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Friday, February 17, 2017

OSU Queer Film Festival press release printed in local newspaper

OSU Queer Film Festival Gazette-Times, Feb. 16, 2017, p. C6

PHOTO: The professional newspaper in Corvallis printed "Queer Film Festival scheduled," Gazette-Times, Feb. 16, 2017, p. C6 right above another story about an event at the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center on the Oregon State University Campus. The article says in part: "The 2017 Corvallis Queer Film Festival will be Feb. 22-25 at the Darkside Cinema, 215 SW Fourth St., Corvallis. The international festival offers three feature-length documentaries and 60 short films by queer-and-trans-identified directors selected from more than 750 entries. It is a community project sponsored by the School of Language Culture and Society in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University." The newspaper story printed the original OSU press release "Corvallis Queer Film Festival to run Feb. 22-25 at Darkside Cinema," posted Feb. 3, 2017, which includes a link to the full program, including descriptions of the films at -- NOTE: this link is inaccessible to non-users of Apple iTunes or those of us who are low vision blind. (See previous post OSU School of Language, Culture and Society is perfect for OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund (2/19/12) and article by James Day, "Building a new curriculum: Queer studies," posted Jun. 4, 2013 about OSU Associate Professor Qwo-Li Driskill.)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Religious liberty vs. working on Sunday to deliver Amazon packages

The letter by the Corvallis mailman, David Schaefer, "Amazon deal increases load on carriers," Jan. 16, 2017, p. A6, and a reply criticizing his letter by Padric Fisher, "Carrier does not speak for all," posted online as "Letter: Carrier's comment not representative," Gazette-Times, Jan. 27, 2017, p. A6 prompted my following letter to the editor:

I appreciated the Jan. 16 letter from a brave Corvallis mailman, which was criticized in a Jan. 25 reply by the "officer in charge at the Corvallis Post Office," because he explained why my Amazon orders were arriving on Sundays, despite not asking for this service.

However, I was surprised that a U.S. Post Officer did not confirm what Amazon told its shareholders, which is that Amazon's delivery contract will save the jobs of postal workers from being eliminated due to the decline in mail deliveries caused by email and paperless billing.

As a satisfied customer, I believe the Officer correctly praised "the majority of postal employees, who dedicate themselves to provide outstanding customer service at all times," but I hope he has also acknowledged the legitimate concerns of his mailmen.

For example, when I was a child, religious liberty laws forbid working on Sundays, except for newspaper men and emergency workers, but these "Sunday closing laws" were repealed after businesses lobbied State legislators because labor unions had won a 40-hour, 5-day work week in the private sector.

(Quoted from Thomas Kremer, "Sunday delivery and carriers," Gazette-Times, Feb. 16, 2017, p.A6 posted Feb. 10, 2017)

The business reason Amazon told shareholders was to explain how their business contract with the U.S. Post Office is beneficial to both sides -- good contracts works best when both sides have an interest in it. Amazon's contract lowers warehousing and supply chain costs by delivering it faster, plus fast delivery will lead to happier customers and more sales in the long run. The Post Office benefits by it helping to finance their decision to buy new delivery trucks, which are similar to what Fed Ex uses, so that they can shift away from delivering mostly first-class letters to delivering mostly packages due to the to rapidly growing internet commerce.

When I was a child, I recall the postman, who delivered mail to my childhood home, worked six days per week, and in high school I was taught how the Federal labor laws were based on a six-day work week, Monday thru Saturday, because a 6-day work week was standard before labor unions won the five-day work-week. I don't know how accurate my memory is and I have not researched the history of the labor movement, but I experienced firsthand Sunday Closing laws when I had to work around them, for example, making sure that I had filled up my car with gas on Saturday because no gas station would be open on Sunday, even at major freeway truck stops, when I was travelling long distances.

The term "religious liberty" is the new slogan for the anti-gay Christian Republicans and religious right in America, who are using it in their campaign for the right to discriminate against gay people based on their Christian religious beliefs. I bet few people realize how similar political campaigns were used decades ago to get the "Sunday closing laws" passed that I mentioned in my letter. Likewise, the Religious Right is still upset today over losing the mandatory Christian school prayer, which they like to blame the atheist activism of Madalyn Murry O'Hair as being the cause behind it. (See the article School prayer accessed Feb. 15, 2017)

I now understand how societal norms shift over a century due to the fact that people take for granted their hard won freedoms and gains in equality, but then forget how it was in the past after a couple of generations. After people forget, a businessman or theocratic politician can easily take away these hard won rights by creating resentment in people and pitting one group against the other by pointing out the "special rights" certain groups are getting.

As a result, the conventional wisdom of most social justice activists is that these gains in equality and rights must never be forgotten by future generations and in order to ensure this they will set up institutions and processes to continuously teach children about it, which is why the Religious Right wants to weaken public schools by draining taxpayer dollars from them to fund their "school choice" programs for religious schools where they can teach how it is a sin to treat women and gays equally.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

OSU women's Center STEMinist group support science, technology, engineering and math majors

Women's Center STEMinist group in Barometer FEb. 6, 2017, p. 13

PHOTO: The inspiring concept of a STEMinist (science, technlogy, engineering and math feminist) and the Oregon State University Women's Center is shown in student newspaper article by Sydney McHale, Keep S.A.F.E. Blog Manger, "Keep Social Awareness For Everyone (SAFE) Women's Center Spotlight: Cultural center offers open space to promote social justice, feminism," OSU Barometer, Feb. 6, 2017, p. 13. The Women's Center was where the first OSU gay student group was formed in the 1970's shortly after the Stonewall riot in New York City. (See Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," printed to PDF from in 2010 permanently stored by the OSU Scholars Archives @ OSU)

The big, plump colorful sofas, surrounded by the sounds of laughter and conversation is the climate created at the Oregon State University Women's Center.

The Women's Center is one of seven cultural centers on campus. This center's main focus is creating an open space to promote feminism in social justice, according to Natalie Cronan, a peer success facilitator at the Women's Center.

"The goal of the Women's Center is to create a space for students and anyone who feels comfortable to come and talk about social justice, and continue the fight towards equity and liberation for all," Cronan said.

The Women's Center was established in 1973, and since has been a sanctuary for women, and all identities, to come and enjoy a non-discriminatory space. . .

"Men at OSU dominate the science and engineering fields, but STEMinist works to provide an inviting and inclusive community for those who are feminine identifying within STEM," Cronan said. . .

(Quoted from Sydney McHale, Keep S.A.F.E. Blog Manger, "Keep Social Awareness For Everyone (SAFE) Women's Center Spotlight: Cultural center offers ofpen space to promote social justice, feminism," OSU Barometer, Feb. 6, 2017, p. 13)

While working in industry for three decades starting in the 1970's, I witnessed how often women were discouraged from working in the science, engineering, technology or math or STEM fields due to their often different ways of approaching a problem than most men do. I also witnessed how female customers of these men were often left out due to a lack of understanding of their needs. At the time, admitting this concept was controversial because many people assumed that women and men would be equal in all respects after discrimination had been eliminated, but instead many people realized that there were different ways of thinking that are not exclusively female or male, even though these often were associated with a person's male or female biological sex at birth.

I will be interested to see what insights are discovered by STEMinists in the future.