Saturday, December 23, 2006

Let's come to the aid of a friend and student


Many of you at Irvine Valley College know, or at least have seen, a writer, graphics artist, and sometime-student named Eugene Ipavec. Well, he recently sustained a very bad injury, and he has no way to pay for the very expensive medical services that he'll need. In the meantime, he can't do much of anything.

I'll have more information about this situation in the coming days. But if you're interested in helping, check out Help for Eugene, which has been set up by one of Eugene's many friends and supporters, Jonathan.

Really. Check it out. It's the best thing since sliced bread.

In the Hobbit Hutch


IT WAS A BUSY DAY, and I've still got this rotten cold. Limber Lou dropped by, but only for a few minutes. It was so beautiful outside, I decided to take a few snaps. Limber Lou kept talking and squirming and asking me questions, and it was kind of a relief when he left. I waved.


My folks wanted me to drop by about something, and so I did that. Got to talking with my mom, Sierra, about that image of a German Shepherd that you see on K-9 cop cars. (I mentioned it a couple of days ago.) It’s a stencil that you can buy in the usual cop supply outlets. When I Googled “K-9 supplies” or some such thing, I first found a place in Kentucky that sold maybe 15 different stencils. Prominent among them was this one (see).

I asked Sierra (i.e., my mom) to tell me the story. Here’s what she told me.

It was the mid-70s, and she was painting animals in those days. She and my dad (and, to a certain extent, I) got to know a cop named Dave R. I’m not sure he was a cop—he could have been an electrician—but he was definitely involved in training dogs for police “K-9” squads.

Dave asked Sierra to paint portraits of his two dogs, Kai and Cora. They were magnificent purebred German Shepherds from Germany, as I recall, and they were truly amazing dogs, and beautiful, too. They were trained as “Schutzhund” (working) dogs—we had met Dave at a Schutzhund club. The training includes such routines as shooting a gun off next to a dog’s head! The dog isn’t supposed to freak out. These dogs never did. They were cool customers, boy.

I do believe that Dave regarded Kai and Cora as his best dogs ever, and he loved ‘em to pieces. My dad took some photos of the two—they were a kind of team, and they were lots of fun to be around—and my mom used those pictures, mostly, to paint the portraits.

Dave was pretty happy with the results. My mom got paid. Not long after that, my folks gave up on the dog club, and they didn’t see Dave much after that. (We had joined the club to get my little brother Ray interested in something wholesome—like dogs and dog-training. It didn’t work.)

After a few years, Sierra did hear from Dave again. He had sent her a letter along with a sweatshirt and some stencils. It turns out that his dog-training company needed an image of a dog, and they couldn’t get any image to work—except for the two portraits that my mom had painted (or photographs of the portraits). So, after a little manipulation, those images ended up on the company’s logo and masthead (etc.). The sweatshirt that Dave had sent had the picture/image of Kai, the male dog, on the front. (See below.) On the back was the company logo, which, I believe, included the image of Cora, the female. Dave had also sent stencils used to transfer the Kai image onto the sides of police "K-9" cars. He explained that police departments all over the country were using these stencils. They were being used in Germany, too.

In the letter, Dave was apologetic. He said he felt bad that she wasn’t getting royalties. I’m sure my mom didn’t care about that. Besides, she told me, Dave owned the painting. She had sold it to him, and so he had every right to use it.

I asked Sierra if she still had the sweatshirt and the stencils. Off she went looking for them. After a few minutes, she returned with the shirt. It was in a bag and it was as good as new:


She said that she thought the stencils were up in the old “Hobbit hutch,” my family’s name for an old dilapidated structure that my parents once used for painting. They don’t paint much anymore. Nowadays, they’re into pottery and sculpture.

I headed up there. It’s a real rat-hole, up against the hill, right above my parents’ private road. I could find no stencils. But I did find interesting things.

