Thursday, February 9, 2017



Trump’s erratic dismantling of American order and morals is raging into its third week. We know the Trump presidency is going to end in disaster for the country, for the world, and for all of us as individuals.  Waiting around for this inevitable end seems like failing to act when a Category 5 hurricane is heading right for us.  Catastrophe in the form of insulting and unconstitutional religious bans, calls for the re-embrace of torture and CIA “black sites,” the nauseating embrace of Putin, energized neo-Nazism, damaging insults to America’s allies, and even calls for shooting of protestors has become commonplace on the Trumpian right.  Disaster is certain and we need to act now to stop this. And we need to act together.

Virtually every commentator in the past few months has been saying this situation is not going to end well. This isn’t just the perspective of those on the progressive left or the ungovernable anarchist black bloc. It is the mainstream’s utterly commonsensical realization of looming disaster. 

Column after column ends with the same warning: “This will not end well.” “It is hard to imagine that it is going to get any better.” “Disaster is certain.” “There will be dire consequences.” “It is only going to get worse.” Paul Krugman terms Trump’s reign a political apocalypse” and regularly warns that it will not end well. Mary Sanchez’s widely syndicated column from the Kansas City Star warned “Trump's Mexican border lunacy will not end well.” In Salon, Simon Maloy wrote “It’s hard to see how investing someone like that with the powers of the presidency will end well for anyone.”  In the Washington Post, David Rothkopf, warning of the dangers of Stephen Bannon’s baleful influence, wrotehistory suggests all this will not end well, with rivalries emerging with State, Defense, the Trade Representative and other agencies.” Taegan Goddad asks “How does this end well?” There is an amusing Yoda meme making the rounds: “End will this will not.”

You get the idea: this is not going to end well.

Anarchists have been among the most clear-eyed about the profound crisis Trump represents and they have highlighted a solution. Long declaring themselves personally ungovernable, they have been calling to make Trump’s America ungovernable as a whole through open confrontation in the streets.  Anarchists have taken the ungovernability cry into energetic action, using direct action (including violence) to challenge the system and shut it down. This was the spirit of anarchist anti-inaugural actions and Disrupt J20. “Fuck Yea We Disrupted It” is how they saw their actions, and there is no doubt that anarchist actions grabbed a lot of the attention and forced new discussions. The recent violence in Berkeley is likewise easily justified as a protection not just of free speech, but of freedom itself.

From this philosophical basis the idea of strident resistance has been making the political rounds and the calls for action all over the place. “Make it Ungovernable” is an appealingly romantic idea, even if it’s a bit awkward for a rallying cry.  It’s had an effect even outside the confines of the anarchist movement.  Even Harry Belafonte has called for Democratic resistance modeled on the ways the Tea Party  made Obama’s presidency ungovernable.

But what is open to question for non-anarchists seeking effective and progressive action is whether this kind of violent, confrontational strategy in the streets is useful for the truly immediate necessity of stopping Trump now, rather than just protesting and challenging the new emerging regime in self-gratifying ways.

Violent action in the street and property destruction is not fully the right formula for resistance to Trump at this moment.  In part this is because anarchists aren’t the only ones around seeking to overturn the system. And they frankly are not the strongest or most energized. The Trumpian right is equally interested in disruption and revolution, and unfortunately it is in power at the moment.

Make no mistake: tearing apart American order and tearing down the global system of the free flow of peoples and ideas is Stephen Bannon’s plan. He has a revolutionary new order he wants to put into place via his useful fool Donald Trump, and it is in the process of implementation. Trump is signing executive orders Bannon has crafted to empower himself without even reading them.  Republicans, with a death grip on the federal state, are interested only in using their power to ram through their actually unpopular and reactionary program. They could not have won the presidency absent the perfect storm of a truly flawed Democratic nominee in the form of Hillary Clinton, the Black Swan event of celebrity Donald Trump, and a combination of years of Republican efforts to minimize minority voting and the booster shots of FBI meddling and Russian hacking. The storm swept in a plutocratic agenda that the Republicans have been pushing for decades.

All of the plans the radical right is putting in place hinge on Trump. He has wide influence and a base of real popularity across the country, like it or not (and it’s maybe bigger than we imagine). The system needs to be made ungovernable until he yields.  Trump acts must be met with unrelenting public pressure coupled with legal and constitutional constraints. It is a thin reed, to be sure, but it is the truly democratic and systemic solution to this viral assault on the actual underpinnings of our civil society, economic stability, and peace.

Violent action, well intentioned and idealistic though it might be, merely serves the fraudulent “law and order” narrative Trump used so effectively during the campaign, and helps grease the skids for Bannon’s revolution.

Street violence is an easily exploitable optic. No doubt you think Trump’s lies about disorder in the campaign and in his inaugural address sounded ridiculous and removed from reality, since they were. But millions quite readily lapped it up. This is a practical problem to be dealt with at a future time, but in the immediate frame it is best not to feed that narrative for no immediately identifiable political end.  Strident protest needs be practical, focused, and ruthless without being violent. 

Ungovernability needs to be the tactical as well as philosophical objective. Transformation, not destruction, should be the goal of making things ungovernable for Trump now. Saving the system so it can be reimaged and recreated should be the immediate goal. The immediately life threatening problem, needs to be addressed first. That is Trump himself.

Making the country ungovernable for Trump is the way to save the overall system. Ungovernability is the tactic we must adopt to restore the kind of stability and social comity, even the morality, necessary for a free society.

It can be accomplished with relentless effort on a wide variety of fronts. The foundation is personal liberation as each of us must become personally ungovernable in spirit and in practice. This requires a fundamental reorientation to total rejection of legitimacy for Trump’s rule so that we cannot be ignored and cannot be run in circles or into exhaustion. In all of our daily lives we need to maintain political action, of course, but we also must commit ourselves to refusing the slow creep of normality as the pressures of regular daily life continue relentlessly. By redefining ourselves as personally ungovernable we will remain liberated in mind and in action for the struggle we are in at this moment.

From this core strength of individual ungovernability, we must adopt avid but nonviolent protests in the streets and in public institutions like transportation hubs and commercial districts to highlight the ideas of resistance, to arrest commerce, and to disrupt any semblance of normal order in service of forcing ungovernablity into public view. Violent direct action and calls for intensifying violence are simply not going to produce the change we need to see right at this critical moment.  It is creating a diversion from the immediate necessary focus on stopping Trump now. In contrast, look at the direct successes in South Korea last month and Romania this week to see the power of truly mass protest to force positive government transformation.

