Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Liberals hate God or conservatives hate people…you choose (by anon)

Last week, NBC decided to omit the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance when it was aired during the U.S. Open Championship.  This event prompted Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) to say, “Well, I think NBC has a long record of being very liberal and at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God. And so they’ve had a long history of not being at all favorable toward many of things that have been such a blessing to our country.”

So liberals hate God.  I knew it!  Those bastards, thinking that they make their own laws and have to organize and work for their own existence.  Damn them.  Damn them all!

Ok, so I don’t believe that.  But I’m trying to make sense of this guy’s statement.  Liberals hate God.  Let’s run with this.  If liberals hate God, that must mean that they love themselves (i.e., people) more.  Hate God, but love humanity (since it would be pretty silly to say that liberals hate God AND hate people too – of course, Michele Bachmann will probably say that about Obama in a day or so). 

Now I don’t believe that “liberals hate God, but love humanity” really to be accurate because there are lots of liberals I know who love both (God and humanity).  But from my perspective this appears to mirror conservatives inversely.  In other words, from what I understand of conservative policies, conservatives love God, but HATE humanity.  Why do I say that??  Here’s the evidence: 99% of conservative politicians endorse: the assault on Planned Parenthood, cutting social programs like they are the plague, slashing education, allowing concealed weapons, anti-immigrant legislation, anti-gay legislation, taking from public employees to give to the businesses, and opposing universal healthcare. And I’m sure I missed something.  Conservatives love God, but HATE humanity.  How else should I understand what they are doing over there in Madison, Wash DC, and the rest of the states?  I mean, really?  How else?  I understand perfectly well that loving God does not entail hating humanity, but conservative politicians just don’t sway that way.

So who would I rather have running my government?  Pols who hate God/love humanity or pols who love God/hate humanity?  I side with the former because at least they are looking out for me.  My question to Rep. Akin and his statement is then, “So what?”  But…

This leads to what I really want to say.  Why is it even relevant what a politician’s position is on God?  Frankly, I just don’t care.  Rep. Akin wants us to care.  Many conservatives want us to care.  Yet it is unclear why belief in God is relevant to running a government.  If you love humanity and are wicked smart and have the power to be an effective leader, that is what I’m looking for.  Belief in God?  Take it, leave it, that shouldn’t even be an issue on the campaign trail.  But the conservatives make it one, and a big one too.  Weird.

Here’s one explanation for that: I bet they trumpet their belief in God so that no one pays attention to just how much they don’t like people.  Any other explanation?

Monday, June 27, 2011


You just couldn't help it, could you?  Did you even try to resist?  It doesn't matter.  You couldn't have stopped yourself even if you wanted to.  You are a product of your environment and your choices have all been set for you.  It's like someone wound you up like a kid's toy when you were born and set you on a set path of which you can never waiver.

For all my Intro to Philosophy students, this position is known as causal determinism.  We are but mere products of our causal environments (material, social, cultural...).  Ultimately, it all boils down to the fact that we are all a part of the physical universe that runs according to concrete natural laws.  When you throw a rock, that rock's trajectory and destination can be calculated without error given that we know all of the laws and conditions surrounding that throw.  Pure physics.  For us, no different.  Pure physics.

But we think that we are somehow more special than rocks, right?  We have minds.  We have reasons.  Alas, they are but smoke and mirrors.  When we act, we always act according to some desire, that desire that is highest in us at that moment.  And that desire is one not forged within the depths of our own being.  It is nurtured in us by the environments we find ourselves (again, material, social, cultural...).  Why am I writing this post?  It is time for a new post to surface and I've wanted to write this post for some time.  I am desiring to write this post, and it just so happens that that is the desire that won out tonight among my other desires.  Thus, I acted on it.  Could I have done otherwise given the exact same causal conditions.  No.  Under the same conditions I would have done exactly the same thing.

Just think about that.  Think back to dinner this evening.  Given the same exact causal conditions, you would have eaten the same dinner.  Now think to this very moment.  Given the exact causal conditions you find yourself, there is a precise action that is determined for you.  And it is determined for you not because there is some force hovering over you making you do what you do.  You will do that action because that is what the myriad of causes will have you do.

What I find so interesting about this topic is that it makes so much sense and yet it is quite disconcerting, no?  We so love to think that we are above causal determinism, that we are such a people that enjoy a freedom that nothing else does.  But might that desire itself be a function of the society we find ourselves??

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Atheists are losers (by anon)

atheists are losers. just face it.  you are.  I mean, come on, you don't believe in anything but your sorry selves.  you don't believe in anything bigger than yourselves.  its like you are just selfish and greedy without caring for the bigger things in lfie.

atheists have to face the facts that they don't believe the universe is meaningful at all.  with out believing in God its like not believing that life has a bigger purpose for us all.  and it does. we see it all the time.  we see tons of things happen as if they were happening for a reason.  because God has a plan.  he takes care of us like we are his children.

I dont understand why anyone cannot see just how amazing life is on earth. its so complicated and amazing. it couldnt have happened on its own.  that is what I call meaning.  life means something and that meaning is Gods plan for us all.  he created life for us so that we can glorify him.  if you are an athiest, you dont believe that at all.  you believe that your life is meaningless. that you are an accident and nothing more.  how is that a way to live! I dont even know why you can stand to keep on living.  it offends God for you to believe that your life is just an accident.  that is why you are a loser. a loser that cannot face the fact that you were created by God for his plan and his meaning.

by someone who is definitely not an atheist!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Save Planned Parenthood! (by anon)

I have had it...again! Today I read that Governor Walker is planning to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. He has already proposed cutting funding to BadgerCare. On top of that, there are federal proposals to cut food stamps and WIC (food AND nutrition education for low-income pregnant women, infants and children). I don't even know where to begin with explaining my outrage!

First, I am trying to give the Governor the benefit of the doubt here, but it is hard to overlook all of the cuts that are affecting women's and children's health. I realize men's health is being affected as well, but many of the cuts are directly related to women's health, pregnancy and the ability to care for children (which affects fathers equally of course). I do not understand how the government can cut family planning and health programs while simultaneously cutting the programs that help those families (who couldn't afford the birth control or didn't have access to the education) care for their unplanned pregnancy. Fine, cut funding for abortions or family planning, but then increase funding to programs that help low-income and/or teenage moms be successful parents. That just makes sense- if you don't want to end life, then support it!

Second, this is not a cost saving. Women that cannot afford prenatal care risk many more birth defects or premature births that could have been avoided with regular checkups and interventions/education. Increasing the number of babies born premature means huge medical costs, even if the babies are completely healthy otherwise. And a lot of premature babies have special needs or require early intervention to catch them up, even if they end up being completely healthy once they catch up. Many premature babies born into poor families never have that luxury. And that doesn't even take into consideration that some of those infants will be born with preventable long-term problems that we will pay for the rest of that human being's life, through the education system, social security, etc.

There are enough things about this world that are tough. Do we need to increase the number of kids that start off with insurmountable struggles? Especially those that, even if completely healthy, are low income, which puts them at a disadvantage in every area of their lives. And really, didn't we already do the whole equality for women we need a Rosa Parks event to remind people that saying you believe in it and actually believing it are completely different things. Maybe the Governor's motto should be Wisconsin: Making families work harder for less. Or better yet, Wisconsin: Open for businesses that are run by wealthy white males.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Republicans want less government…what a crock! (by anon)

Ah, Republicans.  A consistent breed.  They tout themselves as those who want to shrink the government and let capitalism run free as the wild cheetah.  They want less taxes, less shouldering of health care costs, less banking regulations, less gun regulations (what an asinine stance)…but what’s that?  What do I hear?  Speak up.

Oh my god!  Is that really true?!  Republicans actually want a whole mess of regulations and laws?  About what?  Holy crap, they want to slap a whole bunch of regulations on those things they have no business doing so: intelligent design instruction in science classrooms, gay rights, and abortion.

I know that this is not exactly a new issue, but it ceases to amaze me.  Just a few days ago, the nutjob Michelle Bachmann said this about intelligent design being taught in schools: “I support intelligent design.  What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide.  I don't think it's a good idea for government to come down on one side of scientific issue or another, when there is reasonable doubt on both sides.”  So many problems, where to begin?  First, intelligent design theory is not science.  Period.  It is not a testable theory like evolution is testable.  Evolution can be scientifically disconfirmed whereby intelligent design theory cannot.  Second, reasonable doubt is not equal when one theory is a scientific theory and the other theory is philosophical/religious.  Whatever doubt each may have would be of different kinds – thus they cannot even be compared using the same standard, much less a scientific standard.  Third, and this is the main point here, Bachmann is taking her flawed, religious view and applying them to the masses under the guise of science.  She believes that her religious view should be taught to everyone as a viable scientific option for people to consider.  If she were to become president, that kind of position amounts to a huge government hand in our science education, a hand that just reeks of violating the separation of church and state.  So when Bachmann says, “I would prefer that students have the ability to learn all aspects of an issue.  And that's why I believe the federal government should not be involved in local education to the most minimal possible process,” she is actually doing the exact opposite.  She would be legislating her religious beliefs to all.  If she really wanted to stay out of local education, THEN STAY OUT OF LOCAL EDUCATION.  Be a consistent Republican for god’s sake!

Gay rights.  Again, this is fundamentally a religious issue.  Republicans overwhelmingly do not want to grant the same rights to the LGBTQ community as heterosexual people enjoy.  Why?  Because apparently the Bible says so.  And thus we have another instance where Republicans take a religious view and try to legislate it to everyone else.  If Republicans were consistent and constitutional, they would heed the separation of church and state and refrain from making laws discriminating against LGBTQ folks.  Case closed.

Abortion.  Another religious issue.  If there were ever an issue where government just needs to keep its hands off of people, it is with abortion.  The moral status of an embryo or a fetus is such an unsettled issue that I cannot fathom why people insist on wanting laws governing what women can and cannot do with their bodies.  The only argument I have heard from Republicans that the unborn child is definitely a full-blown person worthy of the same exact rights as anyone else is a religious argument.  They’ll spout the ever popular Bible verse, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb.” (Jeremiah 1:5)  And, yes.  That is supposed to be God speaking.  A clear violation of church and state, and a clear instance of Republicans wanting to impose legislation where it would seem they should be against it.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not pro-abortion; I’m only pro-choice.  I don’t think abortion is the healthiest thing for women.  But IT’S NOT MY CALL.  It’s not right for me to legislate my personal values on someone else’s body.  Likewise, it is wrong for government to intervene here when there is absolutely no consensus on whether abortion is right or wrong.  When there is consensus, then let’s talk, but otherwise, gov’t get out.  All Republicans should be pro-choice if they really believed that there should be less government.

So don’t give me that crap that Republicans are the champions of less government.  If you buy that, then I have a flying pig to sell you.  For some weird reason, Republicans have a whole bunch of religious views they are just dying to legislate on you.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What makes the sun rise? (by anon)

Is it a choice where I place the seat of truth and validity? Can I decide for myself what is the cause of an effect? I.E.  Yesterday I decided that the sun should rise again today (literally that the world should continue to turn while I slept). Lo and behold I woke up and the sun was on the other horizon. Can I then choose to believe that it did so on that particular occasion because of my choice? I may assume that every other day these atronomical happenings came about because of the laws of physics or perhaps the declaration of some other being. Today however the sunrise approached the east of my location because yesterday I told it to.
To the point: It seems to me that in this isolated circumstance I can grant as much validity to the belief that the cause of the sunrise was my declaration as I could to the scientific laws that I've grown to accept most of the time.
Would the commonly accepted explanation have less value than before? I think this brings the point home a little better. Do I just choose which explanation feels better? If so what makes one more intuitively correct than the other? It is sometimes seen as a fundamental truth that the sun should rise in the east. It has been explained scientifically that the east was not always east. (I am referring to the change in the position of the axis relative to the sun.) After the recent Earthquake/Tsunami near Japan it was reported that the earth's tilt had changed slightly. I realize this may support the scientific explanation in one way, but it also defeats it in that east is not always east.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dear Professor...keep your pants zipped up (by anon)

I don't know where I'm going with this, so bear with me.  A little bit ago I found out that one of my favorite mentors and great friends in graduate school got divorced.  Big deal? Yeah, big deal.  You see he was married for quite a long time to this lady (whom is also a great friend) and had three kids with her, the youngest is about to graduate high school.  She helped put him through TWO doctorate programs and then they moved to Norway because he got a lucrative job there.  He's a big shot in the field he works in and people were definitely noticing.  But then some attractive research assistant caught his eye and he decided his marriage was too boring to continue.  He forced the divorce through with crippling pain for his wife (totally blindsided) and his children.  wtf that just makes me so mad.

The asshole let the fame and prestige of being a noted academic and intelletucal get to his head.  He wanted to stay young, not settle, and not have to go home to those who weren't at his "level" of thinking. So his young, attractive, research assistant fit the bill so much better than his wife, whom he viewed as so passe.  What a prick!

How do people get so unappreciative of those who stand by them through the thick and thin, that they leave them so willy-nilly??  I say that love requires a certain loyalty and a certain humility.  It means that one must recognize that one has responsibilities that one cannot simply shirk because a contingent of people now think you are so special.  This is an especially important point to remember for professors!

Professors enjoy a certain power and privilege over their students.  And unfortunately I have heard more than my fair share of stories where a professor sleeps with a student.  For shame!  What's the dude thinking?!?!?! (and let's be honest, far more male professors have this problem than female professors - female profs seems to have their act together better).  These profs abuse their power over a fawning student when they should just take the humble pill and wake up to the damage that one's going to do.  Where's the loyality to one's own family?  Where's the recognition that whatever fame and luster you may have right now will eventually fade and all that you will have left are the one's you have been faithful to?  If you are faithful to none, your existence will wind up being a lonely existence.

At base it just pisses me off that profs can let their work go to their heads and hurt the people who have supported them so dearly.  Where's the love?  Profs need to check their pants, check their humility, and constantly keep their loved ones in the forefront of their minds.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Salvation Army Poser (by anon)

You’ve all seen them, the big red metal bins scattered throughout towns across the nation. Not to be confused with the popular Red Box movie rental system, these large mailbox like structures are for donating used clothing and shoes. Donating=good, right? Well that is not quite so in this case. These boxes are owned by a company called U'SAgain (pronounced as Use-again) based in Illinois. U’SAgain is a for profit company that then takes the seemingly charitable donations and sell them to textile factories to be used as needed. U’SAgain then keeps the money made off of unknowing citizens acts of good will. Due to the red color of the boxes, many people admit to confusing the boxes as an entity of the Salvation Army and think they are donating to the community, yet very rarely do the items donated actually reach a charity.

U’SAgain claims that their mission is to keep clothing out of landfills and that they never state that the donations they accept reach a charitable cause. U’SAgain is in no way breaking any laws, but maybe acting morally questionable. Their portrayal of a charitable organization really takes advantage of people who thought they were helping out a good cause. It’s doubtful that many of the donations U’SAgain has received in the past would have made their way into the big red boxes if knowledge about this deceitful company as more well known. So, spread the word, unless of course you want to help US’Again out instead of giving your unneeded items to someone in need.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

UWW is and will always be a second-rate university...or not?

This is a topic that came up quite early in the history of this blog, and now it rears its head again.  In the last post's comment thread, Anonymous writes,

"You can believe what you want to believe but you are dead wrong about UWW being set up to be a premier teaching institution. UWW is not the flag ship campus! This campus cannot even get its buildings repaired in a timely manner. The workloads are heavy and the pay is low....I am, as you stated, a member of the B team, but teaching to me, and to thousands of others, including school teacher, is a JOB and we want to get our fair share, even if we happen to teach at academically poor schools. We have to eat and want to get paid....Along with the other second rate universities in the UW System, UWW was established by members of the legislature in response to the voters pressuring them to open up the doors of Madison to their academically poor kids. Thus, it was structurally designed to be a second rate campus. I am ok with this but don't piss in my face and tell me that it is rain....With all the shit going on in this state, you should know by now that no one gives a flying fuck about the quality of education in Wisconsin. They are kicking teachers asses royally and you are still pushing that tired argument about awesome education. No child left behind bullshit. Dude, education is a trillion dollar business and everyone wants a piece of it, from DLK assholes to corrupt banks that provide unsecured credit cards and loans to naive students locking their asses into life long debt."

I don't think anyone can doubt that UWW is not resoundingly known for great teaching.  Maybe that means we are a second-rate institution, I don't know.  But the question is: does our current reality dictate our future reality?  In other words, must UWW stay a second-rate institution forever, or can something be done to elevate ourselves?

Where do your thoughts lie?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Don’t call your professor by his/her first name? (by Xavier)

Jeff Culbreath, of the What’s Wrong With the World blog, really thinks that there is something profoundly wrong with professors preferring their students to call them by their first names.  He writes,
“It's undeniable that an increasing number of academics in the United States prefer to be called by their first names, viewing honorifics as pretentious and arrogant. The blame for this social calamity can be placed squarely at the feet of Marxist sociology, which more or less permeates society today. For the Marxist everything is reduced to power relationships, including titles and formalities. The use of honorifics exposes power relationships that are not supposed to exist (better translated as ‘you're not supposed to notice’) in our egalitarian society, interfering with the liberal's preferred method changing reality by ignoring it.

The first thing we know about any professor who rejects honorifics is that he defines his own position primarily in terms of power and privilege rather than knowledge or accomplishment, regarding the former as instruments of oppression. He feels embarrassed or guilty about this and prefers not to be reminded by his title. He has little respect for his own achievement, considering it something anyone else could do - which sounds deceptively humble. Behind the facade of humility there are some disturbing corollaries. It usually follows that such a man has even less respect for the achievements of others, which he thinks anyone else might have easily accomplished, most especially himself. He views many of those who fail to reach his own level of achievement with either pity or contempt, as the only legitimate explanations for inequality in his egalitarian mind are: a) oppression; or b) moral fault.”


Ouch!!  How does he know me so well?  I do prefer that my students call me by my first name, and so I guess I must also be a spineless, drooling liberal covered in misconceived mediocrity.  “Yes, call me ‘Xavier’ because I have absolutely no respect for myself or whatever I have done to get where I am.  I suck, so call me by my first name so that we can all suck together in a mass of soupy egalitarianism.  The lord knows that I only feign humility and fake trying to even the power field because of course there are power differences and I love it – oh wait, no I hate them and I’m ashamed of myself – but ooh, power feels so good – no, bad me!!!”

Ok, nonsense.  My guess is that there probably are some professors out there with some kind of mentality as whatever he is really getting at, but to generalize to all professors who wish a first name basis is a terrible generalization. 

Let me give you MY (meaning that this is not generalizable to all profs, even at UWW) reason for preferring the first name basis.  We are all in this education game together.  We all have a common goal.  The goal: awesome education for our students.  Professors have a role to play – students have a role to play – staff have a role to play – administrators have a role to play.  We all have integral roles to achieve this goal.  My education (and I do have a lot) does not make me more special than anyone else.  It just makes me qualified to play a certain role here on this campus.  Certain roles do come with certain privileges, but those privileges are only there to help in the function of the role.  And that is how the power associated with any role should be perceived too – it helps facilitate the role.  Thus, if I do not need students to call me by some special title for me to perform my role effectively, then I do not want to be called by that special title.  In fact, I believe that I perform my role better by preferring a first name basis.

Of course, for some professors, using more formal titles might help them perform their roles better.  For instance, I know of some women professors (not at UWW) that prefer their students to call them “Dr. so-and-so” because it helps students take them more seriously as professors, where otherwise the students might not.  Unfortunately, unthinking sexist students still pervade our schools making more formal titles necessary at times.  So different professors can have different reasons for preferring first name basis or a more formal basis.

Contrary to Culbreath, this role-based thinking of mine accords equal respect to all parties without somehow diminishing achievements of my own or others.   What I find distasteful are those professors who want the special titles because they feel that they’ve “earned” them.  Oooh, I hate that!  That is what I call a lack of respect for others to make them call you a title because that is what you worked for.  Let me tell you something, there are tons of people working damn hard out there in America – in the factories, in the mines, in the fields.  They are working damn hard for not enough pay.  If anything, they have earned the right of special titles.  Getting a PhD is very hard work too.  I am not minimizing that.  But putting your “special titled” self over the many other hard working people because “you earned it” is the height of arrogance and ignorance.  I say get over yourself and focus on the role you play.

The moral of the story: there is nothing wrong with students calling professors by their first names OR by more formal titles provided that the reasons are good reasons.  And "good" reasons qualify as the professor believes, in some manner, that his/her preference facilitates in the process of student learning.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Does Fox News know who Sarah Palin is? (by CP)

Ok, seriously Fox News.  Sarah Palin works for you.  So why this absolutely gross mix up?  Look closely...

Do you see it?  Yes, it appears that Fox News wanted a pic of Sarah Palin and, instead, slapped up a pic of Tina Fey impersonating Sarah Palin.  Let's take a closer look.

Uh-huh.  Oh yeah.  Pure, unadulterated lunacy.  Total media failure.  Pinch me because I can't believe I'm awake.

Here's where I picked up the story: click here.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Creationism: good-bye reason, here comes the stupid (by anon)

To disagree or not to disagree? Either way, shut up.

There's something that's been bugging me lately. Whenever there is some philosophical discussion a religious person tends to attack science or say it's "bullshit." Being a sciencey person, I base my beliefs on the scientific method and that statement just sparks a flare to the brush that is my intolerance for blatant deadlocked ignorance.

In our group of friends, we were having a conversation the other day. Just having a couple brews with the bros, one very good friend, who was raised by a baptist pastor his whole life, observed that, "radio carbon dating is total bullshit with zero reliability. It's not even science." I tried to explain that carbon dating itself only gives a wide range of the age of material which is why when the test is performed it includes radio xenon dating, phosphorous dating, nitrogen dating, basically a huge variety of elements until it can be narrowed down to a reasonable time range based on the radio isotopes which work much the same way a radio active clock works with elements decaying at a very constant consistent manner. But before I could get past 'carbon dating is' I was cut off with my friend saying that his dad showed videos of this guy who travels around to highschools to have afterschool debates with teachers who embrace evolution. I've seen one of these videos with my buddy a long time ago and needless to say, the guy is good at arguing. But he doesn't debate with our professors or anyone with a PHD. Frankly, in the one I saw the teacher was blown out of the water. But it IS a highschool teacher. Educated, but this one in particular was not charismatic and couldn't handle being bull rushed by a hot blooded southern baptist with the rage of God that children are being taught nonsense and blasphemy.

Here's my beef. If you're a firm believer that the universe is 6,000 years and 6 days old and you find yourself in an argument, especially with someone who knows what they're talking about, about evolution or the sort, then you need to say "My strength in faith is more powerful than my faith in science" and end it there. Otherwise you'll get in a circular argument trying to justify your countless hours of religious practice and your sciency antagonator, no matter how slow and calm he speaks, will make so much sense that it offends you.

