Big Blue Orb Letters:

Holocaust Parallel | To: Ann Landers
1996 Election No Mandate for Clinton | Cronkite for President
Is Cronkite Qualified to be President?
to FDA: Aspartame and Libertarianism
Is Tax Theft? | How to be a Reading Tutor

Holocaust Parallel

John Champagne
6150 Border Trail
San Antonio, TX  78240

August 10, 1996

Walter Cronkite
CBS News
524 West 57th St.
New York, NY  10019

Mr. Cronkite, 

I found your Discovery Special on the Holocaust at the library. 
Does it bother you at all that the same kinds of actions taken
against human beings as part of a diabolical plan are performed
against non-human animals every day as a commonplace?  Or, are
you indifferent to the sufferings of the millions of cows, pigs,
chickens, turkeys and other victims of the modern animal
agriculture industry.  I have not heard you speak out against
concentration camps and slaughter when the victims are members of
other species.  Can we really hope to achieve a state of mind
among members of society which will make repeats of the holocaust
impossible if our daily experience suggests that oppression of
others is ok, as long as we perceive them as sufficiently
different from ourselves?


John Champagne

Cronkite's assistant, Tara Mattson, responds

To Ann Landers
John Champagne Landers wrote her response here: 6150 Border Trail San Antonio, Tx 78240 Dear John: Walter Cronkite and his wife have been friends June 7, 1996 of mine for 25 years. He has no interest in running Ann Landers for public office or c/o Chicago Tribune serving in that capacity. 435 N. Michigan Avenue Chicago, Il 60611 Sincerely, Ann Landers Dear Ann, You wondered aloud, along with Oprah Winfry, why Walter Cronkite never ran for President. I want to share with you and your readers his explanation of why he does not stand and promote himself: Cronkite thinks that someone who has made his name as a television journalist ought not use that as a platform to run for office. Then, anything any journalist says would be suspect: We would wonder are they reporting the news, or just saying what they think will help them build a platform for some future campaign. Cronkite does not want to see that happen, so he does not run. [Scholastic UPDATE, March, 1984] But a couple years after explaining this, he put out a survey: "Besides those who appear to be running, who do you think might make a good president?" We could take a hint: He can't run, but there are other ways to go about it. We could look for who we WANT to vote for. He would do it if we ask him. (Let's let the Electors know!) The ball is in our court, so to speak. As well it should be in a democratic society. John Champagne -- Hopeful in San Antonio _________ Walter Cronkite for President! | Franklin Thomas for President! '96 Election no mandate for Clinton
Date: Sat, 7 Dec 1996 From: "John C. Champagne" Posted to Newsgroups Subject: Past Election No Mandate for Clinton We had an election where less than half of the people went to vote, and of those who did vote, less than half voted for Clinton, and of those who did vote for Clinton, more than half, (according to surveys), do not trust him, and did not particularly want him, but for the fact that they did not see much else to choose from. This current state of affairs, where citizens do not feel that elections are worth their involvement, and people who do vote feel that they must choose the 'lessor of evils', is a dangerous state of affairs for a democracy. There is a very low level of confidence in our public institutions and elected officials. What is the responsibility of the Electors to the Presdent in this situation? Can they help to restore a sense of integrity and credibility to our government institutions and the White House by finding a candidate who most people could agree on and actively support? Do the Electors have any responsibility at all, other than to blindly follow a tradition of ratifying the vote of a plurality of voters in their state, no matter what? I think that a computer program could more efficiently perform that function. But *perhaps* our Electoral College can perceive when an election lacks validity due to the pervading sense that the choices presented leave much to be desired, corporate money and personal ambition strongly influence who the nominees were, 'write-in' and 'none of the above' votes are not counted, etc... Perhaps our Electoral College will prove its worth. Many people are quite dissatisfied with the results of our political system. The candidates for public office do not seem to represent the very best that this country has to offer. An opportunity to choose among unappealing alternatives is a corruption of the idea of 'choice', and will not long remain a cherished freedom. So, if you could ask anyone to be your next president, (and in a free society, we should all be free to ask who we WANT, and have our voice heard), who would you choose? Think about it. Talk about it. Pass on the question. We could do better. (Of course, the Electors ARE free to ask who they want, and have their vote counted.) Part of our problem may be the highly partisan nature of the selection process. We may want to look for someone who we trust, respect and admire, AND who many other people also trust, respect and admire. John Champagne ______ The question 'who do you think might make a good president, aside from those who appear to be running' is taken from a survey put out by Walter Cronkite. We could take a hint: He, too, likes the idea of opening up the selection process a bit, 'to inject some new blood . . .', and would probably do it if we ask. (Not only has Cronkite not given a flat 'No' in response to the question of whether he might be president, he has actually said, "Notice you didn't get a flat, 'No'". We could take a hint.) Walter Cronkite for President! Franklin Thomas for President! The best we've got?
