Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Clinton at UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley 1/29/ 2002

I'm waiting in line to hear Bill Clinton speak at UC Berkeley. There's a definite hurry up and wait syndrome, a syncopated attempt at cello music through refracted speakers.

People take their sweet time coming in. I've been waiting for over an hour. Neil is below me in the orchestra step section flapping his jaw to some stranger, as usual.

Oroville Schell is the Dean of the School of Journalism – surprise. He seems so disorganized when I met him with Herman out in Bolinas.

Lots of guys are walking around with black trenchcoats and talking to their collars. Secret Service? Dark cars was special blinker lights flashing odd red and blue patterns. Why am I so discontented? I've been angry with Neil for so long it's become a permanent state of being.

I forgot that Governor Davis would be speaking too. The Chancellor, Robert Burdock, welcomes Davis to the stage. All the politicos are out in force, even Jerry Brown.

Davis delivers a story on the Bay Bridge. After 12 years of talking, nothing happened, he went back to Caltrans to design it. Nada. Then Bill Clinton had to intervene in order order to get it retrofitted.

He said the last president to speak at UC Berkeley was JFK, on education and learning. Clinton ushered in the longest economic boom in the economy, in 1993, he ushered in the Internet, and now the whole world is connected, so he was the first globalist president.

There's a lot to be said in pushing the rock up the hill. Davis gave Clinton a Berkeley medallion and then he got a standing ovation from the student body.

Clinton talked about the process of going global in a world without walls. He said that September 11the marked a dark side of this new age of globalization.

Clinton established a foundation and he has traveled to 50 States, and to India and Israel, including the Middle East, and Ireland since September 11th. He said: I'm trying to expand a miracle here in America. He referred to Mandela, and racism, giving us a window of where we are at the dawn of this new century. He said when the Berlin Wall failed, the economy became global.

And when Clinton first took office, there were only 55 sites on the Internet, by the time he left, there were 350 million sites on the Internet. He talked of other achievements: unlocking the genetic strains of the human genome project.

He said: We saw an explosion of democracy. We become more diverse, a more democratic world. Half the population on this earth lives on less than two dollars a day. And 1 billion people live on less than one dollar a day.

He talked about the increase in college attendance, he also talked about the larger picture of the world versus America. Half the kids of the world have never gone to school.

Then he told the story of a boy who thought that that US and Israel had brought back dinosaurs to destroy the Muslims. He can't even add 2+2. And in Pakistan, parents can't raise tuition for their children to go to school. He reminded us that 200 Muslims were killed at the World Trade Center too.

Clinton noted other scientific breakthroughs. Microchips for spine injuries so somebody can walk. But right here in the US, multitudes are dying of poverty. Us versus them. This is the snapshot of our world, he said. We need to build common futures on our common humanity. We need to end terrorism. September 11th is our darkest hour.

We can't solve this problem with military might, the fears of today, tomorrow, and of each other need to be addressed. I don't want walls of barbed wire. We need to build a world base on cooperation and shared wealth. We need to advance human rights, and have basic good government. We need consciousness, and a clear picture of what our responsibilities will be. How to divide the world. The old ways just don't make sense any longer.

What do you want the world to look like in 10 years? he asks us. Clinton talked about a health fund he founded. He said, one way to share the wealth, is by funding small projects. He has 2 million micro-loans out to villagers.

He said the US should buy more products made by poor countries. Africa, for example. Create a world with more partners and less terrorists he said. Partnership: buy a meal for a kid, so he can go to school, and enrollment will explode.

He told us how the Afghan war cost us a million-dollars a month. That's cheap for a war these days. One in four people don't have any access to clean water. Listen to our state of the Union address. I was in the Middle East, if we put our energy into putting all the poor kids in school, if we put our dollars there, versus a war in Afghanistan, it would be a lot cheaper than going to war. Look at what we spent on the Marshall Plan in Germany versus Japan.

We have to develop a way of thinking about the world that is consistent with how the world actually is. Terrorists, what they believe, their views of community are different. Extreme, exclusive use of the world. Most of us believe that nobody's got the whole truth. Life is a journey in which we move toward the truth.

Our differences is trying to live in a world without walls, not of barbed wire, our common humanity versus the tribal differences. Easy to give, but harder to live the right answer.

Gandhi was killed by a Hindi not a Pakistani. Anwar Sadat  was considered a bad Egyptian. Hillil was killed by an Islamic political. It's insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

These boxes by which we navigate, are useful, but can get in the way of our common humanity. We need to build a better world and shrink the burden. We need to celebrate the differences, but not at the cost of our common humanity.

Clinton receives another standing ovation.

Schell asks a question: globalization the 1980s were supported by the mujahedin. The enemy of your enemy is my friend, mentality, and now we're paying the price. Global aid is a security against terrorism. The foreign assistance budget we can do better.

Schell adds 9/11 was a shock towards the global consciousness. The pope said it was a millennial year the Jubilee year was for forgiving debts. I'll never be reconciled with 9/11. The anthrax scare created higher vigilance on bioterrorism etc.

Schell said the global multinational companies are more powerful than some governments. Clinton said the US should set ground rules. Most people want sustainable development versus greenhouse gas. Yes, we can lift the poor of the world to a decent level of living without burning up the planet.

Schell talked about media responsibility, and Clinton said, I don't want to go there. The audience chuckles. Clinton said the elections are raising all this money for TV and radio it's a business. Why can't we advocate for candidates finance financial reform, with free or reduced airtime?

Schell asks Clinton: Why do the right wing despise you so? Clinton says: Because I won. And amid howls of laughter, he answered because the right-wing thinks the White House is theirs. To be a Democrat or a progressive, you have to have a high pain threshold.

Schell: how is your book coming along Clinton said that it's shocking how memory plays tricks on us, everything happens all at once.

Tuesday, January 8, 2002

Modern Celtic Cultures and Folklore; Prof. Daniel Melia

SPRING 2002: Celtic Studies 129 ( 4 units), Modern Celtic Cultures and Folklore; Prof. Daniel Melia ; (Cross-registration, SFSU, grade A)

Celtic languages have been spoken in modern times in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Brittany, Cornwall and the Isle of Man, all of which have retained a cultural identification as "Celtic" even, in some cases, after the disappearance of the spoken language. Using Ireland as the test case, Celtic Studies 129 investigates the question of what such a designation might mean and how and why it takes the particular shape it does in the late 20th century. The course will pay special attention to the role of folklore in the creation and promulgation of cultural identity and "blason populaire." Required exercises: Mid-Term exam; group project; term paper; final exam.

Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (‘Tis)
Twenty Years A-Growing, Maurice O'Sullivan
The Horse of Pride, P-J. Helias
Irish Folk History, Henry Glassie (also Irish Folk Tales)
Folktales of Ireland, Sean O'Sullivan
The Islandman, Tomas O Crohan
Peig: The Autobiography of Peig Sayers of the Great Blasket, Sayers, Peig
An Intelligent Person's Guide to Modern Ireland, John Waters

Monday, January 7, 2002

Donna Champion's birthday (photo)

Donna Champion's birthday bash at St. Rose Parish Hall, Santa Rosa. Mo, Donna & great-niece, Katia.