Saturday, April 14, 2007

Trainspotting in Irvine (Jeffrey Rd.)

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Fear and loathing an' high wages

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A CULTURE OF FEAR

This morning, I read an article in the New York Times about Charles B. Wang, the founder and former chairman of a software company. The company’s board just issued a report that accuses Wang of overseeing an accounting fraud that lasted ten years.

According to the report, Mr. Wang was tyrannical and unscrupulous:

Mr. Wang created a “culture of fear” at Computer Associates—now called CA—and deliberately put inexperienced executives in senior positions so that he would have more control, according to the report. He discouraged executives from meeting with each other and arbitrarily fired managers or employees who disagreed with him…“Fraud pervaded the entire CA organization at every level, and was embedded in CA’s culture, as instilled by Mr. Wang, almost from the company’s inception,” the report said.

THE RAG GOO MONSTER


Gosh, that reminds me of the SOCCCD, albeit mostly the SOCCCD of yore.

I said “mostly.” Lately, we’ve been hearing that our own Charles Wang—Chancellor Raghu P. Mathur—has been on a tear, wagging that finger and popping those veins at everyone—at everyone except, of course, his “bosses,” the trustees.

Have you seen the ashen faces, the wide eyes, the peculiar diffidence and scared-shitlessness?

If you aren’t paying attention, Mathur can seem pretty reasonable, even charming, for a while. But if you hang around him long enough—and if you aren’t one of his “bosses”—you’ll eventually see his dark side. At such times, all his blather about “respect” and “not pointing a finger at others” flies out the window. He’s a Tasmanian Devil, a monster.

Nobody ever believes in the fabled Rag Goo Monster—until, that is, they actually witness it. There are many skeptics. On the other hand, over the years, many have witnessed the fiend, and they all bear the scars of their encounter.

Reportedly, these days, Mathur’s not just on a tear; he’s on a tear to end all tears. The monster has returned for the bloodiest sequel of all.

Don’t know why.

I keep hearing that faculty leaders and administrators of our benighted district are suddenly on Mathur's shitlist. Tenured faculty don't need to worry about that too much. Administrators do.

If you're vulnerable, you don't wanna be prey for the Rag Goo Monster. It's a horrible fate. Something happens. The monster then grows quiet. He slips into darkness. He sweats and stinks and yowls hideously.

Awful semi-rational Mathurian calculations then ensue.

PLAQUES


Last week, a friend wondered aloud why Wayne Ward, IVC’s former Director of F&M, received a plaque from the board of trustees. “I mean, he only worked here for two years!” said the friend. “He was nothing but trouble the whole time! Lots of grievances against him were working their way through the system,” he added.

Yes, the plaque episode was odd. I said as much. My friend then asked: “Do you think that you or I would get a plaque if we quit?"

I recalled a moment several years ago, when Mathur was still President of Irvine Valley College. A year or so before, he had hired Rod Poindexter as dean of Health Sciences, PE and Athletics, passing over a much more qualified candidate (natch, she’s now suing Mathur for discrimination). Almost immediately, Poindexter had proven to be a disaster, committing a series of outrageous blunders, clashing noisily and repeatedly with employees. Eventually, he would be dismissed after a series of embarrassing news reports about violent altercations and ugly lawsuits.

I happened to be in the PE building. Poindexter was still the dean, but his incompetence and volatility were by then legendary. I looked at the glass case in the hallway. For a moment, I was amazed at what I spotted there. It was an award, a trophy.

IVC’s student government had chosen Poindexter as its “administrator of the year”!


In those days, owing to Mathur’s ascendency, faculty assumed (with justice in some cases) that fraud tainted at least some awards processes, especially those associated with IVC’s student government. At the time, the student government president was close to Mathur (the fellow has since gone on to various minor posts in Republican politics; these days, he serves on IVC’s Foundation board). He was notorious for doing Mathur’s bidding.

At one point, the kid wrote a letter to the Times, commending “Raghu Mathur for four years of superb service to the college as president.” According to the student, IVC had been beset, not by a tyrannical rights-violating college president, but by “rebel faculty…and a small number of students” who “have tried to make our campus a war zone by using hate literature….”

