Monday, April 30, 2007


The Chronicle has a section this week on college admissions, complete with the usual suspects: profiles of high-powered HS seniors who don't get into their first-choice colleges, context-setting remarks by thoughtful admissions officers, and so forth. A good section, worth a careful read, especially as I am a keen observer of higher education, a former Ivy admissions officer, and the parent of a college senior.

The last gives me relief. Our only child got into her first-choice university and program, and will graduate in June. She has enjoyed her time there and has done well.

I breathe a bit more easily now, for here is what I will NOT ever be doing: summer trips to visit colleges and sitting through bland information sessions and tours (both of which I have given); applying to college; hurrying on tax forms in order to apply for financial aid; moving endless boxes and bulky items up stairs and down stairs to dorm rooms and apartments, and so on. You get the picture. I won't miss any of that, quite frankly. I will miss going to visit her at what is my graduate alma mater, and making those connections periodically.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rush says Cho is a Liberal, and that explains it

More sensationalist nonsense about Va Tech, from Rush Limbaugh, who claims Cho was a liberal. Why, Rush? Because Cho railed against wealth, so his mind must have been poisoned by liberals.

Friday, April 27, 2007

I Pity The Fool!


Liveblogging CNN. Comment on John Edwards's $400 haircut by Wolf Blitzer and a regular guy who comments, crusty older guy (COG), can't recall his name, let's call him COG (update: COG = Jack Cafferty).

COG: I don't pay anything near $400 for a haircut, I am sure I pay less than you Wolf, based on amount of hair.

Wolf: I pay $35, including a tip.

COG: I have been going to the same person in Jersey for 20 years, I pay $20.

AGR: Well, I pay around $12 here in north central Indianer, including tip, at Borics, and I have more hair than both of these fellers.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Just in to the Email is for Old People Desk

Purdue official being interviewed on WBAA AM now, regarding using Facebook to notify students about campus emergencies.
  • 85% of Purdue students belong to Facebook
  • Most students check Facebook up to 6 times a day
  • Students may check their email once a day, if that

Monday, April 23, 2007

Art Caplan: Fix the Mental-Health Crisis

Wise, and passionate, words from well-known Penn ethicist Art Caplan. Here's a snippet, but read on in this powerful commentary.

It is not just guns. In all my life I never thought I would write those words after a massacre involving a mass murder with a gun. But a week’s worth of intense media coverage of the heinous murders of students and faculty at Virginia Tech and analyses focusing on guns by innumerable experts has left me furious.

I don’t think the expert wisdom is even close to understanding what must be done to try and prevent this type of tragedy in the future. It is not just guns. We need to fix a broken, abandoned and pathetic system of mental-health care.

You Go Girl!

Junior Liz Lehmann first woman to win 50th anniversary Purdue Grand Prix (kart race on big blowout spring weekend, spectacular weather). Story here.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Epstein's Tocqueville

Just finishing Joseph Epstein's wonderful "Eminent Lives" bio of Alexis de Tocqueville. I awaited Epstein's "Aristides" column with eagerness each quarter when he was editor of The American Scholar. For such is why I read him with enthusiasm:

"A wise man once said that neither marriage nor bachelorhood was a fit solution. (Let us leave aside for now what, precisely, is the problem.) Certainly neither was a solution for a man as high-strung and imaginative as Tocqueville. His biographers tell a story about his wife's habit of eating so slowly that one day, unable to bide it any longer, he rose from his chair, took her plate of pâté, and dashed it to the floor. (She, without a change of expression, is said insouciantly to have ordered another.) (Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy's Guide, p. 66)

A Jeffersonian Life

Albert Borgmann, a philosopher at the University of Montana, writes about a "Jeffersonian life" as an ideal in his new book, Real American Ethics (Chicago, 2006).

"The dinner table is that focal thing, the center of grace where we can rest the case of our lives...The particular character of our ethics comes into focus through the American reality that is gathered in a household and at the table. We can think of that gathering as a Jeffersonian life" (p. 197).

He goes on: " The beginning of wisdom is to be broadly familiar with the width and depth of American culture and to realize deeply one of its possibilities at the dinner table...Although the celebration of dinner should be wholehearted, it cannot be unreserved. Celebration has to imply the determination to widen the circle of well-being until it includes everyone in this country and on earth.

Fortitude has to go ahead of dining and follow it. The temptation of yielding to the comforts of fast food and relaxing entertainment is always there...

Once retired, Jefferson was in the happy situation of having made the exercise of fortitude that is such a challenge for us a normal part of his domestic life. "From breakfast, or noon at latest, to dinner," he wrote to Dr. Benjamin Rush in 1811, "I am mostly on horseback, attending to my farm or other concerns, which I find healthy to my body, mind, and affairs""(pp. 199-200).

Friday, April 20, 2007

LIve Blogging Larry King: Va Tech

"I think we need to start a dialogue about mental illness in America."
- Dr. Phil

Wise words...

Very Sensible End of Semester Procedures at Va Tech

Classes will resume on Monday, April 23, 2007. The first day of class will involve broad ranging discussion of these events from various perspectives. There will also be discussion of the options, which are available to students concerning their completion of the semester. Information about the options will also be made available online. Classes will be continued with the elimination of one week of work. Students will have the option of requesting, on a course by course basis, that the semester grade be based on the faculty evaluation of:

  • Materials which have already been submitted for grade prior to April 16, or
  • The already submitted material plus any other assigned material which the student wishes to submit for grade, or
  • The material that would have been submitted for grade upon regular completion of the course.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How to get from New York to London

1. go to (
2. click on "maps"
3. click on "get directions"
4. type "New York, NY" in the first box (the "from" box)
5. type "London" in the second box (the "to" box)
6. press on "get directions" button
7. scroll down to step #23

Hat tip to Bob and Kathy Evans...

Daylight Causes Warming

A little levity in these dark times. Hat tip to Manny in Tallahassee.

Thank you Braveheart John Derbyshire

This is from Nick Burbules's Progressive Blog Digest today. I am speechless. Thanks to Nick for making the comment.

[John Derbyshire, NRO] Where was the spirit of self-defense here? Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn't anyone rush the guy? It's not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for goodness' sake-one of them reportedly a .22. At the very least, count the shots and jump him reloading or changing hands. Better yet, just jump him. Handguns aren't very accurate, even at close range. I shoot mine all the time at the range, and I still can't hit squat. I doubt this guy was any better than I am. And even if hit, a .22 needs to find something important to do real damage-your chances aren't bad. Yes, yes, I know it's easy to say these things: but didn't the heroes of Flight 93 teach us anything? As the cliche goes-and like most cliches. It's true-none of us knows what he'd do in a dire situation like that. I hope, however, that if I thought I was going to die anyway, I'd at least take a run at the guy.

[NB: Imagine all the poor kids already questioning themselves and feeling guilty that they didn't do more to stop it. Nice to have someone writing from the luxury of a safe distance what a Great Hero HE would have been under the circumstances.]

Just in to the Email is for Old People Desk

"Virginia Tech officials sent out e-mail alerts about a shooting rampage that killed more than 30 people at its campus in Blacksburg, Va. But few people there received them. Students have stopped relying on e-mail for information, say many college administrators. That trend is prompting colleges to try new technology to immediately notify everyone on a campus of an emergency. Many of the new services are built around the ubiquitous cellphone."

From the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription only)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hokie Pride

I have been glued to the coverage (NPR, Fox, CNN, CBS) on the massacre at Virginia Tech. One of my closest personal and professional friends is a faculty member there. He is safe.

We edited a book manuscript (The Educational Conversation: Closing the Gap, SUNY 1995) and ate at the Hokie House in between sessions at the computer. We rafted on the nearby New River, second oldest in the world, to clear our minds for the editing and conceptualizing work we did over those days.

My friend's office looks out directly upon the drill field from War Memorial Hall.

I love that part of the country, and I fondly think about Blacksburg, Tech, and the southern Appalachians.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Eyes of Speedo

This is from Marc Bekoff's new book, The Emotional Lives of Animals. I contributed to one of Marc's publishing projects, and in reading the book now, I find it comforting, and hopeful, in this time of dark news from Blacksburg VA.

This revelation about his career direction is particularly moving. I know that Marc thinks about Speedo all the time, and I am most grateful for his sharing of this story.

"In fact, the eyes of a cat were instrumental in my development as a scientist. A doctoral research project I was once involved in required us to kill the cats we were studying. However, when I went to get “Speedo,” a very intelligent cat that I’d secretly named – secretly, because we weren’t supposed to name “subjects” – for the final exit from his cage, his fearlessness disappeared as if he knew that this was his last journey. As I picked him up, he looked at me and asked, “Why me?” Tears came to my eyes. He wouldn’t break his piercing stare. Though I followed through with what I was supposed to do and killed him, it broke my heart to do so. To this day I remember his unwavering eyes – they told the whole story of the interminable pain and indignity he had endured. Others in the program tried to reassure me that it was all worth it, but I never recovered from that experience.

So I left the program and entered another one in which naming was not only permitted but actively encouraged, and I resolved not to conduct research that involved intentionally inflicting pain or causing the death of another being." (p. 51)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Nifong Hearing at NC Bar, Fayetteville Street, Raleigh NC

Doin' NSF research ethics in Raleigh
Takin' a break, to get a view of a tree
Down the street, whad ya think I see?
A Mike Nifong hearing media extravangazee!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Fun Couples

Fun Couple? Nah, but when are we EVER gonna see another like him?

Yeah, I can see Lindsay and Jared playing THIS fun couple...bring it on!

A Blog to Watch

Hat tip to Barb Stengel, collaborator at Education Policy Blog, the Weblog Award finalist in 2006 for Best Education Blog. Nick Burbules, Craig Cunningham, and I started EPB, and here is further notice of it, from the ASCD blog In Service.

Friday, April 06, 2007

New Tenure Policy at Yale

From CNN, hat tip to Corax: