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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Intersectional feminism and building renaming fads come to OSU

Barometer Sept. 15, 2017 p. 10-11 and p. 14-5 Cultural Centers Women's and Pride

PHOTO: The Oregon State University student newspaper's welcome back move-in issue for Fall, 2017 featured a two page spread of a map (center) highlighting the OSU Cultural Centers, such as the OSU Pride Center for LGBT students and Women's Center (Daily Barometer, Sept. 15, 2017 p. 10-11) plus the stories by Avalon Kelly News, "Women's Center works with all gender identities," OSU Ddaily Barometer, Sep. 15, 2017, p. 14 and Melinda Myers, "Pride Center provides safe spaces," OSU Daily Barometer, Sept. 15, 2017, p. 15.

Oregon State University Engineering Benny Beaver decal (10 cents) was sold circa 1975 and it was ''' to apply to a car window shows Benny carrying a slide rule and T-square, which are both obsolete engineering tools.

PHOTO: Oregon State University Engineering Benny Beaver mascot decal was a fad nearly half of a century ago when it was sold for ten cents to be applied on a student's car window. See previous posts Artist of OSU Benny Beaver engineer mascot decal used it for other schools (6/6/15), Slide rules, T-squares -- obsolete engineering tools (1/19/09), and OSU Benny Beaver Engineering Decal (12/9/06)

Anybody who has been around academia for decades has witnessed firsthand examples of how a few college fads will spread across across the nation, and sometimes even around the world, because the fad captures the imagination of students. Some fads prove to last and make permanent changes, such as the fad for "gay liberation," which slowly evolved to establish equal rights for LGBT people, but other fads will fade away and replaced by new fashions.

Two recent nationwide college fads that have risen in popularity at Oregon State University include the concept of "intersectional feminism" and researching campus building names to expose the unenlightened past of the people the buildings were named after, and then citing this research to request that university leaders change the names of the buildings named after racists or slave owners, etc.

The annual Fall welcome to OSU move-in issue of the student newspaper featured a series of stories describing campus resources, such as the OSU Pride Center for gay community members in the story by Melinda Myers, "Pride Center provides safe spaces," OSU Daily Barometer, Sept. 15, 2017, p. 15. She reports, "The Oregon State University Pride Center is a campus safe space intended for the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual) community. . . The Pride Center is a physical space, staffed by students, that provides connection to resources, community, and support for LGBTQ+ people and education for non-LGBTQ+ who want to be better allies"

Logically adjacent to the OSU Pride Center story, in the same Fall Term, welcome to OSU, issue of the student newspaper, is another story by Avalon Kelly News, "Women's Center works with all gender identities," OSU Ddaily Barometer, Sep. 15, 2017, p. 14. This story quotes Whitney Archer the associate director of Diversity and Cultural Engagement, and assistant director of the Women's Center, saying, "While our name is the Women's Center, we work with students from all gender identities and we strive to focus our work on gender justice through a lens of intersectional feminism." Also quoted in the story is Miriam Wojtas, a student leadership liaison at the Women's Center, saying that their mission is "continually fostering community that is intersectional - that way it serves as many folks as possible."

I have only casually followed the concept of intersectional feminism and my recent Google search led to an article by Alia E. Dastagir, "What is intersectional feminism? A look at the term you may be hearing a lot," usatoday.com posted Jan. 19, 2017, which lists how feminist scholars explain the meaning of intersectionality in their own words.

I first heard about intersectionality while reading the blog posts of a gay scholar, Wayne Dynes, "Identity," dyneslines.blogspot.com posted Sep. 11, 2017 who noteed how "The concept of identity politics is evoking current controversy . . . now it is thought that, we can be host to a basket of autonomous identities. That way the demon of intersectionality lies."

In an earlier blog post, Wayne Dynes, "Looking back at my career realistically,"dyneslines.blogspot.com posted Jul. 21, 2013, Dynes commented, "The general understanding of these matters is being fundamentally transformed by two factors: intersectionality and the trans perspective."

