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In a just world

How was my “spring” “break”?  Great!  Thanks for asking.  Wednesday morning:  air temp 18, wind chill 5.  Today:  four inches of snow.  And I did the first read-through and edit of the chapters I wrote last week.  Then again, I did go skiing.  Not that I know how to ski!  People say that if you can skate, then you can ski.  People are wrong.

Now, back to business-- namely, catching up on Wingnuts in the News.  It looks like Time magazine has noticed the long march of Horowitz’s “Academic Bill of Rights” through state legislatures all over our fair land:

Minnesota lawmakers last week became the latest to rally to the cause of conservative activist David Horowitz, whose Academic Bill of Rights is meant to rescue students from what the legislators perceive as rampant liberal bias.

Over the past two months, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee have also started considering bills that would codify Horowitz’s ideas by, say, not allowing students to be punished with a bad grade for their views. Georgia’s senate passed a similar nonbinding resolution last year, while Colorado’s version was withdrawn after state-university administrators signed a pledge to ensure that “political diversity is explicitly recognized and protected.”

Legislators wield one potent weapon: money. In January, Utah state senators quietly red-lined funding for a $37 million digital-learning center at Utah Valley State College.

The senators were worried about “the drift of the campus,” says UVSC president Bill Sederburg, who fielded complaints from them about an Oct. 20 campus speech by Michael Moore, a student production of The Vagina Monologues and a course on queer theory in literature. “The legislators are saying ‘We don’t want the college to go too far and lose touch with the community.’ But we have an obligation to protect academic freedom.”

That’s the way it goes in Orem, Utah, folks.  You hit the trifecta-- Michael Moore, Eve Ensler, and god knows who else, maybe some queer literary person like Henry James or Walt Whitman-- and you lose your digital-learning center.  But then, maybe “the community” doesn’t need a digital learning center any more than it needs a vagina monologue.  After all, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young didn’t have a digital learning center, either, and they spread the Good News just fine.

“If the system were fair,” says Larry Mumper, sponsor of the Ohio bill, “Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would be tenured professors somewhere.”

I don’t know why some people are so upset by this line.  Are you kidding me?  Talk about a perfect world!  Please, please let Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity be tenured professors somewhere.  Let the system be fair, and let the country look like this:

Utah Valley State College Faculty News:  Professor Hannity of the Department of Kicking Bespectacled Liberals’ Butts will be holding extended office hours on Thursday to meet with students to discuss their upcoming midterms and paper drafts.  Professor Hannity has also been appointed to the College’s Adjunct Faculty Grievance Committee, which will meet Fridays 9-10:30, and to the Curriculum Revision Committee, which meets Tuesdays and Thursdays 10-12 from now through the end of the semester.

Professor Limbaugh of the Department of Advanced Psychotropic Research has announced that he will not be able to turn in midterm grades by the end of this week because of unexpected overenrollment in all four of his courses.  Professor Limbaugh also chairs the College’s Strategic Planning Committee, which meets Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3-5, and is conducting a semester-long Faculty Senate review of Utah Valley State’s drug-testing policy.

Meanwhile, here’s tonight’s lineup on the Renard News Channel:

7 pm The Bérubé Factor
8 pm “Informed Comment” with Juan Cole
9 pm “Phun with Pharyngula” with P. Z. Myers
10 pm “Scribbling Woman” with Miriam Jones
11 pm “Preposterous Universe” with Sean Carroll

Looks good to me!  I just need some suggestions for guests on the Factor.  Perhaps I could draw on this handy guide to the right-- but should I invite Tom DeLay, Zod, or the Glove?

Posted by on 03/11 at 07:57 AM
  1. Think of all the money Rush and Sean would be making if they were tenured professors instead of stuck in their loser media jobs.  Opportunity shouldn’t be limited to the Leninists/Marxists.  And why don’t they let rich people be janitors?  There’s another case of unreported bias.

