Friday, March 9, 2012
The article is about the issue of Muslim educational reform in late imperial Russia, a topic that is generally treated within the realm of ideas. Rather than look at 'debates' or 'arguments' about reforms, I zero in on a subject close to the heart of all teachers: cold hard cash.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Finally, though, we had a good dumping of snow on Monday and Tuesday. I was itching to hit the slopes. Unfortunately, time would be tight. I had a meeting in the morning and would be participating on a panel in the evening.
Nevertheless, I managed a quick drive up to Bridger. I skied Alpine, the easiest slope, which is still sunny in the early afternoon (parts of Bridger get dark a bit early).
True confession: I'd always considered skiing a bit decadent. A bit like golf. Yes, you're in the great outdoors but you're getting in a car and driving in order to go down a hill they've developed. Expensive gear is important. I get it.
But I'd skied as a kid, and have fond memories of ending a day at Boyne Mountain in northern Michigan, following my Dad down an empty tree-lined trail back to the hotel. I think this is one reason why I like skiing the Alpine lift at Bridger.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
One point that I was looking to see brought up was what might transpire if Putin were to be driven out of power at some point. My sense is that most people in the US think that this would be a good thing.
Without question, Putin is an autocrat. But while his background is that of the KGB, it's also that of St. Petersburg and late-era Soviet liberalism. While Putin is hardly cuddly and nice, he was by no means the most odious political figure to emerge in Russia in the 1990s.
Is Putin a liberal? Not really, under most people's definition of the term. But he's an institutional man, a complete non-populist. He's like David Stern today or Mintemir Shaimiev circa 2000, someone who's been around so long that he's mostly interested in preserving the status quo at this point. Staying in power. Increasingly predictable.
In other words: Putin might not care much about little Central Asian girls getting beaten up in St. Petersburg, but he's no fascist. No radical.
But that old guard is slipping away. First Rakhimov. Then Shaimiev. And then?