Saturday, October 28, 2006

For one night, good teachers are fabulous

SADDLEBACK'S NORM WESTON IS A FINALIST


OK, so last night I attended the "2007 OC Teachers of the Year" event, held at the swankular Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel in beautiful downtown Anahelium. At least, that's what I remember doing. I remember large chandeliers high above me. Raghu shook my hand. Mickey danced. Minnie flirted. Was it a dream?

No. There were rich people who showed up to witness their own beneficence. They seemed sincere. But wasn't it 2006, not 2007? It's all so unreal!

I seem to recall talking with an attractive woman. She handed me her card. "OK," I said.


The Masters of Ceremony were real professionals: actor William Allen Young (evidently, he's been on CIS: Miasma and Nip/Tuck) and Maria Hall-Brown (Gawd, she's on the Real Orange!). They stunned me with their ability to savor the sagacity of cliches for three solid hours! "How true!" they'd sigh, heads shaking.

Believe in yourself! Dream big! Play your guitar! Question! Wonder! Dance!

I remember a busty blond who evidently teaches little kids about something. I forget what. The attractive woman to my left said something snide. I smiled. "I'm kinda deaf," I said. "Blah blah blah," she answered. We laughed.

"More champagne?" More laughter.

Saddleback College's Norm Weston was a finalist. They showed a little movie about him. He's casual, yet strict. He knows his stuff. Prez M made an appearance. He looks much better in person, I thought.


The real Rich patted my shoulder. What does that mean? Am I marked for death?

I saw friends from the past: Cely Mora, Kathie Hodge, Wilford Brimley. I was transported to another time--to Villa Park High School, 1972, looking up at the stage, watching "Up With People," wondering how it was possible to be so young and yet so Osmond.

I recall speaking with one of the Heinz 57 honorees, our former Logic instructor, who recently snagged a full-time job up the road. "So, does your dept. chair get any reassigned time?" I asked.

YES OF COURSE. ARE YOU KIDDING?

And Mickey. And Minnie. Dancing! With Peter Morrison! (That could only be a dream. I am certain of it.)

"You'll see," said Gwen. "You'll watch the show and tears will form. It's moving!"

I waited for tears, but all I got was kicks under the table. "Be good!", they said.

And I was. In fact, I am always good.

But, in all sincerity, I'm glad that, in this county, owing to a rich couple, good teachers are celebrated and given an opportunity to experience fabulous cash prizes and 15 seconds of fame.

And to dance with flirtatious Minnie and spout cliches to the rhythm of rubber chickens, fake Jazz, and hurried ersatz fabulousness.

But, really, it was fun. And I mean that.

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WHAT'S "UP WITH PEOPLE"? (YOU ASK)

The 60s produced the "counterculture." That in turn produced various reactions, e.g., Up with people

"The happiest most hard-hitting way of saying what America's all about that I have ever seen or heard."

--Walt Disney, on the cover of "Up With People" (the album; 1966)
Up! Up! with people!
You meet 'em wherever you go!
Up! Up! with people!
They're the best kind of folks we know.
If more people were for people,
All people ev'rywhere,
There'd be a lot less people to worry about,
And a lot more people who care!
--Everything UP WITH PEOPLE

Custodians vs. Wayne Ward: union warning


DISSENT the BLOG has been forwarded an email, sent on Tuesday by Mary W (she’s the Chief Job Steward of the CSEA local) to district Human Resources officials (namely, Teddi Lorch and Bob King), that threatens a “hostile work environment/retaliation complaint” against IVC Director of Facilities & Maintenance Wayne Ward.

Recently, at the request of several IVC Facilities and Maintenance workers, Dissent reported on Ward’s alleged unprofessional conduct.

In the letter, Mary writes:
I would like to alert you to the fact that CSEA is on the verge of filing a hostile work environment/retaliation complaint against Wayne Ward for his treatment of the custodians at Irvine Valley College. Board Policy 4000.5 prohibits retaliation:

The District seeks to foster an environment in which all employees and students feel free to report incidents of harassment without fear of retaliation or reprisal. Therefore, the District also strictly prohibits retaliation against any individual for filing a complaint of harassment or for participating in a harassment investigation. Such conduct is illegal and constitutes a violation of this policy….

…Of particular concern are some of the actions taken against custodian Ruben Morales. Morales transferred to IVC from Saddleback because it is closer to his Long Beach home. He was a graveyard shift custodian at Saddleback, and laterally transferred to a graveyard shift at Irvine Valley. In the past year, Ward has changed Morales’ schedule no less than five times. Several of these changes were verbally given, but Morales was not aware that he should require confirmation in writing, or that he had the option of refusing unless provided with 20 days notice in writing. Most recently, Morales was today given 20 days notice that he will be transferred to swing shift from days, and that another custodian will be transferred from days to swing shift. Supposedly, this was done to increase the efficiency of the work unit, but since neither custodian has any reason to believe their work is unsatisfactory, it is hard to see how this is of enough benefit to the College to warrant the disruption to the employees’ lives. In fact, Wayne Ward is aware that Morales works a second job that is necessary to support his family, and that this change to a swing shift, which he has never before been required to work, will disrupt his ability to continue in this employment and cause undue hardship for his family.

The most recent actions seem to be in response to the Unusual Occurrence Report that the custodians filed after being accused of planting a condom in another M&O employees locker, and have escalated since this event has become a frequent topic in Dissent [the Blog]. Most recently, Dissent … observed Morales being forced to spend several hours on his hands and knees scraping chewed gum off the concrete in the main traveled areas at IVC during the hours that classes were in session. [Dissent]…asked Morales several questions which he answered politely and respectfully. [Dissent]…chose to write up the humiliation of this employee, bringing even more retribution down on his head.

CSEA cannot allow these actions to continue. We would like to work cooperatively with the District to resolve problems of this nature. Please investigate this situation as soon as possible and advise us as to what action will be taken with regard to the 20-day notice to Mr. Morales. Also, please know that if retaliatory action of this nature continues, whether against Mr. Morales, another custodian, or the unit as a whole, we will have no option but to file a formal hostile work environment complaint and the appropriate grievance for violation of these Board Policies.

Mary [W]
Chief Job Steward
CSEA Chapter 586

DtB is relieved to find that CSEA is taking action in this case. We hope that the matter will soon be resolved.

SOME POINTS OF CLARIFICATION: the conversation between a Dissent writer—me—and Mr. Morales involved only one question, asked as I was headed to class: “Hi. What are you doing?”—or something to that effect. Morales—he was not on his hands and knees at the time; he was working a scraping knife that was attached to a handle—gave a brief answer, which I did not understand. I smiled and then continued to my classroom. That Mr. Morales’ gum-scraping activity was particularly disagreeable was suggested to me later by workers. The activity struck me as perhaps disagreeable, but not humiliating.

Dissent’s coverage of the custodians’ trials and tribulations re Ward was prompted by a group of workers’ contacting Reb and me. Dissent did not contact the workers. Before any blog posting about this matter, Reb and I repeatedly explained to workers that Dissent coverage of their situation would likely yield retaliation.

The workers seemed to understand this. The (four or five) workers who visited us explained that they had already contacted the Lariat, hoping that it would report their situation. They expressed disappointment and surprise that the student paper evidently opted not to do so, despite their urging.

Reb and I urged the workers to demand assistance from their union. Perhaps owing to low expectations regarding union assistance, the workers seemed determined to bring their situation to light.

Finally, after running the initial blog past the workers’ apparent spokesman, and making all requested corrections and changes, we posted the blog and commenced Dissent’s coverage of the situation.

I have been told that some workers have contacted local news media and that a reporter is working on a story. —CW

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He's Tom's kind of guy

In the latest OC Weekly, Mike Lawson (Xenophobic from the start) describes a phone conversation he had with congressional candidate—and Fuentes protégé—Tan Nguyen:
[Tan] Nguyen is a stubborn guy, and I guess I’m not much better because our phone call went nowhere. It was impossible to convince him that I wasn’t responsible for vandalizing his signs. In the middle of our conversation, Nguyen even dropped a threat worthy of a John Grisham novel.

“I have a lot of passionate people supporting me,” he said. “I would hate to see anyone get hurt.”

