Parents and Families
On Nov. 21 the Senate changed its rules to limit the use of filibusters for blocking executive and judicial nominees. “This change has been bandied about for more than 50 years, by both parties,” said Professor of Government Andrew Rudalevige. “When southerners were threatening to filibuster over civil rights in 1957, it was clear that this was a possible parliamentary option – to change the rules by a majority vote.”
For most of the 20th century, filibusters were employed relatively rarely and reserved for particularly important issues. They did not necessarily pose an insurmountable impediment because “you had liberal Republicans, you had conservative Democrats, and it was not that uncommon to build cross-party alliances,” Rudalevige said. “It became sort of just part of the lore of the Senate, that every senator could speak as long as they wanted to,” he said.
But filibuster use began to surge toward the end of the 20th century, reaching record highs during the Obama administration and ultimately triggering the change in Senate rules earlier this week. “If the norm is dead, the Democrats figure, why not dance on its grave,” Rudalevige said.
Professor of Government Janet Martin believes that the Senate’s dysfunction would have been better solved with other actions. “The two leaders have reached a point where they are no longer following the informal roles of getting along, and working out deals, and leading their members to compromise.” Martin argued “that a change of leadership would probably be more desirable than ending a process that’s been there to protect minority interest for a long time.”
“I think if anything we’ll see an escalation of procedural war,” Martin said, since there are other procedures besides filibusters that can block action. “The problem is that any of the dilatory actions that will be taken will be less visible because they won’t be understood,” she said, “and it’s not going to be as easy for the Democrats to hold Republicans accountable for the blocking of appointments.”
Despite that risk, Rudalevige said that the Democrats believed they had little to lose in the face of existing opposition - and the looming possibility that the Republicans themselves would carry out the threat of ending filibusters a couple of years down the road. “I think the Democrats decided that the downside was pretty minimal.”
According to the Federal Reserve, there is more than $1.2 trillion worth of paper money in circulation. However, the location of only 15 percent of that money is accounted for in banks or regular, everyday circulation in the U.S. The other 85 percent is missing — and no one knows for sure where it is. This phenomenon is known as the “currency enigma.” The possibilities tell us something about how the economy really works.
So much has changed in the 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and yet, some things remain remarkably unchanged. Boston University”s news service offers a then-and-now glimpse of the area outside JFK’s former home, 122 Bowdoin Street, Apartment 36, where he lived during his early years in Boston. The street, of course, shares a namesake with the College, Massachusetts Governor James Bowdoin II.
And in case you missed it, read President Mills’ reflections on the national tragedy.
Smithsonian magazine looks at the conspiracy theories that have emerged since JFK’s death November 22, 1963.
In late October, 17 Bowdoin teaching minors boarded a ferry in Rockland to cross Penobscot Bay to spend 24 hours on Vinalhaven, a small Maine island 12 miles off the coast. The students were visiting the island’s K-12 school as part of their studies on how to incorporate local culture and community into classroom lessons.
Maine is home to many unique communities, including its handful of island communities, many of which are dependent on the fishing industry. Some of the larger islands with year-round residents maintain K-12 or K-8 schools. These are often tiny, with well under 100 students. The K-12 school in Vinalhaven, which has a year-round population of 1,200, is the largest island school in Maine, with 200 students.
While conducting research on Vinalhaven in the late 1990s, Associate Professor of Education Nancy Jennings realized that these island schools could offer Bowdoin education students the valuable lesson of seeing how island educators teach subjects that both reflect and enhance their communities. As aspiring teachers, they will one day be crafting curricula with the same objective.
Six years ago, Bowdoin’s education department formalized a link with island schools through its Island Schools Project, which works as a cross-cultural exchange. Bowdoin teaching minors spend a night and a day on an island. Then, the island’s high school students come to Bowdoin for an overnight visit. Read the full story.
With Bitcoins attracting the imagination of venture capitalists and commanding the attention of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in a Congressional hearing this week, curiosity about this new online currency is growing. The Washington Post provides answers to 12 frequently asked questions about Bitcoins.
Field Hockey — The field hockey team rolled off four unanswered goals to defeat Christopher Newport, 4-1, in the semifinals of the NCAA Division III Championship Friday in Virginia. The Polar Bears will advance to their fourth national championship game in the last seven years Sunday, playing the winner of Salisbury and Skidmore at 10:30 a.m.
Cross Country — Bowdoin cross country runners Coby Horowitz and Lucy Skinner will compete individually at the NCAA Division III Championship Saturday at Hanover College in Indiana.Women’s Ice Hockey — The women’s ice hockey team hosts Colby at 7 p.m. Friday at Watson Arena in the first-ever HD webcast of the Bowdoin sporting event. Watch the game live online. Men’s Ice Hockey — The men’s game against Colby in Waterville will also be at 7 p.m. in Alford Rink. A webcast of that game will be available here.
For Barry Mills, the anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is about recalling a national tragedy as well as the people around him who mattered most.
