Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Of blogs and dogs—and OC IncompeVillainy

     CREEPS. As you know, unless you're incompetent, incompetence is a major issue of our day, especially if you live in Orange County, though, for us, it ain't just incompetence, but also venality and other forms of severe assholery.
     It's always been that way in the OC (have you been reading Gustavo Arellano's series about OC's rich KKK past?), but, nowadays, it's especially bad, and sometimes it seems like our district (the SOCCCD) is the very hellmouth of OC incompevillainy. —You know: Mathur, Williams, Fuentes, Wagner, et al. And those guys brought their hideous friends: Mike Carona, Chriss Street, and so on. Aincha proud?
     Speaking of incompetence, as you know, recently, we've heard that the two colleges have messed up bigtime and, as a result, summer sessions will likely have to be cancelled (this info seems to be emanating from Faculty Association folks). We're trying to get more information about that. Let us know what you know.
     An hour ago, I turned to the OC Register, only to find more tales of incompetence.
OC Register watchdog, Teri Sforza, reports today that
Two-thirds of Americans said they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in their local governments to handle local problems….
     This curious factoid (based on a new Gallup poll), says Sforza, proves that “Orange County Register readers … are not on the Gallup Poll call list.”
     Guess so. Do any Orange Countians trust government in the OC? If so, who are they and how can their IQs be that low? They can't be Tea Partiers, cuz, though Tea People are plenty stupid, their chief impulse seems to be hostility to government, not confidence in it.

* * *
From OC Reg
     PHIL GREER. You’ll recall that Phil Greer, an ethically-challenged attorney who seems to be the go-to guy for corrupt pols in the OC Fuentesphere, was paid $25,000—by taxpayers!—to assist then-Chancellor Raghu Mathur in negotiating his exit from the SOCCCD—you know, when Don Wagner finally felt that last Mathurian straw land on his back. (I tried to get people pissed off about the $25K, but I got nowhere.)
     Not long after, Greer represented the odious John Williams, onetime SOCCCD trustee, during the county’s efforts to derail that rascal’s Public Administrator/Guardian gravy train. Who knows how much Greer got for that job, which is ongoing, I think.
     As if that weren’t enough, just before all that went down, Greer represented OC Treasurer Chriss Street in his big fraud trial. Greer lost that one bigtime, and Street wisely decided not to run for reelection, which gave trustee Dave Lang his chance to throw away $100k of his own money to run for Treasurer, with Fuentes' apparently worthless help.
     Almost from the start, Street has carped that his attorney, Greer, was a fool, and that's why he lost the case. As it turns out, he's still saying that.
     Today, OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley reports that
     Street is blaming his sensational $7 million bankruptcy court loss in 2010 on his own lawyer, Phillip B. Greer, and he's demanding that Greer pay him for alleged lousy, incompetent trial work.
     According to a lawsuit filed this week in Orange County Superior Court, Street believes Greer owes him "in excess of $8,800,000" in damages for professional negligence, fraud and violations of California's business and professional codes.
Moxley reminds us of Street’s misconduct:
     Street hired Greer in 2007 to defend his service [from 1998-2005] as a bankruptcy trustee of a struggling Los Angeles company [namely, Fruehauf Trailer Corp]. While in that job, Street abused his position by using the company's funds to pay himself a $250,000 salary plus $175,000 in bonuses and $477,000 in personal expenses that included a European vacation, cosmetic surgery and gym memberships. A federal judge ruled that Street had breached his duty as trustee.
     Of course, plausible accusations that Street had indeed abused his position as Fruehauf trustee were already in print before Street was elected. But this is Orange County, and that means that most voters are incredibly ignorant and often stupid. Plus they only respond to corruption when people tell 'em to. And so they happily elected the guy (in 2006, a year after Street’s Fruehauf trustee gig came to an end).
     But now
Street claims that Greer didn't know what he was doing in the [Fruehauf trial], botched a session with an expert witness, skipped a critical pre-trial meeting, hid multiple prior ethical problems and signed (without his permission) a stipulation of facts that was "false and misleading." ¶ "Defendant Greer failed to exercise the skill and care of a reasonably careful bankruptcy litigation attorney would have used in similar circumstances," Street wrote in his 11-page, Oct. 3 complaint.
It's hard to know who to root for in Creep v. Creep. May the biggest creep lose.

     REEVE REEMERGES. Today, Tea Partying San Juan Capistrano City Councilman and Saddleback College adjunct instructor Derek Reeve scored a guest column in the Capistrano Valley News: Of blogs and dogs: Councilman's message to San Juan. In the piece, he defends himself against the charge that he plagiarized on several submissions to the SJC Patch:
     Now [Mayor Sam Allevato and Councilman Larry Kramer] are at it again, piling on in the most recent attack stemming from the charge of plagiarism…. I was invited to blog on the Patch and carelessly submitted previously published material [by others!]. This involved one informal published blog that Patch made into three without my consent. This was a blog worthy of Facebook, not a formal article, yet now the editor has the chutzpa to compare this to a student's thesis, which is like comparing apples to gorillas.
     In the legal and education professions in which I work, I take pains to add footnotes to identify the origin of ideas. But in everyday communication, and most especially blogging, the atmosphere is much more relaxed and informal, as was indicated to me when Patch invited me to blog. Most people recognize that blogging is an informal style of communication, like musings, in which the standards of communication are relaxed. Despite this, a false set of assumptions have been erroneously placed upon me in order to make pseudo-accusations of "plagiarism."
     Wow. Reeve offers absolutely nothing to rebut the well-supported assertion that he plagiarized—that he presented others’ writings and ideas as though they were his own.
     Well, he does seem to offer this incompetent "argument": plagiarism is not plagiarism when it occurs in “informal” publications and “relaxed” communications. So if I walk up to Clueless You at a party and gin up my verbiage with sassy one-liners from Community, that's OK. It's theft, but it's only party theft; hence it's not theft. (Tea Partiers: I'm not talking about you. Further, I'm making a moral point, not a legal one.)
     That’s a little like saying burglary isn’t burglary when it occurs in your garage or on your patio. Or cannibalism isn't cannibalism if it's in a rowboat and not at the dinner table. Etc. Is Reeve really that stupid? Perhaps another vice is at work here. Yep.
     Reeve suggests that his blog posts are mere “musings.” To muse is to be absorbed in thought. Now, I muse all the time—I'm a philosopher—but I never “muse” just with other people’s writings, word for word, apostrophe for apostrophe! That ain't musing, man!
v. mused, mus·ing, mus·es v.intr. To have others' exact thoughts—and even their punctuation—in one’s head. v.intr. To steal others’ ideas during meditation: Om. I invented the word “Om.” Om. n. A state of meditation during the act of theft.
     CHANDLER'S UPDATE. Meanwhile, Jenna Chandler of the SJC Patch today updates us on the Reeve saga: Councilman Shrugs Off Plagiarism Charge, But Authors He Copied Fume. I haven’t read it yet, but Rebel Girl says it ends with mention of little old me!
     Roy Bauer, a philosophy instructor at Irvine Valley College who has taken jabs at Reeve's politics as a city councilman, is now blasting Reeve for the blog posts.
     Bauer's blog, Dissent the Blog ... Life Among Neanderthals, questioned Reeve's integrity and fitness for teaching. If Reeve "repeatedly represents others' writings as his own ... [he] cannot be trusted to argue honestly; he certainly cannot be trusted to instill academic honesty in his students."
Yes. Exactly.
* * *
     I’ve just read Chandler’s Patch piece and it’s excellent. Chandler notes Reeve’s assertion that blog postings are mere “musings,” that, in musings, the usual standards don't apply. But, she reports, “According to those whose words he lifted, Reeve's actions were plagiarism and theft, plain and simple.” (See the article for details.)
     According to Chandler, neither Concordia U nor Saddleback were willing to comment on Reeve's plagiarism, when asked.
     And what about the notion that these institutions shouldn’t care what Reeve does outside the classroom or college? One “Saddleback spokeswoman” evidently takes that incompetent view. (Really? Suppose Reeve continues to publicly put his name to political articles written by others. This would be hunky dory with Saddleback College? Good Lord, I hope not.)
     Says Chandler,
     It's not unprecedented for colleges to discipline instructors for off-campus plagiarism. In 2004, a committee at the University of New Hampshire penalized a professor for "scholarly misconduct" over a column published in Manchester's The Union Leader.
     Gregory F. Scholtz, a director at the American Association of University Professors, said disciplinary decisions are often made by a faculty committee that weighs whether a teacher's work outside the classroom has any bearing on his professional competence.
     Saddleback's code of conduct requires faculty to "exhibit intellectual honesty and integrity in all scholarly endeavors."
     Although Reeve's work on Patch arguably occurred outside that realm, Scholtz said it still raises questions about his intellectual honesty. Scholtz referred to the association's statement on professional ethics, which says professors, "guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge ... practice intellectual honesty. Although the professors may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry."
     It looks like Reeve has abandoned all hope of appealing to a wider audience, if he ever had such dreams. He has no excuse, no argument, to defend his intellectual theft, among other sins. Of course, in the case of his "base," a Tea-soaked mob ranging from the stunningly clueless to the loutish, none of this will make any difference. He named his dog "Muhammad." He prays and waves the flag. He yammers endlessly about "liberals." He doesn't bother with logic. He's their kind of guy.

• What Did the Other Four Officers Do in the Thomas Beating? (OC Voice)


Anonymous said...

Ah, Saddleback, making us all proud by supporting a plagiarist in the classroom. Geez. How embarrassing.

