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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mega Religion

We went to a church today here on the west side. It started as an extension of the huge mega church in town across the river. We've been to the mother church many times over the years (usually for conferences that were hosted there) so we were naturally curious about this one.
Even though its not in the name this is a Baptist church.
We were the only ones that brought a Bible. They weren't needed. Grinnygranny admonished me to keep an open mind as we sat down in the fairly plush chairs.
Here's what my open mind noticed:

The picture at left is the cover of their order of worship. It was also plastered all over the walls. It is the focus of the series of the pastor's sermons. When I saw this I reminded this was one of the churches that showed the video Bush: God's Warrior. I also equate this with the crazies taking guns where Obama shows up to speak. Those who would applaud a gunman murdering a doctor in a church because what he does offends their religious beliefs. The symbolism of militancy is overt not subliminal. It brought to mind Barry Sadler's book Casca: The Samurai. Casca sees monks wearing swords. He thinks to himself that of all the centuries he'd lived that whenever religion picks up arms the world is in a pile of shit.
    Another observation is that everything this chuch does is packaged like either a television show or movie.

  • The sanctuary is a television studio. No vaulted ceiling giving the impression that the people's thoughts should focus on heaven. It has bare black beams with exposed ducting, lights, spot lights, cameras, projectors. The side walls are covered with speakers. When I saw the stage, the band set up, large screens on both sides of the front, curtains; I expected to see Ed MacMahon step out and say "Heeerrrrreeee'ssss Johnny." Before the service began there was a voice and video asking everyone to turn off their cell phones, just like in a movie theater.

  • The music worship was a pep rally. The singers on stage all had the Lawrence Welk smiles, raised hands, clapping. I was surprised they didn't have cheerleader outfits. There were the typical praise choruses brainwashing the faithful in the divine right of kings. (I've posted before on my disdain the last thirty years on the music services). The only difference I found here over almost all other churches and even at the New Baptist Covenant we attended earlier this month was in the level of ability. I give the song leader and musicians credit. They are good. I looked around at those in the congregation during the song service. Only about twenty percent raised their hands and about half were moving their mouths to sing along. Even the song service has become entertainment instead of a particapatory experience. Main reason for this is that all you see is the words. You have to see the notes in order to know how to sing the song. (Sorry pet peeve)

  • When the senior pastor (looked to be in his early thirties) came on stage he sat in a chair with a table to hold his notes. He wore blue jeans with a gray dress shirt over a white t-shirt. I noticed people dressed in shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, like they were going to the mall or more exactly to see a movie.

  • During the sermon he stopped for a video clip of man-on-the-street interviews about friendship. Later to make a point he used another clip from the T.V. show Old Christine and at another jucture there was a clip showing all the people who attended the church because one person asked someone and then they asked someone etc. It ended by lining up the different people as an example of what one person could accomplish.

  • It was a basic fundamentalist sermon. The kiss (keep it simple stupid) principle. Preach salvation and guilt the already saved for not asking all those they know to come to church. It seems that's all a christian is required to do is ask everyone they meet to come to church. The emphasis was on the people to "save" the lost. No mention that this is the Holy Spirit's job.

  • What I didn't expect: 1. No invitation. If you want to make a decision there is a card in the order of worship to fill out and leave in the boxes as you leave. I guess they don't want people coming down and messing up their fancy media equipment. That and the fact that they need to get this overflow crowd out the door and the next one seated in fifteen minutes. (Wow just like the movie theaters) 2. No offering. That's what the boxes on the way out are for. Interesting concept. Evidently plenty of people are apprecative and give generously this way.

  • We noticed on the way out that all services are available on I-tunes. No media stone left unturned.

