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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Imagining fear

In the May 2015 Atlantic, Princeton historian David A. Bell reviewed The Coming of the Terror in the French Revolution by Timothy Tackett and Phantom Terror by Adam Zamoyski. In his last paragraphs, Bell makes an interesting point about the way fears can be created in the public imagination despite the lack of genuine threats:
But imagined terrors, as he [Zamoyski] and Tackett very usefully remind us, can have even more political potency than real ones. While early-19th-century Europe had its share of real revolutionary conspirators, the “directing committee” was as much a figment of the imagination as was the nest of spies and traitors that Robespierre claimed, toward the end of the Terror, to have discovered at the heart of the revolutionary National Convention. Both fantasies stand in a long line that stretches straight through to our own day. 
There is nothing particularly unusual, then, about the fears of an “invasion” of illegal immigrants that have such a large place in the mind-set of American conservatives, or the Russian fears of fascism that Vladimir Putin exploited so successfully to generate support for his incursions into Ukraine. Such emotions are an integral part of modern political life, and tempting as it may be to dismiss them as irrational, hysterical, and not worthy of serious discussion, we cannot simply wish them away.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Ohio Trip May 2015

Memorial Day weekend, my family headed north to Oberlin, Ohio, for the college graduation of our oldest daughter. It was an emotional weekend for everyone and I snapped a few photos on my cellphone to commemorate some of the festivities. For example, the Saturday before graduation we visited Oberlin College's Allen Memorial Art Museum. I liked this work, "Elvis Meets the Virgin of Guadalupe" by Enrique Chagoya:

On Sunday, we attended receptions sponsored by a History faculty member and by the College President, which celebrated various student honors. Early evening before dinner, a few of us went to the Fatheads Tap House near the Cleveland airport.

At the graduation Monday, First Lady Michelle Obama gave an impassioned and interesting speech that proved difficult to top -- though commencement speaker Marian Wright Edelman was very good as well.

Oberlin graduate and international relations scholar Robert Jervis of Columbia University (the 1990 Grawemeyer winner) was awarded one of the honorary doctorates. This pic is his profile on the big screen -- and gives you an idea of where my family was seated.:

After the graduation, most family members headed home. Since I was helping my daughter pack and move on Tuesday, I took the opportunity to attend a Cleveland Indians game at Progressive Field.

Even though the Great Lakes brewery booth was out of their hoppy beers by the second inning, another spot in the stadium had highly acclaimed White Rajah IPA on tap! Cleveland lost 10-8 to the Texas Rangers.

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Saturday, June 06, 2015

UofL 8th in ACC in Sustainability Performance

After posting about UofL's ACC ranking on various sustainability measures, I received excellent feedback from Justin Mog, the hard-working and productive Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability Initiatives.

Justin advised me to focus on STARS scores, which he described as "the most comprehensive and transparent ranking system available."

In my May 30 blog post, I failed to note that each school with a STARS rating receives a numerical score valid for three years. I previously linked to this page, which reveals the specific score by clicking on the submission dates. The numerical scores are linked to the gold-silver-bronze rating that I used simply to lump schools by category.

STARS rating point value cut-offs:
85 for Platinum
65 for Gold
45 for Silver
25 for Bronze
These are ACC school rankings based on the institutions' most recent STARS reports (and scores):

Rank      School                          STARS Score                      Date of Score
1. Virginia Tech                      71.02                                     10/15/14
2. Duke                                    70.54                                     10/18/13
3. UNC - Chapel Hill              70.01                                     4/18/14
4. Notre Dane                          68.52                                     10/15/14
5. Virginia                               65.04                                     5/29/15
6. Georgia Tech                       Gold (expired)                      5/15/12                              
7. Florida State                        61.36                                     1/30/15
8. UofL                                    58.29                                     2/6/13
9. Wake Forest                        Silver (expired)                     5/9/12

No data
North Carolina State                       Reporter (expired)          4/5/12
Boston College
U of Miami
U of Pittsburgh
Syracuse U

In a future post, I hope to note some areas where UofL has not generated as many points as it might. Since I'm the chair of the Administration, Finance and Outreach committee (to be renamed Planning and Administration in the fall), I know without any additional research that UofL could receive GOLD status if it created a socially responsible investment committee, created a student socially responsible investment fund, and invested more of its resources in a socially responsible manner.