Thursday, November 23, 2017

Response to Healthy Eph & ABL

Not once did anyone in the political science department at Williams College say to me that I was expected to publish anything in the 1.5 years between when I finished my dissertation and when they made their decision to take me off the tenure track.
I remember I was told by the department chair, Raymond Baker, that the problem was the quality of my thesis. This is why winning the Williams Anderson Award from the American Political Science Association was such an incredibly significant moment in my life. This award provided independent confirmation that the tenured faculty in the department – at least that portion of the tenured faculty who voted against me – were dead wrong or more likely deceitful in their assessment of my work.
If Baker had told me that I was taken off the tenure track because I hadn’t yet published an article, I would have remembered that statement and winning the Williams Anderson Award would not be such a thrilling, empowering turning point in my life. In fact, I might not refer to myself as an award-winning political scientist at all (which started when I first got on Twitter) if I had been taken off the tenure track for simply not publishing an article.
The reality of my situation as a young scholar is that Baker and his allies were gas lighting me, trying to make me think that denying me an opportunity to compete for tenure was my fault, the repercussions of perhaps doing a poor job in researching my thesis, or for picking a less significant topic, or for not adding more quantitative analysis to support my theory.
In retrospect, I think it is beyond question that the tenured faculty who sought to separate me from the school were motivated entirely by the facts that 1) I was a consistent and reliable vote against all of their affirmative action hires and 2) I was responsible for empowering a growing, conservative, Republican student base, a base which was also opposed to affirmative action hires.
(Baker himself requested that I no longer vote on the hiring decisions after I was taken off the tenure track. I refused.)
The present political science department and the college are still scarred by the decisions it made regarding me almost 30 years ago. The political science department is radically unbalanced and does not contain a single Republican or conservative. There is little to no active Republican or conservative student activity on campus. Not one of the department’s current assistant professors is a white male political scientist. Weak minority and female assistant professors – mainly in the non-quantitative field of political theory – have dragged down the quality and prestige of the department.
As far as I know, there is absolutely no one in the department (tenured or not) who has shown – as a young scholar – a more precocious skill and ability to do creative, original, game-changing work in political science.
My thesis helped inspire a renaissance of scholarship on the Progressive Era mother’s pensions programs and changed the way we think of the causes of welfare programs in our country. It is still cited by contemporary scholars. It is a telling, historically significant hint of what a powerful and intellectually exciting place Williams College might have been if it rewarded excellence over diversity.

Response to ABL

Aren’t you getting tired of attacking me with your uninformed, misguided, undocumented comments and idle speculation? You are boring me and a lot of folks at Ephblog. Nevertheless…
1. About Cornell: I was a graduate student at Cornell University. I never applied to teach there. My peers and professors at Cornell University were deeply impressed with my academic achievements including the fact that I got hired at Williams College on the basis of my M.A. thesis proposal.
2. Unusual Circumtances: As far as I know, no one at Williams College has ever taken off the tenure track before or since. Normally, all assistant professors are given a fair opportunity to compete for tenure. I was not.
3. Academic Productivity: I was quite productive at Williams College and routinely had papers accepted in multiple panels at the APSA annual conference and other regional conferences. I had taken substantial action toward publishing my thesis by submitted my book proposal to a number of high quality academic publishers who were interested in political science works with a historical focus. I had also received instructions from the publishers on what changes needed to be made to turn my thesis into a book.
4. Book Potential: Ironically, my thesis was so good that it was eventually published – as book chapters – almost in its entirety with virtually no changes at all. It was so good that it is still cited by contemporary scholars.
5. Knowledge of My Ideology: No one in the department knew that I was a conservative when I interviewed for an assistant professor job. I only changed my party registration to Republican in the the Spring of 1988. The decision to take me off the tenure track was made about nine months later.
6. Initial Hiring: I was not the department’s first choice for the assistant professor position. They initially offered the job to a female candidate who ended up accepting another offer. Since I was second in line, I was offered the job. I have no doubt that the department went to great lengths to avoid hiring me in the first place simply because I was a straight white male.
7. History of Discrimination: As far as I can tell, there is no one in the department today who is a registered Republican and no one who is a vocal critic of affirmative action, a key center piece of conservative ideology. Not a single one of the current assistant professors in the department is a white male political scientist. I think it is perfectly obvious that the department has a history of discriminating against young white men and of providing black females with unprecedented opportunities and advantages.

I hope my comments satisfy your curiosity, answer your sincere questions, and bring this discussion to an appropriate end. Happy Thanksgiving.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I'm Only Here Because _____: Reviewing the Assistant Professors of PSCI at Williams College

I had fun looking at the faculty in my old political science department at Williams College. It was interesting to compare my achievements to the latest group of young assistant professors. I did this as part of a larger effort to understand the damage caused by affirmative action and outright discrimination against conservative Republican scholars.


I’m most interested in comparing my case to that of the four young assistant professors. I was hired as a tenure track assistant professor at age 29 in the Fall of 1986, I finished my Ph.D. in the Spring of 1987. I was taken off the tenure track a year and a half later, in early 1989, supposedly because of the low quality of my doctoral dissertation. Over the summer of 1989, however, the American Political Science Association awarded me the William Anderson Award for my thesis.

In retrospect, I think that the tenured faculty members who said my research was not up to Williams College standards did not even read my spectacular, award-winning thesis.

At any rate, I thought it would be useful to go over the current crop of young assistant professors in the political science department at Williams College to see how their accomplishments stack up against mine at a similar point in my foreshortened political science career. In general, their accomplishments seem to be embarrassingly non-existent, or modest, or else - as in the case of Mason B. Williams - brilliant but widely off target.