    Posted by  on  03/11  at  09:53 AM
  2. Michael, I’m a little blurry-eyed after spending the last three days grading student papers on the topic of why President Bush is a terrorist. Caught a couple of neo-con students trying to weasel out of the assignment with semantic tricks, but I nailed them. And now I find you expecting me to believe that you spent your Spring Break up to your ass in snow in the Northeast. Out with it, Michael. Let’s see the photos of you in a Speedo on a beach in Aruba. (Welcome back, anyway.)

    Posted by  on  03/11  at  10:06 AM
  3. First guest on The Bérubé Factor: radical right wing ex-president Jimmy Carter. Cut his Mike, Michael!

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  03/11  at  10:13 AM
  4. Take it from me--my wife’s been a public school teacher for 20+ years--state legislatures could fuck up a one man parade, but they’re overmatched by high school curricula.  Your Neo-Bolshevist sinecure is safe.

    Posted by Doghouse Riley  on  03/11  at  10:19 AM
  5. Oh, and PZ could still bring Hannity on his show… he’s got experience in such matters.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  03/11  at  10:23 AM
  6. Robinson - I think you might just have given Michael an idea for his next site update.

    As for those gosh-darned liberals trying to corrupt our young ‘uns, they’ve been at the “We’re being oppressed” line of specious reasoning down here in Chapel Hill for a solid few years. I mean, one year we even tried to make them learn about the Koran. How’s that for subversive behaviour - I mean, universities aren’t about learning, are they?

    Posted by  on  03/11  at  11:32 AM
  7. The Reynard News Channel: Fair and balanced …and sly.

    Posted by  on  03/11  at  11:43 AM
  8. I’m looking forward to seeing some hippy kid turn in an essay explaining why the state should seize the means of production, and Hannity being forced by the Horowitz law to give him a passing grade.

    Posted by  on  03/11  at  11:43 AM
  9. Why are you asking Gary Payton to appear on The Bérubé Factor? That’s the only Glove officially recognized by SportsCenter.

    As for the esteemed additions to the professorate, I look forward to learning that there are more Native Americans living today than were at the time of Columbus. Because if it’s spoken in a classroom, it becomes all official-like.

    Posted by norbizness  on  03/11  at  11:49 AM
  10. Cassandra. She’s a fox. In French she would be called “la renarde” and she would be hunted with only her cunning to protect her.

    Posted by  on  03/11  at  12:07 PM
  11. I’m on board.  And I have dibs on Angelina Jolie for an opening-night guest. 

    And no red M&M’s in the green room, okay?  I hate that.

    Posted by Sean  on  03/11  at  12:08 PM
  12. "A new University at Buffalo study, examining the experience of 57 countries over a 32-year period, concludes that in the U.S. and other countries where social security is instituted as a defined-benefits, pay-as-you-go system, marriage and fertility rates fell sharply over time—partly as a result of social security itself.”


    I’m a Right Wing Nut Job(tm) and a taxpayer subsidized ‘economist’. Can I be your Guest?

    Posted by  on  03/11  at  01:51 PM
  13. I was upset about that Hannity and Limbaugh remark, too.  I was fuming about ignorant state legislators who don’t understand that one has to have a Ph.D. to get a job as a professor and that one has to go through a strict review to get tenure.  Then I realized that for Ward Churchill, that wasn’t the case.  Unfortunately, the actions of the university at which I work has left all of us without a leg to stand on in combatting such ignorance about our profession.

    Posted by  on  03/11  at  02:13 PM
  14. Assuming the Horowitz initiative becomes law everywhere, I wonder how many schools of business will have to look for a Marxist economist.

    Posted by  on  03/11  at  02:36 PM
  15. Has anybody ever thought of gathering together all of the real red-state wack-jobs and putting them out to reservation in Utah?  Then, they can all await (or more to the point) create all the second-comings that they need to beat some sense into them.

    Posted by Ryan  on  03/11  at  02:52 PM
  16. Renard News Channel:

    “Bien juste, bien équilibré.”

