Friday, June 17, 2011

It's Only Business

Biddy Martin, Chancellor of the UW-Madison, leaves soon for the presidency of Amherst. She recently was conniving with Gov. Walker to radically alter the UW's governance. The idea was, I think, bad enough under any circumstance but it was ruinously reckless under the crooked and incompetent Walker Administration. In any event, the move failed. Martin claims this failure has nothing whatsoever to do with her leaving. Either she is a liar or a rotten human being. If her intent was regardless of the outcome of the changes to the UW system to leave, she really oughtn't have undertaken a radical reform she had no intention of overseeing. If, on the other hand, she was stringing Amherst along in the hopes that the changes would take place, she lied. Either way good riddance.

She earned 437k here plus perks and will get 500k there plus perks. That's an absurdly large salary to say nothing of the perks. She is everything that is wrong with higher education and education more generally: inflated salaries for disingenuous administrators whose every move is undertaken with an eye toward their next and higher paying position. Meanwhile, the worker bees laboring in the classrooms find their security disappearing and the salaries either stagnating or in decline.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Is Everyone At The NRO Really This Dumb?

Andrew C. McCarthy, responding to beating criminals instead of imprisoning them, argues that the idea
dovetails with a thought experiment I’ve been pushing for a while now, in rebuttal to the claim that waterboarding (as it was administered by the CIA on three top al-Qaeda detainees) is torture. If you gave every inmate serving, say, two years or less in prison the option of being waterboarded or completing his sentence, what would he choose? I’d be stunned if less than 95 percent chose waterboarding.
If I agree to be tortured instead of imprisoned then it isn't torture, is the pith of this argument. It's sort of like arguing that if a president does something then it's not illegal. Or because it's unlikely any American soldiers will be injured in this war therefore it's not a war. It's almost as if no one cares in particular about making sense so long as they can say something.

History Trumps Lawyers, Guns, and Money

LGM has recently added Eric Loomis to its list of bloggers. A historian, he brings a much needed perspective to the otherwise comfortable Neo-liberal consensus of the more active posters. He has so far shown that Yglesias isn't all that bright, although he phrased it differently, and now writes to remind us that
neoliberal globalization is also a series of discrete decisions made by individuals, bureaucracies, organizations, and governments.
Exactly. The only nit I would pick is that he lumps "progressives" in with the supporters of Yglesianism. I would also say that given the tone of the debate over there on, for example Wikileaks, a more aggressively left view under-girded by a historians commitment to the concrete is welcome.

Jonah Goldberg: Dumb and Vicous Or

a modern Conservative. Not surprisingly, when confronting the costs of the war on drugs and the excess rate of incarceration, Goldberg decides that the most appealing solution is to "bring back the lash." What is with these people? It's bad enough that they want to repeal the whole of the 20th century's humanizing legislation in order to bring back the 19th century, now they want to repeal the Enlightenment in order to bring back the Medieval period. What's next? Try and repeal evolution in order to bring back Neanderthals?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Matthew Yglesias: Still Dumb

It's one thing to be a Neoliberal hack, busily attacking workers and so forth with gay abandon. It's another to fail entirely to understand the nature of an argument in favor of paying workers. Of course, Yglesias got where he is today by being dumb as a box of rock.

Adminstering Austerity

Lots of people like to blame teachers for the problems of our schools. Many times this blaming uses the size of their salaries and pensions as evidence for their perfidy. Indeed, the conviction that teachers and other public employees were raking it in lay behind the latest Republican efforts at the politics of resentment. No less a person than the very embodiment of the banality of evil was banally and inaccurately pointing to our brokeness as the justification for robbing teachers and other public employees of god knows how much money. Lots of folks argue that this was an attempt to destroy one of the last decent paying jobs for the American working class. They'd be right.

But it was also a continuation of the long-standing Neoliberal desire to transfer salary and wealth from the workers to the relatively parasitic managerial class. For today we read in the WSJ of administrators two of whom
 received an increase of $20,000 or more, and six received an increase of $10,000 or more. Two administrators also were promoted and received increases of $20,000 or more. Administrators receiving raises saw the increase as of January, and that base rate will be frozen for the 2011-12 school year.
So its layoffs, furloughs, and wage cuts for the workers while the administrators' salaries continue to go up. Let's hear it for austerity.