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NSSA Newsletter
PDF Format Spring/Summer 2013

Approaching the 29th Year of the Association

     Welcome to the 29th year of the association. The association now is approaching two thousand members across the country and outside the United States and over the 28 years of the association thousands of two and four year college instructors have participated in our conferences and seminars. Plus the association website gets a large number of visitors on a daily basis to get information on our conferences and seminars and to read our online national journal and online technology journal plus our proceedings publications. We approach the 29th year of the association with plans to continue the conferences and seminars and publications and also to continue to offer changing benefits for members.

     We appreciate your support of the association and we hope that you share information on the association with your colleagues there at your college. The travel budgets have not been kind to faculty across the country, but our conference attendance is still growing and we continue to place our meetings and seminars in attractive locations. Welcome to the 29th year of the association.


Conference News

This year the association will host its National Social Science and Technology Conference March 24-26, 2013 in Las Vegas. More than 300 two and four year college instructors plus undergraduate and graduate students will participate. Plans are now underway for a summer seminar August 4-7, 2013 in San Francisco. This summer seminar will be held at the Sheraton Fishermen's Wharf. We expect the largest summer seminar in the association’s history. The fall meeting will be back in New Orleans October 6-8, 2013 at the Doubletree Hotel on the edge of the French Quarter. The national governing board of the association and the site committee of the association voted to hold it there each fall.

Website Update

The association website at nssa.us now features our 2013 National Social Science Journal online along with our new online technology journal. We are now the only national association that offers an interactive online journal with embedded videos and links. Plus we have added a complete PDF version of our proceedings publication. The proceedings publications from the 2012 conferences and seminars in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, and Albuquerque are available at the NSSA website.


Future Plans: Conferences and Journals

     Future plans include conferences in Las Vegas, San Antonio, and Nashville plus summer seminars in San Diego, Hawaii, and Vancouver, British Columbia. There are ongoing discussions of theme journals with guest editors as well as expanded technology sessions at our national conference.


Book Review

Kirtley, William M., Politics of Death, CreateSpace (164 pp.)
ISBN: 978-1470045401

     Political scientist Kirtley details the impassioned birth of Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act. Kirtley’s book opens with a quote from the philosopher Epicurus: “The art of living well and the art of dying well are one.” How one defines dying well sets the tone for the work’s contentious debate over assisted suicide. In 1993, a physician, an attorney, a nurse and the Hemlock Society introduced the Oregon Death With Dignity Act in an effort to pass legislation that would allow physicians to prescribe legal lethal medications to terminally ill adults who had six months or less to live. The author expertly portrays the brouhaha that ensued from individuals and special interest groups such as Physicians For Compassionate Care (conservative) and Compassion in Dying (advocates for choice). With many references cited, and without bias, Kirtley details the arguments supporters and detractors presented in court battles.

     Weighty issues, such as government interference in end-of-life choices, Oregon residency requirements, the availability of injections versus pills and the risk of family members coercing loved ones to hasten their death, were at the forefront of the discourse that finally landed in the Supreme Court. Kirtley’s tightly constructed prose is drenched in facts, figures and legalese; it’s accessible to all, but an easier read for attorneys than laypeople. He skillfully exposes the fervor of both sides, showing social conservatives likening the bill to Hitler’s euthanasia of the retarded, insane and elderly, and liberals telling Attorney General John Ashcroft, who attempted to overturn the bill, to keep his hands out of the death business.

     Oregon citizens twice voted in favor of the law, and physician-assisted suicide became legal in October 1997. The Supreme Court upheld the law in January 2006 after repeated attempts were made to repeal it. The book’s last pages offer firsthand accounts from the terminally ill, lending a human element to the hot-button issue. Surprising factoids—in 2011, 25 patients out of 114 never took their lethal legal prescription, and some patients awakened even after ingesting the lethal dose—spark further discussion.

An impartial account of Oregon’s seminal role in assisted suicide.


News From the National Governing Board

     The National Governing Board of the association consists of some of the leading educators in the United States and this board is the governing board of the association. The board holds it annual meeting at the start of the national meeting of the association each year.

     Last year we thanked Dwayne Allen, Steve Candee, Len Nass, Joe Reilly, and Carol Shepherd for their service as national board members. We welcomed Kimberly Adams, Mark Bellnap, Patricia Cost, Cheryl Evans, Jennifer Holtz, Ted Hsieh, Talitha Hudgins, Charmaine Lowe, Lupe Martinez, and Calvin Meyer as new board members.

     Board Members serve on the following board committees: Conference/Site Committee, Membership/Awards Committee, Publications Committee, Technology Committee and International Committee. The conference/site committee recommended that New Orleans be the site of the fall conference every other year and this committee also created an evaluation form that is now being used at every conference and seminar. This committee is interested in learning about potential sites for future meetings and has reviewed websites of other associations to gather information about improving our meetings.

     The Membership/Awards committee discussed ways to increase membership in the association through brochures and having present members of the association contact their colleagues to let them know of the association and its conferences, seminars, and publications. This committee is also responsible for choosing the winner of the student paper competition and in evaluating journal articles for the David Marx Award which goes to the highest rated article in last year's journals. The Gail McClay Award is given to the member of the year and this committee also nominates individuals for that award.

     The Publications committee has developed an evaluation form that is used for evaluating articles for our refereed publications. This committee also has suggested theme journals and guest editors. The association website features a Blog area and we hope that more and more members of the association take advantage of this Blog area. We also have an announcements area on the association website and we are continually looking for news to share from members of the association. The Technology committee works closely with the publications committee on the Blog area and with the new Technology journal. This is our online journal and it is in PDF format on the website. This is an interactive journal that features audio, videos and links to other websites. The 2012 issues of this journal are now available at the association website. This committee also discusses ways to expand technology session at the conference and other ways to offer more social networking of the association.

     Finally the international committee faces a real challenge in recruiting international members of the association and getting professors from across the world to participate in our national conference. Committee members realize that funding along with the visa situation can be a real challenge for those who want to come to our conference from outside the United States.

     Upcoming national governing board meetings will discuss changes in the association constitution, ways to get smaller societies and associations to hold meetings with our organization, plus we are continuing to discuss ways to get more K-12 teachers involved with the association. If you have any potential agenda items, please contact the board members to let me know what should be discussed at the national board meeting.

     Professor Don Luck from Austin Peay University is the outgoing president of the association and this year Professor Terry Lovelace from Northwest Missouri State University is the incoming president. We are now electing three new officers of the association and the results of this election will be revealed at the upcoming national conference in Las Vegas.

     We thank these board members for their work and dedication to the growth and development of the association.


Film Review

2016: Obama’s America
By Ben Miles

     In 2010 conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza wrote the book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage. Now the author has created a documentary film based on that treatise; it’s titled 2016: Obama’s America. The premise of this polemic is that President Obama is motivated not by the so-called American Dream, as envisioned by the founders, and not the dream so eloquently articulated by Martin Luther King Jr. Rather, Obama is provoked and moved by his own dream.

     Conveniently, D’Souza uses as his main exhibit Obama‘s own memoir, Dreams From My Father, to distinguish the President’s dream from the more traditionally patriotic dream ensconced in the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. According to D’Souza, a primary hint lies in the book’s moniker. It’s called Dreams From My Father, not Dreams Of My Father. Couple that with what D’Souza calls the Kenyan-born senior Barack Obama’s Anti-Colonial disposition and D’Souza claims he’s on to something that incriminates President Obama as an adherent to the Anti-Colonialism that allegedly defined his father’s world view and that is an endemic perspective throughout the Third World.

     The problem is, D’Souza develops this Anti-Colonial theory with regard to Obama’s global vision and then insists that it’s the only explanatory framework in which the ascent of President Obama fits. D’Souza points out that every other U.S. President has had a traceable rise to political power. Barack Obama, says D’Souza, comes out of nowhere. Though D’Souza is no Birther – he’s confident that the President was born in Hawaii, in 1961 – he seems equally certain that his Kenyan heritage and the years he spent as a child living in the Islamic country of Indonesia (due to his mother’s second marriage to an Indonesian citizen) has influenced him in a radical fashion, making him a qualitatively different sort of American leader, one that cannot be trusted to uphold the values and virtues upon which the country has been built.

     Written and directed by D’Souza (along with John Sullivan), the nearly 90-minute film makes use of personal photos from Obama’s biographical file (images of Obama’s childhood, as well as his tenure as a college student – and, of course, his time spent as a young adult in Africa are on ready display here). Moreover, an array of talking heads are featured making (in many cases) unsubstantiated claims concerning Obama’s allegiances – as if saying it’s so makes it so. Also, questionable re-enactments of certain episodes from Obama’s life story give a sort of tabloid sensibility to the proceedings.

