Saturday, December 12, 2009

Music for a rainy day

Though Maria McKee (of Lone Justice) appears to be very stoned or drunk here, there are some wonderful high points in this performance and, for once, the boys brought along a keyboardist to play during the break. That seems best.
Great song, great singer. I think she's doing session work these days. I'm glad she's still around.
I always figured that someone with her talent could only fail to hit the bigtime because she's nuts or some kind of wildcat. But I don't really know. Her brother, who was a member of the great 60's LA band Love, wrote this song.

It always seems to be raining when Tracy C sings. Isn't she just the best?

Friday, December 11, 2009

A new board majority? Fuentes gets hopping mad

I DID NOT ATTEND Monday’s board meeting, but, today, I did view most of it—as streaming video, which is available at the SOCCCD website.

Beyond what I’ve already reported (see December board meeting), I found three curious factoids.

Curious factoid #1.
Trustees Fuentes, Lang, and Williams actually voted against Trustee Wagner (for board president)

Item 2.6 was the much-anticipated Annual Organizational Meeting, including the “election of officers.”

The board needed to elect a President. Trustee Nancy Padberg nominated Trustee (and then-current board president) Don Wagner. Trustee Marcia Milchiker seconded that nomination.

Ah, but, then, trustee John Williams nominated trustee Nancy Padberg; the nomination was seconded by Trustee Dave Lang. This seemed to produce some confusion. Eventually, Trustee Padberg was persuaded to reject her nomination (for the time being), so that the vote on Wagner could go forward. If, after that vote, the matter remained undecided, Padberg could be nominated again. (A cynic might suggest that Williams and Lang were more interested in avoiding a Wagnerian presidency than in securing a Padbergian presidency. A fool might suggest that John Williams wanted Nancy to be the board president. A knucklehead might suggest that the Brown Act is revered at the SOCCCD.)

So the trustees voted on WAGNER. Here’s how they voted:

For Wagner:
Wagner, Milchiker, Padberg, Bill Jay

Against Wagner:
Williams, Lang, Tom Fuentes

That’s right. For some time now, Williams, Lang, Fuentes, and Wagner have constituted a Board Majority. On several important issues—especially the crucial issue of whether Raghu P. Mathur should remain as Chancellor—these four have been allies. (One important exception is trustee Williams’ pro-union sympathies; another is Lang's lack of enthusiasm for religious invocations.)

But for this night—or this moment—there was a new Board Majority, with Don joining the heretofore feeble trio of Milchiker, Jay, and Padberg—three people who appear to share a very, very low regard of Raghu Mathur. So does Wagner.

Was this vote really about the Mathur issue? No doubt you’ve heard stories about Wagner's fury in response to Mathur's recent antics.

After the presidential vote, Wagner nominated Padberg for VP. Milchiker seconded. The vote was unanimous. Wagner then nominated Milchiker for Clerk. The vote was unanimous.

At that point, the chancellor paused the proceedings in order to present Wagner with a plaque, recognizing his service as President of the board.

The presentation occurred quickly and, I think, awkwardly.

Curious factoid #2.
Padberg, citing budget concerns, rejected trustee requests for conference travel to the “other coast,” but she denies that Washington, D.C., is located on that coast.

This one is, well, a curiosity. I don’t know what to make of it.

Item 5.13—Trustees’ Requests for Attending Conferences—was pulled from the consent calendar by Nancy Padberg. Padberg has long been the board’s watchdog with regard to trustee expenses, and she plainly regards trustee Williams’ travel expenses, which are outstandingly high, with great skepticism. She has often noted trustee Williams’ fondness of conference travel to Orlando, Florida where, I’m told, he has family.

On Monday night, the board was presented with three trustee conference requests: for a conference in Sacramento, a conference in Washington, D.C., and a conference in Orlando, Florida.

During Monday’s meeting, Nancy did not object to the first two. “As usual,” she said, “I will certainly support the first two [conferences].” But, she said, “I do not see that we need to send somebody across the country to the other coast in these tight budget times, so I would not support the Orlando trip.”

Fuentes then made the obvious point. He noted that there are two other trips, and “one of those is on the other coast. Is there an objection to everything that…”

Tom didn’t get to finish his sentence. Said Nancy: “No, I don’t consider Washington, D.C. on a coast.”

Tom thought about that. Then he said, “I have to take you there. It’s a short swim to Maryland.”

According to Nancy, Washington, D.C., is not on the east coast.

In the end, all trustees voted to support the first two trips. Only Nancy voted against approving the Orlando trip, the trip to the "other coast."