Church has always been about entertainment. For much of history it was about the only form of entertainment the average person had to break up their work week. The last century brought cheap entertainment to the masses. Movies, television, radios, lp's 45's, tapes, CD's and now MP3 players, Ipods, PC's (the flood continues) fought with church for the attention of the masses. Some embraced the new medium. Billy Graham brought the local church service to the world with his telecasts. Radio and televangelists quickly found out there was gold in them thar little old ladies until the shopping networks cut into their profits. In the last fifty years church attendance has been way down and this seems to be one response. If you can't beat 'em -- join 'em. If anyone can find a way to add a video game to the sermon I'm sure they'll include that too.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Russian History

Back in the day, I took a class in Russian history. I did a paper on the evolution of revolutionary action starting with the Decembrist revolt in 1825 up to the Communist take over in 1917. I had to read the paper to the class. On the night before having to read a paper full of Russian names I spent hours practicing their pronunciation. When the reading the paper I was doing about as best I could unitl I got to the Loris-Melikov document which was to be russia's first constitution guaranteening freedom of speach and press. The minister responsible for buring the document up and seeing to it that such freedoms were not allowed was Konstantine Pobedonetsev, a cousin of the Tsar or Czar (I prefer the latter spelling, but the former has become the official spelling). When I got to his name for the life of me I could not pronounce it. Scott Horton today posted this painting on his No Comment blog bringing back memories of over thirty years. This is what he says about the painting:

Ilya Repin prepared this study of Konstantin Pobedonostsev for one of his great pre-revolutionary works, the State Council. Pobedonostsev was the very definition of archconservative of the late Romanov era, a lawyer and Oberprokurator of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. Podedonostsev could be understood as the James Dobson of his age. He pushed the excommunication of Tolstoy for his “radical” views about Christianity, he denounced Western thought of his age as “dangerous” and “nihilistic” and particularly condemned Darwin. He detested the idea of democracy as rule by a “vulgar crowd,” and he despised and railed against legal reforms like the introduction of trial by jury and the introduction of press freedom. Many have seen in him the very model of Dostoevsky’s cardinal-inquisitor. That may be so, but in fact Pobedonostsev and Dostoevsky were good friends and correspondents. Very fittingly, Repin presents him as a man lacking eyes and dominated by his uniform.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Team Justice

Scott Horton provided a link to Team Justice fighting for the prosecution of the Torture Team. Click here to see their baseball cards of all those that need to be tried, prosecuted and incarcerated for the most despicable chapter in American history. Let's keep the pressure up for justice so that this doesn't happen again. If nothing else public opinion and ridicule will make the thugs either dem or rep think twice before going down this road again.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back To Work

The dust has settled a little bit in the last two weeks. The new schedule has everyone confused. Since we've had a new schedule for the last five years that's pretty much business as usual.
A funny thing happened at our in-service meeting last Friday. The former ass principle where I teach who is now the district curriculum coordinator was trying to explain the new program where every teacher in the district will now have to post their lesson plans on-line. The she gave the name of the program then explained that last year it was called something else and the year before it was called something else and so on and so forth. There was a collective groan from all the social studies teachers present. This lady then stops what she's saying and asks what the problem is. She got an ear full. Good God how many times do we spin our wheels shoveling the same old bullshit under a new name!

