Monday, April 29, 2013

What's a SWUG?

What do you think?

Below is a an article from New York Magazine .  

Click here for a response found in Slate.

Meet the SWUGs of Yale: Women ‘Washed Up’ at 21

  • 4/10/13 at 10:51 AM
  • 135

They call it a “dayger” (a daytime rager) and the one at Yale’s Sigma Nu last weekend was huge. Every surface of the frat house seemed coated with a sticky layer of spilled drinks and grime. Young Yale men, many wearing ties and jackets, others wearing much less, stumbled up stairs, gripping plastic jugs of generic booze. True to their fraternal creed, “To believe in the life of love,” the brothers of Sigma Nu were graciously hosting scores of female classmates.
Yale senior Raisa Bruner was not one of said women in attendance, because she’s kind of tired of the free-wheeling frat hookup culture that’s so compelling to younger students. The guys know this about women her age, she says, and so they don’t generally hit on senior girls. If she went to Sigma Nu, she’d watch her male classmates focus on that infinitely more fun classmate, the female freshman. 
Bruner is a self-identified SWUG — a senior washed up girl. As she explained in a recent feature in the Yale Daily News, to be a SWUG is to embrace “the slow, wine-filled decline of female sexual empowerment as we live out our college glory days. Welcome to the world of the ladies who have given up on boys because they don’t so much empower as frustrate, satisfy as agitate.”
She and her fellow SWUGs are women who don’t bother dressing up for class, or even for fancy parties (though they might still attend them), don’t seek out meaningful (or even just sexual) relationships, spend weekends at their shared homes drinking in the company of other self-identified SWUGs, and feel utter apathy about their personal lives — all at the age of 21. “Whatever empowerment we’re supposed to be deriving from this version of the feminist moment is looking pretty thin on the ground,” she explains.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mike Wishnie highlights court victory

Here is a piece about a recent court case.  Mike Wishnie served as lead counsel:

Veterans Department Agrees to Release Previously-Withheld Records on Military Rape and Sexual Assault

Agreement Reached in Freedom of Information Act Lawsuits

NEW HAVEN, Conn. April 25, 2013 – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) agreed yesterday to release previously-withheld records documenting its treatment of disability compensation claims filed by veterans who experienced sexual violence in the military, often referred to as military sexual trauma (MST).

The agreement partially settles two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits filed against the VA by the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN), the American Civil Liberties Union, and the ACLU of Connecticut. It does not resolve the FOIA claims filed by the plaintiffs against the U.S. Department of Defense in the same cases.

"We're pleased that the VA has decided to comply with our request and provide critical information to the public," said Anu Bhagwati, executive director of Service Women's Action Network and former Marine Corps Captain. "This information will increase our ability to obtain equal treatment for survivors in the VA claims process. Veterans who have been sexually assaulted and sexually harassed in the military deserve access to a fair system of assessment and compensation by the VA for the trauma they have endured – they don't deserve a second betrayal. We look forward to analyzing the information we receive and making it available to inform public policy."

Last year, a federal judge ruled that the government did not adequately respond to the initial lawsuit and that it had improperly denied a public interest fee waiver to the plaintiffs. In yesterday's settlement, the VA agreed to release records regarding claims filed, approved, rejected, or remanded in relation to MST and requests for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or anxiety that stemmed from MST. The records will be released without charge to the plaintiffs.

"Records released earlier in this litigation revealed that the VA disproportionately denies MST-related disability claims," said Professor Michael Wishnie, co-director of the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School, which served as lead counsel in the cases. "We hope the new release will finally allow the public to understand why the VA discriminates against MST survivors – and how best to ensure equal treatment for all injured veterans."

Tens of thousands of service members each year are estimated to have experienced some form of sexual violence. These acts occur at higher rates within military ranks than within civilian society.

"We know that veterans who are disabled due to military sexual assault experience high hurdles when applying for benefits," said Sandra Park, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Women's Rights Project and co-counsel in the cases. "The government has done the right thing in agreeing to disclose detailed information that will reveal the extent of this devastating issue and help guide reforms of the VA's practices."

The groups sought the release of the records to better understand the prevalence of sexual violence within the military, and the government's policies and response to such violence.

"This settlement will benefit those who have suffered after putting their lives on the line for our country," said Andrew Schneider, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut. "These records will help us understand more clearly the extent of the abuse and how many service members are receiving the treatment and assistance they need in its wake."

More information on this case can be found at:

Meet Morgan Grove . . .

The US Forestry Service does a profile of its people every now and again.  Recently, they profiled our very own Morgan Grove.  Here's what they wrote:

Morgan Grove
Meet Morgan Grove.
Morgan Grove is an avid cyclist. He can simply describe his job in 30 seconds.  He can easily make the connection between economic and socio-environmental factors that influence urban living. He is all these things because of his love of the great outdoors and because he’s observed, learned and shared a lot of his scientific expertise during his 17 years with the Forest Service as a research scientist at the Northern Research Station’s field office in Baltimore.
Where do you bike, and why is it so important to you?
Indeed. I love mountain biking, road cycling, and time trialing…it’s all good. I’ve always loved biking ever since being a kid. I grew up in a small town and the only way to get anywhere was by bike. I watched “Wide World of Sports” and dreamt along with the Tour de France riders of being outdoors in the mountains. I love to be outdoors. I love the freedom. I love the speed.

When I worked in Vermont at the George D. Aiken Forestry Sciences Laboratory, my commute was eight minutes along a ridge. To my left, I saw all of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. To my right, I’d see the Green Mountains and Mount Mansfield, the tallest mountain in Vermont. I was in heaven as I biked through the entire state. Here, in the Baltimore-D.C. area, I bike the Capital Crescent Trail in the D.C. area and Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah National Park and use the bike trails through the Pisgah National Forest.

Have you participated in any races? What do you expect from them?
I have a 100-mile road race coming up in May called the “Mountains of Misery” near Blacksburg, Va., in the Jefferson part of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. The last four miles travel up a 12- to 16-percent grade. A friend of mine told me, “an educated person would not sign up for a race that begins with misery in it.” But, for me, it’s “game on!” 

If you had 30 seconds to brief your top managers, how would you describe your job?
I work to make cities better and safer places for people to live. Our Forest Service research benefits the public in many ways including having clean water to drink, safer living environments and recreating outside for healthier lives.

The latest from John Kessen

Here's a note I received from John Kessen (I added the picture):

If any of this news is fit to print….

My restaurant Hungry Mother just turned 5 in March! Its a real milestone. We continue to be busy every night and continue with great reviews. We are all going down to NYC next week for the James Beard Awards. Barry, chef and one of my partners, has been named to the finals of the Best Chef Northeast category. We will find out at the dinner on May 6th! And we are also working on a second place - not a cookie cutter version - but something related. Hopefully some specifics in the next month...

I continue to play the French Horn, regularly with the New England Philharmonic, where I am stage manager and sit on the I'm grateful to have a regular outlet for music.

And I am doing a 100 mile bike ride for Best Buddies on June 1st. Its a great cause. If its ok to post donation requests: BestBuddiesChallenge is a link to our page - Team Forte. I did a Tough Mudder last year! I think 100 miles on a bike will be smoother than the 12 miles of ice, height, mud, and electricity!

Hope all is well.

John Kessen

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Huffington Post Piece About the Yale Alumni Service Corps

From the Huffington Post:

