In a rare appearance at OTB, I discuss the recycled Schumer-Graham immigration bill. It’s like a Hot Tub Time Machine back to 2006, when another president was heading into midterm elections facing an overseas military quagmire, own-party lawmakers in marginal districts who were distancing themselves from his policies, and deteriorating poll numbers!
A mildly bemusing job ad that came across the wire today:
The Department of Government and Sociology invites applications as Course Redesign Coordinator. This is a non-tenure track, limited term, faculty position with the rank of Lecturer. The term is for a period of two years subject to re-approval and budget in year two. The successful applicant will lead a pilot study to redesign the introductory course in Political Science which is a required course in the university’s core curriculum. The position is responsible for producing an initial design for offering the course to larger sections while remaining consistent with the university’s public liberal arts mission; teaching one large (150 minimum) section of POLS 1150, Politics and Society, each semester; collecting and analyzing comparative data on student satisfaction and performance in larger course settings; supervising a graduate assistant and undergraduate student mentors ; preparing recommendation s for final redesign and implementation; conducting a required Freshman Seminar for departmental majors.
To review: this institution prides itself on its “public liberal arts mission” and excellent classroom instruction. So it is going to hire a non-tenure-eligible faculty member (who may not even have a doctorate) to come in to figure out some way to cram 150 students into an introductory course without any loss of quality. And once they’ve done this favor for the existing faculty, since they aren’t on the tenure track, they will be summarily kicked to the curb.
Somehow I do not expect this experiment to end in a rousing success.
Fresh on the heels of promises to adopt changes to elections to the Commons, Labour is now promising to finish its reforms to the House of Lords with some concrete proposals coming “shortly.” The outline of Labour’s proposal suggest:
- A third of the members would be elected at each general election for the Commons; since a general election must be called every five years, this pattern would give members of the upper chamber a potential term of up to 15 years.
- The chamber would have 300 members elected via some form of proportional representation; what exact form is left unspecified, although it is likely to be a “pure” PR system (possibly using the same constituencies used for European Parliament elections) instead of the alternative member system used in the Scottish and Welsh devolved assemblies.
- Members would be subject to some sort of “recall” process and would have to pay taxes in the U.K., excluding nonresident citizens.
All three of the major parties in Britain are now on-record as favoring a mostly- or fully-elected upper chamber, so presumably an “elected Lords” in some form is coming sooner rather than later. The Liberal Democrats in particular have suggested in the past that parliamentary reforms are a condition of their participation in any coalition, and given the growing chances of a hung parliament after the next election, they may finally be in a position to insist on reform in both chambers.