Saturday, February 19, 2011

“Master planning” for Irvine Valley College: correspondences

Feb. 2
     [Re our meeting today with architectural firm gkk:] I would like to thank and acknowledge X for attending the meeting.... Also, special thanks go out to Steve R and Lisa DA for advocating on our behalf….

Feb. 3
Dear Colleagues,
     I attended the SPOBDC [Strategic Planning Oversight & Budget Development Committee] meeting February 2nd. Here is my summary.
     First, on communication, transparency, etc. . .
     I think those involved in the decision-making process have heard our concerns and seemed eager to reassure us that the process has been, and would remain, open and transparent….
     Steve R. and Lisa D-A. were rather outspoken in expressing their desire to make sure our needs [in Humanities and Languages] were considered. I might say they even seemed to be leaning towards prioritizing our concerns. XX especially stressed that in the past the Humanities and Languages, and to some degree the Social and Behavioral Sciences, with regard to new buildings, had been screwed over [by Raghu Mathur] time and again for political reasons and that this explains … the cynicism many of us feel regarding the process.
     Brandye [D.] stressed her desire and commitment to communicate clearly what the administration is thinking and doing at each step in the process.
     The new Life Science Building is going to be built. It has been planned, approved, and funded….
The new Fine Arts Buildings is going to be built next. It has been planned and approved for state funding, but the state does not yet have the funds to fund it….
     After those projects are completed, any future buildings for the college will depend on state approval and funding. Such approval of funding is based on a variety of factors that boil down to “do you really need more buildings?” This depends on the factors you would expect—growth, room use, load-capacity ratios, etc.—and is tallied for the college as a whole. Getting approval for any new buildings depends on demonstrating that need as a college, but the building that is actually constructed can be assigned to any unit. So, even if the biggest growth was in School/Department A, that doesn’t mean the new building needs to be assigned to School/Department A if the college feels School/Department B needs it more. This point is crucial for us to understand. Even if we demonstrate that we are the largest unit on campus, projected to experience astronomical growth in the next five years, that doesn’t mean a building will be constructed for our use. It might be that our growth will make it possible for the Beer and Ale Brewing Technology Department to get a new building.
     With the completion of the Life Sciences Building, and the completion of the Fine Arts Building, the college will need to grow significantly before new construction could be justified (i.e., win state approval and funding). This may be further hampered by the fact that the square feet at ATEP [the district's troubled third facility--former Navy property] are now IVC’s….
     [One of the gkk guys guessed that] by 2020 [the college] might qualify for a 33,000 square foot building. This guess was offered in the context of trying to provide some sort of frame for understanding the scale involved in this process. Perhaps that building would be ours, but perhaps it wouldn’t. No priorities, or criteria for establishing such priorities, have yet been set. (See below.)
     I know this might be a bitter pill for some of us to swallow. Since I’ve been here (six years?) we’ve seen a whole list of buildings—PAC, BSTC, CHEM Lab, Life Sciences, and Fine Arts—win support and approval while we, a large, significant school, find ourselves scattered all over campus, facing at least one more decade of life in the [decrepit] A Quad….
     So, the next steps for us. . .
     The next step in the process, underway right now, is for the members of the SPOBDC to develop the criteria by which they will prioritize future development projects. We should put some thought into what we think such criteria should be. While appeals to “fairness” and “productivity” might be influential, I suggest we think more concretely as well in terms of needs (in general) and benefits (for our students)….
     Finally, gkk is supposed to have posted (somewhere online) a “Facilities Assessment.” I can’t find it on the website, but I’ll try to find out when and/or where we can get a look at these. We need to review gkk’s assessment of the buildings we use, especially A Quad buildings, and see if they are correct. (By the way, JE told us that the A Quad was not originally designed for educational use. It was more “storage and store-front” because they weren’t sure the college would make it. I’d never heard that before, but it explains so much.)
     Once the criteria for prioritizing future development are set, it seems the SPOBDC will then work through developing some kind of priority list. I don’t know if the final decisions will be reached by vote, consensus, or fiat, but I’ll try to find out….


