Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gary Feinerman Appointed to Federal District Court

On Ferbuary 25, President Obama appointed Yale '87 classmate Gary Feinerman to serve as a District Court judge in the Norther District of Illinois. When confirmed, Gary will join fellow classmate Bob Dow on the Court.

Here is how the White House summarized Gary's career thus far:

Gary Scott Feinerman: Nominee for the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois Gary Scott Feinerman is a partner in the Chicago office of Sidley Austin LLP, where he practices in the general litigation and appellate practice groups. He received his B.A., summa cum laude¸ from Yale College in 1987 and his J.D. from Stanford, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and the Law Review, in 1991. After law school, Feinerman clerked for Judge Joel M. Flaum of the Seventh Circuit and for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States. After his clerkships, Feinerman worked in the Justice Department’s Office of Policy Development (now known as the Office of Legal Policy). From 2003- 2007, Feinerman served as Solicitor General of Illinois, where he received Best Brief Awards from the National Association of Attorneys General in each year from 2004-2007.

Good luck with confirmation!

Won't you join me . . .

At our last reunion, I was struck by how remarkable our classmates are. In large ways and small, our classmates have accomplished a great deal -- writing books, healing patients, running businesses, working in our communities, raising children, just to name a few. I have grown to appreciate just how true this is in the three years since I was elected Class Secretary. Our class has leaders on the Yale Faculty, on the AYA Board of Governors and in Yale Clubs around the world. And, our class is filled with people who have had meaningul, positive impact in their communities -- through the arts, civic participation, business leadership, issue-related advocacy, and volunteering, just to name a few examples.

I set out three years ago with three goals in mind: to find a way to better connect our class, to find a way to better share the accomplishments of our classmates, and to find a way to accomplish some remarkable things together. We have gone a long way to meeting some, but not all, of these goals. So, with two years left until our 25th Reunion, I am left with the following questions: What do we, as individuals and as a class, want to accomplish and how would we like to accomplish it? How can we mark our 25th anniversary of graduating from Yale in a special and enduring way?

These are broad questions, for sure, but they are worthy ones. I am convinced that if we marshall our considerable talents, we can make a lasting, positive impact at Yale and in society as a whole. (For instance, check out what the Princeton Class of 1955 has done, which is truly impressive, by clicking here.)

Here is how we can do this:

Ray Gallo, our treasurer, and I would like to propose that the Class form a Board of Directors to help shape the future of the class. It would consist of people interested in getting involved, rolling up their sleeves, and getting something done. Together, we will create a broader governance structure for the class, define what it is we want to get done as a group, and then go get things done.

So, won't you join me?

If you're interested in joining the Class of 1987 Board of Directors, and I hope you are, please let me know at

Monday, March 29, 2010

Master's Tea: Saybrook Master's Tea with Mark Gevisser, SY ’87

A tidbit that ran in the Yale Daily news:

Master's Tea: Saybrook Master's Tea with Mark Gevisser, SY ’87 and Jacob Dlamini, GRD ’12
Saybrook College and the Poynter Fellowship present a conversation with Mark Gevisser, SY ’87, Southern Africa correspondent for The Nation, and, Jacob Dlamini, GRD ’12

After graduating from Yale in 1987 magna cum laude with a degree in comparative literature, Mark Gevisser worked in New York, writing for the Village Voice and The Nation before returning to South Africa in 1990. He is currently The Nation’s Southern African correspondent. In South Africa, his work has appeared in the Mail & Guardian, the Sunday Independent, the Sunday Times and many magazines and periodicals. Internationally, he has published widely on South African politics, culture and society, in publications ranging from Vogue and the New York Times to Foreign Affairs and Art in America.

Jacob Dlamini is a South African journalist, columnist and a Yale PhD student in history. He has been the spokesman for the South African Revenue Service (the South African equivalent of the IRS) and has worked for two of South Africa's leading newspapers, The Sunday Times and Business Day. He reported on South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994 and covered Mozambique's first post-independence and post-civil war elections.

Monday, March 29, 4pm (doors open at 3:45pm)
Saybrook College Master’s House90 High St (or Entryway N)

Seder talking points

For those in the class celebrating Passover, classmate Bruce Feiler was kind enough to do a post of Seder talking points for this year.

Here is Bruce's post, which can be found at

Passover is the national holiday of my in-laws. Every spring, my mother-in-law hosts 35 people on one night, and a different 35 people the second night for a ritualized retelling of the Israelites’ escape from slavery in Egypt.

