Friday, December 09, 2016

The Reality Gap


This is a real problem. From Steve Benen, on the Maddow Show blog:

...what struck me as especially notable about the new survey results is the persistence of the so-called “reality gap.”

* Unemployment: Under President Obama, job growth has been quite strong, and the unemployment rate has improved dramatically. PPP, however, found that 67% of Trump voters believe the unemployment rate went up under Obama – which is the exact opposite of reality...

* Popular Vote: As of this morning, Hillary Clinton received roughly 2.7 million more votes than Donald Trump, but PPP nevertheless found that 40% of Trump voters believe he won the popular vote – which is, once again, the exact opposite of reality.

* Voter Fraud: Even Trump’s lawyers concede there was no voter fraud in the presidential election, but PPP found that 60% of Trump voters apparently believe “millions” of illegal ballots were cast for Clinton in 2016 – which isn’t even close to resembling reality.


As Benen notes, when a sizable percentage of our country is invested in believing  -- for whatever reason -- what is transparently a lie, it's hard to know how we're going to move forward.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Colbert on the Pizzagate Nonsense


This is a great segment.



Colbert acknowledges at the top that he's not a journalist. Nevertheless, he's doing stellar work here.

I'm still seeing Far-Right blogs claiming that this Pizzagate drivel is true, by the way. Seriously, how intellectually limited do you have to be to buy into something this transparently ridiculous? It's like believing in chemtrails. Or that ridiculous claim that Planned Parenthood sells fetal body parts -- Rod Dreher is still repeating that vile lie.

Really, they're daily more pathetic. You would think, now that they've got their Liar in Chief headed for the White House, they'd calm down. But nope. They're ramping up the Bullshit Machines: Full Speed Ahead.



Grading, and so on


I am grading, and also moving my office from one building, on the northeast side of our campus, to another (slightly newer) building on the northwest(ish) side of our campus.

Though the buildings are no more than a few hundred yards apart (maybe three hundred? I'm terrible at judging distances), still I have heaps of books* and files (ten large boxes), and can't really move myself.

I am at the mercy of our grounds crew, and they are at the mercy of whoever is in charge of assigning their workload, I assume. In any case, though I was supposed to be moved today, yeah, not so much.

Could I come in tomorrow (and wait all day, I suppose, for the grounds crew to cancel on me again), I was asked.

Yeah, not so much.

I counter-proposed that they come move me on Tuesday, when I'll be on campus anyway, giving my last exam. I am waiting to hear whether this will be acceptable.

Meanwhile, I have stacks and stacks of essays, final exams, and papers to grade, as well as grade totals to figure once that is done.

See you on the other side.


*This does not count all the books I weeded out and dumped on our Free Book table, which students happily carried off for me, or the old files I dumped in our recycling bin.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Home for the Holidays


This year, we're driving down to New Orleans to stay with my parents for the holidays. Christmas and Hanukkah coincide this year, interestingly -- or at least the first day of Hanukkah coincides with Christmas. I'll be hauling bags of presents with us, is what this means, mostly.

Also, I have to remember to do about six billion things. So far I've reserved the rental car (our car being unreliable), reserved a space for the dog (we have to board him, though the cats will stay here and be looked in on by a friend), bought presents, and plotted our route.

An Important Post from TYWKIWDBI


Over at TYWKIWDBI, we find an important informational post:


Kleptocracy (from Greek: κλεπτοκρατία, klépto- thieves + -kratos rule, literally "rule by thieves") is a government with corrupt rulers (kleptocrats) that use their power to exploit the people and natural resources of their own territory in order to extend their personal wealth and political power. Typically this system involves the embezzlement of state funds at the expense of the wider population, sometimes without even the pretense of honest service...


(By the way, if you don't read Things You Wouldn't Know If We Didn't Blog Intermittently, you're missing a real joy!)

Monday, December 05, 2016

So How Am I Doing?


One month after surgery, more or less?

I saw the surgeon for a follow-up today. He says I'm doing well. He says probably one day I'll be able to eat bread again, not to mention meals bigger than a quarter-cup in size.

Meanwhile, the heartburn is entirely gone, and most of the surgical pain as well. Physically, I'm almost entirely recovered -- I don't get tired walking from my car to my office, for instance, and I can lift things again.

Also, I have once again started drinking coffee. What a relief that is.

So I'm better, even if our nation is fucked.



Saturday, December 03, 2016

White Moderates


Yesterday, I wrote about a hate-group putting up vile posters on our campus.

Other people on campus also wrote about this, several of them on their FB pages. On several of these pages, people got comments about how “we” should just ignore these posters. Some said we should ignore them because we had better things to do; others claimed it was their free speech right to put up the posters.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Trump's America


So this happened on my campus.

This got posted on the building where my new office will be:



Teaching Students Grammar -- Useful Y/N?


Over at Bardiac's place she wrote a post about strawmanning -- the ridiculous perceptions of what professors do and how we teach (or ought to teach).

In my comment there, I kind of went off on a tangent, orthogonal to Bardiac's original point. That tangent is one I'd like to take up here.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Packing to Move


So plant operations has finally sent me my packing boxes. I am packing my books and files, preliminary to the moving guys showing up, next Thursday, to move me to my new office, over in the fancy new building.

Well, newer building.

Meanwhile, I certainly have a lot of books. And more art on the wall than I would have guessed.

I don't think I'm going to have nearly enough boxes, y'all.

ETA: Man, I shoulda wished for money. No sooner did I hit post than the plant operations guys showed up with 15 more boxes!

ETTAA: Man, do I have a lot of books.



Small Sliver of Good News


A payment came through yesterday for some writing I did.

I love getting paid for writing.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Not The WORST Thing, but Still...


I used to semi-enjoy reading conservative blogs, for pretty much the same reason I was almost an anthropology major, and probably for the same reason I read and write science fiction. I like walking in other people's shoes. I like to be able, just for a bit and even if it's only slightly, to understand the worlds of people who are not me.

This election, though, has ruined that pleasure for me. Homo sum, said Terence, and therefore, humani nihil a me alienum puto. This is what I believe as well.

But sadly, conservative blogs are now gulping down the Trump Kool-Aid in two-liter sized go-cups. As much as I would like to continue to read and try to understand them, right now at least, there's nothing to understand. They're all repeating the same lies and fake news stories, while howling with hysterical hatred about those evil liberals (baby-killers, flag-burners, ballot-stuffers, and traitors).

Having read one (actually, I've read about fifty) of these post-truth screeds, I find I don't need to read another.

More than one Trump supporter has told me they voted for Trump because America was "so divided (with the implication that Obama/progressives caused this terrible division) and that "we" had to bring the country together again.

Somehow I don't think the foaming wrath of the alt.right is our path to that.