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NYS: Fatties are infantile children who will ruin us all

May 12, 2010

Via the Albany Times-Union, a splendid activity page bit of fauxgressive lobbying by Governor Paterson’s* State Health Department:

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People who disagree with the government of New York are evil, stupid, children. Who are fat. And will destroy America.

I sense a pattern.

And it’s not funny.

Permit me to demonstrate:
“Hello, good Sir! I would like to voice a disagreement with your proposed policy.”

“Run along to play in your clubhouse, you thumb-sucking bed-wetter.”

Okay, perhaps that was a little funny. And perhaps it is a given that thumb-sucking bed-wetters should go play in their clubhouses. However, that’s really changing the subject. Unoriginal. Unproductive. Un-un-insulting.

What were we talking about? Oh yeah, New York is broke. Pffft… fatties.

*Technically, it’s New York’s State Health Department, but it seems clear where the talking points are coming from.

NYS Education Links

May 11, 2010

Posted without comment:

NYT: Charter Schools’ New Cheerleaders: Financiers

The Albany Times-Union reports on Governor Paterson’s press conference on the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act.

Video of a Q&A with Gov. Paterson on the subject of SUNY, furloughs [Sorry, no transcript]

Democrats loath to discuss the transgender issue

May 8, 2010

You know, regular people are going to be voting soon.

Also, in case you were wondering, the “issue” is some folks’ right to exist.

Workplace Violence in the Academy: Hilarious

May 8, 2010

Today the Syracuse Post-Standard reported an incidence of workplace violence in the English Department at Onondaga Community College.

How? Well…

“In the recent case of a harassment charge against an Onondaga Community College English professor… the detailed, eloquent statements given to campus security officers by three English Ph.D.s rose to high drama.

The statements properly deploy semi-colons and are filled with flowery phrases such as, ‘Stunned, I proceeded past the threshold of my door.’ To do justice to these statements, and to give a nod to a department that teaches Shakespeare, we present this story as a one-act play.”

Wow. Uh, okay. So the writers at the Post-Standard are trying to get a rise out of readership for the bazillionth time. This time, it’s by making light of a harassment charge while poking fun of folks with Ph.D.’s (or “Ph.D.s”) and the local community college.

The local paper (at the very least, a journalist and an editor or two) decided it would be funny to crack jokes about people whose speech (when transcribed by a court reporter, who may not have a Ph.D.) involves the use of semi-colons, and multi-syllabic flourishes, er, phrases that done used the big words.

Has anyone out there read the Post-Standard lately? Can anyone figure out why it still (barely) exists?

Aside from the obvious snark above, I’d like to point out that this completely over-the-top article fits nicely into an existing pattern of demonizing educators, and downplaying the value of education.

Public schools across America are seemingly under attack from all sides. In addition to harsh spending cuts at the K-12 level, public higher education in New York (SUNY) has dealt with$424 million in cuts during the past 2 years, and OCC faculty join colleagues across the state at risk of being furloughed.

In other words, it’s pretty demoralizing working in public education these days. Watching the local newspaper mock poor working conditions with allusions to pretty-talking, fancy-panted English professors at the local community college gives a pretty good indication of how bad things are.

Education, Profit, and Correlation

May 4, 2010

Frontline just ran an excellent program on for-profit universities that lays out what a lot of us in non-traditional colleges already know. Words pretty much fail on this one, but here are a few:

Success is the route to a college education.
A college education is the route to success.

These two sentences mean very, very different things, yet I fear that plenty of folks are unaware of the distinction. Correlation is a tricky, tricky monster. The meritocracy: you are not soaking in it.

Some of us are working to change things. For now, if folks could stop lining their pockets while intentionally confounding the two things, that’d be super.

CNNMoneyFortuneWevNewz: Well-Off Hard Hit by Inconvenience

May 4, 2010

According to some editor guy at CNN/Money/Fortune/wev, the not-quite-rich ($250k-$500k/yr) are hurting, and not at all entitled or anything.

The hard hit folks in question are “HENRYs”:

“…generally folks in their 30s and 40s who got the best grades in high school, worked their way through college, and logged long hours as law firm associates or consultants on the rise”

Oh noez! What about the middle-aged lawyers who worked oh so hard?!?! They’re soooo smart and deserving unlike the rest of youz!’

I sense danger ahead.

“Obama was targeting the HENRYs for big tax increases, declaring that families making over $250,000 a year were ‘the rich’ and needed to ‘pay their fair share.’ Even then, I [Shawn Tully, senior editor-at-large of Fortune] argued, the HENRYs were so squeezed between their big expenses for the things they considered staples — private schools and day care for the kids, for example — and an immense tax burden that typically took at $100,000 from a $350,000 income, that they not only weren’t rich, but stood little chance of ever saving the big nest egg to qualify as truly wealthy.”

Wha?? Pay 28% of their paycheck in taxes?!? The absurdity!!! These people deserve riches! Yet you propose to tax them at a time when opting out of society is oh-so-costly!

The whole article seems to be arguing for a society that the editors of CNN/Money aren’t considering. Folks with 6 figures are hurting because their incomes have been cut by 25%? They can’t afford to send their kids to separate, well-funded schools? High quality child care is expensive for them? That’s just zany! My child will be going to well-funded public schools, and before class, I’ll just drop her off at the free daycare center where… wait, what were we talking about?

I’m not smart, or middle-aged, or hard-working, but I recognize some parallels between my situation and that of the HENRYs. Rather than pitting Obama and Engels against the HENRYs and big corporations, maybe the HENRYs and the rest of the working class are actually in the same boat. Sure, the HENRYs aren’t riding in steerage, and the bubble in the early 2000’s helped them afford top-shelf liquors in the boat’s bar, but seriously.

Alas, having us all in the same boat doesn’t allow us to dismiss less fortunate folks as less deserving. Once you do that, you might actually start having to think about, say, what was responsible for the financial meltdown, and who benefited from the run up to it. Gasp!

On second thought, the HENRYs should probably keep complaining about how unfair it is that they have to share the pain of a broken system that they toooooootally deserved to benefit from. Yes, that’s it. We can totally sell them expensive stuff to carry around at their protests against the less deserving.

Postscript: I’m not shocked that Fortune magazine would publish this sort of thing. My anger really comes from the insinuation that I should care. Fortune is obviously not about me or my friends, and by extension, CNNMoney.com presents Fortune is not about me.

There are lots of publications that occasionally include representations of folks like me: Bust, make/shift, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Advocate, Curve, Transgender Tapestry, fiveonfive, etc., Yet, with the possible exception of The Chronicle, I don’t see any of those publications in partnerships with mass media outlets.

I don’t see CNNBitch: “WTF?!?”, but I do see the equivalent of CNNVanityFair: “Are Brown People Touching Your Stuff?”, and CNNYachtFancy.biz: “Offshore Tax Shelters: Is St. Kitts the new Aruba?”

I don’t get cable, but I can’t so much as buy a taco without encountering CNN. CNN is not benign white noise. CNN is not news for and about all people, or even for and about all Americans.

Yes, news and popular representations of politics and culture are not always going to be about me. However, as long as CNN et al., keep going with “Oh noez! Well-off cis straight white guys have it sooooo rough” storylines, I’m going to be plenty pissed when people act as if major media outlets give a realistic picture of society.

Cross-posted at Shakesville.

Opting Out

May 4, 2010

This seems like a good idea. Let’s see….
– An ostensibly essential service
– (The policing of identity)
– Operated on a for-profit basis
– By a private company
– For the benefit of the financially (and otherwise) privileged
– Run with assistance from a former government power broker

Yep. Definitely the greatest thing ever. If only we could marshal taxpayer-funded aspects of American infrastructure in an effort to get this thing of the ground. Again.