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Articles on this Page
- 05/16/16--14:00: _Jalopnik Crazy Braz...
- 05/16/16--16:32: _Trump Campaign Repo...
- 05/16/16--14:10: _Extra-Ambitious Man...
- 05/16/16--18:01: _Concealed Carry Own...
- 05/16/16--18:55: _Trump to Obama: Dum...
- 05/16/16--20:35: _Sasha Frere-Jones R...
- 05/16/16--20:47: _Marco Rubio Proves ...
- 05/16/16--19:00: _Is Kim Kardashian a...
- 05/17/16--07:35: _The Intercept Begin...
- 05/17/16--07:50: _Union Leaders: Stop...
- 05/17/16--06:45: _Christina Aguilera ...
- 05/17/16--08:27: _The Horrifying Real...
- 05/17/16--09:25: _Eyewitness Says The...
- 05/17/16--09:33: _Read this illuminat...
- 05/17/16--10:10: _Donald Trump's Sist...
- 05/17/16--10:15: _France is setting a...
- 05/17/16--10:30: _Nevada Democrats Re...
- 05/17/16--10:59: _The NYPD Just Ran O...
- 05/17/16--11:35: _Vaccinate Your Hasi...
- 05/17/16--12:00: _Finally, Alex Jones...
- 05/16/16--18:55: Trump to Obama: Dumb Is Good, Actually
- 05/16/16--20:47: Marco Rubio Proves He's Not Mad by Flipping Out on Twitter
- 05/17/16--07:50: Union Leaders: Stop Fucking Up
Alanis Morissette’s business partner had one hand in his pocket and the other one stole $4.7 million from her. [TMZ]
Mariah Carey was carried down the red carpet at NBC’s upfronts yesterday and somehow people are surprised. [Page Six]
- Aw, dad seems happy. [People]
- Imagine how boring Prince William’s lifestyle blog would be. [People]
- Imagine how boring Derek Hough’s birthday party was. [Page Six]
- Imagine how boring Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie’s conversations are. [Us Weekly]
- 05/17/16--08:27: The Horrifying Reality of the Academic Job Market
- 05/17/16--11:35: Vaccinate Your Hasidic Baby Please
- 05/17/16--12:00: Finally, Alex Jones Explains Why Michelle Obama Murdered Joan Rivers
Jalopnik Crazy Brazilians Stick A Turbo 4-Cylinder Car Engine On A Kart, Have Blast, Cheat Death
By his own account, ochre taco bowler
Citing an unnamed source, BuzzFeed News reports that the Trump campaign called off a planned interview with an Argentine journalist after overhearing him speak Spanish:
Marcos Stupenengo, a freelance correspondent working for TV Azteca, got an interview with Donald Trump — initially. He had no trouble when he asked to come to Trump Tower in New York on Monday to interview the bombastic presumptive Republican nominee.
But as he waited to conduct the interview, Stupenengo received a call, and began speaking in Spanish. That’s when the Trump campaign informed him they had no interest in taking part in an interview with him, according to a source with knowledge of the incident.
According to BuzzFeed’s source, a Spanish-speaking Secret Service agent assigned to Trump then told Stupenengo he was sorry and “didn’t know what was happening.”
The Trump campaign and Stupenengo did not immediately respond to Gawker’s requests for comment.
If accurate, the incident wouldn’t be the Trump campaign’s first dust up with a journalist representing Spanish-language television. During a confrontation with Univision’s Jorge Ramos last August, Trump told the news anchor
A very ambitious and evidently serious American expatriate is trying to raise $1.5 million to “recreate” the September 11 attacks in an empty field in Thailand by crashing an aircraft into a building at 500 miles per hour. He’s promising front-row seats to anyone who donates $5,000 or more.
Paul Salo is a businessman of some sort whose various titles on LinkedIn include a lot of references to marketing and consulting. He says he’s lived in Shanghai for over a decade, and, in one of those swerves that happen sometimes in people’s lives, has now decided he’s the guy destined to determine whether or not September 11, 2001, was a “hoax.”
In a YouTube video posted May 6, Salo announced the launch of his project, which is, in short, to buy a building that’s about to be torn down in a remote area, buy a plane with a functioning black box, and crash one into the other very hard, using autopilot.
“Everything that was in 9/11, we’re putting in this one,” Salo says, joyously. “Passports, old passports, we’re going to put them around the airplane.”
And no misbehavior will be tolerated, Salo explains, because the building, the airplane, and the surrounding countryside will be festooned with cameras: “Anybody who tries to mess with anything will be on camera.”
Salo says in the video he thinks, in his opinion, “that we probably will find out that it was a similar physics as what happened on 9/11, OK? I believe that actually 9/11, some guys flew airplanes in there. But at the same time, hey, I’m no dummy. Maybe it’s not true. I want to find out too. I want to fly that sucker in there. We’re going to find out exactly what happens when something goes 500 miles an hour into a building full of fuel.”
Salo’s “quest” was first reported by Coconuts Bangok, which politely referred to him as “delusional.” On his crowdfunding page, which he’s titled “September 11 Redux,” Salo presents this whole thing as a way to get to the bottom of 9/11 for good and all, and insists he doesn’t mean any disrespect:
I have total respect for the firefighters and police that gave their lives on September 11th. And for the victims of that tragedy. I have no desire to downplay the heroism on that fateful day.
