Associate Professor of English, University of Michigan-Flint. I research and teach rhetoric and writing.
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Names in school (Project 2025)

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Here’s another passage from the Project 2025 Policy Agenda, from Chapter Eleven, concerning the Department of Education — which, this chapter says, should be eliminated. So much is left unaddressed in this chapter. Just one example: despite graphs showing declines in reading and mathematics, there are no suggestions to improve those outcomes. Let the states figure it out, I guess.

But this document is clear on several points. For instance, in all K–12 schools under federal jurisdiction:
No public education employee or contractor shall use a name to address a student other than the name listed on a student’s birth certificate, without the written permission of a student’s parents or guardians.

No public education employee or contractor shall use a pronoun in addressing a student that is different from that student’s biological sex without the written permission of a student’s parents or guardians.

No public institution may require an education employee or contractor to use a pronoun that does not match a person’s biological sex if contrary to the employee’s or contractor’s religious or moral convictions.
As always, the cruelty is a feature, not a bug. Imagine what it would feel like to be a trans or non-binary kid called, again and again, a name or pronoun not of your choosing. Imagine what it would feel like to be a trans or non-binary teacher or staff member referred to, again and again, with the wrong pronouns. Imagine too the dilemma the first of these prohibitions would create for a sympathetic teacher who wants to honor a student’s choice of name. And notice too: even if a student has written permission regarding their name and pronouns, a teacher or other employee cannot be required to honor that request. Again, cruelty abounding, and I have to wonder what kind of “moral convictions” would prompt a person to be so unabashedly cruel. The deeply sinister message here is that individual identity is not one’s own to decide.

Practicalities: if such a policy were ever to be implemented, every Ash, Barb, Cal, Dee, &c., &c., had better bring a note from home.

Teachers, incidentally, are identified in this document as a special-interest group in the world of education.

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Project 2025 Would Radically Overhaul Higher Ed. Here’s How.

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Project 2025 Would Radically Overhaul Higher Ed. Here’s How. Katherine Knott

The sweeping conservative blueprint for a second Trump administration would dismantle the Education Department, privatize student loans and end all ongoing Title IX investigations. Critics say it’s a road map to authoritarianism.

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What is Project 2025? And what would it mean for Michigan?

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Project 2025 is a conservative blueprint for a second Trump term, but Trump says he knows nothing about it. What gives?
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Project 2025 on marriage and parental roles

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It is to laugh: Melania Trump just hosted a fundraiser for the Log Cabin Republicans, a group devoted to LGBTQ+ rights. “This Republican Party is one for ALL Americans,” the group proclaimed.

Perhaps the Log Cabin Republicans should have a look at the Project 2025 Policy Agenda. Chapter Fourteen, devoted to the Department of Health and Human Services, leaves no doubt that these aspiring makers of policy view marriage as a heterosexual union. Here’s a passage from the plan for the HHS Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education for Adults initiative:
Protect faith-based grant recipients from religious liberty violations and maintain a biblically based, social science–reinforced definition of marriage and family. Social science reports that assess the objective outcomes for children raised in homes aside from a heterosexual, intact marriage are clear: All other family forms involve higher levels of instability (the average length of same-sex marriages is half that of heterosexual marriages); financial stress or poverty; and poor behavioral, psychological, or educational outcomes.

For the sake of child well-being, programs should affirm that children require and deserve both the love and nurturing of a mother and the play and protection of a father. Despite recent congressional bills like the Respect for Marriage Act that redefine marriage to be the union between any two individuals, HMRE program grants should be available to faith-based recipients who affirm that marriage is between not just any two adults, but one man and one unrelated woman.
Look at the details:

~ The federal government is to maintain a “biblically based” definition of marriage and family. But while marriage can be a religious institution, it is, in the United States, also and always a civil institution. And “biblically based” has an uncertain meaning. I trust that the Project 2025 idea of a biblical model does not allow for polygamy, concubinage, and death by stoning for disobedient children.

~ There’s no acknowledgement of the woeful life consequences that may befall children raised in dysfunctional heterosexual households.

~ If the average length of same-sex marriages is indeed half that of heterosexual marriages, that might have something to do the fact that same-sex marriage became legal in every state only in 2015. Many same-sex marriages can now be, at most, just under nine years old.

~ This document leaves little doubt that the only form of marriage it deems legitimate is marriage between a man and a woman (unrelated!). Marriage, the document says, is between “not just any two adults,” as if the partners in a same-sex relationship are just randomly paired people.

~ The roles assigned mothers and fathers are curiously retrograde: a mother provides “love and nurturing”; a father provides “play and protection.” Cannot any parent, male, female, or otherwise, provide all those possibilities?

The broad outlines of Project 2025 are frightening enough. Reading the details makes it all look much worse. Log Cabin Republicans, you’re kidding yourselves.

The document is available here.

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Weekly Review

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Officials said that Hamas dropped a key demand in ongoing ceasefire talks, that Israel commit up front to definitively ending the war, while Israel introduced a list of new reservations expected to delay negotiations; among Prime Minister Netanyahu’s nonnegotiable demands is that Israel be allowed to keep fighting until it achieves its “war objectives.”1 2 3 Israel killed 16 Palestinians in a targeted attack on a U.N.-run school in central Gaza, and the U.N. Human Rights Office warned that Israeli settlers, backed by security forces, are ramping up attacks on herding communities in the South Hebron Hills, Jordan Valley, and East Jerusalem.4 5 Foreign reporters were permitted into Rafah for the first time since Israel launched its offensive; they described it as a “flattened wasteland,” a “rubble-strewn ghost town,” and a “maze of rubble,” and the Foreign Press Association reiterated its call for Israel to grant journalists unimpeded, independent access to Gaza.6 7 8 9 French media expressed surprise at the success of a left alliance forged in the country’s snap election, after weeks of polling projecting that Marine Le Pen’s far-right, Euroskeptic party would take the most seats; British media expressed surprise at Keir Starmer’s victory, which arrived alongside the Labour Party’s biggest majority since 1997 and after 14 years of leadership under the Conservatives; Western media expressed surprise at the election of Masoud Pezeshkian, Iran’s first reformist president in two decades, and befuddlement at Tokyo’s gubernatorial race, populated by 56 candidates, some of which included: “the Joker,” who campaigned on legalizing marijuana and promoting polygamy to address the nation’s declining birthrate; a pro wrestler who hid his face on camera and pledged to deploy AI to carry out governmental responsibilities; a 96-year-old inventor who peddled carbon-free gas-fueled cars; and a 31-year-old entrepreneur whose campaign video featured her taking her shirt off and guaranteeing “fun things.” 10 11 12 13 14 15

European leaders will discuss measures to “Trump-proof” NATO; “They treated it like a NATO summit with his movements,” said a source regarding the Biden campaign team’s preparations for a fundraiser at a private residence for the president, whose approval rating hit an all-time low on Independence Day, and who is apparently regularly briefed with documents bearing large print and photos displaying his walking paths to podiums.16 17 18 19 “The dam is about to break,” a Democratic strategist close to moderate Congress members said.20 Hakeem Jeffries convened a virtual gathering with ranking Democratic committee members on Sunday, in which at least four leaders called on Biden to end his candidacy; “I cannot do that. I will not do that,” Biden wrote in a letter addressed to fellow Democrats.21 22 An “anybody-but-Biden” group of donors is attempting to raise $100 million to support a replacement, and a new group called Pass the Torch is directing a nascent campaign to organize delegates for a different candidate ahead of the August convention.23 24 “If the Lord Almighty came down and said, ‘Joe, get out of the race,’ I’d get out of the race. The Lord Almighty’s not coming down,” Biden told George Stephanopoulos in an interview on ABC, after which the White House entered discussions with ABC’s standards team over whether the president said “goodest” or “good as,” upon White House stenographers flagging a discrepancy between their recording and the network’s transcript.25 26 “Sometimes the Lord Almighty comes in the form of enlightened self-awareness,” counseled David Axelrod; Biden told two black radio hosts he was proud to have been “the first Black woman to serve with a Black president,” and Kamala Harris’s odds of winning the presidential election surged across all leading bookmakers, as top Democratic donors backed Gretchen Whitmer and Gavin Newsom.27 28 29 30 Representative Jim Clyburn endorsed “a mini-primary” on CNN, and two Democrats circulated a memo to donors and Biden campaign and administration officials offering a proposal for a “blitz primary” that would involve weekly candidate forums moderated by Michelle Obama, Oprah, and Taylor Swift.31 32

On the Fourth of July, 26-year-old Patrick Bertoletti from Chicago was crowned America’s first new Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest champion in eight years, after reigning champion Joey Chestnut was banned from competition for endorsing vegan hot dogs.33 A researcher at Flamingo Land in North Yorkshire overcame the dangers of studying hippopotamuses and concluded that they can fly, and Boeing agreed to plead guilty to lying to government regulators about uncontrollable nosedives in their 737 Max planes.34 35 A Chinese university is offering the nation’s first undergraduate degree in coffee science and engineering, and Cup Noodles unveiled a s’mores flavored ramen.36 37 Four volunteers who spent 378 days living in a 1,700-square-foot space 3D-printed by NASA to simulate conditions on Mars emerged from their habitat at the Johnson Space Center in Houston to a round of applause.38 “It was in fact a sharply pointed item,” British authorities said in a statement pertaining to a man who brandished a six-inch Legend of Zelda replica sword as a “fidget” toy and was sentenced to prison.39 Durandal—a sword said to be indestructible, the sharpest of all blades, once wielded by the knight Roland under Charlemagne, and thenceforth stuck in stone for 1,300 years—vanished from the Pyrenean village of Rocamadour.40Jasmine Liu

The post Weekly Review appeared first on Harper's Magazine.

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James Chance, 1953–2024

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James Chance personified punk rock’s punk rock
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