Saturday, March 5, 2016

Thank you

I cannot thank everyone enough for the outpouring of support that I have received since I published on 2/21 my email that was requested by the Pope Center.  I have received emails and phone calls from faculty across the UNC system and beyond who are outraged and appalled at the idea of the challenge to academic freedom that my case (and the case of my colleagues) represents to those of us who disagree with the influence that corporate money has to shape student ideology in higher education.

I honestly did not expect so much attention to my blog (it's never seen the like) or outspokenness against the actions of the Pope Center and the Koch Foundation.

So this is just a simple thank you.  And this is an assertion as well that this is what vegan activism looks like.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Charles Koch Foundation, the Pope Center, Western Carolina University, and my email

“Thanks.  I can see the OneDrive.  Quick question: I haven’t looked at these yet, but is there any reason why I can’t or shouldn’t just go ahead and publish this material myself?”

-- Laura Wright to Shea Browning, Legal Counsel, Western Carolina University (2/9/16), about the email that she was to turn over to the The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.


The letter ordering me to turn over my email.

On Thursday, January 21, 2016, along with another colleague in the English Department, the Chair of the Faculty Senate, and the Head of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, I received an email from Western Carolina University’s Legal Counsel office notifying me that a public records request had been made for my email by the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.  The request was made by Jay Schalin, a guy who holds a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Economics, and who writes for the Pope Center on such topics as “The Decline of the English Department,” a report that “examines a troubled discipline.” But more on Schalin and the Pope Center in a bit.  First, back to the public records request for my email.

The players: This is our boy Jay.

I was informed that Schalin’s request asked for “…all emails concerned with or mentioning the following:  the Center for Study of Free Enterprise, Dr. Ed Lopez, the name 'Koch,' 'BB&T,' and Ayn Rand.  The time period is from July 1, 2015 to the present.”  The reason for this request, as far as I can tell, is the fact that I have been somewhat outspokenly opposed to a $2 million gift offered to WCU by the Charles Koch Foundation for the establishment of a center for the study of free enterprise.  The reasons for my opposition are numerous and grounded in extensive research about the Koch Foundation’s gifts to institutions of higher education as well as research into the ways that the Koch brothers have bought huge influence in my state’s political machinery,  which has led to the dismantling of environmental policy, higher education funding, and public school curriculum.

The players: Dr. Ed Lopez, WCU's BB&T Distinguished Professor of Capitalism 

Here's Dave Levinthal in the Atlantic on the subject of the Kochs' higher ed donations: It is well-known that the Kochs’ network has invested hundreds of millions of hard-to-track dollars in conservative political nonprofits that influence elections. The brothers, who earned their billions leading private oil, chemical, and manufacturing conglomerate Koch Industries Inc., were dominant forces in recent election cycles. They’re now poised to rank among the most influential Americans shaping next year’s presidential and congressional vote. Much less well-known are their activities on college campuses.

The Kochs’ giving . . . focuses on an ideological approach to free-market economics in a way that’s distinctive among political mega-donors. Koch officials routinely cultivate relationships with professors and deans and fund specific courses of economic study pitched by them.

 Tax returns, as well as emails and private documents exchanged among Charles Koch Foundation officers and various college and university officials, indicate the foundation’s commitment to funding academics is deep and growing. Koch education funding, which is almost singularly focused on economics, also sometimes comes with certain strings attached.

At the College of Charleston in South Carolina, for example, documents show the foundation wanted more than just academic excellence for its money. It wanted information about students it could potentially use for its own benefit—and influence over information officials at the public university disseminated about the Charles Koch Foundation.

It sought, for one, the names and email addresses—“preferably not ending in .edu”—of any student who participated in a Koch-sponsored class, reading group, club or fellowship. The stated purpose: “to notify students of opportunities” through both the Charles Koch Foundation and the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. 

The players: Dave Levinthal reports for The Center for Public Integrity

In October of 2015, WCU held an open forum on the proposed center, which was moderated by Dr. Brian Kloeppel, Interim Dean of the Graduate School and Research. Dr. Ed Lopez, the BB&T Distinguished Professor of Capitalism, told those of us in the audience that he had been approached by the Charles Koch Foundation about establishing the center, and then he tried (rather unsuccessfully) to answer questions about why WCU would want such a center when it already has a Public Policy Institute, when numerous other centers had been recently eliminated within theUNC system, and when the cost to the institution would be about $1.4 million in funds allocated for faculty lines to support the center (I should note that “a job posting for a WCU economics professor openingappeared in early October — two months before the free enterprise center wouldcome before the board of trustees for a vote.” Language in the ad also specified that this person would be part of the center, but that language was later removed from the ad after faculty cried foul). 

And then the forum devolved into what I can only call an attack led by Lopez and his colleagues against Dr. John Whitmire, the head of the Department of Philosophy and Religion for a carefully crafted and thoughtful statement against establishment that he had presented to the Faculty Senate prior to the forum. The whole thing was surreal and unsettling – and you can read about it in my email.

The series of events that followed went something like this:

1. Responses from faculty who attended the forum were collected by Dr. Kloeppel and forwarded to the administration for information. 

2. I contacted the media. The people with whom I was in contact over the course of several weeks include David Levinthal whose Atlantic article cited above provides a comprehensive examination of the ways that Koch donations function to undermine academic freedom, genuine scholarship, and higher education more broadly. I also contacted Jane Stancil at the Raleigh News and Observer (the state’s newspaper of record) and convinced her that despite the fact that WCU is way out in the western reaches of the state (an area not generally covered by the N&O), that that was, in my estimation precisely why WCU had been chosen for this gift: no one would notice.  I asked that she please notice, and she did.  I contacted reporters at the Asheville Citizen-Times, the Sylva Herald, and the Smoky Mountain News, all of whom covered the story.

3. Shortly after the open forum, the faculty senate voted overwhelmingly against the center (21 against, 3 in favor).

4. At the beginning of December, “despite faculty opposition, Western Carolina University’s Board of Trustees approved the creation of a center on free enterprise likely to be funded by the conservative Charles Koch Foundation.

The board voted unanimously Friday to approve the WCU Center for the Study of Free Enterprise. The center, to be led by an economics professor, was previously endorsed by the university’s provost and Chancellor David Belcher." See this story.

5. Dr. Whitmire made the faculty senate aware of the existence of Policy 104, which states, “If a proposed gift has curricular implications, that is, if it contains any restrictions, conditions, implications, and/or suggestions with regard to academic content, the Chancellor, or his/her designee, will immediately be informed and will inform Legal Counsel. The Chancellor, or his/her designee, will then appoint an ad hoc committee of five faculty members to review the curricular implications of the gift and to make specific recommendations regarding the acceptability of such implications. One member of this committee should be drawn from the curriculum committee of the affected department, one should come from the curriculum committee of the affected college, and two should come from curriculum committees from other academic units. The committee will be chaired by the Chair of the Faculty, or his/her designee, providing that the committee chair is not a member of the potentially affected academic unit. The chair will serve as a voting member of the committee. This ad hoc gift review committee will act with consideration of the need for confidentiality and speed in the negotiation process. It will make recommendations to the Chancellor concerning the implications of the gift on the curriculum as well as the need for any further review or modification of any proposed agreement.” 

The Simpsons' Ayn Rand School for Tots

This policy was instituted after the 2008 hiring of Dr. Lopez, as a stipulation of his position (funded by BB&T) was that he teach the works of Ayn Rand, which faculty felt was overreach and compromised academic freedom. Here’s more from the Smoky Mountain News:

“The criteria initially imposed by the BB&T Foundation in exchange for its $1 million gift in 2008 was ultimately rewritten as a result of faculty pushback.

It initially required WCU to make Atlas Shrugged — considered a Bible of libertarian economic philosophy — required reading in College of Business courses and required a copy of Atlas Shrugged to be given out to every business major their junior year.

That criteria was tempered as a result of faculty pushback that maintained outside donors should not be permitted to dictate what professors teach, or force professors to teach a particular viewpoint to students.”

The policy had been utterly ignored with regard to the establishment of the current center.

6. On December 8, Interim Dean Kloeppel notified everyone who had submitted feedback after the forum that “documents pertaining to the Authorization to Plan and the Authorization to Establish the Center for the Study of Free Enterprise have been the subject of multiple Public Records Act requests. Documents, including your emailed feedback to me during the comment period, have been released to the requesters as required by the North Carolina Public Records Act.” 

