Category Archives: politics

January 5, 2015, 12:47 pm

The Rules Were Not Suspended: What Happened at the AHA Business Meeting

grumpy_noYesterday afternoon the members of the American Historical Association (AHA) present at the business meeting were asked to take up several resolutions proposed by Historians Against the War (HAW). These resolutions proposed that the AHA condemn the state of Israel for alleged violations of academic freedom against both US and Palestinian scholars; and for attacks on research centers in Gaza last summer. You can read the resolutions here; you can read accounts of the meeting at History News Networkin my Twitter feed (I was sitting right behind Rick Shenkman, so I guess we were the press section) and in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The business meeting had been preceded by a session organized by the Mid-Atlantic Radical Historians Organization (MARHO). It too was organized late and was not on the program, although it was well publicized in the weeks leading up to the annual…

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November 5, 2014, 11:36 am

What Would Phyllis Schlafly Do? A Grassroots Education Policy for 2016


While you were talking about Lena Dunham, Phyllis and her friends were getting the vote out.

You know that political culture is in complete disarray when large numbers of feminists, who otherwise believe that every other issue they hold dear will be put in jeopardy by a Republican Congress, are arguing about whether Lena Dunham is a sexual predator (or not) rather than getting the vote out on Election Day. I didn’t see one Facebook post in my circle from academics who were pounding the streets, working the phones, or driving the elderly to the polls one at a time.

Could we progressives get over cultural politics that divert us from actual policy agendas and electing knowledgeable people who know how to govern? This is the greatest weakness in both parties right now, but in this round it was the Democrats who to…

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April 14, 2014, 9:57 am

No Speech, No Preach: VCC System Rethinks First Amendment Rights

funnyprotestsignsstreet_people_protesting-s1024x683-41186-580In response to a lawsuit filed by a student at Thomas Nelson Community College, the Virginia Community College system has suspended its restrictive campus speech policies until May 2. The Associated Press reports that Christian Parks was barred from preaching in any location but a “free speech zone:” attorneys on both sides have asked for the suspension until new policies and procedures can be worked out.

Demonstrating that Democrats can be just as repellant as Republicans when it comes to misinterpreting the Constitution, Virginia Governor Terry McAwful McAuliffe signed legislation on April 4 that essentially criminalizes student demonstrations by allowing the public university system to establish restrictive “free speech zones.” These obscure areas, far from administrative buildings, mimic municipal restrictions that confine protesting citizens to small areas far from the event or…

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March 7, 2014, 5:06 pm

Dept. of Untenured Radicals: Santa Cruz Students on the March


Photo credit:

Beginning at 3:00 Pacific Time on Wednesday March 5, students at UC Santa Cruz occupied an administration building. When they left the following morning, under their own steam, they chanted “We’ll Be Back!” They probably will: they’ve done it before. Good for you, young people: I thought it was creepy to put someone whose specialty is Homeland Security and border control in charge of a school system too.

Here’s what they want:

1. We demand the resignation or impeachment of Janet Napolitano as
UC President immediately.

2. We demand that next and all future UC presidents be someone who:

a) is elected by students and faculty;
b) has an extensive and positive background in education;
c) works towards completely eliminating student debt through
full subsidization;

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February 2, 2014, 1:59 pm

Why Won’t Obama Talk About The Poor?


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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September 22, 2013, 10:54 am

Out With Tenured Radical: President Obama’s Plan for Higher Education

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 10.44.21 AMIf MSNBC can have Up w/ Steve Kornacki on Sundays, and All In w/ Chris Hays Monday through Friday, why can’t there be “Out w/ Tenured Radical,” where guests get their ideas out there without being interrupted? As a bonus, there is no stale, uneaten Danish on the table! 

Today’s policy expert and guest blogger is Judith C. Brown, a historian and a former provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Wesleyan University (aka, Zenith University, for long-time followers of this blog.) Her other posts for Tenured Radical on the economics and politics of higher education have appeared here, here, and here. Today’s discussion is an in-depth assessment of President Obama’s plan for higher education.

In his recent “Plan to Make College More Affordable,” President Obama observed last month that higher education is “the single most important investment students can make in their…

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September 12, 2013, 9:44 am

My Lesbian Feminist Vote


Christine Quinn, ex-candidate. Photo credit: Seth Wenig/AP

The New York Times and a group of power feminists seem to think that Christine Quinn lost her bid to be mayor of New York City because of sexism and homophobia. But I don’t.

I do think gender and sexual identity are always factors in politics, as the attacks on Quinn for her appearance, aggressiveness and voice demonstrate (I would like to note, however, that none of those nasty things were said by Bill DeBlasio.) And Quinn was the only candidate blessed with a well-funded group of electoral nihilists that dedicated itself to attacking her without proposing a candidate who was ethically or professionally better qualified.  As Jodi Kantor reports, “a woman seeking power always face[s] perils…the very qualities that had brought her this far — drive, …

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July 12, 2013, 9:43 am

Do Big Bucks for High Profile Guest Profs Petray Public Education?

Petraeus_Khawam Kelley-award

David Petraeus and gal pal Paula Broadwell

In a word? Yes.

We at Tenured Radical would like to urge greater public scrutiny of the CUNY policies that permitted the appointment of General David Petraeus as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at well over 30 times the average adjunct salary. For teaching one seminar each semester in 2013-14, the retired military dude is expected to receive somewhere between $150,000 and $200,000. The best part is all he has to do is show up: he has three teaching assistants who will put the course together and grade all fifteen students.

That’s one TA for every five students. I know this number is correct ’cause I checked it on my calculator.

For starters, I would like to hear from some of our mayoral candidates, as well as Eliot Spitzer, who announced his candidacy for…

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April 30, 2013, 8:53 am

The I’m Too Busy to Blog Post: Fat Armpits, Supreme Court Mulligans, and Mad Men’s Recent History

There are papers to grade, classes to prepare, a search to finish, a conference to pack for, and yet….that last post gets colder and colder as the days roll by. So without further delay, here are some shorts to brighten your day:

itw_coverFat Armpits Are The Worst. Before returning to Brooklyn Sunday, I was in the newly-ronovated Acme Market in Bryn Mawr, PA loading up on my favorite diet foods — Tastykakes, scrapple — and reading gossip mags in the checkout line. The misogynist gem to the right caught my attention. Kim Kardashian, who was on the rampage last year because everyone could have a baby but her, has learned to her horror that a growing fetus can make a girl look dumpy.

It must be terrible to be so fragile. According to celeb mag In TouchKardashian is on the brink of a breakdown, having discovered that aging leads to age and pregnancy leads to weight gain. In her seventh…

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April 14, 2013, 1:34 pm

Can We Have A Conversation About Political Conversation?

no-talkingIt appears that decent, ethical people associated with Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) are speaking out about the nastiness, personal attacks and other silencing tactics that currently characterize the debate over the Israeli Occupation. My trusty RSS feed reports that Columbia law prof Katherine Franke and San Francisco attorney and mediation specialist Frederick Hertz are asking pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli partisans in the United States to share queer intellectual and political space in a more productive way. You can read a report about the call to dialogue at Electronic Intifada.

Clearly, I have some skin in this game. Readers of Tenured Radical will remember an ugly week, not too long ago, in which my expression of doubt about the ethics and efficacy of a cultural boycott against Israel (a view which is not unique on the left, and does not represent an endorsement…

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