JOHN SHEVELAND, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Excerpt from Piety and Responsibility, by John Sheveland, 2011 Ashgate

Without defining the terms exhaustively, it is helpful at this point to give “piety” and “responsibility” some flesh. In a formal way, I suggest that “piety” be understood in two manners. First, it is the human subjective response, as a “Yes,” to the religious experiences of finitude, vulnerability and being threatened.

These traits of finitude mark the lives of human beings in the world. Second, because it suggests much more than acceptance of the conditions of finitude, “piety” should also be understood in more theologically normative categories as a religious response to sin, guilt and inauthenticity (Rahner), or to covenant infidelity, self-contradiction and “impossibility” (Barth), or to the consciousness of mis-knowing one’s fundamental relationship to God consisting in absolute dependence and service (Desika). What makes this second construal of “piety” more theologically normative than the first is that it underscores the reality of sin affecting the human person and consequently the same person’s absolute dependence on the grace that heals and restores her to proper relationality, in both the vertical and horizontal senses of that word. Rahner, Barth and Desika each give expression to this pattern in their own nuanced ways.

To know oneself as the creature standing before God in radical dependence gives birth to a related disposition: gratitude for the gift that is grace. Piety is thus a disposition born from the consciousness of oneself as finite, sinful and receptive, a disposition which gives particular shape to one’s self-consciousness before God as vulnerable, dependent and grateful. These dispositions underscore the human creature as it should be.

Likewise, in a formal way, I suggest that “responsibility” be understood as the practical, active and relational component of living before God under the determination of these same religious experiences of vulnerability, dependence and gratitude. The consciousness of sin and its attending consciousness of absolute dependence underscore the radical dependency on a power and form of life that is neither one’s own nor possible by recourse to one’s own resources, capacities, talents or discipline. Authentic responsibility presupposes grace and empowerment as the condition of its possibility. This precise connection between, on the one hand, a life lived in responsibility and, on the other, its grammar of grace and the many layers of theological articulation this grammar takes on, is the subject of this book.

KATHLEEN MCCHESNEY (’72)

Excerpt from Pick up your own Brass, by Kathleen McChesney, 2011 Potomac Books

For more than a hundred years, Americans have viewed the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an agency of highly skilled investigators who protect civil rights and national security. FBI agents have been aptly described as badge-carrying, gun-toting law enforcement professionals who are led by men and women capable of managing complex investigations and directing dangerous raids and arrests. Many of the skills and qualities of the FBI’s best
leaders are quite similar to those of the best leaders in other organizations, but some are as unique as the agency itself. Beyond the skills and qualities of the most exemplary executives in any venue, however, lies a mind-set of ethical service and the strong belief in the privilege of leadership.

Since 1934 FBI agents have carried guns as a necessary tool of the trade. Extensive technical and legal training in the use of the Bureau’s weaponry includes regular testing to guarantee that every agent, regardless of rank, is qualified to safely and accurately use the guns that he or she carries. During these testing sessions, agents fire hundreds of bullets, the casings of which are automatically or manually ejected from the firearms. At the conclusion of the tests, the casings—or brass, as they are called—are scattered about. Agents are then expected to clean up their shooting area by picking up their brass and disposing of it in large recycling barrels.

As part of their months-long initial training at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Vir., newly hired agents attend firearms classes several times each week. Occasionally, a senior FBI official will observe one of these training sessions or may even decide to shoot along with the class. At the conclusion of the lessons, the young agents dutifully pick up their brass, and if their superiors are shooting with them, they gather their brass as well.

During a firearms training session for new agents some years ago, the instructor welcomed a visiting FBI executive to his class. The well-known and high-level leader humbly took his place at the end of the firing line and strictly obeyed the instructor’s commands. When the class finished shooting, the official carefully reviewed his target. Seeming satisfied with the results, he bent down and picked up the brass that had been ejected from his weapon as well as that ejected from the weapons of the shooters nearest him.

At the next session, the trainees discussed range protocol with the instructor. One student remarked that he was surprised to see that the prominent visitor had cleaned up his own range area instead of allowing a subordinate to do that for him. The instructor, a former Marine Corps captain, smiled knowingly before making his point: “A good leader always picks up his or her own brass.”

This high-level executive was entitled to have his subordinates pick up after him so that he could spend his valuable time attending to the important demands of his position. Nonetheless, by the simple act of picking up his own brass, he proved to the class that he was an equal; and by picking up the brass of others, he clearly demonstrated that he was a leader.

Whether you lead a team of law enforcement officers or an organization from Wall Street to Main Street, as the boss you will have unlimited opportunities to “pick up your own brass.” Through simple, sincere actions, such as forgoing a perk or carrying your own bags, you can convey a high degree of respect for your subordinates, peers, stakeholders, and investors. More important, these types of efforts reinforce your employees’ confidence and boost their morale, making it much easier for you and your organization to succeed.

