URLs du Jour

2008-01-30

  • We previously blogged on the latest hijinks at Brandeis University where Professor Donald Hindley found himself in a Kafkaesque situation based on his utterance of the word "wetback" in one of his classes. Among other things, we linked to an utterly devastating analysis of a letter sent by Brandeis Provost Marty Wyngaarden Krauss to Professor Hindley.

    But now Provost Marty has sent out another missive, this time to the entire Brandeis faculty. It's safe to say she hasn't learned much; it's full of educrat bafflegab, and she notes that the "case is now considered closed." (Translation: "If we said any more about this, it would only expose us further to ridicule and condemnation.") And her grammar hasn't gotten any better:

    I have been and will continue to work with the Faculty Senate Council regarding programs for the faculty that increase our internal capacity for understanding diversity issues.

    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education fisks the Provost's letter; impossible to excerpt, I encourage you to check it out. Lawprof Eugene Volokh reprints the letter in full and is unimpressed by the lack of disclosure:

    This is an issue that goes to the heart of Brandeis's role as a center for learning and teaching, and its credibility as a center for learning and teaching. And the University's response is that the "case is now considered closed," and no further information is forthcoming (except perhaps through future "programs that increase our internal capacity for understanding diversity issues"). Nor is the confidentiality argument plausible — the question is what the university thinks the professor (who has spoken publicly on the matter) said in class in front of many students.
    In a separate post, Prof Volokh analyzes the Brandeis speech code, also well worth checking out. (Mostly because, almost certainly, it's similar to a speech code at a University Near You.) The prof's conclusion:
    Of course, I quite doubt that the policy is enforced often, or evenhandedly. But it's out there whenever someone (a student, a student group, or the administration) wants to make trouble for others who express certain kinds of views. Not what we ought to have at universities that try to take free speech and academic freedom, it seems to me. But inevitable once one asserts a supposed civil right to be free from "harassment," defined to include speech (including speech not directed at the offended person) that might offend based on race, religion, sex, and the like.

  • Arnold Kling has written extensively on healthcare issues, but his current essay at TCS Daily examines that issuue from the trenches, as his father has developed some acute medical problems. And his perspective has changed as a result:
    … I have also come around to some different points of view about our health care system. I no longer think of Medicare and health care regulation as inefficient. I now think of them as pure evil.
    If you're in the position of managing the care of an older person, or if you're planning on getting old yourself, Arnold's essay will depress you, but you should read it anyway. He also has a followup blog post.
    … what you deal with are people who are doing their job. For example, the cardiologist's job is to make sure his heart does not give out, even if it means he lies on his back for so long that the prospects for restoring diginity recede. Everyone wants to shunt him around, giving him more Hansonian medicine, which detracts from his ability to remain lucid.

    For the larger goal of trying to do the best with his remaining life, nobody is in charge and nobody is empowered. Particularly in that big hospital. I'll probably be back there soon, but I don't know what medical decisions would best serve our goals and I don't know how to get the system to work for us.

  • After reading about smiley-face-fascist university administrators and our depressing healthcare future, you'll want some cheering up. Iowahawk fills the bill with a recovered script from a 70's TV classic, Makaniak.
    ACT I: Downtown Police HQ

    Captain O'Malley
    I don't care how bad you want Makaniak for this case, Granger. I don't like it -- I don't like it one bit! After that Gang of 14 corruption fiasco, do you really expect me to trust him again?

    Lt. Granger:
    Dammit, Captain, you know he was cleared by Internal Affairs! Leo Makaniak is the best undercover cop we've got. He's gotten so far inside the underworld he's on a first-name basis with every two-bit junky, pusher, and media slimeball in this whole stinking city! They know him. They trust him. He has broad cross-over appeal!

    Makaniak
    You wanted to see me, Lieutenant?

    Lt. Granger
    Yeah, Makaniak. Have a seat.

    Makaniak
    Make it quick, man. My connections are gonna get suspicious if they see me talking to a couple of filthy partisan cops.

    Oh, wait. That's depressing too. Sorry.


Last Modified 2012-10-15 11:01 AM EDT

Shoot 'Em Up

[Amazon Link] [3.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

This movie is a crude ultraviolent live-action cartoon. (To drive home the "cartoon" point, the very first shot is of Mr. Smith (played by Clive Owen) looking straight at the camera, mean as hell, then munching on a carrot. Soon after that, he asks the main bad guy, Hertz (played by Paul Giamatti), "What's up, Doc?". Hertz calls Smith a "wascally wabbit.")

The plot is contrived: Smith gets sucked into saving a very pregnant woman from her would-be killers. He delivers her baby while shooting it out with Hertz and his minions. Unfortunately, the mother is killed in the shootout—but, guess what, the bad guys also want the baby dead! Now, that's evil.

When the motivation behind all this is revealed, the plot goes from "contrived" to "ludicrously stupid." But, to its slight credit, the moviemakers know that it's stupid, and they wallow in it. The point is to have some slight motivation to drive the action, action, action.

IMDB claims the body count in this movie is 100, but that seems low.


Last Modified 2012-10-15 10:52 AM EDT