Author: Crissie Brown

Campus Chatter – November 24, 2010

Abel Tasman discovered Tasmania today (1642). Also, Charles Darwin published The Origin of the Species (1859), the FBI crime lab opened (1932), and Jack Ruby murdered Lee Harvey Oswald (1963). And Donald Johanson and Tom Gray discovered the skeleton of “Lucy,” Australopithecus afarensis (1974). Greetings and social banter here. Good morning!...

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Campus Chatter – November 23, 2010

Live, scripted theatre began today (534 BCE). Also, John Milton decried censorship in Areopagitica (1644), William “Boss” Tweed was extradited from Spain (1876), Life magazine premiered (1936), and French President Charles de Gaulle proposed a united Europe (1959). And Dr. Who debuted on BBC (1963). Greetings and social banter here. Good morning!...

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Furthermore! – Farewell to a Giant

Chalmers Johnson died Saturday, at age 79. Once a hard-right Cold War analyst, he later became a progressive hero for his calls to end the American Empire and return to a sane foreign policy that recognized our limited roles and means as a world citizen. Chalmers Johnson built his career as a Japan and East Asian analyst, back in a period where such notions mattered. He spent much of the last half of his life defending the need for such analysts, who knew the languages, cultures, and institutions of specific nations and regions. The alternative – what has since become the norm – was the Rational Actor school of foreign policy, an econometric approach focused on statistics and formulae, where GDP and other measurables are claimed to render irrelevant such factors as local history, tradition, and social structure. Dr. Johnson said this reduced international relations to intellectual navel gazing: treating the mindset of U.S. foreign policy intellectuals as the only reasonable way to view world events. He was right. Among progressives, he was best known for his American Empire series: Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, Nemesis, and Dismantling the Empire. An unsparing critic of our foreign policy, he was among the first to directly compare American hegemony to the British Empire, both in form and in intent. And again, he was right. He wrote with equal parts expertise and...

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Things We Did This Week – November 15-21, 2010

Please share your stories of offline political activism here. This past weekend, Springoff the Fifth participated in a Homeless Retreat sponsored by our diocese. I have many disagreements with the Catholic Church, but I applaud and fully support their commitment to caring for the needy. The retreat was designed to instill empathy for the homeless in suburban young adults, and to teach them how to help. I’ve asked her to write about the experience for BPI, but I don’t know if she’ll have time. So I’ll share a bit of what she told us. The retreat began with a dinner of soup and bread, the typical fare at homeless shelters in our area. They they went to an open field, where they spread tarps to sleep on and under. In the middle of the night they were rousted by cops, in what was probably a staged event. The officers explained that they do not go looking for homeless people to roust, and respond only when private property owners complain. They ensure there is no threat to safety, and direct the homeless to shelters or other facilities. She said the officers discussed their duty, their compassion, and their frustration that they have so few tools to help. After that, her group slept for what was left of the night. They awoke tired, cold, wet, dirty, and hungry … like those...

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Morning Feature: A Week of Thanksgiving (Meta-Monday)

The resident faculty warbled this morning. It looked something like the Chicken Dance, but more fowl. If they were trying to look like turkeys, they succeeded (in at least one way). Regardless, the staff were able to decipher this less-than-subtle clue. The calendar helped. It’s time to be thankful. (More) We begin by thanking last week’s guest lecturers. Last Tuesday, Professor of Topofclassclownistics JanF sneaked out of BPI’s state of the art High Energy Meta Mojo Elucidation Detector (HEMMED) Lab to dig deeper into the moral dilemma of economic sanctions, in For the Sins of the Leaders. Last Wednesday, Professor of Bathtublueberrywhisperology addisnana offered a more progressive approach to competition, To Strive Together. Both were excellent discussions and are well worth reading. This Tuesday, Someone will dig deeper into Something, though we’re not quite sure who or what yet. This Wednesday, JimW will earn faculty tenure, discussing two threads of the American story woven together in the history of Thanksgiving. And don’t miss Thursday’s HEMMED In, featuring a special investigative report on CIA-A&W surveillance of BPI personnel. As always, Chef will distribute coffee and bagels, while the Professor of Astrology Janitor redistributes his cleaners and buffer. Note: We have openings for Morning Feature starting next Tuesday and Wednesday (November 30th and December 1st). Herself and I leave on the 30th to visit a friend in Germany and will be...

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