Naturally this got me to thinking. What's the best example of teaching I've ever come across?
Hands down Sun Tzu's in his book The Art Of War.
To paraphrase:
The King of Wu asked Sun Tzu if he could train women to be soldiers. As a test he had a hundred of his concubines taken into the courtyard. Sun Tzu set them up in groups of 25 with one of the concubines as leader of each group. He then explained the commands of right face and left face. When he ordered them to perform this simple command they broke out into laughter. Sun Tzu then explained that if the troops do not understand the orders it's the commander's fault for not being clear enough. He explained the drill again and gave the command. Again they broke out into laughter. This time he explained that if the commands were clear and understood, but the troops did not obey it was the fault of their leaders. He ordered the four concubines in charge of each group to be beheaded. The King of Wu then send down word for Sun Tzu not to harm his concubines. Sun Tzu then replied that once he'd been given a job to accomplish there were certain orders he could not follow and be successful. The concubines were beheaded and from that point on when he gave orders to the four groups they performed them flawlessly. The King of Wu then sent the concubines back to the women's quarters upon which Sun Tzu said the King wasn't really serious about his troops.
This was about 500BC and I'm not, let me repeat NOT speaking up in favor of beheading students, but the same logic of instruction applies.
1. Discipline requires consequences. The drill was just a game to the concubines until they saw what would happen if they didn't take it seriously. Major problem in education: there are no consequences for the students. Instead they are trying to make test scores reflect on the teachers. This is just plain stupid. Stop social promotion in the lower grades. Make employers hire only students with a 2.0 or higher gpa or graduates, do away with the GED as a short cut for a diploma. Make the diploma mean something and let there be consequences for dropping out or skating by with straight D's. If a student doesn't want to come to class, is constantly late,obey the teacher, do any work, is more interested in listening to music or talking or texting on the cell phone, start fights, call other students names... They should be removed from class for the rest of the semester or year and if that holds up their graduation one or two years so be it. It's a consequence for actions they could have chosen not to do. Once students start seeing the consequences in action the majority of them will straighten up and take their education seriously. Instead of making teachers "teach to the test" if students knew that they would not go on to the next level of instruction in math, science, history, English, etc unless they showed competency on the standardized test guess what their scores would improve dramatically, because it would mean something to them. Right now everyone is held accountable for test scores except the students. And they wonder why the scores keep getting lower and lower.
2. In order for there to be consequences the instructor needs to be supported. If Sun Tzu had obeyed the King's command nothing would have been accomplished. The concubines would have known that the threat of execution was just intended to scare them, but wouldn't be followed through. From that point on they would have ignored him knowing that he didn't have the full backing of the King. There's not much Ellen Bernstein the union president here says that I agree with, but a couple of days ago a study came out that showed 30% of new teachers leave the profession in the first two years and 50% leave by the fifth year. Ellen told the news reporters it wasn't lack of pay, but lack of support that drives teachers out. I said upon hearing her words: "Right On!"
The students know that if their parents complain about what the teacher assigned, grades assessed or that we talked to them the wrong way in class the school's administration sides with them over the teacher most of the time. If the administration does side with the teacher then the courts cut us off at the knees. John Rosemond writes a column about child rearing which is carried by the local newspaper. He wrote an article about public schools a few years ago that was spot on. He said that when it comes to public schools and the courts they can't win. If they try to enforce their discipline the courts rule in favor of the parents. If a child is harmed by other students because there's no discipline the school loses on that suit too. They've put all public schools into a no-win situation.
What Sun Tzu explained to the King of Wu is that there can be no responsibility without authority.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mad Men

I discovered AMC's Mad Men last season. Now there's a site where you can make an avatar in the show's setting.

Here is a comment I made in response to Michael Manning's: I thought it would apply here as well.

Mad Men is nothing like True Blood and some of the other premium channel programs, which is what makes it so special. You don't have to display bare breasts, use obscenities every other word and see how much blood and gore to show in order to tell a good story.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Time to take action on health care

Before I raise my blood pressure over the health care debate I want to point out an exceptional post by Michael Prescott. After reading his post on the book You Can Be Happy No Matter What I ordered the book from Amazon. It cost me one penny + $3.99 S&H. Read Michael's review of it and the comments. He has some of the most faithful readers that make for some great discussions in the comments. You may be interested as well.

Russ at anything adirondack posted his take on Obama's mentioning that the public option might be off the table. I hope he's right. A public option similar to Medicare is at least acceptable to me, but I feel like we're getting the cheapest hunk of junk on the lot instead of the deluxe model which would be a singe payer system.

Look, I sell cars for a living and there is a technique used throughout the car sales industry called, "go out there and take the car away from them", and it works.

You have a customer who is not sure if she/he has made their best deal asking for more and and unsure of exactly what to do, buy or walk. They just spent maybe an hour and a half selecting, driving, having the trade appraised,negotiating over the trade and trying to lower price of the new car, and are growing tired of the process. So they make one last ridiculous offer to test the waters and get the sales manager to, "fish or cut bait".

The salesperson goes to the sales manager and presents some ridiculous offer that gets laughed at and is told to go back to his desk and say...

"Maybe we should move to a less expensive car to lower the purchase price."

The customer only has two choices. Weigh going back out onto the lot and selecting and driving another car or staying focused on the original car.

So they leave the air conditioned showroom and walk out onto the lot and
pick out their second choice and drive it, listen to the sales pitch all over again, and all the time thinking about the more expensive model that meets their needs and has now how increased in value compared to the cheaper model.

Original choice of car wins 80% of the time.

Works more often than not.

