Vang Pao controversy continues

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jjoyce
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Vang Pao controversy continues

Postby jjoyce » Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:57 pm


Taxed
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Postby Taxed » Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:59 pm

Foo Fight!!!!

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Postby AlphaLiberal » Fri Apr 20, 2007 8:44 am

Not knowing a lot about this general, I have to say I have never been a fan of extra-Constitutional and undeclared attacks by our governemnt on other nations to be reprehensible.

So, I find it bizarre that "progressive Madison" is so gung ho for that war in Laos. Screw it, let's find a different Hmong to honor. Will we be honoring Ahmed Chalabi with a school in 20 years as our populaiton swells with Iraqi refugees?

It seems like many Hmong are not aware of this element in the corrupt events visited upon them.

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Postby magic moose » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:36 pm

Not knowing a lot about this general, I have to say I have never been a fan of extra-Constitutional and undeclared attacks by our government on other nations to be reprehensible.


I'll bite.

I'm not sure that impugning - by association - an icon of a displaced people (who we now are proud to call neighbors) is a wise, compassionate, or effective political protest of our involvement in SE Asia.

Should we instead find one of our hemp-growing, slave-owning "founding fathers" as a namesake?

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Postby depinmad » Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:14 pm

i'm not sure that commenting without reading the linked letters is such a great idea, considering that the one dude lists a few other name candidates as replacements.

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Postby magic moose » Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:12 pm

depinmad wrote:i'm not sure that commenting without reading the linked letters is such a great idea, considering that the one dude lists a few other name candidates as replacements.


I read them.

Maybe there are alternatives that might send the same message of inclusion and acceptance to the Hmong in Madison. In deference, I'd just as soon let those who we are honoring choose the way they'd like to be honored.

Your point is fair enough if it means the same to our Hmong community. If it doesn't, I worry that offering a different name (after the fact?) and then actively pushing the alternative sends a different message than originally intended.

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Postby Randy New Man » Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:59 pm

Vang Elementary would be safe and honor a large percentage of their population. I am sure there are ban Vangs, but there are some pretty awful Jeffersons, Lincolns, etc.

Magic Moose would be a cool name . . . if not for a school then a bar.

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Postby DamnShame » Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:59 pm

MMSD board member Ruth Robarts, in response to the Cap. Times editorial has this to say about her decision to stick with Vang Pao and not push for a different name such as Shwaw Vang or any others.

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Re: Vang Pao controversy continues

Postby missmadtown » Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:52 am

jjoyce wrote: McCoy challenged on Vang Pao; he fires back


Bang! Pow!- That's what kids will call Vang Pao Elementary (shudder). With the recent event at Virginia Tech, and negative publicity/controversy here re Gen. Pao, it seems naming this school after him may not achieve the effect desired by the local Hmong community.

I also wonder if (how strongly) the school board felt pressured to do this. There is a rather disturbing discussion going on here:
http://www.madison.com/post/forum/viewt ... t=vang+pao

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Postby Mister_A_In_Madison » Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:08 am

Does anyone think that the teacher's union wanting a different name will make a difference?

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Re: Vang Pao controversy continues

Postby Lucy Mathiak » Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:56 am

missmadtown wrote:
I also wonder if (how strongly) the school board felt pressured to do this. There is a rather disturbing discussion going on here:
http://www.madison.com/post/forum/viewt ... t=vang+pao


I cannot speak for other board members, but I can share that I did not feel pressured. We heard from many people about different naming options; the only opposition surfaced after the vote despite the fact that General Vang Pao was clearly listed as one of the final four names.

For many reasons, more related to the history and circumstances through which Wisconsin is home to a large Hmong population, I felt it appropriate to honor their contributions here and overseas. My vote was far less about Vang Pao and far more about the clear hunger of this community to be seen, recognized, and accepted as a part of the Madison fabric.

I have seen the exchanges on the Madison forum, which are disturbing. I also should note that it has been disturbing to watch the events of the past six months as they have affected the Hmong communities of the upper Midwest:

-- the murder and disturbing corpse mutilation of a Hmong hunter in northern Wisconsin

-- changes in the Patriot Act which place Hmong under the rubric of "terrorist"

-- the ramblings of a UW Law professor and his supporters, which by his own admission were ill conceived and by the statements of students present at the time, were offensive to say the least. This last is particularly troublesome because all the students asked for was an apology/acknowledgment that his statements were not factual. Instead, the students who came forward have been vilified in the media and by some law faculty and students as enemies of the First Amendment. The number of people acknowledging their pain - or even the legitimacy of their concerns - were few and far between. This has had a deep and lasting impact on other Hmong students on campus and on the Hmong community at large.

I offer these observations not as reasons for my vote, but rather to acknowledge the larger question of just how well we have done at acknowledging groups that have lived as part of our community for over thirty years.

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Postby missmadtown » Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:09 am

Mister_A_In_Madison wrote:Does anyone think that the teacher's union wanting a different name will make a difference?


Gee, wonder if these surveys have any bearing on decision making... Wow. Amazing. Madisonians have voted overwhelmingly for Pao :roll:

(corrected link)
http://www.channel3000.com/education/12 ... etail.html
SURVEY:Do you support the name chosen for Madison's newest school?
Choice Votes Percentage of Votes
Yes, I like it. 988 53%
No, I don't like it. 666 36%
I wish it was something else. 137 7%
I don't know. 22 1%
I don't care. 39 2%


What should be the name of the new elementary school on Madison's far West Side?
http://www.channel3000.com/news/11221183/detail.html
Choice Votes Percentage of Votes
General VangPao 364 37%
Paul J. Olson 97 10%
Taxpayer School at Linden Park 67 7%
Gaylord Nelson 49 5%
Last edited by missmadtown on Mon Apr 23, 2007 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Vang Pao controversy continues

Postby Mister_A_In_Madison » Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:12 pm

Lucy Mathiak wrote:We heard from many people about different naming options; the only opposition surfaced after the vote despite the fact that General Vang Pao was clearly listed as one of the final four names.


I do not recall the local papers publicizing (or at least not publicizing well) that a list of the final four names had been reached and would be discussed.

Can someone point me to a link where this was made publicly known (because the final selection seemed to come out of the blue)?

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Re: Vang Pao controversy continues

Postby Stu Levitan » Mon Apr 23, 2007 1:00 pm

Lucy Mathiak wrote:I cannot speak for other board members, but I can share that I did not feel pressured. We heard from many people about different naming options; the only opposition surfaced after the vote despite the fact that General Vang Pao was clearly listed as one of the final four names.


The only opposition surfaced AFTER the decision? From the March 20 Cap Times:

A plan to name a Madison park in honor of Pao several years ago, though, hit a snag when controversy arose over a UW professor's contention in a 1972 book alleging Pao's involvement with the CIA and the heroin trade in southeast Asia.



Also, could you please substantiate your claim in the last line? I have searched the WSJ and TCT archives and find no reference to this, and have checked the MMSD website, where I find only this press release:

The second way to comment is to attend a public hearing on Monday March 19 in the Doyle Administration Building, 545 W. Dayton St. The hearing start time is 6:30 p.m. but is subject to change.

All reactions, opinions and recommendations will be brought forward in a process that culminates with the Board making a naming decision tentatively on April 16


Can you post the district's press release clearly listing the four finalists? I'm also curious how the item was listed and detailed on the BOE Agenda for April 9, which I can't seem to find on the MMSD website.

Interestingly, the Board did NOT wait until April 16, but rushed the vote through on April 9. Why was that?

Lucy, the BOE requires a tremendous amount of public trust in its ability to make terribly difficult decisions. I don't think you have any idea how much public confidence the board has lost in this embarrassing affair.

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Re: Vang Pao controversy continues

Postby heyduke » Mon Apr 23, 2007 3:41 pm

Lucy Mathiak wrote:
missmadtown wrote:
-- the ramblings of a UW Law professor and his supporters, which by his own admission were ill conceived and by the statements of students present at the time, were offensive to say the least. This last is particularly troublesome because all the students asked for was an apology/acknowledgment that his statements were not factual. Instead, the students who came forward have been vilified in the media and by some law faculty and students as enemies of the First Amendment. The number of people acknowledging their pain - or even the legitimacy of their concerns - were few and far between. This has had a deep and lasting impact on other Hmong students on campus and on the Hmong community at large.



This is an inaccurate portrayal of what transpired with Professor Kaplan. The law student who first disseminated Professor Kaplan's alleged comments was not, in fact, present at the time. And I'm not sure that the controversy was over whether his comments, whatever they may have been, were or purported to be factual statements. Nor is it accurate to say that the number of people acknowledging their pain and the legitimacy of their concerns was few and far between; the public rally and the Dean of the Law School's comments attest to that. Furthermore, your characterizations are inaccurate. The alleged comments may have been made (if one accepts the view of the professor and several other students who were in the class) in the context of a detailed hypothetical example. So it's unclear why you used "ramblings" as a pejorative. It is also not so clear that his comments were offensive; students who actually were in class that day were quoted as saying just the opposite. Finally, the professor did offer an apology, one that I found thoughtful and seemingly heartfelt, in which he indeed acknowledges just how insulting and hurtful the comments attributed to him were. It may not have come as quickly as some might have preferred, but the letter left the sense that Kaplan had spent the days since the incident engaged in a bit of soul searching. Certainly we shouldn't punish the man for taking the criticism to heart.

Mr. Joyce's article:
http://www.thedailypage.com/isthmus/article.php?article=5854
Professor Kaplan's letter:
http://www.news.wisc.edu/images/kaplan_davis_letter.pdf


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