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January 2008

Job Talks

An Associate Professor of Media Studies and Law at UVa offers some interesting "Advice on Academic 'Job Talk' Visits".

1) They are never fun. Never.

. . . 

9) Their number-one concern will be whether they like you. They already have opinions about your scholarship. They already know you can teach. So you can relax a bit. Just be funny and comfortable with them. If you have a chance to lament the losing ways of the football team with someone, by all means do it. Show them you are a real, cool American. Order steak at dinner. Enjoy your meal and complement them on the restaurant choice. Most of all, act like you could be buddies with everyone for a long, long time. They are considering hiring someone who would work there for 30 years. So they don't want someone snotty, snobby, or whiny. It will only take a few minutes to show them that you are none of those things.

It's not about the kids

Robert J. Samuelson speaks truth to power:

The big lie of campaign 2008 -- so far -- is that the presidential candidates, Democratic and Republican, will take care of our children. . . .

A moral cloud hangs over our candidates. Just how much today's federal policies, favoring the old over the young and the past over the future, should be altered ought to be a central issue of the campaign. But knowing the unpopular political implications, our candidates have lapsed into calculated quiet.

They pay lip service to children but ignore the actual programs that will shape their future. The hypocrisy is especially striking in Obama. He courts the young, promises "straight talk" and offers himself as the agent of "change." But his conspicuous omissions constitute "crooked talk" and silently endorse the status quo..

Your federal tax dollars at work

The FCC wants to fine 52 TV stations a total of $1.43 million for airing an episode of NYPD Blue that showed a woman in "full dorsal nudity, and the side of one breast is shown".

Understand, if the stations had aired the program at 10:00 p.m., it would have been A-OK. But since they showed it at--I'm guessing--9:00 p.m., it's really, really bad.

In a time in which any eight-year-old can find far racier stuff on the Net in thirty seconds, who does the government think it's kidding? 

Cheap, effective diet pill?

"A pill is being created to let hamburger-and-chips lovers eat their favourite fatty foods without putting on too much weight. . . . As a side-effect, the pill will cut the risk of developing cancer by mopping up free radicals, the substances that damage body cells."

What do you bet that if the pill works as advertised we'll find out later that there are some significantly bad side effects?