Finally, a key aspect of making ungovernability for Trump effective is coordinated legal action against Trumps policies not just from individuals and non-profits but from the states. For example, states attorneys general acting in concert at abuses of federal authority such as in the green card cases. There are numerous lawsuits filed across the country which attack Trump’s illegal actions and illegal and inadvisable policies form numerous angles, and more need to be filed and pursued.  This systematic legal systemic combined with concerted individual ungovernability and mass action in the street is self-supporting and unstoppable. It is a triple pronged approach of immense strength.

In critical ways, we actually need our system to be more governable now than it ever has been in the form of a flourishing and powerful legal system capable of stopping Trump. With a government entirely in the hands of the Republican party, it is only the judiciary, the states, and the people in the streets that will have the power that matters. The law is an abstraction and the decisions of a court only have the power of the public’s belief in them. Trump has shown himself adept at undercutting confidence in institutions and individuals with a single cascade of tweets. But we have tools at our disposal.

As H. Robert Baker recently wrote, “Politics and law are substitutes for violence, and we sometimes forget that this is their primary, everyday purpose. This is what makes American federalism such a frustrating, brilliant endeavor.”

Power is what matters, and it’s the people within our federal system that have it in the end. A perfect example is the ways the ferocity and speed of the protests to Trump’s immoral, illegal, and incompetently implemented Muslim ban yielded a nationwide stay from a federal judge in Seattle. The actions of Washington state at the forefront of the anti-Trump movement demonstrate the effectiveness of a coordinated stance based upon ungovernability. The ongoing protests in Seattle in the streets and the airport linked with the public resistance of Mayor Ed Murray to foster an atmosphere where the actions of U.S. District Judge James L. Robart (a Republican appointee) were amplified and empowered

The rage directed toward Republican Representatives hellbent on disrupting the health care system with no alternative to offer in place has produced highly effective political theatre which is beginning to yield political results. The impact is certain to be more effective than small scale violent direct action.

The essence of Trump’s political approach is to erode and undermine public confidence in our institutions en route to destroying the institutions themselves.  But we can refuse to allow this destruction through purposeful and unrelenting action. We need to force ungovernability or this truly is not going to end well.




This is an excellent, and terrifying, analysis of the most likely Trumpian use of a "Reichstag Fire" moment to act repressively after a terrorist attack.

Jane Chong,

How To Deal with Reichstag Fire Fears in the Age of Trump

As she notes with unalterable logic:

"At this point invocation of the Reichstag fire is useful in only one narrow sense—to help prepare us mentally to mitigate and respond posthaste to the worst-case scenario: an actual attack on U.S. soil, paired with an unacceptably illiberal response from the White House."

and pointing to a reason to be prepared:
"there is little point worrying about whether the Trump administration has (in the limited sense) Reichstag-fire designs at all unless the object is to inculcate in the public sufficient awareness of what is happening so as to stave off the administration’s ability to capitalize on terror. Now is the time to start drawing lines—that is, before disaster puts a vice grip on our emotions: how do we think the administration will respond to a small-scale or large-scale attack, and what are the White House reactions and policies we deem unacceptable?"

Though her solution is far too institutional and trusting in Republican Congress to act to be persuasive.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Republican Congress is going to help destroy the country along with its useful idiot Donald Trump.

I thought David Frum's Atlantic article on the real and present dangers of the Trump reign was very insightful and worth reading Even better is this article from Ezra Klein

How to stop an autocracy
"The way to stop an autocracy is to have Congress do its damn job."

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Richard Primus has an excellent and clear eyed analysis of what needs to be done: focus on the dfangers of the Trump presidency and do not squander needless energy on Gorsuch.

"But I wouldn’t be surprised if the right prescription here were something like this: Don’t pretend that Gorsuch isn’t qualified. Do use the process to keep foregrounding Trump’s unconstitutional actions and attitudes, and the Republicans’ egregious behavior in Garland’s case, and the fact that most American voters voted against letting Trump be the one to fill the seat. And use the process also as a vehicle for bringing more energized people into the fight to defend the Republic against a uniquely dangerous President."

"... That doesn’t mean that the Democrats should just roll over, behave meekly, and vote in favor. But it likely does mean that the Democrats need to see the confirmation process as an opportunity for shaping public discussion about Trump rather than as an occasion for attacking Gorsuch. Time spent attacking Gorsuch in particular (whether about qualifications or about substantive views or pretty much anything else) might not be time well spent: he is going to be confirmed. But what Democrats can do, I’d think, is keep saying that we are only here because the Republicans stonewalled a nominee at least as qualified as Gorsuch for no justifiable reason, and that most American voters voted against letting Donald Trump fill the seat. They can ask Gorsuch himself to stand by his earlier written statements that Garland was a highly qualified nominee (for the DC Circuit) and to ask him whether the stonewall was appropriate. And they can ask him what he thinks about all sorts of Trump’s actions and statements. Is it appropriate for a public official to attack a federal judge as biased on the grounds of the judge’s ethnicity? What is the point of the Emoluments Clause? Do you think that this or that statement (quoted from Trump) is consistent with our constitutional values? And so on. Gorsuch might or might not answer, but the Democrats should find good ways to keep asking and to make those questions a big part of what people hear and talk about when they hear and talk about this process."

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

This was the tough questioning that coulda woulda been, as Radley Balko suggests, instead of the softballs like "tell us what you enjoyed about being a U.S. attorney," (that was a real question) followed by "well, I made up my mind!" (that was a real response)
Paul Bidanset, the uber-energetic organizer of the Norfolk Folk festival, posted this interview with me to help promote my old time music series this January. Beyond nice of him to do!

I am excited that my conjunto Los Abejas del Norte will be playing at the Festival next August. Puro Conjunto!

Poke around on the festival site a bit.

Friday, December 9, 2016

singing to the herd, Galuut soum, Bayankhongor aimag, Mongolia


Tsevengdorj - Gandii Mot from Dimitri Staszewski on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

This is one of the better articles I have read in this surrealistic and depressing post-election moment. Especially regarding the terrible imbalance for populous blue states that disproportionately send tax dollars to DC and yet are saddled with unfair representation in Congress and in the electoral college.  It does offer a bit of hope via federalism, where enlightened states can actually begin to pursue their own interests in the absence or hollowing of federal programs.

