Saturday, March 20, 2010

Visiting with the nieces


Young Catherine

Young Natalie



Blue Moon (more Alex)



Big Star, 1974.

Big Star's leader, the legendary Alex Chilton, died earlier this week, in New Orleans, at age 59.

(Paul Westerberg: Beyond the Box Tops New York Times)


I saw 'im at the Coach House years ago, and he was all that I hoped he would be. He was an excellent musician; he could do anything. But the whole vibe of his performance was: I don't give a shit. He smoked the way people used to smoke, all slow motion and glares, plus endlessly dissipating stinking clouds. He said things, but he clearly did not want to hear requests. Or he did, just so he could ignore them. He had a total fuck you face.

They say he was very difficult. Don't really know. Probably so.

He produced the Cramps' first album.

He refused to compromise, and it doomed him to the commercial margins.

He was pretty wonderful.

Even his choice of covers was perfect. The Seeds:




Alex Chilton, 1970. My favorite version of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" ever! Only an American band could do this.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Of course these devices work; the government relies on them!

Today, Bob Park of “What’s New” zeroes in on the role that phony detecting devices have in the ongoing bloody drug “war” for control of the Mexico/U.S. border:
…According to Monday’s New York Times, outgunned Mexican officials spent more than $10 million to purchase high-tech dowsing rods to detect caches of drugs, or weapons or anything else you have in mind. (The first application [of these dowsing rods] was as a golf-ball finder sold in Golf-Pro shops.)

The Mexican army says the devices are extremely helpful. Made in the UK by Global Technologies Ltd., the GT 200 has no sensors. Priced at more than $20,000, it’s a plastic rod attached to a hand grip by a swivel, allowing the rod to point in any direction depending on the orientation of the handle.

That also describes the ADE 650 sold by ATSC Ltd., another UK company, which recently sold 1,500 imaginary detectors to the Iraqis to search for explosives at checkpoints.

Could Global Technologies and ATSC be the same company, switching names and locations to avoid exposure?

The British government [has notified] Mexico and other countries that the GT 200 "may not work."

Of course it "works"; it just doesn't detect anything. That's not its purpose[!]

Human Rights Watch is worried that people are actually being arrested and charged solely on the basis of readings from the device…. ([I]n the United States…, local law enforcement agencies use these devices to justify probable-cause for searches.)
. . .
The British government is said to be considering legislation to stop exports of the GT 200 and similar devices, but a British diplomat in Mexico said of the GT 200, "It's now up to the Mexican authorities."

Why is it that the people who market imaginary science never seem to go to jail? I served several State Attorneys General as a expert witness in cases involving charges of fraudulent science.

Every case ended with a consent decree in which the perpetrator agreed to stop cheating residents of that state.
ALSO: No smelly fish at new Russian market (Lake Forest)

Obeying TV

I heard about this contemporary take on the Milgram experiment yesterday on NPR:

French polemic over fake game show electrocutions (AP)
A state-run TV channel is stirring controversy with a documentary about a fake game show in which credulous participants obey orders to deliver increasingly powerful electric shocks to a man, who is really an actor, until he appears to die.
. . .
In the end, more than four in five "players" gave the maximum jolt.
. . .
The experiment was based on the work of late psychologist Stanley Milgram, who carried out a now-classic experiment at Yale University in the 1960s. It found that most ordinary people — if encouraged by an authoritative-seeming scientist — would administer ostensibly dangerous electric shocks to others.
. . .
Recruiters found 80 "contestants" and said they would take part in a real TV show called Zone Xtreme. Each was presented to a man said to be another contestant — in reality an actor — whose job was to answer a series of questions while strapped into an electrifiable chair in an isolated booth.

In a game of word associations, the actor identified as "Jean-Paul" was told that any wrong answers would merit punishment in the form of electric shocks of 20 to 460 volts, zapped by a console operated by the contestant.

As the wrong answers invariably roll in and the voltage increases, the presenter, a well-known TV weatherwoman on France-2, exhorts contestants not to bend to his cries of agony. A goading studio audience adds to the pressure.
. . .
As wrong answers pile up, and the voltage increases, Jean-Paul pleads: "Get me out of here, please! I don't want to play anymore" and finally stops answering, then falls silent despite the electric jolts.

