Saturday, October 24, 2009

$10,000 for In-N-Out Burgers; $35,000 for "investigations"; $60K for sniffin' out grants


I'VE BEEN grading all day, but occasionally I’ve taken a few minutes to peruse the agenda for Monday’s SOCCCD board meeting (see October agenda).

Some things just pop out at you!

● CURIOUS CONTRACTS

Item 5.17 is Sept/Oct contracts, the ratification of which the Chancellor recommends. (See below.)

I’m not saying there’s anything hinky here. But each of these recommended contracts seems to me to be at least curious.

CATTLE FECES. For instance, looks like the Chancellor (et al.) wants to pay In-N-Out Burger nearly $10,000 for mobile units (two different days, evidently).

Gosh, that’s a lot of money. It oughta pay for one hell of a lot of burgers.

They’re not good for you, you know. It’s all that cattle feces. People who work around the killing floor like to say, "Eat sh*t and die."

Just sayin’.



APARTMENTS? How come we’re paying for "Heritage Point" apartments for foreign students? No doubt there’s a very good reason for this. Too bad perusing the agenda provides not a clue (aside from the factoid that the students are here “via a grant”).

I don't think Raghu and the board are into the democracy thing.

LET'S GET HONEY WEST.  Looks like we’re paying one private investigator over $15,000 and another private investigator $20,000. That’s $35 K.

Gosh, what are they investigating? Not me, I hope. Inquiring minds wanna know. (Does anyone remember Honey West? God, I feel old.)

$60,000? Prima facie, it strikes me as odd that we’re paying “Greene & Associates” $60,000 just to be on the lookout for grants. But whaddoo I know. Does anybody know how this works?

But really. $60K, just to be sniffing out grants? Does John's brother work for Greene, is that it?




Click on graphics to enlarge them

● INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKER

Item 5.9 is approval for expenses for scheduled Saddleback College and IVC guest speakers.

Each college is requesting money for one speaker. At IVC, a “college studies” instructor needs $2,500 to accommodate a California resident named Azim Khamisa.

According to Wikipedia, he’s an inspirational speaker. Doesn’t seem to be an academic. He hangs with the likes of Oprah, I think. You see 'im on TV.

Evidently, he’ll be speaking for two classes: “Introduction to Assertion” and “Helping Relationships.”


The topic: “Achieving peace through forgiveness.” See recent interview of Khamisa on the CBS Early Show.

At first, I wondered if Khamisa is some sort of New Age flake. Apparently not.

Speaking of New Age flakes (not Khamisa), I hear that Trustee Fuentes knows Werner Ehrhard’s brother. Maybe Tom could get est boy for us on the cheap!

Friday, October 23, 2009

"Fabulous cash prize" for Perez tonight

(OC Reg)

Top O.C. teachers to get $15,000 cash tonight

William Habermehl, Orange County Superintendent of Schools, left, congratulates Lawrence Perez, math professor at Saddleback College on May 7, 2009, as being an Orange County teacher of the year finalist, as Raghu P. Mathur, Chancellor of South Orange County Community College District and Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, applaud. [Perez was among five selected as winners. See Reg article above.]

Student who sued over anti-Christian remarks must pay district (OC Reg)


Silverado Canyon

California Sierra Nevada, c. 1972

After the terrible fire (two or so years ago): Modjeska Grade

Up at Roy's place, recently

Tom Fuentes to inspect faculty salaries

The October meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees will occur on Monday, Oct. 26. (The closed session is at 5:00 p.m.; the open session starts at 6:00.)

As usual, the meeting will be held in the "Ronald Reagan Board of Trustees Room," which is attached to the Health Sciences Building, Saddleback College.

Item 7.5 concerns “Salaries of College Professors.” Reference is made to Exhibit A.

You’ll recall that Mr. Fuentes, a fellow who contemns district faculty, requested this information two or three months ago.

Exhibit A explains that this report is “a comparison of the faculty salaries at SOCCCD with those of other institutions of higher education in OC…."

Below is the main part of the graph that appears there:



Exhibit A explains that the “last column is entitled, 'All', which represents the average of actual salaries paid to all faculty members.”

