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Academic freedom

Why are they letting him get away with this?

A conservative billionaire who opposes government meddling in business has bought a rare commodity: the right to interfere in faculty hiring at a publicly funded university.

A foundation bankrolled by Libertarian businessman Charles G. Koch has pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University’s economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign off on any hires for a new program promoting “political economy and free enterprise.”

Traditionally, university donors have little official input into choosing the person who fills a chair they’ve funded. The power of university faculty and officials to choose professors without outside interference is considered a hallmark of academic freedom.

Under the agreement with the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, however, faculty only retain the illusion of control. The contract specifies that an advisory committee appointed by Koch decides which candidates should be considered. The foundation can also withdraw its funding if it’s not happy with the faculty’s choice or if the hires don’t meet “objectives” set by Koch during annual evaluations.

Taking hostages

Wonkbook:

John Boehner has started listing debt limit demands, report Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery: “House Speaker John A. Boehner defined the GOP’s terms for raising the legal limit on government borrowing Monday, demanding that President Obama reduce spending by more than $2 trillion in exchange for an increase big enough to cover the nation’s bills through the end of next year. Delivering a sermon on fiscal austerity to a Wall Street crowd clamoring for compromise on the debt limit, Boehner (Ohio) firmly rejected any effort to raise taxes. He also called on Democrats to engage in ‘honest conversations about how best to preserve Medicare,’ signaling that House Republicans remain committed to restructuring at least some portions of the program.”

Hmm

Nine out of ten climate-change-denying scientists have ties to Exxon Mobil:

“If you spend any time at all browsing comments on articles about climate change (and bless you if you’ve manage to avoid it), you’ve likely read the same handful of long-debunked arguments against the reality of anthropogenic global warming (or “man-made” global warming).

Recently, you’ve also almost definitely seen links to this website—”900+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of “Man-Made” Global Warming (AGW) Alarm”—created by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. The problem is, of the top ten contributors of articles to that list, nine are financially linked to Exxon Mobil.

Carbon Brief, which examined the list in detail, explains:

Once you crunch the numbers, however, you find a good proportion of this new list is made up of a small network of individuals who co-author papers and share funding ties to the oil industry. There are numerous other names on the list with links to oil-industry funded climate sceptic think-tanks, including more from the International Policy Network (IPN) and the Marshall Institute. Compiling these lists is dramatically different to the process of producing IPCC reports, which reference thousands of scientific papers. The reports are thoroughly reviewed to make sure that the scientific work included is relevant and diverse.”

Hah hah

Poor Koch brothers! They’re not used to people saying no to them:

WICHITA | A federal judge on Monday sided with environmental pranksters behind a media hoax targeting Koch Industries Inc., upholding First Amendment protections for anonymous political speech on the Internet.

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball in Utah tossed out a lawsuit filed by Koch Industries stemming from a bogus website and fake news release issued in December that falsely announced that the Wichita-based company was changing its financial commitments on climate change to fund more environmentally friendly groups. Koch’s lawsuit had sought monetary damages as well as the identities of the pranksters.

Kimball also issued an order prohibiting Koch — one of the nation’s largest privately held companies — from using any identifying information it may have already obtained from an earlier subpoena on the company that had unwittingly hosted the fake website for a few hours before it was taken down.

“Before authorizing subpoenas seeking to strip speakers of their First Amendment right to anonymity, courts require plaintiffs to make a preliminary showing that their complaint has merit,” the judge wrote.

Boehner

Republicans are criminally reckless by nature, so we’ll have to see how it all turns out:

“It’s true that allowing America to default would be irresponsible,” Boehner told the Economic Club of New York on Monday evening. “But it would be more irresponsible to raise the debt ceiling without simultaneously taking dramatic steps to reduce spending and reform the budget process.

“To increase the debt limit without simultaneously addressing the drivers of our debt — in defiance of the will of our people — would be monumentally arrogant and massively irresponsible,” he said.

Boehner reiterated his demand that any increase in the debt limit be accompanied by “significant cuts and reforms.”

“And the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given,” he said in a 22-minute speech. “We should be talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions. They should be actual cuts and program reforms, not broad deficit or debt targets that punt the tough questions to the future.”

The Speaker’s stand drew little reaction from the banquet hall of Wall Street executives, who offered polite applause at the end of Boehner’s speech but sat in silence through his demands on the debt limit.

Torn rice

Kenn Kweder:

Alan Simpson

Still an evil putz.

Fukushima

Still spewing outrageously high levels of radiation!

Bend over, unemployed

You’re about to get screwed by the Republicans again. Gee, I wonder if Senate Dems will enable them?

WASHINGTON — After some encouraging signs that Republicans might cooperate with them, the two House Democrats trying to give the long-term jobless extra weeks of unemployment benefits are dismayed the GOP has instead moved a bill that could take benefits away.

Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) want to give the long-term unemployed another 14 weeks of unemployment insurance. In aremarkable April meeting, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) encouraged them to work with Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees unemployment insurance.

Instead, Camp is pursuing a bill that would give states the option to spend federal unemployment dollars on paying down debt instead of paying for extended unemployment benefits.

“Instead of acting on our bill to extend aid to unemployed workers who have exhausted their benefits, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Camp wants to gut unemployment benefits and deny millions of jobless workers the means to help make ends meet,” Lee and Scott said in a statement. “As we face an unemployment rate of 9 percent nationwide, an unemployment rate for teenagers three times as high as the national average, and an economy where there are 4.4 unemployed workers for every available job opening, it is simply wrong to propose a bill that would further penalize unemployed workers across the country.”

Camp’s office declined to comment. Ways and Means will vote on Camp’s bill on Wednesday.

Liz Cheney

She’s like one of those annoying little dogs, the ones that shit all over your lawn and the owners won’t pick up after them. (The owner, in this case, the Sunday shows that continue to invite her on as a guest.)

I do wish this woman could find a more productive way of working out her obvious daddy issues than singing the praises of torture.

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