Category Archives: Eat the Rich

February 2, 2014, 1:59 pm

Why Won’t Obama Talk About The Poor?

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New Yorkers are doin’ it for themselves. Cover design by Robert Best

Say what you will about The Nation, it is one of the few publications that does consistent and evidence-based investigative reporting on poverty, both in the United States and abroad. Most American institutions — in particular, the two major political parties, but also many major news outlets — cannot bear to use the words “poor” or “poverty,” much less write anything that focuses on policy rather than human interest stories about people who overcome hardship by playing football or winning a scholarship to Harvard.

It’s policy we need, not cheerleading. John Nichols’ blog post “How Sargent Shriver Helped John Kennedy Become a Liberal” (The Nation, January 20 2014) makes a particularly important point: while the President has to be willing …

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November 9, 2012, 12:28 am

In Bizarro World, Mitt Romney Is Now President

President Romney’s transition website went live by mistake, allowing some person who wants stuff to take a screen shot.

Well, I am most certainly glad that we, the people, did not favor Mitt Romney on Tuesday. It’s not only for the reasons you might assume: that I am a taker, not a maker; that I want stuff; that I care nothing for innocent life; or that I am a member of that feared breed, a Tenured Radical.

Noooooooooes!!!!! All these things are true, but I have better reasons. I am glad that Mitt Romney was not elected because apparently he, the GOP apparatus, and the conservative punditocracy were not just lying about everything, they actually were inhabiting an alternate reality during the whole campaign. Frankly, I had never considered this. I find it a lot more disturbing than the idea that they were…

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October 24, 2011, 10:48 am

How Does Occupy Wall Street Speak To A Broken Education System? A Manifesto

Today’s lesson is: thanks to the absence of leadership from the political class; the failure to nurture an empowering dialogue between high school and college teachers that might have a broad impact on education policy; the domination of university Boards of Trustees by the 1%; and Wall Street’s destructive attempts to transform education into a tradable commodity, educators are increasingly drawn to the Occupy Wall Street movement.   There could not be more chaos in the education world than there is now. It is a world in which school reform = a takeover of public schools by profit seekers, or by philanthropies that funnel tax-free corporate profits into shaping the world that corporations want. Hence, contemporary activism creates an unprecedented opportunity for progressive change in education.  Let us observe the impact that Occupy Wall Street is having on national political culture…

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May 26, 2011, 1:16 pm

Isn’t It Time To Bring The State Back In? Thoughts On The Recent Pew Report On Higher Ed

If you have a Google alert on “college,” as I do, you will know that the last week has been filled with pundits weighing in on the question of whether college is a worthwhile investment.  This is because, on May 16, the Pew Center released a new report called  “Is Higher Education Worth It?  College Presidents, Public Assess Value, Quality and Mission of Higher Education.” Highlight: although every feature of the report addresses the wreckage that privatization and cutting public education budgets has created over the last two decades, the report never suggests that getting the government back into the business of funding higher education would be a good start to solving any of these problems.

Now, although I always find what the Pew Center has to say interesting, as a researcher my first question about the study is this.  Putting aside the fact that there could be no demographics more…

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March 2, 2011, 4:15 pm

My Bags Are Packed, I’m Ready To Go: The Spring Research Trip

Happy 100th Birthday Ronnie!  I’ve FOIA’d your a$$!  (Corbis Bettman.)

Dateline Simi Valley.  When I look back at the past four years of the blog, I have filed several series of posts while on spring research trips.  Zenith has a rather unique spring break structure, as I may have mentioned:  two weeks in the middle of March.  I don’t know any other colleague who has two weeks off; my guess is that there will be some kind of sunset on this little oddity sooner rather than later.  Zenith is currently in a homogenizing mood, and everything we do is becoming more like what everyone else does.