As you can see, according to this report, average salaries (at OC community colleges) are as follows:

NOCCCD -- $102,816
CCCD -- $93,681
SOCCCD -- $92,785
RSCCD -- $90,464

Our district's full-time faculty have the 3rd highest salaries of the four districts.

Salaries at the NOCCCD are more than $10,000 higher than those of the SOCCCD.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Academic senate: an earthenware head

And how could I deny that these hands and this body are mine, were it not perhaps that I compare myself to certain persons, devoid of sense, whose cerebella are so troubled and clouded by the violent vapours of black bile, that they constantly assure us that they think they are kings when they are really quite poor, or that they are clothed in purple when they are really without covering, or who imagine that they have an earthenware head or are nothing but pumpkins or are made of glass.
—René Descartes

As you know, I teach philosophy at Irvine Valley College.

I’m a member of one of ten “schools” of the college, namely, the glorious and abiding School of Humanities and Languages.

I’m one of two senators representing H&L in the Academic Senate, a body of about twenty souls who represent faculty on, well, academic matters. (The union represents faculty on contractual matters, God help us.)

Over the years, I’ve generally made a point of keeping senate affairs out of the blog, but, for various reasons, I’ve decided to reverse this policy. And why not? We all believe in transparency, don’t we?

Yes we do.

TODAY’S SENATE MEETING:

So, today, the Academic Senate met (it meets every second Thursday from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.), and the meeting, with its new President, went well.

At one point, an instructor who helps direct and “facilitate” our college’s efforts to “implement SLOs” (student learning outcomes), gave a brief demonstration of software designed to assist instructors in this, um, implementation.

What are SLOs? Nope, they’re not anything common sense might gravitate towards. (“Stuff students learn.”) They’re balderdash. I won’t even bother to define SLOs. It would be pointless.

Nevertheless, the ACCJC, our accreditor, requires of colleges that they provide “evidence of the achievement of student learning outcomes.” The accreds regard this as a matter of “institutional effectiveness.” (And what’s that? Don’t ask.)

I like the two instructors who facilitate this SLO thing, but, when they present at Senate meetings, I can’t help but react to the absurdity and idiocy of it all. It is as though we were Scholastics charged with determining how many succubi can ravish a turnip on the head of a pumpkin.

Today, one of the SLOers demonstrated accessing a program called eLumen, which is supposed to assist faculty in doing those things that must be done re SLOs for courses/programs.

I asked a series of peevish questions about the unavoidable ugliness of the verbiage and forms projected upon the screen (alas, I even used the word “incoherent”), and this clearly pissed off the SLO maven. Later, I made a big show of saying (as an aside) that I sometimes overreact to SLOs (mea culpa), owing to their hideous, spirit-sucking, counter-productive quality and the similarity of this whole dang SLO initiative to the events of dystopian novels such as 1984. (Well, I didn't really say all that, but I thunk it.)

She seemed to accept this as an apology. I was glad.

No doubt I seemed like an anti-SLO extremist, but, in truth, I was holding back. This SLO business is the product of clueless right-wing reformers (“Show us the pedagogical widgets!”) and even more clueless education theorists (don’t get me started) pursuing educational reform (or alleged science). As their various “outcomes” notions passed through and were transmogrified by clueless/jaded/moronic legislators on their way to the undeniably mediocre (or worse) Accreditation bureaucrats, early on they took on a monstrous quality such that they bore no resemblance to anything anyone dared embrace, except as a joke or perverse objet d’art.

No matter, the SLO freight train was unstoppable and flew headlong through the bureaucratic intestine (er, I’m experiencing metaphorical confusitude) until it ended up at long last as a highly dubious set of “standards” demanded by ACCJC, an organization presided over by that notorious pinhead and jackass Babs Beno.

OK, maybe I’m wrong (don’t thinks so), but any decent and intelligent person would at this point reject, condemn, curse, and generally piss upon this SLO business and all of the forms and tasks and reassigned time with which it is associated.

But no.