     Taking an interesting angle on the matter of Obama’s worldview, D’Souza parallels his own life with that of the president’s – both men were born in 1961, both attended Ivy League universities, and both of them are authors with a familiarity of life lived in a Third-World country. This supposedly lends credibility to D’Souza’s expertise in Third-World perspectives. But while D’Souza’s first effort at filmmaking demonstrates his talent for storytelling and “creative” journalism, it also establishes him as a first-class propagandist. In fact, this film is so compelling fear based and so full of intriguing conjecture that D’Souza, merely on the basis 2016: Obama’s America, can immediately join the ranks of Leni Riefenstahl and Michael Moore as a master of cinematic agitprop.


Film Review

Bully By Ben Miles

     For those who’ve not been subjected to bullying, Bully is a documentary that will serve as an introduction to this frightful phenomenon. For the many of us who have experienced the humiliation of being bullied, this candid cinematic glimpse will surely refresh unpleasant memories and revivify for us the complex cruelty that bullying amounts to.

     In the unblinking eye of director Lee Hirch’s camera, we follow a central narrative – that of Alex, a kindhearted but self-conscious 12 year-old whom other children refer to as Fish Face. The harassment doesn’t stop with hurtful name-calling, however.

     When Alex is not being threatened, punched, shoved or otherwise tormented, he is ostracized. In fact, the abuse inflicted upon Alex is so intense that at one point the movie-makers stopped production and showed the filmed evidence to school authorities as well as to Alex’s parents.

     When Alex’s mother asks her son about his feelings on the matter, Alex responds by saying he doesn’t think he feels “anything anymore.” When his mother takes exception to Alex’s contention that the school bus bullies are his friends, Alex asks, “If they’re not my friends, then what friends do I have?” Alex’s mother is mortified and made silent by the hopelessly begged question.

     Alex’s barbed scenario unfolds in Sioux City, Iowa, but Hirsh’s documentary goes wider in order to demonstrate that bullying exists across our nation’s communities and neighborhoods (and though it’s not much of a topic here, bullying has now, of course, penetrated cyber-space).

     Included in Bully is a side story of a teenager who “comes-out” as a lesbian in a rural cranny of Oklahoma. Nearly needless to mention, neither the teen nor her family have had many “beautiful mornings” amidst the small-minded minions of this desolate section of the “Sooner” State. The unneighborly threats and intimidations unleashed by area residents, not only on the young woman but also on her family, are enough to compel them to move to a more metropolitan area.

     We also witness the unkind consequences associated with bullying in the backwater boondocks of Mississippi. A mother here is shocked to be told that her adolescent child faces multiple felony counts because she took her mom’s loaded handgun with her to school one day. Why? As the official videotape of the incident makes clear, the girl had suffered in silence among, once again, a bus full of relentless bullies. She was truly at her wits end – knowing only that she had to bring the incessant badgering to an end.

     Some instances of official obtuseness and/or callousness are also on display in Bully. In the case of the Mississippi teen, the local prosecutor refuses to comprehend the grave dimensions of this sordid situation. Instead he insists that he “doesn’t care” what it is, “nothing justifies such action.” While that is certainly true, the world is often more complex than a simple guilty or not guilty verdict would lead us believe. Empathy is in order.

     In another instance, a hapless Midwestern school administrator forces two middle-school students to “shake hands” and maybe even “become friends” one day, not realizing that the boy who initially refuses to shake hands had long been the victim of the other guy’s taunts and torment.

     As if to add more sad spice to this sorrowful cinematic stew, we hear and see in vivid words and touching images of two suicides, one an 11 year-old; the other, a 17 year-old – each one had endured years of being victimized by bullies.

     Though solutions are in short supply in Bully, it fulfills that big but necessary first step: bringing the condition into a collective awareness. What’s more the film offers a website in the end credits: www.thebullyproject.com. Logon for more information and to explore what you can do to stop bullying.

     Bully is 98 minutes in length and is now playing with a PG-13 rating at selected theaters across Southern California.


San Francisco Summer Seminar: August 4-7, 2013

     San Francisco and New Orleans are two of the most attractive convention sites in the United States. When the association holds meetings in these cities the attendance has been very strong in spite of all the budget cuts. It was decided to hold the summer seminar August 4-7, 2013 in San Francisco and the association was able to negotiate a very low hotel rate at the Sheraton Fishermen's Wharf Hotel for this meeting for only $229 this is the rate during “high season “ for San Francisco and this is an excellent rate for this time of year.

     Fisherman's Wharf is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California. Roughly speaking, it encompasses the northern waterfront area of San Francisco from Van Ness Street east to Kearney Street. The Port of San Francisco manages Fisherman's Wharf, including sport and commercial fishing.

     The wharf began back in the Gold Rush days when Chinese immigrants in junks fished offshore and provided shrimp, oysters, aand salmon to feed the hordes of Gold Rushers. Italian fishermen came next, and they set up stands along the beach to sell crab, shrimp, oysters, and other seafood.

     From the days of the Gold Rush until the turn of the 20th century, the San Francisco fishing fleet of lateen-rigged sailboats were copies of the craft the Italian fishermen knew in the old country. Green was the prevailing color of the tiny boats, and the name of a patron saint appeared on the hull.

     The fishermen were as colorful as their craft. Their natural talent for song was heard in renditions of arias from Verdi. In the fog-enshrouded waters outside the Golden Gate, the singing was a means of communication. One could not see a companion boat, but one knew it was there.

     The "second-generation" fishing boats came with the introduction of gasoline engines; small but dependable "putt-putts.” What became known as the Monterey Hull boats came into general use. The gas engine made it possible to fish more days of the year, gave a wider range for their operation in the ocean water, and provided power to haul in the nets or lines.

     Henry Meiggs created the wharf as "Meiggs Wharf" to serve the lumber trade. Meigg's wharf was always a spot for the fishing fleet, swimmers, and sunbathers. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory (now a shopping mall) launched the wharf's heightened popularity. In the end though, Henry Meiggs was chased out of town by a posse acting on behalf of his creditors. Meiggs died in Peru in 1877, not long before the cable cars started clanking down to the great wharf he envisioned.

     The style and character of Fisherman's Wharf can be traced to Henry Meiggs. Meiggs did not name his wooden landing Fisherman's Wharf. It was Meiggs Wharf, starting at a cove in North Beach, where Francisco Street is now, and extending 1,600 feet into the bay, ending at what is now the Embarcadero. The wharf was completed in 1853 to serve the lumber trade, but that did not save Meiggs from being chased to South America by his creditors. Even without Meiggs, the wharf survived as a mooring for the fishing fleet and as a weekend promenade for sunbathers and swimmers who rented bathhouses.

     Meiggs Wharf was isolated by a seawall that the state had built and was later replaced by a new Fisherman's Wharf around the turn of the century.

     The western end of the wharf started to boom just before the turn of the century when the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory moved into the old Pioneer Woolen Mill, which had made blankets and uniforms for the Union army in the Civil War. At about the same time in an adjacent brick building, Marco Fontana formed the California Fruit Canners Association. Once the largest canning operation in the world, it shipped with the Del Monte label until the 1920s.

     In 1963, Manchurian immigrant Leonid Matveyeff, who changed his name to Leonard Martin, turned the cannery into a shopping center. However, the popularity of the seafood, the views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, and the location, turned Fisherman's Wharf into an area filled with tourist attractions of all types, including shops, museums, amusement places of various types, and fine restaurants.

     The association will offer three days of sessions at the summer seminar with a variety of tours and activities including an Alcatraz Island tour and a Redwood and Wine country tour. There will also be a Chinatown at night tour available along with other tours. Proposals are now being accepted for this summer seminar and due to the fact that it is high tourist season in San Francisco hotel rooms are very limited.


New Orleans Conference: October 6-8, 2013

     New Orleans is one of the most popular convention cities outside of Las Vegas. The association will return to New Orleans Oc-tober 6-8, 2013 and to the Doubletree Ho-tel centrally located in downtown New Or-leans. New Orleans hotel rates can be very high, but the association is able to get an excellent rate of $159 single/double for this fall conference. The hotel is within walking distance of all downtown New Or-leans attractions and restaurants and is just a few blocks from Bourbon Street and the French Quarter.

Brief history of the French Quarter:

     Founded as a military-style grid of seventy squares in 1718 by French Canadian naval officer Jean Baptiste Bienville, the French Quarter of New Orleans has charted a course of urbanism for parts of four centuries. Bienville served as governor for financier John Law's Company of the Indies, which in naming the city for the Regent Duc d'Orleans sought to curry Court favor before failing spectacularly in the "Great Mississippi Bubble." The French Period legacy endures in the town plan and central square, church of St. Louis, Ursuline Convent and women's education, ancient regime street names such as Bourbon and Royal, the charity hospital, and a mixed legacy of Creole culture, Mardi Gras, and the important effects of African enslavement combined with a tolerant approach to free persons of color.

The "Spanish" Quarter

     In 1762 the indifferent Louis XV transferred Louisiana to his Bourbon cousin Charles III of Spain. Emboldened by a period of Spanish vacillation in taking power, Francophile colonists staged a revolution in 1768, summarily squelched by Alejandro O'Reilly with a firing squad at the Esplanade fort. Spanish rule lasted for four decades, imparting a legacy of semi-fortified streetscapes, common-wall plastered brick houses, and walled courtyards used as gardens and utility spaces with separate servants' quarters and kitchens. Olive oil cooking and graceful wrought iron balconies, hinges and locks in curvilinear shapes, and strong vestiges of civil law remain from the Spanish presence. After great fires of 1788 and 1794, the Cabildo or town hall, Presbytere or priests' residence, and ironically the "French" Market, arose to take a permanent place in French Quarter history.

After the Louisiana Purchase

     The 1803 Louisiana Purchase, signed within the elegant salon of the Cabildo, transferred the colony to the United States, inaugurating an era of prosperity. American culture made slow inroads, largely owing to the arrival of 10,000 refugees of the French and Haitian Revolutions and Napoleonic wars. The "glorious victory" of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans, led by Indian fighter and future president Andrew Jackson over numerically superior British forces, fixed loyalty to the American nation. The French Quarter's golden era followed as cotton, sugar and steamboats poured into the city. American, Irish, German, African and "Foreign French" immigrants swelled the population, creating a heterogeneous matrix of culture, language, religion and cuisine.

Civil War to WPA

     Civil War and Reconstruction, played out politically on the streets of the French Quarter, put an end to prosperity and inaugurated a tug of war between reform and machine factions as the Old Square declined. Creoles moved to Esplanade and later Uptown, and famine-driven Sicilian immigrants found cramped lodging in the grand spaces of French Quarter mansions of the 1890s. The 1900 birth of jazz in nearby Stormville nurtured musical legends Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Buddy Bolden, King Oliver, Bunk Johnson, Nick LaRocca, and other jazz and ragtime greats. By 1920 the legacy of a storied past first celebrated by George Washington Cable and Lafcadio Hearn in the 1880s attracted writers and artists in increasing numbers. William Faulkner, Sherwood Anderson, Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote were among American writers attracted to the French Quarter for its freewheeling urbanism, quaint surroundings and creative stimulus, even as the building stock declined.

     Association members will join those ten million visitors this coming fall and will participate in the fall conference in one of the most popular cities in the United States. We are now accepting proposals for that meeting and expect this meeting to be the largest fall conference of the association.


Memories of 2012

Las Vegas     More than 325 two and four year instructors and students attended the National Social Science and Technology Con-ference April 1-3, 2013 at the LVH Hotel (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton) in Las Vegas. There were professors from India and Turkey and Canada and an increased number of student presentations. Professor Rex Wirth, a national board member, brought two Chinese administrators visit-ing his college, Central Washington University, who also participated on the program. Association president, Don Luck, offered a unique roundtable discussion dealing with the various uses of technology.

Lake Tahoe     The summer seminar was held at Harrah's Hotel Lake Tahoe and there were eighty participants from across the nation. This seminar July 29-August 1, 2012 fea-turing the Lake Tahoe setting. A series of presenta-tions dealing with challenges in social science educa-tion in the 21st century were presented. Highlights included a symposium dealing with an IPod program between university and high school students plus a series of presentations on the creative uses of tech-nology in the classroom. Tours included a dinner dance cruise on the lake along with a bus tour around the lake and a day luncheon cruise. This was the first conference or seminar where participants filled in an evaluation form, developed by the Conference Committee; it will be used to evaluation all future meetings.

New Mexico     One hundred and twenty five participated in the Fall conference October 14-16, 2012 at Hotel Albuquerque on the edge of Old Town Albuquerque. We held a conference at this hotel in 2008; this con-ference was much larger than the 2008 conference. Participants loved the hotel and location and wanted to return in the future. Highlights of the conference include long standing association member and national board member, Lem Railsback reading from his new book along with a detailed study of Heisman trophy winner. There were many new friends made and exciting ideas exchanged at our conferences and seminar in 2012.

 

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