Here is my current list of non-confidential items that fit this category (yes, they have all been reported on in the campus newspaper.) We now have  summer sessions, in which one can mostly take a dizzying array of introductory science courses (they are now imagining a J-term, which every college student…

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September 29, 2009, 10:08 am

More Annals of the Great Depression: What Divides Us And Why

At Zenith University, like everywhere else, there are budget cuts. There were cuts last year; there will be more cuts this year; one imagines there will perhaps be more cuts next year. Everyone thinks of us as a rich little school, and compared to some we are: compared to many schools with which we are associated (Amherst, Williams) we are not. What compounds the problem (and I won’t bore you with the details) is that up until about a decade ago, the combination of poor investing, insufficient fund-raising and living beyond our means meant that not only did Zenith’s endowment not grow, it shrank dramatically from the bountiful era of owning My Weekly Reader, a period which shaped the expectations and thinking of several generations of faculty still working at the university. Assertions that we are very short of cash are met with varying levels of disbelief, even though we all also…

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March 18, 2009, 9:54 pm

Extra, Extra — Read All About It: Tenured Radical And Rupert Murdoch Agree On Something

I saw this when I stopped into the CVS a few minutes ago, and thought I would put it up for those of you who have the good luck to live outside the range of a Murdoch tabloid. Sometimes the New York Post hits it right on the head don’t they? This ranks right up there with the Daily News headline after Gerald Ford declared in 1975 that he would veto any “federal bailout” dedicated to keeping New York City from going into bankruptcy: “Ford To City: Drop Dead.”

March 14, 2009, 1:26 pm

A Lesson From Minnesota Fats: Bernie Madoff Hustled the Hustlers, But Are They Victims?

I will conclude my endless blithering about my lost and recovered iPhone with the following life lesson. As we were cruising down the highway, I was squeaking through my tears, having nothing else to say about what an idiot I had been to drop this cherished item in a parking lot, “It’s not fair. It’s not fair. It’s just not fair.” My companion, in an effort to comfort me said, “I’ll buy you a new iPhone.” And I said, “No,no,no. That’s not the point.” Fast forward to a conversation on the airplane home from vacation, surrounded by pink-skinned, peeling northerners in Mickey Mouse gear. My companion asked me what I meant when I said that “it wasn’t fair.” I explained: knowing that an iPhone was a huge luxury in times like these, I had taken all steps to be prudent about the purchase. I had calculated the increased monthly charges, and I had paid cash (or the debit card…

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December 4, 2008, 12:27 pm

A Letter To the Academic Proletariat

Many well-wishers wrote in to sympathize with the hazards I encountered mailing recommendations to Ph.D. programs: thank you, I am better. Nothing was broken, and the bruises are fading.

But the pain is only beginning elsewhere. The thought that I was sending more unlucky holders of the B.A. down the chute to the slaughterhouse of graduate school raised this question for frustrated job-seeker and blogging comrade Sisyphus. “Do you ever feel like you shouldn’t be sending students on to grad school and contributing to the whole PhD ponzi scheme?” asks this industrious young scholar, who applied for over 60 jobs this year, fifty of which have fallen to budget-cutting. “Esp. when there are all these dire predictions about even undergrad degrees becoming priced out of affordability for the middle class? I’m trying to get an academic job right now and bad as this year is compared to other…

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August 29, 2008, 12:57 pm

What Would Eleanor Roosevelt Do? The Radical Ponders The State Of The Union

Last night, after a week of watching the Democratic Party proudly raise its liberal banner years after George H.W. Bush operatives tagged the Dukakis campaign with “the L word,” I am happy to say that, whatever happens in this election, the spirits of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey once again walk the land. And in a black man’s body, no less. The Democratic party is reclaiming its commitment to working people, to the frail among us, and to the rule of law.

I had many thoughts, but prominent among them was: “That I should live to see this day.”

While some may not have felt Obama brought anything more specific to his acceptance speech than he has to any speech, I disagree. What use has it ever been to hear that a president will spend eight billion dollars on this problem, and three trillion on that? When has money been more critical to an…

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