What Barack is doing is the same thing. We as voters picked the one with power windows and door locks, cruise control, Navigation System, all wheel drive,leather heated seats and the most powerful motor.

So we as voter have invested much time and effort in acquiring this ________________? [pick a car company ] car and and now he as the best
evah salesman he is is taking it away and wants us to go back out onto the lot and select and think about an alternative model.

Frankly I'm sticking with my first choice. Somehow he'll find the money [votes] to pay for it.

Fellow curmudgeon, Russ, at private buffoon is into tilting at windmills. There is something about Bruce and I that we can't pass up a chance to be Don Quiote. I'm going to join him in the jousting. He's written a letter to the president and wants others to copy it and mail it in. I know snail mail may be old fashioned, but just maybe if he got buried in letters instead of e-mail which is so easily deleted more attention would be paid. I'm mailing one in. I think its worth the cost of a postage stamp. Sending one to Jeff Bingamon might help too.

It's time to remind Obama you ride the horse that brung 'ya.

Dear President Obama:
In 2008, disillusioned by eight years of W's misrule, we fell under your spell. You gave us hope, and we responded with enthusiasm and energy. You promised "Change We Can Believe In" and "Change We Need". We believed you.

While your quest for bipartisan solutions is noble, it is not realistic in the current political climate. Your Republican opponents - the so-called "loyal opposition" - in the House and Senate have no interest in supporting any legislation you propose. Their votes on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Stimulus Bill) proved that; even though you'd made an effort to water down the bill to bring Republicans into the fold.

Don't now abandon the centerpiece of health reform legislation - the "public option" - in a futile search for a bipartisan solution. Again - such a quest is futile. Like the unicorn and the Holy Grail, bipartisan solutions are mythical in today's political environment.

Instead, it's time for you to do your very best LBJ impersonation: take recalcitrant Democratic Senators aside and twist their arms. Face it, if LBJ had attempted to appease his Congressional opponents regarding the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, you would likely NOT be President today!

Another historical analogy comes to mind: Neville Chamberlain declaring "peace in our time" following the Munich Conference with Hitler. As Paul Krugman recently
noted, your opponents cannot be appeased! They will never vote for meaningful reform of healthcare coverage, no matter what concessions you offer. Don't come before the cameras waving a neutered healthcare reform bill and declaring, "Bipartisanship in our time!"

Now is the time to stand firm and twist Democratic arms to achieve meaningful, historical reform of our national healthcare so-called 'system'. It is NOT the time to cave to Republican demands in the pursuit of a mythical beast.

If you do not stand firm and twist a few arms, you may discover that we who enthusiastically supported your candidacy in 2008 are no longer with you in 2012.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Time to Rant

To finish up on my thoughts concerning Mark Rudd's book.

  • He seemed to be one of the leaders of the SDS and Weathermen, but only followed someone else's ideas. Every major decision which led to them becoming criminals and having to hide from the law -- including the decision to go underground -- came from someone else. He only agreed with them.
  • The demonstrators didn't mind getting arrested as long as Mom and Dad put up the bail money.
  • All protesting did for him was to make a dean's list top student from Columbia live for seven years like a high school drop-out.
  • It was interesting that when he went underground, getting married and starting a family, leaving behind the life of sex, drugs and rock n roll his perspective changed.
This is from Thurman Heart at Xpatriated Texan:
We’re talking, after all, about Max Baucus of Montana, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Susan Collins of Maine, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, and Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Collectively those six states contain about 2.74 percent of the population, less than New Jersey, or about one fifth the population of California.

Now look at the ratings for these Senators on abortion (from On the Issues):
Baucus – rated 100% by NARAL and 0% by NRLC
Conrad – rated 43% by NARAL and 25% by NRLC
Bingaman – rated 100% by NARAL and 0% by NRLC
Collins – rated 83% by NARAL and 0% by NRLC
Enzi – rated 0% by NARAL and 100% by NRLC
Grassley – rated 0% by NARAL and 100% by NRLC

This is the “Gang of Six” (everyone has to be a “Gang of…” nowadays) that will, supposedly, hold the swing votes on what bill passes the Senate. Two members have a perfect anti-abortion voting record. What chances are there that abortion will be covered? None.

