Saturday, March 31, 2012

You tell 'em, Barney!

James Ottavio --

Enough already.

Once again, Republicans have voted to destroy Medicare while slashing taxes for Big Oil and Billionaires.

It’s time for these extremist Tea Partiers to go.

There are only a few hours left for Democrats to hit our $3 million first quarter grassroots goal. This is the first critical Federal Election Commission quarterly deadline of the year. A strong showing by Democrats is essential to winning the House Majority in November.

Contribute $3 or more before Midnight Tonight and your gift will be matched 2-to-1, tripling the impact of your support.
These fundraising totals will be viewed as an indication of our strength and determination to end the national nightmare of Tea Party Republican rule.

Republicans have turned their backs on the middle class and working families and sold us out to the unaccountable special interests that fund their campaigns.

Together, we can hold them responsible for their votes which are damaging to the fabric of our society and send them packing on Election Day.

Contribute now. Your gift will be tripled:

Thank you for all your support.

Barney Frank

March 31, 2012 Generation Gasp: Shop Until You Drop"

Sloan Consortium Annual Online Learning Conference

Call for Presentations open for Annual Online Learning Conference (ALN – Orlando) – submission deadline is May 7
18th Annual Sloan Consortium International Conference on Online Learning
October 10-12, 2012
Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort Lake Buena Vista, FL
Twitter hashtag: #aln12
We invite you to submit a proposal for presentation and/or workshops for the 18th Annual Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning to be held October 10-12, 2012 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

The theme of this year’s conference is "At a Crossroads: Online Education in a Complex World."

Last year’s conference attracted nearly 1500 onsite and over 450 virtual participants to more than 250 presentations, as well as 60 exhibits, 40 vendor showcase sessions, 18 total pre- and post-conference workshops, keynote and plenary addresses, and a variety of other special events.
Proposals must be submitted by May 7, 2012
Conference tracks highlight and demonstrate research, application and effective practices for online learning in the following areas:
  • Online, Global, Mobile
  • Faculty and Professional Development and Support
  • Learning Effectiveness
  • Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
  • Student Services and Learner Support
  • Leadership, Values and Society
  • K-12 Online Education
To submit a proposal or for additional information on the conference, visit our website, call (781) 583-7561, or email

Friday, March 30, 2012

DOE ALJ vindicates Virginia Tech

Here's the decision:

And herewith my series on the massacre:

More on my recent trip to China... and other Rider Study Tours

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences still needs an Exec Director

ACJS Seeking Applications for Executive Director

The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences is seeking applications for the half-time position of Executive Director. The position will be open as of July 1, 2012.  The current Executive Director will be available to assist the incoming Executive Director during a transition period.

The Executive Director oversees the daily operations of the national office, and is the principal person for implementing Executive Board initiatives, overseeing the selection of and contract negotiations for annual meeting sites, assisting with organizing the annual meeting (with the president and program chair handling content), and obtaining and expanding meeting vendors and sponsors. ACJS Policy 101.02 delineates the duties of the ACJS Executive Director which include:
• Assist the President with preparation of the proposed annual budget (in coordination with the Treasurer).
• Prepare and submit the appropriate financial reports (with the Association Manager and the Treasurer).
• Monitor the flow of Academy funds (with the Treasurer) and assist Treasurer to meet fiduciary responsibilities.
• Coordinate efforts of Academy committees and official representatives.
• Supervise the maintenance and updating of the ACJS website.
• Monitor general office activities and performance.
• Supervise the production of the national meeting and have final approval of all aspects of the annual meeting such as the program book, food functions, exhibit hall layout, advertising and exhibits, etc.
• Travel to the annual meeting, the Executive Board mid-year meeting, and the meeting of the Budget, Finance and Audit Committee.
• Visit the national office on a quarterly basis and, at the request of the President, engage in other travel, possibly including international travel.
• Serve as the first contact in the Certification process. Work with institutions to insure all paperwork is completed, and with the Academic Review Committee to complete the process.
• Conduct the training of Certification reviewers.

Applicants must meet the following criteria:
• Demonstrated record of quality service to the Academy
• Well-articulated vision for the Academy
• Current ACJS membership
• Demonstrated record of scholarly activity
• Earned doctorate or terminal degree in criminal justice or a closely related field
• Senior (associate professor or above) academic rank at current or most recent institution
• Demonstrated ability to work with others, as a supervisor and as an employee
• Demonstrated management/supervisory experience
• Willingness to travel.

Interested candidates should provide a formal proposal to the Selection Committee no later than
May 1st, 2012. The proposal should be submitted electronically and include:
• Letter of application including requested salary for July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013
• Current curriculum vita
• Statement of vision for the Academy (up to 1000 words)
• Candidate Information Form (which is available in the Hot Topics section of the ACJS website)
• Three letters of reference (may be e-mailed separately).

The Executive Board of the Academy will appoint the Executive Director for a three-year term which may be renewed. The Executive Director will be paid at one half his or her current salary, up to $50,000, plus receive reimbursement for required travel expenses, but with no benefits. ACJS is an equal opportunity employer: Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.

Please forward electronic applications and direct requests for further information to:

David F. Owens, ACJS Treasurer
Criminal Justice Department, Onondaga Community College
4585 West Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse, New York 13215-4585
Phone: 315-498-2670; Fax: 315-498-2522

Bonanza Fatherland?

Image: Roland Darby /

 Dear TWIG Readers,

Germans have long been enthralled with the American West.

This love affair with the wide open spaces of the New World and the adventure they afforded continues to attract many Germans to this day, including some who seek out dude ranch vacations to quench their thirst for a taste of the "Wild West" of yesteryear.

Much of this fascination has been fueled for generations by Karl May (1842-1912), the German writer behind the popular "Winnetou" series of adventure novels set in the American West.

May started writing novels in 1874. He was 32 and had led a life of poverty that included a petty crime record.

Yet by the time he died 100 years ago, on March 30, 1912, he had become one of the best-selling authors ever to write in the German language.

May, who carved out a niche for himself as an adventure travel writer churning out books that distracted 19th-century workers from the drudgery of their day-to-day lives, also wrote stories set in his native Germany, in China and in South America.

But no single Karl May character remains as alive in the collective consciousness of the German-speaking world as Winnetou, the wise chief of the Apache tribe. He lived a noble life alongside Old Shatterhand, the author's alter ego and Winnetou's white blood brother.

The image of Native Americans in Germany is greatly influenced by May - the name "Winnetou" has even earned an entry into the famous German Duden dictionary.

May only traveled to the United States - where he did, however, meet some real Native Americans - once towards the end of his life in 1908. He also journeyed to both the Near and Far East. (Another series of May novels is centered around a German protagonist in the Ottoman Empire.) and The Week in Germany this week showcase the life and times of Karl May. His legacy is very much alive today, as indicated by the large number of events planned for the Karl May Year 2012.

Karen Carstens

Editor, The Week in Germany


Arrogance and Insult

  James Ottavio --

Minutes ago, Republicans threw down the gauntlet.

Instead of working with President Obama on a balanced approach, they just passed a radical budget that is ending the Medicare guarantee.

Meanwhile, the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy aren’t just extended, they’re vastly expanded. Billionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas would receive millions while seniors are forced to pay more for their health care.

We have to respond right away -- the first quarterly FEC deadline of 2012 is in just 48 hours. We must raise $205,000 more by the deadline to fight back against the radical Republican budget.

Contribute $3 or more right now and we’ll match your donation 2-to-1, tripling your impact.
Republicans’ radical budget plans are racing through Congress left and right with the support of shady right-wing SuperPACs. The DCCC is ready to mount a nationwide response -- but we have to act fast.

Let’s send a loud and clear message: we’re through with the extreme efforts to undermine seniors, women and the middle class.

Thank you,

Chris Van Hollen

I am reminded of when AIG, having just been bailed out by the Obama Administration, gave out enormous bonuses.  The arrogance of the wealthy and powerful in America today is boundless and shameless.  And it's insulting:  the assumption seems to be that the rest of us are either too stupid or too powerless --- or both --- to do anything about it.  That, in fact, we are so ignorant and so venal that we will go along with their relentless aggrandizement of additional wealth and power, no matter how extreme.  Heck, maybe they are reading us right.  That's the really scary part. --- JOC

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Duquesne University adjuncts want to be steelworkers

A small blow for 1st Amendment rights, struck by the PA Supreme Court

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

In re the Nomination Petitions and Papers of Carl STEVENSON as a Candidate for State Representative in the 134th Legislative District.
Appeal of Carl Stevenson.

