Saturday, April 10, 2010

Stuff changes; and we are morons


I'VE ALWAYS BEEN A FAN of libraries, but you’ve got to admit that the stature and love of Libraries is seriously bolstered with bullshit. –You know, like most things.

“Books are wonderful.” –Well, no, most of ‘em are shit. Lots of ‘em are indeed wonderful, of course. But let’s not overdo it. Like we always do.

“Libraries are full of wonderful books.” –Well, in my experience, public libraries seem pretty indiscriminate, book-selection-wise (and otherwise). At the local library, seriously shitty or mediocre books sandwich the occasionally excellent ones. Libraries are like the internet or a mall bookstore: point anywhere, and one is more likely to spot chaff than wheat.

“Physical books are important. Libraries keep that tradition alive.” –Well, physical books do seem to be important to geezers, but not to most of the kids in college these days. If they read at all, typically they do that on the internet. Increasingly, to them, books are weird.

And most of what they read is crap.

“They’ve proven that FDR caused the Depression.”

“Huh? That’s nonsense. Where’d you read that?”

“It’s on the internet.”

Physical books? You watch. Gizmos like Kindle are gonna replace physical books, and much else, bigime. The writing is on the wall–er, on the iPad. Already, I see students spotting a geezer like me with a book, and they immediately get that look they get when they encounter a Selectric. "WTF?"

For oldsters and semi-oldsters, there’s a romance about books, and it is only enhanced by the tattered, musty, and worn quality of old specimens. One rescues such artifacts and then seeks to sit quietly in a cozy spot to just read, preferably while bespectacled and accompanied by a glass of good booze. 

It's a quiet thing. It’s somewhat ritualistic. It’s a fine way of winding down and enjoying oneself, by oneself. And yet it is concordant with thought and the development of wisdom (or self-deception, natch).

Books are great, but I’ve never really understood librarians. They exhibit an odd quietude and they look like refugees from activity-of-any-kind. If they love books, its very hard to see what good that does ‘em. What are these people experts at? I have no idea. The Dewey Decimal System?

How come college libraries are still full of physical books (and VHS tapes)? I don’t get it. Aren’t these things available digitally and online somehow? Nowadays, for better or worse, the younger generation is almost exclusively online. It’s their default position (along with indifference). And books and magazines and references are often now available — you guessed it — online.

Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Plus online connections are cheaper than buying and displaying physical books. Way cheaper.

So what’s with all the goddam books? I say: start selling ‘em. Get ‘em into the hands of fading geezers while they can still read and hold stuff up to their faces. In thirty or forty years, it’ll all be over, like family dinners and attention spans.

There’s a funny piece in yesterday’s New York Times about changes in the ambiance of libraries. Check it out:

Complaint Box: The Lost ‘Library Voice’ (by Sung J. Woo; excerpts)
The library of my youth…was a tomb of peace, where the only sounds were shuffles, whispers and the occasional shush — delivered with an index finger crossing the lips of a bespectacled, cardigan-wearing librarian.

These days, at my local branch…, I have to play an MP3 file in a loop — a sound bite of a hair dryer blasting between my ears — because without the white noise, I would not be able to think straight.

…When did libraries become a cacophonous combination of cafe, video store, music store, computer lab and playground?

Twenty years ago, I was able to research my high school term papers in silence, but now the communal desks have been transformed into an open forum for children and adults to chat away as if they were hanging out at Starbucks.

Back in the day, there was such a thing as your “library voice”…. Not anymore. When fellow patrons walk through the doors and make a beeline for the DVD section, when they are clacking the discs’ plastic cases and lecturing on the savvy beauty of “Mad Men”…, I can hear their every word across the room.

One of the bigger libraries near me has a listening station for CDs, and the other day, two teenage girls sat down, clamped on headphones and proceeded to talk to each other while enjoying their music. Have you ever tried conversing with someone wearing Princess Leia-like headphones? You have to shout. Which is also what kids do when they log on the public computers to watch their favorite YouTube videos while opening up 15 windows of Instant Messenger. They may be quietly typing “LOL,” but they are also literally laughing out loud.

