Bill Black: They’re Back: The Poltergeists in the Kansas Senate Renew their Attack on Education

Lambert here: Oh brave new year, that hath such weasels in it.

By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Cross posed from New Economic Perspectives

Two Kansas legislative leaders who have been attacking Kansas education for over a decade through their wars on teaching about sex and evolution are back.  Their threats drove the Regents’ policy destroying academic freedom and tenure.


Poltergeist:  A ghost that manifests itself by noises, rappings, and the creation of disorder – from the German Poltern (to make noise) and Geist (ghost).

I have written two prior columns (here and here) explaining how the Kansas Regents casually ended academic freedom and tenure in their universities with no notice to or participation by the faculty.

My columns explained how the Regents’ policy was deliberately drafted to chill academic freedom.  The policy is not limited to “social media.”  Anything that is posted on line, which includes academic research, is grounds for firing.  It does not matter that what the professor publishes on line is accurate, well-intentioned, and polite – if the university “CEO” decides that the article is “contrary to the best interests of the University.”  The professor who is fired on this vague, subjective criterion can appeal the dismissal – to the CEO!  Universities are simply businesses led by CEO and the faculty must demonstrate “loyalty” to the CEO and whatever the CEO decides are “the best interests of the University” (which can include not criticizing corporate CEOs’ crimes because they might donate to the university).

What I did not explain is what prompted the Regents’ policy.  Some other articles have hinted at the source but have not provided the historical context or the key role of the legislative leaders that extorted the Regents’ assault.  My readers could easily have assumed that the Regents’ unholy war against academic freedom originated with the Regents.  Here is the bad news – the Regents are typical Kansas Koch-heads in their policy views.  The Koch (pronounced like “coke”) brothers are the leading funders dedicated to turning Kansas into Aynrandia.  Left to their own devices, the Regents would not have eviscerated academic freedom and tenure (at this time).  The Regents hold policy views typical of the founders of Aynrandia, but relative to other senior Kansas Republican officials the Regents are well left-of-center.  News coverage in Kansas described Governor Brownback’s (Kansas’ Koch-in-chief) appointments to the Regents as “moderates” who could not survive a Republican primary were they to seek elective office.  The Regents decided to destroy academic freedom and tenure in order to save it from the Koch-heads leading the Kansas legislature.

The Regents are well-educated officials with a genuine interest in higher education   Several Regents are lawyers.  In future columns I will fault them for their cowardice and incompetence as lawyers, but they did not become Regents for the purpose of conducting an unholy war against higher education.

“Moderate” is the most insulting label that a Kansas Republican can bestow to a fellow-Republican.  The Republican Party has absolute power in Kansas and the State is infra-red because Kansas Republicans are cannibals who eat their own if they show any lack of fidelity to the latest Koch dogmas.  To be a Republican “moderate” in Kansas is to be a heretic who knows the truth faith but betrays that faith by refusing to display fealty to the Kochs’ dogmas.  Koch-heads despise Republican “moderates” far more than they do Democrats.  They dismiss Democrats as unworthy of respect, but they loathe “moderates” with a visceral passion.  The Koch-heads’ favorite appetizer is sucking the marrow from the broken bones of Republican “moderates.”  Their “night of the long knives” in the 2012 primaries purged 17 of the 22 Eisenhower Republicans (who were fiscal and social conservatives but not Koch-heads).  The Kochs were leading funders of the Republican purge.

The 2012 Kansas general election was a Republican triumph.  Republicans hold 32 of the 40 seats in the Senate.  Democrats hold 33 of the 125 seats in the House.  The Republican Party in Kansas is simultaneously infra-red and ultra-white.  “Infra-red” is a fitting metaphor for Aynrandia because that portion of the spectrum can supply enormous heat without providing any visible light.  Out of roughly 125 Republicans in the Kansas legislature, two are Latinos, one is black, and one is of Asian descent.  The 32 Republican members of the Senate are all white.

In Kansas, even Mahatma Gandhi’s (Rep. Shanti Gandhi, R-Topeka) and President Obama’s relatives are Republican candidates for elected office.  Shanti Gandhi was elected to the Kansas House in 2012.  Obama’s cousin is a Tea Party member and Gandhi is a retired physician and Koch-head who attended an ALEC meeting as soon as he was elected.

ALEC is a Koch/corporate front group that spreads model legislation among (overwhelmingly) Republican legislators that advances the Koch/corporate agenda.  Corporations pay for seats on ALEC task forces so that they can lobby Republican state legislators.  Koch’s legislative efforts have ranged from efforts to destroy effective environmental and financial regulation, climate change denial, the most virulent forms of homophobia, and “stand your ground” and concealed weapons enablers.  Republican members of the Kansas legislature adore ALEC.  Susan Wagle, the Senate President, is a past national chair of ALEC and Governor Brownback recently wrote the foreword to the 2011 annual ALEC report, introducing Art Laffers claims (continuously falsified by reality) that if we just slashed taxes tax revenues would surge.  Aynrandia is premised on Laffers’ errant curve ball.

Roughly 50 members of the Kansas legislature, all Republicans, are formally associated with ALEC. (here and here)

When it comes to choosing their Party leaders in the Kansas legislature, the elected Koch-heads pick true believers who display unswerving loyalty to the Kochs.  The result is that the higher up one goes in the Republican leadership the more passionate the faith in Aynrandia’s dogmas.  The senior leadership of the Kansas GOP is not infra-red, but so far beyond that it resonates in the microwave range of the electromagnetic spectrum.  The Kansas GOP leaders champion policies that put them firmly in the “tin foil” realm of ideas.  Anyone who has seen what happens when “tin foil” (aluminum) is bombarded with microwave radiation understands why the combination is disastrous in your microwave or in Aynrandia.

The Republican leadership of the Kansas legislature is so extreme that it dropped Kansas’ membership in the two bipartisan national organizations of state officials (neither of which sells entrée to corporate lobbyists) so that Kansas’ Republican legislators would not have to hear views opposed to the Kochs’ agenda.  They still pay, of course, to send Kansas legislators to ALEC so that they can receive the latest marching orders from the Kochs and other corporate lobbyists and dangle their lures for campaign contributions.

As this series of columns on Kansas will develop, the result of this fealty to Koch dogma does not produce a monolithic Republican legislature.  Ambition and jealousy remain as do institutional differences between the House and the Senate and the Governor and the interests of local political contributors.  The Kochs also don’t want to be bothered running the details of Kansas so on most day-to-day questions there is no answer provided by the Kochs or their dogmas.