    Posted by  on  03/11  at  03:02 PM
  17. Ph.D.’s are not a necessity for becoming a tenured professor.  If this were the case, a great many incredible educators would not be providing enlightened facilitation of learning among so many in this country who have been blessed with the opportunity to receive access to “higher” education.  A “strict review” begs too many questions including i suppose the notion of political correctness? 

    It was reassuring yesterday that a few hundred EWU students here, mostly American Indians from the several tribes in the Columbia Basin and Plateau, protested the decision by EWU to not allow Ward to speak.  Unfortunately, the local network affiliates, staffed with young republican news reporters tilted their stories to misstate egregiously Ward’s discussion of four years ago.  Hannity and Limbaugh are mentors of future members of their profession.  Personally i would always prefer to be a colleague of Ward’s than of Sean or Rush.

    Posted by  on  03/11  at  03:31 PM
  18. Has anybody ever thought of gathering together all of the real red-state wack-jobs and putting them out to reservation in Utah? 

    Oh, fine: like the nuclear waste isn’t enough.

    I like Utah. Why don’t we put them all in Bethesda?

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  03/11  at  03:38 PM
  19. for your b students, such as myself (thank you, grade inflation), a short history of reynard the fox.

    i also think The Berube Factor would fit nicely in a primetime slot on my proposed democrat/nhl network— NDHN—National Democratic Hockey Network. not only would this be a great way for the dems to reconnect with the canadian heartland but the league itself could be used as an incubator for some of our favored social engineering efforts, just like the neocons are attempting with iraq. they have their faith-based nation-building efforts, we’ll have our faith hill-based nation-antheming efforts.

    so, if The Berube Factor isnt at center ice and in full pads, im not tuning in. as for a first show, id like to see Plame v. Novak in the face off circle. hopefully she’d leave him toothless and bloodied after cross checking him into the fifth column.

    Posted by  on  03/11  at  03:43 PM
  20. Yeah—so I just looked at Ehrlich’s (comment #12) news release, which makes to following observation: 

    “I’m not ascribing the reduction in family formation entirely to social security—there are many other contributing factors, such as greater opportunities for women in the workforce – but, on the margin, social security has had an adverse effect on the choices we make regarding family: whether to marry, to have children or even whether to save for our children’s future.”

    So, if I read this correctly, we should take a marginal adverse consequence of Social Security (assuming this is a marginal adverse consequence) and use that as the basis for smashing the system?

    Krugman-Ehrlich cage match requested.  Now.

    Posted by Axis of Evel Knievel  on  03/11  at  03:54 PM
  21. As my friend, still stuck in Minnesota, recently put it:
    I swear the Republicans in this state have switched to the cooked-noodle method of governing.  You just throw out every crazy-ass proposal you can think of and hope one of them sticks.

    And I’ll go Mr. Mumper one step better:
    If our system was fair, Laura Bush would still be a high school librarian.

    Posted by Alex  on  03/11  at  04:02 PM
  22. I’ve got to start lobbying my local cable outfit to start carrying the Renard Channel.

    But c’mon, “Phun with Pharyngula”? It really ought to be “The Pharyngula Phactor”. But you just had to be the anti-O’Reilly, didn’t you?

    We also have to have a talk with the programming department. They’ve scheduled poor Sean against The Daily Show.

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  03/11  at  04:02 PM
  23. It’s true. I’ve never once seen Michael say anything even close to “shut up,” whereas PZ routinely and cruelly shouts down any visitor to his blog who strays from the one true Darwinian dogma.

    Or So It Is Said.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  03/11  at  04:22 PM
  24. Mr. Clarke, Bethesda has NIH.  The last thing it needs is an influx of those folks.

    Why not Dallas-Fort Worth? Or Oklahoma City?  They’d feel right at home, I suspect.

