March 8, 2012

University president lambastes professor-blogger for finding some good in Rush Limbaugh's anti-Fluke rant.

It's Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester, issuing a statement:
I was deeply disappointed to read UR Professor Steve Landsburg’s recent blogs praising Rush Limbaugh for a “spot-on analogy” with respect to his offensive remarks about Georgetown student Sandra Fluke (although Landsburg parted company with Limbaugh for calling Fluke a “slut”). Landsburg went further. He stated that Ms. Fluke’s position deserved “only to be ridiculed, mocked and jeered.” He further stated that the right word for her position was “extortionist,” characterized those who disagreed with his view as “contraceptive sponges,” and added that there is nothing wrong with being paid for sex.
Contraceptive sponges... now, that is clever.
... I am outraged that any professor would demean a student in this fashion. To openly ridicule, mock, or jeer a student in this way is about the most offensive thing a professor can do. We are here to educate, to nurture, to inspire, not to engage in character assassination.
To openly ridicule, mock, or jeer a student in your classroom may be one of the most offensive things a professor can do, but when a student is a political activist who testifies before a congressional subcommittee on a specific policy question that you disagree with, it's not that horrible to blog about that. (It's not the approach I, as a professor, felt like taking. If you look at my first post on the subject, I said "I've been avoiding weighing in on this subject, in part because, as a law professor, I don't like talking about an individual law student," and then my discussion wasn't about the young woman, but all the political leveraging that was going on.)

Of course, Seligman is a political actor. He's got to deal with his intra-university constituencies. I'd like to know who's been pressuring him to push back Landsburg.
Landsburg now has made himself newsworthy as one of Limbaugh’s few defenders. I wish he had focused instead on the ideal of a university as an institution that promotes the free exchange of ideas and lively debate at its best in an atmosphere of civil discourse in which the dignity of every individual is respected.
Lively, but not too lively, apparently. And please don't stick out "as one of Limbaugh’s few defenders." The more people are all on one side of an issue, in Seligman's view, the more important it is for everybody to get over on that side. And Landsburg ought to focus on... what? Some abstract ideal that Seligman seems to be violating in the process of mushily stating?

Here's the Inside Higher Ed article that pointed me to Seligman's statement. Added facts:
On Wednesday, about 30 students protested Landsburg's comments by coming to one of his courses and standing between him and the class while he continued to lecture.... They left after 15 minutes but then came back at the end of the class.
And the university president sides with the students... in lofty pursuit of the free exchange of ideas and lively debate in an atmosphere of civil discourse in which the dignity of every individual is respected. Okay.

"We are here to educate, to nurture, to inspire, not to engage in character assassination." Where's the character assassination? Landsburg disagreed with the policy Sandra Fluke promoted. In Congress. Professors have the obligation to "nurture" and "inspire" her from afar by refraining from taking on her ideas? Is that some special kid-gloves treatment for women? Ironically, that would be sexist. Should we be patting the female political activist on the head and murmuring good for you for speaking up? That is dismissive. It's better feminism to react to what a woman in politics says and to respond to her with full force the way you would to a man. And that's what Landsburg did:
[W]hile Ms. Fluke herself deserves the same basic respect we owe to any human being, her position — which is what’s at issue here — deserves none whatseover. It deserves only to be ridiculed, mocked and jeered. To treat it with respect would be a travesty....

To his credit, Rush stepped in to provide the requisite mockery. To his far greater credit, he did so with a spot-on analogy: If I can reasonably be required to pay for someone else’s sex life (absent any argument about externalities or other market failures), then I can reasonably demand to share in the benefits. His dense and humorless critics notwithstanding, I am 99% sure that Rush doesn’t actually advocate mandatory on-line sex videos. What he advocates is logical consistency and an appreciation for ethical symmetry. So do I. Color me jealous for not having thought of this analogy myself.
Now, Landsburg's an economist. Note the references to externalities or other market failures. He goes on to say a little something about prostitution. He goes on find the the analogy to prostitution flawed. Fluke is, he says, more of an "extortionist" — an "extortionist with an overweening sense of entitlement." For some reason Seligman thought he needed to throw in his position on prostitution:
I totally disagree with Landsburg that there is nothing wrong with being paid for sex.  
Landsburg, rejecting the prostitution analogy, had written "Ms. Fluke is not in fact demanding to be paid for sex. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)" Seligman continues:
Having been a Dean of two law schools with clinics that addressed violence against women, I am all too aware of the terrible correlation between prostitution and the physical and emotional demeaning of women.
Oh, a correlation? Well, then, by all means, totally disagree with a professor who entertains the notion that the exchange of money for sex might not in itself be wrong. Because you're all about the free exchange of ideas and lively debate!

128 comments:

Tea Party at Perrysburg said...

Bah. Universities as nurturers? Fair minded? Of what? Hate? Error? Universities are like madrassahs. We're reaping what the 60s generation of academics have been sowing for decades.

Hagar said...

We started discussing an assault on religious freedom and the Constitution, descended to arguing about contraception as a "women's health" issue, and are now in a slanging match about which talkshow host used the worst terms about a female of the opposing party.

Misdirection, anyone?

AlphaLiberal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

@Hagar That's the subject of my first post on Limbaugh and Fluke, linked in the text of this post.

That's the real reason for criticizing Limbaugh. He stomped all over what was a carefully crafted issue.

David said...

Seligman is a lawyer and former law professor. Univ. of California 1971 and Harvard Law 1974. Securities law "expert" and former SEC commissioner. A certified member of the academic elite. Also a bully (note the power disparity between him and his target). The authoritarian tendencies of left wing academia are again on display.

Palladian said...

This whole episode is starting to stink like a three-day-old fluke.

Nathan Alexander said...

Ms. Althouse,
I see what you're doing here.

I think people need to realize when you are being devil's advocate for the sake of discussion (most of the time), and when you are actually expounding on your own views (which is relatively rare).

As a professor, and especially as a law professor, I'm thinking that you enjoy reading the debate, and learning from the best and worst of both sides' arguments, more than you enjoy any feedback of your own personal views.

AlphaLiberal said...

"And the university president sides with the students..."

Are you really saying he approved of this particular action? i really doubt that's the case. He m be on the same side of the issue but that doesn't mean he agrees with every action taken by every person on that side of the issue.

Althouse: "The more people are all on one side of an issue, in Seligman's view, the more important it is for everybody to get over on that side."

He says nothing of the sort. He is responding to one caustic statement from one professor who called people names like "contraceptive sponges." From that you generalize and falsely accuse. But there is no rationale basis for your accusation.

Every week you become more and more of a political hack.

Ann Althouse said...

I did a little word edit to eliminate the possibility of the misreading Alpha made. I'm deleting Alpha's comment as abusive to me and distracting. He's free to rewrite if he has anything useful to say now.

AlphaLiberal said...

That's the real reason for criticizing Limbaugh. He stomped all over what was a carefully crafted issue.

And it had nothing to do with all the insults he broadcast over 3 days towards one woman? Not just calling her a slut and prostitute, but all the other insults he spewed at her.

No, no-one could possibly criticize Limbaugh for that. It must be something else. SOmething only Ann Althouse can divine.

Ever hear of Occam's Razor? Please, look it up, because you never follow it.

David said...

And by the way, Landsberg is lucky to have tenure. Otherwise he would be run out on a rail.

The lefties have no short term solution for that little tenure problem. Their long term solution is to make sure that tenure is only granted in the first place to the right kind of people. It's taken a few decades but their ideological cleansing of the universities is now strongly entrenched.

Ann Althouse said...

"Are you really saying he approved of this particular action? i really doubt that's the case. He m be on the same side of the issue but that doesn't mean he agrees with every action taken by every person on that side of the issue."

We've seen university presidents cower before student protesters too many times. This isn't exactly Cornell in 1968, but nevertheless...

Brennan said...

To openly ridicule, mock, or jeer a student in this way is about the most offensive thing a professor can do. We are here to educate, to nurture, to inspire, not to engage in character assassination.

Fluke's arguments were deeply flawed. It's actually an impediment to academic scholarship to let her flaws go unanswered. Fluke's arguments should be ridiculed for we are all dumber if they are not answered.

Rusty said...

Tolerance and reason in a university? You're joking, right?

Rick Caird said...

Seligman missed an excellent chance to remain silent. However, since he decided to weigh in, the best response is to point and laugh.

I like what David said about Seligman being a "bully".

Renee said...

"On Wednesday, about 30 students protested Landsburg's comments by coming to one of his courses and standing between him and the class while he continued to lecture.... They left after 15 minutes but then came back at the end of the class."

And the behavior of the protesters wasn't offensive? That's not peaceful protest. When the professor spoke on his own personal blog, he wasn't interrupting anyone (never mind a class), he was speaking on his own time.

How do these students come to the conclusion, that disrupting a class was the appropriate measure? If you want to address the professor, there are ways to do without bring students who choose not to get involved into it.

Maybe these protesters should apologize to their fellow classmates.

David said...

Alpha, it's rather extraordinary for the President of a large university to get involved in responding to respond to a particular statement by a professor on specific issues. There's clearly and intimidation factor in the response. Whether he "agrees" with the students is almost beside the point. The question is, why is the head of a prestigious university involved at all? If you are committed to free debate as an institution, why not just let the debate unfold, without the Big Boss weighing in to intimidate dissenters.

Palladian said...

Notice that the first instinct of the protesters is to try to act as "human shields", protecting the classroom from ... speech.

And the first instinct of the squish university president is to subject a professor to a public "struggle session".

Jay said...

I am outraged that any professor would demean a student in this fashion.

A student at a different University?

Ann, when are you going to call this clown and let him know that she is not a normal coed!??

Jay said...

Why does the President of the University of Rochester care about a Georgetown 3L so much?

This guy must not be that busy...

Chip S. said...

Slightly OT, but it may be worth mentioning that Landsburg is actually a mathematician by training. He's more or less self-taught in economics.

Most interesting factoid about him IMO, which may give a relevant insight into the creativity of his thinking, is this:

Professor Landsburg was an undergraduate at the University of Rochester, but never completed his undergraduate requirements due to his failure to take a physical education course. He was awarded a Masters degree after he enrolled in his own course when he became a professor at the school.

This Rochester president is a political hack, like so many other uni presidents. Are there any universities that are led by true scholars?

Brennan said...

That's the real reason for criticizing Limbaugh. He stomped all over what was a carefully crafted issue.

Did he? I actually think Rush Limbaugh gave Team Obama exactly what they needed - a campaign against a public figure nobody can vote for or against.

Limbaugh changed the subject from Fluke's flawed arguments and her complete misunderstanding of how markets work to meet her needs OR wants. Limbaugh changed the subject to her alleged promiscuity.

Here the left was lobbing an underhanded pitch to any free market batter to crush into the left field seats and Rush Limbaugh bunts while taking a full swing.

madAsHell said...

What the Fluk?
(Cause the e at the end of the word makes the u long! It's almost like this womyn is straight from central casting!!)

Why are we extending this carefully crafted partisan noise beyond the usual 15 minutes?

Henry said...

I can summarize Seligman's 288 words in 5 words:

Damage Control! Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

David said...

To put it more simply, the university president is giving a lesson in what professors are supposed to say, or not say. That lesson is not just directed at Professor Landsburg.

Think about it Alpha, without getting confused because the professor was defending Limbaugh. Suppose (say) that a university professor was defending Bill Ayers, and the president of the school weighed in with a statement like this.

Lyssa said...

AA said: Is that some special kid-gloves treatment for women?

Yes, liberal women consistently demand kid-glove treatment.

Ironically, that would be sexist.

Yes, it is.

Should we be patting the female political activist on the head and murmuring good for your for speaking up? That is dismissive.

Thank you, Mr. President.

It's better feminism to react to what a woman in politics says and to respond to her with full force the way you would to a man.

Which is why women like me, Ann Althouse, Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, etc. are true feminists, while women like Sandra Fluke, and her "supporters", are exactly the opposite.

What's worse for women's acheivement - A woman getting called a dirty name, or a 30 year old adult getting called and treated as a "girl."

Freder Frederson said...

That's the real reason for criticizing Limbaugh. He stomped all over what was a carefully crafted issue.

So you don't object to what Rush said, just that he said it because the political mileage to be gotten out of the issue is more important than the issue itself.

Palladian said...

The narrative that has been established in this whole foolish mess is: man attacks girl.

The left and the Democrats are intentionally using the sexist assumptions and instincts embedded in that narrative to their advantage.

"Leave this poor, weak little girl alone, you sexist pigs!"

hawkeyedjb said...

"[T]he free exchange of ideas and lively debate at its best" are really cool ideas, but you'd have to get far from most universities to experience them. Suppression of incorrect ideas and avoidance of lively debate seem to be the main reason for many universities' existence today. (At some places, like the University of Iowa, "Fuck you Republicans" is an example of 'an atmosphere of civil discourse in which the dignity of every individual is respected.')

Jay said...

AlphaLiberal said...

And it had nothing to do with all the insults he broadcast over 3 days towards one woman? Not just calling her a slut and prostitute, but all the other insults he spewed at her.


It is beyond parody you think you have some sort of credibility here.

The number of times you've criticized a leftist for saying nasty things about conservative women remains at zero.

Jay said...

Freder Frederson said...

So you don't object to what Rush said, just that he said it because the political mileage to be gotten out of the issue is more important than the issue itself.


It is beyond parody that you, too, think you have some sort of credibility here.

The number of times you've criticized a leftist for saying nasty things about conservative women remains at zero.

Freder Frederson said...

If you are committed to free debate as an institution, why not just let the debate unfold, without the Big Boss weighing in to intimidate dissenters.

So professors are allowed to have noxious opinions but the university president is allowed to criticize him. Completely lacking from his criticism is any threat of disciplinary action or even a request that Landsburg retract the statement. Basically what the president said is "I think Landsburg is a jerk".

Are only professors allowed to have opinions?

Curious George said...

"And the university president sides with the students... in lofty pursuit of the free exchange of ideas and lively debate in an atmosphere of civil discourse in which the dignity of every individual is respected. Okay."

Well, to have a "free exchange of ideas" you actually have to have some:

"UR student Alykhan Alani, one of the protesters, said the group was not ready to discuss their concerns."

Protest first, come up with the reasons later. I weep for our future.

Brennan said...

So you don't object to what Rush said, just that he said it because the political mileage to be gotten out of the issue is more important than the issue itself.

Actually Freder, I DO object to what Rush said. I think it was disgusting tripe.

rhhardin said...

Maybe he's trying to get laid.

NOW meetings used to be the place to find babes.

He's calling his own NOW meeting.

Hagar said...

This is getting off topic and beating a dead horse at that, but I do not think that el Rushbo's spiel and, say, Bill Maher's comments are directly comparable.
The comments attributed to Bill Maher, Chris Matthew, etc., have been aimed directly at the objects of their derision, while it seems to me that Limbaugh's in this case was more in the line of "Look here girl, listen to yourself. Don't you realize the absurdity of your claims and the logical conclusion of your arguments?"

Crude and flatfooted certainly, and he has been in the business long enough that he should have known what would happen.

However, I do not subscribe to the speculation that he was the victim of an elaborate conspiracy that has been floated. I think the Democrats and the press have just been adept at grabbing the chance of changing the subject of the debate when opportunity offered to save themselves from a loosing position.

Freder Frederson said...

Fluke's arguments were deeply flawed. It's actually an impediment to academic scholarship to let her flaws go unanswered.

Why is Fluke's argument "deeply flawed". I still don't understand that she was somehow being illogical supporting a policy that requires certain minimum coverage under medical insurance, regardless of who is supplying it.

And just because one thinks that medical insurance should only provide catastrophic care, doesn't make it so. Medical insurance is different from car insurance (which also btw has minimum statutory requirements mandated by the state).

Rick67 said...

I'm astonished that a university president felt it necessary to go after a professor for an opinion that professor posted on his *blog*.

So now we are policing thought crimes.

You know, I've tried not to be a conspiracy theorist, tried not to sound paranoid, alarmist, or extreme. But the last few weeks are beginning to wake me up to the very real possibility that we are dealing with forces that which to create a socialist utopia. And they will use *any means at hand* to silence and eliminate *anything* that stands in the way of their goal.

That means religion. That means having another opinion that you post on your blog. That means the Constitution. That means liberty. Anything. Nothing must stand in the way of the Goal.

2012 is the Rubicon.

Brennan said...

I think the Democrats and the press have just been adept at grabbing the chance of changing the subject of the debate when opportunity offered to save themselves from a loosing position.

Come on. For 18 months this administration dragged its feet on rights of conscience which came up during the debate over "Obamacare". This was they key obstacle to passing the bill out of the house. It's not like Team Obama never anticipated this coming.

We are foolish to presume that Axelrod is not great at what he does. He is fantastic at this. This IS how he wins elections. Axelrod has always used strategy to show that his candidate's opponent is an unserious challenger that you should ridicule.

rhhardin said...

"Deeply flawed" is an economist's judgment.

The numbers don't and will never add up.

She's a looter, from an economist's perspective. Give me more free, it's my right.

Don't bother producing anything in exchange.

An economy can bear a certain amount of that load, at the price of a lowering of the nation's standard of living in general, but it goes unstable when enough load is added, and the economy collapses.

What's left is a habit of looting and reversion to kill and plunder instead of cooperative exchange.

Roger J. said...

at the risk of sounding cynical I always thought job one for university president was to build the endowment, and keep their sports teams in national contention (Donna Shalala at the U of Miami for example)--Follow the money folks--thats what university presidents are doing day to day.

Brennan said...

Why is Fluke's argument "deeply flawed". I still don't understand that she was somehow being illogical supporting a policy that requires certain minimum coverage under medical insurance, regardless of who is supplying it.

Nine fucking dollars. The Market is a cruel wicked bitch stoning women back to kitchens and laundry rooms.

May I propose that sleeping masks be taken off once you have woken for the day.

Roger J. said...

pardon consecutive posts: I suspect a university president has more meetings with the development director and athletic director than they do with deans.

Freder Frederson said...

The numbers don't and will never add up.

I would really like to see these numbers that don't add up. An unintended pregnancy is certainly more expensive than providing free contraceptives under a health plan as is a yearly prostate test or mammogram rather than letting cancer develop.

EDH said...

Important academic-publishing-publicity-seeking context:

Evidently, Landsburg has just released a book on sex entitled "More Sex is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics and The Armchair Economist: Economics and Everyday Life."

Here's a pre-Fluke talk he gave.

Amazon review:

In More Sex is Safer Sex, Professor Landsburg offers readers a series of stimulating discussions that all flow from one unsettling fact. Combining the rational decisions of each of us often produces an irrational result for all of us. Avoiding casual sex can actually encourage the spread of diseases. To solve population pressures, we need more people. In his tantalizing, entertaining narrative, Landsburg guides us through these shocking notions by the light of compelling logic and evidence and makes suggestions along the way: Why not charge juries if a convicted felon is exonerated? Why not let firemen keep the property they rescue? As entertaining as it is inflammatory, More Sex is Safer Sex, will make readers think about their decisions in unforgettable ways-and spark debate over much that we all take for granted.

Lyssa said...

Hagar said: Look here girl, listen to yourself. Don't you realize the absurdity of your claims and the logical conclusion of your arguments?"

You're 100% correct, but that's far too much nuance for our liberal friends. You've got to give them baby steps.

At least, for the "girls."

Nathan Alexander said...

@alphaliberal,
Not just calling her a slut and prostitute, but all the other insults he spewed at her.

I see what you did there, and it is worth pointing out.

What are "all the other insults"?

You name the two that everyone has heard of, and then you imply that there are more...many more. You depend on readers' imagination to supply the details, in hopes that the imagination gives results worse than if you just listed the "other insults", which I argue are actually zero.

This is dishonesty by implication. You are non-specific to provide yourself some wiggle room if called on it. Well, I deny your wiggle room. Your formulation is dishonest in intent and effect.

Have you no shame?

Brennan said...

Don't bother producing anything in exchange.

Just wagering a guess here, but if insurance pays for Fluke's contraceptive wants at Georgetown then her student loans can pay for it. Ergo, the student loan bubble can continue inflating which is yet another objective of Team Obama.

EDH said...

Actually, sex only concerns one chapter in the book, but obviously is meant as the attention grabber.

I also liked him on Barney Miller, as Dietrich.

stoqboy said...

You can see President Seligman here in an admissions video that is also creating some buzz for the UoR.

damikesc said...

Professors have the obligation to "nurture" and "inspire" her from afar by refraining from taking on her ideas? Is that some special kid-gloves treatment for women? Ironically, that would be sexist.

Bush's soft bigotry of low expectation is a far more brilliant and cogent realization than anything our current "genius" President has uttered.

Are you really saying he approved of this particular action?

His criticism of the students' action is...where? He clearly has no problem voicing disapproval over things.

He says nothing of the sort.

Yes, referencing that he was one of Rush's "few defenders" was just a meaningless aside, eh?

He is responding to one caustic statement from one professor who called people names like "contraceptive sponges."

Contraceptive sponges is now verboten? Man. Can we have a list of phrases allowed to be used?

And it had nothing to do with all the insults he broadcast over 3 days towards one woman?

I think you miscounted. It was a commend made once. Took maybe 5 minutes for the entire rant.

That YOU obsessed over it for days can hardly be blamed on him.

And the behavior of the protesters wasn't offensive?

Weren't those protestors legitimately stealing money from the students? That class isn't free. Attendance at a university is brutally overpriced as is.

I would really like to see these numbers that don't add up. An unintended pregnancy is certainly more expensive than providing free contraceptives under a health plan as is a yearly prostate test or mammogram rather than letting cancer develop.

How is it cheaper to pay for a pregnancy AND birth control as opposed to paying for just pregnancy? Because they'll be on the hook for both.

Hint: If it was cheaper, insurance companies --- which already don't have a big profit margin --- wouldn't offered it gratis long ago.

Renee said...

How exactly are unintended pregnancies more costly then planned? When you're pregnant you're pregnant. The uterus, doesn't know the brain's intentions, it just carries on with the pregnancy.

AprilApple said...

This whole episode reveals the true story. The progressive democrat left want to silence dissent, cut free speech off at the knees, and silence any talk uttered against the state.

AprilApple said...

Oh and leftists, spare us your phony outrage over the word slut, assholes.

Hagar said...

And meanwhile, the US and Israeli administrations are discussing the feasibility and possible consequences of eliminating the Iranian uranium processing facilities with low-level nuclear devices, the Moslem Brotherhood is fair in the way of taking over the Middle East from Morocco to Syria and Turkey, the European banking system is tottering on collapse, and a few other minor problems here and there.

Maguro said...

I would really like to see these numbers that don't add up. An unintended pregnancy is certainly more expensive than providing free contraceptives under a health plan as is a yearly prostate test or mammogram rather than letting cancer develop.

The insurance companies have surely studied the issue a little more rigorously than you have, Freder, and they've evidently come to the conclusion that providing free birth control does not save them money. Are you suggesting that you understand the economics of this better than they do?

O2BNAZ said...

So as I understand it...calling Fluke a Slut was demeaning only because she is not an actor in the political realm, which is why it was ok for the left to call Palin a Cunt. So the new rules of engagement, as defined for us by the left are...you can call a Black politician the N word just not your Black nieghbor.

chickenlittle said...

What he advocates is logical consistency and an appreciation for ethical symmetry.

"Ethical symmetry" sounds like an interesting concept. So far it's just been bilateral symmetry. Just wait until we get to trigonal or even tetrahedral symmetry. We're all going to need a refresher course in group theory just to get things right.

AprilApple said...

"extortionists with an overweening sense of entitlement."

That describes the entire democrat party from top to bottom. Fluke is just one of the cogs.

Renee said...

A pregnancy by intercourse in your 20s, is cheaper the IVF in your 30s.

I guess I was fortunate, my family was supportive in having children, did it derail my earning potential? Yes. How can I not deny that.

I know most parents don't like putting a price on their child's head. Am I worth less to society, because I don't work full time? Are my offspring worth less, because there are more then two. My children aren't extras, spares, or a waste of my education. They're should be treated with some respect and dignity. Each one, as an individual.

Jay said...

Freder Frederson said...

I would really like to see these numbers that don't add up. An unintended pregnancy is certainly more expensive than providing free contraceptives under a health plan


The contraceptives are not "free" you idiot.

Nobody said they are "free," the insurance companies sure as hell know they are not "free" yet you are so stupid you actually believe this.

Why are you commenting when you are so ignorant?

Mr. Forward said...

"Professor Landsburg was an undergraduate at the University of Rochester, but never completed his undergraduate requirements due to his failure to take a physical education course. He was awarded a Masters degree after he enrolled in his own course when he became a professor at the school."

Coach Landsburg "Lansburg, Drop and give me 20, you contraceptive sponge.

Professor Landsburg "I can't."

Coach Landsburg "You deserve only to be ridiculed, mocked and jeered. Now 100 laps around the gym"

Professor Landsburg "You're killing me, Coach"

Coach Landsburg "Don't rush."

MadisonMan said...

You can see President Seligman here in an admissions video that is also creating some buzz for the UoR.

Biddy's cameo in Teach me how to Bucky was better.

pst314 said...

"I would really like to see these numbers that don't add up. An unintended pregnancy is certainly more expensive than providing free contraceptives"

What the heck does the cost of a pregnancy have to do with the cost of contraceptives?

Fluke dishonestly exaggerated the annual cost of contraceptives.

Henry said...

Freder wrote: An unintended pregnancy is certainly more expensive than providing free contraceptives under a health plan as is a yearly prostate test or mammogram rather than letting cancer develop.

And yet, oddly enough, insurance companies, the masters of actuarial science, don't seem to know this. Why not?

First, Freder's examples are not precisely analogous. I have to consider them separately before we consider them together.

1. Contraceptives are not expensive. Insurance companies have probably figured out that women have means to not get pregnant even if contraceptives are not covered. Covering contraceptives may have very small impact on unintended pregnancy rates.

2. Prostate and mammogram tests become cost effective only at a point where cancer risks rise high enough to make true positives significant. Before that point, the vast majority of tests will be true negatives or false positives.

In both cases the costs of a blanket health program (contraceptives or tests) are a gross calculation of all the people covered. The cost benefits of the program derive from the much smaller percentage of people assisted.

The expense argument is certainly not so simple as Freder presents.

AprilApple said...

I see the totalitarian left rush in to point out how Landsburg should be forced to shut up, issue an apology, grovel, do push-ups. He's clearly not good enough stock. He doesn't hold the proper opinions. He should be silenced, right leftists? Whatever it takes to break him.

Renee said...

@ pst314

The idea of preventative medicine is to reduce medical costs, healthy people cost less and anything to keep them healthy is good. Pregnancy is pregnancy, unintended or not. Being pregnant, may have risks, but it is not unhealthy to be pregnant.

george said...

I think everyone would do better to concentrate on the "ignorant" part of the classic "ignorant slut" formulation than the "slut" part. To hold the position she does Fluke truly must be ignorant of a large number of topics. There is a field day to be had there.

Plus, sluts are not so much a detriment to society that they need their name sullied by being associated with Fluke who has invented an entirely new form of female depravity. It is so new in fact that there is no proper word in the English language for it--- which is why everyone is getting tripped up trying to make her action fit into our existing lexicon.

A whore offers her affections in return for money. A slut has a full and varied sex life. But what do you call a woman who wishes to force others to pay for things that violate the their most deeply held beliefs just so that she may have sex of a particular type and frequency that most suits her? And it is all based on her ignorance of the purpose of insurance and the cost and availability of birth control.

Fluke is not to my knowledge a whore or a slut. She is much worse. A society can survive sluts and whores. In fact I would argue that we need both in some amount. But no civilized country can suffer the likes of Fluke and her ilk because of their willingness to use force to have their way with us.

Everything else is a side issue. It is the willingness and ability to use force that makes her so loathsome. Her ignorance of forms of sex not involving the risk of pregnancy and inability to take responsibility for choosing to participate in acts that do bear that risk is just icing on the shame cake.

Chip S. said...

Here's a brief refresher course on university presidents exercising their rights to criticize faculty or pose questions to them:

Larry Summers questions the extent to which Cornel West is engaged in scholarship. Result: Blowback against Summers. West flounces off in a huff.

Larry Summers asks a politically incorrect question about women in the sciences. Result: Major blowback against Summers, who eventually resigns, unhuffily, to return to the faculty.

Joel Seligman denounces a faculty member for a blog comment, not to challenge any substantive points of logic or fact, but simply to categorize the professor's words as inappropriate. Result: Students disrupt the professor's class. Althouse liberals defend Seligman's right to free expression.

I would be pleasantly surprised to learn that AlphaLib and Frederson supported Summers as vigorously as they are supporting Seligman. Not surprised, really, so much as stunned.

AprilApple said...

I suspect Landsburg will now receive death threats and will be forced to issue a public apology for his views.

How dare he have an opinion, and how dare he express that opinion. Poor college student babies. They need to be nurtured. At least the properly educated leftwing students need to be nurtured. Maybe the democrats in congress can write a law that will criminalize and penalize this
Unfortunate free speech made by this unfortunate and sub-par professor.

Jay said...

The expense argument is certainly not so simple as Freder presents.


We could fit what freeper knows about insurance and medical costs on to a fingernail.

What freeper & alpha boil down to is: The conservatives are angry, therefore it must be good.

Simpletons, all of them.

Kevin said...

Does a university professor really have no recourse if a mob descends on his or her classroom?

I would have called the police.

And announced an unscheduled test in the next class on the subject of today's lecture. If I didn't get to speak, so what I get paid all the same. It is only hurting the students; let them fight it out with the fascists.

MadisonMan said...

tests become cost effective only at a point where cancer risks rise high enough to make true positives significant.

I thought of this when I had my first colonoscopy done. I pondered how much it cost the Insurance Company, and by extension, the people covered. There is no family history of colon cancer in my family, and I have no risk factors that I know of. Yet there I was, drinking down that slightly salty concoction and then cramping on the white throne.

Alcuria said...

Renee @ 3/8/12 7:42 AM:

Best post of the thread. This was Professor Landsburg's private blog. So what do some students do in response? Disrupt class where other students are paying $ - lots of $ - to attend class.

Lame, UR student protesters, lame.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

If you want "an institution that promotes the free exchange of ideas and lively debate" go to an VFW/AL post or a union hall. Stay the hell away from a university.

edutcher said...

Bottom line:

Diversity, like civility and bipartisanship, is a one-way street for the Lefties.

If we're talking viewpoint or other thought, it's not allowed.

Freder Frederson said...

That's the real reason for criticizing Limbaugh. He stomped all over what was a carefully crafted issue.

So you don't object to what Rush said, just that he said it because the political mileage to be gotten out of the issue is more important than the issue itself.


Awaiting Freder's objection to Maher, Ubermoronn, etc.

Peter said...

Freder Frederson said An unintended pregnancy is certainly more expensive than providing free contraceptives under a health plan

But surely that would imply that a student who finds the cost of obtianing contraception to be an unreasonable financial burden will be unable to handle the burden if it fails? Insurance may cover the cost of pre-natal care and birthing, but its not going to cover either the cost of raising the child or of abortion.

Is it unreasonable to question the student's judgement in engaging in activities that may either force her into poverty and welfare, or force her to offer her child for adoption?

Or is this, too, just too mean-spirited a question to even ask? After all, how much responsibility can one expect from a thirty year old woman?

(Yes, I know: none of this really matters as her argument- that she shouldn't have to pay for contracption- is garbage. Or perhaps her argument is that she shouldn't have to pay for anything?)

Conor said...

I found it interesting that Ms. Fluke did not accept Rush's apology.

Political people say all sorts of nasty things about each other and then quickly call each other, "my good friend.....".

And when someone apologizes for something, the gracious thing is to take the high road and accept it.

This leads me to believe:
1. She is a political instrument of the Dems who is willingly being manipulated.
2. She is a political activist who doesn't really understand politics.
3. She has poor home training.

I suspect all threee are correct.

Pianoman said...

I wanted to zero in on this sentence:

The more people are all on one side of an issue, in Seligman's view, the more important it is for everybody to get over on that side.

Doesn't this elegantly sum up the mentality of the Left? I'm thinking specifically of issues such as global warming, but doesn't it apply equally well to other Lefty causes?

It's all about momentum and consensus. Once there's momentum to believe a certain thing, there's "consensus" -- and then everyone is EXPECTED to believe that thing. It's the Emperor's New Clothes writ large.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The fact that Landsburg was posting on his own blog also gives the lie to Seligman's phony "if he can state his views I can state mine" equivalence. If your screed appears at the URL seligman.blogspot.com you can tell us you're just an ordinary guy having his say; when it appears at www.rochester.edu/president/memos I guess you can still tell us that, but you shouldn't expect to be believed.

Lori said...

But what do you call a woman who wishes to force others to pay for things that violate the their most deeply held beliefs just so that she may have sex of a particular type and frequency that most suits her?

A Liberal Plant.

Unfortunately, Rush should have followed up his attempt at highlighting the absurdity of this logic by AGREEING with his accusers, not apologizing. Something allong the lines of:

"See? You're RIGHT! Of COURSE she's not a slut for wanting us all to pay for her birth control. That would be ridiculous!
She's a mere vacuous liberal plant whining about the anecdotal indignities and financial sufferings of smart, sexually active females in their prime reproductive years. Oh, and she's an extortionist like the rest of the liberals. But NOT a slut. I stand corrected."

CAROLYN said...

Why the outrage? For several years schools and towns have had 'Slut Walks' as a proud display of sexuality. If it was fine then why is it a insult now. Could it be that there is a double standard that factors in 'left' and 'right'?

BlogDog said...

I'll admit to not having read through all the comments so if someone else made this point already, I apologize but to call Fluke's appearance testimony "before a congressional subcommittee on a specific policy question" is incorrect.
She spoke at a press conference made to look like an appearance before a committee. If she had actually testified, he would have been subject to vetting and "inconvenient" questions. Hard times for a liar.

Edgar99 said...

Another distraction from the university that should be at the center of attention. Fluke accused Georgetown serious failures including potentially criminal misconduct. Yet Georgetown is escaping any scrutiny at all. Specifically, the Fluke statement accuses Georgetown of the following:

(1) "In sixty-five percent of cases, our female students were interrogated by insurance representatives and university medical staff about why they need these prescriptions and whether they are lying about their symptoms." Was Georgetown illegally violating their privacy rights? Was Georgetown intimidating students from receiving covered benefits?

(2) "One student told us doctors believe she has endometriosis, but it can't be proven without surgery, so the insurance hasn't been willing to cover her medication." Is Georgetown inappropriately denying covered benefits?

