05 January 2008
this is the kind of garbage that louisiana's "business elite" think should be in charge of teaching our kids.
An Elite Alliance
Chancellor confirms membership in club
By Amy Brittain
March 07, 2006
Beneath towering California redwoods, more than 2,000 of the world's most elite men gather in July each summer. In a secluded male-only camp, former presidents, world-famous entertainers, artists, business moguls and Chancellor Sean O'Keefe fraternize beneath the shelter of the tall redwoods.
“Everyone's equal,” O'Keefe said.
O'Keefe is a member of the historic San Francisco Bohemian Club. California newspaper reporters founded the club in 1872 as an intellectual and social outlet. The club has since evolved into a “who's who” of notable names.
Most, including O'Keefe, travel to San Francisco in July for the annual Bohemian Grove summer retreat. The 2,700-acre Bohemian Grove camp is located about 75 miles northwest of San Francisco.
According to O'Keefe's calendar, which The Daily Reveille obtained, he and Board of Supervisors member Stewart Slack flew from Baton Rouge to San Francisco on Thursday, July 14, 2005. Slack attended the event as O'Keefe's guest because he is not a club member, O'Keefe said.
“It's one of the most unbelievable things I've ever been to,” Slack said about spending several days in the Grove. Slack said he knew O'Keefe was a club member because he saw it on his resume during the chancellor’s hiring process.
The two left California on Monday, July 18, after spending several days in the Grove.
History, Symbols and Controversy
Peter Phillips, a Sonoma State University sociology professor, wrote his doctoral dissertation at the University of California, Davis, about the club. Phillips' dissertation, “A Relative Advantage: Sociology of the San Francisco Bohemian Club,” outlines the club's history, tradition and controversy.
The club's motto, “Weaving spiders, come not here,” was plucked from Act 2 of Shakespeare's “A Midsummer Night's Dream.”
Phillips writes that the motto illustrates “the inappropriateness of conducting or soliciting business at club functions.”
O'Keefe said he has given various lunch talks to Grove members, including a talk about the Columbia space shuttle disaster in which the seven-member crew died. O'Keefe said many intellectual and political discussions occur each day at the annual retreats.
But Mary Moore, a founder of the Bohemian Grove Action Network, said the Grove does not abide by its motto of refraining from political or business talks. Moore has protested outside of the Grove since 1980.
Moore also cited the Grove's male-only policy as unfair to women.
“This is the ruling class bonding,” Moore said. “It's the ultimate backroom on steroids.”
Slack said he “hadn't really thought about” women having a disadvantage.
Moore specifically disagrees with the Grove's historic “Lakeside Chats,” where notable political figures speak about world issues. Moore said her main issue is that transcripts of these speeches are not available for the public to read.
O'Keefe dismissed the club's reputation as a secret society, calling it instead a “male-only fraternity.”
But O'Keefe confirmed the club does have historic traditions.
The club's owl symbol appears “on all Bohemian materials from matchbook covers and doormats to the most elaborate club publications,” Phillips writes. According to Phillips' dissertation, the owl symbolizes wisdom and friendship. A 40-foot owl stands in front of the lake at the Grove and provides a “ceremonial site for traditional Bohemian rituals,” Phillips writes.
The controversial and elaborate Cremation of Care ceremony's theme is the disposing of care in “a fiery death that symbolizes the initiation of Bohemian friendship,” Phillips writes.
According to a 1989 Spy Magazine article by Philip Weiss, a reporter who infiltrated the Grove with the help of Moore, the ceremony includes Grove members carrying torches and wearing “hooded robes.”
O'Keefe confirmed seeing a large “rock formation that has a resemblance to an owl” at the Grove but denied wearing a robe or seeing the traditional Cremation of Care ceremony.
O'Keefe said he does not understand the criticism and rumors about the Grove.
“They're incredibly overblown,” he said.
Media access to the Grove continues to be limited. According to a San Francisco Chronicle article, “No Trespassing” and “Members and Guests Only” signs cover the grounds, and guards with binoculars and infrared sensors watch the paths.
“[The Grove] does not particularly desire a lot of publicity,” O'Keefe said.
Phillips said the club used to be friendly to the press but changed its policies after the Great Depression. Phillips said this change likely occurred because obvious class differences created tension in the San Francisco area.
“It's considered not in good taste to talk to the media,” Phillips said. Phillips said members may face consequences, such as expulsion from the club, for talking to the media.
According to the 2004 San Francisco Chronicle article, “The Chosen Few,” 125 separate camps are in the Grove — many with peculiar names such as Dog House, Sons of Toil or Toyland. Famous members include George H. W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Clint Eastwood and Colin Powell.
O'Keefe is a 10-year member of the Wayside Log camp. The Wayside Log's 2004 membership list, which was obtained from Moore, includes former director of both the FBI and CIA Williams Webster, singer Jimmy Buffet and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Herman Wouk.
O'Keefe first visited the Grove in 1993 as a guest of fellow Pennsylvania State University faculty member David Shirley. Shirley, who could not be reached for comment, is a nuclear physicist who studied under Nobel Prize-winning chemist Glenn Seaborg.
O'Keefe, as the head of NASA, appointed Shirley in 2002 to a NASA task force. O'Keefe said the position was unpaid.
“That's not a conflict of interest,” O'Keefe said.
Phillips said it is common for many club members to have friendships and political connections.
“The networking of the Grove is a major piece of social power networks,” Phillips said. “People tend to pick people they know and trust.”
Slack said he spoke with the president of the California Institute of Technology about LSU's future. Slack said more club members recognized O'Keefe than Buffett.
“These relationships are extremely important for us for getting to Flagship status,” Slack said. “I'm so amazed at the number of people he knew.”
O'Keefe bypassed the typical 15- to 20-year waiting list to join the club, instead taking a three-year fast track to membership. To join the club, a potential member must be sponsored by two current members. Kevin Starr, state librarian emeritus of California, and Seaborg, now deceased, sponsored O'Keefe. Starr did not return phone calls for this story.
“I got lucky,” O'Keefe said about his fast track to membership.
The Wayside Log
O'Keefe described the Wayside Log camp as a “very pleasant” outdoor environment. During his spare time, he swims in the nearby Russian River and hikes in the redwoods.
Slack said the camp is “very rustic.”
“It's one of the few places you can listen to Henry Kissinger speak,” O'Keefe said. “It's fascinating.”
Wayside Log member Jim Taranik is a former NASA headquarters employee and current director of Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno.
“I met [O'Keefe] through the Grove,” Taranik said. “We've shared a lot of thoughts about the agency.”
According to a 2003 Reno Gazette-Journal article, Taranik then served as head of the NASA Space Grant College Fellowship Program, which provided the University of Nevada, Reno, with $500,000 in college grants.
Taranik first visited the Grove in 1986 as a self-described “apprehensive” guest. Taranik said he pictured himself in a sleeping bag on the ground, but instead the Wayside Log provided him with a bunk bed and an electric blanket.
Taranik described the Wayside Log as a diverse camp with lawyers, bankers, authors, artists and scientists.
“It's very eclectic,” Taranik said. “Everybody checks their titles at the gate.”
Taranik said O'Keefe is a camp member who enjoys attending the musical shows that various camps organize. The Wayside Log has regular poetry readings after lunch and a night musical party featuring Buffett, who is introduced by Wouk, Taranik said. Buffett did not return phone calls for comment.
Taranik described an outdoor party scene with viewers “sitting in the cool shade” to enjoy performances. Slack said he and O'Keefe walked around to different camps and enjoyed musical performances, speeches and even a magician.
“[O'Keefe] takes it all in,” Taranik said. “He doesn't get to bed until 2, 3 or 4 in the morning.”
Taranik said since O'Keefe only visits the Grove for a weekend, he tries to fully enjoy the experience during that time.
“He probably couldn't take a week of that,” Taranik said.
Taranik said many club members own owl-embroidered clothing. Taranik owns an owl shirt, coat and hat, but O'Keefe said he does not collect owl memorabilia
Taranik confirmed the existence of the large man-made hollow owl rock with “electrical stuff” inside.
The Grove had a real owl about 50 years ago in the clubhouse, but when they attempted to find the male owl a female mate, he ate her, Taranik said.
Taranik also confirmed the Cremation of Care ceremony serves as the “opening to the Grove.” Taranik did not provide details but said the ceremony symbolizes ridding the mind of everyday concerns.
Taranik said alcoholic drinks and cigars are “pretty abundant” within the Grove.
“I always have to wash out my clothes when I come home,” Taranik said about the clingy cigar smell.
Taranik said he sees various numbers of protesters depending on his arrival time at the Grove.
But Taranik said he does not understand the protesters' motivation.
Taranik said, if women were admitted to the Grove, it “becomes Club Med.”
“Guys understand this really well,” Taranik said. “Guys tend to socialize differently than women.”
Another man who enjoys socializing within the Grove is sculptor Ed Fraughton, a 30-year member of the Wayside Log. Fraughton said he sculpted a small owl as a gift for Wayside Log camp members.
Fraughton described the Grove as “like a big city.” When he returns from his trip to the Grove, Fraughton said he is “floating on a high cloud for a while.”
In a camp with many artistic members, Fraughton said O'Keefe provides an unusual perspective with his science-oriented mind.
“Somebody like Sean has an insight into the creative process from a different point of view,” Fraughton said. “He's a great educator.”
Fellow Wayside Log member Wheatley Allen is also an artistic mind in the camp. Allen sculpts bronze birds. Allen's Web site said O'Keefe owns one of his “Presidential Eagle” sculptures. The eagle represents “power and strength,” according to the site.
Old Guard Status
As a 10-year member, O'Keefe has 30 more years — or until the age of 80 — to become an Old Guard member. Old Guard members, 40-year members of the club, are provided reserved seating and other perks as a sign of respect.
Contact Amy Brittain at email@example.com
see also google
Text of Jonathan Martin
e-mail backing Sean O’Keefe
From: Jonathan E. Martin
Date: December 31, 2007
To: (59 email addresses)
Subject: RE: LSU Chancellor
The new LSU system President Lombardi has notified Sean O’Keefe that he should be looking for another job. He told Sean that “the business community does not support him.”
I find this incredibly hard to believe. I sent the following email to all of the Board of Supervisors last week:
I am writing to voice my strong support for Sean O’Keefe as Chancellor of LSU. Sean has done an outstanding job advancing LSU Forever while promoting the state of Louisiana as a great place to live. Any attempt to remove Sean as chancellor will send a blatant negative message to the rest of the world that LSU continues to be about politics and that it has no desire to be a top-50, tier-one school.
As a trustee of Blueprint Louisiana, I know we are currently positioned to move our state into a positive position with our newly elected administration. I urge you and all LSU Board of Supervisors to remain constant with us on this forward journey. Removing Sean will send the world a counter-productive message that will undermine what we are trying to accomplish.
My company, family and stakeholders, all avid supporters of the entire LSU program, urge you to resist any attempt to remove Chancellor O’Keefe.
Roy O. Martin Lumber
If you believe Sean O’Keefe has the support of Louisiana business like yours, please reply to me with your comments. Sean’s dismissal will have a real negative impact in the business community around the USA. A guy can run NASA but not work at LSU because politics are as usual – throwing all our efforts and $$ down the drain. I covet your support for our Chancellor.
Best wishes for 2008
Johnny ~ link