As we all know by now, tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. For at least some of our current students, 9/11 was a day they will remember forever—only “some,” because, as hard as it is to believe, our first-year students were only five or six years old in 2001. Time flies by and, in addition to 9/11, those of us from the baby boomer generation will also always remember November 22, 1963. We will remember that day because of the national tragedy and also because it is one of those days in our lives that is forever etched in our personal recollection of family.
I was thirteen in 1963 and was in homeroom that afternoon at Aldrich Junior High School in Warwick, Rhode Island. Like tomorrow, it was also a Friday. I was sitting in the back row of the classroom when over the PA system (remember those?) it was announced that President Kennedy had been shot. I remember hurrying home and seeing the replay of Walter Cronkite working to maintain his composure as he announced to the nation that the president was dead. These days, I am swiftly reminded of my own “maturity” when I see a replay of Cronkite’s announcement on the History Channel.
President Kennedy was the first president I paid attention to as a young person. I remember the famous televised debates with Richard Nixon and then deciding to pay closer attention after I read Kennedy’s book Profiles in Courage. I obviously wasn’t able to vote at that age, and I honestly can’t remember which of the candidates impressed me more. What I do remember is how those days of “Camelot” affected everyone, even those of us living far away and in pretty different circumstances in suburban Rhode Island.
Today our students study the events of that long weekend in history books and see the images in countless documentaries. For my generation, it all remains vivid: the violence at Dealey Plaza; the fear and uncertainty about what had been done and by whom; Lyndon Johnson taking the oath aboard Air Force One; and, of course, the Kennedy family gathering to bury JFK at Arlington. But it was the televised murder of Lee Oswald that will forever be imprinted in my memory. I was sitting in our living room on Squantum Drive with my parents that Sunday, watching a small television, when we saw Jack Ruby shoot Oswald on live TV. These days, with reality TV, all of this would probably seem less shocking, especially given the horrors we experience in our national and international media on a daily basis. But, back in 1963, that weekend of horrible events and national sorrow profoundly affected us all. There were only three major television networks then (ABC, CBS, and NBC), and so we all shared pretty much the same narration, the same pictures, and the same sense of shock and grief.
It was a family experience to sit and talk to one another and to try to make sense out of what had happened.
I’m sure everyone of my vintage has personal memories of being with their families and of watching and experiencing that dark weekend together. In most homes there was only one way to watch: the family TV. It was a family experience to sit and talk to one another and to try to make sense out of what had happened. My recollection of that experience is very different from the way we have lived through more recent and equally horrible national tragedies, with multiple media outlets and modern social media allowing us to experience these events on a much more individual basis. Back then, it was very different and, for many of us, that weekend a half-century ago reminds us of family. It also reminds us that many of the people with us then are now gone.
None of this is to suggest that the past is better or worse than the present, but only to express my memory of how those tragic days in November 1963 profoundly affected a generation of Americans. As I find myself bombarded by the media with the history of 50 years ago, I can’t help but remember living through it or thinking about the people and places that meant so much to me.
Of course, all of this happened just days before Thanksgiving and, as we gathered to count our blessings on November 28, 1963, America was very much in mourning. This year, fifty years later, I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving and a day with family and friends that will bring only the memory of good things fifty years hence.
In this column, I will continue to offer my thoughts on subjects interesting to me or of importance to the College, but I want to hear your ideas too. If there is a subject you’d like me to address, send me an e-mail at email@example.com
Amid their winning run, Portland Press Herald‘s Steve Solloway takes a look at how Bowdoin’s field hockey players have achieved their athletic success while maintaining the College’s academic standards. He credits the abilities of Coach Nicky Pearson and the team’s faculty liaison, Associate Professor of History Sarah McMahon, who help students balance their lives in the classroom and on the field.
“(Pearson) and Professor McMahon do a really good job of making players understand [that the academics are] why you’re at Bowdoin,” Molly Paduda, a senior midfielder from Madison, Conn., told the Press Herald.
Valerie Young, a captain of the 2007 NCAA championship team, added that Pearson selects competent, well-rounded players: “Nicky understands Bowdoin. She finds the girls who can juggle the academics and who can play the game.”
The team plays in Newport News, Va., Friday morning for the NCAA Division III semifinals. Bowdoin field hockey has won three national championships since 2007 and made it to the NCAA semifinals seven times in the past nine years.
The exhibition “This Mighty Scourge of War: Art of the American Civil War” brings together paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art’s collection, depicting the diversity of ways in which artists responded to the Civil War.
Curated by museum co-director Frank Goodyear, the exhibition features six of Winslow Homer’s many wood engravings, which became the dominant illustrations of the war through widely-read publications such as Harper’s Weekly. While Homer portrayed poignant scenes of daily life (both on the front lines and at home), other artists such as Martin Heade and Jervis McEntee infused the war into the their paintings metaphorically through storm-filled skies and other symbols of unrest.
Civil War art also took the form of photography, still a fledgling technology in the 1860s. Alexander Gardner and Timothy O’Sullivan were among those pioneering photojournalism by recording the aftermaths of battles and scenes of wartime culture. Other photographers traveled west to capture images of idyllic landscapes as a point of contrast with the war-torn east.
