Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Idiot Post-Super Bowl comment

More about Susan Komen tomorrow, but today I have to mention about something idioitic related to the Super Bowl. No, it wasn't the comment from the announcing team that Mira Kraft was the "widow" of Pats' owner Robert Kraft (she died this past summer, so I don't know how she achieved widow status). Nor am I talking about the attempt to make Wes Welker the Bill Buckner of this year's Super Bowl (few humans could've made the catch that Welker could not hold onto in the 4th quarter).

No, I am talking about Mrs. Tom Brady, aka Gisele Bundchen. In defending her husband, Gisele proclaimed, "My husband cannot f*cking throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time ... I can't believe they dropped the ball so many times."

OK, Gisele was frustrated by Giants fans who said victorious Giants quarterback Eli Manning "owns your husband [Brady]", but you also don't throw your husband's teammates "under the bus."

I almost feel sorry for Brady -- almost, because I never have been a fan of this guy who dumped his pregnant girlfriend for Bundchen. But, to lose for the second time to the Giants, and then be put in a bad position with teammates because his wife ran her mouth -- well, let's just say it's going to be a lost post-season for old Tom.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Idiot Susan Komen Decision

The Susan G. Komen Foundation decided earlier this week to end $650,000 worth of grant funding to Planned Parenthood. According to a statement released by Komen founder and CEO, Nancy Brinker, the decision was made to prevent duplicative grants, make sure grants are directed to actual service providers, and to follow a new policy of stopping any grants going to organizations under local, state or federal investigation.

It was this last factor that most directly affected Komen's decision to discontinue future funding of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is currently the subject of an congressional investigation initiated by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.). Stearns, a virulently anti-choice congressperson, is examining whether public money was improperly spent on abortions. Stearns' investigation of Planned Parenthood came after prodding by the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life.

Fortunately, Komen reversed its decision in the wake of the blowback it got. The organization, whose VP of Public Policy, Karen Handel, is an ardent anti-choice former GOP gubernatorial candidate in GA, really stepped in it. The excuse -- that Planned Parenthood is under investigation by Congress -- doesn't pass the laugh test. It is relatively easy for a Congressperson -- especially one in the majority party -- to launch an investigation, no matter how valid it is. It should also be noted that Republican Nancy Brinker has worked hard to cement ties with the George W. Bush Institute. Brinker insists that politics has played no role in this defunding/funding decision. If she really believes that, does she have a sufficient connection with reality to continue as Komen CEO?

Ironically, Planned Parenthood has raised more money in the last week after the initial Komen decision as it would have lost. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York contributed $250,000 alone. It appears that in this matter, Planned Parenthood ended up much better off, while the Susan G. Komen Foundation has a major black eye from an idiotic, politically motivated decision.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Idiot School Decision

Not long ago, I was chair of a Communication and Theater program at a small, religious school in the northeastern U.S. The students were great and the faculty collegial. The administration was another matter. It wasn't that they weren't nice people (except for a couple). It was that the place wanted change, but they didn't want conflict. I don't mean destructive conflict. No one wants that. I mean any kind of conflict. If you disagreed over the substance of an argument, that meant you were a disagreeable person. I quickly fell into that category. How change was going to occur in that kind of atmosphere was beyond me.

I've moved on, but I guess my former place of employment has not. They just suspended a long-time, popular professor over his assertion of his right to free expression. It began with his posting editorial cartoons in the doors of his office, and now they object to a satirical video he did about the administration of the school. I've seen the video. It's, to say the least, "edgy" and certainly controversial. Some might say that it is in bad taste. But, the protection of free speech means that all speech -- unless it presents a clear and present danger (like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater) -- is protected, no matter where the speech falls on the taste continuum.

My former school is clearly in the wrong here, though I fear that ultimately my friend will be forced into retirement -- albeit with some sort of financial settlement (I really don't think the school wants to fight this in court, and I don't think my friend wants to incur the legal expenses associated with his defense). I have been in academia for more than 30 years and know that if an institution wants to get rid of you, you are gone, no matter if you are clearly in the right.

It's a sad commentary on the state of free expression in the academic world.