Meanwhile, tykes are burning up the carpet. I cannot remember the last time I went to my library when children were not playing hide-and-seek in the stacks, shrieking as they chased one another. The parents are usually nowhere to be seen, maybe playing a little hide-and-seek from their offspring. If this were story hour, I could understand, but it seems as if every minute of every day is now playtime.

Even librarians seem to be getting into the act, talking on the telephone as if sitting in a living room, letting everyone know that the plumber is arriving during lunch…. At one point I had to turn up the dial of my hair dryer symphony to 11 because two librarians were discussing the location of a particular audio book — while standing at the opposite ends of the room….
We oldsters need to face reality. "The book is dead; long live the book." We’ve got to face the music and get with the program.

On the other hand, in some ways, the new program stinks. There was something very good about physical books and the way we were with 'em. And there’s something bad about kids (or anybody) staring at a computer screen all day, comfortable with flash and ephemera and uncomfortable with thought or the notion that one is responsible for helping to fix the world. (Have you noticed that displays of torture are now simply a form of entertainment? God, we're idiots.)

You see, the fundamental wisdom of conservatism is this: we have a way of being and doing, and we know that some of that “way” is good and valuable — and easily lost.

So we should try carefully to preserve it. We shouldn’t let the entire younger generation run like hell after baubles and prodigies of unknown merit. Who knows what gems will be lost and what folly created?

Go forward, into the future. But slowly, carefully.

But no. We are morons.



The Kinks (1963 - )

We are the Village Green Preservation Society
God save Donald Duck, Vaudeville and variety
We are the Desperate Dan appreciation society
God save strawberry jam and all the different varieties

Preserving the old ways from being abused
Protecting the new ways for me and for you
What more can we do?

We are the draught beer preservation society
God save Mrs. Mopp and good old Mother Riley
We are the custard pie appreciation consortium
God save the George Cross and all those who were awarded them

We are the Sherlock Holmes english speaking vernacular
Help save Fu Manchu, Moriarty and Dracula
We are the office block persecution affinity
God save little shops, china cups and virginity

We are the skyscraper condemnation affiliate
God save Tudor houses, antique tables and billiards

Preserving the old ways from being abused
Protecting the new ways for me and for you
What more can we do?

God save the village green....



The Modern Lovers (1970-1973)

My telephone never rings

She'd never call me

I hate myself today

But I can see through this bitterness and sadness

And so I won't die

Someday I think I'll be dignified and old



Well my friends say that I deceive myself

And that I contradict myself

And I can't say if they're right

But I'm not ashamed

Oh I can take a challenge

And so I won't die

Someday I'll be dignified and old

I know it


And I say hey kids 
(Hey kids)

I said hey kids 
(Hey kids)

I say someday we'll be dignified and old

That's right

I said some day we'll be dignified 
(Hey kids, Hey kids)

Someday we'll be dignified 
(Hey kids, Hey kids)

Someday we could be dignified and old together


Well now

Look at the mountain

My girl and I used to stand on the mountain

And the sun shines, she's dead, and I cry

But I can see through this death and the sadness

And so I won't die now

Someday I wanna be dignified and old



Well now, see the desert

I sit all alone in the desert

And no girl understands me

But I can see through this bleakness and grey and sadness

And well I won't die now

Someday I'll be dignified and old

I say, you, don't die now

Someday we'll be dignified and old together

Another rotten chancellor

Raghu Mathur isn’t the only rotten Chancellor set to vamoose in June. This morning’s Contra Costa Times reports that Chancellor Elihu Harris of the Peralta Community College District in Oakland is in serious hot water, and the district just hopes the guy will go away so they can quietly take care of some grave fiscal issues:

Senate GOP leader asks for Peralta investigation
The incoming Senate Republican leader has asked Attorney General Jerry Brown to investigate Chancellor Elihu Harris and his leadership of the Peralta Community College District.

Reports by the Bay Area News Group have raised questions about possible corruption and financial misconduct at the Oakland-based district, wrote Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, in a letter to Brown on Thursday.

"It is extremely disconcerting that Mr. Harris may have abused his position of trust during his six-year term as chancellor," Dutton wrote….

