Here’s an interesting article from Bloomberg Business, announcing that fossil fuels are just that — a relic of the past — and that renewables have brought us to the only future we can feel comfortable about.
As expected, the selection of a new president of the University of Iowa is sparking plenty of thoughful analysis, hand-wringing and bloviating about the choice of a former corporate chieftain with relatively little academic experience as the institution’s new leader.
Are we who decry this choice being fair? Or is ours a knee-jerk reaction to a decision that could bring necessary and helpful changes to one of our leading universities?
A couple of fine pieces of interpretation have come from former University of Iowa professor Steve Kuusisto. Kuusisto’s blog Planet of the blind: It’s not as dark as you think has perhaps the best quick summary, at least from a common academic perspective, of the political background of the selection.
Kuusisto’s characterization of Iowa regents is none too kind, which raises the question I asked myself both before and after my own short post Friday criticizing the selection.
Taking a step back and approaching issues with as much objectivity as possible are two hallmarks of both science and journalism, my own area of teaching and research. So is interpretation. I’ve thought about my own Friday post a bit this weekend, as it was a clearly pessimistic and skeptical take on Bruce Herreld’s selection.
The question of fairness to Herreld and Iowa’s leadership is too complex to answer in a single blog post. For most observers, it’s not one that can be answered with anything close to public agreement until we’ve had the benefit of looking back on Herreld’s presidency after a suitable period of time.
But skepticism, which is just a little farther to the negative side of a continuum from hopeful to despairing, is a proper response for academics, journalists and others to this selection.
I like that UW-Green Bay’s Chuck Rybak, an associate professor of English, writes in a way that appears to channel anger and outrage into passionate, strong, clear argument. Maybe he’s not at all an angry guy and I’m just reading my own resentment into some of his work. He’s clearly, however, a hell of a writer and among those I respect for telling a story that needs to be told, over and over, until the people of Wisconsin are convinced that we need to do something about our so-called leaders.
I believe the rest of us in the UW system also need to work harder to find ways to make similar messages heard. Although we should be as civil as is useful and warranted, this isn’t necessarily about playing nice. Unfortunately, so many of the people who should be reading this kind of blog are probably the last people who do, and they probably aren’t going to until most of the rest of the state is practically up in arms. The best way to make that happen is to remind others of the incredible damage we’re allowing various miscreants to do.
Public education, and public higher education, is not only a great achievement, it is one of the most amazing human achievements in all of our history. If there’s anyone out there in Wisconsin who cares, and happens to read this, know that supporting this system, this public good, is easy. Let’s try to remember the infinite rewards within our reach for what seems like such minimal effort. If that’s not practical, then I don’t know what is. It’s more than practical. It really is miraculous. — Chuck Rybak on Sad Iron
Normally I just share these posts on Facebook, but I’m convinced that part of what we need to do as leaders in education is network with, encourage, and work together with others who are speaking out. Even something as simple as giving a post like this a second home on another blog may bring a few more readers and maybe even help change a mind or two.
Dr. Rybak gave me permission to reblog his latest post, which I then found I couldn’t do because his “reblog” button isn’t active. But you can read it by clicking on the illustration below. And it’s not a bad thing to share it further.
Whether or not you’ve been following the story of the downtown Stevens Point seawall, this video is instructive. I’ve argued that there was a clear mandate from citizens attending the July 20 Stevens Point Common Council meeting about this issue, and the video below is a very accurate summary of how things went.
(Mike Richards video)
As I’ve noted before, not a soul who spoke — and there were a dozen — thought this was a fair assessment, including those who don’t live in the former floodplain and aren’t being assessed. Continue reading
The end of last week brought us some of those spectacular Wisconsin summer days that make this place like no other. Wispy clouds, a deeper and clearer blue in the sky, a crispness to the sunlight that highlighted the contrasting greens, yellows, purples and other colors of our Northwoods palette without making anything too sharp. Pines, birches and tamaracks, rivers and lakes, red barns and rolling hills, all with just enough focus to spotlight their beauty, but enough softness to remind us of the fragility of those passing, perfect days.
We were fortunate to be able to share our Wisconsin with a niece from Texas. She got to try Paul Bunyan’s donuts in Minocqua and camp at Copper Falls State Park, eat a garlic-asiago roll from Ashland Baking Company and a sub from Penokee Mountain Deli and Sausage, and run the trails and throw rocks into the water at Amnicon Falls State Park.
It was a fantastic time. There aren’t suitable words or space to relate how wonderful it was and how blessed I felt to be able to share it with two rambunctious little girls — my 7-year-old daughter and her 11-year-old cousin. There’s nothing like being around kids who are likely to burst into loud Christmas carols at the mention of the town of Rudolph or shriek with unbounded joy at finding a better stick to play with than the last one.