Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Recession Has Really Hit

Glamour Still Rules, but With Fewer Debutantes

Subtle signs of the recession were on display at the International Debutante Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Clinic Funding Increases During Bush Administration

President Bush leaves office with a health care legacy in bricks and mortar: he has doubled federal financing for community health centers, enabling the creation or expansion of 1,297 clinics in medically underserved areas.

For those in poor urban neighborhoods and isolated rural areas, including Indian reservations, the clinics are often the only dependable providers of basic services like prenatal care, childhood immunizations, asthma treatments, cancer screenings and tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Break

This is going to be an interesting Christmas break - busy getting ready for two conferences; attend two conferences; then 6 days before returning to campus. Online students anxious to start in the meantime. Correction - know what the course is all about, not actually start turning in work. :-)

The conferences will be fun - both in New York City and lots of friends will be there (or already there since they live there). Looks like we'll have decent weather for the flight up. That's always a good thing.

Not sure how much I should say here about students who procrastinate and then report you to the dean when you don't "hop to it" during the last two hours of the semester when you are attending a funeral and helping out the family. I might need to write a "Dear Stu" letter a la profgrrrrl - "Dear Stu - You missed a required course meeting despite four reminders; you asked another prof to write you an excuse instead of responding to my after the fact reminder email of what else you needed to do to finish the course; you ignored an additional email. Then, when you realize you have been issued an "Incomplete" since your work is indeed, incomplete, you not only complain to the dean but call my parent's house. My parents are retired and don't actually have anything to do with my work anyway. I hope when you are in charge of teaching next semester that you will have students who procrastinate less."

That feels better. It is the Christmas season, after all.

I did some cooking (macaroni and cheese not out of the box) and baking (grandmother's cinnamon bread - the storemade cinnamon bread just isn't the same!) and so now it's finishing wrapping presents, research, and writing.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008


Finals are over and grades are in. Now I'm waiting for a good winter snow (not just ice with a dusting of snow) and we might actually get that early in the week. I don't envy my Minnesota friend's -25 windchill this weekend,however.

Christmas prep is done as far as food baking and gift giving. Now I'm just waiting on a few deliveries to arrive on the doorstep.

And, there's one more Christmas party to attend. A record number this year! Tis the season . . . .

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Flickr and the Library of Congress

Milestone for Library’s Flickr Pilot

Only nine months into the Library of Congress’ pilot project placing
Library photos on the Web site Flickr, the photos have drawn more than
10 million views, 7,166 comments and more than 67,000 tags, according
to a new report from the project team overseeing the lively project.

“The popularity and impact of the pilot have been remarkable,” said
Michelle Springer, project manager for digital initiatives in the
Office of Strategic Initiatives, who said total views reached 10
million in October. The site is averaging 500,000 views a month, she
said, adding that Flickr members have marked 79 percent of the photos
as “favorites.”

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Education Secretary

The President-Elect's choice for Secretary of Education.

Indications of Approach

Other clues about Mr. Duncan's approach and authority as education
secretary may lie in his being a friend, neighbor, and
basketball-playing partner of the incoming president, rather than one
of the political rivals being named by Mr. Obama to some other Cabinet
positions. Mr. Duncan cultivated a reputation in Chicago as a leader
who is willing to make unpopular decisions and carry out controversial

That could suggest that Mr. Duncan would be a forceful advocate of
changes Mr. Obama decides to make on higher-education policy,
regardless of what at times could be ardent opposition from lawmakers
on Capitol Hill or from college lobbyists.

College leaders wouldn’t have expected Mr. Obama to choose a
higher-education specialist, given the federal government’s need to
keep its focus on promoting improvements at the elementary and
secondary level, said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president for
government and public affairs at the American Council on Education.

“He obviously has some knowledge of higher education, being on the
Harvard Board of Overseers,” Mr. Hartle said of Mr. Duncan. The unique
nature of Harvard hopefully won’t lead Mr. Duncan to “generalize too
much from that experience” in formulating higher-education policy, Mr.
Hartle said.

That aside, Mr. Duncan is “a terrific choice,” given his
demonstrated ability to find middle ground between competing factions,
Mr. Hartle said. And a personal friendship between a president and an
education secretary is good for all involved in education, he said.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Baking and Comfort Food

The Christmas baking is finished - now the challenge is finding people at home to deliver. And, of course, cleaning up the kitchen. I did get the batch of Grandmother's fruitcake made for dad - I've owed him for several years. I just hope it came out as good as last time.

While it was finishing up, I cooked a chuck roast with potatoes and carrots and onions - my favorite all time meal and the ultimate comfort food.

I followed my mother's advice and saved the classic cookbook I learned how to cook out of. You know, back when fat wasn't an issue and cilantro wasn't something we'd heard about. The "New Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook" has a 1968 copyright and several dog-eared pages. And, as always, it is a great reference.

