New column on the abuse of adjuncts by colleges in The Modesto Bee

Academia lectures the public about caring for the marginalized and oppressed in our society, while systematically marginalizing at least half the faculty teaching in its own institutions:   “Assigned only one or two classes per term with no guarantee of any assignment, they have no benefits, little respect and pathetic pay.  They are the Dixie Cups of higher education:  plentiful, cheap, and disposable.”  My column in The Modesto Bee.  Please share if you agree . . .

 

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FIRE’s Latest on the ‘Disinvitation Season’

How about we have no graduation speakers at all, no graduation ceremony, and just mail you your diploma? That way you’ll be freed from the horror of hearing anything from anyone who might have done anything at any time in their past which you might disapprove of and/or who might have the temerity to say something you disagree with. And if your diploma arrives in any way folded, spindled, or mutilated, consider it an apt metaphor for your university-educated brain.

Read the article here.

Demanding Intolerance

 

Kudos to Mike Rowe (Discovery Channel host) for this great response to a woman who was incensed by his appearances as a guest on Glenn Beck’s show.  Her diatribe about the “horrible and psychotic” Beck is akin to the sentiments following the Being Liberal post that I wrote about yesterday in  Awkward?  

It’s interesting  — we used to hear demands from the Left  for “tolerance” and now they’re trying to keep their “own” in line by demanding that they be “intolerant” of the boogeymen/women of the Right.  I’ve never seen Rowe’s show Dirty Jobs, so I don’t know the extent to which we might disagree on core issues, but he’s obviously a fair guy and one who still possesses a rarer and rarer commodity these days:  goodwill.

But the guts of your question – even without all the name-calling and acrimony – reveal the essence of what’s broken in our country. You want to know “how I can associate” with someone you don’t like? The short answer is, how can I not? How are we ever going to accomplish anything in this incredibly divisive time if we associate only with people that we don’t disagree with?

 

Exactly.

 

Awkward?

Just saw a post on Facebook from “Being Liberal” which thanks “Americans Against the Republican Party” for a photo of a woman looking deeply distressed and forlorn as she stares at her computer screen, with this caption:

Awkward.

That moment when you connect with an old friend from high school.  And you discover that she’s a fan of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Fox News.

It’s got over 43,000 “likes” and is pushing 9600 “shares,” and it’s coming from the very crowd that had a national hissy fit when Limbaugh said he hoped Barack Obama would “fail,” even though he’d made it clear he thought the president’s policies would hurt the country if they succeeded.

Now we’re in the midst of that hurt, with too many part-time jobs and too few full-time careers; huge national debt; record numbers of people on unemployment and/or some form of welfare assistance;  a surfeit of scandals including Fast & Furious,  Benghazi, and an IRS which targeted political opponents; a Justice Dept. which taps journalists; foreign adversaries who respect us less, allies who are angry over NSA surveillance; and a signature piece of legislation that’s proven wildly successful at getting people dumped off the health insurance plans they were assured they “can keep,” but  features a three-and-a-half year in-the making website that is about as effective as an Etch-A-Sketch at enrolling them in new health care plans.

A quick sampling of the comments following the post:

Heck, I’ve unfriended family members because I couldn’t take what they were sharing!!!

Oy! So true… AND, Glenn Beck. The worst!

I have family that are die hard Republicans. They swear by Fox News and all of the right-wing pundits. Thank God I only have to be around them once a year at Thanksgiving.

Ugh….pretty much my entire “HS” list on fb. Most of which are “do not show in newsfeed” or blocked.

I have quite a few liberal friends and relatives on Facebook, and for the record, I’ve never blocked anyone because I didn’t agree with their posts, much less “unfriended” someone because they loved MSNBC or Bill Maher or even posted photos from “Americans Against the Republican Party”  featuring condescending captions.

And yet, Being Liberal thinks my political views are unbelievably embarrassing?

What’s embarrassing is that the same people who are always lecturing the rest of us about “inclusion” and  “tolerance” and  “diversity”  seem blissfully unaware of their own tendency to be  non-inclusive, non-tolerant and non-diverse, ideologically speaking.