Lacking genuine accomplishment of great merit, these young professors have been picked apparently because they offer a contribution to the cherished ideal of ideologically consistent social diversity. They are each in a position to say that they are only at William College because...

I'm Only Here Because I'm Black 


For comparison, let’s first look at the black female assistant professor, Nimu Njoya. She started at Williams College in 2011
Assistant Professor
Nimu Njoya
about a year after she completed her Ph.D. in 2010. Curiously, she started out spending two years as a visiting professor, a non-tenure track position. Then, in 2013, she was hired as an assistant professor which is a tenure track position. This is about three years after finishing her dissertation.
As far as I can tell, she has no books or articles to her credit. I googled her full name and could find no publications or awards at all, certainly nothing that would be the equivalent of an article published in the American Political Science Review or a dissertation honored by the American Political Science Association. 
If you are comparing her to me, I think it would be fair to say that she had a lot of advantages compared to me in that she started at Williams after her thesis was complete, she spent two years at Williams as a low-stress visiting professor, and only got on to the tenure track in 2013 which is about three years after she completed her dissertation.
It is now four years into her assistant professor position and apparently she hasn’t published any articles or books at all, at least nothing that could be found on the internet with Google.
I think it is fair to say that her story is a good example of the great things that can happen for a young scholar at Williams College if they really are the right sex, race and ideology.
Assistant Professor
Laura D. Ephraim

I'm Only Here Because I'm a Woman


Laura D. Ephraim is the other female assistant professor in the political science department. Like Nimu Njoya, she is a political theorist who finished her doctoral dissertation in 2010 too. Reportedly, she is a 39 years old, single Democrat.
She started as an assistant professor at Williams College in 2012 or about two years after she completed her thesis at age 34. To her credit, she does have a new book which came out in November 2017 called Who Speaks for Nature?: On the Politics of Science. It was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.
This would be about five years into her experience as an assistant professor and about seven years after the completion of her thesis.
As far as I can tell the topic of her book appears to be identical to the work she completed in her doctoral dissertation which was focused on “tracing the influence of rhetorical sensibilities upon dominant understandings of ‘science’ among early-modern political thinkers.”
Ironically, I was the same age as Dr. Ephraim is now, 39, when my doctoral dissertation was published. As far as I can tell, she didn’t seem to face the same demanding standards that were apparently applied to me when I was taken off the tenure track only a year and a half after completing my award-winning dissertation.

I'm Only Here Because I'm a Man of Color

The third assistant professor is Matthew Tokeshi. He graduated from Berkeley in 2006 and took about ten years to
Assistant Professor
Matthew Tokeshi
earn a Ph.D. in 2016. He does have, as far as I can tell, a single publication, an article he wrote with the help of one of his political science professors at Princeton, Tali Mendelberg. He was Mendelberg’s teaching assistant in 2013. You can see the article here:
Unlike Ephraim or Njoya, it is pretty easy to find a CV for Tokeshi on line at https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mtokeshi/files/tokeshi_matthew_cv_9-18-15.pdf I’m guessing he is about 31 or two years older than I was when I started as an assistant professor at Williams College.
It is fascinating to read his biography when he started at Williams College in 2016:
My work has won two American Political Science Association awards: the Timothy Cook Award given to the best paper presented by a graduate student on political communication and the best paper on race, ethnicity, and politics (honorable mention).
I received my Ph.D. in politics and social policy from Princeton in 2016. I’m originally from the Los Angeles area and hold a B.A. in political science and psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, but I have lived on the East Coast (Brooklyn, NY or Princeton, NJ) for the last ten years.
Outside of political science, I enjoy cooking, traveling, sports, and playing with my dog Calvin, a cuddly 12-pound terrier mix.
I finding amazing that he won a section level award as a graduate student named after the late Timothy Cook who was the Williams College colleague who was perhaps most openly hostile to me while I was at the school. I should point out that he is exaggerating a bit in his biography because the Timothy Cooks is actually a minor level section award (there are about 47 different sections) and it is a stretch to suggest it is a genuine American Political Science Association level award. This award is also quite limited in its scope. It goes to the graduate student who wrote the best paper on the topic of political communications at the previous year’s APSA Annual Meeting. 

Nevertheless, Dr. Tokeshi seems to be a much stronger candidate that the two female assistant professors. He is certainly doing more of what we traditionally think of as political science work. It will be fun to watch his career develop.

I'm Only Here Because I'm Not Really a Political Scientist

Finally, it is fascinating to review the credentials of the fourth assistant professor, Mason B. Williams. He’s the white guy, a
Assistant Professor
Mason B. Williams
native of West Virginia. He became an assistant professor at Williams College in 2017 and he seems to be something of a prodigy. His accomplishments clearly speak for themselves:
B.A. Princeton University, History (2006)
M.A. Columbia University, History (2009)
Ph.D. Columbia University, History (2012)
My research focuses on the intersection of political economies and democratic politics. My first book, City of Ambition: FDR, La Guardia, and the Making of Modern New York (New York: Norton, 2013), examines the relationship between progressive reform in New York City and the national New Deal. It received the Bancroft Dissertation Prize and was named an Editor’s Choice by the New York Times Book Review. My next book, City of Fortune: Urban Democracy in the Age of Inequality, examines the political economy of affluent cities (especially New York, but also London and San Francisco) in the late 20th century. It will also be published by W.W. Norton.
I’m also working on two edited volumes: Political History Unbound: Governance and Citizenship in 20th Century America (with Brent Cebul and Lily Geismer); and Protest, Politics, and Ideas in the American Century: Essays in Honor of Alan Brinkley (with David Greenberg and Moshik Temkin).
Some shorter essays/features:
“Warnings from the Age of Marble,” The Atlantic (2015).
“53 Historians Weigh In on Obama’s Legacy,” New York Magazine (2015).
“What Made the Roosevelts the Roosevelts?” The New Republic (2014).
Like Dr. Njoya it appears that Dr. Williams started out as a visiting assistant professor at Williams College in 2014 which is about two years after finishing his doctoral dissertation and after his first book was already published, Curiously, he is a liberal, pro-Obama history guy with apparently no training in political science. I suppose this means that even though he is an extremely talented white guy, he will never really rise to a position of dominance within a political science department.

