Showing posts with label demagogues. Show all posts
Showing posts with label demagogues. Show all posts

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Jesus is just all white

Democracy dies in . . . Bayard.


Bayard, Neb. If you were in Bayard, you'd croak, too.

Religious services have not been finalized, but interment will be in the back yard of state Sen. Steve Erdman, R-Greater Nebraska Trumpian Reich, in a plot between those of tolerance and decency. Erdman indicated that the funeral would be a white, Christian one.

No word on whether the funeral luncheon will be scheduled for before or after the book burning and Two-Minute Hate of University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds.

From the Omaha World-Herald:
A western Nebraska state senator recently criticized the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s plan to hire a diversity vice chancellor, saying it bodes poorly for “white Christian conservative males.”

State Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard wrote in a column or letter last month to constituents that the NU system complains about inadequate state funding but it still has money for a “six-figure-salaried” person to assist with diversity.
Bayard, Neb. . . . The Florence of the high plains
Erdman said Wednesday that the reaction from some constituents was: “It’s about time somebody said something.”

The matter highlights some conservatives’ belief that universities are swarming with liberal professors who seek to indoctrinate their students. Edna Chun, a national consultant in diversity, said Wednesday that most universities have diversity officials.

NU President Hank Bounds said in a written statement Wednesday evening that he is proud that the university supports diversity. “Throughout my career, I’ve seen again and again that we are stronger when we serve alongside people who don’t look or think like us.

“I was shocked and deeply saddened when I read the column. For any elected official to champion these kinds of dangerous views only serves to damage our great state and our ability to recruit and retain the top talent that will grow Nebraska for the future.”

UNL has never had a vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, although it has had employees devoted to those tasks. The vice chancellor is the first diversity administrator who will report directly to the chancellor.

The aim of diversity work, Florida-based consultant Chun said, is to broaden the awareness of all students and prepare them for a global society.

“The whole goal of it is educational,” Chun said. She said minority students can feel isolated when there are small numbers of them on a campus. Diversity and inclusion also refer to gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identification, she said.

UNL data show that last fall, minority students made up 14.3 percent of the university’s student body — 3,719 of 26,079 students.

Erdman said he wants no preferential treatment for anyone. “Favoring people by way of their genitalia, the color of their skin and their sexual orientation is as much an insult as discriminating against them for these very reasons,” he said in his letter, which he called “Straight Talk From Steve.”

His letter says he can envision “white Christian conservative males” being “excruciatingly scrutinized against the backdrop of the new Vice Chancellor’s extremist progressive worldview.”

Erdman said his views don’t come from contempt for any race. “I’ve got black friends. I’ve got Mexican friends,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “I look at them as being a friend and an American.”

But some Nebraskans are rebelling against the university’s liberalism, he said. An acquaintance told him his daughter changed her mind and isn’t interested in attending UNL.

“People are starting to wake up,” said Erdman, a 68-year-old retired farmer who sells some real estate. He said in his letter that a student who suggests that marriage is the union of man and woman in the future might be “beaten down by a torrent of LGBTQ complaints followed by psycho-analysis and reprogramming.”
Ground Zero: Senator fears UNL will rename his favorite cereal 'LGBTQ Loops.'

I'M SO OLD that I remember when Nebraska was better than this -- when western Nebraska was better than this.

I remember when there were Democrats outside Omaha and Lincoln. I remember when conservative outstate Nebraska was, by today's standards, vaguely "libtard" and RINO-ish. I remember when state senators from outposts like Bayard, hundreds of miles beyond the last traces of black Nebraskans, weren't angry nativist cranks.

Some were even moderates. Hey, it was the '80s. In 2018, moderates are the new communists to mouth breather-friendly politicians like Erdman.

And raving, paranoid projection is the new Keeping Your Powder Dry Until There's a Demonstrable Problem With the University's Diversity Program. But when you're playing to voters' prejudices and fear, you gotta do what you gotta do.

That would include accusing the University of Nebraska-Lincoln of the nefarious thing you're actually doing.  For example, note that Erdman is calling an unknown vice chancellor who hasn't been hired an "extremist progressive" based on non-existent things not yet done by the chimerical administrator. Just look:
The addition of a Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion also means that every word spoken by White Christian conservative males at the school will be excruciatingly scrutinized against the backdrop of the new Vice Chancellor’s extremist progressive worldview. For instance, any student who dares to suggest that marriage should be defined as the union between a man and a woman will quickly find himself being beaten down by a torrent of LGBTQ complaints followed by psycho-analysis and reprogramming. If the student doesn’t understand the underlying reasons for his stereo-typical beliefs, one will be provided for him.
MY GOD. Sure, it could happen. Than again, maybe not. Actually, probably not. 

This is the demagogic, academia-bashing version of an old Southern tactic for getting rednecks and white trash all riled up . . . just in time for a political Great White Hope to "defend their way of life" at election time.

Southerners had a term for that. I'll not use it.

We wouldn't want to encourage Sen. Erdman to use that word in his next "straight talk" session -- no doubt justifying himself with "Black people use it all the time in rap songs."

Besides, they're all just commies, anyway. No, really:
Recent Left-wing movements, such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, have undoubtedly put tremendous pressure upon the administration to do more about diversity and inclusion. While nobody I know advocates for racial, gender or sexual orientation discrimination, we should still ask why NU needs a Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, if not to impose favoritism upon these groups.
#MeToo? Being against sexual harassment and sexual assault is an ideological stance?

Outstate Nebraska sure ain't what it used to be.

Like much of rural America, it's emptying out. The young are leaving. The brains are draining. And the remnant is content to imagine itself superior to the citified sinners vilified by bumfuck mediocrities who imagine themselves leaders.

Increasingly, even in states like Nebraska, contempt is a two-way street. If rural Nebraska sees cranks like Erdman as features and not bugs, the day will come when it will end up with the short end of its own shtick.

Big time.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Trump protests he's just as Christian as the next POS

-- Donald Trump

Says the man who cites "two Corinthians," when trying to bamboozle Evangelical voters.

If the vicar of Christ, who Catholics believe to hold "the keys to the Kingdom," given to him in Matthew 19 minutes after 16 o'clock, doesn't have the right to proclaim Donald Trump not a Christian in any sense we're given to understand the term, then who the hell does?

Donald Trump, obviously:

FRANKLY, I don't really care whether the Donald is a Christian. Like the pope, I have my serious doubts on the question.

What I do care about is that he's a loose-cannon neofascist who plays to and feeds off the darkest human instincts among the angriest and most alienated (generally for good reason) Americans.

What I also care about is that, in the world of Trump, those of us who believe what the Catholic Church proclaims are somehow, no doubt, un-American. And if that were the case, it's a label I'd wear with pride.

Donald, whether you're a Christian or not, you can go straight to hell.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ein volk. Ein reich. Ein furor.

The more I see of Ben Carson, the more my mind's eye flashes back to Cleavon Little disguised in a white robe and hood in Blazing Saddles.

Blazing Saddles was hilarious. Ben Carson is just weird . . . and scary. And he's leading the Republican presidential field.
At any rate, it's come to this in America 2015 as we embark yet again on the quadrennial farce, er, campaign -- a black dude using a picture of the collapsing World Trade Center on 9/11 to race-bait Syrian refugees. You can't make this stuff up.

I WISH someone had as some sort of sick joke. Instead, the joke is on human decency and American democracy, and it's no laughing matter.

Demagoguery such as this ought to automatically disqualify any politician who stoops to it as a serious candidate not only for the presidency, but for anything. Voters who fall for it are unworthy of the responsibility placed upon them by the dictates of democratic self-government.

Meanwhile, for Ben Carson's next act, he'll stampede some cattle through the Vatican. That'll show them papists for helpin' to resettle them A-rab terrorists in 'Murica.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Deck the halls with ginned-up outrage

If somebody had to say it, chances are that Jon Stewart just did.
"Uff course Kris Kringle iss vhite!"
A Festivus pole made out of beer cans at the Florida state capitol? That I find hilarious.
Fox News cynically using the commemoration of the Savior's birth to manufacture outrage, ill will and hatred of one's fellow man? That is as truly disturbing as it is completely predictable.
The TV gathering spot for pissed-off people on the political right might have "news" as part of its name, but it seems to have a lot more in common with Joseph Goebbels than it does with Edward R. Murrow.

The cynicism on display by Fox News regarding "the war on Christmas" is astounding, coming as it is from people casually cashing in on the sacred as they appeal to the worst demons of their viewership.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Of pipelines, poseurs and posturing putzes

On a continent 100-percent wrested from native Americans by the white man, and in a state where the United States Army rounded up the Ponca and forcibly delivered them into starvation in the Indian Territory, you have to have a lot of damned nerve to start whining about "not from here" and "carpetbaggers."

Of course, that doesn't stop some Nebraskans if there are political points to be scored.

Enter Jane Fleming Kleeb, who had the unmitigated nerve to have been born in Florida. But it gets worse. She also had the gall to have married a "Nebraskan" raised overseas . . . who has a Ph.D. from Yale. Yale!

But it gets worse than that. The Kleebs are Democrats, and they run for office -- he for the U.S. House and Senate, she for the Hastings school board.

But it gets worse than even that. Jane started something called BOLD Nebraska. We hear that it's full of lib'ruls and "radical enviro cronies" and stuff.

Furthermore, BOLD Nebraska is against the Keystone XL pipeline, through which TransCanada wants to pump Canadian "tar sands" oil trans-Nebraska on the way to Gulf Coast refineries. Kleeb had the gall to suggest it might really screw up the Nebraska Sandhills -- and the massive aquifer below them -- if this new project started belching the corrosive gunk across one of America's most environmentally sensitive regions.

Tuesday in Lincoln, Kleeb and her "radical enviro cronies" were brazen enough to pack a U.S. State Department hearing on the pipeline.

But --
Dare I say it? Can you stand it? -- it gets even worse than that. Take a nitroglycerine pill. Please.

OK, I'm just going to come out with it. In the course of her carpetbagging opposition to controversial Canadian toxic-sludge pipelines traversing much of Nebraska's water supply, Jane Kleeb. . . .

Jane Kleeb . . . .

The outsider, the carpetbagger Jane Kleeb. . . .

I CAN'T even say it, it's so horrible. The Leavenworth St. blog, as loyal and authentic a Nebraska institution as there is -- it's Republican! -- is made of sturdier stuff than I, so I'll just let it break the awful news:
Jane Kleeb likes to stick out like whenever she is out protesting or marching or generally putting on the pouty face with hands on hips.

Well she was making herself “be seen” at Pershing Auditorium in Lincoln yesterday during the State Department hearings on the Keystone XL Pipeline.

But what was she wearing? Take a look.

Yes folks, that is a “Future Farmers of America” jacket.


We are sure Jane will say she was “urged” to wear it, or she didn’t know the rules, or she was trying to represent or some other breathless retort.

But we get it Jane. We get it with the jeans tucked into your boots and the giant belt buckle and now the FFA jacket:

You’re a poser. You are pretending to be something you are not.

You know, like pretending to care about the Sandhills or aquifer, when you’re really just trying to stop the the Canadian oil at the behest of your radical enviro cronies and sugar daddies.

NO, THOSE engaging in the fine art of American politics never pretend to be something they're not. Absolutely unheard of.

Can you imagine Mitt Romney in blue jeans? George H.W. Bush in a supermarket checkout line? Michael Dukakis in a tank? Hillary Clinton speaking with a Southern drawl in a black Baptist church?

Michele Bachmann pretending like she's not six kinds of crazy?

Deal we must, though, with Jane Kleeb in cowboy boots . . . and a Future Farmers of America jacket.

Apparently, you're not supposed to wear cowboy boots unless your day job involves trudging through cow patties. And you're not supposed to wear an FFA jacket if you're not actually a member. It's kind of like present-day tea partiers -- who live in suburban comfort and only make vague threats about revolting against "tyrants" -- dressing up like it's 1775 and waving Gadsden flags.

Only worser.