More importantly,  I believe they’re mistaken about human nature and thus miscalculate the likely effects of various policies or initiatives.  We subscribe to very different worldviews and place our faith in very different objects or institutions.  But there seems to be less and less mutual respect these days between people who differ philosophically, and Being Liberal’s post serves as a  snapshot in social-networking time, illustrating one of the main reasons:  the Left thinks the Right is too stupid to be worth listening to.

We’ve been “deleted” from the conversation about what ails our country and what might help it, because we listen to and admire the wrong people, and this, you see, cannot be tolerated.

And that’s not awkward; it’s sad.

Where are the Shutdown Enforcement Thugs When You Need Them?

So when news came out that the exclusive House and Senate gyms and athletic facilities are still open during the shutdown, though they’re on the official list of shutdown closures, an unnamed source explained away the discrepancy with a rhetorical question, “How do you close a basketball court?”

Well, I’ve been studying the shutdown, as it has been masterfully enacted by the White House, or as some are now calling it, The Spite House, and I think I can help.  Start with armed officers  — that’s  the tack that the National Park Police are taking, and it’s working quite well, not only with our own citizens, but also non-English-speaking foreign tourists, who thought they were under arrest.  Position the officers directly under the baskets.  If the phrase “No recreating!” doesn’t work, they can shoot into the balls (the basketballs).

Cones, which are blocking drivers from pulling onto scenic overlooks to view Mount Rushmore, should likewise block members from using weight machines:  just have the Shutdown Core of Engineers attach cones with screws to every weight-machine seat.

Barbed wire and barriers have proved reasonably effective at keeping veterans’ prying eyes off their WWII memorials.  I’m thinking a little electrified fencing strung around the pools might keep Congressional swimmers ashore.  Ditto for the showers.

It would stink to high-heaven around here if Members couldn’t use those showers.  Can you imagine that?

~unnamed source

Yes, I can imagine that.  I’ve got news for you, Mr. Source — it’s stinking whether the showers are available or not.

It All Depends on What the Meaning of “Free” Is

Check out my opinion piece below that appeared in The Modesto Bee (September 22, 2013), on MJC’s Constitution Day fiasco. You can also read  MJC President Jill Stearns’ very different take on the incident.

The YouTube video of Rob Van Tuinen being prevented from passing out  free copies of the Constitution sparked a national news story, and hopefully, an ongoing debate about “the inherent contradiction of free-speech codes.”

It All Depends on What the Meaning of “Free” Is

 

Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press . . .

~from the 1st Amendment, U. S. Constitution

The Colleges of the District are non-public forums, except for those areas designated as ‘free speech areas’, which are limited public forums.  The Chancellor shall enact such administrative procedures as are necessary to reasonably regulate the time, place and manner of the exercise of free expression in the limited public forums.

~ Policy 3900, Time, Place & Manner,

YCCD Policies and Administrative Procedures

Modesto is once again in the national news, only this time it isn’t for topping the car-jacking list – it’s for a YouTube video showing MJC student Rob Van Tuinen being prevented from giving away free copies of the Constitution on Sept. 17th.  The irony of stopping him on the very holiday which celebrates the enumeration of our freedoms, including freedom of speech, apparently escaped both the security officer who intercepted Van Tuinen about ten minutes into his freebie giveaway, and administrator Christine Serrano, who took refuge in a binder of rules, clinging to her mantra of  “ . . . time, place and manner . . .”

Van Tuinen is the president of a new chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, an organization which claims on its website to be “the largest, most active, and fastest-growing pro-liberty organization on America’s college campuses.”

MJC seems rather less “pro-liberty.”  It requires those wishing to commit an act of free speech to fill out MJC’s “Limited Public Forum Request Form” and allow five business days for “processing.”  If permission is granted, then the student or group is given a particular date and time in which to transact their free speech “rights,” but only in a designated “free speech” zone, which Serrano described as “over there . . .  that little cement area.” Like the security officer, she patronizingly assured Van Tuinen that she wasn’t telling him he couldn’t –he just had to follow the guidelines.   Oh – and she’d need a copy of his I.D., too.

