An Inclusive Litany


Program description for a graduate-level research group called "Feminism and Discourses of Power," offered at the University of California Humanities Research Institute in Irvine:
Until the early eighties, feminism largely identified 'power' as the hierarchical positioning of men over women. In this last decade, this formulation has been questioned... That the subject of feminism is not 'outside' relations of power, that it is not opposed to power but formulated within its terms, suggests the need to rethink the central terms of feminist conceptions of power: if power is not a property of the self, is not an individual potency or capacity, but is, rather, that by which subjects are relationally defined and established, then the subject is in its very constitution implicated in culturally and historically specific power relations... Moreover, if power not only oppresses or dominates, but is also that which produces, sustains, and circulates subjects, then how might feminists take account of the ambiguity of power-relations, the subordinating and constraining effects of power as well as its generative and formative workings? How are feminist thinkers limited by extant vocabularies of power which do not account for such ambiguities? How have these vocabularies hindered efforts to conceive the complex intertwining of race, caste, class, sexuality, and gender in the subject of feminism?

Parents in Grand Saline, Texas, removed a picture of Santa Claus from a school because the letters in "Santa" can be rearranged to spell "Satan." Esquire points out that the name of their hometown also is an anagram for "Grand Anal Sex Site."

Report cards have been "updated" in 57 Houston schools to eliminate the "arbitrary" nature of the traditional A-F grading scale. The new system is supposed to "assess student performance more meaningfully and give parents a better idea of how their children are developing," reported the Chicago Tribune. Created by teachers in the Houston Independent School District, the system pegs students to one of eight stages: discovery, exploration, developing, expanding, connecting, independent, application, and synthesis.

Alumni news from the Elisabeth Irwin High School in Greenwich Village, New York City, otherwise affectionately known as the "Little Red School House," Fall 1993:

Kathy Boudin recently published an article in the Spring 1993 Harvard Review called "Participatory Literacy Education Behind Bars: AIDS Opens the Door." In the article, she relates how, in her role as prison educator, she has used the subject of AIDS to incorporate critical literacy teaching practices into the prison's skill-based curriculum. Kathy has also been involved in developing peer-counseling group programs.


Robert Meeropol has created a foundation to benefit children whose parents have been harassed, injured, lost jobs, or have died in the course of progressive activities. He and Michael '60 are the two sons of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Since its inception last year, the foundation has awarded nearly $50,000 to several dozen children. Michael, Robert and the Rosenberg Foundation were recently featured in the New York Times.


In our last newsletter, Peter Orris was quoted praising the "well written" EI 50th Anniversary Book. His letter also included the following: "I do not understand what 'balance' you thought you were achieving with the inclusion of the 'opinions' of Elliott Abrams.

"Most faculty and students in the school that I attended would have been embarrassed if it were revealed that the 'Albert Spear' [sic] of our age and country had spent his high school years on Charlton Street. I do not object to Mr. Abrams expressing his opinions in whatever forum. I would have hoped that it was unthinkable for EI's 50th Anniversary Album to be sullied by three paragraphs by this architect of the Reagan Administration's bloody anti-democratic campaign in Latin America.

"I guess the faculty can feel proud that they had as few spectacular failures as Elliott Abrams. This failure, of course, reveals again that learning is not merely accomplished by having excellent teachers, one must provide an open mind as well.

"This letter is meant less as a comment on Elliott Abrams than it is on the Editorial Board's decision to include this material within an otherwise excellent booklet. I am still embarrassed by this graduate's inability to learn any of the important lessons taught at EI. Why aren't you?"

[Ed.: Kathy Boudin was a member of the terrorist Weather Underground group during the 1960s and 1970s, and is currently serving a prison term for murder, armed robbery, and various weapons charges after a foiled 1981 armed robbery of an armored truck in Nyack, New York. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were convicted and executed in 1953 for espionage after supplying atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. In his memoirs, Nikita Khrushchev confirmed that "the Rosenbergs provided very significant help in accelerating the production of our atomic bomb."]

The Milwaukee Sentinel:
Katherine Kitty Wuerl, who lied about finding a syringe in a Pepsi can, was sentenced to a year and a day in Federal prison Friday for product tampering... Psychologist Kenneth Small said he had found that Wuerl suffers from a syndrome known as "fictitious disorder."

After Republican strategist Ed Rollins bragged that he used election-day cash payments to suppress black voter turnout in the New Jersey governor's race, the New Jersey legislature passed a law forbidding such use of campaign funds. But the NAACP has denounced the legislature's cash ban as a "sophisticated method of voter suppression" that would "prevent many individuals in the black community from participating in the electoral process."

Homi K. Bhaba, from the anthology Raceing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality, edited with an introduction by Toni Morrison:
In providing a knowledge of sexual harassment as a structural endemic condition that finds its social form as affective, even psychic reality, Hill has subtly complicated the question of "truth." Thomas can no longer just confirm or deny the allegations, because the widening circle of guilt makes that option futile, or purely formalistic. The very system of truth and falsity within which he operates, as part of the common culture, is founded on the evasion of the endemic reality of women's exploitation. And likewise Anita Hill must be believed not because she was personally speaking the truth, but because her affective language is symptomatic of the collective sexual condition of working women.

At Camden College in Blackwood, New Jersey, seniors have complained of the use of tassels on their mortarboards during commencement exercises. Traditionally at the college, Phi Beta Kappa graduates sport gold tassels on their caps, while others march in basic black. Some students have complained that the use of black tassels to represent less-than-stellar grades is racist and that, anyway, scholarly excellence shouldn't be flaunted.

Excerpts from a memo that accompanied the Goals 2000 education program to Congress:
"This has been espeically true in education over the past decades."

"The Education America Act sets into law the six National Education Goals and establishe a bipartisan National Eduation Goals Panel to report on progress towards achieveing the goals."

"It is time to rekindle the dream that good shools offer."


From Reuters, January 23, 1994:
A supermarket chain stepped in yesterday to defend against traditional "gingerbread men" biscuits from some of its own staff who had renamed them "gingerbread persons" in Britain's latest dispute over political correctness. British newspapers said that a number of staff at Gateway, Britain's fifth largest retailer with some 650 stores, decided to relabel the ginger biscuits in an attack against sexism. But Gateway stepped in quickly to put a stop to the move. "We have sent instructions to our stores that gingerbread men must be gingerbread men," a spokesman [sic] said.

Alec Baldwin said at an Inaugural party that Kim Basinger had educated him on animal rights and that they watched tapes of animal torture together. "Kim says a nation is only as strong as it treats its animals," he said. "She's quoting Gandhi, I think."

Later at the party, asked if he was wearing leather shoes, Baldwin looked down and said, "Yeah."

The Environmental Protection Agency ruled that pepper spray was a pesticide when used to ward off very large pests—bears—and attempted to ban its sale for that use even though it was still perfectly legal to sell it for use against human attackers.

The Seattle Times:
Governor Mike Lowry's pitch for diversity in the work force included a "short invocation" by Harold Belmont, a spiritual leader of the Suquamish Tribe, who spoke for 45 minutes, referring to Hispanics as "half-breeds" and whites as "honkies."

Wallace Shawn in the San Francisco Examiner's Image Magazine, September 5, 1993:
I feel an incredible sympathy for the maligned communist bureaucrats who tried to provide housing to all the people. But they made certain mistakes by not being aware of certain aspects of the human soul. I mean, to build unbelievably ugly housing with no corners of beauty in it was misguided because people felt depressed in those buildings. The next round of leftists has to be aware of every aspect of the human soul, including the desire to read "People" and enjoy it and why we enjoy it and what need it fulfills.

Asking the audience at the Academy Awards show to help him transmit a message to Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping to give Tibet freedom, actor Richard Gere shut his eyes, raised his fingertips to his temples, and said, "So thought, we send this thought, send thought out, send this thought."


Interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, Ayanna Davis, a 22-year-old political science graduate, said she was improved by attending a course called Cultural Diversity and the Law, which focuses on cultural rituals. Thanks to the class, Davis was able to be "more open-minded" about female circumcision in Kenya. The procedure, customarily forced on young girls, often results in infections, tetanus, blood poisoning, hemorrhaging, inability to urinate, painful intercourse, scars, cysts, infertility, bladder stones, and greater susceptibility to AIDS. Maybe so, but as Davis explained, Western women have different standards than their counterparts in Kenya. "We can't just overpower their culture," she says, calling circumcision a woman's right.

Andrea Park grappled with the same question in an editorial in the Stanford Daily, December 1, 1992:

How can I argue against a culture I haven't tried to understand? Is it relevant that I, an outsider, may find [clitorectomies] cruel? As hard as it is for me to admit, the answer is no. To treat the issue as a matter of feminist outrage would be to assume that one society, namely mine, has a privileged position from which to judge the practices of another.

[Ed.: It is time to recognize a brand new field of study: anthroapology.]

On election day in New York City, Democrats transported several carloads of mental defectives from the Bedford-Stuyvesant Community Health Center to vote for incumbent Mayor David Dinkins. According to the New York Post, many of those brought from the center were "disoriented." While being led to a voting booth, one repeatedly explained: "Bowling, goin' bowling." When asked by a poll-watcher who he was going to vote for, another responded, "Mommy."

In the late 1980s the Shorelands Company, a developer in the San Francisco Bay area, planned to turn a former salt-harvesting facility—sited on barren, salt-laden clays that are unable to support vegetation—into a race track and industrial park. But Fish and Wildlife Service jeopardy opinions stated that the development would endanger the California clapper rail (a hen-shaped marsh bird), the California least tern (a water bird), and the salt marsh harvest mouse. This finding was remarkable given that none of these species inhabited the property, and there was no suitable habitat at the site nor any prospect that suitable habitats could naturally develop.

The Fish and Wildlife Service presented an unusual rationale for prohibiting development. The agency argued that global warming would eventually result in 13-foot rises in the oceans; therefore, San Francisco Bay—along with the existing habitat for these endangered species—would be inundated. When this cataclysmic event occurred, wiping out major urban areas of the United States, the Fish and Wildlife Service would apparently busy itself by creating new habitats for these species bird and rodent on the site.

Beginning in October of 1987, the agency held up development on the property for three years—just long enough to cost the Shorelands Company $12 million and send the firm into bankruptcy.

An analysis of President Clinton's previous tax returns revealed that he deducted, as a charitable contribution to the Salvation Army and Goodwill, three to four dollars for each set of used underwear he donated to charity. A former IRS official questioned "whether the fair market value [he] ascribes to these old clothes" is reasonable. The Salvation Army's going rate for used underwear is 50 to 65 cents.

From Back Off! How to Confront and Stop Sexual Harassers, by Martha J. Langelan:
One of the best ways to help children protect themselves is to teach them to stand up for themselves in all sorts of situations, including casual harassment at home, at school, or in the neighborhood. Because sexual abuse is so common, learning how to stand up to sexual harassment is important training for self-defense as well as self-esteem. Here's a good example of an eight-year-old girl who successfully confronted territorial harassment by boys on the playground:

"My name is Anna Marie. I am eight years old and I live in Maryland. I think girls have rights, too. This summer, I was playing on the big slide at my school. Two boys came over. They said, 'Get off the slide!'

"Then they said, 'You're a dumb girl, get off, we want to play.' I didn't say anything. I stayed on the slide. Then they called me a dumb girl again. I didn't like it.

"Then they started singing a stupid yucky song: 'I see London, I see France, I see Annie's underpants.' That made me so mad!

"I called my grandmother to come over here please. She was sitting on the bench by the sandbox. She goes to marches for women's rights. She took me to a big march once in Baltimore; it was neat. She was busy and didn't hear me, so I went to get her. I told her what the boys did. She said, 'You go right back and tell those boys to stop harassing girls.'


"They looked so surprised! They got off the slide and ran away. I was proud of myself. My grandmother was proud of me, too!"

Note the specifically gender-related nature of the harassment—the comments about "dumb girls" and the targeting of the girl's underwear were both intended to humiliate her as a female. When this kind of language is used, the interaction is not simply a matter of routine playground sparring among kids; this is an incident of gender-specific, sexist harassment.

