Friday, September 30, 2005

Photographic Truth in the Digital Era?

(Compiling sources for students--suggestions appreciated)

Photographic Truth in the Digital Era - Teachable Moment

Greg's Digital Retouching Portfolio

Ethics in the Age of Digital Photography

Fake or Photo?

Digital Truth?

Doctored Picture of John Kerry During 2004 Elections

Doctored Images of George Bush: Political Satire

Doctored Images of Osama Bin Laden: Political Satire

Designing Ananove: World's First Virtual Newscaster

Paul Beatty: Verbal Mugging; David Boje: Storytelling, Discourse Theory and Organizational Structures?

First lets warm up with a Deconstruction Slam:

as I regale you with cliché and tales of ancestors ive never known/i end this oral tome/drenched in sweat/wiping away the crocodile tears/of happy endings/in a make believe world/where people speed listen and skim//the poet goes round/making ends meet/by beating muthafuckas over the head with sound/banging tuning forks on minds/looking for vibrations that don’t stop with time

Beatty, Paul. “Verbal Mugging.” Nuyorican Symphony: Poets Live at the Knitting Factory. Recording of “The One Hundred Greatest Poets of All Time” live at the Knitting Factory, June 8, 1992. Knitting Factory Records.

People who do not tell stories well, listen to stories effectively and learn to deconstruct those stories with a skeptical ear will be more apt to be victims of … exploitation and power games. Stories have many interpretations. If one interpretation gets pasted over all the rest and becomes a dominant or the only political acceptable way to interpret events, we have ideology, domination, and disempowerment. Part of exploitation is to deny an interpretation, point of view, or experience, that differs from the dominant view. Rhetoric about healthy, happy, and terrific harmony and unity can mask just the opposite reality. A simple sounding moral or prescription about consensus or teamwork can mask deeper costs in terms of power and domination. (339)

Story Deconstruction Method

1. Duality Search. Make a list of any bipolar terms, any dichotomies that are used in the story. Include the term even if only one side is mentioned.

2. Reinterpret. A story is one interpretation of an event from one point of view. Write out an alternative interpretation using the same story particulars.

3. Rebel Voices. Deny the authority of the one voice. What voices are being expressed in this story? Which voices are subordinate or hierarchical to other voices?

4. Other Side of the Story. Stories always have two sides. What is the [other] side of the story (usually a marginalized, under-represented, or even silent) …?

5. Deny the Plot. Stories have plots, scripts, scenarios, recipes, and morals. Turn these around.

6. Find the Exception. What is the exception that breaks the rule, that does not fit the recipe, that escapes the scrictures of the principle? State the rule in a way that makes it seem extreme or absurd.

7. State What is Between the Lines. What is not said? What is the writing on the wall? Fill in the blanks. … What are you filling in? With what alternate way[s] could you fill it in? (340)

Boje, David M. and Robert F. Dennehy. Managing in the Postmodern World: America’s Revolution Against Exploitation. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing, 1993.
OK, everyone warmed up?

(Courtesy of Dale Fitzgibbons)

Then you should do yourself a favor and check out David Boje's website:

main website

and perhaps

David Boje's Annotated Bibliography on Storytelling and Consulting

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Jacob Levich: Bush's Orwellian Address

Remember this from September 22, 2001? Is America ready to wake up yet?

Bush's Orwellian Address
by Jacob Levich
Common Dreams

Seventeen years later than expected, 1984 has arrived. In his address to Congress Thursday, George Bush effectively declared permanent war -- war without temporal or geographic limits; war without clear goals; war against a vaguely defined and constantly shifting enemy. Today it's Al-Qaida; tomorrow it may be Afghanistan; next year, it could be Iraq or Cuba or Chechnya.

No one who was forced to read 1984 in high school could fail to hear a faint bell tinkling. In George Orwell's dreary classic, the totalitarian state of Oceania is perpetually at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia. Although the enemy changes periodically, the war is permanent; its true purpose is to control dissent and sustain dictatorship by nurturing popular fear and hatred.

The permanent war undergirds every aspect of Big Brother's authoritarian program, excusing censorship, propaganda, secret police, and privation. In other words, it's terribly convenient.

And conveniently terrible. Bush's alarming speech pointed to a shadowy enemy that lurks in more 60 countries, including the US. He announced a policy of using maximum force against any individuals or nations he designates as our enemies, without color of international law, due process, or democratic debate.

He explicitly warned that much of the war will be conducted in secret. He rejected negotiation as a tool of diplomacy. He announced starkly that any country that doesn't knuckle under to US demands will be regarded as an enemy. He heralded the creation of a powerful new cabinet-level police agency called the "Office of Homeland Security." Orwell couldn't have named it better.

By turns folksy ("Ya know what?") and chillingly bellicose ("Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists"), Bush stepped comfortably into the role of Big Brother, who needs to be loved as well as feared. Meanwhile, his administration acted swiftly to realize the governing principles of Oceania:

WAR IS PEACE. A reckless war that will likely bring about a deadly cycle of retaliation is being sold to us as the means to guarantee our safety. Meanwhile, we've been instructed to accept the permanent war as a fact of daily life. As the inevitable slaughter of innocents unfolds overseas, we are to "live our lives and hug our children."

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. "Freedom itself is under attack," Bush said, and he's right. Americans are about to lose many of their most cherished liberties in a frenzy of paranoid legislation. The government proposes to tap our phones, read our email and seize our credit card records without court order. It seeks authority to detain and deport immigrants without cause or trial. It proposes to use foreign agents to spy on American citizens. To save freedom, the warmongers intend to destroy it.

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. America's "new war" against terrorism will be fought with unprecedented secrecy, including heavy press restrictions not seen for years, the Pentagon has advised. Meanwhile, the sorry history of American imperialism -- collaboration with terrorists, bloody proxy wars against civilians, forcible replacement of democratic governments with corrupt dictatorships -- is strictly off-limits to mainstream media. Lest it weaken our resolve, we are not to be allowed to understand the reasons underlying the horrifying crimes of September 11.

The defining speech of Bush's presidency points toward an Orwellian future of endless war, expedient lies, and ubiquitous social control. But unlike 1984's doomed protagonist, we've still got plenty of space to maneuver and plenty of ways to resist.

It's time to speak and to act. It falls on us now to take to the streets, bearing a clear message for the warmongers: We don't love Big Brother.

To Read the Entire Article

Mike Davis: The Predators of New Orleans and Poor, Black, and Left Behind; Immanuel Wallerstein: The Politics of Incompetence and Decline

The Predators of New Orleans: Catastrophic Economics
Mike Davis
Le Monde diplomatique

Editorial statement:

When Hurricane Ivan threatened the Gulf Coast in 2004, Mike Davis wrote of the callousness of officialdom towards the largely black poor of New Orleans*. Ivan missed the coast, but Davis's words came true this year when first Katrina, and then Rita, inundated New Orleans.


After the criticism of his disastrous handling of the Katrina disaster, President George Bush promises a reconstruction programme of $200bn for areas destroyed by the hurricane. But the first and biggest beneficiaries will be businesses that specialise in profiting from disaster, and have already had lucrative contracts in Iraq; they will gentrify New Orleans at the expense of its poor, black citizens.


Although New Orleans’s most famous tourist assets, including the French Quarter and the Garden District, and its most patrician neighbourhoods, such as Audubon Park, are built on high ground and survived the inundation, the rest of the city was flooded to its rooftops or higher, damaging or destroying more than 150,000 housing units. Locals promptly called it “Lake George” after the president who failed to build new levees or come to their aid after the old ones had burst.

Inequalities of class and race

Bush initially said that “the storm didn’t discriminate”, a claim he was later forced to retract: every aspect of the catastrophe was shaped by inequalities of class and race. Besides unmasking the fraudulent claims of the Department of Homeland Security to make Americans safer, the shock and awe of Katrina also exposed the devastating consequences of federal neglect of majority black and Latino big cities and their vital infrastructures. The incompetence of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) demonstrated the folly of entrusting life-and-death public mandates to clueless political appointees and ideological foes of “big government”. The speed with which Washington suspended the prevailing wage standards of the Davis-Bacon Act (2) and swung open the doors of New Orleans to corporate looters such as Halliburton, the Shaw Group and Blackwater Security, already fat from the spoils of the Tigris, contrasted obscenely with Fema’s deadly procrastination over sending water, food and buses to the multitudes trapped in the stinking hell of the Louisiana Superdome.

But if New Orleans, as many bitter exiles now believe, was allowed to die as a result of governmental incompetence and neglect, blame also squarely falls on the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge, and especially on City Hall on Perdido Street. Mayor C Ray Nagin is a wealthy African-American cable television executive and a Democrat, who was elected in 2002 with 87% of the white vote (3).

He was ultimately responsible for the safety of the estimated quarter of the population that was too poor or infirm to own a car. His stunning failure to mobilise resources to evacuate car-less residents and hospital patients, despite warning signals from the city’s botched response to the threat of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, reflected more than personal ineptitude: it was also a symbol of the callous attitude among the city’s elites, both white and black, toward their poor neighbours in backswamp districts and rundown housing projects. Indeed, the ultimate revelation of Katrina was how comprehensively the promise of equal rights for poor African-Americans has been dishonoured and betrayed by every level of government.