Another earlier post by Professor Emeritus Wayne Dynes, "Vagaries of the word queer," dyneslines.blogspot.com posted Jul. 16, 2017, declares the "queer" word to be obsolete and says, ". . . Queer Theory is collapsing, together with its postmodern cousins in the academy. No one that I know of speaks of queer rights or queer marriage. So the q word has not, despite the aspirations of some observers, become the overall label of choice. That function has been assumed by LGBT - not in my view the ideal solution, but it has in fact become the answer." However, after some analysis he notes, ". . . there is still a use for the queer label. In the current assimilationist climate there is a danger that our heritage (if I may use the term) of outlaw/outsider affirmation will be swept away. . . the word queer should still be employed for this, dare I say, heroic affirmation of the outsider tradition. But the q word is contraindicated as a generic term, and those of us who object to its hegemonic deployment are justified: it does not apply to us." Prof. Dynes was a participant of the homophile movement as well as a witness to the Stonewall era. (See his biography "Wayne R. Dynes" From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia accessed Ju. 17, 2017) (See previous post Wayne Dynes declares 'queer' word obsolete plus Dan Savage on 'straight' truth (7/19/17))

Another recent nationwide campus fad, which is for student activists to research the origins campus building names, has come to Oregon State University in a manner similar to what has happened at other campuses, and it has led student activists to demand that the names of some buildings be changed because the person they were named after was a slave owner or racist, etc. While I see nothing wrong with doing this type of research to expose the racist past of OSU, I also think the activist students could make a more lasting contribution than just demanding the renaming of a building -- a name that could be changed again in the future if a large donation is made, such as what happened when the OSU football stadium was renamed "Reser Stadium" after a $40,000,000 donation was received from the founder of the Reser food company named after himself.

The professional Corvallis, Oregon newspaper, which is printed in the college town where Oregon State University is located, reported the reluctance of the Oregon State University President to change OSU building names because it would be insensitive to history (See the newspaper story by Anthony Rimel, "OSU announces series of meetings to evaluate building names," gazettetimes.com posted Aug. 31, 2017). The OSU buildings being reviewed include: Arnold Dining Center, which is named for a former Confederate soldier who became an OSU president; Avery Lodge, named for Joseph Avery, a Corvallis founder who the university said owned a pro-slavery newspaper; Benton Hall, which the university said was named for Benton County, which itself was named for white supremacist U.S. Sen. Thomas Hart Benton; and Gill Coliseum, named for longtime basketball coach Amory "Slats" Gill, who student protesters have claimed refused to integrate his team. (A university historian has said there is no evidence Gill refused to integrate, but he only had one black player for part of a season.)

The University's administration leadership page says more on the subject: "Building and Place Names" Oregon State University, leadership.oregonstate.edu accessed Aug. 31, 2017, and also the regular page of OSU President Ed Ray quotes that is printed in every issue of the OSU alumni magazine mailed out to hundreds of thousands OSU Alumni members three times per year: Ed Said: Talk about renaming buildings is part of a crucial conversation. accessed Sep. 7, 2017 (PDF) printed as "Ed Said: Talk about renaming buildings is part of a crucial conversation" Oregon Stater, Fall 2017, p. 8 (PDF) inside of the OSU alumni magazine issue of "Oregon Stater," Fall 2017 Vol. 102, No. 3, p. 8. OSU President Ed Ray asks, ". . . what do you do? Do you put up a plaque with some background information that acknowledges the past . . ." and he also states, ". . .it's important in these cases to be more cognizant of history, to not always just erase a name and forget about it, but to put up plaques and share narratives, so we don't forget."

I agree with the OSU President's plaque suggestion, while I also believe that more can and should be done in a way to make a longer lasting contribution than to just "rename it and forget about it," as President Ray cautions, because who knows, it could be renamed again in the future, especially if a big donation was made, such as what happened after a a $40,000,000 donation was made by the founder of a food company who wanted the old OSU Parker football stadium to be renamed to "Reser" after himself.

Given these real possibilities, I have urged student activists to consider doing something that will be of a more lasting of contribution, which I also submitted as a letter to the editor of the OSU student newspaper:

Oregon State University will hold a series of meetings in September and October to evaluate four historic campus building names, which perhaps are named after racists or former slave owners.

I do not support renaming any building based only on contemporary cultural standards, even as somebody who was directly inspired in the 1960's by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to join his fight for racial equality and in 1970 by Jack Baker at the University of Minnesota to support gay marriage equality.

Although admittedly not an exact analogy, many OSU buildings were named after anti-gay individuals, and in response, with the help of a former OSU Pride Center director, plus OSU students and alumni, I wrote a history, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004" (link http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/handle/1957/43450 in the OSU Scholars Archive).