The Detroit News:
When Rob Spooner discovered basic errors, including an incorrect formula for gravity, in his daughter's high school science textbook, the publishers informed him the mistakes were needed to simplify the mathematics for "enriched, average, and remedial students alike."

The National Organization for Women protested the Naval Academy in Annapolis after it was learned that upperclassmen had chained a female first-year student named Gwen Dreyer to a urinal. NOW called for strict disciplinary measures against the male participants, saying that they should "be forced to go through sensitivity training and their graduation should be deferred until they understand what they have done." The group did not, however, seek action against any of the female upperclassmen who participated in the hazing ritual.

One academy woman strongly objected that the incident was "not a matter of gender, it's part of life here." She told the Baltimore Sun that she had participated in the hazing of females and that before the 1989 Army-Navy football game, she had "helped to strip, tar and feather a West Point cadet." Other midshipmen also told the Washington Post that the incident was not unusual, saying that upperclassmen are often tied to chairs and put outside or have their heads put in toilets as retaliation by plebes they command. They also doubted that Dreyer was targeted because she was a woman, but instead think the episode grew out of Dreyer's involvement in a spirited snowball fight.

Just in time for Christmas, the Treasury Department has issued a commemorative gold token honoring the 80th anniversary of the income tax.

The city of San Diego received a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency ordering it to stop cleaning up the raw sewage that had been pouring into the Tijuana River Valley, because the cleanup would cause irreparable harm to the "sewage-based ecology" of the tidal estuary.

The Colorado-based Biodiversity Legal Foundation has petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to place the Alexander Archipelago wolf of southeastern Alaska on its list of threatened species, even though this subspecies of the gray wolf is nowhere close to extinction, and its numbers are not declining.

"We want to set a precedent here," says Jasper Carlton, director of the foundation. Carlton is basing his petition on the theory that proposed logging of the Tongass National Forest would harm the wolf by depleting the stock of sitka black-tailed deer, its main food source. "Let's not wait until a species is near extinction before we act," he says.


The Lawrence, Massachusetts, Sunday Eagle-Tribune reports that the Western Massachusetts Legal Services Corporation, a legal aid group, has produced a brochure that explains how welfare recipients can spend money in such a way as to remain eligible to continue to receive benefits. Normally, welfare recipients are not eligible for aid when they have more than $1,000 on hand. But, as the brochure instructs, they can be back on the dole within a month if they "spend the money as quickly as possible." It supplies an example: "Martha gets her [Aid to Families with Dependent Children] checks on the 1st and 15th of each month. She knows she will be getting a settlement about the 20th of October. Since she wants to do some special things with the money, she goes to her local welfare office on Sept. 30 and signs their form requesting that she will be taken off AFDC Oct. 1. When the settlement money arrives, she spends it according to her plans and has spent all but $1,000 of it by Oct. 31. She then goes back to her local welfare office on Nov. 1 and reapplies to AFDC."

Residents of Longmont, Colorado have decided to abolish all "Dead End" signs in favor of signs that read: "No Outlet," because they found the "Dead End" signs too unpleasant.

The National Endowment for the Arts funded a Chicago film project that was advertised with a poster announcing, "Sister Serpents F*** a Fetus." The theme was: "For all you folks who consider a fetus more valuable than a woman, have a fetus cook for you, have a fetus affair, go to a fetus house to ease your sexual frustration."

Nevada State Senator Joe Neal is concerned about the low minority enrollment at the University of Nevada Medical School. For this year's freshman class, the medical school accepted two of eight black applicants and three of 12 Hispanic applicants. Neal doesn't see why all of the minorities couldn't have all been admitted. After all, he says, no one applies for medical school unless they're qualified.

From John Lennon in Heaven: Crossing the Borderlines of Being, by Linda Keen:
Wandering in the imposing Swiss Alps that same morning, my heart and imagination allowed me to feel closer to the spirit of Carl Jung than ever before. Realizing how the mountain peaks were all connected to the same earth, I started thinking about the collective unconscious, that information which is common to all—the foundation of what the ancients called "the sympathy of all things." One curious element about the collective unconscious is that it can be tapped and communicated with. Was my reality tapping into John Lennon's reality?...

