George Floyd very clearly self-overdosed. He wasn't murdered by a policeman.

Don't repeat leftist tropes if you are unhappy about all the damage they do.

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True - and the methamphetamine in the counterfeit Percocet he was given by a friend masked many of the usual signs of opiate overdose, so you honestly cannot even blame the officers for failing to recognize the problem and administer Narcan.

I don't blame Floyd for his death, either. He had been legitimately prescribed Percocet and obtained a tablet (that happened to be counterfeit) from a friend - technically illegal but not an uncommon practice. Such tablets managed to get into the supply chain in the Twin Cities - Prince Rogers Nelson died of the same type of overdose from a tablet dispended with a prescription from a local pharmacy in the Twin Cities area. The murderer was the creator and distributor of the counterfeits.

Floyd's underlying conditions likely made even a Narcan recovery problematic. The autopsy showed he had several coronary arteries already blocked to a point seen in many individuals undergoing an active AMI. If you add on the potential impact of the methamphetamine on cardiac rhythms and the impact of reduced blood oxygen levels due to the opiate-induced respiratory depression, lethal cardiac arrest was almost inevitable had he been sitting at home peacefully watching TV.

The claims that pressure on his neck killed him were clear and blatant misrepresentations intended to placate the Leftist mob, and what happened to those officers in the courtroom amounted to a legally sanctioned lynching.

I'm not a great fan of the MPD - the one interaction I had with them as a grad student at the UM in the early 2000s was with a very arrogant officer who obviously felt his badge meant his fecal byproducts smelled like roses while he wrote a ticket for a burned out taillight on my Jeep (as opposed to the more common law enforcement practice of issuing a warning as a notification of the problem). That doesn't mean that their officers are murderers for subduing a delusional criminal and having him die on them from the counterfeit medication he took thinking it was the drug he had been prescribed for his back pain issues.

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Practical research is less cited because papers building on it tend to violate the narratives and thus not get accepted.

My own experience is with a paper I wrote looking at intergovernmental funding to local health departments through the federal bioterrorism preparedness program, using data from over 1700 local departments. I found that the federal funds had NO impact on local preparedness planning activities - but having dedicated local leadership DID result in such activity. In short, local leadership, not funding, determines what gets done. The top public health journals - edited by individuals who had been vocal that the problems with the public health system are the result of resource shortages - returned the paper without sending it for review. I sent it to a very respectable general health policy journal and saw it reviewed, accepted, and in print within six weeks.

Things are worse than Kuhn described. Now, you not only have to fit within the scientific paradigm to be published, but within the prevailing political narrative.

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This is a really interesting comment. Can you e-mail me the citation to the paper. (Robert Maranto at the U of Arkansas).

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Robert - no problem. By the way, I received my MPA from UALR while working for the state health department in the 1990s.

The paper I mentioned is:

Avery GH and Zabriskie J. (2009) The Impact of Federal Bioterrorism Funding Programs on Local Health Department Preparedness Activities. Evaluation and the Health Professions 32(2): 95-127.

A complementary one is:

Avery GH, Wright TJ. (2010) Does Federal Assistance to Health Departments for Bioterrorism Preparedness Improve Local Public Health Activity? An Empirical Evaluation Using the 2005 NACCHO Profile of Local Health Departments. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 7(1): Article 11.

It uses the same data set and examines the question of whether the funding led to changes in OTHER public health programs. Answer: No.

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How they gone fundraise if they actually....saved black or any other lives?

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The authors' search criteria strike me as dubious. Zimring's book has already been cited by dozens of journal articles as can easily be seen by going to Google scholar, so it seems pretty careless or disingenuous to act as though this book isn't getting any serious attention. BLM is a social movement so it shouldn't be surprising that articles using that phrase would tend to focus on that aspect of it.

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In other words, academia and science are crap and worthless and should be shunned. Got it.

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There is good work that sneaks through, but serious reforms are needed in the funding and dissemination processes - not to mention in tenure decisions, which have been used to eliminate those who do not fit a prevailing narrative. Trustees at universities need to review not only the P&T files of those faculty committees decide to award tenure to, but also those that they recommend denying tenure to - and review them critically, with the faculty decisions being viewed as only advisory and the trustee reviewers accepting that the responsibility for decisions resides in them.

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The trustees haven't got a clue who is qualified.

And even if they were - they are more politically compromised and controlled than even the faculty. The problem with academia is coming from the top down.

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The tenure problem is bottom up.

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Aug 19, 2023·edited Aug 20, 2023Liked by Robert Anthony Maranto

I have no idea what your comment means.

The tenure problem is that tenure exists at all. And I an say that as tenured full professor.

Academia is intellectually stunted and ideologically monolithic because of tenure.

Tenure makes the incentives to conform (or be quiet) during pre-tenure extremely high.

And nobody changes after tenure. The invested effort by that point is far too high to risk opprobrium by speaking up against the (now leftist) orthodoxies.

Opinions that leftists dislike are fully socially and professionally punished anyway and the existence of tenure doesn't stop the leftist cult from doing it.

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You are correct that the system is used for eliminating non-Leftist ideas. I had papers challenging the idea that more funding is needed for public health agencies to be effective (instead finding that agency leadership and priorities determining performance, not funding) rejected by journals in the field without review. I had a grant proposal to look at the effectiveness of healthcare regulations rejected by a federal agency with contradicting reasons after I published findings that government medical laboratory regulators were ineffective (if not harmful) while private accrediting bodies were associated with higher quality. A paper on the role of government and political motivations on distorting research ethics, with examples from healthcare and environmental fields, was bitterly attacked and even subject to an attempt to suppress the paper by the Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia (whose faculty were implicated in the misconduct by the Climategate leaks). I was also a pariah briefly after pointing out that including EXPLICIT racial quotas for admissions and hiring in accreditation documents was illegal and would be prima facie evidence against the university in a discrimination lawsuit. My colleagues softened when the university's black Affirmative Action Officer backed me up (he was the rare person in such a position who truly believed in equal protection and tried to do his job through outreach, not discrimination).

It isn't limited to politics, however. I was attacked by the department chair over suggesting that networking our photocopier as a department printer was cheaper than using the HP Laserprinter, something we had discovered with the same model when I was at Minnesota Duluth. He denied it would work in the faculty meeting, but had to reverse himself after checking with the IT department. We had a tenured public health professor who was attacked for his National Guard service (he was a full Colonel and chief medical officer for the state Guard). Said chair made a false accusation against him of sexually harassing students. A friend with a joint appointment in African-American studies caught grief because she made it explicit that she (a Nigerian) was AFRICAN, not African-American, and her work focused on cultural barriers to AIDS prevention and treatment in sub-Saharan AFRICA. I have overheard faculty disparaging those of us who have worked in our fields outside of the ivory towers before entering academia. For that matter, said chair once stated to me "A young guy like you just starting your career..." despite my having already at the time been working in my field for two DECADES, longer than some of our full professors. Since most of us hired as public health professors had done our PhD mid-career after working in the field, that alone made an uncomfortable difference in the department between us and the kinesiology faculty. One example was over differing perspectives on internships - with pure academics thinking employers hired interns out of an altruistic desire to help educate students and the rest of us pointing out that we had been the ones hiring in the past and did so because interns were cheap labor for short term needs, with no altruistic motivation.

Basically, I think we fully agree that the system as it currently exists does nothing except lead to abuses of junior faculty, complacency among tenured faculty, and helps enforce an antiintellectual monoculture. My whole point was not to disagree with that, but to point out that the tenure system primarily works at the lowest levels because Deans and above are too damned lazy to actually do their job in overseeing the system, which prevents remedies to the problems.

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I am referring to how the process works. At most schools, tenure criteria (if even formally established) is established at the department level, with P&T decisions essentially being made at that level, as succeeding levels (Dean, Provost, Trustees) tend to rubber stamp the lower level decisions. As a results, the decisions that lead to abuses almost all occur at the level of the department faculty.

Take my case. I was an Assistant Professor in the Public Health program at Purdue, at the time mishoused in the Kinesiology department. We had written criteria for tenure. I had actually MET the minimum publication, funding, and teaching evaluation criteria before I was even hired based on my performance as an Assistant Professor at Minnesota Duluth. In my first year, I obtained more external research contracts than the rest of the department faculty COMBINED. At five years, I was in the top four in the department in terms of publications and funding, had great teaching evals (one grad seminar gave me perfect scores across the board), had won a mentoring award, had graduated three Master's students and served on committees for many more MPH, MS, and PhD students, and my students were publishing and presenting their own work. I served on a state health department advisory board, two CDC boards, and had a contract to advise DOD/JFCOM/JIWC on medical and humanitarian aspects of stability operations doctrine. I was on the Board for the AcademyHealth Public Health Services Research Group and had served as a reviewer for the AcademyHealth Annual Research meeting, internal research grants, and a CDC program - plus serving as a special issue editor for the journal Bioterrorism and Biodefense, on the editorial board of World Medical and Health Policy, and as a reviewer for over half a dozen other journals. I was also active in university committees, including being the first faculty member from the College of Liberal Arts (where the department was housed) ever asked to sit on the curriculum committee for the School of Biomedical Engineering. My work was being routinely cited not just in my field but across disciplines, and I had been noted in a lot of non-professional press, including USA Today mentioning my influenza preparedness work, CBS News interviewing me on the 2009 influenza epidemic, and doing a PBS panel show on healthcare reform in 2010.