    Posted by Linkmeister  on  03/11  at  04:47 PM
  25. True, I am very bad at shutting people up-- I don’t even police out-of-control blog comments very well.  But my name is more annoyingly left-wing and cheese-eating than “Myers,” so I get to lead off the evening.  And Sean says he’s quite happy with his slot (who wouldn’t be, with Angelina Jolie on the guest list), though if we want to avoid the direct Stewart-Carroll faceoff we can always drop “Phun with Pharyngula” to a half hour.  Fifteen seconds of which should be devoted to explaining the scientific evidence for Intelligent Design (such as:  there is a designer because I want there to be one)-- we do want to be bien juste, bien équilibré, after all.

    Posted by Michael  on  03/11  at  05:03 PM
  26. DFW works fine for me.

    I notice, Michael, that your lineup dooes not include a replacement for Hannity and Colmes, with its trademark Big Fat Extremist Blowhard “balanced” by a tepid, milquetoast opponent.

    May I humbly offer, as a replacement for Hannity, Creek Running North in the role of Big Fat Leftist Blowhard? Should this be acceptable to the “Fairly Unbalanced” Reynard Powers That Be, I’d be happy to find a tepid, milquetoast opponent to “balance” the show.

    In fact, in anticipation of your response, I have a call in to Alan Colmes. I think he’d be perfect.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  03/11  at  05:04 PM
  27. Schedule me wherever you like, I will crush the opposition.  I already have a tentative schedule up at Preposterous, as well as a volunteer for a charming sidekick.  Let’s get the liberal-media-elite in gear, shall we?

    Nous rapportons, vous décidons.

    Posted by Sean  on  03/11  at  06:32 PM
  28. Geez, you really are an excellently tyrannical network executive. I mention a little dissatisfaction with the name of my show, and you bounce right back with a threat to cut my time in half.

    OK, you win. But I need my full hour. After all, I’ve got to hand over 45 minutes of my time every night to Lauren or Lindsay or Roxanne or any of a huge number of eloquent feminists to compensate for the fact that, of the 5 you mentioned, only one is a woman.

    (You might want to add some more faces to your lineup before they notice and turn their wrath upon you. You don’t want to end up like Kevin Drum, with only one testicle and those horrible disfiguring scars.)

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  03/11  at  07:23 PM
  29. PZ, I’m well aware that the Phearsome Phalanx of Lauren, Lindsay, Roxanne and Amanda could (and usually do) kick our sorry blogging butts six days out of seven (even they need to rest on Sunday).  They’d probably be much better on TV and radio than we would, too.  But I was constrained by the Larry Mumper Format to exchange tenured positions for Hannity and Limbaugh with mass-media positions for tenured professors.  And guess what?  There are strikingly few tenured women out there blogging under their own names, and for television that presents a problem.  We could assign Professor B. and Playing School, Irreverently and Dr. Crazy (all tenure-track, I think) and Barely Tenured and Just Tenured (barely tenured and just tenured, I believe) to our radio division, where they could remain anonymous, and keep Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Mary Kay, and Miriam for the prime-time Renard TV lineup, but no, I am not going to give up a testicle and acquire a Partridge Family nickname by asking, “where are all the non-anonymous tenured female bloggers?”

    Posted by Michael  on  03/11  at  07:41 PM
  30. But I was constrained by the Larry Mumper Format to exchange tenured positions for Hannity and Limbaugh with mass-media positions for tenured professors. 

    I forgot about that part too. Feel free to toss my résumé in the circular file: I’ll peddle my idea over at CPNN or SDSNBC.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  03/11  at  07:45 PM
  31. Ah, now I get it. I’m a little slow--tenured, you know, they said I could stop thinking now--but that’s a good point.

    But, you know, there’s an idea there. Profgrrrl has been posting all of these photos from exotic Italy, some of which include herself from the neck down, and you know, it’s actually kinda hot. What about a show with mystery hosts in masks? Stylish masks, of course, something elaborate from New Orleans or some such.  There’d be an air of mystery, and they’d all be wearing haute couture and speaking boldly and irreverently.