Today, at the senate meeting, Ms. K got out her soapbox, climbed upon it, and then declared that she is no friend of SLOs. Still, said she (with a palpable high self-regard and an aura of imminent self-contradiction), you can approach these SLO requirements as crap and get nothing out of it—or you can embrace them and let them do the good and wonderful things they were designed to do.

Yeah, it’s like getting handed a sack of cat poop to, say, wash your hands. Now, you can curse the sack—or you can be mature and good and do the dang hand-washing. With that poop.

STRATEGIC PLANNING: We had an interesting—even a good—discussion about the College-wide Strategic Planning process. (These processes, too, are demanded by the Accreditation Pinheads.) Somebody yammered about that for a bit.

Then, essentially, I asked: OK, is this more bullshit, or is this stuff for real?

Once again, soapboxes materialized and were mounted. You’ll never get anywhere not participating. You’ve got to participate, or shuddup. People are so cynical. Do a good turn daily. Every vote counts.

“Yeah, but no freakin’ wonder people are cynical,” said someone. Mr. T then referred to our college’s “dark period.”

It’s been tough believing in anything here at IVC.

On the other hand, Mr. J (an often sensible fellow) seemed to think that there are real opportunities here to make good things happen. Someone else expressed her distaste for those hinky backroom deals we all heard about in the dark days (and even recently). Participating in the planning process is a way of being transparent and avoiding all that. It’s a good and open process. So everybody should get on board.

“Doors are now opening,” said someone.

“Things are changing,” said Mr. S, earlier during the meeting.

“Oh, yeah? What do you mean?”, I asked.

Um, well, uh, they’re changing is all. You know.

“OK, so does this change shed some positive light on anyone in particular?” I was hoping that S would say, “yes, Don Wagner will be firing that rat bastard Raghu next week, so be of good cheer!” – but no. Things are changing is all, and for the better.

Believe it.

Yeah, but I want particulars. I’ll accept vague ones. Winks and nudges even.

In the course of today’s meeting, I was assured that IVC’s Accreditation steering committee—the one including Wendy, Don Wagner, Tracy, Lisa, et al.—is moving along nicely and Don (that former basher of faculty) is still showing up and taking faculty remarks seriously.

All is well, I was told.

OK, guess so. And I mean that.



SOME BACKGROUND (AN OLD DtB POST):

 SLOs: “We think this is crap,” says the respected conservative scholar  (7/21/08)

From Inside Higher Ed: Could the Wrong Assessment Kill the Liberal Arts?:
Unlikely critics gathered Friday to offer strong criticisms of the Education Department’s push for assessment using standardized instruments.

One of the participants in the gathering was Peter Wood, the executive director of the conservative National Association of Scholars, which has pressed for greater rigor in college curriculum. He is no fan of the DoE’s approach:
The department’s insistence on testing for specific learning outcomes … provide what he called a “severely impoverished view of what higher education should be.” The push to focus on learning outcomes at the college level, according to Wood, are “a distraction and, at worse, a menace” for instructors. Promoting learning outcome assessments, Wood said, assumes all collegiate courses have a specified skill-set of knowledge that can be identified in advance of having these courses instructed.
Wood noted that instructors often simply ignore SLOs:
“We bluff,” Wood said of some instructors who identify quantifiable sets of skills or knowledge, noting that accreditation reviews typically verify only what a college sets out to accomplish. “We think this is nonsense. We think this is crap. We put on paper what we’re going to do and then do something else anyway.”
See also Outcomes Based Assessments are Destructive of a Liberal Education written, it appears, by a conservative.

Making sense of SLOs, a recent DtB post



P.S.

I've already heard from some faculty who share my low regard of SLOs. They write:
• Your comments on [SLOs, which are now part of Program Review] were so cathartic. I have to do the damn thing but just reading your notes made me feel a sense of relief. I always feel that I am betraying someone when I dis the whole process. It has already taken far too much time and energy that could be spent improving my classes....
• I loved your take on SLOs! I have attended a few mind-numbing workshops on SLOs and always managed to leave more confused than when I arrived. They piss me off and make me brain dead at the same time, and I know they have no bearing on my teaching and less bearing on the results from the student side. They just take up even more time that I could spend developing great classroom materials. I finally decided to suck it up and tackle them and just give them what they want....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Our most popular video —or 1000 Dissent fans can't be wrong!



