Friday, June 10, 2011

Loose ends

     Just wanted to mention that, in Poland, when you get a receipt, it's really tiny, like some kind of Barbie receipt. See examples above. Found 'em in my jacket pocket today.

     Oh yeah, and I wanted to mention, too, that our favorite Polish tour guide was Agnes. She's way knowledgeable, she's a good driver, and she's cute. Plus she manages to convey just the right amount of contempt for the Soviets, who did so much to mess up her country. It's all implicit, you understand. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

Agnes and my folks, Sopot, Poland

Just a cool old building along the canal, Gdansk

The same old irrational exuberance

     This morning, I noticed the above video posted at the Orange Juice Blog. It is a brief and interesting presentation by Internet guru Jim Gilliam entitled, “The Internet is my Religion.”
     Well, I watched it and left the comment below:
     I enjoyed Gilliam’s presentation and will acknowledge that he has quite a story to tell, but I do wonder about the label “humanism” applied to him and, frankly, about his philosophy also. Humanism—yes, a notoriously ambiguous term—is often viewed as a non-theistic (godless) philosophy that embraces the notion of the power of human faculties—especially reason. Gilliam has surely abandoned theism and embraced human capability, but his embrace of reason is questionable, for he does seem to embrace “faith,” or something very like it, and it is faith (one might argue) that makes religion religion more than does embrace of the supernatural. Yes, Gilliam was saved in part by internet activists, but his rescue had more to do with medicine and the phenomenon of individuals choosing to make their organs available to others—both pre-dating the Internet. And so why does he attribute the miracle of his rescue to the Internet and not to these other things, which surely are more fundamental to the event? At a certain point, Gilliam reminds one of the charismatic preacher who, having roused his audience with stories of happy accident, human kindness, and whatnot, commits the usual non sequitur: it’s Jeeeeeesus.
     Gilliam simply replaces Jesus with the Internet. So, what we have here is not humanism but a new, but a typical, religion—a thing with an utter failure of logic at its core.
     (Note: someone with a sounder training in the Humanities would not have made Gilliam's mistake—namely, conceiving and exhorting his godless, human-centered philosophy as a religion—something relying on "faith.")

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hey, wait! Wasn’t the world supposed to end? Tom Fuentes jokes about Asian drivers

     TOM FUENTES’ final days will be noisy and difficult.
     I know nothing about his family life. I’m thinking only of his “public” life—his life as Tom Fuentes, Political Animal.
     It appears that this animal is dying fast.
     The local political machine he helped develop and maintain is in trouble.
     Some of the Fuentesphere’s more prominent champions of rectitude have fallen spectacularly, leaving decent people to wonder just who would ally themselves with them in the first place?
     And, during this endlessly-shocking post-Bell era, the system of mutually-supporting leech-leadership with which Tom is so closely associated is coming into public view. The public, still unclear about what it sees, is initially aghast.
     But there’s more: Fuentes’s curious private affairs—his peculiar “consulting” gigs and their relation to public service, and even his private business (etc.) relationships—are themselves under scrutiny, revealing, well, disturbing darkness.
     My guess is that the full Dark Serpent that is Tom will only become clear some time after his passing.

     Today, I came across a little speech Tom made about a year ago during an event of the ultra-conservative Pacific Research Institute. It reveals one head of Thomas the Hydra.
     (You remember PRI. Just a few years ago, Fuentes protégé, Raghu P. Mathur, invited PRI’s Lance Izumi to give an address during a Chancellor’s Opening Session. The address came after the prayer.)

The event:

Leechleadership: writhing &
thriving(?) in the Fuentesphere
The Politics of Aspiration
How to Bring the Gold back to the Golden State

Saturday, March 20, 2010
Island Hotel
690 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach

Moderator: Steven Hayward

Introductory Speaker: John Eastman
. . .
Keynote Lunch Speaker:
Hugh Hewitt
Short Discussion: Can the California GOP Regroup and Save the State?

