Monday, September 29, 2008

Parke Burgess

Parke Burgess was kind enough to post a link on Facebook about a book he has just published concerning nonviolence. Parke followed that up with a short summary of what he has been up to: "A couple of years ago I quit my job at Sightline Institute (a sustainability think tank based in Seattle) to write my magnum opus on nonviolence called Our Tragic Flaw: A Case for Nonviolence (see Actually, a couple of years before that I quit my job at Sightline to become a Zen monk. But I didn't become a Zen monk, I wrote my book instead. The vow of poverty was about the same, but the sex was much better! Now I am living with my partner, Ann, and her three children in gritty Tacoma, Washington, teaching cello lessons, remodeling our 1908 house, and talking to whomever will listen about nonviolence."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Class Party

On November 7, classmate Kara (Unterberg) Niederhoffer is hosting a class party in her home in Manhattan. More details soon but please save the date.

Class of 1987 Tailgate at Yale/Harvard Game

We are going to behaving a tailgate at the Yale/Harvard Football game this year. Saturday, November 22 is the date -- please plan to come. More details coming soon!

Yalies Discuss the Economy

On Tuesday, September 23, the Yale School of Management hosted a Roundtable of 30 leaders to explore the current financial sector crisis as well as the Treasury Department proposals being debated in Congress. Nine Yale faculty were joined by business leaders, shareholder activists and professors from sister universities. Participating business leaders included Yale University alumni William Donaldson ’53 BA, former Chair of the SEC and founding Dean of the Yale School of Management; Nancy Peretsman ’79 MPPM, Managing Director of Allen & Company; Wilbur Ross ’59 BA, Investor; Scott Schoen ’80 BA, Co-President of Thomas H. Lee Partners; Stephen Schwarzman ’69 BA, Chairman and CEO of the Blackstone Group; and George Wyper ’84 MBA, Managing Partner of Wyper Capital Management, along with distinguished practitioners including the former Executive Chairman of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation; the President and CEO of Marsh & McLennan Companies; and the President and CEO of Credit Suisse Investment Banking. School of Management Dean Joel Podolny opened the event. Yale faculty joining him included economist Robert Shiller, accounting experts Rick Antle and Stan Garstka, banking law expert Jonathan Macey, finance expert Will Goetzmann, political scientists Douglas Rae and Jonathan Koppell, and Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Senior Associate Dean of the School of Management, who organized the event and served as Moderator. You may have already read or listened to commentary from the Roundtable since it was extensively reported by CNBC and the Wall Street Journal (co-sponsors of the event). However, as part of Yale’s efforts to bring the campus to you – whether through free online courses or the netcast series – we wanted to share materials from the Roundtable in view of the extremely important topics under discussion. Please click to the Yale SOM website Also, you may want to bookmark this site since additional materials will be posted. Obviously, the Roundtable could only offer an introduction to the range of views being debated.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

News from Ayesha Kahn

Ayesha Khan wrote in to say that she lives in Karachi, Pakistan, where she is a researcher working on gender, health, refugee, and other human development issues. Her kids are growing up and the years seem to have gone by too fast. Contrary to what the media tends to cover, there is lots of mundane ordinary living going on in Pakistan. Power breakdowns and escalating food prices have made it tougher, but breakthroughs in favour of democracy have made things better at the same time.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

News from Vinca (Showalter) LaFleur

Vinca was nice enough to send in the following note:

"I write from Washington DC, where I've lived since 1988 -- came here to get an MA from SAIS and somehow never left. I worked on Capitol Hill for five years, then became a foreign policy speechwriter -- first for Secretary of State Warren Christopher, then for President Clinton. Now I'm a partner at a firm called West Wing Writers, together with four of my Clinton White House speechwriting colleagues. It's been an unexpected career for someone who majored in French, but one that has allowed to combine the things I always loved most -- writing and international affairs. And Washington has proven a wonderful place to live these past two decades (though it's hard to believe I've been here that long!); I married my high school sweetheart Dave LaFleur in 1997 and we've got two great kids, son Jack (10) and daughter Evan (8).

Needless to say, there are lots of Yalies in DC too -- but I always enjoy reading the class notes about people I haven't seen in a while. I especially appreciated Yuka Manabe's latest report -- she and I attended high school together as well as Yale, and I am impressed but not surprised to know she is doing such great things."

