Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The English Major

The Evolving English Major (Inside Higher Ed)
     Report documents decline in numbers of majors but growth in new tracks. Of the specializations within major, writing is doing relatively well, and literature not so much.
By Colleen Flaherty
July 18, 2018
     Bachelor’s degrees conferred to English majors are down 20 percent since 2012, but responsive departments that know how to market their worth to students are finding ways to thrive, says a new analysis from the Association of Departments of English, or ADE. The group, which is part of the Modern Language Association, says its report is the most comprehensive study of English departments to date.
     “While declines in the number of undergraduate majors have affected English departments widely and at all types of institutions, most departments are exploring ways to respond,” reads “A Changing Major: The Report of the 2016-17 ADE Ad Hoc Committee on the English Major,” released today.... (continued)

Monday, July 16, 2018

Watch: Republican leadership will now sink to a new and almost unimaginable low, defending a manifestly treasonous President

Trusts murderous autocrat Putin more than his own Justice Dept.
Richard Nixon's resignation: the day before, a moment of truth
(The Christian Science Monitor, 8-7-14)
     Forty years ago, a Republican delegation led by Barry Goldwater told Richard Nixon he had lost almost all his remaining support in Congress. The next day, he resigned.

Nixon Slide From Power: Backers Gave Final Push
(NYT, 8-12-74)
     The situation, said Senator Scott, was “gloomy.”
     “It sounds damn gloomy, Mr. Nixon replied.
     “Hopeless,” said Senator Goldwater.
     As the meeting ended, Mr. Nixon hinted that he understood there was only one option and that, perhaps, he had known it all along.
     Will such a delegation materialize now?
     Of course not.

Treasonous Trump —The President as Russian stooge


Friday, July 13, 2018

The idiot abroad: insane, insulting, incendiary

"He's not my hero! I'm a communist, you idiot!'

The Real F.B.I. Election Culprit 
     In his testimony before two House committees on Thursday, the F.B.I. agent Peter Strzok testified that he could have altered the 2016 election — but didn’t. The information about Russian election interference, he said, “had the potential to derail, and quite possibly, defeat Mr. Trump. But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind.”
     In hours of always hostile and sometimes even rude questioning, the Republican members of the committees never proved otherwise. The hearing was the latest effort by House Republicans to find any hint that there’s a “deep state” conspiracy against President Trump….
. . .
     The F.B.I. agent corps today overwhelmingly fits the demographic profile of a Trump voter. During the 2016 campaign, in The Guardian, one agent said, “The F.B.I. is Trumpland.” In his testimony, Mr. Strzok all but laughed out loud when committee members pressed him Thursday on whether the whole F.B.I. was made up of Democrats.
     The New York field office, one of only three headed not by a special-agent-in-charge but by a full assistant director, has always been a particular challenge for bureau leaders — it’s fiercely independent, combative and notoriously leaky. The office, which works closely with the local United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, a job held by both Mr. Comey and Mr. Giuliani, is sometimes referred to inside the Justice Department as the “Sovereign District of New York” for charting its own course.
. . .
     We need to understand the truth of the 2016 election — not just for the record, but to take steps to prevent any interference in future elections. Mr. Strzok survived the worst the House Republicans could throw at him, including a threat to charge him with contempt for refusing to answer questions on the advice of the F.B.I.’s counsel about an ongoing investigation — a hallmark of the rule of law in ordinary times. Until congressional overseers make a serious attempt to get to the bottom of the New York field office’s role in the election, we’ll know they’re not serious about learning the truth.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Summer sounds

Well, I feel like an old hobo, I'm sad, lonesome and blue
I was fair as a summer's day, now the summer days are through

Even I've taken my chances
Even I've taken my chances
On you and I know

When we laugh into the microphone and sing
With our sunglasses on to our favorite songs

You surely must be trying to break this heart of mine
I thought you knew I loved you and we'd share a love so fine

I was drowned, I was washed up and left for dead
I fell down to my feet and I saw they bled , yeah yeah
I frowned at the crumbs of a crust of bread

     "I consider myself a conservative to a certain extent—you know, I moonlight as an LGBT advocate, I run an LGBT advocacy organization that works with Republicans…and we make the case that freedom is freedom for everyone, and where that really lends itself at this moment in time is to securing full civil rights protections to LGBT Americans because there are still 28 states where you can be fired for being gay—all these things that many Republicans don’t know—and those states are mostly red states, so you need Republicans to engage Republicans on that front. There are many people who are socially conservative who would not say that I’m conservative because of those views."

     [For a helpful account of Buckley's efforts to pull together a conservative movement, consider E.J. Dionne's Why Americans Hate Politics]

Caltech Drops SAT/ACT Writing Test (Inside Higher Ed)
     The California Institute of Technology has announced that it is dropping a requirement that applicants submit the SAT or ACT writing test. Caltech's move follows those of Stanford and Princeton Universities last week. Only 22 colleges appear to still require the writing test, although millions of students take the exams every year. A statement from Caltech said, "Writing and communications skills are valued highly by Caltech and will continue to be evaluated through the information collected in the SAT/ACT verbal sections as well as through required application essays. With this policy, Caltech aims to streamline the application process and eliminate additional testing fees incurred by applicants."....

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Under Canvas

Canvas Catches, and Maybe Passes, Blackboard (Inside Higher Ed)
     Blackboard dominated the U.S. learning management system market for 20 years, but new data show its cloud-based competitor edging past it.

By Lindsay McKenzie
July 10, 2018

   Canvas has unseated Blackboard Learn as the leading LMS [Learning Management System] at U.S. colleges and universities, according to new data from MindWires Consulting.
     In a blog post on Monday, Michael Feldstein, partner at MindWires Consulting and co-publisher of the e-Literate blog, wrote that Canvas now has 1,218 installations at U.S. institutions, compared with Blackboard’s 1,216. Although the two-figure difference may seem insignificant -- and Blackboard and some of its allies say the data don't accurately reflect the two companies' relative reach -- most analysts agree that Canvas's ascent, largely at Blackboard's expense, is noteworthy.
     “This is a stunning development for a company that seemed to have established an unbreakable market dominance a decade ago,” wrote Feldstein.
     At its peak in 2006, Blackboard controlled approximately 70 percent of the U.S. and Canadian market, with its nearest competitors “far, far behind,” said Feldstein. But slowly Canvas, and others such as Moodle and D2L’s Brightspace, have closed the gap.
Blackboard and Canvas now each control 28 percent of the U.S. higher ed LMS market, followed by 23 percent for Moodle and 12 percent for Brightspace, according to MindWires Consulting's data partner, LISTedTECH.
     The rise of Canvas to near market dominance is one that “nobody would have predicted,” said Feldstein.
     The Canvas LMS is offered by Instructure, a company that was established in 2008 -- several years later than Moodle (2002), D2L (1999) and Blackboard (1997).
     Yet Canvas’s “cloud-based offering, updated user interface, reputation for outstanding customer service and brash, in-your-face branding” have helped it to surpass these more established systems, said Feldstein…. (continue)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Hey, baby, it's the 4th of July!

She's waiting for me
When I get home from work
Oh, but things just ain't the same
She turns out the lights
And cries in the dark
And she won't answer when I call her name

Well it's been building up inside of me

For oh I don't know how long

I don't know why

But I keep thinking

Something's bound to go wrong
But she looks in my eyes

Well it seems that everyone we've known
Their love's grown cold, hearts turn to stone
One by one they break, it's such a shame
And now you say you wanna do the same

And each girl in my little red book
Knows you're the one I'm thinking of
Won't you please come back [to me]?
Without your precious love I can't go on
Where can [love] be?

Hey, little girl, you don't have to hide nothin' no more
You didn't do nothin' that hadn't been done before

Well I got down on my knees

(got down on my knees)

The GOP: should I cool it or should I BLOW?

I left the Republican Party. Now I want Democrats to take over.
—Max Boot, WashPost

Conservative, Max Boot
   “Should I stay or should I go now?” That question, posed by the eminent political philosophers known as The Clash, is one that confronts any Republican with a glimmer of conscience. You used to belong to a conservative party with a white-nationalist fringe. Now it’s a white-nationalist party with a conservative fringe. If you’re part of that fringe, what should you do?
. . .
     [Veteran Republican strategist Steve] Schmidt follows in the illustrious footsteps of Post columnist George F. Will, former senator Gordon Humphrey, former representative (and Post columnist) Joe Scarborough, Reagan and Bush (both) aide Peter Wehner, and other Republicans who have left the party. I’m with them. After a lifetime as a Republican, I re-registered as an independent on the day after Donald Trump’s election.
GOP: "Whatever Trump says."
     Explaining my decision, I noted that Trumpkins “want to transform the GOP into a European-style nationalist party that opposes cuts in entitlement programs, believes in deportation of undocumented immigrants, white identity politics, protectionism and isolationism backed by hyper-macho threats to bomb the living daylights out of anyone who messes with us.” I still hoped then that traditional conservatives might eventually prevail but, I wrote, “I can no longer support a party that doesn’t know what it stands for – and that in fact may stand for positions that I find repugnant.”
     I am more convinced than ever that I made the right decision. The transformation I feared has taken place. Just look at the reaction to President Trump’s barbarous policy of taking children away from their parents as punishment for the misdemeanor offense of illegally entering the country. While two-thirds of Americans disapproved of this state-sanctioned child abuse, forcing the president to back down, a majority of Republicans approved. If Trump announced he were going to spit-roast immigrant kids and eat them on national TV (apologies to Jonathan Swift), most Republicans probably would approve of that too. The entire Republican platform can now be reduced to three words: Whatever Trump says.
. . .
A progressive Demo Party?
     Personally, I’ve thrown up my hands in despair at the debased state of the GOP. I don’t want to be identified with the party of the child-snatchers….
     …The current GOP still has a few resemblances to the party of old — it still cuts taxes and supports conservative judges. But a vote for the GOP in November is also a vote for egregious obstruction of justice, rampant conflicts of interest, the demonization of minorities, the debasement of political discourse, the alienation of America’s allies, the end of free trade and the appeasement of dictators.
     That is why I join [George] Will and other principled conservatives, both current and former Republicans, in rooting for a Democratic takeover of both houses in November. Like postwar Germany and Japan, the Republican Party must first be destroyed before it can be rebuilt.



Thursday, June 28, 2018

Miraculous noise

I hand you my ball and chain
You just hand me that same old refrain
I'm walking on a wire, I'm walking on a wire
And I'm falling

I wish I could please you tonight
But my medicine just won't come right
I'm walking on a wire, I'm walking on a wire
And I'm falling

Too many steps to take
Too many spells to break
Too many nights awake
And no one else
This grindstone's wearing me
Your claws are tearing me
Don't use me endlessly
It's too long, too long to myself

Where's the justice and where's the sense?
When all the pain is on my side of the fence
I'm walking on a wire, I'm walking on a wire
And I'm falling

Too many steps to take
Too many spells to break
Too many nights awake
And no one else
This grindstone's wearing me
Your claws are tearing me
Don't use me endlessly
It's too long, it's too long to myself

It scares you when you don't know
Whichever way the wind might blow
I'm walking on a wire, I'm walking on a wire
And I'm falling
I'm walking on a wire, I'm walking on a wire
And I'm falling
I'm walking on a wire, I'm walking on a wire
And I'm falling

When I was a kid, Feliciano lived up the street. But I never saw him, and I'm sure he never saw me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

What Socialists were trumpeting in 1906: think "Bernie Sanders" and "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez"

Ida Crouch-Hazlett, 1904
     Here's my latest post on the Family Jenni Blog. It concerns the existence of a Socialist Party and a Socialist newspaper, in Central Montana, in the early decades of the 20th Century: "Conflict within the ranks": the emergence and disappearance of Socialism in early Twentieth-Century Montana

     Anyone who skims or peruses old Central Montanan newspapers from around the turn of the (19th) century cannot avoid noticing that the denizens of that region were (they still are!) mighty conservative—as in "classical liberal" or "libertarian." True, the conservative and dominant Fergus County Argus had competition, for a time, from the Fergus County Democrat, but these Democrats were not socialists.
     But, as its turns out, socialism did emerge—and soon fade—in Montana during the first two or three decades of the Twentieth Century, and it turns out that Lewistown, of all places, was the locus of the state's first socialist newspaper!.... READ MORE

The English Major

The Evolving English Major (Inside Higher Ed)      Report documents decline in numbers of majors but growth in new tracks. Of the speci...