Category Archives: Apocalypse Now

October 29, 2012, 1:27 pm

How High’s the Water, Momma? Hurricane Dispatches from Brooklyn

Red Hook, Brooklyn as of this morning.

How high’s the water, mama?
Two feet high and risin’.
How high’s the water, papa?
Two feet high and risin’.

We can make it to the road in a homemade boat
That’s the only thing we got left that’ll float
It’s already over all the wheat and the oats,
Two feet high and risin’.

Johnny Cash, “Five Feet High and Risin’,” published 1974

Dateline Brooklyn, 1:30 PM. The flooding started this morning with a morning storm surge in Brooklyn; Hurricane Sandy has not even made landfall yet.  Parts of Red Hook and Gowanus are already under (see the picture above) and the city has evacuated all of people in public housing south of us. Last night school buses full of people headed to the shelters came up our street, whether they wanted to go or not.

There are many…

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October 26, 2012, 6:38 pm

Before You (Don’t) Cast Your Protest Vote: Think 1980. Think 2000.

Remember all the protest votes cast for John Anderson in 1980?

One of the commenters on my last post disagreed with my view that deciding not to vote is an abnegation of civic responsibility. “There is a good argument to be made about not voting as an act of protest,” s/he wrote, and then pointed out that there are more than two candidates running.”The Green Party candidate, Jill Stein… does represent a real progressive alternative to the status quo.”

I find this comment usefully provocative, and an excuse to extend my remarks about protest voting. In a place like Canada, I would vote for Jill Stein. In the United States, where we have two parties, it is not a “real…alternative” to vote for Stein. This election is so tight that voting for someone who is a progressive alternative, but who will never win the…

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August 25, 2012, 9:49 pm

Department of Divine Ocurrences: An SAT Question For the Ages

This section of the test examines your reading comprehension and ability to solve a logical problem.

On September 9 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, televangelist Hal Lindsey of the Trinity Broadcasting Network observed that it seemed

clear that the prophetic times I have been expecting for decades have finally arrived. And even worse, it appears that the judgment of America has begun. I warn continually that the last days lineup of world powers does not include anything resembling the United States of America. Instead, a revived Roman Empire in Europe is to rule the West, and then the world.

But what were the specifics of God’s distress?  On September 12, the Reverend Pat Robertson, host of the Christian Broadcasting Network, founder of the Christian Coalition, and erstwhile presidential candidate, speculated that the devastation resulting from Hurricane Katrina was payback …

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May 31, 2012, 10:20 pm

DOMA Heads To The Supreme Court, Threatening End to Civilization As We Know It (Thank The Goddess)

Today's poster boy for straight marriage, John Edwards (Photo Credit: Reuters)

As longtime readers of the Radical know, gay marriage has never been our top political priority.  Nor do we have fantasies about getting gay married. Although we are all for civil rights wherever we find them, we are more focused on policy objectives like health care, quality education for all, and full employment. However, I don’t sniff at the way structural discrimination has been partially lifted for my people under the Obama administration. For example, we are now no longer drummed out of the military through McCarthyite investigative tactics. In addition, Barack’s “evolution” on gay marriage — obscuring (or retracting) the support he voiced for it back in the 1990s, temporizing about it as a presidential candidate and as…

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May 28, 2012, 6:17 pm

Is Facebook Worth The Trouble?

Yesterday around midday I discovered that I could no longer post status updates to my Facebook page.  This was no big deal, and would have represented the elimination of a major weekend time-suck, except for one thing.  I couldn’t figure out why this was happening, which sets off a little alarm in my brain that Something Might Be Wrong, Something That Might Represent A Bigger Problem.

I don’t worry about being hacked.  On the other hand, I never worried about identity theft until my debit card was canceled because someone managed to duplicate it at a gas pump that had been bent to this purpose in West Philadelphia: the next day I went out and bought a shredder. Similarly, before now, despite legendarily sloppy password use for many years, I have never been hacked.  And yet, I thought uneasily as I fiddled with a Facebook that was behaving strangely, there’s always a first time.

