Saturday, October 31, 2015


Another week of adventure!

I love fall.

And it seems like many of the most interesting adventures happen in the fall, too.

This week I get the pleasure of going back to my alma mater, Yale Law School, to give a talk on the death penalty at lunchtime on Wednesday.

In the picture at right, Jon Nuechterlein and I stand in front of our house at 69 Edwards Street, in the fall of our second year. We look pretty bold, but in truth that is a time in life when you don't know how things are going to turn out-- you don't even know what kind of lawyer you will be. Well, actually, maybe Jon did… but even then you can't imagine the shape of it, the color. Now we do, for the most part. That makes going back all the sweeter, like walking in a familiar woods when you know the way out.  You see things then, the trees and brook, that you rushed past before, and they are still there, and so are we.

Friday, October 30, 2015


Haiku Friday: Candidates/Tacos

Are you interested in the presidential campaign? Do you like tacos? If you said "yes" to either one of these questions, this is your week to haiku!

Your poem doesn't have to be about both the campaign and tacos-- you can just pick one or the other. If you are particularly inspired, feel free to include both, though!

Here, I will go first:

Bernie Sanders' folks
Express true love, kinda like
Mexican food fans

Now it is your turn! Just make it 5/7/5 for the syllable count, and have some fun!

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Political Mayhem Thursday: The CNBC Debate!

My parents are visiting from Michigan, and we had a great time watching the Republican debate last night.  Here are a few observations:

1) Valid complaints about the questions

Several candidates complained about the questions going after personal issues (i.e., Rubio's personal finances) rather than broader issues, and they had a point.  I really don't care why Carly Fiorina was fired, or Rubio's speeding tickets (though he probably should not have, given that issue, closed by saying "I owe this country a huge debt.").  There are real issues out there-- like, oh, clemency-- that go unmentioned as Trump is asked about casino bankruptcies for a fifth time.

2)  What is the deal with Ben Carson?

Apparently, Dr. Ben Carson has a broad appeal to Republican voters. I don't get it.  He seems only borderline interested in the whole thing, and his positions are vague, scary, or both.  How did he become the frontrunner?

3)  People really don't like Chris Christie

The guy is obviously smart and has a natural charisma.  But in the same way Republican voters seem to like Ben Carson, the polls show that they aren't too crazy about Chris Christie.

4)  Oh… so CNBC is a real channel?

I thought it was just a fictional channel where Elizabeth Banks worked on "30 Rock."

5)  Bush has a strategy

Apparently, his handlers believe in the "two lane" theory, where there are sub-contests within the groups insiders (Bush, Rubio, Kasich, Christie) and the outsiders (Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Paul, Cruz, Huckabee), and wants to beat Rubio within the insider group.  He went after Rubio for missing votes in the Senate, and even implied that he was "French." But, Rubio was effective in response.

What does everyone else think?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Deforming helmets

Yesterday I wrote about Seth Russell (Baylor's quarterback) and the neck fracture he suffered in last week's game against Iowa State.  The comments to that post are fascinating. I later found (on Baylorfans) this remarkable picture of the injury being inflicted.

If you look closely at the photo, you can see Seth Russell's helmet deforming as it absorbs the hit from the Iowa State player's helmet.  The force is clearly intense, but the helmet seems to be doing its job-- absorbing the blow.

Of course, it apparently transferred that force to his neck, even while it averted a skull fracture and a concussion.  It could be that there is no way to make this sport safe.

Except, some might argue, by making it appear less safe. In the comments yesterday, Megan Willome suggests quite reasonably that less equipment might change the nature of the game in a way that leads to more safety, pointing to rugby as an example.  It's a compelling point.  But would it work?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Baylor hits a speed bump

So far, Baylor football has been on a roll this season. They are undefeated and average about sixty points a game.

In last Saturday's game against Iowa State, though, quarterback Seth Russell suffered a season-ending injury to his neck.  That leaves the job in the hands of a true freshman, Jarrett Stidham.  There is no other option-- the Bears moved their other quarterback to wide receiver earlier this year.

Stidham is a pretty good option, though: a five-star recruit who has gotten playing time already in several Baylor blowouts.

Probably, Baylor will be ok. But… Seth Russell basically broke his neck? It seems like every time I watch college football (which is pretty often lately), there is a player hurt every quarter.  The casualty rate in this sport is pretty high, and apparently unavoidable. It makes me feel a little guilty for being a fan-- I know that it all is built on the broken bodies of children, those too young to drink legally in our country.

Does anyone else feel similarly conflicted?

Monday, October 26, 2015


Learning through haiku...

I love learning something new on haiku Friday, and this week I did, thanks to Jill Scoggins:

Scary in B.C.
The Capilano Bridge yet
Beckons to me still.

Kudos, too, to Kelly Geistler!

Canada voters
Put a hottie in office
Good job Canada!

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Sunday Reflection: The Autumn of Life

Since I was a little boy in nylon jacket walking to school, autumn has been my favorite season. It shouldn't be surprise that it is also my favorite season of life.

In part, that is because in your 50's you have more to do, yet a sense of how things turn out. There is only a bit of anxiety left over that deepest of questions: "Who will I be?" At this, point, I know the answer to that question. I may not always be happy with it, of course, but I do know the shape and color of this life.

Spiritually, autumn has its dangers. It is easy to be comfortable in faith, and assume that you are in God's favor. I know that isn't true, of course. And I catch myself being too critical of others and their own journeys, and push myself (sometimes successfully) towards a more gracious outlook.

But…. it is autumn. The winter will come. But on these shortening days I know that an apple is crisp, the sight of a loved one brings joy, and that a scent can bring back a wave of emotion that is rich and deep and real.

It is, still, my favorite time.

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Up now on HuffPo: Opportunity within Polarization

I forgot to post this earlier in the week when it went up (it has been a hectic time), but I hope you will check out my HuffPo piece, 3 Opportunities of a Polarized World.

Friday, October 23, 2015


Haiku Friday: Canada!

Did you know that Canada has a new, more liberal, Prime Minister. It's Justin Trudeau, the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. You would think that Canadians might be wary at this point of young men named Justin,  but apparently they are often different from one another.

Let's haiku about Canada today! It can be about a visit there, your childhood as a Canadian, or just you general perception of our neighbor to the north.

Here, I will go first:

Calm, glistening lake
Beckons in August to me
I always say "yes."

[Calme, lac étincelant
vous attend en août à moi
je dis toujours "OUI".]

Now it is your turn! Use the 5/7/5 syllable formula, and have some fun!

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Political Mayhem Thursday: At Obama's Ear

For several months now, I have been working as part of a group called Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration.  [I am at the far right in the picture above].  I am kind of the admission department's mistake; the other members include the police chiefs for New York, Chicago, LA, and Houston, among many others.

A great piece in yesterday's New York Times announced the public launch of the group, and we had a big press conference yesterday at the National Press Club (among other meetings). NPR had a good segment on the roll-out as well.

Today many of us are meeting with President Obama at the White House. I'm looking forward to meeting Barack Obama and having a few minutes to talk to the president about something I care deeply about (hint: it's clemency).

If you had two minutes to tell President Obama something, what would you tell him?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


It's the Razor's college football poll!

Many of you have suggested that the Razor rank college football teams in order of quality, and we are happy to comply. Our rankings will be based on four factors:

1) Expertise at playing football
2) Academics
3) Pleasant school name
4) Mascot

For example, Ole Miss is ranked #23 in the Coaches Poll this week. They are doing pretty well in the expertise at playing football category, with a win over Alabama along with a few losses. The academics are ok but not great, the name is great, but the mascot ("Rebel Black Bear") is just confusing. Thus, overall, it drops to #25.  Here are the rankings:

1. Stanford
2. Utah (I love the sound of that word)
3. Notre Dame
4. Baylor
5. Ohio State (that Brutus Buckeye is just ridiculous)
6) Iowa
7) Michigan
8) Cal
9) Duke
10) TCU

Any objections?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


If you haven't seen this yet, you should...

Because Larry David is a great Bernie Sanders.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Fall in Fargo

I loved this haiku by Gavin:

It's fall in Fargo
Tailgate, bring your warm clothes
"kegs and eggs" at 7!

I have no idea what "kegs and eggs" is, but it's gotta be memorable!

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Sunday Reflection: Creating things that (don't) matter

Yesterday I was traveling, and I did not see any of the football I games I normally would. I didn't see Baylor get revenge on West Virginia, I didn't see Michigan snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and I didn't see LSU battle Florida. Had I been watching any of those games, they would have been important to me-- I would have been emotionally invested-- even though I did not attend any of those schools.

So, it only matters if I choose to make it matter. If I don't, life proceeds apace.