I wasn't aware that Bingamon was a part of this. All the articles I've read talked about them by group. I will be letting him know my displeasure at his stance on health care and reproductive rights.

For an even better stance on the health care issue check out fellow curmudgeon Private Buffoon he does wax eloquent at times.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Underground Review

On the trip I had time to read David Rudd's book Underground. It brought back many memories of my high school and the divisions that existed, though nothing on the scale that Rudd and the students at Columbia had. He was very thorough in detailing all the events that led up to the seizure of numerous buildings and staging a sit-in for six days, his trip to Cuba, the dominance of Communism in the student movement, what led to their turning violent and eventually going underground. In his opening he says that their actions so alienated the general public that they might as well have been employed by the FBI. He has much better hind sight that others writing books about that time. Most of the book dealt with his time hiding from arrest. Seven years of being afraid that at any moment he would be arrested. The different places they had to move to, different jobs, trying to raise a family, the change in politics that allowed him to resurface. It was interesting.
One passage caught my attention. While hiding out in Santa Fe in 1971-2 he mentions that students in Albuquerque closed down I-25 by the University and he was encouraged by those in Santa Fe to come down and join in and how hard it was not to be a part of this.
I remember those days very well. The Friday before district track meet was the JROTC dining out and ball on Kirkland AFB. My date was the daughter of a police captain, the police captain that Bruce was under at the time. Driving up to the gate we were told that there were rumors students were planning a protest in front the the base, and if that happened the gates would be locked for the night. I could just see all the deep shit I would have been in had this come to pass. Fortunately they didn't protest. I got the fine upstanding young lady back to her very overprotective Mormon father and had a good nights sleep before a very important couple of races.
 I qualified in the mile for the state track meet and that week we were allowed to practice at UNM's track. The sports complex for UNM is well south of the campus. My high school is in the northern part of the city (why it's called Del Norte).  I didn't have a last period class and got on the freeway to drive to the track a little earlier than the rest of the team. I got to Lomas, which is where the police stopped traffic and had to drive east to San Mateo then south Gibson, west to University and north to Stadium where the complex is located. When I got to the track I talked the grounds keeper into letting me use the field house phone to call the activities director so he could give the heads up to the rest of the team not to go the freeway. As far as I was concerned those assholes accomplished absolutely nothing and merely caused a big mess.
My conclusions on the book will be in the next post as I have a department meeting in a few minutes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back to work

Here's some pictures of what happened the night before we drove into Milford Nebraska to visit Grinnygranny's Mom.

This is the tree directly in front of Rose's apartment. There was tree damage like this and worse in a 70 mile radius. We saw a truck that a tree had fallen on and one house where a limb landed on the roof. One of the neighbors said the wind was twisting the trees like a rope, but it stayed high and there wasn't much property damage. Crops were flattened closer to Lincoln, but none were affected around Milford. Fortunately the limb that broke off went the other direction and Rose's medication knocks her out at night (she's also rather hard of hearing). The storm hit around 3 or 4 in the morning so she didn't know what happened until she woke up.
Bob (Grinnygranny's brother) showed up with a chain saw a little after we got there and started cutting away at this and two other trees that had fallen limbs in the complex. I helped move the cut limbs to the street. Most of it was stacked up and waiting for the city to collect for the chipper in about four hours. The bigger pieces were hauled away by a guy with an ATV. Two of the largest pieces had to wait until the next day as the chain on the chain saw got dull. Bob had to buy a new chain and have the old one sharpened. That night he was worried that he wouldn't be able to buy a new chain. By noon the next day all was clear except half of the tree was missing. They'll have to cut it down as there's too much damage to leave it. I figured hauling all those tree limbs was as good a work out as a round of golf. We'd taken our clubs, but the golf course was closed while they cleaned up their downed trees.

