It's not a claim or an aspiration. It's simply a fact of how evaluations and promotions are made at all colleges, for at least the past century in academia. How people can be skeptical when this gets brought up is among the weirdest and most delirious aspects of U.S. culture.
"...since 1967 the second has been defined as the duration of 9192631770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom."
This "second", what an inelegant unit to use for the basis; it's not inherently based on an order of magnitude count in the first place; really it's just a legacy of some base-60 divisions of Earth's rotation time. Don't you think it would be better to define the second more simply as 10^10 periods of cesium 133 radiation? Then you'd really be on to something.
"But I'm smarter than other people, it'll be easy!", they all say.
I actually do this in my classes. My department has an in-house written College Algebra text, but I recommend to my students as an "alternative" that they get Sullivan College Algebra, 8th edition, for about $5 online.
Two things with this: One is that potentially I could, like the professor in the story, get in trouble with my department for this arrangement (it's a bit of a gray zone). Second is that the college bookstore can't stock old editions from the publisher. So it's a one-by-one acquisition process. You can't depend that students have it on day one; therefore I have to provide handouts for the first few weeks before they get books. And if you did this across the institution, you would likely deplete available sources of the old editions (e.g., I allow one edition back of Weiss Introductory Statistics, and I'm pretty sure that I've single-handedly caused the depletion of it at Amazon -- I already need to keep exercise lists two editions back, which is a maintenance problem when I adjust my assignments, and further back than that and certain exercises have values changed or don't exist at all). Online homework is chimerical, IMO; college students students should have the maturity to do their own homework and then verify with odd-numbered answers at the back of the book; when I tried online homework in the past, it just threw up more technical barriers for students to say they couldn't do it.
So I agree with the GP that open textbooks are the way to go. OpenStax at Rice University recently upped their offerings quite a bit; not perfect, but finally over the threshold where I could work with them. I'm currently trying to puzzle out how I could switch to using their College Algebra and Introductory Statistics books, in the face of officially required in-house texts from my department.
"If they are so incompetent as to not be able to choose their own classroom material, then how the hell did they become an Associate Professor?"
For published research. I have multiple acquaintances who are new professors who don't even write their own lectures (they are given canned PowerPoint presentations and tests from the department), and this is considered roundly to be a good thing by all parties, because it frees up time for the research by which all promotions and advancements are judged. Professors' primary job is research; teaching is a secondary side-issue.
But other than that I agree with your observation on textbooks; they should have more authority.
"Also known as the fucking reason chairs and vice chairs exist."
The primary goal of university faculty is published research. Faculty are promoted for that, and effectively nothing else.
The side-goal of university faculty is teaching students. This generally does not effect promotions or salary. I had a dean at a prior school laugh in my face when I said I thought I was valuable because I was an excellent teacher. "We don't care about that...", he said, "We can get any body off the street in to teach a class."
My current school is better, and I do now have a position which focuses on teaching, but it is by nature non-tenure-track, and for significantly lower salary. I wish this could be changed, but the corporatized environment is making it even less likely over time.
"the teachings arn't doing their fucking job."
The "point" of having separate states in the U.S. was not remotely to provide different choices for where people could live. The "point" was that the various state leaders were simply going to refuse to join any union that didn't mostly keep their existing little fiefdoms -- most notably in the case of the slave-owning states. For an excellent read on how the sausage was made, consider Robertson's "The Original Compromise: What the Constitution's Framers Were Really Thinking".
The ability of lower-class people to move between states is relatively very limited, and fraught with risk (like leaving behind existing family and community support structures).
"There's a big difference between what gets billed and what gets paid."
Assuming that insurance pays for it. (And applies various group-negotiated reductions.) The biggest problem with the inflated American system, IMO, is that you're playing Russian roulette that a claim gets denied and then the individual is on the hook for the whole inflated bill. Not being able to confirm before the service if the cost is zero or tens of thousands of dollars is truly terrifying.
On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. -- Cartoon caption