The raving thoughts of a millennial Dad

29 September 2007

This is definitely old news, but the intrepid folks at Nike came out with a shoe specifically designed for Native Americans this past week.

[Link]

This also will come as little surprise, but true to form, I have a problem with Nike's uber-PC move. I will begin by noting what does not bother me:

It's not that they get a fat guy to help market it (After all, nothing speaks to health and vitality quite like an obese man)...

Or that Nike's branding, Air Native N7, sucks (Does "Air" anything really go with ultra-wide shoes?)...

Or that it will make Indians look like they're wearing clown shoes because the things are so darn wide (Think WGN's Bozo and Cookie the clown)...

My problem is that Nike purposely created the lamest looking shoe they could and pitched it to Native Americans.

C'mon on, Nike! Put a tomahawk on it, or a spear, or something else that is generally badass- but don't make it baby blue with a feather.
Finally, today's funniest morsel of foolishness comes to you courtesy of the Boston Globe. The Globe, ever a bastion of populism and justice, takes aim at America's elite colleges and universities.

And for what travesty does the Globe set its sights on these hallowed halls?

The Globe takes to task elite universities for, gasp, being elitist.

[Link]

(For the record, it sounds to me like a parent disgruntled over tuition)
Congrats all around to the Boston Red Sox who took the American League East pennant yesterday evening in Boston! The division title marks the end of a nine year reign of terror by the New York Yankees and sets up the final pairings of AL playoffs (the Los Angeles Angels will take on the Sox in the first round).

[Link]

For those readers still in the Boston area, be sure to check out the Sox rally on Monday.
We flagged the issue for you late last week, but Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earned some much needed media yesterday when she announced that she was praying the President would not veto the recently passed SCHIP bill.

[Link]

From this we glean two important points: 1) Nancy Pelosi prays (a possible surprise in itself); 2) Her prayers only hit the Capitol Rotunda.

27 September 2007

If they come up with something, they often get it wrong.

[Link]

Crooks & Liars had the video of the exchange (linked to below). Their take on the question is as follows:

This had to be the most aggravating question during the Dartmouth debate, both in its implication and in sheer unconstitutional glory. Moderator Tim Russert asks the Democratic presidential contenders to name their favorite Bible verse.

Um, Tim, are you trying to say that Democrats need to prove their faith? Nice Republican framing there. And on whole other level, are you confirming the mindset that only practicing Christians should be eligible for the presidency? What if there was a Jew, Buddhist or a *gasp* atheist on that stage? Would that question be considered appropriate then?

[Link]

Normally, I am not one to defend Tim Russert. As a conservative, I agree with Tim Russert about as often as I agree with Hillary Clinton (except Tim Russert is a much more agreeable person). But in this case, I fail to see why the question was so aggravating much less unconstitutional. Even in its most extreme interpretation, the separation of church and state far from precludes a President from having faith. And none of the candidates are even remotely close to being the next President as evidence from the balance of their answers yesterday evening.

As for the substance of the question, it seems to me the issue would be one of tremendous concern to the very subset of voters to which the Democrats are trying to appeal as noted by Barack Obama. The last point about other religions is even more surprising. Whether the question would have been appropriate in another context is irrelevant (viz., if I had wings, I could fly). All of the candidates are professing Christians. Ultimately, the question is one less concerned with Republican framing and one more concerned about the ability of Democrats to speak to their faith.

In sum, what does this say? Maybe not a whole lot. But it certainly raises questions about Democrats efforts to court Christian voters.
But only insofar as many of them have been widely eliminated from usage. Unfortunately, we still have Congress. It's usefulness remains to be determined. Nevertheless, below is an interesting article from Reuters earlier this week on the disappearance of the hyphen in the English language.

[Link]

It seems we have come to prize fluid text (e.g. no unsightly horizontal line between words) over the quaint English rules of yesteryear.

I can see where the removal of the hyphen is only logical for some words. But as a loyal user of the 'dash' (hyphen's young cousin) in writing it pains me to see it go. Perhaps, less sentimentally, the situation makes one wonder where the line should be drawn (ahem) on amending the rules of grammar, while concurrently trying to ensure that they are relevant and sufficiently flexible.

No clear answers here. Suffice it to say if 'idk' ever replaces 'I don't know' our Western Civilization is then officially over. If my baby sister should happen to read this- here's looking at you.
A group of nerds from the University of Washington offered to swap computer skills with sorority girls in exchange for a makeover or date.
"You can buy a nerd and he'll fix your computer, help you with stats homework, or if you're really adventurous, take you to dinner!" Ben Ford, president of the Linux Users Group, said on its Web site.