There are two other forces that diminish the dominance of the Kochs even on major issues.  First, the Koch’s fiscal policies don’t work.  As I will develop in my next column discussing the Wagle’s poltergeist partner, the Kansas Koch-heads are engaged in a war on science.  As someone who teaches economics, it is wondrously strange to see the Koch-heads denounce science as mere “theory” while dogmatically chanting Laffer’s falsified myths as if they were gospel.  The Koch-heads, of course, see nothing inconsistent between embracing creation myths and Laffer’s myths as revealed truths.  Brownback paid Laffer $75,000 to serve as Kansas’ high priest and celebrant of the miracle of income tax cuts.  Because Laffer’s myths failed in Kansas the Koch-heads were promptly confronted with burnt ashes – the inability to fund their budget.  The result was a wonderful series of accounting scams and attempts to raid the highway funds, a $2 billion “error” that produced Brownback’s fictional budget cuts, and as I discuss below, a Koch-headed assault on Kansas education.

Second, as I will explain in greater detail in a future column, the Koch-heads are still capable of embarrassment.  They are not indifferent to their policies being exposed and prompting national disdain.  This is fortunate for Kansas, for the number of nasty actions that the Koch-heads sought to inflict but backed off of when their proposals were exposed to ridicule is exceptional.  Had the Koch-heads gotten their way Aynrandia would long since have become Aynrandistan.  The irony is that the Koch-heads would have already destroyed Kansas but for the brake that their vastly outnumbered political opponents have placed on the Koch-head’s recurrent tendency to listen to the worst demons who repeatedly drown out the better angels of their nature.  Since only derision seems to stop them from their worst abuses, such as the Regents’ craven destruction of academic freedom and tenure, I have adopted that tone in this article.

This column discusses one of the poltergeists who drove the Kansas Regents’ assault on academic freedom and tenure; Susan Wagle, the President of Kansas’ Senate.  The next column discusses her most infamous legislative ally in the long war on education in Kansas, Dr. Steve Abrams (DVM) the Chair of the Senate Committee on Education.  In 2003, Wagle pioneered the tactics used recently by the Koch-heads to extort the Regents to eviscerate academic freedom and tenure in her attack on a KU professor who had the audacity to teach about sex in a class on sexuality.

Wagle’s Wars on Education

Wagle’s War on Kansas Universities

Susan Wagle’s fame began in 2003 when she launched her campaign to smear Professor Dailey, KU’s most popular professor.

Wagle’s student intern, Ms. Zahn, was a student in Dailey’s class on human sexuality.  The class was designed to educate students who intended to go into fields in which understanding human sexuality was essential.  Zahn was a political science major.  She recorded Dailey’s classes and provided the tapes to Wagle.  Wagle took three principal actions.  She filed a complaint against Dailey accusing him of obscenity.  She led a media attack on Dailey, culminating in her appearance with Zahn on the Bill O’Reilly show (who would later settle the sexual harassment claims against him).  She successfully sponsored legislation to deny funds not only to Dailey, but his entire department.  The cutoff of state funds occurred without any legislative hearings and before KU could investigate her complaint against Dailey.  Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed that provision.  (O’Reilly repeatedly referred to Sebelius as “he” and “him.”)

As KU’s provost ruled, Wagle and Zahn’s claims proved “baseless.”  For example, they claimed that Dailey “gave the finger” to a student who stormed out of his class on the first day because she was offended by the class (which had roughly 500 students).  The story was inherently incredible given that Dailey had taught the class for 20 years, and no other student agreed that any student had stormed out or that Dailey ever gave anyone the finger.  The students jeered while they watched the O’Reilly show when Wagle and Zahn repeated this claim.

Zahn praised Wagle’s approach, which was to condemn, judge, and punish Dailey and KU without hearing their views or finding the facts.  Zahn complained bitterly, however, that Dailey’s chair publicly supported Dailey as a fine scholar and teacher prior to the KU investigation being concluded and all the facts being known.  She also claimed that KU retaliated against her by firing her husband, but that occurred due to lack of funding and the decision was made before anyone but Wagle knew about Zahn’s role.

Read Wagle’s complaint and the Provost’s findings to see the full context. (here and here)

My conclusion is that Zahn and Wagle were horrified and outraged about an adult class on sexuality.  Wagle claimed that any video of sex, even a clinical video created for scientific teaching purposes and used for teaching, was “obscene.”  The claims that Dailey engaged in sexual harassment and supported pedophilia were particularly outrageous smears.

Wagle’s effort at defending her assault on academic freedom actually admitted her lack of understanding or appreciation of the value of academic freedom.

“I understand academic freedom, but this is taxpayer-funded academic freedom,’ she says. ‘In this case, the rights of the taxpayer outweigh this professor’s right to be offensive.’”

Academic freedom is essential for public universities.  Public universities receive taxpayer funds (as do private universities).  If this trumps academic freedom, then there is no academic freedom.  The idea that anything the most extreme subset of a class (in Dailey’s case: one in 500) considers “offensive” can cause all public funding for the entire department to be withdrawn demonstrates that Wagle sought to extort KU to end academic freedom (and a class that, over 20 years, roughly 10,000 students praised).  The KU chaplains were also strong supporters of Dailey’s course.

Wagle also demonstrated her failure to understand any aspect of academic freedom by claiming that it was outrageous that her baseless charges against Dailey failed to intimidate him.  “Wagle said she was irked that even though Dailey was aware of legislators’ concerns, he did not change his classroom behavior.”

Wagle thinks that a professor’s duty is to “change his classroom behavior” if a legislator is “conern[ed]” about that behavior, even if that “concern” arises from the legislator’s reliance on “facts” that have no basis in reality.  In Wagle’s world, professors have academic freedom until a legislator is “concern[ed]” about what they teach.

Contrary to Zahn’s complaints, KU, the leaders of other Kansas universities, and the Regents were notable not for their public support of Dailey against “baseless” charges and the effort to extort KU to censor Dailey and any other professor who would teach sexuality but for their timidity in standing up to Wagle’s extortion and censorship.  The top leaders failed to speak up against Wagle’s extortion in 2003, which encouraged her reprising her strategy in 2013.

Wagle Extorts the Kansas Regents and Universities

The Regents immediately realized that Wagle and her legislative allies posed an immediate threat to destroy tenure after Professor Guth’s tweet in 2013 about the NRA and gun violence.

“Logan said he’s heard talk of legislators trying to change tenure rules, though no proposal has become public.

Conservative Republican legislators have demanded that the University of Kansas fire journalism professor David Guth over a tweet following September’s shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington that left 13 dead.

Guth is on indefinite paid administrative leave.”

The Regents’ fears were accurate (doubtless because the threats I am about to list were communicated to them directly by Wagle and her allies).  Wagle led the charge to have Guth fired and the threatened means of extortion was the same one she wielded against Dailey and KU.

 “State Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) and Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce (R-Hutchison) have both issued statements calling for Guth’s dismissal. State Sen. Greg Smith (R-Overland Park) released a statement Friday saying that unless further action is taken against Guth, he will react.

‘As a public educator in the Kansas high school education system, I am often consulted by my students as to which college they should attend,’ Smith said in his statement. ‘As long as Professor Guth remains employed by the University of Kansas I will no longer recommend the university as an institution worthy of attendance by any of my students nor, as a state senator, will I support any budget proposals or recommendations for the University of Kansas.’

Other Republican lawmakers echoed Smith’s comments about the university budget. State Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady (R-Palco) told The Huffington Post that the university’s latest budget proposal is arriving this week on lawmakers’ desks — and it asks for an increase. Swift action against Guth is needed to show that the university does not tolerate his tweet, Couture-Lovelady said.

‘It is a university decision,’ Couture-Lovelady said. ‘We are elected representatives of the people who develop the budget for the university. I could see something like this being detrimental to their cause. Things like this hurt their cause, and it’s unfortunate. I want to see them continue to grow.’

State Rep. Brett Hildabrand (R-Shawnee), one of the most vocal pro-Second Amendment legislators in Kansas, told HuffPost that he and other lawmakers have been in contact with the university to express their opinions that Guth should be fired.

Several lawmakers expressed concern that Guth’s administrative leave is paid.

All of the legislators contacted by HuffPost said they agree that Guth has a First Amendment right to free speech. But, they said, he’s paid by the taxpayer and has embarrassed the state.

‘He has freedom of speech. Speak all he wants as a former KU professor,’ state Rep. J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) told HuffPost. ‘When he voices an insensitive and threatening opinion, he doesn’t get to take the good image of our institutions down with him.’”

I particularly like Claeys “agree[ment]” with Guth’s right to “free speech” – right after he’s fired for that speech.  He’s read his Orwell.

Wagle’s standard for when academic freedom ends is:  “Any attempt to continue employing this individual as an educational leader is offensive to taxpayers.”  One hopes and prays that Kansas professors’ research causes them to find and write things “offensive to taxpayers” on an hourly basis.  It they do not do so they are not worthy of being employed.

Wagle’s Campaign against University Funding

Wagle voted to cut state funding for universities, though she recognizes that doing so will harm Kansas.

“Susan Wagle of Wichita, the Kansas Senate President, warned that the cuts are ‘devastating’ to some of the state’s finest educational institutions, including WSU. She said it will harm the state’s ability to create jobs if the cuts aren’t restored.

Wagle voted for the budget package that included the cuts.”

“WSU” refers to Wichita State University.  The Kochs’ stated rationale for ending the Kansas income tax is creating jobs, but because of Laffer’s curve ball Wagle decided it became necessary to destroy jobs in order to create them.  We are not talking about “creative destruction” here – ending businesses that have become obsolete.  We are talking about cutting WSU programs specifically designed to educate students for the clichéd “cutting edge” high-tech jobs that the Kochs claimed their tax cuts for wealthier Kansans – and tax increases for poorer Kansans – would produce.

Wagle isn’t leading the war against university funding (WSU is the Wichita’s greatest asset).  She knows what is being done to WSU and other public universities is harming Kansas.  As the Koch-heads rush rightwards they can leave even their most extreme leaders to their left – and Wagle knows the fate of any Republican Kansas elected official who occupies the center.  Her vote to damage WSU proves she has learned the pivotal political lesson from dining on the marrow of the endangered species known as Eisenhower Republicans.  She would rather gut WSU than be left behind in the Kansas Republican stampede to the right and risk being labeled a “moderate.”  Wagle is the Kansas legislature’s cannibal-in-chief and she terrifies the Regents and university leaders because they know she has no moral restraints on abusing her power in order to retain her legislative spot as apex predator.

Wagle’s Wars on Elementary and Secondary Education

Wagle has led wars on elementary and secondary education.  Extortion and a callous disregard for the law are her standard operating procedure in these campaigns.  Wagle is one of the leaders in the Koch-inspired movement to replace Kansas’ progressive tax system with an exceptionally regressive tax system that is grossly inadequate to fund education.  The Kansas constitution, however, mandates adequate funding of education by the State.  (The “good old days” in Kansas (the 1860s) were filled with such progressive ideas that cause such angst to today’s Koch-heads.)  The Kansas Supreme Court has also ruled that this constitutional guarantee does not allow the State to leave poor communities unable to fund the State’s constitutionally-guaranteed right to be educated.  The Kansas legislature studied the question of funding required to provide an adequate education and determined the minimum required support to elementary and secretary education.  Under the Kansas legislature’s findings they have deprived students of over $450 million in constitutionally-required educational funding.

The Kansas legislature has also stiffed poorer school districts on over $100 million in “equalization” funding.  The result is that the gap between governmental funding to wealthy v. poor children is widening sharply.

Kansas could provide that minimum required funding and the equalization funding but the Koch-heads would have to end their plan to end the state income tax and comply with the Kansas constitution.  Faced with a choice between following the Kansas constitution and the legislature’s own findings of minimum required funding to provide children with an adequate education and the demands of the Kochs for lower taxes the Koch-heads running the legislature and the state house kick Kansas’ kids to the curb and kvell for the Kochs.  Folks sued to force the Kansas legislature and Brownback to comply with the law and the Kansas Constitution.

The Koch-heads love to talk about their reverence for the constitution and the rule of law in many contexts, but they are enraged by Kansas’ constitutional right to a decent education.  In particular, they are driven into a frenzy by the idea that they would be taxed to help ensure that poor, minority Kansan children receive an adequate education and have a better chance of success.  The fact that those children’s success has helped and would help the Koch-heads does nothing to mollify their rage against “social engineering.”  Indeed, the fact that public education has been so successful in Kansas only adds to the Koch-heads’ unholy war on education because that success represent heresy under Aynrandia’s foundational dogmas.

Wagle and her allies’ answer to the intersecting problems of the Kansas constitution, the Kansas Supreme Court, and the Kansas legislature’s findings about the funding required to meet the constitutional obligation to fund education is her traditional answer – extort those exercising or protecting constitutional rights.

“Here’s the background: If the legislature is ordered by the court to spend more on public education, then the legislature might not comply — as it did eight years ago — and might resist the court instead, the Kansas City Star reported earlier this week.

‘I don’t see the Legislature right now, with this makeup, going along with what the courts say,’ said House Speaker Ray Merrick. ‘But I could be surprised.’

