Objecting to Condoleezza Rice
To have Simon Benson’s name associated with Condoleezza Rice is a disgrace to our PSU collective conscience (Portland State Magazine, Fall 2011, “Simon Benson Awards Dinner”). At the very least, Ms. Rice was a conspirator in deception and misinformation leading directly to unjustifiable invasions and occupations, countless deaths of Afghans, Iraqis, Pakistanis, and Americans. In league with other national figures, her actions led to an era marked by warrantless wiretapping and expanding broad abuses of presidential power.
Dale A. Brounstein ’69
EDITOR’S NOTE: See article in Giving
No boss is the best boss
I read with interest the article in the fall edition of Portland State Magazine, “How’s Work?” I recall my first years as a PSU grad trying to find a decent job in what was then the post-Vietnam war recession. My first employer used to like to say that his method of dealing with low worker morale was to “start firing people until morale improves.” Keeping your head down, a respectful look on your face, and appearing as though you’re hard at work was the key to survival.
After a few years I had an opportunity to start my own sales repping business. This became the happiest time of my working life. I would work long weeks on the road, but then decide to take a week, or so, off and hang out on a beach somewhere in Mexico without having to grovel hat in hand to some cranky boss.
Those of us of a certain age recall when it was possible in America to buy individual health insurance that actually covered you and was affordable! Those times have been gone for a few years now, and if you don’t have a job these days you’d better stay healthy until your Medicare eligibility kicks in, as individual coverage covers hardly anything important and the premiums and deductibles are simply ruinous. For this reason I had to go back to working for a company again and resume my place at the oar as a galley slave.
Chris Lawrenson, 1974 student
A likeness of evil?
I received my Portland State Magazine (Fall 2011) and was a bit taken aback at the artwork on the cover. Was it your intention to make the “boss” on the cover look like the SciFi-esque “love child” of Hitler and Stalin? I’ll grant you, Corporate America does seem to have arrived—I’m wondering if this was your message too?
Jim Harrison ’95
Taking it to the streets
I could not help but think back to the cover photo on your Spring 2010 issue of Portland State Magazine after watching so many cities, including Portland, erupt in peaceful protests and occupations of public areas in support of Occupy Wall Street. It so much feels like the Park Blocks in May 1970!
Suddenly the piece you wrote on the 40th anniversary of the PSU Student Strike no longer seems like some impossible to imagine historic anomaly. Seeing the earnestly hopeful and joyous kids out trying to change the world and saying what we once-young folks said so long ago fills me with hope in these scary times.
I think that if there is anything I could offer to the organizers of today it is to understand that simply filling the streets with enthusiastic protesters will not alone achieve the desired results. Back in the ’70s we were able to eventually stop the Vietnam War, but in the end we had no truly lasting affect on American politics, because we failed to enlist the support of the wider society.
Today’s protesters already seem to be reaching out beyond their own circle by gaining unions and other groups to support them. The example being set here, so far, has been a positive one, and I think if they continue along the path they have chosen then their movement can be redemptive for America.
Doug Weiskopf ’71
Portland State Magazine wants to hear from you. E-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Portland State Magazine, Office of University Communications, PO Box 751, Portland OR 97207-0751. We reserve the right to edit for space and clarity.