07 January 2011

Virginia Foxx, the new Dolores Umbridge

There is no doubt about it. Virginia Foxx (R- North Carolina), the new chair of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Education, may be the next best thing for education since Dolores Umbridge took  over at Hogwarts.

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Rachel Maddow on her show yesterday pointed out the incongruities of putting this woman in charge of education. (You might also remember Foxx as the one who called the Matthew Shepard murder and hate crimes against gays "a hoax"). John Amick beautifully summarized the Maddow piece in the Washington Independent, reposted below.

Maddow highlights Foxx’s desire to dismantle student loan reform
By John Amick | 01.07.11 | 4:50 pm from the Washington Independent

The North Carolina Independent News reported this week on the new chair of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness, North Carolina Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx and her priorities for the new U.S. Congress. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow took notice and included it in a segment called, “America not getting better at being smarter,” posted below.
Some background: Foxx has received $5,000 in campaign contributions in the last few election cycles from student loan corporation Sallie Mae, an organization that used to provide federally-guaranteed loans to students until Congress passed reform of the practice in 2010, effectively cutting out the middle-man in the process. (Sallie Mae now offers private student loans.) Foxx expressed desire to hold hearings over the loan-reform bill when she assumes the chair of the subcommittee, she told The Chronicle of Higher Education this week:
Ms. Foxx has criticized legislation that ended the bank-based program for supplying federal student loans in favor of 100-percent direct lending, in which students obtain their loans from the Department of Education. She said on Tuesday that the bill “eliminated choice, competition, and innovations from student lending,” and promised hearings aimed at making “improvements to a very flawed law.”
In the clip, Maddow laid out the implications of student loan reform and why it was a “total no-brainer” in easing the deficit and allowing for more loans to students.
Welcome to the dumbing of America. You go Rachel! And you keep telling it too, John!

04 January 2011

Time to Write?

You know that saying about how you have to make time to have time? Whoever said was full of s***. Whoever said that never had jobs like mine. I do 20 hours a week program administrative stuff that often turns into more hours and even weekend hours. Four classes a semester that have three different preps. Not that I am bitching (well, okay I am whining a bit), because I do love my work. I really do. I have a great Program Director for the NEOMFA, and I like the classes I teach: non-western literature, Chinese history, and this last semester a new one "Humanities in the Western Tradition" (think history of the western world from ancient Mesopotamia to Renaissance Europe).

But between herding the MFA cats (and I am not just talking students here), and lecture prep, and grading. I have not written anything worthwhile since July. Random snippets of poems, nothing solid. Sometimes when I haven't been writing in a while it feels like the words just go round and round in my head until it wants to explode. It helps to have friends an family to talk to about the ideas you have, but sooner or later you have to put them down on paper. Writing is how I process things. It's cathartic. The only other thing that works that way for me is reading.

Happily I just spent my last week of Winter Break reading a huge stack of books. You want to know what you should check my list on Good Reads. The only writing I will be doing soon is my syllabi for the Spring semester. Oh, for Spring Break and the next stack of books.