Mostly, the shed is filled with old paintings—some on canvas, some on board—leaning against each other. The weather—the sun and moisture—and even the rats had gotten to them. In the case of some paintings that were directly exposed to sunlight coming through the dirty windows, the paint had mostly peeled away. The paintings that were stacked along the wall were very dusty and dirty.

I didn’t find the stencils, but I did find some of my mom’s old animal paintings, though most of them lay flat one on top of another in flat drawers. I focussed mostly on the paintings that were stacked along the walls.

Here’s one that was probably painted some time before the Kai & Cora episode:


I had to wash it down to really see the image. Even after that, it looked grimy and dark. Later, I photographed it, downloaded it to my Mac, and then Photoshopped it. I tried the “auto level” button, and, voila! For once, that button pretty much did the trick. (Later, I’ll actually clean up the painting. That’s tricky.)

I kept digging. One painting was a real surprise, and it brought back lots of memories. In the early seventies, my beautiful and silly German cousin Tina had visited my folks for several months. (This was while I was attending UCI.) She didn’t speak a word of English. Still, she managed quickly to become part of the family. She’s was—still is—a great gal, full of fun and full of wild gestures and great emotions. We took her everywhere. She charmed the pants off of everybody.

Evidently, my mother had started a portrait of her. It’s pretty badly damaged, but there’s no doubt who it is:


Well, I’ll be spending some time working my way through all this stuff in the crummy old "Hobbit hutch." (I seem to be the family historian and archivist.) I won’t go on and on about all the things that I found there today.

Well, there was one thing. Evidently, my whole family had attended one of the wild parties given by one of my Professors/advisors in grad school. This would have been about 1980. I don’t know how it happens, but, somehow, my family ends up knowing everybody that I know. The “wild party” Professor—a famous philosopher of religion!—had visited my folks on several occasions, too. I don’t get it, but there it is.

My sister was at the party, too. She’s an artist, and she took lots of photographs. Later, she developed the photos—they were pretty wild—into these 1 1/2-inch square “portraits,” exhibiting every imaginable emotion or attitude. She assembled these geometrically upon a large board. The resulting piece was a work of art. It was pretty wild. Pretty terrific.

Well, I found that thing—next to a large rat nest. It was covered in muck. Some of the photos were missing; others were damaged. I took it up to my place and started cleaning the photos, one by one.

The first one I cleaned—it was the first picture in the first row—was of my late brother Ray, who also attended the party. Ray was probably the funniest person I have ever known. I vaguely recall that he had entertained people, in his outrageous manner, quite successfully at this particular party, which occurred in a great little house near the ocean in Laguna Beach. Here’s the pic:

Ray would have been about 19 years old at the time. He's obviously giving my sister a dirty look. I loved the guy.

Later in the day, my mom called. She said that she had found some photos that I might want to look at. Among them was this one of my little brother Ray, standing before his “crop,” somewhere in Northern California (circa 1990):


I love this photo, which I've never seen before. It's so Ray.

If there are any Junior G-Men out there, well, just chill out. Ray’s long dead. And I don’t know where the photo was taken.

Ray knew the Latin names for everything. For instance, he knew the Latin names for all the varieties of vegetation in the Santa Anas. And he knew the Latin names of other vegetation, too.

He got into a lot of trouble, though not in the Santa Anas.

He sure did have a green thumb.

Evidently, Fidel Castro was at the party, too.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Ms. Sunny



A busy day for cadaver dogs

Site MeterSunny's been a big help, finishing grading. She creates a fine Gemütlichkeit.

I remember seeing a Kamikaze rocket plane like this one at one of the many El Toro Marine Base air shows in the 1960s. Incredibly cool!


CHECK UNDER THE FLOORBOARDS. They’re tearing up the buildings at the old El Toro Marine base to make way for the “Great Park.” (Base under destruction.) Way cool. I do hope they're on the lookout, though, for bodies and such. Jake, it's Orange County.


