Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Hollywood Ten: Silver Screen Blacklisting during the Red Scare

I'm thrilled to be teaching The Hollywood Ten: American Blacklisting

We'll examine the case of the infamous "Hollywood Ten" - a group of gifted film writers and directors who lost their jobs and were denied employment for many years because of their political beliefs or associations, real or suspected. This course focuses on the silver screen as blacklisting moved on to Hollywood, discussing how the 1950s McCarthy era “Red Scare” impacted the whole country. Mature Learning classes are for people age 55 and older.

$50.00 5 classes W 1/11/2012 - 2/8/2012 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
CTC 337

Friday, October 28, 2011

Morality and the Internet Begins on Wednesday, November 2

The class is a look at Morality and the Internet. Initially, I'd thought to focus on cases like the Anthony Weiner scandal, a politician who posted pictures of himself in his underpants. But there are so many issues related to the internet beyond that. And they affect regular people like you and me, not just celebrities and political leaders. The internet affects children and young adults who may do foolish or even dangerous things. We'll hear from school administrators and police as well as others to look at issues that are very relevant to our lives, and discuss the moral implications of behaviours related to use of the internet.

The class is out at Columbia Tech Center on the east side.

Click on the title to go to the registration website at Clark College.
People have behaved promiscuously since the dawn of time. But the internet poses all sorts of new opportunities. This course will evaluate the special challenges to being “well behaved” that arise from our new access to worldwide communication and digital media, especially in light of recent scandals. We'll hear from a variety of speakers and engage in lively discussion. No class 11/23.
#9416 FMLS 050 J0 11/2-12/7 Wed 1:30 - 3:30P
$50.00 CTC 337 H .Forrest

Monday, April 25, 2011

Second Amendment: Local Law Enforcement Perspective and Challenges

Our speaker today was Commander Michael McCabe.

Commander McCabe has experience working in both the jail system and within the patrol division. He is the Clark County Sheriff’s Office community outreach sergeant for S.A.L.T., a cooperative effort of the Clark County Sheriff's Office, Camas Police Department and Senior Citizens of East Clark County. Seniors and Law Enforcement Together (S.A.L.T.) program in Clark County, strives to improve senior crime prevention and education. An Arizona native and a former employee of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Phoenix, Arizona, Sargeant McCabe moved his family to Vancouver and joined the Clark County Sheriff’s Office in 1994.

We viewed these clips, among others.

This piece by KATU highlights the open carry controversy in Vancouver:


Should guns be allowed in public parks? Clark County Commissioners make policy:


This piece by KATU discusses the recent tragedy involving the death of an officer's child in Battle Ground, with references to the 2003 fatal shooting by another officer's child of the child's sibling. It includes a statement by Sheriff Gary Lucas:


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Second Amendment: Do Guns Belong in Kindergarten?

Parents and children react with fear and shock to the shooting in Houston

In today's news:

Police look at how Houston kindergartner got gun

(click on title to open full article)

Houston police are trying to determine how a kindergartner got a loaded gun that he brought to an elementary.

I tried to find something on the NRA website in response to the shooting. A quick search of Houston school yielded this 2008 article about Texas Governor Perry and his view that - well let me just share the beginning quote:

Gov. Rick Perry said Monday that local school districts should be able to decide whether to allow concealed weapons on their campuses.

"I'm pretty much a fan that if you've been trained, if you are registered, then you ought to be able to carry a weapon," Perry said.

He's talking about adults, of course. Presumably he doesn't support kindergarteners bringing guns to school.

I couldn't readily find a statement by Perry to the recent shooting, though.

Read more here:


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Second Amendment: NRA in the last Presidential Election

I found an interesting site created by the NRA related to Barack Obama's presidential race. Take a look and share your comments.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Second Amendment: Mama Politico Goes to the Gun Show

Wide selection to fit all budgets!

One of my favorite political bloggers, Mama Politico, recently shared an experience she had when she and some friends ventured forth into a gun show.

You can read the details by clicking here. Feel free to comment on her site, but I'd love to have your comments here as well.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Second Amendment: CDC

I call this one the
Curious Case of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Can you guess why?

Check out this link
and try to figure out what's missing on this page.

Hint: The writer uses different nouns to name various causes of violent deaths and injury (e.g. motor vehicle crashes, drug overdoses) but there is no mention of a word that begins with g and ends with n.

A search of the term "gun" on that site yields a whole bunch of hits for nail guns, BB guns, tattoo guns.....but recent pieces about, you know....GUNS are a little tough to find. I wondered why that was so I've contacted them to learn more.

Will let you know what I find out.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Second Amendment: Politics of the Matter

Hillary Clinton's campaign attacked Barack Obama when she was running against him for the Democratic nomination. Here's a look at the piece they mailed out. Double click on the image to enlarge.


There were ads from the Republican National Committee against Obama regarding his stance on Second Amendment rights. You can view one by clicking here.

Obama talked about the issues during the campaign. Here's an excerpt from one of his speeches:

When he was elected, there was an upswing in gun sales because of fear that he would restrict gun sales. Click here for some stories about this.

Steve Chapman, a columnist and editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune, analyzes some of the recent politics of the Second Amendment in a piece from February 2010, Obama Spurns Gun Control: Why the anti-gun lobby is disappointed with Obama's first year

A guest writer at Floyd Reports claimed the President is waiting for an opportunity to take action against the Second Amendment in a piece published online at the end of last month, Obama's Gun Grab? It's a Matter of Time.

Now read Obama's own thoughts on the subject as President, in an opinion editorial he wrote published in the Arizona Daily Star in mid March: We Must Seek Agreement on Gun Reforms

Please comment on any of the pieces in this post.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Second Amendment: Brady Foundation Skype Session

This Monday, we'll be talking with Dennis Henigan, Vice President of the Brady Center and author of Lethal Logic: Exploding the Myths that Paralyze American Gun Policy. Take a moment to review some of this material and prepare questions for him.

Brady Center website

Lethal Logic by Dennis Henigan

Gun Show Video:

Dennis A. Henigan is the Vice President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Founder of its Legal Action Project. He is the author of Lethal Logic: Exploding the Myths that Paralyze American Gun Policy (Potomac Books 2009).

For twenty years, he has been a leading advocate for stronger gun laws, appearing dozens of times on national television and radio shows, including 60 Minutes, The Today Show, Nightline, Larry King Live and Dateline. He also has written and spoken extensively on liability and constitutional issues relating to gun laws and gun violence, including testifying before several Congressional Committees.

Under his direction, Brady Center lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in damages for gun violence victims, as well as winning precedent-setting decisions on the liability of gun sellers. In 2004, he was named one of the top ten “Lawyers of the Year” by Lawyers’ Weekly magazine. His work as a public interest lawyer has been profiled in The New Yorker.

Henigan received his B.A. from Oberlin College in 1973 and his law degree in 1977 from the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to joining the Brady Center in 1989, he was a partner in the law firm of Foley & Lardner.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Second Amendment: Legal Community Against Violence

LCAV's Work on Second Amendment Issues

As the nation's only organization devoted exclusively to providing legal assistance in support of gun violence prevention, LCAV is actively involved in supporting state and local governments' defense of Second Amendment litigation, educating courts, governments, and the public about the meaning of the Second Amendment, and developing common sense gun violence prevention legislation that complies with the Heller decision.

You can read more by clicking here.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Second Amendment: Conservative Satirist PJ O'Rourke

Here is a link
to a lengthy discussion by Satirist PJ O'Rourke about a variety of American politics issues. He's speaking to the National Press Club of Australia. You can go directly to the 3 minute piece about Gun Control by scrolling down the menu to part 12 and click on that to play it in the video window.

Do you agree or disagree with what he says? Take a minute and post your reactions in the comments section.

You might want to spend some time checking out some of the other videos at the site, FORA.tv - I found a number of intriguing pieces on there.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Second Amendment: Various Viewpoints and Interpretations

There are a number of different websites put together by individuals who support the right to bear arms. It's often difficult to figure out who the actual writer is, and whether their facts are correct.

Still, I thought it would be valuable to share some of these with you to give a sense of what people believe.


The Second Amendment Under Fire: The Uses of History and the Politics of Gun Control by Saul Cornell, Associate Professor, Department of History, The Ohio State University

Cornell explores A Well-Regulated Militia on C-SPAN

The Embarrassing Second Amendment by Sanford Levinson, University of Texas at Austin School of Law

After Tucson Shootings, NRA Again Shows Its Strength by NPR Staff
- this includes an interview with Robert Spitzer, political science professor at SUNY Cortland, who has authored 13 books and hundreds of articles on American government and the Second Amendment.

Professor Cass Sunstein, University of Chicago Law School, explores the Second Amendment

Second Amendment: Library of Congress

One of my favorite places in Washington, DC is the Library of Congress. Since we can't easily travel there, let's take a peek at what they have online:

Primary Documents in American History

Here are just a couple of the items they have to share:

The James Madison Papers

The James Madison Papers consists of approximately 12,000 items that document the life of the man who came to be known as the “Father of the Constitution.” Includes an essay on Madison's role in the Constitutional Convention. Also contains Madison's original notes on debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, Part 1 and Part 2, as well as John C. Payne's copy of Madison's original notes.

Search this collection to locate additional documents related to the Constitution.

The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress

Thomas Jefferson received a copy of the Constitution in November, 1787, while living in France. Beginning on the second page of a letter to James Madison dated December 20, 1787, Jefferson expressed his opinions on the new Constitution, including his belief that a Bill of Rights was needed. This collection also contains Alexander Hamilton's proposals from the Constitutional Convention and Jefferson's notes on the Constitution from 1788.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Race and Religion in Revolutionary America: More on Williamsburg's African American Programs

James Ingram portrays Gowan Pamphlet

One of you had raised a question about Gowan Pamphlet, the freed slave who became a Baptist minister in Virginia. You wondered if he himself had owned slaves, since he was a landowner. I contacted our speaker, Harvey Bakari, who said there is no evidence that Gowan owned any slaves. You can learn more about Gowan by clicking here.

There's a great article about visitors' reactions to the African American experience programs in Williamsburg in the Washington Post. You can read it by clicking here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Race and Religion in Revolutionary America: Williamsburg's African American Programs

James Hogan, as a 1775 parson

I'm excited that we'll be joined by two different reenactors in our final class!

I've already shared some information about James Hogan, who portrays a 1775 parson at the Minuteman National Park in Concord, Massachusetts.

Here's a look at the people involved in the African American program at Williamsburg. Harvey Bakari will definitely be joining us. He may be joined by some other interpreters as well.

Click here to go to the video:


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Race and Religion in Revolutionary America: Whitewashing The Patriot

Whilst researching popular culture films dealing with the issue of slavery during the Revolutionary War, I considered showing a clip from the film The Patriot.

What I learned surprised me even though I know that Hollywood takes a great deal of dramatic license.

Check out this article for details:

Spike Lee Slams Patriot

Here's another:

The Patriot: More Flag-Waving Rot with Mel Gibson

What do you think about this? Comment below!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Race and Religion in Revolutionary America: What's in a Name? Washington

Double click on picture to read the caption.

Wondering what our first President thought and did about slavery?
Here's an interesting piece with some details:

Washington: the 'blackest name' in America

Monday, March 14, 2011

Race and Religion in Revolutionary America: Music and other Clips from 3/14

Our intended guest who will join us next week instead:
where he's from:

These are the pieces we will examine in class today:

1776 - I played the DVD, but you can see excerpts at
youtube.com such as



Randy Newman's Sail Away



Orchestra New England performs a stirring rendition of Chester, the first American national anthem. William Billings first wrote this in 1770.




Field trip to the Library of Congress: (click on images to enlarge)

Religion and the Founding


African American Sites in the Digital Collection


Colonial Williamsburg African American Experience Program


Interactive Role playing Game:


Video link:


Slave Work Songs: Electronic Field Trip


Reenactors consider our topic:



HBO’s John Adams – Slaves Building the White House 3:28


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wall of Separation: Americans United for Separation of Church and State

While many people think of ACLU when identifying organizations that deal with religious freedoms, there's an organization entirely devoted to the separation of church and state.

Here's a peek at some of the issues they work on. We'll hear from members of the organization on January 31.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wall of Separation: Library of Congress exhibit

The Library of Congress website has some great online exhibits on a wide variety of subjects.

Here's a link to the exhibit on Religion and the Founding of the American Republic. It provides a glimpse at the original documents written by Franklin, Madison and Washington, among others.

