Category Archives: bleeping conservatives

November 20, 2010, 3:49 pm

In Case You Were Wondering: The Financial Penalties For Being Unmarried

Stigma or Pride?  Shall the Congress or the Courts Decide?

Despite the fact that I would include myself in the category of people who are utterly unmoved by the romance of gay marriage (except when I am softened by pictures of people who are moved by it), I occasionally feel pissed off about structural discrimination that awards bonuses to people who can and do marry.

Today I opened a letter from TIAA-CREF that contains an “update” to my “original contract…which states that same-sex marriages aren’t recognized under current federal tax law” because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Passed in 1996, DOMA defines marriage as a legal contract that can only be entered into by one man and one woman, and was declared unconstitutional by a federal district court last July.  It was signed into law by William Jefferson Clinton, for which (along with welfare reform and NAFTA) he will roast in…

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January 18, 2010, 1:18 pm

Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty: Sociologists Try To Explain The Political Orientation Of The Academy

In Professor Is A Label That Leans To The Left, New York Times reporter Patricia Cohen reports on a new study by sociologists Neil Gross and Ethan Fosse that reaffirms the liberalism of university faculties. However, says Cohen, “critics may have been asking the wrong question. Instead of looking at why most professors are liberal, they should ask why so many liberals — and so few conservatives — want to be professors.”

Putting aside for now the issue of what might be the right question (like why most people read about scholarship in the newspaper rather than reading scholarship), Gross and Fosse point out that conservatives may not see university teaching as consonant with their image as conservatives; nor do conservatives see university careers as the best use of their time and ideas. Beginning with William F. Buckley’s God and Man At Yale (1954), conservatives have consistently…

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August 24, 2009, 1:02 pm

The Case Of The Scottish Pardon: Or, Extremism in Defense Of Liberty Is Becoming A Little Tiresome

Forty-five years ago this summer, while accepting the Republican party’s presidential nomination at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, Barry Goldwater thundered: “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!” The party’s newly visible right wing exploded in cheers while liberal delegates headed for the nearest bar. Although Goldwater was soundly hammered that November by Lyndon Baines Johnson, the Goldwater campaign is considered by many historians to have been a turning point in the process of recrafting right-wing extremism in America as “the mainstream.” Numerous regional conservatisms, organized around everything from white supremacy, to reversing progressive schooling trends, to opposing all forms of taxation, began to federate in a concerted, and ultimately successful,…

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July 1, 2009, 1:39 pm

“And Your Little Dog Too!!!” Christina Hoff Sommers Still Wants The Ruby Slippers

Yesterday one of my trusted agents (and I keep telling you, my agents are everywhere) sent me a link to Christina Hoff Sommer’s recent piece in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, “Persistent Myths in Feminist Scholarship.” I thought Sommers was going to really let fly about vaginal orgasm (“what vaginal orgasm????”), or weigh in about whether women were on the cutting edge of medical practice in the nineteenth century until men invented medical school as a canny strategy to take over the birthing room. But I soon realized that the article was just another tired old piece of conservative wheel-spinning crap, the central ideas of which Sommers (who calls herself an “equity feminist”) has published elsewhere.

As I wondered why the Chronicle would publish something intended only to generate more of the drama Sommers is famous for, this exchange from The Wizard of Oz, featuring Judy Garland an…

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May 31, 2009, 2:10 pm

Remember the Alamo? Texas Conservatives Won’t Jump On The Latina-Bashing Bandwagon

As the Dallas Morning News reported yesterday, prominent Texas Republicans are not jumping on the racism bandwagon being pulled by extremist conservative Republicans over the Sonia Sotomayor nomination. Republican Senator John Cornyn has come out strongly against this smear campaign driven by stalking horses Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh (who, by the way, have not been elected by anybody to anything lately. Just saying.) Cornyn’s colleague, Kay Bailey Hutchison, said to be running for governor of the Lone Star State in the next cycle, has chimed in as well, trying to limit the damage to the Republican Party that these dumb-asses with fat media contracts are doing (and by the way, who cut off Dick Cheney’s Zoloft supply?) Today on CNN’s “State of the Union” she separated herself from the lunatic fringe by saying clearly that the debate should be based on Sotomayor’s record, not on …