Constance Spencer


Searching for Significance as an Empty Nester

Posted: 04/25/2013 6:15 pm

Statistics say that the baby boomers make up about 76 million people in the U.S. These statistics also indicate that boomers are not satisfied with many aspects of what is happening in this country and I can agree with that. They worry about the GDP, Medicare, Social Security and individually having too much debt without a high enough quality of life. I can relate to that as well, but more pressing to me is the core issue of what to do with our lives after our children leave home and/or we retire.
Over the next few decades there will be a lot of people out there trying to find fulfillment and satisfaction in this phase of their lives and I will be one of them. I am in the middle of the boomers age range of 49 to 67 and I have contemplated these issues as I watch friends flounder with their extra time, lack of direction and need to feel useful. But I have found a solution that may inspire others and help this country as well, and I stumbled upon it through my alma mater.
I am not the kind of person to go to class reunions or even give a school my current address for fear that they will hound me for money, but after moving to a sleepy town in South Carolina from the vibrant city of Toronto, I was looking for some intellectual stimulation. So after 25 years of silence, I gave my email address to Yale, where I had done my Master's in Architecture, in order to see what alumni opportunities they offered, and it altered my life.
My first email from the AYA was an invitation to join the newly formed Yale Alumni Service Corps (YASC) for a program near the western border of the Dominican Republic to help build houses, teach children and set up a medical clinic for an impoverished village. The local people would be inviting us into their homes and they would work beside us to improve their community. This was exactly what I was looking for!

Claire Messud's new book

From NPR

'Woman Upstairs': 

Friendly On The Outside, 

Furious On The Inside

Claire Messud's cosmopolitan sensibilities infuse her fiction with a refreshing cultural fluidity. Her first novel, When the World Was Steady (1995), followed two midlife sisters in search of new beginnings, one in Bali and the other on the Isle of Skye. In her second novel, The Last Life(1999), a teenager reacting to a family crisis pondered her father's origins in Algeria and southern France, and her mother's New England roots. The Emperor's Children (2006) captured the ambiance among a group of Manhattan's privileged set in the months leading up to and right after the Sept. 11 attacks. Her fourth novel is a departure of sorts, focusing on the point of view of a relative outsider bedazzled by a worldly couple visiting Harvard.

New Book by Joanne Lessner

Joanne Lessner is coming out with a new book, "Bad Publicity."  Here is a blurb:

In the world of PR, there’s only one crime worse than killing a deal—killing a client.

Aspiring actress and office temp Isobel Spice finds a warm welcome at Dove & Flight Public Relations, thanks to her old school friend Katrina Campbell. However, the atmosphere chills considerably when Isobel unwittingly serves an important client a deadly dose of poisoned coffee. Her stalwart temp agent, James Cooke, rushes to her aid, but balks when he learns that the victim was the fraternity brother who got him expelled from college. News that Dove & Flight is being acquired by an international conglomerate quickly supplants the murder as the hot topic of office gossip, but Isobel is convinced the two events are related. When all roads of inquiry lead back to Katrina, Isobel is forced to consider the possibility that her friend’s killer instincts go beyond public relations.

Click here for Joanne's Website.

YaleWomen Conference Unite Alumnae -- from Yale Daily News

Here is a piece from the Yale Daily News:

YaleWomen conference unites alumnae

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor LAW ’79 told a ballroom packed with around 425 women about her grueling work ethic, the importance of not being limited by personal circumstance and even her occasional feelings of inadequacy despite her successes.
Attendees of the YaleWomen Conference titled “Vision, Values, Voice: Women Changing a Changing World” spent Friday and Saturday attending panels made up of Yale alumnae, faculty and World Fellows, designed to bring female Yale graduates together. After convening in Washington, D.C., on Friday night, the attendees woke up on Saturday morning for a conversation between keynote speaker Sotomayor and Margaret Warner ’71, a senior correspondent for the “PBS NewsHour.”
“It really resonated with the women in the audience, which is fascinating,” said panelist Joanne Lipman ’83, a journalist. “You’re in a room of hundreds of incredibly accomplished women, and they’re all nodding along with the Supreme Court justice about these feelings of insecurity she had.”

The Boston Bombing

As the news from the Boston bombing comes out, we learn that a number of classmates were touched directly by the incident.  Two classmates, Jordan Warshaw and Janet Wu, were there.  Jordan was 400 yards away from finishing the marathon as a runner when the bombs exploded.  Janet was covering the marathon for Boston's Channel 7 and saw the second explosion.  Neither Janet nor Jordan were hurt.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Classmate Stephen Epstein is a physician in Boston at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  He was on duty the day of the bombing and treated some of the victims.  

