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Monday, April 9, 2012


Wow do I feel priviledged. I have enough W-2s to paper my office. Just as a side note, while doing my taxes Turbo Tax said my employer was overwitholding my medicare tax. Since it was seven bucks I let it slide but will investigate the whole thing at another time. Speaking of other times and places, I assume everyone realizes that negotiations are supposedly taking place. I have gone to my crystal ball and can say the following: no raises, increased health care costs, increased workload and more money for the medical college and the vice presidents. See how easy that was? And, there will be no tenure track positions for departments that cannot guarentee that their graduates will be the next Bill Gates and return to the University lots of money. Now you can wander off to your summer destinations knowing what to expect when you return in the fall.


Anonymous said...


You may not be privileged compared with upper level academic administrators at UT and elsewhere (the academic 1-per-centers - deans, vice-provosts, vice-presidents, provost, president), but compared to the average American taxpayer in either the public or private sectors – you’re doing very nicely indeed, with your guaranteed government subsidized AAUP job for life (something virtually nobody else on the planet has) with well-above average pay, benefits and retirement.

Let’s look at the numbers…

But first, as an aside… if you happen to be a professor in one of the countless politicized, publicly funded pseudo-disciplines (Women’s Studies, etc. and far, far too many areas in the arts, humanities and social sciences) you are in effect little more than a politicized academic charlatan and Marxist- feminist postmodernist propagandist on the dole.

I have already previously discussed the many evils of pseudo-academic Marxist-feminist postmodernism here ad nauseum.

But even MANY of the more “mainstream” academic disciplines and sub-disciplines in the arts, humanities and social sciences are really little more than modernist/postmodernist pseudo-science, pseudo-scholarship and personality cult guru worship (Marx, Freud, Adorno, Marcuse, Friedan, Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze, Derrida etc. etc.).

Even such a well-entrenched academic and professional social science as Freudian psychoanalysis, for instance, is pure institutionalized, sui generis (self-generating) and self-perpetuating pseudo-scientific myth and snake oil for whiners.

You might as well go to ‘Madame Fifi’s Tarot Card and Palm Reading’ with your troubles.

(Forget the massive smoke screen kicked up by countless neo-Freudian apologists and go here instead: Unauthorized Freud: Doubters Confront a Legend (1998), Frederick C. Crews, ed.).

Entire armies of Marxist-feminists in psychology, sociology, anthropology, art, history, political science, philosophy, English, biology, economics, etc. have wandered completely off the reservation and have been terrorizing and pillaging their way through the academic heartland, largely unopposed for decades.


Anonymous said...


But moving on to the privileged and under-privileged in the job market…

As with, Wall Street, short term up and down ticks in unemployment statistics are essentially irrelevant, but the current government “unemployment” rate, which only counts recent unemployment application data, is 8.2% (Washington Post):

This is a figure arrived at after being finessed by funny math Washington bureaucrats, statisticians and incumbent election year flunkies (Washington Post):

Recent stats place the real government unemployment figure at 9.9%:

AEI has it at 10.4% - with the U6 unemployment figure, perhaps the truest measure of the labor market’s health, which includes the discouraged plus part-timers who wish they had full time work – at a whopping 14.9%.

But wait! There’s still more!

The current percentage of working-age Americans who are actually eligible to participate in the civilian labor force, but who are not currently working is… wait for it… 36.6%!!

If you additionally factor-in people who are currently working, but are grossly underemployed (working less than full-time) along with those who are currently working low-paying dead-end jobs with no benefits, the REAL unemployment figures just sail out of sight over the horizon – pushing towards the 50% mark.

And the down economy and American unemployment and under-employment are not likely to disappear anytime soon. Look for a Eurozone unraveling and worldwide double-dip recession/depression that may take decades to overcome and could even spell the end of the U. S, dollar reserve currency status – which means no more Bernanke & Co. Fed Mickey Mouse Club quantitative easing, which means no more bubble economics, which means $10 per gallon-plus gas for us, etc.

Though YOU may not be an ultra-privileged 1 per-center, you ARE a very, VERY lucky 10 per-center – so count your blessings.

Given the impending doom of brick and mortar higher ed as we know it, you might want to follow the lead of some of your intrepid colleagues by getting out of the departmental trenches and packing your bags for a nice slot in upper administration.

The pickings are rich and rewarding while they last, but they won’t last long. The online ed juggernaut and raw economic realities will be putting an end to all this lavish academic Caligula-style largesse very soon.

Anonymous said...

Is irrelevant ranting permitted on this blog? Not sure how these ravings relate to the screwed up W-2s.

Anonymous said...

It is nice to know that there are still places on this campus where free speech is still permitted. While I do not agree with the statements and find that they are 'non sequitur' I still would protect the right of the individual to state them.

Anonymous said...

No more service recognition for people who have given 20, 25, 30 or even 40 years of their lives to UT.

Anonymous said...