A partial ethnic cleansing of New Orleans will be a fait accompli without massive local and federal efforts to provide affordable housing for tens of thousands of poor renters now dispersed across the country in refugee shelters. Already there is intense debate about transforming some of poorest, low-lying neighbourhoods, such the Lower Ninth Ward (flooded again by Hurricane Rita), into water retention ponds to protect wealthier parts. As the Wall Street Journal has rightly emphasised, “That would mean preventing some of New Orleans’s poorest residents from ever returning to their neighbourhoods” (14).

Epic political dogfight
As everyone recognises, the rebuilding of New Orleans and the rest of afflicted Gulf region will be an epic political dogfight. Already Nagin has staked out the claims of the local gentrifying class by announcing that he will appoint a 16-member reconstruction commission evenly split between whites and blacks, although the city is more than 75% African-American. Its “white-flight” suburbs (social springboards for neo-Nazi David Duke’s frightening electoral successes in the early 1990s) will fiercely lobby for their cause, while Mississippi’s powerful Republican establishment has already warned that it will not play second fiddle to Big Easy Democrats. In this inevitable clash of interest groups, it is unlikely that the city’s traditional black neighbourhoods, the true hearths of its joyous sensibility and jazz culture, will be able to exercise much clout.

The Bush administration hopes to find its own resurrection in a combination of rampant fiscal Keynesianism and fundamentalist social engineering. Katrina’s immediate impact on the Potomac was such a steep fall in Bush’s popularity, and, collaterally, in approval for the US occupation of Iraq, that Republican hegemony seemed suddenly under threat. For the first time since the Los Angeles riots of 1992, “old Democrat” issues such as poverty, racial injustice and public investment temporarily commanded public discourse, and the Wall Street Journal warned that Republicans had “to get back on the political and intellectual offensive” before liberals like Ted Kennedy could revive New Deal nostrums, such as a massive federal agency for flood -control and shoreline restoration along the Gulf coast (15).

The Heritage Foundation hosted meetings late into the night at which conservative ideologues, congressional cadres and the ghosts of Republicans past (such as Edwin Meese, Ronald Reagan’s former Attorney General) hashed a strategy to rescue Bush from the toxic aftermath of Fema’s disgrace. New Orleans’s floodlit but empty Jackson Square was the eerie backdrop for Bush’s 15 September speech on reconstruction. It was an extraordinary performance. He sunnily reassured two million victims that the White House would pick up most of the tab for the estimated $200bn flood damage: deficit spending on a scale that would have given Keynes vertigo. (It has not deterred him from proposing another huge tax cut for the super-rich.)

Bush wooed his political base with a dream list of long-sought-after conservative social reforms: school and housing vouchers (16), a central role for churches, an urban homestead lottery (17), extensive tax breaks to businesses, the creation of a Gulf Opportunity Zone (18), and the suspension of annoying government regulations (in the fine print these include prevailing wages in construction and environmental regulations on offshore drilling).

For connoisseurs of Bush-speak, the speech was a moment of exquisite déjà vu. Had not similar promises been made on the banks of the Euphrates? As Paul Krugman cruelly pointed out, the White House, having tried and failed to turn Iraq “into a laboratory for conservative economic policies”, would now experiment on traumatised inhabitants of Biloxi and the Ninth Ward (19). Congressman Mike Pence, a leader of the powerful Republican Study Group which helped draft Bush’s reconstruction agenda, emphasised that Republicans would turn the rubble into a capitalist utopia: “We want to turn the Gulf Coast into a magnet for free enterprise. The last thing we want is a federal city where New Orleans once was” (20).

Symptomatically, the Army Corps in New Orleans is now led by the official who formerly oversaw contracts in Iraq (21). The Lower Ninth Ward may never exist again, but already the barroom and strip-joint owners in the French Quarter are relishing the fat days ahead, as the Halliburton workers, Blackwater mercenaries, and Bechtel engineers leave their federal paychecks behind on Bourbon Street. As they say in Cajun, — and no doubt now in the White House too — “laissez les bons temps rouler!”

To Read the Entire Article

Also from TomDispatch a report last year about similar problems in regards to Bush's response to Hurricane Ivan:

Mike Davis: Poor, Black, and Left Behind


Commentary No. 169, Sept. 15, 2005
Katrina: The Politics of Incompetence and Decline
Immanuel Wallerstein

The entire world has been following with stupefaction the incredible performance of the U.S. federal government's response to the physical and human disaster of the hurricane Katrina. All the television networks of the U.S. and of many other countries plus all the major newspapers have been following the story in detail. The general reaction has been to ask how could the government of the richest and most powerful country in the world have reacted to this disaster as poorly as, or even much less well than, governments of poor Third World countries? The simple answer is a combination of incompetence and decline. And the results of this disaster will be a further diminution of respect for the president within the United States and a deepened skepticism in other countries about the United States's capacity to put action behind vacuous rhetoric.

The initial reaction of George W. Bush to Katrina was to say, how could anyone have predicted that the levees would be breached and 80% of the city of New Orleans flooded? As a matter of fact, the Houston Chronicle predicted it in 2001. The New Orleans Times-Picayune predicted it in 2002. And the National Geographic, one of America's most widely-read magazines (and one totally apolitical), predicted it in 2004. As a matter of fact as well, such a catastrophe was listed in documents of the government published during Bush's own presidency as one of three potential major catastrophes that were quite possible. In addition, anyone listening to the television two days before Katrina struck heard the mayor of New Orleans warn the citizens of New Orleans (and the world) that this time, this was a really serious storm, and he ordered mandatory evacuation of the city. As everyone knows now very well, only 80% of the residents had the car and the money with which to evacuate. Did the U.S. government think urgently to send in buses before the storm hit and the levees broke, in order to evacuate the other 20 percent? Of course not.

Ten days after the crisis began, the government seemed to get its act together somewhat, but ten days is a long time. This long delay was however not accidental. It is the direct result of how the Bush regime operates--poor judgment and active indifference to anything that isn't high on their list of priorities. They missed the boat at many different points in the almost five years before Katrina. After Sept. 11, they promised to make sure that the government would be prepared for any emergency. This was in fact the whole point of establishing the Dept. of Homeland Security. Obviously, they did not do it. They proved as unprepared for Katrina as they were for 9/11. Just last year, they urged Congress to reduce the amount of money that could have been used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repair the levees that were in bad shape. So the Corps of Engineers had to postpone the work.

There is then the question of predicting a storm of such magnitude. There are currently two competing explanations for the ferocity of the storm. One is global warming, which is said to have created conditions in the Gulf of Mexico that favored intensifying hurricanes. The Bush administration has of course always contended that global warming doesn't exist, or at least is greatly exaggerated. The competing explanation is that hurricane strength is a cyclical phenomenon, and that every thirty years or so, the average strength goes up and then goes down. But even if only the latter explanation is used (one that fits the political position of the Bush regime better), it was easy to see that the thirty-year period of weaker hurricanes had come to an end and therefore something like Katrina was highly likely to occur. So, why wasn't the government on the alert? Incompetence and indifference because preventing hurricane damage to New Orleans (and indeed the rest of the Gulf Coast) was not on the high priority list of an administration which wants to fight a war in Iraq, persuade Congress to allow it to drill for oil in Alaska, and repeal the estate tax so that the 2% wealthiest people in the United States can be relieved of this burden.

Another major factor is the political style of Bush and his associates. They made political appointments to all the top posts in the administration. There is nothing unusual in this, since all U.S. presidents do this. But what was different in the Bush style is that Bush and all his appointees were deeply suspicious of the political tendencies of the experienced bureaucrats in the government agencies. They ignored them, they intimidated them, they overruled them regularly. And so these skilled bureaucrats tended to resign. It has been a veritable exodus, not least in the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), the agency in charge of handling such disasters. And this is of course part, a large part, of the explanation of why FEMA did such a bad job--at least until the president finally pulled his incompetent FEMA head, Michael Brown, off the job and turned it over to a Coast Guard Vice-Admiral, who has been handling similar crises for his entire career.

The real question is what now? I am not asking this about the victims, who are suffering in multiple ways and are likely to suffer for some time to come, since they are scattered across the country, without money or jobs or homes. I am asking what now, first for President Bush and secondly for the United States? Bush's ratings, which are already extremely low (by comparison with past presidents), are likely to go lower still. The war in Iraq is every day more unpopular at home and more unwinnable in Iraq. Bush cannot find a way to exit gracefully. The economy is not in good shape at all - oil prices are surging upward, and Katrina surely did not improve things, since New Orleans is a key port in the import and export of U.S. goods, and since both oil wells and natural gas installations in the Gulf of Mexico have been badly damaged. And since the U.S. is now estimated to need to increase its debt by $200 billion to do the necessary reconstruction, the Chinese and other buyers of treasury bonds must be getting more hesitant than ever about subsidizing the improvident Bush regime.