Moderator: Tom Fuentes

Duf Sundheim
Jon Fleischman,
Bill Mundell
Brian Calle

Well, here are Tom’s remarks (listen to them yourself, starting at 6:04):

…Once again, our topic is, “Can the GOP regroup and save the state?”
     The bottom line is of course: we need to win elections.
     Presently, Republican voter registration has reached a low of near 30% in California. Less than one out of three Californians declare themselves to be members of the GOP.
     A party needs people.
     We meet today in Orange County, where our neighbors include some 800,000 Hispanics, reflective of the ever-growing Latino population statewide. You know, we know, in Orange County, when we have many, many new Asian neighbors, we Latinos begin to buy car insurance. [Uncomfortable laughter?]
     Nearly one out of three Orange Countians—some of you are little slow on [getting the joke]—nearly one out of every three Orange Countians is a Roman Catholic. Black and Hispanic voters voted “yes” on proposition 8 [i.e., the Eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry act of 2008]. Yet some suggest that our party should move way from the traditional, conservative social values so appealing to these communities and to the growing Asian population as well.
     Earlier this week, in this same county, a few here attended the first debate by the two leading Republican candidates for governor. It was hosted in an invitation-only exclusive setting at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Samueli Theater, where the public and the general membership of our party was excluded. Members of the New Majority PAC, who pay $10,000 a year as dues, were invited to the exclusion of rank and file Republicans. [The New Majority is “Orange County's group of supposedly progressive millionaire and billionaire Republicans” (see) who have sought to moderate OC’s image. Starting in the 90s, they sought to unseat Fuentes as chair of the local party. By 2004, they succeeded.]
     The state is in a fiscal and political crises as we come to the end of the failed Swarzen-Jaeger [sic] administration. [Fuentes has always hated the former Governator: See.] Unemployment is skyrocketing, businesses are leaving California every day. Multimillionaire candidates are vying to carry our party’s banner in November.
     While the Tea Parties are growing in the streets, the old specter of a boardroom-controlled Republican Party of the rich is being raised again. And all of this is happening amid the deepest recession in our memory.
     Moneyed special interests have ever-greater influence in the affair of our party. No debate between the top candidates for governor was presented at the California Republican Party convention. The control and direction of our party have left the floor of the convention, with its volunteers and activists, and founds its ways into the offices of a governor–a governor who has a liberal Democrat chief of staff. [Fuentes had his start as a grass-roots organizer, in the 60s, when OC was more notorious for its right-wing conservatism.]
     He who controls the purse strings controls the party.
     High paid consultants have their say. Outside PACs raise money from the business community and little of the money finds its way into the coffers of the official party. PAC directors collect large salaries while the candidates and the local party operations are under-funded. The Governors’s appointee for the Lieutenant Governor seeks to allow Democrats to select our Republican nominees.
     So the question that we put to you gentlemen is: can the California GOP regroup and save the state?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Nearing L.A.
     Finally got back to Southern California--about 6:00 p.m. last night. Had a snafu with our shuttle service, so we didn't get home until maybe 10 or 11. Sheesh.
     Looking forward to normality. Right now, owing I suppose to all those hours in those sardine-can 757-200s, I feel like 40 miles of bad road. But it was a great trip.
     I was happy to read the news about John Williams. There are things brewing with Tom Fuentes as well. All will be revealed soon enough.

These are the "anonymous" street musicians we happened to catch near Alexanderplatz in Berlin—on Monday. We enjoyed them very much. I'm not sure what to make of them. Some kind of world music, I guess. I hear some New Orleans Jazz, but certainly not only that. Some of their music reflected Spanish or Middle Eastern influences. (Here one finds them playing Hava Nagila.) Still more of their hotness can be experienced here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Guardian-a-Go-Go! But Williams Still Administrates


OC Register Reports...

Public Guardian fired by county supervisors
by Kimberly Edds, Staff Writer

Public Administrator John S. Williams was fired by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday from his job as the county’s public guardian, potentially sparking a legal fight by Williams to get the appointed job back. He remains the county’s elected public administrator.