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November 29, 2011, 4:16 pm

This Will Be The Second Year In A Row….

We thought that the demise of law school was as likely as this.

…that I have had no requests for law or business school recommendations.  Zero. Between graduates who had taken a year or so off and students heading right into the chute, I used to average between 5 and 10 law and biz recs every fall.  Also popular for a while were public health degrees, master’s in social work and master’s in urban design programs.  But I have had no requests for those either. Applications for the Ph.D. have pretty much petered out, although interestingly, these are the only requests for recommendations I have received since spring 2009. Last year I had two grads go off immediately to American Studies programs, and I am starting to send off recommendations for another prospective Ph.D. candidate now. (more…)

May 21, 2011, 3:49 pm

Why Does The Sun Go On Shining? Why Does The Sea Rush to Shore?

The answer to these and other pressing questions can be found here, with a Big Hair Bonus.  (And yes, I would embed, but YouTube won’t let me.  Buncha intellectual property pansies, if you ask me.)

For a brief history of Skeeter Davis, born Mary Penick, go here.  Here’s hoping you survive the day, and if you don’t, that we encounter each other in that Big Blogger Meetup in the Sky.

January 14, 2010, 2:50 pm

Playing The Blame Game: Or; How Should Graduate Schools Respond To The Bad Job Market?

Over at ConfessionsOf A Community College Dean your favorite administrator and mine, Dean Dad, asks: “Why do people still go to grad school in the liberal arts?”

Good question. Although I have no former undergraduates making the leap into a Ph.D. program this year, the bigger picture is quite different. As Dean Dad notes, “the adjunct trend is so well-established at this point, and the economic irrationality of grad school so screamingly obvious, that it’s fair to wonder why many departments are actually experiencing record applications.” While he explores various irrational explanations — love for learning, self-delusion, and hiding out until the recession is over — there is, he argues, some rationality to the choice:

academia still offers a surface legibility. Yes, the odds are daunting, but good students have spent years rising to the top of academic competitions. There’s still a…

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June 11, 2009, 12:09 pm

Let’s Run Away From The Girls! And Other Strategies To Make History Relevant To A Twenty-First Century Liberal Arts Education

Did Linda Kerber, Emily Rosenberg, Penny Von Eschen, Elizabeth Borgwardt, Nancy Cott, Joan Hoff, Marilyn Young, Ellen DuBois, Mary Dudziak and Mary Frances Berry die when I wasn’t looking?*

I was a little concerned about this when I picked up my New York Times this morning and saw that none of them were quoted in Patricia Cohen’s article, Great Caesars Ghost! Are Traditional History Courses Vanishing? I guess they just weren’t answering their phones yesterday when they weren’t called.

Tradition, as you guessed even before reading the article, would be represented by diplomatic, military, economic, constitutional and intellectual history. These fields a, the article asserts, are being crowded out of university history curricula by (you’ve guessed already, haven’t you?): the history of gender, and that other feminized field, cultural history. “Job openings on the nation’s college…

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July 8, 2007, 1:56 pm

Saigon. I’m Still In Saigon. Or, It Sucks To Work On My Book

I bet you all have been wondering: with all of the Radical’s interests on display in the last month, is she really writing her book? What was all that fuss and bother about at the beginning of the summer? Has she just gone underground? Is there a book? Or is this “book” a blogosphere fiction?

Well the answer is, I am finishing my book. And it sucks. Utterly. It is like the last three weeks of pregnancy in August when, it has been my observation, it is relentlessly hot, peeing has become an hourly event, and my pregnant friends are weeping hysterically and saying, “Just cut it out, OK?” So in the interests of getting to work today (and not extending the childbirth metaphor), I would like to purge my mind of everything self-destructive, poisonous and distracting with the….(drum roll) “Four Reasons Why It Sucks To Work On My Book” post. I am giving you only the four top reasons (…

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