No. 54 MAP 2010.
Submitted Sept. 8, 2010.
Decided March 26, 2012.
Background: Objectors petitioned to set aside nominating paper of candidate for state representative on ground that candidate did not secure a sufficient number of valid signatures to have his name appear on the ballot. The Commonwealth Court ordered the Secretary of the Commonwealth to strike candidate's name from the general election ballot. Candidate appealed. The Supreme Court vacated and remanded. On remand, the Commonwealth Court, No. 643 M.D. 2010, considered and sustained individual signature challenges. Candidate filed an application for relief.

Holdings: The Supreme Court, Castille, C.J., held that:
(1) issue of whether residency requirement for affiants circulating nomination papers violated the First Amendment, though moot, would be addressed as an important election question that had the potential to recur, and
(2) federal District Court's unappealed, final decision in Morrill v. Weaver, permanently enjoining the Commonwealth from enforcing district residency requirement for affiants circulating nomination papers, was binding on the Commonwealth, and was unenforceable by the Secretary and the courts of the Commonwealth, abrogating In re Payton, 945 A.2d 279, In re Nomination Paper of Rogers, 908 A.2d 942, and In re Petition for Agenda Initiative, 821 A.2d 203.

Kerry recalls being swiftboated

James --

When I was the Democratic nominee for president in one of the closest and toughest elections in history, a group of billionaires did something unprecedented:

They wrote million-dollar checks to fund lies about my service on what were called "Swift Boats" in Vietnam -- and in so doing, they turned the boats my crewmates and I served on into a new political shorthand for the most vicious smears imaginable: "swiftboating."

I wish like hell that the term was retired from the American political lexicon, and returned to its real meaning.

But guess what: Bob Perry, the deep-pocketed funder of the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," just gave $3 million to Mitt Romney's Super PAC.

One man. Three million dollars. And that's just the start.

I know all too clearly that these guys will do or say anything to win. They'll stop at nothing. But forewarned is forearmed. Their multi-million dollar smear tactics were new in 2004; in 2012 we know their playbook, and shame on us if we don't tear it into shreds. Join me and we will stop the "swiftboating" of President Obama.

Fight back by donating $5 or more today at this critical deadline moment.

It takes someone with no shame and a lot of money to get the public to believe a total lie.

Unfortunately that's what we're up against.

Let's be ready for it -- let's fight back.

Please donate $5 today:



Senator John Kerry

Summer Training Program for Academic Leaders at PSU

SUBJECT:  Reminder: Penn State offers summer training opportunity for future academic leaders

Dear James,

Within higher education there is much being written about the developing vacuum in leadership and the need to improve the leadership skills of academic administrators.  We at Penn State are moving forward with a shared sense of purpose, and the Center for the Study of Higher Education remains committed to providing valuable professional development experience to academic leaders throughout the industry.

In an effort to prepare future academic leaders, Penn State invites you to nominate academic leaders to enroll in its 3rd annual Academic Leadership Academy, to be held June 24-28, 2012.  The academy prepares department heads, associate deans, deans, and associate provosts from all over the country to have the skills to succeed as academic administrators and advance to higher levels of responsibility and leadership.

The presenters will include James T. Harris (III), president of Widener University, Jo Allen, president, Meredith College; M. Christopher Brown, president, Alcon State University; Michael Dooris, executive director of planning research and assessment, Penn State; Mary Lou Higgerson, vice president for academic affairs, Baldwin Wallace College; Stanley Ikenberry, president emeritus, University of Illinois; Jason Lane, associate professor of education and fellow of the Rockefeller Institute of Government, SUNY Albany; Rodney Erickson, president, Penn State University Robert Hendrickson, professor of education and interim director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education, Penn State.  The topics to be covered will include leadership development, organizational dynamics, shared governance, communication, faculty employment issues, faculty development, strategic management, budgeting, conflict resolution, and organizational change.

After the summer’s onsite session, the Academic Leadership Academy continues for the next academic year.  During the year, participants attend a series of virtual sessions on topics that they selected.  The virtual sessions also provide participants with an on-going network of academic leaders to share challenges and best practices.

We encourage you to visit the Academy website,, and nominate academic leaders from your institution to enroll in the Academy.  The cost for the summer session and the virtual sessions is $3,245/ individual and $2,995/individual in a team of 3 or more.  The number spaces are limited and we encourage you to act soon to reserve a space. 

We look forward to hearing from you and to having the opportunity to work with members of your academic leadership team through this year’s Academy.

