Saturday, March 8, 2008

"Destroying the fabric of collegiality," 2000

.....Dissent presents another golden oldie, from January, 2000.
.....Chancellor "El Ced" Sampson targets "delegation of authority" to faculty.
....."Shared governance" may be law, but Steve Frogue is agin' it, or so he says. What an idiot.
.....Yep, he's against it. So's Dot Fortune; so's Johnny Boy.
.....For some reason, Don Wagner plays the bongos.
.....We're "destroying the fabric of collegiality" with this, says Dave.
....."I didn't do the research for this meeting," acknowledges Dot, but does that slow her down? It does not.
.....Hey, could we amend this? asks Marcia.
.....Nope, say the Board Majority.
.....It all went downhill from there, of course. We've got the board from hell. Check it out:

For Dissent's account of this board meeting, see Sampson takes aim at "delegation of authority".

Were sanity and reason to prevail, come Oct. 15

Please note the subjunctive mood.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Dissent's golden oldies! —Frogue is an idiot! Williams questions WASC!

Three and a half minutes of golden cheesy video memories.
Hypocrisy, red meat. The usual.
From January, 2000:
(Luddites, click on the big arrow in the middle.)

Williams questions WASC/ACCJC: they meet in Hawaii! Tsk tsk, I say!
Frogue thinks he's clever!: Hey, I'm goin' to Hawaii! Plus: Jane Fonda is reborn. Just sayin'!
Fortune is kinda Fonda AAUW: Gosh, they don't seem so bad
Wagner doesn't wanna fight that fight!: time to table!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sweet Time

Rebel Girl has had one of those weeks: extreme highs and lows, as if a wiggly high pressure system is hovering right off the coast of her life, playing havoc with her usual seasonal weather patterns.

Yesterday, however, was a high.

She traveled up the 5 Freeway to Cal State Los Angeles, that great sprawling urban campus, an island surrounded by four, count 'em, four freeways: the Golden State (as the 5 is sometimes called), the Pasadena, the Long Beach and the San Bernardino. Upon arrival she found herself exiting one freeway, only to accidently get on another. Whee.

She was part of a reading and panel discussion sponsored by the Chicano Studies Department, celebrating the publication of the book, "Latinos in Lotusland," wide-ranging anthology brings together 34 Latino writers and spans 60 years. It's the first anthology about Los Angeles with all-Latino contributors and including some established voices: Alex Espinoza, Reyna Grande, Michael Jaime-Becerra, Alejandro Morales, Daniel Olivas, Salvador Plascencia, John Rechy, Luis J. Rodríguez, Mario Suárez, Luis Alberto Urrea, Richard Vásquez and Helena María Viramontes as well as some newer voices. Rebel Girl is among the newbies. Rebel Girl calls it the "It's About Time" anthology.

It was nice to be somewhere else, if you know what she means. Sometimes it isn't, but yesterday it was. The afternoon was warm and bright. She could see the mountains, still topped with snow. The sky was big and clear. It was an L.A. kind of day, late winter, early spring, who could really tell. She arrived early, got some coffee, sat at a table underneath the trees and reviewed her reading. She felt like a student again, sitting there shuffling through papers, a bit nervous.

Five contributors, Helena María Viramontes, Danny Romero, Reyna Grande, Daniel Olivas, Melinda Palacio and Rebel Girl read. It was standing room only, with those snow-capped mountains visible beyond the windows.

Rebel Girl read from the piece that appears in the anthology, "Sweet Time," an excerpt from a novel which she describes as being on life-support these past ten years or so.

At the reception, the writer Montserrat Fontes came up to Rebel Girl just to say: "Finish the book." Fontes is the author of "First Confession" and "Dreams of the Centaur" and, as she told Rebel Girl, she may have been the first Mexican at Cal State LA, way back in the 60s, when she earned her degree in Comparative Literature with an emphasis in Russian Literature. "Finish the book," she said. Sometimes Reb thinks people are just being nice to her, saying what they think they should say. But Fontes gave her the look. At least Reb thought she did.

the writers: clockwise from the top: Danny Romero, Rebel Girl, Melinda Palacio, Helena Viramontes, Reyna Grande, Daniel Olivas

Monument ceremony at Saddleback

From the OC Register: Saddleback College plans Memorial Day completion of new monument:
MISSION VIEJO — Ronnie Guyer summarized Saddleback College's new veterans' memorial when his speech at the college's campus Wednesday turned into song.

"To fallen soldiers let us sing, where no rockets fly nor bullets wing. Our broken brothers let us bring to the mansions of the Lord," he said.