The presidential race is similar.  I can get very caught up in it, even convince myself that it very much matters, but that's not really true.  Who is President does not affect my life very much, it at all, if I am honest about it.  Yet, I still act as if it does matter.

Why do we create this kind of importance and attach it (nearly at random) to certain events?

Perhaps part of it is that when we do that, we are no longer responsible for the outcome.  We stake our imaginary fortune to something we don't control, and then if we fail it is not our failure.  We hope for glory, without risking our own self-worth.

Jesus taught the opposite: To feed the hungry and cloth the naked, and to expect no victory.  We must invest ourselves, without expecting glory.

Saturday, October 17, 2015


A wealth of color

So, if you are interested in  hearing last week's sermon, you can get the podcast here. It seems like so long ago! Today I am in Vermont, which seems closer to God than I have ever been:

Friday, October 16, 2015


Haiku Friday: Homecoming!

One of the great parts of fall is the advent of Homecoming at high schools and colleges. Baylor has theirs next weekend, featuring a game with Hapless Iowa State (as I understand it, the name of the University has been officially changed).

The things that go with homecoming-- football, parades, dances, and reunions-- are all the stuff of memories, making it a good topic for Haiku Friday.

Here, I will go first:

My date's purple dress
Was a 70's classic, like…
Florence Henderson!

Now it is your turn! Just make it 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables, and have some fun!

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Political Mayhem Thursday: What happened to Jeb?

Not so long ago, there was a resigned air of inevitability that come November, 2016, we would be faced with another Bush/Clinton election, this time with Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. The two front-runners were swaddled in money and endorsements.

Now, as we get close to the primaries, half of that prediction is holding true. Hillary Clinton, despite a surprising and inspiring challenge from Bernie Sanders, is still looking very strong on the Democratic side. Jeb Bush, however, has floundered.  He polls between four and ten percent (depending on the poll and location), and is nearly always behind at least four other candidates. 

What happened?

And can it change?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Reflections on the First Democratic Debate

Yeah, it was less fascinating than the Republican debates (which featured a larger cast), but the Democrats still had their moments last night! Here are a few of my thoughts:

1)  There was a striking drop-off in quality between Clinton/Sanders and Chafee/O'Malley/Webb. The best moments were when the let Clinton and Sanders dig into an issue. They did so with heat and knowledge… kind of like the Christie/Paul moment that ran deep and quick and then was gone.

2)  That said, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at times came off as grandparents from opposite sides of the family: situational civility mixed with moments of pointing and yelling.  

3) Sanders gave Clinton a pass on the email issue, and that is really too bad. She was able to get through the debate without substantively addressing the emails to a broad audience, and she is going to have to do so at some point.

4) I was most disappointed with Webb. He started out poorly-- he seemed unable to recall the names and occupations of his children after the second of five.  After that, he complained a lot about not getting enough air time.  Ouch.  His efforts to inject his veteran status into the conversation also wobbled from strained to awkward.

What did you think?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


What went down at Twin Peaks

GQ Magazine, of all places, recently had a fascinating story about the Twin Peaks shoot-out in Waco.  Among other things, it attempts to sort out how the whole debacle got started:

As a general rule, bikers are not big talkers. It's an insular and suspicious world, especially in Texas, especially now, in the hazy aftermath of the bloodiest day in the often sensationalized history of American biker clubs. Nevertheless, all the Cossacks interviewed by GQ for this story insist they showed up that morning to make peace. And virtually every biker I spoke with last June and July—Cossacks, Bandidos, members of multiple other clubs, 22 bikers in total—believes that the real blame for all the dead bodies belongs with the Waco police.

Anonymous Cossack #1: (1) We had almost 70 men, and we showed up at the same time, because we don't like being left on the road in small groups, because of what's been happening. We went in and ordered drinks.

Vincent Glenn (officer, Waco P.D., from an affidavit dated June 15): The Cossacks and their support clubs took over the patio area, which is the exact area of the restaurant that was reserved for the [COC] meeting.

Anonymous motorcycle-club member: We noticed all the Cossacks sitting on the patio. We gave respect to them, them being a bigger group and having so many people there.

Anonymous Cossack #1: A group of seven Bandidos rolled up on bikes, furious that we were parking up front. They hit one of our prospects, an older guy—ran over his foot.

Reginald Weathers (Bandidos, from court testimony at his bail hearing): My president and vice president tried to back in, and immediately the Cossacks on the porch came out and started pushing their bikes [away], saying they couldn't park there. [Cossacks] kept coming off the patio, over the fence—60 to 100 guys. They were yelling at my president [and] my vice president.