  • Bruce has videos up at his blog from the meeting we were at last week. Check out Jimmy Carter's speech and some of the other speakers that were there. He also has links to the many news articles about the two days of meetings.
  • Mom has a good post on getting to meet the former president at her blog.
  • Grinnygranny, Auntypesty and I enjoyed the meetings and services, but that's as much as I want to say about it right now.
  • Today I was back in the classroom. It's starting off rather different this year. Usually we work one day of registration, have a day or two of in-service and then the students are in class. Today I had to be in the classroom, but I don't work registration until tomorrow. So I had the full day to set up my room. I'll have a half day in my room tomorrow after working registration in the morning. Friday is the usual start-the-new-year-off in-service. Monday is a newly negotiated teacher work day to be in our rooms and Tuesday and Wednesday we have two days of being lectured to in-services. The legislature mandated in-services be held before the school year so we don't have them within the semesters. Classes don't start until next Thursday. Two and a half days to get the room ready. I'm ready after one. Still in previous years we had all of about an hour to organize things before the kids hit the desks.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Almost Home

Will be back to me own wonderful bed tomorrow. We got tired of playing with the big rigs and thier rolling road blocks and stopped for the evening. Spent the last two nights in a really swanky hotel, so swanky they wanted fifteen bucks a night for wi-fi. I have much to say about the reading Rudd's book, the trip and the convention, so I'll have much to say the next few days before it's time to head back to the salt mines.

Monday, August 03, 2009

On the road

I forgot to mention that Thursday night Russ and Woody and I met for a drink and had a fine time. If there are more bloggers in the area they are welcome to come to our monthy curmudgeon meeting.

We're in Kansas Toto. On our way to visit Grinnygranny's family. Then we're dropping down to meet Mom and Bruce at the New Baptist Covenant convention in Norman, OK. The Windstar may be over eleven years old and has beau coup miles on it, but it does drive nice on the highway still.

I'll be out of touch for a few days. Everyone have a good one till then.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Dad is rolling in his grave

At Southwest Writers today the speaker was Mark Rudd. A long time teacher at Albuquerque's community college TVI now CNM. In the late 60's he was in the Weather Underground as part of the anti-war movement and spent a number of years running from the law. I bought his book. Agreed with most of what he said today. When we had our little chat while he was signing the book we didn't have much to discuss as I wasn't a marijuana smoking, wild eyed, hippie from the Sixties. I did try to get him to join the gaggle with me telling him that those Eastern transplanted Republicans I golf with need another good rabble rouser to shake them up, but he doesn't golf.
I was in junior high at the time and remember little about the Weathermen other than what the news reported when I really wasn't paying much attention. Dad was an ex-marine going to UNM on the GI bill and do remember him fussing about the SDS on campus and that he thought they should all be sent to Siberia.
My freshman year in college was the last year of the draft and I didn't know that year if I'd be called up or not. I was 76 out of the pingball machine and they drafted to 75. If any emergency came up they'd draft to 100. Fortunately no emergency arose and I gladly spent my time running cross-country and track all over Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.
In high school the anti-war movement were a bunch of egg head hippies and I was a jock. There was a bit of animosity between groups. They resented all the attention the athletes got and were constantly submitting petitions to cut all inter-school athletic competition and divert the money wasted on such frivolous pursuits to academics. They also protested our Air Force ROTC, which I was in as well. (Small aside, two years of JROTC taught me the last thing I ever wanted to do was be in the military.)
Going to a small Baptist college 40 miles from the nearest known sin once we were out of Southeast Asia in classes we discussed what went wrong in a rather detached way. A number of students were vets and in one class I remember a vet saying that the whole time he was there most of the Vietnamese were just simple farmers that wanted to grow their rice, take it to market and be left alone from both sides. Kind of a universal sentiment throughout all history.
I didn't really get a sense of what the anti-war movement was about until I came back from exile (the five years I was in Texas going to college and seminary). I came across Harlan Ellison's The Glass Teat and The Other Glass Teat. It was a bit late, but I finally understood what they were protesting against.
What I appreciated most from his talk was that he understands how what he was trying to accomplish was good, but he went about it the wrong way.
When covering both the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement in world history and U. S. history I try to impress on my students that both movements were successful until they turned violent. When they were non-violent much was accomplished, but the tragedy of Martin Luther King Jr's assassination was that it marked the ending of effective non-violent change and the resulting riots, and disruptive demonstrations turned the American public against them. I haven't had time to read his book yet, but I get the sense he understands this much more deeply than I do from my ivory tower.