We all have belief in the official line somewhere between black and white on each extreme. We are not a team of tin foil hats. Of truthers. We just want to see it. And, as I said, let what happens happen. Either way, you’ll be there either online or off and can participate on some level.
In his video, Salo says he needs $300,000, but the Indiegogo page is seeking $1.5 million USD. Salo acknowledges that there’s “no way to know” how much the project will cost, adding that in the event that the plane misses the building, “obviously that sucks, but we’ll do it again.”
This appears to be an entirely serious, non-trolling effort, but given how outlandish it is, there does exist the slim possibility that Salo is messing with us. At publication time, his Indiegogo page indicated that he had raised $10. On LinkedIn, he’s requesting “reputable” PR agencies to advise him on media, saying he’s been “inundated” with requests. We’ve reached out to him for comment and will update if we hear back.
Screenshot via YouTube/Paul Salo
According to police, a man attending a high school graduation in Kansas accidentally fired a pistol he had concealed in his sock on Sunday, shooting himself and a female bystander. Neither injury is believed to be life-threatening, The Washington Post reports.
“It was uncomfortable for him,” Augusta Police Chief Tyler Brewer told The Wichita Eagle. “He went to adjust his sock, and the weapon went off, striking him in the foot.”
Describing the shooting as “a knuckleheaded situation,” Brewer said the man had a concealed carry permit but still broke the law by bringing the gun to the school. From the Associated Press:
The bullet went through the man’s foot and traveled about another 50 feet before striking a woman in her calf. The woman has been released from a Wichita hospital, while the man has been admitted with an injury that’s not life-threatening.
Brewer says the Augusta High School commencement continued after the shooting, with most people unaware of what happened. Brewer says he plans to present the case to prosecutors because it’s illegal to carry a firearm on school grounds.
According to the CDC, 505 Americans died from accidental firearm discharges in 2013 in cases where the intent of the discharge was known. That same year, FBI statistics show 390 Americans were killed by strangers during the commission of a felony in cases where the circumstances of the homicide and the victim’s relationship with the offender were known.
“This is a primary reason that President Obama is the worst president in U.S. history!” wrote Trump, quoting Obama’s statement that “ignorance is not a virtue.”
If not in life, then at least in GOP politics, Trump just might be right
Sasha Frere-Jones—the longtime New Yorker pop music critic who bolted for a gig at Genius before leaving the nascent website
Per The Wrap’s Itay Hod, Frere-Jones—who was hired by the Times in July—ran afoul of his bosses multiple times during his tenure at the newly-minted Tribune paper:
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Frere-Jones recently filed a $5,000 expense report for a venue that the paper discovered was actually a strip club.
Asked to explain, Frere-Jones said he was writing an article about a rapper. But according to the insider, the rapper’s representatives told the paper that no interview had taken place.
In addition, a source close to the situation said that Frere-Jones had accepted a luxury trip sponsored by Dom Pérignon to The Joshua Tree National Park in April — a freebie that is considered a no-no by most mainstream news organizations.
Hod also reports that Jones offered Coachella coverage to an unnamed artist if that artist provided for his transportation to the festival. Further, Hod reports that Frere-Jones’ production level was questioned by his peers inside the newsroom, as was the fact that he reported directly to “managing editor for editorial strategy at the Los Angeles Times, Mitra Kalita, instead of the usual chain of command.”
Frere-Jones did not respond to a request for comment from The Wrap, and similarly did not respond to an email sent by Gawker. The Times confirmed to Hod that Jones “resigned recently” but would not comment on the circumstances of his departure.
If you have any info on Jones’ ouster, please feel free to email me.
Let’s dispel with this fiction that Marco Rubio doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly he’s doing: freaking out online.
Citing sources close to the senator, The Washington Post ran a story on Monday suggesting Rubio was “a bit at sea” politically. That evening, the completely grounded former GOP candidate fired back with a charmingly unhinged shit fit.
“Funny,” begins Rubio’s rant, a sure-fire sign the speaker is, in fact, mad as hell:
In conclusion, Marco Rubio is not mad, you are mad.
UPDATE: Marco Rubio is not mad, he is sleepy.
I can’t say that the possibility of Secret Agent Kim ever crossed my mind, but the world is wide and full of wonders.
Vanity Fair reports that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp, “an agency tasked with policing domestic culture and heading off the influence of other nations, is concerned about the social-media popularity of Kim Kardashian.” In fact, their concern runs so deep that they have accused her of purposeful corruption.
Mostafa Alizadeh, spokesman for the Revolutionary Guard’s Organized Cyberspace Crime Unit, explains to Iran Wire that their surveillance of Kardashian and other models with significant social media platforms, falls under the purview of “Operation Spider 2.” Their object: to eliminate content deemed incompatible with Islamic values and to punish the so-called offenders.
Here’s Alizadeh, via Iran Wire:
“‘[Foreign powers] are targeting young people and women,’ he said. ‘Foreigners are behind it because it is targeting families. These schemes originate from around the Persian Gulf and England. When you draw the operational graph, you will see that it is a foreign operation.’