Glenn (from his affidavit): Several of the Cossacks pulled their weapons, including handguns.

Anonymous Cossack #1: Of course, we're not gonna back down. We're men. One of our sergeants at arms—our guys in charge of security—said, “We can take our cuts [vests with club patches] off right now, and you and I can fight.” The guy says, “No, we're not doin' that.” Our sergeant at arms says, “Then let's go in and have a beer and talk about it.”

John Wilson (Cossacks Motorcycle Club, McLennan County chapter president): It looked like it was all going to calm down.

Anonymous Cossack #2: And then somebody, I think it was a Bandido, said, “Don't talk to my president that way.”

Weathers (from court testimony): I said, “I don't think you need to talk to my president like that.” I didn't think it was very respectful. He hit me. My head got pulled down. There was a crowd of guys, and I couldn't see anything.

Anonymous Cossack #2: Fists flew, and it was game on. They went to the ground. Seconds later, I heard bang!

Monday, October 12, 2015


A weekend of beauty and haiku

Pictured here is the remarkable Bigelow Chapel at United Seminary, where on Saturday night I got to offer a response to Randall Balmer's talk on politics and civil discourse, at the kind invitation of Colonial Church's Daniel Harrell.  It was a wonderful night. Then on Sunday I was fortunate to give the sermon at First Covenant Church of Minneapolis, at the invitation of Dan Collison. The same day, my take on the Twin Peaks case came out in the Waco Tribune Herald.

Now I am wiped out! 

Part of the weekend, of course, is always enjoying the haiku stylings of you all.  This week I was most in love with this anonymous offering:

"Meow" says kitty
channeling my inner self:
aloof as I lounge.

Though I also loved the truthfulness of the Medievalist's work:

In Minnesota
One has to wear a snowsuit
To be a pirate.

What a weekend!

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Sunday Reflection: Social Media and Faith

This morning's sermon at First Covenant is about Paul-- specifically, his work as described in Acts 24 and 26, where he argues his case before Judeo-Roman authorities.

I was talking about this earlier in the weekend with Deanne Thompson, a professor of religion and culture (she was the other responder to Randall Balmer last night).  She had a fascinating observation: That those who criticize the use of social media by faith communities probably should consider the example of Paul.  Of course he used the social media of his time, writing letters to the fledgling churches, where those letters were read and discussed by the congregations. 

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

Saturday, October 10, 2015


Come to Church!

On Sunday at 9:30, I'll be giving the sermon at First Covenant Church here in Minneapolis-- details here.  It's going to be interesting (I hope); the text is from Acts 24 & 26, as Paul advocates for his faith and "The Way" before the representatives of Rome.

Also, tomorrow I will have a piece in the Waco Tribune Herald on the Twin Peaks biker cases… a subject of great interest there! I'm sure I will manage to make some people mad, at least.

And tonight I'll be out at United Seminary for a discussion with Randall Balmer. It's a busy weekend!

Friday, October 09, 2015


Haiku Friday: Halloween ideas

So, I am all set for Halloween, with this great mask that was labeled "Angry Teddy Bear." It is just about the creepiest thing I have ever seen.  I mean… why would a teddy bear be angry? They seem to have a pretty plush life, so to speak. And while most teddy bears have no teeth at all-- their mouth is just a string sewed onto their face-- this one has a whole dental disaster going on.  

Let's haiku about halloween ideas, or memories, today.  It can be about costumes, parties, halloween romance, whatever.  Here, I will go first:

Angry Teddy Bear,
You have a pretty good life, 
And what's with the teeth?

Now it is your turn. Just make it 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables, and have some fun!

Thursday, October 08, 2015


Political Mayhem Thursday: The problem with the good guy/bad guy dichotomy on guns

Now that we are a few days out from the latest school shooting in Oregon (the 45th this year), it looks like the only reaction will be, once again, an increase in gun sales.  That's a sad fact.

Part of what drives this is the belief that "the answer to bad guys with guns is good guys with guns." In other words, if "good guys" have guns, they will shoot the "bad guys" before they do anything harmful.  There are several problems with this logic:

1) Everyone knows they are a "good guy." We justify our acts and beliefs, even the awful ones, as somehow "good"-- that seems to just be a fact of the human condition. And then… the "good guy" gets in a fight with his wife, and the gun is right there, and suddenly he is a bad guy.  Or the "good guy" gets depressed and shoots himself dead. In fact, having a gun in the home increases, not decreases, the likelihood of the gun owner and his/her family dying violently in the home.

