Saturday, March 29, 2008

Two finger stories

.....(CLICK ON ARROW.) Chunk at home, with Sunny Girl. He tells two "finger" stories, with the help of Sunny, including his celebrated 44 Magnum tale, which concerns the late "Mountain Ray" and a certain exploding Smith & Wesson handgun.
.....Mostly for fans of the SUNNY GIRL.

.....Mountain Ray was a U.S. Marine, loved the Santa Ana Mountains, loved his dogs.
.....He and Kathie and I—plus Ray's "dark green" Marine buddy—once saw a whoppin' big UFO together, in the sky above Live Oak Canyon. Good times!
.....Raymond had a green thumb, they say. Knew the Latin terms for every variety.
.....He and his crop are now gone.
.....I think of him often.

(Some of you were asking how I get that "painted" look. In the case of the two Sunny photos above, mostly I relied on the "ink outlines" filter in Photoshop, though I also boosted saturation and then contrast. In the case of yesterday's Sunny photos, I used the "accented edges" filter instead, but I also boosted saturation and contrast. I sometimes add some "sharpening," which can produce weird effects. No doubt real photographers are horrified. Do I care? I do not.)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sunny Girl, late Friday

GOT HOME, let out the Sunny Girl. She enjoyed the good weather, the cool air. She weaseled around.

I gave her her medicine tonight. I've gotta shoot 1 ml of goop into her mouth twice a day. She hates it.

Hopefully, it will address what ails her, which may be urinary tract disease. Not sure.

Have I told you that she only drinks bottled water? It's true. She just won't touch my tap water, which comes from a well. Don't know what that's about.

Have a nice weekend. Sunny says "hey."

Public Defender

This obituary ran in the Thursday March 27, 2008 edition of the Daily Journal, the legal newspaper.

Deputy PD Was a Progressive Advocate
Eric J. Zucker 1959-2008

By Ryan Oliver
Daily Journal Staff Writer

.....LOS ANGELES - Eric J. Zucker, a veteran Los Angeles County deputy public defender and progressive political advocate, died Monday after a 16-month battle with brain cancer. He was 48.
.....Zucker's last assignment was as a deputy public defender in the office's Public Integrity Assurance Section, which is responsible for defending cases in which police misconduct is suspected and for reviewing post-conviction cases with potentially exonerating DNA evidence.
....."He was the quintessential public defender," Marie Girolamo, deputy in charge of the unit, said of Zucker. "He really was a true believer. He believed in what he did."
.....Zucker previously served as deputy in charge of the office's Eastlake juvenile branch. He considered Homeboy Industries founder Father Gregory Boyle and Eastlake Juvenile Hall chaplain Sister Janet Harris to be among his mentors.
.....He joined the public defender's office in 1990 after graduating from Hofstra University School of Law. He was a staunch opponent of the state's three-strikes law and testified against it before the California Senate after he saw one of his clients sentenced to 25-years-to-life for joyriding.
.....In his latest assignment, Zucker was deeply involved in advocating on behalf of women serving life sentences who were unable to present evidence at trial that they had been battered.
....."He was one of the most energetic, positive-minded people I've ever known," Girolamo said. "Anybody who spent any time with him would immediately like him."
.....A Los Angeles native, born Aug. 10, 1959, Zucker inherited strong progressive values from his parents, Betty and Max Zucker, who were survivors of the Holocaust. Zucker attended anti-war demonstrations as a child and was involved in a number of political and minority organizations while a student at the University of California and in law school.
....."He was one of the most generous people on Earth," said Zucker's friend, Pasadena attorney Ron Kaye. "He supported the rights of immigrants to juveniles to people with disabilities." Kaye said Zucker was able to use his compassion for people in the courtroom by bringing his clients' stories to life for the jury.
.....Zucker is survived by his wife, Donna Herlihy, and their three children.

Catching bullies in action

From this morning's Inside Higher Ed:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget plan to cut back funds for California’s need-based grants program would disproportionate hurt students at the state’s community colleges, the Institute for College Access and Success said in a report Thursday. The report said that because of the way money from the Cal Grant Program is distributed, new grants to community college students would be cut by 45 percent, or about 18,500 students, in the fall. The report also estimated that 700 students at the University of California would be denied a Cal Grant, 2,000 in the California State University system; 1,200 at private nonprofit colleges; and 3,000 at for-profit career colleges.
From the OC Reg (Local preteen inventors to be on Leno tonight):
Three young inventors from Tustin and Irvine are heading up to Burbank today to hang out with Jay Leno for a few minutes of TV fame on the “The Tonight Show.”

