Monday, January 28, 2013

* Yale Daily News; Presiding Over Digital Self-Liquidation ?

 I have not become the King's First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.    Churchill, Winston
Source: Prime Minister WINSTON CHURCHILL, speech, Lord Mayors luncheon, London, November 10, 1942.Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 18971963, ed. Robert Rhodes James, vol. 6, p. 6695 . · This quote is about uncategorised · Search on Google Books to find all references and sources for this quotation.

Tapley Stephenson, Editor
Yale Daily News
(for Letters to the Editor) 

Dear Editor:

I wrote you two months ago about my exasperation with your new digital platform (Disqus) an exasperation which I hypothesized might be a common phenomenon among your posters whose number has been dramatically dropping this year.  I was told to and wait and see if it picks up.

I have waited and I have seen.  

After nearly 3 1/2 years of contributing over 2000 posts myself on the YDN Posting Board, I have observed that your posting audience has now dwindled to a trickle. 

Even old standbys like River Tam, Penny Lane (and myself) barely make a peep any more.

This decline is concomitant with YDN's  adopting of it newest digital platform (Disqus).

Consider whether this disastrous choice of platform is not parching  the very garden of free speech it seeks to nourish.

All of the liveliness and spontaneity of the repartee of the past three years' posting exercises has been crippled by the fact that posters have to choose what order ("newest"; "oldest", "best") they wish to view the posts in, instead of reacting immediately to the thread as it unfolds (or unwinds).

Furthermore , articles from one day now seem to vanish the next  into a no-man's land of optional scanning opportunities  (news; opinion; staff; guest columns, etc.), while a "sliding marquis" offers the reader a "Most Popular" section which rotates and often dredges up an article from months ago.

The eye-candy of an occasional YouTube video screen has been omitted and replaced with a url link instead.

Pretty dull -- and unwieldy -- navigating, I must say.

I am sure that, like Winston Churchill, who declared he had not "become the King's  First Minister to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire,"  you have not become the Yale Daily New's Editor in Chief  to preside over the liquidation of the News's posting board audience.

Ultimately, Churchill, despite his declaration, did precisely what he said he had no intention of doing.  

I should think you might want not to follow in his footsteps.


Paul D. Keane, 
M. Div. '80

Saturday, January 26, 2013

* Thank you, readers:

The previous post was the 800th post
since The Anti-Yale began publishing in September, 2009.  Since then there have 178,260 page views from eleven countries.  I am grateful for your attention.


* Simpleminded Educational Syrup from Vermont's Governor

Letters to the Editor
The Valley News
Word Count: 358
Dear Editor:

Governor Shumlin’s State of the State address dealt entirely with education. His two wise proposals were to fill the stomachs of school children before asking them to fire up their brains every day and to pour money into early childhood education.

 Hear his third proposal:

 “I propose that Vermont’s schools develop Personal Learning Plans that travel with each student from elementary through their senior year. . . .fostering a connection between school and career.

Had Shumlin controlled my education he would have forced me to drag this “PLP” around with me for twelve years which  adults would  hover over and fuss about making me so self-conscious that to get them off my back I would agree to anything.

The PLP is the latest gimmick of a society that has gone crazy in its worship of standardized tests which supposedly assess and predict a student’s strengths and weaknesses. 

The only thing standardized tests assess is how bored a student is with the test. The ones who thrive on being tested do really well; the ones who don’t, don’t.

I always dreaded tests and, even though I managed to get four college degrees, I always did poorly on tests.

Thank goodness colleges evaluated your ability to think in written papers and not in memorized data for tests or I would  have wound up making widgets on an assembly-line, an assembly line  which a Shumlin PLP surely would have prematurely shoved me into as a life sentence.

Human beings grow at different rates.  As every mother knows you cannot rush a rose. Professor Shumlin apparently knows better.

My rose didn’t blossom till I was 42 –years-old and wound up being an English teacher for the next 25 years at a Vermont high school.

Shumlin’s academic crystal ball  (PLP) would have had me walk the plank of life at age 16:  “Decide now, Sophomore Paul Keane, based on your 10-year-PLP, what you want to concentrate on for the final two years of high school, so you can ‘ foster a connection between school and career.’ ”

 Life isn’t an airplane trajectory.  It’s a bit more unpredictable.  And interesting.

 Thank heaven for that.

Paul D. Keane,
M.A., M.Div., M.Ed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

* Inaugural Dysfunction

Beyond Beyonce

So today's news  declares:  Beyonce lip-synched the Star Spangled Banner at the Inauguration. 