In oral arguments this week, the high court was asked to decide whether the legislature has violated its constitutional duty to appropriate a ‘suitable’ amount for public schools. [T]he legislature set a base aid per pupil funding level in compliance with a 2005 state Supreme Court order, but balked at actually paying out the full amount.”

Reprising the disgraceful Southern strategy of “massive resistance” to constitutional rights was actually the weaker response of the Kansas House Koch-heads.  (Note that Merrick’s allusion to the current “makeup” of the legislature was a none-too-subtle reminder to the Kansas Supreme Court that their legislature was now a Koch fiefdom.)  Wagle and Brownback were made of sterner stuff.  They threatened the Kansas Supreme Court and its Justices.

Wagle adds another proof to our family rule that it is impossible to compete with unintentional self-parody.  The reader will recall that her first (fictional) complaint against the evil, obscene Professor Dailey was that he made a hand gesture that was so vile that it caused Zahn and Wagle to quiver with rage.  Here is how Wagle’s legislative ally responded to the prospect of the Kansas Supreme Court upholding the constitution.

“Conservative Republicans such as Rep. Steve Brunk from Wichita are not ruling out the possibility of defying such an order. Senate President Susan Wagle also raised that prospect in a speech this past week.

‘I think there’s enough votes now in the Senate and House that if the courts rule for Gannon, we might just say to the court that deciding expenditures is not your responsibility, thank you, and we’ll take it from here,’ Brunk said. ‘I say this politely, but there’s a mood to give the courts the finger, so to speak.’”

Wagle raised no objection to her ally – presumably because he proposed gesturing “f*** you” “politely” to the Kansas Supreme Court should it do its duty – a duty it would not have to fulfill were Wagle and her Koch-heads to do their duty under the Kansas constitution and provide the required funding to educate Kansas children rather than adopt a viciously regressive tax system that cannot fund the state’s budget needs.

Wagle and Brownback went beyond “massive resistance” to the Kansas Constitution to direct threats against the Kansas Supreme Court’s justices.

“The Wichita Eagle reports that recent remarks by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback put the state’s Supreme Court on notice that its future could hinge on a school-funding suit.  The court is set to rule on an earlier decision by a three-judge panel, which found that Kansas is underfunding its public schools.  At an appearance in Wichita, Brownback and state Senate President Susan Wagle suggested that if the court rules Kansas must increase school funds, legislators would react by reexamining the system for selecting the court’s justices.”

Their threat is deadly serious.  Ending the Kansas judiciary’s independence is a top priority of the Koch-heads.  They recently politicized the appointment of court of appeals judges and promptly appointed a Brownback crony who is from the microwave end of Kansas’ political spectrum.

NOTE Happily, this story is getting a little traction.

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About Lambert Strether

Lambert Strether has been blogging, managing online communities, and doing system administration 24/7 since 2003, in Drupal and WordPress. Besides political economy and the political scene, he blogs about rhetoric, software engineering, permaculture, history, literature, local politics, international travel, food, and fixing stuff around the house. The nom de plume “Lambert Strether” comes from Henry James’s The Ambassadors: “Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.” You can follow him on Twitter at @lambertstrether.


  1. ambrit

    Dear Lambert;
    Well, here we have a good argument for the gun nut version of the Second Amendment; “Since Kansas!” Remember John Brown and “Bloody Kansas?” Do I detect echos of Germany 1918/19 and the Spartacists? As for the Kochs, well, Stahlhelm says it all.

  2. JGordon

    “In particular, they are driven into a frenzy by the idea that they would be taxed to help ensure that poor, minority Kansan children receive an adequate education and have a better chance of success.”

    And how do you define success exactly? Grow up, become a good employee of some corporation or government, get a house, pay taxes, etc? Become good little consumers of the earth’s remaining resources? That’s utterly revolting–and if that’s what it means to be educated, then I suddenly find myself being 100% in favor of letting the Republicans abolish public education.

    I have an idea: instead of forcing my kids to learn fanciful economic and monetary theories about endless growth and prosperity, I will teach them that the earth is precious, that her resources are finite, and that returning ecosystems to health is the absolute only chance humanity has of not going extinct within the next couple of generations. Yes, abolish public education, please. Because the world would be a much better place in a few years if all those American kids going to public schools, learning about what it means to have a “good life” would instead just sit home and play video games all day. That way at least they’d be relatively better prepared when they transition into the low-consumption, low-footprint future that our survival as a species demands.

    1. Banger

      Interesting perspective. You are addressing the critical issue–what are we here for? Why should we keep marching to the same drummer when the goal of that march is bogus? Public education has not fundamentally changed for over a century and if ignores, for the most part, learning theory, developmental society and common sense. It continues to motor along as if it were still 1900. This is a different era and we need a dramatically different kind of education anyway particularly because our culture is rambling on without purpose without a clear goal other than consume mass quantities of goods and services.

      Having said that, you have to give us an alternative–these are real people with real lives. Without the official education young people won’t have a chance to fit into this economic structure and something must be done about the poor population–what are they going to do? How are they going to live? Before you destroy everything you need an alternative or at least a process to find an alternative.

      1. tongorad

        “Public education has not fundamentally changed for over a century and if ignores, for the most part, learning theory, developmental society and common sense.”

        This might be true at the national level, as both parties are fully committed to Neoliberal market-driven reforms, but at the local level I can say from my own experience as a public school teacher that such sweeping comments/judgements are simply untrue and misinformed.
        Learning theory was central to my teacher training at the big state U, and I am obligated to create lesson plans and teaching practices that are informed and evaluated by the latest educational research. Many if not most of my teaching colleagues are committed working class folks- I’m not seeing much lack of common sense in that area.

        “It continues to motor along as if it were still 1900.”
        Actually, I see big changes since I graduated high school 30+ years ago, in both curriculum and facilities.

        But hey, it’s fashionable on both the right and left to make hyperbolic, obtuse comments about public education ain’t it?

        1. Malmo

          Yawn. Public education hasn’t much changed over the past 30 years–well, outside of mass drugging of students, that is.

          I teach at a well to do high school in the Chicago suburbs. There’s more drivel spewed at this fine school than at your neighborhood nursing home.

          Oh, and you parents out there, if you only knew what your kids teachers said about your lovelies–even the bright ones– in the teachers lounge, you’d have a coronary.

          Educationist platitudes aside, The 7- Lesson School Teacher will set the uniformed straight:

      2. American Slave

        What to do about poor people? Give them the means to production in there own community weather physical or virtual so that they can at least produce some of what they consume such as food and energy like the evergreen co-op in Cleavland.

        In China and India they still have a village system to fall back on and produce food when they cant find a job in the city.

        In Brazil and Latin America they have the favela system where they pay no taxes yet receive no government services but can build actual homes and businesses with electricity and water and not be stuck living in a tent.

        Its the drive for total profit that makes it even more difficult for poor people as even if they do acquire land to grow food for themselves they have to pay property tax which doesnt work out to their favor unless they can sell food which is why I prefer income tax in that at least you only pay tax when you make money vs land tax where you pay even at a loss.

    2. Thorstein

      Mr Gordon, you wrote:

      I have an idea: instead of forcing my kids to learn fanciful economic and monetary theories about endless growth and prosperity, I will teach them that the earth is precious, that her resources are finite, and that returning ecosystems to health is the absolute only chance humanity has of not going extinct within the next couple of generations.

      This is precisely what Prof. Dailey was trying to teach! (And what Prof. Black is trying to teach.) On the whole, public school teachers are and have been among the strongest proponents of the values you claim to hold. Charter school teachers are rather more likely to be creationist automata or “fanciful” professors (Prof. Laffer, for example, taught at Pepperdine).

      That’s why the Koch-heads are trying to destroy public education.

      I have a romantic appreciation of your rugged individualist, frontier spirit, but it reminds me of a riddle my brother-in-law pridefully posed to me when his daughter bought her first AK-47:

      “Why do Palestinians throw rocks at Israeli soldiers?” he asked. “I’ll bite”, I said.

      “Because they don’t have guns.”

      “Good for her”, I said. “When Obama fires a drone at her, she can throw her AK-47 at it.”

  3. kimsarah

    The Koch Sisters through Art Pope — not from the brilliant ideas whipped up by the dimwitted lawmakers themselves — are behind the grand GOP push in North Carolina as well. I suspect the same is in every state that has GOP control.
    At least recognizing that this is the case is a step in the right direction.
    Happy New Year!

  4. Wayne Reynolds

    On every point of entry into the United States, there should be a sign, “Abandon all hope ye who enter here”.

  5. DakotabornKansan

    The destruction of Kansas universities by our own mediocrities and the docility of acquiescent Kansans…

    What’s the matter with Kansas?

    “Hang around with grassroots conservative voters in Kansas, and in the main you will find them to be honest, hardworking people. But put conservatism in charge of the state, and it behaves very differently … The ruination they have wrought has been thorough; it has been a professional job. Repairing it will require years of political action.” – Thomas Frank, “The Wrecking Crew,” Harper’s Magazine [August 2008],

    What’s the matter with America?

    “However much one may hate to admit it, it is almost certain that between 1931 and 1940 the National Government represented the will of the mass of the people. It tolerated slums, unemployment and a cowardly foreign policy. Yes, but so did public opinion. It was a stagnant period, and its natural leaders were mediocrities.” – George Orwell, “England your England”

    What’s the matter with Florida State University?

    A foundation bankrolled Charles G. Koch has pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University’s economics department. In return, Koch gets to screen and sign off on any hires for a new program promoting “political economy and free enterprise.” Koch has reportedly rejected 60 percent of job candidates suggested by FSU faculty.

    Thorstein Veblen’s 1918 essay “The Higher Learning in America: A Memorandum on the Conduct of Universities by Business Men” accused American academics of capitulating to business and is an excellent description of what a university is for:

    A university education is not about what students learn or what skills they acquire but “the perspective they have on the place of their knowledge in a wider map of human understanding.”
    “If then a practical end must be assigned to a University course, I say it is that of training good members of society… It is the education which gives a man a clear, conscious view of their own opinions and judgments, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them, and a force in urging them. It teaches him to see things as they are, to go right to the point, to disentangle a skein of thought to detect what is sophistical and to discard what is irrelevant.”
    “A university training is the great ordinary means to a great but ordinary end; it aims at raising the intellectual tone of society…It is the education which gives a man a clear conscious view of his own opinions and judgments, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them and a force in urging them.” – Cardinal John Henry Newman, “The Idea of a University”

    “The crisis creates situations which are dangerous in the short run, since the various strata of the population are not all capable of orienting themselves equally swiftly, or of reorganizing with the same rhythm. The traditional ruling class, which has numerous trained cadres, changes men and programmes and, with greater speed than is achieved by the subordinate classes, reabsorbs the control that was slipping from its grasp. Perhaps it may make sacrifices, and expose itself to an uncertain future by demagogic promises; but it retains power, reinforces it for the time being, and uses it to crush its adversary and disperse his leading cadres, who cannot be be very numerous or highly trained.” – Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci

    We are a state and nation of quislings.

    “The point of modernity is to live a life without illusions while not becoming disillusioned” – Antonio Gramsci

  6. Clive

    You know, sometimes I have a sneaking suspicion that the rumours were true, that when the founding fathers set sail from Plymouth to the New World on board the Mayflower they were in fact actually part of a top secret 400-year duration programme to breed the Kwisatz Haddock Rack, or “supreme idiot”, after rounding up all the really dim people from Plymouth in 1620.

    I thought, if true, that programme would have been wound down — after having successfully implemented — with the birth of George W. Bush. However, I may well be wrong. It would seem that the attempt is still being conducted, obviously now centred on Kansas.

  7. Banger

    Well, let a thousand flowers bloom, I guess. If certain states want to go in various directions the voters seem to want then let them. We are a deeply divided country culturally, religiously, ethnically, politically. We have deep class divisions and a political establishment that is, by historical standards, corrupt, cynical, and power-hungry. We have a mass media that is even worse than the political leadership and has been providing the American people with obviously false narratives about every aspect of political and cultural life for decades.

    People are beginning to realize all this and are searching for new narratives, new perspectives and the right-wing has been willing to milk this thread while the left sleeps in the suburbs and West Side apartments.

    The appeal of Aynrandia is strong because there are no coherent perspectives around that can be grasped by the simple-minded (most people are simple-minded) because all they listen to is the media and their public education sucked. Christianity should be one alternative since the philosophy of Ayn Rand and Christianity are diametrically opposed but, sadly, the Evangelical movement has itself become corrupt, self-seeking and degenerate though I see signs of that changing as Christians try to deal with real life and the life of the soul for even they are stirred by a hunger for spirituality–so I think we might see glimmers of light there.

    But we certainly aren’t going to see much from the moribund left. Why are we so few? Why are we (on the left) so divided, so unwilling to organize to be a militant force in society? I’ve tried to answer that and tried to ask that question and most dialogue degenerates into intellectual pissing contests or rambling about ideology. What does the left offer as opposed to Aynrandia or what I would call neo-feudalism? I see nothing. Even social-democracy is kind of dead. What is our vision? Are we even coherent? What do we have to say about the unique characteristics of modern life very different from life in the 19th and mid-20th century? The best service we have offered is we, like medieval monks are trying to keep some semblance of the truth alive–but even that is inadequate because we still speak within the narrative of the mainstream media. We don’t look at the real history, we don’t debunk the media narrative on, for example, the assassinations of the 60s where the evidence is completely contrary to the official explanations should be central to the left-narrative because if you can’t understand that we haven’t had a legitimate government since 1963 then you fail to grasp the grand sweep of events since then.

