Category Archives: Misc

Birth control, Ho Chi-Minh, Richard Nixon back again

Since I just got done reading about various Popes and Catholic edicts, I’m not sure that a diatribe on birth control is worth it.


Summary: So far, we haven’t figured out how to live in numbers off this planet.  We’re heading towards 8 BILLION people.  I am not skilled at the maths, but I do remember a fruit fly experiment in biology from 7th grade.  You know, the one where the fruit files live in a controlled amount of space and are given enough food to eat?  Yeah, they all die.

More importantly, choice.

Ho HO Ho.

Nguyen That Thanh born 1890, Marxist, Saigon renamed Ho Chi Minh City after his death.

Richard Nixon survives 5 o’clock shadow and the suffocating charm of JFK to become 37th POTUS.  Serving from 1969 until leaving office in 1974 for completely unknown, undocumented, and wholly mysterious reasons.

The only redeeming thing about Nixon may be his middle name.  Very similar to George Wanker Bush.

Rosenbergs, H-Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom

Julius was a spy for the Soviets, no one knows for sure about Ethel. Morton Sobel (a co-defendant) in the 1951 trial eventually admitted to working with the Soviets. When the Rosenbergs were executed on June 19, 1953 they left behind two sons (10 and 6 years old). Robert and Michael have apparently tried to live out some of their mother’s final words by creating a foundation to assist the children of activists.

So apparently nuclear fission wasn’t ENOUGH of a deterrent. Edward Teller (in partnership with Stanislaw Ulam) went ahead and developed nuclear fusion (think THERMOnuclear). Basically, take the heat from a “traditional” fission reaction and use it to exponentially boost the atomic yield of a radioactive payload by creating fusion. This approach reduces the fallout and radiation of the explosion which REALLY makes a difference when you can use weapons of this type to instantaneously turn millions of people into dust.

Teller turned out to be a particularly turdish fellow who threw Robert Oppenheimer to the Red Scare, pushed for the Strategic Defense Initiative (Reagan’s Star Wars), and openly advocated for the non-military use of nuclear explosives. Thanks for all nightmares and atmospheric pollution you Hungarian Asshole.

So long, and thanks for all the fis(sion)!

The United States first tested H-Bombs over the Bikini Atoll during Operation Castle (which was itself an extension of Operation Crossroads). I highly recommend the documentary film “Radio Bikini” for further information.

Walker Smith Jr. still ranks as probably the best boxer to ever live. He chose the moniker Sugar Ray Robinson because Sodium Cyclamate Robinson was being used by another fighter of his era who defeated all of his opponents by TKO (Cancer).

Panmunjon proper is now an abandoned village on the boarder between North and South Korea. The Korean Armistice was signed in Panmunjon in 1953 and a series of buildings were built nearby. These buildings are officially known as the Joint Security Area yet still often referred to as Panmunjon.

This is one of the soldiers who “guards the door to North Korea”.

Don't go in there dude.  Rodman's still using it.

Don’t go in there dude. Rodman’s still using it.

Much more than 140 characters

My intentions are  to be honest and explicit regarding the history and message that I believe makes up this experiment.

I graduated in 1997 from Bethel with a degree in Communication Arts.  I served on the Bethel college Alumni Council . And, probably too infrequently, I have donated money to Bethel. I have done these things because I consider the education and experience I received at Bethel to be an essential part of who I am and how I live.  I have also been publicly and privately critical of Bethel's institutional approaches to public communication, endowment investment, fund-raising, and administration.  I have offered these critiques as chorus for advancement.

A periodic review of my personal list of who I followed on Twitter led to the realization that I was following many Mennonite institutions, organizations, and media outlets; individuals directly associated (alumni and employees), and non "official" Mennonite Twitter accounts.  In the limited research I performed, I was unable to find any Twitter accounts (official or non) associated with Bethel College . I was not surprised by this.  Bethel has an endemic history of absent, poor, and obfuscatory official institutional communication practices.  There are direct and adverse consequences from this history.

I created the Twitter account @bethelks on September 22, 2010. My intentions in choosing the @bethelks account name were to brand it as closely as possible to the institutional FQDN of

I posted the first tweet on October 1, 2010.  In total, I have posted 31 tweets.  All tweets up to this point have come directly from me.  I have not deleted any historical tweets.

On November 29, 2010 I created this post on my personal blog.  During this approximate timeframe, I privately asked other Bethel alumni what their thoughts were regarding my original post and what their ideas were for tweet content and message.  I will not reveal who I discussed this with.  If the people I corresponded with are comfortable in revealing themselves, I invite them to post in the comments below.  The whole of the response was positive, enthusiastic, and brimming with possibilities.

