Category Archives: Archives

September 18, 2013, 10:03 am

Your Federal Tax Dollars @ Work: August, 1981

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Does this make me look fat?

From a telephone survey commissioned by the Reagan administration in August, 1981, the first year in which I would be filing my own income taxes:

“Given the chance to travel in outer space, a strong minority of the public — 42% –say they would do so. But a majority of 55% would decline the adventure. Young people, surprisingly, are more willing to venture into space than are older Americans. And men are far more likely than women to express the desire for space travel. Half the men — 52% — but only one-third of the women — 33% — say they would travel in space if they had the chance.”

Ask a stupid question…….

September 17, 2013, 8:34 am

Who Pays for Free? When Universities Give Our Work Away

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David Delgado Shorter

In today’s Wired Campus, Hannah Winston reports that the chancellor’s office of California’s community college system will make materials that they have funded available for free under a Creative Commons License. But as today’s guest blogger, David Delgado Shorter, a film maker and professor of anthropology at the University of California at Los Angeles asks, aren’t faculty ultimately paying for these generous policies?

I received a nice note the other day from one of my University’s librarians alerting me to the good news that they had purchased a licensing agreement with a company that would give any UCLA student free access to my book as an e-edition. This news, she informed me, would mean that more colleagues on campus could assign my book more affordably. Well, not just affordable…

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August 30, 2013, 2:53 pm

There’s Nothing That Says I Haven’t Got A Plan….

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Just keep saying: Mitt Romney would have been worse, Mitt Romney would have been worse…

…Like President Obama’s new College Affordability Plan.  (For intelligent and thoughtful responses to this announcement, go to the AHA Roundtable on President Obama’s College Affordability Plan and Inside Higher Ed, August 8 2013. For an outraged polemic, keep reading.)

Like practically everything else about what passes for federal education policy today, the Obama administration’s problem-solving  nibbles around the edges of the issue. There is nothing that is a genuinely new idea or even a well-recycled old idea. Reforms consist of a few small financial incentives awarded to institutions that play along, injecting a good shot of standardized testing, and giving “education consumers” information so that they can make…

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August 26, 2013, 9:43 pm

Sabbatical: Because the Bible Tells Me So

In answer to the question, “Where are you and what are you doing?” The answer is: I am on

For the advantages of a sabbatical, go here. But don’t worry. I’ll still show up here.

August 21, 2013, 10:50 am

The Ten Commandments of Graduate School


reality is overratedSo you are starting graduate school, eh? Against all of our best advice here in the blogosphere, you are determined to embark on the scholarly life.  Well, you know what I have to say about that?

Good luck and godspeed! Keep your feet dry and your spectacles up to date! Cover your head when the sun is too bright! Don’t fly with ballpoint pens in your luggage! Get a cat!

As you make your way through this first year, finally acting on that sense of purpose that coalesced in your undergraduate years, know that there will be times of frustration and sorrow, but that many of us have found this to be a good life all the same. There are, as the foundations say, deliverables. There is the reading. There is the teaching (that sense that you have just taught a really good class? *Priceless*!!!) There is the blogging. There are the friends. There are the ideas. And there is the emerging…

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August 13, 2013, 4:24 pm

The Five Big Lies About Campus Rape

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From Project Unbreakable, encouraging healing from sexual assault through art.

I was reading Frank Bruni’s New York Times column, “Tackling the Roots of Rape” this morning and had two thoughts. One is that it is progress for a man to be interviewing a man about how to prevent sexual assault. Too much anti-rape activism is focused on lecturing women on how to protect themselves and too little on the largest potential pool of rapists and their destructive ideas about sex. Furthermore, men talking to men about rape, and cutting through the myths about sexuality and masculinity than enable sexual violence, is an effective strategy.

My second thought was how glad I am that I no longer teach at a residential campus. (more…)

July 14, 2013, 9:19 am

No Justice, No Peace: Time to #StandOurGround #AgainstRacism

At Tenured Radical we, like so many others, are appalled and heartbroken at last night’s acquittal of George Zimmerman in murder of  Trayvon Martin. Between Shelby v. Holder and this travesty, it feels like we are spinning back in time.

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To find a rally or Trayvon Martin protest near you, log on to Twitter or Facebook and use the hashtag #NoJustice or #HoodiesUp. Hat tip.

To join the NAACP, go here. (Update: be patient. The site is moving very slowly today, undoubtedly a direct outcome of the slow pace of delayed justice for the Martin family.)

To find your Congressperson to demand justice for Trayvon, go here.

To give money to The Brotherhood-SisterSol, a New York City community organization that organizes youth of color against racism, sexism, homophobia and violence, go here.

To call, write and email the Department of Justice to demand the reactivation of the…

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June 26, 2013, 12:44 pm

It’s Called Equal Protection and Due Process, Associate Justice Scalia

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As Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority in today’s historic decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, “DOMA seeks to injure the very class New York seeks to protect. By doing so it violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government.” (p. 20)

Yep. What he said: seeks to injure. That is exactly what those people who wrote, promoted, and signed, DOMA sought to do, for their own political gain. Back in 1996, the House Judiciary Committee explicitly stated that the Defense of Marriage Act was intended to “reflect and honor a collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality.”

The “plain English” version of United States v. Windsor from Amy Howe is over at SCOTUS Blog:

The federal Defense of Marriage Act defines “marriage,” for purposes of over a thousand federal laws and programs, …

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June 18, 2013, 2:06 pm

Go Into Academia, Win Valuable Prizes

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Where is your college president spending the summer?

Today’s New York Times has the latest revelations about New York University’s executive compensation practices. (Full disclosure: not only was Tenured Radical’s Ph.D. bestowed from those Violet walls, but my current institution recently had its own executive mini-scandal.)

As Ariel Kaminer reveals, NYU’s top execs and a few elite proffies are also offered mortgages for summer homes, “Universities in similar circumstances, like Columbia and Stanford, also have helped professors and executives with home loans,” writes Kaminer, who has been following this story for several months. “Aid for vacation properties, however, is all but unheard-of in higher education, several experts in university pay packages say.” And how many universities offer you a mortgage after…

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June 5, 2013, 2:52 pm

Radical Mailbag: Writing A Good Blog Post

woman-writing-letters-by-charles-dana-gibsonSo ya wanna be a blogger? “Santa Rosa Sandy” writes:

Dear Dr. Radical:

Having enjoyed your blog and admired the writing (and wry humor!) for a while, I wondered if you’d be willing to address the characteristics of good blog writing. My own sense is that blog posts should be meaty, but pithy—if that’s not conflating two different food groups. They can be leavened with more personal comment, humor, and current cultural reference than—say—a journal article. I recently submitted an invited entry to a higher ed blog (admittedly, I’d gone over the word limit). But to my chagrin, the editors are making it fit by removing anything that seemed even slightly leavening, leaving a pretty bland result. (more…)