This may all sound way over the top, but it is far closer to the truth than you may think.

Here’s a recent article about a $1 billion judgment against Johnson & Johnson for downplaying the dangers of the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal:

The bottom line is that the corruption of science (including medicine and pharmacy) by big money and big politics has far too often caused serious dissenting scientists – who might, for instance, express concerns about the release of a clearly ineffective or dangerous drug, or question environmentalist global warming or tobacco industry fudged data or pseudo-science, or try to halt an unnecessarily risky launch of a space shuttle – to be ignored, pressured into silence or even unfairly denounced and discredited.

Sad to think some of the most intelligent people in the world cannot devise a reliable way to produce and present uncorrupted scientific data.

As far as applied MATH, PHYSICS, TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING (chemical, structural, industrial, aeronautical engineering etc.) – there are really few things more demonstrably right or wrong, or results harder to argue with in the world than in these areas.

If your building or bridge stays up, if your airplane flies, if your computer works, if your space shuttle or Hubble space telescope or Apollo moon landing or Mars rover or deep space probe get where they’re supposed to go and do what they’re supposed to do – you can be pretty damned sure the math, physics, chemistry and engineering are correct.

As the saying goes: “There are no postmodernists on airplanes.”

But Chemistry, Biology, Medicine and Pharmacy need to be straight-up about what chemicals or pharmaceuticals ARE too dangerous for humans and/or the environment and what chemicals or pharmaceuticals ARE NOT.


Anonymous said...


It seems academia could really use some sort of over-arching universally recognized declaration or statement of fundamental principles: “We hold these academic principles and scientific truths to be self-evident (at least until further notice) – 1) two plus two equals four; 2) pigs don’t have wings…”

Based on recent events in the postmodern Academy it seems clear that if you don’t spell this basic stuff out, the folks with PhD’s from the Department of Ouija Board Studies are likely to never get wind of it and go through their entire careers believing the Earth is flat, the Sun revolves around the Earth and thunder happens when Zeus gets angry.

Furthermore, STEM needs to 1) stand up for itself by aggressively countering anti-STEM fear mongering and negative propaganda from academics, the media etc. (the future of academia and the nation depend on it).

And 2) STEM needs to get its own house in order by mitigating corrupting financial and political influences, both from inside and outside academia and the STEM disciplines themselves.

Censure for any administrative, academic, scholarly or scientific malfeasance by students, professors or administrators in any academic field or department should have real teeth.

There ought to be the equivalent of attorney disbarring and even legal action in extreme cases against those who commit egregious violations of basic academic, scholarly or scientific ethics – from plagiarizing to exerting undue influence or falsifying data.

Scientific, pseudo-scientific and pseudo-scholarly fraud and charlatanism would thereby be identified far more quickly and effectively.


Anonymous said...

Re Anon 9:25

Yes, Bloggie is to be commended for keeping the channels of free speech open.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading the two postings about STEM and am puzzled by some of the examples. The Hubble DIDN'T work as planned, due to a design flaw, and had to be 'jury-rigged' by astronauts. And sure, an Apollo did land on the moon, and one, Apollo 13 (!!!!) had a serious malfunction and was lucky to return to earth, and the crew of Apollo 1, Grissom, White and Chafee, were killed in a ground fire. So in other words, the examples used in the argument point out how science doesn't always work, or the application of science doesn't work, or both, and the failures are VERY expensive in money and human lives. And bye the way, postmodernists are in planes and in space: the Greek Helios Flt 522 "ghost" plane of a few years ago in which the crew and passengers were all asphyxiated, but the plane continued flying (complete with fighter plane escorts with orders to shoot it down if it headed toward a populated area and a subplot of a flight attendant valiantly trying to take control - all being filmed by the escort fighters) until it ran out of fuel and crashed into a mountain; 911 passengers calling their loved ones and giving updates on the attempt to retake the cockpit before the plane crashed into the ground (the phone conversations making their way into the news reports and becoming part of the 911 monument); Vladimir Komarov singing the Soviet national anthem while his capsule plummeted to earth after the parachute failed to open.

Anonymous said...

Re Anon 4/12 7:13

...And yet science, technology, math, engineering, astrophysics and space exploration continue to move forward in leaps and bounds, because science works.

The examples you cite were all the result of deviations from the math, science or engineering caused by human error, freak accident, technical malfunctions, or errors in design, construction, assembly or operation – all of which could be identified, analyzed and corrected.

The beauty of science is that it is progressive, self-correcting and able to learn from its mistakes and move forward from both success and failure.

Best case scenario is to predict and prevent any and all likely problems.

Next best is to adjust and fix while in progress.

Worst case scenario is to have to learn from catastrophic failure.

But in the end it is the tenacity and brilliance of science and scientists that continues to press forward in the face of all adversity.

Unlike fundamentalist religious, political or academic ideology – which continues to demand that reality conform to arbitrary fixed dogma, that by definition cannot be changed despite endless failure and can only at best rationalized, i.e. “The Marxist Utopia didn’t happen this year because we misread the sacred texts of Marx. But just wait until next year… or maybe the year after that…”

Your approach seems to be, hey, if at first you don’t succeed – give up and don’t even think about trying again.

The incoherent logic of your argument sounds like something that might have arisen out of the aforementioned “Department of Ouija Board Studies” or some such.

But your series of astronomical examples seems to indicate a provenance from astrophysics.

Please, please don’t tell us you are a professor from the astronomy department. If you are, the situation in academia is even worse than we could have imagined.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the STEM postings author is that she or he keeps making personal attacks and glib remarks that bespeak some very personal animosity toward certain academic disciplines and tries to make a vague conclusion that essentially is "science is good." Moreover, I don't see the usefulness in glorifying scientists as bold Captain Kirks boldly going places. These elements in the postings reveal more about the psychology of the author than anything else, and contradict exactly the point the STEM postings are trying to make, which is science is objective. The point about STEM historically contributing to a better world can be made without all the subjective axe grinding. Some of the best recent examples of science impacting the lives of a goodly number of people in a positive way involves, ironically, science in the service of the military. Boeing, FINALLY, is going to start producing planes (the first will be the Dreamliner 787- don't get me started on how stupid Boeing has been by not utilizing this technology years ago) utilizing composite technology developed originally for military aircraft (this will likely revolutionize the airline industry, as everything in this industry is fuel costs now). The internet. Developed by scientists originally as a fail safe communications network in the aftermath of a nuclear exchange (oddly, it was designed as a redundant system to keep scientific research facilities and military facilities in contact in the aftermath of a nuclear exchange). Satellite technology and specifically global positioning - GPS technology has been around for years (developed to guide missiles, smart bombs, etc to their targets), but the pentagon restricted its accuracy in commercial usage until a few years ago. Now, many people rely on this technology, or at least think it makes them look cool. I'd list nuclear power, since at one time it promised FREE electricity, but after Japan why bother. STEM+MILITARY=advancements in civilization.

Anonymous said...

When I was at MIT the professors supported each other. We in the sciences regularly attended lectures by visiting humanities scholars, including so called "postmodernists." The discussions afterwards were lively and intellectually stimulating. Where did UT acquire this provincial and infantile us (sciences) v them (humanities) attitude from? Was it manufactured and nurtured by those on high to keep the faculty in disarray? Or is it Darwinian? Given the scraps of funding now being thrown to UT, UT professors are regressing to tribal instincts?

Anonymous said...

Just a quick response to the opening comment/rant: I can assure everyone that NOBODY in the UT Dept of Psychology takes Freud seriously. There may be a few benighted souls in English or History who still think that Freud's idea have merit, but Sigmund is pretty much persona non grata in modern psychology.

Anonymous said...

In RE reply to this and that

Re anon April 13, 2012 6:39 AM

I have no problem with any rigorous or at least serious academic discipline or field of inquiry per se, but with pseudo-intellectualism and pseudo-disciplines and pseudo-science I most certainly do - especially when these turn their deluded agendas against science and other clearly valid areas of understanding.

Pseudo-discipline academics have a cult-like resistance to outside criticism of their false, invented dogmatic academic belief systems and it is the duty of anyone who cares about real knowledge and understanding to critique them - even with "glib" or harsh remarks if necessary - since collegiality clearly has not done any good.

Nobody, most especially scientists and engineers, will disagree that big science is often hamstrung by the influence of really dumb and intractable money, politics, vested interests and bureaucracy - but none of this means the fundamental science, rightly done, is wrong - which is what postmodernists and other anti-science fear mongering sophists want to imply.

Re Anon April 14, 2012 11:35 AM

You could also have some lively discussions with Haitian witch doctors - but would you then convert to voodoo?

Gullible scientists can often, sadly, be conned into postmodern bullshit by PoMo charlatans as easily as anyone else.

Re Anon April 17, 2012 10:33 AM

Freud is dead?

Perhaps, but is not most contemporary counseling and psychotherapy nonetheless still fundamentally neo- post- or pseudo- Freudian/Jungian “talk therapy” involving a wide array of rambling, disjointed, contradictory, competing and suspect methodologies and theoretical paradigms relying heavily on subjective interpretation of therapists – all of which has delivered at best highly dubious results?

Antidepressants have numerous unpleasant and/or dangerous side effects, while their efficacy is barely better than placebos and not even as good as basic common sense good habits – like getting a little regular sleep, a little exercise, some sunlight and fresh air and laying off the TV, computer, junk food or coffee – to say nothing of the booze or drugs.

If Freud & Co. are really dead, how then do we explain recent witch trial like hysterical outbreaks of false childhood abuse memories elicited by deluded if not fanatic “therapists” – or the literal Ouija Board style “facilitation” communication fiasco with autistics - and countless other highly dubious goings-on, known and unknown, within the profession?