Hate literature? That was a reference to Dissent, which Mathur had publicly condemned in just those terms.

I wrote the student a letter. Referring to his accusations, I wrote:

I hereby request that you show me exactly what it is that I have written or published that constitutes “hate literature.” If I…or some unnamed person or persons…[are] to be publicly charged with “using hate literature” by you, surely you are obliged to provide evidence…I await your response.

Naturally, I never heard from the fellow.

Perhaps the best examples of fraud—understood as “deceit” or “trickery,” Perry Mason fans—are the College Accreditation reports produced nearly a decade ago by Mathur’s appointee Ray Chandos. Those who wish to relive those golden years of bold bowdlerization and blatant bunkum are urged to read Dissent’s IVC Accreditation White-Wash.


MAY ADMINISTRATORS GET SO LUCKY

Yesterday, at IVC (yes, some instructors work on Fridays), I was talking with colleagues after my morning class. We talked about the good things about our jobs—the fact, for instance, that we need only walk down the hall to find knowledgeable persons with whom we can engage in intelligent and informed conversation—about politics, biology, psychology, geology, and whatnot. —The fact that we spend our days explaining and discussing matters about which we are truly interested. —The fact that, in our particular building at least, we can work with decent people, actually achieving things, making things better. We marveled at our good fortune.

We are indeed lucky.

May our administrators someday be so lucky. —CW

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Meeting with Congressman Gary Miller, GASBAG

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«Posted for RED EMMA!»

EIGHT OF US FROM THE CANYONS met with Congressman Gary Miller (R-CA) on Wednesday, April 11, in beauteous Brea, at his district office, which is decorated with vintage Nixon election posters, I shit you not. The 42nd district is Nixon, Reagan, Bush and Wally George country, friends. It is gerrymandered (thanks also to the Democrats) to include only the most reactionary of the right-wing in a dozen cities and three counties!

Attending this meeting were attractive and handsomely dressed citizens Jan, Steve, Debbie, Ed, Linda, Lorraine, Dion—and Red Emma. Miller shook hands with everybody and insisted on asking us our first names. He then repeated our names to us, as if reminding us of them.

We all thanked each other for being there and I opened by asking the Congressman to hold a TOWN FORUM or TOWN HALL MEETING on the war.

Yes, Red likes a challenge.

I suggested that everybody there at the big shiny wooden table was against the war and eager for it to end and that the Congressman should host a public discussion on that theme. I had already been discouraged from this very proposal by his aide a few weeks earlier. Miller, who offers a kind of Reagan-Chuck Heston-cowboy-jock persona, opined that nobody ever comes to his town forums (he didn’t seem disappointed) and that he did not have time for that since “the Democrats have us on a five day working schedule to do two days’ work.”


That was supposed to be funny. He grinned, which frightened me. But I persisted, offering what I thought were some winning reasons for both educating and hearing from his constituents, people like us (well, exactly like us, maybe only us) with sponsorship from the League of Women Voters or anybody he liked. I mentioned media sponsors like the OC Register, LA Times and OC Weekly. He responded by stating that he was planning some kind of telephone conference call mass-meeting—if I understood him correctly—which seemed to me to be a whole bunch of people listening to him instead of listening and watching—as we were doing, god help us, the big gasbag.

He just would not stop about how darn busy he was. I interrupted (interrupting him turned out to be easy, and fun!) to ask if this planned virtual-meeting would focus on the war in particular, and he said—surprise!—“No,” and then told us that immigration was in fact his constituents’ number one issue, not the war.

He summoned a chubby and fawning aide (Miller is a big man. Weirdly, everybody on his staff is small. Think Willy Wonka and the tiny Oompaloompas) to nod at this assertion. I tried again to suggest that the war should be a priority, regardless, and that we wanted a forum, and that it would be good for Miller to make it an issue because he was our elected representative and George Washington had wooden teeth and Betsy Ross knitted a horse.