I guess I could not hear what was said or mumbled or signaled next. Perhaps trustee Williams indicated, using puppets, that he was not planning to attend the Orlando conference, for Wagner jokingly noted: “Trustee Williams is not going, but he could if he wanted to, so there.”

Curious factoid #3.
Trustee Fuentes got hopping mad.

Item 6.1 was the adoption of a resolution “regarding District policy on invocations at District and College events.” (See 50:50.) Essentially, the resolution reaffirmed the policy of offering religious invocations, although it also (1) noted the requirement that videos be fully viewed before they are shown and it (2) proscribed officials’ making sectarian religious comments.

No doubt, the resolution is connected to the recently filed lawsuit against the district concerning its practice of prayer and sectarian religious commentary.

In the discussion of this item, several trustees seemed open to the possibility of modifying the resolution at a later date, after consulting with counsel, who were not present. Wagner made clear that it would be unwise to modify the resolution without counsel's OK.

Dave Lang suggested several changes. Eventually, the board voted on the original resolution.

Plainly, some trustees, including Board President Wagner, participated in the vote on the—perhaps mistaken—understanding that, afterward, modifications could still be suggested and run past counsel.

The resolution was approved unanimously.

At that point, Wagner turned to Lang, who formally advanced his earlier suggested changes. Milchiker supported him.

But trustee Fuentes would not have it. (See 50:15 of the video.) As per parliamentary procedure, he said, it would be inappropriate to amend a resolution that had just passed.

Wagner was obviously surprised, but he evidently found Fuentes’ point to be compelling, and so, when Lang and others proceeded to counter Fuentes, Wagner said, “You got snookered, Dave.”

Trustee Fuentes took great umbrage at that. (See 1:00:15.) “There was no snookering to be done,” he said, angrily.

I have observed Tom Fuentes since 2000, and I have never seen him display such anger before. I wonder if his anger was really about something else—something beyond trustees' (or Don's?) failure to understand parliamentary procedure.

Fuentes noted that the resolution passed unanimously, “and that is the action of this body.”

Said Wagner, “trustee Fuentes, you are correct, and we have voted.”

• AD 70 Watch: Irvine Councilman Steven Choi Is In (OC/Red County)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday celebration at Irvine Valley College

This woman seemed to have some serious Christmas spirit.
She set an example for all of us!

They set it up inside the Performing Arts Center. I wonder who cleans the windows?
Here's Santa checkin' out one of his helpers.
On my way over to the PAC, a student told me, "You just missed it; the cops just arrested Santa."
"Yeah?" I said. Then I saw a police car zooming around to the back of the PAC. I guess Santa was getting a special sleigh ride.

The gathering as seen from atop the stairwell. It was still early: eventually every seat was taken.
No, really. It appeared to be a big hit. I even spotted Raghu.

That dang Santa has all the luck.

I think they were telling me to stop taking pictures, for Chrissake. "Siddown and have some chow, Camera Boy!"
Diane was saying something snarky fer sher. (You can see that.) But I just pointed to my ears and walked off before they started throwing food.

Top administrators were slingin' the turkey, or whatever it was.
Nice gesture, but they were in a lonely, empty room off to the side.
You can see Glenn trying to make contact with a distant human being.

Gwen said hello to the cute kid while Santa and Glenn (I think) did that Pink Floyd burning man trick.
It was very dramatic and popular, a new tradition, I'm sure.

There's Santa again, trollin' for babes. Some people were giving me the stink-eye.
I coulda used some sleep.

Sorry, Glenn, about the grimy hand. I've gotta start packin' handkerchiefs.
Dan seemed pleased about the whole business.

Glenn, Santa, Dave. A power trio, shooting out positive vibes.

Spotted this reindeer. As you know, both sexes sport large branching antlers. Don't wanna piss off a reindeer, nope. I'm Canadian, you know. Helped my dad shoot a moose once. Now I'm a vegetarian.

Dave and his reindeer.

Santa and mini-Santa

The last Pink Floyd album I bought. My bro Ray and I would put this song on the stereo and listen without comment, in silence. (Ray knew when to say nothing.) It seemed to be the background of our lives for a little while. Afterward, the band never seemed interesting to me anymore. Too successful for their own good, I think. But the memory remains. —RB

96 Tears in the Closet

The Legion of Decency, 1934

Here’s a tiny SOCCCD “Land o’ Neanderthals” tale:

A few months ago, I caught wind of some kind of 21st Century “Legion of Decency” investigation, requested by a trustee, concerning films (or a film) produced by Saddleback College’s Communication Arts program, which (I have since learned) prides itself on its “hands on” instruction. I waited for something to materialize, but nothing ever seemed to pop up. Dang!

Well, one thing happened, I guess. Several months ago, Trustee Nancy Padberg requested a report on Saddleback’s communication arts/film program. She didn’t explain what she was looking for, as I recall.

Well, I just looked, and the report was in fact provided at the Nov. 17 board meeting. It was listed on the agenda as item 7.1. I checked the super-agenda (a fat pdf file available online) and I went to the page for 7.1. Here’s what I found:

Gosh, no wonder nothing popped up. What kind of “openness” is that? Have you ever tried to get passed the sentries to room 334? They shoulda just put this report inside a black box inside another black box inside a bucket of ATEP ground water!

So I asked around, and somebody told me that the Communication Arts program (or a student in the program) produced some sort of film about a lesbian who had “come out.” The film had received an award at a film festival somewhere.

I did some looking, and I came across a 26-minute (10 minute?) documentary called “88 Years in the Closet,” evidently made by Saddleback College student Peter Shafron. Back in ’07 or ’08, it was submitted to numerous film festivals and was accepted as an entry in many of them, including the International Film Festival on Aging in San Francisco, Toronto’s Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and the Big Bear International Film Festival, where it won an award.

Here’s the trailer:

Since then (I gather), Shafron and Jane Lehmann-Shafron co-founded a “boutique documentary” business. (See Your Story Here video biographies.) Jane, too, has taken courses (in voice acting, she says) at Saddleback College.

Evidently, the Shafrons’ company has produced other documentaries, including one concerning a Jewish woman in Nazi Germany:

According to the blurb at YouTube, the film concerns Inge Papich:
Inge Papich just wanted to fit in. Growing up in Berlin in the 1930s, she learned the Hitler salute, sang the Nationalist songs and dreamed of joining the Hitler youth. The only problem was, Inge was a Mischling – a kind of Jewish half breed under the Nuremberg Race Laws.
Is it possible that this little documentary about an 88-year-old woman on a freakin' cruise caused the fuss about Saddleback's Communication Arts program? Gosh, I don't see how.

Well, the November board meeting was several weeks ago. As near as I can tell, there’ve been no further developments.

These documentaries do seem interesting, though, don’t they?

What does it all mean?

• Fame follows an O.C. senior who came out of the closet (OC Reg, 3/14/08)
• Film about 88-year-old lesbian honored (OC Reg, 9/15/08)
• 96 Tears (Pumpkin Times, 1966)

Mid-Morning Mini Matinee: Greendale Community College Celebrates the Season

"There won't always be a dean around!!"

A little preview of tonight's show.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Take our poll on this semester's "student quality"!

“Good Lord! This is the worst batch of students I have ever seen!”

“Who refuses to turn in assignments all freakin' semester and then sticks around to the very end, smiling like an idiot? What’s the matter with ‘em?! Who can explain it?”

“You won’t believe what this kid did in my class today! What the **** was he thinking?!”
I’ve been hearing such sentiments and similar ones all semester. I won’t go into details.

I should mention that, in my own classes, I have perceived no decline in student quality or preparedness. Same old, same old.

But some of my colleagues are carping bigtime. I hear their grunts and yelps and roars from every corner of my building.

What do the rest of you think?

Take our poll! (See at top right.)

Never apologize for giving your honest opinion

Full-blown anti-Semites among us

SADLY, among the many episodes of the SOCCCD “Neanderthal Saga”*—an epoch that stretches from about 1994 to the present (and beyond!)—is a particularly dismal one that concerned that inveterate tradition of American knuckle-draggery that sees the world as a vast Jewish conspiracy. You’ll recall that former trustee Steven Frogue (1992-2000) was a fan of such theories and of, in particular, such outfits as Liberty Lobby and Orange County’s own Institute for Historical Review.

One of Frogue's conspiracy-minded pals was Liberty Lobby's Michael Collins Piper, who attributed the JFK assassination to the CIA and the Israeli Mossad. Frogue seemed to like that, but he included the ADL (a Jewish civil rights organization) in his goofy theorizing.

Frogue seemed to spend much of his time as a high school history teacher discussing the Holocaust. Many students reported that he denied its occurrence. Way back in 1995, speaking with the IVC Voice, Frogue asserted that “...there are too many questions about the Holocaust for it to be judged a certainty in all aspects” (Voice, 4/20/95).

Frogue, ever the “scholar,” read stuff. In an earlier interview with the Voice (3/23/95), he explained:
“There’s a group, right here in Orange County, called the Institute for Historical Review...they have raised questions about [the occurrence of the Holocaust]. I’ve looked at some of their publications, kind of strange and definitely new, I’ve never seen anything like it before. There’s somebody that wants to engage in the debate about the Holocaust.
I recall one of trustee Frogue’s press conferences in which he held high copies of the IHR’s “Journal of Historical Review.” (See pic.) He was like a pig in shite. It was appalling!

Well, OC's madcap journalist-historian Gustavo Arellano keeps tabs on the IHR. Nowadays, he reports, the IHR makes no bones about the identity of the supposed cause of all our troubles:

OC's Leading Holocaust Denier Says Forget the Denying: Let's Just Concentrate on Jew-Bashing
The Southern Poverty Law Center has a great recap in the latest issue of their award-winning magazine, Intelligence Report, regarding a story we've known about for months: that the head of the Newport Beach-based Institute for Historical Review, the most influential Holocaust-denial organization in the country, is dropping the pretense and emerging as a full-blown anti-Semite.

Back in January, IHR head Mark Weber wrote an essay arguing that the Holocaust denial movement has been "as much a hindrance as a help" that only distracted from the real issue: the Jews. Intelligence Report writer Heidi Beirich noted that at the IHR's most recent Orange County conference…, Weber told his audience that Jews "control political and cultural life, including the education system and the mass media," and threw in digs at minorities as well.

Also in attendance that day: Long Beach [State University] professor Kevin Macdonald, notorious for his "academic" work trying to paste an intellectual sheen on Jew-bashing. Amazing that he's a '49er and not working at the South Orange County Community College District...
Now, now Gustavo. Get it right! Our knuckle-draggers are not faculty!

Ours are trustees and chancellors!

SEE ALSO: Is Trustee Frogue a Holocaust denier?

*The current Neanderthal era is not our first. Old-timers tell tales of remarkable right-wingery during the earliest days of the district (c. 1969-1970), when it was called the "Saddleback Community College District" and comprised one college, including a main building (the library) constructed as a bastion in case of student protests. For instance, I'm told that, for a while, when patriotic music would suddenly blast from speakers, faculty were required to stop dead in their tracks, face a flag, and place hand on heart. I kid you not. Plus there was a dress code. Something about knickers.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bill Campbell throws John Williams under the bus: "we’d be better off to hire somebody who is skilled"

"Jennifer Muir of the OC Reg’s “OC Watchdog” blog posted a brief report on John Williams and his lucrative county gig: Public Administrator’s authority safe … at least for another week.
Saying they need more time to look into the cost and implications, county supervisors this morning postponed a decision on reducing the authority of the county’s elected Public Administrator.

The proposal involves splitting the Public Administrator and Public Guardian positions — now headed by the same elected official– and giving oversight authority of the Public Guardian office to county chief executive Tom Mauk. And it comes on the heels of two scathing Grand Jury reports alleging mismanagement by Public Administrator John Williams.

The supes only danced around the grand jury allegations during their discussion about the proposal, characterizing it as procedural and not punitive. Even Mauk recommended reappointing Williams to Public Guardian if they approved the proposal.

Still, Supervisor Bill Campbell said it didn’t go far enough and suggested that neither job should be filled with an elected official.

“I think John Williams has done a good job; he had to learn on the job,” Campbell said. “But it is such a technical position that I think its a better position to be appointed to than to be an elected. I think we’d be better off to hire somebody who is skilled in this arena.”

Missing from the discussion was Williams. His personal attorney Phil Greer ... said Williams was handling a personal family issue….
I say hand the job to this 911 dispatcher:

911 ~ Laguna Niguel ~ mom v. Burger King ~ imbroglio

Woman Calls Cops on Burger King sound bite
“Ma’am, we’re not gonna go down there and enforce your western bacon cheeseburger.”
"You're supposed to be here to protect me!"
“What are we protecting you from, a wrong cheeseburger?

Anonymous said...
Yes, the dispatcher would clearly do a much better job.
5:57 PM, December 08, 2009

Bohrstein said...
When I worked at Del Taco (first job) something similar almost happened to a fellow employee. Some lady was complaining about there not being enough cheese on her tacos, and was outraged by the prices we charged, thought it was real robbery. She threatened to call the cops, but eventually paid I believe.


While I have eyes - If you go to a public food place, or a movie theater, or something where the guy serving you is making minimum wage, and you don't like the service/price/attitude the guy is giving you, go somewhere else. You don't have a right to anything, and if you ever utter that god forsaken phrase "The customer is always right" as an honest defense to some inane thing? I will snap on you. 

Oh yes, it has happened.

a stressed BS
7:40 PM

If I could save prayer in a bottle…

Today, I spent a few minutes (between suicide-inducing sessions of grading student writing) perusing my old Dissent files for “prayer” in the SOCCCD, hoping to find amusing prayerful factoids. 