The aim of Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom, he said, is to make fashion modeling native to Iran, and Kim Kardashian is implementing his scheme for him. ‘Ms. Kim Kardashian is a popular fashion model, so Instagram’s CEO tells her, ‘make this native,’ Alizadeh said. ‘There is no doubt that financial support is involved as well. We are taking this very seriously.’”
According to Vanity Fair, the Unit purports to “have arrested individuals responsible for some 350 Facebook pages.”Iranian entertainer Elham Arab has already “been featured in what appears to be a forced confession.” One hundred and seventy more individuals have received warnings from the Revolutionary Guard, and 29 of those “are being targeted for prosecution.” Altogether, the investigation seems pretty scary.
When the Organized Cyberspace Crime Unit blocks a social media account, Iran Wire reports, they replace it with “a large blue frame with the caption ‘These pages are blocked by the authority of Operation Spider 2 to open security cases by order of the judiciary.’”
Kardashian is the granddaughter of Armenian immigrants, a country sharing a border with Iran. Perhaps this cultural linkage intensifies the Revolutionary Guard’s antipathy towards her, though current reports make no mention of it.
A number of condemned Instagram accounts remain accessible, but their owners have fled Iran. And as for Arab — her “confession” is heartbreaking in its self-effacement.
“All girls want to marry and live happily,” she says before a camera, “But if you ask [men] if they would marry [a model], 90 percent would say no.”
Unsurprisingly, Kardashian’s Twitter and Instagram accounts make no mention of the accusations levied at her.
Image via Getty.
Today, The Intercept began the process of making the archive of documents provided by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden available to the wider public, beginning with the first three months of SIDtoday, an internal, top secret agency newsletter that began publishing 11 days after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The files are available for download here.
The newsletter was launched in March 2003 by a team within the NSA’s Signals Intelligence Directorate, which spied on agency targets. Unlike more technical documents, the newsletters address agency activities in layman’s terms. The Intercept’s Peter Maass explains:
Functioning like a small-town newspaper, the staff of SIDtoday published question-and-answer articles with senior and mid-level officials who described their jobs and their motivations for doing them. Some articles were firsthand descriptions of important missions, as in the case of an NSA employee who went to Baghdad right after the Iraqi capital came under American control. “I rode the whole way in a five-ton truck, with easy access to thermite grenades that could be used to destroy our classified cargo in the event of an ambush,” he wrote at the end of 2003. Another story, by SID’s chief of staff, described how the agency helped with the rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch during the invasion (his article is included in the first batch of SIDtoday articles).
SIDtoday even assembled a stable of columnists over the course of its first nine years, contributors who wrote as a sideline to their day jobs at the agency. One column, called “Ask Zelda!,” was akin to “Dear Abby” for the intelligence community, written by a mid-level supervisor at the NSA who answered questions from readers, including one about what should be worn to the office on hot summer days. “Shorts and flip-flops don’t exactly convey the image of a fierce SIGINT warrior,” Zelda noted.
A language analyst wrote a column on the ethics of surveillance, called “SIGINT Philosopher.” (It must not have been very well written.) A very optimistic issue from June 2003 reflects on SIGINT’s shifting priorities “now that the situation in Iraq has entered the reconstruction phase.”
Under the headline “Can You Handle the Truth,” an October 2003 issue offered agency employees the “chance to get to GITMO for 90 days!” As an NSA liaison, or NSA LNO, one would be “responsible for interfacing with the DoD, CIA, and FBI interrogators on a daily basis in order to assess and exploit information sourced from detainees.”
One such liaison offered a glowing review of his trip, two months later. “The work can be extremely interesting, challenging, and fulfilling. “On a given week, the NSA LNO might pull together intelligence to support an upcoming interrogation, formulate questions and strategies for the interrogation, and observe or participate in the interrogation.”
“Outside work, fun awaits and opportunities abound. Water sports are outstanding: boating, paddling, fishing, water skiing and boarding, sailing, swimming, snorkeling, and SCUBA.” Also, there was a Tiki Bar. “Relaxing is easy,” he wrote.
In this bizarre presidential election season, will the Democrats allow
As this campaign has worn on, there have been increasingly worried grumblings from America’s labor unions that a significant chunk of their members might peel off and vote for Donald Trump. Major unions have decided to counter that prospect with a large, coordinated $50 million-plus campaign to both turn out the labor vote and attack Trump. The plan is for a coalition of unions, including the AFL-CIO and the SEIU, to fund the campaign, along with billionaire Democratic climate change activist Tom Steyer. That coalition seemed to be a good example of unity between the labor and environmentalist wings of the party, coming together in support of a common goal.
Until now. A bunch of building trade unions have sent angry letters to the AFL-CIO, which they are part of, objecting to the involvement of Tom Steyer in this anti-Trump project. Their complaint is that Steyer, in his climate change activism, opposed the Keystone Pipeline and other energy projects that the unions are only able to interpret as “jobs.” Laborers Union president Terry O’Sullivan calls Steyer a “job-killer and environmental extremist” whose “vision of leaving oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuels in the ground kills jobs, drives up energy cost, and threatens to strangle our economy.” Another letter from multiple building union leaders says, “We are not climate science deniers and have merely sought to ensure that the employment prospects of our members are not negatively impacted in any economic and energy transition.”