[Link]
Gotta admire their chutzpah. Good try boys.

If only it were that easy....

26 September 2007

Continuing today's unintended theme on gender roles, the New York Times weighs in on a linked-to article from August of this year.

Apparently when assessing survey responses to the numbers of sexual partners reported by men and by women, the numbers don't square. Or, to put it differently, there's a bit a fuzzy math.

[Link]

So what gives?

Isn't the answer is obvious- Men and women lie. Men tend to bump the number up, while women tend to bump the number down.

Conclude from it what you will.
The headline above should send off warning flares to the Pax Plena faithful. Particularly since most of what the New York Times has to say on either of these subjects is highly suspect in general. Nevertheless, today's article, underscoring two Brookings Institute studies on the matters, offers a couple of ideas worth mulling.

Before ultimately blaming men for failing to help out around the house, the author concludes:
A big reason that women reported being happier three decades ago — despite far more discrimination — is probably that they had narrower ambitions, Ms. Stevenson says. Many compared themselves only to other women, rather than to men as well. This doesn’t mean they were better off back then.

[Link]
A couple of reactions. I will never be one to deny that the challenges of modern living fall particularly hard on women. While I loathe the term feminist, I can not help but agree with some feminist notions about the differences men and women face in navigating the tension between career and family. Presently having neither, the issues are not terribly pressing for me. If one were in such a position, I can see where it may be difficult to choose whether to have a career while young and children when older or the inverse- time being a much greater exigency for women on this point than it is for men.

On the other hand, the conclusion reached in the article significantly undermines the sensitivity brought to bear on the issue. Consider, was it really the case that women thirty years ago had narrower ambitions? Or was it the case that they had different priorities? For all of our liberal sensibilities of respecting the life choices of others, it seems more than a bit condescending to assume that because women thirty years ago did not pursue careers that their ambitions were somehow narrower than ours.

There is, after all, an easy way to put my thesis to the test.

For the many of you whose mothers were homemakers, go home and tell her that her ambitions were narrow.

25 September 2007

We're fair and balanced here. I am glad to say, this is easily the smartest thing the Democrats have done since taking over Congress.

[Link]
Citing a new record in futility, the AP article below notes that a horse out of San Juan, Puerto Rico has just set the record for longest losing streak in horse racing history (0 wins, 125 loses). Worst horse ever.

[Link]

I guess one really can win for losing...

24 September 2007

The visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was by all accounts cordial- if one can consider an opening intro calling the despot a petty dictator warmly received.

Yet, in an odd turn of events, the Columbia President who was criticized on all fronts for inviting the Iranian leader opened his introduction of the speaker with a stinging critique as only an academic can deliver:

Will you cease this outrage?

[Link]

To which Mr. Ahmadinejad politely replied, "No."

Theatrics aside, the speech turned out to be less provocative than one might think given that Ahmadinejad had the ear of America. Instead, the Iranian President rattled off his typical list of grievances against the west and noted the absence of homosexuals in his country.

[Link]

The entire charade is, in the end, a testament to how special Columbia University really is. Only there, would we allow a tyrant his own venue to lambaste the very values we hold dear. Columbia President Lee Bollinger, we have you to thank for the honor.
Apparently, a good number of Americans are giving up everything from friends to sex- and in some cases both.

[Link]

Seriously? Where are our priorities?

23 September 2007

By all accounts, America has a new friend on the Euro beat. But who knew it would be France? Much to the chagrin of the left, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has turned out to be every bit the dogged leader Europe has long been without.

Consider today's International Herald Tribune which notes Sarkozy's plans to lead France into European preeminence:

This projection of French power is like that of General Charles de Gaulle, and every French leader since. But Sarkozy departs from classic Gaullist doctrine by suggesting that the path to that goal sometimes lies in aligning France — and Europe — alongside Washington rather than as a counterpoint to it.

[Link]

The difference between Sarkozy and his predecessors is that by aligning his interest with America he just might succeed where they failed.

22 September 2007

The children's health insurance program bill being pushed hard by Congressional Democrats has drawn a firm veto threat from President Bush. Democrats have been warned by the White House that their actions will result in some 15 states being left without funding to continue the program.