Under Trump, red states are finally going to be able to turn themselves into poor, unhealthy paradises

and this piece is a good reminder that the big danger from Trump is his embrace of the Big Lie and related propagandistic efforts.

"Rather than obsessing about Trump's outrageous tweets, we should focus on the more systematic ways he threatens our democracy."

The astonishing thing is that these kind of analyses of Trump's danger to the system iteself--to democracy-- are coming from mainstream writers, journalists, and academics. This crisis is not being exaggerated, it is real.


Monday, November 28, 2016

After a long time in gestation, this edited collection is finally coming out and is available for pre-order.

I have a chapter in here about trainhopping old time punks. Nope, none of them called them selves "bohemian,"  but they didn't call themselves much of anything, really.

The other chapters look really interesting as well, and it's a real honor to be included with this group of authors, many of whom I have read for years.


<span style="" >The Bohemian South</span>


Friday, September 23, 2016

There is no shortage of excellent anti-Trump columns. They are especially useful when you can give them to someone who is still clueless about the threat Trump poses to our culture and political system (yes, some of those people are still around in surprisingly and depressingly large numbers).

 This one by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar should be read and widely shared.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Elizabeth Warren nails it (again)

In the hearings today about Wells Fargo's fraud, she proves her fearlessness, mettle, and morality:





"During the hearing, senator after senator expressed astonishment that the creation of unauthorized deposit and credit card accounts by Wells Fargo employees could have gone on for so long without more assertive action by senior management. But Warren turned that line of questioning personal, suggesting the "cross-selling" strategy that prompted some employees to make the phony accounts enriched Stumpf's own stock portfolio.

"While this scam was going on, you personally held an average of 6.75 million shares of Wells Fargo stock," Warren said. "The share price during this time went up by about $30, which comes out to more than $200 million in gains, all for you personally," Warren said.

Warren's plain-language questions, context-setting remarks and call for tough penalties show why she has become such a feared figure among Wall Street executives. "You should resign," Warren said at the end of a near-monologue about the broader failures of the banking system. "You should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on, and you should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission."
...


In his responses, Stumpf was either frequently interrupted or forced into answers that had him repeating his talking points again and again. "Have you returned one nickel of the millions of dollars that you were paid while this scam was going on?" Warren asked three times, before unleashing repeated questions about whether Stumpf had fired any senior executives.

"So you haven’t resigned," she said. "You haven’t returned a single nickel of your personal earnings. You haven’t fired a single senior executive. Instead, evidently, your definition of accountable is to push the blame to your low-level employees who don’t have the money for a fancy PR firm to defend themselves. It's gutless leadership."

Warren continued to rip into Stumpf, casting the situation in moral terms and using her time behind the microphone to call for broader, harsher consequences for banking leaders. "The only way that Wall Street will change is if executives face jail time when they preside over massive frauds," she said. "We need tough new laws to hold corporate executives personally accountable. We need tough prosecutors who have the courage to go after the people at the top until then it will be business as usual."

The Taco in Globalized Appalachia

This weekend I was really happy to be invited to be part of the 3rd Annual Appalachian Food Summit in Berea, Kentucky, put on by Grow Appalachia.  The whole program was very interesting.

The AFS is a young and growing organization dedicated to sustainable food traditions in Appalachia, and it draws a very diverse group of academics, activists, organizers, farmers, and others.

I talked about tacos in globalized and Latinized Appalachia. It's is a topic about which I am passionate, as you might guess, especially since it connects many of the areas of my research with a very basic love of tacos. And a research project for which I really sacrificed for by driving 1500 miles through Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina seeking out (and eating) the very best tacos available.

The winner on this leg of the taco accounting in the mountains are these fine tacos from a taco truck in Toast, North Carolina



My plan someday is to right the definitive guide to the Appalachian taco from Georgia north. I'm sure you will agree that this is a project that needs doing...

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Worthwhile article pointing out the numerous ways that Trump's outrageousness serves to insulate him from any rational or normal standard of accountability:


"In a normal election cycle, a candidate making an offhand racist remark about a sitting US senator would be a big news story.
In a normal election cycle, a candidate making an offhanded lie about the state of his personal finances would be a big news story.
To be totally honest, even in a normal election cycle a candidate exhibiting total confusion about the mechanics and merits of monetary policy probably wouldn’t be that big of a news story but it would at least get some attention.


Seriously. Stop. Take a breath. Now imagine if Mitt Romney had run exactly Mitt Romney’s campaign but then suddenly in mid-September went on television and called Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas for no reason. It would have been huge.

This year, basically nothing. Trump being kinda racist is a dog-bites-man story. After all, just yesterday Donald Trump Jr. shared a white nationalist meme on Instagram. Trump lies all the time, so that’s not a big deal. In fact, he lies frequently about the essential core of his foreign policy, and his business dealings pose such obvious and flagrant conflicts of interest and ethics problems that lying about his stock holdings doesn’t seem like a big deal. And of course Trump doesn’t understand what he’s saying when it comes to monetary policy — monetary policy is complicated and obscure and Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about on any other issue either.
...


The whole thing makes me nostalgic for the days when I would complain that political coverage was too focused on candidate gaffes rather than policy ideas. Trump has no policy ideas, so there’s really nothing to focus on. You could spend all day trying to explain why various utterances don’t really make sense, but if he’s putting advisers out on television to denounce an entirely fake trade agreement with China, pointing out that he’s also getting the finer points wrong hardly seems worth our time. The best we can hope for is that Trump’s actual gaffes do get covered.

But the truly scary thing is that Trump is redefining the concept of a gaffe out of existence. It turns out that if you just boldly repeat something often enough, it goes away as a story. We’ve become numb, as a society, to what Trump is doing. In the process we’ve normalized casual racism, intense personal insults as an approach to politics, and completely decentered the idea that elected officials should grapple with difficult policy questions. Half the crazy things Trump says or does barely merit a mention on Twitter, much less the front-page coverage they would have merited in previous campaigns.

More than anything else, the numbness that Trump creates frightens me.

We have a learned a lot this year about what you can get away with in politics if you are brazen enough. The answer is that you can get away with a lot. Whatever happens in November, that revelation won’t go away."

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


I was very happy to welcome Juan Tejeda to campus this week for a couple of presentations, which combined a lecture about the global situatedness of conjunto music and performance of a variety of styles on the button accordion.

Juan is a professor and founder of the Mexican-American Studies program at Palo Alto College, the founder of the Tejano Conjunto festival en San Antonio 35 years ago, which is the largest and most significant festival for conjunto, and the author of Puro Conjunto.  Most of all, Juan is a force of change, inspiration, and leadership in conjunto culture and Chicano political action in Texas.

I've written about Juan in some detail in my article “Voz de Pueblo Chicano: Sustainability, Teaching, and Intangible Cultural Transfer in Conjunto Music,” in the Journal of American Culture, 2011. His work and vision and his festival are a major focus of my book project on sustainability theory as applied to conjunto music and culture in Texas, which is in process.

It was a real pleasure to have him on campus and to bring awareness of the heritage of conjunto music and Tejano music generally to this corner of the world.

I accompanied Juan's presentation on the bajo sexto, which was an honor and also a lot of fun.




Thanks much to my student Erdelis Nuñez for the pictures (and possibly video of the songs to follow, she promises)
Samantha Bee might be the only person who can save America. Or at least the best to lead the charge.




We have had two guest lecturers to the school in the past two weeks, and both have toed the same line of "there is a choice, you have to make it." When, in fact, there is no choice whatsoever.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016

One advantage of never throwing anything away is coming across things like this buried in my files:



pretty timely, too, since I saw Dwight Yoakam play a good set last night up in Richmond.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sandy Levinson again rightly and stridently pointing out a major flaw in our political structure.

"From my perspective--no surprises here--this is simply another illustration of how we are victimized by our dysfunctional and even "imbecilic" Constitution. It's not only the craziness of, practically speaking, needing to rev up a constitutional convention in order to repeal a statute that made a great deal of sense in 1842 and generates really terrible consequences today; it's also the fact that the insane difficulty of constitutional amendment makes the very idea "unthinkable" among practical and "thoughtful" people as defined by the Washington Beltway and other centers of "thoughtfulness."

And Democrats are so eager to dismiss the ravings of the narcissistic sociopath regarding his own demented notion that the election is rigged--how else could somebody so magnificent actually lose the presidential election--that they/we are unwilling even to lay the basis for the deep critique of the American political system that assures that the election of Hillary Clinton, if the Republicans keep the House, will make, at best, a marginal different domestically, other than saving us from the prospect of a sociopathic president. That will be something to be grateful for, but it won't one whit lessen the overall political and constitutional crisis that faces the country and that most people simply wish to ignore because we have a Constitution that seems to assure there is no way out of it."
I have a new webpage over at danmargolies.com

Yup, it is much like the old one, though improved and more functional.

I have long maintained my own page with seriously meager html skills, and since that is no longer being supported I have migrated over to this new site.

If you spot a broken link, please let me know.

And, yes, I will get back to blogging more regularly. Sometime.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

“this case has the United States written all over it.”

The Supreme Court's decision not to let the European Community sue RJ Reynolds under RICO act was announced yesterday. The ruling is in line with the presumption against extraterritoriality of U.S. law unless Congress was explicit about such provision. Although parts of the law were found to have extraterritorial provision, the Court decided that the EC would have had to feel the effects of the acts (injuries) in the U.S. So though the conduct was planned in the U.S., the effects of it are rendered invisible to the state.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dissenting, wrote that “All defendants are U.S. corporations, headquartered in the United States, charged with a pattern of racketeering activity directed and managed from the United States, involving conduct occurring in the United States.” “In short,” she closed, “this case has the United States written all over it.”

full story on the decision here: Amy Howe, Opinion analysis: In the end, RJR prevails in European Community’s RICO lawsuitSCOTUSblog

This decision, which ably reflects the ideological divide on the Court, pretty clearly relates to the historical fundamentals of the political economy of extraterritoriality in U.S. policy. A central thrust of U.S. doctrine (in service to policy and economic interests) is to limit the reach of the law in a regulatory frame when it is convenient to do so in service to liberated capital beyond U.S. borders. This has been a consistent and unerring feature of extraterritorial decisions by the Court since American Banana in 1909. What is striking in the cases over time is recognition of the basic justice of the argument but a gymnastic effort to insure that law stays constrained when interest demands. Similarly, law's extraterritoriality is unshackled when it is in the state's interest to extend it directly over the effects of business activity (e.g. ALCOA). The ability of the state to hold both positions is always refreshing, no?

I gave a paper on this subject at the Society of American Foreign Relations meeting about nine years ago and have been working on various issues of extraterritoriality since even though my book was focused more on extraterritoriality in criminal jurisdiction. Heading off to give another focused on related issues of extraterritoriality in trade and resource regimes this weekend. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Dave Eggers, ever perceptive at a Trump rally, is pretty essential reading

Monday, June 13, 2016

China aims to speed up extradition treaties in graft fight



"China aims to speed up the signing of extradition treaties with countries where corruption suspects have fled to, a senior official wrote in state media, as Beijing steps up its overseas hunt for citizens suspected of corruption.

China has been trying to get increased international cooperation to hunt down suspected corrupt officials who have fled overseas since President Xi Jinping began a war against deeply-rooted graft more than three years ago.

But Western countries have been reluctant to help, or sign extradition treaties, not wanting to send people back to a country where rights groups say mistreatment of criminal suspects remains a problem, and also complaining China is unwilling to provide proof of their crimes.

Beijing has vowed to pursue an overseas search dubbed Operation "Fox Hunt" for corrupt officials and business executives, and their assets."

Thursday, April 14, 2016

This is on the wall outside where I am staying in SF


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Over at Talking Points Memo, a nice history lesson about the core mendacity and venality of the Republican leadership (and their overall political mode) stretching back to the Clinton impeachment years, a time resurfacing as a result of the horrifying Hastert revelations


The Irony and the Awfulness

Saturday, April 9, 2016

This should take you the whole weekend to begin to understand


This is a good start:





For The First Time, A State Just Banned Neonicotinoids, A Pesticide Threatening Pollinators



Thursday night, the Maryland House and Senate agreed upon and jointly passed a final version of the Maryland Pollinator Protection Act, which would eliminate consumer use of neonicotinoids, a widely-used class of pesticides that has been shown to negatively impact honeybees. If the bill — which now goes to the desk of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) — is enacted into law, it would make Maryland the first state in the country to codify such protection for honeybees at a statewide level.
This is the 1001 post here at Nunal. Considering the somnolent pace of posting, that might be considered something of a triumph.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Maybe ridicule will work since nothing else seems likely to stop Trump. If so, John Oliver will lead the way

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A good example why David Rees is still one of the most exacting critical comic minds in America

Friday, January 8, 2016

"Like the first Sagebrush Rebellion of 40 years ago, this revolt represents a classic case of fictional privilege, grounded in a shoddy understanding of United States history."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/bundhy-protest-ranchers-actually-government-moochers-213510#ixzz3whUzPaZT"

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

There couuldn't be more useful timing for the Oregon militia action then when my students are focusing on just such events.

This is the best discussion of the Oregon militia action in the context of federal terrorism statutes, and a good comparison with the abuse of these laws to prosecute animal rights and environmental radicals.
You Can Prosecute Animal Rights Activists But Not a Right-Wing Militia for “Terrorism”by Kevin Jon Heller

Heller concludes, rightly: "It defies logic that there is a substantive federal terrorism offence covering non-violent activists who open mink cages but not one covering a right-wing militia that forcibly seizes a federal building, demands the release of prisoners, and threatens to kill anyone who tries to intervene. But there you have it."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

We just finished the 2nd Annual Festival of Texas Fiddling in Burton, TX on November 7. This was the festival I founded and for which I serve as Artistic Director. I've been behind getting video and pictures up as this is a busy part of the semester, but I will do so very shortly and then post them here.

This year, for the first time, we gave a new Master of Texas Fiddling Award to two important figures in the state. First is Don Jose Moreno, the great Rio Grande Valley Valley fiddler. Here is a nice article about him getting the award.

The second Master of Texas Fiddling Award went to Washington County Texas-Polish fiddler Daniel Cendalski, who blew everyone away with his fiddling and his spirit. This gives you a taste:

I gave a talk for the VWC-NSU 1619 Symposium called "The African Roots and American Journey of the Banjo," and was sent this kind of blurry picture of me surrounded by a handful of banjos.

I made an akonting (you can see the neck on the left) and a gourd banjo for the talk. That one up front is an old banjeaurine




I've been informed that you are not a collector of banjos until you have 100 of them...

Monday, November 16, 2015

A friend of mine in Houston who has a deep knowledge of about every kind of music just sent me some videos of Vietnamese music there. I had no idea this music featured the steel guitar, and no idea it was this great.

this first one is just perfect








Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Well, I'll admit to being obsessed with hurricane related news....

One reason that Joaquin is so strong is that "Ocean temperatures in the region are near 30°C (86°F)--the warmest seen there since record keeping began in 1880. " Wunderground links through to this map.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I was interviewed on SALive in San Antonio yesterday about the Festival of Texas Fiddling.

some nice playing by Belen Escobedo, Rabbit Sanchez, and Ramon Gutierrez on a polka.

It starts at 38:14

Notice to Those Thinking of Going to Graduate School:

There are 134 job openings being advertised in ALL fields of history in the United States.

One hundred thirty four.
The case for more tax brackets
Narco singer Larry Hernandez was arrested in an airport in California.

The kidnapping charge arose when Larry demanded 30k for a show in South Carolina and allegedly held someone until he got it.

(Is it just me, or does 30k sound like too little for a narco singer?)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

wow, this video of Roger Cooper when he was recording one of his cds. stunning thing to stumble across



the same guy posts tyhis 1987 video of Snake Chapman



ok, one more of Snake, with the unsurpassed Paul David Smith on the banjo

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Not-Not Life

I just happened across Michael M. Day's translation of Not-Not





" Up to this day, the sole difficulty has been that we have been unable to find any form of cultural artifice to “prove” whether they ultimately live in the fashion of an “animal,” or in that of a “plant.” Our present culture has been incapable of embracing them, this wondrous phenomenon of life. We also have no ready way of saying what manner of thought they ultimately follow, and what they ultimately are thinking. So --- Today we declare: First, they live in a not-not fashion; Second, they are not-not life; Third, they make us feel not-not; Fourth, they make us become not-not; Fifth, we are not-not. Applaud us! --- we believe the sound of today’s applause will be permeated by a great concentration of not-not, followed by a dilution within not-not ….. Today with this sign that is “Not-Not,” and with the great heap of highly obscure semantics still now waiting to be sorted out behind it, we officially declare: starting with the advancement of “Not-Not,” we will vigorously enlarge the cultural field [文化疆域], until there is a profound understanding of the “body of Not-Not life” [非非生命体] and the “body of Not-Not thought” [非非思维体] indicated to us by today’s culture. Until we can see in this (en-)cultured world and (en-)cultured crowd a renewal of full “Not-Not vigor” [非非生机], and everywhere “Not-Not values” [非非价值] abound. "

"some nice birds in here, really"

I have some new neighbors who spend all of their time when not at work out back behind their house training their pigeons.  I have seen them building a coop and doing things with the birds, but finally had a long talk with them about the birds today. Turns out they are rolling pigeons, which I have never actually heard of.

I'm fairly familiar with racing pigeons, or at least iwth the sport of since I have zero techbnical know how about raising birds or racing them. But it was an interest of mine for some time after becoming aware of the sport in Appalachian Tennessee. It is a world way bigger than you can imagine, actually. And it is a pretty fascinating world. I quote the American Racing Pigeon Union: "Remember, these birds are very different, in nearly every way, from anything you have ever thought of when you thought, "pigeon." The registered Homing Pigeon - the athlete - will be a source of great enjoyment. "

That is a great expression, no? "The registered Homing Pigeon - the athlete "

Rolling pigeons seem to be another thing entirely. It is about having them fly up and then roll down. Now this I had never seen before. They have meets, competitions, and etc. Astonishing how little one knows of this world, isn't it?

This guy John Jay has quite a series of videos on rolling pigeons.




Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Compilado Hardcore desde Chile

This "playing history" game doesn't seem like it could be real, but apparently so
I do wish Obama had displayed this level of political sharpness all the time

Friday, August 21, 2015

Undercurrent of my mind

There has to be a German word that describes the feeling

of starting a fall semester before a sabbatical in the spring.

Absent that, this will work:

Kyungso Park, The Undercurrent Of My Mind; Jukpa Kim's Gayageum Sanjo / 박경소 가야금 산조 ; 김죽파류


Thursday, August 20, 2015

ON some of the anti-neoliberal messages in recent dystopian fiction.

Of the works discussed here, I can vouch for Ann Leckie's books, which I really enjoyed and found very original.

And Snowpiercer, despite initially seeming to be the dumbest movie premise of all time, was a surprisingly engaging critique of inequality and socio-economic structure.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Second Annual Festival of Texas Fiddling


The Second Annual Festival of Texas Fiddling is now officially scheduled at La Bahia Turn Verein, a dance hall built in 1902 in Burton, Texas. Washington County is a historic area which has long featureed a particularly driving kind of Texas-Polish music, a style of which is one of the central features of this festival. La Bahia has been the site of a functioning dance hall since 1884.

I am very happy we are heading into the second year. I came up with the original idea of the festival and serve as Artistic Director of it, and have been really pleased and honored to work with Texas Folklife and Texas Dance Hall Preservation, Inc. in making it a reality.

I will post more about the fiddlers involved soon.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

This thoughtful piece on Nikki Haley from James Cobb is really worth reading

" Lest we get a tad carried away here, let's note that, over the last generation or so, the GOP has gradually abandoned its old blatantly racialized "southern strategy" in favor of a new, ostensibly "colorblind" but hardly race-neutral conservatism anchored in the rigidly anti-tax, anti-welfare, anti-labor but pro-gun, pro-voter suppression, and indisputably ardent pro-corporate attitudes that essentially define Governor Haley's mindset. For Haley and her cohort, that mindset is unlikely to change anytime soon, regardless of what flag flies where."

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

gthis is worth reading both for the discussion of the important role of wild bees, and because of the way it frames the very welcome Obama initiative to reverse the terrible situation for bees and other polliniators

What bees can teach us about one of the biggest debates in conservation

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I got some sad news today from South Texas that bajista Rigo Garza died. He played for many years with legendary valley fiddler Jose Moreno, who taught him to play and then recruited him into his band Los Patrulleros del Norte.

Here is a thing that reveals the true depth of what's on youtube, a video playing the whole 8 track recording of Los Patrulleros del Norte's album "Bailando En Valle Hermoso"



Here is a nice video of Rigo playing with his grandson Seth Lara a few years ago. Seth has carried on the Moreno tradition and plays accordion and fiddle in the old, disappeared Valley style that Moreno embodies.



We were planning to have featured Don Jose, Rigo, and Seth to the Festival of Texas Fiddling last year, but they had to cancel at the last minute because Seth was in the state band championships.

Rigo was a kind and very friendly guy. The first time I went down to Harlingen I met him in a pachanga in that same garage in that video below and he was extremely welcoming. Over the years every time I ran into him it was the same thing. Sad passing.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Joe Lapointe in the Detroit Free Press lays it out there

Fight racist fire with literal fire: Burn Confederate flags

"Of course, burning the Confederate flag would be disrespectful. That is exactly the point."
...
"The display of the Confederate flag — anywhere — is a nonverbal statement of race hate. Its burning would be a nonverbal response to its crude attitude. You're sure not going to change their attitudes with sweet reason. Fight their figurative fire with the real thing."

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Goldbuggery

This is a long story, but it is really worth reading. When wealthy people with kooky ideas start to convince themselves of their own internal logics, all the while defying the very systems that made them wealthy in the first place.

There is far too much in this story to summarize here, but this stood out as especially interesting.


"According to this narrative, then, Texas isn’t just setting up its own depository, payments system, and a safe haven for gold that can’t be confiscated by the federal government. Instead, it is signaling a loss of confidence in the United States by pulling its gold out of the largest gold vault in the world eighty feet below the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Florentine-inspired headquarters in lower Manhattan. There, a special police force guards some 530,000 gold bars protected behind a 140-ton airtight steel and concrete framed door sealed with a 90-ton steel cylinder and time locks. Nobody enters the vault alone, ever; three people are present, even if it’s just to change a light bulb. Most of the gold in the vault belongs to other nations; the Fed stores and guards it as a courtesy to allies. Thus, the idea that Texas is somehow taking on an unwise risk by lodging $1 billion in bullion in the vault – so much so that it regards the New York bank as a foreign entity from whom gold ought to be justly “repatriated” – is to reject the practical and geopolitical realities of gold ownership in the 21st century. Even in fiction it is hard to recall a more secure site that has at its disposal more robust resources to guard and defend itself.

This is why, if you were suspicious about Gov. Abbott’s claim that “the [depository] law will repatriate $1 billion of gold bullion from the Federal Reserve in New York to Texas,” you were on to something.

Indeed, Texas has no gold bars in the Federal Reserve’s New York vault. And what the state has is not worth a billion dollars. Instead some 4,200 gold bars bought in 2011 by the University of Texas’s endowment fund (the second largest in the country after Harvard’s) are stored in the basement vault of HSBC’s headquarters at 450 5th Avenue in New York City, just south of the New York Public Library. For the last four years, the endowment has paid an estimated $1 million per year to store their gold there. (If it had been at the New York Fed the cost would have totaled about $15,400 over that period). And the new depository law does not require the university’s endowment fund to relocate the gold to Texas."

...

"Fed a steady diet of fear, paranoia, and survivalism, the consumer market for physical gold is left particularly susceptible to magical thinking."


I thought this was an unusually long and thoughtful sotry for a journalist, and I got to the end find out that it was written by a historian. Of course!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

sounds like the making of a B movie, really it's just the end of the world

Polar bears eat dolphins as Arctic warms

The Harmon Doctrine* has nothing on this control

This article on water usage law in Colorado is pretty astonishing, isn't it?  It's illegal to use rain barrels because the water is owned

A Thirsty Colorado Is Battling Over Who Owns Raindrops
And it shouldn't be surprising that Republicans are the ones pushing the power of the intrusive state to govern how people use the water falling from the sky.



"“It’s actually stealing,” said State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg, a Republican from Sterling, a northeastern farming and ranching town on the plains, who voted against the rain barrel measure when it landed in the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee he leads. “You might say, it’s a little bit of water, just a barrelful, how much damage could that do to someone downstream?”

But, he continued, “If it’s just a little bit, why wouldn’t we allow everyone go to into 7-Eleven and take just one bottle of water, just a little bit?”"


Uh huh, stealing. Somehow harvesting the rain falling from the sky is the same as stealing a bottle of water from a 7-11.  The logic holds in that privatized water is privatized water.







*[if you have no clue about the Harmon Doctrine despite almost certainly having read my book's discussion of it, you can read this]

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

gimmicky but interesting map
This band of kids Villa 5 has captured my ear. The music is good, and the attitude is really captivating. They're from southern Cali, and the fusion of the norteño music and American attitude, great. And they definitely are way into the classic norteño sound and songs






Monday, June 1, 2015

I am kind of surprised that there is no online app for bathing the baby Buddha on Vesak Day (Buddha's birthday)

Yes, I know the day is meant to be spent with the sangha. But doesn't it seem like a logical thing to create digitally too, no?

You can read the sutra about bathing the Buddha here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I was happy to spend the day at Gran Plaza Mexico in Harmony, NC on Sunday. There is a monthly jaripeo (Mexican rodeo) there which has some bull riding followed by many hours of concerts of bandas, norteño bands, and banda norteños.

video



This time around the classic Cadetes de Linares played during the bullriding, followed by banda El Dasa and Conjunto Primavera. All were great, very tight, entertaining, and, as is typical, also insanely loud. Huracanes del Norte headlined and they were as perfect as always.

Plaze Mexico takes place on the groups of the Van Hoy campground, the longtime site of the Union Grove Fiddlers Convention. There is a huge dirt floored hillbilly amphitheater that gets absolute filled at these jaripeos.

I've been writing on jaripeos for some time and soon will have a longer piece on the world of Gran Plaza Mexcio


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Waco in the context of Baltimore

Brittney Cooper gets right to the crux of the matter in this great essay in Salon:




"Frequently in conversations that I have observed or participated in with white people about race, the claim is levied that it is Black people “who make everything about race.” But this incident in Waco gives lie to that claim. It turns out that when white privilege is in clear operation, white people are invested in making sure that we don’t see race in operation. Charles Mills, a philosopher of race, has a term which I think applies here: epistemology of white ignorance. By this means, he means that white people have created a whole way of knowing the world that both demands and allows that they remain oblivious to the operations of white supremacy, that white people remain “intent on denying what is before them.” Thus even though three gangs have now attacked each other in broad daylight and killed or injured 27 people, there is no nagging, gnawing sense of fear, no social anxiety about what the world is coming to, no anger at the thugs who made it unsafe for American families to go about their regular daily activities without fear of being clipped by a stray bullet, no posturing from law enforcement about the necessity of using military weapons to put down the lawless band of criminals that turned a parking lot into a war zone in broad daylight. More than that, there is no sense of white shame, no hanging of the head over the members of their race that have been out in the world representing everything that is wrong with America.

That kind of intra-racial shame is reserved primarily for Black people.

...With white citizens, officers feel it is their duty to protect the unsafe and de-escalate the situation. With Black citizens, officers, acting out of their own fear, escalate conflicts, antagonize citizens, and move swiftly to the use of tanks, tear gas, and billy clubs to subdue, even lawful and peaceful protests. What Malcolm X pointed to, and what we would do well to recapture on this week, as we, if we are brave enough, choose to remember his life, is that there is something fundamentally dishonest about a society that revels in the violence of one group while demanding non-violent compliance from another. That kind of thinking is unjust, unfair, and unproductive. And for those of us who are not white, white ignorance on these matters is not bliss."

Monday, May 11, 2015

"Well, play it fast. Real fast."

R.I.P. Tex Logan

He just passed away, a sad loss for us all.

He was always one of my favorite fiddlers, just a monstrous talent.

besides absolutely blistering fiddling, Tex Logan was an electrical engineer at Bell Labs and a pioneer  in the field of sound: 

"an early user of computers to simulate the reverberation of sound—work that would prove vital in the later digitizing of music. The co-inventor of “colorless” artificial reverb and (notes Mark Liberman) creator of “an important theorem about ‘information in the zero crossings of bandpass signals,’” Logan aided in grounding the electronics of recording in the science of acoustics. Along the way, he patented an echo canceller for satellite communications and worked on the “Shepp-Logan phantom,” which helps render images in cranial CT Scans."

I love this exchange in the attached recording:

Bill: Play it in a Texas style, however you want to play it.
Tex: Well let's play it fast... Real Fast.



and his line at 2:41 "Get some more, Bill"

end of the semester Panda

this is a good approximation of how I feel at the moment



According to Lucile Armstrong, who has written about the Verdiales fesitval in Málaga, the lead instrument is actually the pandero, the tamborine.

Monday, May 4, 2015

yup, it works sometimes

from interfluidity:



"I interrupt your punditry to tell you that all your commentary about riots is bullshit and confused and tendentious and fuck off. And that economists, God bless ‘em (no, not really), have a name for this."

"...Does that mean I’m a fan of these riots, that I condone the burning of my own hometown? Fuck you and your tendentious entrapment games and Manichean choices, your my-team “ridiculing” of people you can claim support destruction. Altruistic punishment is essential to human affairs but it is hard. It is mixed, it is complicated, it is shades of gray. It is punishment first and foremost, and punishment hurts people, that’s its point. Altruistic punishment hurts the punisher too, that’s why it’s “altruistic”. It can’t be evaluated from the perspective of winners or losers within a direct and local context. It is a form of prosocial sacrifice, like fighting and dying in a war. If you write to say “they are hurting their own communities more than anyone” you are missing the point. Altruistic punishment is not a pissing match over who loses most. The punisher disclaims personal gain, accepts loss, sometimes great loss, in the name of a perceived good or in wrathful condemnation of a perceived evil.

So you want to evaluate riots, then, as tactic. Surely these rioters can’t imagine that this — this — will reduce the severity of policing, bring jobs to the inner city, diminish the carceral state. By the way, have I told you, fuck you? Altruistic punishment is generally not tactical. Altruistic punishment is emotional. The altruism in altruistic punishment is not pure, not saintly."

Dissembling through the market

Quite an interesting interview with Wendy Brown about her new book and her approach to critical readings of neo-liberalism:

" In this book, I treat neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is “economized” and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity (whether public or private, whether person, business, or state) is governed as a firm. Importantly, this is not simply a matter of extending commodification and monetization everywhere—that’s the old Marxist depiction of capital’s transformation of everyday life. Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres—such as learning, dating, or exercising—in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices. Above all, it casts people as human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value.
Moreover, because neoliberalism came of age with (and abetted) financialization, the form of marketization at stake does not always concern products or commodities, let alone their exchange. Today, market actors—from individuals to firms, universities to states, restaurants to magazines—are more often concerned with their speculatively determined value, their ratings and rankings that shape future value, than with immediate profit. All are tasked with enhancing present and future value through self-investments that in turn attract investors. Financialized market conduct entails increasing or maintaining one’s ratings, whether through blog hits, retweets, Yelp stars, college rankings, or Moody’s bond ratings."

bright shiny things

at the alarmed behest of my students at the old fashioned look, I have updated the template here on Nunal. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Texas greats


Here is an interesting article in the Dallas News about the effort to save the historic dance halls of Texas, with some great pictures from the inaugural Festival of Texas Fiddling held at Twin Sisters Dance Hall in Blanco, which I curated back in December.

Also go read this article on the Conjunto Heritage Taller in San Antonio, and its resident maestro Lorenzo Martinez. He is one of the most talented accordionists around, and his skill is equally matched with his generosity in sharing it.

Confederatism of the historic and neo varieties

On the 150th anniversary of Lee's surrender at Appomattox, it is worth wondering about the nature of Confederate sensibility in the contemporary South.  Euan Hague thought about it in Politico

Think neo-Confederatism is overblown? Check out the League of the South

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sombrero



You can read about some of my adventures researching conjunto 45 labels in San Antonio that was generously funded by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections here in their most recent newsletter. (scroll down to page 9)

Monday, March 30, 2015

An old friend of mine named Tara Linhardt has a very cool project called the Mountain Music Project linking traditional musicians from the Appalachians with traditional musicians from Nepal.  They made a film which you should see.

 Some of the musicians she works with are in the U.S. doing concerts of sarangi, tabla, and mandolin. Here are a couple of video.





There are more videos here

Tuesday, March 24, 2015



This is a truly astonishing story: China used more cement between 2011 and 2013 than the U.S. used in the entire 20th Century..


The images accompanying the atory are pretty good too.

Friday, March 13, 2015

have a nice spring break, whether you are spending it in the US or in Kyrgyzstan

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

oh yes, she understands "how the video must appear."

Is there another possible reading to it?

end run

I don't see how the Republican letter to Iran can be seen as anything other than bad politics and an un-constitutional insertion into foreign relations.  Peter Spiro argues persuasively that it is also likely criminal under the Logan Act.  (read the comments too, they are interesting).
NPR has quite a good little piece on Mexican style polka for Flaco's birthday today, Give a listen here: "How Mexico Learned To Polka"

Friday, March 6, 2015

For your Friday pleasure, a polka, a huapango, and a nice verison of 'Danzon Juarez" from the great Oscar Hernandez





Kind of amazing that ancient cities can still be discovered, including this one from a "vanished culture" which "has been scarcely studied and it remains virtually unknown. Archaeologists don’t even have a name for it."

Thursday, March 5, 2015

all good questions

These are all the right questions to be asked, from Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post

some samples:



1. Why did you make the decision to use a personal email account rather than government email upon becoming secretary of state?
...
4. Would it have been appropriate for others working for you at the State Department to use personal e-mail for official purposes? If not, why does a different standard apply to the secretary?
...
11. Specifically, C.F.R. 1236.22, which dates from 2009, provides that “agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system.” What steps did you take to comply with this requirement?

12When e-mails were turned over to the State Department last year, who in your office determined what e-mails constituted official business and what standards did they use to make that determination? Did anyone from the State Department oversee or vet this process to ensure that all relevant e-mails were supplied?

13. In 2007, criticizing the George W. Bush White House during the controversy over fired U.S. attorneys, you decried the use of “secret White House e-mail accounts” to conduct government business. Please explain how your use of personal e-mail differed.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

They moved the Cabin Fever bluegrass festival to just down the road from the college. It used to be up in Hampton, then Chesapeake for several years, nice to have it around the corner.

Though why did they pick this tune for the homepage I wonder?
There is vaguely sinister when groups use facebook as their platform for social justice actions. I know there is the whole concept of meeting people where they are, but it does cut out access from the small group of people who haven't bothered to sign up for it.

For example, Food Not Bombs Norfolk has a facebook page, but you can only look at it and find out what they are doing if you are on facebook. This seems deeply counterproductive. There is not even a non-facebook email.

Though more useful than the Food Not Bombs main page, which lists a defunct email address and a MySpace page!

Should any group (or any idivdual) really be relying exclusively on Facebook? You already know the answer.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Next time I am in San Antonio I hope my time there will overlap with one of these steel guitar jams.

Yup, the San Antonio Steel Guitar Association is on facebook.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

worse than you thought

Exhibit number whatever in reasons I tell students not to pursue graduate work in history, despite history being the best choice of major as an undergraduate, hands down.


" The data revealed that just a quarter of all universities account for 71 to 86 percent of all tenure-track faculty in the U.S. and Canada in these three fields. Just 18 elite universities produce half of all computer science professors, 16 schools produce half of all business professors, and eight schools account for half of all history professors."

"...In fact, after graduating with Ph.D.s, only about 10 percent of faculty move “up” the academic prestige hierarchy as defined by theScience Advances study (with “prestige” being determined by the university’s ability to place faculty at the widest variety of other institutions). Most faculty instead slide 25 percent down the scale."


history is not alone, either,

"Oprisko’s experiences inspired him to research faculty hiring on his own. In 2012, he conducted a review of the 3,709 political science professors who were then employed by Ph.D.-granting universities and found that just 11 schools had produced 50 percent of the total. Harvard, at the top of the list, was responsible for 239 of the professors. Purdue, on the other hand, was responsible for 10 of them."
...

"It’s not just young scholars who suffer under the current hiring hierarchy; innovation across all disciplines may be stifled. Because graduates from only a small number of universities account for the majority of faculty jobs, new ideas and discoveries from those elite institutions may be far more likely to gain traction in academia and in the wider world than those from outside this group. (Not to mention that bad ideas coming out of this core group of schools may get more attention than they deserve.)"
(You know, bad ideas like the one generated by Yale and Harvard grads, such as the Iraq War)