Back home in the Netherlands I continued to teach intuitive development at my school. During the next six months I kept setting aside any ideas about the possibility of communicating with the specter of Mr. Lennon and settled for the comfortable habit of communing with my familiar, old, intangible guardian, Basil. He had not only helped me write my first book, but had continued to assist me in many aspects of my professional and private life. I felt totally safe with him and didn't have to think about meddling around in the affairs of a world-famous deceased Beatle.

I did feel compelled, however, to nose around regularly in record stores and bookstores, trying to discover more about what John Lennon had actually been like...

No matter what my rational convictions may have been, John was a friend and presence, was growing steadily more genuine. I could swear he was taking a strong interest in my daily life activities...

In March of 1987, I reached a decision. Having grown steadily more curious, and somewhat less appreciative, I knew the time was ripe to meet directly with John Lennon's elusive essence.

The city of Palm Bay, Florida, spent $400,000 on which to build Liberty Park, a 40-acre development to include a community center, a swimming pool, four softball fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, and picnic areas. But by clearing a strip of scrub oak and palmetto palms so surveyors could do their job, city officials unwittingly created the perfect habitat for the scrub jay, which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and which were spotted by an inspector for the Fish and Wildlife Service on a final inspection of the site. Although the land was uninhabitable to the birds before it was cleared, Palm Bay must now set aside more than 15 acres for them, killing the community center, swimming pool, and one of the softball fields.


The Pro-Line Cap Company of Fort Worth was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for not having adequate restroom facilities for its female employees. Shortly afterward, according to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint, the company, rather than add the restroom facilities, merely fired 30 female employees so as to remove the need.

A sample of various federal pork barrel items, compiled by Martin Gross:

  • A $60,000 Belgian Endive research study for the University of Massachusetts.
  • $6.4 million for a Bavarian ski resort in Kellogg, Idaho.
  • $13 million to repair a privately owned dam in South Carolina.
  • $3.1 million to convert a ferry boat into a crab restaurant in Baltimore.
  • $43 million for Steamtrain, U.S.A., in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to recreate a railroad yard of old.
  • $107,000 to study the sex life of the Japanese quail.
  • $4.3 million for a privately owned museum in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
  • $11 million for a private pleasure boat harbor in Cleveland.
  • $150,000 to study the Hatfield-McCoy feud.
  • $6 million to repair tracks owned by the Soo railroad line.
  • $320,000 to purchase President McKinley's mother-in-law's house.
  • Funds to rehabilitate the South Carolina mansion of Charles Pickney, a Framer of the Constitution. Unfortunately, the house was built after he died.
  • $2.7 million for a catfish farm in Arkansas.
  • $84,000 to find out why people fall in love.
  • $1 million to study why people don't ride bikes to work.
  • $3 million for private parking garages in Chicago.
  • $1.8 million for topographic maps of two parishes in Louisiana.
  • $144,000 to see if pigeons follow human economic laws. [!]
  • Funds to study the cause of rudeness on tennis courts and examine smiling patterns in bowling alleys.
  • $219,000 to teach college students to watch television.
  • $500,000 to build a replica of the Great Pyramid of Egypt in Indiana.
  • $850,000 for a bicycle path in Macomb County, Michigan.
  • $10 million for an access ramp to a privately owned stadium in Milwaukee.
  • $1.8 million for an engineering study to convert Biscayne Boulevard in Miami into an "exotic garden."
  • $13 million for an industrial theme park in Pennsylvania.
  • $500,000 for a museum to honor former Secretary of State Cordell Hull.
  • $2 million to construct an ancient Hawaiian canoe.
  • $350,000 to renovate the House Beauty Salon.
  • $6 million to upgrade the two-block-long Senate subway.
  • $20 million for a demonstration project to build wooden bridges.
  • $160,000 to study if you can hex an opponent if you draw an "X" on his chest.
  • $250,000 to study TV lighting in the Senate meeting rooms.
  • $800,000 for a restroom on Mt. McKinley.
  • $100,000 to study how to avoid falling spacecraft.
  • $100,000 to research soy-based inks.
  • $1 million for a Seafood Consumer Center.
  • $130,000 for a Congressional video-conferencing project.
  • $16,000 to study the operation of the komungo, a Korean stringed instrument.
  • $1 million to preserve a Trenton, New Jersey, sewer as a historical monument.
  • $6,000 for a document on Worchestershire sauce.
  • $10,000 to study the effect of naval communications on a bull's potency.
  • $33 million to pump sand onto the private beaches of Miami hotels.
  • $57,000 spent by the Executive Branch for gold-embossed playing cards on Air Force Two.