Like most big government solutions the measure has been flawed from the beginning. Rather than seeking to move kids without health insurance into into private coverage, the bill would move even more kids into government coverage. Accordingly, Democrats want to sink some $35 billion into the program in just five years.

Aside from its flawed premise, the obvious question comes when considering cost. How would Democrats pay for the program?

Drum roll, please: by raising taxes.

[Link]

In the end, as is the case with most Democrat proposals, the issue comes down to one of politics. Rather than working with the White House on a compromise and finding a long-term solution, Democrats have opted to push a measure, sure to be vetoed, only to score cheap, political points.

How disappointing that Democrats would rather see Government expand than see poor kids actually receive medical care.

21 September 2007

Speaking as a loyal Republican, after seeing the number of candidates who agreed to participate in PBS's minority interest forum, I am inclined think the question deserves an honest assessment. It is an utter mystery to me why so many in my Party appear simply not to care about issues of interests to minority groups in general.

[Link]

Underscoring exactly why I like him, Mike Hucakbee plans to participate.

As for the others, in all, it is simply disappointing. Even the President has encouraged the GOP to reach out to minorities, noting the wisdom of building the party--the success of his efforts notwithstanding.

In all, it is an interesting issue. My personal view is that most minorities' values square better with the GOP than the Dems but the burden is on the Republican Party to communicate this message and reach out. With minorities set to be come the aggregate majority within the next 20 years, the failure of John McCain, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani to reach out ultimately comes at the expense of long-term, Republican viability.
CNN ran the above headline on its 'political ticker' today. Good of Sen. Clinton to clarify the point.

[Link]

You know, we're all good liberals here at Pax Plena. I think it's really unfortunate that Mrs. Clinton felt the need to exclude herself from the gay & lesbian community...

20 September 2007

I stumbled across a video on the Breitbart.tv site featuring Carnegie Mellon University Professor Randy Pausch who will be dead from Pancreatic Cancer within 3-6 months.

Prof. Pausch gave a final lecture at Carnegie Mellon eponymously titled, "Last Lecture." The topic of the evening was to speak on the issue of greatest importance to one's life- to lecture as if you had only one last lecture to give. Prof. Pausch offered these parting words:

It's not about how you achieve your dreams. It's about how you live your life.

[Link]

Fair enough, Pausch. Fair enough.

Excerpts from the video of the lecture follow.

To state the obvious, the video is a disconcerting reminder of exactly how fleeting life can be. It is also an important call to live our lives as if we are all on borrowed time- which in some ways we are.

More than these points, however, the video conjures questions. Mostly questions to which I have no clear answer.

What does one say if given a final opportunity to speak? Which issues does one address? How does one even begin to say it all?



Update: Below are links to the story on Prof. Pausch's lecture in the Wall Street Journal and in the Pittsburg Post Gazette.

WSJ:
[Link]

Pittsburg Post Gazette
[Link]

19 September 2007

The AP quoted former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani on travel in London:

I'm probably one of the four or five best known Americans in the world.

[Link]

Apparently, Mr. Giuliani needs to meet more people.

His quote and the remarks which follow are an obvious, forced effort to create a sense of inevitability that he will be the Republican nominee- even though most Republicans do not share his liberal views and he already trails Fred Thompson in the polls. Consider, Giuliani's expanded remarks in the same article:

"The reality is when this comes down to an election between two people, it's going to be about those two people. It's not going be about George Bush. It's not going to be about Ronald Reagan. It's going to be about who does America want for their future: Rudolph Giuliani or Hillary Clinton?"

To be perfectly candid, if these are the only two options, Americans may also wish to consider "C. None of the Above."

After all, there is no distinction between the two.

18 September 2007

A student who pressed Democrat Senator John Kerry at a speakers forum yesterday found himself tasered as a result by the University of Florida police.

[Link]

Yet more proof that the tolerance of a liberal only extends to other liberals...

17 September 2007

To the tune of some $110 billion dollars, Democrat Presidential Candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton underscored exactly why every Conservative should fear her election: radical, far-left policies guaranteed to raise taxes and stifle economic productivity.

[Link]

Hillary Clinton unrolled a mandatory health insurance plan for the country earlier today which is by all accounts as shoddy and as controversial as her plan back in the 1990s. Rudy Giuliani actually said it best, If you liked Michael Moore’s ‘Sicko,’ you’re going to love HillaryCare 2.0. A simpler statement of the issue would be, "Hillarycare" redux.