SHANN RAY (FERCH), Professor of Leadership Studies

Excerpt from American Masculine by Shan Ray (Ferch), 2011 Greywolf Press

HE WOKE in daylight to the sound of a phone ringing, a slight sound he hardly heard from the other room, and he rose and walked down the hall, seven years sober, seven single.  On the phone, quiet, came Sadie’s voice.  We borrow dignity, Benjamin thought, or we borrow disgrace.  He made himself ready.  He wore his best shirt.

They hadn’t spoken since she left.  He didn’t know where she’d gone.

He drove to find her and they went together and sat in a booth at Frank’s Diner and she told him she’d moved back with her mother in Minnesota.  She’d been gone seven, sober three.  Her work had been consistent and good.  She didn’t contact him because she didn’t trust herself.

“And if I said I’m with someone else?” he said.

She felt his eyes burn into her.  She looked away, to the window.  “I’d be happy for you,” she said.  “And sad for me.”  She turned to him again.  She didn’t look down or away.

Her sincerity broke him.  His voice failed.  She stared at him.

“I’m not with someone else,” he said.

IN MONTANA on the high steppe below the great mountains the birds called raptors fly long and far and with their translucent predatory eyes they see for miles.  The Blackfeet called it the backbone of the world.  Once he watched two golden eagles sweeping from the pinnacled heights, the great stone towers.  He was three hours from Billings, west past Bozeman.  The day was crisp, the sky free of clouds, the sun solitary and white at the zenith.  Hunting whitetail he sat on his heels, his rifle slung across his back as he glassed the edge of coulees and the brush that lined the fields.  He used the binoculars with focused precision, looking for the crowns of bucks that would be laying down, hiding.  But it was up high to his right, along the granite ridge of the nearest mountain, where he’d seen movement.

He recognized the birds and set the glasses on them and saw distinctly their upward arc far above the ridgeline.  He followed them as they reached an impossibly high apex where they turned and drew near each other and with a quick strike locked talons and fell.  The mystery, he thought, simple as that, the bright majesty of all things.  They gripped one another and whirled downward, cumbersome and powerful and elegant.  He followed them all the way down and at last the ground came near and they broke and seemed suddenly to open themselves and catch the wind again and lift.  Their wings cleaved the air as they climbed steadily until at last they opened wide and caught the warm thermals that sent them with great speed arcing above the mountain.  There they dipped for a moment, then rose again on vigorous wingbeats all the way to the top of the sky where they met one another and held each other fiercely and started all over, falling and falling.

SHARON CADE (’76, Regent)

Excerpt from Stepping Stones to Calculus, by Sharon Cade 2011

Greetings to all of you beginning this first step to your success in Calculus, or as you review for the SAT, GRE, GMAT, or just to re-think through the mathematics you have learned.

I wrote this book because there are many concepts to master before a person takes that next step into a mathematical world of calculating the rate of change, measuring speed, finding volume and area and seeing mathematics differently.  I hope to minimize your chance of being intimidated by calculus – when making the academic equivalent of a “jump to light speed.”  Or, I want to “jog your memory” so that you can have success in whatever mathematical ventures you will take in your lives.

I congratulate your willingness to review the foundational points of mathematics. By taking the time to become familiar with them the mathematics of calculus will be more manageable.  The material presented and the problem sets are geared to get “your mind back into thinking mathematically”. Take a little time, read the text, try the problems and you will find that the algebra will not hold you back from mastering the concepts of this new world of Calculus.

The book is in color to help you better see the relationships between the graphical, numerical, and algebraic relationships of various concepts.  By reading through the entire text, you should get a better sense of all the mathematics, the building blocks, that you have studied and it should help you see the bigger picture.  This book is like a set of summaries of each major topic that you have studied.  Remember, MATH IS FUN, let yourself go, enjoy the challenge of learning something new built on the foundation of your prior knowledge.

ANN OSTENDORF, Assistant Professor of History

Excerpt from Sounds American: National Identity and Music Cultures of the Lower Mississippi, by Ann Ostendorf, 2011 University of Georgia Press.

On January 8, 1804, just two weeks after the United States took control of the Louisiana Territory, the first of a number of disturbances occurred between the locals and the newcomers at a public ball in New Orleans.  As a French and English quadrille formed simultaneously on the dance floor, an argument ensued over which the band should play.  When an American raised his walking stick at a fiddler, “bedlam ensued.”  The new American governor William Claiborne, who was present at the affair, managed to calm the crowd.  Dancing resumed with a French quadrille.  Soon, an American again interrupted calling for an English quadrille.  Then, someone cried out, “if the women have a drop of French blood in their veins, they will not dance.”  The women abandoned the hall, ending the ball. [1]

Although this was the version of the evening presented by the former French governor Pierre Clement de Laussat, Claiborne himself verified the urgency of the events in his letter to Secretary of State James Madison two days later.  “A Fracas also took place at a Public Ball on Thursday last which altho’ it rose from trifling causes has occasioned some warmth.  It originated in a contest between some young Americans and Frenchmen, whether the American or French Dances should have a preference.  I believe this affair is at an end, but being desirous at the present juncture of communicating every circumstance which might have a political tendency, I have deemed it worthy of mentioning.” [2]  Unfortunately for Claiborne, this incident was only the beginning of many disagreements between the new Americans and the locals that would be articulated in ethnic terms and expressed through the music culture.