    1. sufferin' succotash

      I can’t go along with the notion that most people are simple-minded. Or to put it another way, we’re all “simple-minded” in the sense that we want plausible narratives to explain the world as it is. The key word is “narratives”, and for people estranged from the world as it is–as many Americans are, whatever their political views–the most plausible narrative is often a conspiracy theory. This is just as true on Manhattan’s Upper West Side as it is in Topeka. Conspiracy theories aren’t all alike; there’s a difference between using a conspiracy theory as a learning device, a way of opening minds and creating new perspectives, and confusing it with reality.
      The current class warfare in this society isn’t a conspiracy; it’s a condition brought about by the convergence of a number of factors over several decades–“men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please”. The problem for the Left is how to explain this to Kansans who are already knee-deep in right-wing furtive fallacies promoted by some very well-organized and wealthy interests. If those opposed to those interests use a concept such as the ‘one percent versus the 99-percent” to begin making political headway, then this is a solid first step in political education. With special emphasis on “first step”, otherwise the Left is just as guilty of cynical manipulation as its opponents. But coming up with substantial factual evidence regarding inequality, exploitation, etc., should be no problem anywhere outside of downtown DC or midtown Manhattan.

      1. Banger

        I love people and I’ve traveled in the developed and less developed world, not extensively, but enough to get a grasp of things. Most people are simple-minded in terms of politics and society and do require simple narratives.

        History is often the history of conspiracies–court intrigue, manipulation, trickery was describe in Herodotus and Thucydedes. I’ve been around it, I’ve seen it in very small ways and have studied the evidence. The class-war thing is also old–Livy well-describes the almost comic conflict between the plebes and patricians only in this country the plebes are easily fooled (simple minded) into thinking they ought to be on the side of the patricians without being paid! That’s the height of imbecility don’t you think?

        My friends and neighbors are simple-minded in the ways I’ve described and prefer their company to the elites who are more complex but even more deluded. I agree with William Buckley’s quote ” I would rather be governed by the first two thousand people in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand people on the faculty of Harvard University.”

      2. munanomaniac

        dear suffering …,

        this is from bavaria …
        Im preferably hanging around here in Yves Commentariat with banger – certainly not he is a minor sufferer, and that’s the point to me: everyone sufferer is someone who is near to god whom I feel suffers humanity –
        banger to me has a way to speak in the neigbourhod of the soul
        To me this is beautifull truth. In his horizon, i feel the miraculous openness of fate
        under the heavenly goodwill of god.

        This means, these intellectual assessments – right, left . etc. – as many as rights and errors each side may embody in the given game – revelating alone are miracoulous beginnings, miracoulous culminations and miracoulous endings in history, without which we would not be here in our days as inheritors of times and mirrors.

        It’s a door to Freedom in the soul of the right as it is in the soul of the left – it’s,
        all of us feel it – somewhere … soul that matters.

        If we – left and righgt are brothers are a pair of wings, the world of man can persist, this is the gospel, i feel
        you and banger – among all these NC Family Individuals which the assesmentdoor is open to me since 2008 – sorry we simple folks we’re struggling daily to maintain our kingdom – the … narative of the soul
        and banger: “talk to people … talk to friends … listen … follow your heart …
        “display the seed, that is in you” is my feeling, he lives amongst the given political economy, in ataraxia und suffering the suffer of the god … human being

        this is, how I feel today in the NC – Family on something like “Colorado Freedom Day”

    2. rob

      I do agree with the fact that there is no “vision”.Which really means there is no ONE vision.The people who have a natural authoritarian view(most are followers,not leaders),make up @ 30% of the public.These natural tendencies seem to coincide pretty well with the standard 25%-30% of people,who are the republican regulars.These are also the people who are likely to be religious,attentive students,not rebellious in nature,and aspire to be hall monitors and middle management.This isn’t a slam to them, it just seems to be how they work.They are a pretty easy crowd to lead around by the nose.As is shown, by the facts as shown by the republican party successes and Koch bros astro-turf “tea party” alternatives.I know tons of these people and they are generally really nice people.So again ,I don’t mean this as a smear,but this is one of the problems we as a nation of self governed people face.When this same demographic was the tried and true Nazi party membership, they were a force for change.Not a good force,but a force no the less.It isn’t that they aren’t smart, it is just their natural tendency for order.They thrive on it,and require it.Their dogmas of religion and politics keep them in the camp of the used.
      The left on the other hand, are people who are by nature more chaotic, less able to be “told” anything, and as a result, our weakness is the inability to agree on anything.We are stuck because we have so many visions. I’ve got one…. now all you have to do is listen to me and get on board……
      The realities of nature mean this is an inherent weakness, in the realm of self governance..The republicans/tea party/libertarians who all think they are individuals ,yet are really whistling the same tune, are quick to circle the wagons against everyone else… while the left circles the wagons and points their guns to the center… i.e. the other wagons..
      It seems to me that precisely because we DO have” vision”, and a sense of self worth, that we can’t get on board any good options, and follow through, like the right does.Even the neo-liberal crowd are really just more of these authoritarian types in the democratic party.They are not progressive, they are just the hall monitors of the left, like their kin, the zealots on the right….
      So here is some vision for you all….

      In this republic, let there be a separation of powers.Let the constitution stand.but repeal the sanctity of centuries of bad court decisions.Which means…

