Chris Uggen's Blog: July 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

summer reclamation project

After four years on the blog, I took my first real hiatus this summer. Chalk it up to a confluence of factors: feeling frayed and filetted after a long academic year; falling too far behind to justify any expenditure on non-family leisure; the fear that one snarky post could undo a lot of good work as department chair and editor; and, the desire to avoid whiny, sanctimonious, and self-indulgent posts in a period when my privileged head is full of whiny, sanctimonious, and self-indulgent thoughts. In short, the 'ol dobber was down.

Just to turn the page, however, I'm sharing my personal $700 billion summer stimulus package and reclamation plan in the figure below. As you can see, it involves major legislation, a host of agencies, divisions, and departments, and a program of systematic and rigorous self-evaluation. Progress is slow but measurable, although I'm not ruling out the possibility of a second stimulus and reclamation project this fall.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

refresh yourself at

contexts web editor Jon Smajda just flipped the switch on our revamped The magazine side seems to be up and running already, though it will take a little time to migrate all of the blogs.

His Smajdian vision involved clearing out the clutter to get a crisper and more refreshing look and feel. Hmm. I knew I'd seen those design elements somewhere before.

In other contexts news, Jackie Cooper in the ASA press office is spreading the word about the recent racial profiling piece by Don Tomaskavic-Devey and Patricia Warren. Here's hoping it can help shed some light on recent events.

where's that confounded bridge?

Newsweek follows up on an earlier story of sex offenders forced to live under a bridge in Miami's Biscayne Bay. Local residency restrictions bar them from living within 2,500 feet of any place where children might gather, which effectively kept them from living anywhere else in the city. To comply with the conditions of their release, however, registered sex offenders must list an address where a P.O. can quickly find them, which put them on a concrete slab beneath the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

Newsweek offers some new video interviews with people subject to the restrictions and with experts who've written on the subject. I'm reposting the original CNN report below, since folks who haven't followed the story will probably need to see it to believe it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

There is only one Lord of the Ring -- and he just retired

A bartender learns a thing or two about conflict after three or four decades on the job. The Star-Tribune offers this gem from Mikey Mussehl of Nye's:

"When guys come in and you know they're just looking to get in fights, I go into the kitchen and get some onion rings and fries and give 'em to the guy. As soon as they bite into their second onion ring, they're thinking of ways to go home. That grease puts 'em right to sleep."

Food for thought, I suppose, as President Obama sits down for his beer with Officer Crowley and Professor Gates.

Monday, July 13, 2009

national civic summit

the minneapolis hilton is hosting a national civic summit this thursday and friday.

the pi press calls it "a fully wired hoedown for organizations that are in the business of motivating citizens to get out and change their communities for the better," overlapping with the summer meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State.

i'll be doing a disenfranchisement talk from 3-4 on thursday, but the schedule is packed with fine speakers, a big weds night party, a live tweetup, and other events.