The Milwaukee Journal:
[Wisconsin] State Rep. Johnnie Morris-Tatum has proposed a ban on large beer bottles as a measure to cut down on excessive drinking.

From a leaflet that was handed out to idling motorists waiting for an anti-automobile rally by Critical Mass, an anarchist collective from Portland, Oregon, to pass:
Critical Mass is an anti-car, pro-bike and skate ride. The goals are varied because participants have many different mind sets, but some of us see Critical Mass as an expression of a much larger idea.

We believe that car culture is just one aspect of the state-capitalist system that destroys community and keeps us alienated from each other. We want communities to be rebuilt, with people putting their energy into working in their neighborhoods to create a free and ecological world, rather than traveling downtown to take part in the circle of exploited labor. As Anarchists, we understand that it is not work or capitalism alone that is to blame, but every system of hierarchy and domination. The nuclear family, for instance, is a cornerstone in the oppression of women, which is enforced by car culture and the destruction of community. The racism of the system is apparent when one realizes that highways and freeways are usually built and expanded in poor, usually non-white neighborhoods, destroying people's homes and raising the noise pollution and toxins in these neighborhoods. All so middle class white people can get downtown to work—often for multinational corporations which exploit to an almost unimaginable degree the people of the so-called Third World.

In protest of all this and more, we take to the streets. We take over, temporarily, what we believe must be destroyed and creatively rebuilt. We celebrate our resistance, We learn from each other and build solidarity and strength. We become visible, as bikers, skaters and revolutionaries, in a world where we are constantly wrongly portrayed by the corporate-owned media. We take to the streets. We will not be pacified.


In Great Britain, a Dorset farmer has renamed a pig after receiving complaints from government race-equality officers. The officials told Chris Fookes that naming his 500-pound sow "Oprah" was racist.

The San Bernardino Sun, November 4, 1993:
Even when the Bill Dreams aren't romantic, many have an intimate flavor.

And few are presidential—Clinton usually drops into dreamland wearing his cap and jogging suit or a faded pair of jeans.

In one woman's dream, Clinton is her dentist ("but he isn't taking any new patients"); for another dreamer, the president is a stand-up comic who is bombing ("I wish I could give him funnier material").

Psychologists who specialize in dream analysis say the Bill dreams should come as no surprise.

"Clinton is very charismatic and he isn't afraid of a real woman," says Robert Van de Castle, a University of Virginia psychology professor and dream expert.

"He has struck a deep emotional chord. President Bush didn't stir up the same kind of passions. You wouldn't want to steal away with him to a hotel for a weekend."

Clinton's sex appeal was recently confirmed in a survey of 18- to 30-year-olds conducted by New York City psychologist Carin Rubenstein.

One of every four of the women polled was as likely to fantasize about Clinton as about TV heartthrob Luke Perry.

No president since John F. Kennedy...

A group calling itself the Barbie Liberation Organization claimed responsibility for buying up to 300 "Teen Talk" Barbies and Talking Duke G.I. Joe dolls, painstakingly swapping their voice boxes and replacing the dolls on the shelves of toy stores in at least two states, along with a leaflet from the organization. As a result, the Barbie dolls now said things like, "Attack!" "Vengeance is mine!" "Dead men tell no lies!" and "Eat lead, Cobra!" along with blood-curdling war cries. The G.I. Joes, on the other hand, now say things like, "Let's go shopping!" "Will we ever have enough clothes?" and "Let's plan our dream wedding!"