REALPOLITIK, TICK, TICK. Yesterday, the OC Reg’s Martin Wisckol (Total buzz) reported that the notorious Tan “Stand by your Tan” Nguyen case continues, and the decision whether to file charges will likely be made before January 8:
Just heard from Nathan Barankin at the state Attorney General's Office and he said the investigation continues into the controversial letter sent out by erstwhile Congressional candidate Tan Nguyen's campaign. The letter, mailed to foriegn-born [sic] Latino voters, was condemned by both Democrats and Republicans as an attempt at voter intimidation.....
Intimidation. That's Trustee Fuentes' department. Fuentes was among Nguyen's advisors.


SUB-A-DUB-DUB HUBBUB. After nine years of abject mothballery, those old Disneyland SUBMARINES are getting hosed out and painted for use in some kind of NEMO ride, at Disneyland of course. See Bringing sub ride out of mothballs. I think they should bring back that daffy "Home of the Future" ride too. Made by Monsanto, wasn't it? I vaguely recall standing in that place in the late 50s. "Mom, how come this place stinks?" Answer: "It doesn't stink, Chunky. That's just the plastic. Plastic is good. Go ahead, Chunky. Sniff it! Sniff the future!"


AGENDA: JE NE SAIS QUOI. Looks like the Capistrano Unified School District board is going to court, owing to its evident failure properly to agendize a lengthy closed session a while back. See Capistrano Unified district's closed sessions get trial date. The trustees tried the old “when you evaluate somebody, everything is relevant” gambit as a way to get around proper notification/agenda requirements.

In '59, I was there, sniffin' the future.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Chunk's folks: howling and creating


I TELL PEOPLE that I was raised by wolves in the mountains of British Columbia, and that's true, but it might give 'em the wrong idea.

For one thing, my folks are artists. In my family, everybody is some kind of artist. Well, everybody is several kinds of artist. I'm not saying they're any good at it. That doesn't really matter. But they're always making things, and then they're making more things.

It's the holiday season, and I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy. Could be these crazy socks. Anyway, I'm gonna do something different; I'll show you some of my family's artwork that somehow ended up in my house--er, my lair. It's a totally random sample.

For starters, my pop did the painting above. My mom was the model. He used to paint all the time. I seem to recall that he won 1st Prize at the Orange County Fair, amateur oil painting division, thirty or so years ago. He doesn't seem to paint anymore.

These days, mostly my folks work in clay. Here's a plate that my dad did a few years ago. I keep it in my living room. I used to have an even better one that he did, but somebody stomped on it. That can happen, if you don't watch out.

My mom makes lots of clay pots and whatnot. Here's one she made a while back:

Actually, I kinda messed up the photograph, so it looks darker than it really is. But I like it.

Here's another pot--or something--Mom made. I'll drop by their shop, and I'll be looking at one of these things, and she'll just say, "Want it?" Usually, I'll say, "sure."

A friend of mine finds his way to my folks' workshop as often as he can just on the chance that my mom'll offer him one of her pots.

Here's one of my favorites:

Actually, I've got lots more of these things, but I don't want to over-do it. There are literally hundreds of pots and jars and paintings and sculptures and photos sitting' around the property, at my parents' house, at friends' houses, here and there.

Next time, I'll show you my sister's "Easter Goose," which she did for the American Cancer Society or something. I forget. One time she was over my place and she spotted this laminated and folded thingy that I had bought. It showed all the flora and fauna of the hills around here. She picked it up, looked at it, and said, "I did this."

You know the German Shepherd image you see on the side of K-9 police cars? Well, it's adapted from a painting my mom did more than twenty years ago of a dog owned by a cop that my parents knew. They met him--the cop and the dog--at a "Schutzhund" club, but that's another story.

I remember the guy, named Jim or Rick Weaver, I think. He was a health nut. Rode his bike thirty or forty miles a day.

I think he was in his early 50s when he suddenly died of a heart attack.

People go like that sometimes.

I've got a bad cold, and so don't expect any of this to make sense. I just did this, that's all, like the rest of my howling, lunatic family. Here it is.

Love 'em, though.

Ahhwooooo... Werewolves of Trabuco, Ahwooooo!
Ahhwooooo... Werewolves of Trabuco, Ahwooooo!

Letting Go


It's that time of year.

Me, we travel to this place (some call it the poor man's Galapagos) on the Sea of Cortez, about a third of the way down the bony finger of Baja California, where the desert meets the sea in ways I have only known in Greece (think Mani) and we let go. The whole year ends there and another begins. Yes, we know it's just a construct, these calendar pages but at the same time it's a useful construct and the earth does turn and the days do begin to grow again. The light gets longer, the darkness shorter. We come back from our week, our 10 days, our fortnight and we're ready to do it again. Something about the sea there, the rocks, the sea turtles, the people who care for them, the creak of the pelicans' wings, the flash of the fish jumping from the water, the islands, over a dozen jutting out from the blue, the quiet sunrises, the enormity of the spreading sand, the white beauty of the animal and bird bones I find there every year bleached by years in the sun. Years. Bahia de los Angeles.

Years ago, John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts were frightened of what they found there. Read all about it in "The Log from the Sea of Cortez." We were too, our first trip. It was too much. Now it no longer is. It is just right.

We let go of a lot of things this year, some willingly, many not so. It was hard. Still is.

I wake some mornings and imagine that death—a stooped figure—cackles in the corner of my bedroom. Death is a bad actor, a stock character whose cheesiness embarrasses me; after all, my consciousness must have created the creature. Still, it is forceful, frightening despite its cartoonish nature, persistent. This has got to stop, I tell myself, I tell the dream figure before it fades. But, of course, it won't. Death lives with life. Those bones on the beach, the ones beneath my own skin, my friends, my family, those in the family of things here, known to me and unknown, all living and dead.


And now, another Mary Oliver poem for my friend who I don't see often enough but who was kind enough to write:

In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

- Mary Oliver

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Forcing the issue can suck



▼▲ BACK IN THE 60s, I was a Boy Scout, a member of Troop 850 in Villa Park. Later, my dad and I started a troop in the Anaheim Hills (Troop 536, sponsored by Trinity Lutheran Church).

In those days, attitudes were different of course. Scoutmasters routinely led kids in rituals of simple-minded “love it or leave it” patriotism. My troop admired the local Marines. (I still admire them pretty much as I did then.) But I don’t recall any Scout leader ever supporting or even mentioning the war. The war was viewed as too political, too much a matter of personal opinion (among parents—kids didn't talk much about the war).

And I don’t recall an emphasis on religion. For us Scouts, religion came up as an annoying break in the fun on Sunday mornings on campouts. For an hour, Protestants would go off to do their thing and Catholics would go off to do theirs. (Other groups were accommodated whenever possible.) Mostly, though, religion was viewed as each Scout’s private business. And if a kid was a non-believer, an effort was usually made to keep him out of the crosshairs of bigotry.

I do not recall homosexuality being addressed in any way. Admittedly, Boy Scout leaders viewed male homosexuality as most people did in those days. But there was no explicit policy about it or against it. No one ever talked about it.

● WELL, AS YOU KNOW, that changed. Much later, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) embraced an explicit policy of exclusion of atheists and, especially, gays. Back in 2002, the BSA adopted a Resolution according to which
…homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the traditional values espoused in the Scout Oath and Law and … an avowed homosexual cannot serve as a role model for the values of the Oath and Law
I appreciate the problem for BSA posed by Scout leaders who are “avowed homosexuals” (although there’s avowed and then there’s avowed). It isn’t always good to force an issue as some gay Scout leaders evidently did. Sometimes, that sort of thing makes matters worse.

But why did the BSA have to embrace the notion that “homosexual conduct” is contrary to Scout values? Why go there?

So the BSA went where it went, and that involved the BSA self-identifying as a kind of private religious organization that excludes certain people.