To prevent future conflicts, city officials, including Mayor Boré, requested an increased police force at the balls and the publishing of a proscribed dance order.  Governor Claiborne complied by posting an officer and fifteen men at the ballroom door. [3]  These new regulations seem to have had the opposite effect of that which was desired, and mayhem once again ensued on the night of the new rules.  The ball began following the new legal dance order of two rounds of French quadrilles, followed by one round of English quadrilles, and then one round of waltzes. [4] “The ball began in a generally bad atmosphere,” recalled Laussat, which may have led to its quick descent into confusion as further arguing developed over following the posted dance order.  The inability of the two groups to communicate in the same language, many only speaking French or English, further prevented the chance for compromise.  Thirty Americans and Frenchmen commenced fighting, and the guards began making arrests.  When the fighting died down and everyone realized almost all the women had left, the American “General Wilkinson intoned the ‘Held [Hail] Columbia,’ accompanied by the music of his staff, then ‘God save the King,’ then huzzas.  The French, on their side, sang ‘Enfants de la Patrie, Peuple français, peuple de frères,’ and shouted ‘Vive la Republique!’  It was an infernal brawl.” [5]

1. Laussat, Memoirs of My Life, 85-86.
2. Claiborne, Official Letter, 331.
3. Ibid., 351-352.
4. Costonis, “The War of the Quadrilles,” 71-72.
5. Laussat, Memoirs of My Life, 94-95.

ROBERT DONNELLY, Associate Professor of History

Excerpt from Dark Rose: Organized Crime and Corruption in Portland, by Robert Donnelly, 2011  University of Washington

In April 1956, Portland Oregonian investigative reporters Wallace Turner and William Lambert—using information provided by the city’s infamous crime boss, James Elkins—exposed the city’s organized crime rackets and the corrupt law enforcement officials who either tolerated or profited from them. Most damning, the Oregonian reporters unwrapped a scheme by Teamsters union officials to take over alcohol sales and distribution, and profit from the city’s vice rackets: prostitution, gambling, and bootlegging. The alarmed public outcry that followed revealed that Portlanders were surprised by the collapse of civic virtue in their officials, but scandals of this nature were by no means unique to the Rose City—if anything, the sensational vice crimes of Portland seemed to conform to a fairly commonplace pattern of nationwide urban corruption in the post–World War II era.

Government officials, likewise, had been concerned for some years about union racketeering. The FBI and the U.S. Senate had been gathering evidence on the questionable organizational tactics of local Teamsters’ bosses, to say nothing of the flamboyantly illegal activities of its most prominent leaders. Reports of labor racketeering from Portland and around the country inspired powerful leaders in the U.S. Senate, particularly Democratic Senator John McClellan and his Chief Counsel Robert Kennedy, to investigate racketeering by union officials in many U.S. cities. By 1957, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field, better known as the McClellan Committee, discovered that Portland experienced the same incidence of labor racketeering, organized crime, and political corruption as the larger cities of New York, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Detroit. In fact, the Portland case was vital to the Senate investigation. Witnesses from the Pacific Northwest, including Turner, Lambert, and Elkins, opened the hearings in 1957 with explosive testimony of urban vice and labor racketeering that implicated national labor leaders and local law enforcement officials.

Portland’s vice scene and its entanglement with labor racketeering made the city critical to investigating, if not unraveling, a national crime network. Federal investigators found that Teamsters Vice President Frank Brewster ordered union organizers to control liquor distribution in Oregon and then opened brothels, launched gambling operations, and managed bars and clubs to profit from Portland’s lucrative vice industry. To do this, they bribed local and state law enforcement officials. Inspired by the Oregonian exposé, the McClellan Committee widened its investigation and ultimately uncovered evidence that Teamsters President Dave Beck embezzled union funds and that Teamsters Vice President Jimmy Hoffa was connected to the mob.

The case in Portland demonstrated patterns of vice and corruption consistent with those present in larger U.S. cities and reveals a generally unknown, but truly fascinating element of the local history of a great American city. Looking at Portland’s history and the recurrence of vice and law enforcement corruption enables further insight and understanding of the post–World War II city and the post–World War II period as a response to progressive reform. Portland itself is an exceptional case study of repeated and failed efforts by progressive reformers to clean up municipal government and police morality.

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