Feb. 3
     I rather hope that the Beer and Ale Department gets a building first. I am going to need some [beer] just to swallow the notion that I will have spent 40 years at this institution and will have not seen a Humanities Building. And yes, X, the story about the A quad being built for possible conversion into a small shopping mall is true.
     Thank you for such a complete and concise (considering the complexity) summary….

Feb 8:
     At last Wednesday’s gkk meeting, I brought up the delay in posting comments [on the master planning website] issue. I strongly suggested they post the comments shortly after they’re submitted. They seemed to be receptive to the idea….
     Yes! This is the time to speak up or forever hold our breath. At the next gkk meeting, scheduled for Feb. 16th, the group will create a set of priorities by which the projects will be prioritized….

Feb. 10:
     As I look at the criteria and try to make sense of the categories and listings, it occurs to me that one of the major problems with the college plant for the programs in English is the absence of what I can only term academic logic. In English classes in particular, students are learning and practicing a skill that is fundamental to all other learning. In the text and assignment choices for writing classes in English, instructors endeavor to demonstrate to students this fundamental relationship between writing, reading, and all other academic endeavors. These skills are the groundwork of study and, likewise, of success in study.
     Yet here at IVC, the programs in English—its classrooms and faculty—are dispersed so widely that when students ask where they can find the “English Department,” I have no answer. At the far end of the narrow hallway in A200 where the department co-chairs are crowded into one room? At the back of the Library where the dean’s office may be found at the end of another hallway? On the second floor of B300, still designated the Business and Science Building? This geographical dislocation distorts communication for the faculty. Imagine what it does for students, those who are just learning that the network of academic study in which they are engaged is based on a logic of interrelatedness. Here at IVC, however, that logic is confounded by an irrational landscape.

Feb. 16:
     I know we are all busy, but you might want to go to the Master Plan website and look at the "Projections" presented as the minutes for the February 2nd SPOBDC meeting. Especially note pp. 13-20. There they offer their predictions regarding which departments will grow faster, on average, or slower than the college. I don't know how these figures were generated. For example, they predict ESL will be in decline, while journalism will be an area of rapid growth. [Both predictions are prima facie implausible.]

Feb. 16:
     [At today’s gkk meeting,] Jeff pointed out a mistake. I'll let him tell you about [it] if he wants to….
…The gist of [Glenn’s] suggestions seemed to be aimed at making B100 into the site for the bookstore and some kind of meeting area. B300 would then be a math/engineering building (eventually). Further complications followed. gkk guys scribbled like crazy.
     There IS a Humanities (and Social Sciences?) Building in the Master Plan. It is supposed to sit on top of the A-300 building. "Why do that?" asks Lisa DA, when we've just spent so much money renovating it? Why not build the Humanities and Languages Building on top of the A-400 building"
     Because, they explain, by the time they get to building the H&L Building, the newest and best A-Quad building will be the A-400 building.
     …When Life Sciences vacate A400, they're going to go in there and make an "entirely new building … on the inside." The outside will remain the same. This will include some new offices and several new classrooms designed for class of 25 or 30. By building these classrooms, they can improve the "fill-rate" on our campus which should help to demonstrate to the state our need for a new building and thus hasten the construction of the new H&L building.
     JE also seems to want to get rid of all the portables (thus demonstrating further need for new buildings) and cut the size of the new ATEP building in half (again, to make the numbers work better for us).
     In the meantime, almost everybody seemed to be floating the idea that the next new building might be a "Library Annex" or a "Student Services Annex." A dean seemed to advocate using the Library Annex to house the Writing Center and Reading Lab until the H&L building could be constructed. Everybody seemed on board, until somebody (I forget who) said hey, what if we took A100 "off-line" and rented the space to Kaplan and/or used it for "co-curricular" groups and activities (thus creating more "need" for square footage to help us get a new buidling). Well, then where would the college president and VP's go? The new Student Services Annex.
     …Don’t take any of this too seriously. It all seems up in the air. What seems to be driving the thinking at this moment is how to manipulate space usage on campus in ways that will improve our chances of getting more buildings funded.
     The brightest spot was an unofficial conversation I had with JE. He seems pretty convinced that he can really get this building for us, but it's going to take time….
     NOTHING HAS BEEN DECIDED YET. I think our comments have been heard. I don't know what, if anything, we can do at the moment. We definitely should show up for the informational meeting when it occurs…. –X

Feb. 17:
     X, thank you for writing such a good summary of yesterday's long meeting! … Some further details:
     1. Unlike the previous meeting, yesterday's meeting had A300 Bldg as the future new H&L Bldg. … The Health Sciences are scheduled to move to their new building in approximately two years. While it is probably too soon for our new building, it is likely that we're able to build a new two-story classroom building with Basic Aid funds….
     …[R]ecently, the State, due to its budgetary constraints, put a freeze on new buildings (and hiring for that matter), which means that the Fine Arts Bldg is delayed by two or more years….
     2. The Library Annex was on the last Master Plan and would have probably been built by now if the District hadn't intervened…. I think this is the piece that X was missing. The Library Annex is now back in the picture, which means it will probably be built in the near future using Basic Aid funds. The B100 Bldg was designated as a future Math Bldg on the old list. However, Glenn [Roquemore] suggested that the College would be better served if the bookstore and the "Convocation Center" (or community center) were moved to the B100 Bldg. This project would go forward sooner because the Bookstore would probably finance the bulk of the renovations.… How about Math? The B300 Bldg is the logical future location for Math and Sciences. How about the Centers on the second floor of the B300 Bldg? Glenn suggested moving them to the new Library Annex….
     3. [N]othing has been decided yet. Now is the time for the campus community to be involved in this process. The team seemed very sensitive to our needs and demands. Brandye, in particular, brought up the importance of consulting with faculty a few times. [Some] recommended to Craig that he or Glenn call an all-campus meeting to share the new information and solicit feedback from all employees. March 2nd meeting with gkk will be the final and most crucial meeting. The architects plan to take the prioritization list to the March Board meeting.

Feb. 17:
     [Re the projection of areas of rapid growth:] It turns out, it's pretty-much meaningless. It was generated by a spreadsheet using data … based on the last five years of program growth. The reason journalism looks like a significant growth area is because it went from having zero students to having four … students in a short period of time.
     When it comes to getting state funding and approval for a building, numbers indicating how fast our school is growing mean nothing. The funding and approval depend on the relationship between our WSCH [weekly student contact hours] and the square feet we have as a college.
     If and when they approve an H & L building, they will then go and do a real study of the needs in the school department by department.
     Sorry for the confusion.


Feb. 17
     Thanks for these notes and explanations. Thanks all of you, too, for your comments and suggestions.
     It seems to me that most of the arguments for a new H & L building I've heard so far fall into two categories: (a) [Humanities and Languages] are the biggest program on campus, so why are we being ignored when it comes to allocating resources? (b) we are currently scattered all over campus, a situation that hampers collegiality, stifles communication, and makes it nearly impossible for students to navigate their way around H & L. It seems to me that arguments like (a) don't necessarily make a case for a new building. To make that case we need to clarify why existing classroom facilities do not, or could not be made to, serve our needs. I think this has been an easier case to make for other schools that require special equipment and spaces in order to do what they do. Arguments like (b) (actually only?) make the case for pulling us all back into the A Quad after Life Sciences and Fine Arts vacate those spaces, but I don't see how that necessarily makes a case for a NEW building. My personal view is that the A Quad was not initially designed for instructional purposes and that it's a waste of money to keep using Basic Aid to renovate these buildings a few million dollars at a time. I don't think the administrators buy this argument because they understand that its easier to get $3 million than $30 million out of the board. At least that's the impression I get from just listening to them talk. But if we are eventually going to have to replace these buildings, it just seems smarter to do it now in one large, painful step, and have a building (or two) that really work, than to keep pouring money into them over the next twenty years and then do the expensive, painful thing. That said, there IS a new Humanities and Languages and Social and Behavioral Sciences Building on the Master Plan.

Feb. 19:
     ...I think the position has been that it is desirable to structure the campus around academic groupings: H&L and SS in A Quad. Math and Science in B Quad. PE where they are right now. Fine Arts in a Fine Arts Complex built behind and including the PAC. Library, Student Services, and Administration in the middle. BSTC where it is now. By placing [H&L] in the A Quad (which probably does make some sense) we can't get a new building without making a case for destroying an old one.
     ...I worry ... that the numbers will always make more sense to build other buildings first, so that if our building isn't prioritized it will get built last... [People respond as though I'm insolent when I say this,] so maybe I'm wrong. There is a building on the current Master Plan that is described as a humanities and social science building. It will sit on the current site of A300.
     A400 is slated for some kind of remodel. "It will be a completely new building on the inside," they say, but the same shitty building on the outside (I say).
      ... There has not been any sort of priority list set for any new projects. That is to be determined on March 2nd. As the plan stands now A100, A200, A400, and B100 are meant to be standing to 2030 (and beyond). In addition to the humanities and social science building, the Master Plan calls for a new Student Services/Admin Building, A Soccer Stadium, a big multiple-purpose gym, a swimming pool, another fine arts building (for a total of three, including the PAC), an art gallery (for a total of four fine arts buildings including the PAC), a library annex, and some parking structures (I can't remember if the baseball stadium is still in.
     ... I think everybody is saying there is going to be a building for [H&L or H&L and Social Science], but funding is tight, the economy is bad, etc. We have to consider the needs of the whole campus. Both now and in every projected horizon (2015, 2020, 2025, 2030) humanities and languages has the highest WSCH, but is near the bottom in ASF (assigned square footage). In other words, in terms of the quantity of square feet things are not at all equitable, though, admittedly, PE and Fine Arts need more space to teach their classes. In terms of quality of facilities, if we assume A200 is the shittiest building on campus, and A400 the second shittiest, once again we are the bottom of the list. That said, we certainly can teach in the A Quad. We've been doing it for years....

Friday, February 18, 2011

The consolation of brats

I've been awful busy. Spent the whole day yesterday in court. (My court report will have to wait.)
Did manage to spend some time with my nephew and three nieces recently. Here's young Sarah, as usual, jumping on her Uncle Roy. She seems to think I'm a bean bag or something.
Natalie, Sarah, and Catherine, looking into my mom's MacBook. Adam is waving his Cub
Scout cap. A great bunch of kids. TigerAnn says "hey."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

So, did anyone attend the gkk meeting?

Some returns in ping-pong are controversial
     Re the gkk "master planning" meeting at 3:00 p.m. today: I was unable to attend (and probably shouldn't have anyway). I do know that certain reliable folks attended. Got any reports for us? Did gkk or administrators (or somebody!) acknowledge our peevitude? Did they read our comments? What?
     PING-PONG. I see that, at some point today, faculty inputtery sent to the master planning folks—comments that seemed to fall into a black hole, for, not only have they gone unanswered, they have not been posted on the site!—have now appeared with “responses.” Check ‘em out: here.
     For what it’s worth, here’s my comment (ping) with response (pong):

PING. Transparency is a good thing, doncha think? But when you think "transparency," your mind doesn't immediately bolt to the SOCCCD. But things are changing! One way in which they are changing, we're told, is that the new round of planning of facilities for the college genuinely solicits input, etc. It's all very open and sensible, they say. It's a new day! Yeah, but, so far, the process just seems to me to be a carnival fun house, a hall of mirrors. It ain't inspiring confidence, I'll tell you for sure! How can it be that, once again, there is no plan for an H&L building? And why have the comments submitted by H&L faculty in the last few weeks been swallowed up by this machine, without a trace? Then, all of a sudden, the comments now appear, all encrusted with the bizarre remark, "well get back to you soon"! Here's what I expect. We'll get carefully written comments some time during our retirement. I'm starting a pool. My guess: feedback by 2025.

PONG. Thank you for your passionate comments regarding Humanities and Languages/Social Behavioral Sciences. Sincere discussion regarding the future of IVC and the many vital programs that make up the College does occur openly. Our strategy is combine the needs of the campus with the complexities of State approval and funding, while considering the current condition of the State budget. The facilities master plan seeks to outline a comprehensive vision of the IVC campus evolution. Project priority will be developed by administration and faculty representation while project scheduling will inevitably be a function of funding availability. Regarding delay of response, the consultant team will strive to address comments in a more timely fashion.

They must think we're awfully stupid

Immer noch kaput

     OK, it's finally really the day of the last big meeting with gkk re "master planning" for Irvine Valley College (a process that, historically, turns out always to be far-less-than-master planning, so who do they think they're kidding?), and, still, the responders-that-be have generally failed to respond (and, in many cases, even to post!) our comments (aka official solicited "inputtery"). Check out the comments page here. Note the frustration.
     And so, again, the system of inputtery exhibits kaputtery. At this point, many of us are far south of having faith in the system. We trust it not.
     Leadership? As usual: nowhere to be found.
     Decisions about long-term planning should be based on sensible and agreed-upon principles. What are those principles? In what sense are they followed?
     DtB is thinking seriously of creating a map of the campus indicating the diaspora that is Humanities and Languages faculty offices and classrooms. There's no rhyme or reason to it. There's no center. The Dean cannot be found. She has been placed in the furthest and most obscure corner of IVC-world. Her assistant is around the corner somewhere, locatable only with the help of bloodhounds.
     Is anyone in charge of this place? Do we actually have a President and VPI? I'm not convinced.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

At least 51% of primary Republicans flat stupid

Poll: 51 percent of GOP primary voters think Obama born abroad (Politico)

     In a shocking finding, more than half of GOP primary voters believe President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, according to a new poll.
     Fifty-one percent of 400 Republican primary voters surveyed nationwide by Public Policy Polling said they ascribe to the controversial birther conspiracy theory — despite the fact that the state of Hawaii has posted Obama’s certificate of live birth.
     Only 28 percent said they think the president was born in the United States — a constitutional requirement to be president. Twenty-one percent said they were “not sure.”
. . .
     Among those who do not believe Obama was born in the United States, Mike Huckabee is their first choice for president, followed by Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and then Mitt Romney….

Master planning inputtery? More like master plan kaputtery

     Evidently, the next and last big meeting with gkk (re the “master plan”) is today.
     But the system for “input” seems to be broken.
     See comments.
     Many of us (including me) have submitted comments here that have not appeared and thus have not received responses.
     Further, some of the comments that do appear here have received no comments, after a significant period.
     Some openness. Some transparency. Some competence.
     See earlier post (The Master Plan) and numerous peevish attached comments.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wherever you see corruption and cronyism in this County, he’ll be there (no, not Tom Joad; Tom Fuentes)



     When I think about Tom Fuentes, I think about Tom Joad. Yes, Tom Joad.
     In particular, I think of Joad’s famous “I’ll be there” speech at the end of John Ford’s “Grapes of Wrath”:
...I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look, wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build, I'll be there, too.
     Joad’s imagined ubiquity was a “we’re all in this together” kind of thing—something good and noble. Tom Fuentes’s I’ll-be-there-itude, however, is something entirely different. He is the inevitable nexus of all manner of OC Republican shittiness.
     Yes, shittiness. Consider:
     Tom’s there when guys are intimidating Latinos from voting by hiring guards to stand outside polling places. Tom’s there when guys make sure that their political cronies get County jobs and contracts. Tom’s there—to provide moral support and exploit celebrity—when the Sheriff used his office for personal gain and gave cronies important department jobs. Tom’s there when an opportunity for cheap demagoguery cancels a good college program. Tom’s there when a guy who obviously breached his duty for self-gain is promoted as a political star as manager of the county’s assets.
     Well, I could go on. And on. And on.
     Tom was also there when, back in 2006, his advisee Tan Nguyen sent letters to Latino voters in an effort to intimidate them from voting (in Nguyen's bid to secure Loretta Sanchez’s Congressional seat).
     Well, today, Nguyen was finally sentenced—not for sending the letters, but for lying to state investigators about his role in the enterprise.
     So, like Tom’s pals Mike Carona and Chriss Street (whom he endlessly promoted and exploited), Tan Nguyen was brought down by the courts.
     And, like Carona, Nguyen will be spending his immediate future in prison. Yep.
     Read all about it:

A typical Fuentean hero: throwing others under the bus
Former candidate Tan Nguyen: 'It's been hell' (OC Register)
     Dean Steward, Nguyen's attorney, argued that the two-time GOP candidate deserved probation, but [Judge] Carter said people who run for public office should be held to the highest ethical standards, and that Nguyen's conduct showed a "true lack of character.". . .
     After a mistrial last August, Nguyen was convicted in December of one felony count of obstructing a probe into a controversial letter that his campaign sent to 14,000 Latino voters. Sanchez is the longtime Democratic congresswoman whose district includes Garden Grove, Santa Ana and parts of Fullerton and Anaheim.. . .
     At the time, Nguyen denied having anything to do with the letters, and blamed them on a campaign volunteer whom he fired. Nguyen also cast blame on another campaign volunteer who was a close college friend.
Tan Nguyen Gets Prison for Anti-Loretta Sanchez Vote Scheme (OC Weekly)
     A native of South Vietnam and a man who has clearly struggled to understand simple ethical concepts in the U.S., Nguyen has long claimed he had no role in devising a pre-election letter that sought to frighten 14,000 Latino citizens from voting. Multiple investigations proved otherwise, yet Nguyen attempted to convert his status as a convicted felon into a martyrdom. That effort pathetically failed, too….

Williams gutted and depleted the value of the Tapout estate, says Lewis’ ex-wife

     Today, I got a kind of thank-you note from Kimberly Edds of the OC Reg. I wasn’t sure what she was thanking me for, but she did leave a link to her article about Williams in today’s Register:

Claim filed against O.C. public guardian in TapouT estate case (OC Watchdog)

