jazeera, April 1, 2018, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/gaza-passover-massacre-180401075721153.html; Michael Lerner to Tikkun mailing list, “Mourning for the 17 Palestinians killed & hundreds wounded,” April 3, 2018, http://org.salsalabs.com/o/525/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=376
  5. [5]Lydia Wheeler and Rafael Bernal, “Sessions orders ‘zero tolerance’ policy at Southwest border,” Hill, April 6, 2018, http://thehill.com/regulation/administration/381991-sessions-orders-zero-tolerance-policy-at-southwest-border
  6. [6]Andrew Kreighbaum, “DeVos Restores Recognition of For-Profit Accreditor Terminated by Obama Administration,” Inside Higher Ed, April 4, 2018, https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2018/04/04/devos-restores-recognition-profit-accreditor-terminated-obama-administration
  7. [7]Neve Gordon, “Gaza’s Passover massacre,” Al Jazeera, April 1, 2018, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/gaza-passover-massacre-180401075721153.html

Rocket man–no, not the North Korean one–comes to earth

Updates

  1. Originally published, March 27, 10:50 am.
  2. March 27, 3:22 pm:
    • Uber will allow its permit to operate self-driving cars in California to expire.[1]

Donald Trump

I have been saying for a while that Donald Trump will fall. Others have been ahead of me in suggesting that it might be Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, who brings him down. Indeed, this is a story I suspected was more about a quest for confirmation of Trump’s dick size than anything else.

That all changed when Daniels appeared on CBS News “60 Minutes.”[2] As Michael Gerson put it,

Yet who in their right mind would trust Trump’s word over hers? In this case, the porn star has more credibility than the president of the United States. It is not even close.[3]

Trump has repeatedly weathered political storms that would be lethal for any other politician, prompting me to post Gerson’s article to Twitter, saying

Rosemary Sword and Gail Sheehy, “How Close Is Trump to a Psychiatric Breakdown?” Daily Beast, March 23, 2018, https://amp.thedailybeast.com/how-close-is-donald-trump-to-a-psychiatric-breakdown

Anderson Cooper, “Stormy Daniels describes her alleged affair with Donald Trump,” CBS News, March 26, 2018, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/stormy-daniels-describes-her-alleged-affair-with-donald-trump-60-minutes-interview/

David Frum, “Trump’s Legal Threats Backfire,” Atlantic, March 26, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/03/trumps-legal-threats-backfire/556505/

Michael Gerson, “The strange, unexpected public contribution of Stormy Daniels,” Washington Post, March 26, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-strange-unexpected-public-contribution-of-stormy-daniels/2018/03/26/2c2bce4e-312a-11e8-8abc-22a366b72f2d_story.html


James Comey

Jonathan Turley, “John Dowd’s resignation sets Trump up for trouble in Mueller probe,” Hill, March 22, 2018, http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/379802-john-dowds-resignation-sets-trump-up-for-trouble-in-mueller-probe


Uber

Megan Rose Dickey, “Uber will not reapply for self-driving car permit in California,”TechCrunch, March 27, 2018, https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/27/uber-will-not-reapply-for-self-driving-car-permit-in-california/amp/

Alejandro Lazo and Greg Bensinger, “Arizona Governor Suspends Uber’s Self-Driving Cars From Roads,” Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/arizona-governor-suspends-ubers-self-driving-cars-from-roads-1522113198


Russian sanctions

Notably, however, [Donald] Trump did not immediately make a statement in his own voice. He has so far refused to personally condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin for the attack, instead calling him recently to congratulate him for his victory in a dubious election. Trump was also slow to publicly acknowledge Russian complicity in the poisoning, which critically injured Sergei Skripal and his daughter on March 4 in the British city of Salisbury.[4]

Tracy Wilkinson, “U.S. to expel 60 Russian diplomats as punishment for poison attack in Britain,” Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-fg-us-russian-20180326-story.html


For-profit schools

Adam Harris, “Federal Judge Hands a Victory to Embattled Accreditor,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 25, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Federal-Judge-Hands-a-Victory/242918


  1. [1]Megan Rose Dickey, “Uber will not reapply for self-driving car permit in California,”TechCrunch, March 27, 2018, https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/27/uber-will-not-reapply-for-self-driving-car-permit-in-california/amp/
  2. [2]Anderson Cooper, “Stormy Daniels describes her alleged affair with Donald Trump,” CBS News, March 26, 2018, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/stormy-daniels-describes-her-alleged-affair-with-donald-trump-60-minutes-interview/
  3. [3]Michael Gerson, “The strange, unexpected public contribution of Stormy Daniels,” Washington Post, March 26, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-strange-unexpected-public-contribution-of-stormy-daniels/2018/03/26/2c2bce4e-312a-11e8-8abc-22a366b72f2d_story.html
  4. [4]Tracy Wilkinson, “U.S. to expel 60 Russian diplomats as punishment for poison attack in Britain,” Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-fg-us-russian-20180326-story.html