Frogue’s “prayer breakfast”:

In Dissent 25 (4/1/99), I reported on the March 29, 1999 meeting of the board. Prayer came up, but so did what would eventually come to be called “ATEP”:
Trustee Wagner had evidently spoken before the Little Hoover Commission, which seems to favor the elimination of locally elected boards. Wagner … doesn’t. He … also visited a site in Denver that provided “great ideas of what could be done in Tustin.”

Trustee Padberg reported that she had attended Trustee Frogue’s “"prayer breakfast
,” which, she said, was “excellent.” (I assume that this was an assessment of the pancakes.)….

I recall that prayer breakfast. Reportedly, only one member of the faculty showed up. --Ray Chandos, I think. Being an instructor implies having students, right? So does he count?

At the time, trustee Frogue was basking in the glory (or at least the non-ignominy) of the failure of the Frogue recall to collect the needed 34,000 signatures (close, but no cigar):
Trustee Frogue spoke of his meeting with Buck Coe, chair of the (now defunct) Committee to Recall Steven J. Frogue. The exchange was “very very nice,” he said. Coe, who declined to attend the prayer breakfast, said he would pray for the board.

The Froguester, referring to his efforts at “reconciliation,” noted, unpleasantly, that some people are temperamental: “90% temper, 10% mental.” (Har har.)

Yeah, that was Frogue all over: conciliatory chirping followed by a swift smack upside the head. Then: “har, har, har!”


As I recall, Buck Coe was a retired Saddleback College professor who, perhaps in 1992, was elected to the board. I do believe that he lost the election of 1996 to Dorothy “Dot” Fortune, one of the union’s right-wing friends. Though he started out as a “union” trustee, by 1996, he had allied himself with trustee Harriett Walther, who, owing to her independence, had become the (then-corrupt) union’s public enemy #1. (Because of redistricting, her eligibility to run had been eliminated at the end of 1996).

Three weeks earlier, I had reported on the Feb. 25 meeting of the board:
Trustee Frogue led the “invocation.” He closed it with, “in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, amen.” Pretty non-nondenominational.
During the Trustees’ reports, Trustee Frogue asked for extra time. … He went on to discuss … the failed recall efforts. Surprising everyone, he seemed to call for a “prayer breakfast” to be held at IVC. He said he wanted to help take the district and the community past all the “contention and ill will” of recent years. He specifically invited the Rev. Buckner Coe, chair of the recall committees, to attend and asked Peter Morrison [then, the president of the IVC Academic Senate] to help with the project. A few days later, the media reported that Coe has turned down Frogue’s invitation, suggesting that he [Frogue] had better apologize to Holocaust survivors first.

Evidently, Frogue is quite sincere about the proposal. It has somehow found its way into the OC Register and some smaller papers, such as the Laguna Post News.

Later in the evening, Morrison described Frogue’s invitation as “surprising.” Peter also made reference to his own “shameless paganism.”


Anyone who ever saw Frogue pray knows that, when he prayed, he wasn’t prayin’ to no generic Deity. (BTW: during prayer, he tended to keep his fingers crossed.)

Besides, only Christians eat pancakes for breakfast.

National Day of Prayer and Remembrance:

Evidently, some time in 2001, we reported:
Back on September 14, a Friday..., I happened to be sitting (with Wendy P, my Brown Act attorney) in front of the student services building, watchin’ IVC’s feeble contribution to the “National Day of Prayer and Remembrance.” Apparently, an administrator (one with really big hair) saw us and freaked out; soon, all the cops were placed on some kinda “high alert.” The worry, I’m told, was that we’d bring out our tombstones—memorials to Board Majority/Mr. Goo casualties—thereby embarrassing Dot and Mr. Goo during one of their beloved self-promoting PR extravaganzas.

Well, we had no such plan. Thanks for thinking of us, though.

Old-timers at IVC will recall our famous “tombstones,” which, despite their crude and simple construction, produced a fine Arlingtonesque display, hauntingly hinting at thousands of dead.

Red Emma, in the guise of “Miss [Dorothy?] Fortune,” couldn’t help alluding to Frogue’s love of prayer breakfasts. Here’s one of many examples (this one from 5/3/99):

Dear Miss Fortune

Remember me? I am the illegally appointed president of a once-esteemed community college whose door is always open. While a teacher and I we were meditating on “divine intervention” and the oneness of all things at a recent IVC Prayer Breakfast, that very teacher (oddly, the only faculty member attending) asked questions of a spiritual nature. When, he wondered, is a faculty breakfast not a faculty breakfast? How can one reconcile with one’s enemies when one’s enemies will not eat flapjacks? And what is the sound of one IVC hand clapping?