Because of these objections, the anti-Trump coalition may fall apart. This makes me want to throw up.
This is the sort of short-sightedness and self-interest to the exclusion of all else that lives up to the very worst stereotypes of unions and their leaders. On the one hand, global warming could inundate hundreds of million of people in coastal cities and wipe out untold billions of dollars worth of property in violent storms and plunge entire nations into war over dwindling resources; on the other hand, the Keystone Pipeline might have created 3,900 jobs for one year. This is insanity. It is the equivalent of construction workers demanding jobs building their own gallows, from which they will be hung at completion.
Is it reasonable for unionized workers in the energy sector to fear the decline of carbon-intensive industries that employ them? Sure. Is the solution to that to put on blinders and demand to continue operating these industries at full throttle even though we know they are poisoning the planet? No, it is not. The solution is for unions to use their political clout to help develop the clean energy industry of the future, and ensure that the jobs in that industry are unionized. When technology changes and the economy changes and our scientific understanding changes and it becomes clear that certain industries must decline and others must grow, only a fool clings to the old industry and prays that nothing will change. What unions—and the U.S. government—owe to workers in dying fossil fuel industries is not the continuation of those industries, which are dying for good reason. It is help for the people. When people are left behind by economic changes out of their control, we must all, through our government, provide those people with economic assistance and job training and relocation assistance and everything else that they need to survive. The people in question are no less victims than those who had their homes wiped out by tornadoes. Their livelihood has been destroyed by the changing economy. And they deserve help—much more help than America has traditionally given them. Securing this promise for left-behind workers is an extremely worthy goal of the labor movement. Ensuring that the world continues barreling down the path to global climate apocalypse is not. If union leaders fail to see that, they are not fit to be leaders.
Fear can make people do dumb things. Donald Trump has promised to revive the US coal industry. He won’t! It is an industry that is on a permanent decline, because it is poison. Leaders of building trade unions are telling their members that it is in their interests to extract every ounce of fossil fuel from the ground. It’s not! We (or our grandkids) will all be screwed if that happens. If Donald Trump had a shred of decency he would promise to help coal workers, rather than the coal industry. And if union leaders had good sense they would focus on getting a safety net in place for their workers and steering them into the industries that will actually exist a few decades in the future, rather than pretending that inevitable change is not coming.
Climate change and economic inequality are the two most important issues
As a person without “bosoms” or any opportunities to share a room with important political figures, I’ll never be able to experience what it’s like to have Hillary Clinton stare at my cleavage. But, if Christina Aguilera is to be believed (and she usually is—why wouldn’t she be?), I now know what it feels like.
In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres on Monday, Aguilera was asked about the semi-famous 2012 photo in which Clinton’s eyes appear to be gazing in the direction of Aguilera’s breasts. Once brought up, Aguilera didn’t mince words when describing what was happening: “She was staring at my bosoms.”
When describing what it feels like to have one’s bosoms stared at by Ms. Clinton, Aguilera laughed and said, “It’s amazing. It’s awesome. She supports the girls!”
I believe it!
While accepting the “Break the Internet Award” at last night’s Webbys (I envy those of you who have no idea what the Webbys are), Kim Kardashian made a promise I look forward to watching her keep over the next few decades when giving her five-word acceptance speech, which was, “Nude selfies until I die.”
I will buy every single follow-up to Selfish. I will buy a second coffee table to contain them. I will scream, “Yassss mom,” at Kim posing in nothing but a Life Alert necklace when I’m 85.
Oh no, Blac Chyna has a new Instagram account focusing on pregnancy.
Image via Getty.
This week’s theme: if you think that you are going to have a career in academia, think again.
Repulsive and exploitative
I got my PhD in Classics, which maintains a bit of an old school appeal to pedigree (and white males). Our PhDs are being churned out at an alarming rate (not as bad as English, though), and there are few tenure track jobs. If you look at the Classics wiki, which goes back to 2010, the jobs go to ivy PhDs 90% of time. I may be a touch bitter about it, but objectively I think it is bad for the discipline because we have the same ideologies from the same institutions being placed all over the country. I also think that it is incredibly irresponsible for tenured faculty to encourage undergraduates to go to graduate school when the adjunctification of the university has been bad for a really long time (as I am sure you know, it is only recently that the issue has exploded all over the internet). I’ve been telling students for years not to do it while my colleagues pushed others through, because schools rank better if they produce PhD graduates.
Pre-defense I was in visiting instructor line at school in Florida that was supposed to last 3 years. Due to budget cuts from president’s office, and despite the pleas to the chair and dean from my many students, I was cut after a year. My graduate institution, U of SC, offered to pay me a higher adjunct rate with a full schedule, so I moved back from Florida to take the position. This extra rate was still only 4k a class, for 32k a year. I taught upper level classes, one with over 300 students, and a bunch of language classes. It was grueling work, with 4 different preps each semester. I wasn’t allowed to go to any department meetings and, while my colleagues were generally nice and appreciative of me doing the bulk of teaching for the department, we were definitely not on equal terms.