Williams, who served as both the elected public administrator and appointed public guardian, has been hounded by accusations of mismanagement, dubious promotions and questions of how he does his job. The public guardian handles the affairs of Orange County’s ill and elderly who have no one else to care for them. The public administrator handles the estates of those who die without legal heirs.

The county has spent months trying to wrest control of the two departments from Williams.

He has ignored repeated calls by the Board of Supervisors to resign from both positions. Williams attended the board meeting but did not speak.
To read the rest, click here.


No More Secrets: new bill will force transparency for higher education foundations

via OC Watchdog:


...Senate Bill 8 would apply to the likes of the UC Irvine Foundation (with net assets of $255.5 million), the CSU Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation (with net assets of $51.5 million) and would “bring greater transparency and accountability to California’s public higher education institutions – University of California, California State University, and the state’s community college system,” according to its rabble-rousing author, Sen. Leland Yee (pictured below).

“SB 8 will ensure UC, CSU and the community college auxiliaries and foundations adhere to state public records laws. Under SB 8, all other financial records, contracts, and correspondence would be subject to public disclosure upon request...

To read it in its entirety, click here.


Monday, June 6, 2011

The folks on their last day in Berlin

Edith declared that she had ridden to the top of this thing as a little girl. "Don't think so," said Manny.
Later, I discovered that the dang thing was built by the Commies back in 1968, so there's no way.
But my mom hangs tough.
My dad and I have decided to call it the Berlin "time machine." We went to the top of thing thing today but we managed to avoid time travel.
As far as we know, at least.

Here we are with our cute Nigerian-German cabby

At an Italian restaurant in one of Berlin's many cool spots. Listened to a cool band, too.
Mom insisted on ordering a fancy chocolate desert. It arrived as a big mouse head with mouse ears made of crackers. Mom grabbed one of Mickey's ears and ate it.
"You're eating Mickey's ear!" I protested.
"Don't worry. Mickey's dead," said mom. She ate the whole damned thing.

Buffalo Springfield Again

Buffalo Springfield stunningly returns to L.A. (OC Reg)

     …Here at last, after giving its first reunion performances last October at Neil Young’s Bridge School benefit concerts, was the short-lived but mighty Buffalo Springfield — a group that literally formed in a traffic jam on Sunset Boulevard, finally playing again in the city that spawned it 43 years and a month after the (mostly) original lineup last played in Southern California, to some 5,000 people at Long Beach Arena on May 5, 1968.
. . .
     Their importance cannot be overstated: The band that locals used to call the Herd rank only behind Bob Dylan (especially with the Hawks/Band) and the Byrds (with and without Gram Parsons) as the most crucial cornerstones of what’s now called Americana music, that hard-to-define yet easy-to-spot hybrid of folk, rock, country, blues, psychedelia and lyrical poetry….

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What I've found re Stettin's Rosengarten Strasse

Rosengarten 71, Hermann Lockstadt

Rosengarten 40, Stadtmauer; 1930

27 Rosengarten (1918)

28a Rosengarten 25-26

28b Rosengarten 25-26

28c Papenstrasse 11, Ecke Rosengarten

29a Rosengarten (1938)

Rosengarten 19, Katholischeknabenschule (21 Gemeindeschule)

Rosengarten 74-75

Rosengarten 9-10, Judische Gemaindezentrum

Rosengarten 6, Bernhard Mundt

On Ulica Podgórna, I'm told

A Sunday in Berlin

Very sunny. Kinda humid. But a fabulous city to photograph
Click on graphics to enlarge them

A group played some cool horns near Alexanderplatz

The folks on a bus

Our charming Turkish-German cabby
Dig her "Cleopatra" makeup

Berlin is a green town

I dropped and cracked my "polarized" filter back in Gdansk. Hence some of the booboos here and there

Berlin is very cosmopolitan. I do believe they've got aliens from outer space. They fit right in

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

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

Goals and Values and Twaddle

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

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

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

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

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

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary