The Weekly Blog: 9/27/06

NOTE: This post was originally published at princetonalumniweekly.blogspot.com/

On the scene

Plenty to cheer about: From left, freshmen Sonya Bishop, Morgan Dever, and Sarah Mascioli celebrate during the Princeton football team’s 26-14 win over Lafayette Sept. 23 at Princeton Stadium. It was the Tigers’ second straight win to start the season.

Photo by Frank Wojciechowski

Murphy critiques ‘constitutional crisis’

Princeton celebrated Constitution Day with a lecture by Walter F. Murphy, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence emeritus, at Robertson Hall Sept. 19. Murphy, a distinguished constitutional scholar and author, critiqued the current state of affairs, saying, “We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis of enormous proportions.” The causes? A bold president and a passive Congress. After noting that he did “not wish to Bush-bash,” Murphy took the president to task for his use of signing statements, in lieu of vetoes, to deprive Congress of its authority to override presidential vetoes; his broad interpretation of the executive branch’s role in foreign policy; and his wiretapping program, which eluded the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a law put into place specifically to prevent warrantless wiretapping. (The latter is of personal interest to Murphy, who authored Wiretapping on Trial: A Case Study in the Judicial Process in 1965.) Murphy said there are “glimmers of hope” in the way that congressional Republicans have distanced themselves from the president and in Bush’s recent call for Congress to establish military tribunals for terror suspects. But he added that the long-term picture remains unclear. National defense, Murphy said, includes defending the democratic values that set the American system of government apart.

100 years and still kicking

The Princeton men’s and women’s soccer teams will celebrate the sport’s 100th season on campus with a pair of varsity games and two alumni events Sept. 30. The festivities begin at 10 a.m. with a series of informal alumni games at the soccer practice field. At 1 p.m., the varsity women will host Dartmouth in their Ivy League home opener at Lourie-Love Field, and at 4 p.m., the varsity men will take on the Big Green at Lourie-Love as well. At 6:30 p.m., alumni, family, and friends will meet for a reception in the Jadwin Gym lobby. Longtime soccer coach Don Betterton, who recently retired from his post as the University’s director of financial aid, will give the keynote address.

In other sports action this weekend, the football team travels to Columbia for its Ivy League opener (Sept. 30, 1:30 p.m. at Columbia’s Wien Stadium; radio broadcast on WBUD-1260 AM in Trenton). The Tigers beat Lehigh and Lafayette in their first two games and have a chance to start the season 3-0 for the third consecutive year. The Lions, under rookie head coach Norries Wilson, are a surprising 2-0, with wins against Fordham and Georgetown.

Back in shoulder pads

For a few Princeton alums, the start of autumn means a chance to strap on the pads, put on a helmet, and play a real game of football one more time. David Mordkoff ’01, a law student at the University of Virginia, recalls his recent experience playing in the sprint football alumni game:

“On Sept. 17, more than two dozen former sprint/lightweight/150-lb. football players came together to play this year’s varsity sprint football team. For the seventh time in the 12-year history of the event, the alumni came out on top, winning 19-6. The alumni tend to win the game, in part because of a weight advantage along the line (the alums don’t have to make weight, but have to pay a fine of $1 for each pound over the weight limit), and in part from the collection of all-stars that make up the roster.

“It’s amazing to me how the football instincts never fade. Linebackers Martin Booker ’76 and Mark Tranchina ’90 wreaked havoc with the undergrads’ offense. Both of them were anchors on the 1975 and 1989 teams that won league titles, and both could still play today.

“On offense, Mike Piazza ’01, just weeks after getting married, started at tailback and is probably still hurting from the pounding he took while running the ball through the undergrads. Recent grads are always a boon to the alumni team. Quarterback Dennis Bakke ’05 led our offense with his feet as much as with his arm, while other new alums were able to play when the older ones needed a breather.

“While there were lots of bumps and bruises, and the occasional scrape from the excellent new playing surface at Princeton Stadium, there were no injuries. Michael Jackson ’79 heeded his children’s advice as they called out from the crowd, ‘Be careful, Daddy!’ Jackson spelled Piazza at running back and showed that he still has the ability to sift through the defense.

“The award for the oldest alum to play went to Mauro Lapetina ’71, who not only got to bang heads along the line of scrimmage, but also earned family bragging rights. His son, Andrew ’07, is a starter for the undergrads.

“As for me, we had a surplus of defensive backs, so I rotated in on every other possession either at cornerback or at safety. This was probably for the best because new coach Thomas Cocuzza’s spread offense threw the ball on nearly every play, testing alumni legs that hadn’t backpedaled since the 2005 game. Our defense held, and I even got make a couple good hits (one of which I’d very much like to see again on film, if anyone has a copy). That said, I respectfully decline to go into the details of the undergrads’ only touchdown.”

Alumni in the news

Fortune’s Michael Boyle profiled the software company Endeca, founded by Steve Papa ’94 and Peter Bell ’94, in a Sept. 21 column. According to Boyle, “Endeca’s so-called ‘enterprise search’ software makes Google’s ballyhooed link-popularity algorithms look downright quaint by comparison.” … New Jersey Superior Court Judge Kenneth MacKenzie ’57 retired from the bench Sept. 22, but his departure was not quite voluntary. MacKenzie turned 70, the state’s mandatory retirement age for judges, and he told the Daily Record (Parsippany, N.J.), “I’m going kicking, screaming, and digging in my heels. I enjoy my job too much to want to leave.”

More at PAW Online

Under the Ivy – Gregg Lange ’70 describes a crystal Princeton goblet from the 1870s – and a family with a sense of tradition.
On the Campus Online – Laura Fitzpatrick ’08 on summer studies, at home and abroad.
Summer in the Mideast – Links to blogs by students and an alumnus who studied abroad in Lebanon and Israel during the recent war.

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