High School Reunions Via Social Media

If it wasn’t for the Internet and the explosion of social media I probably would not know about my high school reunion. We started finding each other through email before the last reunion in 2000, but facebook, myspace and twitter make finding and communicating a lot easier and cheaper than some places (ClassMates.com). Although the other sites may have served a purpose in the past, social media sites are king today. They’re free and more and more people are using them for way more than class reunions.

Clearwater High School Class of 1990 (on Facebook)

Obama a lame duck in less than a year

Tomorrow, January 21, is Obama’s first anniversary as president. Last night Massachusetts elected a Republican senator to replace Democrat Ted Kennedy after he left office in August for health reasons. This gives Republicans the necessary 41 votes to kill any legislation in the Senate. In one quick and decisive move the GOP has rendered Obama a lame duck less than one year after he took office.

Who would have thought that Teddy Kennedy would be succeeded in the U.S. Senate by a Republican? The GOP now has the necessary 41 votes to block anything that the Democratic Senate majority wants to do, from passing legislation to confirming judges. The White House has been very slow to fill judicial and U.S. attorney slots and have squandered that opportunity. The Democrats have achieved NOTHING, and now they can’t do anything without Republican votes. George W. Bush became a lame duck with two years to go when the Republicans lost control of Congress in the 2006 midterms. Obama may have become a lame duck for the remainder of his term. Source: Unhappy anniversary | BurkaBlog.

The health care bill that was before the senate seems all but doomed to fail in light of this election. Time will tell, but I don’t expect any helpful legislation coming from Washington any time soon.

Budget cuts for Texas’ universities

In 2009 I said the recession isn’t over. I guess it needs to be said again – for future reference: history repeats itself! This is the third time I’ve gone through a recession or slow-down or bubble-burst in the 15 years that I’ve lived in Texas. In the public sector, especially higher education, I think the recession doesn’t really hit until 2 years after the worst of it hits the rest of the world. If we say the recession started in 2008, it was at its worst in 2009, then higher education can expect the worst (at least in Texas) in 2010-11. It’s no coincidence that the Texas legislature is deciding the biennial budget for 2010-11, and universities are facing huge budget cuts – some as much as $14 Million each year. The worst is still to come.

Texas A&M may have to cut $28 million out of its budget over two years. Source: Texas A&M looking for funds to cut after state mandate | The Eagle.

What does it mean to be the worst for an institute of higher education? It means the legislature cuts state monies going to the university systems. In Texas there are at least 6 major university systems: University of Houston System, University of North Texas System, University of Texas System, Texas A&M University System, Texas State University System, Texas Tech University System.

Texas A&M-College Station is in the early stages of identifying potential cuts. Officials have asked departments to prioritize projects in case the state doesn’t provide all the requested funding. Source: Texas universities to cut back after endowments hit | Dallas Morning News.

A 7.0 earthquake hits Haiti

January 12, 2010

A major earthquake struck southern Haiti on Tuesday, knocking down buildings and power lines and inflicting what its ambassador to the United States called a catastrophe for the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation.

Several eyewitnesses reported heavy damage and bodies in the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, where concrete-block homes line steep hillsides. There was no estimate of the dead and wounded Tuesday evening, but the U.S. State Department has been told to expect “serious loss of life,” department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters in Washington. (CNN)

The Shorty Awards

This is what the social media is for: an award show for people that are online writing about being online.

The second annual Shorty Awards nomination process has begun! In January 2010, the community is invited to nominate Twitter users for excellence over the past year. The awards recognize each content creators entire body of work, not just an individual tweet. Nominations are made by sending a tweet, whether its through this site or on Twitter. In February, the nominees will be narrowed down to five finalists in each category. Winners will be determined by a combination of popular vote and by the members of the new Real-Time Academy of Short Form Arts & Sciences. An awards ceremony, complete with 140-character acceptance speeches, will be held in March in New York City. Source: About the Process, shortyawards.com.

Florida football is changing forever

Many are asking “Is Friday the last night of the Florida dynasty?” Source: ESPN. Friday, January 1, 2010, Florida plays Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl, but it may be the last time (for a long time) they play in a bowl. Urban Meyer, the coach that led the Gators to 2 National Championships, suffered chest pains after the loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship. He said he will retire then he said he will take off indefinitely. Add to that his star quarterback, Tim Tebow, is graduating. Florida wont be the powerhouse again for several years, if ever.

At the same time, Florida State is retiring a legion, Bobby Bowden, after 33 years. Friday, FSU won against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl – it was his last game.