I don’t know anything about Rep. Steve Stockman, a Republican representing Texas’ 36th District, but I do know comedy when I see it.
In other news, at what point will Republicans exhaust themselves in their endless attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act? Is it never? If it’s never, just tell me so I can stop paying attention.
Over at Twitter, I’m hard at work on a screenplay. Given how much people like movies about heroes and animals, it’s pretty much guaranteed to make a billion dollars.
If you have good ideas, I’m giving out EP credits.
That’s a three day old tweet from the organizer of the brilliant “Open Carry March on Washington,” advising his ~20,000 followers to shoot at government agents if they feel their rights are being threatened by them.
As the Facebook page (created by the very same Adam Kokesh) for the event notes, “There’s a remote chance that there will be violence as there has been from government before, and I think it should be clear [emphasis mine] that if anyone involved in this event is approached respectfully by agents of the state, they will submit to arrest without resisting.”
Yeah, I can’t imagine how it might not have been clear.
The answer was 50 minutes.
Interestingly, though, that first email came from the Arts & Sciences Advising Center. Because Nebraska actually hands out diplomas to graduates, rather than mailing them later, the Friday before graduation is a madhouse for them. Professors give provisional grades to graduating seniors a few weeks in advance of graduation in order to flag potential problems; that is, we assign “Worst Case Scenario” grades and then we have to change them once final exams and papers have been graded. This alerts the university to those students who might not be able to graduate and, if professors don’t update the grade quickly enough, the student is informed that (s)he isn’t eligible to graduate.
My grades were submitted, and some students won’t be able to graduate this semester, but I got the email nonetheless.
How to solve this problem? Let all the students walk across the stage, hand them a rolled up piece of paper that says, “CONGRATULATIONS! Your diploma will be mailed to you if you have met all degree requirements. Don’t forget to join the alumni association!,” and then mail all the diplomas to eligible students after graduation.
No students have gotten in touch yet about their grades, but I suspect that I’ll hear from a few over the weekend. With that in mind, one blog reader and Twitter follower asked the following:
does it bother you when students email you after a course asking about their grade? Have you ever felt convinced to change a grade after talking to the student, or is mostly just complaining about wanting a grade they didn’t earn?
It doesn’t bother me one bit. Students should certainly inquire about their grades if they have questions. Of course, “Why did I get a C-” isn’t the best question to ask; there are four major assignments and the way they’re weighted is clearly set out in the syllabus … so a student should be able to figure out why (s)he got a C-. The only thing that might trip up the student is the fifth component, the class participation grade. But, for the most part, students don’t think they participated at the A level when I thought they participated at the C level.
I think I changed a student’s final grade one time over the past decade and it was because I’d clearly entered it incorrectly, transposing the grade with another student’s. I was very grateful to the student for pointing out that she’d done A and B work on her assignments and thus the C- couldn’t possibly have been correct.
Apart from a scenario like this one, I don’t know of a situation where I’d change a student’s final grade. In most of my classes, all that remains at the very end is a final exam. A student might wonder about the grade (s)he earned on that exam, and I’m very happy to tell the student about it and even to meet later to discuss it. (S)he might be surprised to learn that (s)he didn’t do as well as (s)he’d hoped on the final … but it would be difficult for the student to successfully argue a grade change at this point.
This doesn’t prevent some of them from making an attempt, of course …
I don’t think the dictionary really matters that much to CBS Sports commentator Tim Brando. At least not based on anything he wrote during a Twitter tirade today that lasted a few hours and, as I type this, is still going on.
Now, when I think about heroism, as I happen to do as the author of a book and co-host of a podcast on the topic, here’s the sort of thing I have in mind:
People act heroically when they make a potentially life-altering sacrifice or put themselves at some serious risk and they need not have done so. Most often, today, heroes are those whose actions are seen to benefit others; in the classical sense, however, heroism included a broader range of martial actions or feats of endurance that were not necessarily other-regarding.
There’s more to say, obviously, but that’s a quick first pass at a definition. It’s interesting and potentially very fruitful to debate particular heroes and definitions of heroic actions — and, obviously, I’m counting on it for the success of my book — but it’s noteworthy that Brando seems not to have offered a definition at all, despite claiming that his Twitter tirade was all due to his deep care for definitions.
Incidentally, here are the tweets surrounding Ben Shapiro’s heroism tweet.
He’s gearing up to defend himself against allegations of homophobia with the argument that no one’s sexual orientation should matter in our society, that we shouldn’t be paying extra attention to Jason Collins just because he decided to come out, and that telling people you’re gay is just as (un)important as telling people you’re straight … which is pretty much the equivalent of shouting “I’m privileged in every single way possible” from the rooftops.
I’m guessing it’s actually challenging to pretend that you don’t understand the many pressures our society places on black men, on homosexuals, on athletes, and on homosexual black male athletes … especially when you’re as much of a straight, white, well-educated, well-off, bootstrap-self-puller-upper as Shapiro.
Needless to say, he’ll be writing a piece for some right-wing website about how he’s the victim of the Left’s intimidation and silencing tactics — the subject of a whole book he wrote (amazingly, it’s called Bullies) — soon enough.
From Comedy Central’s Indecision Tumblr:
Countdown over! In the category of derpiest comment about NBA pro Jason Collins’ coming out, the winner is Breitbart.com’s Ben Shapiro:
Hmm, who DOES meet Shapiro’s awfully high Nazi-killing standard for heroism?
Ben Shapiro’s standard for heroism has risen quite a bit since three months ago.
By every conceivable metric, Jason Collins’ decision to become the first openly gay active athlete in a major professional sport meets the definition of a heroic action. By those same metrics — and so many others — Breitbart.com’s Ben Shapiro is a ridiculous gasbag.
There are, of course, going to be far, far worse responses to Collins. But the anticipation of those don’t make Shapiro’s comments any less foolish.
As a huge fan of the unending foolishness of Sarah Palin, I obviously like everything about this.
How does Palin know the dinner was pathetic? Did she hate-watch it?
And leaving aside Peter Wade’s important note that Palin herself was a guest at various White House Correspondents’ Dinner parties back in 2011, it’s hilarious to note that Palin, who makes it sound here like she’s part of the hard-working “rest of America,” couldn’t make it through a full term as Alaska’s governor and currently doesn’t actually have a job … unless endlessly posting nonsense on Twitter and Facebook is a job.
I’m sure hard-working Americans everywhere are so thankful that this paragon of hard work is in their corner.
Most Reprehensible Reaction Award
In the aftermath of any tragedy — whether man-made or natural — it’s not hard to find the finalists for the “Most Reprehensible Reaction” award.
People like Senator Lindsey Graham, who urged the Obama administration to label the suspect an enemy combatant so we could more easily ignore his rights, thought they had this award locked down. But they’ve got competition.
At the top of the list is surely “journalist” Howie Carr, who wrote a deliriously Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, anti-liberal opinion piece for the Boston Herald today that begins with this:
So once again, no good deed goes unpunished.
Uncle Sam lets another bunch of leeching future terrorists into the country who have absolutely no business being here, gives them “asylum,” making them immediately eligible for welfare, and this is the thanks we get?
They turn into mass murderers.
We bring in thousands of Muslims from a primitive society that has been battling Christians for centuries, and put them into a peaceful Christian society — what could possible go wrong?
But before we pronounce Carr the outright winner, let’s not forget New York State Senator Greg Ball, who took to Twitter to suggest that our government ought to hurry up and torture the Boston bombing suspect:
When he faced criticism for this position, he doubled down: “If people find that offensive, they’re going to have to check their own conscience.”
He then managed to turn the whole episode into a good example of why New York needs the death penalty, reminding us that, while we might have some moral qualms about torture, we can all rally behind executions.
I’m sure these few examples are just the beginning; of course, we have plenty of time before we have to actually announce the winner of the “Most Reprensible Reaction” award … and I haven’t even really looked at Facebook yet.
Trashing the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law in only four tweets, a lesson from Senator Lindsey Graham.
A Republican lawmaker from Arkansas upset both Bostonians and non-Bostonians from both sides of the aisle this morning after he felt the need to tweet a pro-gun message around the time two armed police officers were being shot in their pursuit of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
He later pulled the tweet and “apologized,” as seen above … though his apology is for timing rather than content (which, apparently, he thinks is still totally appropriate). He also included this observation:
“I don’t regret the content as much as I regret the timing,” Bell, R-Mena, told The Associated Press. “I really didn’t think about it going to Boston and was generally expressing my personal view of how I would have felt in that situation myself.”
“I was basically just expressing my frustration, I guess, if I had been a person who was living there last night and my elected officials had prevented me from being able to defend myself and my family,” Bell told the AP. “I would have felt pretty powerless and wanted to express that.”
A better apology would have been much shorter and to the point, “I am extremely sorry for expressing what can only be called a ghastly opinion at what can only be called the worst possible time. Next week, I’ll go back to expressing my various ghastly opinions and I’m pretty sure none of you will notice since you didn’t really seem to notice before.”
Incidentally, this also works for websites and even local businesses. Is someone out there doing a bad job? Don’t give them your time, attention, or money.