With work from these and other Civil War artists, “This Mighty Scourge of War” showcases the rich artistic legacy of a troubled time. First unveiled on August 8 in conjunction with the 2013 Bowdoin Alumni College, the exhibition will remain open to visitors until January 5, 2014.
Check out the recent Fall 2013 issue of Bowdoin Magazine for a new inquiry into Bowdoin’s contributions to the Civil War.
Shopping lists, bucket lists, to-do lists — lists basically hold up the fabric of the universe.
But only recently has the listicle — an article written as a list — become a widespread phenomenon.
Kurt Eichenwald P’14, contributing editor at Vanity Fair, a senior writer at Newsweek, and a New York Times bestselling author of three books, delivered the November 15, 2013, Common Hour talk.
Eichenwald previously worked for 20 years at the Times as a investigative reporter, columnist and senior writer. He is a two-time winner of the George Polk Award for excellence in journalism and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2000 and 2002.
Eichenwald’s second book, The Informant, was called “one of the best nonfiction books of the decade” by The New York Times Book Review and made into a major motion picture starring Matt Damon.
Published in 2012, his most recent book, 500 DAYS: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars, chronicles the 18 months following 9/11 and lays bare the harrowing decisions, deceptions and delusions that changed America and the world forever.
Eichenwald is also the author of Conspiracy of Fools, an “all-true financial and political thriller” about the intersection of Washington and Wall Street, and Serpent on the Rock, another real-life thriller chronicling kickbacks, payoffs and “shady deals struck with known felons.”
For more information and to view the full Fall 2013 Common Hour schedule, please visit: Events and Summer Programs: Common Hour.
For more lectures, discussions and talks, visit Bowdoin Talks.
Memory is an elusive, curious phenomenon that scientists have spent centuries studying and have yet to scratch the surface.
Recently, researchers have found that the unique handful of people with hyperthymesia, a highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM), who can remember the tiniest details about everyday back to their childhood, can still be deceived into recalling memories they never experienced.
When health problems threaten, how do American families cope? According to Dan LaFave, we deal with health risks not just through formal insurance but by working longer and harder, drawing down assets, and turning to family and community when illness strikes.
LaFave, a professor of economics at Colby College, came to Bowdoin Nov. 13 to present the lecture Mitigating the Consequences of a Health Condition: The Family in the PSID as part of the economics department’s seminar series. Read the full story.
Bowdoin’s first “Pop-Up Museum” popped up in Hubbard Hall for a couple of hours on the evening of Nov. 12, sponsored by the Arctic Museum and Museum of Art. Community members were invited to bring favorite items from home and tell the stories behind their objects.
Video by Ali Ragan ’16
As if the work you do isn’t stressful enough at times, how about those piles on your desk? And what’s the deal with your cubicle neighbor coming in and out all the time with stories and dumb jokes? Hello? Working here. Forbes offers nine pieces of advice to de-clutter and refocus from Sherry Burton Ways, an interior designer and color therapist. Ways recommends adding personal touches to your work space and redecorating using neutral tones. Find your workspace zen here.
Years ago when Josh Friedman ’15 first started diving, he was afraid of sharks. That is, until he met Rodolphe Holler, a marine biologist who told him the truth about the big fish. Compared to many other dangers, sharks don’t present a real threat to humans. Since then, Friedman has made it his duty to carry the message forward.
Friedman spent a month producing a shark documentary, The Plight of the Sharks, which he recently screened at Bowdoin.
The documentary displays some of the wealth of footage Friedman captured while swimming alongside schools of sharks. It follows his journeys across places such as the Southern Pacific, Bahamas and French Polynesia. Throughout the film, Friedman reminds the audience that the creatures we have been taught to fear are beautiful, peaceful and shy. Read the full story by Sophia Cheng ’15 and see more of Friedman’s gorgeous shark photography.
You may think because you’re creative you’re more of a right-brain person, or because you’re so logical, you use your left brain more.
Take this quick test to find to what degree you use creativity, intuition and curiosity versus all those rules, details and rationality.
In the last academic year, Bowdoin increased its recycling rate by 6%, from 29% to 35%, which is one percent greater than its goal. When it joined EPA’s voluntary WasteWise program last year as a partner organization, Bowdoin made a goal to increase the percentage of waste it recycles by 5% in the first year.
The College’s achievement is good news in a number of ways, according to Yoni Held ’14, Sustainable Bowdoin’s zero-waste coordinator. Not only does recycling remove garbage from the waste stream and decrease the College’s carbon footprint (recycling produces fewer greenhouse gases than waste disposal), it also reduces waste handling fees. To dispose of one ton of trash costs almost 10 times more than to dispose of the same amount of recyclables, according to Held. Continue reading about Bowdoin’s reduced recycling rate.
Why on earth does it cost so much to stay in a hotel? For the most part, you’re just using it to lay your head down for the night. Why should it rival a car payment? The answer, in part, finds The Huffington Post, is that room can cost between $67,200 and $610,500 to build. Check out the other reasons why you’re paying what you’re paying.