I've been awful busy in the last year or so, and so  I've neglected "Dissent the Blog videos." Gosh, it's been ages since I've made one of 'em.

But I just noticed that some of our videos have been getting a fair number of hits!

Above is Dissent's #1 video, which has been viewed over 1000 times.

It appears that Raghu P. Mathur is a ham. If so, he's probably as pleased as we are that so many have seen this video.

As Raghu would say, it's a win-win!

My personal fave:


Hey, everybody complains about low morale, but I'm doing something about it.

Loutish self-celebration: the annual A**hole Parade



Early this afternoon, the OC Reg’s Teri Sforza reminded us of the annual motorcycle ride from Cook’s Corner (in the Santa Ana Mountains) to Long Beach, commemorating the 9-11 attack. (Bitter fight erupts between 9/11 bikers and Laguna Woods city manager.)

This (absurd) event has grown larger with each year; last month’s event comprised 600 riders. So when the mob-o’-bikes got to the intersection of Moulton and El Toro (in the middle of sleepy Laguna Woods), one of the bikers “held” the light for bikers to clear the intersection.

This upset Laguna Woods’ city manager, Leslie Keane, who is very serious about public safety and who (probably rightly) viewed the action as dangerous.

Naturally, the bikers don't see it that way. One of them wrote to Sforza, explaining that:
“Last week on Oct. 7 I was contacted by the O.C. Sheriff who had launched a investigation into the 9-11 ride at the incessant urging of Leslie Keane. She has been screaming mad for the last month at the fact that one of the 9-11 riders held her street light for the bikes to clear the intersection at Moulton and El Toro. That light is monitored by a red light camera. Oddly enough the camera images were blurry thanks to the handy work of a patriotic bird (probably a bald eagle) clouding the lens. Not one single license plate number could be recovered and NO tickets will be issued. Ms. Keane is infuriated and wants to know the name of the rider who held her light. Since I have no idea who that was, she has launched a smear campaign against me and the entire 9-11 event in an effort to prevent it next year.
Sforza herself experienced the bikers on 9-11:
Traffic ground to a near-halt as a wave of rumbling thunder rolled over us, shaking our little car and rattling our little eardrums. Our 5-year-old cowered in her booster seat as hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of motorcycles roared by on their sojourn from Cook’s Corner to Long Beach….
She had a similar experience last year:
Last year on 9/11, The Watchdog was unnerved to find herself driving south in a sea of flag-flapping motorcycles on Laguna Canyon Road. The bikes didn’t want us there, and we didn’t want to be there, but there we were, bikes drving around us, sort of like water tumbling past rocks in a stream. Pulling over didn’t seem like a good idea.
These bikers are not the sharpest tools in the shed; nevertheless, they've figured out that  Keane is likely hoping to “stop the ride by forbidding it to come through her city.”

Gosh, it’s “un-American.”

The Laguna Woods city council was to meet this afternoon, and some of these bikers were expected to show up, all pissed off. Don’t know what happened. Evidently, TV’s Channel 9 covered it.

Dissent readers may be surprised by my perspective on all this. I think these bikers are assholes. They’re rude and stupid. I am unsympathetic to their perspective and to their need to impose their noisy parade on a mostly civil public.

Part of my problem here is the bikers’ brand of patriotism, which combines ignorance and an intolerance of those who will not stand aside for their loutish and noisy self-celebration.

They are, in short, deluded, self-righteous bullies. As far as I'm concerned, they can pound sand. I don't know this Leslie Keane, but I do hope she prevails.

VIDEO UPDATE:

Good Lord! Keane decided to lower the temperature, apologizing for some of her harsher remarks (in emails). Looks like the bikers will return next year with a bigger group than ever. No doubt they will be accompanied by police.



To be followed by a fine minstrel show

Is it just me or is there something retrograde about OC Republicans?

I mean, which other crowd would hold “cigar smokers”—events, evidently, in which rich white guys sit around, smoking expensive cigars on the patio of the freakin’ Balboa Bay Club?

