UC Irvine works to rehire Chemerinsky; OC Republicans make trouble

September 15, 2007

If you can figure some way to interpret this story in the LA Times as other than the Orange County Republicans don’t want a good, powerful dean of the UC-Irvine law school, let me know in comments. (This is a follow-up of my earlier post.)

This is one more case of Republicans working hard to keep education from being first rate, out of misplaced fear of what well-educated people can do. Uneducated peasants don’t contradict the priests, Jefferson and Madison observed. The OC Republicans know that.

Constitutional law is a good thing, they seem to be saying, so long as it never works to protect the poor, people accused or convicted of criminals, or citizens injured by corporations.

It’s an interesting barrel Chemerinsky has them over; much of the commentary, even among conservatives opposed to Chemerinsky’s views, has it that UC-Irvine will be unable to attract a first-rate dean, and a first-rate faculty, now that this ugly politics cat is out of the bag. If they cannot strike a deal with Chemerinsky to be rehired, they are in real trouble.

Let me say that I don’t put a lot of credence in the claims that pressure from outsiders is a strong motivating force in this crash.  Having worked for both Democrats and Republicans, I’ve seen this too often, and it has all the symptoms of big donor demands to take back a perfectly rational decision for unholy political purposes.  My experience, mostly from the Republican side, is that this is almost exclusively a Republican phenomenon, that big donors expect public institutions to which they donate to dance to their fiddlers.  (There are exceptions, of course.  But let me say:  Ray Donovan.)

Maybe he can negotiate to require the Republican politicians who oppose his hiring to attend a 1st year Constitutional law class that Chemerinsky would teach, and they would have to do it for a grade that will be published. That would be a huge win all the way around, I think:  Chemerinsky gets the job, UC-Irvine gets a the fast-track to high quality legal education, Republicans get a chance to know and understand Chemerinsky in the classroom, and some much needed education about the Constitution sinks into the Republicans.

Dream big, I always say.

Other sources:

Using snake oil to lubricate jaws

September 15, 2007

Oooh, I missed this one; Instapundit said:

August 20, 2007

SOME KIND WORDS FOR DDT — in the New York Times, no less. “Today, indoor DDT spraying to control malaria in Africa is supported by the World Health Organization; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and the United States Agency for International Development. . . . Even those mosquitoes already resistant to poisoning by DDT are repelled by it.”

The debate over DDT is over. There’s scientific consensus. Anyone who disagrees is a DDT denialist and a mouthpiece for Big Mosquito.

The debate should be over.  There is scientific consensus that DDT is dangerous and the ban on broadcast use was wise, fair, and still necessary.  Reynolds is one of the denialist brigade who keeps trying to paint environmentalists wrong for working for the ban.

Reynolds claim is deceptive in at least three ways:

  1. Omission, failing to note history:  Reynolds fails to note that without the ban on broadcast use of DDT (like crop spraying, or spraying of swamps and rivers), DDT would by now be completely ineffective against mosquitoes.  The ban on crop spraying (broadcast use) has been instrumental in preserving the effectiveness of DDT against malaria.  The debate is over, Reynolds lost, and its time he quit denying it (speaking of denialism).  The ban on DDT spraying in the U.S., following similar bans in Europe, and with similar following bans in other nations, has been a key factor in our current victories against malaria — a key factor for the anti-malaria forces.
  2. Omission, not understanding the science:  Reynolds may not know that DDT was cast against other  pesticides that are known to have very low repellent characteristics.  There are other, much more effective and less toxic, and less expensive, ways to repel mosquitoes.
  3. Failure to state the whole case:  Reynolds, the DDT-advocate in the New York Times,  and the study cited, fail to note that DDT is inadequate to more than a very short-term, partial campaign against malaria-carrying mosquitoes.  Other studies recently published note powerful, long-term reduction in malaria infections by use of mosquito netting; these declines do not require multiple, expensive and logistically difficult sprayings of poison in homes every year.  Perhaps more critically, research now shows that mosquito nets produce malaria reductions in the absence of DDT spraying, and the reductions stick; DDT spraying alone cannot produce either a long-term reduction in malaria (say, longer than a year), nor will the reductions stick, nor will the reductions be as great.  Nets work without DDT; DDT does not work without nets.

Other than that, Reynolds is right:  The debate is over.  Reynolds’ “spray DDT on everything — it works better than snake-oil” argument lost.  It’s time Reynolds stops denying the facts.

DDT as snake oil

September 15, 2007

“It’ll cure what ails ya!”


My first year in college, we spent Saturday nights watching “Emergency!” I don’t recall now whether it was on NBC or ABC, but after we saw it once, we were all hooked, Al, Ben and me.

No, it wasn’t great drama. An hour-long drama about paramedics in Los Angeles probably has a lot of potential — this wasn’t that drama. Jack Webb, of “Dragnet” fame, directed. It had a cast amazing for its “how-did-HE- get-there” quality: Bobby Troup, the jazz pianist and composer of “Route 66″ (” . . . get your kicks on . . .”) played a doctor; his wife, jazz vocalist Julie London, played a nurse. Loved Julie London. Beautiful, but she had all the acting chops of David Janssen (“the man of a thousand faces” of “The Fugitive” fame). Martin Milner was there, too — he actually starred earlier in NBC’s “Route 66” which featured Corvettes, but not Bobby Troupe’s hit song (go figure) — and so was Kevin Tighe and Randolph Mantooth. And Robert Fuller, and Kent McCord. Whew!

For undergraduate college students, the show was a riot. We noticed early on that the script writers were defibrillator happy. Every time the paramedic truck showed up, the first thing off was the defibrillator. Heart attacks seemed to be a big problem in LA at the time — maybe Jack Webb’s own mortality subconsciously sneaking into the scripts — so the defib unit got a lot of use.

But it also came out at all the wrong times. Drowning victim? Defibrillator first, THEN artificial respiration. Poison victim? Defib. Auto accident? Defibrillate the victim, THEN worry about the spurting, arterial bleeding (if it’s spurting, is the defib necessary?). Classic kitten in the tree? Defib the tree, THAT will get that kitten down. Read the rest of this entry »

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