In a comment, the state Republican Party Chairman Mark Fahleson explains how much worse:
Wow–that’s not really Jane Kleeb wearing an FFA jacket, is it? As the former president of the Waverly FFA Chapter who remains proud of and thankful for his FFA experience, I can assure you that the hallowed blue corduroy is sacrosanct. A non-member (even a former member like me) wearing the jacket is like a non-Catholic taking communion at Mass. Whether it’s non-physicians wearing white coats at pressers or faux cowboys posing as Nebraska ranchers, apparently what matters to Nebraska’s leftists is the visual, not the truth.
MIGHTY BIG TALK for someone from Kansas City, Mo., doing his level best to tar an "outsider" who stands against Canadian carpetbaggers (ones with a long history of leaky pipelines) cutting through the Nebraska Sandhills with a toxic-sludge superhighway.

Of course, I am not surprised that the head of the Nebraska GOP hails from Missouri. I'm from Louisiana, myself, and we Southerners know a thing or two about Republican carpetbaggers.

What really concerns me, though, is that someone can be so warped by politics and partisanship that he can compare an FFA jacket to the Holy Eucharist.

Catholics believe that the consecrated bread and wine has become the actual body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. If you don't believe that, you have no business partaking of it, and you have real problems in calling yourself Catholic.

We call it "communion" for a reason -- it is both sign and cause of our unity as Catholics and of God within us. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this about Holy Communion:

The Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life."136 "The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch."137

"The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God's action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit."138

Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all.139

In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: "Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking."140
AND THE Nebraska Republicans' secular sacrament of the day, the Holy FFA Jacket? It's just a jacket.

Granted, it means a lot to a lot of FFA members who earned one, but when you unstick yourself from stupid and gain a little perspective, you realize that blue corduroy jacket is a lot like the faux outrage of political hacks -- you can get along just fine without it. And them.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The biggest loser (with the biggest megaphone)

I wonder how many "dittoheads" were listening to the latest from Rush Limbaugh as they mucked out their flooded houses?

Or made arrangements for the funeral of a loved one lost to "overhyped" Hurricane Irene?

Or sat in a sweltering, darkened house with a battery-powered radio?

From Business Insider:
"I'll guarantee you Obama was hoping this was going to be a disaster as another excuse for his failing economy," he said. "If he's out there blaming tsunamis, if he's blaming earthquakes, and whatever natural disasters there are, this one was made to order, but it just didn't measure up."

I guess this was just Vermont's warning from God about Bernie Sanders.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

It takes a beetle

Listen to Jon Bruning when he tells stories about highways and burrowing beetles and welfare raccoons; the Nebraska attorney general knows his beetles.

After all, he is one. For a long time now, Nebraskans who have better things to do than drool at demagogues' red meat at "political meetings" have pegged Bruning as the sort of sniveling little opportunist who'll do just about anything to get elected to something. This is much like the sort of beetle we used to call "tumble turds" when I was a kid in Louisiana.

The similarities between Bruning and a tumble turd -- otherwise known as a dung beetle -- are striking. The man deals in excrement; excrement is his life's blood. In cattle country, we know what kind of excrement a "Bruning beetle" is most likely to deal in.

SO WE HAVE the state AG, who wants to be a U.S. senator, carefully crafting all his precious bulls*** into a neat little ball, which he then rolls around from town to town for "tea party patriots" to eat up.

Here's an example from the
TPM website:
He describes a requirement that workers at a construction project gather up endangered beetles by luring them into a bucket with a dead rat in order to release them elsewhere. But the plan is thwarted when hungry raccoons then eat them straight out of the rat-infested bucket. Which, according to Bruning, is a perfect image to illustrate how welfare recipients receive their benefits.

"The raccoons figured out the beetles are in the bucket," Bruning said. "And it's like grapes in a jar. The raccoons -- they're not stupid, they're gonna do the easy way if we make it easy for them. Just like welfare recipients all across America. If we don't send them to work, they're gonna take the easy route."
BEING AN exceptional tumble turd, though, Bruning has figured out how to make his precious wad of poo self-replenishing. It's kind of like hitting it big on Wall Street -- simple in theory but requiring some skill to practice.

What the attorney general
(and I just threw up in my mouth a little typing "attorney general") does is invest a little bit of his ball of bulls*** in hopes that Bubba and Vi will deposit their nest eggs in his wad. Soon enough, the nest eggs mature and go out to collect more material for the effort.

This is called the "s***ball effect," which is like the "snowball effect," except browner and smellier, and Bruning is just the latest in a long line of demagogues who can spin a little bulls*** into a whole lot of ugly. Welfare recipients . . . raccoons . . . 'coons . . . get it? Wink wink, nudge nudge.

Would that trapping and disposing of such political "tumble turds" were as easy as plopping a cow pie in the bottom of a bucket and waiting for suppertime.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Don't want no, don't want no, don't want no GBTV

Glenn Beck's planned Internet pay-TV scheme might fly in Montana or Ohio or Utah, but I can't see it being the motherlode for him or anything.

It likely will be a load of something, though.

But Mr. Beck knows everything and I don't, and there are lots of tea partiers who have a strong hankerin' for loads of something -- the more fragrant the better -- so what the hell do I know?

HERE'S WHAT The New York Times is reporting today:
Glenn Beck is planning to charge his fans a monthly subscription for his daily talk show online starting this summer, as he makes the move from being a Fox News host to the owner of his own Internet network.

On Tuesday, Mr. Beck will announce a first-of-its-kind effort to take a popular — but also fiercely polarizing — television show and turn it into its own subscription enterprise. It is an adaptation of the business models of both HBO and Netflix for one man’s personal brand — and a huge risk, as he and his staff members acknowledged in interviews in recent days.

“I think we might be a little early,” Mr. Beck said of his plan for the Internet network, called GBTV, which will cost $5 to $10. “But I’d rather be ahead of the pack than part of it.”

The business decision by Mr. Beck’s company, Mercury Radio Arts, hinges on an expectation that more and more people will figure out how to view online shows on their TV sets through set-top boxes and video game consoles — and that they will subscribe directly to their favorite brands.

LIKE I SAID, maybe some people will pay for this. Others won't. Probably not enough for Beck to afford to up his meds.

All I know is that if I want to go and watch crazy, I can go back home to the Gret Stet of Louisiana and see all I want for free.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

It all makes sense if you're nuts

Punxsutawney, Pa., is all snowed in, and Phil, being a sensible groundhog, refuses to come out and see (or not see) anything, so America has been forced to go to Plan B.

So . . . Glenn Beck has come out from under the rock where he keeps his survivalist provisions, only to see the shadow of

It works something like this. Hang on to something.

Tunisia is in flames because the Muslins are unhappy. That spread to Egypt, which is going down. That's spreading to Jordan, where there are riots, and it's going down. Libya's in flames, too, which the lamestream media isn't going to tell you about, because it's run by the Muslins, or communists, or Nazis or something.

Yemen's in flames, and so is Pakistan, but he's run out of little flamey magnet thingies to put on the chalkboard, so trust us on this. Iran's in flames, and that means they're going to come after Saudi Arabia, another of our "frenemies," because them Saudi royals are hardcore scumbags, who you know have to be shaking in their sandals while their camels are scared spitless.

And then you got Lebanon . . . in flames. The Gaza strip . . . in flames. But the Muslin Brotherhood Muslins hate the Hezbollah Muslins who are just like the Iranian Shiite Muslins, so they're canceling one another out or something . . . but they all have it in for the Jews in Israel.

SO YOU GOT the Shiites pushing on Israel one way and the Sunnis pushing on Israel the other, and the Chinamen is thinkin' . . . "WHOA! KNOCK THAT STUFF OFF, MAHMOUD!"

And then the Chinamen go
"Ching chong ching chong chang bing bong sham-a-lama-ding-dong. . . ." Oh, wait, that's what Rush Limbaugh said the Chinese said, so never mind. . . .

Anyway, you got China pushing one way, and then the flames spread to Spain, which is on fire, and come to think of it, so is Great Britain and Ireland . . . FIRE! . . . and you don't think the radical Islamists in England and France are going to sit on their hands with all that fire all over the chalkboard, do you?

SEE, you got flamey chaos in the Middle East, and China's pushing west. And then you got abject flames on the chalkboard that is Europe --
no, look, there's Europe on a chalkboard -- and Russia's gonna start moving on Europe thataway, because the Muslins blowed s*** up in Moscow, and what that shows us is that what Tunisia really is is Sarajevo 1914, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand got offed by Gavrilo Princip, which started World War I, because everybody's pushing on Israel, and the Jews got the Bomb now.

We'll have more on how
This Is All Gonna Blow Up Good right after these messages from Goldline and Food Insurance.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It'$ a Wonderful Life in 'the real Bedford Fall$'

Wednesday in Wilmington, Ohio . . . unemployment rate 15.8 percent:

Glenn Beck Meet & Greet Breakfast
and Radio Show Ticket Package

Breakfast and Meet & Greet at 7AM
Radio Show at 9AM
Ticket Price:

Package Includes:
* Breakfast at the General Denver Hotel
* Meet & Greet with Glenn Beck
* Photo with Glenn Beck
* Premium Ticket to the live Radio Show Broadcast at the Murphy Theatre

All Ages
Reserved Seating

Glenn Beck Live Radio Show Broadcast

Doors: 8:00AM
Radio Show: 9:00AM (Must be seated by 8:45AM sharp)

Ticket Price:

All Ages
Reserved Seating

HAT TIP: PoliticusUSA.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Borrowing your demagoguery

The trouble with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is that he's just so very unoriginal.

He stole his name from Bobby Brady and
The Brady Bunch. He stole his response to President Obama's 2009 congressional address from Mister Rogers.

And now he's stolen the bright idea of demagoguing university sabbaticals from the Iowa Republican Party. He picked up that idea, no doubt, during all the time he's spent in the Hawkeye State -- as opposed to his own.

In November, as reported by The Daily Reveille, this was the Jindal Administration's party line against such "bad values in education" as the state's flagship university, LSU:

State Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater says Gov. Bobby Jindal's office is looking into University faculty workloads to see if students are getting the best return for their tuition.

"It's important to make sure resources are focused on the classroom and the students and taxpayers get the most value from investments," Rainwater said.

Rainwater said instructors in the LSU System are teaching 77 percent more credit hours than tenured professors. Instructors at the Baton Rouge campus teach 133 percent more, he said.

One area where faculty members do less teaching than instructors is in sabbaticals — a leave of absence to focus on research, writing or acquiring new knowledge. Rainwater said tenured faculty earn the right to have a sabbatical but not during a budget crunch.

"At a time when we're facing a very large deficit, I think it's important that we justify what sabbaticals are taken," Rainwater said.

NOT ONLY is Jindal unoriginal, he's milquetoasty. He's an Iowa Republican watered down to the point of BLECCH!

Watered down and nine months late.

In February, the Republicans in the Iowa House sought to eliminate every single sabbatical at its regents universities -- Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa -- for the next year at a savings of . . .
$6 million.

The Iowa Board of Regents had considered canceling sabbaticals in December 2009, but ultimately decided such a move would harm recruitment and retention of faculty, as well as create disruptions in research and a logjam of future sabbatical requests. There were 111 requests for sabbaticals across the three universities for the 2010-11 academic year -- down 25 percent from the previous year.

The University of Iowa led the pack with 52 sabbaticals for professors. Iowa State requested 37 and Northern Iowa 18.

A year later, the ascendant Iowa Republicans are at it again. The state's GOP lawmakers propose -- again -- banning all university sabbaticals. And the new House speaker, Kraig Paulsen, is leading the charge against the eggheads, saying taxpayers just can't afford to give profs a paid "year off."

From an Associated Press article Wednesday:

But professors said the savings Republicans are promising won't materialize, and the move would cost universities in grant money and productivity.

Sabbaticals -- a paid semester or year off from teaching to write books, conduct research, create classes and write grant proposals -- are standard practice at major research universities across the nation. But at a time when other employees are facing pay cuts and furloughs, they have become an easy target for critics and an area where universities can cut to show they are making sacrifices, too.

Several schools across the country have already reduced or canceled sabbaticals, according to the American Association of University Professors. The University of Iowa has cut its sabbaticals in half over two years.

John Curtis, director of research and public policy for AAUP, said he was unaware of any case where lawmakers rather than schools themselves have cut sabbaticals, and he doubted that it would become a trend because of the tiny amount of potential savings.

"I'm sure they feel it has great symbolic value," he said. "But the loss, of course, is what the whole purpose of sabbatical is: to allow faculty members to do research, to engage in understanding new developments in their discipline and then to bring all of that back to their teaching."

A potential fight is already brewing in Iowa, where its three public universities have asked the Board of Regents to approve sabbaticals for professors in the budget year that begins July 1. Details are expected to be made public Thursday.

The regents could approve the requests next week, but Paulsen said they should allow for public debate on the plan to cancel them first.

"It seems to be tough budgetary times. Why should the taxpayers of Iowa be paying to basically give these folks a year off from teaching?" asked Paulsen, a Hiawatha Republican who will lead a chamber that flipped to Republican control in November. "It's as simple as that."

Board of Regents President David Miles said through a spokeswoman that he will withhold comment until next week's meeting. Last year, he urged presidents of the three public universities to ensure any sabbaticals "serve to enhance the core missions of the universities."

The University of Iowa has asked the regents to approve 58 sabbaticals for next year, a slight increase after two years of sharp cuts, said Faculty Senate President Edwin Dove, who defended the practice. UI professors wrote 26 books in 2009 while on sabbatical, published 147 research articles, created and updated nearly 100 classes, and submitted 50 grant applications, Dove said.

SO IN IOWA, we have a debate over highly debatable savings in the mid-seven-figure range. But hang on a second:
House Republicans have said their plan would save $6 million and be part of a budget-cutting package introduced next year. But their projected savings apparently includes salaries that professors will earn whether they are on sabbatical or not. The actual savings would be the roughly $250,000 universities spend to hire replacement teachers, university officials said.
THE STATE'S GOP legislative contingent would appear to be disingenuous here, at a minimum. Some might say they're just playing the booboisie for a bunch of suckers, trying to appear as if they're doing something while proposing next to nothing.

At a minimum.

So, back in Louisiana, what to make of Jindal's quixotic demonizing of LSU professors?

Well, let me put it this way: Remember the number of sabbaticals Iowans have been fighting over? Keep that figure -- 111 . . . 50-something of that total at UI -- in mind.

This year, LSU has 19 professors on sabbatical. Nineteen.


One less than 20.

That's what the Jindal Administration has seen fit to harp over whenever someone frets about a worst-case $60-something million cut to Louisiana's flagship university next year. We're probably not even talking about a million bucks in highly debatable savings, here.

One thing, however, has become crystal clear. What Louisiana's absentee governor lacks in the originality or comprehensiveness of his demagoguery, he certainly makes up in audacity.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Dismantling Glenn Beck

What we need is an Academy Award for Best Internet Mash-Up Video of Cartoon Clips Adapted to Make Fun of Talk-Show Goobers Who Really Have It Coming.

If we had such an Oscar -- and the sad fact that we don't is some sort of indictment on American society -- it would go to this one. "This one" is called Right Wing Radio Duck, and it hits Glenn Beck and the perpetually pissed peeps of the tea-party movement where they live.

Oh, and it's funny as hell, too.

Jonathan McIntosh, to be succinct, is a freakin' genius. Here's part of how he describes Right Wing Radio Duck's plot:
Donald’s life is turned upside-down by the current economic crisis and he finds himself unemployed and falling behind on his house payments. As his frustration turns into despair Donald discovers a seemingly sympathetic voice coming from his radio named Glenn Beck.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is contained in the video's 7:46 of searing social criticism from Rebellious Pixels.

Has Glenn Beck attacked McIntosh as a "socialist" yet?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Good advice, like history, repeats itself

Extremists in politics, hunting for communists, trawl for votes on an ocean of fear.

Soon enough, we see that these demagogues will stop at nothing, just so long as the consequences make folks more fearful, more angry and looking to them for protection against . . . Them.

Soon enough, some journalist calls them on it. And then, the response to the allegation becomes another opportunity to throw red meat to the booboisie.

And the accuser is thrust into the ranks of Them.

Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Tea Party Patriots, Sen. Joseph McCarthy . . . they're pretty much all the same. And how do you deal with them when they try to turn you into Them?

Above is the advice the editors of Broadcasting-Telecasting had in the edition of April 12, 1954. It was good advice in the context of 1954 and Federal Communications Commission "equal time" requirements for broadcasters.

It's good advice now, too. We just need to adapt the principles to the age of the Internet and cable news channels.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Red Scare: It's baaaaaack!

I was born into a world in the process of losing its . . . stuff.

We refer to this period of American history as the Red Scare. We were scared of Stalin -- and then Khrushchev -- over in the Soviet Union. We were scared of Castro in Cuba. We were scared of "infiltrator" Alger Hiss in the State Department.

The beatniks? Commies. Civil-rights "agitators?" Commies. Martin Luther King Jr.? Dangerous commie troublemaker. Race riots? Instigated by . . . commies.

The media were commies, college professors were commies, folk singers were commies, and the labor unions were commie through and through.

We were obsessed by The Bomb -- which we invented and first used -- because the commies had obtained it, too. In their nefarious, murderous Red hands, it was a weapon of mass terror.

In our hands, it was how God kept the world in line . . . and capitalism safe.

In the world of the Red Scare, rock 'n' roll was a communist plot -- the pinko sons of bitches invented the teenager, after all -- and Mick Jagger was the devil. (No, look at the man!)

HERE'S where we stood somewhere around 1963:

TODAY, the Soviet Union is no more. The Iron Curtain has fallen, and capitalism has seized the day. Even in "Red China." Markets are global, and the bankers really do have more money than God.

And the Red Scare is back.

Who is the Red Menace today? Well, I can tell you we seem to be quite concerned -- to put it mildly -- about the president of the United States. Who is a Kenyan Muslim communist tribesman (or something like that).

We likewise worry about the secretary of state, who's a fellow traveler. And the Justice Department. And, of course, we still get lower GI disturbances at the mention of those venerable pinko warhorses of modern history -- Castro, the media and the labor unions.

The Red Menace has been enshrined.
It has ascended.

THEY TRIED to tell us in 1947. And 1957. And even 1967.

I guess we didn't listen.

Now it's up to tea-party members and other apoplexy victims like Glenn Beck -- he of the only non-commie TV channel out there, the Fox News Channel -- to lead the resistance. Lead the resistance against the government the commies and their fellow travelers TRICKED us into ELECTING in 2008.

ARE YOU STARTING to think you're seeing déja vu all over again?

Glenn Beck is to the Red Scare what the new Hawaii Five-O is to the old Hawaii Five-O, only with angry conspiracy theorists.

I withdraw that statement. The new Hawaii Five-O, I am told, has new scripts. The producers of the show aren't planning on a word-for-word rehash.

And nobody's trying to elect Dano to the U.S. Senate.

The frightening thing about this new Red Scare is the same frightening thing about the last one. The panicked, angry masses and their cynical zealots-in-chief are ready, willing and able to burn down this entire village in order to "save" it.

In their minds -- or at least in their tea-party rhetoric -- "socialism" is so God-awful that we ought to be willing to burn down the framework of constitutional rule and the civilizing influences of commonweal in order to protect a notion of "God-given" liberty that, in the fever swamp of the angry-mob mindset, comes out more like "Do what thou wilt . . . except what we don't like." And your mileage may vary.

"Communism" is so godless and evil that any extreme action to oppose it is not only justified, but perhaps mandatory. Ask J. Edgar Hoover.

LIKE THE paranoid times of my entry into this mortal coil, this present Red-baiting moment finds angry people making idols of what they see as the opposite of their devil. The "commie" devil.

If "socialism" is bad, doing away with all "government-run" programs and social safety nets must be good. If "welfarism" is bad, a laissez-faire dose of social Darwinism must be virtuous and right -- especially as we languish amid the worst economy since the Great Depression.

Not only that, but the Red Scare becomes cover for all our demons and prejudices. Civil-rights "agitators" were, back in the day, a bunch of America-hating Reds, after all. And kicking a man while he's down can be seen as some sort of virtuous act, because we all know that "social justice" and "social religion" are just snooty names for . . . communism!

Thus, condoning racism can be just another manner of expressing one's innate "Americanism." Ees thees gret country or vhat?

Commies bad. Saying the N-word 11 times straight on nationwide radio good, because you're just combating "political correctness."

Face it, when you're up against the Other, and the Other is a freedom-hating, pinko, commie godless Muslim, and you're fighting for your life -- literally, you've been told by that man on the television -- it's war.

And we all know what they say about love and war.

But that's OK. There are no atheists in foxholes -- especially not in this foxhole -- and the patriot surveys the carnage he has wrought upon civil society and the body politic, and he is at peace in the knowledge that God is on his side.