—The Amazing Mathurini

Dear Amazing

The answer to your spiritual questions is, as with all questions, distance learning. Learning from a distance, even of thirty or forty feet, elevates one’s perceptions, tunes one’s consciousness toward peace and away from divisiveness and eliminates anxieties about pesky Accrediting Teams and micromanagement. I therefore suggest you remove yourself to a great distance.


Note: I was never a Jim Croce fan, but some of his tunes do seem to have encrusted some of my memory banks.

A Christmassy "Holiday" card from the district

At 11:41, the Chancellor spammed the district community with an email and an attached greeting card. The email states: “Attached are holiday greetings from Chancellor Mathur and the Board of Trustees.”

Upon opening the attachment, a late evening photo of the district offices building and the attached “Ronald Reagan” board room appears. Upon this image is written: “The Board of Trustees and Chancellor Raghu P. Mathur of the South Orange County Community College District Wish You a Wonderful Holiday Season and Happy New Year.” (See above.)

A colorful Christmas tree appears on the roof of the main building, to the left. On the right, in the sky, appears a silhouette of Santa and his reindeer.

It’s a Christmassy “Holiday” card.


At least there're no crosses. On the other hand, if you look carefully, you can find "666" here and there. Just my imagination, I'm sure.

Meanwhile, Glenn Roquemore, Prez of IVC, sent his President's Holiday Message today.

No X-mas tree. No Santa Claus. Just “Jingle Bells,” done by the diverse studentry of Music 160: Woodwind Chamber Music.

Sounds good. Ends pretty abruptly, though. Cuts off in mid-jingle. Jinglus interruptus, I guess.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The board sets a record; Wagner continues as Prez; plus car chases

For the official story, see Tracy's Board Meeting Highlights

1. THE BOARD. A friend wrote me about tonight’s board meeting:
 [CORRECTION re administrative contracts: My source clarifies that all administrators (up for review) were granted 1-year contracts--shorter than expected. Here are the administrators listed on the agenda: Vice Chancellor, Technology and Learning Services ; Vice Chancellor, Human Resources; President/Saddleback College; Dean, Counseling Services, Irvine Valley College; Dean, Humanities & Languages/Social Science & Library Services, Irvine Valley College; Dean, PE, Kinesiology & Athletics, Saddleback College; Assistant Dean, Counseling Services/Special Programs, Saddleback College; Dean, Fine Arts, Business Sciences & College Online Education, Irvine Valley College; Provost/ATEP; Dean, Math, Science & Engineering, Irvine Valley College; Dean, Health Sciences, PE & Athletics, Irvine Valley College]

 Amazingly, the closed session, which started at 5:00 p.m., lasted until nearly 9 p.m.! Gosh, that must be a new record! What do you suppose that was about?

 Oddly, nothing was reported out of closed session.

 Don Wagner was elected (again) as the President of the board for the next year. Nancy Padberg is VP. Marcia Milchiker is Clerk. (Wagner is a major contender in a race for the 70th Assembly District. You'd think he'd devote his time to that. But what do I know.) (Photo: Tracy Daly)

 That seriously curious "prayer" resolution (prayer? Hell Yes! plus: thou shalt examine videos before showing them; Williams shalt avoid jokes condemning non-believers, etc.) was approved, despite Dave Lang's efforts to amend it. "Dave, you got snookered," said Wagner. (It is unlikely that trustees are all on the same page about the prayer and religion issue. Lang has been among those who've pushed back against the board/Mathur's in-your-face religiosity/sectarianism.)

 IVC's seriously odd and troublesome temporary full-time faculty positions were approved. Big money.

 Trustees opted not to discuss accred, owing to the lateness of the hour.
2. THE BORED (e.g., cylinders). The other day, in my Ethics class, whilst discussing John Stuart Mill’s distinction between the quality and the quantity of pleasures—Mill insisted that any puny amount of  "pleasure of the mind" trumps gobs of sensual delights—I found myself ridiculing popular contemporary movies, and that led to a thorough condemnation of car chase scenes and explosions. I was thinking of such movies as “The Fast and the Furious,” which, naturally, is shite.

But, in truth, I love a really good car chase scene, though they don’t seem to be done with as much flair as they used to be.

Here’s a good one. And an explosion, too. It’s from Bullitt (1968):

McQueen is driving a dark "Highland Green" 1968 Ford Mustang 390 CID Fastback. (See Shelby.) The hit men are in a "Tuxedo Black" 1968 Dodge Charger R/T 440 Magnum. (See Charger.)

The hit man driver is none other than the legendary Bill Hickman (1921–1986), who was involved in three of the greatest car chases in movie history (Bullitt 1968, The French Connection 1971, and The Seven-Ups 1973.)

Hickman was a pal of James Dean’s. According to Wikipedia,
Bill spent some of his earlier days as driver and friend to James Dean, driving Dean's Ford station wagon towing his famed 550 spyder nicknamed “Little Bastard”, and often helping and advising him with his driving technique, he was driving the Ford station wagon and trailer following Dean on the day of his fatal accident and was first on the scene….

[According to Hickman:] "In those final days, racing was what he cared about most. I had been teaching him things like how to put a car in a four-wheel drift, but he had plenty of skill of his own. If he had lived he might have become a champion driver. We had a running joke, I'd call him Little Bastard and he'd call me Big Bastard. I never stop thinking of those memories." In another interview with James Dean expert Warren Beath, Hickman is quoted as saying "We were about two or three minutes behind him. I pulled him out of the car, and he was in my arms when he died, his head fell over. I heard the air coming out of his lungs the last time. Didn’t sleep for five or six nights after that, just the sound of the air coming out of his lungs."
Typically, in explaining Mill’s distinction, I compare American muscle cars and European sports cars. You know: quantity versus quality.

But you’ve gotta love that Mustang and that Charger.


Anonymous said...
The four hour closed session was dedicated to celebrating Wagner's new title: the Sexiest Man in the World.
7:10 AM, December 08, 2009

Anonymous said...
Very strange last night.
9:17 AM

Anonymous said...
I still don't get the temporary full-time hire thing at all.

9 positions?!?

I thought there wasn't enough money anywhere for anything extra.

Where does it come from? 

10:05 AM

Anonymous said...
How was Lang snookered? What was the nature of his proposed amendment? Inquring minds want to know.
10:22 AM

B. von Traven said...
I'm afraid I can't answer any detailed questions, since I wasn't at the board meeting, as per my resolution of a month or so ago. But I would guess that the trustees are not unanimous in their decision to entrench with a pro-prayer stance, which, naturally, will have implications for the current litigation. 
At IVC, it would seem that we have entered an era in which administrators are less than straight with us. Originally, we were told that there was some "extra money" that permitted the temp full-time hires. In truth (I believe), the district is attempting to avoid violation of the 50% law, which requires that at least half of expenditures be devoted to "instruction."
10:33 AM

Anonymous said...
Clearly, they spent those hours in prayer.
11:14 AM

Anonymous said...
You're into muscle cars? Really?
11:54 AM

Anonymous said...
of course he is - haven't you seen his ride?
12:59 PM

"Thou Shalt Destroy All Evidence That Might Get Your Pious Ass Sued"

An hour or so ago, OC Weekly’s Matt Coker reported about our trustees and their pious and unconstitutional ways: College Board Sued Over Prayers Weighs Prayer Policy Tonight:
Ever go to a school board meeting and have a tent revival break out?

Trustees who lord over the South Orange County Community College District … and are being sued over their frequent and apparently mandatory use of official prayers are scheduled tonight to consider a new policy concerning those moments of supposed intimate connection with a greater power.
Matt joins us here at DtB in noting the curious nature of tonight’s special 3-part “prayer ‘n’ videos” resolution. Remember the “Jesus Christ and the American G.I.” video?
The new policy, then, would seem to acknowledge that was bad--mmm-kay?--as a video like that would have to be pre-screened, and all religious images and inferences would be strip-mined out.

The bit in the third section about restricting one's personal religious comments seems to stem from district trustee and County of Orange Public Administrator John Williams introducing his prayer at an August board session by essentially telling those present who questioned Bible stories that they were going to hell.

Since the board videotapes its meetings, that footage apparently would have been edited out had the policy being considered tonight already been in place. Which brings us, brothers and sisters, to the 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Destroy All Evidence That Might Get Your Pious Ass Sued.

Our Beno

Board meeting tonight, complete with Japanese sneak attack (agenda) — Trustees will resolve to check vids before showing them ~ $2,445 a person for Orlando junket ~ new Board President?

 A Rainbow of Patriots/Crazies Greet Nancy Pelosi in Irvine (OC Weekly) — Way crazy 9/11 truthers, Fuentesers, et al.

 U.S.A. All the Way Apologies to the cynics, but we’re on a roll. (The New York Times) — That's right, our French fries are still the best, and Apple rules

 Should you treat your children like dogs? Can dog-whisperering techniques used to control canines also work with children (The Guardian) — Sure, why not, and with students too; can we use treats?

AT A RECENT MEETING of the IVC Academic Senate, senators discussed “student learning outcomes” (SLOs) yet again. The discussion got seriously nuts. I listened in amazement. It appeared to me that, perhaps unknowingly, the college had constructed a “system” around the new planning and SLO requirements that was shot through with bad faith and, well, idiocy. I needed to say something.