From: "John C. Champagne" Subject: The best we've got? Re: No more meat in schools To: Multiple recipients of list EARTHSAVE On Tue, 7 May 1996, Gina McDade wrote: > . . . As for Clinton, this is a mistake, but he's the best we've got for > '96 IMO. What kind of free society is it that considers choosing amongst alternatives that we really do not want to be an exercise in freedom? If we are going to change the world as much as seems necessary in the next generation or two, we will need to greatly expand our sense of possibilities. A change in our ideas about what is possible could mean that we begin looking for people who we WANT to vote for, and not rely so heavily on a person's ambition and advertizing budget when deciding whether to support that person's election to office. When we are choosing amongst a few alternatives, and we feel the 'best' alternative leaves much to be desired, it is time to create another alternative. Walter Cronkite, although he will not run for office, (because to do so may strike at people's belief in the integrity of journalists in general: we would wonder if they are reporting the news, or just trying to build a platform for some future run for office), he WOULD do it if we ASK him. Cronkite, a couple of years after explaining why a journalist ought not run for president, put out a survey: "Besides those who appear to be running, who do you think might make a good president?" We could take a hint: He likes the idea of opening up the process a bit, of activily looking for who we WANT to vote for, rather than relying so heavily on ambition and advertizing campaigns.... He would do it if we ask, but the ball is in our court. If we want it to happen, it can happen, but only if we care enough to make it happen. In MY opinion, if we do not care enough to ask for what we want, we deserve what we get. Talk about it. Pass on the question. Let people know that Cronkite is available, ready, willing, and able. John Champagne A title for our times: 'The Challenges of Change', by Walter Cronkite ____________ From: "John C. Champagne" To: list EARTHSAVE Date: Tue, 28 May 1996 Subject: How protesting Clinton helps, Re: (President Buys Beef > "A. Hogan" wrote: > > PETA held a midday protest in front of the White House . . . On Mon, 6 May 1996, Peter C.S. Adams 7-5263 wrote: > I'm a big fan of PETA and a reluctant supporter of Clinton, > but looking at the long term I can't see how protesting Clinton > and [....] hurting his reelection chances helps anyone. It could help to bring someone who you would WANT to vote for to the presidency. When we realize that we do not want any of those who stand and promote themselves for office, we may decide to take a more active role in searching for capeable people who would do it if we ask. > . . . Clinton's move disappoints me but it's the price of > politics in America. Things could be a lot worse. . . . . I agree things could be a lot worse. And I think they will get a lot worse, if we continue to act as though choosing someone who we would not want is an appropriate price for citizens of a free society to pay. Walter Cronkite, a couple years after he explained why he thought someone who has made their name as a television journalist should not run for president, [Scholastic Update, March 30, 1984, (excerpt from 'Why in the World' television program)], put out the question, "Besides those who appear to be running, who do you think might make a good president?". We could take a hint: Cronkite will not run, but there are other ways to go about it. If we talk about it, pass on the question, let people know that we would prefer to have Cronkite than either of the two 'major' party candidates, if the Electors knew of our preference, and knew that we knew they knew, wouldn't they be honor-bound to vote for the consensus candidate, rather than the party nominee? I think they would. But it depends on our refusal to limit consideration to those who promote themselves, and it depends on our expressing our preference. I want to dream big dreams, and have Walter Cronkite and Franklin Thomas in there as a team. Yoko Ono says, "The dream we dream together becomes reality". John Champagne _____________ Is Cronkite qualified to be President?
Date: Fri, 10 May 1996 From: "John C. Champagne" Subject: Re: The best we've got? Re: No more meat in schools To: list EARTHSAVE On Thu, 9 May 1996, Jan Harbaugh quoted me, John Champagne: > >Talk about it. Pass on the question. Let people know that Cronkite is > >available, ready, willing, and able. > > > >John Champagne > > > >A title for our times: 'The Challenges of Change', by Walter Cronkite > > > Um, John, do you really mean this? Aside from the fact that Cronkite is at > least as old as Bob Dole (at least, I think he is), what qualifications > does he have to make him able? Cronkite is intelligent, and exceptionally well-informed about the problems we face. He has good ideas, and can communicate clearly through the medium of television--an important consideration today. He is honest, and courageous; not beholden to any monied interest. Cronkite has the trust of the people of this nation, and could, I think, engender a renewal of our sense of trust in our public officials and institutions. > . . . . . And is it because he's largely retired from > broadcasting that he's ready and willing? Didn't you say, "he will not run > for office, (because to do so may strike at people's belief in the > integrity of journalists in general: > >we would wonder if they are reporting the news, or just trying to build a > >platform for some future run for office]"? So if he believes this, > >wouldn't he be giving the lie to the statement if he did run? He would. I do not expect Cronkite to stand and promote himself. When he explained why a journalist ought not run for office, he pretty much threw the ball into our court. When he put out a survey asking people to tell who they thought might make a good president, "aside from those generally thought to be running", he showed that he believes that there are other ways for a people to go about this process of choosing leadership; and that he is prepared to encourage an opening up of the process, by putting out the question. We need not sit by passively, only responding to people who stand and promote themselves for office. We can actively search for people who we WANT to vote for. > I agree, it's up to us to be creative about people who should be running > the government, and to find people we know (if that's possible) to be > working in our interests as much as their own. But can we build a > leadership cadre from the top down? Do our leaders not in some way reflect > our own proclivities for corruption, or our indifference to others', and > thereby our own, well being? . . . . > > Jan It is the essence of good leadership that it accentuates our finer, more noble qualities, while attenuating that aspect of ourselves which tends to adopt a more narrow, selfish focus. John Walter Cronkite for President! He will do it if we ask. ____________ to FDA: Aspartame and Libertarianism Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 18:51:34 -0600 (CST) From: "John