     The heirs of TapouT co-founder Charles “Mask” Lewis have filed a claim against the county, accusing Public Administrator/Public Guardian John S. Williams of negligence in the handling of the multi-million dollar estate of Lewis, who died in a 2009 car crash.
     The claim, filed last week by Diane Larson, Lewis’ ex-wife and mother of his two children, accuses Williams of failing to properly manage the multi-million dollar estate, operated TapouT “in a manner to gut and deplete the value of the estate’s interest,” and sold TapouT without authorization.
. . .
     A judge will decide how the fees are distributed. Larson wants the fee matter decided by an out-of-county judge; the public administrator is fighting Larson’s change of venue request for the case….
     Meanwhile, Williams is working with county officials to move in a new executive manager to overhaul the culture of his struggling agency. It is unclear whether Williams, who has repeatedly been criticized for the way he runs his agency, will step down in the wake of the Board of Supervisors’ decision to bring in additional oversight and make immediate personnel changes.
     The Board of Supervisors can remove Williams from the appointed position of public guardian at any time. He is also the county’s elected public administrator, a position which the Board of Supervisors cannot take from him.
. . .
     Williams, who began serving a new four-year term in January, remains in charge of the office for now. Williams still owes himself $125,500 for his campaign, according to campaign finance filings.
     Williams is cooperating with Board Chairman Bill Campbell and the county’s Chief Executive Officer Tom Mauk to ease into the transition, Campbell said. Discussions are ongoing about Williams’ fate in the office, Campbell said.
. . .
     While trying to negotiate his own future, Williams is negotiating with the county to save the jobs of his political appointees if he leaves office before his term is up, county officials confirmed.
     Among Williams’ political appointees is Peggi Buff, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’fiancee, who was promoted by Williams from executive assistant to his second-in-command five years after she began working for the office. Williams has political ties to Rackauckas and longtime Orange County Republican Chairman Tom Fuentes.
. . .
     The move to wrestle control of the agency away from Williams is a result of two county grand jury reports and the county’s own investigation which exposed “serious concerns” about the department’s operations, according to the county’s chief executive office.
. . .
     Williams’ private attorney, Phil Greer, called the Watchdog back Monday afternoon to provide a “no comment.” Greer is a county GOP insider who has represented all five current county supervisors except Supervisor John Moorlach….
     The yet-to-be hired manager will be charged with establishing a risk-averse culture, instituting new standards for obtaining goods and services, and making personnel adjustments after a human resources audit of the Public Administrator/Public Guardian is finished.
     The county wants to fill the position with an experienced lawyer, banker or receiver, Campbell said. The executive manager will report directly to Mauk, who has the final say on who is hired. Williams, a former Orange County marshal, holds a masters’ degree in public administration, but is not a lawyer.
. . .
     Renewed calls for reform were made last fall after then-Assistant District Attorney Todd Spitzer was fired by Rackauckas after he made a call to the Public Guardian’s office regarding a case.
     Rackauckas, in an October press conference, admitted he was uneasy about confronting Spitzer over his call to the public guardian because of his fiancée’s position in the office. He also confirmed he spoke with Buff’s staff before firing Spitzer.
     Rackauckas’ chief of staff, Susan Kang Schroeder, also admitted during the same press conference she discussed Williams’ press release criticizing Spitzer for calling his department. Williams had said in a previous interview that the press release was the work of several people within his own agency and did not involve anyone from an outside agency. Kang Schroeder had also previously denied any involvement.
     Buff, who was a one-time campaign fundraiser for Rackauckas also helped raise campaign money for Supervisor Pat Bates during her 2010 re-election campaign. Buff was first appointed to the pubic administrator/public guardian in 2003 as an executive assistant….

The Loss of Nameless Things: Tad Hall


Some of you knew Tad Hall; more than a few have heard Rebel Girl speak about her friend, the son of her teacher Oakley Hall, the brother of Reb's best friend Brett. Over the weekend, word came that he had died.

Here's some words:
Oakley Hall III, “Tad,” died of a heart attack this past weekend. He was 60 years old.

Oakley Hall III, eldest son of the late novelist Oakley Hall, was a playwright, director, and author. In the mid-70s, when he was a rising star in the New York theatre scene, his play Mike Fink was optioned by Joseph Papp of the Public Theatre. He founded and was the Artistic Director of the legendary Lexington Conservatory Theatre, in upstate New York, where his plays Grinder’s Stand and Beatrice and the Old Man, and his adaptation of Frankenstein enjoyed their premiere productions. Lexington Conservatory Theatre moved to Albany in 1979 and continues today as Albany Rep.



In 1978, Oakley suffered traumatic and massive head injuries in a fall from a bridge. He eventually returned to California to live in Nevada City near his family; his play Grinder’s Stand was produced by the Foothill Theatre Company, directed by Philip Sneed. The story of this production, entwined with Oakley’s fall and the slow process of creating a new life, are movingly told in Bill Rose’s award-winning documentary, The Loss of Nameless Things. (posted below)

Oakley made a life-long study of the surrealist playwright, Alfred Jarry, and over the years translated several of his plays from the original French. In 2008, Hall moved to Albany, New York, to live with Hadiya Wilborn, who helped set in motion a collaboration with acclaimed puppeteer Ed Atkeson. This resulted in a production of one of those translated plays, Ubu Roi, at an Albany theater, Steamer 10, directed by Oakley, with Steven Patterson in the title role.