Most politicians have handlers, but I had to wonder who—if anyone—was consulting this guy. It turns out that Nguyen had hired Tom Fuentes to do the job. You might remember Fuentes as the chairman of the Orange County Republican Party back in 1988 when the OC GOP stationed uniformed guards at polling places in heavily Latino districts in an attempt to intimidate voters.

Just as we were about to conclude our conversation, Nguyen asked, “So we’re clear? You’re going to stop vandalizing my signs?”

“Mr. Nguyen,” I said, “I’ve never touched one of your signs.”
Sources tell me that Trustee Fuentes was responsible for Al Tello’s appointment as Director of the Irvine Valley College Foundation.

Al’s wife, Emilee (or some other local GOP worker bee named "Emilee Tello"), was Nguyen’s treasurer. According to FEC records, she resigned from his campaign four days ago.

As near as I can tell, Tello was the most senior staffer on the Tan Man's campaign, aside from “senior advisor” Fuentes.

Recently, Fuentes has distanced himself from the Nguyen campaign, implying that his contact with Nguyen ceased after the primary. He has expressed "sadness" and "disappointment" (Disappointing) over the revelation that Nguyen used the intimidating mailer.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Dissentular squawkage


Recent comments of interest...

JUST DO THE MATH
Given the assumptions that each vampire would attack one human per month and that the first vampire struck in 1600, vampires would have exterminated the human race by 1602, [Professor of Physics Costas] Efthimiou calculated.

…[Efthimiou] said his work has provoked angry messages from people, including some with “.edu” in their e-mail addresses, who cling to their conceptions that vampires exist….

One person, Efthimiou said, criticized his failure to account for Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s role in keeping the vampire population in check.
It’s Halloween Weekend on Campus


JESUS DON'T CUT GRASS
"Too many people are waiting for Jesus to come along and cut your grass. And Jesus isn't going to come along and cut your grass."
More straight talk from [Bill] Cosby


OO, I FEEL A CALL
[T]here is not a chance that the reported low sperm counts among heavy cell phone users, reported at the ASRMC in New Orleans on Sunday, had anything to do with cell phone radiation. The wavelength is far too long…It's too small to affect sperm, even if you put the phone in your underpants.

Ashok Agarwal of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, studied 364 men at a fertility clinic in Mumbai, India. The real question is what they talk about for four hours a day.
What’s New? – 10/27


RUSH, YOU’RE KILLING US
Last week the list of ills attributable to obesity grew: fat people cause global warming.

This latest contribution to the obesity debate comes in an article by Sheldon H. Jacobson of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and his doctoral student, Laura McLay. Their paper...calculates how much extra gasoline is used to transport Americans now that they have grown fatter. The answer, they said, is a billion gallons a year.
Blame Cookie Monsters

Al Tello's wife?

As you know, the director of the Irvine Valley College Foundation is Al Tello, a nice guy, despite being very connected to Trustee Tom Fuentes and his local GOP cronies. (See Tello.)

Al’s wife’s name is Emilee, and she can usually be found working for GOP candidates.

It turns out that one “Emilee Tello” is the, or at least a, worker who resigned on the 24th from Tan Nguyen’s Congressional campaign--seemingly in connection with the now-infamous mailer. (Nguyen)

That's what I learned in this morning’s OC Register, in an article concerning the recent raid of the home of a Nguyen friend (Nguyen probe expands to LAPD officer):
...Nguyen's campaign treasurer, Emillee Tello, submitted documents to the Federal Election Commission advising them of her resignation from the campaign, effective Oct. 24.

Tello could not be reached for comment.

Tan Nguyen remained steadfast in an interview with the Register that "no crime has been committed."

Although he denies having directed the flier, he has admitted that volunteers with his campaign were responsible for sending it.

He blamed the confusion on several translation errors.
I happen to know that Trustee Tom knows Emilee Tello.

You'll recall that Trustee Tom served as a (the) "senior advisor" to Nguyen's campaign, at least during the primary. Nguyen paid him $15,000.

And, of course, back 1988, Fuentes was involved in a notorious effort to intimidate Latino voters by placing guards at polling places.

To read Trustee Tom's hearty endorsement of Tan Nguyen's candidacy, go to Tom's endorsement. (It's a small pdf file.)

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cal Nelson: IVC interim VPI


THE WORD is that Cal Nelson will be appointed Irvine Valley College's interim Vice President of Instruction. I could have gotten that wrong. Maybe it was Cal Worthington. Or Cal Thomas. It was some kind of "Cal," though. I'm pretty sure.

His appointment will be announced at Monday night's Board meeting.

I've been told that Nelson, whose background is in Mathematics, worked at Saddleback College--both as an instructor and as an administrator--for more than thirty years. He retired in the Spring of 2004.

So far, everyone is telling me that he's a good guy. He's very sensible, and he knows how to work with people.

See Calvin Nelson

Meanwhile, Keanu Reeves has been spotted at the Advanced Technology and Education Park again.

How to replace a landmark


Until recently, Irvine Valley College had one iconic structure: its A-quad Clock Tower.

Naturally, owing to a failure to maintain the edifice, it became necessary (we're told) to tear it down.

It has been replaced. Behold the new Light Fixture:


The transition has been seemless. Already, one hears people say:

  • "Meet me at the Light Fixture!"
  • "Don't have a watch? Just monitor the shadow made by the Light Fixture!"
  • "Let's do the photo shoot in front of our lovely Light Fixture!"
  • "Glenn Roquemore's legacy? Why, that would be that stupid Light Fixture."

"Which one?"

"It doesn't matter. They're all exactly the same. We've got, like, a hundred of 'em."

"Oh."

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REMINDER: BOARD MEETING ON MONDAY!

SUPPORT THE CUSTODIANS.
WRITE AN EMAIL.
MAKE A COMMENT.
SEE IF YOU CAN FIND THE PRESIDENT AND THEN TALK TO HIM.

THIS WEEK'S IVC QUIZ:

In what year was our last all-college meeting?

Chunk's own question:

Does anyone at Saddleback College read this blog? Hello? Got any news? Send it our way!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The power of the BLOG


Have you been following the big Gallaudet University brouhaha? (See Searching for answers.)

GU is an internationally recognized liberal arts school for the deaf. Recently, the university’s trustees indicated that they were about to appoint Jane K. Fernandes to GU’s presidency.

But many of Gallaudet’s students reject Fernandes. In a very big way. They’ve protested. At one point, over 130 protestors were arrested. Classes could not be held.

For some, the problem with Fernandes concerns deaf “identity politics.” Fernandes, who is deaf, learned sign language only late in life. To some at GU, she’s not “one of us.”

But other protesters insist that the problem is simply Fernandes’ lack of leadership skill. You know, she’s none too charismatic and such.


Jeez, these Gallaudet people have high standards. In the SOCCCD, we’re thankful when the Chancellor goes through a whole week without being a conniving rat bastard.

But at Gallaudet, they’re all pissed off because Fernandes doesn’t smile when she meets people and she doesn’t look ‘em in the eye.

IVC’s Glenn Roquemore doesn’t have the smile problem. He’s got a frozen smile. In fact, most of us wish he’d just break out and sneer once in a while.

With Fernandes, there are other concerns. Apparently, some people think that she isn’t into “shared governance.” That is a problem. We sympathize.

TODAY, a friend called to say that, just that moment, NPR was doing a story on Gallaudet. Out here in the Canyon, we don’t get NPR, so I went online instead. Sure enough, today’s “All Things Considered” had a story entitled Blogs capture, amplify Gallaudet protest.

In the story, reporter Robert Shapiro explains that Gallaudet officials expected the protests to die down, but, instead, they’ve only grown.


One reason: THE BLOGGER. That’s what they call a guy named Ricky Taylor. Says Shapiro,
…Taylor has become pretty famous among deaf people. They know him as Ridor. The blogger. Who boasts on his popular Web site—RidorLive.com—that he is "arguably the most controversial Deaf blogger in America."

… Taylor's blog is certainly lively. ... It's opinionated. And it's full of attitude. Just like the protests….

…Protesters demanding the resignation of the new president at Gallaudet get much of their information from Taylor and dozens of other deaf bloggers. Deaf people rely heavily on e-mail and the Web…

When the protests started, Taylor was a cheerleader and often an agitator. Now, when Gallaudet staff want to leak some piece of information critical of the school's administration, it's likely to end up on RidorLive.

