Graduation season is well underway. With all the excitement and regalia of the annual event, it might be easy to overlook the commencement address, an American tradition as old as the graduation ceremony itself. These addresses—and, in particular, the speakers invited by high schools and colleges to deliver them—have at this point become a regular source of controversy, protest, and even, on occasion, borderline violence.
Today is “National Adjunct Walkout Day.” If you did not know this, or even what an adjunct is, you’re not alone. The word “adjunct” means something added to another thing but not really a part of it. In this case, we’re talking about adjunct instructors, who are part-time university and college teachers who carry a hefty portion of the educational load on America’s campuses.
National Adjunct Walkout Day is a nationwide proposal for adjuncts to bring attention and reform to abusive working conditions by refusing to teach, or some other similar remedy.
For the record, I’ve been employed as an adjunct instructor at four different colleges and universities over the past five years. In that time, I’ve taught almost 30 different classes. I am paid anywhere between $1,500 and $3,500 per semester class.
Although I’ve considered writing about this topic for some time, I’m doing so now for two reasons. First, I’m concerned about the direction of recent events, especially National Adjunct Walkout Day. Second, I seek to challenge the prevailing opinion that adjuncts are somehow the victims of unfair employment practices.
Ulysses S. Grant and Calvin Coolidge are two U.S. presidents known for their taciturnity. They also happen to be the two who left the best memoirs. Grant’s having been brought out as a Library of America edition is a sign of its status as an acknowledged classic. The same treatment ought to be accorded the Chief Executive known as “Silent Cal.” His Autobiography, published in 1929, has many virtues, as did the man, and one of its greatest is what it says about its author’s education, and education in general.
The Constitution that emerged from the Philadelphia Convention on September 17, 1787 meant nothing. But after a period of mature reflection and calm consideration, the American people, through their state ratifying conventions, deliberately chose to preserve that Constitution from the ash heap of history and establish, for themselves and their posterity, a republican form of government, meaning one that was ultimately responsible to the people in accord with their highest judgment and reason. In an effort to encourage ratification among the people, Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 1 that it was “reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct…
It’s hard to believe that the zombie apocalypse makes for good TV.
Now in its fourth season on AMC, The Walking Dead is extremely popular, due mostly to the initial creative development of Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile). We’ve discussed the many virtues of current television programming on this site before: I wrote about How I Met Your Mother here, and the estimable Ken Masugi discussed The Big Bang Theory here. Zombies, however, may be a first.
The Walking Dead puts a modern spin on the classic western genre, which has been in decline since the 1960s.
The hit CBS show, “How I Met Your Mother,” is the story of Ted Mosby’s eight-year search for a wife. Now in its ninth and final season, Ted’s search is almost over. And as the series comes to an end, we find that the show’s major characters – Ted, Marshall, Lily, Robin, and Barney – are all drawn to marriage and children. A show that began with five, single, twenty-somethings is now set to end with three happily married couples. But married life comes only when every other alternative path to happiness is exhausted, including career, money, and casual sex. In the end, therefore, “HIMYM” is about the inescapable futility of the pursuit of happiness under the modern, progressive way of life.
In his new book, Why Coolidge Matters: Leadership Lessons from America’s Most Underrated President, Charles C. Johnson claims that ‘Silent Cal’ wasn’t so much silent as he was silenced. But today, thirty years since Tom Silver’s underrated book about America’s underrated thirtieth president, Coolidge and the Historians, that is changing. In addition to Johnson’s book, we also have Amity Shlaes’s new biography, Coolidge, a prequel of sorts to her bestseller, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. Undoubtedly, there is growing interest in Coolidge that, although somewhat delayed, is especially timely for the present. Here are six lessons for President Obama from the not-so-silent Cal Coolidge.