Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for January 2004

Travelling Map

with 8 comments

Ellen recently blogged about her map of places she’s visited in the world. I couldn’t come close. Instead I created a “Andy’s been to a lot of states” map.

ustravelmap.bmp

As you can see I need to take a mid-western roadtrip and a west coast trip as well. Any volunteers to take up an Andy travel fund?

Create your own map.

Written by furthermusings

January 31, 2004 at 5:27 pm

Posted in General

Late Night Reading

with 5 comments

I know its late to be reading about comparative politics theory but this sentence from Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture and Structure is entirely too long:

“The focus in these studies has turned to the manner in which the contours of institutions shape the formation and aggregation of individual and group interests as an alternative both to less mediated versions of Marxist class analysis that hinge on expectations of an ineluctable shift from classes in themselves to classes for themselves and to simple behavioral stories about how action makes preferences evident and how private preferences add up to a public edifice.”

Written by furthermusings

January 28, 2004 at 1:18 am

Posted in Political Science

Quiz Answers

with 4 comments

On my recent quiz:

Question: According to the author, why does the US need Europe?

Student answer: The US needs Europe to keep it in check when it comes to our being big-headed and unilateral.

Written by furthermusings

January 26, 2004 at 10:16 pm

Posted in Political Science

Hit and Run

with 8 comments

I was involved in a hit and run tonight. A car with its lights off hit mine on my street 100 yards from my house. It was a helpless feeling to be stopped in my lane with her continuing to drive straight at me (on the wrong side of the road with her lights off) as I honked my horn. She swerved at the last second and hit my side. The woman driving kept going and was later arrested. I got to spend the next 2 hours 100 yards from my house filling out forms and giving testimony.

Off to bed.

Written by furthermusings

January 25, 2004 at 2:13 am

Posted in At the House

The Deficit

with 4 comments

There has recently been an internet buzz building around bushin30seconds.org. While I do not pledge my support to all the positions advocated on their site, I do think that the winning ad is quite poignant and addresses an issue I think is critically important: the deficit. The website has recently raised enough money for a slot during the Superbowl but CBS has refused to air the ad.

Here is my email to CBS concerning their decision:

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I am writing to complain about CBSs unwillingness to air the ad presented by moveon.org concerning the deficit.

Although I understand that CBS may be trying to keep a door shut which, if opened, might allow offensive and extremely controversial ads on the air, I do not believe that this ad falls into that category. The moveon.org ad falls well within the realm of respectable, intelligent and tasteful discussion (which is more than can be said for many advertisements). Although the ad promotes a particular viewpoint, this is no different in nature than the hundreds of political ads aired during each election year or the pro-consumption viewpoints promoted in regular advertising.

Although CBS has every legal right to restrict what is broadcast on the air, I am disappointed that CBS has chosen to make this decision. If those advocating a viewpoint are willing to pay the fair-market price set by CBS and are rejected, then the public is left questioning the motives of CBS.

Written by furthermusings

January 22, 2004 at 5:56 pm

Posted in Politics

Concerning Political Science

with 2 comments

I just finished When Did Political Science Forget About Politics? by Jonathan Cohn which is listed as an supplemental reading for one of my classes. The subject matter is one that concerns me since I am currently devoting my working hours to the study of political science.

And make no mistake about it folks, my program here at UNC is a political science program. For those that dont know and (understandably) dont want to read the article political science is not the study of politics. Political science is the pursuit of theories to describe politics in a way that attempts to be universally understood.

I wont enter into an extended monologue on this subject here but it greatly bothers me that the voice of political science in the larger world is so small. Given the current pursuits of much of the discipline and culture of political science (which eschews application of expertise) I dont blame the world for not listening. But the decline of the public intellectual, especially one from political science, concerns me.

Im not interested in talking to other political scientists about esoteric theories; Im interested in being a deeply learned man about international relations and US foreign policy. From that base I could ideally teaching my students lessons about how the world works and offer the wider world the lessons learned from years of study. But will political science and the university system allow one to do that?

Written by furthermusings

January 19, 2004 at 7:01 pm

Posted in Political Science

Victory!

with 13 comments

This afternoon UNC beat number one ranked UConn in the Dean Dome and I was there. It was amazing. Every seat was filled, the crowd was dressed in blue and it was rocking! To start with the Heels played a great first half with tremendous performances by key players. At the end of the first half the Heels lead by 14.

UConns center, Emeka Okafor, was unstoppable in the second half but the Heels toughed it out and tied the game up with just over a minute left. After a missed shot by UConn the Heels ran a play which involved a kick out to McCants (an Asheville native I might add) who nailed his second big three in as many minutes for the victory.

