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Nov
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11.21.2011 … Live Blog for Tonight’s Men’s Basketball Game vs. Presbyterian … OK not Duke … not ESPN National TV … But GO CATS! Davidson wins!

Davidson College, Davidson basketball: Live Blog for Friday’s Men’s Basketball Game at Duke … www.davidsonwildcats.com … OK, not Duke … not national tv … but thank you Jean for reminding me that PC beat 20th ranked Cincinnati on Friday!! And now we beat PC …

Thanksgiving, history, President Abraham Lincoln, Civil War: ” A national day of thanksgiving for military success and for the protection of the Union would wed religion, thanksgiving, and the Union war effort. “

President Lincoln wanted Union supporters to give thanks for the recent successes. He was also aware of faltering enthusiasm for the devastating war and the wavering loyalty of Democrats who were eager to make peace with the Confederates. A national day of thanksgiving for military success and for the protection of the Union would wed religion, thanksgiving, and the Union war effort. So the President declared a national day of thanksgiving.

But the nation’s first national Thanksgiving was not in November. The date President Lincoln set was Thursday, August sixth.

On that day, ministers across the country pointed out that the celebration was most apt, as they listed the signal victories of the U.S. Army and Navy in the past year. It was now clear that it was only a matter of time until the Union won the war, they told their congregations. Their predictions reinforced the war effort, of course, just as Lincoln had almost certainly intended.

While the roots of the national holiday we celebrate lie in the war years, though, the holiday we celebrate does not center on giving thanks for American military victories.

In October 1863, President Lincoln declared the second national day of Thanksgiving. It is this one that we celebrate, and its purpose was much broader than that of the first.

In the past year, Lincoln declared, the nation had been blessed:

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to invite and provoke the aggressions of foreign States, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theatre of military conflict, while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. The needful diversion of wealth and strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence have not arrested the plow, the shuttle or the ship. The ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect a continuance of years with large increase of freedom.*

The President invited Americans “in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands” to observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving.

It is this one, the celebration of peace, order, and prosperity, that became the defining national holiday.

via The Historical Society: The History of National Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving: Hmmm … Someone very funny … but who?

Characters at Your Dinner Table

Which fictional character would you like to invite to Thanksgiving (or your next formal dinner)?

via DailyLit Forums: Question of the Week / Characters at Your Dinner Table.

faith and spirituality:  just liked this …

Waiting patiently for God always includes joyful expectation.  Without expectation our waiting can get bogged down in the present.  When we wait in expectation our whole beings are open to be surprised by joy.

All through the Gospels Jesus  tells us to keep awake and stay alert.  And Paul says, “Brothers and sisters … the moment is here for you to stop sleeping and wake up, because by now our salvation is nearer than when we first began to believe.  The night is nearly over, daylight is on the way; so let us throw off everything that belongs to the darkness and equip ourselves for the light” (Romans 13:11-12).   It is this joyful expectation of God’s coming that offers vitality to our lives. The expectation of the fulfillment of God’s promises to us is what allows us to pay full attention to the road on which we are walking.

via Daily Meditation: Waiting in Expectation.

Creature, Andrew Zuckerman, books:  I agree … Exquisite!

In Creature, Zuckerman brings his exquisite signature style, crisp yet tender, to Earth’s beings. With equal parts detail and delight, he captures the spirt of these diverse creatures, from panthers to fruit bats to bald eagles, in a way makes them seem familiar and fresh at once, and altogether breathtaking.

via Animals like you’ve never seen them before, Salvador Dalí’s Alice in Wonderland illustrations circa 1969, and more.

Jon Meacham, Americans, 2012 Presidential Election:  Great essay!  Are we really exceptional? Essay gives brief history and current political implications of our belief.

