teh stupid it burns

A Different Take on the URI Statement 2.0

by on 2012-12-25- 1 Comment

Kindred Winecoff disagrees that this was a modest victory:

I must completely disagree with his ("modest") level of satisfaction. This represents no victory at all because this new statement from URI officials, like the first one, completely misses the point. This is not about First Amendment rights. Nobody was saying that Loomis should be thrown into the deepest darkest dungeon never to be heard from again. They were saying that he should be fired or otherwise professionally damaged for an emotional -- and politically motivated -- response to a mass killing.

The relevant standard here is academic freedom, not First Amendment rights. The University of Rhode Island subscribes to the 1940 "Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure" issued by the American Association of University Professors. This Statement indicates that Loomis deserves the full support of the University of Rhode Island even if he was speaking under the banner of the University. (Which he always is, implicitly, contra the views of the CT commenters.) Instead of espousing that principle, which is fundamental to the mission of public universities, the University has repudiated it by saying that Loomis deserves no greater protection than those who have written to the University on this matter, whether in solidarity with or opposition to Loomis.

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A Modest Victory in the Struggle Against Academic Fecklessness

by on 2012-12-24- Leave a reply

The URI administration has issued a new statement:


What to make of this?

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Academic Administrative Fecklessness

by on 2012-12-19- 22 Comments

I wasn't going to post anything about the cyber-intimidation campaign being directed at Erik Loomis, as that seemed like a job for Big Important Liberal Blogs and not for the Duck of Minerva. But now the issue has strayed directly into our territory.

In brief, Erik Loomis is a history professor at the University of Rhode Island and a long-time blogger. His highest-profile gig is at Lawyers, Guns & Money. In the immediate aftermath of the Newtown massacre, Erik tweeted that he "wanted to see Wayne LaPierre’s head on a stick." The usual suspects in the conservative blogsphere soon translated this into the idea that Erik had called for LaPierre's assassination.

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Another Brief Podcast Note

by on 2012-12-17- Leave a reply

Podcast No. 16 will be available by midweek.

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by on 2012-11-08- Leave a reply

Krauthammer says that Obama doesn't have a "mandate." In 2004 he argued that Bush had one. According to Krauthammer:

[Obama] won by going very small, very negative," said Krauthammer, speaking on FOX News as throngs of Obama supporters danced in celebration over Obama's re-election victory. "This is not a mandate either in the numbers or the way he campaigned," warned Krauthammer, adding, "He did not campaign on any ideas, anything large, anything important.

If memory serves, Bush did not wage a relentlessly positive campaign against Kerry.

Moreover, consolidating the largest expansion of health insurance in decades, protecting laws designed to reduce the risk of catastrophic failure in the financial sector, advocating major immigration reform, and supporting a major expansion of civil liberties in the form of same-sex marriage*... well, such things strike me as big ideas and important policies.

I admit that these (and other) parts of the Obama campaign may seem "small" for relentlessly self-interested gainfully employed white heterosexual males who really, really like invading other countries with large numbers of combat troops. But for a lot of people they matter a great deal.

Given that Krauthammer's "big ideas" criteria doesn't make much sense, maybe we should look more closely at what might drive his conclusion. As the numbers from 2012 are basically in, maybe we can figure out what does, in fact, transform a mandate of "0" into a mandate of "1". Below are some possibilities:
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Wednesday Afternoon Video

by on 2012-10-17- 2 Comments

This may not be the worst (professional, major record label) video of all time, but it certainly makes a strong bid for the title.

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What’s Most Distressing about the Leaked Romney Video

by on 2012-09-18- Leave a reply

Just like Barack Obama in 2008, Mitt Romney apparently believes the silly theories of partisan preference popular among his base. Or he's craven enough to
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Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Methodological Tools: Social-Network Analysis Alert

by on 2012-09-09- Leave a reply

Is the society depicted in this film historically accurate? Let's perform a social-network analysis!  Here's a helpful hint: the "realism" of social networks in the
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Thursday Morning Linkage

by on 2012-08-30- Leave a reply

It's a beautiful day in Washington; not so beautiful in New Orleans. Some of this text comes from PM.At political science's other prominent animal-themed blog,
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Can We Take Politico Out Back and Shoot it Yet?

by on 2012-08-03- Leave a reply

Jonathan Martin in the outlet that makes CNN look like The Monkey Cage.The South, like the rest of the country, is a complicated place. It’s
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A program here, a program there, pretty soon you’re talking a whole government

by on 2012-06-09- Leave a reply

My GOP gone by, I miss it so.Conservatives are fond of the saying widely, but probably falsely, attributed to Everett Dirksen: "A billion here, a
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Some Things are Best Expressed in an Eldritch Tongue

by on 2012-05-20- Leave a reply

@*#!@^TR!*&^azwebfuhbdza SzzzhGT! Grawldanidnqdfij!!! Maiewfhiu!This survey of American households has been around in some form since 1850, either as a longer version of or a richer
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Mirror, Mirror upon the Wall — Who is the Realist of them All?

by on 2012-05-08- Leave a reply

Despite Adam Elkus's prodding, I avoided participating in the first-round beat down of Paul J. Saunders supremely stupid essay, "Giving Realists a Bad Name." That's okay,
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Newly Disclosed Memo Proves Ben Shapiro’s a Partisan Hack

by on 2012-04-27- Leave a reply

The assassination of Osama bin Laden by US special forces certainly has created a political problem for the Republican party. They spent years demagoguing the war on
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Is Herman Cain Angling to Defeat LBJ?

by on 2011-11-01- Leave a reply

At about 13.10 GOP poll-leader Herman Cain reveals the shocking news that the People's Republic of China is seeking nuclear-weapons capability. Watch Monday, October 31,
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