But the centrality of this occasion also creates problems for me. Before attending my first Rottenberg Passover, I warned my new family that I would make the world’s most insufferable seder guest. I had just returned from a year-long journey for my book Walking the Bible in which I actually crossed the likely Red Sea, tasted manna, and climbed the leading candidate for Mount Sinai. This year, I am coming off a journey across the United States for my book America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story looking at the role of Moses as an influence on everything from the U.S. seal to Superman.

In the liturgical list of the Four Sons, I will surely be the Pedantic One.

“No problem!” my mother-in-law, Debbie, said. “Would you say a few words?”

And just like that I will be a pedantic with a microphone.

But why hog all the fun! You, too, can be a seder know-it-all. Herewith are selected seder talking points to help you steer your Passover conversation away from the same tired jokes about matzah and constipation.

1. A quote from Moses appears on the Liberty Bell. Moses was an American icon long before there was an America. The Pilgrims described themselves as the chosen people fleeing their pharaoh, King James. When they set sail on The Mayflower in 1620, they carried Bibles emblazoned with Moses leading the Israelites to freedom. By the time of the Revolution, the Exodus was the go-to narrative of American identity. Thomas Paine, in Common Sense, called King George the “hardened, sullen tempered pharaoh.” And in 1751, the Pennsylvania Assembly chose a quote from Moses for its State-House bell, “Proclaim Liberty thro’ all the Land to all the Inhabitants Thereof – Levit. XXV 10.”

2. The Founding Fathers proposed that Moses appear on the U.S. seal. The future Liberty Bell was hanging above the room where the Continental Congress passed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. As its last last order of business that day, the Congress formed a committee of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams to design a seal for the new United States. The committee submitted its recommendation that August: Moses, leading the Israelites across the Red Sea. Three of the five drafter of the Declaration of Independence proposed that Moses be the face of the new United States. To them, he was our real Founding Father.

3. Moses was the national hero for slaves. If the biblical prophet was a unifying presence during the Revolution, a generation later he got dragged into the issue that most divided the country. For slaves, Moses was more than a just figure in the Bible. He became a leader of their people. The story of the Israelites escape from slavery became the single greatest motif of slave spirituals, including “Turn Back Pharaoh’s Army,” “I Am Bound for the Promised Land,” and the most famous spiritual,”Go Down, Moses,” which was called the National Anthem of slaves. Harriet Tubman freed so many people on the Underground Railroad she was called “The Moses of Her People.”

4. The Statue of Liberty was modeled on Moses. When Abraham Lincoln died in 1865, two-thirds of the eulogies compared him to Moses, because he had freed the slaves and, like Moses, been stopped short of the Promised Land of victory. Lincoln’s death also initiated one of the more everlasting connections to Moses in American history. Americaphiles France wanted to pay tribute to the martyred president and the American journey of freedom by building a statue of liberty. Sculptor Frederic Bartholdi chose the Roman goddess of liberty as his model, but he imported two icons from Moses to bring her to life. First, the rays of sun around her head and second, the tablet in her arms, both of which come from the moment Moses descends Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments.

5. Superman was a modern-day Moses. With the rise of secularism in the 20th century, Moses might have melted away as a role model. But Moses superseded Scripture and entered the realm of popular culture, from novels to television. In 1938, two bookish Jews from Cleveland named Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, drew their character’s backstory from the superhero of the Torah. Just as baby Moses is floated down the Nile in a basket to escape annihilation, baby Superman is launched into space in a rocket ship to avoid extinction. Both Moses and Superman were picked up aliens and raised in strange environments before being summoned to aid humanity. Superman’s original name was Kal-el, which is Hebrew for “swift god.”

6. Cecil B. DeMille turned Moses into a Cold War icon. The 1956 epic The Ten Commandments, which is the fifth highest grossing movie of all time, opened with DeMille appearing onscreen. “The theme of this picture is whether men ought to be ruled by God’s law or whether they are to be ruled by the whims of a dictator,” he said. “The same battle continues throughout the world today.” To drive home his point, DeMille cast mostly Americans as Israelites and Europeans as Egyptians. And in the film’s final shot, Charlton Heston adopts the pose of the Statue of Liberty and quotes the line from the third book of Moses — Leviticus — inscribed on the Liberty Bell: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

7. Moses is the Patron Saint of Washington. Today, forty years after Martin Luther King compared himself to Moses on the night before his assassination, the Hebrew prophet is as resonant as ever. There are six representations of Moses on the U.S. Supreme Court, and a bas-relief of Moses stares at the podium in the House chamber where presidents give the State of the Union. George W. Bush said in an Oval Office interview that he was inspired to run for the presidency by a sermon in Texas in which his preacher said Moses was not a man of words but still led his people to freedom. Barack Obama said in 2007 that the civil rights pioneers were the “Moses generation,” he was part of the “Joshua generation” that would “find our way across the river.” And this week Obama hosts the second White House seder.

From the sandy shores of Plymouth to the marble halls of Washington, DC, Moses has been an icon of American freedom because he embodies our greatest aspirations – leading people from oppression to freedom, creating a new a Promised Land in the wilderness, and building a society that nurtures all of its people. But he also reminds us that not all of our dreams come true. As Martin Luther King said, “I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I’ve looked over. I’ve seen the promised land. And I may not get there with you, but I want you to know that we as a people will get to the promised land.” These words capture what may be the most enduring lesson of Moses: The true destination of a journey of hope is not this year at all, but next.

News from Val Norton

Val sent in a note a few months back . . . and unfortunately it got stuck in my mountainous "to do" pile. Sorry about that. Here's what Val had to say:

My family and I had a wonderful time touring Guatemala and Mexico with the Yale Alumni Chorus this past summer--we brought my mom and both pre-adolescent daughters, so three generations were represented in true YAC style. Montezuma did take some revenge on us but didn't prevent us from bringing home great memories of boating across Lake Atitlan, our museum-like hotel in a 16th century convent in Antigua, performing with a fantastic orchestra in Mexico City, the pyramids, and exploring on foot in San Miguel de Allende. Can't wait for our next YAC trip! Life is good in La Jolla--visitors welcome.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rich Hardart Bikes Across America

Rich Hardart e-mailed me to let me know
about his upcoming bike across American for charity.

Here is what Rich had to say:

"I am entered as part of a 4-person team in the 2010 Race Across America. We start in San Diego on June 12 and ride bikes all day and night until we finish in Annapolis less
than a week later. We travel across the country with the help of 9 crew members, an RV and 2 minivans.

Race Across America ("RAAM") has been going on for nearly 30 years and is the Mt. Everest of endurance cycling.
Without a doubt, it will be the greatest physical challenge of my sporting life.

We are raising awareness and funds for 2 local Annapolis charities."

For more information about Rich's trek, you can visit
his team's website at

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Class of 1987 Imprint on LA's St. Patrick's Day Festivities

Zib Atlee has a great attitude. So does Jen DeVore.

Every Friday, they go running with a group of women in LA -- at 5:30 AM! On St. Patrick's Day, they run (also at 5:30 AM) to an Irish Pub in their vicinity (4 miles away) and have an Irish coffee before striking out on their day. This year, they got on TV! Check out the video by clicking here.

Steve Atlee, Zib's husband (and fellow Class of 87 classmate), was there, too, but didn't make the video.

Nicely done!

Class of 1987 Golf Outing

It's spring on the East Coast, and we have been inside too long. To celebrate Spring, we will be having a Class of 1987 golf outing in May. Here are the details:

When: May 18 (precise tee times tbd)
What: 18 holes of golf and lunch
Where: Tamarack Country Club in Greenwich, CT

Golf, lunch and drinks will cost $150 per golfer.

This will be a relaxed, non-competitive day on the course. No pressure. Just a fun time. We hope to see you out there!

If you're interested, please e-mail Tim Harkness at

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Benefit Concert for Annie Le

The Class of 1987 is one of a number of Yale College classes supporting the very first Benefit Concert, in honor of Annie Le’s memory. The concert will beheld on Wednesday, April 14, 2010, at 7:30 PM at Saint Peter's Church,located at 619 Lexington Avenue (at 54th Street/Citicorp Center) inManhattan, New York City.

The concert is followed by a reception.RSVP: Limited space is available. You must RSVP online to reserve aspace. RSVPs are submitted online through the comment box at

With a suggested donation of $25 for general admission and $15 forstudents, all proceeds will benefit the Annie Le Memorial FellowshipFund. I

f you cannot attend, please see below for details on how youcan donate through the web or by mail.This Benefit Concert is made possible by the Association of AsianAmerican Yale Alumni, Association of Yale Alumni, Yale Life SciencesAlumni Association, Yale Alumni Association of Metropolitan New York,Saint Peter’s Church, and the following Yale organizations, information, listed below. To add your organization, please see belowfor details.

For more information:· About the concert, contact Akiko Kobayashi,

To secure a media pass or join the list of supportingorganizations for this event, please contact Julie Huang,

To donate goods and services to the benefit concert, pleasecontact Patricia Takemoto,

To donate online:1. Go to Under "Choose school/area of support" select "Other"3. Insert donation amount and "Annie Le Memorial Fellowship" in thespace provided.

To donate by mail:Mail check payable to "Yale University" (indicate "For Annie LeMemorial Fellowship Fund") to: Wesley H. Poling, Ph.D., Director, Graduate School Capital Giving Yale University, Office of Development P.O. Box 2038 New Haven, CT 06521-2038

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Class of 1987 NCAA Bracket

Are you into March Madness? If so, please sign up for the Class of 1987 Bracket on

Click here to find the bracket.

Remember to include your group's password: eliyale

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Paul Doiron's new book -- The Poacher's Son

Classmate Paul Doiron is coming out with a new book (it's a busy spring for the Class of 1987). His book, The Poacher's Son, is being very well received. Here is a summary:

Set in the wilds of Maine, this is an explosive tale of an estranged son thrust into the hunt for a murderous fugitive—his own father.

Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditchreturns home one evening to find an alarming voice from the past on his answering machine: his father Jack, a hard drinking womanizer who makes his living poaching illegal game. An even more frightening call comes the next morning from the police: they are searching for the man who killed a beloved local cop the night before—and his father is their prime suspect. Jack has escaped from police custody, and only Mike believes that his tormented father might not be guilty.

Now, alienated from the woman he loves, shunned by colleagues who have no sympathy for the suspected cop-killer, Mike must come to terms with his haunted past. He knows firsthand Jack’s brutality, but is the man capable of murder? Desperate and alone, he strikes up an uneasy alliance with a retired warden pilot, and together the two men journey deep into the Maine wilderness in search of a runaway fugitive. They meet a beautiful woman who claims to be Jack's mistress but seems to be guarding a more dangerous secret. The only way now for Mike to save his father is to find the real killer—which could mean putting everyone he loves in the line of fire.

The Poacher’s Son is a sterling debut of literary suspense. Taut and engrossing, it represents the first in a series featuring Mike Bowditch.

Paul's book is now being featured on Barns & Noble's Online Book Club, Here's what Paul says about it:

For the next three weeks I'm participating in Barnes & Noble's First Look book club. It's an online discussion of The Poacher's Son with a select group of volunteers who were sent advance galleys of the book. Each week the group reads a series of chapters (they're up to Chapters 8 through 18) and posts reactions to the characters, story, and issues raised by the novel.

The conversation has been going on since the beginning of March so I'll be showing up fashionably late. This week my excellent and perspicacious editor Charlie Spicer will also be there.

Unless you're part of the club and were selected to get an advance reader's copy of my novel, I'm afraid you can't post questions or replies to the board, but you can eavesdrop on the discussion. One word of warning, though: The Poacher's Son is a mystery and I expect that as readers near the final chapters, the ending will become a hot topic. So if you don't want to see a spoiler that ruins the novel's surprises (and I'd rather you didn't), I suggest you browse carefully.

Chang Rae Lee's New Book

Chang Rae Lee's new book, The Surrendered, is receiving rave reviews. Click here to read the New York Times review of his book.

News about John Pogue

Classmate John Pogue has had a great deal of success in Hollywood. It was recently announced that he has a new project, signing on as the writer/director of Quarantine 2. Congratulations on the new gig, John!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Writers, Plain and Simple

Classmate Claire Messud, who wrote The Emperor’s Children, wonders why, with women making up 80 percent of the fiction-reading audience in the U.S., women authors don’t win more book prizes. Click on the title above to read what Claire has to say . . .

The New, New Happiness

Classmate Abigail Pogrebin has written an interesting blog post about happiness. (To access it, please click on the title to this post.)

Abigail writes:

I didn't know how unhappy I was until I read the latest books about happiness. These epistles suddenly seemed to be on every shelf, in every book review: roadmaps for gratitude, journeys toward joy, research on what makes us buoyant, analyses of what gets us down. I'd stumble out of Barnes and Noble feeling drunk with inadequacy: why wasn't I improving myself today?

Abigail goes on to discuss happiness with authors who have written about happiness. Please check out her post at the attached link.

This seems to be a class theme, as Tamar Gendler will be speaking at the Women at Yale celebration about "Five Ancient Secrets to Modern Happiness" -- What can ancient philosophy and contemporary cognitive science teach us about human flourishing?

Yale Day of Service

On May 15, AYA is sponsoring the Second Annual Yale Day of Service. With service projects throughout the world, there is undoubtedly some way to get involved near you.

I encourage everyone in the class to look for opportunities in their community to participate. It can be both fun and rewarding.

Tamar Gendler to Speak at Women at Yale Conference

At the end of March, Yale will be hosting a celebration of Women at Yale. It looks like a very interesting program.

Our own Tamar Gendler will be one of the speakers, giving a talk on March 26 at 9:45.

Here is what Tamar has been up to:

Tamar Gendler '87- Professor of Philosophy and Psychology and Chair of Cognitive Science, Yale University

Tamar Gendler graduated from Yale in 1987 with degrees in Humanities and Mathematics-and-Philosophy. After spending several years in Washington, DC doing education policy work for the RAND Corporation, she went on to Harvard, where she earned her PhD in Philosophy in 1996. Throughout her career teaching Philosophy and Cognitive Science at Syracuse, Cornell and Yale Universities, she has held fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Collegium Budapest. She is spending the 2009-10 academic year as a full-time student at Yale, under the auspices of the Mellon Foundation’s highly competitive New Directions program.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Class of 1987 is Co-Organizer of Benefit Concert

I wanted to let you know about a benefit concert being held this April.

Sponsored by the Association of Asian American Yale Alumni, the concert's proceeds will go towards a scholarship fund in the memory of Annie Le, whose death stunned the entire Yale community. The money raised by this concert will be 100% tax deductible and will go to fund the Annie Le Fellowship.

The concert will take place at Saint Peter's Church in New York City located at 619 Lexington Avenue (Citicorp center) on April 14 at 7:30pm with a reception afterward. This concert will honor Annie's memory, raise awareness and funds for the Annie Le Fellowship, and help continue Annie’s work through building the scholarship in her name. The scholarship fund will go towards a student who reflects Annie's qualities of research and commitment to bettering the world.

The Class of 1987 is one of the Co-Organizers of the benefit concert, so I hope that members of our class will consider attending and supporting the Annie Le Fellowship.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A West Coast Odyssey -- a note from Edward Schwartz


Here is a little story that I think will be of particular interest to my Trumbullian brethren (and sisters).

A West Coast Odyssey

Over school vacation week, I took a trip to San Diego with my family. My daughter and I were in Balboa Park, strolling through the sculpture garden next to the San Diego Museum of Art. Suddenly, my heart skipped a beat and I felt a familiar lump in my throat -- and a mild wave of nausea. Could it be? Was it possible?

I gingerly followed the stone walkway up to the beast... but not too close. "Breathe," I commanded myself. "It won't bite. After all, it's only... 'art'." I twirled the word around in my brain. "Yeah, right." Before me was a jumbled mass of giant iron disks, painted bright orange, and welded together at obscene angles -- obviously the work of a madman." I steadied my nerves and leaned in to read what I already knew would be printed on the brass plaque beneath.

"Odyssey, 1973. Tony Rosenthal."


"What's wrong, Daddy?" The voice brought me back into the hear-and-now. My daughter was leaning over my prostate form. I uncoiled from the fetal position and assured her that I would be OK. Eventually. "It's this statue," I tried to explain. "It is pretty ugly," my daughter observed astutely, "but it's not that bad."

"That's because you didn't have to stare at its evil twin for four long years."

At this point, Trumbullians reading this are all reaching for their antacid of choice. They understand in a visceral way the source of my revulsion. For our entire Yale careers, the Trumbull courtyard was dominated by the hideous grinning visage of "Odyssey II." It was a running joke, "Gee, I'd hate to see Odyssey I!" In drunken stupors, my friends and I would design elaborate schemes for upending the monstrosity and rolling it out the front gate, down Elm Street, and into the bowels of greater New Haven. Others dreamed to dismantling it or spray-painting it psychedelic colors in the middle of the night.

We were all, however, united in one thing. Our opinion that Odyssey II was just about the worst piece of art we had ever seen.

More than 20 years later, I had just about sanded the image of that piece of junk off my retinas when I came face-to-face with it's older brother. Let me just say that there is nothing about Odyssey to suggest that a sequel was a good idea.

So that I don't have to go through this trauma alone, I include a photograph below for the "benefit" of my fellow Trumbullians. I guess a Yale education really does stay with you forever...

All of it.

Next year, I think we'll vacation in Arizona.

Edward Schwartz
Trumbull '87