C. Champagne" To: Bcc:, Subject: Aspartame and Libertarianism I think the case of aspartame is a very good argument for libertarian politics. When we have government agencies providing an imprimatur of safety for chemicals which are not food, many people who would not have ingested said chemicals without the imprimatur trust the word of their government and adopt a complacent attitude toward the things that they consume. I wonder how many fewer people would have taken aspartame if a libertarian politics was the norm, and people could consume ANYTHING they choose, but were taught from the earliest years to be cautious about what they put into their bodies. Is it your view that the tens of thousands of complaints that your office has received about side-effects of aspartame reflect imaginary symptoms, or do you feel that, even if many or most of these complaints are well-founded, the economic interests of aspartame producers take precedence over citizens' interest in promoting health over disease? Wondering, John Champagne ___________ Is Tax Theft?
Date: Dec 1996 From: "John C. Champagne" Newsgroups: talk.politics.misc, alt.politics,, alt.activism, alt.politics.usa.misc, alt.conspiracy, alt.politics.usa.newt-gingrich, alt.society.conservatism, alt.politics.correct, alt.politics.reform, alt.politics.usa.constitution, alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater, talk.politics, alt.politics.libertarian, alt.philosophy.objectivism, alt.impeach.clinton, alt.politics.clinton, alt.politics.democrats.d, misc.taxes, soc.women, talk.politics.theory, alt.politics.radical-left, alt.politics.clinton Subject: Re: Is Tax Theft? The case can be made that tax is theft, that it is taking from one that which is one's own, without consent. It can also be argued that polluting the air and water, or destroying biodiversity, or taking fish from the sea, without some compensation to the other owners of the resource, whether air or water or other natural resource--the commons--is a form of theft. Why not put these two facts together in a way that lets us turn problem to advantage? We could apply fees to the use of the commons to meet those community and individual needs that we currently fund through non-consensual taxation. We could recognize that the ultimate means of production, the natural resources, the commons, is jointly owned by all, if it is owned at all. We could make that ownership real by giving the proceeds of the fees to the people directly, with each person spending, say, one-half of their commons wealth on community-agreed needs, and one-half on their own personal wants. We could create opportunities for all people to share in a conversation that will allow us to shape a consensus about what levels of use of the commons we will find acceptable, and adjust fees up or down to bring actual conditions into agreement with people's expressed wishes. Direct democratic ownership and management of the commons can help to integrate ecology with economy, and can provide us the tools for sculpting society. Gaia Brain Theory Gaia Abstract John Champagne Imagine you could ask ANYONE to be President.... Who would you choose? Pass on the question. We could do better. It is up to the Electors, now. (I stole this question from Walter Cronkite. We could take a hint. He would do it if we ask.) Walter Cronkite for President! Franklin Thomas for President! ___________ Getting Organized Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 From: "John C. Champagne" To: Reading Tutor's list Subject: Getting organized On Thu, 13 Feb 1997, Wanda B. Hedrick wrote: > [quoting a student] . . . "I am having a hard time getting organized > and remembering to do all the different things with my kids! > I can not seem to get everything to fit into the time we have. > Any pointers on how to get more organized . . . ?" Stop trying to do all the different things that you are 'supposed' to do with them. Just ask them to read to you. Find material that is just hard enough so that occasionally they will stop on a word, or perhaps miscue in a meaningful way and flow right past... As long as they are reading, they are learning to read better, and if they read at the edge of their ability, so that they make occasional mistakes, but can still follow the meaning and are not frustrated, then you can step in and offer some assistance, the scaffolding. Then they will be learning at a rate at or very near the theoretical limit. And you will see them thinking and figuring things out, and you will be amazed, and you can tell them so, and tell them how great they are doing, and this seems to help too. As for the scaffolding, I usually offer a rime list, or occasionally I might say, do you know 'cl', (or whatever blend), if the onset seems to be a problem, and I will write several words with that onset. Whether writing several examples of an onset or a rime, I would ask her if she knows any of those, and I would read the ones she doesn't know. Usually this is enough, and it accomplishes in a more meaningful way, a more immediately and obviously helpful way, the same things that I think a lot of those 'activities' that take so much time away from actual reading are designed to accomplish. Sometimes, rather than write a list of words with a similar spelling pattern, I might just say, 'skip it for now'. The context, along with their decoding skills, often gives them all the clues they need. Or I might cover part of the word, so that only a portion is showing, a familiar part. (I covered the first two letters of 'stair', and that, along with the picture, was enough. Sometimes I combine techniques: For 'marvelous', I wrote 'car', which he knew, then covered all but the first three letters of 'marvelous'. He got the first syllable, then immediately figured out the word.) At times, I might give a 'meaning' clue. For sun: 'the bright, round thing that makes the daytime.' After they figure out the word, I often ask them, 'how do you spell '____'? Some of them will look and read out the letters to me, while others just shut their eyes and read out their mental image of the word, their memory of it. I also usually have them re-read the passage where they stumbled, but often they will do that without being asked. Some miscues do not require any immediate interruption. When the reader said, '... and they planted the seeds in the garden", I waited until the end of the story to write and show the word, 'garden'. Then the reader looked at the mystery word, and said, "ground", and re-read that page.