The hosts of  CBS This Morning ask, “Is this controversy a little too silly?”


 I don’t know. 

Ask Robert Frost who abandoned his Inauguration poem mid- sentence when sunlight and wind interrupted his performance. 

 Ask Marian Anderson whose actual voice on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial rebuked the racism of the Daughters of the American Revolution.


 Why is  Beyonce's  trivial artifice offensive in a world bursting with artifice: chemically induced erections; surgically taut faces; chemically colored hair, surgically implanted teeth, surgically enhanced breasts, surgically diminished buttocks, love-handles and bellies? We are so used to the cosmetics of designer technology that we don’t even notice anymore when someone actually performs instead of pretends. Nessen Dorma by Luciano Pavorotti anyone?


 To me the line between authenticity and artifice was crossed when a septuagenarian former Presidential candidate, authentic war hero and distinguished U. S. Senator started hawking a remedy for impotence.


 After that why wouldn’t the Oval Office become a stage-set for a presidential penis?

Monday, January 21, 2013

"* From Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall . . ."

The Sibilant Hiss of History's Syllogistic Slither Toward Equality

Seneca Falls Convention for Women's Suffrage, 1848

Martin Luther King leads the march for civil rights over the Selma, Alabama Edmund Pettus Bridge, 1965

Gay Rights' advocates after the arrest of patrons at Greenwich Village's Stonewall Inn, 1969

In his second Inaugural Address today, President Barack Obama invoked with hissing sibilance  America's centuries-long slither toward equality as the forces of oppression and  rebellion snaked in a slow-motion syllogistic dance of death toward equal rights for all: "from Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall."

That sibilant hiss of history  was the most memorable phrase in his Inaugural Address which may in fact be his coming out party--- not as a gay male but as the true radical egalitarian he has always wanted to be.

His self-declared "evolution" on gay marriage  rights as president was nothing of the sort.  

He, like Lincoln with the Emancipation Proclamation, waited until the moment was politically safe (after his Roman Catholic vice president had tested the waters the week before by declaring he thought gay people ought to enjoy the same right to marry as straight people) to publicly support in a press conference as president equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian people.

His positions on civil rights for blacks and for women had been clear during his first years as president. His position on marriage rights for gays had needed time to "evolve" before Mr. Obama could take the political pre-election risk of declaring it.

And declare it he did again today in no less than an Inaugural Address.

I wonder if this was the first time the  sexual preference term 'gay' had been used in an inaugural address?

My hunch is yes. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

* Bullets, forty-two years apart


It took two years after I saw the bodies of four youths killed by gunfire before I manifested PTSD symptoms (the term PTSD hadn't even been invented on May 4, 1970), primarily panic attacks which were called "severe acute anxiety reaction" back then.
I had sought to elevate my anger into activism during those three years---sublimate might be a more jargony word: National petitions, lobbying at the White House, television and radio interviews, meetings with the parents of the dead.
It didn't work. I was just pushing the bubble in the tire of my soul IN on the left side to have it pop OUT and then explode on the right side. (poor metaphor, but I cannot do better at the moment.)
Part of my problem was hubris. i was certain that everyone who opposed justice for the Kent State murdered were wrong and that I was right.
The zeal of being right can corrode.
I wish you well after this terrible event you have endured.
Paul D. Keane, M. Div '80
(M.Ed. Kent State University, 1972)

RODRIGUEZ-TORRENT: A shot in the dark: America’s dirty secret

Yale Daily News
Thursday, January 17, 2013

I was initiated into America’s gun culture the hard way: face-down in a darkened movie theater in Aurora, Colo., covered in a friend’s blood.
When all was said and done — the shooter arrested, my two wounded friends discharged from the hospital, 12 fellow moviegoers pronounced dead by the coroner — I returned home and tried to understand what had happened to me, and its greater context.
It immediately became clear to me that Americans are killing each other, and we’re doing it quickly. In 2011, 13,000 Americans were murdered. The U.S. murder rate is two times that of Canada, three times that of the U.K., four times that of Australia, five times that of Spain, and 10 times that of Iceland and Japan.
It also seemed obvious that guns play a starring role in the national carnage: over two-thirds of all homicides in America are committed with firearms, which is unsurprising given the speed and ease with which a gun can be used to end a life.
What did surprise me was how disturbingly commonplace incidents like last summer’s Aurora shooting actually are. There were 37 mass shootings (defined as four or more dead) and over 200 school and campus shootings in the 15 years leading up to my trip to Aurora; the 2005–’12 period alone saw over 400 shootings of three or more victims each.
More broadly, guns in America take almost 9,000 lives per year. But homicide statistics alone fail to get at the true cost of gun violence. They do not include 25-year-old Ashley Moser, who lost her 6-year-old daughter, suffered a miscarriage and was paralyzed from the waist down during the Aurora shooting; she will merely be counted in crime reports as a victim of “aggravated assault with a firearm” and in public health statistics as one of the 100,000 hospital patients treated for gunshot wounds annually. Nor will homicide numbers include Brooke and Sierra Cowden, two teenage girls who escaped the carnage of Aurora only to find that their father did not — they will join the faceless ranks of the grieving. Counting wounded victims and their loved ones, an easy but conservative estimate is that over a million Americans are personally affected by gun violence each and every year.
We may derive some partial comfort from the idea that, relatively speaking, it’s less likely to be us — that our money or our connections or our Yale education will allow us to live and eventually raise families somewhere affluent, somewhere safe. Yet tragedies like the recent Newtown shooting, which occurred less than six miles from my home, remind us that no one can afford to remain deaf and blind to the ongoing and real American carnage.
But the dirty secret in all of this talk about guns is the fact that, for years and years, you and I and most of the people we know have just stood by and watched. We have shrugged our shoulders at a legal loophole that allows 50 percent of all gun purchases to occur without a background check. We have allowed Congress to pass laws prohibiting the NIH and CDC from studying the public health effects of guns. We have not protested as Congress has obstructed law enforcement efforts to penalize unscrupulous firearms dealers. We have uniquely exempted guns from oversight by the Consumer Product and Safety Commission. And we have failed to push for unambiguously positive regulations like universal background checks, bulk purchase limits, safe storage requirements, magazine capacity maximums, microstamping technology to facilitate murder-weapon tracking, one-week waiting periods for handgun purchases, prosecution of attempted illegal firearms purchases, or even felony charges for gun traffickers.
But Newtown seems to have shaken the public awake, and this year, I hope to be part of a sea change in the balance of gun activism.
In a press conference yesterday, President Obama said:
“Along with our freedom to live our lives as we will comes an obligation to allow others to do the same. We don’t live in isolation. … We are responsible for each other.
You know, the right to worship freely and faithfully, that right was denied to Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wis. The right to assemble [peaceably], that right was denied shoppers in Clackamas, Ore., and moviegoers in Aurora, Colo. That most fundamental set of rights — to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness — fundamental rights that were denied to college students at Virginia Tech and high school students at Columbine and elementary school students in Newtown … We have to examine ourselves in our hearts and ask ourselves what is important. This will not happen unless the American people demand it.”
On Feb. 14, the two-month anniversary of the Newtown shooting, I will be excusing myself from my classes to participate in Connecticut’s March for Change, a massive rally to support gun control in Hartford, Conn. I hope you will join me there.
We owe it to each other to demand this change.
Ethan Rodriguez-Torrent is a senior in Davenport College. Contact him at

* Drug Court

Grafton County New Hampshire Court House and Correctional Facility

Sunday, January 6, 2013

* What is Missing from Obama's Arid Presidency

President Lyndon B. Johnson 
and AFL-CIO leader 
George Meany, 1963

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
Robert A. Caro

Not only the civil rights organizations but civil rights’ staunch ally, organized labor, had to be mobilized behind the civil rights bill, and labor’s stud duck, who “liked visible signs of consultation . . .the pictures of the two of you,” was invited to The Elms [Johnson’s D.C. home] Tuesday morning for breakfast, and a ride downtown afterwards. No sign of consultation was necessary to line up the staunch old leader of the unions behind civil rights; Meany had been behind the cause for thirty years. But he hadn’t been behind Lyndon Johnson.  As Johnson’s limousine moved slowly out The Elms’ gates, the rear window was down, so that photographers could snap the picture of Meany in the back seat with the President. And at the White House, Johnson asked Meany if he’d like to come inside  --- and ushered him into the Cabinet Room to spend a few minutes at the legislative leaders’ breakfast.  When he emerged to be met by the waiting White House press corps, he said that the President would have labor’s “full support” in the battle for the civil rights bill. Johnson would have had that even without the breakfast and the Cabinet Room, but AFL-CIO lobbyist Andrew Biemiller would say, “This cemented Johnson with Meany.”

Kindle ( p. 12032 of 21188)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

* YANA: You Are Not Alone
Paul Keane, founder of
The Anti-Yale, 
has formed YANA (You Are Not Alone), 
an organization to serve folks in extended  care facilities by ensuring that no one goes more than one week without a visitor.  See link above.