Wednesday, February 22, 2012

State of the unions

There comes a point in every debate where both parties become wrong; it’s part of what makes American politics great, or at least entertaining. Even Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus* and saw Atlanta burn during the Civil War.** Like William Sherman, Lincoln’s firebug general, the University of Michigan’s “Students Against GSRA Unionization” and their allies began to march stubbornly in that familiar direction Wednesday when the State Senate passed a bill to define Graduate Student Research Assistants as students – and therefore unable to unionize – for all posterity. SB 971 now moves on to the House of Representatives and we safely enter that all-to-typical political territory where both sides of an issue sides start making missteps.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Students Becoming More Than College Rankings

Last week, the Vice President and Dean of Admissions at Claremont McKenna College announced that he had falsified SAT data submitted to college ranking organizations.  Ouch.  How would it feel to be a recently admitted CMC* and find out that your SAT scores weren’t good enough to send in to US News and World Reports?

*I am just going to assume that this is their abbreviation…because up until this scandal, I had never heard of CMC.  I guess that is an upside of this: people around the country now know about the school.

 In addition to their lack of confidence, CMC also has an integrity problem.  Having a lying director of admissions encouraging students to apply does not exactly scream “come here and you will graduate with integrity.”  However, there’s a broader problem, too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The DH and free agency

Last month, Prince Fielder signed a contract with the Detroit Tigers in excess of $200 million. A few weeks earlier, Albert Pujols did the same with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Those two signings mean that four of the five highest paid players (by average annual value of their contracts) now reside in the American League. Sports Illustrated’s Joe Sheehan argues that that salary disparity represents a startling talent gap and is a serious problem.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Politics, drugs, money, religion. Oh, and sex.

This is not just a list of what not to talk about over Thanksgiving dinner, but rather the major topics of the recent Health and Human Services “contraception compromise.”  Given the presence of all of these factors it is no wonder that there were more than a few people upset.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

40 Bucks and My Favorite Band

It wasn’t my favorite band, strictly speaking, but Craig Finn is about four fifths of The Hold Steady. And PJ’s Lager house in Detroit may not have been the Nice Nice, but they were only charging ten dollars for cover. So call it 80 percent of my favorite band at 25 percent the price. Either way, I had to go see Finn play Wednesday night because a.) he’s awesome, b.) he just released his first solo album (“Clear Heart Full Eyes”), and c.) it gave me an excuse to get some pretty sweet barbecue. At first I was worried that he would find himself lost without his buddy Tad Kubler. It’s a funny bit of chemistry when a lead singer sets out on his/her own. But hell, if Stevie Nix could do it, there’s no reason Craig Finn can’t. Over 2 hours, Finn showed he could distance himself from his old bands and still evoke that joy, chaos, and fear that marked previous THS and Lifter Puller (another former group) releases. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Picking a Fight with the NHL

I never played hockey.

Alright, so after getting that nearly blasphemous-for-a-Minnesotan statement out of the way it is important to understand that sometimes it takes an outsider to provide necessary insight. Especially for a bold question like:

Why does the NHL allow – even encourage – fighting?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Your Hometown

So I was one of the four thousand or so people who was lucky enough to see President Barack Obama speak at the University of Michigan January 27th. My apologies for getting this post up late, but there are two things I want to comment on that I haven’t seen elsewhere.