Author - John Coyne

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More on Elaine Chao’s Scandal….But is it Fake News?
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Former Peace Corps Director Elaine Chao busted for financial corruption
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Third Goal Initiative–Peace Corps Writers
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Is there still a Peace Corps?
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Review — EVOLVING BRAINS, EMERGING GODS by Fuller Torrey (Ethiopia)
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The Under-Assistant West Coast Promotion Man by Bill Barich (Nigeria)
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Peace Corps’ early days: The day the FBI came knocking
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Write your House and Senate leadership for better RPCV health care
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The Sins of Kalamazoo
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A Writer Writes: “House of Flowers” — A short story by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)

More on Elaine Chao’s Scandal….But is it Fake News?

Thanks to a ‘heads up’ from Dale Gilles (Liberia 1964 & 67; PC/W 1968-73 & 1990-93) Mitch McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao may be forced to resign in scandal from Donald Trump’s cabinet From the Palmer Report http://www.palmerreport.com Bill Palmer Updated: 8:10 pm EDT Sat Sep 30, 2017 Even as Donald Trump has spent the day frantically tweeting angry and defensive rhetoric about Puerto Rico and other controversies, he has yet to address the exploding scandals within his own cabinet. It’s already prompted last night’s resignation of HHS Secretary Tom Price, and at least four other cabinet members have been caught in similar infractions. But the next cabinet member to resign may be due to a different kind of financial scandal: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Chao is best known for three things. 1) She was embroiled in a drug shipment scandal before Trump appointed her (link), and objectively speaking, should not have . . .

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Former Peace Corps Director Elaine Chao busted for financial corruption

Thanks to a ‘heads up’ from Dale Gilles (Liberia 1964 & 67; PC/W 1968-73 & 1990-93) Trump cabinet member Elaine Chao, wife of Mitch McConnell, busted for financial corruption scandal by Bill Palmer Palmer Report Updated: 11:09 pm EDT Fri Sep 29, 2017 Donald Trump’s cabinet is fully awash in scandal this weekend, with HHS Secretary Tom Price having already resigned due to inappropriately taxpayer-funded private charter flights, and four other cabinet members caught up in similar scandals which may cost them their jobs. Now another member of Trump’s cabinet has been busted for financial corruption: Elaine Chao, who just happens to be married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Chao already had a history of scandal before Donald Trump picked her to be his Secretary of Transportation, a move which many have derided as an attempt on Trump’s part at ensuring McConnell’s loyalty. Now it turns out Chao is . . .

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Third Goal Initiative–Peace Corps Writers

In April, 1989, Marian Haley Beil and I published a 4-page newsletter entitled RPCV Writers. I had — as a writer — been tracking other Peace Corps writers, and had already organized a panel discussion about Peace Corps books for the 25th Anniversary Conference in 1986. Marian Haley Beil, also an Ethiopia One Volunteer, agreed to help me. She designed, published and circulated the quarterly newsletter We saw our publication as a way of sharing information about publications, readings, writing grants, and teaching positions for RPCVs. To recognize and promote Peace Corps writers, in 1990, we established annual awards for outstanding writing in a variety of genre. We funded the award prizes ourselves and have (so far) given out 143. In July of 1991 we changed the publication’s name to RPCV Writers & Readers and increased the number of issues to six a year. In November 1998, we published our . . .

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Is there still a Peace Corps?

  This is data from the Peace Corps Performance Report for FY2016. Thanks  to the “heads up” from Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963-65). — J.C. • FY 2016 Progress Update: In FY 2016, the Peace Corps saw its second-highest number of applications for the two-year Volunteer program in 40 years—21,600 applications for Volunteer service (23,987 applications total, when including Peace Corps Response applications). This is only 6 percent less than the record-breaking 22,956 applications (24,848 total, including Peace Corps Response applications) in FY 2015. The dramatic influx of high-quality applications over the past three years indicates a strong desire among Americans to volunteer for service abroad. ”

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Review — EVOLVING BRAINS, EMERGING GODS by Fuller Torrey (Ethiopia)

  Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods: Early Humans and the Origins of Religion E. Fuller Torrey (Staff/MD Ethiopia 1964–66) Columbia University Press September 2017 312 pages $35.00 (hardcover), $33.25 (Kindle) By Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru 1962-64) • “The gods were born following a pregnancy lasting approximately two million years. It took that long for hominin brains to evolve structurally and functionally from being primate-like brains to being brains that possessed the cognitive faculties of modern Homo sapiens.” Thus begins E. Fuller Torrey’s masterful book on the evolution of religion. He has reviewed, compiled, and applied the pertinent fields of paleontology, anthropology, archaeology, anatomy, brain science, psycholinguistics, and social science that contribute to his theme. Torrey had been “looking for God,” since he was a child. As an undergraduate, he majored in religious studies; as a graduate student, in anthropology. He went on to become a physician and psychiatrist who has published . . .

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The Under-Assistant West Coast Promotion Man by Bill Barich (Nigeria)

This appeared recently in Narrative, a digital magazine dedicated to advancing literature. A MEMOIR By Bill Barich (Nigeria 1964-66) IN MY YOUTH I was chronically underemployed, always casting my lot with risky enterprises destined to fail, so when the illustrious firm of Alfred A. Knopf hired me as a book publicist, I thought my troubles were over. I had no idea how difficult writers can be. I imagined lofty literary chats with John Updike when he came to town, but I wound up steering hard-drinking authors away from bars and even rescuing one from an East Bay ashram. Updike I met only once by chance on the Sausalito ferry, and I was too tongue-tied to speak. The job came about by accident. An editor friend at Knopf hoped to open an office in San Francisco, but his wife chose to go to law school at Yale. Given my editorial experience at . . .

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Peace Corps’ early days: The day the FBI came knocking

I have a minor disagreement with one comment in this entertaining recollection by John Long. He writes that Kennedy’s idea for a Peace Corps came in a “bull session” at the University of Michigan. It was far from that. I was on campus that long ago night in 1960 covering the event for a Kalamazoo radio station, my parttime job during my graduate school years when thousands of Michigan students cheered Kennedy call to do something for their country. It wasn’t a “bull session.” It was a significant moment in the JFK’s presidency and in the lives all of us who responded to Kennedy’s challenge to make a difference in the world. JC Note. Peace Corps’ early days: The day the FBI came knocking by John C. Long Courier Journal Published Sept. 14, 2017 John F. Kennedy founded the Peace Corps shortly after his inauguration to fulfill a promise he’d made to . . .

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Write your House and Senate leadership for better RPCV health care

  This is from Nancy Tongue (Chile 1980-82)  director of Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers, an RPCV who has led the fight for better medical treatment of RPCVs. This is her latest campaign and she needs our help. Nancy writes: We are desperately trying to get bills passed in both the House and the Senate. So many RPCVs are living in squalor with illnesses and injures that they can’t get help for. It is imperative that a call go out to folks to write to their Reps NOW, or we will lose any opportunity to get what we need on the bill. Can you please post this? We are asking people to do this SIMPLE TASK THAT WILL TAKE 3 MINUTES: Copy and paste in the letter below or change it however you’d like. Then: Send a message to your Congressperson asking for co-sponsorship for H.R. 2259. Please remove the email . . .

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The Sins of Kalamazoo

In the spring of 1962 I was a graduate student in English at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. We all know Kalamazoo if we know the poet Carl Sandburg. The sins of Kalamazoo are neither scarlet nor crimson. The sins of Kalamazoo are a convict gray, a dishwater drab. And the people who sin the sins of Kalamazoo are neither scarlet nor crimson. The run to drabs and grays–and some of them sing they shall be washed whiter than snow–and some: We should worry. Well, I wasn’t sinning in Kalamazoo! (We never sinned back in the early Sixties.) I was a grad student and I had just been selected to go to Ethiopia. A country I couldn’t at first find on a map of Africa. (Oh, there it is!) I wasn’t the only Western student joining the Peace Corps in 1962. Bill Donohoe, a history major at Western, also had . . .

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A Writer Writes: “House of Flowers” — A short story by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)

  A former U.S. foreign service officer, Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80) has published more than 100 stories in magazines including The Atlantic, Playboy, The Idaho Review, The S0uthrn  Review, and The Kenyon Review. He has stories forthcoming in several magazines including The Hudson Review. His story “How Birds Communicate” won The Iowa Review fiction prize. His five books include A Handful of Kings, published by Simon and Schuster, and Stone Cowboy, by Soho Press, which won the Maria Thomas Award. His website can be found at markjacobsauthor.com. This story appears in the Fall 2016 issue of Border Crossing. • House of Flowers Poppa Billy was living in the basement at the House of Flowers even though his name was on the mortgage. The basement was set up to be an apartment with its own separate door, so he came and went as he pleased. At maximum capacity, the House of Flowers accommodated seven room-renters. I was number seven, taking Nasturtium after Mr. . . .

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