Reed welcomes letters from readers about the contents of the magazine or the college. Letters must be signed and may be edited for clarity and space. Our email address is reed.magazine@reed.edu.

where are the other students?
From Barbara Rockefeller ’68

I fell off my chair upon seeing the photo I had taken in 1965 of Robert Hall (with my dog Xerxes) from Reed’s Upward Bound program for disadvantaged youths. Hall was the most thoughtful of that group of high school students. I am not at all surprised that he went on to success. I’d like to know how the others turned out. Having noble ideals that are not carried through in a consistent and persistent way is a challenge for any college, but it seems to me that failing to follow through on programs like the one that Hall was in is a particular failing at Reed. This is why the Portland community thinks Reedies are a bunch of selfish, self-absorbed hypocrites (as one of your letters in the last issue complains). It took 38 years for a follow-up on a single person in a single program, and Hall himself was the one who initiated it.


disputing a failing grade
From C. Norman Winningstad, 1978 Howard Vollum Science and Technology Award recipient
History will judge whether Professor Segel’s grade of “F” to President George W. Bush is correct or not, similarly judging my giving the professor a justified grade of “F.” First of all, I note the professor does not show the president the courtesy of using his title. Apparently, professor Segel is not up to date: George W. Bush did win the election, fair-and-square, within the law. He even gained votes in the Florida recount. Thus he is the president of the U.S.A., and deserves the respect due the office. Professor Segel claims the president is wrong on the failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on the so-called greenhouse warming threat. The president did not ratify it for very good reasons. First of all, the global warming hysteria is based upon junk science, raised by the environmental causes to raise money. The whole case for global warming is based upon computer models, which are tuned to give the desired future results. But the mask comes off, when you try to run the models backwards—they do not give correctly the past weather. Last but not least we will, over the next few decades, not need hydrocarbon fuels. I can also rebut the professor’s claims on the International Criminal Court, the hard power/soft power issue, and his false claims on high tech weapons. The professor has trouble with the “map and territory” problem. Unfortunately, I have been limited to only 300 words, and the professor had about 1,600.
From Lee Oser ’88
With the war against Saddam Hussein almost certainly over (I write in early May 2003), and as Reed students toil away over papers and exams, it seems a good time to wish Professor Edward Segel better luck grading those papers and exams than he had grading the Bush administration’s foreign policy.
From Edward M Kessler ’50
As a member of the class of 1950 and a contributor to the college funds for many years I was quite troubled by the article written by your Edward Segel. His grading of the president’s performance in “Realpolitik 101” presents his view of the subject. While his students might be a captive audience to his evaluations of their performance, I do believe that his position vis-à-vis our president should be balanced by the presentation of alternative views that most certainly exist. If the magazine is not interested in presenting a dialogue on such important matters so that the reader can decide which of the arguments is most persuasive, then I must conclude that something of the Reed I knew has been lost. My reaction to the article and the lack of a counterbalancing point of view causes me to reconsider my feelings about my alma mater.
From David Widelock ’68

Edward Segel writes that “the problem with the Bush foreign policy is not that it is too materialistic (‘war for oil’ is a serious misnomer) but that it is too ideological.” Let me give just one piece of evidence for the opposite belief. While current Defense Undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz’s 1992 defense planning guidance draft report is classified, portions of it were leaked to the media. A PBS summary reads in part, The draft outlines several scenarios in which U.S. interests could be threatened by regional conflict: “access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, threats to U.S. citizens from terrorism or regional or local conflict, and threats to U.S. society from narcotics trafficking.” I find Mr. Segel’s thesis that ideology and realpolitik are in opposition in this administration to be not very convincing. It’s just a more aggressive and self-confident (and possibly very deluded) strategy than we’ve seen before. If one looks at what Cheney and Rumsfeld and other members of the administration do for a living when not in government, this will be very clear. The record of the corporations they were involved with shows a great grasp of realpolitik. As events unfold in Iraq, I believe we will see the privatization of Iraq’s oil, the involvement of American corporations in extracting that oil, and a major role for the U.S. in setting price and availability. To paraphrase an old axiom, “when anybody tells you it’s not about oil, you can be sure it’s about oil.”

remembering donald wheeler

From Michael Munk ’56

As a writer, Donald Wheeler [In Memoriam, May 2003] did not confine himself to academics or political polemics. He had a gift for evoking lifetime experiences and intimate family recollections. One of his earliest published essays, “Carman Blossoms,” which carefully described the efforts of Eastern Washington orchardists to protect their fruit from a late frost, first appeared in the Quest. Political science professor Charles McKinley (who may have given Don the lowest grade he ever received at Reed) suggested he send it to the Atlantic Monthly. The Atlantic published it in 1934, paying Don $30.

a note on fred rothchild and lloyd reynolds

From Stuart Baxter ’58

I first found Fred when I wanted to study piano, as a newly-minted freshman, in 1955. What serendipity that I found him and what I can say now, almost 50 years later, is that I think he started me right: that I still play with a continuing satisfaction at what can be drawn from working through the scores of the great musical spirits.

I remember Fred playing on campus—one of his rare performances—the Beethoven C minor variations. It was an intense experience for me to hear my teacher play a great work, which was new to me. Sometime later he gently told me that in another time and place I might have become a professional musician, but not here and now. (Luckily I was not thinking otherwise.)

Along with Lloyd Reynolds, Fred Rothchild helped sustain a struggling adolescent in a strange place. Through Lloyd, I first glimpsed my vocation (architecture), and with Fred came my permanent avocation (music). Their humanity and civilization remain with those of us privileged enough to have known them.

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