She suggested that Sept 20th and 27th were open.  Not surprising– both are Fridays, the one day when students can actually get a parking space close to campus because only a few classes meet.  That means Van Tuinen could hang out in the “cement area” and wave at the few students who come within view.

Finally Serrano asked Van Tuinan why he wanted to pass out copies that day.

“’Cause it’s Constitution Day.”

“Oh.”

MJC issued a statement saying that it’s investigating the incident, but admits that since it doesn’t appear as if the student was being disruptive, he ought to have been able to offer materials in any campus areas “generally available to students and the community.”  Furthermore, “The administration of the YCCD supports the peaceful distribution of the Constitution and other materials on campus, which is why our colleges support Constitution Day with activities each year.”  This is disingenuous at best – the law creating Constitution Day mandates that all educational institutions receiving federal dollars provide an educational program about the Constitution’s history, on the holiday.

YCCD Board member Anne DeMartini  sees the whole episode as  “extremely embarrassing.  I’m constantly struggling to get the college community to be more supportive of diversity of thought . . . we need to revisit this policy.”  She also explained that in the past the college has had to try to balance the desire to promote free speech with the desire to protect students from graphic photos of aborted fetuses, for instance.  “We have childcare on campus,” she pointed out, “and not all our students are over 18.”

I understand her concern, but the video illustrates the inherent contradiction of “free speech codes.” There is nothing free about them, although one wonders if Van Tuinen would have run into the same resistance if he’d stuck a free condom on every copy.  In this age of political correctness, campuses are often required by state law to have speech codes, and organizations like YAL have sprung up to expose them as unconstitutional, and as the video shows, often ridiculous.  The Constitution covers giving out not just Constitutions, but also obnoxious material given out by “troublemakers.”  Our founders apparently thought that we could take it – that arguments should be won or lost on their merits, and that we didn’t need to be protected from opinions that we might not like.

Unfortunately, MJC’s administration has given in to the bureaucratic tendency to micromanage the law-abiding.  One hopes that they will revisit the issue and come up with rules — along the lines of “not yelling fire in a crowded theater” — that actually are “reasonable,” a word used in MJC’s policy without apparent understanding of its meaning.

It’s sad that the video didn’t capture any authority figure who encountered Van Tuinen and had the good sense to say, “Hey, you’ve got a copy of the constitution there?  Can I have one?  Thanks.”

Beggs was one of the first two visiting editors, and blogs at http://www.chickcurmudgeon.wordpress.com

Invincibly Ignorant

Administration’s Benghazi Review Board Discredits Itself in Congressional Hearing

Throughout their appearances Thursday and in their depositions earlier, both Pickering and Mullen insisted that their investigation was independent and thorough. But the substance of their testimony suggests precisely the opposite.

~Stephen Hayes

Stephen Hayes’ blog on the Benghazi Hearings unmasks the completely DEpendent  Investigation run by the State Dept, and ought to be in every online dictionary next to the words  “corruption” and “farce.”  That most of the mainstream media are ignoring this cover-up  shows that the Fourth Estate and Integrity are no longer on speaking terms.

As the mother of Benghazi victim Sean Smith said,  “I don’t trust my government anymore because they lied to me.”  The fact that 12 of 14 Democrats on the committee left before she or Tyrone Woods’ father spoke says volumes about their trustworthiness too.

The Always Apropos GKC, on Secular Education

Quote

IT IS OBVIOUSLY most unjust that the old believer should be forbidden to teach his old beliefs, while the new believer is free to teach his new beliefs. It is obviously unfair and unreasonable that secular education should forbid one man to say a religion is true and allow another man to say it is untrue. It is obviously essential to justice that unsectarian education should cut both ways; and that if the orthodox must cut out the statement that man has a Divine origin, the materialist must cut out the statement that he has a wholly and exclusively bestial origin.

~G.K. Chesterton: “Illustrated London News,” Aug. 8, 1925

What’s Good for the Goose . . .

Let me see if I can get this straight — If our President, or his appointed czars or his department heads enact  “laws” through fiat — sometimes known as “regulations” —  and decline to enforce laws, or parts of laws,  through . . . fiat — that’s OK — but if our sheriffs decline to obey laws which they believe violate our constitution, that’s “tripe“?

Well Ok, then.