In the fall of 2010, Moving Finger Press published Oakley’s novel, Jarry and Me, in which Oakley intertwines a memoir of his own life with a sly “autobiography” of Jarry. One of the last sentences of the book is, “Jarry dies with a grin on his face.” We are told that Oakley too had a grin on his face, at the end. As Oakley would say: “Merdre.”



*

If you want to read a Valentine's Day poem, visit Rebel Girl's The Mark on the Wall.

*

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blast from the Past: "stay together, learn the flowers, go light"


It's all birds in the garden this morning—jays, robins, bushtits, towhees—and some creature Rebel Girl can't identify: a mid-size bird, big as a quail, bright red splotch on the breast, striped tail feathers set off on a dashing diagonal angle—russet, white, black- plus a stern straight black beak (Northern Flicker?)

The birds want everything—acorns, pine needles, worms scratched up from beneath the fallen leaves, sticks.

This activity so early in the season—made Rebel Girl seek out this post from four years ago. The little guy is now nearly nine and Rebel Girl is approaching her half century mark. And the birds—the birds are two weeks early as are the trees with their green buds, their white and pink flowers flowering.

from March 1, 2007:

MY FOUR-YEAR-OLD SON and I see birds in the morning, flying by with their beaks full of twigs and long grasses.

It's cold today, for southern California. The ice on the windshield is thick, something to marvel at until the driver, my husband, realizes that he can't actually see through it and it isn't melting. He stops at the fire station down the hill and uses their hose.

My son and I watch the nest-building birds from the hot tub where most mornings we spend some time. It's good for the body and the family. We look at the sky, try to identify the clouds. This morning, none, just the radiant post-storm blue. We listen for the birds, the neighborhood dogs and chickens. We watch the steam rise around us. We're a kind of poem, at least for ten minutes.

It's nearly 30 years since Stephen Jama first had me read Gary Snyder's poem, "The Bath" but I have thought of the poem and my former teacher (almost certainly dead by now) nearly every morning when we open the tub and the steam escapes, the cloud of warm vapor into the cool.

In 1979, I was an 18-year-old student at El Camino College, enrolled in Jama's poetry workshop and over my head, to be sure. But I tried. I read "The New American Poetry" edited by Donald Allen. I wrote. I did my paper on Stuart Perkoff's poetry. The girl who sat next to me did her paper on rocker Patti Smith's poetry and wrote poems about her crushes on girls. My poetry was full of ashes, of cigarettes I didn't smoke and cars I didn't know how to drive. I brought sharp cheddar cheese with red wax rind to the end-of-the-semester workshop party and Jama himself asked me where I had bought it. The Italian deli on PCH in Redondo Beach where the highway curves away from the ocean. I rode my bike there. The deli is gone now too.

I have no idea how I got through that class. But part of it must have been that Jama knew what he was teaching was not the end but the beginning. Most of us would go on and be more somewhere else. He was starting us out. We were doing what we could do with what we had. So was he.

I worry that this year's birds are being premature. But there are tight tiny hard buds of new growth pushing through the tangled branches of the large unknown bush beyond the hot tub. When in bloom, the bush's white flowers smell orange. Framed by my study windows, the reddish beginnings of new growth leaf on an unnamed tree. In weeks those leaves will broaden, their flowers will fluff into pink. Spring. Maybe this year I will learn the names.

****

by Gary Snyder:

For the Children

The rising hills, the slopes
of statistics
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light


A night song (or two)



I want to be a good woman
And I want, for you to be a good man.
This is why I will be leaving
And this is why, I can see you no more.
I will miss your heart so tender
And I will love
This love forever

I don’t want to be a bad woman
And I can’t stand to see you be a bad man
I will miss your heart so tender
And I will love
This love forever
And this is why I am leaving
And this is why I can see you no more
This is why I am lying when I say
That I don’t love you no more

Cause I want to be a good woman
And I want for you to be a good man



the moon is not only beautiful
it is so far away
the moon is not only ice cold
it is here to stay

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