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Monday, July 06, 2009

Monday procrastination sensations.

* The Burnt-out Adjunct has some advice at Inside Higher Ed about the difference between adjuncts, add-junks, and instructors.

* 3 Quarks Daily has some thoughts from Timothy Fongon on building a viable American left:

Only about 25 percent of US citizens hold a passport. (See 2007 population data here and number of Americans with passports here.) A majority of Americans have never travelled overseas. Thus, any movement which makes appeals primarily on the basis of universalist/internationalist rhetoric is likely to have an audience significantly smaller than the majority of the US population.
The whole essay strongly echoes a proclamation from the C.L.R. James I was reading just last night: "To Bolshevize America it is necessary to Americanize Bolshevism."

* A Feministe guestblogger describes the difficulties in filling out forms when one is transgender. The thread also introduces me to a term I've missed up to now, cisgender, denoting someone whose gender identity is aligned with their biological sex—which means I can now describe the forms Queen Emily discusses as cisnormative (which they are—no need for little boxes with prescribed answers when you could just have a blank line).

* Nate Silver gets a little more pragmatic with a close look at how a climate bill can get 60 votes in the Senate. He's also got a post on Sarah Palin's appeal that, for my money, misses what's so terrifying about Palin: (1) the clear sense that the right is building itself a second George W. Bush out of identitarian resestment, sloganeering, faux folksy charm, and hero worship, and (2) that it already worked once.

* Steve Benen has your bogus Obama scandal roundup.
Walpin was all the rage in conservative circles, right up until the "controversy" appeared baseless, and White House detractors were forced to move on.

But notice how this has happened quite a bit in the very young Obama administration. Remember when conservatives were convinced that the White House was closing car dealerships based on owners' political contributions? Or how about the not-so-scandalous Department of Homeland Security report about potentially violent extremists, which prompted some conservatives to call for Napolitano's resignation? Or about the EPA economist whose bizarre memo on global cooling was "suppressed"?

All of these caused widespread apoplexy among rabid anti-Obama activists. And all of these quickly fell apart after minimal scrutiny.
* Transformers II and racism. More from Ezra Klein.

* And Michael Chabon has a nice essay in The New York Review of Books about the wilderness of childhood set against both adult nostalgia for the freedom of youth and contemporary overparenting and child endangerment hysteria. But the headline ("Manhood for Amateurs") is wrong under the article's own terms:
This is a mistaken notion, in my view. People read stories of adventure—and write them—because they have themselves been adventurers. Childhood is, or has been, or ought to be, the great original adventure, a tale of privation, courage, constant vigilance, danger, and sometimes calamity. For the most part the young adventurer sets forth equipped only with the fragmentary map—marked here there be tygers and mean kid with air rifle—that he or she has been able to construct out of a patchwork of personal misfortune, bedtime reading, and the accumulated local lore of the neighborhood children.
Sloppy work from the editor there.