Unfortunately, the chair wanted to get rid of our program and worked to deny tenure to all public health assistant professors EXCEPT for the one whose work involved looking at how urban planning policies impacted health behavior, namely exercise. Since I exceeded all of the written requirements by a large margin, I went to the college ombudsman, who was a former long-time department chair of the psychology department. She told me that I had the first valid case she had ever seen to grieve a tenure call and recommended to the chair that he reverse himself, a recommendation that was refused. I filed a grievance, which the Dean sent to the Provost's office, which assigned it to a committee at that level without a hearing at the college level. The Associate Provost in charge NEVER held a hearing and denied the grievance based on a response from the chair that I never had the chance to address - and was full of blatant misstatements such as one that I had refused recommendations to have my P&T packet reviewed by other tenured faculty - in fact, I had documentation in the form of responses that EVERY tenured faculty member in the department, including the chair, had been asked to review it and returned recommendations. The following semester, the department was moved to a new college with the Associate Provost as interim Dean. I took to her a request that the decision be revisited, including documentations of the falsehoods in the chair's response. She refused. Of course, said chair was a former President of the Faculty Senate and a personal friend of the interim Dean. Since Indiana law states that all employment at the school is on an "at will basis," there was no grounds for a lawsuit despite the improprieties. Basically, even an abusive tenure decision that could not be rooted in the formally established criteria was rubber stamped once the department issued it and no real recourse existed to contest it. On a side note, such a law makes the ONLY function of tenure one of eliminating junior faculty, since it can offer no job protection despite the belief of the faculty.

I agree that the existence of tenure is a problem. For example, it discourages faculty productivity. In the aforementioned department, productivity in terms of publications, external research funding, and even citations of work produced after promotion declined with tenure status and faculty rank. Out of the full professors when I left, 4/6 had essentially published NOTHING in the past five years. The most productive publishing faculty were two full professors, two Associates, and three public health Assistants. In terms of external research funding, the top four were myself and another Assistant, one Associate, and one Full professor (and he was a non-tenure track Clinical professor). Frankly, most of the full professors were what the military would call ROAD (retired on active duty). One tenured faculty member had only two of his graduate advisees publish while I was a faculty member - both as coauthors on my research that he was not involved in but that they participated in because I had funding for research assistants and he had no funding.

The abuses I described at Purdue are EXACTLY what you are talking about. They enforced conformity - in this case, to a "physical activity" paradigm favored by the Kinesiology side that was disrupted by bringing public health faculty into the department. We could see the conflict before we reached the tenure decision stage. We saw an exercise physiologist insisting one of our PhD students working on Phil's urban planning research (a student who already had an MPP and a MS in spatial econometrics) needed to take a course in physiology because "how can you understand exercise and health without one?" They were hostile when we pointed out that THEIR job was to establish the health link, ours was to translate that into implementation at the population level, which did not require understanding the biochemistry. One of the attacks on my application was that "he doesn't want to be one of us" because I asked if, since we were already undergoing the organizational stresses of moving to a new college if it might make sense to look at the issue of separating into a department of public health and a separate department of kinesiology, particularly given some of the requirements for accreditation. Doing both at the same time would have minimized the period of organizational strain and thus should be considered at the same time.

I have always felt academia is so poorly managed because the tenure system helps ELIMINATE those very professors who would make the best managers and leaders. Getting experience in management takes time away from research, writing, and grant-seeking and thus reduces the likelihood of obtaining tenure and promotion, and being a leader who looks for solutions means being an outside-the-box thinker and disturbing the consensus, which costs votes at P&T time. When you add on that a very large proportion of academics are insecure, take differing perspectives as attacks on an ego defined by their self-perceived intellectual abilities, and actively chose academia as a career path that avoids accountability, being a leader who is not afraid of accountability is a threat to the system. By the time one has reached a faculty rank sufficient to be considered for a Chair, Dean. or higher position, most of the faculty with the interest, skills, and experience to be truly effective are already weeded from the system. Faculty input on the selection of leadership at that level of higher imposes a further barrier to forward thinking leadership who might threaten a cozy sinecure.

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A paper on "public health" as well as on "differential mortality" could be relevant to saving "black lives", even if BLM kicked off in reaction to (small as a share of total deaths) shootings by police. I haven't actually read these papers though, so can't say how plausible it is that they could save lives.

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The Left basically opposes any work on the topic that controls for things like local crime rates, crime rates by victim race, race of the officer, conjunction between officer race and victim race, victim criminal record, rates of violent crime by race, etc. that would potentially undercut the narrative that all police shootings are the result of white racism.

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Perhaps, but not especially relevant to the topic of a paper on "public health".

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However, the academic public health community is currently invested in the idea of "equity" and "antiracism," which largely precludes getting such work funded or published in public health journals.

One only has to look at CDC's opposition to John Lott's research

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Or Harvard's reaction to Ronald Fryer's work on racial disparities in police shootings. Fryer, a black economics professor, found greater use of force against black suspects at lower levels of force, which declined as force escalated with no differences in shootings associated with race. Harvard faculty immediately began attacking him over his findings, He was then subject to 38 complaints of sexually harassing graduate students. Thirty-two were dismissed after investigation as fabrications, while the remaining six were ruled uncertain based on lack of clear evidence one way or another. Nevertheless, he was suspended without pay by the faculty for two years, barred from supervising graduate students, and had his research lab shut down.

Fryer was not a fly-by-night researcher. He won the 2015 Clark Medal as the top economist under the age of 40 and was considered a potential future Nobel Laureate.

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