But it is the image of the U.S. that will be the most affected. When El Salvador has to offer troops to help restore order in New Orleans because U.S. troops were so scarce and so slow in arriving, Iran cannot be quaking in its boots about a possible U.S. invasion. When Sweden has its relief planes sitting on the tarmac in Sweden for a week because it cannot get an answer from the U.S. government as to whether to send them, they are not going to be reassured about the ability of the U.S. to handle more serious geopolitical matters. And when conservative U.S. television commentators talk of the U.S. looking like a Third World country, Third World countries may begin to think that maybe there is a grain of truth in the description.

Immanuel Wallerstein

[Copyright by Immanuel Wallerstein. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to download, forward electronically or e-mail to others and to post this text on non-commercial community Internet sites, provided the essay remains intact and the copyright note is displayed. To translate this text, publish it in printed and/or other forms, including commercial Internet sites and excerpts, contact the author at; fax: 1-203-432-6976.

These commentaries, published twice monthly, are intended to be reflections on the contemporary world scene, as seen from the perspective not of the immediate headlines but of the long term.]

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

While Crooks Like Tom Delay Run Riot In Our Government... this is what our government considers to be a threat to our society?

(Courtesy of Andy Johnson and Melissa Purdue)

Did anyone notice that WLEX refused to air last night's The Office, allegedly due to the episode's content (I didn't see it--obviously--but it was supposed to be about sexual harassment)? Instead, the channel showed some entertainment show (I didn't watch it). I realize this is a minor thing regarding one episode, but it suggests that the station is so afraid of the FCC that the programmers would prefer to censor their schedule to avoid the possibility of offending someone who might stumble across a particular episode.

If you censorship as much as I do, you might want to write to WLEX to complain about their actions. Their email address is The phone number is 259-1818. You might consider complaining to NBC as well, since they probably would prefer that WLEX air its shows and not censor them on a whim.

Ultimately, it is the FCC that is to blame for a climate so conservative that creators of cartoons like Family Guy are blurring cartoon nudity that aired without incident years ago. You can contact the FCC here: or find out more contact information here: FCC: Contacts

Thanks for your time, attention, and any action you're willing to do to end censorship!


Tom Delay: Indicted :)

Call For Delay to Resign

Videos of the Anti-War March in Washington D.C.

(Courtesy of Rebecca Glasscock of the Peace and Justice Coalition)

Truthout's Multimedia Page

Wendell Berry: Renewing Husbandry

Renewing Husbandry
by Wendell Berry

I REMEMBER WELL a summer morning in about 1950 when my father sent a hired man with a McCormick High Gear No. 9 mowing machine and a team of mules to the field I was mowing with our nearly new Farmall A. That memory is a landmark in my mind and my history. I had been born into the way of farming represented by the mule team, and I loved it. I knew irresistibly that the mules were good ones. They were stepping along beautifully at a rate of speed in fact only a little slower than mine. But now I saw them suddenly from the vantage point of the tractor, and I remember how fiercely I resented their slowness. I saw them as "in my way."

This is not an exceptional or a remarkably dramatic bit of history. I recite it to confirm that the industrialization of agriculture is a part of my familiar experience. I don't have the privilege of looking at it as an outsider.

We were mowing that morning, the teamster with his mules and I with the tractor, in the field behind the barn on my father's home place, where he and before him his father had been born, and where his father had died in February of 1946. The old way of farming was intact in my grandfather's mind until the day he died at eighty-two. He had worked mules all his life, understood them thoroughly, and loved the good ones passionately. He knew tractors only from a distance, he had seen only a few of them, and he rejected them out of hand because he thought, correctly, that they compacted the soil.

Even so, four years after his death his grandson's sudden resentment of the "slow" mule team foretold what history would bear out: the tractor would stay and the mules would go. Year after year, agriculture would be adapted more and more to the technology and the processes of industry and to the rule of industrial economics. This transformation occurred with astonishing speed because, by the measures it set for itself, it was wonderfully successful. It "saved labor," it conferred the prestige of modernity, and it was highly productive.

During the fourteen years after 1950 I was much away from home, though I never entirely departed from farming or at least from thoughts of farming, and my affection for my homeland remained strong. In 1964 my family and I returned to Kentucky and settled on a hillside farm in my native community, where we have continued to live. Perhaps because I was a returned traveler intending to stay, I now saw the place more clearly than before. I saw it critically, too, for it was evident at once that the human life of the place, the life of the farms and the farming community, was in decline. The old self-sufficient way of farming was passing away. The economic prosperity that had visited the farmers briefly during World War II and for a few years afterward had ended. The little towns that once had been social and economic centers, thronged with country people on Saturdays and Saturday nights, were losing out to the bigger towns and the cities. The rural neighborhoods, once held together by common memories, common work, and the sharing of help, had begun to dissolve. There were no longer local markets for chickens or eggs or cream. The spring lamb industry, once a staple of the region, was gone. The tractors and other mechanical devices certainly were saving the labor of the farmers and farmhands who had moved away, but those who had stayed were working harder and longer than ever.

THE EFFECTS OF THIS PROCESS of industrialization have become so apparent, so numerous, so favorable to the agribusiness corporations, and so unfavorable to everything else, that by now the questions troubling me and a few others in the '60s and '70s are being asked everywhere. It has become increasingly clear that the way we farm affects the local community, and that the economy of the local community affects the way we farm; that the way we farm affects the health and integrity of the local ecosystem, and that the farm is intricately dependent, even economically, upon the health of the local ecosystem. We can no longer pretend that agriculture is a sort of economic machine with interchangeable parts, the same everywhere, determined by "market forces" and independent of everything else. We are not farming in a specialist capsule or a professionalist department; we are farming in the world, in a webwork of dependences and influences probably more intricate than we will ever understand. It has become clear, in short, that we have been running our fundamental economic enterprise by the wrong rules. We were wrong to assume that agriculture could be adequately defined by reductionist science and determinist economics.

To Read the Entire Essay


Thinking About Wendell Berry

Rob Jenkins: Know Thy Students

(Courtesy of Melissa Purdue)

Know Thy Students
Chronicle of Higher Education

"Know thyself," Socrates famously advised, while Sun Tzu counseled prospective warriors, "Know thine enemy." To those legendary admonitions, I would add this one, aimed at anyone beginning or considering a career in two-year college teaching: "Know thy students."

So just who are community-college students, anyway? I decided to play amateur sociologist and explore that question by touring the parking lot at my large suburban two-year campus. The results, at first, were a bit surprising.

From the automobile sample I examined -- in which, by the way, 10-year-old Hondas and Toyotas were disproportionately represented -- I determined that our students tend to come from the lower half of the economic spectrum, that they lean to the left politically (judging by the bumper stickers), and that many of them are struggling to raise young families (car seats were visible in approximately a third of the vehicles).

Then I realized I was in the faculty parking lot.

The student lot, however, was even more eye-opening: Everything from Lexus SUV's to rusted and sagging sedans of indeterminate age and origin, from pick-up trucks to hybrids. Bumper stickers ranged from "Choose Life" to "War Is Not the Answer." (Not that those are necessarily mutually exclusive sentiments.) And yes, a goodly number of car seats were in evidence.

All of which told me exactly what I already knew: Two-year college students are such a marvelously diverse group, they can hardly be called a "group" at all. Demographers may tell us that the typical community-college student is a 27-year-old woman with 2.5 kids, but beyond that rather meaningless statistical analysis, there really is no "typical" community-college student.

That's because two-year colleges are the most egalitarian of postsecondary institutions. Almost anybody can attend a community college, and almost anybody does.

Still, there is much that two-year-college instructors and aspiring instructors can learn about the people who will inhabit their classrooms -- some of it expected, some not. In fact, the truth about community-college students often flies in the face of long-established stereotypes.

For example, it's an article of faith in certain academic circles that students who gravitate toward two-year colleges couldn't hack it at a "real college." Like most misconceptions, that belief is based on an element of truth. It's certainly true that our students, on average, have lower SAT and ACT scores than their counterparts at four-year institutions. The fact that so many two-year colleges have "open door" policies -- meaning that they admit anyone with a high-school diploma or GED -- virtually guarantees that disparity.

Another predictable result of open-door policies is that many new students at community colleges are not prepared for college-level work. In fact, at a typical two-year college, 30 to 40 per cent of first-year students enroll in precollegiate courses (also known as "remedial" or "developmental" courses), based on standardized placement test scores.

None of that should be terribly surprising, given that the mission of the community college is basically to provide access to higher education for those who might not otherwise have it. If you teach at a community college, you can reasonably expect to have students in your classes who struggle to read, write, and compute at a college level. And if your discipline is English or math, you may even be called upon to teach developmental courses. (And maybe you'll discover that you enjoy it, although that's a topic for another column.)

But what I've found surprising, during my 18-year teaching career in the community-college arena, is not how many of my students aren't well prepared for college, but how many of them are. One of the best-kept secrets in higher education today is the proliferation of honors programs at two-year colleges.

Those programs are designed to accommodate students whose SAT scores would allow them to get into "prestigious" colleges, but who find themselves at a community college for any number of personal reasons. Classes in those honors programs tend to be smaller, the curriculum more in-depth, and the instruction more focused on class discussion and collaboration than most courses. The purpose isn't so much to "improve" the student body by attracting "better" students -- community colleges don't tend to think that way -- but rather to better serve all students: the academically gifted as well as the underprepared.