In the beginning — before the beginning, really — Americans have thought of themselves as exceptional, as the new chosen people of God. Either before departing England or en route aboard the Arabella — it is unclear which; the ship arrived in 1630 — John Winthrop, a layman trained as a lawyer, wrote a sermon entitled “A Model of Christian Charity” in which he said “we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world …”

The “city upon a hill” phrase — Winthrop borrowed it from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount — echoes still. (It is interesting to note that only Ronald Reagan could improve on Jesus in terms of communication: it was Reagan who added the modifier “shining” to the image.) In a recent Pew poll, when asked if they agreed with the statement “Our people are not perfect but our culture is superior others,” 49% of Americans said yes, compared to 32% of Britons and 27% of French.

In rough political terms, the Republican presidential field argues that America is a place set apart, a nation with a divinely ordained mission to lead the world. A corollary to the case as it is being put in the 2012 cycle is that President Obama does not believe this. George H.W. Bush leveled the same charge against Michael Dukakis in 1988, claiming that Dukakis thought of the United States as just another country on the roll of the United Nations. The argument is well-suited to reassure voters who are pessimistic about the life of the nation and about the place of America in the world.

We are going to be hearing more about this notion of exceptionalism, possibly far beyond Iowa and New Hampshire and into the general election. So let’s be clear about the history — and the uses and abuses — of the vision of America as an instrument of God’s will on earth.

via Jon Meacham: Are Americans Really Exceptional? | TIME Ideas | TIME.com.

define: library:  Know one when you see one?  It is very strange that we have trouble defining a library … when until 20 years ago and for the past 2000+ years, that was not a problem.

This week, after tweeting a link to ALA’s President Molly Raphael’s statement regarding the destruction of the Occupy Wall Street Library in New York City, I became engaged in a conversation on Twitter about what constitutes a library. To me this seems obvious, but I had a hard time coming up with a hard fast definition. I discovered that, like Justice Stewart, I’m of the know-it-when-I-see-it mindset when it comes to identifying it, a library that is. I am not sure I can define it in terms that reconcile with the statement from ALA. If I say the dissolution or destruction of any library is wrong I need a concrete definition for library, because while it may be uncool (and probably illegal) for someone to come into my home and destroy my personal library, I’m not sure that warrants a statement from the ALA President. Let me be clear, I am in complete and total agreement with the statement from ALA. I will happily defend that statement and ALA’s choice to make it. The problem I ran into was defining a library in terms that fit with it. Not just the OWS library but any library of this type. Even after doing some digging (see below) I still didn’t feel like I could offer a succinct definition, not the 140 character kind Twitter requires and probably not even a 140 word one.

For example, the Merriam Webster definition could apply to my private library, well not the morgue part but the rest of it, so that doesn’t work. Ditto for Oxford. The Whole Library Handbook requires that it be “ organized by information professionals or other experts”. So again that would apply to my private library. But this definition also leads us into that whole merry circle of a conversation (or shouting match and snipping remarks) about what constitutes an information professional. I don’t think a collection needs to be organized by an MLS holding person to qualify as a library. You could throw publicly accessible into the definition to rule out my home library because I only begrudging lend books to friends so I’m not about to let the public en masse have access to it. But there are many great libraries not freely available to the public.

via What IS a Library? | Librarian by Day.

travel, business travel, serendipity:  He definitely made lemonade!

Since I like to gather information by talking to people rather than just reading, I’m not one of those fliers who hate talking to seatmates. People are always interested in our work in helping communities build playgrounds, and it’s always great to hear people being so supportive. Most of my seatmates have fond memories of running around outside to play, and they wish more children today had the same opportunity.

You never know where a conversation may lead.

On a flight from Los Angeles to Washington I was seated next to a guy who worked as vice president of operations for a national restaurant chain. We started talking, and I invited him to stop by our offices to see if he had any suggestions for us. He did. And a few months later he became our board chairman. Another time, I got a huge donation, about $20,000, from a fellow passenger I was talking to.

I’ve had a lot of missed flights and canceled flights, just like any other business traveler. I hate when I do it to myself, though.

Since I still have a tough time reading, I always recheck my boarding passes. But I still make mistakes. One time I actually wound up in Sioux Falls, S.D., when I was supposed to be in Sioux City, Iowa. I was dumbfounded. I just rebooked myself back home, and I actually made it, which was great.

Another time I was just so tired I fell asleep at the airport in Tampa, Fla. I guess it was a deep sleep, because when I finally opened my eyes, I discovered I had missed the last flight to Washington. All the nearby hotel rooms were booked. I wound up sleeping at the airport, feeling kind of foolish.

Occasionally, you can turn bad experiences into something positive.

I was headed back to Washington from a conference in Oxford, England, when the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted. Air traffic was canceled. I rarely get to travel with my wife, but she was with me this time.

Instead of trying to get out of Britain, we decided to enjoy it. I got a last-minute reservation at a hotel in Bath and had an unexpected leisurely weekend.

The airline confirmed our seats for a Monday morning flight from London to Washington. But on that Sunday, as we were getting ready to return to London, we learned that was canceled. The next one wasn’t until Friday.

So my wife got on the Internet and found a flat for rent in St. Ives in Cornwall. It was open because the expected tenants were unable to get into the country. The landlord offered a day-by-day rental. The cottage was located right in the middle of an artist colony.

We began our mornings with coastal hikes, and we would buy some fish from a local fisherman on the way back to the flat. We managed to keep up with work for about six hours each day. And at night we just ate our fish, walked around town and were grateful that we could spend some time together.

I know the volcano really disrupted air travel for so many people. But I still look back at that time as one of the best business trips I ever had.

via One of the Best Business Trips, Courtesy of Iceland’s Volcano – NYTimes.com.

careers, hiring, elite firms, elite schools:  Just read the whole article … How Elite Firms Hire: The Inside Story, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty.

Big results:

1. Most applications practically go straight in the trash.

Because professionals balanced recruitment responsibilities with full-time client work, they often screened resumes while commuting to and from the office and client sites; in trains, planes, and taxis; frequently late at night and over take out… [E]valuators tended to do so very rapidly, typically bypassing cover letters (only about fifteen percent reported even looking at them) and transcripts and reported spending between 10 s to 4 min per resume.

2. Evaluators have a lot of slack.

[M]ost firms did not have a standard resume scoring rubric that they used to make interview decisions, evaluators reported “going down the page” from top to bottom, focusing on the pieces of resume data they personally believed were the most important “signals” of candidate quality. (emphasis mine)

In fact, evaluators explicitly select candidates similar to themselves in school rank, grades, etc.  For example:

[R]oughly one-third of evaluators did not use educational prestige as a signal. One of the

primary differences between these two groups was their own educational history, with those who had attended “top” schools being more likely to use educational prestige as a screen than those who had attended other types of selective institutions.

3. Super-elite credentials matter much more than your academic record:

[E]valuators drew strong distinctions between top four universities, schools that I term the super-elite, and other types of selective colleges and universities. So-called “public Ivies” such as University of Michigan and Berkeley were not considered elite or even prestigious…

4. Super-elite schools matter because they’re strong signals, not because they’re better at building human capital:

Evaluators relied so intensely on “school” as a criterion of evaluation not because they believed that the content of elite curricula better prepared students for life in their firms – in fact, evaluators tended to believe that elite and, in particular, super-elite instruction was “too abstract,” “overly theoretical,” or even “useless” compared to the more “practical” and “relevant” training offered at “lesser” institutions…

[I]t was not the content of an elite education that employers valued but rather the perceived rigor of these institutions’ admissions processes. According to this logic,

the more prestigious a school, the higher its “bar” for admission, and thus the “smarter” its student body.

[...]

In addition to being an indicator of potential intellectual deficits, the decision to go to a lesser known school (because it was typically perceived by evaluators as a “choice”) was often perceived to be evidence of moral failings, such as faulty judgment or a lack of foresight on the part of a student.

5. At least in this elite sample, I’m totally wrong to think that extracurriculars don’t matter:

[E]valuators believed that the most attractive and enjoyable coworkers and candidates would be those who had strong extracurricular “passions.” They also believed that involvement in activities outside of the classroom was evidence of superior social

skill; they assumed a lack of involvement was a signal of social deficiencies… By contrast, those without significant extracurricular experiences or those who participated in activities that were primarily academically or pre-professionally oriented were perceived to be “boring,” “tools,” “bookworms,” or “nerds” who might turn out to be “corporate drones” if hired.

But they have to be the right kind of extracurriculars.  You have to signal that you’re not signaling!

Across the board, they privileged activities that were motivated by “personal” rather than “professional” interest, even when activities were directly related to work within their industry (e.g., investing, consulting, legal clinic clubs) because the latter were believed to serve the instrumental purpose of “looking good” to recruiters and were suspected of being “resume filler” or “padding” rather than evidence of genuine “passion,” “commitment,” and “well-roundedness.”

Don’t imagine, though, that you should merely follow your bliss:

[T]hey differentiated being a varsity college athlete, preferably one that was also a national or Olympic champion, versus playing intramurals; having traveled the globe with a world-renowned orchestra as opposed to playing with a school chamber group; and having reached the summit of Everest or Kilimanjaro versus recreational hiking. The former activities were evidence of “true accomplishment” and dedication, whereas the latter were described as things that “anyone could do.”

6. Grades do matter somewhat, but mostly as a cut-off.  They’re a signal of work ethic more than IQ:

[M]ost evaluators did not believe that grades were an indicator of intelligence. Rather, they provided a straightforward and “fair” way to rank candidates, particularly those within a given school… [G]rades were used to measure a candidate’s moral qualities. An attorney (Asian-American, male), believed that grades were an indication of a candidate’s coping skills, “It tells me how they can handle stress; if they’d had their feet to the flames before. If they’ve gotten good grades at a very competitive school, they’re probably pretty sharp and can take care of themselves.”

If labor economists want to understand how real-world labor markets actually work, these are the kinds of pieces they’ll be reading – and eventually writing.

via How Elite Firms Hire: The Inside Story, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty.

 Gang of Six, Super Committee (joint congressional deficit reduction committee), budget, politics, Washington:  …

As the joint congressional deficit reduction committee consummated its super flop Monday, the Senate Gang of Six plan remained as a possible alternative.

Rick Santorum: Says the unemployment rate for college graduates is 4.4 percent and over 10 percent for noncollege-educated.

The bipartisan group, which includes Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss, produced a framework for $4 trillion in deficit reduction this summer that includes both increased tax revenues and cuts to entitlement plans – but never produced a formal bill.

Last week the members of the gang joined dozens of allies in Congress to ask the supercommittee to consider their plan and said they could provide an alternative bill if the supercommittee failed. Chambliss said last week a bill could be ready “in short order.” He was in Afghanistan on Monday and unavailable for comment.

As the co-chairs of the 12-member supercommittee issued a statement declaring they were unable to reach a consensus, several senators said Congress’ next step should be to stage a vote on the framework put forth by the Gang of Six and President Barack Obama’s debt commission. There was no official word from the six on their plans, though in a statement one of the group members, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said he would “continue to push for a bipartisan agreement.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., wrote a letter to the president and Congressional leaders formally requesting a vote on a $4 trillion package. Others announcing their support for the Gang of Six route Monday included Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn.; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

The effort faces institutional hurdles, as leaders in the House and Senate never embraced the gang’s work.

“My understanding is they’re nowhere near having legislative language,” Adam Jentleson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wrote in an email Monday. “We don’t schedule votes for hypothetical plans.”

via Gang of Six plan could be alternative to failed supercommittee  | ajc.com.


0 Responses to “11.21.2011 … Live Blog for Tonight’s Men’s Basketball Game vs. Presbyterian … OK not Duke … not ESPN National TV … But GO CATS! Davidson wins!”



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