Hal Croves said...

musings, plagiarism, parking, and propofol. This dedicated dissenter recalls a point in time when the parking princess herself was caught up in a plagiarism scandal.
Reeve stated that his post had been made into three without his consent. Imagine if you BVT, took a Rebel Girl poetry corner post, usually by Rebel Girl and then by who actually wrote them, and reposted part of the poetry leaving off the "by author". This could lead the reader to believe that Rebel Girl actually wrote said post. Do you find this scenario plausible? Also BVT, is there any truth to the rumor that Conrad Murray will be heading up the new Anesthesiology program at ATEP?

B. von Traven said...

You exaggerate when you suggest that RG was "caught up in a plagiarism scandal." Hardly. And, of course, even if you were correct, it would have no relevance whatsoever to whether Reeve plagiarized.
Whether or not I find your scenario plausible, you need to acknowledge that Reeve took lengthy writings by others, modified the wording slightly, and then put his name to these writings. (See the Oct. 4 Patch article.) Why did he modify the wording slightly? Surely the only reasonable explanation is that he proceeded as he did thinking that such changes meant he was no longer plagiarizing. How someone as ensconced in academia as Reeve is could fail to understand that he was still plagiarizing is beyond me. He clearly sought to pass off others' ideas and writings as his own. Thus he is a plagiarist. Your scenario does not respond to this.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a larger issue about how acceptable it has become to be intellectually lazy and dishonest -- I agree he is a poor role model in teh classroom.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
B. von Traven said...

Please do not feed the troll.

Anonymous said...

I for one am still pissed off about Greer getting $25k for some basic negotiations, and the board approving it without so much as a billing statement made available.

Anonymous said...

Bvt, in his state of axe-grindatude against our county's conservative population has entered the slippery slope. 11:06, AKA "the troll" has just pointed out where this could lead, and it doesn't look good. The dtb people are always the first to scream F-451 when the issue benefits their agenda, but when it's the other way around, well then, it doesn't count, and you're just being a troll!

B. von Traven said...

11:06 called us Nazis. Nuff said. --BvT

Anonymous said...

You may know the adage, that arguing with trolls on the internet is like wrestling with a pig. You get dirty, and the pig enjoys it.

Anonymous said...

Summer is not to be cancelled, just shrunk small enough to fit in someone's back pocket. I suggest lining up a summer gig to help pay the mortgage.

Anonymous said...

I believe that because the Patch is a nonacademic blog, same as facebook, Reeve has not plagiarized. Seems to me some here see this as an opportunity to try to nail this guy, for what he's espoused does not pass this blog's test of PC-ness. I think it's much to do about nothing. Just my 2 cents...

Anonymous said...

The KKK was started by the Democrats, ya know...

Anonymous said...

4:44, are you really that ignorant? The people who defended segregation and resisted the civil rights movement famously switched to the Republican Party, starting in the late 60s. If racism has a home in our two major political parties, that home is the GOP, not the Democratic Party.
Learn some history!

Anonymous said...

June 10, 1964
Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) criticizes Democrat filibuster against 1964 Civil Rights Act, calls on Democrats to stop opposing racial equality. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was introduced and approved by a staggering majority of Republicans in the Senate. The Act was opposed by most southern Democrat senators, several of whom were proud segregationists—one of them being Al Gore Sr. Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson relied on Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, the Republican leader from Illinois, to get the Act passed.

August 4, 1965
Senate Republican Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) overcomes Democrat attempts to block 1965 Voting Rights Act; 94% of Senate Republicans vote for landmark civil right legislation, while 27% of Democrats oppose.

Voting Rights Act of 1965, abolishing literacy tests and other measures devised by Democrats to prevent African-Americans from voting, signed into law; higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats vote in favor

February 19, 1976
Republican President Gerald Ford formally rescinds Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt’s notorious Executive Order authorizing internment of over 120,000 Japanese-Americans during WWII

September 15, 1981
Republican President Ronald Reagan establishes the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, to increase African-American participation in federal education programs

June 29, 1982
Republican President Ronald Reagan signs 25-year extension of 1965 Voting Rights Act

August 10, 1988
Republican President Ronald Reagan signs Civil Liberties Act of 1988, compensating Japanese-Americans for deprivation of civil rights and property during World War II internment ordered by FDR

November 21, 1991
Republican President George H. W. Bush signs Civil Rights Act of 1991 to strengthen federal civil rights legislation

August 20, 1996
Bill authored by U.S. Rep. Susan Molinari (R-NY) to prohibit racial discrimination in adoptions, part of Republicans’ Contract With America, becomes law

Anonymous said...

Cut and paste somewhere else, please, fella.

Anonymous said...

Is IS a fella, isn't it? Guy with too much time on his hands for reasons that are obvious.

B. von Traven said...

A particularly ignorant troll has decided to dump a list of dates and events onto the blog in six or so very lengthy comments. I have deleted all but one. The one I left illustrates what we're dealing with here: A clueless, cherry-picking idiot who imagines that the Democratic Party is the party of racists and the GOP is the party of civil rights.

Anonymous said...


What is it with these cut and paste conservatives anyway?

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