Somebody from our band of citizen lobbyists bravely offered that we could get “a hundred people, easy” to come out for such an event in the canyons alone, which was so frightening an announcement that Miller turned from arguing with me, and asked to hear from others. Steve jumped in, identifying himself as a Vietnam-era veteran, opposed to the war, the lies, the waste.

Steve was thoughtful and beautiful, and he wears a suit nicely. Miller, who is not only large but physically quite painful to look at (big white teeth, orange hair, skin courtesy of Madame Tussauds) offered some pro-military bromides about sacrifice, identifying a whole cemetery-full of wounded and dead family and friends. He was, pathetically if unshyly, trying to out-military our vet. It was the obvious “Support the Troops” red herring, meant to shame us into—what, I wonder? Changing our minds? Enlisting?

Thankfully, Ed jumped in, dislodging a few body parts and military dead now strewn across the shiny polished table, with an eloquent economic critique about the failing health of the nation’s markets and trade, offering that the war was harming our status and financial future. Miller disagreed, though I was not sure with what, exactly. It was hard to follow, and since I read only Paul Krugman in the liberal capitalist paper of record, perhaps the dismal science lesson here eluded me.

Or maybe Miller is just full of shit. At any rate, he disagreed a lot. And talked a lot. Jan had warned us that, during a recent lobby day, she had met with him and couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Miller said he disagreed with Steve too, by the way, and that “win or lose” he was not in favor of a “date certain” end to the war. He said he supported benchmarks.

I thought of a bench. Thinking of the bench made me want to carve my name or a dirty word on it, and I had to hold my hand back so I wouldn’t start whittling away on the big shiny table. Still, I couldn’t get that phrase “win or lose” out of my head. It sort of wiggled around in there like a small insect or, increasingly, a big insect and then a real big one, maybe Mothra.

Interrupting, I tried to get Miller to explain what “win” meant, and what “lose” meant. I really did. I should have asked what a benchmark might look like—say, 100 more dead for a month, two hundred dead in six weeks?

Linda asked him to consider the war profiteering, and he responded, unbelievably, by saying that fraud was built into all programs. He pointed to fraud and abuse surrounding—yes, hold on, wait, here it comes!—Hurricane Katrina relief. This is, of course, ironic for so many reasons, not the least of which is named George Bush.

Linda, who does not suffer fools, tried to link the war to the opportunism and theft of the war industry, going all cause and effect on him, whence Miller, no slouch, reminded us that he was on the oversight committee (more irony), and that there was abuse and fraud everywhere!

I think “everywhere” includes his office, but I did not mention that, nor did I mention the part about him being investigated by the FBI for, yes, fraud. (See Most corrupt, Ex-Aids allege abuse of power, Gary Miller can always get what he wants.)


I did mention Blackwater and KBR, but he looked at me like I had just stepped on his toe or eaten his puppy, which I would have at this point. I kept going back to his job of discussing the war with his constituents, but he again said that immigration and not the war was “our number one issue” and that he was only one Congressman, and that the war was not his committee and that he got along with Democrats, and was a pal of Barney Frank, and that they wrote legislation together, how about that?

That was pretty darn subtle political insider stuff, I guess, as I think I read somewhere that Barney is gay while Miller is a member of the Sonrise Christian School, whose mission it is "To create an environment where children can experience the love of Jesus as they grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man." So see what a cool guy Gary is. Some of my best friends are homosexual illegal immigrants.

I recalled his foolish views about punishing undocumented Mexicans. I almost interrupted to say that immigration was also not one of his committees. I wanted to make sure of that fact. At home, later, after taking a few recreational painkillers, I looked it up. No, in fact Miller is not on any committees directly dealing with immigration. (See committee memberships.)

I interrupted again (I was getting good at it), advising him that I understood how committees worked, and didn’t need a civics lesson. He got a little pissy. I went back to the town hall forum idea (the only horses I ride are dead ones) and he said, finally, that he would take it under consideration or something to that effect.

