Saturday, January 1, 2011

Who most deserves the title "SOCCCD creep of the decade"?

creep |krēp| n.
informal: a detestable person.
     (Participate in our poll at right!)  
     I offer three chief candidates:

Candidate #1: TOM FUENTES 

     Fuentes, already the long-time chief of the local GOP, brought a huge sack of “creepage” (i.e., creep baggage) with him when he joined the SOCCCD board in the summer of 2000 (to replace resigning Holocaust denying trustee Steve Frogue).
     Had he been, as the politically ambitious Nathan Rosenberg had angrily blurted during a 1986 political debate, Ronald Casper’s “bagman”? Fuentes was executive assistant to Supervisor Caspers, who died under mysterious circumstances off the coast of Baja in 1974. Upon Caspers' death, Fuentes entered a seminary. Six months later, he left the seminary and became a "consultant." As near as I can tell, he was and is some sort of lobbyist. By '84, he was OC GOP chair.
     To explore the curious question of what Fuentes does for a living, see O.C. Company's Gift-Giving Gets Attention (LA Times, 4/11/93) and Tom Fuentes: professional schmoozer, circumventer of open processes, and THUG (Dissent the Blog, 10/6/10).
     Long before the summer of 2000, Fuentes had attained a reputation as a thuggish boss of a powerful political machine that tolerated no divergence from Pooh-bah Tom’s narrow conception of Republican values. (Businesses that gave to both political parties, he opined to his pal Robert Novak, are “whores.”)
     On the SOCCCD board, Fuentes quickly fulfilled his nature as a doctrinaire and dogmatic foe of public employee unions. He publicly trashed faculty with dubious "facts." He openly contemned the Accreditors. Ever the fan of red meat tossing, he led an (at first, successful) effort to discontinue Saddleback College’s Spanish “study abroad” program owing to that country’s pulling its troops out of Iraq!
     From the start, he was Raghu Mathur’s most inveterate supporter. That he lost the struggle over Mathur with trustee Don Wagner—who was running for the state Assembly at the time—probably reflects Fuentes declining stature and pull in Republican county politics.

     Disagree? We welcome your input!

Candidate #2: DAVE LANG

     Irvine’s Dave Lang arrived on the scene during the infamous trustees campaign of ’96, when (then-)corrupt SOCCCD faculty unionists made a pact with a group of ultra-conservative candidates (Williams, Frogue, Fortune, and Davis) in a successful effort to gain control of the board. (Lang beat Davis, but, thanks to the union’s homophobic flier, Williams, Frogue, and Fortune prevailed in their races. Lorch, the fourth majoritarian, was not up for reelection.)
     For years, Lang, an intelligent albeit fiscally conservative moderate, joined with trustees Milchiker and Hueter to combat the Neanderthalic “board majority” (Frogue, Williams, Fortune, and Lorch). Owing also to his strong and consistent opposition to union Old Guard- (and Board Majority-) favorite Raghu Mathur—the pompous lickspittle who had become, first, the President of IVC and then the district Chancellor—many faculty, especially at IVC, campaigned hard for Lang in ’00 and ‘04.
     But then, all of a sudden, Lang pulled a switcheroo. In the course of a lengthy board battle over renewal of Mathur’s contract, Lang inexplicably switched sides, joining the decidedly non-moderate Fuentes, Williams, and Wagner in supporting Mathur, who also received a big raise. (Faculty supporters confronted Lang, who offered no intelligible explanation.)
     Then, as board president, Lang openly took on the role of Mathur’s mentor. The idea seemed to be that Lang would help Raghu become a decent (or, anyway, a less offensive) person.
     Long-time Lang supporters couldn’t believe their eyes and ears.
     Why did he do it?
     A rumor surfaced that Lang had switched sides in order to satisfy diehard Mathur-supporter Fuentes, who (according to the story) would reciprocate by assisting Mr. Bean in his efforts to become OC Treasurer (in the election of ’06).
     It was that office that the seemingly Milquetoastian accountant really coveted.
     But that was the year of the rise of Fuentes and crews’ latest star, Chriss Street, who, despite his hinky handling of the Fruehauf Trailer bankruptcy in the 90s, allegedly deserved Jeremiah cred re the OC bankruptcy. According to the old boys of the OC GOP, Street would vault the County to new and wonderful heights of fiscal health!
     Whatever Fuentes might have suggested to Lang, he was really behind his new boy Street.
     By a year or so ago, the rumor seemed to be validated, for, with Street seemingly going down in litigious Fruehauf flames (not unlike earlier Fuentean star Mike Carona, who was ultimately convicted of a felony), Lang signed up to run for Treasurer. (Less than a year ago, Street was found to have committed fraud most foul in the Fruehauf business. He thus declined to run for reelection.)
     Despite Fuentes’ endorsement and Lang’s huge campaign spending (including over $100K of his own dough), Mr. Bean went down in flames, coming in third in the primary. According to some Republican observers, Fuentes made no effort to rescue the campaign. There were no special events at the Balboa Bay Club.
     One wonders, then, why Lang continues to march to Fuentes’ drum.
     What’s Fuentes promising now?

Candidate #3RAGHU MATHUR

     From the moment of Raghu Mathur’s arrival at Saddleback College North (the future Irvine Valley College) in 1980, he angled and schemed to become an administrator. But the fellow was incompetent; further, he was a notorious schemer and a liar, and everyone knew it, and thus his efforts were repeatedly thwarted.
     District-wide, among the disgruntled and "oppressed" (including various faculty who routinely got away with appalling misconduct, thanks to growing union muscle), Raghu promoted a theory according to which most or all problems were attributable to the dark machinations of the alleged Morrison/Burgess cabal at IVC. (Utter nonsense.)
     Naturally, conspiracy nut and SOCCCD trustee Steve Frogue embraced the theory and, armed with a dubious petition, got Mathur (illegally) appointed as interim IVC President in 1997. Soon thereafter, the board (again illegally) reorganized the district, exporting "offending" (according to unionists) Saddleback deans to IVC and eliminating equally offending IVC faculty chairs (including yours truly). Soon after that, the ever-defiant board (again illegally) appointed Mathur “permanent” IVC President.
     Especially at IVC, it was downhill from there.
     I won’t repeat the familiar litany of Mathurian and related outrages that followed. Let’s just say that, despite two powerful votes of faculty no confidence, and with utter disregard of approved district processes, the board majority appointed Mathur Chancellor in 2003.
     Mathur’s conniving, officious, and autocratic ways led to a district-wide faculty vote of no confidence (93.5%) in 2004. That only served to bolster our rogue board’s resolve to support their man.
     Still, by 2005, Mathur had managed to alienate former supporter Nancy Padberg (who had arrived, along with Don Wagner, thanks to union and Education Alliance support in 1998), and it appeared that he no longer had the four votes necessary to remain Chancellor.
     Dave Lang’s sudden and mysterious switcheroo took care of that. (See above.)
     Among Mathur’s outrages: he took the lead in changing the procedures for faculty hiring over the protests of the faculty senates (and thus, as it turns out, in violation of the law--according to the courts). He went along with the board’s meddling in the Accreditation process, which led to dire warnings and then a Wagner-led effort to do whatever necessary to prevent accreditation Armageddon.
     In the end, Mathur was undone by his conniving ways, which, coming once-too-often at the expense of the stunningly ill-tempered Don Wagner, led to an unstoppable Wagnerian jihad. By mid-2010, Mathur was gone for good.

* * *
Eventually: contra Mathur/Fuentes
What about Wagner and Williams?

     • Well, Wagner, governed by his enduring hot-headedness and arrogance, did get rid of Mathur. And that wasn’t easy.
     Plus Wagner ended his days on the board thwarting Tom Fuentes’ agenda—admittedly, a consequence of the rift caused by his anti-Mathur jihad.
     So, though he's certainly a creep, he ended up an anti-Mathurian and an anti-Fuentean. He’s thus disqualified for this honor. Or so it seems to me.

Poop for brains
     • Williams is simply too stupid to rate as an important creep. In my estimation, he is undoubtedly a creep; but he is a mere creep.
     "Creepwise, what he amply possesses in hair loss, he sorely lacks in gravitas." You can quote me.

     • Lang, too, lacks gravitas, but he makes up for it by being the special kind of guy who would betray good people for the sake of mere self-aggrandizement.
     In some circles, that makes him a shoo-in for Creep of the Decade—or, anyway, future resident of Hades' basement.