It is always nice to be able to remind students what they are doing right, even when they miscue. Most miscues are at least a close match to the letters, or at least make some sense. If the reader in the example above had said, 'They planted the seeds in the game', I would have said, 'Well, the first letter in this word is a 'g', so for matching the first letter sound, that is a good guess. But does it make sense?' On the other hand, if the miscue made sense but did not match the letters, I might say, 'Well, 'Plant the seeds in the dirt' makes sense, but what letter would 'dirt' start with? Whenever possible, I think it is a good idea to point out to the learners what it is that they are doing right, even while we are pointing out their mistakes.

I think there is just too much assessment required for this project.  I
understand the importance of being able to assess where students are in
their literacy development, but for the most part, assessment can be much
more informal than what appears to be expected of us.  Once a tutor knows
what reading level a student is at, any further assessment is unnecessary,
and would seem to serve the 'needs' of college administrators to have
their professors engaged in publishable research, rather than the needs of
students to have appropriate reading material before them; (but even for
that purpose, the amount seems excessive).  At Wright Elementary, I said
that I think there is too much emphasis on assessment and the two tutors
who heard me immediately agreed and expressed a similar view.  I wouldn't
say anything, but, as Dr. Dewey Davis said, "Any time spent in testing and
evaluation is time not spent learning." 

John Champagne    

Walter Cronkite for President! | Franklin Thomas for President!