6/25/2004 09:50:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|Oh, boy...lots of goings on to explain the absence of blogging. Not that anyone who reads this cares why! But anyhoo.
On pretty much a whim (and my utter addiction to baseball), I went to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series. If you're a baseball fan, you must go to Omaha for the CWS at least once in your life. It isn't optional - it is the Mecca of amateur baseball. Well, except that there aren't tramplings, stonings or beheadings of kafir football fans, in sh'allah. The weather was mild and dry (except for the first day), the people friendly and the atmosphere, lively and festive and all about baseball. I went to root on Georgia, which beat Arizona twice and lost to Texas twice. In basketball terms, UGA made the Final Four. Not bad for a year in which the team was supposed to finish near the bottom of the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division. I also got to see Cal State Fullerton, South Carolina, Miami, Arkansas and LSU play. Despite the presence of metal bats and designated hitters, you can't help but love the game. On the whole, the players are clearly enjoying themselves and - despite playing hard - generally don't quite have the swagger and bluster you see in the majors. The stadium is smaller, the prices reasonable (especially compared to the prices for BCS bowl tickets or NCAA Final Four prices), and the sport more serene. A sublime week indeed.
In addition to baseball (though baseball seems to have woven its way into things all week), I did a little touring through the mid-west and have now been to 44 states (added Kansas #42, South Dakota #43 and Wyoming #44 to the list). Flying into Kansas City, I was able to fulfil a longstanding wish to visit the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site and the Truman Library, both in Independence, Missouri. I was a little pressed for time, so I may have missed some things, but having read several biographies of Truman, I'm not sure I really learned all that much. The Historic Site features the house at 219 N. Delaware Avenue in which President Truman lived with Bess from the time of their wedding until his death in 1972 (and in which Bess lived until her death in 1982). There do not seem to have been a lot of renovations made to the house, which in many ways made it more interesting. The home is smaller inside that it would appear but was quite nice tasteful - though neither fussy nor pretentious. The ranger giving the tour told the story that Mrs. Truman was big baseball fan and rarely missed a Kansas City Royals telecast, which she would watch with her Secret Service detail in the small living room. I can't help but think that the Democratic party sure could use President Truman again these days. In a time when people were looking to turn inward after WWII, Truman had the perspicacity to realize that a tough line needed to be drawn against our erstwhile Soviet ally and didn't flinch from making a tough decision.
For a contemporary theme, I sort of got into a Jack Kerouac frame of mind and hit the byways. I made a very long tour out to Mt. Rushmore National Monument. If you go, make sure you take the little walkabout trail that winds around near the base of the cliffs. I don't think that photographs or even the sightlines from the main observation area really do justice to the enormity of Borglum's project. I found it weird that in the gift shop one can purchse state and international flags, including those of Iran and North Korea.
From Mt. Rushmore, I drove west a bit (after missing a turn looking for the Crazy Horse Memorial) and wound through two lane roads in Custer State Park replete with tunnels, hairpin switch-back turns, and wild - though habituated - burrows, bison and billy goats. Turning south, I drove through the grasslands of eastern Wyoming, which were beautiful in their desolateness. I can only compare it to sailing overland. Coasting up and down the gentle swells of sandy hills, it seems much like being in boat and riding the waves, the view sweeping out to the treeless horizon on all sides.
The notion of sailing was reinforced on two occasions after turning back east. A bit before dusk, after cusping a gentle hill, the siren of baseball called to me again as I apparoached Bridgeport, Nebraska - the bright metal cottonwood trees of halogen lights standing out in the middle of a clump of organic trees - all suddenly visible like a little island in the sea of wheat and corn. My last port of call on the by-ways, before going back to the interstates, was Sidney, Nebraska after dark. The view - of city lights visible and unobstructed for miles in the clear night air - whether in a boat appraoching shore or a car rolling over the grasslands - town are identical.
After passing a couple more days getting my live baseball fix, I drove back to Kansas City for the flight home, but not before visiting the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and filling up on baseball past. Many great ballplayers who played unheralded careers have a deserved voice here and I consider the place a fitting bookend to Cooperstown. I was disappointed - though I suppose not surprised - that while the museum is replete with clippings and odd artifacts, it lacks authentic uniforms and must make due with replicas - forgotten items left aside in an era that forgot (on its good days) great players too.
Oh well, vacation is over. Now, back to the salt mine...|W|P|108821706055490182|W|P|The Road to (and from) Omaha|W|P|6/13/2004 08:37:00 AM|W|P|SDG|W|P|O!
Omaha...congratulations to the Diamond Dawgs. First to win a spot in the College World Series. Busily exploring ways to cash in frequent flyer points, etc., and watch the fun. Having gone to the CWS three years ago, I can tell you that it is one of the most fun events to which I've ever been. It's better, of course, of your team is there, but even so, if you love baseball, this is one thing you don't want to miss.
Here's another snippet from Geoffrey Best's Churchill: A Study in Greatness suggesting that President Bush's comparison between the current war on Islamofacism is rather similar to World War II. This snippet comes from a description of Churchill's early (pre-WWI) days in parliament when some derided him as a militarist.
As for 'warmonger,' that charge had no justification when it was revived in the later 1930s by all those on the left, and indeed across the whole span of British politics, who couldn't make up their minds whether they were willing to resist Hitler with force of arms or not. [emphasis supplied]Of course today, the left (joined by a few kindred anti-semites like Pat Buchanan) seem unwilling to resist Islamofacism not only with arms, but ideologically as well, allowing their ideological dhimmitude to political correctness to force them to accept it as is - as a perfectly valid "alternate" view - insprired by the racist, imperialist, capitalist American hegemony.|W|P|108713055079275872|W|P|gO Dawgs!|W|P|6/10/2004 10:17:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|I'm on the road again...so blogging is a little light. But I picked up Geoffrey Best's Churchill: A Study in Greatness (Oxford University Press, 2003) at a bookstore for some reading material. The first two sentences of the author's prologue set the scene at the instant of Churchill's ascendancy:
It was in the spring of 1940 that Winston Churchill suddenly became the most important person in my mind's eye, dominant in my boyhood conception of the war my country was engaged in. Until then, the war well characterised as the 'Phoney War,' had hardly felt real.
I never knew that what would become World War II had been regarded so askance, so widely by the British public in its early stages. I'm thankful that a fair portion of it today - and its leaders - seem to have learned this lesson. |W|P|108692023129546587|W|P|The "Phoney War"|W|P|6/07/2004 10:32:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|Natan (nee Anatoly) Sharansky writes a fitting epitath for President Reagan and simultaneously echoes, with uncanny clarity, about the next challenge:
In 1983, I was confined to an eight-by-ten-foot prison cell on the border of Siberia. My Soviet jailers gave me the privilege of reading the latest copy of Pravda. Splashed across the front page was a condemnation of President Ronald Reagan for having the temerity to call the Soviet Union an 'evil empire.' Tapping on walls and talking through toilets, word of Reagan's "provocation" quickly spread throughout the prison. We dissidents were ecstatic. Finally, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth - a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us.
|W|P|108666230290372614|W|P|Eulogy|W|P|6/05/2004 03:07:00 AM|W|P|SDG|W|P|It just dawned on me that George Tenet's resignation could turn into a gold mine for the President. The only down side is if Tenet has some Richard Clarke-type animus toward President Bush that he takes with him in a defection to the Kerry camp.
Barring that, however, and assuming W. picks a non-knucklehead to be the new CIA director, it's going to put Kerry and the Democrats in a terrible position later this year. The confirmation hearing becomes an opportunity for Bush to make this a public referendum on fighting the mis-named 'War on Terror.' While the Democrats will certainly try to spin it as a debate about Bush's handling of it (and the attendent lapses), I don't see that working too well since Tenet was a Clinton appointee. At the end, Kerry and Democrats are likely to end up looking they're opposed to the War on Terror. Here's how the scenarios play out:
Help me out if I'm missing something here. But, like baloney, no matter how you slice this, it doesn't come out very good for Jean-Francois Kerry.|W|P|108642031053056082|W|P|The Tenets of Confirmation|W|P|6/04/2004 11:21:00 AM|W|P|SDG|W|P|Victor Davis Hanson stands in against the crafty lefty. Here's the pitch. Hanson swings and it's a long drive to deep center...watch that baby...outta here, another homerun for Hanson.
- Kerry supports Bush's nominee. I don't see this happening, but who knows. But if Kerry supports Bush's choice, he loses his ability to campaign on the idea that he would do a better job fighting the war. How could he do that if he endorses Bush's nominee?
- Kerry fails to vote. Kerry could try to wiggle out of this by not showing up to the vote or to the confirmation hearings, thus allowing him to be for the nominee before he was opposed. But he's going to get asked the question and he can't dodge it forever. I don't see this as likely because Kerry comes out of that looking derelict at his post.
- Kerry opposes the nominee. Enough Democrats break ranks to confirm. Not an impossible scenario, given Zell Miller's proclivities as well as the hawkish positions of some outging Democrats like John Breaux. Joe Lieberman might also be a player here. If this happens, the Democrats emerge divided and Kerry looks like he can't lead his own party, let alone the country.
- Kerry and Democrats kill or fillibuster the nominee. This is, I suppose, the go-for-broke option. If you're claiming to be able to fight a war on terror, it seems like a bad idea to let the post of Director of Central Intelligence go unfilled. The longer the Democrats drag this out, the more it looks like they don't take terrorism seriously. That's precisely how the GOP will frame it and I think that's a position with some traction. Worse yet, it will appear that the Democrats are holding the intelligence community hostage to political expediency by playing politics with the nomination. Of course, in fairness, so would the President but the constitution is on his side here. It's his nomination to make.
We do have a grave problem in this country, but it is not the plan for Iraq, the neoconservatives, or targeting Saddam. Face it: This present generation of leaders at home would never have made it to Normandy Beach. They would instead have called off the advance to hold hearings on Pearl Harbor, cast around blame for the Japanese internment, sued over the light armor and guns of Sherman tanks, apologized for bombing German civilians, and recalled General Eisenhower to Washington to explain the rough treatment of Axis prisoners.Baby boomers: thanks for really screwing things up. We'll still pay for your retirement, but please, get out of the way of the future...now!
As a balance to the pussilanimity and self-absorbtion of the baby boomers, this is the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square democratic uprising in China.
If you can see this picture, you're not in China. Attempts to download it are blocked.
Even today, no one knows whether he's dead or alive. Chinese activists and government officials say they aren't even sure of his name. After suddenly emerging to symbolize for the world the fierce power of the individual spirit in the face of martial rule, he vanished.
"For me, he represents the unknown soldier of the Chinese democratic revolution," said John Kamm, executive director of the Dui Hua Foundation, a San Francisco-based human rights group. "What's so strange is that his act of bravery was conducted in plain view of the world. But other than seeing his act, we know so very little about him."The Atlanta Journal-Constitution carries a fascinating article about this solitary act of courage.
I've purchased almost nothing made in China since 1989, though I confess there are moments that it is impossible to do so entirely. But try doing it. It takes far less courage than what he did.|W|P|108636264884833564|W|P|Friday Filler|W|P|6/03/2004 09:03:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|No significant original content today, but let's take the electric cyber-golfcart out for a spin anyway.
The American Thinker blog provides a transcript of some truly interesting remarks by Professor Emeritus Harry Clor of Kenyon College. He makes a noble attempt to walk a fine line of discounting any absolute "Academic Freedom" and its attendant anything goes mentality. But he also firmly rejects the typical speech codes and diversity programs that serve to promote a hegemonic campus orthodoxy. Ultimately, I'm not sure he fully succeeds in defining his "middle path" (quotation marks for those of you who know something about Kenyon), but the article is well worth a read. Kenyon would certainly be a better institution if some of its current faculty buy into it.
My nasty side is debating whether to make the 6 June blog entry "Six Semaines" as a little F.O.a.D. to the French. But maybe I should be nicer. Still a few days to decide.
I'd like to believe that President Bush, in his speech to the graduating class at the U.S. Air Force Academy was merely picking up on my comparison of the War on Islamofacism to World War II, but I thought this was a pretty good speech that really demonstrated that he gets it. I think he does, though the inaction on Fallujah and the Chalabi fiasco worry me a bit.
And I see by the big board over on the right that we've added a link to the Cranky Professor blog.|W|P|108631242227435203|W|P|A Day on the Links|W|P|6/02/2004 09:58:00 AM|W|P|SDG|W|P|While George W. Bush may be the academic left's favorite villain, when it comes to acting "locally" one of their favorites is Wal-Mart. The discount retailer is frequently vilified for the minimum wages it pays its employees, the miserly benefits package they offer, the pressure they put on suppliers that force the latter to imitate Wal-Mart's wage policy, and clear cutting land for enormous box super-stores to name a few. Without debating Wal-Mart's practices in and of themselves, the end result is a corporate culture of cost-cutting that Wal-Mart returns to its customers in the form of lower prices.
I bring this up in view of a puff-piece run by CNN (from the AP wire) yesterday about how colleges are teaming up on purchases to reduce their costs. In one example, the article lauds tiny St. Joseph College for saving $2,000 off its spring water bill by piggybacking its purchase on a much larger one made by Yale University (the two schools are somewhat proximate in Connecticut). The list of items is expansive:
"St. Joseph's is looking beyond water bottles, aiming to trim the $10,000 it spends annually on trash bags, for instance. It's part of a consortium of independent Connecticut schools exploring buying pools for everything from organic groceries to lawyers."The article also cites other examples such as insurance and computers as areas where colleges and universities have saved by pooling buying power.
I could point out that perhaps using more city water and serving ordinary vegetables might also save a few bucks. But I'd digress if I did. This blog is really about the fact that I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for the media or its pals in the ivory tower to talk about the implications of any of this.
The savings these colleges have as consumers means a supplier somewhere brings in less in earnings - the organic farmer (probably a very small, local business - maybe even a Liberal), for instance. The pressure is now on him to produce a higher yield at a lower cost. He'll either need to pay his workers less (or make them work longer for the same pay) or force his delivery driver to do the same. He'll either do that or go out of business. Or lose the business to a larger, more efficient firm. But enough Econ 101.
The simple point here is that there won't be any uproar that Big Education is doing exactly what Wal-Mart does every day. The tweed-blazer crowd will produce prodigious protests (search results of Yale's website for 'Wal-Mart' here) if Wal-Mart's practices nip at the heels of low-wage workers and small firms, yet you won't hear a peep about it (especially if it means avoiding a delay in faculty salary increases) when their own enlightened institutions do the same thing. Feel free to see the search results for "spring water" on Yale's web site.
Now, I'm all for colleges doing some cost-cutting and saving money, though I seriously doubt that we'll ever see St. Joseph or Yale passing these savings on to their - dare I use the word - customers in the form of lower tuition.
|W|P|108618747103512668|W|P|Ivy Wal-Mart|W|P|6/01/2004 11:06:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|An Oregon man whipped his two year old son in an attempt to potty train him, leaving as many as 70 whip marks on his son's legs, buttocks, back and chest that were of various ages. The day before the boy died, he "played helicopter" with him, swinging him by his feet, spining in circles until the boy's head hit a table and the child's neck was snapped. The autopsy also showed broken ribs and brain damage. The father is now charged with murder by abuse and is set to stand trial in Oregon. The facts don't appear to be in dispute.
But don't blame him. He's a victim of "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome."
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome is the - brainchild doesn't quite seem the mot juste - of Professor Joy DeGruy-Leary of Portland State University. According to the Oregonian, the theory proposes that African Americans today are affected by past centuries of U.S. slavery because the original slaves were never treated for the trauma of losing their homes; seeing relatives whipped, raped and killed; and being subjugated by whites.
Because African Americans as a class never got a chance to heal and today still face racism, oppression and societal inequality, they suffer from multigenerational trauma. Self-destructive, violent or aggressive behavior often results, she says.
"Post traumatic slave syndrome is rather unique [sic]; it's not that everybody has it...If you are African American and you are living in America, you have been impacted."If the Israelis nuke Cairo, will this professor come to their defense?
But this notion isn't strictly limited to goofballs at the Graduate School of Social Work at Portland State. Alvin F. Poussaint, a professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School chimes in, "It is a legacy where blacks were beaten a lot and lived in terror that they could be killed at will...That type of trauma gets passed on for generations" in an entire group, he said. "But in a one-on-one case, these things are hard to prove." Thank Heaven for a small splash of reality.
"Lawyers try everything," Poussaint said, "they might as well put it out."
Apparently, so do academics.
|W|P|108614707046460836|W|P|Where Scheister and Professor Meet|W|P|