Among the issues reported were a $940,000 no-bid contract awarded by the district to Harris' longtime friend and business partner and a vacant lot the district bought from an Oakland developer for $300,000 five years after officials had deeded away their interest in the land.

Harris has refused to answer questions about any of the issues, and Peralta is appealing a judge's order that the district hand over to the news group an internal report about the chancellor's involvement in awarding of the no-bid contract. Peralta trustees this year declined to renew Harris' contract, which expires in June.

"Rather than responding to these allegations with transparency, (the district) has spent nearly $100,000 to block public disclosure of the report by Peralta's inspector general," Dutton wrote. Peralta's "legal expenses are mounting even while its education services are being reduced."….
. . .
Peralta leaders have called in consultants to organize the district's chaotic finances. The district recently dismissed its top two budget officials, has yet to close its financial books for 2008-09 and has not yet adopted a budget for the fiscal year that ends in June….
Back in early September we noted that according to the news group, Peralta’s “Trustee Marcie Hodge had used a taxpayer-funded credit card to buy thousands of dollars of clothing, hotel stays and other personal items.”

Gosh, maybe Peralta CCD is, like, a parallel universe or something to the SOCCCD. I'll check to see if Harris is part of some corrupt and ruthless political machine up there. That'll clinch it.

ALSO:

I recommend reading the following story, which illustrates some of the hazards of relying on alleged “common sense” thinking:

Conviction for patients' deaths does not add up
A Dutch nurse given life for murdering seven people in a killing spree that never happened will hear about her appeal on Wednesday. Will the people who jailed her apologise?
. . .
The case against Lucia was built on a suspicious pattern: there were nine incidents on a ward where she worked and Lucia was present during all of them. This could be suspicious but it could be a random cluster, best illustrated by the "Texas sharpshooter" phenomenon: imagine I am firing a thousand machinegun bullets into the side of a barn. I remove my blindfold, find three bullets very close together and paint a target around them. Then I announce that I am an Olympic standard rifleman.

The amazing Eartha Kitt; my parents played this a lot when I was four or five

Friday, April 9, 2010

Republican forum: no, no, no and no

The OC Reg’s political guy, Martin Wisckol, reported on a “forum” held today by four Republicans, including our own trustee Don Wagner, who seek to be the GOP candidate for the 70th Assembly District race:

GOP Assembly candidates say 'No'

According to Wisckol, the “GOP primary in 70th Assembly District race to replace outgoing incumbent Chuck DeVore is the county's hottest June legislative race….”

Sounds exciting. Wisckol asked ‘em how sending a Republican would even matter in the Democratic-dominated state legislature. A massive two-thirds majority is necessary for budget approval, and so the Dems need a few Republican votes to pass their proposal.

All four candidates agreed “that the first step is to not be one of the few to help Democrats.”

How hot.

Don’s shining moment came when he offered another raison d'être for a Republican in Sacramento:
…Wagner…suggested finding populist issues and turning them into bills – even though Democrats would reject them. ¶ "We don't win the vote, but we take those issues back to some of these districts that aren't so gerrymandered," he said, meaning the tactic might help win Republicans a few more seats. The only specific issue he mentioned of being worthy of such an effort was oil drilling.
Oil drilling.

Wisckol, it seems, is easily amused:
I was amused [he said] by an exchange that began when Wagner said that his college district had a larger budget than that of the cities of Irvine or Tustin. [JerryAmante later noted that he was chairman of Orange County Transportation Authority, which had a way bigger budget than the college district. That left Wagner with the eventual comeback that Amante wasn't elected to OCTA (cities send representatives to serve on the board, which then selects its chairman).
I wonder if Wisckol is suicidal. I’d be.

California's "Day of the Rat Bastard"

UH-OH. STATE PENSIONS MASSIVELY UNDERFUNDED. You know me. I’m just useless about fiscal/financial issues. (I don’t have any significant debts, though.)

But I noticed an alarming article in this morning’s OC Reg:

State pensions massively underfunded, Stanford study concludes
The amount of money California will owe its public retirees – but won’t have – is $55.4 billion, according to official figures. ¶ Surprise. That number is a product of smoke and mirrors, according to an analysis out of Stanford University this week, and the realshortfall is nearly eight times as great – more than $425 billion….
Surely some readers know what to make of all of this, especially as it concerns denizens of the SOCCCD (we're with STRS). Right? Let us know.

Governor Reagan was on hand for the opening

of Saddleback College (above)

COMING SOON: RONALD REAGAN DAY. The always-uninspiring Chris Emami of Red County reports progress in an attempt to create a California “Ronald Reagan Day.”

Senate Passes George Runner's Ronald Reagan Day Bill
Yesterday, the State Senate unanimously passed SB 944 (Runner), which is a bill proposed by Senator George Runner to establish February 6 as Ronald Reagan Day. The bill does not create a state holiday, but rather a state day of special significance. In other words, nobody would get the day off, but schools would be encouraged — but not required — to teach students about Ronald Reagan.
Emami notes that, if approved, RR Day will “be the third day of special significance dedicated to an individual person”; plus, the state has two or three other "days":

• April 21 ~ John Muir Day.
• May 22 ~ Harvey Milk Day
• March 30 ~ Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day
• April 6 ~ California Poppy Day
• Second Wednesday in May ~ the Day of the Teacher

Wow, RR doesn't seem to fit with this group at all.

If this thing passes, Feb. 6, 2011 will be the first RR Day. I plan to teach all about 'im.

As you know, the SOCCCD is on the cutting edge, RR-celebration-wise. We already have a “Ronald Reagan” BoT meeting room with big golden letters—R O N A L D R E A G A N—and about fifty American flags.

CELEBRATING THE CAREER OF DR. MATHUR. Have you given any thought to the upcoming Balboa Bay Club celebration of Raghu P. Mathur? What do you make of it?

Here are some arguably curious aspects of this celebration/announcement:

• Despite the nature of Mathur’s career—as far as I know, it has been almost entirely at public institutions (he’s been employed by the SOCCCD since the 70s)—the public, including district employees, are not invited. It is by invitation only.
• The celebration’s venue is none other than the Balboa Bay Club, a symbol of Orange County wealth and exclusivity (and of, I guess, saunas with pious, conservative, and ambitious young men, some of whom end up serving time for pedophilia)
• As far as I know, the “invitation” was an email sent from the “Office of the Chancellor.”

Naturally, it's none of my business if a bunch of Fuentean r*t b*stards want to hang out together at the BBC to "celebrate" the career of Goo. Hey, if they want to eat sh*t together, that's OK by me too. But why send out the invite from the Chancellor's office? Why send out invitations in a manner that guarantees that everyone in the district will know that it is for the select few?: "Yeah, we'll be at the BBC, smoking expensive cigars, and YOU are not invited!"

I think you'd have to be a dolt not to see this invite as a big "FU" to denizens of the district.

At the BBC: may Raghu receive a poinsettia that is immediately snatched by some hard-working stiff who got her job, not through corruption or cronyism, but because she looked pretty damned competent compared to the competition. May he lurch forward to snatch back those posies, only to lose his balance and, with arms and legs akimbo, fall upon Tom and then tumble onto some dogsh*t. Splat.

—Well, no. Just let him go away and then stay there.

From DISSENT the BLOG

"To deny...reality will make us a cult"

The Video That Ended a Career (Inside Higher Ed)
When it comes to incriminating videos these days, the one of Bruce K. Waltke might seem pretty tame. It shows the noted evangelical scholar of the Old Testament talking about scholarship, faith and evolution. What was incriminating? He not only endorsed evolution, but said that evangelical Christianity could face a crisis for not coming to accept science.

"If the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution, to deny that reality will make us a cult ... some odd group that is not really interacting with the world. And rightly so, because we are not using our gifts and trusting God's Providence that brought us to this point of our awareness," he says, according to several accounts by those who have seen the video. Those words set off a furor at the Reformed Theological Seminary, where Waltke was – until this week – a professor. (The seminary is evangelical, with ties to several denominations.)

The statements so upset officials of the seminary that Waltke had to ask the BioLogos Foundation, a group that promotes the idea that science and faith need not be incompatible, to remove it from its Web site (which the foundation did) and to post a clarification. The video was shot during a BioLogos workshop. But even those steps weren't enough for the seminary, which announced that it had accepted his resignation.

Waltke is a big enough name in evangelical theology that the incident is prompting considerable soul-searching. On the one hand, his public endorsement of the view that believing in evolution and being a person of faith are not incompatible was significant for those who, like the BioLogos Foundation, support such a view. Waltke's scholarly and religious credentials in Christian theology were too strong for him to be dismissed easily.

But the fact that his seminary did dismiss him is viewed as a sign of just how difficult it may be for scholars at some institutions to raise issues involving science that are not 100 percent consistent with a literal interpretation of the Bible….(continued)

Texas: revisionist history

From the latest edition of the “Skeptic’s Dictionary” newsletter:

"Righting" History

Most of you have probably heard by now that Republicans on the State Board of Education in Texas are rewriting history for the state's children because, they say, history has a liberal bias. No longer will students study the Bill of Rights and learn why the framers did not want the state to meddle in the religious lives of its citizens. Now they will learn that the framers didn't want separation of church and state at all. The students of Texas will also learn that Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin had an important influence on political revolutions from 1750 to the present, but Thomas Jefferson won't be mentioned in that context. Texans will also be required to learn about the importance of Phyllis Shlafly and the Heritage Foundation.

Steven Thomma notes that the school board in Texas isn't the only one "righting" American history. Former House of Representatives majority leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said recently that the people who settled Jamestown in 1607 were socialists and that their ideology doomed them. Historians must have been smoking illegal agricultural products, then, because they've been telling us that Jamestown was a capitalist venture financed by the Virginia Company of London. "It was never socialistic. In fact, in 1619, Jamestown planters imported the first African slaves to the 13 colonies that later formed the United States."

Armey also advised people to read the Federalist Papers if they want to find out what's driving the tea party movement. "The small-government conservative movement, which includes people who call themselves the tea party patriots and so forth, is about the principles of liberty as embodied in the Constitution, the understanding of which is fleshed out if you read things like the Federalist Papers," Armey said.

The Federalist Papers were written largely by Alexander Hamilton, an advocate of a strong central government.

An admirer of British political systems, Hamilton was a nationalist who emphasized strong central government and successfully argued that the implied powers of the Constitution could be used to fund the national debt, assume state debts, and create the government-owned Bank of the United States. These programs were funded primarily by a tariff on imports and a highly controversial whiskey tax.*

Armey called those who disagreed with his view of Hamilton "ill informed."

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is one of several prominent conservatives claiming that Franklin D. Roosevelt caused the Great Depression. "FDR took office in the midst of a recession," Bachmann told the Conservative Political Action Conference. "He decided to choose massive government spending and the creation of monstrous bureaucracies. Do we detect a Democrat pattern here in all of this? He took what was a manageable recession and turned it into a 10-year depression."

Thomma writes: "The facts show that the country was in something far worse than a "manageable recession" in March 1933 when Roosevelt took office. Stocks had lost 90 percent of their value since the crash of 1929. Thousands of banks had failed. Unemployment reached an all-time high of 24.9 percent just before Roosevelt was inaugurated."

Even Joe McCarthy is being rehabilitated by the right. Phyllis Schlafly, whom Texas schoolchildren now must study, asserts: "Almost everything about McCarthy in current history books is a lie and will have to be revised."

Ann Coulter agrees: "Everything you think you know about McCarthy is a hegemonic lie. Liberals denounced McCarthy because they were afraid of getting caught, so they fought back like animals to hide their own collaboration with a regime as evil as the Nazis."….

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I(VC) coulda had a V8!

Gustavo Arellano reports that he has been invited to give the undergraduate commencement speech at UCLA (Gustavo Invited to Give Commencement Speech at UCLA!). Gustavo seems mighty proud.

He was among the two or three finalists this year for giving the Irvine Valley College commencement speech too. Rebel Girl nominated him, as I recall. (She’s away at a conference.)

But the decision makers here at IVC opted for Jack Scott, the State Chancellor. Scott, who once presided over Pasadena City College, was a state senator.

Meanwhile:
Boeing chief to be UCI graduation speaker
Most years, UC Irvine’s various schools rarely choose high profile figures to deliver a commencement speech. That won’t be the case this year for UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business. Jim Albaugh, executive vice president of The Boeing Company, will be the keynote speaker for about 350 MBA students on June 13 at Bren Events Center.
Also:
A friend sent me an article about the SOCCCD prayer lawsuit. It appeared today in the online magazine “Religion Dispatches.”

Invoking God's Name Like a Bludgeon

Nothing new here, but it’s good to know that people are paying attention.

The article’s author is Lauri Lebo, author of The Devil in Dover: Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Good news in Westphal v. Wagner


The judge in Westphal v. Wagner—the “prayer” case—issued a ruling today denying the district’s motion to dismiss the suit. The ruling also granted the students’ motion to proceed under pseudonyms. (Two students are among the seven or eight who have brought this suit regarding the district’s embrace of prayer practices. Anonymity protects them from harassment.)

And so the case goes forward to the preliminary-injunction hearing. The court refused Defendants’ request to conclude that we have failed to state a valid legal claim. This means that, according to the judge, if the factual claims alleged in our suit are true, we have a substantial legal claim, though, obviously, one that we can still lose. Time will tell.

It’s the first big step in this case.

So, next, is the hearing on our preliminary-injunction motion on May 3.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Celebrating a disaster—at the Balboa Bay Club, natch

Have you seen it? Evidently, Mathur sent this "invitation" out today to a select few. Rat bastards mostly, I suppose. A few others.

One thing though. You only celebrate a career when its over, right? So is this Fuentes giving Mathur the big kiss-off?
"You're on your own now, buddy boy."
"After this, you're off the reservation, pal. So gimme that big toothy grin!"
Can one really celebrate a career that has been offensive, appalling, and disastrous?

One thing for sure. If you're gonna take a creep and give 'em a party, the Balboa Bay Club is the perfect place to do it.

On second thought, no. If they had any imagination, they woulda chose Voyeur instead. It's the Republican thing to do, evidently.

Already, folks have emailed me, asking if we're gonna have a counter celebration.

I'm thinkin' on it.



Mmmmmm. Time for pie!

Sheena and Kaj, 1991

Yesterday, I mentioned reader Sheena’s photos of her pet mountain lion. She made available to me three intriguing pictures of a youngish Sheena playing with “Mr. Lion,” as I called the furry feline.

I mentioned that Sheena (not her name; I just call her that) once described to me her childhood African adventures (as I recall, her parents were missionary translators or something).

Since Sheena and I are Facebook pals, I’ve seen some of her family “Africa” photos, which are just about what you’d expect: young Sheena and a monkey, etc. Innocent stuff. Exotic.

But (I observed) there are no mountain lions in Africa. Lions? Yes. Mountain lions? Nope.

So whence Sheena and her mountain lion?

Today, she wrote me to explain:
There are no Felis concolor (mountain lion, puma, cougar, catamount, panther, etc.) in Africa.

I was twenty years old and living in Texas when Kitty-chan came into my life. His name is Kaj (pronounced like the "Taj" in Taj Mahal). I don't think it means anything. I just made it up; it sounded exotic to me. It sounds Indian, but I don't think they have pumas in India, either. I believe they are only in the Americas.

There was a breeder advertising in the Penny Saver, and I thought I'd drive out and take a look. I had no idea you could just go shopping for lions. This breeder had all sorts of big cats, wolves, wolf-crosses, etc. I saw this cute, spotted, blue-eyed cub and fell in love. But I was really just there to satisfy my curiosity—keeping these creatures is nothing to be undertaken lightly, and it's almost always cruel.

"Oh that's the last one we have right now of those, and he's already spoken for. If you want to put in an order for the next time we breed, you can have first pick. There'll be a deposit, of course."

In the course of the conversation, I found out a bit about where the little guy was headed, and I didn't like it.

"I could pay a little extra to get this one now, instead of waiting. I mean, it's up to you, but since that guy's already late picking him up...I just don't know if I could come back for one from a different litter, that's all." 

"Well, maybe. I usually charge $500, but if you could do $700, I guess I could sell ‘im. He's the last one, so it'd be good to get him into a place right away, since the rest are already off my hands... –OK, you got yourself a deal.”

“—Remember, he's still on a bottle, so you gotta get kitten formula for him...."

Well, that's how I remember it, though I'm not sure about the dollar amounts. This was back in 1990-91 or so.

Thus began my adventure with Kaj. 

He grew fast and destroyed everything. He soon got his own room to stay in while I slept or left the house. I tore out the carpet, put in a bed, toys, a LARGE litter box, and toys, toys, toys. His favorite toy was always an empty two litre soda bottle. It would bounce and careen unpredictably off the floor, walls, and ceiling, allowing him to pounce on and capture "prey" from all directions.

Later, my very handy boyfriend built a lovely, large, and sturdy outdoor enclosure and raised the height of the fence so we could have him out in the yard when we were supervising him.

Ultimately, it was his natural tendency to "scream" that first hinted we would not be able to keep him, at least without a major move to the country. I always knew he would need something more, but it was not easy to find anything suitable, and I loved him and was happy to put off finding him a different home. 


Of course, by the time he was full-grown he was so big and strong, and his instincts for hunting so apparent, that it would have been irresponsible to continue keeping him with us. I was able to raise him on a proper zoo diet (not just raw chicken legs, as people often do), and ensure that he was not de-clawed, so he developed good, strong, pain-free feet. I familiarized him with being handled (there was no access to a release program anyway).

Then I found him a proper home.

That made me happy.

Sheena

Watch our new Chancellor hire consultant

Streaming video of the March 25 meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees is now available here.

Under “Archived videos,” click on “video” for “Board of Trustees March 25, 2010.”

Then “jump to” 9.1 (Hiring consultant presentations). Or just go straight to 24:40 into the video.

As I recall, the first presenter was ultimately hired by the board based in part (I think) on David Bugay’s recommendation. It was the predictable 4/3 vote, with Wagner, Milchiker, Padberg, and Jay prevailing. Back on the 25th, I reported

First at bat was Community College Search Services (CCSS), represented by a fellow named (John?) Romo. He sounded like he knew what he was doing. CCSS evidently helped with the hire of the State Chancellor. Sounds like CCSS does the first interviews. They do all the reference checking. They usually help with a “public forum.”

I assume that CCSS will conform to our board policy on Chancellor hires (4011.6). Don't really know, though.

Meanwhile, in the Chronicle of Higher Education...

Some Papers Are Uploaded to Bangalore to Be Graded (Chronicle of Higher Education)

A company offers to send students' work offshore, to be evaluated by master's level—but anonymous—graders acting as "virtual TA's."

Lori Whisenant knows that one way to improve the writing skills of undergraduates is to make them write more. But as each student in her course in business law and ethics at the University of Houston began to crank out—often awkwardly—nearly 5,000 words a semester, it became clear to her that what would really help them was consistent, detailed feedback….

Monday, April 5, 2010

Captain Colorado and Sheena



Captain Colorado sent me this crazy video by some band. Art lovers beware (it's Pageant of the Master*****s). The video is pretty funny and odd. I especially like the part with Vinnie Van Gogh, singing, despite his ear issue. Jesus and the gang breaking into the "Last Supper Club" is also fun.

Meanwhile, Sheena, formerly of the jungle, sent me the picture below, which I am calling "Turkish Sky." She took it some time ago. Nice.

Earlier, she had sent me a pic of a young Sheena and her pet mountain lion, back in the day. (I know she lived in Africa as a child. But are there mountain lions in Africa?) There they were taking a bath together, Mister Lion looking up into the camera (see below). Then there they were again, with Mr. Lion evidently chewing a chunk out of her arm (but not really, I guess, since I've never noticed anything missing on Sheena's body, and I've looked).

That Sheena is full of surprises. One time, she sent me her "Vixen on motorbike" pics. Stunningly va-va-voomular. I made the mistake of asking, "Who's the, um, gal on the bike?"

"It's me, goddamit!" she said. Something like that. You gotta be careful around Sheena. I find that that's true about all women, really. You can say just about anything to a guy. Doesn't much matter. Women? Not so much.


Absolutely nothing happened at IVC today. It's dead, man.

Speaking of Colorado, Rebel Girl is headed to a conference in the Centennial state tomorrow. She and her partner in travel have attempted to scope out all the vegetarian restaurants along the way. Me, I figure there aren't any. "Vegetarian restaurants? Forgetaboutit. Just go to a freakin' Denny's and order some French fries, soup, pancakes--that kinda shit."

That's when I learned: you never suggest Denny's to Rebel Girl. Never. Never ever.

Evidently.

"What about a bean-and-cheese burrito at Taco Bell?" I suggested.

She glared. Said the wrong thing again, I guess.

(*Yep, I corrected the name of the Jungle Queen.)

iPad, therefore I am

iPads on Campus: The iPad has landed. But should campuses be throwing it a welcome party? (Inside Higher Ed)
…[Greg Smith, the CIO at George Fox] said that having to adjust to new technologies — regardless of whether students are likely to want them — gives professors everywhere jitters. “The biggest fear starting to grip [professors] is that… e-textbooks might actually become reality,” Smith said — acknowledging that there are exceptions, but they are the minority. “If you know higher ed, you know that the biggest fear of a professor is having to change how they deliver their course.”…..
When Professors Get Their Politics (Inside Higher Ed)
Theories abound about why academics are more liberal than are average citizens. Some blame bias, arguing that conservative scholars are denied positions. Others see self-selection at work, with academe attracting more liberal individuals, while conservatives are more likely to opt for other careers. Still others see some sort of socialization going on in graduate programs or early faculty careers, such that the young academic emerges on the left. And there are numerous other theories.

One of the leading scholars on the issue has just finished a series of in-depth interviews designed as a preliminary test of the self-selection theory – and the resulting research finds that academics tend to form their political views early in life, backing some theories (including self-selection) but not others.
. . .
In that study, Gross and Fosse noted that some demographic and personal characteristics of professors explain why they are more likely than others to be liberal. For example, professors are more likely than others to have high levels of educational attainment, to experience a disparity between their levels of educational attainment and income, to be either Jewish, non-religious, or members of a faith that is not theologically conservative Protestant, and to have a high tolerance for controversial ideas. While these trends may explain some of the differences politically between academics and others, Gross and Fosse also argued that faculty work may now be "politically typed" in a way that attracts more faculty members from the left than the right -- and that this typing may explain the rest of the gap.
Philippines Commencement Speaker Resigns After Plagiarizing Oprah and Obama (Chronicle of Higher Ed)
Admitting that passages of his commencement speeches were lifted from several celebrities, one of the Philippines' wealthiest businessmen has resigned as chairman of the board of the elite Ateneo de Manila University, the Philippine Daily Inquirerreported. The March 27 speech, as well as well as Manuel V. Pangilinan's apology, appeared on the university's Web site after accusations of plagiarism surfaced on Facebook. Comparisons revealed that several phrases had been taken from acommencement address delivered by President Obama. In one section of his speech, Mr. Pangilinan managed to use passages from the author J.K. Rowling and the television personalities Oprah Winfrey and Conan O'Brien practically back-to-back.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Chained



hey
been trying to meet you
hey
must be a devil between us
or whores in my head
whores at my door
whore in my bed
but hey
where
have you
been
if you go i will surely die
we're chained
we're chained. . .
chained

uh
said the man to the lady
uh
said the lady to the man she adored
and the whores like a choir
go uh all night
and mary ain't you tired of this
uh
is
the
sound
that the mother makes when the baby breaks
we're chained
we're chained. . .
chained

An easter song, I guess
Thanx Stop 4 'mindin' me of
Pix



...Similarly, Chris Goss and PJ Harvey wrote the song "There Will Never Be A Better Time" for I See You Hearin' Me after going out onto the porch of the ranch for four minutes with an acoustic guitar; they re-entered the house and recorded the song in one take, the only time the song was ever played by the collective....

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