It documents a gay OSU football player arrested for violating an anti-gay Oregon law a century ago, and it describes how OSU students first came out as being gay in the 1970's, before evolving toward using LGBT for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, while also taking back the derogatory usage of the word "queer" for homosexual.

While I applaud the recent research work of student activists, I believe they should leave the names alone and seize this opportunity to make a more lasting contribution by creating educational programs that teach about OSU's unenlightened past, which could be given during orientation sessions, campus tours, and in relevant classes at OSU.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "INSERT LETTER HEADLINE," OSU Barometer, submitted and not publised as of Sep. 16, 2017)

The local professional newspaper has also printed reactions to OSU building name changes on their letters to the editor page, including one by Susan C. Hayes, "Letter: Report the facts about OSU names," gazettetimes.com posted Sep. 5, 3027 who states that ". . . Benton Hall . . . was named for the citizens of Benton County . . . It was the community's commitment by the citizens in 1885 to raise the $25,000 required by the Legislature to erect a building on the college farm that secured the state agricultural college for Corvallis. That building was originally called the Administration Building and, in 1947, renamed Benton Hall in honor of this citizen effort."

Another published letter to the editor is by P.M. deLaubenfels, "Letter: Don't change OSU campus names," Gazette-Times Sep. 8, 2017, p. A8 gazettetimes.com posted Sep 6, 2017 who asks, "Should Thomas Jefferson be dumped because he had slaves?" The letter writer P.M. deLaubenfels is a conservative who has an active Google Blogger page -- "Thinking About Music, Bicycling, Politics. . . .and a Little Science" gusquibble.blogspot.com blog by Paul F. deLespinasse -- and he maintains a, companion to his blog, Web page: Paul F. deLespinasse Web site at sites.google.com/site/superpublius/. He notes his age of 77 years in his post: Paul F. deLespinasse, "My new status, regular columnist at NewsMax," gusquibble.blogspot.com posted May 14. 2017, which links to Paul F. deLespinasse "Talking About Politics" Blog newsmax.com/Blogs/PaulFdeLespinasse/id-456/ and his other conservative writings. Dr. deLaubenfels is a retired emeritus professor from a small college in Michichagan, affiliated with the Methodist Church, who currently lives in Corvallis.

Unfortunately, all of the arguments against changing any buildings that are named after racists, including my reasons for not renaming any building, can be twisted by true racists as being support for their racists position, which is why I think it is important to make sure that OSU's unenlightened past is not forgotten so that OSU can continue to improve social justice by not forgetting its past.

See previous posts

A side note about the usage of the word "queer" as an identity. Many OSU students had adopted the "queer" identity by the 1990's and the controversy over it has largely vanished and it has become so common it has been declared dead in the blog post by Professor Emeritus Wayne Dynes, "Vagaries of the word queer," dyneslines.blogspot.com posted Jul. 16, 2017, who essentially declares the "queer" word to be obsolete and says, ". . . Queer Theory is collapsing, together with its postmodern cousins in the academy. No one that I know of speaks of queer rights or queer marriage. So the q word has not, despite the aspirations of some observers, become the overall label of choice. That function has been assumed by LGBT - not in my view the ideal solution, but it has in fact become the answer." However, after some analysis he notes, ". . . there is still a use for the queer label. In the current assimilationist climate there is a danger that our heritage (if I may use the term) of outlaw/outsider affirmation will be swept away. . . the word queer should still be employed for this, dare I say, heroic affirmation of the outsider tradition. But the q word is contraindicated as a generic term, and those of us who object to its hegemonic deployment are justified: it does not apply to us." Prof. Dynes was a participant of the homophile movement as well as a witness to the Stonewall era. (See his biography "Wayne R. Dynes" From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia accessed Ju. 17, 2017) (See previous post Wayne Dynes declares 'queer' word obsolete plus Dan Savage on 'straight' truth (7/19/17))

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Michael Petrelis quits Blogger and moves to social network on Facebook and Twitter

The San Francisco gay activist Michael Petrelis announced that he quit posting on his Google Blogger blog page and has moved to social networking on Facebook and Twitter, just like our U.S. President (no insult intended!) See the post by Michael Petrelis, "It's been ages since I posted to my blog . . ," mpetrelis.blogspot.com posted August 22, 2017 where he links to his new social media hangouts at:

Michael Petrelis Facebook page "Silence=Death" facebook.com accessed Sep. 2, 2017

and

Michael Petrelis @MichaelPetrelis Twitter feed "Act & fight back! Proud queer advocate," San Francisco, CA twitter.com Joined January 2013 accessed Sep. 2, 2017 Still acting up!

I've linked to the Google Blogger blog posts by Michael Petrelis before, for example, see previous post Michael Petrelis, female condoms, PEG-ES enemas for gay men 3/14/09) that links to the post by blogger Michael Petrelis, "Anal Condom is No Pain in the Ass; FDA Approval Omits Sodomy," posted Mar. 13, 2009. Michael Petrelis was one of the first activists to push for adoption of other safer sex methods than just the original campaign of "use a condom every time."

With my low vision blindness, I have been unable to do much exploring in the current gay bar that is in fashion --- Facebook and Twitter --- in the social netowrking and social media area, but I have used Facebook for conversation with close family members, but never tried twitter because I am too verbose! However, if I was younger and in better health, I can easily imagine why I would be using both of them.

Over a decade ago, I was contacted by the Google Blogger developers, who were all excited about the then new and then still emerging social networking and social network applications, and they made some major enhancements to Blogger to make it more "social," but apparently these features are too complicated to be visible to casual users. In any case, I never was that interested because today I have had to narrow my social circles on purpose because I physically am unable to keep up the basic daily activities of living, to use the technical jargon medical doctors have taught me! Instead, I've turned my blog page into an low vision assistive device where I can use it take ntoes and search then using the low vision accessiblity features of Microsoft Windows. I am not blogging for the fame or fortune of it, and so I am happy with the fact that only a few of my best friends and family read my blog, although I've had a few controversial posts that have drawn big traffic according to Google Blogger stats.

For background information, see:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I was able to see Solar eclipse despite low vsiion blindness

Time lapse of solar eclipse on front page of G-T Aug. 22, 2017, p. A1

PHOTO: the Aug. 21, 2017 solar eclipse as shown in a front page time lapse photo by Anibal Cortiz, "Shadow and Sun. Mid-valley thrills to spectacular solar show," Gazette-Times, Aug. 22, 2017, p. A1 -- I was able to see it despite my low vision blindness as it passed over Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon at 10:16AM, a time which is shown at the center of the photo. The shape of the moon as it passes by over the sun can be seen in the minutes before and after the total eclipse, as is shown to the left and right in the photo. These shapes and path in the sky matched what I saw through the special eclipse glasses I bought for the occasion. See the Corvallis professionsl newspaper story by Anthony Rimel, "On OSU campus, hundreds cheer totality," Gazette-Times, Aug. 22, 2017, p. A5 and editor Mike McInally, "Editorial: Eclipse lived up to its billing," Gazette-Times, Aug. 22, 2017, p. B5 gazettetimes.com posted Aug. 21 updated Aug. 22, 2017. Also, see previous posts Glasses for total solar eclipse Aug. 21 and OSU student newspaper story (8/8/17) and Total solar eclipse will pass over Corvallis and OSU (6/11/17).

Also, see the OSU student newspaper account of the solar eclipse by Sydney Sullivan, "'Totality' perfect, City, State, university officials reflect on eclipse expectations vs. reality," OSU 'The Baro,' Aug. 28, 2017, p. 4 dailybarometer.com or orangemedianetwork.com posted Aug. 28, 2017

See previous posts:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Google engineer fired after suggesting biological reasons for fewer women in engineering

Emily Chang interviews 'James Damore on his dismissal from Google,' Bloomberg Technology Aug. 10, 2017 2-3 PM Comcast Cable Channel 743

PHOTO: The question of why there are fewer women in software engineering than men is discussed by former Google engineer James Damore, who had been fired after writing an essay suggesting biological reasons, in an interview of him by a respected San Francisco Silicon Valley Bloomberg TV reporter: Emily Chang interview of former Google Engineer James Damore "Bloomberg Technology," as watched on Bloomberg TV Corvallis Comcast cable channel 743 2-3PM Aug. 10, 2017 -- online as, "Fired Engineer James Damore: I Feel Google Betrayed Me," (8:40) youtube.com posted Aug. 9, 2017

Sex discrimination against the employment of females in historically male dominated fields, such as engineering, has been an issue for decades that both universities and companies have tried to eliminate. Despite all of the successes, over the last fifty years, in increasing the number of women in engineering, there are still a significantly fewer number of females than males graduating with a degree in engineering or working in engineering. The above story of how this issue has surfaced at Google, prompted me to write the following letter to the editor of the professional newspaper in my college town of Oregon State University, which has a large shool of engineering:

The respected San Francisco Silicon Valley Bloomberg TV reporter Emily Chang recently interviewed a former Google engineer, James Damore, who was fired after writing an essay suggesting there are fewer female engineers due to biological reasons.