A colleague asked who had submitted these requests and was told by legal counsel that “We have received public records requests from the Sylva Herald, the Smoky Mountain News, and the Charles Koch Foundation.”

7. December 10: WCU's Provost, Alison Morrison-Shetlar, sent an email to faculty senate asserting "I write to share with you my sincere concern about what I read in one of our local newspapers. The article, I can assure you, does not represent my beliefs about the role of Faculty Senate and its role in representing the faculty. " This statement came in response to an article in the Smoky Mountain News, which indicated that the Provost "questioned whether McCord’s views reflect those of the faculty at large and whether his comments should be extrapolated as applying to all faculty. Morrison-Shetlar even questioned whether the faculty senate vote was indicative of faculty sentiment. Casting doubt on the clout of faculty senate could have made it easier for the chancellor and board of trustees to justify their own decision that ran counter to that of the faculty senate."

8. December 11: John Hardin, Director of University Relations for the Koch Foundation, writes an op-ed in the Citizen-Times called “Why we Partner with Western Carolina University.”  In it he says, “our work is sometimes mischaracterized and singled out, frequently by activists with a partisan agenda, leading to genuine concerns from well-intentioned people. Events often follow a familiar path. Instead of engaging with the ideas and professors directly, a Freedom of Information Act request is filed with the school, seeking correspondence with school administrators and faculty along with any other documents that might bear on the academic center. ... FOIA requests are a favorite tool of special interests who already have a pre-determined idea of a story to tell. They then go on a fishing expedition to validate their original narrative. It doesn’t matter what’s actually transpired.”  He adds, “When this happens on a college campus, a professor or administrator’s private correspondence can be weaponized against them and the school.” (all emphasis is mine) 

The players: John Hardin

9. January 19: Journalist Jane Mayer published Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. Mayer’s argument, according to Alan Ehrenhalt’s NYT review, is that “the Koch brothers and a small number of allied plutocrats have essentially hijacked American democracy, using their money not just to compete with their political adversaries, but to drown them out.”  Mayer discusses in Rolling Stone the ways that the Kochs tried to intimidate her, to accuse her of plagiarism; they had spies follow her and harass her as she researched her material for the book.

The players: Jane Mayer

10. January 21: My email is requested by the Pope Center which is necessarily and completely affiliated with and, in many ways, controlled by the Charles Koch foundation.  Charles Koch sat on the board of directors until very recently, and many of the current members of the board have Koch affiliations. Art Pope, who founded the center, was hand picked by the Kochs to serve as NC’s budget director. Further, the current president of the center, Jenna Ashley Robinson, “joined the Pope Center in January 2007 as campus outreach coordinator and later became the center's director of outreach. She was previously the E.A. Morris Fellowship assistant at the John Locke Foundation, where she had worked since 2001. . . .  Robinson is also a graduate of the Koch Associate Program sponsored by the Charles G. Koch Foundation.”  Check here for how Art Pope ran the NC government for years.  And here and here for information about Art Pope more generally.

11. 9. January 20: the Chancellor addressed the faculty senate and indicated that mistakes were made in the way that the process for approval of the center was handled. He continues to insist that academic freedom is his highest priority, and he promises that to make sure that there are no strings attached.  

12. January 23: WCU shows up in the Daily Kos in a story about Becky Johnson's coverage of this whole debacle in the Smoky Mountain News.  The piece notes that Johnson's story "is exactly why the Koch brothers worked so hard to keep their vast network of extreme anti-government organizations so secret. It's a local news story investigating the infiltration by the Kochs into the local university."  The article notes the complete initial omission of and the utter disregard for faculty voice in the process of approving the center.

Here's Rabbit battling Papa Doc in 8 Mile.  It's a preemptive strike, which inspired this blog. Please watch and then read below.

So here’s the thing: Jay Schalin has submitted a public records request for my email so that he might do the very thing that John Hardin criticizes: “cherry pick” from my correspondence to tell a “pre-meditated” story about me and my colleagues who have chosen to speak out against our institution’s acceptance of Koch money.  As Hardin notes, When this [a freedom of information request] happens on a college campus, a professor or administrator’s private correspondence can be weaponized against them and the school.” In this case, my correspondence will not be weaponized against WCU, I don’t think (as the Koch Foundation doesn’t want to alienate the school), but it will certainly be used against me to serve whatever ends Schalin, the Pope Center, and the Charles Koch Foundation deem appropriate.  Feel free to see what he says about English professors in his aforementioned article about the demise of my profession: it is, in his estimation, because we’ve stopped teaching the great works, are all democrats, and are engaging in cultural studies explorations that he finds utterly ridiculous. 

The players: Laura Wright

And here I am, a really excellent target: a postcolonialist ecofeminist, whose latest book is about veganism.  I am the antithesis of everything that Schalin, the Pope Center, and the Charles Koch Foundation want to see in an educator.  I’m also, apparently, scary.

As always, please buy my book.

So without further ado and after consulting with legal counsel, I present all of my email that was submitted to the Pope Center after its request was made to interim Dean Kloeppel.  There are over 100 pages here, most of which is just me forwarding various news stories to people.  Some of it might be interesting, but the majority of it won’t be.  Choice bits include my comments after the forum, the text of a blog post on the NC lapel pins that McCrory sent state employees, and various other anti-center commentaries by my colleagues (mostly leftwards leaning English types).  Legal counsel redacted anything in my emails that contained personal information, and I have redacted the names and emails of my colleagues with several exceptions: David McCord, Chair of the Faculty (whose emails are also the subject of this request) has given me permission to keep his name on his correspondence.  I have likewise left Interim Dean Kloepple’s name public, as he’s done nothing more than collect feedback and let us know that the Koch Foundation requested that data.  Members of the WCU’s Legal Counsel Office, the Chancellor, the Provost and members of their offices remain named, as do the various reporters with whom I’ve corresponded.  

The material covered in this blog is provided merely for context.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Hillary and Me

Jeez, it's been ages since I've written anything, but expect for that trend to change.  Why? Because on Thursdays, I smash the patriarchy, that's why.

Yes, yes.  I realize that this shirt is about Tuesdays.  And I also realize that it's about Mean Girls.  Also: MEAN GIRLS, ya'll.  Seen that movie? Mean Girls?  They destroy each other?  OK, move on..

So here's the thing: this whole weirdo divide and conquer stuff that's happening as a result of Gloria Steinem speaking out of school?  I'm not hearing that noise, and you shouldn't be hearing it either. Yeah, she spoke out of school (as per the fact that I already said that above) and told young women that they were voting for Bernie because that's what the boys were doing.  But if you want to blame anyone for that gafftastic moment, how about let's hang that albatross around Bill Maher's neck? Did you guys watch the FULL interview?  If not, let's all read up on this, ok, before we burn Gloria Steinem in effigy for every woman who has misspoken and then been completely destroyed by doing so.*

* It was a gaff. She's 81. Might we consider her an elder and entitled to one?  Or might we look at her statement in the context of an amazing career of work, writing, and activism?

Gloria Steinem.  Who, among other things, declared Bernie Sanders an honorary woman in 1996.  Gloria Steinem who knows -- and has stated for decades -- that women become more radicalized as they grow older, because they realize that they don't have the power they hoped that they would have, that they believed that they would have, when they were younger.  And Gloria Steinem who likewise has spoken about how men become more conservative as they age, realizing that they -- not women -- have real power.

Yes, I'm white.  No, I'm not particularly intersectional.  But I founded Ms. and I wrote for New York Magazine.  And my journalism and activism are beyond anything you're likely to accomplish in the name of RIGHTS for anyone or anything in your lifetime. 

Here she is in an interview from a decade ago discussing young women:

"We have to realize that young women’s activism won’t look exactly like ours because they’ve had different experiences – which is a good thing. One example would be safe and legal abortion – though many also recognize the threat to it, it’s hard for them to imagine a world without it -- but they’re mad as hell that there’s no comprehensive sex education, that the morning after pill is in contention, that pharmacists can just on a personal whim refuse to fill their prescriptions. They’re angry about all of that. We all get radicalized by what affects us. Actually, younger women – just by the measure of public opinions polls – are more likely to support feminist issues than older women are."

Do the women nailing her to a cross even know who she is?  Mostly not?  Know why?  Because patriarchy, that's why.  [the question mark at the end of "mostly not" means that I'm not really asserting anything -- women shouldn't do that, after all, and since I haven't -- see question mark above -- I might not get berned...]. I don't care who you are, women out there who have decided that Steinem is suddenly your enemy: if you're a woman living in the United Fucking States of America, she isn't.  But now, all us women, as per THE MOTHERFUCKING PATRIARCHY, here we are at odds with each other. As usual. As always. Thanks for that, Bernie and Bill, and every other dude out there who limits all of our options to some crazy either or: two democratic candidates?  Great.  If only one's a woman, well, the man will always be some appealing foil, able to do all the things that she can't.

(By the way, have you seen the republican ballot?  Of course you have. It's like a crazy ass clown car, and the one woman on board has just jumped ship. Is it ok to mix metaphors, here? Cars? Ships?  Crashing...  sinking... Fiorina terrifies me as much as the rest of the people on that ticket, but can we all just take a breath and realize that in that entire line up of, oh, I don't know, 435 republican contenders, there was ONE woman?)

Buh-bye, Carly.  Or Carlie?  I can't be bothered to know. Know why?  Because of the Patriarchy, that's why.

Just real quick again: Do you even know who Gloria FUCKING Steinem is?  And don't start yelling at me that, yes, you do, and how dare I keep questioning whether or not you know who she is.  If you do know who she is and what she's done and you're still all pissed about how-dare-she-tell-me-what-young-women-do-and-why-they-do-it, then I've got nothing for you.

ANYHOO, so now here we are: if you're cool, hip, young, and female (dammit, I'm not young anymore, am I? No, so if you are, feel free to disregard my 45-year-old ass as well), suddenly you're in the midst of a woman against woman war.  Divide and conquer, my friends.  I am a postcolonial and feminist scholar; I know of what I speak on this topic. It looks like this: are you feeling that bern as an act of rebellion because the media told you that your mom (Gloria FUCKING Steinem) thinks that you only feel that bern (is it cystitis?) because of the boys? 

The media (god, how I hate to use that term because it's this amorphous generalization) has latched onto Steinem's faux pas with typical zeal. Do you know the rest of what she said to Maher?  Here it is: "Young women are active and mad as hell . . . . Whether they gravitate to Bernie or Hillary, young women are activist and feminist in greater numbers than ever before." So.  Whatever.  You can decide to vote for Bernie or for Hillary for whatever your reasons, but know this: situating Gloria Steinem as your enemy is some bullshit and you should know that. But now here with are with young women suddenly on the defensive and older women also on the defensive, apologizing to the younger women, who are having none of it.

And just shifting gears a bit, score one for you, Bill Maher, you asshat, for generating and propagating this sound bite. And thanks also for your typical tacky sexist commentary about Hillary, your "poor, poor Hillary Clinton. I mean she just is such a Charlie Brown figure. Icould see the nomination slipping away from her again. I don't know whyeveryone just wants to beat up on her. If you are threatened by HillaryClinton, you were molested by a real estate lady, I used to say." 

OK, but the point of this entire blog/rant was to talk about Hillary.  

SO: If you type "Hillary Clinton" into your Google search engine, the top hit will be for "Hillary Clinton age."  Know why?  Let me hear you say it: BECAUSE OF THE PATRIARCHY.  [disclaimer: I hate all caps, but this is what you people have reduced me to, ok?].

Do you know anything about Hillary?  Because I do.  I've been learning about her since her husband was elected president way back in the 1990s (get off my lawn, already; I've already admitted that I'm old and cranky).  Did you know that she went to Wellesley?  Do you know that she has a long -- since the 1970s -- history of advocacy for children and got her law degree from Yale in 1973 (19-motherfucking-73, ya'll) and then founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families in 1975?  Yeah, that was a long time ago!  Know why?  Because she's been in this game for A LONG TIME.  She was the Secretary of State under Obama, and she is, I dare say, MORE QUALIFIED than anyone on the ticket be our next president.  Tell me one reason why she might lose [the crowd rises up, lighters lifted to the sky: 'THE PATRIARCHY"]. 