    And they’d get better Nielsen numbers than the rest of us put together.

    Come to think of it, my imaginary show might get better ratings if I hosted it with a bag over my head, too. For a different reason, of course.

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  03/11  at  08:29 PM
  32. Hey, Chris, you could be my guffawing, back-slapping sidekick!

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  03/11  at  08:30 PM
  33. OK, so less than 90 minutes after not-asking that question, I learn that Jodi Dean has a blog.  And not only is her blog non-anonymous-- she even includes a pic, unless that’s Christina Ricci I’m looking at.  OK, so I’ll bump myself down to half an hour and offer Professor Dean the 7:30 slot.

    Posted by Michael  on  03/11  at  09:15 PM
  34. OH, I didn’t want to be a part of your stupid fucking network anyway. Thanks for asking.

    Posted by Roxanne  on  03/11  at  09:20 PM
  35. <-- in character.

    Posted by Roxanne  on  03/11  at  09:21 PM
  36. But if you did make the exception of allowing this simple prole to be on your network, you would gain another woman and a hapa haole.

    Posted by Roxanne  on  03/11  at  09:29 PM
  37. Hey, Chris, you could be my guffawing, back-slapping sidekick!


    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  03/11  at  09:34 PM
  38. Hey Michael,

    Invite Der Racketmensch. He can blow the harmonica if he doesn’t feel like speaking.

    P.S. some distressing-looking changes may happen to the writing and literature curriculum at RIT. More later, since when am I premature in shooting off of ze mouth?

    P.P.S. I gave your Kinbote entry props in my recently created live journal.


    Posted by David Ross McIrvine  on  03/11  at  09:40 PM
  39. Oh, all right, this one time a couple of proles can be part of my stupid fucking network.  But Roxanne’s in not because she’s a woman-- she’s in because she’s stylish and funny.  We’ll start Rox Populi in the coveted 7-9 pm slot on Sundays, OK, boys?  Mouse Words can follow-- not because she’s a woman, but because her last name is French-Canadian.  And then Majikthise at 10 and Feministe at 10:30, not because they’re women but because they’ll surely be tenured one of these days unless Larry Summers messes with their careers somehow.

    And hi, David!  Sorry I didn’t respond to your comments on earlier threads-- I went looking for ‘em today but I believe they were wiped out in the Great Deletion of March 3.  And were you really making popcorn in the kitchen when Mookie hit that now-infamous roller up the first-base line?  I thought you’d simply left the room in order to spark a rally.  In fact, I don’t remember any stinking popcorn in game 6!

    Posted by Michael  on  03/11  at  10:48 PM
  40. I don’t know if you’re looking for a house band for The Bérubé Factor, but I’d like to offer my services as bandleader.  Musically, I’m a cross between Paul Shafer and Jerry Garcia and in keeping with the clove cigarette, oh-so-sophisticated tenor of this network, I’m envisioning a modern day version of the Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grappelli Quintette du Hot Club de France, but scored for balalaika, hammered dulcimer, and kazoo.  And I promise we won’t do any Billy Joel.

    Posted by corndog  on  03/12  at  12:04 AM
  41. ’m envisioning a modern day version of the Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grappelli Quintette du Hot Club de France, but scored for balalaika, hammered dulcimer, and kazoo.

    Corndog, you have Bela Fleck’s IP lawyer holding on line one.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  03/12  at  12:19 AM
  42. Stay tuned for Renard Après le Crépuscule, when the Columbia University Middle East Studies Department mudwrestles Alan Dershowitz.

    Posted by Alex  on  03/12  at  06:02 AM
  43. Do you need an on-the-air troll wrangler? I’d happily take on the job. Any time some wingnut makes a bone-headed comment I could cut in with a tape of the sound of pigs oinking.

    Posted by Trish Wilson  on  03/12  at  02:24 PM
  44. I suggest we name Michael Prince de la Renard… It’s a druidic appellation, isn’t it?  We can worship him in the full moon.