Brandon Sharpe from Loma Vista Elementary will be talking about his belt buckle video camera. The invention, according to the third-grader, is designed to catch bullies in action. Joining Sharpe will be fifth-grader Benjamin Jacobs from Westpark Elementary and his “Perfect Parker” guide, which helps drivers park in their garages; and fifth-grader Kerissa Iyer at Brywood Elementary, with her popcorn-mate.

The trio was part of a group of more than 300 elementary and junior high students who displayed their inventions at the 21st annual Astounding Inventions showcase, which was sponsored by Greenberg Trauig law firm, at Irvine Valley College in January….

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Adiós and hola!

HOLA. Life is good! The OC Reg reports (Case against H.B. Mayor Debbie Cook dismissed) that
Congressional candidate Debbie Cook has won a victory, after the Fourth District Court of Appeal dismissed a lawsuit that challenged her ballot designation as mayor of Huntington Beach...Republican leaders said they filed the lawsuit on the grounds that Cook, a Democrat, shouldn't be allowed to use the "Mayor" designation on the ground that the voters elected her to the City Council and not to the position of mayor.... Cook has said she followed the law. She called the suit an attempt to distract her from her campaign to unseat Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, incumbent for the 46th Congressional District.
.....The lawyer for the Repubs? That would be Tom Fuentes' pal (and OC "Republican mafia" Godfather) Michael Schroeder. State GOP official Keith Carlson filed the suit. Carlson, who is on the IVC Foundation board, was the emcee at the November Fuentes fundraiser.
.....The Reg notes that "Three Republican candidates for Assembly had also indicated 'mayor' in their individual ballot designations and achieved the position in a similar manner as Cook, records show. Republican leaders had not filed suit against them."
.....That's because they're assholes.
.....Carlson and Co. were ordered to pay Cook's litigation costs.

ADIOS. Meanwhile, our pal Gustavo Arellano has written his last "Ask a Mexican" column. He ended today's offering with:
And with this, the Mexican formally bids adios, effective the feast day of St. Melito. It’s been a great run, cabrones, but all the hateful e-mail, the attacks by PC pendejos and the fact that few of you have bothered to submit video questions to my YouTube channel wear on a guy, you know? Besides, like Mr. Dooley, Olle I Skratthult and The Katzenjammer Kids before me, this column’s time has come: It’s no longer necessary to explain Mexicans to Americans because Mexicans are Americans. Gracias for all the fights, the propositions of sexytime explosion, and the slugged-back tequila shots after book signings, but there’s a little ranchito in Zacatecas waiting for me and a barefoot muchacha ready to cook me dinner. Vaya con Dios, America, and always remember: Order the enchilada-and-taco combo TO GO.

Indoctrination? Don't think so!

From this morning’s Inside Higher Ed: Faculty Are Liberal—Who Cares?:
One of the key arguments made by David Horowitz and his supporters in recent years is that a left-wing orientation among faculty members results in a lack of curricular balance, which in turn leads to students being indoctrinated rather than educated. The argument is probably made most directly in a film much plugged by Horowitz: “Indoctrinate U.”

A study that will appear soon in the journal PS: Political Science & Politics accepts the first part of the critique of academe and says that it’s true that the professoriate leans left. But the study—notably by one Republican professor and one Democratic professor—finds no evidence of indoctrination. Despite students being educated by liberal professors, their politics change only marginally in their undergraduate years, and that deflates the idea that cadres of tenured radicals are somehow corrupting America’s youth—or scaring them into adopting new political views.

The study’s authors—Gordon Hewitt of Hamilton College and Mack Mariani of Xavier University, in Ohio—write that they believe too much time has been spent debating the proper methodologies for testing whether there is a political imbalance on college faculties. If the danger of such an imbalance is that it is hurting students, the key question is whether the imbalance leads to an otherwise unexplainable shift in student political attitudes.
Based on a review of numerous other studies, as well as of specific surveys of faculty political attitudes at various private colleges, they do not contest that the faculty in higher education is liberal—significantly more so than the public at large. To measure student shifts, the scholars used data from the University of California at Los Angeles Higher Education Research Institute in which students are asked—as freshmen and seniors—to place themselves ideologically. Student data were examined for specific colleges for which data on faculty political leanings were available, and those colleges were grouped into three categories, based on politics. The student attitudes were examined in 1999 as freshmen and 2003 as seniors.

