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July 08, 2022 07:05 AM UTC

Friday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“If at first you don’t succeed, failure may be your style.”

–Quentin Crisp


17 thoughts on “Friday Open Thread

  1. o/t re CU Boulder.  So, I have a kid approaching college age and so we are starting to eye CU Boulder.

    I started wondering if the shitshow that is Ganahl/Eastman, and the CU Center for Wingnut Coup Plotting, etc – not to mention the looming presence of Anschutz everywhere – is indicative of a larger fascist rot at the school, or just a sideshow.

    I go to their website next, and the first two things they brag about is ROTC and a visiting speech from General McChrystal.  Ok, it is July 4th after all I guess, so go Military yay!

    Then I see that they have a special page devoted to "free speech", which includes the obligatory word-salad of platitudes and policy priorities.  And I realize that this thing could be meaningless crap, or could be some sort of dog whistle fop to the right-wing whining about cancel culture.

    Finally, I see they give top billing in the science section to "commercialization" of research.  Nifty: is that another word for doing private corporate R&D on the public's dime, or is it where the lead professors get a taste of the patents, in exchange to whoring themselves for grants?

    And so, on net I end up feeling worse not better for having sniffed around.  So, am I hopelessly cynical, or simply have functional radar?

    Input and feedback is welcome.

    1. Wow, MM. Interesting stuff.

      I am not an expert on CU, but I don’t think you are suffering from misunderstanding. Your radar is working fine.

      Over here on the western slope, we have a pretend university (CMU) that is really a wholly owned subsidiary of the GOP and its patrons, most notably, the Oily Boyz.

      Without getting into the weeds, a plan was developed back in the days when Bill Owens was governor. It was to make sure our schools didn’t get all liberal and gay, like those schools on the coasts.

      Perhaps something has changed since the seating of a new president, but I’ll bet “shared governance” is still not extant at “Colorado Methane University”. I also wonder if they still have all those adjunct professors.

      Nah…I think you got it right.


      1. Nothing has changed with CMU's governance, Duke. The new prez has Tim Foster on speed dial and that won't change. If he can't reach Foster, there's your old pal Greggy Walcher, who gave him his start in politics.

        1. What to think about a community that puts people like John Justman, Craig Meis, and Steve King (just 3 out of a big crowd) in the position of decision maker.

          No one from Mesa State, oh…sorry. CMU…has ever bothered to refute the claims made by many in the community. In particular, quite a few former professors and critical staff have been trying to shine a light on the CMU myth, and the inherent professional bias of its leadership.

          But the community will not hear it.


    2. It's funny how many people in CO think CU-Boulder is just a big bunch of Saul Alinskys, but I think your post touches on some accurate points, MM. I'd definitely recommend some thought about how those elements of conservativism got there in the first place.

      Some of it grew out of the old David Horowitz movement to empower conservative messaging on liberal-leaning campuses. Bruce Benson, a conservative operative, became president and the majority of regents approved of his perceived ability to fundraise. The GOP had a majority on the regents until just recently, Hiedi was part of that majority, and they gave CU another conservative and perhaps underqualified president in Mark Kennedy, who was fired. Now, the new Dem majority on the regents hired probably a moderate Dem in Todd Saliman – at least he was a Dem state legislator once upon a time.

      CU is a research institution and there's good grant money available in it, also money for collaboration with the military. Institutions may make deals with devils to land those sweet grants and contracts, but that's not a characteristic limited to CU-Boulder among colleges in a competitive environment. Yes, profs benefit, as might students if they get hands-on experience in high-level projects. In the most recent decades, direct state funding to CU has been abysmal, so they have to be creative and active to find money how they can.

      All in all though, it's a reasonably well regarded academic institution, warts and all. The Benson Center just got a big black eye from John Eastman, but it's not a major part of the university. Plenty of students start out or wind up liberal despite the conservative speech and speakers on campus. Shop around by all means, but you could do worse.

    3. Ir depends on what major your son is considering. The Leeds School of Business is VERY conservative, and periodically posts shoddy academic “reports” that Colorado will lose 250,000 oil and gas jobs (Colorado had about 25K oil and gas jobs at peak) if the industry refrains from drilling under schools and assisted living facilities. Jake Jabs, conservo whack job, has an entire wing named after him. Bruce Benson, the former CU Prez, was reportedly instrumental in steering the business department so far rightward.

      On the other hand , their environmental and public health departments are VERY good, and periodically publish ground-breaking reports on how communities are affected by pollutants from the Leeds-touted industries. I have saved links on this stuff if you want to see them.

      Their aerospace engineering department is also well- regarded; my son was accepted there, but opted for CU Denver instead, which worked for him. 
      My daughter is currently working in a research internship partnership between CU and NOAA, and having the time of her life.


    4. re: " I see they give top billing in the science section to "commercialization" of research.  Nifty: is that another word for doing private corporate R&D on the public's dime, or is it where the lead professors get a taste of the patents, in exchange to whoring themselves for grants?"

      The "public's dime" is damn close to literally true when it comes for the funding needed to do cutting edge research in a variety of sciences, technologies, and engineering of all kinds.  If there were no industry support via philanthropy or contracts for R&D, the departments faculty and staff would thin out — remarkably.  CU-Boulder's funding can be seen here.

      with innovations, professors, their programs, and the university as a whole, benefit.

      after direct patent expenses are recovered, and any joint owners of the innovation receive their share, revenue is distributed as follows:

      • 25% to inventor(s)/creator(s), personally
      • 25% to the lab(s) of the inventor(s)/creator(s)
      • 25% to the Chancellor; currently this is used to fund applications to the Lab Venture Challenge and other commercialization grants/gifts
      • 25% to Venture Partners to fund education, mentorship, patent, and funding resources for campus innovators"


  2. My wife and I have 3 degrees from Boulder, earned in the legendary 60s.  More important, our portraits are enshrined on the walls of The Sink!

    Overall, CU is far and away Colorado’s best school.  The only thing that really counts is the faculty.  The administration’s job is to keep the snow shoveled off the walks.

    And, of course, it screws that up! So bring cross country skis!

    Of course you have the rare Eastman or Ward Churchill.  You also have several Nobel Laureates.

    And, yeah, the parties are legendary.

    who cares who sits on the Regents?  Boulder deserves its liberal reputation and, yeah, it has some Stalinist imbeciles in the student body.

    but that’s what college is.

    boulder’s not for everybody.  Very big and impersonal.  We sent our son to CU Denver, which was easier for him to handle.

    but in the end, the three things that count are 

    1 the faculty

    2 the faculty

    3. The faculty.

    And in Colorado, ,CU leads the field by a country mile.

        1. Heidi was never in charge.  The faculty runs the university.  The unpaid, part-time, Regents basically hire and fire presidents.

          I was adjunct faculty for 8 years at CU Denver.  Never once met a regent in that role.

          1. I'll take back "in charge" and wasn't really serious about that anyway, but I still care about regent majorities. The last batch of GOPers in the old majority spent far too much of their time pushing conservative speech on campus, and hiring a president is a big deal. Otherwise, surely most Coloradans are in the ballpark of "what's a regent?"

  3. The WTF of the Republican Party:

    Right Wing "Populism"

    The amazing thing is that they seem to be unable to do it even though it is the easiest thing in the world.  Moderately charismatic figure, enough bread and circus, a little bit of competence.

    Evil, racist, and corrupt but also just "nice" enough to 65% of the population.

    Reasons in the UK and US differ a bit.  Reasons why the leading conservatives aren't competent.  Why they are unable to be "nice" to a decent majority of the population while shitting on the rest.   But same general issue.

    by Atrios at 11:30

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