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On Sovereignty

Here's a thought exercise. Roughly half of our country is displeased with our current leadership in both the executive branch and the vast majority of people are displeased with the legislative branch of our government. It's also worth noting that the other half was equally displeased with the executive branch leadership from 2008-2016. This fact stands no matter the opinion of the other side; in both cases roughly half the nation pined for a wholesale change in leadership, and a resistance movement was launched. Back then they liked tea, right now they wear pink ears on their heads. 
Let's say that right now another powerful country or alliance of nations (Russia, China, the EU, pick one or several) says that it sympathizes with the resistance movement in our country and makes it a part of their international policy to fund and arm militants from Canada to sneak into our country and join/take over the current resistance movement. This sparks a civil war between these now…
Recent posts

Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

Affirmative Action is Bad, But Wealth is Good

I wonder if anyone asked Jared Kushner if he got into Harvard only because he is white. It would've been a valid question. Even so, the question wouldn't have drawn upon centuries of stereotypes about the inferior intelligence and work ethic of white men. Who cares how he got into Harvard? He could always convince himself that he is hard working, just like, or even better than, all of the mediocre white men that preceded him in leading this country of ours. His grades were better than George W's C-average at Yale. If forced to answer how he got into Harvard, young master Jared could've shrugged it off and comforted himself by thinking ahead about how much wealth he would inherit. Hell, if his parents played their money right, he might even have a job waiting for him in a future presidential administration.

Isn't it great to live in a meritocracy?

No Human is Illegal, But Some Are Not White

Our white nationalist presidential administration is cracking down hard on non-white immigrants, particularly those from Mexico. In fact, it's the only successful policy that the child-king has managed to implement in his short presidency. While we should celebrate the failure of the attempt to destroy the ACA, the resistance that federal judges are applying to the racist Muslim travel bans, and the fact that he still hasn't built his big beautiful wall, we should not forget that hundreds of people who are working, paying taxes and attempting to establish stable lives in the US are now being rounded up, separated from their children, and dying because they have been successfully scapegoated for our country's economic woes.
It's a common question for Americans to ask, "why didn't those people come here legally?" The short answer is that they can't, because they aren't white. Does that sound a bit hyperbolic or simplistic? If so, then I'd recom…

Hidden Explicit Messaging

A common refrain these days about racism in our society—to the extent that it's discussed at all—is that racist language is far less explicit today than it was in the past. There may be racism (way over there, and by those people) but let's be glad that people don't casually throw around the N-word anymore. Or so say people—good liberal people—like to frequently say.

But is racism less explicit today, really?
In my last post I gave an example of some extremely common, casual, yet racist messaging in the example of a white person claiming that a person of color only got a prestigious academic fellowship "because they're Black/Brown/Indigenous." Is this racist comment not explicit? The message here is that the only way a person of color could possibly get, say, an NSF Fellowship is because of affirmative action, whereby more qualified white people are pushed aside so a less qualified person can get the fellowship based on their race (or so the fictional, carto…

An annual note to all the (NSF) haters

It's that time of year again: students have recently been notified about whether they received the prestigious NSF Graduate Student Research Fellowship. Known in the STEM community as "The NSF," the fellowship provides a student with three years of graduate school tuition and stipend, with the latter typically 5-10% above the standard institutional support for first- and second-year students. It's a sweet deal, and a real accellerant for young students to get their research career humming along smoothly because they don't need to restrict themselves to only advisors who have funding: the students fund themselves!
This is also the time of year that many a white dude executes what I call the "academic soccer flop." It looks kinda like this:

It typically sounds like this: "Congrats! Of course it's easier for you to win the NSF because you're, you know, the right demographic." Or worse: "She only won because she's Hispanic."…

This week in the freedom to discriminate

Race has no biological basis. Race is assigned based on biological features (hair, skin, etc), but biological features do not uniquely map to a race. Academics know this. Or at least they should. However, if you are an academic who believes in race, and would like to use this belief to promote the notion that white people are superior, you can make a living off of it. 
Enter Charles Murray, the author of the racist and scientifically debunked text, Bell Curve. He was recently invited to speak at Middlebury College, and despite espousing nonsense, his place on the stage at an institution of higher learning was justified under "the freedom of speech." If Murray were there to tell his story of UFO sightings, describe his theory of a flat Earth, or to discuss his attempts to interbreed various types of unicorns, this defense would not be available to him. But because he has staked his career on dabbling in America's age-old dark art of racecraft, and because his ideas add a…