Archive - November 2016

1
Peter Hessler in the New Yorker Writes “Four-Cornered Flyover”(China)
2
George Packer in The New Yorker Writes “A Democratic Opposition” (Togo)
3
# 17 Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris (Washington, D.C.)
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# 16 Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris (Washington, D.C.)
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#15 Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris (Washington, D.C.)
6
The Innocents: A Filipina WWII Oral History
7
Richard Wiley Reading (Tonight) at Book Court, Saturday, November 12, 7 pm (Korea)
8
#14 Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris (Washington, D.C.)
9
Musings in the Morning (11/10/2016)
10
NPCA President Glenn Blumhorst Makes Statement (Guatemala)

Peter Hessler in the New Yorker Writes “Four-Cornered Flyover”(China)

FOUR-CORNERED FLYOVER By Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) The day after Donald Trump’s victory, Susan Watson and Gail Jossi celebrated with glasses of red wine at the True Grit Café, in Ridgway, Colorado. Watson, the chair of the Ouray County Republican Central Committee, is a self-described “child of the sixties,” a retired travel agent, and a former supporter of the Democratic Party. Forty years ago, she voted for Jimmy Carter. Jossi also had a previous incarnation as a Democrat. In 1960, she volunteered for John F. Kennedy’s Presidential campaign. “I walked for Kennedy,” she said. “And then I walked for Goldwater.” These days, she’s a retired rancher, and until recently she was a prominent official of the Republican Party in Ouray County. “This is the first time in forty years that I haven’t been a precinct captain,” she said. “I’m fed up with the Republican Party.” Initially, neither of the women . . .

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George Packer in The New Yorker Writes “A Democratic Opposition” (Togo)

A DEMOCRATIC OPPOSITION By George Packer (Togo 1982-83) Four decades ago, Watergate revealed the potential of the modern Presidency for abuse of power on a vast scale. It also showed that a strong democracy can overcome even the worst illness ravaging its body. When Richard Nixon used the instruments of government to destroy political opponents, hide financial misdoings, and deceive the public about the Vietnam War, he very nearly got away with it. What stopped his crime spree was democratic institutions: the press, which pursued the story from the original break-in all the way to the Oval Office; the courts, which exposed the extent of criminality and later ruled impartially against Nixon’s claims of executive privilege; and Congress, which held revelatory hearings, and whose House Judiciary Committee voted on a bipartisan basis to impeach the President. In crucial agencies of Nixon’s own Administration, including the F.B.I. (whose deputy director, Mark . . .

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# 17 Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris (Washington, D.C.)

Betty had put Shriver on the spot by forcing the issue of whether married Volunteers could give birth while serving overseas. She did it with this, the last of her MOM and POP memos: “Look Sarge. The Peace Corps is probably the most progressive organization in America. It’s what America claims to be all about: equality. In the Peace Corps, blacks have equality. Women have equality. Our female Volunteers are paid the same living allowances as the male Volunteers. They have the same responsibilities, the same physical hardships. We have said, in effect, that the rules are no different in the Peace Corps; the same goes for both sexes. So to suddenly say that a female Peace Corps Volunteer is too fragile, too fine, and too clean to have a baby in the Third World country, especially if she is game to do this, is to go back on our . . .

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# 16 Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris (Washington, D.C.)

Reading the Eyes Only memo from the Medical Division to Sarge in her recently commandeered fifth-floor office, Betty Harris went ballistic and charged into Shriver’s office. “The memo raised the question: What if a married Volunteer got pregnant by her own husband? Oh, no!,” said Betty, What if one of our precious, upper-middle-class American flowers got pregnant in one of those dirty, backwater countries? Surely, the Peace Corps would bring the couple home. A nice American couple couldn’t risk having a baby in a country where women squat to deliver a child. “I went in screaming over this one. I screamed to everyone, even Sarge, saying that the one thing that all women in all countries have in common was childbirth, and if we really want to insult countries to say, in effect, that your country’s so dirty that this healthy, nutritional American woman cannot bear a child therefore if . . .

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#15 Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris (Washington, D.C.)

At the emergency, Saturday morning meeting to determine the fate of this pregnant unmarried PCV, Betty Harris, for the first time, realized there was a problem with the Mad Men of the Peace Corps. “….The thought began to occur to these grown men that possibly the pregnant Volunteer had got herself in the ‘family way’ by means of intimate contact with a national,” Betty recalled. “Oh. God! Well, the guys were just falling apart. A Peace Corps woman is pregnant and she’s not married to anybody! And who’s the father? And what happens now? Do we bring her home? Do we inform her parents? Do we throw her out of the Peace Corps? One fool present at this meeting actually suggested that we ‘can’ women Volunteers altogether. No one ever suggested that our male Volunteers might be shacking up with female ‘nationals,’ getting them pregnant, or what the implications of that . . .

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The Innocents: A Filipina WWII Oral History

  by Diane Rodill (Philippines 1985–87)   Author’s Notes: Pseudonyms were used for the Filipino nationals below for privacy purposes. Mr. “Navarro” was my host-country father.    Introduction I still weep when I reread the oral history notes I recorded 30 years ago. As a child in the 1940s, in a darkened cinema, I watched shadowy newsreels of World War II raging in Europe. I was incapable of comprehending the carnage in the Pacific. Today, Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken has unveiled the cruelty faced by U.S. and Filipino POWs under Japanese occupation. But few have recorded the cruelty, without munitions, imposed on the innocents in my father’s native country. In 1985, I fulfilled a 25-year dream of serving as a PCV in the Philippines. I was further blessed to become part of a wonderful host country family, the Navarros, in Irosin, Sorsogon. Since I lived and worked at the local level, I . . .

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Richard Wiley Reading (Tonight) at Book Court, Saturday, November 12, 7 pm (Korea)

Fiction Richard Wiley, 7 pm Sat Nov 12, 7:00PM Book Court Brooklyn, New York Dr. Ruby Okada meets a charming man with a Scottish accent in the elevator of her psychiatric hospital. Unaware that he is an escaping patient, she falls under his spell, and her life and his are changed forever by the time they get to the street. Who is the mysterious man? Is he Archie B. Billingsly, suffering from dissociative disorder and subject to brilliant flights of fancy and bizarre, violent fits? Or is he the reincarnation of Robert Louis Stevenson, back to haunt New York as Long John Silver and Mr. Edward Hyde? Her career compromised, Ruby soon learns that her future and that of her unborn child depend on finding the key to his identity. With compelling psychological descriptions and terrifying, ineffable transformations,Bob Stevenson is an ingenious tale featuring a quirky cast of characters drawn . . .

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#14 Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris (Washington, D.C.)

Why didn’t Betty Harris become the head of the first Women’s Division in the Peace Corps? What Betty found out later was that Paul Geren, Sarge’s vert first (and short-lived) Deputy Director, killed the idea of her being in charge of women Volunteers. “I knew Paul from Dallas,” Betty recalled in Coates Redmon’s  book. “Sarge told Geren that he was thinking of bringing me up from Texas to deal with women’s issues and Geren replied–or so the story went–‘That’s like putting Marilyn Monroe in charge of the Boy Scouts!’ Apparently, Paul thought I was too wild for his type of southern Baptist upbringing, and his objection had short-circuited my appointment. But I thought the comparison to Marilyn Monroe was the best compliment I’d ever had.” When Betty did arrive in D.C. she was given a desk and told to read up on early Peace Corps documents until some job was found . . .

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Musings in the Morning (11/10/2016)

On the way to work out this morning I was listening to BBC (you have to get up early for BBC) and they had an interview of an American factory owner in Mexico. The interviewer was asking the owner if he would have to move back to the US because of the anticipated new regulations from Trump. The factory owner said that his company refurbished (as far as I could tell) cars, rebuilding and remanufacturing them. He said that he did employ ‘some’ Mexicans to clean up the factory and also move boxes, but that all his employees were robots. He admitted that his “skilled engineers” made about 10% to 30% less than they would in the U.S. but it is clear that factories like his won’t bring back jobs to the heartland of the Midwest. Then on the Elliptical I was watching Morning Joe and host and former Congressman . . .

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NPCA President Glenn Blumhorst Makes Statement (Guatemala)

  To the Peace Corps Community, The victory of President-elect Donald Trump leaves much to be asked about the future of the Peace Corps and the causes returned Volunteers and the greater community have championed over many years. What we know is that President-elect Trump—and millions of Americans—have already reassessed America and her role in the world, and the overwhelming conclusion is that change is needed. How that change will manifest itself is uncertain. Who will influence it is not. Since the day four years ago when I came aboard as President and CEO of National Peace Corps Association, I have been inspired and motivated by the commitment to Peace Corps ideals by every member of our community. As individuals and affiliate groups, in communities across America and all over the world, each and every day the Peace Corps community rises to the challenge in pursuit of peace, progress and . . .

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