Friday, November 16, 2007

And Harry Reid Hasn't Lied In The Last Hour

Army Desertion Rate Highest Since 1980

A headline meant to evoke negative thoughts. Gee, about our military? About our miltary involved in Iraq? Nah, not our media.

If you actually read the story, the story is different than you would think. The military is actually very competent and evolving in positive ways.

Not Harry.

Columbia University Throws Down The Limp Wrist

Columbia University Faculty Action Committee Statement of Concern
We speak for a growing number of faculty members at Columbia
who believe that President Bollinger has failed to make
a vigorous defense of the core principles on which the university is founded,
especially academic freedom. Academic freedom lies at the heart of what we do as faculty members: teach, generate new knowledge, and sustain the critical
capacities of the society at large. It encompasses, among other values, the
autonomy of the University in the face of outside threats and pressures, a
determining role for faculty in the governance of the University and especially
in the shaping of its research and teaching programs, the insulation of tenure
and promotion decisions from outside interests, and the creation of an
environment that enables the fullest and freest exchange of ideas. The events of
the past few years have created a crisis of confidence in the central
administration's willingness to defend these principles.

We note, in particular, the following issues:

1) In the face of considerable efforts by outside groups over the past few years to vilify members of the faculty and determine how controversial issues are taught on campus, the administration has failed to make unequivocally clear that such interventions will not be tolerated. When outside groups attempted to sway tenure decisions, the President of Barnard issued a forthright statement rejecting such efforts; the President of Columbia has failed to do so.

2) Decisions on key issues like the "globalization" of the university,
the establishment of satellite campuses in other countries, the enlarged size of
the undergraduate student body, the reduction in the size of the graduate
student body, the hosting of controversial speakers, the relative diminution of
the humanities, and other issues at the heart of the university's mandate, are
made with no apparent consultation with faculty. We learn about these decisions
only when they are announced after the fact.

3) The president's address on the occasion of President
's visit has sullied the reputation of the University
with its strident tone, and has abetted a climate in which incendiary speech
prevails over open debate. The president's introductory remarks were not only
uncivil and bad pedagogy, they allied the University with the Bush
administration's war in
Iraq, a position anathema to many in the University community.

4) In the name of the University, the president has publicly taken
partisan political positions concerning the politics of the
in particular, without apparent expertise in this area or
consultation with faculty who teach and undertake research in this area. His
conflation of his own political position with that of the University is

We believe that the time has come for the faculty to reassert its
commitment to academic freedom and University autonomy, and for the President to make it clear that the administration will no longer compromise these principles or tolerate interference with them.

Signed:Nadia Abu El-Haj, Lila Abu-Lughod, Qais Al-Awqati, Paul Anderer, Mark
, Gil Anidjar, Zainab Bahrani, Akeel Bilgrami, Richard Billows, Elizabeth
, Partha Chatterjee, Lewis Cole, Jonathan Cole, Elaine
, Susan Crane, Jonathan Crary, Julie Crawford, Hamid Dabashi, Patricia Dailey, Tom DiPrete, Brent Edwards, Eric Foner, Aaron Fox, Katherine Franke, Victoria de Grazia, Page Fortuna, Steven Gregory, William Harris, Andreas Huyssen, Rashid Khalidi, Alice Kessler-Harris, Marilyn Ivy, Brian Larkin, Lydia Liu, Sylvère Lotringer, Mahmood Mamdani, Peter Marcuse, Reinhold Martin, Mark Mazower, Mary McLeod, Brinkley Messick, Rosalind Morris, Keith Moxey, Frances Negron-Muntaner, Mae Ngai, Bob O'Meally, Neni Panourgia, John Pemberton, Richard Peña, Julie Peters, Pablo Piccato, Sheldon
, Elizabeth Povinelli, Wayne Proudfoot, Bruce Robbins, David Rosner, George Saliba, James Schamus, David Scott, Gayatri
Chakravorty Spivak
, Mark Strand, Paul Strohm, Michael Taussig, Kendall
, Nadia Urbinati, Marc van de Mieroop, Karen van Dyck, Dorothea von Mücke, Gauri Viswanathan, Gwendolyn Wright

What the above really means:

Academic freedom - The right to teach what we want with the biases we want. The Hell with balance.

University autonomy - The right to remain in our bubble, never facing reality and to remain detached from the world in which we are charged to prepare our students. That world remains unwantable by any "educated" person anyway.

