Archives for the month of: July, 2012

An ongoing challenge for me has been keeping up with the contacts I make at meetings and conventions. Inevitably, I receive a number of business cards from interesting folks with whom I’d like to keep in touch.  In the past they’d end up in a desk drawer or card file, but when I finally go through them later, I have no idea who those folks they are or where I met them (though frankly, Google tends to solve the former problem).

Well, there’s a nifty little app that helps tremendously with this problem. It’s called CardMunch. LinkedIn purchased it, and it’s functionality increased as a result.  Here’s how it works.  Download the app to your phone.  Then, open the app and take a picture of the card.  The app will create a folder of the cards on your phone and links each card to the contact’s LinkedIn profile, if they have one.  You can make notes in their listing, such as where you met them or why you collected their card.

Here’s a review of CardMunch by PC Mag, which frankly, does a better job of explaining all the features than I can.  The bottom line for me is that I am able to keep better track of and make the most of the new contact I meet with CardMunch than was possible with the old-fashioned card file. Let me know what you think!

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On July 14th, I attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Institute on Race and Ethnicity’s 2nd Annual Civil Rights Heritage Commemoration and Celebration at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum. When arrived I pleased to see, and be able to spend time with several members of the Harold Flowers Law Society who were attending, including Judge Leon Johnson, President of the Society, Judge Kathleen Bell, Valerie Kelly, Dean Felicia Epps, Collette Honorable and Maurice Rigsby.

The event was held to honor the Little Rock Nine, L.C. and Daisy Bates and Christopher Mercer Jr., an alumnus of our law school. I was especially looking forward to seeing Chris (C.C.) and his family. I could spend an entire blog post on him, but instead encourage you to read about his many contributions here and here.

Although I did not grow up in Arkansas, I, like many people growing up at the time remember the images from the integration of Little Rock’s Central High School, and have read about the experiences of several of the Little Rock Nine over the years. In 2007, I had the good fortunate to attend, with University of Arkansas Chancellor Emeritus John White, the 50 Year Commemoration of the integration of Central High School. There were many events, to celebrate that significant milestone, but the 50 Year event we attended was held on the lawn of Central High, and President Clinton was the keynote speaker. If you should find yourself in Little Rock, you should put Central High and the Central High Museum on your list of “must see” places.

As part of last week’s commemoration, the Institute unveiled Civil Rights Heritage Markers which are to be installed on President Clinton Avenue. Among the featured speakers was Ms. Rider Bliss Ann Malone-Hunter, a retired teacher and former Freedom Rider, who had not returned to Arkansas since her involvement in the Civil Rights movement many years before. She talked about how good it felt to return to a changed Little Rock, and the reason she felt compelled to stand up to injustice. She charged the young people in the audience to do the same. Minniejean Brown Trickey spoke on behalf of the Little Rock Nine. She talked about the “handsome” Attorney Mercer’s role in the integrations of Central High and scolded those who say, “We’re tired of hearing about all this.” She stressed the importance of sharing history so as not to repeat it, and the power that the story has for young people.

Unfortunately C.C’s health was such that he was unable to attend the day’s events, but I was able to visit with him later that day, in his home to share the day’s events and to see how he was doing. His daughter Crystal Mercer spoke on his behalf in a talk that was poignant, funny and eloquent. She said of her father, “His daughter Crystal Mercer spoke in his absence. “Some people have called my father an unsung hero. He is not unsung, to me he is a giant,” You can watch a video of the occasion here.

The day’s events also consisted of a forum on “Examining the Legacy of the Little Rock Nine.” I was entitled, “On the Path to Excellence in Education: Lessons for Today through the Lens of 1957.” The panelists for the forum were Terrence Roberts, a member of the Little Rock Nine, Bliss Ann Malone Hunter (mentioned above), Sadie Mitchell, Associate Superintendent, Elementary, Little Rock School District, Nancy Rousseau, Principal, Central High School and Hilary Trudell, a 2012 graduate of the Clinton School of Public Service. You can view a video of the forum here.

The event also celebrated the Institute’s one year anniversary. The Director, Professor Adjoa Aiyetero, shared with the audience, the Institute’s accomplishments over the last year, its goals and major initiatives.

Later that evening it was time to unwind after the drive down and a day on the go. I’d intended to go to By the Glass in the Heights, but distracted by the sounds of dance music, ended up going to Browning’s Mexican Grill to catch a couple sets by the Swinging Franks. It was nice to cut a rug, even if those of us on the dance floor were oldies, but goodies. The Franks are a fun band if you like classic rock with a bit of 70’s dance music & danceable country thrown in for good measure. I can’t vouch for Browning’s food, ‘cuz the kitchen was closed when I arrived, but the margarita was de-lish!

Ugh.  I’m sure many of you have experienced it. The dreadful ongoing exchange of emails when trying to schedule a meeting or conference call. “I can’t do it then, but how about x day?” This back and forth can go on for quite some time, clogging up inboxes with an inefficient flurry of email exchanges between the “attendees.” One really useful tool developed for just such a problem is the online scheduling software, Doodle.

Doodle allows a meeting planner to create a poll with his or her available times and dates.  The poll is then sent out to the other meeting participants who select, from the poll, the times and dates they are available.  Doodle keeps a running tally as each participant responds.  One subtle advantage is that those who respond later are able to see the dates around which there is a consensus. This can help nudge them towards availability.

In the course of several rounds of email exchanges to schedule conference calls, I was reminded of this tool and thought I’d share it with you.  I hope you find it helpful.

This year the University of Arkansas School of Law is taking part in the Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program. As explained on the U/A Law website, the program is an immersive four-week summer program for students entering their sophomore or junior year in fall 2012. The program focuses on the inclusion of the following groups:

  • students from colleges or universities with historical or significant populations of African American, Asian American, Latino and American Indian students;
  • who are the first generation in their family to attend college;
  • who experience significant financial challenges; and
  • student populations which are historically underrepresented in law school. The program is sponsored by the LSAC DiscoverLaw.org PLUS Program. Preference is given to students who are DiscoverLaw.org registrants.

Today, I am in the middle of teaching a three-day course entitled “Legal Systems and Process.” The course focuses on current events and requires the students to critically analyze reading assignments from judicial opinions, media reports, codes, and constitutions. It also stresses critical reading and oral communication skills. Given the course description, I thought it would be fun to focus on two recently decided U.S. Supreme Court cases that  engendered a great deal of polular press coverage.

The cases, FCC v. Fox Television Stations  and U.S. v. Alvarez involve “fleeting expletives” and “stolen valor.” Both cases raise First Amendment issues, though the Court dodged that issue in FCC v. Fox, and instead focused on due process. The Fox case gave the students an opportunity to study the application of 18 USC § 1464  a statute on Broadcasting Obscenity, and §47 USC 326 on censorship  as well as the FCC  regulation implementing the statute. We also looked one of the FCC opinions, Complaints Against Various Broadcast Licensees Regarding Their Airing of the “Golden Globe Awards” Program, which was being challenged in the Supreme Court case.  To set the stage, we watched a couple of short, funny clips on the case and the issues involved. It was a great class. The students were prepared, focused and engaged in a spirited discussion.

Similarly, before the Alvarez case we looked at a couple of short clips on the topic of “stolen valor,” and will finish the class tomorrow with a discussion of the statute, 18 USC § 704, and the Court’s holding, as well as the anticipated legislative response.  It’s been a joy for me to interact with the PLUS class to and meet young people I know can, and I hope will, go on to become future colleagues and members of the bar.

Many thanks to Talk Business Quarterly for featuring me as one of Arkansas Influential Business Women.  Editor Angela Thomas was a joy to work with and being featured is a tremendous honor for which I am most grateful. You can view the profile here: TBQ.

My Harley, an 883 Sportster is named Bea, which is short for Beatus meaning “blessed.” It’s a great bike, and we’ve bonded. I’ve put a some good miles her, added saddlebags, a bling kit, an air horn and light clutch. She and I have created wonderful memories of great rides.

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BUT… I ran into another lovely lady who’s a real temptress. She’s a 1200 Sportster tricked out with spoke wheels, and detailing in my favorite color–pink.  Check her out.  Thinking… Will keep you posted.

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Some days it’s tough to get off on the right foot.  Those were my most comfortable sandals….Toe-tally unexpected. Good thing they weren’t my sole pair!

One of the greatest pleasures in life is reconnecting with old friends, and I made that one of my goals during my sabbatical year. Although I didn’t catch up with everyone, I did manage to see many of the folks who are near and dear to me. Independence Day afforded me the opportunity to catch up with my old friend David Chapell, no not that David Chappelle! “My” David is the Irene & Julian Rothbaum Professor of Modern American History at the University of Oklahoma. We became friends not long after I landed here at Arkansas, and I came to cherish him as a friend and learn from his as a scholar.

David writes on the Civil Rights Movement and his works include A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow and Inside Agitators: White Southerners in the Civil Rights Movement. With the help of a year-long grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, he is now finishing Waking from the Dream: The Battle over Martin Luther King’s Legacy and is at work on another book tentatively titled The Mind of the Segregationist, 1945-1965. Inside Agitators received a Gustavus Myers Award for Outstanding Book on Human Rights in North America and the Atlantic Monthly described A Stone of Hope as “one of the three or four most important books on civil rights.”

David is as terrific a friend as he is a scholar. He and I nurtured each other through a series of personal and professional challenges. When were together we talk of faith and politics and life, and well he’s just the best. Since I hadn’t seen him for about four or five years, his Fourth of July party seemed the perfect occasion to drive over to see him at his new school and meet some of his colleagues and friends. I was looking forward to seeing him. I headed out for Norman, Oklahoma that afternoon and arrived at the party a bit after 9:00, after a stop at my hotel. I was just in time for the Norman fireworks display. As in much of the Midwest, personal fireworks were banned because of the intense dry spell the region was experiencing.

As expected it was great seeing David and being able to spend time with him. He was gracious enough to chaperone me around town and the campus, given that I’d not been there before. We had breakfast together at a diner named Ozzie’s, in the Norman airport. This turned out to be a “deadly” choice because Ozzie’s offers all-you-can-eat breakfast, and the servers there encourage you to get it. Yikes! It’s not a buffet, you just ask your server to bring you more whatever and she (they were all women the day we were there) will gladly do so. It was a fun place where (seemingly) the locals hung out, the staff was warm & welcoming and the food hearty.

After seeing a bit of the tree lined streets of Norman, we drove over to OU College of Law, because I never (If I can help it) visit a campus and not see the law school. Plus, I’d met Dean Harroz at a deans’ conference and wanted to say, “Hi.” It’s a lovely building. A warm, funny young man working in the law library (whose name I’ve now forgotten, dang it) took us on a tour of the building. I have to say, it’s impressive. I’ve included several pics below. One of the loveliest features was the large collection of Native American art on display throughout the building. I also liked the gallery feature of the courtroom. It is a glass room overlooking the courtroom that allows students with classes to come and go without disturbing the speaker/program.

After leaving the law school we cut through the student union to visit David’s office in Carnegie Hall (yep). It’s a nice old building which is in the process of being renovated. Strolling around campus, we wandered into the University’s Western History Collections. The portion of the collection we visited was house on the third floor of a building that had ½ stories. I know it sounds strange, but between the 1st and 2nd and 2nd and 3rd floors, there were offices. Not sure if that would be, for instance, the first-and–a–half floor or what? But I digress, the space was extremely quiet and contained many interesting artifacts and papers. Apparently scholars from around the world who study the American West, travel there for their research. It’s worth a peek.

David and I also toured the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, located on OU’s campus. The building itself, is architecturally interesting, especially on the inside and it contained an impressive collection of art. The origins of the museum are quite interesting and I encourage you to read about it here. We were fortunate, too because was a traveling exhibit from Dizney Studios with many sketches, and frames from animated features. The museum also has an extensive collection of Native American Art, and works of Romare Bearden.

From there, we walked across the street to tour the wonderful Catlett Music Center, which houses and amazing collection of organs. David explained that the University of Oklahoma it famous for its American Organ Institute, where students can not only study to become organists, but learn to repair and make pipe organs as well. It is only college or university in the nation with a working pipe organ shop catering to those who wish to learn the technical side of pipe organ construction and maintenance. I enjoyed seeing the collection of organs in the Catlett Center, and hope next trip to be able to tour the organ shop.

After spending a good part of the day touring the campus, we had lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant, Coriander, which served light, fresh fare. It was the perfect meal for a hot summer, afternoon. After lunch it was time to say goodbye, with one additional stop—Fort Thunder Harley Davidson—for a t-shirt. It was a treat to spend time with David and delightful catching up on our lives, loves and professional achievements. I’m grateful for that time, and look forward to the next time we’re together.

The 4th of July fell on a super hot Wednesday this year.  The temperature here in Fayetteville, AR hit 98 degrees which tied record highs. Undeterred by the weather, the three amigos (I guess technically I am an amiga) set out on an early morning ride in the Ozarks. My two riding companions were Terry &  Larry and perhaps I should explain how we came to hang out at 6:00 in the morning.  I met Terry in an airport shuttle van when I noticed the gravel on the street that morning.  He put two and two together (gravel is a tad tricky on a bike), and told me he’d seen me out on my bike and wondered who I was. Larry is Terry’s neighbor and friend and they learned to ride together. The three of us have taken several rides together over the past couple of years, but it had been a while, and it was great to be reunited.

Our first stop after gassing up, was fueling ourselves.  We rode to Rogers, and stopped at a fun diner named Lucy’s, which serves breakfast all day. We had a great meal, probably too great, frankly, but hey, it was a holiday.  A guy who had been listening to our stories came over and introduced himself as a long time rider and collector of antique bikes.  He wished us a blessed day and safe ride, and with that we  paid the check and took off.

We headed north up 62 and made a left once we got to Gateway, Arkansas. This put us on Hwy 37  and in about 3 miles, into Missouri. We made a pit stop in Seligmann, Mo., at a convenience and liquor store.  I’m glad we did, because it had two things I’d never seen before.  There was large display of wine by the glass, giving new meaning to get ‘n’ go. The other was a room with two huge cigarette rolling machines.

From there we continued west on 37 past the turnoff for Roaring River State Park (a destination I highly recommend should you find yourself in that neck of the woods), to Hwy 90. This was a new ride for the three of us.  I’d discovered the route while looking for a different way home from Roaring River.  It is a lovely, low traffic road with great scenery and nice curves.  We enjoyed quite a relaxing Independence Day ride, with our American flags fluttering on the backs of our bikes. We left Hwy 90 at Hwy E, taking it South to Hwy 94 in Arkansas. This brought us in on the northern edge of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, which is famous for its military park.  We headed across Hwy 72 into Bentonville, Arkansas, home of Crystal Bridges art museum Walmart corporate headquarters.

By then, the day was reminding us that it would be a hot one, so we made a hydration stop and headed down Hwy 112 south into Fayetteville. Our early start got us home just as the day warmed up. It was the perfect start to the day, to spend time with Terry & Larry, two great guys and fun riding buddies.

This is the rebirth of a fun blog that languished while I took a sabbatical. Thanks for checking in, and I hope you’ll enjoy taking this journey with me. It’s a bit difficult to summarize this blog I’ll definitely be sharing about people, places, events, apps, passing on random musings (often funny or faith-fulled), academic news and travels–and frankly whatever else seems interesting on slow news days.  Thanks again for coming along. I hope you’ll enjoy the ride.  I look forward to sharing with, and hearing from you.

A Sunday afternoon ride.