2) There is also the problem of identifying the "bad guy." Say you see a guy holding a woman up against a wall with a gun in his hand.  Yeah, it might be a robber. It also might be an undercover cop making an arrest. And in the few seconds you have to decide, you might not properly evaluate the situation. As it turns out, Oregon is one of seven states that allow students to carry guns on campus, and an armed student (a veteran) was present at the shooting. Shooting a shooter in a crowd is not a great plan for often-untrained combatants, and often they only take action after the damage is done.

3)  Importantly, guns are portable; they are not restricted to use by the owner (though that could be easily accomplished if we wanted to take that step).  Thus, the "good guy" guns end up in the hands of the "bad guys." In fact, in both Newtown and Oregon, the school shooters used guns purchased by their mothers.  The Oregon shooter's mom was adamant that her guns were protecting people-- she even posted online that "I keep all my mags full. I keep two full mags in my Glock case. And the ARs & AKs all have loaded mags. No one will be 'dropping' by my house uninvited without (acknowledgment),"

It is time to give up the fantasy that guns keep us safe.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


Coming Up!

It is going to be a busy weekend coming up…

First, on Saturday night at 6:30, I am speaking on a program with Randall Balmer, a wonderful writer and Dartmouth Professor, at an event sponsored by Colonial Church and hosted by United Theological Seminary in New Brighton. You can see more details here.

Then, on Sunday morning at 9:30 I will be preaching at First Covenant Church in Minneapolis, and the gospel choir will be singing (probably the bigger draw).  More info here.

Oh, and the picture above-- that is CraigA's daughter appearing as Mortimer the Gopher at Goucher College. Here, Mortimer is seen attacking a Goucher student who later was hospitalized for gopher-related injuries. Here at St. Thomas, of course, we know how to defend ourselves against gopher mascots...

Tuesday, October 06, 2015


Words and Pictures

Over the past few years, my dad has been cataloguing the goings-on in the Detroit jazz scene in words and pictures. The pictures, we all could have expected-- he has long excelled at creating beautiful and  evocative images.

Now, though, maybe for the first time in his life, he has discovered the discipline of writing regularly for an audience.  It's kinda great.

Last week, he wrote about jazz and laughter and Yogi Berra.  I'm not sure where he got it, but he included a great listing of Yogi's greatest sayings:

“It ain’t over till it’s over.”
“It’s deja vu all over again.”
“I usually take a two-hour nap from 1 to 4.”
“You can observe a lot by watching.”
“The future ain’t what it used to be.”
“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”
“It gets late early out here.”
“Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”
“Pair up in threes.”
“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
“He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.”
“I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”
“It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.”
“I think Little League is wonderful. It keeps the kids out of the house.”
“Take it with a grin of salt.”
“The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.”
“You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise, they won’t come to yours.”
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Monday, October 05, 2015


The Walleye Tree

There were many great haiku last friday-- check them all out

Two things really blew me away, though. One was the revelation that CraigA's daughter was Mortimer the Gopher at Goucher College. The other was this wonderful haiku by Sleepy Walleye:

I think I shall not 
Ever see mascots better
Than the Stanford Tree.

I learned something new, too, from Megan Willome:

In Sherman, Texas,
Austin College kangaroos.
Slogan was "Get Roo'd!"

You gotta love the pun, and the bare fact that their mascot is a kangaroo...

Sunday, October 04, 2015


Sunday Reflection: New Vines

There is a stone wall on the corner in front of my house. A few years ago a truck hit it-- ran right over it, really, cutting the corner too sharply-- and the stones were scattered all over the street.  At first I was angry at the truck driver, who hadn't stopped (or maybe didn't notice) once he had destroyed my little wall. After taking some pictures, I slowly began picking up the broad, flat stones. It was like a puzzle; I had to figure out how each fit with the others. I had help with the task, and we started to enjoy it. By the time I had the stones stacked up just right and in their place, I had a sense of accomplishment. 

Last year on the morning after halloween, I saw that someone had smashed a pumpkin on the top of the rebuilt wall-- it appeared to be a fresh uncarved one, judging by the amount of guts and seeds spread around. There is always something about smashed pumpkins that makes me sad; maybe that it feels like the vandal is destroying someone's childhood. I picked up the husk and carted it away. 