Best regards,


Robert M. Hendrickson
Interim Director and Senior Scientist

Center for the Study of Higher Education

Penn State University

814 865 9740 office

814 777 7434 mobile

814 865 3638 fax

Support the "Violence Against Women" Act

Tell Republican leadership to stop playing politics with women's lives
Clicking here will automatically add your name to this petition to congressional Republican leadership:
"Stop blocking the 'Violence Against Women Act.' This is a successful program that has helped cut domestic violence by 58%, and it should be reauthorized immediately."
Automatically add your name:
Take action now!
CREDO Action | more than a network, a movement.
Dear Jim,
The latest attack on women is over the Violence Against Women Act.
The last time this program was reauthorized, it passed nearly unanimously through the House and Senate — but incredibly, the all-male Republican block on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted down the bill.
That's right: Republicans are now standing in the way of reauthorizing an incredibly popular and successful program that has reduced domestic violence rates by 58% since it was first passed in 1994.
Voting to defund Planned Parenthood, redefine rape, and block access to contraception has not been enough for anti-woman members of Congress — they now want to block funding for victims of domestic violence.
Every female Senator — including 5 Republicans — supports this important act. And yet the bill only has 58 co-sponsors, two votes shy of the 60 votes needed to defeat a promised Republican filibuster.
Even as their party continues to lead attacks on women, Republican leadership should honor the wishes of the women in their own caucus and call off the filibuster.
Blocking funding for victims of domestic violence is low, even for this Republican Congress. With enough pressure from the grassroots and the all of women in the Senate Republican caucus co-sponsoring the bill, we can stop the filibuster and pass reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
Tell Republican leadership to stop playing politics with women's lives and pass the Violence Against Women Act now! Click below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for standing up for women.
Ali Rozell, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

© 2012 CREDO. All rights reserved. 

Guest Article: College Pranks

Suicide Watch: Do good fences make good students?,_Ophelia.JPG

Prof. Ely Karmon: "Are We Nearer a CBRN Terrorism Attack?"

Dear friends and colleagues,

For those who didn’t have time or patience to read my full paper “Are we nearer to a CBRN terrorism attack?” presented at the New Delhi IDSA 14th Asian Security Conference, please see the link to the shorter Jerusalem Post op-ed at

Amigos y colegas de habla espanol pueden leer el articulo publicado por El Imparcial:

I take this opportunity to wish you all Happy Easter, Happy Pesah, Feliz Pascua,

Ely Karmon

Ely Karmon, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scholar

International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) and

The Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS) at

The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC)

Herzlyia, Israel

Tel.:   972-9-9527277

Cell.: 972-52-2653306

Fax.: 972-9-9513073, 972-9-7716653



New Jersey Office of Human Research Protections Forum


REGISTER NOW TO RECEIVE EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION FEE OF $120 for the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) Research Community Forum (RCF) entitled, “BUILDING BRIDGES:  Research Around the World,” co-sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel in Pittsburgh, PA on June 22, 2012.  We expect that more than 450 biomedical and psychosocial researchers, students, coordinators, IRB staff and institutional administrators will be in attendance.  Our goal is to raise awareness of diverse global interests and to strengthen collaborations between US investigators and those abroad. This program is quite innovative in the sense that this is the first program in the OHRP RCF series to focus solely on international research.  A group of nationally and internationally-recognized experts will address the regulatory and ethical underpinnings of conducting research with human subjects in international settings.  The dynamic multi-faceted agenda will provide:

Keynote Address

·        Ethical Challenges in Collaborative International Research

Presented by Christine Grady, R.N., Ph.D., Acting Chief, Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health, Clinical Center; Member of President Obama’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues; and Senior Fellow, Kennedy Institute of Ethics

Plenary Sessions

·        Conducting FDA-Regulated Research in an Exceptional World

·        Ethics Committee Review of International Research

·        Multicultural and Multidisciplinary Perspectives on the Consent Processes

·        Tissue Banking – Domestic and International Challenges

Breakout Sessions

·        International Export

·        Lessons Learned from 25 Years of International Studies – Perspectives from a Research Team

·        Tips and Tools for Planning Safe Travel

·        Nuts and Bolts 45 CFR 46

·        CDER Office of Scientific Investigations Perspective:  Oversight of Foreign Clinical Trials

·        Using Computing Technology for International Research with Human Subjects:  Opportunities and Challenges

·        Ensuring Regulatory Compliance at International Sites

·        Research Ethics Training:  International Perspectives

·        We Don’t Do It that Way Here:  Challenges in Negotiating Appropriate Subcontracts For Human Subjects Research Abroad


·        Updates and Questions and Answers with the Feds and Faculty

See Brochure at:

all for Papers: Association for Study of Mid East and Africa


5th Annual ASMEA Conference

History and the "New" Middle East and Africa

October 11-13, 2012 
Key Bridge Marriott Hotel * Washington, D.C.