(It's worth noting that few if any two-year colleges offer enough honors courses to satisfy all of a student's core requirements, meaning that such students take many of their classes with the general student population. In other words, they will be sitting in your classroom, right alongside students fresh from remediation. Therein lies the challenge of community-college teaching.)

In addition to students who place into developmental and honors programs, community colleges have plenty of just plain ordinary students -- those who might not have been able to get into the state's flagship university but who certainly would have been admitted to a small regional college.

For many of those students, the local community college is an attractive alternative, because of its low cost, proximity to home, or popular programs. Tuition is often two-thirds or even half what students would pay at a four-year college. And they can usually cut expenses even further by living at home. Because most two-year colleges are part of state systems that allow easy transfer of credits among institutions, students can stay close to home for an extra year or two, take the core courses they need while they figure out what they want to study, then transfer to a four-year institution when they're ready.

That is, if they transfer. A large number of students on a typical community-college campus have no intention of transferring to a four-year campus. They are attending a community college for one of its popular two-year degree programs, such as nursing or information technology.

Here again, the notion that those students must not be as intellectually gifted as their transfer-oriented peers is simply, in most cases, mistaken. Nursing students, in particular, tend to be among the most intelligent and driven students on the campus, because nursing programs at most two-year colleges are highly selective.

Another misconception about community-college students is that they're primarily "returning" students -- i.e., older. While it's certainly true that the average age at a typical two-year college is significantly higher than at most four-year institutions -- around 28 at my institution, for instance -- we also serve our fair share of "traditional age" students, meaning 18- and 19-year-olds.

The truth is, students of traditional college age make up a large and growing segment of the two-year student population. As Clifford Adelman recently discovered in his landmark study "Moving into Town -- and Moving On: the Community College in the Lives of Traditional Age Students," 42 per cent of community-college students are now under the age of 22 -- an increase of 10 percentage points in the last decade. That statistic doesn't mean your students will be any better or any worse, just that they might be a little different from what you've been led to expect.

And that's my point. Community-college students are young and old, male and female, rich and poor, black and white (and Asian and Hispanic and Native American). They're gifted and needy, Republican and Democrat, urban and rural.

Perhaps as a graduate student you envisioned yourself imparting knowledge to the best and brightest at one of the nation's elite institutions. Now you're teaching at a community college, or contemplating doing so. Some might see that as "settling," but you don't have to look at it that way. You can still impart knowledge to the best and brightest -- along with the disadvantaged, the statistically average, and the woefully underprepared.

Even better, as you immerse yourself in the richness and diversity that characterize the community-college classroom, you will discover that your students also impart knowledge to you: knowledge about a wide range of economic situations, family circumstances, and cultural backgrounds. And along the way, you may even learn something important about yourself: that you enjoy being here, in this job, with these students.

Socrates would be proud.


Rob Jenkins is an associate professor of English and director of the Writers Institute at the Lawrenceville campus of Georgia Perimeter College. He writes occasionally for our community-college column.

Essay Link

Phil Donahue vs. Bill O'Reilly

Donahue vs O'Reilly

David Sirota: Hurricanes Rain on Bush's Tax Cut Parade

(Courtesy of Abby Normal who states: "This is what needs to be out in the media. New Orleans IS the Bush Assministration (that spelling was stolen from the blogosphere) fault. Tax cuts to the almighty rich, firing the experts who testified in congress..the list is endless and unforgivable. I hated these lying, manipulative bastards who prey on peoples fears and I especially hate the people who allow themselves to be manipulated by a press that is to corporate, ... and too complacent to do their jobs.")

Hurricanes Rain on Bush's Tax Cut Parade: How the Katrina catastrophe proves that conservatives' tax cut zealotry has left america vulnerable to disaster.
By David Sirota
In These Times


Casual observers wouldn't expect Mike Parker to serve as a de facto spokesman for how the Republicans' tax-cuts-at-all-cost agenda has weakened America. As a conservative GOP Congressman from Mississippi in the '90s, Parker was an outspoken advocate for giving tax breaks to the wealthy.He served as one of Newt Gingrich's lead grassroots advocates for reducing the estate tax--a levy that falls almost exclusively on the wealthiest 1.2 percent of Americans. In his 1999 run as Republican nominee for Mississippi governor, Parker made tax cuts the centerpiece of his campaign. His signature television advertisement featured him shooting pool, saying "When I say I'll fight to cut your taxes, well friend, that's something that you can bank on."

After narrowly losing that race, Parker was rewarded for his Republican service by President Bush, who appointed him to head the Army Corps of Engineers on June 7, 2001. That was the very same day Bush signed his massive $1.3 trillion income tax cut into law--a tax cut that severely depleted the government of revenues it needed to address critical priorities. As Parker soon learned, one of the priorities that would be sacrificed was flood and hurricane protection.

Overall, Bush's first budget introduced in February 2001 proposed more than half a billion dollars worth of cuts to the Army Corps of Engineers for the 2002 fiscal year. To be sure, these budget cuts were one in a number of cuts to public priorities like health care, human services, infrastructure and job training.

And it is true that the cuts to the corps came as the agency was being legitimately criticized: Some of its projects in recent years had run roughshod over environmental concerns, and others had been unnecessarily expensive products of congressional pork. However, instead of reforming the corps and getting it back on track, the White House used the criticism as a cover to gut the entire agency. The cuts were so deep, Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) broke ranks with her party and penned a nationally-syndicated op-ed in April 2001 saying that "lives very likely will be lost."

Consider just a few of the specific examples: In the same budget that provided more than a trillion dollars in tax cuts, Bush proposed providing only half of what his own administration officials said was necessary to sustain the critical Southeast Louisiana Flood Control Project (SELA)--a project started after a 1995 rainstorm flooded 25,000 homes and caused a half billion dollars in damage. This 2001 budget proposal came in the same year that, according to the Houston Chronicle, federal officials publicly ranked the potential damage to New Orleans by a major hurricane "among the three likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country."

Similarly, less than two weeks after Bush signed his tax cut on June 7, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that "despite warnings that it could slow emergency response to future flood and hurricane victims, House Republicans stripped $389 million in disaster relief money from the budget."

By the beginning of the 2002 congressional session, Parker had enough of sitting in silence while these tax and budget decisions were being made. In a meeting with White House budget director Mitch Daniels, Parker demanded the Bush administration restore the critical money for flood and hurricane protection.

"I took two pieces of steel into Mitch Daniels' office," Parker recalled. "They were exactly the same pieces of steel, except one had been under water in a Mississippi lock for 30 years, and the other was new. The first piece was completely corroded and falling apart because of a lack of funding. I said, 'Mitch, it doesn't matter if a terrorist blows the lock up or if it falls down because it disintegrates--either way it's the same effect, and if we let it fall down, we have only ourselves to blame.' "

But as Parker noted, "It made no impact on [the White House] whatsoever." In February 2002, the president unveiled his new budget, this one with a $390 million cut to the Army Corps. The cuts came during the same year the richest 5 percent (those who make an average of $300,000 or more) were slated to receive $24 billion in new tax cuts.

The cuts were devastating. The administration provided just $5 million for maintaining and upgrading critical hurricane protection levees in New Orleans--one fifth of what government experts and Republican elected officials in Louisiana told the administration was needed. Likewise, the administration had been informed that SELA needed $80 million to keep its work moving at full speed, but the White House only proposed providing a quarter of that. These cuts came even though the potential cost of not improving infrastructure was known to be astronomical. A widely-circulated 1998 report on Louisiana's insurance risks said a serious storm could inflict $27 billion worth of damage just to homes and cars--and that didn't include industrial or commercial property. Local insurance executives estimated in 2002 that the total damage would be closer to $100 billion to $150 billion--estimates that now look frighteningly accurate.

When Parker headed to Capitol Hill for annual budget hearings in February 2002, he couldn't hide the truth. Under questioning, he admitted that "there will be a negative impact" if the President's budget cuts were allowed to go forward. The White House fired Parker within a matter of days.

Some Republicans came to Parker's defense after he was removed. Then-Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said, "Mike Parker told the truth that the Corps of Engineers budget, as proposed, is insufficient." Rep. David Vitter (R-La.) said the administration was "in denial" about the cuts. "There's no two ways about it that [the corps] are very underfunded," he said, noting that "southeast Louisiana flood control [is] our most obvious example."

Vitter was right--but he was also "in denial" about his own culpability: Just weeks before, he and his Republican colleagues voted for a brand new business tax cut package, costing the federal government $43 billion in revenues that could have gone to fill the budget gaps Parker identified. And those tax cuts were targeted specifically to the GOP's biggest financial backers. According to the Houston Chronicle, the White House-backed legislation was a windfall for Big Business, "reducing total corporate tax collections by 21 percent."

Inadvertently foreshadowing just how closely tied the tax cuts and budget infrastructure negligence really would be, Bush signed this new tax cut two days after firing Parker.

To Read the Entire Article

Monday, September 26, 2005

Banned Books Week--Read One (or More) Today (and Tomorrow)

From Terry Buckner:

The American Library Association has designated September 25th-October 1st as “Banned Books Week”. This is an annual event designed to educate people about the books that have been challenged or banned, and to raise awareness about censorship in the United States. We, in the Learning Resource Center, would like to take this opportunity to encourage students, faculty and staff to read a banned book! This week, we have a selection of banned books on display, a list of the 100 most frequently challenged or banned books, and bookmarks. Please encourage your students to read a banned book and expand their minds!

Bluegrass College Library Archive

American Library Association

Reconstruction 5.3: Rhetorics of Place

(This post will be at the top of the blog for this month. As the editors we sifted over 150 original submissions in order to produce these 10 never-before-published essays. We would appreciate any responses. New posts this month will appear below this post.)

Please spread the word ;)
We are proud to announce the latest issue of Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture (vol.5, no.3), "Rhetorics of Place" ISSN: 1547-4348.

This themed issue is edited by Michael Benton, G. Wesley Houp and Melissa Purdue.

Included in this issue are:


Michael Benton, "Rhetorics of Place: The Importance of Public Spaces and Public Spheres"


Joy Ackerman, "A Politics of Place: Reading the Signs at Walden Pond"

David Burley, Pam Jenkins, Joanne Darlington, Brian Azcona, "Loss, Attachment, and Place: A Case Study of Grand Isle, Louisiana"

Patrick Howard, "Nurturing Sense of Place Through the Literature of the Bioregion"

Bruce Janz, "Whistler's Fog and the Aesthetics of Place"

Joy Kennedy, "The Edge of the World"

Michael Kula, "What Have Bagels Got to Do With Midwesternness?"

John Shelton Lawrence and Marty S. Knepper, "Discovering Your Cinematic Cultural Identity"

Harry Olufunwa, "The Place of Race: Ethnicity, Location and 'Progress' in the Fiction of Chinua Achebe and Ralph Ellison

Anthony M. Orum, "All the World's A Coffee Shop: Reflections on Place, Community and Identity

Lynda H. Schneekloth and Robert. G. Shibley, "Placemaking: A Democratic

Review Essays:

Danny Mayer on Ethan Watter's Urban Tribes: A Generation Redefines Friendship, Family and Commitment

Matthew Ortoleva on McComiskey and Ryan's City Comp: Identities, Spaces, Practices

Rania Masri on Joel Weishaus' Forest Park: A Journal

Christine Cusick on Joel Weishaus' Forest Park: A Journal

Matthew Wolf-Meyer on Cadava and Levy's Cities Without Citizens


Marilyn Yaquinto on Peter Bondanella's Hollywood Italians: Dagos, Palookas, Romeos, Wise Guys, and Sopranos

In line with our efforts to foster intellectual community, Reconstruction also
hosts a message board dedicated to interaction between authors and readers,
and between readers themselves, hoping to affect a more communal approach to,
and understanding of, academic journals and intellectual thought and action.

Please take the time to participate in this experiment in community.
Additionally, submissions for our future issues are also being actively
solicited: for guidelines go here

Please see editorial guidelines as published on the site for further
regarding contributions to Reconstruction.

Reconstruction is a peer-reviewed journal, and indexed in the MLA

We are also currently seeking reviewers: If interested, a short email
qualifications and interests should be mailed to Michael Benton or leave a comment here.

If you would like to receive our newsletter, with important updates, new
reviews, and notifications about calls for papers and forthcoming issues, please join our community list

Thank you in advance for your time and your participation.

Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture

Mark Vallen: Weblog for Art Theory and Anti-War Art

(Courtesy of Impetus Green Room)

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, I created a drawing titled, Not Our Children - Not Their Children. Sadly, after two years of Iraq being militarily occupied; with 1,907 American soldiers killed as of this writing and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians slain… my artwork is more relevant than ever. My drawing is included in the book, Peace Signs: The Anti-War Movement Illustrated. I encourage everyone to place on their website, the low resolution image accompanying this text (just give me credit and provide a link to ). I also invite everyone to download a high resolution PDF file of my artwork that can be used to print out 8 1/2 x 11 inch flyers. Place the flyers in your car window, on the walls of your workplace, school or home - be creative.
-Mark Vallen's Weblog for Art Theory

Don Hazen: Galloway vs Palast

Galloway-Palast Pissing Contest

Alternet Reports on Saturday's Anti-War Protests

Tom Engelhardt
The staggering turnout of Saturday's protest in Washington DC reflected the American public's growing opposition to the war in Iraq.

Rose Aguilar
Missoula's Take Back Our Country march was a vibrant example of 'red state' Montana's progressive side.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Jonathan Kozol: The Shame of the Nation

The Shame of the Nation: Interview with Jonathan Kozol
By Elana Berkowitz
Campus Progress, reposted at AlterNet

Your new book focuses on what you call apartheid in the American educational system. A lot of people think of apartheid as a term referring to a moment now relegated to political history. How do you see it happening here and now?

I think a lot of people don't have any idea of how deeply segregated our schools have become all over again. Most textbooks are not honest in what they teach our high school students. An awful lot of people come to college with this strange idea that there's no longer segregation in America's schools, that our schools are basically equal; neither of these things is true. Segregation has returned to public education with a vengeance. During the decades after Brown v. Board of Education there was terrific progress. Tens of thousands of public schools were integrated racially. During that time the gap between black and white achievement narrowed. But since 1990 when the Rehnquist court started ripping apart the legacy of Brown, the court has taken the teeth out of Brown. During these years our schools have rapidly segregated and the gap in skills between minorities and whites has increased again. I just visited 60 public schools in 11 different states; if you took a photo of the classes I'm visiting, they would look exactly like a photograph of a school in Mississippi 50 years ago.

You mention that one of the most segregated school systems is in New York and you particularly single out Martin Luther King High School, which I grew up near. It was located in a primarily white neighborhood with almost no white students.

There's the greatest irony of all: If you want to see the most segregated school in America today, ask to see the school named after Martin Luther King. Or Rosa Parks, or Thurgood Marshall. New York City has a school named for Jackie Robinson. Is this an integrated school that represents the ideals for which Jackie Robinson is honored? Of course not. It's a 96 percent black and Hispanic school. There's a school in New York named for Langston Hughes that's 99 percent black and Hispanic. The principal of Martin Luther King High School even said to me, "Honestly, here we are at Lincoln Center in New York in a school that's named for Martin Luther King and I have to hunt around the building to find my eight white students."

Young people in college need to make up their minds whether they want to live in a nation that lives up to the dream of Dr. King or whether they want to live in a divided nation. And if we agree to trample on the dream of Dr. King then I don't think we have the right to celebrate his birthday every year; it's hypocrisy.

But the problem you care about isn't just that schools are racially segregated but that they don't offer the same quality of education.

The words of Brown v. Board of Education were clear: Even if segregated schools could ever be made equal in physical facilities, faculty, etc., as schools attended by white children, they would still be destructive to the souls of segregated children by the very fact of segregation in itself. We have placed them in isolation because we don't want you to contaminate our own schools. It sends a destructive message for young blacks, and they recognize it very well. One teenager in Harlem said to me, "It's like if they don't have room for something and don't know how to throw it out they put it back in the garage." I said, "Is that how you feel?" She said, "That's exactly how I feel."

And these schools are not simply segregated; they're wildly unequal. Nationally, overwhelmingly non-white schools receive $1,000 less per pupil than overwhelmingly white schools. In NYC, to give a dramatic example, there are kids in the South Bronx who get about $11,000 a year towards their education while right next door in the white suburb of Bronxville, they get $19,000. Kids that I write about are treated by America as if they were worth half as much as children in the white suburbs.

I often hear privileged white people say, "Well, that doesn't sound quite fair, but can you really buy your way to a better education for poor kids?" Typically people who ask that question send their kids to Andover and Exeter. And still, the parents who spend $30,000 a year to guarantee their child a royal road into the Ivy League have the nerve to look me in the eyes and ask me about buying your way into a better education.

Link to the Entire Interview

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Samantha Powers: Bystanders to Genocide

(Courtesy of Rob Sica)

Samantha Power, "Bystanders to Genocide," The Atlantic Monthly, September 2001

I. People Sitting in Offices

In the course of a hundred days in 1994 the Hutu government of Rwanda and its extremist allies very nearly succeeded in exterminating the country's Tutsi minority. Using firearms, machetes, and a variety of garden implements, Hutu militiamen, soldiers, and ordinary citizens murdered some 800,000 Tutsi and politically moderate Hutu. It was the fastest, most efficient killing spree of the twentieth century.

A few years later, in a series in The New Yorker, Philip Gourevitch recounted in horrific detail the story of the genocide and the world's failure to stop it. President Bill Clinton, a famously avid reader, expressed shock. He sent copies of Gourevitch's articles to his second-term national-security adviser, Sandy Berger. The articles bore confused, angry, searching queries in the margins. "Is what he's saying true?" Clinton wrote with a thick black felt-tip pen beside heavily underlined paragraphs. "How did this happen?" he asked, adding, "I want to get to the bottom of this." The President's urgency and outrage were oddly timed. As the terror in Rwanda had unfolded, Clinton had shown virtually no interest in stopping the genocide, and his Administration had stood by as the death toll rose into the hundreds of thousands.

Why did the United States not do more for the Rwandans at the time of the killings? Did the President really not know about the genocide, as his marginalia suggested? Who were the people in his Administration who made the life-and-death decisions that dictated U.S. policy? Why did they decide (or decide not to decide) as they did? Were any voices inside or outside the U.S. government demanding that the United States do more? If so, why weren't they heeded? And most crucial, what could the United States have done to save lives?

So far people have explained the U.S. failure to respond to the Rwandan genocide by claiming that the United States didn't know what was happening, that it knew but didn't care, or that regardless of what it knew there was nothing useful to be done. The account that follows is based on a three-year investigation involving sixty interviews with senior, mid-level, and junior State Department, Defense Department, and National Security Council officials who helped to shape or inform U.S. policy. It also reflects dozens of interviews with Rwandan, European, and United Nations officials and with peacekeepers, journalists, and nongovernmental workers in Rwanda. Thanks to the National Security Archive (, a nonprofit organization that uses the Freedom of Information Act to secure the release of classified U.S. documents, this account also draws on hundreds of pages of newly available government records. This material provides a clearer picture than was previously possible of the interplay among people, motives, and events. It reveals that the U.S. government knew enough about the genocide early on to save lives, but passed up countless opportunities to intervene.

In March of 1998, on a visit to Rwanda, President Clinton issued what would later be known as the "Clinton apology," which was actually a carefully hedged acknowledgment. He spoke to the crowd assembled on the tarmac at Kigali Airport: "We come here today partly in recognition of the fact that we in the United States and the world community did not do as much as we could have and should have done to try to limit what occurred" in Rwanda.

This implied that the United States had done a good deal but not quite enough. In reality the United States did much more than fail to send troops. It led a successful effort to remove most of the UN peacekeepers who were already in Rwanda. It aggressively worked to block the subsequent authorization of UN reinforcements. It refused to use its technology to jam radio broadcasts that were a crucial instrument in the coordination and perpetuation of the genocide. And even as, on average, 8,000 Rwandans were being butchered each day, U.S. officials shunned the term "genocide," for fear of being obliged to act. The United States in fact did virtually nothing "to try to limit what occurred." Indeed, staying out of Rwanda was an explicit U.S. policy objective.

With the grace of one grown practiced at public remorse, the President gripped the lectern with both hands and looked across the dais at the Rwandan officials and survivors who surrounded him. Making eye contact and shaking his head, he explained, "It may seem strange to you here, especially the many of you who lost members of your family, but all over the world there were people like me sitting in offices, day after day after day, who did not fully appreciate [pause] the depth [pause] and the speed [pause] with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror."

Clinton chose his words with characteristic care. It was true that although top U.S. officials could not help knowing the basic facts—thousands of Rwandans were dying every day—that were being reported in the morning papers, many did not "fully appreciate" the meaning. In the first three weeks of the genocide the most influential American policymakers portrayed (and, they insist, perceived) the deaths not as atrocities or the components and symptoms of genocide but as wartime "casualties"—the deaths of combatants or those caught between them in a civil war.

Yet this formulation avoids the critical issue of whether Clinton and his close advisers might reasonably have been expected to "fully appreciate" the true dimensions and nature of the massacres. During the first three days of the killings U.S. diplomats in Rwanda reported back to Washington that well-armed extremists were intent on eliminating the Tutsi. And the American press spoke of the door-to-door hunting of unarmed civilians. By the end of the second week informed nongovernmental groups had already begun to call on the Administration to use the term "genocide," causing diplomats and lawyers at the State Department to begin debating the word's applicability soon thereafter. In order not to appreciate that genocide or something close to it was under way, U.S. officials had to ignore public reports and internal intelligence and debate.

The story of U.S. policy during the genocide in Rwanda is not a story of willful complicity with evil. U.S. officials did not sit around and conspire to allow genocide to happen. But whatever their convictions about "never again," many of them did sit around, and they most certainly did allow genocide to happen. In examining how and why the United States failed Rwanda, we see that without strong leadership the system will incline toward risk-averse policy choices. We also see that with the possibility of deploying U.S. troops to Rwanda taken off the table early on—and with crises elsewhere in the world unfolding—the slaughter never received the top-level attention it deserved. Domestic political forces that might have pressed for action were absent. And most U.S. officials opposed to American involvement in Rwanda were firmly convinced that they were doing all they could—and, most important, all they should—in light of competing American interests and a highly circumscribed understanding of what was "possible" for the United States to do.

To Read the Entire Report

This Modern World: Bush, Cheney Actually Radical Leftists

Bush, Cheney Actually Radical Leftists

Reclaim the Media; Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents; Reporters Without Borders

Reclaim the Media

Handbook For Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents

Reporters Without Borders

Howard Zinn and Viggo Mortensen's Perceval Press

Perceval Press

Howard Zinn

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

University of Kentucky: Faculty Salaries Raised 2% in the Last Two Years, Hiring Freezes b/c of Lack of Funds, Student Costs Go Through the Roof, and

The me-first attitude is exemplified by UK's president, screw you as long as I get mine.

(Courtesy of A and M who in this case should stay anonymous)

UK's Todd signs new three-year contract: PRESIDENT'S SALARY RAISED ABOUT 67%
By Art Jester

University of Kentucky President Lee Todd signed a new three-year contract yesterday that raised his salary by about 67 percent and allows him to earn as much as $461,000 this academic year.

That would increase his pay by $185,670 above the $275,330 he earned in 2004-2005.

The contract puts Todd's salary within striking range of the bottom rung of the nation's 20 highest-paid university presidents.

The pact also provides a clause for renewing Todd's contract for another three years, which would take him to the mandatory retirement age of 65 for senior officials and staff at UK.

Todd, who is 59, will be 65 on May 6, 2011. He said he anticipates he will want to be president until then. He became UK's president in 2001.

Todd and James Hardymon, chairman of the UK Board of Trustees, signed the contract immediately after it was unanimously approved by the board.

Under the contract, Todd gets:

" A base salary of $286,000 a year, plus an annual pay raise that goes to UK employees.

" Extra pay totaling $50,000 annually as chairman of two UK boards -- $25,000 from the UK Research Foundation board and $25,000 from the UK Athletics Association board.

" Incentives that will be paid on the basis of how well Todd leads UK toward several goals that are expected to establish it as a top 20 public research university. Todd could get a $125,000 bonus this academic year, and he is eligible for a $150,000 bonus in each of the two subsequent two academic years.

" A $100,000 bonus if he completes his contract. If he serves until age 65, he would be eligible to receive a full year's salary and benefits.

n Upon retirement, Todd would be eligible to become a tenured full professor of engineering at a salary determined by the dean of UK's College of Engineering.

Todd, a former UK engineering professor, said it was too early to know whether he would be interested in this.

Todd told the board he was "humbled by your confidence."

Hardymon and Todd had negotiated the contract since June. Both men said they liked a three-year contract because it gives a good length of time to evaluate progress and is being used frequently now in corporate management contracts.

Hardymon said that the board is overwhelmingly positive about Todd's leadership and that it hopes Todd will serve to age 65.

The board's only major criticism of Todd has been that he needed to be more visible and accessible on campus.

Todd said he is already meeting with numerous campus groups and plans to meet with all faculty and staff in each of UK's colleges, or main academic units, this academic year.

Source Link

Responding to an Anonymous Email/Prayer-Chain that Arrived in My Mailbox this Morning

To the sender of this email:

I truly emphasize with the pain that this "character" feels in this "story"... however there are some serious problems with the story and hopefully the author might reconsider them in the revision process.

First, why is the story related in a way that the audience is directed to assume that it is wrong for people to voice their concern about the direction their country is heading?

Second, why rehash Vietnam War criticisms and put them in the mouth of young Anti-Iraq War activists? If you are confused or uncertain about the positions of Anti-Iraq War activists I would glady help you out.

Three, why stereotype college kids as "perky". Do you mean in a fleshy or spiritual or intellectual sense? In the courses I teach my students are often not at all perky--does that mean they are "OK" and not to be feared as anti-American traitors?

Four, why the common anti-intellectual routine of demonizing those that question dogmatic positions as uncaring or unreasonable?

Five, since when did dissent become unpatriotic in our great democracy? Wasn't the right to raise one's (or a group's/community's) voice in dissent a founding cause for our democratic struggles? Are we not allowed/expected to voice our opinions in public?

Six, very interesting the genderized polarization of loudmouthed, unruly college girls and stoic, well-behaved soldier-boys ... ha, please, if anything this is the most ridiculous.

Seven, to give the story a little more power try to situate it in an actual locale, with a name, to avoid the ambiguity of "everywhere" at-all-times universality. This transcending universality robs it of any true political impact.

Eighth, might the character be strengthened somewhat if we saw a much more realistic internal struggle where she wonders about the reasons for her husband being stationed in a foreign country to fight strangers for ambiguous reasons? You may have forgotten that families of soldiers and many ex-soldiers are leading forces in the Anti-Iraq War activism. Perhaps she could demonstrate some conflict, is it really that simple?