Ten months and a few weeks passed.

Then, a few weeks ago, snaky vines emerged from that wall.  It rained a lot, and they grew quickly, and instead of cutting them back I arranged them along and over the top of the wall.  Soon a few little pumpkins appeared, then more flowers.

Now I see people stopping there all the time-- it is a favorite for the neighborhood walkers, who examine the vines and admire the new fruit.

Sometimes, you just get a gift, unbidden; fresh vines from something smashed to pieces.

Saturday, October 03, 2015


Bastards of the Reagan Era

Several years ago, when we were doing the Trial of Jesus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I first met the poet Reginald Dwayne Betts.  He was working on a big project-- a book of poems about crack and prison-- while on fellowship at Harvard.  I saw him again last year in New Haven, where he is now a student at Yale Law.  Don't let the Harvard/Yale thing define him for you, though; there is a lot more than that in his life story.

Bastards of the Reagan Era is the book he was working on. If you care about some of the things I do (and even if you don't), I would really recommend it. It says some things I have been trying to say in a better and more whole way than I ever have.

Oh, and this… Mr. Betts appears (along with many Razorites) in the book I just finished (on doing the Trial of Jesus), which will come out in August, 2016.

Friday, October 02, 2015


Haiku Friday: College Mascots

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of college mascots. I very much prize the photo above, showing my one chance to meet one of my major heroes.

Let's haiku about them this week!  Here, I will go first:

Goldy the Gopher
You make a bad game better!
(There are lots of those).

Now it is your turn! As a helpful aid, I have provided a list of mascots below.

Alameda College-- Cool E. Cougar ("The E. is for Education!")
American University-- Clawed Z. Eagle
Amherst College-- Lord Jeff
Baylor-- Some Bears (I think they are named Judge Judy and Judge Morton)
Colorado School of Mines-- Marvin the Miner
Columbia-- Roar-ee the Lion
Dartmouth-- Keggy the Keg

Georgia-- Hairy Dawg
Goucher-- Mortimer the Gopher
Harvard-- Chilly Willy the Penguin
Idaho-- Joe Vandal
Iowa-- Herky Hawk
Maine-- Bananas T. Bear
Michigan State-- Sparty the Spartan
US Naval Academy-- Bill the Goat
Northwestern-- Wildcat Willy

Ohio State-- Brutus the Buckeye
Oklahoma-- Norman Oklahoma
Purdue-- Boilermaker Big-Head Guy
Rhode Island School of Design-- Scrotie
RPI-- Puckman
Santa Cruz-- Sammy the Slug
Scottsdale Comm. College-- Artie the Fighting Artichoke
Stanford-- The Tree
Syracuse-- Otto the Orange
Texas-- Bevo the Languid Cow
Tufts-- Jumbo the Elephant
Vanderbilt-- Mr. C
Virginia Tech-- Hokie Bird
Whittier College-- Johnny Poet
William and Mary-- Col. Ebirt
Williams College-- Purple Cow
Wisconsin-- Bucky the Badger
Xavier-- The Blue Blob
Yale-- Handsome Dan

Now it is your turn! Just make it fun, and use a syllable count of 5/7/5...

Thursday, October 01, 2015


Political Mayhem Thursday II: The NYT and Clemency

Today the New York Times ran a wonderful editorial, titled President Obama and the Power of Mercy.  Among other things, it links to my Univ. of Chicago Law Review article with Rachel Barkow, and notes that Margaret Colgate Love has changed her mind and now joins us in advocating for the clemency process to be taken out of the DOJ.

It's worth a read-- and I think a lot will be happening on this issue in the next several months.


Political Mayhem Thursday: The Pope and Politics

Last week's visit from the Pope carried, unavoidably, a lot of political baggage. He visited, after all, the UN, the White House, and Congress-- not exactly the itinerary of someone seeking to avoid entanglement with politics. And, of course, during his visit he talked directly about many of our most controversial political issues, and took definitive stands on many of them:

-- against the death penalty
-- for action to stem the effects of global warming
-- against abortion
-- for a deeper concern for the poor
-- for a better spirit of cooperation by political       leaders

In the end, does it matter?

I think it does, at least to some people.  The Pope's visit seems to have played a role in the resignation of House Speaker John Boehner, for example.  In light of reflection, it may lead to some people moderating their views.  This influence will be hard to identify, though-- I think it will be a quiet but powerful stream that wears away some rough edges.

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