Saturday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

If every university in America halved the size of its bureaucracy overnight, the result would be an enormous improvement in financial stability and a corresponding improvement in faculty productivity. For, as with every bureaucracy – public or private – the worst tend to get on top and to promulgate and police regulations and restrictions that severely damage the efficiency of the education process.” Just imagine, half of these overpaid useless paper-pushers with their community-building initiatives, their annoying double-speak, their unintelligent pronouncements just disappear from your university overnight and the money goes towards the library, the science labs, the infrastructure, the faculty salary raises. This would be a dream come true.

When I was a kid growing up fundamentalist, I looked around at the mothers of many in my church and absorbed the very pointed message that women don’t get to have lives after childbearing. Their lives looked like an endless cycle of daughters bearing daughters bearing daughters, and only sons had the right to any other narrative. This feeling still dogs me, especially now that I have multiple friends with kids and am feeling the pressure to join them. But I reject that message intellectually, emotionally, and morally.”

Ivy League job seekers (and of course this category could be stretched to include another four or five top private universities) do not have an inherent and indisputable advantage on the tenure-track job market. Many of them have a great deal of trouble finding tenure-track jobs, and a significant proportion of them fail, just as do Ph.D.s from other schools.” I can testify to the truth of this statement.

An instance of extreme lameness at a Swedish University.

The city where I live isn’t really that small. I shouldn’t have to meet old lovers at the grocery. Yet I do. The conversation has been cordial; she’s married now… but her husband isn’t around much because he works construction and moves around. I know they spend time together and I assume their relationship is good, but her smile is too welcoming and genuinely pleasant considering how I treated her and how we left things. Either he’s an ass or she’s not so sure about pulling up stakes and moving twenty years after coming to town. I don’t do married women – it’s not worth the risk of bodily harm – but I’m wondering if I should tease out some info if I see her at the grocery again, then plan accordingly.” Or maybe she had a very rich personal life and didn’t have a clue who the hell you are. I always greet people with a smile that shines as brightly as the Sun to hide the fact that I have forgotten them completely.

The Last Psychiatrist is as brilliant as ever: “Ryan listened to the Rage Against The Machine in the precise way it was produced to be heard: as soundtrack to your own movie, stripped of its intended meaning.  It is not an accident that it found its way as an actual soundtrack to an actual movie. I’m sure Rage is earnest in their core belief system, but you can’t argue that you’re part of the counterculture if you’ve been #8 on TRL in between Destiny’s Child and Lou Vega’s Mambo No. 5.  You aren’t the counterculture, you are the culture. The partisanship that everyone desperately clings to is a media construction serving the necessary function of letting you self-identify, in the absence of anything in your life more substantive.   In other words, Fox & Friends are doing you a favor.”

I know there is nothing funny about Todd Akin’s comments about rape but I think it’s very healthy to laugh at him and people like him. Do read this superbly well-written post on the subject. I was getting so traumatized by all this tactless and cruel discussions of rape that I started having horrible nightmares. This post is one of the things that helped me breathe deep and start getting over it.

If you as a parent are actively teaching your children to believe INSTEAD of to think, to value superstition over science, than you are essentially committing child abuse in my opinion. You are not doing your duty as a parent to prepare your child for their future, and are instead committing them to a life of ridicule and shame. That is unless they refuse to expose themselves to the world around them and instead hide their heads in the bosom of their ignorant families while embracing the lies perpetrated by their fundamentalist church.”

You just have to Google for “Pussy Riot” and “freedom of expression” or “freedom of speech” to see how widespread this was. The Western consensus, among politicians, the media, and celebrities, at least, is that Pussy Riot did nothing wrong, they were simply exercising their right to “freedom of expression”. And it’s all sanctimonious, hypocritical twaddle. The Western media would be better advised to be concerned with their own freedom of speech, because many of them were too chicken to even mention the name of the band. How’s that for freedom of expression?”

I have my own beliefs, and those beliefs are very dear to me. One of them is that I do not impose my beliefs on other people. Many, many years ago, I had a dear, close family relative that was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion. It is since that time that my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that.” This was said by one Mitt Romney in 1994. Probably the relative has resuscitated since then.

Even if you’ve had sex with someone five hundred times, you still need their consent before you have sex with them again. Even if they’ve had sex with half of New York City, you still need their consent before you have sex with them. Even if they’re your spouse, you still need their consent before you have sex with them. If you don’t obtain their consent and have sex with them anyway, you are raping them. Even if they choose not to accuse you of rape, you’re still raping them. This is not a difficult concept.” This is not supposed to be a difficult concept, I agree. Yet for some people it still is. I think the statement I quoted has to become part of  sex education everywhere.

Latest research. . . showed that women who work steadily full-time after the birth of their first child report better physical health than women who don’t.” This is for people who insist that turning a woman into a housewife makes sense to them financially. As I always say, denying her dental care, visits to a doctor, clothes and food will also help save tons of money. Who cares if this insignificant creature gets sick, right? As long as her male owner finds the setup convenient, all is well.

How to make an ultra-Liberal professor vote Republican. Hilarious!

Romney, if he is in any sense a statesman, should grasp the nettle that threatens to tear the GOP apart. He should clearly and unequivocally distance his campaign from the social positions held by the right-wing of his party including, to some extent, by his running-mate.  He should emphasize that a Romney presidency will not pursue any active role on such issues as gay marriage and abortion.  He should stress that his exclusive focus, following an election victory, will be on the economy and foreign affairs.

Evangelicals in a school district in Louisiana are objecting to a palm scanner that kids could use to pay for their lunches, thus eliminating the need for lunch money. Why? Because it sounds too similar to “the mark of the beast.” OK, “the mark of the beast” objection is weird, if it is true. But can anybody explain to me why there is such a burning need to get rid of lunch money? This is normally a blogger I like a lot but this specific post is stupid. There can be any number of reasons why people might be uncomfortable with getting their palm-prints taken and stored in a database. I only found out that Evangelicals existed a few years ago, so I’m definitely not one of them. Yet I can’t say I’m all that comfortable with palm-printing people who are not suspected of any crime just because somebody finds it more convenient. What next, a DNA database for every person in the country?

There is a beautiful series of auto-biographical posts written by a transgender woman called “The Secret History of Jaime.” Here is the first post in the series but there are six other posts in the series already published on that blog. The posts are so well-written that I read each one like an installment in a mystery novel, wondering what will happen next in the story.

Come join the discussion about a poster that I like and a fellow blogger dislikes.

And the post of the week: “The only coherent outcome of granting the fetus personhood is to deny the pregnant woman personhood. The fact that misogyny often accompanies pro-life positions is not an unfortunate accident — it isnecessarily entailed by the pro-life position. The pro-life position takes an autonomous adult human being and makes her into the unconditional servant of another (ostensible) human being.” The entire post is brilliant. Do read.

Are Libraries Dying?

I just read this post from a fellow library lover who asks whether libraries are dying out as places that not only store knowledge but also offer a space for quiet, uninterrupted, slow contemplation:

Over the past fifty five years, since I first entered the University of Nottingham as an undergraduate student, university libraries have always played a central role in my life.  The moment I enter one of those libraries, I feel at home. The sweet sense of silence that always greets me, in a world of largely senseless noise, is a tonic to my  soul.

I know exactly what this academic means. Libraries are like small temples where you can immerse yourself in an environment that can hardly be repeated anywhere else.

This gave me an idea for a new series of posts. Everywhere I travel, I will visit a library, take photos of it, and write a post on it. This will be my tribute to libraries and to everything I gained from my relationship with them.