f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

May 6, 2006

Madeleine, the Georgetown Mafia, and Me

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 5:58 pm

Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about the remarkable change


in the role of women in the realm of diplomacy and international relations,


since I entered college in 1967, at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. 




My musing was touched off by Madeleine Albright’s appearance on the 


Charlie Rose Show on May 3, 2006 (guest host Andrea Mitchell; $.99


video download from Google.com). Albright was touting her just-released


book, The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World


Affairs. More musing was sparked yesterday, when I heard that British P.M.


Tony Blair had named Margaret Beckett Britain’s first woman Foreign Secretary


(BBC profile, May 5, 2006).



Albright, the first female U.S. Secretary of State, mentioned that gender did not


seem at all relevant when Condoleeza Rice was named as President Bush’s top 


security advisor, nor when she was elevated to Secretary of State in 2005.  She


then noted that the State Department now had so many women in important staff


and policy positions, who have been educated at Georgetown, that they are called


the “Georgetown Mafia” within the Department. [Albright used the phrase to close


a commencement speech at Georgetown in 1999: “the best of luck and come to


the Foreign Service and join the Georgetown Mafia.”]   



Read on for the tale of how a Georgetown Mafia came about.  Let’s look at


Albright’s path and my own:






In 1963, Madeleine Albright gave birth to twins girls (Anne and Alice) and, in 1967,


her third daughter (Katharine) was born.  For the next eight years, she was very


busy working on a doctorate from Columbia University (awarded in 1976), while


raising her children, serving on the board (and then as the first woman Chairman)


of the Beauvior School and working on the Muskie and Mondale presidential cam-


paigns.  From 1976 to 1978, she served as Chief Legislative Assistant to Senator


Edmund S. Muskie, and then left to take a staff position at the National Security





In 1982, Albright came to Georgetown to teach.  In Madam Secretary : A Memoir


(2003), she explains [at 99 – 100]:


“My charge at Georgetown was threefold: teach, create the Donner
women’s program [established “to encourage women to enter interna-
tional relations”], and serve as a role model for the young women there.
I believed that if women were to compete with men in the international
arena, they needed to receive an education that prepared them for every
challenge, including those no woman had faced before.”


In contrast, here’s my tale for the same time period:


1963 – 1967  newspaper carrier, high school student
1967 to 1971  student at GU School of Foreign Service
1973 – 1976  law student
thereafter — practiced law for 20 years, with no international
                relations subject matter;
currently — occasionally offer amateur punditry on international
                affairs issues; still wish there were more women around


Back to the issue of gender and international affairs:  When I headed off to


Washington, D.C., in early September, 1967, I had all the usual hopes and


worries of a college freshman.  One thing seemed strange about the SFS:


only 20 of the 220 freshman were female.  For a guy who was shy in the


dating depatment that was not a good sign.


             dagosan 1971


Things moved rapidly at that time.  With the Vietnam War becoming a very


hotly disputed issue, many classmates found ourselves disillusioned with the


whole notion of — in the words of the SFS catalogue — “promoting and protecting


the nation’s international interests” through foreign service.  (see Washington Post,


“GU Foreign Service School Seeks Identity,” March 24, 1970, which noted a 21


percent drop in applications to SFS in the past year, and quoted an idealist 21-year–


old chap named David Giacalone, who decried the School “making us agents of Amer-


ican foreign and economic policy” and hoped SFS graduates could go out into the


international realm as “world citizens.”)



Several agitators (on a rather conservative and apathetic campus) started to 


seek more student input in course requirements and content.  My own inter-


est in broadening the notion of “international service” led me to run for the very


first elected student seat on the SFS Executive Committee, which was the School’s


policy-making board. [The first student on the Committee had been appointed the 


prior year.]  It was 1970. When I won (and I truly can’t remember if any one else


even wanted the position), I found myself in the lofty company of all the department


heads, the Dean, and a few other venerable faculty members.  It was a bit stressful,


especially since none of the other Executive Committee members looked like this


Luckily, my academic reputation was excellent, and my demeanor respectful, and


there were some friendly faces on the Committee, including the Dean. 






By that time, I had learned that the paucity of female SFS students was not due


to a lack of applicants, but was caused by a quota — only 10% of the student body


was allowed to be female.  (This was before federal laws banned such gender dis-


crimination.)   My first proposal to the Executive Committee, therefore, was that


acceptance to the School be gender-neutral.   The reaction from the “conservative”


and “traditionalist” members of the Committee (even a woman or two) was strong


and emphatic:


“There are no jobs for women in the diplomatic field.  (E.g.,
Many countries would not accept women in American diplo-
matic positions.)  Therefore, it would be extremely unfair to
young women to hold out the false hope of careers in inter-
national relations by accepting them in large numbers to
the School of Foreign Service.”


I literally cannot remember how the voting broke down (I never kept a diary and


there were no personal computers, much less weblogs).  Nor can I say what argu-


ments saved the day — although I’m betting the sharp dropoff in applications had 


swayed a few minds.  Nonetheless, my proposal was eventually adopted.  The


oldest and largest school of international relations in the nation would henceforth


have a gender-neutral admissions policy. 


                     femaleSym “malesym”


The change was not quick enough to help my social life.  A decade later,


when Madeleine Albright came to the School of Foreign Service, and created


the Donner Foundation to encourage women to enter the field, there was a


student body at the SFS that had a significant female presence, and a sizeable


cadre of well-educated women were ready to enter into the foreign service, and to


take public, private, and nonprofit positions in the field of international relations.



Yes, the change in admissions policy and in gender equality at the State Depart-


were certainly inevitable.  Nonetheless, I’m proud to have played a part in helping


to lay the foundation for the Georgetown Mafia.  



If you educate them [and they take advantage of opportunities, work extremely hard, and 


have mentors]  they will thrive.  An important notion for many aspects of


our often unjust and unfair world.



podium sf



afterthought (10 AM):  You’ll have to decide for yourselves whether the following


excerpts from Albright’s Madam Secretary : A Memoir [at 100 – 101] are — or should


be — analogously applicable to the legal profession in the 21st Century:


“I taught classes on international affairs to women and men, drawing
on what I had learned in the Carter White House. . . . I had female
students play roles they wouldn’t have had at that time in government
and had male students report to them.  I invited women professionals to
discuss their varied and jagged career patterns to illustrate that the shor-
test distance between two points might not be a straight line.” . . .
“I discussed the difficult choices women face and implored my students
not to let others see the chips that might have settled on their shoulders —
especially during job interviews.  I spoke with passion about how women
must make sure not to push the ladder of success away from the building
after they have climbed to the top but must help each other succeed.”
[Ed. Note:  Is Albright being too hard on herself when she adds:]   podiumS
“I was confident about the logic of all this, but my shift in marital status
[with her divorce finalized] had in my own mind made me lose credibility.
When my students asked how I had managed to be married and have
children and work at the same time, I felt like a phony because I hadn’t


p.s.  If anyone reading this post has further details (or any corrections) on the topic


of SFS’s admission quotas or goals concerning women, please let me know.





fund drive
the ivy covered building
has a new name
new dean
all blackboards
turn white
windowless classroom
the blank look
same as last term
around and around
learning the names
of one way streets
winfow box —
between flowering pansies
my daughter’s face

menudo: second helpings

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:08 am

Maybe I’ve had a little too much menudo e-soup today (tripe, hominy

and chili might tend to keep one up), or maybe I’m finding far too many

interesting things that I want to write about.  Whatever the cause, here’s

one more helping of weblog “small change” for the f/k/a faithful, as Cinco

de Mayo 2006 fades into history:


laptop in bed  30L Epiphany: An encounter today with the famous 3L web-

logger Ian Best of 3L Epiphany reminded me both that (a) thirty years ago

this week, I was “studying” for my 3L law exams and (b) it was a lot

harder back then for congenital procrastinators to practice their art. You

see, this morning, I finally got around to asking Ian to add f/k/a to his

list of legal ethics weblogs. [Yes, I, too, was shocked by its omission.]

About two seconds after I posted my Comment with the request, I got

an email from Ian saying “Thanks David!! I’ll add it as soon as I’m done

with exams.”


That got me thinking that Ian was obviously paying more attention to

his weblog than to his studying — looking for a reason to take a quick

study break.  Then, it hit me:

tiny check 30 years ago, you really had to work hard to find things to

occupy your time, other than actually studying for finals. 

No one — and especially no humble law student — had a

worldwide audience hanging on our next post, or Commenting

on our last one.  We didn’t have an entire internet of distractions

that could be found without even getting up from our desk or study


quill pen

The Lesson: Dear Younguns, back then ,successful procrastinators were made

of a much heartier stock.  And don’t you forget it (even as we start to get a wee

bit forgetful).


long winter —

prayer bundles sway

in the cedars


    The Heron’s Nest (Nov. 2004)



late night rain–

he reads to me from the book

I read to him


       Mayfly #40 (2005)


  Billie Wilson 


tiny check Really need exam help? see our



see orig. at This Modern World


Greg Saunders (of The Talent Show) had a nifty graphic and a few well-

chosen words aimed at the GOP last week at the This Modern World weblog,

in his posting “If you can’t earn a vote, buy it” (April 27, 2006)   Noting that

Sen./Dr. Frist had floated the notion that most American taxpayers would

get $100 rebate checks to offset the pain of higher pump prices for gasoline,

Greg wonders:

“Didn’t he learn anything from dating?  Desperation isn’t attractive.

It’s pathetic.”


For a less colorful, but more thorough, analysis see: NYT,  “$100 Rebate: the rise 

and fall of a GOP idea” (May 5, 2006)


embrace small  Robert Ambrogi, writing at Inside Opinions, summarized a

debate that I had missed this week: “Sex in Public. Need I Say More?”

(May 5, 2006).  Bob asks:

Riddle: What is almost as interesting but not quite as titillating as

sex in public?

Answer: Watching libertarian legal bloggers debate sex in public.

When you think about it, this is an intriguing and very complicated issue.

Check out Bob’s summary and one compiled at prettier than napolean.


good morning kiss

wing beats

of the hummingbird


         To Hear the Rain



quiet house–

the chess game

where we left it


 New Resonance 3; Haiku Light 2001



bainbridgePix  When Prof. Bainbridge is right, he’s right.  And, his is the only

reasonable response to the news: “Blazing Saddles Banned” (May 5, 2006)

A high school teacher had to apologize for showing the classic comedy/satire

to twelfth graders, after one parent complained about “racist language. Steve


“What really got me about the story, however, was the reporter’s

description of Blazing Saddles as a “racist film.” Nonsense. While

Blazing Saddles pervasively uses ethnic slurs and stereotypes, it

does so to lampoon racism. The worst thing you can do to bigots

is to laugh at them, which is precisely what Mel Brooks does in this

hysterical film.”

Here’s the plot summary for Blazing Saddles (1974) from Amazon.com:

Tagline: Never give a saga an even break!


Plot Outline To ruin a western town, a corrupt political boss

appoints a black sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable


wind-beaten marquee

saying only

“Coming Soon”


        Some of the Silence 

Plot Synopsis: The Ultimate Western Spoof. A town where everyone seems

to be named Johnson is in the way of the railroad. In order to grab their land,

Hedley Lemar, a politically connected nasty person, sends in his henchmen to

make the town unlivable. After the sheriff is killed, the town demands a new

sheriff from the Governor. Hedley convinces him to send the town the first Black

sheriff in the west. Bart is a sophisticated urbanite who will have some difficulty

winning over the townspeople.

movie film sm

If there’s anything worse than kneejerk political correctness, it’s kneejerk policial cor-

rectness from people with no sense of humor (or is that redundant?).  What a stupid

lesson to teach your children: some words are always inappropriate, regardless of

context or intent.  Sure wouldn’t want to learn how to make discerning choices and

judgments.  Makes a guy want to turn in his Liberal Card.



sunny morning —
pink tulips in bloom
on the preschool’s walls





the wind storm moves on —
once more the songs of sparrows
in the pines



      Haiku Harvest  (Spring 2001) 



deskCalG   Maybe Evan Schaeffer could start a class action suit for me against

Office Max.  For quite a few years now, my brother and sister-in-law have put

together a CopyMax Calendar, featuring pictures of my niece Lissa and nephew 

James, and given them as Christmas gifts to lucky family members. 




    snap beans


The calendar is then hung in a place of honor in my kitchen as used as my primary

date-keeping wall calendar.  So, I rely on the dates that are designated as holidays

or special events on my CopyMax calendar.  Well, for the past couple of months,

I’ve been under the misperception that Mother’s Day is May 7th this year — because

said calendar says so.  It was only this week, when I was turning down an invitation

to a belated Cinco de Mayo dinner Sunday night, due to its “conflict” with Mother’s

Day, that I learned of my misplaced trust in CopyMax. This has caused lots of

mental anguish in my household, and I’m not the only Giacalone male who made

this mistake.  Indeed, I rushed out last week to purchase a Mother’s Day Card

to give Mama G, and was just about to mail it prematurely.   


spring breeze —
I teach my granddaughter


“tinyredcheck” So, in case you have a CopyMax Calendar for 2006, please let me

remind you that Mother’s Day 2006 falls on May 14th, not May 7th,

this year.  Of course, early is better than late, but there’s got to be

a lawsuit in here somewhere.  Right, Walter?

another argument unfolds the futon 


         W.F. Owen 

              A New Resonance 2


tiny check  One good thing about this situation:  I learned from online

research that U.K. has its own Mothering Day, which fell on March

26th this year.  It’s a good thing Mama G. lives in the USA.




The Schenectady Daily Gazette published an interesting article in a “special”

Spring Home section, on Friday (May 5, 2006; available by $ub.)  Luckily, I found

it on line to share with you: “Humble and Prolific Rambler is Becoming Retro Chic,”

(13WHAM.com, Feb. 15, 2006)  The “rambler” style home is also called “ranch”

in some parts of the country.  I have just two quick points: (a) from an energy-

conservation perspective [see our prior post], it is great that these modest houses

(usually about 1000 sq. ft.) are making a comeback; one reason is their lower price

tags, and another is the fact that baby-boomers and their parents, as their knees

start to give out want homes that are all on one floor.

lifting the hammer
the old carpenter’s hand
stops shaking


    A New Resonance 2 ; Mayfly No. 30

her eyes narrow,

seeing for the first time

my little house


       John Stevenson


(b) from a Euphemism Police perspective, I am issuing a warrant for the Star Tribune

reporter, Darlene Prois, who described one couple who just bought a rambler as:

“Betty and Mike Lovejoy, empty-nesters in their early 70s.”

Sorry, Darlene, but an empty-nester is someone whose children have moved out 

and have their own places — not someone whose grandchildren just left for college

or bought ramblers of their own as starter houses.


Monday again–

folks in the latte line

praise this morning’s moon


          Mariposa 11 (2004)


same old argument–

she pulls silk

from the sweetcorn


     Mayfly #37 (2004)



hand prints upL


The news from Sudan and Darfur is cautiously optimistic tonight.The Guardian,

Government, Main Rebels Sign Peace Accord” (May 5, 2006)  We all need

to press our Government to re-triple its efforts to convince the two smaller rebel

groups to make a truce.  If you pray, some prayers for those who still suffer from

hunger, injury and fear in Darfur — and for those who will help bring and keep a

peace — are surely needed.  


their children

never cry

never stop crying




it is!   it isn’t!

genocide – –

just stop it  


afterthought (noon, May 6):  The morning news reminded me that

Sigmund Freud was born 150 years ago today.  (“150 years of Freud,”

CNN.com, May 5, 2006)  I’ll let others tell of his contribution to modern

medicine and culture, as the Father of Talk Therapy (we’re more into

“blawk” therapy around here).   My contribution to the Freud anniversary

is to quote a few lyrics from a song I was listening to a couple days ago,

by Warren Zevon, from the title cut of his greatest hits album Genius:


FreudBust sigmund freud, 1938

excerpt from “Genius

(Warren Zevon and Larry Klein)


. . .


Albert Einstein was a ladies’ man
While he was working on his universal plan
He was making out like Charlie Sheen
He was a genius


. . .


Everybody needs a place to stand
And a method for their schemes and scams
If I could only get my record clean
I’d be a genius


What’s the connection with Freud?  If you have to ask, you can’t

afford the therapy.



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