Am I reading too much into this? Who would show up to something like this but a self-satisfied, rich, "conservative" businessman who thinks people like him are what made America great?

Local Republicans may as well hang up a neon sign that says, “We’re rich; you’re not; fuck you.”

Matt Cunningham of the OC Red County blog (Bourbon, Cigars And Conservatism On Nov. 18 At Balboa Bay Club) seems pleased as punch about the whole goshdarn thing. He chirps: “Tom Fuentes is organizing another of the [Claremont] Institute's popular cigar smokers at the Balboa Bay Club. This is the fourth such event this year, I believe, and they are really enjoyable.”

The invitation says:

Senior Fellow Thomas A. Fuentes cordially invites you to

“Bourbon and Cigars”

An evening of casual camaraderie and conservative conversation
featuring:

Dr. John Eastman
Dean of Chapman University School of Law
and
Founding Director of the Claremont Institute’s
Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence

with

 President Brian T. Kennedy

We’re also told that “This is not a fundraising event.”

Yeah, I know. This isn't a GOP event. Sure.

We've looked into the Claremont Institute before:

FUENTES AND THE CLAREMONT INSTITUTE:
During a board meeting in ‘99, John Williams proudly reported visiting a place called the “Claremont Institute” (CI). After Fuentes’ board appointment, Williams mentioned CI again. According to the IWN, “Williams said [that, among candidates,] Fuentes rose to the top due to his broad range of experience and his roots in the community college system…‘He knows about policy making. He’s a member of the Claremont Institute’ …” (7/20/00).
Actually, Tom Fuentes is more than a member of CI: he’s on its board of directors.
I found a description of the Institute’s “policy making” on the “Americans United for Separation of Church and State” website:
The CI [is]…an ultra-conservative advocacy group with ties to the Republican Party and some of the most extreme elements of the Religious Right… Claremont’s board of directors includes Howard F. Ahmanson Jr., a California-based Religious Right activist…[He] personifies the Institute’s ties to the farthest fringes of the right. He has contributed significant sums of money to spread a radical philosophy known as “Christian Reconstructionism.” Reconstructionists believe the Old Testament’s harsh legal code should be binding on modern society. They advocate the death penalty…for a number of religious “offenses,” including apostasy [i.e., abandonment of one’s faith], blasphemy and “unchastity.” The Reconstructionist view is perhaps best summed up in a 1992 quote by Ahmanson: “My purpose is total integration of biblical law into our lives.” Ahmanson gave the Institute $185,000 in 1995…Claremont attacks the concept of a wall of separation between church and state. One Institute article labeled Thomas Jefferson’s metaphorical wall “imaginary.”…The CI believes homosexuality is an affliction that can be cured by therapy…Another Institute project is Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership….
As near as I can tell, this accurately describes CI’s “policy making.” Good grief!
I invite you to explore CI’s own website; unquestionably, CI—and its man Fuentes—mean to promote the interests, not of Labor, but of Big Business and Big Authority. Their vocal support of Prop 226 is part of a pattern. The pattern’s pretty plain, dude.

From Dissent the Blog
Gratuitous cat photo: TigerAnn


From
Mojo the cool cat, RIP

Chris Norby is a knucklehead

• Uh-oh. Now they’re teaching Spanish 101 online. What’s next? Dance? Swimming?

Adios to Spanish 101 Classroom (Inside Higher Ed)
After several years of experimenting with “hybrid” Spanish courses that mix online and classroom instruction, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has decided to begin conducting its introductory Spanish course exclusively on the Web. ¶ Spanish 101, which had featured online lessons combined with one classroom session per week, will drop its face-to-face component in an effort to save on teaching costs and campus space in light of rising demand for Spanish instruction and a shrinking departmental budget. ¶ “We were seeing that there was just a lot of demand on our resources, both monetary and space-wise, due to Spanish,” said Larry King, chair of the Romance Languages and Literatures Department.
Larry King? That guy really gets around.

• Meanwhile, the nation’s Poet Laureate is targeting community colleges, her favorite sector of higher ed, to promote poetry:

Poetry for Community Colleges (Inside Higher Ed)
…Today marks the official launch of [Kay] Ryan's project "Poetry for the Mind's Joy," an initiative through which she hopes to draw national attention to community colleges, as well as drawing the colleges' attention to poetry. ¶ "I couldn’t wait to get to UCLA," Ryan says, "to get away from the community college, and it took me a number of years to have it truly dawn on me that I’d been treated much better at community college than I was at UCLA … [where] I was in classes of 300, and … I didn’t ever talk to my professors, I talked to the TA, and often my papers were graded by a whole rotation of TAs. If I had three papers, they would wind up graded by three different TAs, and there’s no coherence, there’s no relationship.… And at community college, all of my instructors knew my name; I had a personal relationship with them. Which is beyond price."…
• Back here in the OC, Tom Fuentes’ pal Chris Norby, on the Board of Supervisors, is lengthening his record of bizarre comments and actions. The Supes heard a report on child welfare in the county, and this led to a discussion of childhood nutrition:

Do bike-helmet laws, free lunches make kids fatter? (OC Reg)
…21 percent of O.C. kids age 5-20 are still overweight, according to Dr. Michael Riley, Social Services chief deputy director, who discussed the findings at the board’s regular biweekly meeting.

Riley also noted that the recession has affected children, although not as much as in harder-hit parts of the country. Forty-three percent of public-school children got free or discounted lunches as part of a federal program during the 2008-09 school year, up from 40 percent last year.

Supervisor Chris Norby peppered Riley with questions throughout the doctor’s presentation. Norby wondered whether there might be a connection between obesity rates and the free-lunch program.

“When we give kids more and more free food, because they are in economic need, yet they are getting fatter, is there something there that’s a health concern?”Norby said.

Wow. What an idiot.

The Reg later interviewed Norby by phone, and he then “acknowledged that the nutritional value in school lunches affects all kids, not just poor ones.”

Evidently, Norby’s also down on bike-helmet laws.
“I think bicycle helmet laws, while well-intentioned to protect kids, probably have contributed to [obesity] as well, because when you make it more difficult for kids to exercise because maybe you’re concerned about his safety, sometimes you have a negative effect where the kids don’t do as much of it,” he said during the meeting.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"The basis of governance is our creator," he said

Hey, wasn’t it just two weeks ago that we celebrated “banned books” week? Sure.

I noted at the time that the OC is a book banning hotspot.

Well, guess what?

Today, the Reg reports that, last night, right-winger and former Westminster School District trustee Judy Ahrens addressed the Huntington Beach City Council, reading from Maya Angelou’s celebrated "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,'' which describes the rape of an 8-year-old girl. (Trustee: Ban Maya Angelou autobiography from libraries.)

Ahrens urged banning the book.

She wasn’t alone, natch. She was joined by Ocean View School District Trustee John Briscoe. He’s quoted as saying: "I am here to speak on behalf of the helpless children currently subject to inappropriate reading material in our local public schools.”

The Huntington Beach City Council didn't seem to think much of these two. I think they blew 'em off.

Briscoe became an OVSD trustee in 2006, and since then, he’s made quite a nuisance of himself. According to the Reg, his district “has spent more than $27,000 in legal fees answering his questions about the district and its schools.”

Guess who thinks that banning Angelou’s book is a bad idea? Well, it is none other than Don Wagner’s favorite punching bag (after Hanoi Jane), the American Library Association:
"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,'' published in 1970, is a memoir tracing Angelou's childhood.... The theme of the book is using "the power of education and literature to save oneself from a bad living situation and overcoming adversity," said Deborah Caldwell, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom with the American Library Association. ¶ "There is this rape scene in the book but it is part of the larger theme where the character overcomes such obstacles to become a better person," she said. "Denying the entire community access to the book is a real issue especially when it is a publicly funded library."
Sure, but this is Orange County.

We first encountered Judy Ahrens back in 2004, when the OC Weekly chose Ahrens and some of her colleagues as the third scariest people in the county:
We keep explaining to anyone, including The New York Times, that OC’s reactionary rep is outdated hooey. But then the Weird Sisters of the Westminster School Board come along.

