Archive - January 2012

1
Romney thumps Gingrich…Not!
2
David Brooks Writes About Coming Apart
3
Charles Murray writes about the NEW American Divide
4
Sister J. — The Famous Runaway Bride of Christ
5
University of Denver – Josef Korbel School of International Relations and the Peace Corps Community Welcomed Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams (Dominican Republic 1968 -1971) to Denver
6
Donna Shalala again raises eyebrows at U. of Miami
7
Mark Shriver speaks about his father at the Peace Corps
8
Review of The Orawan Poems
9
Kevin Quigley writes to put me in my place!
10
Peace Corps Volunteers shouldn't be pulled out of Central America

Romney thumps Gingrich…Not!

The Florida results are in. (if anyone is awake or paying attention) and this is what I think will happen. Neither Romney or Gingrich will be the candidate. This is what I think will happen. (Remember, I write novels.) Because of this new allocation of delegates, and the fact that Ron Paul will score heavily out west, we won’t have a candidate with enough delegates when it is time for the Convention. Then the Republican Establishment will move in and after several exciting ballets (like the old days) Jeb Bush and, I also think, Tim Pawlenty, will be on the ticket for the Republicans. This gives them automatically two south states, Florida and Texas, and add to that Poleteis’ Midwest states: Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois.

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David Brooks Writes About Coming Apart

In this morning’s New York Times, David Brooks in an Op-ed weights in on Charles Murray’s (Thailand 1965-67) new book, Coming Apart, writing, “I’ll be shocked if there’s another book that so compellingly describes the most important trends in American society.” Brooks recaps the narrative Murray lays out about our two American societies, and adds a few ideas of his own. “The word “class” doesn’t even capture the divide Murray describes,” Brooks writes, “You might say the country has bifurcated into different social tribes, with a tenuous common culture linking them.” Summing up his column, Brooks has his own solution to the dilemma facing our culture: “I doubt Murray would agree, but we need a National Service Program. We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years. We need a program in which people from . . .

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Charles Murray writes about the NEW American Divide

CHARLES MURRAY (THAILAND 1965–67) HAS a new book. Murray, who I think is our foremost conservative RPCV, (but I don’t know all of them!) writes books about how the U.S. economy (and all of us) are going to hell in a handbag. A few of his books are entitled: Losing Ground, Cox and Murray, Inc. 1988; The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, with Richard J. Herrnstein, The Free Press, 1994; What it Means to be a Libertarian: A Personal Interpretation, Broadway, 1997. Now he has written Coming Apart:The State of White America, 1960–2010 that Crown Forum is publishing on the last day of this month. I am sure it is already in Politics & Prose if you live in Washington, D.C., or your local Barnes & Noble — as well as on Amazon. It, too, predicts the coming of the end for what “once was America” . . .

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Sister J. — The Famous Runaway Bride of Christ

Yesterday in the New York Times I read that Jacqueline G. Wexler has passed away at the age of 85. The TIMES called her, “Ex-Nun Who Took On Church.” Indeed she did, and successfully. Sister J. as she was fondly called by her students back in St. Louis, had a slight connection with the Peace Corps during its early days. She was a famous liberal nun in the late Fifties and early Sixties and in 1965 she spoke to a packed room in the State Department at the first Conference of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. I recall her saying, off-the-cuff, that she was the only person in the room dressed in the traditional dress of a foreign country, i.e. the habit of the order of the Sisters of Loretto. A charming and charismatic woman, she was at one time the bane of my existence. So,  I cornered her that day in the hallway of the State Department . . .

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University of Denver – Josef Korbel School of International Relations and the Peace Corps Community Welcomed Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams (Dominican Republic 1968 -1971) to Denver

RPCVs had the opportunity to meet and greet the Peace Corps Director at the Denver University reception, on Tuesday, January 24th.  As the crowd gathered, Williams agreed to talk about Peace Corps Response. I introduced myself as a blogger on John Coyne’s Peace Corps Worldwide, with some questions. Williams said, “Fine, I know John Coyne, everybody knows John Coyne.” Then, all I had to say was  “Peace Corps Response,” and Williams launched into a speech about the John Coyne posting last Saturday, January 21st, describing the policy change allowing non- RPCVs to be members of Peace Corps Response Teams. First, Williams wanted to know why the issue of the CIA was even raised. He said that the standard policy about prohibiting those who had worked for intelligence agencies was in effect for non-RPCVs applying for the Response Team. I told him I could not find that on the website.  He . . .