News from Janet Goodman Taylor

Janet Goodman Taylor writes in that she is married to David Taylor, Class of 1985, and is working in the Development Office of Mount Tamalpais School in Mill Valley, CA. She goes on: "I recently enjoyed a visit with Justine McGovern '85 who was on the West Coast with her daughter Ivy and son Nate touring Bay Area colleges. My son Virgil is a sophomore at The Urban School in San Francisco, my daughter Mabel is in 7th grade and Cosmo is in 4th. David and I are very happy and trying to eat/live locally by raising chickens and growing apple trees."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Updated from David Code

David Code got some additional coverage from the Wall Street Journal for his recent article on marriage and children. Very interesting.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

An interview with Master T

We caught up with Professor Robert Thompson -- TD's "Master T" -- recently. Here are some thoughts he was kind enough to share with the folks of the Class of 1987:

Y87: As the Master of TD, you get to know undergraduates pretty well. In what ways, if at all, are today's students different from students 25 years ago?

Master T: As Master, I get to know musicians in their concerts (we had a world class composer, Timo Andres, in last senior class), women and men from all directions and career choices working as my aides and assistants. I love football and obviously get to know those playing 'ball, but I make an effort to get to know the shy as well as the gregarious, the super-studious as well as the joe and jacqueline college types. With 382 rascals under our roof it is hard to get to know everyone but we damn well better try. Students today have the immortal concerns: will I get a job (a good one) after graduation, girlfriend and boyfriend problems, the whole human bit. Human nature, thank God, is not an electronic gadget, in today and obsolete tomorrow. Human nature is forever.

Y87: Has technology changed what you try to accomplish or can accomplish in your research or in the classroom?

Master T: Not really, though I have backup slides for when power point blows and becomes power pointless.

Y87: What current African-inspired art or music do you think we should be going out of our way to see or listen to?

Master T: The most thoughtful rapper I know is Kanye West, who actually sang a rap about Jesus and, on the latino side, the tremendous energy of reggaeton, Puerto Rico's home brand fusion of reggae, salsa, and the old habanera beat, the beat that goes back clear to W.C. Handy and his St. Louis Blues, the beat that formed the first tangos. It's back just as hard-thumping as ever, DA-ka-KA-kan, DA-ka-Ka-kan. Salsa is now international with a vengeance, and according to The Economist, of all journals, the number one beat of the planet now. I watched superb salsa and reggaeton dancing in Tokyo last summer and incredible salsa at a place called Mama Rumba in Nexico City. To coin a phrase, the beat goes on.

Y87: Many people in our class have children. What do you think we should be teaching our kids, about art and music, or about life?

Master T: The best thing to teach children, via the insights of mambo men and mambo women is: feel inferior to no one but feel superior to no one either. When you treat everyone the same, the world opens up to you.

Y87: I've used what I learned in your class twice in my career - once to land a job and once during a criminal trial. Did you ever think of your "New York Mambo" class as a pre-law course?

Master T: This happens all the time. One guy took my course and entered Proctor and Gamble. P&G guy hated him because he was a Yalie and so sent him out into the South Bronx hoping for zero response for him. The guy heard a Tito Puente mambo on a jukebox as he started to work and told people how much he loved him, then identified another mambo as it came on and la gente said, "valgame este gringo conoce mambo!" He kept his job all right and passed the other jerk by. A woman, trying to enter a law firm, was getting a cold shoulder until a Yalie noted she took my course. "You took mambo? I took it in 1974, is he still around?" She got the job If there is anything Yale taught me when I was an undergraduate it is that a liberal education leavens and prepares you to talk to the world in terms of what's important--as opposed to the latest electronic fad--like, values, for instance. If you want more of my philosophy check out the page Newsweek ran on me last February called 'Mambo On My Mind'. As for my research my latest book is called Tango: The Art History of Love which makes the point that Buenos Aires is one of the most civilized cities on the planet, more theatres than Paris, more psychiatrists than New York, and restaurants that stay open until 2 or 3 or whenever long after New Haven tables are broken down and you feel they are trying to tell you something at 9 p.m. I am working on a new book called Staccato Incandescence: The Story of Mambo and there is lots in there about the latino definition of humor--refusal to suffer--something that might help us deal with a world of shrinking economics.