“I feel that I am in a dystopian novel,” I announced. Most senators just stared. (I don’t think they know what “dystopian” means.)

It does not surprise me that this SLO garbage is being foisted upon us. What surprises me is the impulse to cheerfully accommodate these demands.

What’s the matter with people? Are they too far gone?

But, if you look, you can find plenty of non-cheerful accommodation (or cheerful or non-cheerful non-accommodation). For instance, in this morning’s Inside Higher Ed, Rob Weir declares that he is a “near-total skeptic on the ‘measured outcomes’ fad sweeping academe.” In parentheses, he says more: “Way too much of the latter is jargon-ridden gibberish fashioned by administrators who don’t teach to mollify demagogic politicians who don’t think!”

For us in the community colleges, much of this gibberish seems to originate (after the demagogic politicians, I mean) with accrediting officials. That ACCJC: it is, by itself, its own dystopian novel.

It’s headed by the remarkable "Babs" Beno. Remember when she arrived in the spring of '06 to declare that things in the district were just about, well, hunky-dory? She actually offered that assessment, more or less, immediately after having heard three faculty leaders explaining how remarkably unhunky and undory things really were.

She and Tom Fuentes were on the same page that day. Everything is just f*cking great, they said. They were on a soma holiday together. How wonderful.

I seem to recall that Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World describes life under “Our Ford.”

OK then.

Our Beno.

Dystopia c. 2006

1:20 Faculty speak the truth, to no avail
6:28 Babs Beno: “I’ve seen a lot of progress here, so good for you.”
6:50 Trustee Fuentes: “an infusion of good cheer”
7:35 Ian Walton: “Can I really truthfully stand up here and say it’s nice to be back? I’m not even gonna try to answer that question.”

Watch Ian Walton listen to Babs and the trustees and, well, find himself in a dystopian novel.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Live music for a dead Sunday

I chose this one in part because you can see Tina Weymouth playin' her bass. I remember wearing this song out in grad school, late 70s. Very cool, very dark. My fave version is on 1982's live The Name of This Band is Talking Heads.

Well, OK, this isn't "live." It was sung by the now dead Nico (died in '88), during her time with Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground in the mid-60s. (Love the Velvets.) Nico was a nihilist and heroin addict. That's obvious, I guess.

Here they are performing, about thirty years after the original recording, and they still sound great. X is considered by many to be the greatest of the LA punk bands, though, really, they were always more than a punk band. (Not that there's anything wrong with being a punk band.) I've always loved the way John Doe and Exene Cervenka's voices mesh on this song. Pretty special.

Bragg first recorded this in the early 80s. He's very smart and just plain wonderful. Saw him at the Coach House a few years ago with Reb and Red. I think those two have gone to dinner with Mr. Bragg. The same politics, I guess. The old union radical crowd: always eating, always plotting and scheming.

This song first appeared on an album (Marquee Moon) in 1977. Television was a part of the New York scene that produced Talking Heads, Blondie, Richard Hell & the Voidoids, et al. They still sound great. The interplay of the two guitars is pretty special. Also check out their song "Marquee Moon."

I've always loved this one. Once again, we get to see Tina Weymouth playin' her bass. At first, she was just the drummer's girlfriend, but the band needed a bassist, so they got her a bass and made her listen to Suzie Quatro albums, and so there you are. (This is pretty much how Maureen Tucker became the drummer for the Velvets. She was somebody's sister, hanging around.)
All of these bands (except perhaps X; not sure about them) were heavily influenced by the Velvet Underground. And no wonder!

I do believe that The Modern Lovers, who hailed from Massachusetts, recorded this version of "She Cracked" in LA in 1972. Clearly, they were way ahead of their time. This doesn't appear to be the version of "She Cracked" that ended up on their one and only album (The Modern Lovers), which wasn't released until 1976 (it comprised the 1972 demos). This recording isn't live, but these guys always sounded like a live band somehow. Singer Jonathan Richman has continued as a solo artist. Jerry Harrison joined Talking Heads. The drummer helped found the Cars, etc.

Evidently, heroin can lower your voice. Here’s Marianne Faithfull (2000) doing her hit from circa 1979—during one of her many comebacks. Did you know that she is none other than the Baroness Sacher-Masoch and that her maternal great-great-uncle, Herr Masoch, wrote Venus in Furs? The latter title served as the title of one of the Velvet’s most celebrated songs, sung by Nico.

If, for some reason, you would like to go insane, take a look at Faithfull lipsyncing to her hit “As Tears Go By” in 1965.

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