Contestants grow increasingly edgy but told to continue, the vast majority do.

In the final tally, 81 percent of the contestants turned up the juice to the maximum — said to be potentially deadly — level, according to "L'Experience Extreme" (The Extreme Experience), a book authored by … the producer. Only 16 people among the 80 who took part backed out…..

Thursday, March 18, 2010

2012: No more math and English remediation at Cal State U?

Cal State to Require Remedial Courses Before Freshman Year (Chronicle of Higher Education)
California State University will require academically deficient students to take remedial mathematics and English classes before starting their freshman year, the San Jose Mercury News reported today. The policy, which will take effect in 2012, aims to reduce the amount of time students spend on noncredit remedial work once they arrive at college, a process that often lengthens their undergraduate years. Roughly 60 percent of Cal State's new freshmen are judged deficient in English, math, or both.


Santa Anita, 1958

Cal State Will Require Remediation Before Enrollment
The California State University System has adopted a new "early start" policy in which those needing remediation will have to complete those courses before the start of their first year at the university, The San Jose Mercury News reported. The remedial courses will be available in the summer, or online to be finished during high school. Cal State officials say that the program will encourage more students to take the necessary steps to truly be ready to start college. But critics fear that the requirements will be difficult for those who must work at jobs after school or in the summer

Alex Chilton, dead at 59

Big Star, 1974
Take care not to hurt yourself
Beware of the need for help
You might need too much
And people are such –
Take care, please, take care

Some people read idea books
And some people have pretty looks
But if your eyes are wide
And all words aside –
Take care, please, take care

This sounds a bit like goodbye
In a way it is I guess
As I leave your side
I've taken the air –
Take care, please, take care
Take care, please, take care
Alex Chilton, Rock Musician, Dies (New York Times)
Alex Chilton, the mercurial if influential rock musician, whose work spanned an eclectic gamut from the soul songs of the Box Tops to the multiple incarnations of his pop band Big Star, died on Wednesday. He was 59 and was living in New Orleans.
. . .
Mr. Chilton, who grew up in Memphis, was just 16 years old when the Box Tops, in which he sang and played guitar, had a No. 1 hit with “The Letter” in 1967. When that group broke up in 1970, Mr. Chilton formed Big Star with Jody Stephens, Chris Bell and Andy Hummel. The band’s first album, “#1 Record,” in 1972, did not come close to fulfilling the commercial promise of its title, nor did the followup releases “Radio City” and “Third/Sister Lovers.” But their music – gentle and introspective songs like “The Ballad of El Goodo”and “September Gurls,” and exuberant anthems like “In the Street” – had a profound impact on generations of pop and indie acts that followed.

Perhaps the surest measure of the tug that Mr. Chilton exerted on subsequent artists can be found in the lyrics of the Replacements – another malleable rock act that moved more hearts than retail units – who sang in their song“Alex Chilton”:
“Children by the million
Sing for Alex Chilton
When he comes ’round
They sing, ‘I’m in love / What’s that song?
I’m in love with that song.’”
Big Star was scheduled to perform on Saturday at the South By Southwest festival in Austin. In a statement, the festival’s creative director, Brent Grulke, said: “Alex Chilton was an artist of the very highest caliber. It’s too early to do much but cry about our loss right now, but he’ll be missed, and missed more as the ages pass and his myth continues to expand – that music isn’t going anywhere. R.I.P. and thank you, friend.”
The Box Tops, 1967

Big Star, 1973

Big Star: Holocaust

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

“I’m a person of integrity,” says Quisling Boy

I guess the OC Reg’s Jennifer Muir was waiting around all day to see who would get their papers in by 5:00 p.m. to run for OC Treasurer, now that Chriss “corrupt pal of Tom Fuentes” Street has decided not to run for reelection—what with that nasty court case going against him and all. She just reported that four poor souls have made it to the starting line: Four join race to replace county treasurer

Naturally, one of ‘em is our own Dave “pal o’ Fuentes and Quisling too” Lang:
South Orange County Community College District Trustee Dave Lang, 56, is a CPA and shareholder in a small public accounting firm in Irvine. He is just beginning to drum up support, and he admits he'll have to make time to campaign since he's "a CPA during tax season."

"I think I'm very well qualified," Lang said Wednesday. "I'm a person of integrity, which the office needs."
Well, that tears it. Obviously, Dave, a guy who's been known to invoke the Lord in his role as community college trustee, doesn’t believe in God, cuz, if he did, he would surely believe that some serious fire and brimstone is headed his way saying something as absurd as, “I’m a person of integrity.”

(THE SAGA OF INTEGRITY BOY: Starting in 1996, David Lang was strongly supported by a group of faculty especially at Irvine Valley College. He was a strong and consistent voice of opposition to the "board majority's" Brown Act violations, its occasional disastrous misjudgments (e.g., supporting' Frogue's "Warren Commission" forum, despite warnings), and, especially, its support of Raghu Mathur (first as IVC President; later as district Chancellor). Five years ago, he suddenly changed tack, allying himself with Wagner, Fuentes (Mathur's most ardent supporter), and Williams, becoming the swing vote for Mathur's contract renewal. Since then, Lang (that "changer of men") has been a steadfast supporter of the hated Mathur, even as Mathur's boners and outrages piled up. Back in '05, there was a tense meeting in Laguna Beach in which many of Lang's longstanding faculty supporters asked him to explain himself. He offered no coherent explanation. Soon, the notion surfaced that Lang had political ambitions: he sought to become the Orange County Treasurer, and he had made some adjustments in order to eventually secure that office. —And now, of course, he is a candidate for OC Treasurer.)

(Apparently, DtB’s 1st reference to the rumored Fuentes/Lang “Treasurer” pact occurred in March of 2006, here)

She likes her job

JUST GOT BACK from my deposition—by the opposing side—for the “prayer” lawsuit. As expected, it was pretty grueling, but, if the peevitude of the Bad Guys' attorney is any indication, it went well.

Evidently, the maximum amount of time for deposing a plaintiff is seven hours, and they did use up all of those hours in my case. Whew!

And guess what! These dang district lawyers seem to spend all of their time reading Dissent the Blog! Most of the questions were about blog posts.

"Did you write this blog post?"

"Yep."

"Do you see paragraph 2, where you say such-and-such?"

"Yep."

"What did you mean by that?"

That's pretty much how the thing went. But who knew it would be all about this blog?

SOMETIMES, the depo was downright thrilling, like a Perry Mason episode. The lawyers would menace each other, spitting forth such remarks as, “I don’t care what you think, counselor!” and “if you do this I will bring you up for sanctions!”

Golly! During a break, I asked my attorney whether this kind of banter is unusual. “Nope,” he said. "Not with this case."

During one exchange of these pleasantries, I couldn’t help but break into a huge smile, watchin' 'em go at it. I looked over at the court reporter, who, I assumed, was also marveling at the fine display of venomous spewage, but she seemed utterly oblivious to it. Later, I asked her if she liked her job. “Yes,” she chirped. Then I asked, “Does part of your brain actually listen to this stuff as you write it down?”

“No!” she said.

Ha!

Man, these big, fancy law firms that the district hires are sittin’ in clover. The depo was done in a gorgeous office space on the eighth (and, I think, seventh) floor of a magnificent office tower very near the Mother’s Market in Irvine (near Jamboree and the 405).

The view was spectacular. I kept gawking at it, which seemed to annoy the opposing attorney, who seemed beyond appreciating such things and who wore jeans and had the bearing and civility of, say, a Mafioso.

Well, that’s how I spent my Wednesday. Pretty cool, eh?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Images for a warm Tuesday evening

Got some images here for you.

Irvine Valley College's theater people (aka "the thespians") have displayed the same dang photos in their box display at the center of building A200 for--well, I figure it's been at least 15 years. The Reb insists this stuff has been hanging around for a lot longer that that.

It's like these two-dimensional performers—and IVC's neglectful theater people—are stuck in a time warp.

The Reb asserts that the children of these performers are now attending the college. Could be.