The heart of the plan is a command-control fiat requiring all Americans to pick a health insurance plan similar to state requirements for motor vehicle insurance. In her presser, Mrs. Clinton presented the program as one of choice but it is only a Hobson's choice among government alternatives or penalties for refusing to obtain coverage.

The problem comes, as it inevitably does with most liberal polices, when one considers logically how to pay for the costs of such a lavish program. And how would Mrs. Clinton pay for her plan? CNN provides the answer:
To help pay for the plan, Clinton would also eliminate the Bush tax cuts.
For those who missed the subtext, that's liberal for raise taxes.

15 September 2007

The Washington Post began running a series of articles discussing the role of faith in the U.S. and other countries around the world. Their most recent installment focuses on atheism in the U.S. and Europe, discussing how groups of atheists and the anti-religious are organizing corporately in order to counter the message emanating from religious communities.

[Link]

Oddly, their gatherings seem closely akin to 'church' services in that they meet weekly to discuss their disbelief and commiserate at the difficulties of living in a world in which their beliefs are not widely held (to wit, not at all unlike Christian gatherings though atheists would surely bristle at the comparison).

The article does not offer any critical analysis, it is the Washington Post after all, but I remain unsure how it follows rationally that groups who disbelieve anything can organize to counter act that which they disbelieve. Organizing in opposition, by definition, presupposes the existence of that which one opposes. Given this, to organize is to legitimate the existence of of the opposition.

But, let us assume that they are not acting irrationally. Perhaps their counter would be that they are merely organizing against the damaging effects of religion in society and not God. There is some evidence in the article that this is the case, though the article only explores the effects of their gatherings and avoids their motivations:
She and other leaders of the council held a news conference in The Hague to launch the Dutch chapter on Sept. 11, the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks in the United States. "We are all atheists and nonbelievers, and our goal is not to eradicate Islam from the face of the earth," but to make it a private matter that is not imposed on others, she said.

The majority of nonbelievers say they are speaking out only because of religious fanatics. But some atheists are also extreme, urging people, for example, to blot out the words "In God We Trust" from every dollar bill they carry.

Gaining political clout and access to television and radio airtime is the goal of many of these groups. With a higher profile, they say, they could, for instance, lobby for all religious rooms in public hospitals to be closed, as a response to Muslims demanding prayer rooms because Christians have chapels.

Associations of nonbelievers are also moving to address the growing demand in Britain, Spain, Italy and other European countries for nonreligious weddings, funerals and celebrations for new babies. They are helping arrange ceremonies that steer clear of talk of God, heaven and miracles and celebrate, as they say, "this one life we know."

The British Humanist Association, which urges people who think "the government pays too much attention to religious groups" to join them, has seen its membership double in two years to 6,500.

In the U.S.., such issues really strike at the heart of Constitutional tension between the role of religion in society and the individual's freedom of expression. Suffice it to say, the debate has wide ranging implications for the future of American culture. Below are a couple of thoughts for Believers.

Christians cannot afford to disengage from the discussion. In this debate, it is quite literally a zero sum game where gains made by atheist groups in eliminating religion from the public sphere are made at the expense of our Nation's Christian history and at the vast majority of Americans who are sympathetic to the tenants of our Faith.

One need only look to Europe to understand the dilemma. Christians in the UK, specifically, long ago ceded their public influence to secular humanists not wanting to make a big issue of what they viewed as a private matter. Today, under the auspices of Islamofascism, the article shows that Secularists have now moved to finish the job and remove the the public voice of all religions. The obvious correlation is that complacency by Christians invariably results in the loss of public influence.

I think a key point to bear in mind is that the present debate is not one which Christian values cannot win. The Christian prayers of the founding fathers helped sustain a war weary Nation and inspire the Continental Army to rise above its circumstances in their our inaugural struggle for freedom. The beliefs of such individuals helped to build a Nation which prized the freedom that God imparted upon each individual. Later, Christian social movements played key roles in civil rights struggles beginning with the Civil War, unto the 1960s. More recently, religious belief buttressed the Nation during the height of the Cold War as an alternative to an unproductive, godless Communist ideology and in consoling a sorrowful Nation in the aftermath of 9/11. Ours is clearly a rich contribution with a history as old as the Nation itself.