When everything started buzzing about adjunct walk-out day, I decided to talk to my students about the adjunct problem instead of walking out. I made some slides and talked about the national problem, gave them the percentage of faculty at their school who were contingent. They were absolutely shocked and horrified. The students have no idea. They assume that anyone teaching a college class is a “professor” with great pay and hours and everything...
[Later], I took a job in public school, and, sadly, at a school in the south I make over 15k more than I did as a university “professor.” The summer after my year of adjuncting, when for 3 months I had to live on $3200 (pre-tax), I racked up over 5k in credit card debt to get groceries and pay bills. I just wasn’t able to put anything away during the year, so I had nothing saved. I am still paying for it.
What’s going on at the university level is repulsive and exploitative. You can look up administrator salaries at state schools and they make ridiculous money, and there are so many of them, assistant chairs, deanlets, vice provosts. And the rallying cry is that because of state funding the schools have no money, but in actuality they put it into facilities and admin salaries.
I am never adjuncting again, and I have decided to leave academia. The tenure-track, because there are so few people to divide up committee work and professional duties, and the publish or perish philosophy, and tenure disappearing at universities across the country, isn’t what it used to be and I don’t want to bounce around adjuncting or in visiting lines for years to end up still not “making it.” I need loan forgiveness for my massive student debt from getting the PhD, and public service forgiveness is the best way to do it (so no private schools, adjuncting, or visiting lines). I want to teach in a more desirable part of the country, but teaching is teaching I suppose. I do miss being able to swear in class, though.
I think promoting adjunct rights is important, but I also hope that the series with Gawker touches on the realities of the job market - we need to be realistic with undergraduates (many of whom are already in debt). They are not unique snowflakes, and getting higher education doesn’t guarantee a job. Ivy PhDs give you a fighting chance, but it still isn’t a sure thing.
All you can do is hope and pray
I am an adjunct professor at two colleges in Southern California. Teaching four classes a semester, my take-home pay is a little over $800 a week—and I am only paid that 8 months out of the year, for the spring and fall semesters. (My wife is beginning her career in production design and film, and is currently a production assistant on a TV show. She and I recently made the tragi-comic observation that, at her low, first-rung-of-the-ladder, entry-level job, she makes as much as I do after I have taught 9 years at the college level.)
One of the schools I teach at, Fullerton College in Fullerton, CA, had five open full-time positions this year. And, after 9 years of teaching, excellent evaluations from institution and students alike, and a deep commitment to my work there, I wasn’t even able to get an interview. It was particularly demoralizing. So, okay, maybe there’s something about my application they’re not looking for or don’t like, but not even getting an interview says loud and clear what I already know: the place I work for does not value my contribution to its success in a way we typically associate with employers. There is no advancement and promotion structure based on what you have accomplished or invested in your work at the institution. It counts for nothing. All you can do is hope and pray that you’ll be one of the chosen ones, called up to a life of health care and a living wage (but still teaching the exact same classes and performing the exact same job duties). That is in fact the most disheartening aspect of it: I teach the same classes, to the same standards, with the same textbooks and support as my full-time colleagues. We do the same work. I make 1/3 of their salary.
Here’s a fun fact: a quick perusal of the job openings on the website of the college district I teach at shows that I could make more money per month as a Facilities Custodian at my school than I do as an adjunct professor. Naturally I don’t begrudge the janitor for making this money; it’s great! But again, there are two classes of academics at these schools: full-timers, who are paid a wage commensurate with their experience and education, and adjunct faculty, who are not. Hate to beat a dead horse, but these two classes of people do the exact same work.
Starbucks employee and adjunct professor
I am an adjunct :(
I make $1200 a month teaching 2 Master EXECUTIVE program classes. I had to create the whole curriculum for one of the classes, the department just gave me a name for the course.
I spent more than 1 month creating the whole content for that class and that was in December before classes stared in January. I am currently working 40 + hours a week in class preparation (grading, responding emails and participating in class discussions). I have 2 kids, so I have to work part time at my local Starbucks to to have access to insurance.
My department ignores its adjunct professors, we are not included in any activities, programs, etc. I have a PhD from Purdue University and teaching is my life! I love what I do, but I hate the labor system. I make more at Starbucks than what I make at my University!
It is insane to see that my department has only 3 FULL TIME PROFESSORS and 20 ADJUNCTS!!! It is a business where my executive students pay a lot of money for their masters degree and I only get a tip!
What can we do? Don’t do a PhD. Things will not change for us.