Good luck with your revisions--don't despair I assume that this is but an early draft and with time you will develop a much more polished draft.

Go America, Rah, Rah!



Subject: freedom don't come cheap

"cause freedom don't come cheap:

I was sitting alone in one of those loud, casual steak houses that you find all over the country. You know the type--a bucket of peanuts on every table, shells littering the floor, and a bunch of perky college kids racing around with longneck beers and sizzling platters.

Taking a sip of my iced tea, I studied the crowd over the rim of my glass. My gaze lingered on a group enjoying their meal. They wore no uniform to identify their branch of service, but they were definitely "military:" clean shaven, cropped haircut, and that "squared away" look that comes with pride.

Smiling sadly, I glanced across my table to the empty seat where my husband usually sat. It had only been a few months since we sat in this very booth, talking about his upcoming deployment to the Middle East. That was when he made me promise to get a sitter for the kids, come back to this restaurant once a month and treat myself to a nice steak. In turn he would treasure the thought of me being here, thinking about him until he returned home to me.

I fingered the little Flag Pin I constantly wear and wondered where he was at this very moment. Was he safe and warm? Was his cold any better? Were my letters getting through to him? As I pondered these thoughts, high pitched female voices from the next booth broke into my thoughts.

"I don't know what Bush is thinking about. Invading Iraq. You'd think that man would learn from his old man's mistakes. Good lord. What an idiot! I can't believe he is even in office. You do know, he stole the election."

I cut into my steak and tried to ignore them, as they began an endless tirade running down our president. I thought about the last night I spent with my husband, as he prepared to deploy. He had just returned from getting his smallpox and anthrax shots. The image of him standing in our kitchen packing his gas mask still gives me chills.

Once again the women's voices invaded my thoughts. "It is all about oil, you know. Our soldiers will go in and rape and steal all the oil they can in the name of 'freedom'. Hmph! I wonder how many innocent people they'll kill without giving it a thought? It's pure greed, you know."

My chest tightened as I stared at my wedding ring. I could still see how handsome my husband looked in his "mess dress" the day he slipped it on my finger. I wondered what he was wearing now. Probably his desert uniform, affectionately dubbed "coffee stains" with a heavy bulletproof vest over it.

"You know, we should just leave Iraq alone. I don't think they are hiding any weapons. In fact, I bet it's all a big act just to increase the president's popularity. That's all it is, padding the military budget at the expense of our social security and education. And, you know what else? We're just asking for another 9-ll. I can't say when it happens again that we didn't deserve it."

Their words brought to mind the war protesters I had watched gathering outside our base. Did no one appreciate the sacrifice of brave men and women, who leave their homes and family to ensure our freedom? Do they even know what "freedom" is?

I glanced at the table where the young men were sitting, and saw their courageous faces change. They had stopped eating and looked at each other dejectedly, listening to the women talking.

"Well, I, for one, think it's just deplorable to invade Iraq, and I am certainly sick of our tax dollars going to train professional baby killers we call a military."

Professional baby killers? I thought about what a wonderful father my husband is, and of how long it would be before he would see our children again.

That's it! Indignation rose up inside me. Normally reserved, pride in my husband gave me a brassy boldness I never realized I had. Tonight one voice will answer on behalf of our military, and let her pride in our troops be known.

Sliding out of my booth, I walked around to the adjoining booth and placed my hands flat on their table. Lowering myself to eye level with them, I smilingly said, "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation.

You see, I'm sitting here trying to enjoy my dinner alone. And, do you know why? Because my husband, whom I love with all my heart, is halfway around the world defending your right to say rotten things about him."

"Yes, you have the right to your opinion, and what you think is none of my business. However, what you say in public is something else, and I will not sit by and listen to you ridicule MY country, MY president, MY husband, and all the other fine American men and women who put their lives on the line, just so you can have the "freedom" to complain. Freedom is an expensive commodity, ladies. Don't let your actions cheapen it."

I must have been louder that I meant to be, because the manager came over to inquire if everything was all right. "Yes, thank you," I replied. Then turning back to the women, I said, "Enjoy the rest of your meal."

As I returned to my booth applause broke out. I was embarrassed for making a scene, and went back to my half eaten steak. The women picked up their check and scurried away.

After finishing my meal, and while waiting for my check, the manager returned with a huge apple cobbler ala mode. "Compliments of those soldiers," he said. He also smiled and said the ladies tried to pay for my dinner, but that another couple had beaten them to it. When I asked who, the manager said they had already left, but that the gentleman was a veteran, and wanted to take care of the wife of "one of our boys."

With a lump in my throat, I gratefully turned to the soldiers and thanked them for the cobbler. Grinning from ear to ear, they came over and surrounded the booth. "We just wanted to thank you, ma'am. You know we can't get into confrontations with civilians, so we appreciate what you did."

As I drove home, for the first time since my husband's deployment, I didn't feel quite so alone. My heart was filled with the warmth of the other diners who stopped by my table, to relate how they, too! , were p roud of my husband, and would keep him in their prayers. I knew their flags would fly a little higher the next day.

Perhaps they would look for more tangible ways to show their pride in our country, and the military who protect her. And maybe, just maybe, the two women who were railing against our country, would pause for a minute to appreciate all the freedom America offers, and the price it pays to maintain it's freedom.

As for me, I have learned that one voice CAN make a difference. Maybe the next time protesters gather outside the gates of the base where I live, I will proudly stand on the opposite side with a sign of my own. It will simply say, "Thank You!"

(*Lori Kimble is a 31 year old teacher and proud military wife. A California native, Mrs. Kimble currently lives in Alabama)

To those who fought for our Nation: Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

(This was included with the above email)

At 10 am yesterday morning I received a prayer request from Cathy Mitchell. Her husband, Tony, is an Air Force Commander in Afghanistan. She received an urgent email from him this morning. It said, "We need Christians to pray, pray, pray." Please pray for God's protection of our troops and HIS wisdom for their commanders. Pass this on to as many as you think will respond. "Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. I ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior."

When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our ground, air and navy personnel in every area of the middle east. There is nothing attached... This can be very powerful... Just send this to all the people in your address book.

Do not stop this prayer chain, please...Of all the gifts you could give to anyone in the US Military, be it Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines or National Guard, Prayer is the very best one...Amen!

UK Women's Studies Program: FEMSEM

The UK Women's Studies Program is pleased to announce-- FEMSEM --a new feminist seminar series that will feature presentations by feminists at the University of Kentucky

-- The first two FEMSEMs are coming up --

Wednesday, October 5, 4:30 - 6:30 pm, 107 Breckinridge Hall

Francie Chassen-López (History) will be speaking on

"A 'Daughter of Cosijopi' Builds Modern Mexico: Juana Catarina Romero, Cacica of Tehuantepec "

Wednesday, November 9, 4:30 - 6:30 pm, 107 Breckinridge Hall

Susan Bordo (English and Women's Studies) will be speaking on

" The Trouble with ' Difference' "


Electronic copies of both papers will be available on request from Betty Pasley
Women's Studies Administrative Support Staff

Robert Guay: Nietzsche on Subjectivity

University of Kentucky's Second Annual Prize Essay Competition in European Philosophy from Kant to the Present

The ‘I’s’ Have It: Nietzsche on Subjectivity
Robert Guay
Barnard College

Friday, September 23, 2005, 4 pm, Niles Room, Fine Arts Building

Sponsored by: The College of Arts and Sciences; The Department of Philosophy

Bingham Humanities Lecture and Poetry Reading

On THURSDAY, 22 September at 6 pm in Ballroom A at the University Club,

Bingham Distinguished Humanities Professor URSULA KING

will speak on "Hinduism, Women and Human Rights." For more info visit this link

THE SAME NIGHT AT 7:30 in the Bingham Poetry Room, the Departments of English and Claissical and Modern Languages, and the Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society present A READING BY HAVA PINCHAS-COHEN

Israeli poet Hava Pinchas-Cohen has published several award-winning books of poetry, including 2002's MESSIAH, which won the Alternan Poetry Award. Other award-winning collections include POEMS OF ORPHEA (Prime Minister's Award and Kugel Prize for Literature), RIVER AND FORGETFULNESS (Akum Book of the Year), and MOSTLY COLOR (Yeruchan Luria Award). She is also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of DIMUI: A JOURNAL OF LITERATURE, THE ARTS, AND JEWISH CULTURE.

John Scalzi: Being Poor

(In case you don't know... )

By John Scalzi
Chicago Tribune

Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.

Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap
they see on TV.

Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they're what you
can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there's
not an $800 car in America that's worth a damn.

Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.

Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends' houses but never has
friends over to yours.

Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch
line so your friends will be ahead of you and won't hear you say "I get
free lunch" when you get to the cashier.

Being poor is living next to the freeway.

Being poor is wondering whether your well-off sibling is lying when he
says he doesn't mind when you ask for help.

Being poor is off-brand toys.

Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house.

Being poor is hoping your kids don't have a growth spurt.

Being poor is stealing meat from the store, frying it up before your
mom gets home and then telling her she doesn't have to make dinner
tonight because you're not hungry anyway.

Being poor is not enough space for everyone who lives with you.

Being poor is feeling the glued soles tear off your supermarket shoes
when you run around the playground.

Being poor is your kid's school being the one with the 15-year-old
textbooks and no air conditioning.

Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.

Being poor is relying on people who don't give a damn about you.

Being poor is finding the letter your mom wrote to your dad begging him
for the child support.

Being poor is a bathtub you have to empty into the toilet.

Being poor is stopping the car to take a lamp from a stranger's trash.

Being poor is making lunch for your kid when a cockroach skitters over
the bread, and you looking over to see whether your kid saw.

Being poor is believing a GED actually makes a difference.

Being poor is people angry at you just for walking around in the mall.

Being poor is not taking the job because you can't find someone you
trust to watch your kids.

Being poor is the police busting into the apartment right next to yours.

Being poor is not talking to that girl because she'll probably just
laugh at your clothes.

Being poor is hoping you'll be invited for dinner.

Being poor is a sidewalk with lots of brown glass on it.

Being poor is people thinking they know something about you by the way
you talk.

Being poor is needing that 35-cent raise.

Being poor is your kid's teacher assuming you don't have any books in
your home.

Being poor is $6 short on the utility bill and no way to close the gap.

Being poor is crying when you drop the mac and cheese on the floor.

Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.

Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually stupid.

Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually lazy.

Being poor is never buying anything someone else hasn't bought first.

Being poor is picking the 10-cent ramen noodles instead of the 12-cent
ramen noodles because that's two extra packages for every dollar.

Being poor is getting tired of people wanting you to be grateful.

Being poor is knowing you're being judged.

Being poor is a box of crayons and a $1 coloring book from a community
center Santa.

Being poor is checking the coin return slot of every soda machine you
go by.

Being poor is deciding that it's all right to base a relationship on

Being poor is hoping the register lady will spot you the dime.

Being poor is feeling helpless when your children make the same
mistakes you did and won't listen to you beg them against doing so.

Being poor is a cough that doesn't go away.

Being poor is making sure you don't spill on the couch, just in case
you have to give it back before the lease is up.

Being poor is a $200 paycheck advance from a company that takes $250
when the paycheck comes in.

Being poor is four years of night classes for an associate of arts

Being poor is a lumpy futon bed.

Being poor is knowing where the shelter is.

Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose
to be so.

Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.

Being poor is seeing how few options you have.

Being poor is running in place.

Being poor is people wondering why you didn't leave.


John Scalzi is the author of "Old Man's War."

Article Link: Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune

Andrew Ross Sorkin: Ex-Tyco Executives Get 8 to 25 Years in Prison

(Courtesy of Dale Fitzgibbons)

Ex-Tyco Executives Get 8 to 25 Years in Prison
New York Times

L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former chief executive of Tyco International who was convicted of looting the company of $150 million, was sentenced yesterday to 81/3 to 25 years in a New York State prison, the latest corporate figure to be handed a lengthy prison term in a corruption case.

Mark H. Swartz, his chief lieutenant, received the same sentence for his role in the thefts and fraud. The two men were convicted in June after a four-month retrial.

Judge Michael J. Obus of State Supreme Court in Manhattan also ordered Mr. Kozlowski to pay $167 million in restitution and fines. Mr. Swartz was ordered to pay $72 million in fines and restitution.

The sentencing follows a parade of other substantial terms imposed on former chief executives convicted of white-collar crimes, most notably Bernard J. Ebbers of WorldCom, who received a prison term of 25 years, and John J. Rigas of the cable operator Adelphia Communications, who was sentenced to 15 years. Those sentences - in federal courts - were seen as sending a message to deter huge corporate frauds in the future.

The Tyco sentencing may be the last high-profile corporate misconduct before the most prominent one of them all: the trial next year of Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling of Enron.

Handing down the sentence in a packed courtroom, Judge Obus said yesterday: "The crimes at issue here were violations of the defendants' positions of trust and their fiduciary duty on a grand scale. They caused damage to Tyco and to others, including the shareholders who are Tyco's owners and who, like the investing public, generally should be able to rely on the integrity of the management of publicly traded companies."

Mr. Kozlowski, 58, became a symbol of corporate greed for a $6,000 shower curtain, as well as a $2 million birthday party in Sardinia for his wife that was partly paid for by the company. He stared straight ahead, overwhelmed, as the sentence was read aloud. Mr. Swartz, 45, looked down at the floor.

The two men, both dressed in gray suits and starched-white shirts, were then handcuffed behind their backs and led away by court officers. Mr. Swartz wistfully winked at his wife and parents. Mr. Kozlowski's wife, wearing sunglasses, wiped away tears that had run down her face as his two daughters, also crying, consoled each other.

Lawyers for Mr. Kozlowski and Mr. Swartz said they planned to seek bail pending appeal from an appellate court today or tomorrow. The two men spent last night in the Bernard B. Kerik Complex near the courthouse. If their lawyers are unsuccessful, the two men will be transferred to Rikers Island by the end of the week to be processed and will most likely serve their time in a maximum-security state prison like Attica.

To Read the Entire Article

Naomi Archer: Real Reports of Katrina Relief

By Naomi Archer
Alternative Press Review

Eyewitness, politically charged, on-the-ground truth telling from New Orleans

It's not so much that the government is not responding [with storm relief], they are obstructing the response. They are telling us we can't bring people the basic necessities of life because that would give them hope. It is a question of oppression vs. mutual aid. That is the revolution. – Jesse, an organizer with MayDay DC volunteering in the Common Ground Wellness Center, Algiers, NOLA

The locally-led, mutually based community relief effort in Algiers is now being called Common Ground Algiers. Currently, more than 40 volunteer medics, doctors, cooks, communications technicians, community organizers and concerned people are directly involved in the Common Ground collective effort. Emergency services that have been created include a community garbage pick-up program; mobile kitchens to provide free hot meals to anyone in the area; a first aid clinic in a local mosque and a mobile first aid station staffed by doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians; and bicycles for volunteers and residents to transport aid around the area; and the development of a free school for children.

These efforts could serve as a community-based model for creating both emergency response and long-term infrastructure for people affected by the hurricane and who are in need of these kind of vital services. Donations can be sent to Common Ground, PO Box 3216, Gretna, LA 70054. Please pace your donations. Please no clothes or food.

In Algiers, the military has finally put down most of their M16 machine guns and are now helping with pick-up and debris collection. Keen observers noticed this community clean-up begun in advance of a visit to the Common Ground Emergency Wellness Center by Cindy Sheehan and following a blistering report by Amy Goodman and Democracy NOW! on the dead bodies that still can be found on the streets. Rangers from Ft. Bragg continued the clean-up today around town.

Cracker squads are groups of white supremacists who are using the slanderous media coverage and storm chaos to terrorize communities of color in Louisiana and Mississippi. One young woman in a Mississippi town relayed to us that a cracker squad had shot black men in the woods and threatened retaliation for those going public with the story. Similar stories have come in from Algiers, downtown New Orleans, and the outlying parishes of Louisiana.

A related threat are the armed mercenaries of Black Water and other contractors who are patrolling downtown New Orleans. Internet reports indicate they have been particularly brutal in the handling of storm survivors.

You can't start a clinic here [the 9th Ward]. That would give people hope. My job is to make their lives as hopeless as possible so they will leave.
New Orleans Police Dept. officer berating relief workers in the 9th Ward

The Administration of this country needs to be put on trial for human rights violations and treason against the people of the gulf coast region; as well as negligent homicide for every person left in this region to die.
Noah, Emergency Medical Technician-B with the Common Ground Wellness Center, Algiers, New Orleans

Neighborhood folks find it a lot more friendly to get their health care and healing from a community clinic with friendly faces rather than a militarized zone with soldiers toting M-16s. If the government got off their high chair, and worked with us grassroots relief people, we'd have health clinics all over the city. Believe me, we have the know-how to really help and we have the spirit of true compassion flowing here.
Michael Kozart, a doctor from San Francisco, CA volunteering in the Common Ground Wellness Center, Algiers, NOLA

Our number one national priority right now should be to clean up New Orleans and rebuild vulnerable areas in a safe and environmentally sound way. Then, every single evacuee must be offered the opportunity and the resources to return to rebuild their neighborhoods in exactly the same way. We cannot allow evacuees to be forced into becoming refugees.
Roger Benham, Emergency Medical Technician-B with the Common Ground Wellness Center, Algiers, New Orleans

I'm a community organizer and medic who drove all the way here to Algiers/New Orleans from San Francisco with a caravan of people. On the way here a few of us questioned if we'll be useful and why we're using resources to come all this way. But after checking in with the locals and assessing the situation, volunteering in the clinic and such, I can see people from all over [the neighborhoods] will be healed for a very long time to come.
Dixie Block, an organizer/medic from San Francisco, CA volunteering in the Common Ground Wellness Center, Algiers, NOLA

It's not so much that the government is not responding [with storm relief], they are obstructing the response. They are telling us we can't bring people the basic necessities of life because that would give them hope. It is a question of oppression vs. mutual aid. That is the revolution.
Jesse, an organizer with MayDay DC volunteering in the Common Ground Wellness Center, Algiers, NOLA

To Read the Rest of the Report