● A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION? Well, the BSA may want to find the guy who counsels Scouts on their “Litigation” merit badges, ‘cause the California Supreme Court will soon consider whether the BSA are ineligible for receiving state aid, seeing as how they’re some kind of religious organization! Here are excerpts from this morning’s San Francisco Chronicle (High court may take up question of Scouts' religious status):
Six years ago, the Boy Scouts convinced the U.S. Supreme Court that their deep-seated principles gave them a constitutional right to exclude gays and atheists. Now the California Supreme Court has been asked to look at the other side of that coin—whether the Scouts are a religious organization ineligible for certain types of government aid….

U.S. District Judge Napoleon Jones ruled in 2003 that the Scouts—who require members and leaders to believe in God, and who have numerous faith-based programs—are a "religious organization with a religious purpose and a faith-based mission.'' He said the city's preferential treatment, granting a no-bid lease [of property, in San Diego] to the Scouts for a nominal fee, was therefore unconstitutional.

The federal appeals panel wants the state Supreme Court to decide whether the lease violates the state Constitution's strict bans on government aid and preferences for religious institutions….
The ACLU is involved. It doesn’t look good for the BSA.

● ACCORDING TO JUBAL at the conservative OC Blog, the “The Orange County United Way has cut all funding to the Orange County Council [OC Boy Scouts] from 2006-2009.” That factoid yesterday inspired the OC Register’s Steven Greenhut to opine: “The [OC United Way] has given some excuse for no longer funding the scouts, but the Boy Scouts have been long under attack for not accepting gays.”

Greenhut could be right about the United Way’s true motives, I suppose.

● "FORGET THAT ORDER." This stuff reminds me of a story told by former WAC Johnnie Phelps.
(Note: since I first wrote this post, I have become aware that some knowledgeable, if partisan, individuals assert that Phelps' account is fabricated or the result of delusion. See, for instance, the research of Lois Beck, Pat Jernigan, Margaret Salm.)
Phelps claimed to have an encounter with General Dwight Eisenhower (when, according to her, she served on his staff during the postwar occupation of Europe) in which Ike saw the wisdom in not forcing the "lesbian" issue. Here’s Randy Shilt’s account (see page 107) of that conversation:
…Phelps admired Eisenhower as a soldier’s soldier who genuinely cared for his troops and would never order them to do something he would not do himself. Out of respect for Eisenhower, Phelps would never have lied to him, which was why she knew how to answer the day he called her into his office and said he had heard reports that there were lesbians in the WAC battalion. He wanted a list of their names, he said, so he could get rid of them. That, Phelps suspected, would be a tall order, since she estimated 95 percent of the WAC battalion … was lesbian.

“Yes, sir,” Phelps said to the general, according to her later account. She would make the list, if that was the order. Then she reminded Eisenhower that the WAC battalion at his headquarters was one of the most decorated in the Army. It performed superbly, had the fewest unauthorized absences, the least number of venereal-disease cases, and the most infrequent number of pregnancies of any WAC group anywhere. Getting rid of the lesbians would mean losing competent file clerks, typists, and a large share of the headquarters’ key personnel. “I’ll make your list,” Phelps concluded in her crackling North Carolina accent, “but you’ve got to know that when you get the list back, my name’s going to be first.”

Eisenhower’s secretary, also in the room, corrected the sergeant. “Sir,” the secretary said, “if the General pleases, Sergeant Phelps will have to be second on the list. I’m going to type it. My name will be first.”

According to Phelps, Eisenhower looked at her, looked at the secretary, shook his head, and said, “Forget that order. Forget about it.”
(For a discussion of the factual refutation of Phelps' story, see comments below.)

▼▲ This morning, I read about some undertakers making a beefcake calendar for charity: R.I.P. the shirt!. See the pic (Men of Mortuaries) above. I put it up there to catch your eye. I can be tricky like that.

Um, plus it’s a slow news day.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Good news and bad news for veterans & historiphiles


THE LAST OF JOHN LENNON'S FBI FILES. As you know, UCI's John Wiener, a friend to DISSENT & Dissenters, is known for his work, as a historian, on secret FBI investigations and files. Check out articles in today's New York Times and LA Times concerning files re Lennon that had been withheld for more than 25 years for security reasons but that have at long last been released. Turns out the security reasons were bogus all along.

Trust the government? I think not.

SHOW ME THE MONEY. There are lots of unhappy campers among local veterans this morning. They're pissed, but things could be a lot worse.

The OC Supervisors OKed a plan that would preserve the north blimp hangar of the old Tustin Marine Air Station by offering it to a corporation that would turn it into a sports complex. Hence, it now seems, the hangar won’t become a military museum, as some had hoped.


On the other hand, it seems likely that Industrial Realty Group Inc. (IRG), unlike the veterans group that proposed a museum, really has the money to make their plan work.

And so at least the hangar is spared demolition. Don’t know yet about the south hangar.

The SOCCCD's Advanced Technology & Education Park (ATEP) is very near the north hangar. My own view is that, beyond keeping veterans and historiphiles happy, preservation of the north hangar would be good for ATEP and the SOCCCD and, so, should make us happy too.

From the OC Reg’s Military museum plan loses out:
Tustin's historic blimp hangar will be turned into a $100 million sports-themed complex called "Play" under a deal approved Tuesday by the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

The extensive plan by a private company beat out a proposal by veterans, who wanted to build a military museum….

The three supervisors who voted in favor of the deal … said the plan would preserve the iconic hangar without cost to taxpayers. Supervisor Bill Campbell, who represents Tustin, urged veterans to work with the developer, who plans a military memorial as part of the project…"Come up with something that honors what (military veterans) did and keep this blimp hangar here," Campbell said.

…The 17-story hangar, along with another one to the south, were built in 1942 and first used for the military blimps that patrolled the coast. They have become part of Orange County's geography and history, housing helicopters after the blimps were phased out and now being used for movie and commercial shoots. Tustin is still considering proposals for the south hangar….

Here’s the Register’s description of IRG’s plan:
What is 'Play'? The $100 million "Play" proposed by [IRG] is being billed as a sports, recreation and leisure center within the 150,000-square-foot blimp hangar. Plans include:

•Basketball, volleyball and gymnastics courts
•A 150-foot rock-climbing mountain
•A 25,000-square-foot "sports demonstration zone" for celebrity tennis matches, skateboarding half-pipes and BMX bike shows
•Two levels of sports-related retail stores and restaurants
•An entertainment plaza for outdoor concerts
•A 20,000-square-foot veterans exhibit
•A cinema complex
PHOTOS: NEAR ATEP & THE NORTH HANGAR:


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Family of Things


MORE POETRY today from Rebel Girl who is trying to muster up the energy to finish grading, compile the summer schedule, pack for Mexico and relate to you all the sad tale of her student and maybe yours who needs assistance perhaps more than he knows. More on that later but get your checkbooks ready. Rebel Girl has opened a savings account at the teachers credit union with his name on it and will be asking, soon, for your donations.

Meanwhile, poetry, from the inimitable Mary Oliver.

RG's colleague, L.T., who has given her many things through the years, both tangible and intangible, once gifted Rebel with a collection of Oliver's The Leaf and the Cloud, which introduced her to this fine poet.

Poetry helps—it does, it does! Here is some advice from William Carlos Williams (from "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower,") before the Oliver poem finally arrives:

"It is difficult/to get the news from poems/yet men die miserably every day/for lack/of what is found there."

Indeed. Another day I'll write the essay about how in high school I picked up William Carlos Williams in the library because I thought the middle name Carlos suggested he was of Mexican descent like me...For those of you who don't know, he isn't.