The words come from the hymn "The Mansions of the Lord," written for the 2002 film "We Were Soldiers" and sung at the funeral of President Ronald Reagan.

Guyer, who served in the Vietnam War, joined three fellow veterans at Saddleback College for a forum discussing the significance of the new memorial. Following the forum, city and college officials broke ground with the veterans at the memorial site, which is scheduled for completion by Memorial Day this year.

Ehren Terbeek, a student at Saddleback College who completed two tours of duty in Iraq, said the college's memorial was not political, but it was recognition of the contribution veterans have made to the country.

"The veterans' memorial is not about whether you support the ongoing struggle in Iraq, or support the president or not," he said. "It's about those patriotic men and women who for whatever reason join the military. It's for these men and women who make the sacrifices, and who may or may not make it home, that we show support and give thanks."....

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mad Max

Our Friend David has sent us new pics of young Maximilian.

1. Here we have Max in the kitchen with seashells.

2. Evidently, young Max sometimes finds it necessary to rest on the rug.

3. Here we catch Maximilian, tiring of the photoshoot.

Loyalty oath, veterans memorial

From this morning’s Inside Higher Ed
The California attorney general’s office on Tuesday issued a letter backing the way California State University East Bay fired an instructor who wanted to modify the loyalty oath required of all state employees. Cal State has been much criticized by faculty and employee groups for its decision to dismiss Marianne Kearney-Brown, who tried to insert the word “nonviolently” before a pledge of support for the U.S. Constitution. Many Cal State employees — including some posting comments at Inside Higher Ed — have said that they made similar changes in the past, and did not get fired as a result. But a letter to Cal State from Jacob A. Appelsmith, senior assistant attorney general, released by East Bay Tuesday, said that Kearney-Brown’s situation was handled correctly. Appelsmith noted that the oath does not require anyone to commit a violent act. He said that Kearney-Brown appeared to be acting “in good faith,” but said that court decisions backed a strict interpretation of the oath requirement. Allowing Kearney-Brown to modify the oath would “introduce uncertainty and equivocation,” he wrote. For these reasons, he said, Cal State acted “appropriately in requiring Ms. Kearney-Brown to sign the oath as written.”

From yesterday’s OC Reg: Saddleback College breaks ground on veterans' memorial:
.....Saddleback College breaks ground Wednesday on a memorial to honor the college's and city's veterans.
.....The event begins with four veterans discussing their experiences in the attack on Pearl Harbor, D-Day, the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp and combat in the Vietnam and Iraq wars.
.....The concrete and ceramic memorial has been in various stages of development since 2005, when college administrators began considering ways to leave a mark on the city. When the idea for a veterans memorial surfaced, administrators formed a committee of veterans to consult for different designs.
.....When the two designers, Richard White, chair of Saddleback College's art department, and Fred Olsen, an associate professor, presented the design to the committee, there was a “silent moment” of approval among the veterans, said Saddleback College President Richard McCullough.
.....“The general consensus of the committee was that's it,” he said.
.....White and Olsen sculpted a model of the memorial using the “fire in place” technique, which allows them to create large, hollow pieces of ceramic that would not fit in a traditional kiln. McCullough said the men are two of the few artists who know how to use the technique, which made the design unique to Saddleback College.
.....“We have the expertise here,” he said. “We didn't want to bring something in that somebody else built; we wanted to design it ourselves.”
.....White said he and Olsen designed the memorial to be interactive, with a seating area and a space for visitors to walk through. He said he hoped the memorial would reflect the relationship between the public and the military, which he said has been much more positive during the Iraq war than it was during the Vietnam war.
....."Even though this war is unpopular, everybody sees that the soldiers are serving us, and they’re protecting us," he said.
.....Several cities and service organizations have donated to the memorial, which will cost about $250,000 and is slated to open next fall.
.....The veterans forum will take place at noon in room 212 of the Student Services Center of Saddleback College, 28000 Marguerite Parkway. The groundbreaking is at 1 p.m. outside the Administration and Governance building. Parking will be free across campus all day.

