Thursday, April 28, 2005

Randi Rhodes--Hoax? Drudge Fantasy?

I have gotten two emails, and the comment below, on my previous post on the "kill the president" bit RR ran on her show.

Randi has not received any calls or visits from the secret service because it is a non issue. Just like when Man Coulter said about Clinton, "I don't know whether we should impeach him or assasinate him!" the Secret Service didn't see fit to waste thier time.

There was no direct threat.

Drudge, as usual, get it wrong. His name is now Dredge, as in digging up sewage.

So...I'm glad I was wrong. It sounded ridiculous, and it was. I should have waited.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Update on Randi Rhodes

More on gunfire and the Prez, from Err America (via Drudge):

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan called the clip "very inappropriate and over the line."

AIR AMERICA President of Programming and co-COO Jon Sinton said in a release: "We regret that a produced comedy bit that was in bad taste slipped through our normal vetting process. We do acknowledge that it was an internal error and internal discipline will be enforced."

Rhodes apologized for the skit on her show today. "It was a bit,” Rhodes said. “It was bad. I apologize a thousand times."

What If I Joke About Joking About Shooting the Prez?

Randi Rhodes is in a bit of hot water.

Since Drudge moves stuff, here is the post:

The red-hot rhetoric over Social Security on liberal talkradio network AIR AMERICA has caught the attention of the Secret Service, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Government officials are reviewing a skit which aired on the network Monday evening -- a skit featuring an apparent gunshot warning to the president!

The announcer: "A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn't safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp: [audio sound of 4 gunshots being fired.] Just try it, you little bastard. [audio of gun being cocked]."

The audio production at the center of the controversy aired during opening minutes of The Randi Rhodes Show.

"What is with all the killing?" Rhodes said, laughing, after the clip aired.

"Even joking about shooting the president is a crime, let alone doing it on national radio... we are taking this very seriously," a government source explained.


If you are joking, and it is obviously a joke, then it can't be a crime. Let me try this:

"If you look at Randi Rhodes' picture, you'll see that she is actually quite attractive. Or would be if it were dark, you had had a lot of beer, and it was closing time. And if you were a het chubby-chaser."

(No, that wasn't funny; that's beside the point).

Now, I joked about someone who joked about killing the president (and I have used the phrase "killing the president" twice in this post). Does that mean I should listen for the heavy hand of the state to knock on my door?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Chopped Liver and "Conservatives First"ism

I'm sure you've seen references to this study. But here is the link, just to be sure.

Abstract of the paper:

This article first examines the ideological composition of American university faculty and then tests whether ideological homogeneity has become self-reinforcing. A randomly based national survey of 1643 faculty members from 183 four-year colleges and universities finds that liberals and Democrats outnumber conservatives and Republicans by large margins, and the differences are not limited to elite universities or to the social sciences and humanities. A multivariate analysis finds that, even after taking into account the effects of professional accomplishment, along with many other individual characteristics, conservatives and Republicans teach at lower quality schools than do liberals and Democrats. This suggests that complaints of ideologically-based discrimination in academic advancement deserve serious consideration and further study. The analysis finds similar effects based on gender and religiosity, i.e., women and practicing Christians teach at lower quality schools than their professional accomplishments would predict.

Now, here is my own thought: ANYONE who defines themselves by some irrelevant characteristic (lesbian, black, conservative, marxist, vegan) ought to be a failure as an academic. Example: Ward Churchill is actually a pretty important writer, according to some people I respect. But he primarily defined himself as a Native American, and when that lie was outed he was let go. He should never have been hired, because we don't need professional Indians, or Latinos, or conservatives.

We DO need, IMHO, good professionals who HAPPEN to be Indians, or Latinos, or conservatives, as a side matter.

So....people on the left are right to say that we shouldn't hire profs whose core identity is "conservative." But then they also should oppose hiring profs whose core identity is ANY OTHER kind of anti-intellectual activism.

I have a friend, very liberal, who happens to be a lesbian. Great person, terrific scholar. One of the lesbian organizations in Political Science was looking for "symbolic" representation, and complained that no lesbians had a voice on a certain committee. Since my friend was at that time chairing THAT committee, I immediately began referring to her loudly and gleefully as "Professor Chopped Liver."

She fumed that one of the things that holds back any movement is the need to make sure everyone's "papers are in order." And she was exactly right.

As long as conservatives define themselves as conservatives first, and scholars second, they will end up at second rate schools. And they will deserve it.

(nod to TtwbC)

UPDATE: Check out Alex Tabarrok, in a similar vein. It seems our views are pretty close. That almost certainly means we are both wrong, of course....

(Nod to JH)

Sunday, April 24, 2005


At first, I thought this must be a joke. Check out the SWOTT (actually, it should be "SWOT AT", like you would do to a fly, but...) web site.

They say:
We develop the Summer Workshop On Teaching Terrorism (SWOTT) to: 1) offer an intensive short-course on the fundamentals of terrorism; 2) introduce academics to new and innovative techniques utilized to teach terrorism; and 3) provide access to high-level officials working in the intelligence and counter-terrorism fields.

"Teach terrorism"? Maybe, teach ABOUT terrorism? Or will they have a theme dance, "Osama Enchanted Evening"? (Notice it does say "about" on this page)

Later, we are told:
A good teacher and an informed person can be quite different individuals. We wish to produce "informed teachers" from our workshop. A good teacher captures students attention, engages them in such a way that they want to learn, and often gets them to learn without them even realizing it. An individual with great information who does not know how to convey it in a way that is easy to consume is worthless. Academics, in particular, who take part in our program will leave with a better understanding of terrorism and its intricacies and armed with new teaching techniques and resources to relay their knowledge to their students.

So...they are ACTUALLY teaching teaching.

I think it worked; I am terrified by the fact that whoever wrote this announcement could take themselves this seriously.

(Nod to MWT, who is blameless, as he nearly never takes himself seriously).