It was roar was so loud that my ears still hurt. I hugged grown men. After UConn missed its final shot the crowd rushed the floor. Oh to be able to watch the Sportscenter highlights!

It felt very cathartic to have such an intense emotional experience. Plus I love the trill and energy of large crowds. February 5. 9:00 PM. Duke vs. UNC. Ill be there!

Written by furthermusings

January 17, 2004 at 11:32 pm

Posted in UNC

The Classes

with 3 comments

Another semester is in full swing and I though there might be some interest in what I am taking.

Poli 201: This is the intro class to comparative politics. The first part of the class is all methods but the second part looks theories of the state and the third focuses on modern democracies. Looks to be interesting.

Poli 241: Introduction to International Political Economy. Im very excited about this class. It should be interesting content and is more discussion based than other classes to date. Our professor studies international finance and development. Should be interesting.

Poli 282: The second leg of our statistics sequence begins with our Dutch professor, Marco. This semester we will delve into the innards of regression analysis. Tuesdays and Thursday mornings, but the upside is that I get to see my fellow first years.

I also TA for the Intro to International Politics class, so I attend lectures and teach a recitation section.

Written by furthermusings

January 14, 2004 at 5:15 pm

Posted in Political Science

The Weather

with 2 comments

We have snow! I finally left the house on on Friday to white stuff falling from the sky. Campus turned a pretty shade of white as well. To my amazement and delight the snow has actually stuck around for a few days. I love it! It’s may not stay as long as snow in New England but it is still great.

Written by furthermusings

January 12, 2004 at 12:16 am

Posted in At the House

Two Sicknesses

with 2 comments

Many apologies for the lack of recent entries. A perfect storm arose this week that has prevented me from posting.

At 2am Tuesday morning I woke up feeling a little uncomfortable. By 3am I was in the process examining my toilet from a very close distance. The rest of Tuesday was ugly, and painful. The severe stomach pain was also compounded by the fact that I decided to recommit myself to weight lifting Monday evening and therefore was quite sore on Tuesday. Oops.

The other sickness has been to my computer which is in the shop for yet another repair. This time the Ethernet refuses to work and the replacement card is on back order. The people in the computer repair center are very friendly but Im hoping not to have to see them much this semester.

Written by furthermusings

January 9, 2004 at 3:32 pm

Posted in General

The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman

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Description of the battle of the Ardennes, August 22nd 1914.

The battle field afterwards was an unbelievable spectacle, reported a French officer with horror. Thousands of dead were still standing, supported as if by a flying buttress made of bodies lying in rows on top of each other in an ascending arc from the horizontal to an angle of 60 degrees.

An unidentified French sergeant kept a diary: the guns recoil at each shot. Night is falling and they look like old men sticking out their tongues and spitting fire. Heaps of corpses, French and German, are lying every which way, rifles in hand. Rain is falling, shells are screaming and bursting shells all the time. Artillery fire is the worst. I lay all night listening to the wounded groaning some were German. The cannonading goes on. Whenever it stops we hear the wounded crying from all over the woods. Two or three men go mad every day.

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The magnitude of the events described in this book astounds me. For those that are unfamiliar with The Guns of August it is a description of the events in August of 1914 which lead up to the Great War and the opening battles. The stupidity, the close-mindedness, the arrogance of the French leadership is appalling and more so that each snub of a contradictory report results in the slaughter of thousands.

The Germans, though less stupid, are no less deserving of eternal hell for their planned slaughter of Belgian civilians. For collective reprisals the method was to assemble the inhabitants in the main square, women usually on one side and men on the other, select every tenth man or every second man or all on one side, according to the whim of the individual officer, march them to a nearby field or empty lot behind the railroad station and shoot them. (pg. 226)

And that is only three points from a 440 page book chronicling the first month of war that would last four years and slaughter nine million. How can one respond to such news? What can one do? The sufferings of a war that changed the world.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by furthermusings

January 4, 2004 at 9:13 am

Posted in Reviews

Happy New Years!

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My family welcomed the New Year with our usual exciting family style. Elizabeth, Katie, Mom, and I were reading about Mitford, a memoir of Catholic family, a mystery, and the outbreak of World War One, respectively as the ball dropped. Dad is asleep with a migraine. Holiday time my family’s style!

In celebration of the New Years Katie, my youngest sister has opened up a new blog. I�m most impressed that she has ventured into the world of html and managed to install her own commenting software. Go Katie!

Written by furthermusings

January 1, 2004 at 12:29 am

Posted in General