      In a community of self governed people we demand:
      Universal healthcare.A real socialist reform.Not only will all medical care be free and accessable,but the infrastructure will be the created and maintained by the new versions of “work” projects that have done so much in the past,like the CCC and the like
      .Tradesmen will be trained when they build the schools for doctors,hospitals,stand alone care facilities,medical device/drug factories and the like.
      Research facilities/colleges will be fully supported by” national income”,expanding such things as the national institute of health(which now creates @1/3 of drug innovations and then gives these patents to private industry,but will not in the future.These research facilities will pay everyone a good wage, and their patents will belong to the public.our posterity.Monies that are now going into private hands for profit will go into real improvements/innovations for the public good, and pay for the people.So not only will everyone who is currently doing something (other than billing), in the medical industry, will still have a job.Patent holders of needed drugs and medical devices and procedures, will be bought out and sent packing.No longer will any private entity be able to “control” what is needed for the public good.In this we will train new tradesmen,doctors,researchers,etc… and real improvements will be built with cutting edge,sustainable building practices, and products that are certified safe and that have been shown to have real efficacy.Considering we as taxpayers pay over a trillion dollars a year for all this today, that is a trillion dollars we could use to these ends, right away,per year.This is a real “pro-life” platform.The economy will receive a boost because everyone will not have to pay/worry about medical costs,bankrupting them.
      There will be a national program for a switchover to real sustainable,renewable,clean energy programs.The nuclear power industry will remain until it is no longer viable,and can be safely mothballed, while again, the public funded universities research divisions will work on solar,wind,wave,electromechanical,tidal, etc.,New fuels like cellulosic ethanol,oil from algea,and any other sustainable alternative energies will be put ahead of money being spent to keep obsolete,outdated ideas who happen to be paying a private companies profits,to pollute the land,water,air,of the population.
      The political arena will have a campaign finance reform led by the use of the public broadcast spectrum .In that any company that has a license to use the public broadcast spectrum has to allow all candidates access to primetime and other time slots for getting their message out; nationally and locally.
      and most importantly,
      There will be a change over to a public monetary is outlined by HR 2990 “THe NEED ACT”, 112th congress, The federal reserve will be phased out , and the treasury will be the sole originator of us dollars.There will be a switch to full reserve banking.The trillions of dollars saved by not being held hostage by private banking cartels will fund these capital improvements, and re-employ a nation.And put the US on the road to prosperity, rather than damnation….. And when we are a shining example in our own house…. we can than think about allowing the entire world to join the united states of the world.Where interdependence reigns over federalism.All aspects of life, are left to the governed, except these few arenas where the best possible good comes from collective action, like:
      a public monetary system(which doesn’t infringe upon any other aspect of the capitalistic eco-system)
      A public energy system, a public healthcare system,and political discourse where money doesn’t equal free speech….

      Man, we all got vision…. But what can we agree upon? and get done.The rule of law, where the law is king,and the king is not the law. just for starters.

      1. F. Beard

        But what can we agree upon?

        Apparently not even “Thou shall not steal.” Instead, we oscillate back and forth between who get’s to steal via unethical money creation.

        Well, God will (soon?) put an end to this nonsense even if we won’t use our own initiative and end it ourselves:

        Thus says the Lord, “Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and there speak this word and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, who sits on David’s throne, you and your servants and your people who enter these gates. Thus says the Lord, “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place. For if you men will indeed perform this thing, then kings will enter the gates of this house, sitting in David’s place on his throne, riding in chariots and on horses, even the king himself and his servants and his people. But if you will not obey these words, I swear by Myself,” declares the Lord, “that this house will become a desolation.”’”

    3. j gibbs

      Banger, you seem like a bright fellow, but let’s call a spade a spade on the ‘Christianity should be one alternative’ mantra. You might as well say ‘errant nonsense should be one alternative’, or ‘mainstream economics should be one alternative’, or ‘Ann Coulter should be one alternative’. What we have here is a system in which the corporations, the churches, the politicians, the schools and just about every other respectable institution are all resolutely devoted to the ideals of absentee ownership, salesmanship and getting something for nothing. These ideals are incompatible with science and objectivity, so of course, science and objectivity must go.

      Universities are administered by salesmen and grifters and always have been. About ninety percent of the mail I receive at the age of seventy one consists of begging letters from the university where I paid my own way fifty years ago. Apparently, it believes I still owe them something, even though I might as well have been studying astrology, since my major was economics. It has taken me fifty years to unlearn all the nonsense those Ivy League academic foozlers pumped into me, while totally ignoring Henry George, and Veblen, the only economic thinkers other than Keynes who ever made a shred of sense. The Sixties was the high tide of “Keynesian” economics, which had no more to do with Keynes than Toyota has to do with Christmas. What it was was Samuelsonian bullflap.

      Anyone interested in truth must find it by himself. No educational institution is every going to do anything but obscure the truth for profit. Sorry.

  8. F. Beard

    Well, without the thieving and wealth concentration allowed by government-backed banks, generally supported by Progressives, almost all Americans could afford private education for their children, rendering arguments about public education mostly mute.

  9. flora

    Prof. Black is correct. He’s only scratched the surface.

    In 2011 a Kansas high school student was punished for making joke about Brownback on her twitter feed.
    “High school student Emma Sullivan learned a valuable lesson about social media today – even if you only have a handful of followers, make a comment critical of a politician and someone in their staff might notice. Also, she learned the politicians don’t like to be criticized, and that you can be punished for being insufficiently deferential to them.”

    The Kansas tax cuts rammed through in 2013 have blown a hole in the budget. Schools K-12 and higher ed take 50% of the budget in normal times. The only way to cover the budget shortfall is to take from schools and counties and service agencies, or put taxes back to where they were. ALEC and AFP (Koch entity) nix any rollback of tax cuts. (Except for raising sales taxes to paper over shortfalls.) Kansas communities highly value their schools. Many of the school districts party to the lawsuit to increase state funding are western, rural and Republican. There’s growing disenchantment with the Brownback admin and the legislature even among traditional, rock-ribbed Republicans.

  10. Sagebrush

    Too much Koch rots brains every bit as much as too much Coke rots brains, if they keep it up the Koch-heads will turn Kansas into an 82,276 square mile unmanaged insane asylum.

    1. F. Beard

      Well, if Progressive ideas worked people would be content, wouldn’t they, in the richest country on Earth?

      But hey, Progressives tried to prove they were smarter than the Bible, particularly “Thou shall not steal” and the commandments against usury. Reap what you sowed then, a country that hates and despises you.

      And what’s the latest Progressive idea? Justice? Restitution? No, never that! Instead a guaranteed job under Pharaoh for the slaves is the best they will offer.

      1. Skippy

        “I find it fascinating that that’s what people really want to know — what race was Jesus. That says a lot about us, about Americans today,” said Edward Blum, co-author of “The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America.”

        “Jesus said lots of things about himself — I am divine, I am the son of man, I am the light of the world,” Blum said. “What race is light? How do you racially categorize that?”

        Jesus can be safely categorized as a Jew, born about 2,000 years ago in the Middle East in what is now Palestinian territory. Therefore, many scholars believe that Jesus must have looked “Arab,” with brownish skin.

        “Today, in our categories, we would probably think of him as a person of color,” said Doug Jacobsen, a professor of church history and theology at Messiah College.

        That view was contested by Fox News host Megyn Kelly while critiquing a column titled “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore.”

        “Jesus was a white man, too,” Kelly said, launching a national discussion about history, tradition and just how white Christmas should be. – foxnewbs

        skippy… the ex nihilo fog is like a 360 degree virtual reality projector… its amplitude is a factor of wealth… Kochs own both a large hard network and supply the software… Waltons… Dimon… et al…. see a trend~

        1. F. Beard

          Who has believed our message?
          And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
          For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
          And like a root out of parched ground;
          He has no stately form or majesty
          That we should look upon Him,
          Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

          He was despised and forsaken of men,
          A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
          And like one from whom men hide their face
          He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

          Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
          And our sorrows He carried;
          Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
          Smitten of God, and afflicted.

          But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
          He was crushed for our iniquities;
          The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
          And by His scourging we are healed.

          All of us like sheep have gone astray,
          Each of us has turned to his own way;
          But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
          To fall on Him.

          He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
          Yet He did not open His mouth;
          Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
          And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
          So He did not open His mouth.

          By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
          And as for His generation, who considered
          That He was cut off out of the land of the living
          For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

          His grave was assigned with wicked men,
          Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
          Because He had done no violence,
          Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

          But the Lord was pleased
          To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
          If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
          He will see His offspring,
          He will prolong His days,
          And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.

          As a result of the anguish of His soul,
          He will see it and be satisfied;
          By His knowledge the Righteous One,
          My Servant, will justify the many,
          As He will bear their iniquities.

          Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
          And He will divide the booty with the strong;
          Because He poured out Himself to death,
          And was numbered with the transgressors;
          Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
          And interceded for the transgressors.
          Isaiah 53 [NASB]

          1. skippy

            As I’ve shown the piece [incomplete canons] is – should be observed in toto and not out of context homily’s. From a historical context, it is important to recognize its authority was gifted from Empire and exported as a product of Empire, with Empire’s desires first and foremost in mind.

            BTW total lack on – your part – to engage the material in my comment, but, fall back into the fog.

            Just do a simple head count of all the people in authority, with the power, that created the mess we now observe and what their faith is…. self reading will do that imo.

            skippy… whom knew Locke was a Tudor…

            1. F. Beard

              Like it says:

              Who has believed our message?
              And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

              I suggest you get a Hebrew translation (and thus free of possible Christian interpretation) of the Torah approved by the Orthodox and keep reading it till the light dawns on you. I would not waste any time though since it took me years before I could read and understand the Bible and not stumble over nearly every other word.

              What have you got to lose but your mortality?

            2. F. Beard

              Actually, I recommend the Septuagint to avoid possible Jewish reinterpretation too if you can read Greek or a translation thereof since it was finished a century or two before Christ.

              1. skippy

                It was you who said, myself would be better at defending your belief than you yourself. So stop trying to project ignorance in an rhetorical manner.

                The comment material was a MSM mouth piece making a fraudulent claim in a manner of Race, when Ethnicity is the correct manner to delineate such observations. Then there is the simple matter of genealogical anthro to supply the answer to Jesus ethnicity.

                Skippy… read that a long time ago, Septuagint, the Sumerian, Zoroastrianism, the Demiurge, all the way to the apparent intentional burials of early homo sapiens from as early as 300,000 years ago as evidence of religious ideas.

                1. F. Beard

                  It was you who said, myself would be better at defending your belief than you yourself skippy

                  Apparently I was wrong. Truthfully, the Old Testament is a difficult read at best and would take at least three careful readings to get a decent understanding, imo. And that’s assuming at least a neutral attitude toward it to begin with.

                  But what is your problem with the Old Testament in view of its emphasis on social justice? And its potential usefulness against the Religious Right in that regard?

                  1. skippy

                    For someone that used to work in information, you just don’t get it.

                    For the most part – all mythology’s – share a common core due to our physical past, out to around 300,000 years ago. The very concept of religion is born of ignorance, kids making stuff up to reconcile the unknown. We have better data today yet still live in abject fear of what we can’t control – so we kill it.

                    skippy… 10,000 years and here we are… edge of the cliff… what drives humanity… if not its belief… in its self or the universe it inhabits. Persoanly I am subservient to the Universe… it tells no lies…

      2. Sagebrush

        The conservatives and liberals have been helping the robbers rob the people for over 100 years. Today the Progressive, conservative, liberal, neoconservative and neoliberal voters are all reaping what they have sown by voting for crooks to lead the country.
        For your information, the people in Qatar are quite contented, after all they live in the richest country on Earth. We’re #7.

        1. Qatar
        2. Luxembourg
        3. Singapore
        4. Norway
        5. Brunei
        6. United Arab Emirates
        7. United States of America

      3. afisher

        I automatically shut down any idea that links to the book of fables – aka bible. That in an of itself is the first clue that one is going to be led astray or lied to. As I understand the political right – it is a you are on your own, period. Can’t afford food = starve. Can’t afford healthcare= die Can’t afford education=meh. Let’s make everyone who can’t live up to some ideal standard someone to be looked down on / shamed or find a way to imprison them – because it is easier to take these roads that to even attempt to understand or be concerned about “others”.

        Book of fables not needed to be human and humane.

        1. F. Beard

          You assume the Bible is right wing; it isn’t. You should try reading it.

          Fable? Just what do you think YOU are (at best) unless SOMEONE gives you ETERNAL life?

      4. j gibbs

        What I find fascinating, Beard, is that you can understand money so well and be so completely in the dark about everything else. How exactly do you feel about Darwin, for example?

  11. Alejandro

    Finance and Politics are symbiotic custodians of Power and Information is their currency. Power can be used, misused or abused. Whether it is assumed, appropriated or assigned, shouldn’t the burden of proving its legitimacy always rest on the powerful? Why should “Power” be accepted as an end in itself? What is the fundamental purpose of “Education”? Is it to serve the powerful or can it be used to explore the possibilities of how Power should be used to not only improve the “standard of living” but the quality of LIFE for ALL?

  12. psychohistorian

    Professor Black,

    I commend you for your efforts on society’s behalf. Keep up the good work.

    I hope you become a regular contributor to NC after they have you fired…….sigh!

  13. washunate

    This is a great illustration of the institutional rot in academia specifically and education generally. What is noteworthy is not that some Republicans oppose worker rights and public education. They are quite clear about their goals.

    Rather, what is noteworthy is the acceptance of this assault by Democrats, particularly the more educated and upper middle class technocrats. Sebelius was literally the Obama official who had the pleasure of implementing the override of the FDA’s own scientists on emergency contraception.

    Wagle is absolute right on this front:

    “I understand academic freedom, but this is taxpayer-funded academic freedom,’ she says. ‘In this case, the rights of the taxpayer outweigh this professor’s right to be offensive.’”

    The problem in our society is that prominent Democrats agree that discussing issues of class and race and sex and science and so forth is offensive. Truth doesn’t look kindly upon the massive inequality and oppression in our society.

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