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A Desperate Appeal to IL Citizens: Demand Just Education Funding

If you live in IL, please read this story. After reading, please consider calling your representatives to push for a funding formula that justly considers Chicago school children—one that aims to fund all schools fairly with regard to cost of living and wealth/income disparities. We need a solution for today and the future.

Whatever your perceptions are of Chicago’s history, politics, and education officials, as a current citizen with two children in CPS, I can tell you there is nothing more to cut in the system. Read more…

Three Criteria for Campus Speakers: A Proposal

I have no love for Ann Coulter. Even so, I’m sorry to learn that this NYT article does not hint at the content of her planned talk. Content should be the focus, but it’s being overshadowed by other factors.

The article homes in on preemptive threats of violence. Given that, and assuming the planned talk meets certain criteria (see below), California Governor Jerry Brown ought to consider performing a “Reverse Reagan.” By this I mean that he should consider calling in the National Guard to secure speaking rights for controversial guests. I can’t say whether this should apply to the Coulter talk, but I think it could be necessary in the short term. It is ridiculous that speakers are being cancelled because campuses are being deemed unsafe for reasons one might classify, very loosely, as symbolism.

My criteria for valid invitations includes three points–two are content related, and the third deals with tone. Read more…

The Adolescent Frame: On the Loss of J. Geils

News of the death of J. Geils took me all the way back to 1980—meaning to the fourth grade at Chapel Hill Elementary, to George Brett trying to hit .400, to Wiffleball with a neighbor named Scott, the Cub Scouts, and to Jimmy Carter. The world was suddenly getting larger for me. Read more…

FYI: Article in Public Seminar – “Great Books Socialism?”

This went live today.

Lacy, Tim. “Great Books Socialism?” Public Seminar, April 6, 2017.

In the essay I address the question of whether one can embrace an ideology while also learning critical thinking skills, history, politics, literature, philosophy, and science. My answer is yes, so long as everyone is honest and forthright about ends and means.

Let me know what you think. – TL

A Common Light

For the past few months I haven’t been able to listen to Common’s “The Light” without thinking of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Barack Obama, and a 2016 White House farewell party for the president. At that party, hosted by BET, Common was present and performed. Here’s how Coates set the scene:
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Neoliberalism: A Definition

Neoliberalism (def. American): An ideology that works to create shiny new programs, or technological workarounds (more likely), that feel vaguely redistributive—enough to earn the ire of conservatives—but actually do nothing substantial to help poor or working class people.

In sum, neoliberalism gives you all of the political aesthetics of midcentury liberalism with almost none of the benefits.

Corollary: Objects of neoliberal affection live in a perpetual state of being *nearly* helped–of being told that they’re being helped, when nothing is actually done.

Charity vs. Justice

When conservatives say they want to dismantle the state, or drown the federal government in a bathtub, or get big government off their backs, liberals/progressives respond by listing all the important functions government fills with regard to the public good, especially in relation to the poor and various social services. The typical comeback by conservatives is that these functions (Medicare, Social Security, WIC, food banks, education, unemployment services, etc.) can be performed better, and for less money, by charities or non-profits, particularly those related to churches.

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