ASMEA is currently seeking proposals for paper presentations at the 2012 annual conference. Members from any discipline, tenured or untenured faculty or those otherwise affiliated with a recognized research institution, may submit proposals to participate in the conference. Unique proposals from senior graduate students (ABD) will also be considered. Abstracts on topics related to the Middle East and Africa should consist of a one-page outline of the proposed subject to be presented. A recent C.V. and all contact data must be attached to the proposal (name, e-mail, phone number, affiliation). The due date for proposals is Tuesday, May 15, 2012. Proposals should be sent to:  Completed papers are due by August 31, 2012. 

VIEW the list of paper's presented at the 2011 Annual ASMEA Conference.

Referees and Discussants
ASMEA Members interested in participating in the conference as referees of papers or discussants should contact ASMEA by e-mail with a letter of interest containing the topics that can be covered. Please include a C.V. and all current contact data (name, e-mail, phone number) and a brief recitation of your past experience in these roles. Send e-mail to:

Any questions or for more information, contact ASMEA at 202.429.8860 or

Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Public employee suspended in Delaware for Confederate Flag license plate on his car

The spectrum of the human condition... in one dizzying day

For me, yesterday was a day of contrasts.

First, driving to work I heard an NPR story about cholera in Haiti.  Apparently, in sprawling, post-earthquake slums, such as one called ironically The City of God, multitudes live in shacks with no running water or toilet facilities.  When it rain, the shacks flood, the open sewers overflow, and people stand knee-deep in the foul water.  Cholera, previously unknown in Haiti for decades, raged last year and is expected to rage again.

Image: africa /

Later in the day, returning to my office from a meeting in North Jersey, my colleagues and I drove the back roads around Princeton, where we had the opportunity to view the estates with their mansions, stables and other amenities.

Then, on the way home, I listened to "Marketplace," which aired the second in its series called "The Robot Ate My Job."  This episode focused on who are the "winners" in robotics.  It ends with a Carnegie Mellon U. robotics professor looking at a janitor in his building and wondering "What will we do with all these people," when (inevitably?) robots can do their jobs better and cheaper than they can.

The human animal as a species has never figured out how to handle these vast disparities.  SOme simply shrug and say that's how it is.  Others argue that knocking down barriers to free enterprise gives everyone a chance to try for that estate in Princeton; of course, common sense tells most of us that this is nonsense.  But I guess it helps the very rich sleep at night.  Others, from Christ to Karl Marx, have tried to come up with ways for people to share and share alike.  Jesus devolved into a Christianity characterized by Crusades, Inquisitions, genocides, slavery, and sodomy.  Marx devolved into the economic disaster formerly known as the Soviet Union and the current economic disaster known as Cuba.

Meanwhile, our Supreme Court --- or Justice Kennedy, if you care to simplify it --- ponders whether it is possible for COngress to require all Americans to share in the cost of our health care system.  That the question has to be asked is to me a sad commentary on how little progress has been made in the area of what we euphemistically refer to as humanitarianism.

Guest article: 10 college students who successfully sued their own schools

Image: Michal Marcol /

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tell Congress Not to Double the Student-Loan Interest Rate

Tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: FIGHT to stop Republicans from doubling the interest rate on student loans
Clicking here will automatically add your name to this petition to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
"Do not let the interest rate double on federal student loans. Extend the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, keeping college education affordable for the 99%."

Automatically add your name:

Take action now!
CREDO Action | more than a network, a movement.
Dear Jim,
This is unbelievable. The interest rates on federal student loans will double this summer if Congress doesn't take action.1
Millions of American students from working class families are able to obtain a college education thanks to low-interest federal student loans. But now Congress is putting those loans in serious jeopardy at a time when students and their families can least afford to pay higher interest rates.
Back in 2007, when the Democrats were in charge of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, Congress passed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. It reduced the interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans incrementally over four academic years, from 6.8 percent at the time to the current 3.4 percent.2 The current Republican leadership in the House is planning to let this legislation expire on July 1, effectively doubling the interest rates on these loans. This will result in an average of $5,000 in additional payments for students who are scheduled to pay their loans backs in 5 years, and $11,000 for those who are paying back in 10.3
With Republicans in the House poised to double the interest on federal student loans, we need leadership from the Senate. Specifically, we need Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to stand up and fight on behalf of millions of American students:
If Leader Reid leads the Democratic-controlled Senate to move first and take steps to pass legislation that ensures the interest rates remain fixed at 3.4 percent, it will force the hand of Congressional Republicans to either pass the measure or go on the record as the party fighting against the interest of millions of America's working class students and their families. But we need both the House and the Senate to pass it before July 1, so we need to convey our sense of urgency to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today.
Federal student loans with low interest rates, such as the subsidized Stafford loan, are designed to benefit students whose families make under $40,000 a year — folks who can least afford to see their interest rates jump.4 These loans help the neediest students, who are often not eligible to receive Pell Grants. Adding further financial stress on these students and their families by letting the interest rates double this July would be devastating, especially given the extremely fragile state of our economy.
As Sarah Jaffe observed in her excellent piece in AlterNet:
"It's worth noting, as well, that many of the big banks that make a killing on private student loans and still have billions of government-subsidized student debt on their books, are able to borrow money from the government through the Federal Reserve's discount window at nearly no interest at all. Why, then, are young people, who aren't guilty of trashing the economy but remain the victims of a rate of unemployment nearly twice that of the rest of the population, expected to pay more?"5
Now is the time for all of us to speak up on behalf of our students. Click here to automatically sign the petition and consider inviting students from your personal network to join the fight.
Click below to automatically sign our petition urging Senator Reid to fight to keep college education affordable and not let the interest rate double on federal student loans.
Thank you for speaking out to make sure that all students can afford a higher education — including those from working class families.
Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
PS: This issue is deeply personal for me. Coming from a working class family, I have been able to pursue my own aspirations by working hard and getting a great education from amazing academic institutions. This opportunity would not have been possible for someone like me if I hadn't had access to affordable federal student loans with low interest rates. I hope you will join this cause on behalf of the students and consider inviting any students you know in your personal network to join this fight by forwarding them this link:
1. Sarah Jaffe, "Is Congress Going to Double the Interest on Your Student Loan?," February 22, 2012.
2. Ann Carrns, "Rising Concerns Over Student Loans, Public and Private," the New York Times Blog, March 14, 2012.
3. Sarah Jaffe, "Is Congress Going to Double the Interest on Your Student Loan?," February 22, 2012.
4. Moe Bedard, "Vermont Senators Leahy And Sanders Join Bill To Prevent July Interest Rate Increase On Stafford Student Loans,", February 2, 2012.
5. Sarah Jaffe, "Is Congress Going to Double the Interest on Your Student Loan?," February 22, 2012.

Is this guy playing with fire?

He's not alone... here's a petition for a "dislike" button on Facebook:

Number of degree holders rising...

but will the jobs be waiting?

Image: Victor Habbick /

You're not paranoid, if they really are out to get you

Image: graur razvan ionut /

The evidence is growing to support from view that the anemic recovery on the employment front is not merely an aspect of the "normal" business cycle, but that it also reflects disturbing structural elements, i.e.,

1.  Globalization of capital, corporations, and the job market (even in such seemingly untouchable service professions as law, accounting and IT), and

2.  the rise of the robots (that is the progress of IT technology outpacing our ability to replace the jobe the robots eat with new jobs).

This may be one reason why Fed Chair Ben Bernanke continues to worry about the alleged recovery.  In a recent speech he ruminated that businesses may have dug a little too deeply into their workforces during the Great Recession, laying off more of us than was required.  Consequently, the most recent 8.3% unemployed figure may reflect rehiring that does not reflect true growth but merely a correction of that error.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Yours truly in Tianamen Square, March 11, 2012

Photo by Barry R. Sharer

Student loses it in class - other students would rather video than help

If you are concerned about student mental health issues, classroom management, and campus safety, this is a very disturbing video that you ought to view and discuss with relevant colleagues.  (Beware: lots of bad language.)

Barack Tees on offer

James --

Two years ago, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. Even before that, folks on the other side started calling it "Obamacare."

The more we heard it, the better it started to sound: Obama. Care.

We like it -- so we decided to put it on some stuff to make sure everyone sees it:

Get I Like Obamacare and BFD merch

If you like Obamacare, too, get your T-shirt now with a donation of $30 or more:



Julianna Smoot
Deputy Campaign Manager
Obama for America

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I rarely agree with these guys...

... but on immigration, I generally do:

James Ottavio Castagnera:This Is Not Your Grandpa’s America, So Get Over It

Mr. Castagnera, a Philadelphia journalist and attorney and author of the weekly newspaper column “Attorney at Large.”

This may sound a little nasty… but the dumbest reason I’ve heard for legalizing the 11 million illegal aliens in the U.S. is “My grandparents got to come here. These people deserve the same chance.” I’ve heard that a lot lately. So let’s follow the logic of this notion and see where it leads us.

My Italian grandparents came here just about a century ago. My grandmother gave birth to 16 kids. Gee, wouldn’t it be great if every illegal-alien family currently in the U.S. had 16 kids? Since the Supreme Court already ruled 20 years ago that the children of illegals are entitled to a K-12 public education, our school districts would experience a spectacular increase in classroom diversity. Since we lack a national “English-only” law, the classroom teachers would no-doubt embrace the challenge of mainstreaming these kids under the “No Child Left Behind” Act. My senior-citizen neighbors --- many of whom already are struggling to pay their school taxes --- will undoubtedly grin and bear the added burden.

Once all these kids are educated and grown, half could stay at home to help their parents on the family farm while the other half could pack up their Conestoga wagons and head west to… whoops, I just remembered: The U.S. Interior Department declared the American frontier officially closed in 1896.

Just four years later in 1900 the U.S. Census counted 76,212,168 inhabitants in the U.S.A. In 2000 the Bureau counted 281,421,906 souls in America. That’s about 3.7 times as many people as a century earlier. This single fact might make a difference in some folks’ thinking.

Professor Marshall McLuhan, the Sixties media guru best remembered for “the media is the message,” also said that we lived (mentally) in “Bonanza-land.” Readers with a touch of gray at their temples will remember the popular weekly Western “Bonanza.” Younger eyes can take a gander at the retro-website They’re all there: Ben, big daddy and “the soul of Ponderosa,” the family’s mega-ranch; Adam, the wise-beyond-his-years eldest brother; Little Joe, the hot youngest brother, played by teen idol Michael Landon; and, Hoss, the lovable, lumbering family idiot, reminiscent of Lenny in “Of Mice and Men.”

My favorite from among the quotes posted on the “Bonanza” site is this Ben Cartwright profundity: "Well maybe I've never been to Heaven, and maybe I'm never going to get the chance, but Heaven is going to have to go some to beat the thousand square miles of the Ponderosa."

According to McLuhan (a Canadian), we Americans were driving down the road of life, looking into our rearview mirrors, where we saw the four Cartwright men riding side-by-side straight out of our TV screens. If the prophet of pop-culture could come back to 21 st century America, his opinion probably wouldn’t change. Just look at what we’re driving these days: Ford Mustangs, Jeep Cherokees, Dodge Dakotas, Honda Ridgelines (Motor Trend’s 2006 truck of the year, by the way), Hyundai Santa Fe’s and Tucsons.

The trouble is that, when we take our eyes away from that rearview mirror and stare out the front windshield, most of us never see the Ponderosa unrolling in front of us. More likely, we’re looking at the latest housing development, cheek-to-jowl with the newest strip mall, both of which we have plenty of time to ponder, because they’ve entailed the installation of yet another set of traffic lights. Or we may be gazing at yet another inner-city neighborhood, rundown and cluttered with trash.

Warm-hearted souls, who favor an open-door policy, ought to ask which Americans benefit and who loses, when our borders are left wide open and laws against hiring illegals go essentially un-enforced. Businesses wishing to keep their labor cost low are the big winners. Despite all the folklore that illegal aliens take jobs no American citizens want, our poorest citizens --- who, under current welfare rules, must enter the workforce --- suffer from illegal competition.

Bill Fletcher, former education director of the AFL-CIO and currently president of TransAfrica Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, in 2004 told the Pacific News Service, “It's like an urban legend, which sees competition taking place everywhere. If African Americans were moving from lower to higher level jobs, there would be no reason for fear. But that's not the case." Black workers are not the only ones trapped in temporary, low-paying, no-benefit jobs, he added.

No, folks, this is not Bonanza-land. This isn't your grandpa’s America. Get your eyes off that rearview mirror. Get over it.