Damore insists he is not spreading alt-right propaganda and he intelligently raises the valid, but controversial, question asking how much does nature vs. nurture lead to the fact today that fewer women than men work in science, technology, engineering or math.

Damore believes that even though nature causes most men and women to be born with obvious physical differences, most people can do any occupation, including ones traditionally dominated by one sex, given the necessary nurture.

In reaction, the female Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said that changing the underrepresentation of females is limited by the fact that only 16 percent of software engineering graduates are female at the universities where Facebook recruits new hires, which is a lower percentage than it was a decade ago.

Even if genetic reasons are discovered in the future for the lower percentage of females in S.T.E.M., it should be used only to improve educational and recruitment processes, instead of as an excuse to discriminate.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "It's no excuse for discrimination," Gazette-Times, Aug. 17, 2017, p. A6 and posted as "Letter: Improve processes, don't discriminate" gazettetimes.com posted Aug. 14, 2017 updated Aug. 15-17, 2017 also see Link to previous Thomas Kraemer GT Letters)

The real reason behind this firing of an employee by Coogle will probably never be made public due to employment privacy laws that make it risky for companies to disclose too much detail. In my decades of management experience at Silicon Valley technology companies I have seen many cases where the real reason is not what the employee publically claims the firing was due to, but the real reason for a firing was due to the employee being unable to work productively with other people. However, the "group think" and political correctness that the fired Google engineer complains about is also real in my experience, and I have seen this lead to so-called "affirmative action" hiring programs that fail to pick the best candidate for the job. In my opinion, affirmative action, defined as intentionally discriminating in hiring to make up for past discrimination, can be useful, but it should be done only with a court order asking a compnay to do it after the company has been found guilty of illegally discriminating in the past. This doesn't mean that companies should do nothing. For example, instead of discriminating intentionally to hire more women, the compnaies I worked for would proactively recruit new hires at universities with a larger population of minority students, such as Howard University, or with active programs encouraging women to major in engineering. I found that this often resulted in finding some really good engineering talent that was being overlooked by other companies who would hire students only from the universities where they had recruited at in the past.

For more background see, "Emily Chang (journalist)" wikipedia.org accessed Aug. 11, 2017, who hosts the cable TV program "'Bloomberg Technology,'" wikipedia.org accessed Aug. 11, 2017, and "Sheryl Sandberg" wikipedia.org accessed Aug. 11, 2017, who is chief operating officer (COO) of Facebook. In 1987, Sandberg enrolled at Harvard College. She graduated in 1991 summa cum laude Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor's degree in economics.

VIDEO: Emily Chang, "Fired Engineer James Damore: I Feel Google Betrayed Me," (8:40) youtube.com posted Aug. 9, 2017. Former Google Engineer James Damore has caused an uproar in Silicon Valley. This after he authored an internal 10-page memo asserting there are biological causes behind gender inequality in the tech industry. Damore, says he is "exploring all possible legal remedies," and that problems with the company's culture prompted him to write the memo. Bloomberg's Emily Chang caught up with Damore for broadcast exclusive. She started by asking about his reaction to Google letting him go.

See previous post Trump harms military readiness with misogynistic transgender ban (7/27/17)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Glasses for total solar eclipse Aug. 21 and OSU student newspaper story

solar eclipse glasses OSU student newspaper Jul. 2017 p. 1

PHOTO: the perhaps (instructions don't say if these are) folded backward cardboard and plastic framed glasses, required for viewing the solar eclipse Aug. 21, which I bought at a Corvallis Fred Meyer grocery store for $1.99 each on Jul. 28, 2017. The glasses are manufactured by Explore Scientific, LLC exploreone.com or explorescientificusa.com spearheaded by founder and President, Scott Roberts, who has spent over 30 years in the astronomy optics industry. The sales page for the Sun Catcher Sunglasses (2-Pack) $ 2.49 exploreone.com accessed Aug. 6, 2017 includes links to an article by Professor Michael D. Reynolds, "An Eclipse Primer," Free (PDF) www.explorescientificusa.com and a test report documenting the safety of these glasses per the standarad set by the International Organization for Standardization, "ISO 12312-2:2015, Eye and face protection -- Sunglasses and related eyewear -- Part 2: Filters for direct observation of the sun," iso.org Publication date : 2015-06 accessed Aug. 6, 2017. Also, shown is the cover of the student newspaper that included articles by Erin Dose and Sydney Sullivan, "Solar Eclipse Aug. 21, 2017," Oregon State University "The Baro," July 2017 cover story, p. 3, 8-9 dailybarometer.com July 31, 2017 posted online as "One million people to visit Oregon for celestial spectacle" and Sydney Sullivan, "Eclipse impacts on personal level," Oregon State University "The Baro," July 2017 cover story, p. 9 posted dailybarometer.com July 31, 2017. (A Facsimile of the printed newspaper dated Jun. 31, 2017 edition for Aug. is available at issuu.com)

The main NASA site for this eclipse, "Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 Aug 21" eclipse2017.nasa.gov includes links to the NASA Interactive Google Map that has been temporarily moved to the NASA, "Eclipse Maps" eclipse2017.nasa.gov accessed Aug. 7, 3027 due to high demand, at the link NASA Eclipse Interactive Map. A simple JPEG NASA map of Oregon Eclipse is also also available. NASA's calculation says my location at Oregon State University will start seing the partial eclipse Aug. 21 at 16:04:55.2 and start of the total eclipse at 17:16:54.1 ending at 17:18:38.6 in the morning.

The professional Corvallis newspaper also published a story by JENNIFER MOODY Albany Democrat-Herald, "Eclipse damage: Doctors can't help," gazettetimes.com posted Aug. 7, 3-17 with a quote from a doctor about the eye safety concern and the ISO standard mentioned above. It also mentions that "According to NASA, the moon's shadow will start creeping over the sun about 9 a.m. that Monday. Totality will hit the coast about 10:15 and in the mid-valley area a minute or two later." The editorial page included a photo of hardboard glasses to illustrate an opinion piece warning by the editor Mike McInally, "Editorial: Beware fake glasses for eclipse viewing," gazettetimes.com posted Aug. 6, 2017.

The student newspaper story said:

. . . according to Randall Milstein, an astronomy professor at OSU and an astronomer-in-residence for the Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium. . . . while there is an eclipse somewhere in the world approximately every 18 months, a total solar eclipse has not crossed the entirety of the contiguous United States since 1918. . .

In Corvallis, the eclipse will start at 9:05 a.m. and end at 11:37 a.m. The moment of totality will occur at 10:16 a.m. and last for one minute and 35 seconds . . .

Another large event coinciding with the eclipse is 'OSU150 Space Grant Festival: A Total Eclipse Experience,' the first of many events that will occur over the course of the 2017-2018 academic year in celebration of OSU's sesquicentennial. Attendees will have the option of renting residence hall rooms for the weekend of the eclipse. One-person rooms in Wilson Hall, Callahan Hall, McNary Hall and Finley Hall are available for $265 for the weekend, while two-person rooms are priced at $375. Family-option rooms offered in Tebeau Hall, the International Living-Learning Center and Halsell Hall have already sold out, according to the festival's website. . .

(Quoted from Erin Dose and Sydney Sullivan, "Solar Eclipse Aug. 21, 2017," Oregon State University "The Baro," July 2017 cover story, p. 3, 8-9 dailybarometer.com July 31, 2017 posted online as "One million people to visit Oregon for celestial spectacle")

Another student newspaper story said:

Richard Watson, who serves on the board of directors for an amateur astronomer's club associated with the local Corvallis community, the Heart of the Valley Astronomers, has sought out four solar eclipses in his lifetime, traveling as far as Cabo San Lucas to see these spectacles. However, for the upcoming eclipse he will not have to leave his own home. . .

Tom Carrico, the head of the Heart of the Valley Astronomers, is helping the Corvallis community to prepare for these brief seconds of totality happening in August.

Though retired from human resources a couple of years ago, planning for the solar eclipse has become more than just a part-time job. According to Carrico, lessons that the Heart of the Valley Astronomers teach at the Corvallis public library have been selling out in a matter of minutes. . . .

In 1979, Randall Milstein, an astronomy professor at OSU, said he was able to witness a partial solar eclipse happen over the mainland United States while he was living in Michigan.

"That's the one thing I remember from seeing, not even a total eclipse, a partial eclipse in 1979, was that it was dead quiet. Everything just stopped. And that struck me as the most eerie thing," Milstein said. . . .

Like Carrico and Bradshaw, Milstein is putting on workshops throughout Corvallis and other cities around the path of totality in order to remind everyone this event can be very life-altering. According to Milstein, his workshops are intended to remind people totality will only be in Corvallis for a minute and 40 seconds and it will not be repeated.

"There are people who witness a solar eclipse and laugh, other people will sob, or literally fall backwards on the ground and just sit there with their mouth open. Some people will sing or hum, or there will be just dead silence," Milstein said.

(Quoted from Sydney Sullivan, "Eclipse impacts on personal level," Oregon State University "The Baro," July 2017 cover story, p. 9 dailybarometer.com July 31, 2017 posted online as)

Corvallis was on the edge of a total solar eclipse on February 26, 1979 and I recall watching it from upstairs in Hewlett-Packard's building 4 -- the first of two buildings completed at that time. There were no other buildings or large trees to block my view, and the open office plan allowed me to look south toward Eugene to see bright sunlight while turning my head to see the the windows turn dark on the north side of the building. All of my coworkers briefly paused to watch before going back to doing the engineering research and development work for handheld programmable computers (i.e. business and scientific calculators) plus HP's first personal computer and thermal printer.

I hope to see the Aug. 21st total eclipse in Corvallis, provided neither rain nor my low vision blindness prevents me from using the protective eyeglasses I bought for $1.99 at a grocery store on Kings Blvd.

Solar eclipse path Corvallis GT May 21, 2017, p. A1

PHOTO: The path and time of the total solar eclipse over that will be seen over Oregon State University and Corvallis, Oregon was printed in a graphic for the newspaper story by Bennet Hall, "Summer of the eclipse," Gazette-Times, Sun. May 21, 2017, p. A1, A4. Corvallis is set for Aug. 21, 2017 at 10:16AM lasting about 1 iminute and 40 seconds. The last eclipse in Corvallis occurred on Feb. 26, 1979. See previous post Total solar eclipse will pass over Corvallis and OSU (6/11/17)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Trump harms military readiness with misogynistic transgender ban

Trump's transgender ban on 700 Club CBN news Jul. 26, 2017 10:37AM PT

PHOTO: President Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military is favorably reported by the Christian Broadcasting Network News a.k.a. CBN "700 Club" TV show hosted by the anti-gay Rev. Pat Robertson, which I watched at 12:37PM Jul. 26, 2017 on over-the-air Eugene, Oregon KLSR-TV Channel 34-1 via Comcast Cable Channel 705. This show was originally shown at 10:37AM PT on the Corvallis Comcast Cable TV Channel 739 Freeform (formerly named the CBN and Family Channel) that was started decades ago by Rev. Robertson, and also broadcast for free on the over-the-air Eugene KMTR-TV Channel 16-1 at 11:37PM (simulcast on Comcast cable channel 703). Rev. Pat Robertson apparently has a contract to air his show on the Christian cable TV channel he founded and he apparently pays local TV stations to broadcast his program via their free, over-the-air TV channels because disclaimers are displayed at the start of the program saying it may or may not reflect the views of the station.

When I woke up on Jul. 26, the live TV news broadcast I was watching showed the first of several tweets President Trump was sending, which dramatically teased the next tweet he had not yet written, and so the TV anchors joked how this provided viewers with a great motivation to stick around through the commercial break in order to find out out what Trump was going to say in his next tweet. The anchors also all gave their joke guesses as to what it would be.

A few minutes later, Trump finished his follow-up tweeting and it was quickly reported as a "breaking news" story on my local Corvallis newspaper's Website in an AP story by the Associated Press, "Trump bars transgender people from US military," gazettetimes.com posted Jul. 26, 2017 accessed 11:00AM (The next day print edition front page AP story was by Robert Burns, "Trump prohibits transgender troops -- Tweet catches Pentagon off-guard; decision draws denunciations," Gazette-times, Jul. 27, 2017, p. A1-A2).

This news story prompted me to write the following letter to the editor:

President Trump's Jul. 26 ban on transgender individuals serving in the military is essentially a ban on all women serving in the military, according to my heterosexual, cisgender female cousin who served as one of the first female officers in the U.S. military several decades ago, while also raising a family of children in an opposite-sex marriage to a man.

My cousin's father, a U.S. Marines General, was appalled by how many men in the military angrily discriminated against his daughter because they thought only "real men" could be warriors.

Trump is harming military readiness by discriminating against all women, when he welcomes gay military men, but not women, to serve.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: Trump's ban harms the US military," Gazette-Times, Jul. 27, 2017, p. A8)

Also see the following links:

The editor also printed the letter by Michael Beachley, "Letter: Cheering crowds lead to chills," gazettetimes.com posted Jul. 26, 201 who notes how he watched "Donald Trump speaking to the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree about the evils of a free press, encouraging them to boo Barack Obama and other political opponents. They were cheering." This made him recal his trip "Nuremberg a couple weeks ago I went to the Nazi Documentation Center and saw a film of Adolf Hitler speaking to the Hitlerjugend, the Hitler Youth, encouraging them in undermining the values of the traditional structures of German society. They were cheering."

As an aside note, I noticed at the bottom of the letters page it had a search function that listed all of my past letters: Search gazettetimes.com "Thomas Kraemer" -- on Jul. 27 it returned 73 results, including the letter above. I also noticed that the email address of opinion@gtconnect.com for letter submission was no longer on the page, but it had a link to Submit letter to the editor form gazettetimes.com that had a form you could use, and it gave the option to "send us an e-mail at news@gazettetimes.com" -- an email address that is very similar to the Albany Democrat-Herald email address for their sister newspaper.

On the loosely related subject of President Trump trying to get his attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign, I wonder if this is a fake attack on Sessions just to make it look like he doesn't trust Sessions, so that when Congress forces Trump to keep Sessions and Sessions's investigations exonerate Trump from any crime, it will look like it is believable instead of a conclusion fabricated by a Trump loyalists, which was the concern of many when Sessions was picked by Trump for the job.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pride March in small town across river from OSU

Pride story front page Midvalley Sunday G-Tp. A1

PHOTO: Front page newspaper story by Neil Zawicki, "Message: 'We are all equal' Pride March in downtown Albany attracts a crowd," Mid-Valley Sunday Gazette-Times Democrat-Herald, p. A1,A6 posted online Jul. 22, 2017 as "Albany's first Pride March attracts robust crowd" reports on the Pride March in the small town of Albany, Oregon that is across the river from Corvallis and Oregon State University. Historically, Albany has been a very conservative rural town with many blue collar citizens employed in logging and lumber mills, which is in contrast to Corvallis's population of college students and professors who are more analytically minded, although not as liberal as a typical college town. Also see video by Jessica Habjan, "Video: Pride In Albany," gazettetimes.com posted Jul 22, 2017.

One speaker at the march noted how far Linn County (where Albany, Oregon is located) has come from the days when an ordinance was passed that took away the rights of homosexuals. (The specific ordinance is not mentioned in the newspaper, but I guess the speaker may be talking about the anti-gay measures successfully passed by Oregon anti-gay groups, which have not been repealed and are still on the books, such as Oregon's ban on same-sex marriages that has been overruled by the U.S. Supremer Court decision.)

"There were 550 confirmed marchers Saturday at Albany's first Pride March, an organized demonstration meant as a show of support and unity for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. . .

Keith Kolkow organized the Albany event . . which began in front of the Albany City Hall. . . .

Notable in the crowd were at least a dozen representatives from the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Corvallis. Congregation member Ann Hawkins said Christianity and LGBT rights are one in the same. . .

The march comes on the heels of a contentious July 12 city council meeting . . .

"I think the council meeting last week went a long way to energize people," said march co-organizer Jerred Taylor. . .

The march kicked off, moving north up Broadalbin Street, with drums and rattling cow bells and marchers chanting, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, homophobia's got to go!"

As the procession made its way west along First Avenue, the marchers stretched for two blocks, with the marchers shouting "Black, white, gay, straight -- love does not discriminate!" . . .

One person shouted from his car, "Damn faggots! Marching for what!?" but an Albany Police officer emerged from his patrol vehicle to encourage the heckler to move along, which he did. . .

Albany City Councilor Ray Kopczynski also marched. . ." (Quoted from Neil Zawicki, "Message: 'We are all equal' Pride March in downtown Albany attracts a crowd," Mid-Valley Sunday Gazette-Times Democrat-Herald, p. A1,A6 posted online Jul. 22, 2017 as "Albany's first Pride March attracts robust crowd")