Monday, March 3, 2008

You are the master of nothing

.....A minor presidential-race controversy that has been making the rounds lately is McCain's endorsement by John Hagee, a megachurch pastor out of San Antonio, Texas. This has struck a dusty chord with me; once upon a time, I used to watch televangelists compulsively, and remember the man well—if not fondly—from almost ten years ago, well before his current mainstream-media notoriety.
.....Hagee's recent fame has been headlined by the foreign-policy implication of his theology; briefly, he believes that only Jesus can make peace in the Mideast. Therefore, believers are obliged to actively strive for the opposite (i.e. war without end). Also, unlike most evangelicals, he opposes efforts to proselytize Jews, as their persistence in their current hellbound state is a necessary component in the convoluted structure of his eschatology (basically, you can't convert and save the Jews and have yourself your Apocalypse, any more than you can have your cake and eat it too).
.....Oddly enough, this somewhat Ahmadinejadian "throw the Jews under the bus so the rest of us can groove with J.C." viewpoint passes for a pro-Israeli position these days, but I digress. The enduring memory I have of the man is not of poisonous policy stances, but something very different, and quite less grand and geopolitical in nature; a single moment in a single sermon. The American Prospect quotes a snippet from that very sermon (here), but it does not do justice to the scene—I remember that particular broadcast very well, and a simple transcript loses virtually all the atmosphere:
.....A short, rotund, porcine man (still, though he has lost much weight), with a head like an underinflated basketball and little sunken pig eyes, Hagee speaks in the cadences of a carnival barker; key words are punctuated with a wild increase in shrillness and volume; every "payoff" sentence ends with a segue into an ascending-register, jowl-shaking shriek. The subject that day was human freedom; Hagee was agin' it. His decoy was a line from 19th century poet William Ernest Henley, which he misattributed (twice, to "Secular Humanism" and to Walt Whitman), mincing in an effete, nasal, whiny falsetto: "'I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.'" Pausing a moment for a derisive snort, he drew himself up, and in his own voice sneered contemptuously, "Secular humanism says man is the master of his fate. What nonsense that is. You can't guarantee your next breath. Only God can give you life." Hagee drew in a deep breath, a stubby finger stuck out and sweeping the auditorium triumphantly as he thundered: "You are the master of nothing! There is one master, and he is King Jay-sus! And there is no other!"
.....And the audience rose to their feet and applauded. Laughing. Uproariously. As though the thought vastly delighted them. The camera panned the pews; there were old couples, families, children in their Sunday best, all grinning widely, enormously pleased at the master-stroke their pastor had laid upon the wicked humanists. And I—who had in the past been often left angry or repelled or even dismayed by the sort of things I heard from these quarters—I found myself surprised to be simply ...sad.
.....It's hard to isolate the precise utterly demoralizing quality about the utter, vacant happiness, the casual self-debasement of the human spirit on display; but it struck a deep well of melancholy within me. Even the Communists—or the Nazis, if you will forgive me for Godwinizing myself—never quite managed, in seven decades of repressive conformism and gunpoint-enforced groupthink, to pull off the trick of telling people that they were nothing more than chattel and have them actually laugh and applaud them for it!

Tagged as E by Z

.....Evidently, DISSENT the BLOG has been “tagged” as excellent by the inimitable Professor Zero.
.....I’m not sure what that means, but Rebel Girl assures me that it is a very good thing, especially coming from Z.

.....Writes Prof Z:
Dissent - the best of academic blogs, the Bodhisattva. By Chunk Wheeler, Rebel Girl, Red Emma, and Sunny Girl, a cat.
.....I informed Sunny. She was manifestly aloofitudinal.

—Which reminds me, somehow, of my visit with my niece yesterday. She is five years old. At one point, she walked up to me, singing. It was an old John Lennon tune! She sang

All we are saying
is give pizza a chance

Rebel Girl's Poetry Corner: "my shining loaf of quietness"

Today's poem comes from Peter Everwine, who has shared the red dust of the San Joaquin Valley for years with poet Philip Levine at Fresno State.

The loaves are courtesy of my own Sunday: 3 cups of lukewarm water, salt, a tablespoon and a half of yeast, 6 and half cups flour. One four or five hour rise, one 40 minute rest. 30 minutes in a hot oven with steam.


In the lamplight falling
on the white tablecloth
my plate,
my shining loaf of quietness.

I sit down.
through the open door
all the absent I love enter
and we eat.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Against faith & other forms of irrationality: interview with Alan Sokal

Guardian UK has a fine 30-minute interview with Alan Sokal, the physicist and author most famous for his 1996 postmodernist hoax. Check it out: CLICK HERE. (Luddites: don't forget to click on the "play" button.)

Among the topics:
The hoax: parody of post-Modern science criticism
Postmodern writers vs. scientists & philosophers
The evidence-based way of thinking
The war on science (Bush)
Well-tested vs. cutting-edge science
Homeopathy & alternative medicines
Disregard for evidence: the Iraq war
Society’s deference to faith
The importance of evidence

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?

Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013

THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013

IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013

THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary