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MuppetIt’s moving day at EotAW. After calling WordPress our home for the past four years, we’re shifting to more academic-specific digs: the Chronicle of Higher Education. They’ve asked us to become part of their Blog Network, along with luminaries like the Tenured Radical, and who are we to refuse such esteemed company? Nobody, that’s who.

The new Edge is at:

http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/edgeofthewest/

Come on by. Check out the new place. Grab a beer. We promise the same skewed but deeply historical view of the world, full of disappointment and Muppets.

Lots of Muppets.

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USA Today hed reads, “Higher education vanishing before our eyes”.

Even with top grades and extracurricular activities, students may find it difficult to gain acceptance to or graduate from a four-year university after recent cuts to higher education budgets.

The month of March has been particularly bad for colleges and universities nationwide, as budget negotiations have left many institutions of higher education in the red.…

California’s State University (CSU) system announced Monday that they would close the admission process for nearly all of its 23 campuses for the Spring 2013 semester, affecting almost 16,000 students wishing to attend.

In addition, every student applying for the 2013-2014 school year will be waitlisted while officials await Gov. Brown’s proposed budget initiative to increase taxes in November. If the measure is defeated, officials will be forced to cut enrollment by an additional 20,000-25,000 students.

“By limiting enrollment we are able to concentrate on our current students,” said Mike Uhlenkamp, CSU spokesman.

Current CSU students have seen their fees rise while their class sizes have increased and their course options have become more limited; all of which has helped to increase expected graduation time from four to six years, according to Uhlenkamp.

The CSU system has already lost approximately $1 billion, or 33%, in the last 4 years due to state budget cuts.

In Britain, the Labour Party justified doing this sort of thing by a change of colors: it became New Labour, shifting rhetoric and policy, with house philosophers and lots of Thatcherite flourishes. In the US, the Democrats have simply done it.

The incomparable Michelle Vaughan, who did the typography for this marvelous piece of work as well as 100 tweets has done a much more affordable limited run of Rupert Murdoch’s tweets. I recommend them to all discerning readers with a spare $30 (plus S&H) looking for some frameable wit. (Murdoch would surely like you to think of him as framed.)

Here on the eastern margins of San Francisco’s supervisorial district 8, one candidate stands out — his flyers pile up in drifts in the corners, his volunteers have rung our doorbell three times, and he’s out on the streets himself soliciting votes. I’ll probably vote for him anyway — though I suppose I ought to find out what he stands for first. (At least he seems to be able to inspire passion in his staff, if not logistical rigor.) The state and national races are not even as engaging as that — the stakes are high, true enough, but the less-bad candidates seem likely to win, on the whole.

How’s it looking where you are? Anybody volunteering?

(CC-licensed photo by Flickr user sashax)

As much as I like Colbert, I am pretty sure that this means we are probably about due for some Visigoths to sack Washington.

But at least it’s funny.

Todd Henderson, the University of Chicago professor who inspired the mild-mannered James Fallows to mockery (at least by quotation) by whining about the pain of poverty at six figures, who inspired Brad DeLong to patient and sympathetic vivisection, has now apparently done the one thing that is more obviously ill-advised than writing his post in the first place: deleted it.

But Google has it cached.

If you really need a historian’s homiletic here, well: if you commit a bad idea to paper, it’s even worse if you show a guilty conscience about it. Just ask James G. Blaine, who had the bad judgment to write “burn this letter” across the bottom of one of his missives.

UPDATED to add, in the time I’ve taken to write this post, Brad has also discovered the Google cache. Oh well.

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Will Wilkinson presents what can be described fairly as a non-xenophobic argument for the repeal of the fourteenth Amendment.  He paints a reasonably attractive vision of an economically unified Canada, America, and Mexico, where workers could move about freely, but who would have access to social services and other goodies based on their citizenship.  In such a world, he concludes, it would be very important for other political reasons that citizenship be tied to more than mere perinatal location, and so birthright citizenship would need to be replaced by something else, and he suggests that the various laws employed by various European nations might be good alternatives.  After all, giving someone special rights just because they were born somewhere is the height of moral luck, and hardly cosmopolitan.  Thus, we should work to repeal the 14th Amendment, on liberal cosmopolitan grounds.

What follows is a long way of saying that I think his proposal is seriously deluded.

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I’ve mostly ignored this over the past few months because I believe that examining pictures of a pregnant woman with an eye to figuring out whether her shape is appropriate to the gestation of the fetus is morally degrading to the examiner.  But I have to say that I’m with Amanda here, and I’m very surprised at the quarters whence the newest round of conspiracy theory comes.

Don’t get me wrong.  It strikes me as completely plausible that Palin, a woman whose public persona is constructed around a conservative fantasy, the tough woman who proves liberals wrong by having Christ, a career, children, and a perfect coiffure, exaggerated the extent to which she was in labor during the plane flight (here’s one account, where the doc says she induced labor upon landing)  This would not be surprising for any politician whose career depends more than most on personal charisma and narrative.   I have heard that male politicians have sometimes exaggerated their influence in important legislation or their status as a war hero.

What bothers me is the epistemic leap from Palin probably isn’t wholly truthful big friggin’ shocker to Therefore, we have a right to demand the birth certificate of her child to prove that she’s  the mother. As near as I can tell the only reason anyone considers the latter question seriously is due to Andrew Sullivan’s hissy fit that started way back before anyone knew that Bristol was pregnant (which makes it next to impossible that there’s another candidate for the role of Trig’s Mother besides Sarah Palin); otherwise it would be a complete non sequitur.  Settling the question that Palin is Trig’s mother wouldn’t prove her Wild Ride story to be true or false.

The obvious parallel with birtherism annoys people, but there’s more in common than the fact that in both cases people are demanding birth certificates and bemoaning the lack of MSM interest.  In both cases, the demand for the birth certificate came after a bunch of common-sense evidence was rejected as easily fabricated.  And I’d be willing to bet that if Palin released Trig’s birth certificate tomorrow, there will still be people pointing out that sometimes adoptive birth certificates show the adoptive parents as the parents with no indication that the child has been adopted, and somewhere down in the abyss of Amanda’s comments there will continue to be arguments that because Palin was photographed wearing kitten-heeled boots, she’s can’t really be the mother.

I don’t really care about Rand Paul’s heart of hearts, but I do wonder if the acrobatic tap dance some people do about wondering whether he’s really a racist or just advocating a return to Jim Crow that happens to have racist effects would survive if the questions were put in the following way:

Should your tax dollars be used to pay police to remove people from private businesses solely because the proprietor doesn’t like the color of their skin?

I imagine it would be like one of those push polls where you get different results based on whether you say pro-life or anti-choice or what have you.  But even if it didn’t, it would belie a feature that often is overlooked; this whole debate is not one between those who would prefer a society free of state interference* versus those who think that some state interference is warranted, but a debate over what kinds of rights should have priority.

The libertarian answer in this instance is that property rights trump civil rights, and that the state should prioritize enforcing those.

*If I were a libertarian, romantic appeals to the past would bother me because it would imply that America had already implemented my vision, and decided that it was bad.

So Lieberman is a monster.

But logistically, how is this thing supposed to work?  The state accuses someone of terrorism.   If the state waits until after he is convicted, then stripping him of his citizenship is a novel punishment, but not one that would affect how the trial proceeds or the rights the accused would have until the trial.  (And it creates more problems, too; what do you do with a stateless terrorist?  Start deportation proceedings after prison?  Where to?)

If the state doesn’t wait, then the mere suspicion of terrorism is enough to… start legal proceedings to remove someone’s citizenship… so he can… be tried without constitutional protections?   Taken away to be tortured because the magical Miranda fairy dust makes it impossible to interrogate the guy or get him to confess?  (Both of which happened with the Miracle-Gro bomber, here, but let’s not confuse the issue with the facts.) I’m assuming that’s the line of thinking here.

We’re supposed to start years of legal proceedings to remove someone’s citizenship (because of course Lieberman isn’t suggesting something as stupid as revoking citizenship based on an indictment, right?  Right?) so we then know how to proceed with the investigation?  And that’s supposed to help us get more information faster all like Jack Bauer in minute 59 of the hour?

Here’s what the law is now. Note the little clause in §1481(a).  I suspect that one could commit treason and be executed a citizen.

Note to Congresscritters: reading someone his rights informs him of his rights.  It does not grant them, for he already has the right to remain silent, &c.   You’d almost suspect we’d written this down somewhere in a kind of founding document and refined it through the courts.

All refusing to mirandize a suspect does is foul up the eventual prosecution.  You should have to know this if you’re a Representative.

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