And now the poem:


Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Equity

Check out this new publication: Defending the Community College Equity Agenda

Discussed in this morning’s Inside Higher Ed

Monday, December 18, 2006

On the good ship Nincompoop

▲ DEMONIZING ADOLF? Remember (former SOCCCD trustee) Steve Frogue’s pal MICHAEL COLLINS PIPER? He used to work for Willis Carto's Spotlight, a wacked-out anti-Semitic newspaper. Nowadays he has a radio show on the nearly infinitesimal Republic Broadcasting Network called the “Piper Report.” I checked out Piper’s radio archive and found that among his guests has been Willis Carto. Need I say more? No, but I will.

Here’s a description of a recent show:
…Piper featured a provocative interview with [guests]… discussing … the fact that the primary reason why the United States and Britain were so determined to wage war against Adolf Hitler was because ... Hitler had begun to implement a bartering system ... in order to circumvent the machinations of the international banking houses in the sphere of influence of the infamous "City of London," the center of global finance operating under the control of the Rothschild family and their satellites in Europe and the United States….
Ah, the old “Jewish bankers” conspiracy theory. Piper is an idiot.

The description goes on to refer to the “controlled media” and its desire to “carp on and on about the much-talked about ‘Holocaust,’ which [the guest] noted, quite correctly, is the subject of much propaganda and exaggeration….”

Any nation today, it goes on to say, “that dares challenge the banking elite…will find itself and its leaders demonized by the mass media, precisely as Hitler was demonized and is demonized today.”

I wonder what Steve thinks about all this?

▲ THEY REALLY ARE LIKE THAT. In this morning’s Inside Higher Ed, there’s a mildly amusing story about a Harvard recruiting video that went badly wrong. The brief video was an attempt to make Harvard’s Economics Department website “more personal." Unfortunately, the two professors who appear in the video come across as “stodgy and stereotypically self-important.”

Yup, they sure do. At first, their performance looks like a parody of, well, the Harvard Econ Department. But no. One soon realizes that everything one feared might be true about such a place is indeed all-too-true.

Naturally, the video found its way onto YouTube, whereupon it inspired parodies and the like.

On YouTube, one poster wrote “It’s like watching paint dry.” Another poster responded: “I didn’t think it was quite that exciting.”

Reminds me of Chancellor Mathur's attempt to seem human a year or so ago. He played Carnac, the old Johnny Carson character. My guess is that, after Raghu bombed, he immediately went backstage to kill the poor guy or gal who suggested the "humanizing" gambit.

Raghu, let me offer you some advice. Just be yourself. If, in your heart, you want to tyrannize underlings and pulverize detractors, then just come right out and say so. People love honesty. Then, if possible, get some tears going. Ask the Lord for forgiveness. People love penitence.

Plus, if you do this, I promise to send you a check for $50. That's fifty dollars, American.

▲ DINOSAURS ON THE GOOD SHIP NINCOMPOOP. This morning’s New York Times has a story about a High School kid in New Jersey who secretly tape recorded his teacher proselytizing in class: Talk in Class Turns to God:
…[T]he teacher told his sixth-period students at Kearny High School that evolution and the Big Bang were not scientific, that dinosaurs were aboard Noah’s ark, and that only Christians had a place in heaven….

“If you reject his gift of salvation, then you know where you belong,” Mr. Paszkiewicz was recorded saying of Jesus. “He did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he took your sins on his own body, suffered your pains for you, and he’s saying, ‘Please, accept me, believe.’ If you reject that, you belong in hell.”….
Get this: the community has largely sided with the teacher, not the student, who has received a death threat.

▲ SARAH TURNS FOUR. Went to my niece’s birthday party yesterday, which had a "dinosaur" theme. Sarah is smart; I'm sure she's clear that dinosaurs were never on an ark. "How would they all fit?" she'd say (if I were to ask, which I won't). I took a few snaps.

This is Sarah, who turned 4. She's a great kid.

Here’s her close pal and cousin Liliana.

Liliana let go her balloon, and we all watched it drift into the clear blue yonder.

There we all were, staring into the distance, imagining the perspective of a little balloon, so high in the cold winter sky.

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