Monday Afternoon Open Thread

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    Oculus proudly announces she has regained (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 01:58:10 PM EST
    the ability to listen to KUSC FM on line.  Of course, having changed security settings and enabled mucho, demise of laptop may have been hastened.  But--who cares.  Tonight:  Gergiev/Mariiinsky/Stravinsky.  All good.

    I live and learn from students (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 04:20:20 PM EST
    . . . such as the one who informs me that the textbook and test in U.S. history both are wrong to state that the Supreme Court made history in 2000 in deciding the outcome of a presidential election.  

    This is a "Democratic talking point . . . laden with political rhetoric."  And more, much more from said student.

    Now, the textbook and I both made clear the role of the Electoral College which, of course, decides elections -- but also the role of the Supremes in this case in deciding just how the Electoral College would decide that election.

    The student's issue, I think, is with the verb "decides" (although the student uses it, too, in saying it is incorrect, sigh).  The Supremes issue decisions, as they did in this case.

    But -- Constitutional lawyers and others, how would you term it?  I'll be glad to share with the publisher for the next edition, if need be.  But also keep in mind that on the test, limited in words so as to be taken fast -- by students including frosh -- how would you ask this question (say, in T-F format, or in M-C format with options as to which institution in our democracy, um, determined the outcome of that election) in a very short, declarative sentence?  

    No talking points or political rhetoric, please!

    You are obviously a pretty damned (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 04:30:57 PM EST
    good instructor, inviting other views, credibility first.  I'd spend my kid's college funds on you.

    Awww. But seriously, I see (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 04:46:31 PM EST
    so many students who get much more of their education from squawk radio, Fox News, etc. -- and many from fundamentalist pulpits, too.  So I try to create a place for respectful discussion . . . as obviously, disrespect does not open minds.  

    It is sad how many minds are so closed by the time that they get to college.  Why spend their funds on it, then?  (Oh, wait, call on me, I know the answer!  I just don't like to face it on days like this. . . .)

    And I really appreciate respectful communications from students, too.  But in this case, well, I am sparing you the tone from one of those students who loves to tell us how to teach our courses -- students without even one degree yet (and in fields far, far from history).  Sigh.  Whaddaweknow?  I do hope that they are more respectful in their communications in their workplaces, or the reason they spend their funds on college will not be realized.


    Hey (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 05:09:17 PM EST
    You just teach for a living.  If you actually knew something, you'd get a real job, right?

    (That was snark in case anyone missed it).


    The technical aspects are. . .complicated (none / 0) (#21)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 05:54:43 PM EST
    In order to win the 2000 Presidential election, Gore needed to win a recount in Florida. Bush could win by winning Florida, or by winning in the House of Representatives (which votes for President by state delegation if the Electoral College can't produce a winner).

    There are many indefensible aspects of the Per Curiam opinion that the Supreme Court issued in Bush v. Gore, but the one that effectively "decided" the election was not to remand the case to the FL Supreme Court in order to conduct a count consistent with the law. Note that if the Court had done so, it would not itself had decided the election: either the Florida supreme court, the Florida Legislature, or the Florida Governor would have. But by deciding as it did, it (probably*) didn't leave room for any further process.

    *Gore might have asked the Florida supreme court to order a statewide recount, but he concluded for a variety of good reasons that doing so would likely be fruitless.

    There's my response from memory. Of course, multiple books have been written on the subject.

    You should ask the student to read all of the opinions in Bush v. Gore and write a paper. ;-)


    Oh, I know -- and I say so in lecture (none / 0) (#24)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 06:46:00 PM EST
    and get into the equal protection grounds argument, and the textbook gives a lot of this (and other info), too.

    But -- again, the student's problem is that the textbook section's concluding statement is that the Supreme Court, for the first time ever, decided a presidential election; that also is the statement on the test.  A quickie quiz.  For a frosh-level class.  Very few intended History majors.  Meets liberal-arts requirement for many schools.  Etc.  Not a grad seminar or senior seminar or even upper-level course or course focused on, say, Supreme Court decisions.  It's a survey course covering immense amounts of material -- and thus, the tests must do so, too.

    There are so, so many complex events and books and more that have to be boiled down to quiz questions.  So . . . again, can you suggest an alternative short T-F statement?  I.e., a different verb is needed?  That is the student's issue: the verb "decided."  Is it a problem?  Is it a "talking point laden with political rhetoric"?


    Can you restate (none / 0) (#26)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 06:56:48 PM EST
    question/text to say:

    "..for the first time in effect decided a presidential election?"


    Yes, wording "to that effect" (none / 0) (#28)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 07:18:21 PM EST
    is what I have in mind for next time -- but I am betting that it would not appease this student even a wee bit.  

    Perhaps it would help to imagine just how a very right-wing student would want the question written . . . if included at all.  I got the impression, from earlier discussions of other topics -- immigration, education -- that it would be best if I just taught the last 150 years of American history as if we were one big, happy, family.

    But as there may be an appeal, I thought that I would come to the fine legal minds here to see if there is a major problem with the verb -- that is the student's issue: that the Supreme Court "decided."  


    These same students should only know (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 08:29:54 PM EST
    what other verbs some of us have in mind.

    This discussion reminds me of David Boies' comment about the decision, as featured in the documentary about the case (can't recall name) -- he described the decision as intellectually dishonest, I believe.  What a gift for understatement.  


    Oh, no. Now, if there is an appeal (none / 0) (#36)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 09:26:45 PM EST
    I will have to refrain from saying "you should see the verbs that I was going to use!"

    Thanks, thanks a lot for planting that riposte in my brain.  The only way to overcome it, now that I so want to say it, will be for me to have to revert in such a meeting to insufferable pedantry, the best resort for making everyone beg for mercy and for the meeting to end . . . before I lose it and let out that riposte.


    I like BfO's modification (none / 0) (#27)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 07:09:02 PM EST
    But really, for a T/F question, it's fine as is. I've taken my share of such exams, and routinely fought with the questions. It should be enough for him to know that, while you appreciate there is complexity on the subject, YOU think it's the right answer.

    Out of curiosity, which text are you using? In high school I used the 11th edition of The American Pageant, which I think described John Brown as "crack-brained." The test bank wasn't much better. . .


    Gosh, no, I don't expect (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 07:28:14 PM EST
    to impose "my answers" on students.  Not at all.  My views, sometimes -- but many often are surprised to encounter me in later courses and find out that they guessed wrong in the survey course.  Perhaps because I vary in some ways, as folks here know, from the Fox News view of a librul, progressive, feminist, etc.  But then, so few really do fit the warped Fox News, et al., view.

    These tests in this basic course really are to test knowledge of the facts.  (The essay tests and the discussions are where we get into interesting debates about the evidence and interpretation of it, why we can interpret the evidence differently -- as lawyers and juries and judges and even Justices do.)

    But that the Supreme Court, once the Justices have had their debates, then issues decisions is a fact, or so I thought?


    I think we'll have to agree (none / 0) (#30)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 07:43:43 PM EST
    to disagree on what is meant by imposing your answers on students.

    To the substance: I don't think anyone could dispute that the Court issued a "decision." The question is over exactly what it decided. My guess is that your student doesn't accept the possibility of any other outcome.


    The precision stickler in me always hates that (none / 0) (#33)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 08:25:10 PM EST
    sentence too, even though I know it is just shorthand for the whole sequence of events that the decision unleashed. Also I do believe they chose the outcome they wanted and built the decision around it.

    If this student saw that kind of framing, he'd have more to complain about,

    For alternate wording, how about something like 'issued a decision that directly effected the result'


    And in this case (none / 0) (#35)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 09:21:40 PM EST
    for once, "effected" would be the correct verb. And this student is the sort who misuses it for "affected" so would not even catch that your verb choice is causal.  Ha, I think we've got it! :-)

    My correct use is purely by default! (none / 0) (#41)
    by ruffian on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 09:50:11 AM EST
    I mostly just learned that 'effect' is usually the one I need, so I just use it all the time!

    That is funny that I assumed it was a he. Is the student a willowy blond? that would be the next step in my stereotyping of conservatives.

    Glad to help! Maybe some day Scalia's grandchildren will publish memoirs that prove my real theory - grandpa talking around the table about how he fixed the decision to decide the president.


    Btw, as it happens (none / 0) (#37)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 09:28:01 PM EST
    it's a she.  Interesting that the guess here was that it's a he, huh?

    Guilty! (none / 0) (#45)
    by NYShooter on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 01:08:55 PM EST
    But in defense, we react based on what "was," not what "is," or "will be."

    Kind of like if you heard a newscast, " a miner is trapped deep in the bowels of....." I would venture that roughly 100% of listeners would flash an image of a male in their minds.

    But I know only too well of what you say; my daughter was a sports nut, my son never played. Whenever sports was heard being argued in our household, visitors always made the (erroneous) assumption you illustrated.


    what about (none / 0) (#39)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 02:45:07 AM EST

    That is the student's issue: the verb "decided."

    A good option (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:31:10 AM EST
    that I'm considering, too -- although the student's stance makes me suspect that this also would be problematic.

    However, as it is this student who has the problem with it, and no others, and the course is almost over . . . perhaps I'll have some fun the next time I teach it and poll the students after the readings but before the test to have them vote en masse on the verbiage, as it were.  That would tip them off to a question on the test, which is just fine, because then they will read about it and learn it.  

    "Is this going to be on the test?"  "Yes.  And it well may matter for decades to come in the test of life -- your life in this great land of ours, long after this course and I are gone.  So learn about it."


    do we live in a black hole (none / 0) (#1)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 01:43:20 PM EST
    Did you read the comments? Is this really (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 01:56:49 PM EST
    old, old news?

    it is an old idea (none / 0) (#7)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 03:29:06 PM EST
    but the evidence of it is, I think, new.

    I remember thinking when I was a kid how black holes sounded a lot like a reverse big bang.


    If only pols were this honest (none / 0) (#4)
    by Dadler on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 02:04:29 PM EST
    Colorado, so Progressive, yet so Tancredo (none / 0) (#5)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 03:20:38 PM EST
    Denver Post:

        Former Congressman Tom Tancredo is in the race for Colorado governor, he said this morning.

        "I will officially announce at noon that I will seek the nomination of the constitution party," Tancredo told The Denver Post.

        The Littleton Republican must file some papers with the Colorado Secretary of State and register as a member of the American Constitution Party, but then "he's ready to go," raising money, disclosing his platform and launching a website that is already put together.

    From the sidebar: Obama to Become (none / 0) (#6)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 03:24:47 PM EST
    President of Daytime TeeVee:

    From Wonkette:

    Barack Obama is going to be on The View on Thursday, because he is not too popular now, and he was popular in 2008 when he was on that show last, so certainly viewers who don't have jobs and commercials for cleaning products are the magic he needs to get back that `08 touch. According to Barbara Walters, THIS IS HISTORY, as no sitting president has wasted his time on daytime television before.

    This part cracked me up:

    President Obama will then go and win $11,600 on Plinko on The Price Is Right, kill Lisa Grimaldi on As the World Turns, and navigate the legal process of suing Arizona for its discriminatory anti-illegal-immigration law on Dora the Explorer.

    And this may be the funniest part of the official news release:

    "We are so pleased and honored that President Obama will be a guest on The View. The President last appeared on the program in March 2008 while he was still a Senator -- and First Lady Michelle Obama was a featured guest co-host in June 2008. This shows that both the President and First Lady feel that our show is an influential and important source of information and news."

    Take that, Fox News!  Eat your hearts out, Meet the Press!  

    This is just too, too funny.  And a little sad.

    Call me (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 05:10:00 PM EST
    When he goes on late night and plays an instrument or discusses his underwear preference with college kids.

    Now THAT'S television!


    Ah, that was an amazing moment (none / 0) (#19)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 05:17:59 PM EST
    on TV -- on MTV.

    Of course, I am so old that I remember when MTV was about music.


    Me too. (none / 0) (#20)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 05:19:28 PM EST
    But until Barack tells us if he's a boxer or briefs kinda guy - an appearance on The View is nuthin' (unless of course, he lets Elizabeth Hasselback interview him while the rest keep quiet).

    Oh, it's probably good (none / 0) (#32)
    by brodie on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 08:01:00 PM EST
    smart politics for Obama to go on The View, where I assume most of its female viewers lean left/Dem.  Just as it was smart for Bill to go to MTV (but not smart to actually answer that question -- bad omen for what would be in store for him later; he never learned to draw the line and just say no to answering about his personal life).

    Obama needs to rev up the base for November, and this is one easy way to begin that effort.

    Not sure if I'd recommend going on Ellen, at least until he's got the DADT situation more firmly in control ...


    Haha (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by lilburro on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 10:34:46 PM EST
    first of all, I LOVE wonkette.  They are always funny.

    And Pres. Obama on the View, well it is cool.  They did a lot of actually (well, relatively) hard hitting interviewing on their show in 2008, esp. wrt McCain.  The View is not some dumb@ss chat show (is Meet the Press better?).  Pres. Obama is choosing to make daytime history with a show hosted by women.  And I have no doubt they (by which I mean Whoopi and Joy) will ask him halfway decent questions...


    lol (none / 0) (#44)
    by NYShooter on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 12:57:27 PM EST
    "is Meet the Press better?

     should have just said, "like Meet the Press"

    (by framing it as a question you give them validity they don't deserve: "And now we have Gene Robinson and Pat Buchanan to "debate" both sides of the issue."



    Does this help? (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 03:46:29 PM EST
    Bankrobber Beat.... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 03:46:27 PM EST
    The Bouquet Bandit's run is over, seems like such a nice guy...good luck on your trip through the ringer my good man.

    The Darth Robber is still on the loose...he/she would be a lot cooler if they used a light saber instead of a blaster...I hate blasters.

    Browne said he spoke with Harris-Moore (none / 0) (#10)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 03:54:54 PM EST
    Browne said he spoke with Harris-Moore [aka, the Barefoot Bandit] for four hours on Saturday and found him to be "fascinating, intelligent and introspective."

    "He wanted me to give the message to the public that what he did was not romantic, that he shouldn't be a role model," Browne said during an interview on "Good Morning America." "He actually doesn't like the attention he is getting."

    Even if CHM wanted more attention (none / 0) (#12)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 04:16:58 PM EST
    he would be forced to step aside, to make way for the grand performance by his lawyer. John Henry Browne takes the prize for biggest attention hog of any lawyer in Washington State.

    At least he's stopped going around wearing that silly cape.


    Kept the ponytail, tho....right? (none / 0) (#23)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 06:42:22 PM EST
    LOL. "Ya gotta have a gimmick" (1.00 / 1) (#31)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 08:00:23 PM EST
    or so wrote Sondheim.

    This kid... (none / 0) (#40)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 09:15:07 AM EST
    never ceases to impress, even in captivity...fascinating is an understatement.

    Kos says give Elizabeth Warren (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 03:58:12 PM EST
    the job, make nice with the progressives NOW going into the midterms.

    Sometimes I really have warm fuzzy feelings for Kos.....when he is keeping his opinions on "women's studies" to himself :)

    DMCA Knocked Down a Few Notches (none / 0) (#13)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 04:17:19 PM EST
    Six new categories of copyright law that are outside prosecution:

    Ripping DVD's

    (1)  Motion pictures on DVDs that are lawfully made and acquired and that are protected by the Content Scrambling System when circumvention is accomplished solely in order to accomplish the incorporation of short portions of motion pictures into new works for the purpose of criticism or comment, and where the person engaging in circumvention believes and has reasonable grounds for believing that circumvention is necessary to fulfill the purpose of the use in the following instances:

    (i) Educational uses by college and university professors and by college and university film and media studies students;

    (ii) Documentary filmmaking;
    (iii) Noncommercial videos

    Jailbreaking cell phones:


    2) Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.


    Does the Librarian of Congress... (none / 0) (#22)
    by EL seattle on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 06:41:26 PM EST
    ... have the authority to adjust or expand the definition of "Fair Use" without the Supreme Court's permission?

    Documentary Filmmaking and Noncommercial videos are worth encouraging, but I don't think that those formats are automatically exempt from copyright restrictions unless they meet the established Fair Use restictions.  

    The way this statement is written, it seems like any home user (noncommercial!) can rip the video from an entire  brand new Blu-ray movie and post it to YouTube in 10-minute chunks (short portions!) as long as they add some criticism or comment to the work (how much comment? does it matter?).  

    I kinda doubt that Hollywood is going to go along with this statement, at least in its current broadly-phrased incarnation.  Especially the description of Class of Work #1.


    Entire movies are on Youtube now (none / 0) (#25)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 06:49:00 PM EST
    in chunks, one after another after another.

    But not for long, I think, based on not meeting the purposes specified in this interpretation?


    who wants to watch a movie in 10 minute chunks (none / 0) (#43)
    by DFLer on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 12:28:26 PM EST
    at low rez anyway....it's all ridiculous.

    CC (none / 0) (#46)
    by NYShooter on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 01:23:48 PM EST
    You might be interested in the new university being formed between NYU & Abu Dhabi. Jon Sexton, chancellor of NYU is spearheading what I think are absolutely fascinating new concepts in learning (& teaching)

    But if you look up the Charlie Rose show of a few days ago I think you'd find the interview very interesting.

    I mention it because the students who will be going are the best of the best of the best.

    p.s. huge percentage, female