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Donna Shalala again raises eyebrows at U. of Miami

Donna Shalala (Iran 1962-64) is back on the front page of the paper. Remember last August 2011 when there was a brief flare up about one of the fancy donors to her college– University of Miami where she is president–who was in jail. He said he had ‘paid off’ football players with gifts? Well, now  the story on the front page of the January 20, 2012, The Chronicle of Higher Education says that she made almost a half a million dollars in 2010 from serving on three companies’ boards. Two of those companies are run by university trustees. “That’s just a no-no,” according to a Jay W.  Lorsch, professor of human relations at Harvard Business School, and someone who has expertise in corporate governance. Donna isn’t the only college president with her hand in the cookie jar. The article entitled, “Board Conflicts Abound for College Chiefs” focuses on several other ‘chiefs’, including the . . .

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Mark Shriver speaks about his father at the Peace Corps

Last week marked the first anniversary of the passing of Sarge Shriver.  His son, Mark Shriver, was invited by Director Williams to be one of the speakers in the Loret Miller Ruppe Series of talks given at the agency. Here are Mark’s comments if you were not at the Peace Corps, or have not read them. • WHEN MY FATHER DIED, my siblings asked me to give the eulogy at his funeral. At the time, I didn’t really want to be drafted into that role, but I was, and it has turned out to be a blessing for me. Because before I wrote that eulogy, I thought I knew my father. Of course I did know him — as any son knows his father. But as I was preparing the eulogy, I began to get to know him as a man in his own terms — not just as a . . .

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Review of The Orawan Poems

The Orawan Poems by Gerry Christmas (Thailand 1973–76; Western Samoa 1976–78) The Yuletide Press 148 pages $14.95 (paperback) 2011 Reviewed by Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 1964–65) THE LOVE EXPRESSED by Gerry Christmas in The Orawan Poems, for Orawan, one of his students in Thailand, embarrasses and shames me. Can there be such perfect love in this life? In these poems, Christmas reveals that for him this romantic Shangri -La of pristine love between man and woman does exist. Sometime in the future, according to Christmas, Orawan will understand the inevitability that she and Christmas will fuse into one hallowed bond. He writes as if it is predetermined. Unfortunately for Christmas, he must continue to make sense of the physical time and distance of separation because Orawan refuses to submit to him spiritually. Instead, she commits to a clandestine Thai rebellion that Christmas labels as “communist” (123). However, Christmas is convinced she . . .

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Kevin Quigley writes to put me in my place!

[My friend Kevin Quigley, President and CEO of the NPCA, emailed me late today to tell me I was all wrong about the blog I posted over the weekend that drew attention to his organization.. You might remember how I wrote that their offices were moving to a higher space because they were running out of money and couldn’t afford stay on the lower floor. Not true says Kevin. I also said that they wouldn’t take a stand against the Peace Corps because the NPCA depended on the agency to support them. Not true says Kevin. I asked Kevin to please place his comments on the site, but he couldn’t because, as I said, he was moving to a higher floor and his computer was packed, but he email me anyway to say I could post his comments. And here is what Kevin had to say to correct my mistakes. He calls me Sean Padraic, by . . .

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Peace Corps Volunteers shouldn't be pulled out of Central America

Writing in the Los Angeles Times on Friday, January 20, 2012, PCV Jared Metzker, who is stationed now in Guatemala, said that the Peace Corps should not have pulled out of Central America, saying that the one Volunteer who had been murdered in Guatemala was the first in 40 years. Metzker goes onto write in his op-ed piece,  “The Peace Corps director Aaron Williams decided last month to take a step back from the programs in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He has evacuated all Peace Corps workers from Honduras and is suspending the induction of new volunteers in Guatemala and El Salvador. From my perspective, based on being here, speaking to other volunteers and reading the Guatemalan press every day, these decisions seem unnecessary, even cowardly.” I don’t think  Director Aaron Williams is a coward or afraid to assign PCVs to the “real world.”  Aaron and I were born and raised on the southside of Chicago; we . . .

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