Links for 4-16-2017

  • North Korea launched another ballistic missile as Vice President Mike Pence was flying to South Korea. The missile exploded almost immediately.

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed victory in a referendum to approve constitutional amendments that would change Turkey from a parliamentary government (led by a prime minister) to an executive government (led by a president — Erdogan). Turks who live in the U.S. voted overwhelmingly against the constitutional amendments. Erdogan immediately warned his opponents not to challenge the result; they’d likely end up in prison with the tens of thousands of people who were arrested after last year’s attempted military coup.

  • Someone staged a truck bomb attack against buses that were evacuating people from government-held towns in Syria, killing 126 people, including 68 children.

  • There was another riot near the University of California at Berkeley campus when pro-Trump demonstrators were attacked by counter-protesters. Twenty-one people were arrested.

  • Sharyl Attkisson assembled a timeline of Obama administration surveillance of whistleblowers, journalists, and people with connections to Russia.

  • An anonymous professor at an American university details the de-professionalization of the academy:

    In the fall of 2005, I began working as a full-time faculty member in the General Studies program at Hudson University. I was promoted to full Professor last year. Thus, the tale I tell does not represent sour grapes. Rather, what follows is a jeremiad decrying the direction that academia has taken in order to underscore the threats posed to academic integrity and institutional legitimacy. Over twelve years, I have watched with increasing dismay and incredulity as academic integrity, fairness, and intellectual rigor have eroded, with the implicit endorsement of administration and faculty alike. I have witnessed the de-professionalization of the professoriate—hiring policies based on tokenized identity politics and cronyism, the increasing intellectual and ideological conformity expected from faculty and students, and the subsequent curtailment of academic freedom.

    Later this professor chaired a committee to hire a writing professor:

    In the Skype interview following this discussion, a fellow committee member proceeded to attack the next job candidate, a candidate whom I respected. In fact, before the interview, this colleague, obviously enraged by my criticisms of her favorite, announced that she would ruthlessly attack the next candidate. She did exactly that, asking increasingly obtuse questions, while adopting a belligerent tone and aggressive posture from the start. That candidate, incidentally, had done fascinating scholarship on the history of U.S. journalism from the late 19th through the first half of the 20th Century. He had earned his Ph.D. from a top-ten English department, had since accrued considerable teaching experience in relevant subjects, and presented a record of noteworthy publications, including academic scholarship and journalism. He interviewed extremely well, except when he was harangued and badgered by the hostile interviewer. He should have been a finalist for the job. But he had a fatal flaw: he was a white, straight male.

  • Der Spiegel reported that the Tunisian man who drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin received his orders directly from ISIS.

  • Brazilian engineering company Odebrecht paid $3.3 billion in bribes between 2005 and 2014. This was discovered as a result of the investigation into the Operation Car Wash scandal.