Click here for a look at it! http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel06.html

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wall of Separation: Netroots Nation Discusses the Concept of the Wall

This one could take you a while to get through. It's a panel discussion by a wide diversity of discussants

Bruce Ledewitz, Professor of Law at Duquesne University School of Law, led a panel debating a proposal concerning the future of the separation of church and state in America. The proposal was entitled, A New Progressive Vision for Church and State: How I Learned to Accept "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and Stop Losing Elections. The substance of the proposal was set forth as follows:

"The old liberal vision of a total separation of religion from politics has been discredited. Despite growing secularization, a secular progressive majority is still impossible, and a new two-part approach is needed--one that first admits that there is no political wall of separation. Voters must be allowed, without criticism, to propose policies based on religious belief. But, when government speaks and acts, messages must be universal. The burden is on religious believers, therefore, to explain public references like 'under God' in universal terms. For example, the word 'God' can refer to the ceaseless creativity of the universe and the objective validity of human rights. Promoting and accepting religious images as universal will help heal culture-war divisions and promote the formation of a broad-based progressive coalition."

There's a link to an article and a one hour and 22 minute video clip at

Netroots Nation Discusses the Concept of Separation of Church and State

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wall of Separation: Thomas Jefferson and Texas

Graphic from http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=163505.0

Poor Thomas Jefferson. Texas has decided he isn't worthy to be on a list of Enlightenment thinkers in their new syllabus. And they have some things to say about the separation of church and state, too.

Check out the report here:

Texas Schools To Get Controversial Syllabus

Here are a few commentaries about the story:

Texas School Syllabus is Political Indoctrination?

Religious RightWatch

Here's a forum discussion of the situation:

Thomas Jefferson to be Removed from School Textbooks in Texas

What do you think? Comment!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wall of Separation: History Lesson

Click this link (lavender title bar) for an interesting essay by Christine Leigh
Heyrman of the Department of History, University of Delaware as part of a series
by the National Humanities Center:

The Separation of Church and State from the American Revolution to the Early Republic

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wall of Separation: ACLU on Religion Issues

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is one of the organizations that comes to mind immediately when one is talking about First Amendment issues.

Here's a link to their Washington state chapter webpage on Religious Issues:

Take a minute to browse it and share your thoughts in the comments here. Do you think the work of the organization serves a useful purpose? Why/why not?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wall of Separation: Freedom From Religion Foundation

I've discovered a number of different organizations who are active in separation of church and state issues.

One such organization is FFRF, Freedom From Religion Foundation. I learned about them from this post at The Colorado Independent:

Just try it — ‘Imagine No Religion’

That led me to google "imagine no religion billboard." The search yielded over 69,500 hits. The group has purchased numerous billboard ads over the years throughout the country.

What is your reaction to the billboard?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Wall of Separation: The Case of the "Righteous" California DMV Clerk

Plenty of people complain about their experience at the Department of Motor Vehicles, but here's a tale of a clerk who went out of his way to make it extra hellish for one citizen.

Read the article here:


and then comment below if you'd like. Personally, I am sort of speechless.

Here's one blogger's comments on the situation: http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/18208/transphobia-as-an-apparent-government-function

Monday, January 3, 2011

Lecture One Clips: Varying Viewpoints on Separation of Church and State



What does separation of church and state mean to you?

Why did you take this course?

Let’s hear from some others, and discuss what they have to say:



Palin and Biden


President Obama


Hillary Clinton


Colorado US Sen. Candidate Ken Buck


Delaware's US Sen. Candidate Christine O’Donnell (showed up to 1:12 of 2:37 clip)


Rush Limbaugh defends O’Donnell 1:44


Bill Maher on O’Donnell and church/state (showed up to 2:20)


Chuck Norris on getting Bible taught in public schools


Separation of Church and Politics:

West Wing – Alan Alda and Martin Sheen – campaigning & churchgoing


Huckabee on Amending Constitution to God's Standards


– art imitates life –

Using Religious Grounds and/or Bible references to justify Positions on Issues/Policies:

West Wing Martin Sheen


O'Reilly on Washington state Christmas displays


Colbert Displaying Ten Commandments 5:37


Viewer Comment: Haha, anyone notice the point at the very end? Colbert goes, "Thank you for taking time away from keeping the Sabbath holy to talk to me." Priceless!

The Wall of Separation: First Amendment Says What?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abriding the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."