A B.L.O. spokesman, identifying himself as "G.I. Joe," said: "Obviously, our goal is to get media attention. We are trying to make a statement about the way toys can encourage negative behavior in children, particularly given rising acts of violence and sexism." The group of like-minded artists, parents, feminists and anti-war activists coalesced in anger the previous year when they discovered that one of the 200 phrases randomly distributed among the talking Barbie dolls was the complaint that "math class is tough," which the group said reinforced sexual stereotypes.


A 65-year-old Miami woman who was assaulted by a black man while making a delivery for her company sued her employer for worker's compensation on the grounds that she now suffered from stress while working around large, black males. Although the employer argued that setting up a stress-free workplace for the woman would violate civil rights laws, the courts determined she suffered from "post trauma stress disorder" and awarded her $500,000 in permanent disability benefits—$450,000 of which went to her attorney.

In a newsletter of the Child Development Center at San Antonio College in Texas, director Peggy Apple explained that henceforth all traditional holiday celebrations will be replaced by events reflecting the diverse makeup of the student body. Apple said it is an attempt to wrest holidays from the dominant cultures. As examples, traditional Pilgrim stories were replaced by an ethnic cooking demonstration, and the staff recommended against Halloween costumes because some families can't afford them and others see the holiday as a satanic revel.

But the center's accommodations are nothing compared to the decision some schools have taken: no holiday celebrations at all. A spokeswoman for the National Association for the Education of Young Children told the San Antonio Express-News, "It's important to be aware of the holidays, but celebrating only the holidays of the dominant culture may exclude some children. The easiest way is to de-emphasize holidays or not celebrate them at all."

Beginning January 1, 1994, all federal construction projects must be designed using the metric system. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the agency in charge of the conversion, hired a construction firm to build its new buildings according to metric measure. A NIST official noted that "obviously, a lot of products used in the construction industry in this country are not in metric yet."

NIST is also behind a move to promote a new standard size for a sheet of paper according to metric measurement. Instead of 8.5 by 11 inches, NIST has endorsed a size called "A4." The new size is equivalent to 8.3 by 11.7 inches.

Early in 1994 the Federal Highway Administration began seeking comments on a plan to change road signs to the metric system (1 mile = 1.609 kilometers). The choices being considered were replacing miles with kilometers over seven years; making the change in one year along with an education program; giving the states two years to change all signs to display both miles and kilometers; or just leaving the whole damn thing alone.

Randolph Ryan in The Boston Globe, October 30, 1993, discussing allegations that would-be Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide exhibited tyrannical and mentally unstable tendencies, having given speeches in favor of setting political enemies on fire:
But what about the CIA allegations? Is Aristide emotional? Yes. Has he been depressed? Possibly. Has he been prescribed an anti-depressant? Who knows? Who cares?

The CIA says Aristide is a rabble-rouser? Yes, at heated moments he has told followers to give as good as they get. During the coup in which the generals overthrew and almost killed Aristide a couple of years ago, a Macoute chief died in a jail cell, shot by a guard. Did he die, as the CIA claims, by Aristide's order?

I guess it's possible. But it still proves nothing to me about Aristide's fitness to be president. It proves that sometimes Macoutes die as Macoutes live. That can't be called lawful, but is it unjust?

From an interview with Victor J. Vitanza in the Spring 1993 issue of Composition Studies: Freshman English News, a journal of "rhetorical theory" published at Texas Christian University. A note accompanying the interview states that Vitanza, who teaches rhetoric and composition at the University of Texas at Arlington, has lectured on topics that include "narrative theory, tropology, deconstruction, historiography of rhetoric, the discourses of hysteria and schizophrenia, Greco-Roman history of rhetoric, revaluation of evaluation, problem of the ethical subject, [and] Marxist-critical pedagogy." The interview was conducted by Cynthia Haynes-Burton, the director of the University of Texas's Writer's Center:
Cynthia Haynes-Burton:
Who do you think your audience is?

Victor Vitanza:
My attitudes are that I am very much a "comp teacher," that I am a writing instructor, and that I am contemplative about what I do. I always am giving writing lessons and taking writing lessons. I don't know, however, if I am Levi-Strauss or if I am that South American Indian chief in "Tristes Tropiques" that Levi-Strauss indirectly gives writing lessons to. Perhaps I am both. Which can be confusing.

One of the fundamental questions that I am ever-reflexively confronted with is that I do not know who I am for this profession. I am a member of this field called composition studies, or rhetoric or composition, or whatever, while at the same time I am not a member by virtue of the fact that I do not follow what is considered to be the protocol for this field. In other words, I do not know what other people in the field do do. Therefore, many people do not sense me as being one of them. It is what we do together evidently that determines whether or not we can swim, crawl, run, jump, or fly together. Aristotle spoke at great length about knowing, doing, and making. In this sense, then, let me be a para-Aristotelian.

Please start over.

Okay, so what I have said so far: I very consciously do not follow the field's research protocols. And yet, of course, I do; most other times, however, I do not. And yet again! Do you feel the vertigo of this? I hope that my saying all this, however, does not come across as if I am dis-engaging into some form of "individualism," or "expressionism," for I do not believe in such a fatuous, dangerous concept as practiced in our field.
After being given a heavy backlog of cases to process, a New Jersey court filing clerk eventually quit his job and claimed stress disability because the task was overwhelming. He was awarded medical costs and compensation for lost wages.

Newsweek senior writer Joe Klein, January 3, 1994:
I suspect that as long as the peccadilloes remain within reason, the American people will have great tolerance for a President who has not only seen the sunshine of Oxford, but also the dusky Dunkin' Donuts of the soul."

From "A Mother's Note on Her Son's Life and Death," by Heart Phoenix (formerly Arlyn Phoenix), in the Los Angeles Times. Her son, the actor River Phoenix, died on October 31, 1993, of an overdose of cocaine and morphine:
I think people want to know if River ran his course or if he was taken from the world prematurely. He was my first born. I birthed him at home, suckled him to a chubby 2 year old, and then held him in love and awe until his safe passage on October 31.

The coroner's report states that drugs were the cause of death. His friends, co-workers and the rest of our family know that River was not a regular drug user. He lived at home in Florida with us and was almost never part of the "club scene" in Los Angeles. He had just arrived in LA from the pristine beauty and quietness of Utah where he was filming for six weeks. We felt that the excitement and energy of the Halloween nightclub and party scene were way over his usual experience and control. How many other beautiful young souls, who remain anonymous to us, have died by using drugs recreationally? It is my prayer that River's leaving in this way will focus the attention of the world on how painfully the spirits of his generation are being worn down.

They are growing up with polluted air, toxic earth and food, and undrinkable water. We are destroying our forests, the ozone layer is being depleted, and AIDS and other diseases are epidemic. The world is a very confusing place for most young people and we need to address that. Drug abuse is a symptom of an unfeeling, materialistic, success-oriented world where feelings and creativity of young people are not seen as important. Drugs, including alcohol, are used to soften the pain of feeling separated from ourselves, each other, and love. We can't just say "Just Say No"—it's ridiculous—we need to offer our children something they can say "Yes" to.

I have been trying to make sense out of chaos in relation to the world situation for many years, and with River's passing I feel more clear than ever before. I feel the answer to our destructive nature, which manifests itself in many forms, and our inability to love and care for another are based on our disconnection from every natural part of who we are. The universe and earth is a magnificent system of oceans, rivers, tributaries and streams of electrons, atoms, micro-organisms, plants and animals, of plankton, moss and trees. And we, the humans, believe we can stand apart from this living system and say we are the masters. We act as if all of this was put here for us to use, abuse, and profit from. We have separated ourselves from the very essence of life in order to raise ourselves up as the ultimate divine expression on Earth.

River made such a big impression during his life on Earth. He found his voice and found his place. And even River, who had the whole world at his fingertips to listen, felt deep frustration that no one heard. What is it going to take? Chernobyl wasn't enough. Exxon Valdez wasn't enough. A bloody war over oil wasn't enough. If River's passing opens our global heart then I say, thanks dear, beloved son, for yet another gift to all of us.