The crux is that this contribution came as the result of Christians boldly engaging the culture and persuading others of their ideas. Persuasion may seem foreign to today's Believers but really this is nothing new. In fact, one could argue that this has always been the case beginning with the early Church some two thousand years ago.

Believers today can ill afford to remain silent and complacent when such attacks come as history shows they will.

13 September 2007

Apparently, Fred Thompson can talk a mean game about Lincoln-Douglass style debates but when push comes to shove he simply cannot back it up. Thompson's campaign withdrew their offer to debate Mike Huckabee, saying that the candidate intended for the debates to happen in the general election not the primary.

[Link]

Sadly, in the eyes of most conservatives, Fred Thompson grows more and more unimpressive each week. Not only do his answers ramble, but his policy positions are inconsistent at best. This week alone Thompson has called for Osama Bin Laden to be both caught and killed and then given due process. How this would happen from beyond the grave Thompson did not explain.

[Link]

Besides his policy positions, his credibility took a major hit among conservative Christians earlier this week when he conceded that he does not share their priorities and rarely attends Sunday services. He also avowed to not discuss religion or religious issues while on the stump. Seems difficult to appeal to the GOP base when you disregard what is most important to many.

[Link]

For social conservatives, at least, the verdict on Fred Thompson is in:

He is even less convincing as a politician than he was as an actor.

12 September 2007

I enjoy CNN travel. I really do. But there's something seriously wrong with today's title:

Romancing the Bean

[Link]

I would ask where they came up with this, but I'd probably rather not know.

Where's a good copy editor when you need one?
The ink isn't dry on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's resignation but Senate Democrats are already vowing to obstruct possible nominees mentioned to replace him- including Solicitor General Ted Olson whose wife was killed in the 9/11 attacks.

[Link]

In some ways, this is unsurprising. Preemptive obstruction is simply is simply the Democrats' new MO. Consider, that they also vilified General David Petraeus before even hearing his report to Congress yesterday.

[Link]

If the Administration is smart, they will proceed to nominate whom they will and force the Democrats to be the obstructionist naysayers they really are.

At any rate, their latest political move only proves what the public already knows- the Democrats are experts at doing nothing.
Make no mistake- I am no fan of Texas. In fact, nothing makes bile rise in my throat faster than seeing a puke orange Texas T-shirt.

That said, the story below is ridiculous.

[Link]

11 September 2007

News out of the NFL is that the New England Patriots will be severely sanctioned for videotaping the New York Jets play signals in Sunday's game. 

I knew all along the Patriots really were just overrated- I did not know they were a bunch of cheaters.

[Link]
On this sixth anniversary of the attacks against our Nation, it occurs to me how far we have come since that early autumn morning.  In the immediate aftermath some six years ago, our concerns were fixed upon preventing terrorists from striking our Nation again. 

Six years later, we are more concerned with Britney Spear's body fat. 

[Link]

How our priorities have changed....


09 September 2007

I'm a bit pressed for time this morning but I wanted to flag for interested parties this excerpt from the letter below:

While we will continue to have eight trustees nominated directly by alumni, a significant number of seats on the Board, I know some will ask why we didn't simply expand the Board through an equal number of charter and alumni trustee seats. Given the divisiveness of recent elections we did not believe that having more elections would be good for Dartmouth. We also believe that the Board needs more trustees selected for the specific talents and experiences they can offer the College - which elections can't guarantee. We will still have more alumni-nominated trustees than most other schools and the opportunity for regular contested elections. But we think this is the best balancing of Dartmouth's interests.

What I find most appalling about this explanation in particular is that it highlights how utterly Dartmouth has failed in teaching basic persuasive writing skills.

Ed Haldeman at one point was a Dartmouth student and it seems in his four years there he never learned that disingenuousness is one of the cardinal sins in good writing. As you will see, his argument rests upon only the strawiest of men.

Below please find What Mr. Haldeman said and what Mr. Haldeman meant to say:

While we will continue to have eight trustees nominated directly by alumni, a significant number of seats on the Board, I know some will ask why we didn't simply expand the Board through an equal number of charter and alumni trustee seats.Given the divisiveness of recent elections we did not believe that having more elections would be good for Dartmouth.

I know our decision is utterly unjustified so I'm going to attempt to blunt criticism as follows. Because the Administration's selected candidates lost the past four consecutive elections, the Board has become frustrated with a democratic process that empowers alum.

We also believe that the Board needs more trustees selected for the specific talents and experiences they can offer the College - which elections can't guarantee.

