Monthly Archives: March 2005

Florida anti-education bill – an entertaining scenario

Florida bill aims to control ‘leftist’ profs
— The law could let students sue for untolerated beliefs

TALLAHASSEE — Republicans on the House Choice and Innovation Committee voted along party lines Tuesday to pass a bill that aims to stamp out “leftist totalitarianism” by “dictator professors” in the classrooms of Florida’s universities.

The Academic Freedom Bill of Rights, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, passed 8-to-2 despite strenuous objections from the only two Democrats on the committee.

Full story…

First, why I’m not worried. On the off chance this silliness passes you would immediately see every professor in Florida worth a damn launching a job search, and the good ones would be snapped up by schools in other states posthaste. Such a brain drain would no doubt get the attention of the state’s business leaders, you’d think, who have a significant betting interest in the quality of the state’s university system. May of them may not care about some of the “leftist totalitarian” types, but this law is a tuna net that catches a lot of dolphins, too. It opens up professional school profs, as well, and you’d see a pretty rapid drop in the quality of business, legal, and professional communication education, too. That isn’t something to be tolerated.

As for sheer entertainment value, if I’m right about the reaction of the biz community, it means we’d likely see tension developing between the two wings of the GOP power base, a tension that Karl Rove has worked mightily to tame in the last few years. For my money, anything that sets the Country Club Right and the Trailer Park Right back at each other’s throats, where they belong, is worth whatever they’re charging for admission…..

SC bounces Schiavos: what next for the GOP?

Surprising no one, the Supreme Court has just rejected the appeal by Terri Schiavo’s parents to reinsert her feeding tube.

No doubt GOP grandstanders will try to find a way of spinning this into even more cynical, pro-life base-energizing gold. But the thing that’s worth noting is just how quickly all the federal courts appealed to since Congress passed “Terri’s Law” scuppered the put-up job. If you’re going to be really effective at this kind of tactic, you need to come up with something that’s at least legally plausible enough that you can find one or two of your own judges to rule in favor of it (hell, not even Justices Thomas or Scalia, Cheney’s very own hunting buddy, could be bothered to pen a few words of righteous dissent – a fact that’s more than a little significant).

On the positive side, they did manage to create a good two weeks worth of important distraction and misdirection (so far), a broad media blast shield behind which they had the freedom from scrutiny to do who knows what. As long as the “press” continues its complicitity in trucking the slack-jawed bread-and-circuses crowd from one politically staged trainwreck to the next, we have the moral equivalent of totalitarian news suppression, only funner! The power elites have demonstrated they can effectively shut down the investigative function without resorting to the off-putting ham-handedness of Soviet-style censorship.

Of course, they can’t do it without us. The dumber we are, the more easily we’re distracted by shiny baubles and carny shows, the easier we are to manipulate, to herd.

Eye on the ball, people….