It’s just not worth it
My work experience was as follows……during the 2009-2010 school year, I taught as an adjunct at three different schools. The first was 60 miles away, I drove two days a week for two classes at $1,500 per class. The second was teaching online two courses a semester for $2000 dollars a course. The third was in my hometown for about $180-$200 per student. I think I made a bit under $20,000 that year. The next year, I was a visiting assistant professor at liberal arts college half-time for $21,000 per year, but the catch was it required a 2 hour commute one way, which I made 2-3 times a week and I wasn’t going to move my family unless the job was permanent. After being promised upon taking the job that there would be a full-time opening for this position and I would be considered for it, they cancelled the search 2 months into the school year and said I could stay on part-time beginning the next fall, after I fulfilled my contract for the 2010-2011 school year. I finished out the spring and never went back as I took a job in administration at my alma mater in the fall of 2011, overseeing the development of a new program. The faculty senate then refused to approve the continued funding of the program that December, with the most vocal opposition to my program (and thus, my employment) coming from the faculty representative from the very department I had graduated from. After that experience, I left academia and history altogether and have only looked back with regret, bitterness, and advising any potential graduate students in the humanities to avoid the experience altogether. It’s just not worth it. I had done it all….articles and book reviews in refereed journals, published dissertation as a book by a university press, attended conferences and presented at them every year, taught mountains of classes and won teaching awards for them, was awarded research grants, etc. And after all of that, I was never once a finalist brought to campus for an interview in a tenured position. After filling out 150 full academic applications over 3 years (for jobs that were in my chosen fields – I was never applying to everything that came along), I think I interviewed over the phone or at a conference about 4 times.
I’ve taught a number of classes as an ABD PhD candidate. My school is probably middle-of-the-road in terms of working conditions - not the worst, not the best. The work level can vary wildly within schools, regardless. I’ve envied adjuncts in STEM programs who are handed a pre-designed course and just told to go teach it. I’m in the social sciences, and in my department we are expected to design the course from scratch, and continually revise and update it. It’s unbelievably time consuming, particularly if you make yourself very available to students for extra help and support, as is increasingly the expectation. In my experience it isn’t until you teach the course three or four times that you are sufficiently comfortable and familiar with the material that the pay is remotely proportional to the work you do.
The biggest problem I see with the increasing reliance on adjuncts is that there seems to be a subtle re-organization of graduate education to meet the new need for a large pool of desperate academic laborers. Graduate programs are accepting more students, and making less funding available. This leads to a larger number of available adjuncts before and after graduation. It also leads to delays in graduation at the PhD level where, in order to pay living expenses and tuition, students spend so much time in time-consuming adjunct positions that there is very little time left over to complete their degree requirements. One friend dropped out of his PhD program when he recognized that all of the people ahead of him in his program - if they finished at all - were taking around 10 years to finish their degrees because their departments were pressuring them to take on a heavier teaching load than they could handle. I eventually had to draw the line with adjunct work and refused to take on any more until I complete my dissertation. The result was a cooling effect in terms of my relationship with my department - they seem to want very little to do with me any more now that I’m no use to them.
The state of the academic job market is absolutely ridiculous. I’m finishing my PhD out of pure stubbornness, but I won’t even bother trying to find an academic teaching position. It’s like unicorn hunting.
Something has to give
Adjuncting runs a spectrum in terms of problems, but the low pay and job insecurity are the root of stresses and difficulties at both ends of it. At the arguably worst end of the spectrum are those who can’t get enough work. There are too few classes in a workable region, and this tends to go hand in hand with horrible pay. $990 is the worst that I have seen offered for a traditional course in such settings, but $2000 or less per course is entirely common in rural regions or areas with only a few community colleges. The other end of the spectrum is where I currently am, living now in the Northeast. At this end, finding contracts for courses is less difficult, but at the same time you must scrabble together many classes to match the often higher cost of living (especially housing).
To make this work, I juggle courses at 3 different universities, and have taught between 5 and 7 courses in fall and spring semesters, plus 2-3 in the summer for a couple of years now. Whereas tenure-track professors at a research university might teach 5-6 courses a year, perhaps 8 if it is a hybrid liberal arts focused institution, and maybe 10 at a purely teaching institution, I have generally taught 12-15 annually at a fraction of the annual pay *even after teaching that many courses*... and of course, with no job security from semester to semester. The rates per course vary with each university. Two of mine are unionized, though this doesn’t automatically translate into decent pay. Because of how new and sometimes weak the adjunct organization efforts are, some initial contracts can be really, really bad, while others can be great and bring security and benefits. One of mine still has horrible pay, and the other will be improving notably, but slowly over the the next few years, and still no real security or benefits. All together, I currently make between 3600- 4100 per course, so somewhere between 45-50k a year. Average rent in my area will take half of that away, and student loans and bad healthcare offerings will take another big chunk, but it is doable, which is why it is on the better end of problems. I am not in penury as long as nothing upsets the current balance.
The costs of this arrangement get shifted around. Students get costs pushed onto them in terms of time that any adjunct can devote to any one class or student. Pedagogical quality and personal attention suffer, or the adjunct suffers unsustainably from overwork. When you have 125-150 students each semester in courses where you are expected to evaluate essays, ideas, and writing, and with no assistance in grading... something has to give. Finding time to step back and evaluate whether different teaching strategies are working for a few students, and mulling over “how can I reach these kids” is often just not feasible with the number of hours in a day. If you do find time, forget institutional support for either pedagogical or scholarly development. University administrators will rarely provide resources to their adjuncts, and are more often than not completely dismissive or hostile to them. If you want to do actual scholarship, you better hope it doesn’t require expensive travel or resources, and if you are in a field that doesn’t require these things, then it is probably one that isn’t hiring with full time positions.
A few things would be improvements, in no particular order of feasibility or sufficiency:
-Increase public funding for universities and earmark percentages of budgets for instructor salaries. While things like the bloating of an administrative class with little to no experience in a real classroom are negative and contribute to the low pay of adjuncts (among other problems), the lack of public funding is worse.
-Increase unionization of faculty. If tenure-track jobs are going away or becoming a scarcity-driven middle-managerial class, then most faculty must get over their traditional conceit of being lone professionals. For the sake of their students and themselves, they must recognize the need for collective organization to counter the economically and educationally destructive demands of administrators.
-Increase democratic accountability of all administrative functions. Universities should not be run like businesses, and education should not be reduced to an array of commodities offered for career advancement alone. Yet, this is exactly how so much of the administrative class (who may have never taught a class in their lives) thinks of universities. A return to electing administrators on temporary rotation from within the faculty would be preferable. Electing an administrative body with substantive input from all university employees (faculty and non-faculty) as well as students would be even better, if unlikely at the moment. An end to administrators as careerists and CEOs is mandatory if we want to do something other than watch the university system collapse or mutate into something no longer worth defending.
Thanks to all the adjuncts who have sent in their stories. We will run more in coming weeks.
Wendell Pierce—whose face you may recognize from HBO’s The Wire, Treme, and Confirmation—was arrested over the weekend after allegedly assaulting a man and woman during a fight over the merits of Bernie Sanders. This weird story is now only getting weirder.
So far, these are the facts as they currently appear: Pierce and his girlfriend got into an argument with three others in a hallway at the Loews Hotel in Atlanta. In the midst of the discussion, the three alleged victims (two of whom are still unnamed) began walking to their room and were followed by Pierce and his girlfriend. At that point there was a scuffle in the doorway of the room. But the sides predictably disagree on who was the aggressor in a fight that turned from verbal to physical.
According to a police report obtained by TMZ, Pierce claims that his three opponents attempted to pull him into their room as he resisted. Conversely, a person who The Daily Beast describes as an eyewitness who was sleeping in the room and was not part of the initial argument says instead that Pierce attempted to barge his way into the room while those inside tried to slam the door shut.
“I went to the door, and Maggie, and her boyfriend, and her cousin had just come in,” the source recounted. “Her cousin is leaning her back against the door and feet against the wall trying to keep the door closed, and the boyfriend is trying to get Mr. Pierce’s hands off his girlfriend … He was trying to force his way into the room, and had a handful of Maggie’s hair, and yanking on the hair, and swinging his arm around.”
The eyewitness acknowledges that Pierce claimed he was being pulled into the room even as the fight was ongoing, but says that nobody inside the room was actually doing that:
Meanwhile, a woman who had accompanied Pierce was screaming from the 23rd-floor hallway.
“She was [on the other side of the door repeatedly] shouting, ‘Wendell, stop it, Wendell, stop it,’” the source said.
Wendell then loudly claimed that “they’re pulling me in,” but nobody in the room was tugging on him, according to the source.
Further the source says that when those inside the room relented from the tug of war over the door, Pierce allegedly charged into the door again and struck the victim, Maggie Elena Baca, on her head:
“He then charged the door, again,” the source said. “He then kept swinging, and hit [Maggie] a couple times, fairly hard, on the side of her head and on top of her head. He never got fully in the room. But it was then that Maggie’s boyfriend shouted, ‘I’m gonna get a knife.’”
Again, this is one side of the story. The police obviously agreed with it, charging Pierce with one count of battery that came with a $1,000 bail.
Pierce, for what it’s worth, was left with scratches on his nose and lip, as shown in his mugshot, also obtained by TMZ:
Read this illuminating and infuriating interview with an anonymous “former bike thief” for some tips on how to best protect your own ride. Rule number one: “Don’t be fooled by Kryptonite locks, they’re not as tough as made out to be.”
The release of a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the 2013 Bridgegate scandal has been delayed again, this time after a ruling from a federal appeals court that happens to include Donald Trump’s sister.
Earlier this month, a federal judge in Newark had ruled that the list should be made public. It was scheduled to be released on Friday, before a lawyer for one of the people on the list made an 11th-hour appeal that her client would be permanently branded a “felon without due process of law, causing him immediate and irreparable reputational harm.”
Prosecutors have said that all of those named on the list are either public employees or elected officials. Two of Governor Chris Christie’s former allies have been indicted and are going to trial in the case, and a third pleaded guilty last May.
Judge Thomas L. Ambro of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals granted the stay Tuesday, Politico reports, scheduling a June 6 hearing to “allow a full panel of this Court the opportunity to consider the merits of this case.” (Normally appeals cases are heard by a panel of three judges.)
It has not yet been determined whether that hearing—which will take place one day before the New Jersey primary—will be open or closed. All briefings in the case are now to be filed under seal; before, they were publicly available.
As WNYC’s Matt Katz points out, it is possible that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, who sits on the 3rd Circuit, could be included in the panel. In fact, it was Barry who first introduced the two men, in 2002. From NorthJersey.com:
Christie was U.S. Attorney for New Jersey at the time. He told a New Hampshire crowd last April that he had talked to Judge Barry over the phone (but in an interview last month, he described it as a face-to-face meeting).