Will no longer compromise these principles or tolerate interference with them - Dear Mr. president, Screw with us and you'll be forced from your cushy job with all of its perks and you'll be lucky to find work at Parsons, if it ever reopens. Love, your lofty minded peers

P.S. Ever mention Bush again, even when speaking of the landscape, and we will purse our tiny blue lips until the breath of our intellect is no more.

"Good" Kids, Hate Crimes And Murder

In today's world if you break a law or commit a crime it must be someone else's responsibility. The good Lord knows it ain't the criminal's responsibility and everyone can see all the family and friends saying it can't be their fault, they were just doing something innocent. Really, like trying to buy some marijuana. Buy it from someone who they don't know. In a town they've never been to. From a person they've never met. Otherwise he would have left the door open for them. Right? They were good kids. With baseball bats.

Rare Robbery Case Brings Cries of Racism
Three young black men break into a white man's home in rural Northern
California. The homeowner shoots two of them to death - but it's the surviving
black man who is charged with murder.

In a case that has brought cries of racism from civil rights
groups, Renato Hughes Jr., 22, was charged by prosecutors in this overwhelmingly white county under a rarely invoked legal doctrine that could make him responsible for the bloodshed.

"It was pandemonium" inside the house that night, District Attorney
Jon Hopkins said. Hughes was responsible for "setting the whole thing in motion
by his actions and the actions of his accomplices."

Prosecutors said homeowner Shannon Edmonds opened fire Dec. 7 after three young men rampaged through the Clearlake house demanding marijuana and brutally beat his stepson. Rashad Williams, 21, and Christian Foster, 22, were shot in the back. Hughes fled.

Hughes' mother, San Francisco schoolteacher Judy Hughes, said she
believes the group didn't intend to rob the family, just buy marijuana. She
called the case against her son a "legal lynching."

"Only God knows what happened in that house," she said. "But this I
know: My son did not murder his childhood friends."

Ranato must be innocent. He and his life long friends only wanted to buy marijuana. For the marijuana they drove 2 hours out of San Francisco (marijuana must be scarce there), broke into a house and beat a 19 year man with a baseball bat so now he can't even feed himself. Yep, Ranato is getting a legal lynching. And it's a racist one. Three black guys drive 120 miles to a small town, break into a white family's house and terrorize them, threaten them and beat them, that's racism.

Ranato's schoolteacher mother is right, Rashad shouldn't get a legal lynching. He should get a legal lethal injection. Unfortunately, the prosecution is not asking for the death penalty in this hate crime trial.

Appalachia Gets A New Bully - Nurses

The families of patients can be scared, worried, anxious about bills, but also calmed by a first class medical system taking care of their love ones. Unless the nurse is caring a coal axe to grind.

Nurses' Strike Drags on in Appalachia

Labor strife is as familiar in these Appalachian hills as poverty and poor health. Blevin's own Harlan County, home to several century-old coal-mining communities, has a history of violent labor fights. Attempts to organize miners in the 1930s drew national attention to "Bloody Harlan."

The contract rejected by the nurses would have increased insurance
premiums for families, eliminated a policy of paying nurses 40 hours of pay for
36 hours of work and reduced holiday pay from double-time to time- and-a-half.

The pay range for ARH nurses is $47,000 to $65,000 - far above
the $39,000 median household income in Kentucky. In Appalachia, more than a
quarter of the population lives below the federal poverty level. Few other jobs,
beyond coal mining, offer better wages or compensation, Troske said.

It is shameless that workers should have to work 40 hours to get paid for 40 hours work instead of getting a bonus of 180 - 200 extra paid hours per year. That's like only getting up to 5 weeks of paid vacation while also getting paid to do your job. Besides, it's only a piddling free $6,500.00 per year. That hardly covers tips at the Huddle House and dry cleaning. How fair is that?

Don't even talk about only getting time and a half at holidays when you deserve double over time? You must be getting cheated. Everyone should get double time. The FLSA be damned. It is your right to get twice your normal pay just for hanging around.

I can't believe you have to pay more in health premiums like everyone else, except Congress, in the country. That's like making auto workers pay the higher cost of gas today! Or coal miners having to pay more for heat because they priced the cost of labor out of sight. On the other hand, though, there are those unfeeling people that might say that not only are you letting sick people and their families down, but you might also be one of the reasons you have to pay higher health premiums. Whatever.

Bloody Harlan's new call might be "Remember the bedpans". At $31.25 per hour, you better remember the bedpan. At $62.50 per hour, it better be as warm as a chestnut this holiday.