…Those blogs—including one that carried a kind of play-by-play of the arrests—were read by deaf people around the world…People like John Egbert, from Minnesota. He read RidorLive…, then got on a plane and came to Washington to support the protests….

… Egbert joined students, faculty and alumni who rallied over the weekend—a couple thousand of them at this university of only 1,700 students.
That’s cool. Way cool.


UPDATE:
in this morning’s Washington Post: Gallaudet Protesters' Camp Demolished, Injuring Some

PICS:
1. Kleenex dispenser, IVC's Wellness Center
2. Comet the cat
3. I take a snap as I drive toward Cook's Corner, yesterday morning
4. A recent shot of the eastern sky

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Going focal on local yokel

"This may be Southern California, but it's not the Deep South."

--Patrick Kelly, a Teamsters spokesman.
☆ The OC SUPEs (Stupes?) weigh in on the Tan Man Scan(dal): OC board won't correct letter

☆ In yesterday's Sacramento Bee: Peeling back OC's odd politics. Dan Walters puts the Tan Man scandal into the larger context of local GOP knuckleheadery.
"...[L]ocal police officers blew up a student locker on the California community college’s Pleasant Hill campus...."
☆ From the "We think WE'VE got it bad!" file: Bomb threat closes a campus

☆ From the "Thank God we ain't in Texas" file: Art Teacher and District Reach Settlement. Teacher loses job after tykes catch glimpse of "nude statue" on a field trip. Too bad Howard wasn't there. He would have sued the statue too.

IVC President fired for "failure to lead". OK, I made that one up. But I walk around campus, and, Glenn, you should hear what people say. Sheesh. Get a clue.

South County board jailed for "persistent and defiant assholery". I can dream, can't I?

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Board president Tom Fuentes?


Well, we're rapidly approaching the BOARD's December organizational meeting, when the trustees elect their officers.

Who will be elected board president? That's an important question. The president is powerful, in part owing to his influence on the agenda.

If memory serves, each board member--except Bill Jay and Tom Fuentes--has served as president. I have no idea if either man is interested in the job.

But if Fuentes wants it, it is difficult to see how he could fail to get it. He has more seniority than Jay, and it is doubtful that even relatively enlightened trustees would maneuver to block his ascension.

A Fuentes board presidency could be a big problem. Fuentes, you'll recall, is the fellow who once asserted, on TV, that faculty have a 36-hour work week and that, on average, they make $100K per year. (TV interview.) Clearly, he views the CTA (of which our own Faculty Association is a chapter) as the Great Satan of California politics and of everything that is right and good. (See Fuentes World.)

Plus he's flat evil. He's the kind of guy who'll give you the stink eye--or, worse, the stink smile. He'll have one of his pals take and monitor one of your classes. He'll leave burning sacks of sh*t on your doorstep and place guards on all your polls.

He'll even call you a "whore." (See Kill it & grill it.)

Plus he's got lots of connections with Howard Ahmanson and the folks who seek to give us "intelligent design" in the classroom and worse--Christian Reconstruction. ("My goal is the total integration of biblical law into our lives," said Howie. See Ahmanson.)

And remember how and why he targeted the "study abroad" program in Santander, Spain! (Some suspected that that was payback for CH's public criticisms of the F-man.)

So hang on to your hats. If Tom wants it, he's got it.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

A disappointing revelation


1. FIFTEEN GRAND. On today's Total Buzz, Martin Wisckol (of the OC Register) explains that, when, recently, he went through Tan Nguyen's campaign accounting, up popped the name (Trustee) "Tom Fuentes."

Jeez, Martin. That's old news. Get a clue. (Tom Fuentes, campaign advisor)

According to these records, says Wisckol, Fuentes received $15,000 from Nguyen's campaign from December to May. Writes Wisckol,
I talked to Fuentes about it last week and he said he did consulting work on the campaign for the primary and ... the two parties went their separate ways afterward. "Nothing unfriendly about" the parting, he said. "I have not spoken with Tan in months, so I'm not sure what direction the campaign has taken."
Tom reportedly added:
"As for the letter itself, it is a sad and disappointing revelation."
I wonder how disappointed Tom would have been had it been revealed that the Tan Man hired guards to stand outside polling places?


2. MORE RETALIATION? Today, Facilities and Maintenance workers told me that they feel that Director (of F&M), Wayne Ward, continues to retaliate against custodians who, one month ago, filed an Incident Report re Wayne’s conduct. (See "It's a condom".)

The workers tell me that, this morning, Wayne met with custodians, informing them that he is “here to stay” and that he has no intention of altering his behavior or practices.

Also, they report, Wayne announced that there would be work schedule changes.

After the meeting, the worker who, last week, found himself pulled from his usual task in order to scrape gum off the sidewalk, was informed by Wayne that he would now be switched from the day shift to the swing shift. Simultaneously, a swing shift worker would be switched to day shift.

Apparently, this change will entail a serious hardship for the worker, who has a second job, one he has held for seven years, which conflicts with the swing shift. The worker explained that his family depends on that second income.

Reportedly, Wayne was unmoved. According to my sources, Wayne then told the worker that he (the worker) was too easily influenced by his day coworkers and, that, as a result, his attitude has suffered.

Again, according to my sources, this worker has never been told that there is a problem with his attitude. Further, he is known to be a hard worker who is friendly and courteous to all. He has received appreciative emails from school deans regarding his hard work.

One custodian told me that, in his judgment, the schedule change is clearly an act of retaliation.

He added: “Wayne is trying to keep those who stand and speak up out of the day shift.”


3. BABRAHAM LINCOLN. From Wayne's World:

GARTH: What are you thinking about?

WAYNE: Cassandra. She's a fox. In France, she would be called La Renarde, and she would be hunted, with only her cunning to protect her.

GARTH: She's a babe.

WAYNE: She's a robo-babe! In Latin, she would be called Babia Majora.

GARTH: If she were a president, she'd be Babraham Lincoln.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Lost in Tanslation

Rebel Girl Grades Tan Nguyen's Letter

"Es verdad. Washington bullets again."
—The Clash, "Sandinista!"
Rebel Girl has been following the brouhaha over candidate Tan Nguyen's letter to prospective voters. Let's be more specific: his intimidating and fraudulent letter to 14,000 prospective voters with Spanish surnames. Let's be specific, and accurate, too: brouhaha without much ha-ha, and shock —shock! —to discover that gambling (voter fraud) is going on in Casablanca County.

Rebel Girl feels left out. Though she boasts a terrific Spanish surname, one of the most popular and easy to pronounce, she herself did not receive one of the letters because she dwells outside the 47th Congressional District. Most of her political mail celebrates the governor posing with charismatic (hot, hot, hot!) Latino leaders and declaring his devotion to education. Yeah, right.

No, like many of you, she had to track the epistle/evidence down on the internet. Then, pocha as she is, she had to find an English translation. Sigh. Life is rough for a second generation Mexican-American. And they say we don't assimilate. Sheesh.

Mild-mannered professor of English that she is, Rebel Girl has spent the weekend pondering the text.

Granted, there was much to ponder beginning with, what was Tan Nguyen thinking? And what did Rebel Girl's favorite college trustee and Nguyen's advisor, Tom "My family swam over from Spain— I'm no Mexican" Fuentes know and when did he know it?

But really, she looked at it with the eyes of a person who has graded college student writing for the last 15 years. And what did she see?

Rebel Girl reviewed her grading standards. She considered in terms of what we like to call the rubric. The letter was a C, at best, C minus maybe. A C grade meant satisfactory, sometime marginally so. It showed an understanding of the basic ideas and information involved in the assignment but it may also have had some factual, interpretive or conceptual errors. Clearly the writer's intent was clear, even though his execution was ineffective. In a C-level paper, the writer's argument is sometimes only partially developed, with little analysis, with limited use of textual evidence. With its five scant paragraphs, the Nguyen letter was certainly that. The arrangement of a C-level paper may not appear entirely natural or smooth, with some awkward transitions, a few weakly unified or undeveloped paragraphs. This was most definitely true of Nguyen's work, especially the last two paragraphs. While there was an attempt to create a sense of transition between the paragraphs, the grand leaps each one made, coupled with a complete lack of sources to verify their outstanding (sic) claims, made this work marginal at best. In fact, the more Rebel Girl thought about it, and got herself worked up, the more she thought this work was not at college level after all, not a marginally passing paper. And that even without considering the occasional wordy sentences structure and awkward word choices she felt the need to wince.

So, finally, it failed.

Okay, granted, the letter was a translation. For all she knew it might, in the original Spanish have been a work comparable to Carlos Fuentes' The Death of Artemio Cruz or perhaps something by Borges: you know, prismatic and labyrinthine, what those folks call magical realism. Okay, so perhaps it was unfair to grade the translation. She planned to offer the Spanish department faculty time to weigh in on this project.

Then, today, late news, from the You Can't Make This Up Department, which is down the hall from the Spanish department. At his press conference, Tan Nguyen blamed the "hysteria" over the letter on, yes (Si), wait, here it comes…a bad translation! In the original English draft of the letter, he said, the word "immigrant" (translated to emigrado or immigrante—the jury is still out) wasn't used—instead the phrase "just a resident with a green card" was. So, it was the translator's fault—not his. And no, he wouldn't be dropping out of the race. Why should he?

Why indeed? (Any teacher can tell you—K-12, college or university, that is one lame excuse.)

But, let's do a closer read, shall we?

Mr. Tan neglected the more problematic part of the letter, which threatened the recipients with this Borgesian fabrication:

At the same time, you are advised that the government of the United States is installing a new computer system to verify the names of all new registered voters that vote in the October and November elections. Anti-immigration organizations can ask for information from this new computer system.

And what about that "October" election reference? Is that just sloppiness or what? Tee hee. How much did he pay his ghostwriter? His translator?

There were two more items, though a person could go on and on. Reb won't. For instance, that bevy of anti-immigrant group names that decorates the margins and letterhead. Hmmm.

Here's the crema on the flan. The letter is signed: Sincerely, Sergio Ramirez.

Rebel Girl was certain that she was one of the few Orange Countians who recognized this hearty effort at evoking an Everyhombre, using a nom de plume for a helpful if stern Mexican quasi-official, a name with authority and lots of hot vowels.

It was kind of shocking. Could it be, she wondered, THE Sergio Ramirez, a stalwart Sandinista revolutionary in Nicaragua back in the day, Vice President of the little country that roared at the US and then was undermined by the Reagan-Bush-Elliot Abrams even as the CIA mined its harbors? And wasn't my, our, Sergio Ramirez himself, ironically, a writer, in fact a novelist of some renown? Could this Ramirez have undergone the same kind of transformation as, say, Christopher Hitchens, turned from socialist land reform and education and national self-defense advocate (No pasaran!) into a nutty right-wing national chauvinist, all the while living here in Garden Grove or Santa Ana or Newport Beach and doing the cha-cha-cha with La Nutjob Suprema Senora Barbara Coe?

She knew the revolution had fallen on hard times but figured that Sergio, like his compadre Daniel Ortega, was busy retooling his image to fight another day. La lucha continua and all that.

So what could have brought Sergio Ramirez, the former vice president of revolutionary Nicaragua to the heart of OC?

Imagination is a lovely way to travel. And, of course, only the imagination of Tan Nguyen and his campaign advisors could have flown the former Second in Command of the revolutionary people's state to John Wayne Airport. Imagine how that brainstorming session might have gone:

All right guys, we need a Latino name. One that rings a bell, but not too many bells.

Jennifer Lopez? Nah. Eddie Olmos? No. Ricky Ricardo? Dead. Tomas Fuentes? Nope. Too fucking obvious.

A hand waves in the back of the room. I know, I know. How about Sergio Ramirez, the former Vice President of Nicaragua? That'll show those commies.


But my very favorite part of this letter is the closing paragraph, which reads so well, so true, so fine, now that the truth is out. Take another look and see for yourself:

Do not listen to any politician that tells you the opposite. They are only looking out for their own interests. They only want to win elections without any regard to what happens to you.

That's right. You tell 'em Tan.

Sergio Ramirez' Website

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Civilitude vs. rudeitude

Professors (that's what the board is calling us these days), you might want to read an article in today’s Los Angeles Daily News. It’s called “Missing manners a rude awakening in college classes.”
They arrive late, talk on cell phones in class, throw temper tantrums, send ill-mannered e-mails and make threats.

…[A]cross the nation, professors … are watching students in their classrooms sink into this abyss of rude behavior, prompting discussions on how to encourage civility….

...Stephanie Badali, 19, and her friend Dorine Farsad, 18, said students who bring laptops to class are often surfing the Internet—and there's little professors can do.

"It's like high school all over again," Farsad said. "As much as a teacher will say please don't do it, they are just going to do it anyway."….
I’ve noticed that, in almost every one of my classes, some students—often, several students—concentrate on their laptops rather than on me or the discussion. That's new.

Plus there’s more droolage. I don’t wanna generalize though.

And then there’s cursing—and I don’t mean the fluffy & friendly kind—I'm talkin' the "B" word and the dreaded "C" word. And spitting—though that happens outside, mostly. And sneering. And sleeping. And talking on the phone.

And even rank air biscuitry. OK, what do you say or do when they do that? (Last Friday, in my honors class, flatulencia happened, evidently. It was ghastly. I moved the lectern ever southward, until I almost leaned out the doorway.)

—Tell us your “rude and crude” stories. We’d love to hear ‘em! Or tell us what you do about outbreaks of rudity and crudity in class. Inquiring minds wanna know.

(I hear that Saddleback students are way worse than IVC students. Is that true?)

P.S.: ONE OF OUR more clever readers sent us pictures of his favorite female icons to post on the blog (Audrey Hepburn, et al.), but I can't seem to open his attachment. In the meantime, here's one of my all-time BABEraham Lincolns:

She's just the BEST. Check out "Rid of Me."

Site Meter

Sunday evening with Sarah & Adam

Sarah insisted on climbing atop "Gilligan's Peak" so she could get a good look at "Vulture Crag" (in the middle, in the distance).

I call her "Uncle Sarah." She always corrects me.

Sarah & Adam's parents brought 'em to a pumpkin patch today. Hence the pumpkin-colored shirts. They've really got a thing about pumpkins. Can't get enough of 'em.

These are happy kids, boy. They're always making me give them "monkey rides." At the end of each ride, I'll put them down and then they'll say, "Again." They can't get enough of those monkey rides.

Sarah will break into song at the drop of a hat. She makes up her own words, too--just like her Uncle Chunk.

Site Meter

Not so fast! Rethinking fall opening

Today's report  — up again USC reverses robust fall reopening plans, asks students to stay home for online classes LA Times  ...

Invited to IVC—this time a notorious admitted HOMOPHOBE

—Conservative radio host, Michael Reagan


Here at IVC, natch, we have an Accounting Department. It happens to support something called the Guaranteed Accounting Program: GAP4+1.

According to the department website,

This unique pathway program — a partnership between Irvine Valley College (IVC) and Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) — will enable you to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years and a master’s degree with one more additional year (thus GAP4+1).

Among the Master's degrees available through the program, we're told, are "Accountancy and Finance; Taxation; or Accountancy."


We're also told that "The number of students accepted into this program in any one year is limited so be sure to apply early."


Great. The early bird gets the worm.


Evidently, the good people of the GAP4+1 program have recently seen fit to invite someone to speak at Irvine Valley College (in late April): Michael Reagan.




The Republican Party of OC just loves IVC (from their website)

That's right. They've invited Reagan family embarrassment Michael, a man of, let's face it, little or no distinction.


He was expelled from his High School and he washed-out of college. Eventually, he went into clothing sales.


In those early years, he made some curious friends:

In 1965, the FBI warned Ronald Reagan that in the course of an organized crime investigation it had discovered his son Michael was associating with the son of crime boss Joseph Bonanno, which would have become a campaign issue had it been publicly known. Reagan thanked the FBI and said he would phone his son to discreetly discontinue the association. (From Wikipedia's Michael Reagan.)

[“F.B.I. agents in Phoenix made an unexpected discovery: According to records, ‘the son of Ronald Reagan was associating with the son of Joe Bonnano [sic].’ That is, Michael Reagan, the adopted son of Reagan and Ms. Wyman, was consorting with Bonanno’s son, Joseph Jr. The teenagers had bonded over their shared love of fast cars and acting tough.” ... "Joseph Jr. was not involved in organized crime, but he was spending time at his father’s home... [I]n October 1964, he had been arrested in connection with the beating of a Scottsdale, Ariz., coffee shop manager. ... Following routine procedure, F.B.I. agents in Phoenix asked agents in Los Angeles to interview Ronald Reagan for any information he might have gleaned from his son. The investigation, after all, was a top priority. But Hoover blocked them from questioning Reagan, thus sparing him potentially unfavorable publicity. Declaring it 'unlikely that Ronald Reagan would have any information of significance,' Hoover instead ordered agents to warn him about his son’s worrisome friendship." - New York Times]

Later, there were legal problems:

In 1981 Reagan was accused, but later cleared of felony violations of California securities laws in court documents. The Los Angeles County District Attorney alleged that Reagan had baited investors into unlawful stock arrangements, and selling stocks despite the fact that he was not legally permitted to do so. The D.A.'s office investigated allegations that Reagan improperly spent money invested by others in a company, Agricultural Energy Resources, he operated out of his house in a venture to develop the potential of gasohol, a combination of alcohol and gasoline. Investigators said they were also checking whether he had spent up to $17,500 of investors' money for his living expenses. The district attorney's office cleared Reagan of both charges later that year. [“The investigators said they became interested in Michael Reagan after being informed that he had steered customers to Mr. Carey {Richard Francis Carey, who "was selling worthless stock,"} had accepted a $4,000 check from one investor, and that, in at least one meeting of potential investors, his relationship to Ronald Reagan had apparently been exploited as a promotional tool for the stock.” - New York Times]
On September 20, 2012, Reagan and two associates were sued by Elias Chavando, a fellow partner, for allegedly withholding Chavando's interest in an e-mail business built around the Reagan.com domain name. In 2015, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury found Reagan liable for conversion and breach of fiduciary duty. Reagan and his business partners were ordered to pay $662,500 in damages.
(From Wikipedia's Michael Reagan.)

Michael tended to smash things (cars, etc.) in his youth. Well into his 40s, he tells us, he was full of "rage" (owing, he explains, to having been molested) and he treated his family badly.


Then, natch, he found the Lord.


Plus, owing to his relationship to his pop, President Ronald Reagan, Michael grabbed the brass ring and became a talk-show host on one or two right-wing radio networks. Blah, blah, blah, he said.


In his latter-day career as mediocre right-wing bloviater and Pious Christian, Michael Reagan has said some unfortunate things:

In April 2013, in a syndicated column, Reagan accused American churches of not fighting hard enough to block same-sex marriage. He wrote that, in regards to arguments supporting gay marriage, similar arguments could be used to support polygamy, bestiality, and murder.

. . . In June 2008, conspiracy theorist Mark Dice launched a campaign urging people to send letters and DVDs to troops stationed in Iraq which support the theory that the September 11 attacks were an "inside job". "Operation Inform the Soldiers", as Dice has called it, prompted Reagan to comment that Dice should be executed for treason. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a liberal/progressive media criticism organization, asked Radio America at the time to explain whether it permits "its hosts to call for murder on the air".

. . . He spoke out in support of profiling in October 2014. In a piece called Profile or Die, he wrote that it would be left to citizens to defend themselves if there were an attack against them by terrorists such as the Islamic State. (Wikipedia)

Golly. It's pretty clear that Michael Reagan is just another "former total fuck-up, now reborn and pious."


Intellectually, he's a low-rent Limbaugh, and that's pretty low.


I mean, when he gets here, just what is he gonna say? That liberals are evil? That his dad was a saint? That freedom and democracy are good? That you oughta put your life in the hands of the Lord? That you don't need to go to college? That homosexuality is a sin?


Only in Bizarro World would Michael Reagan be judged a good speaker to invite to a college.


* * *

Meanwhile, IVC's Guaranteed Accounting Program folks have only wonderful things to say about the fellow:


Michael Reagan

The eldest son of former President Ronald Reagan and one of the most dynamic and sought-after public speakers, Michael Reagan’s commitments to public service and the conservative vision his father championed are second to none, making him the natural heir to the Reagan conservative legacy. Michael serves as chairman and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation, which seeks to advance the causes President Reagan held dear and to memorialize the accomplishments of his presidency. Michael’s career includes hosting a national conservative radio talk show syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, championing his father’s values and principles in the public policy forum, commentating and appearing on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Good Day LA, CNN, and Fox News, and contributing to Newsmax Television. Also an accomplished author, Michael has many successful books including On the Outside Looking In, Twice Adopted, and his latest book, Lessons My Father Taught Me.

Well, sure. But he's also the worst kind of insubstantial, opportunistic "celebrity." And he's not an intellectual; he's a propagandist. He's a minor player in our sad era of noisy and loutish conservative anti-intellectualism and demagoguery.


—And he's a homophobe, among other things. Or so he says.


WAY TO GO, GLENN


IVC Prez Roquemore shares Reagan's enthusiasm for the Pussy-grabber-in-chief.

Recent columns by Michael Reagan


ALL IS FAIR IN THE WAR ON TRUMP (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, December 13, 2018

…Hillary continues to skate free, unbothered by the FBI or any federal agency for the dirty things she and the Obama administration’s injustice department did during the 2016 election to try to defeat Donald Trump.

But not General Flynn.

His life was ruined by the FBI bosses who set out to nail him – and did….

TRUMP VS THE CRAZIES (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, January 11, 2019

…Some of the country’s most desperate liberals in the media actually argued that the president’s televised pitch to the country for congressional funding for a stronger border fence should not be carried live by the networks.

Why? Because they said the president lies too much and they wanted to be able to fact-check his speech beforehand….

TRUMP SAYS ‘ADIOS’ TO BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, November 1, 2018

…Ending birthright citizenship, better known as dropping the anchor baby, is the most significant illegal immigration reform the President Trump has announced. With a single executive order, he unplugs a beacon that attracts scammers from the world over. He also attacks a visible manifestation of the “foreigners first” mindset that has infected the State Department, and the rest of the federal bureaucracy, since the 1960s….

THE PARTY OF EVIL (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, October 11, 2018

…Now, thanks to the Democrats’ ugly smear campaign against Judge Kavanaugh, Republican senators like Susan Collins and Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders need security guards 24/7.

It’s not the new Supreme Court Justice who’s evil.

It’s the Democrat Party and the nasty “progressives” who’ve taken it over and are willing to say or do anything or destroy anyone to bring down President Trump.

Maybe this is not something new. Maybe the Democrats have always been this evil….

About Michael Reagan:


A separate peace* (LA Times, August 31, 2004) – by Anne-Marie O'Connor

For years, Michael Reagan, the older son of Ronald Reagan, felt unloved and unwanted. His parents divorced when he was 3. Two years later he was packed off to a boarding school where, he says, he was so lonely he cried himself to sleep. Sexually abused at age 7, he felt shame and self-loathing, compounded by Bible passages that convinced him he would never go to heaven.

He grew up so angry he smashed a childhood bicycle and later took a sledgehammer to his new car. Well into his 40s, his "rage came to a full boil," and he often yelled at his wife and young son.

Then, he says, he found salvation through the love of his family and his "adoption" by God. He embraced conservative values and became a syndicated talk-radio host who today tells listeners: "I am homophobic."….

Roquemore and U of Phoenix

From Clueless IVC Prez Glenn Roquemore smiles as he makes nice with the enemy DtB, 8-26-14

Vice President, Western Region, Workforce Solutions/University of Phoenix, Chuck Parker, President, Irvine Valley College, Dr. Glenn R. Roquemore

Members of the Irvine Valley College community just received this gushing email from the President:

Irvine Valley College Signs Memorandum of Understanding with University of Phoenix

Irvine – Irvine Valley College (IVC) administration, faculty and staff held a formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Phoenix, Inc. (University) on Wednesday, August 20, 2014.

Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore said, “This partnership will expand the many transfer opportunities available to the IVC students and staff. One of the major benefits of the MOU is the tuition discount."

Irvine Valley College students transferring to University of Phoenix into an undergraduate baccalaureate degree program … will be considered as having satisfied the general education requirements for the breadth of the liberal arts degree program….

IVC students get 10% off Phoenix tuition, which is way pricey.

Evidently, President Roquemore is not aware that entities such as the U of Phoenix exist to make huge profits by taking advantage of students who typically receive federally insured loans, putting them in serious debt. Those students, upon graduating, typically fail to find the work they were expecting and often default on their loans, forcing the taxpayer to pay. (It's a massive bubble that, one day, will pop.)

You’re fine with all that, are you Glenn? You're a Republican, aren't you? Yeah. I see you smiling with those vets you claim to love!

Alas, the "predatory for-profits" problem is especially egregious in the case of Vets, who pay their way via the new GI Bill:


GI Bill funds failing for-profit California colleges

(Desert Sun)

The ever-clueless Glenn R

Over the last five years, more than $600 million in college assistance for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has been spent on California schools so substandard that they have failed to qualify for state financial aid.

As a result, the GI Bill — designed to help veterans live the American dream — is supporting for-profit companies that spend lavishly on marketing but can leave veterans with worthless degrees and few job prospects, The Center for Investigative Reporting found.

. . .

Financial records analyzed by CIR show that California is the national epicenter of this problem, with nearly 2 out of every 3 GI Bill dollars going to for-profit colleges.

The University of Phoenix in San Diego outdistances its peers. Since 2009, the campus has received $95 million in GI Bill funds. That's more than any brick-and-mortar campus in America, more than the entire 10-campus University of California system and all UC extension programs combined.

. . .

The school's large share of GI Bill funding reflects more than just the number of veterans enrolling. The programs are expensive. An associate degree costs $395 a credit, for instance — nearly 10 times the cost at a public community college.

The University of Phoenix won't say how many of its veterans graduate or find jobs, but the overall graduation rate at its San Diego campus is less than 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and more than a quarter of students default on their loans within three years of leaving school.

Those figures fall short of the minimum standards set by the California Student Aid Commission, which dispenses state financial aid. The commission considers either a graduation rate lower than 30 percent or a loan default rate of more than 15.5 percent clear indicators of a substandard education.

No such restrictions govern GI Bill funds. And nearly 300 California schools that received GI Bill money either were barred from receiving state financial aid at least once in the past four years or operated without accreditation, CIR has found.

. . .

Of the $1.5 billion in GI Bill funds spent on tuition and fees in California since 2009, CIR found that more than 40 percent — $638 million —went to schools that have failed the state financial aid standard at least once in the past four years.

Four of those schools were University of Phoenix campuses, which together took in $225 million….

An Enemy In Common? The Case Against For-Profit Colleges

(Cognoscenti [NPR Boston])

… As Americans, we should all be concerned that veterans are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous profiteers. As taxpayers, we should be aware that we are paying for this disservice. Approximately 85-95 percent of the for-profits’ revenue comes from taxpayer-supported benefits….

For-Profit College Investigation--Is the New GI Bill Working?: Questionable For-Profit Colleges Increasingly Dominate the Program

([Senator] Harkin newsletter)


…Senator Harkin's HELP Committee investigation found:

. . .

  • Most for-profit colleges charge much higher tuition than comparable programs at community colleges and flagship State public universities. The investigation found Associate degree and certificate programs averaged four times the cost of degree programs at comparable community colleges. Bachelor's degree programs averaged 20 percent more than the cost of analogous programs at flagship public universities despite the credits being largely non-transferrable.
  • Because 96 percent of students starting a for-profit college take federal student loans to attend a for-profit college (compared to 13 percent at community colleges), nearly all students who leave have student loan debt, even when they don't have a degree or diploma or increased earning power.
  • Students who attended a for-profit college accounted for 47 percent of all Federal student loan defaults in 2008 and 2009. More than 1 in 5 students enrolling in a for-profit college-22 percent-default within 3 years of entering repayment on their student loans....

Hey-Diddly-Ho, Neighbor!

Oldie but Goodie [2012]: See Senator Harkin’s For-Profit College Investigation: U of Phoenix

Glenn Roquemore, the Pacifica Institute & women's "primordial nature"

Glenn Roquemore, the Pacifica Institute & women's "primordial nature" May 21, 2013

Delivering factoids for

Turkish anti-feminists

Here’s a curious factoid. I came across the following press release, evidently dating back to April of 2008. It was posted by the “Pacifica Institute,” which has a dozen or so offices, including one in Orange County (Irvine):


Glenn R. Roquemore-Irvine Valley College President Speaks at PI - Orange County

Today Pacifica Institute hosted Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore. Before this luncheon forum in Irvine , New Zealand Consul General Rob Taylor and Irvine Mayor Beth Krom were the keynote speakers. Consul General Rob Taylor spoke about Welcoming Diversity as a Path to Peace and Mayor Beth Krom’s topic was How to Create a Balanced Community. Dr Glenn Roquemore’s topic is the Role of Community Colleges in Higher Education.

Dr. Glenn Roquemore is President of Irvine Valley College….

Dr Roquemore gave very important statistics of the Community Colleges in California….

You’ll recall that, in the past, we’ve kidded Roquemore over his tendency to approach speaking always as an occasion to dispense the merest of statistics as though they were astonishing jewels. "Two percent of our students," he'll say, "sport a vestigial tail." Huh?

What’s the matter with ‘im? Dunno.

But just who are these “Pacifica Institute” people?

According to PI’s website,

Pacifica Institute was established in 2003 as a non-profit organization by a group of Turkish-Americans. Pacifica Institute designs and executes projects covering social welfare, education, poverty, and conflict resolution issues in collaboration with scholars, activists, artists, politicians, and religious leaders-communities….

. . .

The Institute seeks to …[engage] in a variety of civic activities and [seeks to invite] others to generate and share insights, thereby removing barriers to confidence-building and trust….

Gosh, it sounds as though that illiterate pseudo-educator, Raghu Mathur, may have had a hand in writing this stuff.

Elsewhere, PI presents “Frequently Asked Questions about Pacifica Institute and Fethullah Gülen.”

One naturally assumes, then, that Mr. Fethullah Gülen and his ideas are important to PI. Sure enough, in the Q&A, Gülen and his movement are central:

Fethullah Gülen

Q: How is the Pacifica Institute involved with the Gülen movement?

A: Some of the founders and donors of Pacifica Institute are participants of the so-called Gülen, or Hizmet movement. Pacifica Institute was inspired by the movement’s philosophy and goals….

. . .

The Gülen/Hizmet movement is a values-driven social movement and following a philosophy that advances interfaith dialog, education and community service as tools to build a better and more harmonious society. The movement was inspired by the philosophy and teachings of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish scholar, author and advocate….

. . .

Q: Who is Fethullah Gülen?

A: Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish scholar, preacher, thinker, author, opinion leader, education activist, and peace advocate who is considered by many to be one of the world’s most influential religious thinkers. He is regarded as the initiator and inspirer of the worldwide civil society movement, the Gülen Movement, which is committed to education, dialogue, peace, social justice, and social harmony….

Well, I’ve done a little looking, and this Gülen fella is mighty controversial, in some circles at least.

I skimmed a couple of sites, which suggested that Gulen is, among other things, a conservative and a vocal opponent of feminism (although I ask that readers judge for themselves based on his writings--and the writings of his mouthpieces).

So I went to the Fethullah Gülen website. There, I searched the term “feminism” and that brought me to a page with links to various relevant essays, evidently by Mr. Gülen, including The Gülen Movement: Gender and Practice.

I clicked on that. That essay includes this passage:

Although he promotes equality between the sexes, Fethullah Gülen's views on gender can indeed be described as complementary. He sees women and men as having equal value but inheriting different roles and characteristics due to physical and psychological differences. He classifies men as "physically stronger and apt to bear hardship" and women as "more compassionate, more delicate, more self sacrificing" (Gülen 2006: 1). Although he does state that women can be involved in any field of work he idealizes the mother as the pure educator (Gülen 2006: 2) implicitly implying that the man should be the family provider. This may open up for critique on behalf of Western feminists or scholars of religion and gender. According to this relatively new academic discipline[,] gender is a social construction. Human beings are born with different sexes, but social roles and expectations of fulfillment of these are constructed and emphasized by the norms that prevail in society.

Another link takes one to an essay entitled Women Confined and Mistreated. Here are some excerpts:

As a reaction to all the injustice done to women … a movement to claim women's rights emerged, particularly in the West. Even though this movement is considered an awakening of women, it occurred as a reaction and was doomed to imbalance like all other reactionary movements and ended up in extremism. Although the starting point was to defend women, in time it deviated from the original aim to the degree of being full of hatred towards men and to feeling a grudge against them. The movement named feminism, which was born from the idea of protecting women and providing them with rights equal to those of men, has only left behind longing, sorrow, and wreckage as a movement of discontentment….

. . .

According to Islam, women's role in this world is not only restricted to doing the housework and raising children. In fact, as long as it does not conflict with her primordial nature or with observing religious requirements, she is responsible for carrying out the duties that befall her in every area of society and making up for shortcomings where men fall short in social life. However, this reality was ignored in time, even among Muslims; rough understandings and crude thinking upset this system based on women and men's mutual assistance. After this upset, both family life and the social order were also upset. Different peoples' perception of their own historical heritage as a part of Islam, their seeing and reflecting their folklore and traditions as essentials of religion, and making judgments pertaining to this issue at certain periods all resulted in the usurpation of women's rights; they were pushed into a more restricted area day by day, and in some places they were totally isolated from life without consideration of where this issue leads. However, the source of mistaken thoughts and deviations in this matter is not Islam whatsoever. The mistakes belong to those who misinterpret and misapply the religion. Such mistakes in practice must definitely be corrected.

On the other hand, while correcting these mistakes, approaching the issue from a feminist standpoint will upset the balance again and an opposite extremism will replace the former. For instance, just as it is very ugly to see women as merely child-bearing objects and is insolence towards them, it is equally unbecoming and unnatural to build a society where women are unable to bear and bring up the children they wish for, or for a woman to feel a need to rebel against marrying and to avoid bearing children in order to show that she is not a machine. As a woman is not a dirty dish, her place at home is not confined to the kitchen with the dirty dishes. However, a woman who claims to have no household responsibilities and thereby turns her home to a quarters for eating and sleeping is far from being a good mother, a good teacher, and a good spiritual guide to her children.

Besides all this, it is another form of oppression to make women work under difficult conditions, such as mining and road-building. It contradicts human nature to push women into heavy tasks like agricultural manual labor, or military field operations, and other harsh pursuits, just for the sake of proving their equality with men; it is nothing but cruel torture. It shows ignorance of women's qualities and conflicts with their primordial nature. Therefore, just as an understanding which imprisons women at home and takes them completely away from social life is absolutely incorrect according to Islam, likewise, depriving women of financial support, preventing them from bearing and raising children in security, and forcing women into the labor force to do uncongenial work is also oppressive. A woman, like a man, can have a certain job as far as her (and his) physiology and psychology are taken into consideration; but both women and men should know that a good life consists of sharing and division of labor. Each should assist the other by doing tasks in compliance with their nature.

Yikes.

I’m in no position to judge this “take” on feminism relative to the various Muslim communities (e.g., in Turkey) and the possibility of discourse within them. But it’s pretty plain that Gülen’s philosophy, as expressed here, is antithetical to some of the core tenets of Western feminism, broadly understood. It seems clear that Gülen is not likely to gain many adherents or followers among contemporary Westerners, with their commitment to the ideal of equality, as they understand it at least, between the sexes.

The Wikipedia article on Gülen is alarming—if, that is, it can be trusted. It asserts that

...Gülen's views are vulnerable to the charge of misogyny. As noted by Berna Turam, Gülen has argued:

"the man is used to more demanding jobs . . . but a woman must be excluded during certain days during the month. After giving birth, she sometimes cannot be active for two months. She cannot take part in different segments of the society all the time. She cannot travel without her husband, father, or brother . . . the superiority of men compared to women cannot be denied." [35]

Berna Turam, Northeastern

Wikipedia is quoting Berna Turam, a serious academic at Northeastern U. She herself seems to cite a work from 1996 entitled Fethullah Gulen Hocaefendi ile ufuk turu (Aktuel kitaplar dizisi). It is written in Turkish.

One should be careful to note that the superiority that Gülen is discussing is physical, not moral, or at least that's how I read it. Even so, his remarks are mighty offensive, at least to these Western ears.


Gosh Glenn, you really oughta be more careful who you hang out with. Philosophically, these Gülenites are a problem, at least relative to most of our community on these shores.

I'll see if I can shed more light on the Pacifica Institute and what it means for the likes of Glenn Roquemore and Beth Krom (a Democrat) to be hanging out with 'em.

Votes of "no confidence" - 1999

from the Dissenter's Dictionary, Dec. 3, 1999


MATHUR, RAGHU P.



In April of 1997, in an action later judged a violation of the Open Meetings law, the Board Majority appointed chemistry teacher and campus joke Raghu P. Mathur as Interim President of Irvine Valley College. At the time, Mathur had no experience as a full-time administrator. Five months later, through a process that violated board policy, and amid strong faculty opposition, the BM appointed Mathur permanent president. That action, too, was later voided owing to violations of the Brown Act. Two years later, despite his miserable record, which included a vote of no confidence and the palpable contempt of nearly all IVC faculty and staff, the board majority renewed Mathur's contract, giving him a raise and a $200 a month "security stipend."

Mathur was hired as an instructor in 1979, and he quickly established a reputation as a schemer and liar who would stoop to anything in order to secure an administrative position. Owing to his manifest unsavoriness, however, that ambition was consistently thwarted both inside and outside the district.

His intrigues soon gained him the hatred of Ed Hart, IVC's first president. In 1986, Hart retired, and the college adopted a "faculty chair" model, partly for fiscal reasons. Soon, Mathur "ruled" the tiny school of Physical Sciences as its chair. During the "chair" era, he was, without doubt, the chief abuser of that office, engaging in endless machinations while arranging a lucrative schedule that netted him a salary far in excess of the college president's ($124,000 in 1996-7).

During this period, Mathur continued to seek administrative positions. When he was passed over, he played the race card, charging everyone in sight with "discrimination," apparently on the sole grounds that he had not been selected.

Mathur's habit, as chair, of circumventing the governance process eventually yielded an official censure of him by IVC's "Instructional Council' in April of 1994. Earlier, the IC membership had all agreed not to go outside the process--particularly with regard to the selection of the IVC presidential search committee chair. During an IC meeting in March (of 94), Mathur was asked whether, despite the agreement, he had presented a petition, urging the selection of a particular faculty member, to the chancellor. He answered that he had "not forwarded" a petition to the chancellor or anyone. In fact, he had and, apparently on that basis, the chancellor did appoint the faculty member as (co)chair.

When this came to light in April, Mathur was censured. According to the minutes of the April 5 meeting, "Instructional Council had agreed that no one will work outside of the IVC governance structure and agreed-upon processes. They felt that Raghu had lied to the Council...[One member] made a motion to censur Raghu Mathur for lying to the Instructional Council regarding the petition and the presidential search process and for misrepresenting not only Instructional Council, but also the faculty...Raghu Mathur stated that he did not lie to the Instructional Council. He said that he was asked if he had forwarded the petition to the Chancellor and he said he had not. He did admit, however, that he had shown the petition to Chancellor Lombardi...Raghu felt that the members of Instructional Council were making too big of a deal out of the situation...The question was called and the motion passed with 8 ayes, 3 noes, and 4 abstentions."

Classified employees, too, have at times found it necessary to complain about of Mathur's conduct. For instance, in August of 1995, IVC administration received a letter from Leann Cribb, Executive Secretary (and formerly secretary for the School of Physical Sciences), in which she wrote: "Mr. Mathur routinely revises facts and manufactures innuendo to suit his objectives." During the January '98 Board meeting, classified employee Julie Ben-Yeoshua explained that Mathur was the reason she was seeking employment elsewhere: "Since you first appointed Raghu Mathur as the interim president, the atmosphere at IVC has changed drastically; morale is in the gutter...[Mathur's] inability to tell the truth is so natural that I have come to gauge everything he says and writes by believing the complete opposite...."

By the mid-90s, Mathur had come to regard Terry Burgess, then-VP of Instruction, as his nemesis, and, in 1996, he tried to discredit Burgess with the board. In the spring of '96, a student sought to enroll in a chemistry course without enrolling in the concurrent lab, and the matter came before the chair--Mathur. Though the student provided documentation proving that she had done the equivalent work at UCI, Mathur denied the request, whereupon the student asked for a review of the decision by the Office of Instruction. Mathur agreed to go along with the Office's decision.

Later, however, he accused Burgess of signing the student's admittance card despite non-approval by the instructor. Mathur convinced his school to send a resolution of complaint to the board (and also to the senate and the union), appending the student's transcripts, without her permission, an action that violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and district policies. When then-IVC president Dan Larios learned of this, he requested an opinion from the district's attorneys regarding the legality of Mathur's action. The opinion, dated March 18, 1996, indicates that Mathur acted improperly, violating FERPA and board policy 5619. Larios was fed up.

Realizing that Larios now planned to deny approval of him as chair of his school, Mathur, as per usual, scrambled to lobby board members for support. On March 29, Larios met with Mathur; he explained that he had lost confidence in Mathur and that Mathur had better "change." In the end, Larios wrote a memo (May 14) expressing his serious reservations about Mathur's leadership, owing to his repeated circumventing of established processes and his violations of board policy, and placed him on probation. If there were any further violations of process, wrote Larios, Mathur would be removed as chair.

In the meantime, Mathur asked the senate to censure Burgess. It declined to do so, citing Mathur's misdescription of crucial facts. Larios, troubled by Mathur's misrepresentations, sent out a memo explaining that Burgess had in no sense acted improperly.

In December of '96, the Board Majority era began, and Larios sensed that it was time to move on. Normally, the VP of Instruction—Terry Burgess--would serve as interim president, but the BM blocked his selection, and, in March, Lombardi was chosen as a sort of compromise. But in April, Frogue presented another one of Mathur's petitions--this time, an “anonymous” petition urging Mathur's selection as president. On that basis, Mathur became IVC president.

Mathur's outrages while president are too numerous to recount here. Suffice it to say that in the early months of 1998, the IVC academic senate instituted a Special Inquiry into “abuses of power.” By April, it became necessary to abandon the investigation, owing to the number and the complexity of the charges against Mathur. Said the committee’s chair: “It’s like bailing water out of the Titanic with a tea cup…Every time we put an allegation to bed, another one jumps up” (Voice, 5/7/98). Soon thereafter, Mathur received a 74% vote of no confidence by his faculty.

Mathur has sought to rule through intimidation, punishing his critics in every way available to him. In early November of 1999, the IVC academic senate released the results of a survey of full-time faculty (78% participated). 90% disagreed with the statement, "I can express my opinion about issues at the college without fear of retribution or retaliation." The 90% figure will likely go up soon, for Mathur intends to fire an untenured instructor--a critic--for his involvement in the act of naming the plot of dirt next to the Life Sciences greenhouse. It was named the "Terry Burgess garden."


Huge Vote Against College Chief (LA Times, May 18, 2004 | Jeff Gottlieb)

Faculty in the South Orange County Community College District overwhelmingly voted no confidence Monday in Chancellor Raghu Mathur.
Of the full-time professors at Irvine Valley and Saddleback colleges who cast ballots, 93.5% voted in favor of no confidence, and 6% were against the union-sponsored measure. One person abstained.
Out of 318 faculty eligible, 246 -- 77% -- voted, according to the district faculty association….

Clueless IVC Prez Glenn Roquemore smiles as he makes nice with the enemy - August 26, 2014

Vice President, Western Region, Workforce Solutions/University of Phoenix, Chuck Parker, President, Irvine Valley College, Dr. Glenn R. Roquemore

○ Members of the Irvine Valley College community just received this gushing email from the President:

Irvine Valley College Signs Memorandum of Understanding with University of Phoenix

Irvine – Irvine Valley College (IVC) administration, faculty and staff held a formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Phoenix, Inc. (University) on Wednesday, August 20, 2014.
Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore said, “This partnership will expand the many transfer opportunities available to the IVC students and staff. One of the major benefits of the MOU is the tuition discount."
Irvine Valley College students transferring to University of Phoenix into an undergraduate baccalaureate degree program … will be considered as having satisfied the general education requirements for the breadth of the liberal arts degree program….

○ IVC students get 10% off Phoenix tuition, which is way pricey.

○ Evidently, President Roquemore is not aware that entities such as the U of Phoenix exist to make huge profits by taking advantage of students who typically receive federally insured loans, putting them in serious debt. Those students, upon graduating, typically fail to find the work they were expecting and often default on their loans, forcing the taxpayer to pay. (It's a massive bubble that, one day, will pop.)

○ You’re fine with all that, are you Glenn? You're a Republican, aren't you? Yeah. I see you smiling with those vets you claim to love!

○ Alas, the "predatory for-profits" problem is especially egregious in the case of Vets, who pay their way via the new GI Bill:


GI Bill funds failing for-profit California colleges

(Desert Sun)

The ever-clueless Glenn R

Over the last five years, more than $600 million in college assistance for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has been spent on California schools so substandard that they have failed to qualify for state financial aid.
As a result, the GI Bill — designed to help veterans live the American dream — is supporting for-profit companies that spend lavishly on marketing but can leave veterans with worthless degrees and few job prospects, The Center for Investigative Reporting found.

. . .

Financial records analyzed by CIR show that California is the national epicenter of this problem, with nearly 2 out of every 3 GI Bill dollars going to for-profit colleges.
The University of Phoenix in San Diego outdistances its peers. Since 2009, the campus has received $95 million in GI Bill funds. That's more than any brick-and-mortar campus in America, more than the entire 10-campus University of California system and all UC extension programs combined.

. . .

The school's large share of GI Bill funding reflects more than just the number of veterans enrolling. The programs are expensive. An associate degree costs $395 a credit, for instance — nearly 10 times the cost at a public community college.
The University of Phoenix won't say how many of its veterans graduate or find jobs, but the overall graduation rate at its San Diego campus is less than 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and more than a quarter of students default on their loans within three years of leaving school.
Those figures fall short of the minimum standards set by the California Student Aid Commission, which dispenses state financial aid. The commission considers either a graduation rate lower than 30 percent or a loan default rate of more than 15.5 percent clear indicators of a substandard education.
No such restrictions govern GI Bill funds. And nearly 300 California schools that received GI Bill money either were barred from receiving state financial aid at least once in the past four years or operated without accreditation, CIR has found.

. . .

Of the $1.5 billion in GI Bill funds spent on tuition and fees in California since 2009, CIR found that more than 40 percent — $638 million —went to schools that have failed the state financial aid standard at least once in the past four years.
Four of those schools were University of Phoenix campuses, which together took in $225 million….

An Enemy In Common? The Case Against For-Profit Colleges

(Cognoscenti [NPR Boston])

… As Americans, we should all be concerned that veterans are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous profiteers. As taxpayers, we should be aware that we are paying for this disservice. Approximately 85-95 percent of the for-profits’ revenue comes from taxpayer-supported benefits….

For-Profit College Investigation--Is the New GI Bill Working?: Questionable For-Profit Colleges Increasingly Dominate the Program

([Senator] Harkin newsletter)


…Senator Harkin's HELP Committee investigation found:

. . .

  • Most for-profit colleges charge much higher tuition than comparable programs at community colleges and flagship State public universities. The investigation found Associate degree and certificate programs averaged four times the cost of degree programs at comparable community colleges. Bachelor's degree programs averaged 20 percent more than the cost of analogous programs at flagship public universities despite the credits being largely non-transferrable.
  • Because 96 percent of students starting a for-profit college take federal student loans to attend a for-profit college (compared to 13 percent at community colleges), nearly all students who leave have student loan debt, even when they don't have a degree or diploma or increased earning power.
  • Students who attended a for-profit college accounted for 47 percent of all Federal student loan defaults in 2008 and 2009. More than 1 in 5 students enrolling in a for-profit college-22 percent-default within 3 years of entering repayment on their student loans....

Hey-Diddly-Ho, Neighbor!

Oldie but Goodie [2012]: See Senator Harkin’s For-Profit College Investigation: U of Phoenix