Friday, December 31, 2010

A challenge to local GOP leadership, born of disgust

The ugly truth: painful to behold! 
     Today, on the OC Reg’s Total Buzz blog, Martin Wisckol reports that local GOP activist Tim Whitacre has declared his intent to win the county party chairmanship.
     That’s ‘cause he thinks the party needs to restore its reputation:
Whitacre: quixotic?
Dear Friends and fellow Central Committee Members,

     After much prayer, reflection, counsel and encouragement from a number of you, I am officially announcing my candidacy for the position of Chairman for the Republican Party Central Committee of Orange County.
     This decision does not come lightly but now that I have made it, it does come easily. I love our Party and the Principles it espouses on paper. However, like many of you I have watched those Principles be cast aside time and time again from the National level on down to our beloved County to which we were elected to serve.
     I believe it is crucial for us to march in a different direction if we are serious about restoring our Party’s reputation and greatness so that we can bring back those good Americans who rightfully left us in disgust.
I, like all of you, believe our Party’s governing philosophy is best for Orange County and the Country. However, we cannot hope to spread that philosophy effectively until we do some necessary house cleaning within leadership all across our blessed Nation. We must start here at home….
     Meanwhile, Matt Cunningham at the always-mediocre Red County blog, describes Whitacre’s effort as a suicide run.
     Whitacre responds:
     "Suicide Run???" No, just the right thing to do. For the first time in about three decades, the OCGOP Central Committee will actually have a choice when it comes time to choose our next Chairman.
     This will be a cake walk compared to taking on the entire Orange County political machine who were staunch supporters of the now convicted Ex-Sheriff, Mike Carona. Even though I was proven right, you guys threw everything at me including the kitchen sink and yet I'm still standing and doing the same thing I've always tried to do: Bring ethics and accountability back to the Party while returning it to its core values that once made it a champion for The People -regardless of race, color, creed or sex.. . .
     Regardless, if for no other reason other than it emboldens others to stand up without fear and fight for what is right, ethical and good for both our Party and elsewhere, then it will have been worth it to have fallen upon this sword.
     I ask you now to please commit to pray for me for wisdom, discernment, humility, courage and protection as I charge this hill. Pass the word and join me if you dare run TOWARD the gunfire. : -)
The OC: endless sleaze and corruption.
SOCCCD leadership*: meretricious spring of a corrupt machine.
          OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley sheds a tad more light on the situation:
     [Current OCGOP chair ScottBaugh—a graduate of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University and a glad-handing lobbyist who has cashed in on his undeniable political influence since leaving the state assembly a decade ago—first grabbed the chairmanship in 2004 after Tom Fuentes served in the role for 20 years. His admirers say he has done a decent job raising money and settling disputes between Republicans. He can certainly count on indefinite backing from establishment heavyweights like Michael J. Schroeder, Mark Bucher and Dana Rohrabacher.
     But in recent years, there's been mounting internal party dissatisfaction with what some consider Baugh's cutthroat management style, his backing of disgraced Sheriff Mike Carona long after it was clear he was a crook, his refusal to obey party bylaws that call for regular audits of party finances, his close association to a relentless pedophile who targeted 7th and 8th grade boys and the local party's dwindling voter registration numbers.
     Indeed, under Baugh's watch near Armagedon occurred in a place once proudly hailed as "Reagan Country": Barack Obama, a liberal Chicago Democrat, did exceptionally well here in the 2008 elections.
     Nevertheless, Whitacre—a former U.S. Marine known as a stickler on ethics, a proponent of conservative grassroots activism and the man who led the 2003 recall of lefty Santa Ana school board member Nativo Lopez—has a monumental task to make his case for new leadership at the OC GOP. Baugh enjoys the knee-jerk support of two partisan online fish wraps: Jon Fleischman's Flash Report and the Matt Cunningham-tied Red County. You can count on them to fillet Whitacre and champion Baugh in coming weeks.

     See also Santa Ana resident Tim Whitacre is running for the Chairmanship of the OC GOP (New Santa Ana)

*On the other hand, Wagner has left for the CA state assembly; Williams recently resigned (while his County troubles reach boiling); Mathur was forced out; and Carona no longer is invited to pray and pledge and photo op with the likes of Dave Lang, who betrayed his supporters for a promise of assistance, from colleague Tom Fuentes, in attaining higher office. (Lang's bid failed miserably.) A new day?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Orlando Boy headed for court again

     Are you up for more John Williams news? I’ve been sitting on this info for a week or two, thinking we’ve all heard enough about the guy for a while. But if you’re interested, check out Vern Nelson’s latest post on Orange Juice:

The Insatiable John S. Williams tries ONCE MORE to swindle dead martial artist’s family

Great moments in pop history: #52

The great "Rock Lobster," the B-52s, 1977

Rock Lobster live

Studio version w/ video

The birth of a song:

The death of Ricky Wilson:

Christmas Week Flood

Silverado Canyon resident Chay Peterson wakes up to mud flooding her house. The rest of her neighborhood in Silverado was hard hit.

Help is still needed in Silverado and neighboring canyons.

If you are able and willing, they need diggers, bucket passers, wheelbarrow pushers, and crowd feeders throughout the week.

Go to 14931 Wildcat Canyon Road in Silverado or the Silverado Canyon market and look for the ICL tent to report for dig duty.

Thanks so much for your help.

UPDATE: They are desperately looking for persons to help with coordinating relief TOOLS.

They have diggers coming this week and they need buckets and shovels, gloves, lunches, etc.

Donations from local stores are needed and a letter for tax deductible donations can be picked up via Leslie Paskus. If you are available to do any of these very important tasks, please contact Leslie at 714-649-3038.



Sunday, December 26, 2010

A coloring book for the kiddies

Click on graphic to see the lurid details
2003: Irvine Valley College administrator Dennis White declares that faculty may not discuss the Iraq war in the classroom. "After all," he says, "this is America, where students are, like, customers or something."
Check out the beast's expression.
We wanted to get the details right.
2009: County officials announce that, yes, OC Public Administrator/Guardian John S. Williams is "seriously, inveterately stupid," but that he is an "elected official nevertheless." Meanwhile, Williams is at a conference "for the college district" at an expensive hotel in Orlando.
1962: future SOCCCD trustee and 70th District Assemblyman Don P. Wagner beats up a Romper Room colleague who makes the mistake of confiding to Donny that he wants to be a "librarian" when he grows up. After delivering the beating, Wagner proudly poses for this photo.
1998: Irvine Valley College President Raghu P. Mathur declares the college a "no free speech" zone. Many lawsuits follow. The district loses all of them. In the spring of 2000, Mathur and County GOP chief Tom Fuentes make an infernal secret pact and plot the future of the SOCCCD. By 2008, their plan disintegrates and, by 2010, Mathur is sent packing. Fuentes remains, evidently serving no purpose beyond emitting sulphur.
2005: SOCCCD trustee Tom Fuentes acknowledges that he has long been assisted in his endeavors by Satan. For his part, Satan holds a press conference in which he declares that, though he has long used Fuentes as a "talent scout,"  he "will have nothing further to do with that duplicitous bastard." The Lord, too, announces a press conference but then He suddenly cancels.
2010: OC Treasurer candidate Dave Lang is endorsed by former GOP Big Cheese Tom Fuentes. He spends over $100K of his own money. He receives 12 votes. Fuentes is seen, snickering, emitting sulphereous vapors.

Washington Phillips sings "I had a good father and mother" (1929)

To learn more about Phillips and his peculiar instrument, read Exhuming the Legend of Washington Phillips by Michael Corcoran

Read also Washington Phillips CD study (Yazoo Records), by Gregg Miner

See also fretless zithers

Phillips, 1928
Phillips, 1950

“I got a A.”

A Quest to Explain What Grades Really Mean (New York Times)

     It could be a Zen koan: if everybody in the class gets an A, what does an A mean?
     The answer: Not what it should, says Andrew Perrin, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “An A should mean outstanding work; it should not be the default grade,” Mr. Perrin said. “If everyone gets an A for adequate completion of tasks, it cripples our ability to recognize exemplary scholarship.”
     As part of the university’s long effort to clarify what grades really mean, Mr. Perrin now leads a committee that is working with the registrar on plans to add extra information — probably median grades, and perhaps more — to transcripts. In addition, they expect to post further statistics providing context online and give instructors data on how their grading compares with their colleagues’.
     “It’s going to be modest and nowhere near enough to correct the problems,” Mr. Perrin said. “But it’s our judgment that it’s the best we can do now.”
     With college grades creeping ever higher, a few universities have taken direct action against grade inflation. Most notably, Princeton adopted guidelines in 2004 providing that no more than 35 percent of undergraduate grades should be A’s, a policy that remains controversial on campus.
     Others have taken a less direct approach, leaving instructors free to award whatever grades they like but expanding their transcripts to include information giving graduate schools and employers a fuller picture of what the grades mean.
. . .
     Especially in hard economic times, students worry that professors who are stingy with the A’s will leave them at a disadvantage in graduate school admissions and employment. No wonder, then, that many students visit Web sites like when registering, perhaps to help them avoid tough graders.
. . .
     Studies of grade inflation have found that private universities generally give higher grades than public ones, and that humanities courses award higher grades than science and math classes.
. . .
     “Anything that uses G.P.A is unfair, because a given student can be penalized or rewarded in grading just because of the mix of professors or the strength of the schedule,” Mr. Perrin said. “Some instructors grade harder than others. Some courses are harder than others, and some departments are harder than others.”….

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?

Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013

THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013

IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013

THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary