Donald Maas on literary and commercial fiction. Okay, I'm going to have to reread this when my brain can process it more.
The Fandom Is Broken blogpost all the cool kids are talking about. I disagree with much of the analysis in the post, but I understand from where it comes. He somewhat hints that fan criticism might well go back to the Greeks in the auditorium, and that's pretty true. People used to kill artists because their art challenged their world view. They were religious zealots, competitors, dueling patrons, and fans. He's correct that in the past these death threats where a whole lot harder to make when it required handwriting (or typing, or cutting out and gluing letters from newspapers) on paper and attaching an actual stamp (not to mention finding an address to send it to). But it still happened. Don't believe me? Ask Stephen King, Thomas Becket or Gianni Versace (Mr. King is fortunately still with us, but makes mention of his critics in On Writing). Gods I'd hate to see the mail Lucille Ball received. And here let me say, death threats are not okay (even the ones I've been close to). The only thing that is different is the ease with which such messages can be sent, and the community those fans can surround themselves with (instead of being isolated). This is part of the human condition many people have been working to change for the better. It's a symptom of the sickness in the human psyche, a very old archetype. It's not entitlement, it's not privilege (although it often leads to that). Humans can be crappy to each other ever since one stole berries from another one.
Also, let me point out what everybody else has, "OMG, a man is forced off of social media and then another gets a death threat… (falls on conveniently positioned fainting couch)!" Where as a woman says, "Hi, twitter, I'm here" and gets rape and death threats just for doing that. Privilege.
What happens when you get parents involved in school and give the public data about chronic absences? You increase attendance. One of the three legs of successful schooling, involved and engaged parents.
"Student evaluations of teaching are not only unreliable, they are significantly biased against female instructors." While the article states that universities rely solely on SET for hiring, promotions, and firings. Let me call bs on that. Universities justify their decisions with SETs, when they match what they want. When they don't, universities will toss the SETs. Just because someone says they're doing something doesn't mean they're actually doing it. Most often SETs go into a file and are never reviewed… until the university needs to justify a decision. And then they cherry-pick their data. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)
Why do welfare funds go to marriage counseling? Because conservatives love the nanny-state when it promotes their ideas of social norms. Also, note the report that less than a quarter of Welfare block grant moneys go to actual cash assistance. Oh yeah, and tell me all about how it was Clinton who signed Welfare Reform into law. I lived through that, I remember the political pressure from the GOP. Also, Florida is dropping people from SNAP. It's that compassionate conservatism coming back into play. I remember one conversation from about a decade back where conservatives were saying that in America nobody is starving to death. Yes, in the richest country in the world we don't have villages filled with Kwashiorkor babies. But that doesn't mean people aren't hungry and just getting by.
Ah, the "Constitutional" sheriffs. They're so cute in their ignorance. First of all, let's be clear, the only requirement for being the sheriff is to win an election. Next up, I wonder how the good sheriff will feel when he's brought before a real Federally appointed judge (instead of the kangaroo "Constitutional" courts - talk about your "creating Sharia Law" conspiracies) for "interference with Federal Officers and their official duties." Also, a State doesn't have the power to strip a Federal official of their powers. They can refuse to cooperate, but that'll just be harder on their constituents (who will then need to be "processed" in federal offices far from their homes). Also, BLM only can enforce laws on Federal Land. So all those "but we've always done this" defenses come down to "whaaaa!" Yes, I know all about that. People cried when we started enforcing our local ordinances and claimed exactly the same thing, "but we've always done this." And my response was, "Yes, you've always been allowed to break the law, you're not being granted that privilege anymore." And that included tearing down some people's fences (which overstepped their properties). You want to see an "entitlement culture," there it is.
And in that vein, the brouhaha over a proposed Main Woods National Park. Note that the exact people who would claim their "private property rights" are exactly the ones who hate that the owners of the property are the ones driving the push for a National Monument designation or making the land a National Park. Oh, if they only had zoning or some collective way of preserving their property (and yes, I'm laughing hard here). Seen that one before. "What do you mean I can't do what I want with my prop… hey, stop my neighbor from putting up a 10 foot fence on his property, and keep him from making so much noise repairing cars at midnight!" (and yes, that was an actual conversation during a meeting, although there were about three minutes of rambling at that ellipses, although it was a different fence than the one mentioned above).
Why do liberals think (some) gun proponents are nuts? "A firearms instructor urged parents to store guns in their kids’ bedrooms as a safety precaution during the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, Think Progress reported Monday." And where did the liberals get the impression that gun owners are talking about a insurrection if they don't get their way at the ballot box? "The former head of an influential pro-gun lobbying group said over the weekend that losing the White House could mean pro-gun activists 'have to resort to the bullet box' to protect the Second Amendment." Yeah, I don't know where we get those ideas.
"A Pew Research Center study released earlier this year found that at least 21 states do not have a single dedicated reporter covering Congress." Yeah, that's a problem. (Grokked from Merrie Haskell)
It says a lot about America politics that Donald Trump is going to be the nominee of a major party. But he isn't the wackiest one running for office this year. Remember when we said, "Isn't the internet great because now disparate like-minded people can get together and offer support and encouragement"? Maybe that wasn't always such a good thing.