(3) "For my friend, [with polycystic ovarian syndrome] and 20% of women in her situation, she never got the insurance company to cover her prescription, despite verification of her illness from her doctor." According to Fluke, this resulted in the friend potentially losing her fertility. Has Georgetown compensated its victim for their contractual failure to provide covered benefits?
(4) "At many schools" Fluke asserts, birth control medication for polycystic ovarian syndrome would not be covered by insurance. Which schools? Don't potential female applicants to such schools deserve advanced warning?
(5) Fluke asserts "university administrators...rather than women and their doctors, dictate whose medical needs are good enough and whose aren't..." Does Georgetown concur that this is how its plan operates?

A follow-up congressional hearing is clearly warranted to investigate these allegations.

rhhardin said...

I suppose it's too cold for naked protests.

30yearProf said...

Thank God for tenure. It is, and remains, the only barrier to thought control 1984-style at American Universities. Everybody wants to control YOUR thinking -- Liberals, Conservatives, Evangelicals, Athiests -- Everyone.

SteveR said...

He was pretty good in Barney Miller...oh wait.. Landesburg

CWJ said...

Why the outrage? Simple. Because then you don't have to say what was actually factually wrong or illogical in your opponent's opinion. Outrage has become its own justification. I suppose you could point out that the "student" wasn't one of Landsberg's students, didn't even attend your university, or at age 30 should be well beyond the point of needing protection from ridicule, and was testifying politically, not academically, but then I presume that Seligman would manage to be "outraged" by that as well.

Bruce Hayden said...

I would really like to see these numbers that don't add up. An unintended pregnancy is certainly more expensive than providing free contraceptives under a health plan as is a yearly prostate test or mammogram rather than letting cancer develop.

We have heard this argument a lot, and it is superficially compelling. But, it misses a couple of important things. In particular, it assumes that if women cannot get free contraceptives of their choice from their insurance companies, that they will get pregnant instead, or at least a significant percentage of them will, significant enough to overcome the costs of the pregnancies avoided.

But, the assumption that a lot of women will get pregnant if they cannot get the contraceptive of their choice free from their insurance companies is likely false. Much more likely, they will utilize other types of contraception, or other avenues of acquiring the contraception of their choice. In the case of Flake and her sisters at Georgetown Law, it may mean a trip to Planned Parenthood, or maybe the student health center, where condoms are apparently freely available. Plus a lot of other options, including, actually paying for contraceptives themselves, given their generally low cost.

If the actuarial facts are so obviously in favor of supplying free contraception in order to prevent pregnancies, then it beggars belief that no insurance company has figured this out yet.

Which means that proponents of this argument have been arguing a false dichotomy all along, and that in reality, the cost of pregnancies actually saved by this is exceeded by the cost of providing the free contraception. Not because contraception doesn't prevent pregnancies, but because the women involved will go elsewhere, spend their own money, or use some other type of contraception to prevent pregnancies, before they will go without.

And, interestingly, this is just the sort of argument that would interest the victim here, who is the author of: "More Sex is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics", which appears to be in the vein of the much better known (so far) "Freakonomics".

Lori said...

The president's letter has given the Consensus Enforcers a license to shut down a lecture.

I am sending son #2 to college this Fall. I think I need to see where his school administration falls on the free speech scale before the first check gets written.

Bruce Hayden said...

Nobody said they are "free," the insurance companies sure as hell know they are not "free" yet you are so stupid you actually believe this.

Oh, wait a minute. My understanding was that HHS had mandated zero co-pays for contraception, which translates into "free" for most of us. If that is incorrect, please provide a link debunking this.

Petunia said...

The professor wasn't mocking Fluke as a student, as the president claimed. He was criticizing her testimony. Completely different.

The fact that the university president completely ignored this fact is extremely disturbing. But not surprising.

Brennan said...

I think I need to see where his school administration falls on the free speech scale before the first check gets written.

Lori: Check with FIRE to see what they think of the school. They may have already heard from current of former students and therefore already have a dossier available about speech codes.

cubanbob said...

So the university president by stating there is nothing wrong about getting paid for sex ( which by the way is illegal) thus inadvertently acknowledging that Rush was right by calling Fluke a whore. Folks you just can't make this up!

Freder I know it's hard for you to grasp this but Fluke's alleged constitutional right to birth control pills doesn't trump the university's enumerated right not to do so. Pesky thing that constitution.

So if the democrats want to now embrace a new aggrieved interest group of dishonest whores....let them campaign as the party that stands up for whores! Now there is a winning platform.

MayBee said...

First of all, I don't agree that Rush hijacked a carefully crafted issue. Obama, as I have mentioned several times, was acting dishonestly in this debate. Nobody much cared. There is a history of ignoring issues until some inflammatory aspect comes up, and then the press attaches itself to that. Think of how few people were really discussing what Obama wanted to do with his boards who would discuss the blue pill or the pacemaker until Palin came along and said "death panels". Then she became an outrage and the whole idea went away.

MayBee said...

Oh- Megan McArdle's guest blogger had a great piece about this being a big sop to big pharma.

Yes, there are cheap pills but they are off patent pills. With absolutely zero restrictions on coverage, as Obama has mandated, who would choose the cheaper pill vs. the more expensive one that gives you great skin and only 1 period a year? Thus, the cost of contraceptives goes up, and the cost of insuring them goes up.

The economics might have worked if Obama had said, every policy has to offer at least two kinds with zero copay. Not that I would have agreed with that mandate, but it would have kept the costs down.

John Walsh said...

My alma mater...(sigh)...now run by idiots and idealogues...(sigh again)...

submandave said...

"Not that there’s anything wrong with that"

As this was a throw away line and never elaborated on, it would seem to me more a humorous nod to Seinfeld than a serious statement of policy preference.

cubanbob said...

Apparently Freder does not understand what insurance is; a bet against a catastrophic or rare event or unforssen event.
He thinks medical insurance is simply a pre-paid medical care plan. Back to school Freder!

Freder figure out what is and what isn't an insurable event and then get back to us.

By the way Freder have you considered the implications of your comment about objectionable speech? Be careful what you wish for because the same logic could easily be applied to left wing speach. Your problem which is typical of the left assumes that there is only direction political thought can go which you will find out isn't true. What the left wants to impose on those who disagree can just as easily done in reverse. Payback can be a bitch.

Brennan said...

Obama, as I have mentioned several times, was acting dishonestly in this debate. Nobody much cared.

True. But that's Obama being Obama. He is who we thought he was. He is who he told us he was...before he ran for the US Senate.

However, that dishonesty is still strategy. The smoking poker player whose pockets were his teleprompter before he could afford teleprompters isn't stupid.

Jay said...

Bruce Hayden said...

Oh, wait a minute. My understanding was that HHS had mandated zero co-pays for contraception, which translates into "free" for most of us. If that is incorrect, please provide a link debunking this.


If that translates into "free" for you, I don't know what to say.

But, when your insurance premium rises, be sure to tell us how "free" this all was.

Renee said...

@Peter

"Is it unreasonable to question the student's judgement in engaging in activities that may either force her into poverty and welfare, or force her to offer her child for adoption?"

In my family, if there was a woman still in school and having a baby, we would all take turns with some free daycare a few hours a day so she could attend classes. None of use went on welfare or fell into poverty, because we had a baby 'too young'.

We're fortunate, to sacrifice a little for a relative to finish school.

Georgetown does have a part-time program. Many law schools, admit older students who are working, married, and with children. So this time of flexibility is common.

A woman can't take three months maternity leave, but if she has the family supports she isn't going to end up on welfare.

bgates said...

An unintended pregnancy is certainly more expensive than providing free contraceptives under a health plan as is a yearly prostate test or mammogram rather than letting cancer develop.

I'll tell you an absolutely guaranteed way to avoid getting pregnant if you tell me an absolutely guaranteed way to avoid getting cancer.

n.n said...

In her private life, with resources acquired from her labor, she can be and do whatever she wants.

However, when she gives public testimony to her promiscuity she is a slut.

woman of loose character, bold hussy

When she gives public testimony to receive transfers of wealth in order to support her promiscuity she is a prostitute.

a woman who engages in sexual intercourse for money; whore; harlot

That would imply the Democrats who invited her to bear witness are her pimps or handlers.

When she does all of this in service of conducting exploitation through authoritarian coercion. Well, there is a name for this, but Democrats don’t enjoy discussing their heritage.

Of course, all of their actions are justified through the euphemistic call for “rights” and “women’s rights” in this instance. It has an emotionally appealing ring to it.

Both the man and woman should accept personal responsibility for the outcome of their voluntary behavior and associated costs.

We are discussing the same issues that arose with the so-called "health care reform", but from a narrowing perspective. This is where appeals to emotion are their most effective at extorting compliance.

Bruce Hayden said...

If that translates into "free" for you, I don't know what to say.

But, when your insurance premium rises, be sure to tell us how "free" this all was
.

Here is the problem - it depends on your point of reference. HHS has apparently mandated that contraception be available without co-pay, and that the insurance companies not raise their rates to cover those who so chose it. That includes religiously affiliated institutions like Georgetown, whose leadership object to paying for contraception on religious grounds. The HHS "compromise" is apparently that they can offer two policies, one with and one without contraception coverage, but cannot charge anything more for it over the policy that does not provide for contraception coverage. Which is, in essence, an accounting gimmick to get around the religious objections to the contraception mandate, but ignores that these institutions will have to pay for the contraception any way, since the cost of the contraception will, by necessity, based on the way that the rule was written, be spread out across the policies of both those who elect contraception and those who do not. Or, more relevant here, the employer or other provider of the insurance will have to pay for contraception, regardless.

So, no, I am not arguing that contraception coverage is free, per se, but rather, that it is "free" to the policyholders, and the cost of it is effectively spread over those who elect to have it and those who do not.

Fred said...

In the wonderful words of Kate @ SDA.

"The opposite of diversity is university."

Lori said...

@Brennan: Thanks for the tip.

The two schools I'm supporting are not in their database, for now. FIRE now has a "Guide to First-Year Orientation and Thought Reform on Campus" to help new students understand what part of their "intro to college life" sessions are diversity sensitivity training and P.C. 101.

Freder Frederson said...

The insurance companies have surely studied the issue a little more rigorously than you have, Freder, and they've evidently come to the conclusion that providing free birth control does not save them money.

Many insurance plans already cover contraceptives, and in some states it is indeed mandatory. The issue here is whether to require religiously affiliated institutions to provide the same benefits as non-religious plans.

Freder Frederson said...

However, when she gives public testimony to her promiscuity she is a slut.

How do you know she is promiscuous?

Tarzan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tarzan said...

Compare and contrast this episode with the institutional establishment's treatment of the girl who didn't want to wade into the 'Occupy' morass and asked for another assignment and was refused.

She was mocked by every leftist blog out there, and I'm sure some were run by professors.

No one in the establishment made proclamations calling for restraint in any form for harassing her.

This girl makes an intentional spectacle of herself in front of Congress and we're supposed to handle her delicate soul with kid gloves?

This is just leftist morons protecting other leftist morons by demonizing anyone who openly opposes them. Nothing more or less.

hawkeyedjb said...

"HHS has apparently mandated that contraception be available without co-pay, and that the insurance companies not raise their rates to cover those who so chose it."

Can't we do that for every health care product and service, and solve all our health care problems at once?

Freder Frederson said...

Apparently Freder does not understand what insurance is; a bet against a catastrophic or rare event or unforssen event.

Apparently, you don't understand how most medical insurance works. True, calling Medical coverage (the way it is supplied by most employers in this country) "insurance" is not technically correct. Most medical "insurance" is indeed a prepaid medical plan where costs are spread across a group.

You are getting hung up on semantics.

Crimso said...

"I am outraged that any professor would demean a student in this fashion."

My first thought was "WTF?" Then I noticed he has a J.D. and realized he's never had to be on the receiving end of a dissertation committee.

"by coming to one of his courses and standing between him and the class while he continued to lecture"

Now this I don't understand at all. This would last about 30 seconds in one of my classes before the university police put a stop to it (and if for some bizarre reason they refused to do so, I would do so by any means necessary). You have no more of a right to "free speech" in my classroom than you do in a courtroom.

Chip S. said...

Most medical "insurance" is indeed a prepaid medical plan where costs are spread across a group.

For two reasons: the tax exemption for health insurance offered as an employee benefit and state mandates.

Neither of those reasons has anything whatsoever to do with what "insurance" is intended to deal with in a world not subject to government's hamfisted intervention.

Archivist said...

It is disheartening, but not surprising, that so many who wander the rarefied halls of academia refuse to judge the merits of Ms. Fluke's words by actually considering her words.

The central tenet of Ms. Fluke's testimony before Congress (aside from talking almost exclusively about the exceptional cases -- the women who need contraception for extreme medical necessity) was this: "Forty percent of female students at Georgetown Law report struggling financially as a result of this policy [of not providing contraception coverage]."

Read it again, and actually think about the words: it's not the tens of thousands of dollars that go toward law school tuition every year, nor is it the cost of housing or books or anything else that cause female law students to struggle financially. It's contraception.

She just as easily could have added the cost of Skinny Flavored Starbucks Latte and similar beverages law students are known to purchase on a regular basis.

We are stranded in an era where gross exaggeration is as good as the truth if it advances the correct agenda. Instead of critically examining Fluke's position, too many, at your university and elsewhere, are content to gravitate to the easily mouthed clich├ęs of political correctness, which gives them a false veneer of enlightenment and sophistication, and separates them from the “guns and religions” crowd they find so abhorrent. This veneer, of course, arms them with McCarthyistic bats to attack anyone who doesn’t share their world view.

Ms. Fluke's position is absurd on its face. Mr. Limbaugh did not need to resort to name-calling to underscore that. All he needed to do was quote her.

AlphaLiberal said...

Althouse:
We've seen university presidents cower before student protesters too many times. This isn't exactly Cornell in 1968, but nevertheless...

Non-responsive. you stated in your post that he sides with the students who were standing silently in the classroom, as if he approved of the action. That is baseless, as your lame misdirection reveals.

And, Ann, "hack" is a word with meaning, not an insult if not flattering:
"A political hack is a negative term ascribed to a person who is part of the political party apparatus, but whose intentions are more aligned with victory than personal conviction."

I used it in the deleted comment because you are going to such great lengths to defend Limbaugh as some brave teller of truths and dump on his critics.

Hey, maybe you do actually believe, as you imply inn another post, that calling women sluts, prostitutes and the other insults is fine. However, I don't expect you did before Limbaugh did it, nor would you if it came from someone who was not a leader of the Republican Party and important to your base.

So, that's where I was coming from.

Linda and Fred said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Bullock said...

Here's some "inside baseball" ...

Landsburg is a target of convenience for Seligman to use to clean up his, Seligman's, cred after bobbling working Governor Cuomo II's new state economic development initiative as he, Cuomo II, positions himself for the presidential run his, Cuomo II's, father never made.

Let me break it down ...

The U of R is in the early stages of an expansion project dependent on continued government approvals and funds. University money and prestige are already sunk costs, forfeit if the project is delayed, criticized or canceled. (FWIW, it's a good project.)

Last year Seligman co-chaired the regional economic development council working with Cuomo II's big new economic development initiative.(See note.)

What council? Well Cuomo II decided to *competitively* "award" $ 130 million in state economic development money & other support to 10 "regions" based on submitted "applications." Each region spun up a council-thing to write the "application", with Seligman one of the two "co-chairs" for "The Finger Lakes Region" (See other note), the 9 counties centered on Monroe which housed the UofR,

Got that?

The "Finger Lakes Region" came in second-ish, or something, in this competition, because the proposal didn't include enough *support for the poor* and *job creation.* What they mean is *direct transfers* and *government or other entity hiring with the awarded funds.* (See note.)

Seligman publicly called "foul" - politely, but still - claiming that the directives for the applications didn't say that. Cuomo II shot back "We met four times and I even brought in Bill Clinton." (Which has what to do with what the criteria were?) All this played out in the press.

So, Seligman needs to fix his cred sooner rather than later, and wouldn't you know here comes libertarian loudmouth Landesburg, saying math-y things about an entitlement issue getting national press. Bandwagon. Hopping on. Persona repair. Etc.

Note:

I saw the criteria for this "competition", participated in the public parts of developing the "application" and have read the submitted applications that are public.

If the game was to determine who grovelled best for funds for direct transfer, Finger Lakes blew it. The criteria didn't say that in anything I read, heard or saw.

Also, everybody gets *some* of the $130 million, some getting a "minimum" while others got more. So, why not just *not route the minimum award through Albany in the first place?* If I were cynical I'd say that the difference between "minimum" and "max" wouldn't be enough to get the regions to jump through this hoop. Or I might say that not routing the $ through Albany amounts to a tax cut, and we can't do those.

Meanwhile, declaring new "regions" bypasses existing city & county governments and regional entities which seems a bit arbitrary.

Other Note:

The "Finger Lakes Region" in this competition isn't what we call "the finger lakes region." That's closer to "the central region", but really about half in each one.

I believe it is still called "New York State" for legal purposes, although it might be renamed "Northern Pennsylvania" at any time if that suits Cuomo II.


Coda:

With the now official demise of Kodak, finally, Xerox moving operations to anywhere else & GM continuing it's long history of sucking, "The Finger Lakes Region" may eventually become destitute and bereft of possibilities enough to "win" some "economic development" support from the state.

Linda and Fred said...

Have you listened to Fluke's testimony? Limbaugh is factually wrong and anyone who defends him is a party to his slander of this private citizen! This was about PRIVATE insurance COVERAGE, insurance that Georgetown students already pay for with no subsidy from the government or you, me or Limbaugh! If you listened to her testimony, you would also know that Fluke used the word contraceptives referring to prescriptions, and her examples were mostly medical, not sexual, use of these prescriptions. If you look at this article where the math is laid out calculating quantity of Fluke's sex (written 2 days before Limbaugh started his vile slander of Fluke) you'll see the probable source where Limbaugh copied his idea and erroneous calculation about quantity of sex. And all of you defending Limbaugh are now involved in what has to be slander based on Craig Bannister's distortion of Fluke's testimony! For shame! http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6329595&postID=8533627158055754375&page=0&token

Chip Ahoy said...

I've been dismissive of Pelosi as stupid girl ever since the hurricane Katrina I looked specifically to her for wisdom and got partisan crap.

So I looked again and got the same thing. And again and the same thing. And again and the same thing. And again.

But now I am starting to see why people in San Francisco keep putting her forward. She is fierce. She controlled this whole thing with a play act that is truly cynical and yet she knew what she could rely on and she knows what works and she did kick the living shit out of this whole thing. There was no way she could predict precisely how radio would react, that was all extra but in line with what she knows and uses.

Way to go. Make Pelosi appear brilliant by comparison and reaffirm her usefulness.

I have friends in SF and they are none of the things that the Right say of them. Well, they are some of the things, okay many of the things, but not all the terrible things said of them and they are certainly not stupid. I haven't asked specifically but I see now why they would keep reelecting her.

walter said...

David said: "The lefties have no short term solution for that little tenure problem. Their long term solution is to make sure that tenure is only granted in the first place to the right kind of people"

Yes..it's interesting in that tenure is supposedly designed to protect independent thinking but getting to it likely requires conforming.

Craig said...

I thought Steve Landesberg was an actor/comedian who played one of the detectives on Barney Miller.

OldGrouchyCranky said...

Dear Professor: Your words I disagree with include "To openly ridicule, mock, or jeer a student in your classroom may be one of the most offensive things a professor can do, but when a student is a political activist who testifies before a congressional subcommittee on a specific policy question that you disagree with, it's not that horrible to blog about that."

Ms Fluke was not giving testimony, she was stating her position at a press conference dressed up as testimony before Rep. Issa's Committee. During the video of her statement, as released, note that at one point a cheer went up from the audience and Ms Fluke turned and acknowledged that with a smile; well played Ms Fluke.

This whole kerfuffle would have been ignored if it weren't for the false presentation of Ms Fluke as a person giving testimony; at least IMHO. But a press release, a public statement of her beliefs presented falsely as something else?

No, Limbaugh apologized as he should have for his remarks yet that doesn't erase Ms Fluke's ;ies as to what she was doing. Why is her statement being treated differently from that of a street hustler spouting forth from a soapbox?

Martin said...

All in all, this is why I no longer give to any college or university, including the ones I and my kids went to. I might make an exception for Hillsdale, but as for the rest, well, I don't give to the Communist Party USA, why should I give to its surrogates?

HT said...

Sorry. Don't buy it. And there is a deep vein of hypocrisy here.

You are concerned about Landsburg's free speech being stifled b/c the University President found his thoughts unethical.

Yet not a word from you that students, such as Ms Fluke, might also be stifled when people such as Limbaugh respond to their expressions of ideas with such demeaning and insulting hatred - and then to have a University professor endorse it !
Clearly you are worried about SOME free speech being stifles (ie, slanderous free speech). But not other...

IronwoodCO said...

You along with virtually all of the media have mischaracterized Ms. Fluke's appearance as testimony. It was theater before a group of Democrat House members. As the minority party, they can't hold hearings or take testimony, so they create the illusion that is what is happening, and we give it credibility it does not deserve.

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