It's not impossible for both religion and science to be trusted. You can combine, intertwine, and pick and choose your accumulated beliefs from each side but naturally if you take the bible literally and not as a fiction story you find a few irregularities between what it says and what someone with a doctorate who studied the earth for 50 years will say. It’s probable to disagree with people who have been indoctrinated with malice aforethought that they will literally repudiate justification that is right in front of them. If you see me holding a hundred dollar bill in front of a mans face and he says it's not there, what do you think? You think he's blind or crazy? He might already be a block away running with it or he's the world's most intelligent philosopher about to drop a bomb and mind fuck you silly. Or you just think he's an idiot. And this is what creationists have been doing; they have been literally denying justification that is right in front of them, aren’t they? These people are so adamant about holding these so-simply-answered preconceptions that they have altered the clarification of the word evidence. Creationists have a garland of theories with a raise of what they call contribution regarding those theories, yet they can't see that their arguments don’t rest on proof or rationality they just have a really great publicist.

“To disagree with a male who has renounced his reason is like giving disinfectant to the dead.”  ~Thomas Paine

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Grading is biased (by anon)

So is grading fair?  Profs like to assume that their grading is fair but is it?

This report suggest that grading is biased and related to the ideology or worldview of the professor.  The implication of this study is that you are better off taking a class with a Democratic prof.  I wonder how a Marxist would fit in with this study, perhaps he or she would pass everyone.  The study appears to indicate that black students get screwed no matter who is teaching the class. However, it could mean that black students as a cohort are among the least prepared students in academia.

New York Times blog:

It makes sense that professors with contrasting political ideologies might approach their lives in different ways.
But whether a professor leans left or right, or votes Democrat or Republican, shouldn't affect a student's grade in Chemistry 101 or an upper-level philosophy course.

That's not the case according to a recent study by two economists titled "Partisan Grading." The paper indicates that, yes, Democratic and Republican professors do appear to grade in different ways.
The report by Cornell University's Talia Bar and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Asaf Zussman begins by stating: "This paper studies the following question: Do professors grade students based solely on objective measures of abilities or is grading affected by some exogenous preferences professors bring with them? More specifically, we explore how the grading outcomes of students are associated with the political orientation of their professors."
Their analysis is based on a "unique dataset of grades" awarded from 2000 to 2004 at an unnamed "elite" university in the United States. The professors' political affiliation was taken from voter registration records.
The analysis provides two main findings.

First, the evidence suggests that relative to their Democratic colleagues, Republican professors "are associated with a less egalitarian distribution of grades." The report shows how Democratic professors are more likely to assign middle-of-the-road grades, while Republicans tend to award more very high and very low marks. (See Figure 2 on Page 23 of the report for a graphic representation of this.)

The report states that "the share of the lowest grades (F, D-minus, D, D-plus, and C-minus) out of the total is 6.2 percent in courses taught by Republican professors and only 4.0 percent in courses taught by Democratic professors; the share of the highest grade (A-plus) out the total is 8.0 percent in courses taught by Republican professors and only 3.5 percent in courses taught by Democratic professors."
Both differences, the report states, are "highly statistically significant."

The study also indicates Republicans, compared to their Democratic colleagues, "assign lower grades to black students relative to white ones." No matter who was teaching the course, black students received lower grades, on average, than did white students. But in classes led by Democratic professors, the difference between whites and blacks was 0.27 of a grade-point average; in courses taught by Republicans, the gap was 0.42.
What this all means, exactly, isn't clear. The report states it wasn't possible to conclude which professors' grades best reflected actual student performance — therefore the authors weren't able, for example, to determine "to what extent Democratic professors ‘discriminate' in favor of black students or Republican professors ‘discriminate' against them."

The analysis showed little to no association between a professor's political leanings and how Hispanic or female students are graded.

The paper concludes with the following paragraph: "Professors control the allocation of grades which serve as the primary currency of academia. Our results suggest that the allocation of grades is associated with the worldview or ideology of professors. This finding may inform the public debate on potential reforms to university grading practices. To the extent that the application of objective standards is an important university goal, policy makers should consider limiting the discretion professors enjoy when it comes to grading and making it more difficult for them to use student characteristics as factors in the grading process."

This New York Times blog indicates the "Partisan Grading" report is to be published by The American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.