Archive for January, 2010

Hello and goodbye

January 29th, 2010
Tavita Pritchard

Tavita Pritchard

Now that fifth-year senior TAVITA PRITCHARD has exhausted his eligibility in football, the former Cardinal quarterback is joining the men’s basketball team. Traveling with the team this week during its road trip to Arizona and Arizona State, he will wear number 42.

Toby Gerhart

Toby Gerhart

Meanwhile, another multi-sport athlete said his final farewell to the Farm. “I leave Stanford with a heavy heart,”  TOBY GERHART wrote in the letter published in Thursday’s Stanford Daily. “My time here at Stanford has been unforgettable, from Full Moon on the Quad, to our baseball team’s 2008 appearance in the College World Series, to our football team’s huge wins over USC in 2007 and 2009, and most of all, the rebirth of our proud program with our first bowl appearance since 2001.” Gerhart announced earlier this month that he is withdrawing from Stanford for winter quarter to devote his time to prepare for the NFL Combine in February.

Nuclear Tipping Point

January 28th, 2010

If you missed the 2010 Drell Lecture earlier this week, you’ll have another opportunity to hear former Secretary of State GEORGE SHULTZ, and several other former Cold Warriors, including former Secretary of Defense WILLIAM PERRY in Nuclear Tipping Point, a new documentary. In addition to Shultz, a Hoover fellow, and Perry, a fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the film features interviews with Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state and Sam Nunn, former Democratic senator from Georgia.

The trailer alone is chilling. Add to that the dire words of Shultz:  “If you think of the people who are doing suicide attacks, and people like that get a nuclear weapon, they are almost by definition not deterable. And if you have terrorists get something you don’t even know the return address.”

Nuclear Tipping Point was produced by the Nuclear Security Project, an effort to raise awareness about nuclear threats and to help build support for reducing nuclear dangers. The Project is coordinated by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, in cooperation with the Hoover Institution.

A free DVD is available at the project’s website:

Freshman attends State of the Union address

January 27th, 2010
Gabriela Farfan   Photo credit: White House

Gabriela Farfan Photo credit: White House

The White House announced on Wednesday that freshman GABRIELA FARFAN from Madison, WI, would be a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama during the president’s State of the Union address. Here is what the White House said in a press statement:

“Gabriela is a 19-year old from Madison, Wisconsin whose passion for geology started at a young age – collecting rocks as a seven-year old with her father. In 2009, as a senior in high school, her hard-work and research won her one of the top awards in the Intel Science Talent Search, winning a scholarship for her independent research describing why certain gemstones appear to change color when viewed from different angles—a finding that directly affects the gemstone industry and may have applications in the nano and materials sciences. Gabriela is now in college as a freshman at Stanford University, and a declared geology major.

Gabriela is also a National Hispanic Scholar award winner, has two very proud parents, Abigail Farfan and Carlos Peralta, and has a real dedication to the arts: singing, drawing, painting, speaking French and Spanish, and following operas and musicals.”
Read Gabriela’s White House Blog entry.

Hoover unveils correspondence between philanthropist and African and African American activists

January 27th, 2010
William X. Scheinman, seated second from right, with Tom Mboya, third from right in Accra Ghana in 1958. (William X. Scheinman Papers, Box 49:1, Hoover Institution Archives).

William X. Scheinman, seated second from right, with Tom Mboya, third from right in Accra Ghana in 1958. (William X. Scheinman Papers, Hoover Institution Archives)

The Hoover Institution Library and Archives have opened the papers of William X. Scheinman (1927–1999), a longtime friend of and correspondent with Kenyan independence leader Tom Mboya, who served in the first cabinet of Kenya after that East African nation achieved independence from Great Britain in 1963. The highlight of the collection is the rich correspondence between Scheinman and Mboya, which contains hundreds of letters, beginning in 1957 and ending with Mboya’s assassination in 1969.

As president of the African American Students Foundation, Scheinman was instrumental in funding the educations of hundreds of Kenyan students, including President Obama’s father, Barack Obama, Sr.

In addition to the Mboya correspondence, the Scheinman papers contain records of the African American Students Foundation, documenting fund-raising efforts, led by such personalities as Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, and Jackie Robinson, and records of the foundation’s various activities from 1959 to 1963. Also included are extensive correspondence files that record Scheinman’s long-standing interest in Africa, as seen in letters to and from African political and cultural leaders such as Kenyan president Daniel Arap Moi, Zimbabwean independence leader Joshua Nkomo, longtime Zambia president Kenneth Kaunda, and Malawian independence leaders Henry Chipembere and M.W. Kanyama Chiume, as well as South African singer and human rights activist Miriam Makeba.

Djerassi’s Four Jews on Parnassus in two adaptations

January 27th, 2010

Stanford-CJM--2010-posterFour Jews on Parnassus, the 2008 book by chemistry Professor Emeritus CARL DJERASSI, which features a dramatized posthumous conversation between Arnold Schoenberg, Walter Benjamin, Gershom Scholem and Theodor Adorno, will come to life in two distinct adaptations Feb. 6 and 7 on the Stanford University campus and at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, respectively.

On Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Stanford’s Pigott Theater, there will be a performance of Four Jews on Parnassus: Benjamin, Adorno, Scholem, Schoenberg: A Dispute About Art, Music, Identity, Wives and Pornography. Stanford drama faculty and actors RUSH REHM and KAY KOSTOPOULOS, along with Ken Sonkin, William Wolak and Obie Award winner Gerald Hiken as well as London-based soprano Loré Lixenberg, will perform what is described as a “genre-busting exploration of history, art and identity.” Stanford students also will participate.

On Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Lixenberg, Hiken, Kostopoulos, Rehm, Sonkin and Wolak will perform in the American premiere of Schoenberg on Parnassus: Schoenberg’s Chess, Klee’s Jewishness, Benjamin’s Obsession and Other Puzzles. The play features the imagined posthumous conversations of Schoenberg, Benjamin, Scholem, Adorno and Schoenberg’s wife, with songs by Schoenberg and others, and audiovisuals dealing with the art of Paul Klee. Following the performance, Djerassi will converse with Larry Schoenberg, Arnold Schoenberg’s son. Both performances will be directed by Vienna-based Isabella Gregor, who has already directed earlier performances of Djerassi’s pieces in London, Vienna, Berlin, and Bayreuth.

The performances are co-sponsored by the Stanford Institute for Creativity in the Arts (SiCa) and the National Center for New Plays at Stanford.

“Under my SiCa grant, it was possible to bring a superb soprano from London and a very experienced director from Vienna to stage these two events. There will be rare or unknown music as well as first-class audiovisuals, including some little-known aspects of Paul Klee’s oeuvre, together with five Equity actors and some Stanford students,” Djerassi wrote in an email.

Anil Menon sends dispatches from Haiti

January 25th, 2010

Anil Menon

Anil Menon

ANIL MENON, a clinical instructor in the School of Medicine, who focuses on surgery and emergency medicine, has been sending messages from Haiti, where he and a medical team from the school are providing care. Following is a recent dispatch.
From: Anil Menon
Date: Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 23:07
Subject: Translater roro hiding from the sun.

The earthquake woke me up this morning,  and I ran for the exit mostly because that is what I do when I see other people running and I don’t know why. In the back of my mind I wondered, as I do with earthquakes in California, why the train is operating at that time of day? This aftershock led to a few important events.

First, a Portuguese reporter got scared and jumped from the balcony of our dwelling (1 story). He was promptly surrounded by doctors  . . . He might have fractured his ankle and told us that he was embarrassed by the whole event. Another doctor in our group said that he should be because 1) he demonstrated his failure to exercise good judgment and 2) demonstrated his failure to fly.

Secondly, no one at the hospital would return to the buildings. One lady told me before that when she heard a door open she would shudder with terror. No, an aftershock and people would rather die than be treated in the hospital and that’s what seemed to be happening.

In the morning very sick patients were exposed to too much sunlight. We worked to adapt and overcome by building outdoor tents, but it was still hot. Luckily supplies and help is picking up so we could get IV fluid to patients. One translator was moving beds and patients outdoors as the ones that couldn’t run refused to stay. Though he smiled in this picture , he told me he was worn out by the early morning.  He was healthy.
Anil S Menon

Sent from iPhone

More news about the campus response to the earthquake is available on the Stanford Haiti Information website.

Valerie Bellande ’09 thanks the campus for its support of her homeland

January 25th, 2010
Valerie Bellande, second from the right, with fellow '09 graduates of the Program in African and African-American Studies

Valerie Bellande, second from the right, with fellow '09 graduates of the Program in African and African-American Studies

VALERIE BELLANDE, ’09, sent the following email Jan. 15, addressed to Stanford students KICHELLE WEBSTER and GABRIELA SPENCER, and to JAN BARKER-ALEXANDER, director of the Black Community Services Center, just before Stanford’s Caribbean Students Association was to meet to develop a strategy for responding to the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. Bellande, who is Haitian-American, is studying for a master’s degree in international relations at the University of Cambridge. An excerpt of her letter, which she granted Stanford permission to publish, follows:

“I just wanted to send a short letter to express my deep appreciation for the concern that you and the general Stanford community have shown toward the situation in Haiti in the past few days.  . . .

“First, I wanted to say that the past few days have been difficult, bewildering and heart wrenching for me, my family and other young Haitian-Americans. At first, I was certain, due to some miscommunication and my mounting anxiety, that my dad had passed away. I was afraid to call my mother as I sat frozen for hours after having arrived in England just that morning. Finally, a friend contacted me to tell me that my dad was safely in Miami. I have never experienced a relief so huge.

“Unfortunately, once I realized that my father was fine, I began to focus obsessively on the aftermath of the earthquake, never tearing my eyes away from the news and compulsively checking Facebook messages and calling close friends on Skype. I continue to grieve for the cousins that I have lost and every single family whose members are buried under the rubble.

“Equally startling for me and other young Haitians is the loss of our heritage, of the buildings that grace our memories and of the homes that sheltered us.

“While most of us were pushed by economic and political hardship to come to the United States, it was reinforcing to know that on our island we were welcome. It was comforting to feel that we had homes waiting even if we seemed to be perpetual immigrants. However, in the midst of our grief, the reactions of students like you have brought much needed comfort and empowerment.

“Those of you who are familiar with Haitian history and culture know that we are a strong and enduring people. Many times, as a nation, we have stood alone and isolated and this has been foundational in our understanding of our identity. Yet, your presence at this meeting today, your emails, your kind words and your prayers continue to bring to Haitian-Americans and Haitians a sense of human solidarity, strength and hope. For all that we are a resourceful, spiritual and creative people, this moment would be absolutely debilitating to face alone. So thank you, again, for being here and for taking the time to let your compassion guide your actions.  . . .”

More news about the campus response to the earthquake is available on the Stanford Haiti Information website.

Fuchs weighs in on health care reform

January 25th, 2010

Health_care_picVICTOR FUCHS, the Henry J. Kaiser Jr. Professor of Economics and of Health Research and Policy, Emeritus, has been thinking, writing and speaking about health policy longer than anyone involved in the current reform process.
Considered the dean of American health economists, Fuchs is best known for his 1999 book Who Shall Live? In the past two years alone, Fuchs has written a dozen articles that have appeared in such publications as Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine and Health Affairs.
These 12 articles combined, contain perhaps a fraction of the verbiage – and are easier to digest – than the bills being debated in Congress. They contain a wealth of ideas to bring about true improvement in the way we allocate healthcare and steps that we need to take to control spending.
For instance, in one article, titled “Health Reform: Getting the Essentials Right,”  Fuchs proposes that serious health policy reform needs to pay attention to the four C’s: coverage, cost control, coordinated care and choice.
The Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
has compiled a booklet of  Fuchs’ writings, which is available on its website.
The future of healthcare reform remains uncertain; however, Fuchs’ ideas will continue to merit serious consideration.

-Michelle Mosman

Heard on Campus: ‘I’m no more enlightened than I was yesterday’

January 22nd, 2010

runJust before 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, Med School Dean PHILIP PIZZO was doing his usual run around campus when “in a flash, all the lights on campus went out.” Pizzo, who has made that run almost every morning since his arrival nine years ago, said his initial thought was to just keep going. But the voice that told him to go back won out. Thus his remark, later that evening as he introduced the lecturer at the Mini Med School class, “So I did not get struck by lightning.” Pizzo added: “I’m no more enlightened than I was yesterday.” Ba dum bum.

Do you have a storm story?  Please share it in the comments section.

Hoover Library and Archives opens papers of H. H. Kung

January 22nd, 2010

hhkunk-autographThe papers of H. H. Kung, a confidant of Chiang Kai-shek, his brother-in-law, and the patriarch of one of the “four big families” of Nationalist China, opened at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives Jan. 19. About one-half of the full collection, which covers the period from 1917 to 1949, will be available on microfilm for research.

RICHARD SOUSA, director of the Hoover Library and Archives, said: “The Kung material adds crucially to our understanding of the politics and finances of Nationalist China. Making Mr. Kung’s papers available will provide historians an open window for analyzing how China developed and modernized in the twentieth century.”