Soon a cherub or some other flying creature, perhaps one of the monkeys from Oz, arrived to tell the Congressman that our fifteen minutes were over and his next appointment (no doubt the Ghost of Richard Nixon Support Committee) was waiting for him. After shaking and thanking again, I made a bee-line for Steve T, the tallest little aide, with whom I’d met earlier, and asked him when Miller would be in the district again, and when we might think about a town forum. Meanwhile, my fellow citizen lobbyists chatted with Miller, Debbie giving him some moral and political instruction about not killing people. She made direct eye contact (brave woman!) and gave him what she calls the “John Nichols 10-10-10” in an attempt to bring a sense of urgency to ending what she calls “this senseless carnage” (I don’t think she meant the meeting). Here it is:

Every 10 minutes an Iraqi dies
• Every 10 hours an American dies
• Every 10 days we spend 10 billion of our national treasury


Thus ended our citizen lobbying effort. Methinks we showed a lot of restraint. Nobody once mentioned the bit about Miller being investigated for fraud as the result of not one, but two bogus land deals. (Naturally, he was a “developer” before being elected).

Of course, if you visit the above link you could choose to embrace further despair (and who doesn’t need more of that?) by noting that this crook is, yes, a member of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, where he is the Ranking Minority Member.

Which is just pretty darned perfect. —RE

Gem or turd, it'll be a landmark

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TOOK MY CAMERA TO WORK TODAY. I figured I'd take some new snaps of the Irvine Valley College Performing Arts Center. It's still under construction, but it should be completed in a few months.

You know how people are: they see some big new thing, and so they naturally offer their opinion about its appearance. You don't have to ask 'em for it. They'll give it to you anyway.

At IVC, everybody's got an opinion about this thing. Some like it. Some think it looks like a Best Buy.

Me, I kinda like it.

I admit that it looks kinda weird and edgy. But I like weird and edgy.

I'd have chosen a different color, but, hey, this will do.

Near as I can figure, the thing is gonna be way cool on the inside. My guess: it will be impossible to be unimpressed by its innards, whatever one may think of its lurid hide.

The dang thing better be good somehow, 'cause it's seriously big.

Turd or gem: it'll be a landmark.

Nothing's ever been big at IVC. At IVC, we've only known dinky. This is our first Big Thing.

My money's on this thing turning out well. Naysayers can go pound sand, I say. —CW

P.S.: OK, maybe it does look a little like a Best Buy. But people LIKE Best Buy, don't they?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hey kids! Let's put on a book burning!


     4/11/07 WEDNESDAY, at approximately 10:45, a college administrator who is responsible for community relations and fundraising approached Rebel Girl in her office. Chunk was there too, ensconced in his new ergonomically correct office chair, swiveling mildly, as if preparing for a stint in the space program. The administrator is a cheerful sort, and bounces with the kind of energy that Rebel Girl envies, but is also frightened by.
     The administrator—let's call him Mickey, shall we?—inquired if she had ever heard of book burning.
     “Sure,” she replied, wondering where he was going with this opening gambit.
     “Have you ever heard of any famous ones?”
     “Why sure,” she said, and she proceeded to talk about the reception John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath received in California by Chamber of Commerce types when it was first published, noting that the anniversary was fast approaching and adding that a book on that very subject was due out soon, written by a local acclaimed journalist. Reb really talks like this, Wiki-entry style. Helpful, right?
     "Well," Mickey said, "I was thinking that we need to better advertise our library and this college as an important resource for the community."
     Reb wasn’t completely following Mickey's train of thought (choo-choo) but she began to hope that what he meant would amount to some kind of scholarly lecture or talk, a series maybe, fully funded with honoraria and a budget and an invitation extended, perhaps, to that local journalist and others. She was, as you can see, already designing the flier and filling the seats. There’d be coffee and cookies, a tower of brownies and bottled water. Rebel Girl would do the introductions.
     “Oh yeah,” she said, “what kind of thing are you thinking about?”
     “Well,” Mickey went on, “the library, it has a lot of books it has to discard, right? Old books, books that are replaced. Sometimes it’s a problem.”
     “What do you mean?” Somehow, she knew at that moment, that her fantasy would remain just that, an unfunded fantasy.
     “We could have a book burning,” Mickey said. “It would get a lot of attention and we could use it to publicize the college.” He flashed her that winning smile of his that must have helped him land his position. Before he came to us, Mickey was in service to a series of local elected grinning Republicans.
     It’s difficult to faithfully describe this scene without further describing Mickey’s typical demeanor, distinguished by a kind of wide-eyed eagerness often found in movies from the 30s, Depression-era black-and-white films meant to warm our hearts. Think Mickey Rooney and young Judy Garland. Shirley Temple. His, like theirs, are the kind of eyes that literally shine with hope: “Hey kids! Let’s put on a show!”
     Or, in this case: “Hey, kids! Let’s put on a book burning!”