(We're pretty sure that nobody in the Theater area reads this blog. So we're not too worried about offending them here or alerting them to our machinations.)

A few days ago, at the Reb’s prompting, a few of us were examining the display. We stood back as though we were patrons of an art museum. We marveled at its antiquery, its ridiculosity, not to mention its abject cheesery (what is this, freakin' "Guys and Dolls"?).

While we were jawing, I grabbed my key ring and looked for a key that might open the display (see the two locks?). I found a tiny, silvery key. Don't remember where I got it. Something told me to try it. I stuck it in the lock, and—what do you know?—it turned!

We swung open the door and then marveled at these faded artifacts, seen unobstructed for the first time in, um, decades or something. We sniffed the stale air, noted the dust.

Everybody started staring at my mystery key. "Where'd you get that!" they barked.

"Um, I was the chair of the School of Humanities and Languages once," I offered.

"Yeah, for like five minutes," said a peevish Rebel Girl.


Well, we left word with the dean—about this absurd display, about my key, about what use might be made of this nifty display box—and then disappeared into Spring Break.

* * * * *
Late last week, we started finding these very attractive fliers (see below) around campus. As you know, Saddleback College's Santander, Spain, "study abroad" program is now legendary, owing to the brutal demagoguery of a certain mean-spirited trustee—and the vigilance (and camcorder ownership) of two Dissenters.

Before that absurd/terrible/wonderful moment (about five years ago), the Saddleback program was merely "highly-regarded and very popular."

Now, it's mythic.

Nice flier. OK, I made one tiny change. Just couldn't leave it alone.



A picture of some oaks down the hill from my place, taken a week or so ago

“I was used,” he said

Supervisors strip Street’s investment authority

OC Reg “Watchdog” reporter Jennifer Muir reports that
County supervisors [today] unanimously voted to revoke Orange Countys Treasurer-Tax Collector Chriss Street’s authority to invest county funds.
. . .
Supervisors said … that while Street has done a good job as treasurer, the move was needed to prevent the public and investors from losing confidence in the county’s investment pool….

“It’s a sad day,” Supervisor Bill Campbell said.

Street recommended last week that the board temporarily remove his ability to invest county funds, but he suggested handing over that authority to the county’s elected Auditor-Controller David Sundstrom. The board rejected Street’s plan and instead gave investing authority to the county’s Chief Financial Officer Robert Franz. Street was not at the supervisor’s meeting.

Street was the court-appointed trustee for the End of the Road Trust, successor to the bankrupt Fruehauf Trailer Corp., from 1998 until creditors forced him out in July 2005. Supervisor John Moorlach hired him as the county’s assistant treasurer in January 2006, in effect making Street his designated heir in the June 2006 election.
. . .
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Richard M. Neiter ruled that Street wasted millions of dollars trying to create a truck-trailer manufacturing business that he could run, rather than liquidating assets as he was hired to do. And he found that Street used trust money to pay for everything from fancy dinners to parking tickets.
. . .
And the judge dismissed Street’s sworn explanations for his conduct as “absurd”, “inconceivable” and “incredulous.” He wrote that Street’s conduct as trustee “amounts to gross negligence and willful misconduct.”

Moorlach said he’s known Street since 1994, when he ran against Robert Citron for the treasurer. Citron’s risky investments later drove the county into bankruptcy, and Street, Moorlach said, was one of the few people who knew what Citron was doing.

But Moorlach says that when Street expressed interest in running for treasurer, he never told Moorlach about his issues with Fruehauf.

“I was not informed properly. I was used.” Moorlach reiterated Tuesday. “Fruehafuf [sic] was not a fly on the wall in a room. It was a Doberman Pinscher.”
. . .
Supervisors Bill Campbell and Moorlach called for Street’s resignation after the ruling. Street declined, and he’ll remain in office until the beginning of 2011. He has decided not to run for reelection, and the filing deadline to fill his open seat closes Wednesday.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Big ticket items

Lately, I’ve been looking at district/college expenditure information, which is routinely provided on board meeting agendas (available here). The amounts can be stunning. Unavoidably, I guess, there are some legal, architectural, construction, or technological support firms that routinely get huge checks from the SOCCCD, i.e., from the taxpayer. No doubt some of these firms do a good job and don’t soak us. Yeah.

I thought it might be interesting to highlight some of these bills. I perused the November, December, and January agendas. Below, I’ve assembled some of the “big ticket” items—plus other items that struck me as interesting for one reason or another. Please remember that all of this information is readily available to YOU at the district website (here).

NOVEMBER 2009 agenda:

0085912 • 10/08/09 • KEENAN & ASSOCIATES$174,166.00 • PROTECTED INSURANCE PROGRAM FOR SCHOOLS 09/10
Founded in 1972, Keenan has grown to the 17th largest insurance broker in the United States. With a network of offices located throughout California and a staff of more than 600 insurance specialists, Keenan continuously provides unparalleled service and customized solutions to our clients.

Keenan is a full service broker, dedicated to providing superior insurance products and services. Our exceptional growth is directly related to our concentration on meeting the risk management, employee benefits, workers' compensation and property & liability consulting and brokerage objectives of public entities, health care systems and high-tech firms. (Insurance jobs)
0086042 • 10/13/09 • DELL MARKETING L.P.$167,904.60 • BSTC COMPUTERS

0086043 • 10/13/09 • DELL MARKETING L.P. • $18,802.93 • BSTC COMPUTERS

0086153 • 10/14/09 • ACSIG/EDGE • $126,934.20 • DELTA DENTAL FY 09/10 FUND 01

0086159 • 10/14/09 • SISC III HEALTH BENEFITS • $1,034,409.00 • SISC (PPO) BENEFITS FY 2009/10 FUND O1

0086164 • 10/14/09 • SISC III HEALTH BENEFITS • $212,652.00 • BLUE SHIELD (RETIREE) BENEFITS FY 2009/10

0086209 • 10/15/09 • CLASS LEASING, INC.$-489,945.00 • VILLAGE EXPANSION PROJECT & PORTABLE BLDG PURCHASE

0086215 • 10/15/09 • LAVEY ROOFING SERVICES, INC.$183,100.50 • SSC BUILDING ROOFING SYSTEM

0086218 • 10/15/09 • PCN3, INC.$246,972.18 • BID 296 B200 SCIENCE LAB ANNEX AND B239 CONVERSIO[sic]
PCN3, INC. was founded by Harry Abghari in 1999 in state of California. Ever
since, it has been involved in various public projects as Prime-contractor.
Over the years, it has performed variety of projects some of which are as
follows:
- LAX-soundproofing
- Santa Ana Housing Development
- School Modernization
- Public Park Renovation
0086266 • 10/19/09 • DELL MARKETING, L.P. • $58,623.62 • BSTC COMPUTERS

0086326 • 10/20/09 • EMPLOYMENT DEVELOPMENT DEPT.$81,992.23 • UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE QUARTERLY P/R TAXES

0086358 • 10/21/09 • DELL MARKETING L.P. • $130,775.10 • BSTIC TABLETS

0086393 • 10/22/09 • CLASS LEASING, INC. • $440,950.50 • VILLAGE EXPANSION PROJECT & PORTABLE BLDG PURCHASE

0086397 • 10/22/09 • NEUDESIC, LLC$124,003.00 • SOFTWARE ENGINEERING DATA WAREHOUSE DEVELOPMENT
Neudesic is a Microsoft Gold Certified and Managed Partner with a proven track record of providing reliable, effective solutions based on Microsoft's technology platform. Neudesic's technical and industry expertise empowers enterprises to leverage technology to respond to business opportunities with a greater level of efficiency. (About N)
0086566 • 10/27/09 • RGP PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT$45,987.23 • ATEP PROJECT
RGP is a specialist in the design and entitlement of community college campuses including master plan development, facilities design, and environmental documentation pertaining to CEQA and regulatory requirements. ¶ Pictorially represented to the left is the new Advanced Technology & Education Park (ATEP) at the decommissioned US Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin. This campus, the third of the South Orance County Community College district, is focused to educate students for careers in the fields of photonics, product modeling, "behind the camera" film and entertainment skills such as set design, costume and make-up, catering, set construction, audio, digital arts and related industry skills. RGP has also completed work on the Victor Valley Community College District Master Plan and the Glendale Community College Expansion Program…. (RGP case study)

DECEMBER 2009 agenda:

0086831 • 11/04/09 • MJ CONTRACTORS, INC.$81,810.00 • VILLAGE EXPANSION SITE IMPROVEMENT

0086854 • 11/05/09 • IRVINE VALLEY COLLEGE • $115,572.71 • PURCHASE TEXTBOOKS

0086858 • 11/05/09 • KEENAN & ASSOCIATES • $139,333.00 • PROTECTED INSURANCE PROGRAM FOR SCHOOLS 09/10

0086958 • 11/06/09 • HCTD, LLC • $30,000.00 • ATEP PROJECT
[HCTD, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hudson Capital, LLC] Hudson Capital, LLC is a Los Angeles-based private real estate investment firm founded by Victor Coleman and Howard Stern. Hudson Capital seeks to invest primarily in assets focused in the Southern California markets. With over 50 years of combined real estate experience, the founding principals have successfully applied their real estate market knowledge, development and operations expertise in the entertainment real estate market. (Hudson)
0086996 • 11/09/09 • NEUDESIC, LLC • $149,183.00 • STUDENT INFORMATION SYSTEM YEAR 4

0086997 • 11/09/09 • NEXUS IS, INC. • $137,228.60 • BSTIC LP PHONES
Nexus IS, Inc. provides voice, video, data, and convergence networking solutions in the United States. It offers plan phase services, such as IP communications readiness assessments, IPCC design review and assessment, security architecture assessment, security vulnerability assessment, operations readiness assessment, operations detailed requirements plan, deployment project management, and detailed requirements plans…. (Nexux IS)
0087050 • 11/11/09 • QUALITY OFFICE FURNISHINGS$51,106.74 • EXECUTIVE ASST. OFFICE IN STUDENT SERVICES

0087066 • 11/11/09 • gkkworks$46,264.00 • CM SERVICES FOR VILLAGE EXPANSION
gkkworks is one of the fastest growing architecture firms in California. Our belief in the "master builder" concept is supported by inhouse construction professionals. We have offices in Irvine, Pasadena, Riverside and northern California. (gkkworks)
0087131 • 11/12/09 • DELL MARKETING L.P. • $30,902.48 • BSTC COMPUTERS

0087133 • 11/12/09 • ACSIG/EDGE • $127,225.00 • DELTA DENTAL FY 09/10 FUND 01

0087134 • 11/12/09 • ACSIG/EDGE • $42,605.92 • VISION SERVICES FY 09/10 FUND 01

0087140 • 11/12/09 • SISC III HEALTH BENEFITS • $1,036,091.00 • SISC (PPO) BENEFITS FY 2009/10 FUND 01

0087145 • 11/12/09 • SISC III HEALTH BENEFITS • $214,413.00 • BLUE SHIELD (RETIREE) BENEFITS FY 2009/10



JANUARY 2010 agenda:

087274 • 11/20/2009 • JACKSON, DE MARCO, TIDUS, & PECKENPAUGH51,130.85
At Jackson DeMarco Tidus Peckenpaugh, we provide practical legal advice and representation in a wide range of legal practice areas, encompassing business and corporate law, employment law, immigration, intellectual property, litigation, real estate, common interest subdivision, land use and environmental regulation, construction law, and tax and estate planning.
087278 • 11/20/09 • PCN3, INC. • 187,908.98

087343 • 12/01/2009 • NADEAU ENTERPRISES, INC. C/O CLIENT TRUST MCCLUNG & DAVIS • 36,581.13
We are dedicated to our families, our faith, our town, our state and our country. It is a time for paying attention to our hearts and forgiving those who threaten us. Our only refuge is ourselves. May each of us find peace right now. (McClung & Davis, lawyers)
087361 • 12/01/2009 • NEUDESIC, LLC • 300,950.00

087405 • 12/01/2009 • DOUGHERTY + DOUGHERTY ARCHITECTS LLP81,441.56
Dougherty + Dougherty Architects LLP specializes in the design of innovative environments for community and institutional clients. Dougherty + Dougherty is dedicated to designing facilities that meet functional demands, provide for future flexibility, enhance emerging technologies, respond to energy conservation and sustainability goals, and inspire and lift the human spirit…
087407 • 12/01/2009 • gkkworks • 48,149.71

087461 • 12/02/2009 • MJ CONTRACTORS, INC. • 97,335.00

087512 • 12/07/2009 • LLEWELLYN AND SPANN ATTORNEYS AT LAW19,046.19
David Llewellyn is a legal advocate, civil rights lawyer and law professor now practicing in Sacramento, California. He has a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of California at Los Angeles, the diplome from the International Institute for Human Rights, Strasbourg, France, a Master of Arts in English literature from the University of Tennessee, a B.A. from William Jennings Bryan College and has done graduate study at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is a member of the faculty of the Chapman University School of Law, where he has taught Constitutional Law and the First Amendment and currently serves as a law professor and legal counsel with the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence. He was formerly Dean and Professor of Law at Trinity Law School, Trinity International University, teaching constitutional law, international human rights, jurisprudence and legal advocacy. Previous to that he was a founder, President and senior legal counsel for the Western Center for Law and Religious Freedom, a public interest law firm….
087582 • 12/07/2009 • THE BANK OF NEW YORK TRUST COMPANY, N.A.98,637.44

087583 • 12/07/2009 • CALIFORNIA POWER PARTNERS, INC.127,882.26
Calpwr is an industry innovator with a proven track record of delivering powerful independent energy solutions, faster payback, and superior maintenance to manufacturing facilities, corporate & academic campuses, commercial buildings, hotels & resorts, municipalities, and mid- to large-scale service organizations.
087654 • 12/10/2009 • KEENAN & ASSOCIATES ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE • 139,333.00

087675 • 12/11/2009 • gkkworks • 46,264.00

087677 • 12/11/2009 • HCTD, LLC C/O HUDSON CAPITAL, LLC • 30,000.00

087678 • 12/11/2009 • JACKSON, DE MARCO, TIDUS, & PECKENPAUGH • 49,230.10

087681 • 12/11/2009 • PCN3, INC • 89,707.14

087684 • 12/11/2009 • ACSIG/EDGE • 128,097.40

087685 • 12/11/2009 • ACSIG/EDGE • 42,899.08

087690 • 12/11/2009 • SISC III HEALTH BENEFITS ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE • 1,043,206.00

087695 • 12/11/2009 • SISC III HEALTH BENEFITS ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE • 211,274

087753 • 12/14/2009 • ATKINSON, ANDELSON, LOYA, RUUD & ROMO17,018.36
Over the last two decades, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo has earned a strong reputation as one of California's most widely respected law firms. Our uncompromising approach to high quality legal work enables us to provide consistently practical management solutions in the areas of employment, labor, construction, education, real estate, general business and business litigation, corporate, taxation, bankruptcy, and immigration.
087767 • 12/14/2009 • DELL MARKETING L.P. C/O DELL USA L.P. • 25,943.45

087780 • 12/14/2009 • NEXUS IS, INC. • 268,630.67

088008 • 12/18/2009 • AUDIO VISUAL INTEGRATION SYSTEMS, INC. • 75,178.88

088010 • 12/18/2009 • DOUGHERTY + DOUGHERTY ARCHITECTS LLP • 81,023.25

088011 • 12/18/2009 • gkkworks • 17,049.07

088223 • 01/05/2010 • ATKINSON, ANDELSON, LOYA, RUDD & ROMO • 12,808.54

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hydras can regenerate their heads and feet—and that's good, somehow

UC Irvine finishes [sequencing] genome vital to improving people’s health (Gary Robbins; OC Reg’s ScienceDude)

An international team of researchers led by UC Irvine is today publishing the genome of the Hydra, a primitive organism that’s been important in medical research since the 1740s, when Abraham Trembley discovered that the freshwater polyp could regenerate its head and feet.

Researchers found that the Hydra, which is less than a half-inch tall, has roughly as many genes as humans (about 24,000) and that some of its genes are linked to two of the most dreaded illnesses in humans — Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

The genome is being published online today in Nature, one of the world’s most influential scientific journals.

“This could potentially open up Hydra as a model system for Irvine researchers,” said Rob Steele, chairman of biological chemistry at Irvine and one of the leaders of UCI’s first major sequencing effort….(Continued)

The always-fabulous OC Reg readership has already commented on the news. For instance, "BoogerBoy" says:
Yay for science! Old timer’s disease just weirds me out....
Good Lord. It's too bad BB can't regenerate his head. —Oh yeah. It would be the same head, wouldn't it? Never mind.

SOCCCD HEAD REGENERATION:

I haven't heard anything new about the SOCCCD's efforts to regenerate, or replace, its Chancellor. [See 2nd comment below.] Now, if a professional consultant does the hiring, then there's no need for a search committee, right? One of the reasons that one might be assured that everything's on the up and up is that the right (honest) people are on the search committee. And groups can hold each other in check.

I'm not sure what stays and what goes now that we're taking the consultant route. [See below.] But can Don Wagner continue with his assurances that the process will be transparent and honest, etc., if it's being done by some professional organization?

Do you have any ideas on the matter? [See first comment below.]

UPDATE:

Board Policy 4011.6 ("employment procedure for chancellor”) can be found here at the district website (a pdf file) or HERE on this blogsite (as a blog post).

The term “consultant” is mentioned only once in the policy, in the section concerning “recruitment”:
SECTION II: RECRUITMENT
. . .
2. The Board of Trustees may consider employment of a professional consultant to assist with the Chancellor search process.
. . .
It seems to me that the policy is not explicit about the consultant’s relationship to the rest of the process defined by 4011.6. I suppose that the policy implies that the consultant would assist during the recruitment process only since consultants are mentioned only in the "recruitment" section and since the rest of the policy outlines a formal process involving such entities as the search committee, etc., that mentions no role, or possible role, for a consultant. <END UPDATE>

Comments:

Anonymous‬ said...
Roy, you've provided links to the chancellor hire policy. Read it. The consultant helps with the job description and recruiting, and brings objectivity to the process. But the policy is clear that the committee does the screening once the search is completed and the board does the hiring. The consultant doesn't do any hiring.
12:36 AM, March 15, 2010

Anonymous said...
Apparently the *special* meeting last week was quite the heated affair, with Fuentes coming down hard on Padberg at every turn. He is not a happy camper at the moment.
8:06 AM

Anonymous said...
The hiring policy remains intact and will be implemented under the oversight of a consultant who will be charged with keeping Raghu out of manipulating or stalling the process. The hiring of a consultant is an excellent move and happens routinely in hiring college presidents in single college districts as well as chancellors in mutlicollege districts.
9:23 AM

Anonymous said...
Consultants are routinely hired to oversee important search processes such as the hiring of a chancellor. This is a GOOD thing. The consultant will oversee the entire process ensuring that the entire policy is implemented in a fair and objective manner. These are companies that specialize in implementing hiring procedures across the state. Go online and google these companies for a clearer picture of what they do. This is a sign that the board majority wants to ensure a fair and open process. Without a consultant, Raghu and Fuentes would make sure that no one is hired. Fuentes has made it public and clear that he is going to bring Mathur back the minute the board changes. If there is no permenant chancellor in place when the board changes, Fuentes will bring Mathur back. The board majority is doing everything they can to make sure there is a permenant chancellor in place, hired through a fair and open process. This is the first great thing that has happened in the district for a long time. Let's get on board.
3:37 PM

Anonymous said...
Baron: Did they film the Special Meeting for our entertainment?
4:16 PM

B. von Traven said...
The special meeting was, I fear, a closed session. Hence there will be no record, aside from the memories of those who attended. And those are feeble. Feel free to put on puppet shows of what likely occurred. Fuentes is the ugly puppet in the corner.
10:53 PM

Anonymous said...
The meeting was public and recorded. It'll be on the district's web site. And well worth the watching.
11:04 PM

B. von Traven said...
If video will be made available, it will appear here. Usually, it takes 4 or 5 days (the meeting was 4 days ago).
12:15 AM, March 16, 2010

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