🇺🇸 Schooled
November 18, 2021

Good morning and happy Thursday. Here’s one of the better Thanksgiving traditions out there. This grandma accidentally invited a stranger to Thanksgiving years ago. Now, they are "all set for year six."

Speaking of which, will the TSA be ready for Thanksgiving? It’s a mystery.

Also, our link to “America from the skies” was incorrect yesterday. Thank you, Bruce for pointing that out! Here’s the actual link. What a gorgeous country!

Flag Polls


ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 11/17: Biden Job Approval, Politico/Morning Con. Disapprove 53%
ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 11/17: Congress Job Approval, Economist/YouGov Disapprove 63%
ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 11/17: Direction of Country, Politico/Morning Con. Wrong Track 64%
D 11/17: 2022 Congress Vote, Economist/YouGov Democrats 42%

Trending On The Left


CNN: Trump's thirst for revenge is causing chaos in the Georgia governor's race

Huff Post: The Human Cost of Being Denied an Abortion, Ahead of SCOTUS case challenging Roe

NY Times: How a Cure for Gerrymandering Left US Politics Ailing in New Ways

Independent: Gosar’s sister condemns his ‘sociopathic fantasies’ about AOC

Trending On The Right


Fox: GOP Gov. accuses Trump of cancel culture for criticizing pro-infrastructure House Republicans

The Blaze: Biden administration's OSHA suspends enforcement of vaccine mandate

Washington Examiner: Parental rights activists call for Garland’s resignation over leaked FBI email

Breitbart: Joe Biden Blames Record High Energy Prices on Oil Companies, Calls for Investigation

EDUCATION

Schooled

Just a stone's throw from the University of Texas’s flagship campus, a new liberal arts institution is opening its doors. The goal of the University of Austin (UATX) is "to counter what its founders believe is a growing culture of censorship on college campuses," Kate McGee reports for The Texas Tribune. "The announcement garnered national attention partially for its board of advisers — a who's who of higher education critics and iconoclasts such as former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss, Harvard academic Steven Pinker, former Harvard University president Lawrence H. Summers, and playwright David Mamet." In a promotional video posted on Twitter, UATX says, "We're done waiting for America's universities to fix themselves, so we're starting a new one." Here's what both sides are saying about the new university in the Lone Star State.

RIGHT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Current System Is Broken


Right-leaning commentators, including two UATX co-founders, think American academia is currently broken. They believe there is a lack of free speech and thought on campuses across the country, which is dangerous for the long-term viability of our democracy.

"Why I’m co-founding a new university dedicated to freedom of thought and study" Joe Lonsdale, New York Post op-ed: "In the 20th century, American universities attracted exceptional thinkers in every field and produced an unprecedented wealth of knowledge. Our universities drove scientific progress, pursued truth, and cultivated an intellectually courageous and competent elite. They helped make the United States the most innovative, prosperous, and powerful nation in history. But today, our universities are failing to live up to that legacy. ... Robust debate on important topics is increasingly rare, and uniformity of viewpoint is increasingly demanded. Universities have been captured by new ideologies of intolerance that order subservience and quash those who think differently. The combined effect of these structural and cultural problems is that the elite universities aren’t attracting the best talent as often, nor producing the type of leaders we need."

"I'm Helping to Start a New College Because Higher Ed Is Broken" Niall Ferguson, Bloomberg: "Something is rotten in the state of academia and it’s no laughing matter. ... Trigger warnings. Safe spaces. Preferred pronouns. Checked privileges. Microaggressions. Antiracism. All these terms are routinely deployed on campuses throughout the English-speaking world as part of a sustained campaign to impose ideological conformity in the name of diversity. As a result, it often feels as if there is less free speech and free thought in the American university today than in almost any other institution in the US. To the historian’s eyes, there is something unpleasantly familiar about the patterns of behavior that have, in a matter of a few years, become normal on many campuses. The chanting of slogans. The brandishing of placards. The letters informing on colleagues and classmates. The denunciations of professors to the authorities. The lack of due process. The cancelations. Any student of the totalitarian regimes of the mid-20th century recognizes all this with astonishment. It turns out that it can happen in a free society, too, if institutions and individuals who claim to be liberal choose to behave in an entirely illiberal fashion."

"This new Texas university aims to pursue truth, not suppress speech and ideas" Cynthia M Allen, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "The state of American higher education has been in peril for years. Universities, once bastions of free and diverse thought, have become places that inhibit intellectual curiosity and exploration to an alarming degree." Keep reading.

LEFT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Capitalizing on the Cancel Culture Economy


Left-leaning commentators are skeptical of the new university. Some believe it’s just another way for grifters to capitalize on the burgeoning grievance-driven “cancel culture economy.” Others agree that college is broken, but this isn’t the way to fix it.