Because our candidates and resolutions routinely fail, we are inclined to impose change the change we seek rather than risk the election of more pro-oversight board members. While voting cannot provide the change we wish to impose, governance by fiat will. This we can guarantee.

We will still have more alumni-nominated trustees than most other schools and the opportunity for regular contested elections. But we think this is the best balancing of Dartmouth's interests.

But don't worry folks. We will still go through the motions of democracy despite having gutted any meaningful alumni voice in the process. But really, the fact of the matter is that we just trust our judgment more than you other yokels out there who graduated from Dartmouth too. This decision is the best balancing of our agenda with a farce of alumni participation. Thanks so much.

08 September 2007

Dartmouth does many things well.

In its long, rich history, there are a myriad of reasons for why Dartmouth has earned its well established reputation in Alumni participation and generous giving.

Unfortunately, diluting the voice of her alumni (viz. donors) isn't one them.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ed Haldeman <Ed.Haldeman@dartmouth.edu>
Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2007 20:57:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Trustees Act on Governance

A LETTER FROM ED HALDEMAN, CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, TO THE DARTMOUTH COMMUNITY

Dear Members of the Dartmouth Community,

Earlier today, the Dartmouth Board of Trustees took several steps to
strengthen the College's governance. Given the intense debate about
this issue in recent months, I wanted to write to you as soon as
possible to tell you what we've done and why.

Let me start by saying Dartmouth has never been stronger than it is
today. It's one of the most selective institutions in the country. Our
commitment to teaching has never been stronger and student
satisfaction is at record highs. The student-to-faculty ratio now
stands at 8:1. We have expanded the faculty by 15 percent since 2000
and maintained competitive faculty compensation, reflecting the
College's sharp focus on its academic programs. Once current building
plans are completed, we will have invested $1.1 billion in new and
renovated state-of-the-art facilities since 1998.

Like its peers, however, the College confronts new challenges. We are
facing increasing competition for the finest students and the best
faculty as well as for the financial resources needed to support the
College. And, we operate in an increasingly complex and highly
regulated environment. Having the strongest possible governance is a
critical factor to ensuring Dartmouth's continued success in the years
ahead.

The changes we are making preserve alumni democracy at Dartmouth by
keeping eight alumni-nominated trustees. They expand the Board with
eight additional charter trustees, adding alumni to meet the needs of
the College. And, they address the destructive politicization of
trustee campaigns that have hurt Dartmouth. These changes represent a
balancing of competing interests. They are true to Dartmouth's
founding principles. And, they will ensure that, moving forward, the
College has a strong, effective, and independent governing body.

Over the past three months, the Board's Governance Committee conducted
a thorough review of this issue. We carefully considered input from
many alumni, current and former trustees, faculty, parents, students,
and other members of the Dartmouth community. We consulted with
experts in college and non-profit governance and carefully evaluated
practices among 30 leading colleges and universities. And, we
developed a report to the full Board, which I encourage you to read
for yourself at www.dartmouth.edu/governancereport.

After reviewing the Governance Committee's recommendations - and after
much thought and deliberation - the Board of Trustees concluded that
Dartmouth should strengthen its governance by taking steps to:

* Expand the Board by Adding More Alumni to Better Meet the Needs of
the College: We are expanding the Board from 18 to 26 to ensure it has
the broad range of backgrounds, skills, expertise, and fundraising
capabilities needed to steward an institution of Dartmouth's scope and
complexity. Dartmouth has been at a competitive disadvantage to its
peers, with one of the smallest Boards of any comparable institution.
We have had 18 members on our Board, versus an average of 42 trustees
at peer schools and an average of 34 at other liberal arts colleges.
We also are giving the Board more flexibility to select trustees who
offer the specific talents and experiences that the College needs,
which elections don't ensure. We will accomplish both of these goals
by adding eight new charter trustee seats to the Board.

* Preserve Alumni Democracy by Retaining Alumni Trustee Elections: We
are maintaining alumni trustee elections at their current level and
preserving the ability of alumni to petition onto the ballot.
Dartmouth currently has the highest proportion of alumni-nominated
trustees of any peer institution and is one of the few schools that
allows alumni to petition directly onto the ballot. The Board believes
that this gives Dartmouth's alumni an important direct voice in our
governance and fosters greater alumni involvement in the College.
Dartmouth will continue to have one of the most democratic trustee
election processes of any college in the country.

* Simplify the Alumni Nomination Process: Dartmouth's trustee
elections have become increasingly politicized, costly, and divisive.
It's not the results of these elections that are the problem, but the
process itself. So we are charging the Alumni Council and the
Association of Alumni to develop and implement a process for selecting
alumni trustee nominees that preserves elections, maintains petition
access to the ballot, and adopts a one-vote, majority-rule election
process.

* Improve Direct Board Engagement with Alumni and Other Stakeholders:
A larger group of trustees representing even more diverse backgrounds
will help us enhance Board engagement with key areas of the College
including academic affairs, student life, and alumni relations. We are
therefore creating new Board committees focused on each of these three
critical areas. This will facilitate greater interaction and
communication with individuals in each of these three areas.

While we will continue to have eight trustees nominated directly by
alumni, a significant number of seats on the Board, I know some will
ask why we didn't simply expand the Board through an equal number of
charter and alumni trustee seats. Given the divisiveness of recent
elections we did not believe that having more elections would be good
for Dartmouth. We also believe that the Board needs more trustees
selected for the specific talents and experiences they can offer the
College - which elections can't guarantee. We will still have more
alumni-nominated trustees than most other schools and the opportunity
for regular contested elections. But we think this is the best
balancing of Dartmouth's interests.

I know there are strongly held views on all sides of this issue. And I
respect that many of those views are driven above all by a desire to
do what is best for Dartmouth and its students. But some of the recent
rhetoric in this debate has become so harsh and divisive it is now
doing harm to Dartmouth. I want to urge everyone who cares about
Dartmouth to debate this issue in a reasonable and respectful way. As
President Wright has said, there is far more that unites us - as
friends, faculty, students, and loyal alumni of the College on the
Hill - than divides us. Above all, we have a shared love of and
dedication to Dartmouth.

One thing that has made Dartmouth an enduring and successful
institution is that its history has always been one of adapting to
meet new challenges and needs, while still preserving what is unique
and special about Dartmouth. That is why a board originally composed
of twelve New England men, half of them members of the clergy, today
consists of eighteen men and women from many parts of the country and
walks of life. That is why Trustees who once served for life now serve
four-year terms. And, that is why elections once open only to
"graduates... of at least five years standing" are now open to all
alumni.

In these and many other respects, Dartmouth's Board has made
fundamental changes to its governance structure and procedures
throughout the College's history. The changes we're making today are
no different. They are driven by what is best for Dartmouth and its
students, and what is necessary to ensure the College continues to
meet the new challenges it faces in the 21st century.

I love Dartmouth. I honestly believe there is nowhere else in the
world quite like this great College. We need to protect Dartmouth and
ensure it continues to prosper for future generations of students. I,
and the entire Board, are intensely focused on helping Dartmouth to
continue building its world-class academic program. That is what
drives us forward. And, I look forward to continuing to work with all
of you - alumni, faculty, students and parents - to build on
Dartmouth's unique and pre-eminent place in American higher education.

Sincerely,

Ed Haldeman
Chair, Dartmouth College Board of Trustees
____________________________________________________
LINKS:

Governance Committee Report web page:
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~news/features/
governance/

Governance Committee Full Report:
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~news/features/
governance/report-083007.pdf

See ya, Chuck!

[Link]

07 September 2007

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee accepted Fred Thompson's offer to engage in Lincoln-Douglas style debate earlier today.

[Link]

The story was framed as a challenge to Thompson but in reality it was more seizing the opportunity after Thompson suggested the format in a Fox News interview Thursday.

It is not yet clear when Fred Thompson will follow up with the Governor's acceptance. Here's hoping he does. Thompson looks good when reading from a script but my hunch is that he's far less dexterous when there's nothing for him to read on the prompter.

Michael Reagan agrees.

Thanks to the Democrats' leadership, Congress currently enjoys its lowest approval rating in 30 years. Understandably, most liberals are frustrated. Today, another one of their own expressed similar disapproval.

[Link]

Osama Bin Laden's latest video lambastes the Democrat Party for its inability to end the war in Iraq despite claiming Congressional majorities last year.

His harsh words notwithstanding, OBL also mentioned that he shares many of the Democrats priorities- including an appreciation for Noam Chomsky, concern over global warming (Apparently, Kabul isn't so lovely this time of year), opposition to the war in Iraq, disbelief that President Bush was re-elected in 2004, loathing for big business and his admiration for President Kennedy.