In the wake of the bombing, another classmate has been in the press a great deal discussing the alleged bomber.  (Here is another.)  Tamar Birkhead is a University of North Carolina law professor and a former public defender known for representing Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber" from 2002.

Our thoughts are with the victims of the bombings.  We hope that they, along with everyone in Boston, heal quickly.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Check out John Barker's latest mobile app

John Barker has a terrific ad agency called Barker DZP.  Barker DZP is up for a major award at the Webby Awards for one of its  mobile apps for The People’s Choice Awards.  It has been nominated as one of the top 5 entertainment apps in the world. 

Please check it out by cliking here:   Let's all vote for Jon's app and help him make it to #1!

News about Claire Messud

Here's an article from about our classmate, Claire Messud:

At Home With Claire Messud and James Wood, the First Couple of American Fiction

“Don’t make me hit you, sir,” Claire Messud says, as a jaywalker crosses in front of her 10-year-old Passat. Driving to her house not far from Harvard Square, the novelist is narrating an impromptu tour of mansion-lined Brattle Street, academia’s answer to Mulholland Drive. “I think I’m right that that street is where Yo-Yo Ma lives,” she says, tapping her window. “And Stephen Greenblatt lives along here. And Marjorie Garber. I actually haven’t read her work,” she whispers, as if the literary theorist might overhear her. “I know her by reputation only.”
In the seven years since Messud, now 46, published her fourth book and first best seller, The Emperor’s Children, her hair has gone … not gray, exactly. More like pewter, which matches a silver pendant and silver-striped shirt. A compelling and well-­mannered guide, she seems perfectly at home in this affluent town, but she isn’t—not quite. This will turn out, over the next several hours—dinner prepared by her husband, the New Yorker book critic James Wood—to be a general condition, one that may help explain why she decided to introduce Nora, the lonely protagonist of her new novel, The Woman Upstairs,with a passage that begins, “I’m a good girl, I’m a nice girl,” and ends with “FUCK YOU ALL.”
The bright interior of Messud’s cozy Victorian house is a quiet riot of children, pets, and bric-a-brac. A brass Buddha and a baby grand piano crowd the shelf-filled front room, accented with vivid Marimekko-style curtains. Livia, 11, and Lucian, 9, both shake my hand confidently. The dogs are less socialized: Bear, a one-eyed terrier mix who keeps bumping into my leg, and Myshkin, a 14-year-old female dachshund who is deaf but decidedly not mute.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Yale wins National Ice Hockey Title!


(Photo by John Hassett)
The members of the Yale men’s hockey team are bringing back the NCAA tournament trophy after their decisive 4-0 win over Quinnipiac on April 13 in Pittsburgh.
The Bulldogs end the season 22-12-3.
Share photos from viewing parties and celebrations around the world with
Yale Athetics invites the community to celebrate the 2012-2013 NCAA champions on Monday, April 15 at Ingalls Rink. Doors open at 4 p.m. and the celebration will begin at 5 p.m.
(Photo by John Hassett)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Yale Day of Service -- May 11

Saturday, May 11th, 2013:  You are invited to join other Yale alumni and their  families and friends to give one day to make a difference in your community.
Feed the hungry...tutor children...restore a to the a Habitat home...and so much more.
What do YOU want to do?
Last year, over 3,500 Yale alumni and friends came together to work side-by-side in service all over the world. At more than 245 sites in 42 states and 20 countries, members of the Yale community embodied the University's great tradition of service in giving back. Local communities were changed by the Yale alumni who live and work there.
The tradition of service is rooted in Yale’s past… but perhaps it is more relevant today than ever. There are few traditions as important to Yale alumni as service to others. We know you want to give back, not only to Yale, but also to your community.
So take a look at the many service sites available on this website and register for the one that is of greatest interest to you.And, if there is not a site in your area, or if you have an idea for another site, go to the Toolbox page or contact the Regional Director for your area to see how you can make one happen.

We hope you will be a part of this important and meaningful program. Join other members of the Yale community who come together to celebrate the many ways that Yale alumni give back!