“At the end of the meeting, she said, ‘I’d like you to do me a favor.’ And I said, ‘Sure, judge, what’s that?’ And she said, ‘I’d like you to go out to dinner with my little brother.’ And I said, ‘You mean Donald?’ And she said, ‘Yes, he really wants to meet you,’” Christie told the Washington Examiner last month.
Earlier this month, Trump named Governor Christie the chairman of his White House transition committee. It’s not clear whether Barry will disqualify herself from the case, and the clerk of the court directed inquiries from Gawker to deputy circuit executive Joel McHugh.
“If a judge has a reason to recuse, they’ll recuse,” McHugh said. He could not say, however, whether the governor’s involvement in her brother’s campaign constituted such a reason
This weekend, Nevada Democratic Chairwoman Roberta Lange declined to make a rule change that would have benefitted Bernie Sanders. It’s a decision she won’t soon forget—since then, she’s been flooded with death threats and personalized insults.
The party held a state convention Saturday at the Paris Las Vegas hotel, where as many as sixty Sanders delegates were deemed ineligible. To voice their displeasure, Sanders’ supporters reportedly began yelling and throwing things until the casino shut down the convention and kicked everyone out. It was so bad that even Las Vegas security guards couldn’t deal with it, the party said in a statement reported by CNN:
“At approximately 10:00 p.m. on Saturday night, the director of security for the Paris Las Vegas Hotel informed the state party and representatives from both presidential campaigns that the property could no longer provide the necessary security under conditions made unruly and unpredictable. Paris Las Vegas Hotel security requested a prompt conclusion to the event,” the Nevada State Democratic Party said in a statement.
Since then, Sanders’ supporters have apparently turned their ire on Lange, who says she’s received thousands of phone calls and “as many as three text messages per minute” to her private cell phone number.
“It’s been vile,” Lange tells the New York Times. “It’s been threatening messages, threatening my family, threatening my life, threatening my grandchild.”
That’s one way to not get what you want.
The award for most compelling use of Facebook Live since BuzzFeed’s watermelon explosion goes to the City of New York digital team and the NYPD, which used the streaming platform to broadcast the theatrical destruction of dozens of confiscated dirt bikes this afternoon. The good part starts at about the 29-minute mark in the video below.
The department has a shaky history
Since March, 75 people were infected with chicken pox in a South Williamsburg Orthodox Jewish community. The NYC health department is investigating the outbreak which almost exclusively affected infants and children up to 10 years old who were not vaccinated against the varicella virus or hadn’t finished the vaccination course.
City’s Immunization Bureau urges residents to cut the bullshit or risk chicken pox complications like pneumonia, bacterial infections, encephalitis, meningitis, birth defects and death.
In 2013, the largest US measles outbreak since 1996 spread through Orthodox Williamsburg, infecting 58 people, according to the Center for Disease Control. (The Brooklyn Hassidic Jews were dethroned by the Amish in Ohio in 2014, with a measles breakout of 383 cases.) None of the infected Brooklyn residents were vaccinated—a few were too young, but mostly denied or delayed vaccinations by their parents fearing the garbage theory that vaccines are linked to autism. A Borough Park doctor told the New Daily News, “We have to tell them it is a very contagious disease and that people can die.”
“Because I am Jewish, it is (perhaps) safe for me to ask it: what the f**k is going on in these areas of Brooklyn?” Kent Sepkowitz wrote at The Daily Beast during the 2013 measles fiasco, noting a then-recent mumps outbreak. “How and why does the same group meet time and again with the same calamity of developing quite serious, completely preventable infections?”
The explanation is easy: illnesses spread quickly in isolated neighborhoods, densely populated with large families and many young children. Now try treating the parents’ chronic distrust for medical regulations and government advice, like hey, maybe don’t suck the blood off a newly circumcised baby because that could give him herpes.
Remember when Michelle Obama murdered Joan Rivers a few years ago? Neither do we. But Infowarrior king Alex Jones
For those unfamiliar with the world as seen through the eyes of alt-right conspiracy theorists, it’s common knowledge that Michelle Obama, wife to President Barack Obama, is actually a transgender woman. Joan Rivers then joked about this a few months before her (all too convenient) death.
Now, prompted by the negative response to a recent cartoon comparing the First Lady to Melania Trump, Alex Jones decided to hit us with the truth:
Don’t forget, the famous comedian Joan Rivers said, “Of course everyone knows she’s a tranny.” ’ She’s dead serious: “Yeah, she’s a man.” Deader than a doornail in a routine operation—where, basically, she had fire poured down her throat and was a fire-breathing goblin.
[evil voice] Dead on arrival. Shoot your mouth off, honey. You will die. Mua ha ha ha. Liberal. Ha ha ha ha.
Jones goes on to call out George Clooney for being a women-enslaving maggot before finally returning to the topic at hand, saying, “I mean, I used to laugh at this stuff, but man—it’s all about rubbing our noses in it. And I think it’s all an arranged marriage. It’s all completely fake, and it’s this big sick joke because he’s obsessed with transgender. It’s like some weird cult or something. I think Michelle Obama is a man.” But does Jones really, truly believe the things he’s saying?
“I really do. I really do. I believe it.”
Well, that settles that.
You can watch Alex Jones’ shocking expose in full below.
[h/t Right Wing Watch]