“My father was a merchant seaman,” Professor Plum announced this morning. “He sailed in convoys during World War II.”

That had to be a clue. (More)

First our thanks to last week’s guest lecturers. Last Monday in Furthermore!, Professor of Jobdefiliberantology J Brunner Fan discussed Lenny Wilkens in Black History is American History, Part III. Last Monday in Midday Matinee, Professor of Bathtublueberrywhisperology addisnana was Moved to Tears, and last Wednesday she discussed Robin Hood in Reverse. Last Monday and Tuesday in Evening Focus, Professor of Tucsoganonviology RevGerry explored Power Dynamics and Nonviolent Protest and encouraged us to use People Power. Last Tuesday in Morning Feature, DWG debuted at the BPI lectern to Dig Deeper into the Chicago Freedom Movement. And last Wednesday in Morning Feature, Professor of Ecoinsaninsuroscamology WinterBanyan told A Tale of Wolves. All were good discussions and are worth reading if you missed them.

Today in Furthermore!, J Brunner Fan concludes her February series on Black History is American History by exploring the life of Bessie Coleman. Today in Midday Matinee, addisnana discusses style and grace. Tonight and Tuesday in Evening Focus, Professor of Cognidizombilistics Roby in NJ will look at game theory as applied to the political showdowns in Washington and Wisconsin. And Wednesday and Thursday in Evening Focus, Professor of Topofclassclownistics JanF will unpack the Colorado TABOR budget disaster. As always, Chef will hand out coffee and bagels and the Professor of Astrology Janitor will handle his cleaners and buffer.

Note: We have Morning Feature guest lecture openings tomorrow and Wednesday (March 1st and 2nd), as well as an Evening Focus this Friday (March 4th). We also have openings for our campus soapbox Furthermore!, our afternoon people-watching series Midday Matinee, and our evening environmental series Our Earth.

If you are already a BPI Author, you will find a complete list of category openings in the Authors Notepad in your Dorm Room. To reserve a slot, type in your user name, topic, and date, and click “Save Notes.” I will remove your note when I add you to our Schedule.

If you are not yet a BPI Author and would like to contribute at BPI, please contact the BPI Webmistress.

Also: Please share your stories of offline activism in Things We Did This Week.

That leaves the resident faculty and Professor Plum’s announcement that his father was a merchant seaman in World War II. He told of his father’s convoys being stalked by U-Boats. Every journey was a risk, and merchant seaman suffered a higher casualty rate than any of the armed services. Professor Plum explained that while most World War II histories only briefly mention the war at sea, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said that was the threat that most worried him. Britain was dependent on merchant shipping for her own economic needs, and the Allies needed to build up and supply the armies that would liberate North Africa and then Europe.

We knew Professor Plum’s history lesson wasn’t simply about the past. It was a clue to the resident faculty’s plans for this week.

Right now, the U.S. is part of the largest multi-national naval effort since World War II: the ongoing campaign against pirates off the coast of Somalia. Last week, four Americans were killed after their yacht was seized. Although details are still sketchy, apparently fighting broke out among their captors on the yacht while two of their leaders were negotiating aboard a U.S. Navy ship. By the time Navy SEALs could reach the yacht, all four hostages and two of the 19 pirates were dead. The SEALs killed two pirates during the rescue attempt. The remaining pirates were arrested and will be brought to the U.S. to stand trial.

The European Union estimates that Somali pirates are currently holding 31 ships and over 700 hostages. And as in 1939-1945, this is a war most Americans know little or nothing about. But the fighting is real, and so are the casualties.

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Happy Monday!