    You got to watch out, though.  Even though they’ve banned fox hunting, it never was the people you’d got to watch out for.  It’s their dogs…

    Posted by Ryan  on  03/12  at  02:39 PM
  45. There needs to be a “Hitler Channel"/"Speedvision"/ESPN hybrid show:

    how about: “Legends of Punditry” ?

    picture Alan Colmes waxing nostalgic after a Michael Kinsley clip from back in the day.

    Posted by  on  03/12  at  03:05 PM
  46. "picture Alan Colmes waxing nostalic after a Michael Kinsley clip from back in the day.”

    With the sound of a vibrator buzzing in the background.

    Posted by Trish Wilson  on  03/12  at  03:38 PM
  47. Uh-oh.  I didn’t realize that tenure was a prerequisite.  I will hurry up and try to get it before I am kicked off the schedule.

    Posted by Sean  on  03/12  at  04:11 PM
  48. Berets and fezes.  Kilts during sweeps week.

    Posted by  on  03/12  at  05:10 PM
  49. Dang!  I forgot you’re an assistant prof, Sean.  This means that you have to split the 11 pm slot with Profgrrrl, and both of you will appear on-air only from the neck down.

    And Trish is now our official troll-wrangler and producer of taped barnyard noises!  Corndog is our bandleader, and he’ll open The Factor with Django’s “Minor Swing.” This is really shaping up.  Now all we need is George Soros and a couple of sponsors--

    Posted by Michael  on  03/12  at  05:28 PM
  50. Well, let’s see. I’m a woman, have tenure, and I’m originally from Utah--but no blog. Otherwise I’d demand my own time slot. The case in Utah Valley only highlights the many absurdities of the right’s call for academic “diversity.” UVSC used to be a tiny community college but grew into a larger, vital institution after neighboring Brigham Young U. purged a bunch of professors it deemed too left-ish and UVSC hired some of the refugees. In short, a purge of diversity.

    That the legislators would yank money to punish UVSC is proof positive that the “diversity in academia” is pure horsehit. As if we needed any.

    Posted by  on  03/12  at  06:11 PM
  51. I gotta be a guest on your show, Michael, representing the moderate center, of course.

    Posted by Avedon  on  03/12  at  10:19 PM
  52. I’ve always worked best behind the camera. That was my old job before I went into public policy. I was a gaffer (lighting technician), amongst other things. I’ll bath the wingnut guests in a sickly amber/green light so they look like they’re hung over. And no makeup, so they sweat under the hot lights. Let the folks on-camera skewer the wingnuts on the air, and let me light them so they look like they’re on a three-day bender, complete with barnyard sounds. It’ll be so much like Richard Nixon sweating on the air. Heh.

    Posted by Trish Wilson  on  03/13  at  12:33 PM
  53. Avedon: would you use a “crunchy center” or “creamy middle” approach?

    Michael: an OT courtesy note: I discuss some of your earlier work at some length in my most recent blog post.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  03/13  at  01:47 PM
  54. Thank you, thank you all, for making me laugh out loud after the most depressing decanal interview in this, or any other mulitverse.

    On-campus interview process 5, jrochest 0.

    Posted by  on  03/14  at  05:04 PM

    “And hi, David!  Sorry I didn’t respond to your comments on earlier threads-- I went looking for ‘em today but I believe they were wiped out in the Great Deletion of March 3.  And were you really making popcorn in the kitchen when Mookie hit that now-infamous roller up the first-base line?  I thought you’d simply left the room in order to spark a rally.  In fact, I don’t remember any stinking popcorn in game 6!”

    I usually left to start a rally, which the Amazins
    seemed to need there. Clemens is still pitching!!

    Sometimes I did make popcorn, I remember!!

    As for Slothrop’s skill on the harp, I guess your News Channel is non-musical? Who’s your producer, Richard Zhlubb? (/gravity’s rainbow humor off)

    Posted by David Ross McIrvine  on  03/17  at  04:53 PM
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