Here's Dan Payne on why Hillary is the most qualified candidate for president in our lifetime:

"Suppose I told you about a potential candidate for president, not now running, who had this background:

Spent eight years in the U.S. Senate on the Armed Service Committee; Served on other committees on the budget, the environment, transportation, health, workplace safety, pensions, and children, families and the aging; Was honored as “a tireless voice for children” by the nation’s leading child advocacy organization; Was called by GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham “one of the most effective secretary of states, greatest ambassadors for the American people that I have known in my lifetime” in May 2012; Was named by Time magazine one of the 25 most powerful women of the past century.”

Read this article from Slate about how the secret to Bernie's success is that he's a man.  Here's my favorite passage:

"Only twice in American history has a woman been a serious presidential contender; both times, that woman was Hillary Clinton. The paucity of data itself speaks volumes. Why don’t we have other women to compare Clinton to? Could it be because most women, facing the challenges that Clinton faces now, are not allowed to rise to the top tier of candidates? Is it because any woman powerful enough to run for president will quickly become undone by the image of power she projects? Are women simply hesitant to put themselves through the indignities that Clinton has suffered? I don’t know the answers, but the questions worry me. They suggest that no female candidate, however qualified, can ever be strong enough to fight back a challenge from a Sanders-type male rival. In other words, in any given race featuring a female candidate, there will always be a Bernie Sanders who can do what she can’t do and say what she can’t say. And if there will always be a Bernie Sanders, then there may never be a female president of the United States."

And then this for Courtney Enlow's likewise all caps explosion of emotion about WTF with regard to this BS narrative about Hillary FUCKING Clinton:

"Can you imagine how absolutely infuriating it must be for Hillary to have to work so hard to be likable, but strong? Hip, but above the need to be seen as cool? For everything she says to be perfect because she'd be crucified otherwise, meanwhile Bernie Sanders could say pretty much anything he wants and it would be seen as the goddamn revolution? I'm so infuriated on her behalf. Because what you like about Bernie, what they like about Trump, she doesn't get to do that. She doesn't get to be all wild hair and yelling. Do I wish different? Of course. And the first female president would go a long way toward making that difference possible."

Hi, I'm Hillary.  You might remember me from such persecution as my email, my pantsuits, or my hairstyle.

We get to hear about her email, her Wall Street connections, her various contemporary fuck ups because that's what matters to a culture filled with people who only care about the contemporary moment and not about a lifetime's history of experience and expertise, of advocacy and activism. 

And let's call this thing what it is: the criticisms of Hillary have always been about the fact that she is a woman.  From the time she was accused of costing her husband votes in his (successful) 1978 gubernatorial election for not changing her last name from Rodham to Clinton, to the vitriolic criticism she received for staying with him, philanderer that he is, after his affair with Monica Lewinsky came to light. She has been criticized for her voice, her clothing, her hair; men yelled for her to "iron their shirts" when she caucused in 2008. And when she lost that time around, Donald Trump (whose sexist attacks on Hillary are the stuff of legend) claimed that she'd been schlonged.

Say what you will, but there is no way that a vote either for or against her can NOT be about the fact that she's a woman: you're either defending your choice to vote for her because of or despite the fact that she's a woman, and you're defending your right to vote for Bernie as an act that has nothing to do with the fact that Hillary Clinton is a woman. My sense is that the  only way we get to get past this current iteration of the war on women (which now includes women at war with women about women) is to put a woman in the White House. Vote for who you want to vote for; this rant is not about telling you to vote for Hillary. I'm not doing that because I'm tired of people telling me to vote for Bernie.

It's about telling you why I am voting for her, and it's about asking that we all think about the fact that WORDS MEAN THINGS -- but also that we should put what we hear into a broader historical context than the soundbites that pass as truth, particularly during an election year.  And it's about hoping that we all might recognize our elder female leaders have long and important histories that have moved all of us in wonderful directions, even as they have been consistently undermined.

OK, so now I'm tired.  But hear me on this one: if I have to hear one more Bernie Sanders fan tell me how nice it is to support someone who doesn't have to care about his appearance, I will punch a wall. Know why?  Yeah, you guessed it.  And I like Bernie, by god.  I lived in Massachusetts when he was in Vermont, and I love his politics, his idealism, his ability to convince people that he can do things that would sound completely, straight up cuh-razy if they came from Hillary.  He's a cool dude.  But I'm not voting for him,  Know why?  Because on Thursdays -- and everyday -- I'm doing my best to smash your patriarchy.  Yours, too, Bernie.