The scholars find some self-selection, with students who enter college as conservative slightly more likely to be found at relatively conservative institutions, and so forth. But over all, they found only slight shifts in political leanings (albeit to the left) during the students’ four years. The analysis also found explanations other than faculty ideology—gender and wealth, for example—that correlate with the modest political shifts that took place. Whether the students attended a college that was more liberal or conservative did not correlate with the shift—which it would have had liberal professors been engaged in indoctrination, the authors write…..

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rebel Girl's Poetry Corner: "your very flesh shall be a great poem"

Rebel Girl's friend who was dying has died - the only end of that particular story could have had for awhile now. Still, there it is, a fact that makes her breath catch and her eyes sting.

He was a public defender in the best sense of that word. She saw him these last years after her life had taken her south to Orange County at two kinds of venues: rock 'n roll concerts and good cause dinners. If there was music, they'd stand, for hours and sing along and dance, dance, dance, an aging coterie of lawyers, educators, community organizers, activists all, getting old, yes, drinking less, but willing to sing along late into the evening:

I saw two shooting stars last night. I wished on them – they were only satellites…Is it wrong to wish on space hardware? I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care..

All those good cause dinners with the round tables and the round bread rolls, the white poly-blend tablecloths and napkins, and the speeches and the standing ovations and the promises and pledges we made to people, ourselves and each other, over and over again. Liberty Hill. Death Penalty Focus. National Lawyers Guild. ACLU. It occurs to her that we spent a lot of time standing for one thing and another, all of it good.

And then that last dinner, last fall that honored, among other people, their friend for his work. It was a benefit for Families to Amend Three Strikes. He couldn't make it but two round tables of friends did, in a ballroom at an LAX airport hotel. They watched as a video played and their friend spoke, reading his speech from a chair in his green backyard just before going back to the hospital for another surgery. He wasn't giving up on anything.

This is for him today and for all of us.

From the Preface to Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass (1855):

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches,
give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your
income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience
and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown
or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and
with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air
every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at
school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your
very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words
but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and
in every motion and joint of your body. . .

(image is by Eric Drooker)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nielsen Schmielsen!

.....The OC Weekly and OC Register are reporting that Tom Fuentes’ old sauna mate, Jeffrey Ray Nielsen, was sentenced today to three years in prison for molesting two boys.
.....No word yet on whether Jeff's been asked to return that swell suit Tom bought 'im at Macy's.

SEE GOP's Nielsen headed for the pokey

Monday, March 24, 2008

The board meeting: faculty address the board re the contract & Nancy carps about a seal

March 24, 2008: TONIGHT'S meeting was uneventful, aside from the appearance of IVC's seal.
.....Some faculty addressed the board concerning the contract. It turns out that our part-timers are very poorly paid. They rank fortieth in the state. Full-time faculty don't do so hot either, said union negotiator Lewis Long.

.....A contractor showed up to cry foul regarding the recommendation (item 6.14) to approve another contractor for the "restroom expansion" in the McKinney Theater. He said his bid was $90K lower, so what's the deal?
.....During his report, Trustee John "Chicken Little" Williams got up once again upon his "security" hobby horse, this time bringing students' declining mental health into the mix. Evidently, the fellow read a story about student stress—this is "very scary stuff," he said—and, in his mind, that phenomenon had everything to do with the wave of violence at college campuses that he sees overtaking the nation.
.....Have I mentioned that Mission Viejo is the safest city in the goddam country?
.....About that wave of violence: Williams explained that there seems to be a "lull in the action" right now. I do believe that John confuses waves of violence with football games. This explains his advocacy of that big, new football stadium.
.....Wagner told heroic war stories about founding trustee Hans Vogel. Expect some sort of ceremony for Vogel in the future.
.....At some point, Trustee Nancy Padberg seemed to raise questions about a conference at some fancy schmancy hotel in Palm Springs. I do believe that John "Orlando" Williams indicated his intention of attending. He looked very tanned.
.....Decisions were made about ATEP, but no effort was made to explain them to the public. Curiously, trustees Milchiker and Fuentes voted "no" on item 6.5: "reimbursement agreement: Camelot Development Tustin" ($786,100).
.....Marcia noted the looming retirement of Mike Runyan. Inexplicably, she seemed to like 'im. I'm glad he's retiring.
.....Nancy Padberg carped about the apparent failure to bring the "updating" of IVC's seal before the board for approval. On the other hand, she liked the new seal, which briefly appeared before the dais, barking. Several trustees threw it a fish.

Ben Stein v. Darwin, Courts v. academic freedom?

• In this morning’s Inside Higher Ed: See Ben Stein’s Movie:
........Intelligent design — the idea that the “irreducible complexity” of living things can’t be explained without some notion of a creator — continues to fuel struggles on the local level to control K-12 school boards. Now proponents of the controversial idea — dismissed as pseudoscience by a wide consensus of scientists — have graduated to college, and they wield a powerful new weapon: Ben Stein.
.....The author, actor and lawyer, a former speechwriter for Presidents Nixon and Ford, perfected his monotone delivery in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” when he memorably induced a state of catatonia by lecturing his students about voodoo economics. ("Anyone? ... Anyone?") He used the deadpan style to similar effect in the quiz show “Win Ben Stein’s Money,” which pitted contestants against the host for a portion of his own paycheck. Now the conservative commentator is more interested in waking America up, with a documentary that seeks to challenge the “progressive orthodoxy of government-issued science in its winter of discontent.”
.....“Expelled” begins, according to a preview on the documentary’s Web site, with a montage sequence that introduces Stein’s quest to investigate scientists who have lost tenure bids or their jobs for supporting intelligent design or questioning evolution’s ability to fully explain the origins of human life. As a lone professor repeatedly scrawls “Do Not Question Darwinism” on a classroom blackboard, Stein pits the victims of evolutionary dogma against Dawkins and other atheists. As Martin Luther King Jr. addresses a crowd on screen, Stein suggests that suppressing intelligent design contradicts America’s ideals of free expression. Flashes of Nazi death camps accompany the assertion of evolution’s “dangerous” implications….
Not So Free Speech in Campus Governance:
.....When the U.S. Supreme Court two years ago limited the First Amendment protections available to public employees, faculty groups thought that they had dodged a bullet. While the decision didn’t go the way professors hoped, it specifically indicated that additional issues might limit its application in cases involving public college professors.
.....Now, however, a federal court has applied just the principle that faculty groups thought shouldn’t be applied in higher education — that bosses can punish employees for speech deemed inappropriate — to a case involving a university. As a result, the American Association of University Professors and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression are asking a federal appeals court to affirm that the Supreme Court decision does not apply to public higher education. The two groups warn that failure to reverse the lower court’s decision could make it impossible for professors to freely debate hiring choices or campus policies….

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Don Wagner, healer? peacemaker?

.....These days, DON WAGNER is the president of the SOCCCD's benighted board of trustees.
.....Don has been on the board since December of 1998. But how'd he get there? It sure as hell wasn't his pleasant personality!
.....Check out these juicy excerpts from the October 1998 trustee candidates "board forum" on Cox Cable—pitting newcomer Don Wagner against "Pete" Maddox, and (also newcomer) Nancy Padberg against Leo Galcher.
.....Back then, Don explained that people should vote for 'im cuz he knows how to bring people together and make nice! (Huh?) He's a healing kinda guy!
.....He mostly defended the nasty old Board Majority that made the district a laughing stock. He generally would have voted as they did, he says.
.....Don seemed to go out of his way to distance himself from the people who actually got him elected—the old corrupt union leadership, who paid for his notorious "anti-airport" mailer (see at left).
.....THE BEST PART: Maddox accused Wagner of some dirty politics (re Pam Zanelli). Then Don got peeved! Check it out!

.....More than nine years ago, one of the gravest issues facing the district was "board micromanagement."
.....Now, in part because of continued board micromanagement and the endless "plague of despair" brought largely by Raghu Mathur, our colleges are closer than they've ever been to losing their accredited status.

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