I should point out that the Bancroft Dissertation Prize is given by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for outstanding Columbia dissertations in American History (including biography), diplomacy, or international affairs. The award carries a publication subsidy of $7,500, transferable to a press of the winner’s choice. It would be the equivalent to being the best doctoral student within your own graduate school.

All in all, I guess what is so depressing about this investigation is that among the current crop of assistant professors at Williams College there isn't a single young white male political scientist. Not one at all.
John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Hypocrites of Hate: Williams College Okay with Black Panther Party Symbol Despite Its History of Torture


I stumbled over the arrogant hypocrisy of Adam Falk, the soon-to-be ex-president of Williams College this morning. The campus police noticed that someone had scrawled a tiny "KKK" on the  Williams Class of 2019 banner.

According to Falk, ..."the symbol “KKK” has long been used as a weapon, to intimidate and instill fear. We cannot yet know the writer’s intention, but the nature of a weapon is that it does harm regardless of intent. When someone inscribed those letters, or defaced the banner with them afterwards, they harmed our community."

The irony, of course is that right beside this "KKK" someone has written in a big and bold clenched fist, the symbol of the violent, criminal, black nationalist, Black Panther Party.

If I was still teaching at Williams College, I think I would still be bold enough to observe that when I see the clenched fist, I recall the violence of the Black Panther Party. In particular, the clenched fist reminds me of how three guys in the New Haven chapter of the Black Panther Party tortured and murdered Alex Rackley. Rackley, 19, was old enough to be a sophomore at Williams College. Apparently, elite members of the Black Panther Party suspected him of being a police informant.

Rackley’s fellow Black Panthers tied him to a bed and tortured him by pouring boiling water on his stomach, shoulders, and thighs. It is gruesome to remember that this torture continued for two days.

I do not see how any person, or institution, which truly understands the mental associations connected with the Black Power Party fist would allow it to be displayed in any manner, much less on a class banner. Whoever uses that symbol should remember the pain and suffering of Alex Rackley.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Monday, September 4, 2017

What Has Trump Accomplished? Useful List from Ray Schneider

What has president Donald Trump done? Since he has been in office and for the first time in eight
long years the GDP has risen above 3 percent.

1. Supreme Court Judge Gorsuch

2. 59 missiles dropped in Syria

3. He took us out of TPP

4. Illegal immigration is now down 70%( the lowest in 17 years)

5. Consumer confidence highest since 2000 at index 125.6

6. Mortgage applications for new homes rise to a seven year high

7. Arranged from 7% to 24% Tariff on lumber from Canada

8. Bids for border wall are well underway

9. Pulled out of the lopsided Paris accord

10. Keystone pipeline approved

11. NATO allies boost spending by 4.3%

12. Allowing VA to terminate bad employees

13. Allowing private healthcare choices for veterans

14. More than 600,000. Jobs created

15. Median household income at a 7 year high

16. The Stock Market is at the highest ever in its history

17. China agreed to American import of beef

18. $89 Billion saved in regulation rollbacks

19. Rollback of A Regulation to boost coal mining

20. MOAB for ISIS

21. Travel ban reinstated

22. Executive order for religious freedom

23. Jump started NASA

24. $600 million cut from UN peacekeeping budget

25. Targeting of MS13 gangs

26. Deporting violent illegal immigrants

27. Signed 41 bills to date

28. Created a commission on child trafficking

29. Created a commission on voter fraud

30. Created a commission for opioids addiction

31. Giving power to states to drug test unemployment recipients

32. Unemployment lowest since May 2007

33. Historic Black College University initiative

34. Women In Entrepreneurship Act

35. Created an office for illegal immigrant crime victims

36. Reversed Dodd-Frank

37. Repealed DOT ruling which would have taken power away from local governments for infrastructure planning

38. Order to stop crime against law enforcement

39. End of DAPA program

40. Stopped companies from moving out of America

41. Promoted businesses to create American Jobs

42. Encouraged country to once again - 'Buy American and hire American'

43. Cutting regulations - 2 for every one created

45. Review of all trade agreements to make sure they are America first

46. Apprentice program

47. Highest manufacturing surge in 3 years

48. $78 Billion promised reinvestment from major businesses like Exxon, Bayer, Apple, SoftBank, Toyota

49. Denied FBI a new building

50. $700 million saved with F-35 renegotiation

51. Saves $22 million by reducing white house payroll

52. Dept of Treasury reports a $182 billion surplus for April 2017 (2nd largest in history)

53. Negotiated the release of 6 US humanitarian workers held captive in Egypt

54. Gas prices lowest in more than 12 years

55. Signed An Executive Order To Promote Energy Independence and Economic Growth

56. Has already accomplished more to stop government interference into people's lives than any President in the history of America

57. President Trump has worked with Congress to pass more legislation in his first 100 days than any President since Truman

58. Has given head executive of each branches 6 month time frame, dated March 15, 2017, to trim the fat, restructure and improve efficiency of their branch. (Observe the push-back the leaks and the lies as entrenched POWER refuses to go silently into that good night!)

59. Last, refused his Presidential pay check. Donated it to Veterans issues

I hope each and every one of you copy and paste this every where, every time you hear some dimwit say Trump hadn't done a thing!

Ray Schneider, PhD
Associate Professor Emeritus


Bridgewater College

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Wonderful Life: Remembering My Friend Richard C. North

Outdoors-man, Richard C. North
(right) tackling a bout of river rafting. 
On the far left, Harold Moore and 
Richard's son, Stephen North.
I checked out WebMD when I heard my friend Richard C. North had brain cancer. Basically, the article said that it brought death quickly and that his decline would be rapid and irreversible. It implied he would be worse off each time I saw him. Sadly, he only lasted about six months and died yesterday at 10:15 p.m. on August 26, 2017. He was 60.

I met Rick when I was in the seventh grade at Placerita Junior High School. I remember him mainly from the track team. We were both distance runners. In the ninth grade, he ended up beating me at the final championship event - after I had beat him in all the previous races - when he came from behind to pass both me and a seemingly invincible runner, Richard Armour, from another junior high.

We ran cross country and track in our sophomore and junior years at Hart High School. Rick quit track and cross country during his senior year to work in a gas station near his home. Nevertheless, he ended up more committed to distance running than me, competing in races all the way up until the last year of his life.

Dr. Richard C. North with his wife,
Sonia North.
As I told Rick one of the last times I ever saw him, he was the older brother I never had. He was there when I had my first drink, my first distance bike ride, my first high school party, my first rock concert and kissed my first girl on a ride in Disneyland. My secret life as a teenager was inescapably richer because of his willingness to include me in new things that, at the time, seemed taboo, but nevertheless safe.

I lost track of him after high school. He ended up at California State University Northridge (CSUN) where he was deeply involved with a fraternity, a group of brothers that stayed active in his life right up until the end. He graduated from CSUN in 1980, took an M.A. from Pepperdine University in 1985 and then a doctorate in clinical psychology from Cambridge Graduate School of Psychology in 1991.

He was, by all accounts, a strong athlete and adventurer his entire life. According to a mutual friend, James Farely, Rick was a mountaineer and a marathon runner. Rick climbed Mt. Rainer which has a summit at 14,411 ft., completed the entire 210 mile John Muir trail a section at a time, and ran the Los Angeles and Santa Clarita Valley marathons. He also enjoyed travelling. Over the course of his life, he toured China, India, Israel, Turkey, Thailand, and all over Europe including Spain where he amazingly ran with bulls in Pamplona.

As I recall, Rick was also a leader of the Red Cross' disaster mental health team in the Santa Clarita Valley after the 1994 Northridge earthquake and continued with this service for over 20 years. (I think he would have been thrilled to be flying out to Houston, TX to help people recover psychologically from Hurricane Harvey.)
Richard C. North with his fraternity brothers 
and their wives, from left to right, Patty and 
James Farley, Sonia and Richard North, 
Mary and Harold Moore.

Rick was always in my life - one way or the other. He went out of his way to be my friend and to involve me in his activities including rock-climbing, cross country skiing, listening to Breakfast with the Beatles, or shopping for beer at Trader Joes. He could be irritable and occasionally stubborn and pedantic. Nevertheless, he was kind and quick to mend fences.

Professionally, he worked as a psychologist. This was ironic since he once told me he went into psychology without ever having been in therapy himself. Even so, some of my favorite moments with him were spent talking about the research he was doing for this doctoral dissertation or his observations regarding some of his most difficult and unusual patients. He was the first to introduce me to more sophisticated personality profiles which indicated whether the person was a healthy or unhealthy version of their profile.

I saw the impact of his therapeutic techniques myself after I climbed Mt. Shasta with him in 1990. As I recall, I made it up to 7,000 feet where the oxygen drops to about 10% of normal. Each step left me exhausted and winded and I ended up at Avalanche Gulch. The slope that day was icy and I was only on my second day with crampons and an ice ax. After what I now know was a panic attack, I was so afraid of slipping and falling down the slope that I felt paralyzed with fear. Rick told me to imagine that I was walking down the mountain into soft, warm sand. Even years later, I am grateful that I took his suggestion and that it worked well enough that I made it safely down the mountain. On that same trip, Rick made it all the way to the summit at 14,179 feet. At that altitude the oxygen is only 25% of what it would be at sea level.

After I got sober in 1993, the distance between us increased. The mountain climbing and hiking through the ice and snow got to be too expensive, time-consuming and unpredictably dangerous.

Richard C. North cross
country skiing 
near Frazier Park.
After I met my wife, Trish, I moved to Orange County and Rick and I saw each other seldom. Nevertheless, we stayed in touch through Christmas cards, lunches, e-mail. He was not so interested in Facebook or Twitter or politics. At a distance, I watched his son Stephen grow up. (Rick was the scoutmaster of of Stephen's troop 602.) I was proud of Rick when he and his wife Sonia bought a beautiful new home in Valencia right near CalArts. This is where we would run as teenagers and, in one instance, apologize to an angry driver for inexplicably tossing small stones at cars and trucks.

I would never have predicted that he would predecease me. His wife, Sonia, cannot remember a time when he missed work due to an illness. His father, Carl, cannot remember him ever being sick, even as a child.

Nevertheless, the information in WebMD was correct. He was worse each time I saw him. The first time I held his hand and told him I loved him. The second time, he seemed cheerful, but quiet. The third time we were at dinner with his fraternity friends and he did not remember that we had arrived in the same SUV. The next two times I saw him were at Kaiser Hospital in Panorama City where I could not communicate with him. The first time he was asleep and the second time he was completely unconscious.

I have only a small handful of old friends in my life. He is the first to die and I will miss him greatly. Richard C. North is survived by his wife Sonia and his son Stephen. He is also survived by his mother Diane and father Carl North and his brother Don North.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dead End: Disability Attorney Tina Laine's Sloppy Forms Lost Our Trust

My wife and I had a very, very negative experience with Tina Louise Laine and would not recommend her. 

Tina Laine bills herself as a social security disability insurance attorney. That may be the case, but I describe her more accurately as simply slow to return phone calls. As far as I could tell, she did not put much effort into my wife's case. (My wife has TBI and is unemployable. She isn't even allowed to drive right now.) Tina Laine met with us once, took our deposit check, and then had me get some medical information from my wife's doctors. 

The forms Tina Laine gave me were copies of copies, which made for a sloppy and unprofessional presentation. I was embarrassed to hand such low quality forms to our doctors.

Her relatively minor effort to help us with our appeal ended in failure. In retrospect, I felt like I did most of the work myself which was mainly gathering together the pertinent documents. In my opinion, she did little to make a difference for us beyond adding these two sloppy forms to our application. In retrospect, the sloppiness of those forms may have been part of the reason we lost our appeal. 

FYI: Her amateur, out-of-date, website gives you insight into the quality of her work. By the way, Tina Louise Laine passed the bar exam in 1986, see The State Bar of California. She graduated from a for-profit law school called Western State College of Law. According to Wikipedia, her alma mater failed to obtain accreditation from the American Bar Association in 1987.


As we appealed the appeal, she was dead wrong about when our new, administrative hearing would take place. It was only due to my efforts that we eventually learned from her that three judges had retired and that my wife's case would be dealt with next year and not this year. This was a total, unpleasant surprise that she did not inform us about until I called her to ask about the untimely delays. 

Tina Louise Laine was also quite rude. She said that I did not tell her the truth about our issues with the IRS. (Due to my wife's unemployment and medical bills, we have fallen behind on our taxes.) Frankly, she never asked about them and never indicated that they were relevant. It was unprofessional for her say I was untruthful and that slip of the tongue cost her our business, loyalty and respect. 

I have a well-deserved reputation for being straightforward and honest. She ended up dropping our case and threatening to keep our deposit, reminding me it was non-refundable. 

As far as I'm concerned working with Tina Laine was an unpleasant chore that cost us a little money and a lot of time and left us with almost nothing of real value.

I am quite surprised to see a number of people praising her at Yelp.com. Only the negative on-line reviews reflects my experience. As one person wrote
She lacks in professionalism and compassion.Very unorganized and critical. You walk out of her office asking yourself, "What just happened in there?" Honestly, she comes off as being only interested in money that she can make off your case and is rather RUTHLESS about it. Save yourself the self-image beating and go to another. After all, lawyers like this one are a dime a dozen.
Now that I have more knowledge, I think we are in a position to hire a less sloppy disability attorney or simply handle the matter ourselves. We have a letter from Coastline College that indicates my wife is now unemployable, the DMV will not let her drive a car. I don't see what the big deal is or why an attorney is even necessary at this point. Tina Laine tried to imply that there were mysterious legal details that would cause her to spend many hours on our case. She refused to even explain one of them so she did not earn my confidence in her abilities or her value. I wouldn't recommend her to anyone. When she accused me of not telling her the truth, I knew she was bad news and did not share our values.

As an interesting side note, I should point out that Tina Louise Laine is a failed Democrat party politician. She tried, unsuccessfully, to secure a seat in the U.S. Congress. She has a lot of Democrat party photos around her office which display her political interests and affiliations. 

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Irrational Questions About Rational Choice: My Most Up-voted Comment on Quora

Inexplicably, I have been allowed back on Quora. I accessed it through my Facebook account and no one seems to have a problem with me any more. I'm not sure how long that will last. Nevertheless, it is interesting to me to see which answers I give seem to spark the most interests. The following exchange is clearly my most popular (upvoted) so far.

Question: Why do people so frequently vote for republicans who are to a great extent against their own interests?
"Me at the Beach," by John Drew,
Self-portrait, oil on canvas, 10' x 10'.

My Answer: I’m an ex-Democrat largely because the Democrat party stopped representing my interests as a member of the white working class. The key issues for me was affirmative action. As a young man, I grew up poor. Nevertheless, I had good grades, I completed calculus in high school and had outstanding SAT scores.

I worked hard and spent many hours in the library working to get ahead while other, wealthier students, partied and used drugs like cocaine and marijuana. My hard work paid off and I got a scholarship to study in England for a year and later got a full scholarship to attend Cornell University as a graduate student.

As I was finishing up my graduate studies and looking for teaching positions it became perfectly clear that Democrat party members did not care whether I found a job or not. They were much more intent on getting jobs for women and members of favored minorities groups. My family was half Armenian and I was the first person on my mother’s side of the family to graduate from college, much less go to graduate school.

Overtime, I became a registered Republican. This was my only choice, in large measure, as I came to realize Democrats saw white working class folks like me as the enemy. They still suggest I benefit from “white privilege” when my experience is that being white harmed my life and my career as an academic.

At every turn of my life Democrat party policies have made my journey more painful and more difficult. Due taxation policies, I pay more than other people because I have chosen to marry and stay married. Due to housing policies, I have been left with a high mortgage in an expensive housing market. Due to government set asides for minority contractors, I have lost business to companies run by favored minority groups and women. It goes on and on. The Democrats are not on my side.

I would be irrational to vote for the people who have brought down on me so much hatred and discrimination. Even worse, as a student of political economy, I know that the end result of socialism in the U.S. will not be a second Sweden. Instead, it would be a second Venezuela. It would be a place where the ruling elite enriches itself (like the Clintons and Obamas), the most productive people bail out and hide their wealth, and the people supposedly helped by socialism end up picking through the garbage looking for scraps of food.

Trust me. I’m voting Republican because I know it is in my best interest to do so. I think the whole premise of this question is wrong.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Bad Choices: What is Barack Obama's View of Bernie Sanders?

I knew the young Barack Obama while he was a student at Occidental College. As I have reported elsewhere he was a Marxist revolutionary back in the winter of 1980.

See, Articles: Meeting Young Obama

There is no evidence of Obama having some sort of conversion experience so it seems likely that he is still committed to some form of socialism and a major effort to redistribute the wealth.

My take is that he did not think that Sanders could win and that he thought the best hope for preserving his legacy was to support Hillary Clinton. Ultimately, however, his heart was with Bernie Sanders.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Bad Book: What Will We Remember About Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father?

Aside from Obamacare, I think Barack Obama is best known for his book, Dreams from My Father.
This book was extremely important to his early political career in Chicago. Over time, many people took the book literally and it became a way for people to learn about Obama in such a matter that it empowered him. Many charismatic leaders write books about themselves which end up building their own fame and charisma including George Washington, Mahatma Gandhi, and John F. Kennedy.

This is part of the reason why there is so much intellectual controversy surrounding Dreams from My Father right now, particularly arguments about the extent to which it is historically accurate or is only a historical novel.

To a large extent, I think that presidential historians are coming to the conclusion that the book for which Barack Obama is best know was in large measure a carefully crafted fiction. It included a number of stories in which Barack Obama tried to exaggerate his ties to the African-American community, including claiming he dated black women, which subsequent research has found to be untrue.

According to David J. Garrow’s new book, Rising Star, it appears that Dreams from My Father overstated the closeness of Obama’s parents, understated the time he spend with Frank Marshall Davis, and minimized young Obama’s post-Columbia marijuana and cocaine usage. There are also indications that the young Obama was quite concerned about his weight since he was fat as a child.

All in all, I think that Dreams from My Father will remain as one of the most important of Obama’s legacies, especially since subsequent research has found that much of this first book was highly inaccurate even as it help to form a myth that helped Barack Obama become president.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Tiny Towns: Let's Compare the Quality of Education Received at Williams Compared to a Traditional Ivy League School

Someone on Quora recently asked me the following question: "How would one compare the quality of education received at Williams compared to that of one received at an Ivy League school such as Harvard or Princeton?" There were a number of interesting answers in addition to mine. Nevertheless, here's my take on the advantages and disadvantages of a Williams College education compared to a traditional Ivy League education.

Of course, I am an ex-political science professor who taught at Williams in the 1980s and who was a teaching assistant (TA) at Cornell. My sense is that Williams College provided a higher quality education in the sense that the courses I taught there were designed to make everything absolutely clear, creative, and easy to understand for the students. Compared to my TA experience, I did a much better job of teaching while I was at Williams College.

As I recall, I gave students examples of successful papers, provided clear directions, and picked the best possible reading materials. I was among the top teachers on campus according to the reports I received which compared my student ratings with those of the other professors. While I was at Williams College, I was at the top of my game. I completed my doctoral dissertation while I was there and won the William Anderson Award from the American Political Science Association.

Accordingly, the students I worked with at Cornell and at Williams College were both dealing with the same somewhat exceptional scholar and teacher. The difference is that the teaching at Williams College was much better, I mean ten times better.

That being said, I have to say that Harvard, for example, is much harder to get into than Williams College. Williams is in a God-forsaken, hostile, rural area. It is overwhelmingly cliquish and quite unfriendly to conservative or even Republican perspectives. It is the sort of place where a young Christian or conservative can quickly become socially isolated, even disdained by their fellow students. In my experience, the liberal/leftist students at Williams College seem to have a “you’re either for us or against us” attitude which leaves a lot of the students hating each other by the end of four years.

If you run afoul of the liberal establishment at Williams College you have almost no alternative social or intellectual outlets for yourself. At least at Harvard, where my niece graduated, you have a whole city around you and opportunities to get relief from ideological oppression by venturing off the campus into the larger community. This escape is not possible at Williams College and I think that undermines the quality of education you receive out there.

Of course, Cornell University is also in a God-forsaken, hostile, rural environment. Nevertheless, the college is large enough that there are a variety of students to hang out with. One of the students I worked with as a teaching assistant at Cornell was Ann Coulter. I don’t Ann Coulter would have been happy at Williams College.

So, I don’t know if that helps you much at all. I would say, without a doubt, that the teaching is better at Williams College. Nevertheless, this advantage may not make up - in an educational sense - for the restricted ideological and social life associated with the school.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

What Do Conservatives Even Stand for Anymore?

This somewhat snarky question arose to my attention on Quora. The questioner wrote: "There was a time when conservatives stood for traditional values, smaller government, fiscal responsibility and strong national defense. Yet, many conservatives continue to stand by Trump who napalm those values regularly. Is their sole unifying value in 2017 the shared hatred of liberals?"

Frankly, I just don’t buy the premise of the question, specifically the suggestion that Trump has “napalmed” conservative values. Look at the evidence:

  • He picked Mike Pence as his vice-president.
  • He has submitted a budget that cuts back dramatically on domestic spending.
  • He is making efforts to reduce the regulations that have been strangling the economy and reducing income to the federal government.
  • He seems to be pretty aggressive in both funding and respecting the military.

Republicans are at their strongest level of political power since the 1920s and Trump has managed to win over the white working class in a manner that will make it difficult for Democrats to win again at the national level for at least a generation.

I think the unifying factor here is defending the interests of the white working class. As long as Democrats vilify the white working class, I do not think they will have much opportunity to win significant power at either the state or federal level.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Living History: Reading David Garrow's Rising Star - The Making of Barack Obama

I’m still reading through David J. Garrow’s new presidential biography, Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama. Already, however, I can report that he cited a number – but not all – of my American Thinker articles. Garrow recommends reading them in chronological order.
The worst that he can say about me is to suggest that by reports are perhaps similar to those of other potentially reliable ex-Communists. He indicates, correctly, that I was a Tea Party activist. All things considered, it looks like I got off light -- at least compared to Garrow's rather harsh treatment of Barack Obama. Garrow goes out of his way to indicate that Obama married Michelle, in large measure, because he needed a black wife in order to have a smooth political career in Chicago. It turns out that Obama was sleeping with both Michelle and an ex-girlfriend during his second year at Harvard Law School.

Garrow documents my previous role as an academic. For example, he reports that I completed my Ph.D. and taught at Williams College. I have to think the late presidential history James MacGregor Burns who was a colleague of mine at Williams College would be proud of me today. At least prouder of me today than Michelle Obama is of Barack Obama.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Unsafe at Any Speed: Should I Go to Williams College?

I’m a former Williams College political science professor. I highly recommend avoiding it. It is, of course, highly rated by U.S. News & World Report.

This is why I was once proud to teach there and why I suppose so many are still interested in attending it. Its frequent number one ranking, however, conceals a number of problematic aspects of the college which should factor into your decision-making regarding whether or not you should go to Williams.
First, it is ridiculously cold and isolated geographically. My stomach still turns into knots when I remember what it was like to drive from the airport in Albany, NY into Williamstown, MA. The only route was a thin, two-lane highway. In the winter it was covered with ice and snow. The roads to both the north, south and east were also windy, tiny and inadequate. While I was teaching there one of my students died in a winter car accident. The road to the east was so bad that it had what they called a Deadman’s Curve, and it was indeed a place where there had been frequent accidents and deaths. Even in town, I remember the roads were narrow and dangerous. During my first year on the campus, one of my colleagues in the political science department was killed in a car accident as he made a short one-line commute back to his home.
Second, it is unbelievably cliquish. Because the campus is small and isolated you will quickly find that living there means that you are quickly identified, sorted out, accepted or isolated, and conveniently locked into place. For those who settle in the area, the rule of thumb is that you are not accepted by the locals until you are a third generation inhabitant.
The social pressures for ideological conformity are immense and thoroughly enforced on the campus. In particular, Williams College has a long-standing hostility to conservative students, speakers, and scholars. If you are a Christian, a Republican, a conservative or even a middle of the road liberal Democrat, then I highly recommend you find another place to study unless you want to endure four years of hostility and stigma.
The school has recently been in the news for banning conservative speakers including the relatively innocuous Suzanne Venker.
Third, if you are interested in parties and the opposite sex, then I also recommend against attending Williams College. At this school, being in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship is discouraged by the social pressures which assume that such relationships are unhealthy and probably interfering with one’s academic advancement. The women who were interested in men, in my experience, were mainly interested in dating older men who had good jobs and good careers in nearby urban areas like New York or Boston. For the life of me, I cannot remember if any of the students I taught while I was there from 1986 to 1989 even went out on dates.
The social environment has apparently gotten even worse since I taught at Williams College by new rules and bureaucratic policies which appear to me to place young men at danger of being labeled as rapists simply because they had consensual sex with a girl who has been drinking. If I had a son, Williams College would be among the last places on Earth I would send him for school. As far as I am concerned Williams College is an unsafe environment for young men.
Fourth, the geographic isolation means there is little to do that is fun or interesting off campus. I remember being so bored while I taught there that I would get in my car and drive to the top of the nearby Mt. Greylock to enjoy a view of the surrounding area at the height of 3,491 feet. The nearby city of North Adams is an extremely depressing, poor, rotted out post-industrial population center.
Fifth, perhaps because there is so little to do in the area, the school has a bad reputation for out-of-control drug use. It was, in fact, once rated among the top ten druggiest colleges in the nation.
Ironically, when I taught at Williams College, one of the students I most enjoyed mentoring and working with as an adviser turned out to be one of the very top drug dealers on campus.
Sixth, I believe there is a lot of mental illness on the campus. I think it is an unhappy place because of the bad weather, the substance abuse, the atheism, the cliques, and the low social IQ’s of many of its bright, but immature inhabitants. It is the sort of place where young, unstable students flame out and end up taking five years instead of four years to finish their college educations. One ex-president of the college, Harry C. Payne, jumped to his death from the eighth floor of a hotel. While I taught at Williams one of the science professors killed himself by releasing deadly gas in his airtight car. As I recall a second professor also killed himself around that time although I did not remember the details. Maybe I was just teaching there at a bad time.
Finally, I would observe that the U.S. News and World Report rankings seem to be heavily dependent on a school’s endowment. I can confirm that Williams College is awash in money. There are plenty of resources available there to the students and the faculty. Thanks to all this money, it is a wonderful place to spend the summer if you are there when the students are gone and the community is packed with movie stars and celebrities who are part of the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
To be sure, not all my memories of the place are negative. I finished up my award-winning thesis while I taught there. I had good friends in the local community and incredible spiritual support from folks I met off campus including an inspiring Quaker group which met up north in nearby Vermont. (Although, come to think of it, I ran my car off the road and into a ditch while driving back from a meeting.)
My neighbors were some of the friendliest and nicest people I have ever known. The students, by far, were the best part of my campus experience. It was fun to teach such bright, energetic young people. Nevertheless, knowing what I know now, I would never have accepted a job there. I got sucked in by the prestige and underestimated how much I would miss a safe, sane, high quality of life.
My recommendation? Look for another college or university. Preferably a college or university near a big city where you can get lost, enjoy some anonymity, and lead a healthy, balanced life. Williams College is a great place to visit over the summer, but a terrible place to spend four years of your life.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Waiting for Garrow: New Obama Biography Due This Week

Those of us who want to reduce President Obama’s future influence in American politics are looking forward to the release of David J. Garrow’s new 1,400 page opus, Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama. Although Professor Garrow is a Bernie Sanders donor, he has a reputation as an honest, straightforward historian. This reputation is the result of his balanced and even somewhat damaging Pulitzer Prize winning book on Martin Luther King, Bearing the Cross (1986).

John Drew with David Garrow in Laguna Niguel, CA.

While some journalists have already received preliminary copies of Rising Star, most of us will have to wait a little longer since the book will be released on May 9, 2017. As for me, however, I have been waiting to read Garrow’s book since December 2011.

I was one of the 1,000 people who Garrow interviewed, a number he repeatedly refers to when he wants to present his book as the new, gold standard for Obama biographies. Garrow’s book is competing for this honor against David Remnick’s The Bridge (2010) and David Maraniss’s Barack Obama: The Story (2012). Neither Remnick or Maraniss interviewed me even though they interviewed almost all of the students I knew at Occidental College between 1979-1981.

I have always found this odd since my face-to-face observations of young Obama’s radical ideology were reported -- prior to the publication of either book -- by Ronald Kessler in a NEWSMAX article that appeared in early February 2010. See, http://www.newsmax.com/RonaldKessler/obama-college-marxism-occidental/2010/02/08/id/349329/

Later, my complete report of Obama’s commitment to a leadership role in a coming, inevitable Communist revolution appeared in an article I wrote called “Meeting Young Obama” that was published in American Thinker in February 2011. See, http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2011/02/meeting_young_obama.html

Maraniss’s failure to interview me seems particularly misguided since my first impression of young Obama has been accessed and cited by so many other authors. So far, it has appeared in Glenn Beck’s “Liars” (2016), Jack Cashill’s “Deconstructing Obama” (2011), Stanley Kurtz’s “Radical-In-Chief” (2010), Paul Kengor’s “Dupes” (2010) and “The Communist” (2012), and Michael Savages’ “Trickle Up Poverty” (2010).

Accordingly, I was suspicious when I first heard from Garrow by e-mail because my story had been so neglected by previous mainstream historians. In an abundance of caution, I checked out his YouTube videos and then asked him to give me a call so I could be sure I was talking to the real Pulitzer Prize historian and not some deranged Occupy Wall Street protester. Over the phone, we agreed to meet at my home in Laguna Niguel.

As a political scientist, I have spoken with presidential historians before, including the late James MacGregor Burns who was a colleague at Williams College. However, I had never been interviewed by one. 

I was surprisingly nervous.  As Garrow sat in my living room, I almost dumped a full glass of ice tea on him.  It was also surprisingly unpleasant to remember my youthful days as a recent Occidental College graduate who was dating a girl, Caroline Boss, who was still a senior at Occidental and who was so close to young Obama that Maraniss claims she was one of the most significant composite characters included in Obama’s Dreams from My Father (1995).  I prepared for the interview by sorting through old photographs and rereading about 30 cards and letters from that era of my life. 

As it turned out, Garrow was something of a gossip. He entertained me with news regarding the fate of my old friends and acquaintances:  who got married to who, who succeeded in life and who failed. I also found out Garrow plays an awkward role in informing people of the deaths of those who used to be in their social circles.  In my case, Garrow revealed one of the Occidental College radical leaders I knew best, Gary Chapman, 58, had died of a heart attack the previous December.

During the recorded interview, my aim was to stress my credibility and to get as much of my story as I could into the historical record. I shared with him evidence of my relationship with Boss including some photos and a romantic card she sent me.

Over time, it became clear that while Garrow was familiar with my American Thinker piece on young Obama, he was much more interested in tracking down the community which surrounded Obama at Occidental and by all accounts continued to support and stay in touch with him right up to his election as president.

Sensing his true interests, I surprised him by bringing out an old, tattered, green address book which included Boss’s phone numbers and addresses in both the U.S. and Europe. He seemed positively giddy about it.  He wrote down nothing and instead he read out loud from my address book into his recorder.

I did speak to him off-the-record too, but only about sexual matters, the sort of unseemly things which would be embarrassing to air but still would help him understand the intimate social connections of Obama’s Occidental College friends. He indicated to me that his next stop would be Washington state where he would interview Caroline and her husband, Tom, who had also been a student at Occidental College.

After we were done, I remember Garrow was gracious enough to pose with me for a photo. It turns out his wife, Darleen, had been waiting for us in a car while the interview took place. As she took the picture, I praised her husband for his status as a Pulitzer Prize winning biographer. She seemed a little jaded by my compliment and less effusive than me in praising his worthwhile accomplishments.

At this point, I am not at all confident I had much impact on Garrow’s book.

I listened to a radio interview he gave to Jamie Weinstein and he flatly dismissed any suggestion that young Obama was gay, Marxist, Muslim or a beneficiary of the writing and editing skills of Bill Ayers, an unrepentant domestic terrorist. Using the broadest possible definitions, in contrast, I see the young Obama as all four. I am waiting to see if the mainstream media will use Garrow’s book to short-circuit future attempts to create an honest account of Obama life, an account which should rightfully end his political influence.

Note: This article was originally published in American Thinker on May 8, 2017.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.