Roll call! Helena Rutkowski once said school libraries have too many books on Judaism. Judy Ahrens calls the teachers’ union “Communist” and talks about how her “rewards are going to be great in Heaven” by defying state law. And Blossie Marquez-Woodcock...has offered varying accounts of phony educational degrees before finally admitting all her degrees are from now-defunct, unaccredited ministerial colleges.

It all came to a delicious gestalt in March, when the Sisters refused to allow the district to pledge...against discriminating based on one’s perceived gender. The decision nearly cost Westminster $40 million in state and federal aid, but Ahrens justified it on her website by claiming “the legislative gay agenda . . . shortens the lifetime for the average male to 34 years if he becomes gay...just to get that tiny 1 percent vote of the gays the liberals have legislated a shortened life span for your child by approving an alternative lifestyle that is poison.” (OC Weekly)

We first heard about Briscoe a year ago, when the Reg reported
Just a week after the city of Fountain Valley nixed a proposal to display the national motto in Council Chambers, the local school board will discuss whether to display "In God We Trust" in its meeting room.

The Fountain Valley School District trustees will discuss Thursday whether to put a resolution on a future agenda to display the national motto in the boardroom.

The resolution proposed by Ocean View School District Trustee John Briscoe states that the words "In God We Trust" be placed behind the dais in letters 6 inches or taller.

The motto will "have people think about our country and our governance," Briscoe said. It "belongs up there. It reminds them the basis of governance is our creator."

Briscoe said that he wants to eventually bring the resolution to the elected leaders of the Huntington Beach City School District, Huntington Beach Union High School District and the Coast Community College District....

Do you suppose Ahrens/Briscoe and Don Wagner are pals?

How could they not be?

The saga of Hope



Cat lovers, you’ll definitely want to view the saga of Hope the baby bobcat, who was rescued (at four weeks old) by an organization in Florida called Big Cat Rescue. (I don't know their reputation.)

The tiny brat gets bottle fed for a few days, and then it joins a domestic cat and her brood. Hope is fully embraced as just another kitten, but with a stubby tail.

I’ve got episode 1 above. For the remaining episodes (there are 13), go to Hope the bobcat.

Gotta love these fuzzy varmints.

The Eurasian lynx (above) is the biggest of the lynxes (some are over 60 pounds).
The bobcat (lynx rufus) is the smallest (up to 30 pounds).

Bobcat spotted in Irvine:




Youtube: "We were at the San Joaquin Bird Preserve in Irvine, walking along the north side of Pond 4 when this Bobcat came out of the bushes about 50 yards in front of us. We froze and watched in amazement as the Bobcat slowly and calmly walked right toward us. He came within 10 feet and stopped. So we carefully backed up a few feet and he passed by and kept going. We were just thunderstruck."


From Dtb File B
Sunny was under six pounds. Not a bobcat. A brat cat.


From Dissent the Blog
I'm starting to think that TigerAnn (above) is just as much of a brat. She's a little more than six pounds. Loves to hunt.

19th Century Orange County (murders and such)

Pictures from the Orange County Public Library digital archive, which comprises hundreds of photos of "historic" Orange County.

House of Laura A. Mills Woodman where Baptist church was organized (Walter Harper holding horse), Garden Grove; 1896 or 1897.
Walter Harper's Blacksmith Shop was built in 1876 and was originally located on Acacia near Euclid (now Main St.), Garden Grove. (See photo, 1916.)


Mary Ware (early Garden Grove resident) at the beach; Christmas, 1891.


Hitchcock Residence (where Charles & Lois Hitchcock were murdered on January 23, 1888); 1888; Garden Grove.

This “is the home of Charles and Lois Hichcock. In an attempt to gain ownership of their property, the penniless Fred Anschlag murdered them on January 23, 1888. Anschlag was arrested and held in an Anaheim corncrib overnight to evade the lynch mob that had stormed the jail. Anschlag had decided to purchase the Hitchcock place and made a $25 deposit even though he had little in the way of funds. Apparently, his desire for the property outweighed his lack of financial resources. The irony was that Mr. Hitchcock had executted the deed and had it in his possession, ready for delivery, when the murder took place.”
(From “Images of America: Garden Grove.”)


Frank F. Bunker & Walter Bradley Hill (teacher and principal at Garden Grove Grammar School), going to Yosemite; July 1896.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Trustee Fuentes endorses Poizner



Above, we find former OC GOP chief Tom Fuentes, at this weekend's Western CPAC event, endorsing gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner. Poizner's chief competition (for the Republican ticket) is former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, a moderate.


The Red County Blog's Matt Cunningham discusses the significance of Tom Fuentes' endorsement:
That's a pretty major endorsement for Poizner. Tom Fuentes is a living institution of OC conservatism who's contacts and relationships within the OC Republican community run wide and deep. Gaining his imprimatur helps Poizner in his quest to position himself as a conservative.
Of course, Cunningham would say that.


Lots of boos, lots of fun



Last night, Red County Blog’s Allan Bartlett posted again about filmmaker John Ziegler’s squabble with American Conservative Union President David Keene (You Tube Of The Western CPAC Ziegler Confrontation With David Keene) at the Newport Beach Radisson, which is hosting the Western CPAC.

Included in the video above are remarks by CPAC organizer Jim Lacy, which are interrupted by Ziegler, who somehow manages to grab a live mike. Lots of boos, lots of fun.

I checked out the agenda for Friday and Saturday’s CPAC meeting. And guess what! The first event of the conference (5:00 p.m., Friday) was a “birthday reception” for our own Tom Fuentes! Live music was provided by Esteban Cerutti. There were “complimentary cigars.”

And the session in which Ziegler was supposed to participate? (“The Rule of Nebulous Law,” 2:30 p.m., Saturday.) Ziegler was to share the dais with our own Don Wagner, who is listed as “founder and past president, OC Federalist Society.”

Video of Sir Eldon Griffiths singing "Happy Birthday" to Tom Fuentes

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A marriage not made in Heaven: Wagner and Fuentes



WE ARE EXACTLY 50 days away from the SOCCCD Board of Trustees’ annual “Organizational Meeting.” That’s when the board selects its officers for the subsequent year.

It seems likely that Don Wagner will not seek to continue as Board President, what with the success of his campaign for Assemblyman (70th District). Political observers seem to think that Don, with his many endorsements and his campaign cash, is the man to beat.

He’s got Tom Fuentes, that notoriously crafty Neanderthal and GOP wheeler-dealer, very much in his corner.

That is worrisome. Tom’s not the kind who helps his colleagues with no strings attached. He’s definitely a “strings” kinda guy. And, in truth, though Don and Tom dominate the Board’s “majority” and share similar Neanderthal/Libertarian ideals, in some ways, they represent an important division on the board. Fuentes, true to his crafty and cronyistic nature, is loyal to long-time board toady Raghu Mathur, who, for all his faults, can be counted on to follow orders, no matter how unsavory, and to treat underlings badly, another plus in the sordid Fuentessphere.

Meanwhile, in recent years, Don Wagner has worked closely with faculty (especially with faculty on IVC’s accreditation group), and he’s plainly backed away from the standard, right-wing “lazy and corrupt faculty” worldview, while Fuentes continues to plumb its ugly and clueless depths. Further, as board President, and unlike Fuentes, he’s worked closely with Mathur; he’s likely observed Mathur’s duplicitous ways up close.

Don and Tom, it seems, don’t see eye to eye on "our good Chancellor."

So theirs is a marriage not made in Heaven.

What’s Don got that Tom wants?

These days, Fuentes, who underwent liver transplant surgery a year and a half ago, is frequently described as “reinvigorated.” He does seem more active—perhaps like a guy with a new lease on life. (Or maybe like I guy whose days are numbered.) And he ain’t going anywhere in politics, what with his odious baggage and his Pandora’s closet. So maybe being Board President has finally come to seem attractive to him.

Could be.

So I’m thinking that, starting Dec. 7, just maybe, Tom Fuentes will be the President of our Board.

We’ll see.

If I’m right, we need to consider: just how much trouble can Tom cause as the President of the SOCCCD BoT?

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