Page 203 has the Beef Pot Roast recipie:

Coast one 3- to 4-pound beef pot roast with flour. In Dutch oven, large skillet, or roasting pan, brown slowl on all sides in 2 T hot shortening (preferred; Crisco) or salad oil. Season with salt and pepper. (I add garlic salt and McCormick's Broiled Steak Seasoning that I use on almost anything with beef.) Remove from heat, then add 1/2 cup water. Cover tightly and cook sloely 2 1/2 hours until tender. Add water if needed to prevent sticking.

If desired, add small potatoes (russets), pared and halved (and quartered), small whole onions (chopped yellow onion), and medium carrots (some cut in half to even out size), pared and cut into 1-inch pieces, the last 45 to 60 minutes of cooking. Thicken juices in pan for Pot Roast Gravy. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

The pot roast gravy recipe is on page 228.

The gravy is my favorite part. But I still have to use ketchup on the pot roast meat itself - and add some more fresh ground pepper and salt.

So, I'm set with a main meal for a few days. And I balanced it off with a spinach salad at lunch. I figure these are better calories than processed and/or fast food. And, comfort food is comfort food, after all.

We had high winds all day - which blew out the 71 degree weather and blew in the current wind chill of 3 with a slight dusting of snow and ice with some more ice to come. Glad I don't have to commute tomorrow.

Now if I could just find that grading fairy.


Friday, December 12, 2008

university politics

ScribeFire - From yesterday's New York Times article about
the faculty at the New School passing a vote of no confidence in their
President, former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey, who has churned through four
chief academic officers in seven years:

Like Mr.
Summers, who is now President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to be chief
White House economic adviser, Mr. Kerrey was recruited in part for his
star power and management acumen. And like Mr. Summers, he has often
found university politics more difficult to navigate than electoral

I liked that. Earning a purple heart
in Vietnam, getting elected governor, dating Debra Winger, doing two
terms in the U.S. Senate, and reaching the point of being shortlisted
as a Vice Presidential candidate? No problem! But academic
administration? Now that's a challenge!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More Snow

We experienced some light snow and freezing rain yesterday - the bulk of the precipitation went north of us. Luckily, the timing is good and won't deter my travel progress the rest of the week.

This is always the time of the semester when it seems as if there is infinity left to deal with in regard to details. I wish the students knew that professors appreciate the endings (and beginnings) as much as they do.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

This is College

ADM says it all.

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Sad, But True

Here's something I'll share with students. It follows along advice in earlier years not to go to the liquor store in the town they are student teaching in. Yes, it will probably be some parent there that "reports" them to the school board but it's best not to push the envelope of community expectations at that stage of the game. It's just reality, folks.

And, I'm afraid, many of our students really do think Facebook and Myspace are private spaces just for their friends and "cute" members of the opposite sex. They are much more and only a window opening into the larger Web 2.0 world that connects us all.

Here's the Chronicle article:
Judge Sides With University Against Student-Teacher With 'Drunken Pirate' Photo
A federal judge has ruled against a former student who sued Millersville University of Pennsylvania for denying her a degree in education in connection with an online photo of her drinking, The Washington Post reported.

The former student, Stacy Snyder, sued Millersville in 2007. A year before, the nearby high school where Ms. Snyder was student-teaching had barred her from its campus days before the end of her semester-long assignment. Prior evaluations had criticized her competence and professionalism in the classroom, the legal decision says, but the school’s discovery of a photograph of Ms. Snyder on MySpace — with the caption “drunken pirate” and a note alluding to her strained relationship with her supervising teacher — precipitated the decision to end her assignment.

That prevented Millersville from awarding Ms. Snyder a bachelor’s degree in education. Instead, the university reclassified some academic credits and gave her a degree in English, a decision she appealed and lost. When she sued, alleging violations of her free-speech and due-process rights, she sought the degree in education.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Presidential Transitions

This entry by Senate historian Donald Ritchie provides some good insight:
Why Does the Transition Take So Long?

Filed in A-Editor's Picks , A-Featured , American History , Current Events , Politics on December 2, 2008 |

The election seems like old news at this point and yet we are still over a month away from inauguration day. Donald Ritchie, author of Reporting from Washington: The History of the Washington Press Corps, Our Constitution, and The Congress of the United States: A Student Companion, looks at this lag in historical perspective. Ritchie, who has been Associate Historian of the United States Senate for more than three decades, explains why a President-elect may need this time prepare to take over.

Many Americans, and the rest of the world, wonder why so much time elapses between the U.S. presidential election in November and the inauguration on January 20. Why not reform the system and reduce the interval? The answer is we did reform it–the interregnum used to last twice as long.

continue reading

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