To See What Is Right, and Not To Do It, Is Want Of Courage Or Of Principle.

I read about this in a recent issue of National Review, but here's a straight news story:

The University of Chicago has suspended negotiations to renew its agreement to host a Confucius Institute after objecting to an unflattering article that appeared in the Chinese press. The decision follows a petition, signed by more than 100 faculty members this spring, calling for the closure of the institute. The petition raised concerns that in hosting the Chinese government-funded center for research and language teaching, Chicago was ceding control over faculty hiring, course content, and programming to Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing, which is also known as Hanban.

Since then, Penn State has dumped its Confucius Institute program. The American Association of University Professors has recommended "universities cease their involvement in Confucius Institutes unless the agreement between the university and Hanban is renegotiated". I'm slightly amazed that I find myself linking to an article in The Nation subheadlined:

Confucius Institutes censor political discussions and restrain the free exchange of ideas. Why, then, do American universities sponsor them?

But (as indicated above) it's not just left-wing AAUP/Nation types sounding the alarm. The "This Week" blurb in National Review cheering the Chicago decision, was even more straightforward: "Confucius Institutes are learning centers that are funded, staffed, and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party." (Yes, that's a bad thing.)

It's an unusual issue that unites National Review and The Nation.

Why am I interested? Because the University Near Here has a Confucius Institute too. I've heard nary a peep, pro or con, about it. We lead a sheltered life.

Trophy Hunt

[Amazon Link]

This fourth entry in the Joe Pickett series is another well-written page-turner. (Read mostly on the iPad Kindle app so maybe I should have said: "well-written screen-swipe gesturer".)

While fishing with his daughters, game warden Joe makes a grisly discovery: a dead moose, seemingly mutilated with extreme care and expertise. An atmosphere of dread hangs over the scene

Maybe it's aliens, and the Joe Pickett series is about to take a turn into 1930's style science fiction? Not really.

But the mutilated corpses continue to pile up, including a couple of humans, and that broadens the investigation beyond Joe's employer, Wyoming Game & Fish. Joe's old nemesis, the corrupt Sheriff Barnum, is brought in, as is the FBI agent from the previous book, who also dislikes Joe.

Joe has no special expertise in detective work, but he's dogged, diligent, and motivated. There are a lot of twists and a semi-ambiguous ending that flirts with semi-supernatural James Lee Burke-style explication.

C.J. Box (once again) brings Joe's family into the mix, and does a fine job of giving Joe's wife and daughters unique and interesting character traits. From the past entries in the series, we know that Box isn't shy about visiting danger and tragedy upon the Picketts. This makes reading Box an excercise in trepidation. We're pretty sure Joe's going to make it to the end, but who knows about anyone else?


Last Modified 2014-12-10 12:22 PM EST