"The 'University of Austin' is the best cancel culture grift yet" Katelyn Burns, MSNBC: "When Lucasfilm fired 'Mandalorian' star Gina Carrano for offensive social media posts, she found a soft landing spot with the entertainment branch of the conservative pundit Ben Shapiro’s news site, The Daily Wire. When comedian Dave Chappelle was 'canceled' over unfunny jokes about trans people, he portrayed himself both as a tough guy unafraid to say ‘the truth’ and as a victim. He repeatedly joked afterward about how great being canceled was, given his lucrative Netflix deal and sold-out shows. ... We call this the 'cancel culture grift economy.' The general idea is that there are certain social rewards that come with being canceled. ... This open-ended definition [of cancel culture] allows nearly anyone to claim canceled status and subsequently rake in the increased attention and financial rewards that now come with that status. ... [So] while the instructors rake in cash from the aggrieved masses, the only value the school will deliver to students is an ability to indulge in the guilty pleasures of racism and transphobia."

"What is the University of Austin’s purpose?" Daniel Drezner, The Washington Post: "At this point, UATX is more notional than real. Its grandiosity does invite a few questions, however. Why will the first program be a graduate degree in ‘entrepreneurship and leadership’? Are business degrees really the area where the forces of illiberalism within the ivory tower are at their strongest? Also, the FAQ page states that UATX has ‘secured the seed money necessary to launch the university.’ Recently, funders are known to try to exercise influence over their university donations. Are there any strings attached to that funding? Was the Elon Musk joke a subtweet to get him to kick in some funds, too? Finally, how will you avoid the pitfalls that have befallen other universities founded on ideological grounds? I wish UATX good luck — I like a world with more universities than fewer ones. I remain somewhat uncertain, however, whether this fledgling project will come anywhere close to its stated purpose."

"‘Anti-woke’ University of Austin is right that college is ‘broken,’ but its founders are wrong about everything else" Will Bunch, The Philadelphia Inquirer: "A new university backed by right-wing intellectuals argues the biggest problem on campus is ‘wokeness,’ not crippling debt or lack of access." Keep reading.

FLAG THIS

Free Speech Fears


In a somewhat dated poll from March 2020, Gallup and the Knight Foundation reported, "Students see free speech as increasingly less secure since 2016, and rank it as the least secure of all First Amendment freedoms in 2019," Evette Alexander writes. "Fifty-nine percent of college students believe free speech rights are secure, down from 73% in 2016 and 64% in 2017. While 81% said free press rights were secure in 2016, that number has dropped significantly since."

In a more recent poll from September 2021, the Associated Press found that, on a national scale, roughly "45 percent of Americans believe the US government is doing a good job of protecting the freedom of speech, while 32 percent of Americans believe the government is doing a poor job."

Flag Poll: Do you think students and faculty encourage freedom of speech on college campuses? Click here to share your thoughts.

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US & WORLD

Netflix Numbers, Gosar Censured, Drug Deaths Soar

Financial Times: Netflix will begin regularly reporting viewership numbers for its top programs and films, a major shift in strategy for the streaming company that has carefully guarded its data over the past decade.

Fox News: A dispute over Wisconsin drone video used in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial prompted the teenage defendant’s attorneys to move for a mistrial Monday and double down Wednesday, the second day of jury deliberations in a case that could result in life imprisonment.

CNN: Jacob Chansley, the so-called "QAnon Shaman," was sentenced to 41 months in prison for his role in the US Capitol riot.

NPR: Days after President Joe Biden told world leaders that his administration is committed to slowing climate change with "action, and not words," his Interior Department oversaw one of the largest oil and gas lease sales in American history.

CBS News: The House voted on Wednesday to censure Republican Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona and strip him of his two committee assignments after he posted an edited anime video to his social media accounts that depicted violence against Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and President Biden.

NBC: Travis McMichael, who along with his father and a neighbor is on trial on charges of murder and other crimes in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, said he believed he was in "a life-or-death situation" before he shot Arbery last year in Georgia.

ABC News: Nearly 57 years after the assassination of Malcolm X in the New York City neighborhood of Washington Heights, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is moving to vacate the convictions of two of the men convicted as accomplices, his office said Wednesday.

AP: An estimated 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in one year, a never-before-seen milestone that health officials say is tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and a more dangerous drug supply.

Axios: The White House is planning to offer US drugmakers billions of dollars to ramp up COVID-19 vaccine production capacity, aiming to produce at least 1 billion doses a year, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said Wednesday.

WSJ: Amazon said it would stop accepting Visa UK credit cards because of their high fees, a move that marks a major escalation in the retail giant’s yearslong battle with the card network.

WATERCOOLER

Battle of the Somme Ends, Power Move, Roadrunners

On this day in 1916, British Expeditionary Force Commander Sir Douglas Haig called a halt to his army’s offensive near the Somme River in northwestern France, ending the epic Battle of the Somme after more than four months of bloody conflict. Above is a photograph of the Thiepval Memorial dedicated to the 72,337 missing British and South African servicemen who died in the battle. 

Popular ScienceSnapping your fingers is a move worthy of a professional athlete.

Yahoo! NewsGive the dog a phone: device could ease pain for lonely mutts.

Stylist: This Japanese Philosophy Is the Lifestyle Trend to Help You Achieve Happiness.

Today I Learned roadrunners run up to 15 miles per hour but can have sprints up to 26 miles per hour — the fastest running speed for any bird that can also fly. While running, roadrunners use their long tails for steering, balancing, and braking.

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