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May 11, 2009, 12:39 pm

It’s a Girl! A Recent And Partial History of the Nomination of Women To The Supreme Court

The aging Supreme Court was but one motivation for Democrats to unify behind Barack Obama last fall, but it was a big one. In the next eight years, barring an unexpected death or retirement, “Court watchers” (as those of us who care about such things are called in the media) expect up to three vacancies among the tightly divided Supremes. I’m not sure anyone was counting Associate Justice David Souter, 69, as one of the three potential vacancies. But he is setting a good example for the legal world (not to mention all of us in the academic world) by not hanging around until he has to be scraped off the floor to write an opinion.

And so, we await Barack’s first nominee.

As during the last ideological upheaval in 1980, the Obama administration is hinting that the next Associate Justice will be a woman, and probably for the same reason: to firmly suture “women” (a majority of whom

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April 22, 2009, 11:50 pm

This One’s For You: What The Bush Administration Did For America

There are lies, and then there are lies.

There was Bill Clinton claiming that “he did not have sexual relations with that woman,” for which he was impeached. Aides to Richard M. Nixon went to prison for crimes, and covering up crimes, that subverted the electoral process and that abused the power of government to investigate and punish Nixon’s political enemies.

So how about the lies of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld? The lies about “a few bad apples” committing aberrant crimes at Abu Ghraib? Where do we stand as a nation on those?

Oh sure, you have been hearing reports on the news all day, but we are historians: we always want to look at the archive. So you might want to read this government report about the full knowledge Bush administration officials had about what was going on at Abu Ghraib, and other places where people were being tortured on the authority of the President of the United …

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April 21, 2009, 2:57 pm

How Many Administrators Does It Take To File A Department Of Education Report?

Two. One to file the report, one to respond the barrage of stupid newspaper articles written about the report after the data is crunched by a non-profit conservative think tank.

This half-assed joke is a response to an article by Tamar Lewin in today’s New York Times that ran under the headline “Staff Jobs On Campus Outpace Enrollment.” The data, taken from Department of Education reports filed by 2,782 colleges and analyzed by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, shows that public and private colleges have about the same ratio of staff to student (8 and 9 per 100, respectively) and have bloated at about the same rate since 1987. Lewin writes,

In the 20-year period, the report found, the greatest number of jobs added, more than 630,000, were instructors — but three-quarters of those were part-time. Converted to full-time equivalents, those resulted in a total of 939,…

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April 3, 2009, 12:16 pm

As If The Right Wing Has Not Had To Endure Enough, Now the Jury System Bites Them In The Butt

Lynne Cheney must be home banging her head against the wall. First she finds out that all but a very few of the men her hubby has been keeping in Gitmo are innocent after all. Now the culture wars have been set back a century or so by a Denver jury, in a recent ruling that University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill was wrongfully terminated.

It is amazing to me (and makes me all teary about the Constitution) that juries often really get the nuances of a thing. Churchill was awarded attorney’s fees, but only $1 in damages because of the plagiarism charges that arose in midst of the controversy. Churchill did appropriate someone else’s work: there is no doubt about that. But the reason he was summarily fired, the jury argued, was because of political speech that was unpalatable to the governor of Colorado and the Colorado legislature. And that, they agreed, was wrong.
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March 31, 2009, 4:20 pm

What Side Are You On? The Politics of History (Meetings)

Today on Cliopatria, Ralph Luker asks about the state of the field panel on conservatism that occurred last Friday, Day 2 of the OAH Annual Meeting:

How could a panel on the state of the study of recent American conservatism not include a conservative historian? Donald Critchlow, for example, should have been there to respond to Rick Perlstein’s criticism. I’ve seen this happen again and again at our conventions: major panels dealing with major issues and there’s not a dime’s worth of difference in what or the ways the panelists think about them.

As a Cliopatrician myself, I thought I would move the conversation about this over here so as not to risk detracting attention from other interesting posts that went up on Cliopatria today, or the rest of Ralph’s excellent column. You never know when a flurry of sock puppets will arrive to berate either Ralph or myself — sometimes they go after

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