Greeting the Tense New Dawn Print E-mail

Rothko_hierarchical_birds(University of San Diego Magazine Spring 2007)

Last April, Dee Aker and Laura Taylor, peace-builders with the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, flew to Kathmandu, Nepal. It was their third trip in seven months, each flight taking 38 hours with a 10-hour layover in Bangkok. Before leaving San Diego, Aker and Taylor had read State Department warnings: Nepal was still unstable and had been since Feb. 1, 2005, the day King Gyanendra had declared a state of emergency. Frustrated by a decade-old Maoist insurrection, he had closed the country, jailed political dissenters, shut down radio and TV stations, and cut electric communications, even cell phones. In the interim, some liberties had been restored, but much of the country continued to struggle under martial law.

The Patient Person Print E-mail

featureb1(University of San Diego Magazine Summer 2006)

Elaine Allen, a 66-year-old retired Navy captain, is being wheeled into the emergency room at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. Her body and head are strapped to a backboard and her neck is collared; she blinks at the fluorescent ceiling lights whizzing by above her. It’s not clear yet how serious her injuries are—15 minutes ago, she was hit from behind by a driver doing 80 mph. Allen asked to be brought here because she’s Navy and she knows the hospital’s reputation. She’s rushed into a curtained bay where a nurse leans over her and makes eye contact. He tells Allen that he’s here to take care of her. She’s frightened, disoriented. He says he knows how uncomfortable she must be with her head pinned. The nurse, an open-faced man with a satiny shaved head, says he and his team are going to move her: she may feel a jolt.

”Are you ready?”

Bulldog for the Underdog Print E-mail

Bulldog_Michael_Shames(University of San Diego Magazine Winter 2005)

San Diego’s leading consumer activist won’t admit it, but he’s feeling a tad pushed. Michael Shames ’83 (J.D.) is with a photographer on a Friday afternoon. He’s being worked through poses at his desk.

Pick up the phone. Look busy. Look natural. No. Look angry.

“I don’t do angry,” says the executive director of UCAN, the Utility Consumers’ Action Network, a nonprofit watchdog that protects consumers against fraud and utility abuse.

To do angry, Shames says, he needs to be in a meeting with energy company bosses, he needs to hear about their unnecessary rate hikes, he needs to get frustrated when they don’t listen to the consumers’ point of view. “Right before I walk out,” he says. “That’s when I get angry.”

The Unmitigated Gall of Dinesh D'Souza Print E-mail

DSouzawithReagan(Counterpunch August 16, 2005)

Abridged Too Far

I am a freelance journalist for the weekly San Diego Reader, where, during last seven years, my profiles, narrative nonfiction, and investigative articles have appeared. This past spring, the Reader published my 12,000-word cover profile of Dinesh D'Souza. D'Souza is an Indian-American immigrant who is one of America's prominent conservative authors as well as a skilled debater and right-wing pundit. D'Souza is best known for two books: Illiberal Education (1991), which attacked affirmative action and political correctness on campus, and The End of Racism (1995), a book still mired in debate because of D'Souza's claims that the economic disadvantage of African-Americans are due to the "pathologies of black culture."

The High Tech High Way Print E-mail

hightechhigh(University of San Diego Magazine Spring 2005)

High school. The mere thought of it induces shudders. Long hallways with crammed lockers and mass crowding; alarm bells that summon students from room to room like Skinnerian rats in a maze; rows of desks where pupils, immobilized, write notes and take tests.

Maybe your high school was even worse. Perhaps your memories—or those of someone you know—are of armed guards, metal detectors, fights, chaos. Who among us wants to go back? And yet, despite the near-universal angst of such memories, many still believe that to educate adolescents, high schools must resemble work camps in which students endure standardized examinations, classroom isolation from their peers and a one-size-fits-all learning model of droning lectures and rote homework.

Our Samuel Clemens: Mark Twain in the Age of Personal Disclosure Print E-mail

Our Samuel Clemens, by Thomas Larson(Southern Humanities Review Spring 2004) (Revised)

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In November 1903, the fifty-nine-year-old Olivia Clemens, already diagnosed with hyperthyroid heart disease, had been suffering badly from nervous exhaustion and shortness of breath. Her New York doctors recommended that her husband, Samuel, return to Florence, Italy, where the dry air had helped her breathe before. Such might aid her recovery. So Sam and Livy, as she was called, accompanied by their grown daughters, Clara and Jean, a nurse, a maid, and a secretary, sailed for Italy. At a rented villa near Florence, the family bivouacked; they hoped Livy would rally. But the winter proved unseasonably foggy and rainy, and she worsened. The frail woman was in bed day and night, receiving oxygen; she slept sitting up, terrified of choking to death.

A Few Photographs of Molested Children Print E-mail

boyprotect(Eclectica Magazine March/April 2003)

In San Diego where I'm a contributing writer to a weekly feature newspaper, I decide to profile the world of pedophiles and child molesters-those who prey on strangers (the youth group volunteer or coach who puts himself in contact with young boys and girls; the maker and sender of kiddie porn on the Internet) and those who prey on children within families (dads, grandpas, uncles, brothers who to molest children have opportunities that are difficult to detect). To begin, I contact the man responsible for prosecuting child porn manufacturers and distributors in San Diego, deputy district attorney Jeff Dort. We meet in his office on the twelfth floor of the Hall of Justice, a cubicle crammed with computers, stockpiled videotapes, pamphlets, files, and shelves of binders in which he is accumulating evidence for several cases.

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