Sunday, November 18, 2007

Taking an extended snooooooooooooze...

I am putting this blog on snooze mode. Not sure when or if I will be back...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Particularly those with paper bag skin...

Jena by John Mellencamp. Watch the video just completed earlier this week, lyrics below. Hat tip to our own dangerous professor, Harry Targ.


An all white jury hides the executioner's face

Is this how we are, me and you?

Everyone needs to know their place

And here we thought this blackbird was hidden in the flue

Oh oh oh Jena

Oh oh oh Jena

Oh oh oh Jena

Take your nooses down

So what becomes of boys that cannot think straight

Particularly those with paper bag skin*

Yes sir no sir wipe that smile off your face

We've got our rules here and you've got to fit in

Oh oh oh Jena

Oh oh oh Jena

Oh oh oh Jena

Take your nooses down

Hey some way sanity will prevail

But no one knows when that day will come

A shot in the dark, well it might find its way

To the hearts of those who hold the keys to kingdom come

Oh oh oh Jena

Oh oh oh Jena

Oh oh oh Jena

Take your nooses down

Oh oh oh Jena

Oh oh oh Jena

Oh oh oh Jena

Take your nooses down

* Craig Cunningham asks what becomes of those with paper bag skin, and offers this answer.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Hoover Institution in the Land of Corn and Soy: New Initiative to Watch at Urbana-Champaign

Here is a story to watch: A group of alumni and others are establishing a new entity at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I say "entity," because I have not quite figured out what it is, though it seems clear that the founders know what they want: something like the Hoover Institution at Stanford is their explicit model. But first they have to get it off the ground, with an upcoming one day kickoff conference near the end of September.

The interesting part of the discussion concerns governance and academic accountability, as campus leaders such as Nick Burbules, chair of the University Senate, point out. This entity, called the Academy on Capitalism and Limited Government Fund, "is ostensibly an endowment to support the research and teaching of free market capitalism, limited government, entrepreneurship, enterprise and individual rights and responsibilities," according to the article in the local paper today.

Another interesting part of this development is the establishment of such an entity at a major state university, as in like the place where I toil. Founders are eager for that, to branch beyond the Princetons and Stanfords to the huge Midwestern land-grant MooU.

Here are more tidbits from the article:

"While the academy's ideology might have raised a few eyebrows on campus, what's caused a stir recently are discussions about how the academy fund is structured (is it an academy or a fund?) about quality control and academic freedom and accountability, as well as the fear of a possible "mission creep," meaning the academy fund would go from sponsoring research or sponsoring classes to dictating research and offering classes, according to some faculty members."

"Before they established the academy fund, founders like Vermette and O'Laughlin turned to alumni, academics and members of various business and industry associations. They sought the advice of people from the Hoover Institution, a public policy center at Stanford University; (Hoover Senior Fellow Victor Davis Hanson is on the UI academy fund's advisory council); the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (its president Anne Neal is also on the advisory council); and the National Association of Scholars (its president, Stephen Balch, is on the academy fund's board of directors). Both Balch and Neal will participate in the inaugural conference Sept. 27.

(Cary) Nelson said he was disappointed to hear about Balch and Neal's affiliation with the academy fund.

Neal's American Council on Trustees and Alumni "is an extremely conservative organization that fundamentally does not understand academic freedom. They constantly attack professors exercising what (the American Association of University Professors) regards as their academic rights," Nelson said.

"The idea of she and Stephen (Balch) being enshrined in a building on campus suggests those kind of activities will spread to our campus. That will not be a positive contribution to collegiality."

Nelson said the local AAUP chapter is scheduled to discuss the academy fund this week."

And though the founders claim they want to put forth merely another view for discussion, they have big plans: "The fund is at $2 million, and the goal is to increase that to $10 million in three years and $100 million in 2015, Vermette said. "

*Update 9/20: Article in Inside Higher Ed by one of its editors. IHE articles often have great comment threads, and this is no exception. Keep scrolling down!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Victory in the Big House: Priceless

Kevin Richardson of ASU asks the crowd to quiet was already a mausoleum. HT to Walt Oldendorf of ASU, who just happened to be visiting his daughter in Ann Arbor.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Back in the Fall...

I am on summer break (what an oxymoron) and am not feeling too bloggy. Back in the fall, I think.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Calvin and Hobbes and Integrity

Here's integrity, from Garrison Keillor's Writers' Almanac today (much more text than he recites on the air).

It's the birthday of cartoonist Bill Watterson (books by this author), born in Washington, D.C. (1958). He created the cartoon strip "Calvin and Hobbes," which ran from 1985 until 1995. He studied political science in college, and originally planned to become a political cartoonist. He got a job at the Cincinnati Post, but his editor insisted that he focus on local politics, and Watterson couldn't get a handle on the Cincinnati political scene. He lost his job after a few months and began drawing up plans for possible comic strips, including a strip about a 6-year-old boy and his stuffed tiger. This idea caught the attention of the United Features Syndicate, but they told Watterson they would only run the strip if he would insert a "Robotman" character that could be sold as a toy.
Watterson didn't want to turn down his first possible syndication deal, but he also didn't want to give up control over his own characters. So he rejected the offer. Eventually, United Features Syndicate bought the strip anyway. It began to appear in newspapers on November 18, 1985, and within three years it was appearing in more than 600 papers. It told the story of the 6-year-old boy, Calvin, and a tiger named Hobbes, who appears to be a real tiger to Calvin but appears as a stuffed animal to everyone else.
Once the strip became wildly popular, Watterson began to get offers to license the characters for toys, T-shirts, greeting cards, and movies. He could have made millions from all the merchandising opportunities, but he decided to refuse all the offers. He said, "My strip is about private realities, the magic of imagination, and the specialness of certain friendships. [No one] would believe in the innocence of a little kid and his tiger if they cashed in on their popularity to sell overpriced knickknacks that nobody needs."
Watterson worked on the strip for 10 years, and then decided to retire and devote his time to painting. He has declined any interviews or photographs since his retirement, and hasn't shown any signs of returning to cartooning. But in 2005, he published
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, a three-volume set containing every Calvin and Hobbes cartoon that ever appeared in syndication.
Bill Watterson said, "There is not enough time to do all the nothing we want to do."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Ja, Ja, but can I text from my buggy?

Hat tip to my good friend Krista Simons. As she pointed out, these are probably German Baptists, as we have here in Indiana*, or Mennonites, and not the Amish, and the GBs use technology (and are terrific plumbers, I can attest!)
And yes, the IPhone is gorgeous, just fiddled with one at the AT&T store, but since, sigh, I just got a Blackjack, and my wallet is vacuumed after some home improvements, can't swing the sleek little gem.
*We also have Amish here in Indiana...good hearty artery stickin' food you can get up in Nappanee and Middlebury and down near Marshall nearby, yum...but the German Baptists are visible and prominent here in Tippecanoe County and environs.