     “No,” Rebel Girl said, “we can’t do that.” Her fantasy had been trumped. There would be no speaker series, no salon on the politics of censorship. That ship had sailed. It had sunk, crashed on the reefs, been torn down like, say, a clock tower infested with termites or a sign on a greenhouse. She found it hard to look at Mickey, at his eager eyes, and instead she examined her new office chair, blue, ergonomically correct, a twin to Chunk's, delivered last week.
     Astronaut Chunk had crash landed. Zero gravity. Think Mercury Seven.
     “Why not?” Mickey wanted to know.
     “You can’t burn books to advertise the college. You can’t. It’s not what we do." (Yes, I really said this.)
     “I think it would be great,” he continued. “We could get lots of publicity, use up the old books."
     Earlier, Chunk had re-entered orbit, and had asked, “And what would be the point of that?” (Chunk has a bit of the Oscar Wilde about him.) He was asking about why we, the college, would burn books. He kept waiting for, as he told me later, Mickey to explain the point of doing that. He hoped that Mickey would pull a rabbit out of a hat, but no. Not a rabbit. Not a duck. Not anything. Actually, there was no hat either.
     Mickey looked at Reb with that smile of his that suggested that he still believed he could sell this modest proposal to her, “And you could be the one who lights the fire!”
     “No,” she said. “Not me.” She eyed the clock and began gathering her materials for class.
     “But you’re such a rebel,” Mickey said, still smiling. He grinned like we were sharing a private joke.
     “Not that kind of rebel,” she replied. “You’ve got me wrong.”
     She began to wonder if the college president had put Mickey up to this, had paid him to come over here and make this proposal, push her into a big practical joke, like the kind where your best pal kneels down behind the dope and then somebody pushes him over. Maybe it went like this: Mickey, Mickey, the president said, I've got an idea! Go over to Rebel Girl's office and tell her we're going to put on a book burning! Maybe she'll fall for it and write about it in the blog! Har, har, har!
     Perhaps there were secret cameras and microphones in the offices as some have suggested. Have you seen the Sharper Image catalog? Maybe even now, at this moment, the college president and his buddies were having a good old laugh at Reb's expense ("Oh, that Rebel Girl, she's such a sap!") in the presidential suite, watching the image of me and Mickey on a screen transmitted by a pen in Mickey's breast pocket that was really, yes, a tiny camera.
     “Look, the Nazis burned books,” Reb told him, “I don’t think we should do that.”
     “We could spin it,” he suggested. “Show that while people used to burn books, now they don’t anymore. It could be a statement about the First Amendment.”
     “While we’re burning books? It doesn’t work. You can’t spin book burning.”
     This went on. And on. Really.
     Chunk tried to clarify a point for Mickey: “A radical might participate in this sort of thing, not because we used to burn books but now we don’t, but because we still burn books.” Chunk teaches logic and you've got to hand it to him, that seemed pretty darn logical.
     Then Reb launched into some examples, including the recent case of the banning of Newbery-award winning children's book, The Higher Power of Lucky, by L.A. librarian and writer Susan Patron. "People banned it," she informed Mickey, "because it had the word "scrotum" in it. On the first page."
     How much longer could this go on?


     Rebel Girl realized later that part of her distress, other than uttering the word "scrotum" aloud to Mickey in her office, had to do with the fact that she was just not prepared to participate in a discussion about organizing a book burning on a Wednesday morning. She had awoken this morning pretty confident that she would not be having this conversation, uttering "scrotum" or staring at Mickey's ballpoint pen.
     Desperation set in. She looked instead at the clock.
     "I have an 11:00 o'clock," she announced and practically pulled Chunk out of his new chair to accompany her. Safety was a modest concern. Sanity was a close second.
     They bade farewell to Mickey who looked as cheerful as always. The show would go on!
     The day was brilliant, that cloudless blue sky that seems to suggest everything is just fine on the little campus in the orange groves, but without the actual orange groves any more, or the fig tree either. The line at the coffee cart was long. The rose bushes were in full bloom if a little sticky with whitefly. Rebel Girl and Chunk marched across the green grass.
     Rebel Girl turned to Chunk. “Did Mickey really just suggest a book burning?”
     Chunk replied, “Indeed he did.” —RG
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     (written mostly by Rebel Girl, with a big assist from Red and the usual support from Chunk.)

The Chunk file


OK, I've got apples and oranges here.


Yesterday, I spent some time with my niece and nephew. Above: that's my niece, Sarah, checking out the leaves of a tree. She's some kinda nature girl. Loves lizards and frogs and stuff. She tells me that, when she grows up, she's gonna be a doctor and an "Iguanodon mother." She's pretty definite about that.


And here's my two-year-old nephew, Adam, preparing to roll his big Tonka dump truck down the hill near my place. He likes to watch it crash. He's a sweet kid.

Ran into these gals in the parking lot yesterday. They suddenly posed for me, so, naturally, I took a snap.

I won't tell you what one of 'em said, cuz I'm a gentleman. They're funny, boy.


Saw this great old Volvo, too. Very cool. You don't see many half-century old cars in Irvine. Everything's new or botoxed.

Earlier today, I accompanied Rebel Girl to her classroom—she was pretty steamed about something; you'll probably read about it here—and so I was along strictly for venting purposes. I said "absolutely" a few times.

By the time we got to her room, she'd mellowed out some, and so she showed me inside. "Check out the whiteboard and floor," she said. "Clean!"

She wore a look of astonishment. The students just stared.

"Wow," I said.




Here's my Congressman, Gary Miller, visting the set of a Civil War movie—this was about six years ago. He's a corrupt rat bastard and a supporter of the war, too. If you've been reading the paper, you already know that.


Here are his eyes. Part of me still thinks you can see who a person really is in their eyes. But that isn't true at all. Not at all.

—CW

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Well, duh



From Inside Higher Ed: MISALIGNED PRIORITIES:

Colleges rely on high schools to produce students who can do college-level work. But, according to a study released today, college professors and high-school educators don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on what the curriculum for college-prepared students should be.

The ACT’s National Curriculum Survey for 2005-2006 … highlights a “misalignment” gap that has persisted for the 30 years it’s been given, said Cynthia B. Schmeiser, president and chief operating officer of the ACT’s education division. “We haven’t seen it really getting any bigger, nor have we seen it getting any smaller,” Schmeiser said, but she noted that conversation on the topic was increasing….

…In math, … college instructors preferred an understanding of the fundamentals to a focus on higher-level study, while high-school teachers placed greater emphasis on the latter, such as statistics and graphical representations — often, colleges fear, to the detriment of the basics. In the sciences, college educators believe an understanding of the scientific process and investigative methods is more important than knowledge of specific content areas — again, the opposite of teachers’ focus in high school.

In English, the survey suggests, high school instructors’ focus on the development of students’ ideas overlooks basic grammatical and syntactic skills ….

We Get Mail!

~
POISON! Money! Murder! Orphan girl! Charmingly poor syntax!

Direct from Rebel Girl's email account, preserved in its original state, delivered to you uncorrected:

From Miss Marie-line David

Dear One
Greeting.

Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into business relationship with you.

I am Marie-line David the only daugther of late Mr and Mrs George David from the republic of sierra loene. My father was a very wealthy cocoa merchant based in Abidjan, the economic capital of Cote D'Ivoire before he was poisoned to death by his business associates on one of their outing to discuss on a business deal.

