Another Local Murder Update

So the murder suspect turned out to be a 23-year-old guy called Zachary Capers. He has no connection to the victims that anybody has been able to found. Why he cut a peaceful old couple into ribbons is a mystery right now. The only connection is that Capers was homeless and the murdered lady did some charitable work with the homeless. He might have seen her there and singled her out for some reason.

He was charged so fast because he was picked up on an outstanding warrant shortly to the murders and was acting erratically, leading the police to look at his connection to the murders.

Self-flagellation of Narcissists

They have lost their religion but the yearning for the sweet delights of public self-flagellation remains as strong as ever:

I’m a white Australian. I know that blaming myself and my cohort is illogical, but I can’t escape the feeling that all of white Australia is implicated in the deaths—a white majority that has fomented and let foment hate. Though he may have labeled himself a European, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant was an Aussie through and through, growing up in a country town north of Sydney.

What pathetic, ridiculous creatures. Using a mass murder to revel in your moral superiority is beyond disgusting. This is narcissism of the worst order.

Local Murder Update

This is the couple murdered in my town yesterday:

Such a tragedy.

The police worked fast, and there is already a suspect in custody. Klara wasn’t at school today but other parents say there was no outside time at local daycares and schools. Which is a little over the top but we are a very low-crime town. Somebody asks for a couple of dollars by the Walmart, and it’s the news of the century.

SCOTUS Rules on Immigration

The Supreme Court on Tuesday adopted a strict interpretation of a federal immigration law, saying it required the detention of immigrants facing deportation without the possibility of bail if they had committed crimes, including minor ones, no matter how long ago they had been released from criminal custody.

What I don’t get is why immigrants who committed crimes aren’t deported immediately. What is this whole thing about “waiting for deportation cases to be resolved”? When N was almost deported – without commiting any crimes and while being in the country completely legally – we consulted a lawyer who said N had no case and should prepare to leave.

So what is it about deportation hearings? Green card holders who committed crimes, ok, maybe, although I’m opposed to that. But illegal immigrants and visa overstayers who commit crimes? Why should they stay when law-abiding, high-earning people like N or me are booted out immediately with no hearings?

I don’t get this system at all. If there were some logic behind it, I could disagree but I’d respect it. But I’m seeing no logic at all right now.

I Love Tenure

Being a tenured professor rocks! Going to a conference is a completely different experience. And I know I already said it but it bears repeating.

It used to be I’d go, give my talk, and then hide in my room for 3 days (which is something I love doing, so I’m not saying it to make people feel sorry for me).

Now, however, I have wall-to-wall meetings at the conference in DC where I’m going on Thursday. I’m meeting:

a) a scholar from Spain I always wanted to meet

b) a grad student I’m mentoring

c) the colleague I’ll be doing an edited collection with

d) a publisher for my book

e) a publisher for the edited collection

f) some people from my association

g) a student from India I’ve been mentoring.

It doesn’t look like hanging out in my room is on the cards. But this is super exciting. I’ve always wanted to be that person who has things to do at a conference besides just giving a talk. Tenure is a total game-changer. And I have no idea why because I never for a second worried I wouldn’t get it.

P.S. I’ve been torn between whether I should work on my own book or do an edited volume but I decided I can do both. In terms of articles, I already have 3 that will come out for sure in 2019, and it’s only March. Plus, I have two more awaiting decision and one almost finished. So it’s not like I’m creating a hole in my CV if I work on the edited volume this year. Now, is it shocking that people want me to be their research mentor? Not really.

Biden’s Running Mate

Last week, Biden stirred speculation as he met privately with Stacey Abrams, a Democratic rising star who ran for governor in Georgia last fall and is weighing another run for office — potentially even the presidency. Biden requested the meeting, according to a person familiar with the sit-down….

A person familiar with the meeting said Biden and Abrams discussed a variety of topics on policy and politics, including whether she intends to run for Senate next year. The vice presidency was not formally discussed during their meeting, two people familiar with the meeting tell CNN.

That’s exactly what I said would happen. Hah! I finally got something right. But it was obvious from the start.

Advice for Grad Students

If you are a graduate student planning to go on the academic job market at some point, here is what you can do to maximize your chances.

Start a profile on and ResearchGate. Put up your CV and start downloading articles by scholars in your field and any other field you are even remotely interested in. It’s very important to know what the current scholarship is. At the same time, people will see you are accessing their stuff and will remember your name. This will help you stand out when your application is one of the 270 even the obscure schools in places like Arkansas get (this is a real number from this years job market).

This is a lot better than downloading articles from scholarly databases because the MLA database, for instance, is several years behind in posting scholarship while these sites are extremely current. Plus, nobody knows you are downloading stuff from there. If you publish something, don’t wait to be discovered. Post it on these websites, and people will find you.

In short, be an entrepreneur of the self. This is the world we live in, and if you want a job, don’t expect your degree (even from the best school) and the dissertation to bring you a job. This is not how things work right now.

I Love Americans

I came to a new cafe for breakfast yesterday and liked it so much that I came back today. As I said down with my food, the young black cashier approached me.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “but I wanted to ask. Do you speak another language?”

I told her I speak a bunch.

“Oh, wow!” she said. “How long did it take you to learn?”

I explained that I started learning English as a kid but other languages later on.

“Were you born someplace else, too?” asked the cashier with a breathless excitement usually reserved for people coming from Hollywood and not Ukraine.

“I always wanted to learn another language,” she said, “but it seems impossible because of… you know, my dialect.”

I assured her we have many students with the same dialect at my school, and they are learning Spanish very well.

People are really excited about languages. It’s funny because I’m quite indifferent, probably because I’ve always spoken several, so it’s not a big deal to me. I don’t even know anybody closely who is monolingual.

But I will never get over how nice and kind everybody is in this country. Everybody is so nice that it puts even the grumpy individuals like me into a kind, giving mood. I even signed up to be a publication mentor to a grad student in Wisconsin.

This is a good country, folks.