Monthly Archives: August 2005

Precautionary Principles

It is hard to know how, when, whether and how much to plan for future events. I teach a course on the history of concepts of the future and the specific post-1945 growth (and decline) of a form of expertise … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 12 Comments

Show Some Class

Living in Zimbabwe for about a year and a half in two separate stays, one in the early 1990s, one near the end of the same decade, I found that there were a number of basic things about the government … Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Politics | 3 Comments

Image of Africa Syllabus

Here’s the syllabus for one of my fall courses. I’ve taught it before, but this is a fairly substantial fiddling with some of what I’ve done in the past. It’s a topic also that I’ve really changed my pedagogical orientation … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Africa, Popular Culture | 12 Comments


There are really only a small handful of historical cases where constitutions have actually exerted real authority over later generations, have actually organized or channeled social and political conflicts. Mostly modern constitutions are like bad peace accords between fundamentally antagonistic … Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Politics | 2 Comments


Much discussion of men who can’t handle seeing their wives give birth. It’s one thing to have a hang-up and want to work it out in therapy and all that. If I know you and you’ve got that hang-up, I … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellany | 4 Comments

Timothy the Grouch

I’m going to be a bit of a grumpus about The Ministry of Reshelving. There’s a simple reason to object to this strategy. The simple reason is that some folks on the left simply don’t seem to grasp that any … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 15 Comments

Intelligent Design: A Small Point, a Medium Point and a Big Point

Lots and lots of good responses recently out there about the problem of “intelligent design” and its assault on science, reason and educational standards. I have three contributions to the ongoing discussion. 1) Increasingly advocates for intelligent design who aren’t … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellany, Politics | 35 Comments

She’s a Riot

South Africa’s Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka comments that South Africa can learn a lot from Zimbabwe’s land reform, namely, how to do it faster. South Africa needs a bit of “oomph”, she says, and maybe should get some colleagues from … Continue reading

Posted in Africa | 2 Comments

Keep On Snitching

The latest and most depressing challenge for anti-violence activists in Philadelphia. Those shirts, following on the infamous Baltimore DVD aimed at witness intimidation, really move me to some irrational feelings of anger. There’s no excuse for walking around with that … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 10 Comments

Mistakes Were Made

The shuttle’s coming back tomorrow or Tuesday, depending on weather, if they have no other problems. Let’s pray that they don’t. After it returns, who knows? Best case scenario, NASA spends a few more millions, fixes the foam problem more … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 21 Comments