When my mother died on the 21st October 1984, my father took me so special because I am motherless. Before the death of my father on 27th June 2003 in a private hospital here in Abidjan. He secretly called me on his bedside and told me that he has a sum of $9.500.000 left in a security company here in Cote d'ivoire, that he used my name as her only daugther for the next of kin in deposit of the consignment.

Further more he also explained to me that it was because of this wealth and some huge amount of money his business associates supposed to balance him from the deal they had that he was been poisoned.He then advised that I should seek for a God fearing foreign partner in a country of my choice who will assist me retrieve this consignment and transfer this money and use it for investment purpose, then I would want you to provide your personal contacts including your phone/fax number for easier communication.

I am honourably seeking your assistance in the following ways.

1) I want you to help me retrieve this money from the security company here and transfer it to your account for onward investment in your country.

2) You are going to be the manager of this fund and also my personal guardian until I finished my studies as I'm just 22years old..

3) You are going to procure admission for me to continue my studies in one of the known university in your country.

4) Moreover, I am willing to offer you 15% of the sum as compensation for effort input after the successful retrieve of this consignment from the security company here. And I am willing to proceed with you as soon as I have your response.

Anticipating to hear from you soon.
miss Marie-line David.

Monday, April 9, 2007

"Conservative” freshmen: the Fox generation


In this morning’s Inside Higher Ed: 40 Years of Changes in the Student Body:

For four decades, the University of California at Los Angeles has administered the Cooperative Institutional Research Program Freshmen Survey, recording the values, attitudes and backgrounds of the high school graduates who will become the next batch of American college students. … Today, UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute is releasing a broad overview of trends gleaned from the survey. The report, “The American Freshman: Forty-Year Trends 1966–2006,” highlights some striking changes in the makeup of college freshman classes, many of which confirm widely reported trends — but not without a few surprising findings.

Among the trends reported:

Students are becoming more polarized. Moderates are in decline, and more are labeling themselves as either liberal or conservative. Another interesting finding (which might surprise David Horowitz) concerns campus speakers’ freedom to express themselves: “Over half (55.1 percent) of conservative (and far right) students believe that colleges have the right to ban extreme speakers compared to only 28.5 percent of liberal (and far left) students. Thus, not only may some polarizing issues divide students, but the method by which they engage each other in dialogue concerning these issues may also be a point of disagreement.”

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Gilchrist detects an “anarchist mentality” at universities



William Godwin…, the founder of philosophical anarchism…, argued that government is a corrupting force in society, perpetuating dependence and ignorance….

—The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

LIKE BILL O'REILLY, Jim Gilchrist is fond of straw men. Or maybe he's just incredibly clueless. Dunno.

From today’s San Bernardino Sun: Minuteman co-founder cancels visit to college
Jim Gilchrist believes Pomona College has an "anarchist mentality."

The Minuteman Project co-founder abruptly canceled an appearance at the school for that reason, citing his fear that the event could lead to someone being stabbed or killed.

…The characterization of the school as a violent, anarchist institution by the anti-illegal-immigration group's founder has left students and administrators stunned.

…A weeks-long private battle between Gilchrist, the Pomona Student Union and the college's newspaper… culminated with Gilchrist's appearance March 30 on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," where he first announced publicly his decision to cancel his participation in an immigration debate at the school.

…Gilchrist and host Bill O'Reilly talked for a few minutes about the punishment handed down to students at Columbia University in New York, where an October appearance by Gilchrist was disrupted by students who rushed the stage in protest….

"I've canceled here at Pomona College," Gilchrist said. "... I have canceled that presentation for the same reason that I should have canceled Columbia, because of an anarchist mentality on the universities, and it's a shame."

…"We've been very impressed by the students (who attend on-campus debates and speeches)," said Nick Eubank, a senior at the college and vice president of the Student Union. "They're all very respectful and are interested in challenging the speakers through questions."

Eubank cited a recent debate at the school that featured UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo, a controversial figure best known for writing legal memos while working for the Department of Justice that appeared to justify interrogation techniques that have been characterized as torture.

"We had some people protesting. They weren't students," Eubank said. "The students in the audience yelled at them and told them to go away, so they left."

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