My approach to content and message was to provide Twitter users who followed @bethelks with institutional information regarding events, concerts, etc.  I followed any accounts that followed me (and didn't appear to be automated), in addition to any accounts that appeared to be associated with other Mennonite Educational Institutions. I admit that I posted some messages that may not have been strictly in line with Bethel's institutional and public communications framework.  I have no justification for these messages besides my own prerogative to create them and observe any possible outcomes.  My investments of time and thought were brief, my methods unscientific.

The obvious results of these limited investments have resulted in 3 external listings and 42 followers.  Paltry but not unusual for the effort.

Communication via channels including Twitter has inspired revolution and led to freedom.  It has given voice to the silenced, hope to the oppressed, and an example of the true power of peace to our sisters and brothers who continue to suffer around the world.

My humble hope is that those entrusted as the public interface of Bethel College will utilize the @bethelks account, improve their internal and external communication practices to better serve their publics, and show the world how a firm foundation can be the basis for enduring peace.

I will post one more tweet linking directly to this post and then turn the account password over to members of Bethel's Web Development team.

An experiment in communication


Even though I don't have an abundance of free time these days, I've embarked upon a bit of an experiment in communication.

This involves a specific electronic media channel, and an institution.

If you're interested, contact me and I'll provide details.  For now, I'm keeping the public parts of this endeavour limited.  Not for the sake of being nefarious in any way.  It happens to be part of the experiment.


Confusion and poor communication from the House of God

I am confused. 

As I write this post, Bethel College in Newton, KS (my Alma Mater) is in a "Presidential Transition".  While I understand what that means, I do not understand the impetus.  I've included all of the information I have received concerning this matter below.  Since this information is limited, I do not want to speculate.  I do want to express my frustrations and concerns.

I have been frustrated with Bethel's opaque and disorganized communication procedures many times in recent years.  My frustration has increased.  I believe that if Bethel is to survive their current travails and prosper in the future, the Board of Directors needs to immediately adopt a policy of transparency in communication.  The Board is defined (and should act) as representative.  Instead, they function as sequestered oligarchs.  The institutional communications are disorganized, poorly scheduled, and obtuse.  And the pattern of such is long.  From poorly communicated program reviews to budget cuts without clear foundation and forward to this "Transition".

Yesterday, I received two emails from Bethel.  The first was the official press release:

Here is a link to the Official Press Release which does not specify why the change was made and names John Sheriiff (EVP for institutional development) as interim replacement.

The second email I received was a forward of Barry Bartel's message to the Bethel Campus.  I have included that message below:

From: Bartel, Barry C.
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 3:06 PM
To: community-announce; All Students at Bethel College
Subject: Presidential Transition

Bethel College Community:

Yesterday morning I was informed that the Bethel College Board determined in a special session on Saturday that it is in the best interest of Bethel College to change presidential leadership. While I disagree and while this is very painful, Iwill do everything I can to help ensure that the transition is smooth and that it helps to strengthen Bethel College. While the Board develops a search process, the Board has asked and John Sheriff has agreed to serve in an interim role beginning immediately. I fully support John moving into this role and am confident in his leadership in this transition.

This is a difficult time for Bethel College. In the face of our challenges, faculty leadership and Cabinet members have been developing plans for the new year. John will provide leadership as the campus community comes together at Fall Retreat on Friday. I believe in all of you, in this community, and in the Bethel Experience. I believe in administrative leadership and the strategic planning that is  occurring, I believe in our students, and I believe in Bethel. This is a critical time to bring energy together in a positive way to move Bethel forward. I know that will happen. Thank you all for your contribution to this special place, this house of God, Beth-el.
It has been a special privilege to serve Bethel College as president these past three years. I have given it my all. We have celebrated many successes, and confronted our share of challenges. Where I have fallen short, I apologize. In accomplishment and in disappointment, my spirit is always lifted when I see the dedication and commitment of the campus community, when I hear testimonies of how  Bethel has changed people's lives, and when I witness students exceeding their expectations.

We were settled in Denver when the inquiry came from the search committee over three years ago. We ultimately felt that God had a role in calling us to this position, and it has been an honor and a privilege to serve Bethel College and the Mennonite church in this way. As we enter a stage of uncertainty in our lives, I trust that the Board is seeking and is being guided by God's hand. We appreciate your prayers for our family and for Bethel.

Brenda and I, along with John and Elsie, plan to host the campus community for the First Supper on Sunday. I look forward to seeing you there.

Barry C. Bartel, President
Bethel College
300 E. 27th St
North Newton, KS 67117-0531
(316) 284-5241

This second email was apparently supposed to be selectively released, but was leaked and then hastily distributed to the original intended recipients.
Once again, I admit to not having much information.  And, I will not speculate on what is the truth behind this matter.  My perception is dis-organization and poor leadership on the part of the Board.  The timing is horrible.  The message is poorly crafted and can only fuel rumor, dismay, gossip, and frustration.