To be fair, OBL also demonstrated a few libertarian tenancies. Among other things, he urged Americans to consider a conversion to Islam for tax purposes noting that a theocracy would only tax citizens at 2.5 percent Azkaat (alms).

[Link]

Given Democrats spending, maybe he has a point...

06 September 2007

I once again did not get to watch tonight's GOP debate but one of the lead stories on CNN afterwards is linked to below.

Unsurprisingly, it features Mike Huckabee.

[Link]

What's striking about this exchange is that it highlights the effectiveness of Huckabee when he's not making quips. I think it establishes Huckabee's range of delivery and focuses his calm, articulate manner on a serious policy issue.

Quite the change from Huckabee telling jokes. Well done.

Update: Below is the exchange as procured from YouTube. One point which hitherto escaped me while watching is that Ron Paul demonstrates, yet again, why he has absolutely no shot at the GOP nomination. How he nets an invite to these events is beyond me. Enjoy Huckabee piercing Ron Paul's heard mentality.

05 September 2007

In a painfully hilarious story, major news outlets are reporting that the U.S. Air Force mistakenly ran a B-52 Bomber from North Dakota to Louisiana loaded with nuclear weapons.

The Air Force was, of course, quick to pacify outrage:

"Air Force standards are very exacting when it comes to munitions handling...the weapons were always in our custody and there was never a danger to the American public."

[Link]

I guess I can understand that mistakes happen. But what troubles me most is how quick Officials are to say that the American public was never in danger.

This pretty much means we nearly took out St. Louis.

I mean, c'mon Air Force. If you're going to mistakenly run sorties in American air space, at least do it over San Fransisco...

04 September 2007

It's been a while since we've posted a song of the week here let alone one from the Gospel genre. As chance would have it, this afternoon my random iTunes mix turned up an old favorite of mine ever since I bought the CD back during my senior year of college. Accordingly, this long delayed Pax Plena song of the week is brought to you courtesy of country/gospel music artist Randy Travis and is titled, Just a Closer Walk with Thee.

Written sometime during the early 20th century, Just a Closer Walk with Thee became a classic Negro Spiritual and was widely circulated as a Dixieland standard which would become a rallying point for poor blacks in the Mississippi Delta. The song melds elements of blues and country to create a sound that is both uplifting and plaintive. I won't bore you with futher analysis. It really is a song that speaks for itself. Belows is the performance by Randy Travis. Lyrics follow after the jump.


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Just a Closer Walk with Thee

I am weak but Thou art strong
Jesus keep me from all wrong
I'll be satisfied as long as I walk
Dear Lord, close to Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee
Grant it Jesus, is my plea
Daily walkin' close to Thee
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Through this world of toils and snares
If I falter Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee
Grant it Jesus, is my plea
Daily walkin' close to Thee
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

When my feeble life is o'er
Time for me will be no more
Guide me gently, safely o'er
To Thy kingdom dear Lord, to Thy shore.

Just a closer walk with Thee
Grant it Jesus, is my plea
Daily walkin' close to Thee
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

03 September 2007

Happy Labor Day America!

Here's to the hardest working, most productive men and women in the World!

[Link]

So, pop a top enjoy that cold brew and relish the end summer. After all, it's you who have made our economy strong and helped to create one of the most gainful employment markets we have seen in years.

[Link]

Hopefully, the special banner will not create too many premonitions in returning to work tomorrow.

02 September 2007

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was the featured interview in today's Des Moines Register. The article normally wouldn't merit much a complete post but I call it to your attention to underscore the point that Huckabee continues to build a following in Iowa. The good press in the state's largest newspaper can only help.

[Link]

Once again, the reviews are glowing.
Some very encouraging news out of Geneva, Switzerland this morning. American Negotiator Chris Hill has announced along with his North Korean counterpart that the North Koreans have agreed to disable their nuclear weapons programs by the end of the year in exchange for aid (including food and oil).

[Link]

In all, the move appears to mark significant progress in the North Korean situation which only last October seemed remote when NK tested a nuclear weapon.

Tremendous progress is being made in world affairs after all. Wonder how long until Bush gets blamed for it...

01 September 2007

At a time when most countries are looking for fresh ways to expand their space programs and explore new planets, Russia has decided to go back to the basics.

According to the Russian News Service, the Russians intend to rediscover the moon.

[Link]

It appears that crop dusters can fly further than any of us knew...